Chapter 6: Sheriff Marlowe
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
At dinner time, the shopkeeper called out the poet who was practicing in the backyard, “Go to Marlowe’s house and call your little cousin. Didn’t their family go to the city to see a doctor? The child is only ten years old, and no one in their family cooks for him.”
The poet stretched out, “It’s dark, his family must be back already. If you don’t come back, the gate will be locked.”
“But, if they haven’t come back, then your little cousin will have to be at home alone tonight, isn’t that more pitiful?”
The poet thought about it, put down the instrument and went out.
During the day, he took a bounty hunter to Marlowe’s house. They didn’t enter. The ten year old cousin only opened the gate. The poet wanted to go in and sit down, but he was afraid that his little cousin would charge him pocket money, so he left immediately with the hunter.
After dark, the village was as quiet as no man’s land. Since many are afraid of meeting monsters, they go out together in the daytime. At night, many people didn’t even dare not to open the windows.
The poet deeply reminisced about the former Black Tree Village which was not like this.
In the past, it was ‘epic time’ after dinner, and most people in the village would gather in ‘Pleasing Song Cottage’ to listen to stories and play. Sometimes it’s a witty ditty, sometimes it’s a long story, and every three days there’s a ‘children’s time’ where it’s all about children’s fun adventures. It is because of this tradition that poets are called ‘resident bards’ of Black Tree Village.
Now things have changed. Even during the day, people no longer like to listen to legendary adventures. There used to be monsters and murders in exciting stories, but now that there are real monsters near the village, and some people really die, you will feel saddened hearing these stories.
The poet himself was somewhat afraid. Now, for example, he is walking on a quiet path. Fortunately, the sheriff’s house was not far away, just another turn ahead.
As soon as he came out of the corner of the path, he heard a small cry coming from the yard of the Sheriff’s house. The voice was only raised for a moment, and then it was lowered immediately. It was a female voice, either an aunt or a cousin.
He didn’t know what was wrong with them, but at least it means there’s someone in the family. They’re back from the city.
The cry made the poet a little worried. His uncle, Sheriff Marlowe, has been suffering from his injuries. Even after their city visit, there are still people crying at home. Is Marlowe’s condition getting worse?
The poet hesitated for a moment at the door, thought out the words clearly, and knocked on the door.
It was his youngest cousin, the 10-year-old. The poet had intended to take the child away. Since his family had returned, the poet changed his mind and decided to go in to see his uncle Marlowe.
His little cousin gave a bitter face,”Mom, brother and sister have not come back, they took dad to the city.” After that, he seemed to think of something and immediately added, “I’ve had dinner, I’m a little sleepy, and I was sleeping.”
The poet’s head was in a daze. He heard it clearly just now that someone else was in the room. He immediately stiffened his face. It’s not that he deliberately wanted to scare the children, but he suspects that his uncle is really unpredictable and nervous.
“Tell me the truth,” he said, pressing his little cousin on the shoulder. “What’s wrong with Marlowe?”
The child insists that there is only one person at home. But after all, a child is only a child. When he lies once, the first two sentences sound natural. When he is repeatedly asked, he begins to look flustered.
The poet looked into the courtyard through the crack of the door. The little cousin stuck himself to the door with his body and grasped the door plank with his small hand. Obviously, he was afraid that the poet would break through. The poet’s heart jumps, both hands grasp the cousin’s armpit, trying to hold the child to one side, but the child is much heavier than he imagined and he couldn’t hold him up.
The adult and the child continued pulling at the door, neither of them daring to shout. Although they were scared to make a sound, a heavy dull sound came from within the room, accompanied by a scream.
Both men froze at the door. The cousins looked at each other and both ran towards the house.
The two-story house of the Marlowe family was not big, and there was no light in it. The poet rushed in and didn’t know where to look. The little cousin took him to the kitchen.
From the dark kitchen came a painful whimper, and a shadow crept on the floor. His cousin quickly lit the candle on the table, and the poet saw that it was his aunt, Mrs Marlowe, and his big cousin lying on the ground.
There was a square cellar entrance on the kitchen floor. His aunt and big cousin were lying by the edge of the entrance, pulling something hard.
“What’s the matter! What’s the matter?” His aunt babbled, and her voice was hoarse and changed so much that the poet could hardly understand what she said. But the big cousin’s eyes were focused, not saying a word, not even moving to light a candle for the room.
After seeing the situation in front of him, the little cousin also let out a loud cry and immediately fell down and grabbed something. The poet was frightened too, but still summoned up the courage to walk past.
He did not see his uncle’s body, but saw his aunt and two cousins lying pale-faced at the edge of the cellar, clinging to someone’s arm, clothes and even hair, trying to pull her up from the cellar
The wooden door of the cellar was placed on one cousin’s back, covering the poet’s vision, so he could not see what was going on below. He could only hear the heavy breathing sounds coming from the cellar.
“What’s the matter?” The poet knelt down and grabbed his cousin’s armpit too
As soon as he exerted himself, he felt there was something pulling him down. The mysterious force was very strong, and so many people above could not fight against that strength.
The family didn’t care to answer him. They are so scared that they couldn’t even explain the whole thing. Only the cousin being pulled didn’t scream, her head tilted weakly to one side, she closed her eyes and lost consciousness.
From below came a suspicious ‘creaking’ sound, like the sound of clothes being damaged, or a person’s body being torn.The four people lying on the floor heard it, and did not dare exert any more force, nor to let go. As soon as their strength relaxed, the child’s body was dragged down a few inches.
“Get out of the way and let me pass.” At this time, a familiar voice sounded at the door.
The family turned around and were surprised to see Carringer, the bounty hunter.
Although Carringer said ‘get out of the way,’ the family didn’t dare to let go of Mrs Marlowe’s daughter’s hand. They just stayed where they were, trying to keep their bodies down, looking scared and stopped thinking.
The kitchen was too small for Carringer, and he trotted over, banging weapons from his waist and back. He stepped directly over the poet’s head, kicked open the square door buttoned on the girl’s back, and jumped directly into the cellar.
The family felt the pulling force loosen. They immediately pulled hard, and finally pulled the comatose daughter out completely. The girl’s dress was tattered, one leg bloodstained and the other not only covered with valgus wounds, but also twisted at a terrible angle. Mrs. Marlowe began to cry on the spot. The poet quickly took off his coat and wrapped his cousin up, while his older and younger cousin held their crying mother.
Carringer’s voice came from the cellar, “You get out! Stay away from me!”
“Okay!” The poet responded with a cry, “How far?”
“To your yard!”
“Okay! All right!”
In the cellar, the monster is five steps in front of Carringer.
Its eyes are red, and the upper part of its face resembles some human characteristics. The lower part of its face is full of skin and flesh, and its jawbone protrudes. Its tusks pierce directly through its flesh and lips. Its swollen body is covered with bloody clothes, its back is arched, and its four feet touched the ground. Black spiny hair grew on its neck, hands and feet.
Carringer touched the handle of the broadsword, looked around, and sighed again.
If the space is too narrow, it will be a nuisance to use a broad blade sword. The creature in front of him has rough skin and thick flesh, and could easily be damaged with a thin curved knife.
Carringer took off the small Tomahawk on his back and weighed it in his hand, “I can understand now why the elf swears so much, I want to curse people right now…”
The monster shakes its head, sniffs the air, roars and lunges toward Carringer. Carringer did not dodge, but directly moved towards the monster’s fangs, put the ax into it’s jaw, and with a strong flick of the wrists, the monster’s head hit the roof of the cellar, lost balance and fell back.
Although it’s mouth was stuck by the ax, its front claws firmly grasped Carringer, and Carringer did not struggle. He rode on the upside down monster’s chest and took out the small tin box from his pocket.
In the box was the last pill from the elf. Carringer takes out the pearl sized pill and pokes it into the monster’s wide open esophagus. In fact, Carringer didn’t need to give the monster this medicine, he’s here to kill it, it didn’t matter whether it takes medicine or not.
But Carringer gave it medicine nonetheless, because he wanted to see what the effect of the medicine was and whether it was consistent with his conjecture. After a while, the force of the monster’s claws was released. Carringer gets off from it and takes the axe. The monster slowly closes his mouth and heaves its chest gently.
Carringer stands in front of the monster, which doesn’t try to attack or defend himself. It lay there peacefully, wounded, with a look of ease and contentment on his half-face, which was still human.
Carringer pulls out his machete and puts it against the monster’s neck. The monster is still lazy and calm, and gave no sense of resistance at all.
During the day, those militia and city guards also took the same medicine. After eating it, everything was as usual. There was no such morbid languor, in fact, they were more energetic when patrolling. Carringer thought to himself that he had guessed some of the functions of the medicine correctly, and some of them wrong.
It’s not about preventing people from getting infected, it’s a placebo for infection. It inhibits the movement of the infected body, and even without the help of the hunter, the infected body after taking the drug will become harmless for a certain period of time.
The elf must want to deal with the matter quietly and not cause panic. His idea is not wrong. From yesterday to today, since the village is still calm, it shows that the infected body has not completely mutated.
If Sheriff Marlowe could have taken the medicine during the day, he would not have attacked his family at this time.
The mountain forest had also become much calmer overnight, perhaps it was related to the drug as well.
What Carringer doesn’t quite understand is that since the elf mage has the means to suppress the infection, why didn’t he get it done in one step? The phenomenon of infection in the mountain forest has lasted for so long, indicating that he has never used the drug extensively and thoroughly.
Is it because the drug has just been developed? Or is impossible to mass produce for some reason?
“Ai, I’ll go and ask him later.” Carringer tucked the tin box back into his pocket and pressed the machete into it.
The monster’s neck gushed blood, neither struggling nor shouting, the red light in his eyes gradually darkened into pitch black.
Carringer didn’t take long. He crawled out of the cellar, and the family were still in a hurry in the yard.
Seeing Carringer come out, none of them asked, “How is it?”
They knew exactly what that ‘thing’ was in the cellar. Now it was quiet, and the hunter came out in his bloody cloak, everyone knew what had happened. It was for this reason that they held their daughter and cried even more.
Carringer shook his head helplessly. In this situation, he was too lazy to ask them why they lied during the day.
Why else? It’s just a fluke… They must have found out Marlowe was unusual. Before Marlowe had completely mutated, they thought he was still ‘alive.’ They don’t want to let the villagers know that Marlowe was likely infected, and they don’t want foreign bounty hunters to kill him, who still had ‘a glimmer of hope.’
It’s really stupid to say the least, but it’s useless to scold them now.
Carringer patted the older boy on the shoulder, “You should go get the doctor. Remember to make your sister’s injury clear and get the doctor prepared.”
The boy nodded and stood up with tears. The resident bard wanted to go with him, but Carringer stopped him, “You don’t have to follow. It’s not that dangerous out there. You go get some tablecloths and sheets and cover the body in the cellar. The smell of this kind of corpse spreads fast, and it’s terrible. You’d better burn it in the future, but you don’t have time for that right now. Before you can deal with it, cover it up a little”
The poet looked frightened, nodded and walked slowly to the room. Obviously, he didn’t want to be in charge of it at all, but if he didn’t do it, his aunt or cousins clearly couldn’t.
Finally, Carringer squatted down to check the girl’s condition, took out a small flat bottle and gave it to Mrs. Marlowe, “The child’s life is not in danger. Don’t be afraid. If she wakes up, you can give her a few drinks of this to stop the pain. Sip it, sip it, it’s like drinking spirits. Don’t drink too much, as there will be side effects like dizziness and maybe hallucinations, if that happens, just rest more. Don’t let her drink if she’s not hurt.”
Mrs. Marlowe nodded and held the flask firmly.
Carringer stood up and the 10-year-old grabbed his cloak, “I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.” He rubbed the head of the child and walked out of the yard.
The streets are not as dark as they were. Some of the doors opened, and there was fire in the wooden windows. The noise must have awakened the neighbors nearby.
Marlowe’s family has been hiding this secret for so long, but they didn’t manage to escape this tragic end. The neighbors will still know the truth. Carringer thought that the elf mage in the mountains was the same; he’s been hiding something, too.
He didn’t know what his worries were and whether his decision was right.
Carringer mounted his horse and hurried through the village. As he passed the ridge, he looked sideways at the mountain where the Falling Moon Tower was. There is a faint cold light floating on the dark silhouette of the mountain top, not the splendor of the moon, but the magic lighting shining all over the canopy.
At the same time, Rime once again leaves the crystal wall at the bottom of the tower. He walked slower than before, moving his feet a little by little. It was not easy to get back to the floating saucer. He had to sit down and let it rise again for fear of being unstable.
Although he was not well, he was in a good mood as he sat on the floating saucer humming to himself.
The floating saucer stops on the floor with the library. Rime was able to walk through the stacks of bookshelves. He arrives at the end of the wall, sits down at the messy desk, takes a long sigh of relief, and picks up the book that was upside down on the desk.
This book is a little different. Most of the books here are thick and large, with leather covers. The words are mostly Elven language or Arcane words for mages. However, the book in Rime’s hand is very thin, with a simple hard paper cover, and the texture is not too old. The words on it are in the common language: [Mastering Social Etiquette – a must read for popular gentlemen and ladies.]
Here’s what he read up to..
[The etiquette of receiving guests – Section 3: gain good feeling and long-term friendship in detail.]
He was done with the front. The last paragraph of the last section is about how to send guests away with dignity. It is said that you should not leave guests by themselves, nor just send servants either. You should personally escort the guests out of the main building of the manor, but do not have to follow them to the road outside.
Before leaving, please greet the guests kindly. Don’t show obvious excitement and relief when the guests leave. Otherwise, the guests will feel expelled. Even if the two sides have not agreed on the next time to meet, the host should also politely say ‘welcome back next time.’
Rime recalls how he gave away the Bounty Hunter:
He was promised to be sent out of the tower, but he didn’t.
Ask the statue to send him out, and only to the gate of the tower.
It was obvious that he was not welcome and didn’t want him to come again.
“Good, it should be like this,” thought Rime with satisfaction. “I can be a particularly unpopular person just by doing the opposite of this book.”