After all, they wouldnt really die, and even if they were killed in this trap, they could make a comeback after their resurrection.
Seeing that the players wore odd expressions but remained calm, Ans nodded in satisfaction.
He continued, "Although Im a radical, I too believe that theyre outrageous."
Realizing that the elf was about to tell a story, the players each found a chair. But there were only six chairs in the lodge, and Ans had claimed one. So, four players had to sit on the ground. Schuck was among them. Margret sat on his thigh, yawning now and then.
Anss face changed slightly when he saw the cute dragon horns on Margrets forehead. Then he went on: "Half a year ago, Natures Wrath annihilated a human village at the border of Urganda. They killed all two hundred people in the village, including the elderly, the women, and the children, just because one of the villagers sold a female elf in the past."
Everybodys faces changed when they heard that. The players sitting on the ground all stood up.
When Schuck suddenly rose, Margret was flipped off, which was quite unexpected for her.
She didnt blame Schuck. Instead, she glared at Ans, because Schuck wouldnt rise all of a sudden if not for him.
Sensing Margrets anger, Ans was rather nervous, which was understandable as nobody would feel comfortable when a dragon glared at them.
Betta asked indifferently, "Are you sure its true?"
"I dont need to lie about that. Im an elf anyway," Ans said painfully. "Natures Wrath believed in punishing the devils who ruined nature and who polluted the earth with evil magic powers, but now, it has become a group of extremists who believe that human beings are the cancer of the world."
Ans covered his face with his hands, making it impossible to see his expression, but everybody could hear infinite disappointment in his voice.
They could sympathize with the elf.
The destruction of ones ideal and the corruption of ones community were worse than death, and that was what happened to Ans.
After a brief silence, Ans raised his face from his hands. "Two months ago, it happened to another village. Half a month ago, they slaughtered a town. None of the three thousand residents survived. Theyre completely crazy now. A dozen days ago, a brother questioned the justification of their behavior, but then he was brutally murdered and transformed into a tree by the lake."
Everybody couldnt have looked more awful after hearing that.
Roland couldnt help but ask, "Sorry, not that were suspecting you, but do you have any evidence?"
Ans seemed to be expecting that question. He unfolded a piece of paper on the table. It was a map.
He pointed at the three Xs on the map and said, "Theyre the places that have been slaughtered. You can take a look for yourself."
Everybody glanced at each other, and then Betta said, "Please give us a few days to consider."
Ans nodded. "Of course."
They left the lodge. At the edge of the forest, Roland set up a stone house with magic, and everybody got in.
Betta and a friend from Silver Wings took out tables, chairs, fruit wine, and of course, barbecue.
Everybody ate the food unhurriedly and silently. In the end, Roland said, "How much do you believe what Ans said?"
"Fifty percent." Schuck put down the barbecue and said, "In any case, we have to look into it carefully. I dont want to be anyones pawn or tool."
At this point, a Warrior of Silver Wings said, "Dont bother with that. Lets just complete the epic quest. After all, its not going to be humans that we kill. Its just elves."
Roland sighed. "Are you not scared that this is a trick quest that will turn our inclination from Neutral Good to Evil?"
The Warrior immediately shut up.
As frequent visitors to the forum, they had read a lot of posts of other players on "trick quests."
One of the players, who accepted every quest he encountered, was directed by a sordid NPC to kill many innocent people.
He didnt realize what was going on until his inclination changed from Neutral Good to Chaotic Evil.
Now, he was wanted by the game system. Multiple players had triggered the quest "Eliminate the evil Golden Son and reduce him to level zero."
The EXP reward for that mission was quite high.
The player couldnt even delete his character. The option was unavailable after he entered the Temple of Life.
He could only be killed by other quest maniacs again and again.
Of course, nobody wanted that to happen to them.
"Lets divide into three groups and check the locations marked by Ans," Schuck suggested. "Margret and I will go to the farthest place. You can split into two parties and search the other two."
Hawk pondered for a moment and said, "I fear that what we see will be what the elf wants us to see."
Roland smiled. "But there will definitely be traces. It will be fine as long as we remain careful."
Everybody nodded and agreed with the plan.
They quickly finished the meat and left in three groups.
On Margrets back, Schuck took off and soon became a black spot in the sky.
Craning his head at them, Betta said enviously, "I wish I could fly too."
Roland said with a smile, "You can try to pick up the flight spells of the wind class later."
"The spells that the Warlocks can awaken are random except for the ones related to the dragon blood power." Betta sighed. "Chances are few that I can pick up a flight spell."
"You can still learn to make a magic scroll and then pick up the magic model of flight spells. Then, you can fly with the scroll," Roland suggested.
Although Roland was incapable of making magic scrolls yet, he had read relevant knowledge in the library in his magic tower.
So, knowledge was only beneficial. With more knowledge, one could plan better for the future.
Betta nodded. "I could try that later."
Then, the four-person squad set off.
Rolands squad included the Warrior named Suel and the frustrated Priest, as well as Betta.
According to Anss map, it would take them two days to reach that village at a normal speed.
But as professionals, they had much more stamina that normal people did, and most importantly, they needed no rest.
They walked without stopping. When they were out of stamina, they would eat while they walked. As a result, they arrived at their destination after only a day and a night.
When it was dawn, they saw twenty ragged grass cottages as well as a few low houses made of red bricks.
Far away, many birds were chirping on top of the dilapidated buildings.
The village was quiet.
At the entrance of the village, they found that the wooden fences around the village meant to keep out beasts had been broken.
As far as their eyes could reach, skeletons in clothes that were riddled with holes were scattered on the road.
Some of the bones were stuck to dried, blackened flesh. There were also clear bite marks on the bones.
There was no telling if it was their imagination, but a vague stink was spreading in the air.
Subconsciously, Roland walked forward with his nose covered.
As they pressed on, they saw more and more skeletons. There were both adults and children who were no taller than one meter.
Suel looked quite awful, and Betta was similar.
Roland and the Priest, on the other hand, seemed natural, but they were not as peaceful as they appeared.
Those dead bodies, after being tormented by storms and beasts, actually couldnt have any scent left.
The vague stink was merely their imagination.
Thinking that through, Roland dropped his hands from his mouth.
Standing in front of a dry well, he looked around and said, "Check the bodies and see if we can find any leads."
They dispersed and regathered half an hour later, each lifting a white skull with a wooden stick.
Betta said, "I found no weapons, but it occurred to me that most skulls had a hole in them."
He showed the skull on his stick.
The other three showed their skulls too. Though the holes were at different locations, there was indeed a hole of similar size and shape on each of the skulls.
Holding the skull with Hand of Magic, Roland observed it for a moment and said, "I found no weapons in the places I explored, but all the skulls had a tiny hole in them, which means that they were indeed killed by small pointy weapons."
"Arrows!" Betta suggested.
Suel frowned. "But I didnt see any arrows. They couldnt have collected all the arrows that they shot, could they?"
"I read from books that the elves are naturally endowed with magic power. Their expert archers can form arrows with magic power" Roland suddenly paused and frowned. "Wait. Whats that smell?"
Roland turned back and looked around. Eventually, he looked down at the well before him. Gradually, he became grim.
He extended the blue Hand of Magic and picked up a big bucket from the bottom of the well.
The bucket was placed on the ground, and everybody gathered around it.
Inside the bucket was a body that had almost rotted into fluid. Though disfigured, it was probably only a baby, two to three years old.
The body was very slim. Though it was also rotten, a little pus was in the bucket.
Though the air was getting smelly, nobody covered their nose.
Observing it for a while, Roland clenched his fists, but his voice was very soft, as if he feared that he might wake up the kid. "He was starved."
Suels and the Priests eyes were immediately bloodshot.
Betta turned around and kicked the tree nearby into pieces, before he roared desperately.
The birds in the village, shocked, all flew away in flocks.