Chapter 100: The demon’s representation?
The forest trolls on the outskirts also bowed down reverently in the din of the forest trolls’ shouts and began shouting loudly as well.
“What, what’s going on?” Not only Han Shuo, but the dwarves and elves around them were also astonished by the sudden change. One of the dwarves asked in sudden stupefaction.
“The skeletal warrior with wings seems to be similar to the demon that the forest trolls worship. This demon is innately evil and loves to seize everything. I’ve heard elders within the tribe mention that the demon the forest trolls worship is called Datara!” Benedict seemed to recall something at this point and suddenly cried out.
Not too far in the distance, a forest troll priest, so old that it seemed like it would close its eyes in final slumber at any moment, crawled swiftly towards the little skeleton on its knees. Han Shuo was rather taken aback that he crawled pretty fast, and had reached the little skeleton in a short while. The old forest troll priest murmured some things in the forest troll language at the little skeleton.
The little skeleton stood there in a stupor with his bone dagger, scratching his bright and clean skullcap, as if not knowing what was going on. He turned back to look at Han Shuo with an empty gaze, as if waiting for Han Shuo to give him orders.
Upon hearing Benedict’s words, Han Shuo had a pretty good idea that something marvelous had happened. These forest trolls must have thought that the little skeleton was the demon that they worshipped. The old priest seemed to want to take the little skeleton somewhere, judging from its interactions. All the forest trolls in the back were frozen in worship on the ground, and no one mentioned the matter of invading the dwarf village again.
“Han, what’s going on, what should we do?” A dwarf looked at Han Shuo and asked blankly.
Han Shuo was thinking furiously when he heard the dwarf’s question. His head also ached with the difficulty of the situation. He waffled for a second, unsure what would happen afterwards and said to them, “I’ll think of a way to delay the forest trolls. You guys leave the valley immediately and find a safe place with the chief and Bennett. I think I will be able to find you guys again.”
“Will it be dangerous for you?” The dwarf was a bit uneasy at leaving Han Shuo’s side and spoke a bit reluctantly.
“No worries, I have my ways to handle them. Benedict I think your party should leave as well. My skeletal warrior is a bit odd, but I don’t think he’s the demon that the forest trolls worship. I can’t predict how well the situation will develop afterwards either, I think you’ll be safer if you left with them.” Han Shuo tried to slowly persuade the dwarves and elves that he was looking at.
“We’ll be leaving, it’s very dangerous here. I think we should notify the elders first.” Benedict thought briefly, nodded and retreated with the other elves after speaking.
Under Han Shuo’s urgings, the dwarves also left slowly, unwillingly to the mountain valley. One of the original demons, that had continuously been observing the forest trolls, suddenly split off and followed the dwarves as they retreated. This allowed Han Shuo to clearly view the path that the dwarves were taking to escape.
After a short while, there was no one else in the entrance to the village apart from Han Shuo and the little skeleton. Han Shuo’s original demon had been observing the dwarves’ movements and discovered that they were traversing a cold river and leaving from a diagonal crack in the mountain valley.
“Does anyone here speak the common tongue of the Continent?” Han Shuo walked out from the back and stood beside the little skeleton, asking in the language of the humans.
The old priest, that had been kneeling in front of the little skeleton and talking to him in the forest troll language, suddenly looked up at Han Shuo, using the language of the humans in a slightly unpracticed manner, “You are with the mighty Datara, why are you a tricky human?”
“Are you sure that he’s the same as your Datara?” Han Shuo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he shook his head and asked oddly.
The face of the forest troll was a ghastly green and the dry skin that hung all over his body was like old tree bark that had been weathered by the wind and rains for many years. He displayed a look of extreme contempt and said, “Of course I wouldn’t be wrong, this is the representation of the divine Datara on this earth.”
As the old priest spoke, he solemnly took out a treasured ancient scroll from a leather bag. The scroll was slowly unfurled as his wizened hands opened it. Apart from a few squiggly lines in the forest troll language that were hard to make out, it was a picture of an enormous skeleton with wings on its back. The skeleton’s bones were a pure white and the wings on its back were bare of feathers. Based on the photo, the wings truly did bear a great deal of resemblance to the bone spurs on the little skeleton’s back.
There was a barren mountain peak beneath this large, white skeleton’s foot with all sorts of gold, silver, and jewelry piled up on the mountain peak, including some jewels that looked quite precious. The white skeleton had an empty socket for one eye and a black eyepatch covering the other, the outfit of a single eyed pirate who would burn, raid, and loot.
“This is the appearance of our mighty Datara, we wouldn’t be wrong. He is the representative of Datara in this world and will lead us to even more gold, silver, and jewelry. We’ll have so many jewels and food that we will never starve.The mighty Datara will lead our tribe to seize the lands of the tricky humans!” The tone of the old forest troll priest had become strangely fervent and he shouted loudly.
Apart from being slightly smaller and not pure white, the little skeleton was indeed quite similar to the Datara depicted on the scroll. No wonder the greedy forest trolls had thought the little skeleton was the representative of the looting demon Datara.
Although the unimaginably queer situation made Han Shuo feel quite surprised, a sudden thought struck him as he mused carefully. A trace of a wicked smile appeared on his lips as he gave a command to the little skeleton.
The little skeleton that had originally been dumbly standing there with bone dagger in hand suddenly waved the bone dagger at this moment, as his empty left hand made a gesture indicating for everyone to rise.
“Oh! Datara has heard our prayers!” The old forest troll priest immediately capered in great excitement as his chicken-like feet, withered hands also waved, speaking very ceremoniously in the low forest troll language.
The forest trolls that had knelt in homage all shouted loudly and stood up from the ground, taking off the pockets tied to themselves and shaking them strongly.
The little skeleton waited until all the forest trolls had stood up to use its empty left hand to point at Han Shuo, according to his orders. Under the puzzled gaze of the forest trolls, he used his empty hand to point to himself.
“He means for me to become his liaison and interact with you.” Han Shuo drew himself up proudly and spoke cockily to the old priest. The little skeleton nodded in a very timely fashion after Han Shuo gave the order, as if verifying what Han Shuo had just said.
“Why, why should this tricky human be your liaison?” The old forest troll priest obviously couldn’t accept this and immediately asked in confusion.
The little skeleton had extended the bone dagger and was already resting it on the old priest’s neck as soon as the old forest troll priest had finished speaking. The little skeleton stood on its tiptoes, trying to appear taller than he was. His two empty eye sockets stared directly at the old priest as bone chilling clattering teeth sounds came from his mouth.
The old forest troll priest was immediately frightened to the point of losing all strength in his body, crashing to the ground and genuflecting again. He raised his hands high above his head and cried out, “I will never dare question your decisions again, please don’t take all we have!”
None of the forest trolls standing around dared to make a move when they saw the most venerated old priest within their tribe being publicly threatened. The only stood there with their heads hung and spoke something in the forest troll language.
“Get up, get up, your noble Datara has forgiven you. I think you’ll acknowledge my status as liaison now?” Han Shuo was cackling inside as he spoke with every appearance of seriousness to the old priest.
Clutching his head, the old priest spoke with visible reluctance on his face and nodded, “Will great Datara and the liaison come with us to grace our tribe with their presence? We have some things to offer to the great Datara!”
“Didn’t you come to rob the dwarves?” Han Shuo started slightly and opened his mouth to ask.
“No, after I heard members of the tribe describe the great one last time, I immediately told the tribe to search for traces of the great one. Those annoying dwarves are only a small village of a hundred people and isn’t worth sending out so many elites from our tribes. We’ve heard that the great one had appeared nearby, which is why we sent out so many tribesmen this time, so we could welcome the great one back to its sacred ground.” The old forest troll priest shook his head and explained to Han Shuo.
“Sacred ground, what sacred ground?” Han Shuo asked in surprise.
“A palace that our tribe has built especially for the great one. There are even antiques passed down from generation to generation. It’s said that this was the great Datara’s place to begin with, and so we will offer it all to the great one this time.” The old priest looked at Han Shuo with some distaste, but didn’t dare violate the little skeleton’s orders as he explained impatiently.
“Very good, very good! Let’s set out then!” Han Shuo was overjoyed when he heard these words and immediately urged the forest trolls to be on their way.
The old priest didn’t say much and waved his hand. The most burly looking forest troll in the distance walked humbly towards the old priest. After giving a round of orders in gobbledegook, the leader immediately gave the order for the five, six hundred forest trolls to ignore the matter of the dwarves and set out for the deeper parts of the Dark Forest with great fanfare.
Four tall and burly troll warriors carried a luxurious carriage made of black jade with several brightly shining jewels embedded in it. There were soft feathers spread on within it as the little skeleton rode in it on their way into the depths of the Dark Forest. It looked like the forest trolls had come prepared.
The little skeleton lay leisurely within, looking to and fro. As a liaison, Han Shuo couldn’t enjoy such comfort and could only proceed on foot with them. They met many magical creatures along the way, but ordinary magical creatures didn’t dare approach such a large group of five to six hundred forest trolls. Even several level three or two wild and ferocious beasts decided not to continue the hunt when they saw the large group proceeding with great fanfare. Instead, they chose to stay far, far away from this large group made of a villainous tribe.
In the outskirts of the Dark Forest, the innately greedy forest trolls, with a love for robbery were renowned and greatly feared. Whether it was some of the more uncommon tribes living in the outskirts of the Dark Forest or the adventurers and merchants who’d ventured into the Dark Forest , they would always be robbed to a certain degree whenever they were met with forest trolls.
Apart from a few stronger lifeforms within the depths of the Dark Forest, these infamous villains on the outskirts of the Dark Forest were universally hated and feared. As hated rivals, the elves had fought numerous times with the forest trolls and hadn’t been able to obtain victory. Nobody could stop their innate impulse for robbery.
As they neared the depths of the Dark Forest, even the formerly blustering forest trolls began to proceed with caution the deeper they entered into the Dark Forest, as if deathly afraid of creating any disturbances.
“Why is it that you become more timid the farther in you go?” Han Shuo had detected the abnormalities of the forest trolls and couldn’t help but ask the old priest beside him.
Flicking a glance around, the old priest explained, “We’ve now entered the middle area of the Dark Forest. There are many high level beasts here and several special tribes. The humans that appear here are also difficult to deal with. We hope that we won’t run into them, or there’ll be trouble.”
A thundering crash came from not too far away as a six to seven meter tall, frighteningly large white stone giant slowly moved away with a large tree thrown over his shoulder. A low caw sounded from the sky as an enormous black shadow flew over them. When the shadow was cast over the ground, two long, slender necks could easily be made out.
“The one covered in white stone dust is a mountain ridge giant. Their nature is fairly peaceful and they don’t like to fight. However, if you make him angry, it’ll be a disaster. What just flew overhead was the lowest level twin headed dragon. They’re actually not dragons, just a level two magical creature, but they can spit out venom and are tough to deal with.” The old priest spoke up in explanation upon seeing Han Shuo’s astonishment.
Nodding, Han Shuo sighed with great appreciation. “I finally understand why you dare act wildly only in the outskirts of the Dark Forest!”