Chapter 101: A place of extreme wood
The group followed carefully behind the old forest troll priest towards recessed terrain, finally stopping beside a river after a half day’s time and passing through a broken section of mountain rock.
There was a river in the back and primitive houses made of wood all around there. There were also a few simple traps set up and several weird, towering trees. When they arrived, the original demon, that had been keeping an eye on the dwarves had to come back due to the distance between Han Shuo and the dwarves becoming too large. It circled this area and started surveying the various corners.
Leveraging the increased field of vision with the three original demons, Han Shuo discovered that this was an extremely large area. He made a rough calculation that there were several hundred huts here. It looked like this was the hideout of the forest trolls. Many green-skinned forest trolls clutched weapons in their hands, whether they were children or females, and were being trained by a strong forest troll warrior.
From the elves’ description earlier, Han Shuo understood that the forest trolls were born with a natural inclination for raiding and looting. There was no such thing as self providing and self sufficiency in their lives. Whether food, drink, or items of use, they all naturally thought that these items should be earned through stealing. They, who worshipped the demon of raiding Datara, also treated children and women as a training target as this would increase their strength during raids.
When the old priest arrived, he used the language of the forest trolls to call something out loudly. All the forest trolls in the tribe, whether children, the elderly, or females, excitedly ripped off the pockets on their body and waved them in the air, calling out, “Datara, Datara!”
After continuing in this fashion for a while, the old priest finally continued conversing with Han Shuo in the language of the humans, “Come, I will take the great Datara and his liaison to the sacred grounds.”
“Mm, hurry up. The great Datara is impatient.” Han Shuo said with a darkened face.
The forest trolls continued carrying the little skeleton and Han Shuo continued on foot. Several troll warriors pushed in several wooden rafts from afar. Han Shuo and the little skeleton walked towards the wooden rafts when indicated by the old priest. Afterwards, some of the forest trolls paddled their wooden oars and set out for the river current.
The wooden rafts advanced slowly, docking at a patch of swampy earth after roughly half an hour. Han Shuo followed the old priest up the shore and discovered that all the trees here were towering and extremely large. The vibrant growth of the grass and shrubbery was enough to drown a person, and even the weeds here grew with great vigor.
The plants and trees on all sides seemed to be growing quite well, and a bizarre presence seemed to permeate the air. Pushing past the thick shrubbery, several troll warriors led the way. The old priest pointed out the road and Han Shuo followed behind him, heading for an even deeper part of the area.
As he made his way deeper, a feeling grew within Han Shuo that something was amiss, as if he’d heard of this place somewhere. He finally stopped in front of a tall house that looked like it was being hauled upwards by a towering, huge tree with this bemused mindset.
The thickly leafed branches of five to six very tall trees were intertwined, with the entwined branches supporting a large house in midair. The plants were growing exceptionally well around it, and there were also some bizarre flowers bearing some strange and exotic fruit.
Looking around the surroundings and blanking for quite a bit, Han Shuo’s heart shook and he suddenly cried out in astonishment, “A place of extreme wood. Haha, this is actually a place of extreme wood! No wonder all the plants have developed so perfectly. So this is the case!”
A naturally formed place of extreme wood. The presence of the element of wood within it was much more dense than in other places. All the plants and trees that grew in a place of extreme wood were naturally much more luxuriant than in other places. Although the forest trolls worshipped the demon of raiding, Datara, it was said in legends that they were a race evolved from trees, and so they had a natural affinity for wood.
“The air here is clearer than anywhere else. Our ancestors searched for many years before discovering this place, and so built the palace of the sacred ground here. The stone statue of Datara was erected for worship inside. There are tributes offered to the great Datara every year in hopes that the great one will ensure our successful raids.” The old priest genuflected piously towards the house hovering in mid air and said all this softly.
After thinking for a while, the old priest seemed to think that this was inappropriate and immediately started bowing down to the little skeleton. He spoke some gobbledegook to the troll warriors lifting the little skeleton’s carriage. The troll warriors lowered the carriage and indicated for the little skeleton to depart from the carriage.
At this moment, Han Shuo was thinking of how his wood elite zombie was already at hand and was incredibly excited. He’d actually forgotten to continue giving orders to the little skeleton. The old priest made a number of sincere requests and discovered that the little skeleton was still sitting motionless within the carriage. His brow tightly knit together, he sank to his knees in front of Han Shuo. “Liaison, why doesn’t the great Datara descend from the carriage? Have we done something wrong?”
The old priest’s words immediately startled Han Shuo from his daydream. He turned his head and discovered that the little skeleton was lying there lazily, as if he’d fallen asleep. Han Shuo gave an order and the little skeleton’s legs straightened, standing up abruptly and looked around with his shiny skull, the bone dagger in his hand.
“Datara was contemplating just now and didn’t hear your calls. Come, we go up now!” Han Shuo snickered inwardly but spoke seriously to the old priest.
Timidly nodding his head, the old priest didn’t dare to ask anything else. He walked to the back of one of the towering trees and started climbing up after pulling down a soft ladder, woven from tree branches. Han Shuo followed behind the old priest and climbed up, also making use of the soft ladder.
The little skeleton walked out from within the carriage and moved to somewhere in the distance before Han Shuo had a chance to give orders to the little skeleton. What happened next was something out of everyone’s expectation as it made use of the momentum from charging forward, extended both leg bones, and flew into the sky when the seven bone spurs on its back flapped around randomly. It landed in front of the door to the big house in the sky before Han Shuo and the old priest reached it.
His body wavering in front of the big house, the little skeleton slowly regained his footing and shook his head. He then pulled open the door and entered the house, with pilipala sounds of items being rifled through sounding out.
“Datara, Datara!” The old priest wore an expression of excitement as he started calling out in gobbledegook.
Finally, the old priest and Han Shuo had climbed up to the steps in front of the big house. Some other forest trolls were standing guard outside and no one else had been allowed up.
Han Shuo followed the excited old priest into the house and immediately saw an enormous sculpture of a skeleton in the middle of the room. It was exactly the same as the one that Han Shuo had seen on the old priest’s ancient scroll earlier, with the only difference being that the enormous skeleton wearing an eyepatch wielded a weapon that looked similar to the scythe that the Grim Reaper carried in its right hand. It grasped a large satchel in its left hand, and it bulged as if holding many spoils from raids.
It was brightly lit inside, with all sorts of colored jewels embedded in the wooden walls. Gold and jewelry could be seen everywhere on the ground. The Han Shuo of now wasn’t someone who didn’t recognize wealth, and he noticed that all the various jewels in the wooden walls were absolutely priceless as they exuded radiant and sparkling glimmers. The cups and cutlery were placed on a jade table and were all made of beautiful jade and gold, dazzling Han Shuo’s eyes.
The little skeleton hefted its bone dagger as it ran a hand over its gleaming skullcap, circling continuously around the enormous stone sculpture erected in the center of the house. He would occasionally touch the featherless wings behind the giant stone skeleton sculpture, and would run its hand along its back to touch the seven bone spurs, seeming to be quite puzzled as to why the great stone sculpture looked so much like him.
Except, compared to the stone sculpture, the little skeleton was almost half its size. The scene looked quite odd with a little skeleton standing next to a big skeleton.
When Han Shuo and the old priest entered, they noticed in confusion that the little skeleton was circling around the statue of Datara. As Han Shuo observed the little skeleton, he suddenly discovered that the little skeleton’s movements were quite human like. This prevented Han Shuo from giving any orders to the little skeleton, causing him to be astonished. He looked intently at the little skeleton with a heated gaze instead, intending to see what he was up to.
Just as Han Shuo was astonished, he saw the little skeleton suddenly stop right in front of the statue of the demon Datara. His empty sockets stared at the eyepatch over Datara’s left eye, and then extended a hand to feel his own left eye socket, as if wondering why he didn’t have an eye patch.
The little skeleton suddenly jumped up and extended a hand to rip off Datara’s eye patch. When the little skeleton landed, it was with an eye patch in hand. There was a purple gem concealed in the left eye socket of the now eye patch-less Datara, as if it was an eyeball. The originally lifeless stone sculpture of the demon Datara now appeared to have a few traces of life to it with the addition of a purple eye. It gave Han Shuo the misguided feeling that the sculpture was looking at him.
At this moment, the purple eyeball seemed to rotate once and glow weakly with soft, purple light, as if the demon Datara had revived suddenly.
“Oh, the great Datara has opened the ‘Purple Demon Eye’, the great Datara has manifested!” The old priest displayed jubilation as he went crazy with excitement and buried his head in the ground, hollering loudly.
The little skeleton, previously standing there dumbly, suddenly moved a small table in front of the statue of the demon Datara and leapt onto it. He stood on his tiptoes and reached a hand towards the left eye of the statue of the demon Datara. As Han Shuo’s scalp grew numb, the little skeleton firmly gouged the purple demon eye out and lifted it high for a glance before stuffing it into his own left eye socket.
Han Shuo didn’t know what to do here either, but before he’d thought through what should be done, he suddenly felt a spitting pain in his head. He looked at the little skeleton and realized that the little skeleton had somehow firmly stuffed the purple demon eye into his own eye socket.
However, when the purple demon eye entered his left eye socket, the little skeleton also appeared to be in pain. His body shuddered and he then clutched his head to roll on the ground in pain. As the host, Han Shuo shared a mental connection with the little skeleton and also felt the same wracking pain. An enormous, foreign energy was emanating from the little skeleton’s purple demon eye. Han Shuo could clearly feel that the purple demon eye was trying to intrude into his and the little demon’s body, as if trying to take control of the two bodies.
“Great Datara, liaison, what’s happening to you two?” The old forest troll priest lifted his head to see that something was amiss with Han Shuo and the little skeleton, and immediately cried out in inquiry.
“Get out, leave first! The great Datara has some things to do.” Han Shuo roared as he held up beneath the searing pain.
The old forest troll priest was startled as he frantically walked out of the house in confusion. He stayed outside to observe what was happening within the sacred ground.
Han Shuo immediately clutched his head when the old priest left and curled into a ball with the small skeleton. Han Shuo’s heart was filled with baffled fear. If this purple demon eye really did belong to the demon Datara, then this strange, energy invading his body would naturally come from Datara. A demon was a type of deity and their power wasn’t something that humans could withstand. This made Han Shuo at a loss for what he should do at the moment.
This enormous power was spreading out from the purple demon eye within the little skeleton’s left eye socket. Han Shuo first gave the order to remove the purple demon eye, but the little skeleton had shoved it into his eye in a way that no matter how the little skeleton grappled with the purple demon eye, he was unable to remove it again.
As one human and one skeleton rolled around continuously inside and convulsed with pain, another wondrous power emanated from the eye patch that the little skeleton had held onto during all this time. Because his brain was hurting to the extreme, Han Shuo’s perception grew tremendously and he suddenly detected the abnormality. He grasped at every possible solution in his panic and gave the little skeleton the order to put on the eye patch.
It was magical that the mysterious power attempting to take over their bodies suddenly vanished without a trace after the little skeleton frantically put the eye patch on. The profusely sweating Han Shuo slowly returned to normal.
The eye patch looked quite appropriate on the statue of the demon Datara, but it was noticeably bigger on the little skeleton. The eye patch almost covered the entire left side of his face, and he looked a bit comical and funny.
“Never remove the eye patch no matter when or what.” Han Shuo recovered himself and ignored all these bizarre happenings, giving the little skeleton this order first.