Chapter 4: Moon Tower
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Carringer was the only one left in the room.
The elf mage didn’t tell him, ‘you can’t go anywhere.’ Maybe he knew that it’s useless to tell him. The more he says he won’t let Carringer go, the more Carringer wants to go.
Carringer certainly won’t be honest. He sat in the room for a while, drank some water, took off his cloak, and walked to the door in a light manner. Instead of pushing the door open, he first found a small iron box from his pocket and applied the ointment on his exposed skin.
This ointment is an interfering agent used against constructs. It can cover most of the exposed skin by smearing it on the living creature. After it takes effect, the construct will turn a blind eye to the living creature.
As a result, Carringer would not be detected by any of the demons in the tower. As long as he is careful and avoids the mage himself. In fact, it’s probably fine even if he can’t avoid him, the mage can only write letters and curse people, and has no courage to speak out in person anyways.
Carringer flashed out of the door and up the spiral staircase. He tried to use a float, but it didn’t listen to him. Hence, instead of going down, he explored several levels up. The floors above were also very open, basically acting as storehouses for piles of sundries, he had a simple look and left.
He went down the steps and stopped for a moment on the sixth, seventh and eighth floors.
There are two larger rooms on the sixth floor, filled with all kinds of tool tables, various sundries and magic images that have not been used. Some have been disassembled and half repaired.The seventh and eighth floors are large libraries, with rows of bookshelves, small floating dishes that can be used at any time, and pieces of furniture such as tables, chairs and sofas. This layer looked the most human, at least not as cold as the others
Carringer tried to find useful information on these two levels. But decided to give up after a while. There are too many books, and many of them are arcane words that he couldn’t understand.
He went down to the ninth floor. The rooms on this floor looked like laboratories, with lots of bottles and jars. There was blood on the floor of one of the rooms. The largest room on this floor had several stone platforms, with wolf-life creatures lying on top of them. Their limbs were fixed by iron chains and their chests were opened, obviously dead.
There were another two dead monsters in the cage by the corner.. The cage was made of metal, and the fence engraved with spell runes.
The two monsters have different details, but the general form is the same: they were both twisted, their eyes red, part of their hair was gone and the other part was heterochromatic, there was abnormal growth of the teeth and claws, and an exposed spiked spine protruding from their back.
It’s a deep infection, or perhaps should say transformation. Or to put it more simply, they have become abyssal creatures.
It looks like this room is an autopsy room. It’s hard for mages to get this kind of thing. I don’t know whether this mage’s experiment is going well or not and whether he has made any valuable progress.
It’s a little strange… Under normal circumstances, mages would lock up the lab, but Carringer didn’t pry open a lock, he swaggered into every room. The reason why he walked freely was because there were no doors to these rooms.
Except for the fifth floor living area, most of the other rooms have no doors, only openings in the stone walls.
As a mage tower, this place is really too simple. The owner of the tower is obviously not interested in the living environment and everything seems to be perfunctory.
From the tenth floor, the corridor and rooms became very empty and simple again, no lighting, no furniture, no furnishings suitable for life or research. It was a completely idle space.
On the thirteenth floor, Carringer couldn’t go down any further because from here onwards, the spiral ladder was broken. Judging from the fracture , it must have collapsed many years ago and was never repaired.
Along the way, Carringer saw many magic runes, but did not meet the mage himself. This shows that the mage had gone deeper into the tower since he can manipulate the floating saucers, and can also use floating magic, and so did not need to take the stairs.
Carringer stood on the 13th floor of the platform and looked down. It was dark and bottomless. The depth of the moon tower is obviously higher than the height of the mountain.
Mage Rime walked down the sloping ramp.
The slopes are naturally exposed to earth and vegetation, making it look like a part of a normal hill, which was not the case. There was nothing but the ramp, no trees, no distant scenery, no sky, no light. All other directions beyond the ramp were dark and empty.
There’s no light in Rime’s hand. Here, he can walk without lighting.
The angle of the ramp became more and more gentle, and in the end, Rime stepped onto the flat ground. The soil and vegetation were gone. From here on, it was a smooth gray stone field.
With the ups and downs of his steps, the edge of his robe floated slightly, occasionally revealing his bare feet.The pale sole of his foot passed by, leaving dark footprints, as if caused by moisture, but also wet blood.
The trace was only exposed to the air for a moment, and then slowly disappeared.
Finally, he walked up to a crystal wall perpendicular to the ground.
The whole crystal is a pale gray-white, the shallow layer near the surface more transparent whilst the interior is turbid, just like a pool of sewage frozen into a huge body of ice. Rime places his left hand on the crystal’s surface. Gradually, the interior of the crystal became darker and darker, and something seemed to be rolling towards the surface.
But no matter how it struggled, it was still trapped under the surface, unable to touch the outside. The whole space was very quiet, but Rime could hear a shrill, uncomfortable roar. He frowned and bent down to resist the tinnitus for a few seconds.
After a while, he looked up at the top of the crystal wall.
The end of the rock wall plunges into the darkness and leads to another space. In the direction that Rime looks at, a silver vein of light slowly injects into the crystal and settles down until it becomes level with the ground.
Due to the thick, turbid crystal, Rime could not see the scene inside it at the moment, nor the specific shape of the light pulse.
But, in fact, he didn’t have to see. He knew what it was.
The darkness inside the crystal surged again, its breath gradually calmed down and turned into the silver object. Rime sighs deeply, holding the crystal wall with both hands and placing his forehead against it. He leans on the huge and dirty iceberg, eyes closed, hands swimming around the crystal surface, searching.
In response to his fingertips, several paths appeared, and a vibration came from within the crystal.
“There’s another one at the foot of the mountain? How could…” He immediately got up and stepped back onto the ramp where he had come. He tried his best to walk faster, but his steps faltered as if he would fall at any time.
Back at the top of the ramp, the earthy floor transforms into a set of hand-carved stone steps.. The darkness gradually fades, revealing the walls next to the steps. Looking down from here, it’s just endless spiral stairs, with no dirt ramps or crystalline rock walls.
Rime stood on the broken stone platform, touching the stone wall with one hand, and drawing a pattern in the air with the other hand, calling for the floating saucer on standby.
The floating saucer quickly emerged from the depths and brought him up steadily.
When it passed around fifteen or sixteen stories, the pontoon stopped.
Rime looked at the wall, embarrassed, “Mr. Hunter, may I ask… what are you doing?”
There was a man hanging on the wall in front of him. The bounty hunter Carringer, of course.
Previously, Carringer installed a fixed mechanism on the residual steps of the 13th floor, connected with ropes. He tied it to himself, put on the nail hook tools for climbing, and tried to venture lower into the tower.
Carringer turned his head and said, “I can’t sleep.”
“I have a tranquilizer,” said Rime.
Carringer said, “That’s not necessary. We bounty hunters are always like this, we often have insomnia and nightmares,I’m used to it. If you do more exercise before going to bed, you can sleep more soundly.”
After saying this lie that neither of them believed, Carringer continued hanging on the wall and looking back at Rime, whose lips moved, opened, and closed.
Carringer read out the movement of his lips, which was clearly a hard word to swallow.
Rime steers the saucer closer to the wall. “Come up,” he said wearily, “I beg you. Don’t bother me anymore.”
Carringer jumps onto the float, “Okay, I get it. I give up. Even if I manage to go down smoothly, I’m afraid I still won’t be able to see what’s under the tower.”
“It’s good that you know,” Rime sighed.
“I can just tell. Because I noticed that, although you’re obviously unhappy, you aren’t in a hurry. You know I can’t go down at all and I wouldn’t see any secrets even if I do. Are the things below protected by magical barriers or something?”
Rime just continued to sigh and shake his head without answering.
The floating saucer rose slowly. Carringer tilted his head to observe Rime. The elf’s face looked very bad, not only because of anger, but also because of extreme fatigue. He looked rather weak.
So Carringer didn’t tease him anymore. He also knows that Rime is obviously very stubborn, not the kind of person who is willing to cooperate with others after a lot of talking. It didn’t matter, bounty hunters are good at acting alone, and help from others is never necessary.
As the pontoon returned to the fifth floor, Carringer returned to his room, smiling as the elf left.
The night passed smoothly. The next morning, Carringer wakes up and doesn’t see Rime,only two orbicular quadrupeds are waiting for him. This time, the statues did not send out messages of abuse, instead, they quietly sent Carringer out of the door.
From the inside of the Moon Tower, the gate is a common double arch. Once Carringer walked out of the door and looked back, there was only flat rock behind him. Even if he stepped forward and touched the rock wall, he could not find any traces of a door.
“You didn’t even send me out in person. Are you angry?” Carringer shrugged in disappointment. As he went down the mountain, Carringer kept a keen eye on his surroundings and was ready to fight at any moment. Even now when the sky is bright, the mountain forest still remains very dark.
Carringer didn’t encounter any monsters this time. When he reached the mountainside, he saw the dense warning signs again, but he didn’t even hear a single strange cry. Carringer deliberately fumbled in the mountains for a while. By the time he got back to the foot of the mountain, the sun was already high.
He left the mountain road and walked to the ridge, where he found a group of people in front of him. These people crowded together, and no one dared to move closer to the mountain road.
Seeing Carringer’s figure, the shopkeeper let out a cry of surprise and joy. The cry was like a command, and the crowd suddenly burst into cheers and roars for Carringer.
Carringer was so frightened that he stepped back and was eventually surrounded by the crowd.
The poet rushes up excitedly and tries to hug him, but Carringer dodges it quickly. So the poet held his hand firmly, “You came back alive? I thought you would die in the mountains!”
——Do you want me to live or do you want me to die? Carringer returned with a stiff smile.
The woman shopkeeper looked at Carringer and asked, “Are you hurt? Where did you get hurt? There are doctors in our village! She may not be up yet. I’ll send someone to call her!”
——I hurt my heart. Yesterday, an elf said he would send me down the mountain, but he didn’t come to see me off.
An old man who Carringer didn’t see yesterday patted Carringer’s arm, “Since you came back, don’t be discouraged if you can’t kill the demon. It’s a demon. Most of us can’t deal with it,ewe don’t blame you…”
Carringer said, “I met several monsters and killed them all. I’ve come back to rest today, and I’ll continue killing them in the evening.”
The crowd was silent for a few seconds, and then there was a lot of shouting and exclaiming. The old man even had tears in his eyes and called for the salvation of Black Tree Village!
At this point, a seven or eight year old girl approached and pulled Carringer’s cloak.
Carringer looked down. He had seen the child yesterday, the timid child in the crack of the door when he had just arrived in the village and asked the woman for directions.
“Did you see the elf?” the girl whispered.
Carringer replied honestly, “Yes.” Considering that his hands were not very clean, he did not touch the head of the child.
“The elf is alone in the mountain. Is he afraid?”
Carringer was stunned by this lovely question. When she mentioned the elf, other people’s attention was also attracted. Some people asked if the elf was still angry with them, whether the elf could come down the mountain, whether the demon had imprisoned the elf, and whether Carringer would go up the mountain again and help them give some things to the elf.
Carringer asked them what they wanted to send, some said they wanted to send letters, others said they wanted to give back a Black Tree Village chronicle. The resident bard said he wanted to send some fruit and wine as a token of thanks. After all, the elf saved his uncle, the village sheriff.
In fact, just as he was going down the mountain, Carringer thought about one thing: Why didn’t the elf, named Rime, leave the mountain?
Rime’s tutor was not here, and there was no one near him. What’s the point of staying here?
Even if there is something dangerous deep in the mountain, it should not be the responsibility of Rime alone, he can leave completely. Even if he wanted to be serious and responsible, he can recruit some adventurers and bounty hunters to deal with these matters. Why does he have to guard a dilapidated site that is no longer habitable?
Carringer even thought that maybe magse made up the ‘demon’ theory, and there might be some kind of conspiracy.
This is indeed one of many possibilities.
But now, looking at the stupid and naive villagers of Black Tree Village, Carringer also thought of another possibility.
Carringer has only ever worked in the fields and knows that he is not a kind or soft person but he also knows that there are such soft people in the world.