2 Mysterious village
When the dawn broke, all the undead vanished completely. Not even the slightest trace of their aura nor any remnant coldness is left, as if what happened last night was just a dream, but he knew, it was not a dream.
He finally pulled himself together, studied the surroundings warily, after confirming that there are no abnormalities, he came out from his burrow gingerly. Remembering that horrific scene still got chill down his spine, but also he became even more confused, How has he been still alive despite being unconscious? Or has he been there in forest only since the last morning? Such questions keep on appearing in his mind, but soon he cleared his mind. What he needs to do is to escape from this forsaken forest, where not even a single life can be sensed. The trees and grasses which appeared pleasant to the eye yesterday appears desolate today, swaying in the wind ominously.
He collected "Wanders blessing ", his yesterday's dinner in his ragged clothes and began climbing up the trees. This tree appears to be the largest in the area, with a height of several meters and its canopy spread wide among all the trees in the forest. As he began climbing the trees, he noticed that the trees surface becomes smoother the further he went, it became harder and harder to climb as one goes up. He carefully climbed up surveying the surroundings, finding the solid footing on the branches before proceeding, his body looks weak but he is quite nimble, after he reached the top he sat down on the branch and surveyed the area, there is an endless forest spread across the horizon. The distant mountains stood majestically in the north, with densely packed trees in all other directions.
He was at a loss as he has no idea where to head. All he could see is endless forest but even so he decided to move alongside the river as his instincts told him that if he move alongside the river there should be a settlement nearby.
He quickly climbed down the trees and proceeded towards the river in the north, where he first drank water after his awakening. He carefully proceed forward without letting his guard down as yesterday's incident gave him a really bad feeling. Along the way he also noticed that the forest supports all kinds of rare herbs and trees usually used for making expensive potions and medicines, which conclude that forest has a high concentration of magic elements. Magic elements as the name suggests, are the building block of a magic, they can be described as the energy which is present in the atmosphere which helps a magician to cast a magic spell, from his hazy memory he can recall that areas with high magic concentration are use to grow herbs with high efficacy with healing and other magical properties. As he is not a magician, he could not sense these magic elements but from those precious herbs growing here like weeds, it is quite clear that this are area is magic rich, moreover the undead last night also gave him strong evidence that this area is not simple. He has to get out from here as soon as possible, moreover he also has to secure a safe place for the night otherwise having no fighting capability those undead will tear him apart.
As he proceed alongside river for three days to the south and began his journey alongside the river, he cautiously move further and whenever he is hungry he has an endless supply of rare healing and magical herbs, although he had to bear with their bitter taste and pungent smell, he can still survive moreover river provide him with drinking water. At night he could find a similar holes which could protect him from cold and undead, the only thing he needs to do is to proceed alongside river which is originating from mountains in the north and proceeding south.
Just like he has guessed, as he reached a relatively clear area he spotted a village settlement with wooden fences. He could also spot bear-kin warriors patrolling and guarding the settlements. They resemble human beings except their facial features which are similar to a bear. All of them wear shabby clothes with swords, axes or spears in their hands. Usually one would be cautious approaching an armed group but having not seen any living being for almost five days he was overjoyed seeing them.
He did not know why a village settlement was built in such a desolate place, but his only option for survival is to visit the settlement and ask about nearby town or city. Moreover as this settlement is able to survive in this area which is full of undead, there should be a way to fend them off. He should be much safer in a village rather than on his own, so he quickly decided to enter the village and ask for their help.
When he proceeded towards the settlement and came into their sight, a bearkin warriors that were patrolling the vicinity quickly surrounded him with their weapons raised. A burly bearkin warrior stepped forward, he is the most muscular among all men present.
"Who are you? What's your purpose here? " he inquired
Understanding that it is extremely suspicious for someone to approach a settlement, I answered calmly,
"I lost my way in this forest, could you tell me the way to nearby town?"
When I said that the leader looked at me as if he is looking at an idiot. He asked
"Are you alone?"
I was alarmed when I heard that, was he going to kill me after knowing that I am alone?
I decided to lie about me being alone and I said
"No, my friends are waiting in the forest ."
"Your friends?" He asked
I nodded then he burst out in laughter, I stared at him, my mouth twitching, when he finally stopped he ordered his men
"Capture him, I cannot sense a shred of magic power from his body and looking at his weak body he is unlikely to be a warrior! "
A few of the men came forward and pinned me down they tied my hands with a rope.
I roared "What are you doing?"
The leader gazed at me smiling and said
"Nothing, just taking you to our shaman, If you are a devil we have to exorcise you but even if you are not, we will hold a feast so rest assured you are in safe hands!".
My face went pale after hearing this, I struggled desperately but how can I fend off these burly men. I was quickly tied town like a dumpling and carried to the village.
The village was a small settlement with beastkin villagers no now I doubt they are bandits, I can only spot burly men holding swords and spears at this point I realized how foolish of me to approach a settlement without prior inquiry . No normal person would be living in such a godforsaken forest this should be a bandit village but it was too late to regret now, being carried like that I could see some people staring at me, saliva dripping from their mouths. Those eyes were of a hunter looking at his prey, being looked upon by those eyes I shuddered involuntarily and cold sweat began to ooze out from my back.
"What the heck! Why am I so unlucky?"
I cursed out loud, the leader was surprised but soon his smile broadened as if mocking me of my misfortune.
I was soon taken to the biggest hut in the village. The leader has a respectful look on his face as he knock three times at the door and said
"Sire, I have brought a gift for you, please allow us to enter."
Then he hear a voice from the other side of the door, the voice is hoarse as if coming out from a monster. It said "Enter".
I does not know why I am being treated as a object but I understood that I need to get out from here otherwise death is inevitable.
After I enter the hut, the warriors put me down and respectfully cupped their fists to the elder who was seated before them. He was sitting on a luxurious sofa which gave a strong contrast to the crude wall and ceiling of the hut. The elder is in his 80's and is clearly a human with a white veil covering his lower half of his face. His forehead is wrinkled but his eyes shone with a strange red hue shining ominously.
He has an annoyed look on his face as he studied the guards then his gaze landed on me. He asked
"Is this the gift you are talking about?".
The leader hurriedly bow his head and answered, "We found this brat near the gate, he might be a spy sent by those bastards so we captured him".
Then the leader gazed in my direction and barked out loud, "Bastard speak, Who send you here? What were you doing in dark forest? ".
So this forest is called dark forest, no wonder those undead and lack of life.
Seeing my unfocused gaze the leader was about to raise his hand when the Shaman raised his hand.
He asked "Little thing, what's your name?"
I looked towards the elder and our eyes met, after some time I decided to answer honestly as this elder gave off a feeling that lying is meaningless before him.
I answered "I don't know, I was here in the forest when I woke up, I don't remember anything."
Hearing my answer the elder frown, he put his withered hands under his chin and ordered the burly men to leave, the burly man wants to say something, but when the elder gave them a glare they quickly withdrew.
The elder stood up and came closer to me step by step, the more he got, the more uncomfortable I felt as if each step is akin to more kilograms of weight added to my chest.
Then the elder took out a crystal ball from somewhere and said in a gentle voice
"Strange, you survived from the undead I created without any magic or warrior chi, little thing you are indeed lucky to be able to bypass my surveillance undetected. It is quite a feat you have achieved. you should be proud of yourself but I , Chen Feng is a magnificent person fear not I will answer all your question, you just need to cooperate. "
He said and there is a hint a melancholy in his tone, he stood there like a peerless expert looking down on a mortal before him, I even have a hallucination that there was a halo above his head.
But the elders next words shook me from my reverie.
"So, put your hands on the crystal ball and let me take a look at your past and you."
I wanted to retort but I was shocked to find that my whole body is not listening to my command, panicked when I looked up I could see the elder smiling as the creases at the corner of his eyes deepened he said "feared not, little thing just listen to me put your hands on this crystal ball."
These words which came out from his mouth were akin to a demon luring its prey but due to some mysterious reason I found myself unable to resist his words. Unknowingly my hands automatically move forward and when I touched the crystal, I found myself in that black space again floating in nothingness alone. This time I was sure that I had died. I let out a bitter laugh knowing that world is too cruel outside, all of a sudden I found myself more comfortable here.
When he placed his hand on the crystal ball, the boy suddenly passed out. After his body fell and he no longer moved, the elder chuckled as if it is within his expectation. He said to himself
"Little thing don't be scared, you should actually feel honored to gave your soul to me, I will take care of your body and soul".
Then the elder then looked at the crystal ball in his hands but all of sudden color drain from his face, his lips trembled uncontrollably and he threw the crystal ball to the floor.