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Reborn as a Demonic Tree – Chapter 38: (Interlude) Head Librarian Bahasa Indonesia

Stella’s Soul Core buzzed with glee, purple flames coated her legs, and lightning arched across her skin as she saw the mountain blur beneath her feet. She breathed deeply to calm herself as the wind rushed through her hair. ‘I can’t believe Tree can write! We will be able to talk about all the things I always wanted to ask—’

“Stella, wait up!”

The blonde girl had a silly grin and really wanted to ignore the voice coming from behind, but that would be rude, so she came to a halt at the mountain’s base and looked back up the endless steps with her hands on her hips, “Diana, why are you so slow?”

A ball of blue flames arrived next to her and dissipated, revealing a girl wearing a black cloak and white mask. Stella raised a brow, “What’s with the getup?”

Diana’s turned to Stella and looked at her with a faceless mask that was a white piece of curved wood with two eye holes. “Something you should be wearing too! The remnants of my family are being hunted, so naturally, I need to hide my identity.”

“Right…” Stella frowned, “But why would I need to hide mine? I have the patriarch’s protection. Otherwise, my peak would have been taken from me long ago.” Her gaze wandered the mountain and settled warmly on the pavilion nestled in the clouds. To her, it was not just a paradise but also her home.

Diana’s irritated huff broke Stella from her dreamland.

“Stella, listen to me.” Diana insisted—her tone turning solemn, “They have lied to you your entire life. The patriarch is a thousand-year-old monster in human form. He doesn’t give a shit about repaying any kind of debt for saving him.” Diana sighed and pointed at Stella, “He just wants your body.”

Stella just stood there, blinking. “My what? Body?” She covered herself and felt a shiver run down her spine, “Why? Is he a creep?”

Diana shook her head, “Nope, he just needs a pill furnace to create a pill that extends his life.” Stella looked confused, so Diana helpfully added, “Being a human pill furnace means he will conduct alchemy within your stomach and use your spirit root, soul core, and Qi as part of the pill-forming process.”

Stella paled and stood there for a while—processing everything.

Diana gave her some space and idly stood to the side. Eventually, Stella mumbled, “I see… so my time is limited then.”

Stella clenched her fists and looked down the beaten path that led to the sprawling Darklight city in the far distance, “Diana, give me a mask. Let’s hurry.”

Diana’s spatial ring flashed with power, and a faceless black mask appeared in her waiting hand. “Here.”

Stella nodded with thanks and put the mask on. To her surprise, it had no straps and easily stayed glued to her face. It also didn’t impede her vision, as if it wasn’t even there. She reached up and felt her face, confirming a wooden texture had replaced her smooth skin. “Now that is freaky.”

Diana had already started racing down the path, her black cloak coated in blue flames fluttering in the wind behind her. Stella grinned as purple lightning arced between her feet, and she caught up in an instant as her soul core hummed.


“Why are the streets so empty?” Stella whispered to Diana as the two girls walked side by side down an empty street. Windows were shuttered closed, and the only living things Stella could see were black-furred cats prowling across the slanted roofs, glaring at the pair with yellow eyes.

Diana tapped her chin as she glanced around. She made sure to scrutinize every empty alley they passed. “Was there an attack? I haven’t been down here since the Ravenborne family was eliminated, but life should have returned to normal by now… but I have another question.”

Stella tilted her head, “Which is?”

“Why is there a squirrel on your head?”

Pausing mid-stride, Stella reached up, and sure enough, a little hand grabbed her finger and demanded head rubs. “Oh, when did you get here, Maple? Did you get bored waiting with Tree?”

“That doesn’t answer my question…” Diana pouted to the side.

“Shhh.” Stella put a finger to where her mouth was behind the faceless black mask, “Fewer questions, more walking.” And with that, Stella continued to stride forward.

Diana rolled her eyes, “Fine, no more questions.” Then, running to catch up, Diana put her hands in her cloak pockets and continued, “We should head to the academy’s library. I can’t think where we could get an ancient rune teacher anywhere else.”

“Mhm.” Stella hummed in agreement as she finished giving Maple attention, and the fluffy white squirrel sprawled out on Stella’s head and happily bathed in the sun.

Turning a corner and crossing a bridge over a fast-flowing river through the city’s center, Stella and Diana arrived at one of the many market squares. Stella’s eyes practically lit up at the sight of humans milling about and purchasing goods.

Strolling up to a stall and ignoring the questioning glare the stall owner gave to the top of her head, Stella asked, “Excuse me, could you tell me why the city is so empty?”

“Wearing masks and letting a rodent sleep on your head?” The stall owner, an absolute beefcake of a woman, shoed Stella off, “Don’t come here and bring trouble. You will scare off my customers…” The woman let out a long sigh, “Or at least the one’s still brave enough to walk the streets after the massacre out in the villages just a few minutes walk from here.”

“Massacre?” Diana quipped in from the side, “Of villagers or cultivators?”

“Cultivators. Which makes it all the more concerning.” The woman crossed her sizeable arms and continued to gossip, “A monster suddenly appeared a week ago and has been eating cultivators ever since. They named it the Ashen Devourer, and apparently, it is a spider the size of a house that can summon ash storms.”

The woman then scowled at them, “So be careful when walking around here and if you aren’t going to buy something, then move along!”

Stella and Diana exchanged a glance. Both had a rough idea of who this Ashen Devourer could be.


“Tree has caused quite a fuss with his pet, it seems.” Diana whistled to herself as they turned onto the street that ended with Darklight’s most famous academy. Spires of white stone reached for the clouds that lazily went by, and despite the desolate streets, many students were walking around up ahead in energetic groups.

A few students walked by and gave Stella and Diana odd looks as they passed. Stella heard someone laugh behind them as they were about to walk through the academy’s gates.

“Hey, look, there’s something on that weird girl’s head!” Then, a random lady within a large group of students pointed out, “Are they lost students from an orphanage? Look at their clothes! How filthy.”

Stella paused and glanced over her shoulder, and unfortunately, she had to admit the lady’s clothes were in far better condition than hers. Stella hadn’t bought a new cloak in years, and she hadn’t even bothered cleaning hers after returning from the wilderness. It was torn in places and practically dyed red from blood.

Diana’s were in a slightly better but still terrible condition, likely due to them being artifacts and having Qi naturally embued into their materials.

Stella cursed under her breath and continued forward. Little did she know Maple was watching the lady student leave with one eye lazily open, and as the student rounded the corner, she collapsed as there was a shudder in the void, and her soul core suddenly shattered.

Maple closed his eye and enjoyed the distant screams.


“Diana, once we figure this all out, we are going clothes shopping, okay?” Stella grumbled as they approached the academy’s library. Like everything else in the academy, the building was constructed from a white stone that starkly contrasted the dull tones of Darklight city.

Engraved into the white stone was a majestic tapestry of silver. As with all important buildings, the academy had installed a defensive formation using runic lines woven into the stone to protect the structure from any stray attacks from a cultivator.

Diana hummed in agreement with Stella’s proposition and tilted her head upwards, making a count of the various cultivators patrolling the roof. They eyed Stella and Diana wearily, but it was far better to be a little suspicious looking rather than outright recognized as a Ravenborne.

Many of the family’s scions walked around campus in disguises to avoid trouble, so everyone was apprehensive about questioning their motives—unless they made trouble.

Diana had frequented the academy and only graduated a few years ago, so she knew the grounds. She practically led Stella by the hand into the library, a place Stella had visited a few times in the past, but she hadn’t been a regular visitor for years.

The library was a large oval building, like an opera theatre, with five stories of books lining the walls. Grand marble staircases led between the floors, and the fresh scent of books accompanied the quiet chatter between disciples studying around desks stacked with books.

As Diana and Stella awkwardly made their way to the top floor, there was not a single spec of dust coating anything. The library was spotless, just the way the head librarian liked it. Stella caught sight of a grey-robed individual using an artifact called a sponge to wipe down surfaces alongside a bucket of warm water, likely as punishment for damaging a book.

Diana let out a sigh of relief as they crested the top of the final staircase and caught sight of a man with a straggly white beard and wispy hair. The man had a hunched stature as he sat before a mountain of books piled high on an illuminated desk. Indecipherable mutterings left the man’s mouth as he licked his spindly finger and turned a page.

The sound of the crisp page turn was interrupted by Diana lightly coughing.

The elderly man looked up from his book and glared at the person who interrupted him with eyes of total darkness, a twisted scowl formed on his wrinkled face as he slammed both palms down and stood up,

“Who dares interrupt me? Two measly assassins?” Dense black flames as dark as the void materialized on his fingers like claws.

Diana and Stella exchanged glances and quickly realized the source of the confusion. Stella hastily removed her mask before she got decapitated, as hiding her identity wasn’t as crucial as concealing Diana’s.

“Wait!” Stella held her hands up, “It’s me, Stella Crestfallen of Red Vine peak.”

The man seemed lost in thought for a moment, but then the name seemed to ring a bell. The flames vanished from the man’s hands, and he slumped back down into his rickety chair, pulling it closer under himself with a grunt. “Ah, the Crestfallen brat.” He shook his head from side to side as if he had heard something terribly sad, “Come to bother this old man in your final years?”

“Head librarian, does everyone know about that except me?” Stella realized she should have left the peak a bit more and mingled with the people. Now that she thought about it, the last time she had left Red Vine peak to talk to other people was years ago.

The man waved his hand and shook his head, “No, but it has been making the rounds recently. Now.” He leaned on the desk and scowled at Stella, “Tell me what you want so I can get back to my research and be snappy with it.”

As excitement returned, Stella took a step forward, “I want to learn ancient runes! I stumbled upon some recently and wished to translate them.”

“Ancient runes?” The man leaned back and stroked his miserable excuse for a beard, “Brat, how ancient are we talking here? Everyone thinks everything is ancient nowadays. These foolish children come bringing me their family’s ancient techniques from a thousand years ago, and I find out I’m the one who wrote it! Does that make me ancient?”

“Yes” was on the tip of Stella’s tongue, but she held back. Instead, she offered, “I could draw the runes I saw for you.”

“You memorized them? Clever girl.” The head librarian’s golden ring flashed, and a piece of paper appeared alongside an ink well. “Write it down.”

Stella complied. She had practically burned the squiggles into her mind. There was no chance she could forget even a single curve of her Tree’s first words. As Stella recreated the script written in blood on the pavilion walls, the quill moved with elegance and speed.

Tree’s first words.

Passing the paper dripping in fresh ink to the head librarian, Stella felt her heart beat loudly in her chest. Anticipation and dread ate away at her like a plague, and time seemed to slow as the old man scrutinized her work.

After what felt like an eternity to Stella, the elderly man scratched his head before turning to look at Stella inquisitively with his black eyes, “This is an ancient script indeed, one from before my time. Luckily, it doesn’t have missing parts, making this very easy to read…”

“So…” Stella leaned forward, “What does it say?”

“I am Ashlock.” The head librarian frowned, “But who the hell is Ashlock?”


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