The Trial Game of Life

The Trial Game of Life – Chapter 86

Table of Contents | Character Guide

Chapter 86: Forest of The Elves (4)

Because they still couldn’t find the Secret Lake after a long time, everyone didn’t dare to continue moving rashly and decided to take a rest.

Heimen and Hayes dexterously lit up a bonfire. After the fire scattered away a bit of the dense mist, everyone sat down on the ground around the bonfire. Tang Cuo naturally sat beside Celtic and looked at his profile that seemed to intently focus on roasting the meat. He suddenly asked: “Have you read the two books [Sonnet of The Elves] and [Secrets on The Lake]?

“Huh?” Celtic thought about it carefully and said: “I’ve read some sonnets, but I’m not sure who creates them. As for [Secrets on the Lake], I haven’t read it. Does it have anything to do with the Secret Lake?” 

Tang Cuo had seen these two books in the library of the magic school inside Kingdom Hidden In The Moonlight. At the time, he only gave them a few brief glances. [Sonnet of The Elves] was undoubtedly the Elf race’s hymn, and [Secrets on the Lake] told the story of a human who lived in a cabin by the lake.

In his memory, the book was a collection of miscellaneous notes with many trivial details, and Tang Cuo couldn’t remember much. He only remembered that the author’s pen name was — L.

Thinking about it now, the mysterious lake without a name described in those miscellaneous notes was very similar to the Secret Lake in the Forest of The Elves. The main keyword was: the mist.

A misty forest and a mysterious lake. The author came here every year when midsummer was about to pass and autumn was coming. He stayed alone in a lakeside cabin for a few days or up to half a month.

The time right now happened to be late summer and early autumn.

Even if the elves were trying to hide the real problem of the Secret Lake, there should be no need to lie about whether any outsiders had entered this place before. For a thousand years, there had only been a few people. Thus, these few people must not be just ordinary men. Who was ‘L’?

Tang Cuo swept his gaze through the surroundings, then simply pretended to be inquisitive and asked: “Just now Elder Evans said that apart from us, only three outsiders have been to the Secret Lake in the past one thousand years. Do you know who they are?”

“Actually, I’m also a little curious.” Don nodded at Tang Cuo kindly: “Since we’re all here, we should also learn something about this place.” 

Single-eyelid Man: “Isn’t it too late for you to learn that now?”

Don frowned and tried to say something, but in the end he didn’t open his mouth, as if he was afraid of the people from the Pinwheel Harbour office. The druid sitting across from Tang Cuo said promptly: “Although we druids have a good relationship with the elves, we’ve never heard of any ancestors of our clan who have been here. But I’ve heard people say that among humans, the Duke of the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers from the White Knight family seems to have been to the Secret Lake.”

Tang Cuo: “The White Knight family?”

Heimen: “In the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers, beside the royal family, they’re the most powerful noblemen and the sharpest swordsmen. They’ve trained three queens for the royal family. They’re the White Knight family who raise queens, so their family crest is a white rose.”

Hayes: “According to some unreliable records, the White Knight family also carries the Elf race’s blood.”

Heimen: “It seems reasonable that their Duke has been to the Secret Lake before.”

Hayes: “But we don’t know which Duke it is.”

Tang Cuo asked about the ‘White Knight’, but it wasn’t like he didn’t know anything about them at all. The first second he heard this word, he thought of the dungeon that Lin Yandong described — [July Rose Incident].

He clearly stated that Theodore’s brother Edwin was the Duke of the White Knight family of the Kingdom of Hundred Flowers.

In other words, it was Theodore’s ancestor, a certain Duke, who had been to the Secret Lake.

Thinking of this, Tang Cuo couldn’t help stroking the sword hilt at his waist, then he asked: “Who are the other two?” 

The druid shook his head, the two from the Black Mountain office also shook their heads, and the human adventurers did the same. 

“Hiccup”, a sudden intoxicated hiccup broke into everyone’s ears, and the dwarf Hammo raised his eyes that were always slightly muddy due to drunkenness and said: “You’re all from the Greenvines Alliance, don’t you know? The one from Luo Island has been there.” 

Single-eyelid Man: “Who?”

Hammo: “Of course it’s he, the most powerful one.”

Single-eyelid Man’s teammate quickly asked: “His Excellency Roger Reeds?”

“Not him.” Hammo rolled his eyes: “I said the most powerful one, so I mean it that way. Anyway, he’s not called Roger Reeds!”

As to what that person was specifically called, Hammo the great dwarf couldn’t remember.

Everyone in the Greenvines Alliance immediately turned into contemplation. A moment later, Heimen and Hayes came to a sudden realisation and simultaneously called out a name: “Augustine The Founder.” 

Single-eyelid Man: “Is Augustine still alive? He hasn’t appeared for more than a hundred years.”

Celtic frowned: “No matter what your status is, His Excellency Augustine is the founder of the Greenvines Alliance. You should’ve learnt that you need to show him some respect.”

“What was it that I said that wasn’t respectful enough? Celtic, who are you to talk to me like that? I am —” As soon as Single-eyelid Man expressed his sarcasm, the Black Mountain twin brothers frowned.

The other two from the Pinwheel Harbour office quickly grabbed their teammate: “Hawk, that’s enough.” 

Hawk shut up reluctantly.

Heimen cast him a faint warning gaze before saying: “His Excellency Augustine is the eternal guide of our Greenvines Alliance. No one should make any speculations about him.”

Hayes looked at Hammo the dwarf, hoping to be able to get some confirmation from him.

But regretfully, Hammo had gotten so drunk that he fell asleep holding the bottle.

Most of Tang Cuo’s attention was on Celtic. Celtic had hardly said anything just now, only speaking out of virtue on the issue of addressing Augustine. Tang Cuo was doubting Celtic’s identity, so this move made him even more suspicious, but at the same time he felt a bit confused.

At this moment, an adventurer suddenly stood up in surprise and pointed to the direction behind Tang Cuo: “Look at that! The mist has dispersed a bit, there’s a lake there!”

Everyone immediately looked over.

Don even climbed onto a tree and gazed into the distance, bringing good news to everyone: “It’s really a lake! We’ll reach it very soon!” 

The adventurer who discovered it and his teammates were immensely excited: “It turns out to be just nearby. If we had walked forward a little bit, we wouldn’t have wasted so much time.”

“Indeed, but it’s still not too late now. This shouldn’t be delayed any further, let’s go right away.”

“Let’s go!”

As the Secret Lake was right front of them, no one wanted to fall behind and ran towards the lake. Tang Cuo quickly moved and grabbed Hammo’s back collar, then he threw the dwarf on Celtic’s back: “Watch him.” 

By the time these words fell, Tang Cuo had already jumped a few steps forward. Like a poor servant, Celtic carried the dwarf on his back and fell to the back of the group, but he couldn’t resist an order from Theodore, the man who held actual control over the situation here.

Around the lake, the lingering mist finally had slightly scattered, allowing everyone to peek into the corner of the Secret Lake. It was a huge black lake with rugged rocks on the edge, and there was even a faint creaking sound from the depths of the mist.

“What’s that sound?”

Their vision of the surroundings was still rather low. To keep their vigilance, everyone decided to act collectively, making sure they didn’t stray off alone. They followed the sound and walked along the shore of the lake, and not long after, a giant black figure came into view.

Heimen: “This is — ” 

Hayes: “The dwarves’ Black Iron Furnace!”

Standing in the middle of the misty lake was a huge smelting furnace of black colour, below which was an intricate metal stand that extended to the bottom of the lake. More than a hundred gears of all sizes were densely packed together to carry out the operation of this furnace, completed with a running water wheel that steered the water out of the lake and poured it into the furnace.

The white mist rippled upward from the furnace, spread throughout the lake then into the entire forest.

The creak that everyone heard just now was the sound of gears turning.

“Over there, isn’t it the Iron Colossus standing in the lake?!” Unable to restrain his excitement, Hawk yelled and ran over. Almost kneeling by the lake, he stared at the iron giant whose upper-half body emerged above the water surface with disbelief, his mouth completely unable to close.

His teammates couldn’t have any mind to pay attention to his dazed state, because the scene before their eyes was truly stupefying.

The Black Iron Furnace and the Iron Colossus were both things that existed in the legends of the Dwarf race. Although the dwarves of today were still the masters of metal forging techniques, they had long lost the peak of their glory.

The twin brothers subconsciously looked at Hammo, but the carefree dwarf lying on Celtic’s back was sleeping so soundly that even saliva was dripping from his mouth, and he couldn’t be waken up no matter what.

Don didn’t know much about the Dwarf race. He glanced at Celtic and Hammo, then took the initiative to come to Tang Cuo and said: “It seems that the third outsider who has been to the Secret Lake should be a dwarf. What do you think?”

Tang Cuo: “Perhaps.”

Duo looked at the black iron smelting furnace that was continuously exhausting and said: “The problem of the Secret Lake should have come from this furnace. Because of this, the mist around the Secret Lake is getting thicker and thicker.”

Heimen: “What you say makes sense.”

Hayes: “But it might not be the whole truth.” 

As usual, the two brothers spoke one after another. The two druids also came over: “The Black Iron Furnace of the dwarves lies in the Secret Lake of the elves. This is very strange.” 

It was very strange indeed.

Tang Cuo frowned slightly when he looked at the smoking furnace. Some issue with the furnace caused the Secret Lake to be shrouded in this dense mist, which seemed logical, but at the same time unreasonable. The elves were a race that worshiped the God of Nature. How could they place this such a hand-crafted machine at the place that was their very origin?

Looking around, there was no cabin by the lake. Had it been demolished, or was it on the other side of the lake where Tang Cuo hadn’t reached, or was this lake not the Secret Lake mentioned in the book?

“Arghhhhhh —” Tang Cuo’s thoughts were interrupted by a scream, and at the same time, there was a splash of water. Tang Cuo’s heart trembled for a second and he quickly rushed over, only to find a few strands of hair remaining on the lake surface.

The water, as though boiling, gushed out with bubbles. The person didn’t even manage to pull a few strokes before he completely sunk, and eventually, Tang Cuo lost sight of his hair.

“Sam!”

“Sam!”

His teammates repeatedly screamed, but they didn’t dare to go into the water to save him. Because it all happened so quickly, some people couldn’t even react in time and just stood there by the lake shore, utterly stunned.

In the blink of an eye, the lake surface returned to its usual calmness, looking as though nothing had ever happened.

“God, this isn’t lake water, it’s man-eating magma!” One person backed away in fright, afraid to continue standing by the lake.

“Let’s leave quickly, as long as we report the situation here to the elves, they won’t make things any more difficult for us, right? They said there would be no danger here, but look, someone already died!”

“This damn dwarf, what about him? Still not awake?”

“These things are all from the Dwarf race, maybe he’s pulling a trick on us!” 

In such a heated moment, all sorts of speculations were spewed out.

Tang Cuo’s expression remained calm as he continued to pay close attention to Celtic from the corner of his eye, but still he couldn’t catch any clues from Celtic’s face. The one named Sam wanted to get close to the Iron Colossus, so he jumped into the lake on his own volition. For the time being, Tang Cuo couldn’t detect any foul play.

Don proposed that they should turn back. Although he didn’t come here with Sam, everyone here was also an adventurer and thus feared for their own lives.

The three men from the Pinwheel Harbour office immediately objected: “We struggled so much to finally reach the Secret Lake, how can we go back without a thorough investigation? Besides, the reason why Sam died is because of his greed and has nothing to do with us.”

“You!” Sam’s teammates’ eyes widened with anger.

Don tried to stop the two men, then he looked at Tang Cuo and the twin brothers with a solemn expression: “What do you say?” 

Unexpectedly, the twin brothers, who had maintained a composed state throughout, were inclined to stay here and continue the investigation. Tang Cuo didn’t speak, his eyes quietly sweeping through the whole group of men.

One thing was clear.

The Pinwheel Harbour was tens of thousands of miles away from the Forest of The Elves. They coincidentally turned up here and now refused to leave. It meant they surely were planning something.

“It’s not that we don’t want to leave, but we definitely can’t get out now.” Tang Cuo said, walking to Hammo and pushing him hard, but Hammo still didn’t budge.

He was sleeping too soundly.

A drunk dwarf, the Black Iron Furnace, the Iron Colossus, a missing cabin and a peculiar lake. All of them seemed to point to an outcome that would be beyond anyone’s imagination.

On the other side, Jin Cheng was still looking up at the sky from the bottom of the trench —  How should he get up after coming down? This was the question.

The time backtracked to last night.

Jin Cheng jumped off the cliff before the elf guards spotted him. With Jin Cheng’s abilities, it wasn’t a problem to jump down this trench. Hitting the bottom only cost him half his HP, which could be easily fixed with a potion.

The bottom of the trench was so rocky that not a single piece of grass could grow here.

Jin Cheng took out a handkerchief and wiped the blood from his hands. As he walked, he shouted the name mentioned in the mission description. He trotted so leisurely that if one didn’t know any better, they might think he was here for a day trip.

“McCaw?”

“Where are you hiding?”

“Respond to me with a squeak.”

“Squeak!”

“Yo.”

Jin Cheng didn’t expect that the other party would really squeak at him. The sound came from the soles of his feet, and when he looked down, before his eyes was really a plump mouse.

This mouse must have… evolved?

“McCaw?”

“Squeak squeak!” 

The mouse was frantically crumpling on the ground because Jin Cheng had stepped on its tail. Jin Cheng simply grabbed the tail and lifted the creature upside down before taking a careful look: “If you tell me you’re McCaw, I’ll chop you off.” 

The mouse trembled with fear, its bean-sized eyes quickly becoming watery.

Jin Cheng felt funny. Isn’t this damn system such a genius? It told him to jump off the cliff to rescue a mouse? Was this a rat king or a rat earl?

Something’s off.

Jin Cheng tugged at the mouse’s ears and suddenly noticed a hint of magic. This unlucky guy was under a transfiguration curse, right? His bloody left leg seemed to have been broken, so it was very likely he had fallen down here from the cliff too.

“Are you human? If yes, squeak.”

“Squeak!!!” 

After getting an affirmative answer, Jin Cheng stroked his chin and started thinking carefully. In this Western Fantasy world, who or which race was best at shapeshifting?

Druid?

The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 85
The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 87
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jujube
jujube
1 year ago

“Sam!”

“Sam!”

All I can think of is Lord of the Rings.

Doppelganger? Control spell? Transformation?

What could be up with Celtic hmmm… Everyone sus!

Tiramisu never_lies
Tiramisu never_lies
1 year ago

I absolutely adore druid class in role-playing games 🥰
Celtic seems like a cinnamon roll….TC please don’t be wary of him🥺

BTW Thanks for the chapter 🌸

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