Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Emond asked Dill to look at his social security card and old photos every day when he was free, to go through his phone’s address book every day and say who those people were, to watch a new movie every day and then watch the behind the scenes of it and interviews with the actors — the behind the scenes was the point. You can even consider finding a long-term partner right away, so you can separate again if you don’t like it in the future.
“And then, call me every day,” Emond said, giving Dill a new phone, “either with this one or with your own.”
“Nothing, just to see if you’ll pick up. I’m not an expert in psychology, so I’ll have to go by my own experience. Anyway, I’m on vacation these days.”
How redundant that last sentence was, Dill said silently in his mind as he watched the scruffy, dry guy walk away. He ended up calling Emond that night. Not because he trusted Emond, but because he really wanted to talk to someone, and now there was no other choice but Emond.
When the call was answered, he called him Pollan as soon as he spoke.
“I’m not Pollan.” Emond’s voice was so low it was almost a little hard to tell.
“Well, sorry … What’s your name again?” Actually, then Dill remembered that the man was an engineer at Inglaterra, but really couldn’t remember what his name was. Emond had said it in the evening, but he had forgotten.
“Farrars Emond. If you really can’t remember, just call me ‘Dr.’, as many people casually do anyway.”
“And then Gale really didn’t die? Did he really go back to the surface world?” Dill asked.
The otherside was silent for a moment and said, “What time do you think it is? Just to ask that?”
“I dreamed just now. Aren’t you the one in charge of that story?”
“Then that story was changed,” Emond seemed to sigh, and perhaps he wore a look of regret, “People didn’t like that scenario, said it would be unpleasant. In fact that was the one with the most sex.”
“What was it changed into?”
“It kept the Drow elves and the fantasy world, but didn’t use the Menzoberranzan City setting,” Emond said, “Wow… I shouldn’t be talking to you about this. I bet you didn’t even know what Menzoberranzan City was until you participated in the test…”
“I know now,” Dill smiled, “and I went and looked up the wiki afterwards.”
“You can read the relevant stories if you want, it will make you feel much less attached to the place.”
“What exactly did it change to?”
Seemingly unable to avoid this question, Emond said, “They changed the relatively simple background, changing the slave into a pure surface elf, a druid in the sky under the stars with hair down or something. Bullshit—”
“I can’t swear?”
Dill pressed his cheek to stifle laughter hard, then continued to press, “I want to hear your original conception. It was originally indeed your conception, right?”
“It was mine, but I don’t think you should be concerned about that. Mr. Dill, what’s my name?”
“Uh… Sheens? No, no, Emmen…”
“That’s enough, my name is Emond. Actually originally it wasn’t that complicated to conceive, I can tell you… it might be good for you instead to know a bit of the story behind the scenes.”
Extra – 2 (Grey Eyes Extra)
Picking up, Extra 2
“Praise be to the Goddess Rose!”
The warriors in the bushes whispered the name of the spider goddess queen and prepared to start tonight’s roundup. Their slender, lithe forms hid in the shadows of the trees, silently approaching the encamped surface elves and human travelers.
Each Drow family held regular surface hunts. Fully armed, they quietly trek through the winding, shadowy terrain and emerge quietly from their caves at night to raid the settlements of the surface elves, sacrificing their blood to the goddess in a brutal hunt and revelry.
This group of warriors took a long rest in the stone cave in order to wait for the darkness. Tonight the clouds were so thick that the moon and stars were completely invisible, which was perfect for them to move. The chief martial artist, Chaffin, who had participated in several hunts before, remembered very well that sometimes there was a luminous object called the moon in the dark sky on the surface of the earth, and even if the light was not strong, it did not immediately adapt to the eyes of the Draconian elves.
Chaffin ordered the warriors in silent language, and a Drow poison vector was fired silently, stabbing the human who was on night watch. The man showed a panicked expression, but could not utter a sound, but fell helplessly next to the tree.
The raid began. They drew their weapons and rushed into the camp of the surface creatures, and the once quiet woods rang with screams and sounds of battle. The elves and humans were not warriors, but bands of bards with musical instruments, and only a few of them were able to meet the enemy. In the unpreparedness, they are even more unlikely to win.
After the slaughter, the Drow caught a surface elf who was temporarily paralyzed by a poisoned needle but did not die. It looked like he was a priest, and he had the holy emblem of some god on his chest.
“Sacrifice.” Two Drow warriors yanked him up and prepared to drag him back into the stone cave. In the depths of the stone cave were the priestesses and the minotaur slaves who were temporarily watched over by them, and the slaves would be responsible for carrying the offerings.
Devotees of other gods make the best sacrifices, not to mention a cleric. This elf would be brought back to the city of Menzoberranzan to lie on the altar of the family matriarch.
If it was a creature of the earth, it would have noticed that the sky was unusually dark this evening. Thick clouds rolled in the night and a rainstorm was coming. When lightning and muffled thunder rang out, the Drows who had not yet walked back to their caves froze in fear, their eyes shaken by the lightning, shocked and wary. In the shadowy region, a sound like that would mean a possible collapse, and they looked around, wondering if the thing called the sky above them would shatter.
From the cave came the priestess’s voice, “Fools! This is normal for the surface! Go back into the cavern!” Just as her voice fell, rain fell from the sky and was accompanied by more lightning and thunder.
Just as the warriors, shielding their eyes, were about to enter the narrow stone cavern of the entrance in turn, a steel arrow pierced through the rain curtain and struck a Drow right in the neck.
After he fell, more arrows burst in. The Drows had never experienced heavy rain, and the sound of water drowned out the sound of the bowstring, making it impossible for them to locate the sneak attackers, and the rain affected their vision, and the occasional lightning bolt kept them from keeping their eyes open.
Several horsemen leapt out of the trees and charged at the dark elves with their lances flattened under the cover of their bowmen. There were many warriors among the Drow with both dexterity and strength, but they had never trained and dealt with cavalry because there were no conditions for mounted combat in the terrain of the Darklands. The cavalry broke up the defenses and replaced them with hard-headed hammers and sabers, and in the unfavorable terrain and climate, the Drows, who should have been enjoying the wine of victory, were immediately routed.
A few Drows managed to retreat into the caverns and evacuate deeper into the tunnels. Among them were Chaffin and his son, a young warrior under the age of fifty. In order to bring back a suitable offering, they did not let go of the elf in the face of the raid.
There were four cavalrymen and three bowmen in ambush deep in the woods. One cavalryman and two bowmen stayed at the mouth of the cavern to check for dead Drow and to guard the perimeter, while the others went into the cavern to pursue them.
A day earlier, they had escorted the bards. As they went their separate ways, someone remembered that the direction the poets were going would pass through some sort of entrance to the Dark Lands, and fearing that they might be attacked by Drows or Grey Dwarves, the rangers decided to come after them to warn and protect them.
But it was too late, and they arrived to a shattered tent and a field full of bodies, with one of the blonde elves missing. They followed new traces and found the Drows running a hunting party.
Before entering the cavern the horsemen dismounted and took off their metal armor from the waist down — that would have prevented them from moving quietly. Although they hadn’t faced many Drows, they had quite a bit of experience dealing with cave races.
The rain made the bodies cold and less likely to be spotted by the Drolls. They lit only one lighting rod with minimal illumination and no heat, and kept far behind the Drolls.
After turning through a narrow part of the wide stone cave down ahead, they no longer cared whether they were seen or not. The archer quickly strung an arrow and hit the priestess in the magic cloak, but the priestess’s protection spell helped her save her life for the moment, and the arrow that should have passed through the chest from behind was slightly deflected and only hit the arm. The ranger warriors threw out powder packets that exploded with light, catching the Drows off guard.
While the enemy was confused by the light, the surface fighters launched a second assault. The Drow warriors were small in stature but very skilled in combat and not easy to deal with, and the priestess with a wounded arm was also a problem. The surface warriors reached a tacit agreement without communicating with each other, giving priority to attacking the priestess. She was caught in the gap between spell casting and combat by the archers, and once again was pierced by a steel arrow, this time through her throat.
Two Drows died from the scimitar and short sword, while Chaffin severely wounded a ranger in the leg, then raised his left hand and pressed the one-handed crossbow, causing the archer who was aiming at him to have to quickly dodge. Seeing that the odds were against them, Chaffin’s son and the other two Drows retreated deeper, fleeing first. But Chaffin was sliced across the neck with a reverse curved blade as he tried to get away.
The big ranger, wrapped in his cloak, pushed aside the Drow who was trembling from blood loss and dying, and continued his pursuit deeper into the cavern. But his companion called out to him.
In the confusion just now, Droll left behind the captured elven priest, who was wounded but still conscious, only unable to move because his body was paralyzed by the poison.
“We have to take care of him and the wounded.” A companion said. The tall ranger nodded, intending to walk deeper into the tunnel alone. The archer lowered his voice and asked, “Do we have to go after them? They don’t look like they’re coming back. We have no dark vision and it’s too easy to be spotted with a lighting staff!”
“No, I’ve heard of surface running hunts. They’ll use this exit repeatedly, and if those dark elves return to the clan, they’ll reveal that the rangers are operating in this generation.”
“Wouldn’t that be nice? That way they won’t dare to come back and mess around.”
“No, you don’t know them,” said the tall warrior, “they will strengthen their arms through the experience of this encounter, and may also send scouts to scout the surface secretly as a result, and when they secretly figure out everything about us, they will wait for an opportunity to act. We need to keep them from knowing us as much as possible.”
The elf in a paralyzed state frowned hard and moved his eyes to say something. His fingers rubbed against his belt pouch as if he wanted someone else to open it. The tall warrior crouched down and pulled a metal box the size of a gold coin from there, as he had intended.
The elven priest laboriously lip-synced, “Please take it.”
The warrior nodded solemnly and put it away.
Only he had dark vision and could walk through the completely dark tunnel. He kept quiet as he walked deeper into the cave, following the sounds of the wounded Drows as they closed the distance a little.
Based on his knowledge of the rocks, there might be an entrance to the open cave ahead. To prevent more Drow from meeting him there, he decided to kill those few as soon as possible.
He first sneaked in with a light crossbow, forcing the Drows to turn back to meet him, and then threw a handful of powder that burst to produce a strong light. The Drows would be temporarily blinded by the sudden glow, and their vision would be blurred even if they opened their eyes through the pain, which would be enough for him to kill them.
The antiquated blade flew to end one enemy, and as he attacked another, when suddenly, what had been constantly bright with light was enveloped in a cloud of darkness.
The Drow’s darkness spell, their natural ability to cast spells… No, it was perhaps more terrible than that short, narrow darkness spell! This was mage magic, not the limited number of Drow juggling spells per day.
In the deep magical darkness, even dark vision could not see through, the warrior could only withdraw as quickly as possible from the enveloped area. He looked in the right direction, and as he got out of the darkness he heard footsteps, and it was clear that the Drow was going to take this opportunity to escape.
The warrior fired his crossbow into the darkness, then followed carefully, despite his temporarily limited vision. After leaving the dark area, he saw the enemy round a stalagmite and he was about to chase after it when there was a rumble of something like language behind a distant cover and the warrior nimbly dodged several successive magic rays.
Sure enough, someone else was here… He had heard that the mages of the city of Menzoberranzan were not allowed to go to the surface, but they could pick up the runners in the passage.
The surface warrior used stone cover to approach swiftly. The fleeing Drow’s eyes had not recovered and his movement speed was limited, the warrior was confident that he could catch up with him; as for the Drow mage who might be lurking ahead, he was also looking forward to competing with him.
While planning to rush into that tunnel, he saw a short figure wearing a magic cloak. That Drow did not hide, but stood directly in the middle of the road. Behind him, the hunter was running deeper into the tunnel while having to stop from time to time due to injuries.
The warrior raised his hand crossbow, a heavy one-handed crossbow that had been modified to use a heavier and longer crossbow beam.
“Saen come on. That thing can’t hurt me.” The Drow mage said in the common language of the earth. It sounded like he was having an everyday conversation with someone he knew very well.
The terrestrial warrior did not reply. In fact, he shot his crossbow before the Drow mage could finish that sentence. His melee attack and shooting skills were excellent, and the vector flew past the side of the mage’s head and hit the fleeing man in the back of the neck.
“You’re not going to save him?” The warrior named Saenlei — also once called Gale — lowered his crossbow and held a contravariant blade in his hand.
The warrior had elven eyes, gray skin, and a build that resembled that of a stronger human, but at the same time could see in places without light.
He was once a slave of mixed blood, and after he was forced to go to the surface, he continued to go through hardships because of this.
But now he was different. He, along with some humans and elves, worked to become rangers, his life has completely belonged to the surface world.
Saenlei gazed at the Drow mage in front of him: wearing a more detailed and ornate magic cloak, the trinkets on his hands and the edge of his cloak were coiled with thin protective runes. The years had not left much of a mark on the dark elf’s face, and to the human or half-elf eye, he would almost be mistaken for an apprentice. But the inhabitants of Menzoberranzan or those who knew them understood that this Drow’s dress and eyes indicated that he was no longer young.
“By the way you’re acting, I’m guessing you’re there to kill him. I can save him, but it will be a pain in the ass,” the mage Josta smiled, sounding like he was talking about something rather gentle, “And you’re even carrying this?” He looked to the weapon in Saenlei’s hand, a reverse blade that he had given to the slave.
“I’m quite used to using it.” The warrior replied. He did not expect to stand so calmly… so calmly in front of Josta. He certainly recognized Josta, and Josta even recognized him.
For many years past, Saenlei had envisioned seeing Josta again one day. He didn’t think about the details, because he didn’t think it could actually happen.
He would not return to that elegant and cruel hell, and Josta would not go to the surface world.
The first time he dealt with the bandits from the Shadowy Lands, he remembered what would happen if these enemies were not Grey Dwarves but Drow. Saenlei knew the Drow, having spent his young life in the Drow society. He began to imagine that if he would really meet Josta, would they then go toe to toe or would they pretend to be strangers? He thought the result would probably be that they would have to kill each other.
Seeming to read Saenlei’s gloomy expression, the other smiled, that smile as bright and soft as ever, “Now do you want to kill me, or are you ready to let me kill you?”
“Now I might actually manage to kill you.” Saenlei said.
“Well, I don’t mind. It doesn’t look like you’re going to catch up with me anyway.”
Saenlei was silent, his grip on his weapon tightening, but he could never move that arm. Josta took a step forward, but Saenlei didn’t back away.
“Aren’t you worried that I’ll hurt you?” Josta tried to reach out, his hand now stopping in mid-air.
“At such a close distance, you as a mage have even less advantage. If you want to worry, you should worry about yourself.” Saenlei said.
Josta laughed again. Saenlei had always thought he looked very innocent when he laughed, even though it was too ridiculous to use that word to describe the Drow.
“I’ll warn you first, no using that powder that glows against me. I’ll cast the spell when you try to do that — the spell is short.” Josta moved closer to him again, and they stood so close, like close friends or even lovers who knew each other well.
“I don’t have to. But if you recite the spell, even if it’s short, my weapon will interrupt it.” The warrior lowered his head and locked eyes with the red ones.
Josta nodded and said, “I don’t know why you’ve chased me in here. Did they kill your friends? You want revenge?” Without waiting for an answer, the Drow continued, “I can understand your behavior. It surprises me to see you, but it’s time for you to go back.”
“Of course I’ll go back…” Saenlei said.
“I’m going to touch you, no attacking me.” Josta’s hand, that had been in mid-air, reached over; his long fingers hesitated for a moment before gently touching Saenlei’s yellow hair.
At that moment, the warrior sighed deeply. He remembered this action, when he was a slave, his master had often touched his hair like this intentionally or unintentionally. Only in the past he had either knelt or bent down to his seated master, whereas now he was the hunter, standing erect and unafraid, and the draconic mage stared up at him, having to raise his hand to touch his hair.
“Gale, you don’t have to look at me like that. Do you still expect me to apologize to you?” Josta said.
When the name “Gale” was called again after so many years, the half-blood warrior almost felt like something in his soul had been torn open. That place had been fragile since before, and now it seems to be about to fully disintegrate.
He lowered his head and kissed the Drow, and in turn, Josta was taken aback by the sudden act.
As Josta subconsciously dodged, the warrior secured the body in his arms with his right hand. The reflexive blade made a crisp sound when it landed at their feet. It was such a great opportunity, but the mage did not make any small movements.
Saenlei held Josta tightly and saw the other close his eyes from his half-squinted eyes. He was not good at the technique of provocation, and only relied on his instinct and own will to suck deeply at the soft lips and mouth. Josta cooperated by reaching back for him, his soft body pressed against his leather armor.
After separating for a moment, they resumed kissing, even though both felt it was illogical to do so.
As a cold rush of force washed over his ribs, Saenlei’s left hand cupped Josta’s jaw and pushed him against the stone wall.
As his back hit the rock, Josta felt some kind of anointing on his neck and cheeks, and in that instant he did not feel any discomfort but before he had time to judge what it was, strong, blinding light burst from himself.
Josta covered his eyes and screamed, a sharp cone dagger fell from his hand.
The light filled the cavern as if it were noon in the middle of the day. His eyes were so close to where the light burst that they were now burning and could not be opened at all.
Saenlei also squinted slightly to adjust to the light, and then picked up the dagger from the ground.
“I know that Drow mages don’t just have magic. Your weapons are just as deadly when it is inconvenient to cast spells, just as Drow warriors know quite a few tricks,” Saenlei looked at the panicked and angry Drow by the rock wall with a helpless smile, but Josta could not see it now, “Josta, I saw with my own eyes how you killed Yegir then. Though I do think he deserved to die.”
The mage, who was covering his eyes and unable to control his physical tears, raised his hand and shot a greenish energy ray from his fingertips, but missed and failed to hit any target because he lost his vision. He was on guard, straining to hear the sound, but Saenlei’s position kept shifting.
The surface warrior had applied to Josta what the elven priest had given him. He had seen the markings on the small box and knew what it was for. It was a magical ointment that anyone could use to envelope a large area with a steady, blinding light.
“Josta, is it true that you can’t see now?” Saenlei stepped back outward, “But don’t worry, you can try that magic that creates a partial darkness, or wait for the time it can last to end. Only unfortunately, I heard that blindness caused by bright light stimulation is not immediately relieved, right? Don’t try to open your eyes, Josta, hide in the darkness, so that your eyes will gradually recover, unless they are really weak and fragile… Of course, I guess it will take some time.”
As he left the cave, Saenlei heard Josta’s angry curse — a phrase that probably meant “Let the light pierce the top of your head!”… Perhaps Josta still thought of him as a Gur of the Darklands, not as Saenlei who already belonged to another world, because Drows would use this phrase only when it came to the same people.
In that case, the name “Gur” was also a common name for Drow males. Saenlei knew that he would not have the opportunity to use it again.
When he evacuated the cavern tunnel, Saenlei left the rebuffed blade with Josta, but took the spiked dagger with him. When he returned to the cavern entrance, the rain had stopped, the sky had dawned, and the sound of birdsong and wind blowing the rain off the leaves was heard in the forest.
“We owe each other nothing more, master.” Saenlei said softly. He took one last look at the dark cave entrance and turned toward where his companions were.
*The purpose and pattern of hunting on the surface of the earth is described in the official ecology of the Drow… The purpose and pattern of hunting on the surface of the earth is described in the introduction of Drow society and in the “Dark Elves”.
The End. (Extra-3)
“Is that all…?” Dill asked. The caller stopped his narrative; it was now early in the morning and he was wide awake.
Emond’s voice was getting quieter and quieter, speaking with a nasal tone and seemingly very tired, “What else do you expect? Well, I’ve finished. There’s no chance of using these ideas there anyway.”
“If you use them, you will definitely get complaints…” said Dill.
“Well, good night.” Emond wanted to end the conversation and rush off to bed.
“Wait!” Dill hurriedly said, “This is really sad, but maybe it does have to be this way.”
“No need for you to be upset! This never happened, I didn’t let anyone experience this part, is it hard to understand?” Emond pinched his brow from the other end of the phone, only Dill couldn’t see it, “It’s true that what I thought was going in the wrong direction altogether. I shouldn’t have brought my own attitude into it. All anyone needs is to be pleasant, not another real life.”
“Have you always been this grim? Devon…”
“That’s enough, my name is Emond.”
So Dill apologized once more and then asked, “So, Emond, do you think I should start by watching a movie or go get some company first as you said…”
“Whatever!” Emond seemed to use his last bit of strength for the day and yelled, and then his voice became low again, “What time is it! What time is it? I didn’t take a vacation to stay up late with you!”
“You don’t stay up late on vacation? What else can you do?”
“That’s you! I don’t want to waste precious time during the day!”
“Well,” Dill suddenly thought the scruffy scientist was kind of funny, “I’m always out of it during the day, but then I have insomnia at night. Well, I’ll go on with my insomnia… Good night.”
“That’s a nervous breakdown for you… Goodnight. Shit, it’s time to say good morning now…”
“You’re swearing again.” The other party seemed to be just about to put the phone down when Dill said.
“What makes you think I can’t swear?”
“I always thought people like you in the research field wouldn’t swear…”
He wondered what Emond’s expression was at this moment; it sounded as if he was sighing helplessly. “Anyway, good night. If you want to call tomorrow, you can do so earlier.”
“Hey wait! That… I’m grateful that you’re still willing to help me, when it’s clearly something you do outside of work.”
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line and Dill continued, “You’re on vacation aren’t you? Do you have time tomorrow afternoon? I’d like you to go into more detail about my situation. I want to change this bad state of affairs, really. Also, you asked for me to read a book or watch a movie or something, can you recommend something for me?”
“Then you wait and call me tomorrow afternoon. Wait for me at your house.”
“Wait! Don’t hang up the phone… you, want to come to my house? My house is actually quite…” Dill stretched up from the bed and looked at the room that looked like it had been bombed.
“I’m not going to. When I get there, you come out.”
Dill tried to say something else, but Emond had already hung up the phone. Dill laid back on the bed, eyes open, trying to remember again what the person on the other end of the phone was called, Ellens… No, it seemed a little close, but not the same. He thought about what he would do if he called again tomorrow and said the wrong name, Pollan would be angry — no, God, his name didn’t seem to be Pollan.
It was fully light by the time Dill finally fell asleep. Despite the reversal of day and night, he slept deeply this time and did not wake up in between.
He had previously used his new phone to put on an alarm to ensure he could get up in the afternoon. He looked forward to contacting the scruffy researcher again.