Part 6

Months has past since the archer met his teacher. With the countless arrows shot on the tree, one can almost see its core from the outside. Many strings were snapped, many arrows were broken over and over. Time flew with each arrow shot, understanding grew deeper with every string drawn. Looking back from their first encounter many things happened, may it be good, may it be bad.

The teacher thought that it was time, time for him to give his student a final test. Within a time frame of three days, the student is to craft his own bow. The student, as he always does, follows the given instruction though he is perplexed as to why he would need four days. However he did not question it.

Going out in the woods, he sought for materials. Going from tree to tree he tried to find a suitable wood for his bow, but he finds no suitable one. The woods he found were either too brittle or too tough. So he went further and deeper into the forest. The sun, slowly falling, signals that it is time to return, but the student cannot be concerned about this. He continued his search relentlessly.

With the passing time and darkening skies the forest slowly turns into a more hostile terrain. The deeper he goes, the more he is exposed to greater danger. But that is none of his concern.

In the dark, he is unable to navigate below the canopy and thus decided to go above. With the moon and stars illuminating the night, he continued his search. In a seemingly endless sea of green he spotted a fascinating sight, a red patch of leaves. Curious, he went there to see what kind of tree it is, jumping from one tree to another.

When he arrived, he investigated the peculiar tree. Going around the tree, looking at its bark from a distance. He wants to go down but is uncertain as monsters might be lurking below the canopy. The sky is still dark and the canopies only provide the monsters with more shade. But thinking about it will not progress his search in any way, so he decided to check below the canopy hoping that no skeletons or spiders are within the radius. Upon entering the canopies' shade he is greeted by a surprising view.

Around the tree no life asides from itself thrives, the ground around it looks barren; no flowers, grass, or even moss. Roots of neighboring trees within the radius also rots. Furthermore, all signs of life is gone there, remnants of animals, monsters, even undead are everywhere lying down without even the slightest bit of movement. A truly weird and at the same time horrifying sight.

A tree which seemingly leeches life from everything, not only substance but also essence. This might be the cause of its red leaves, and more importantly its almost pitch-black wood. Curious, the student wanted to reach for the tree but is scared to do so. The risk of dying is not worth it, or is it? Going back and forth he pondered on what action should be taken.

As he pondered, he forgot about the time that when he came back from his sea of thought, the sun is back right on top of him. Time waits for no-one, time waits for nothing. Midday of the second day, he has a day and a half left. No time left to think. If he wants to succeed the test, the wood of the black tree may just be his only chance. Shot by an overdose of adrenaline he jumped to the tree and attempted to take the thickest branch he can find.

Swinging the axe he brought he struck the branch. The first strike barely did anything, the second was no different, an so was the third. In desperation he shook the branch hoping for it to come off. *SNAP* A loud sound was made as the branch departs from its bark, sending it and the student falling to the ground. "Is this it? Is this where it ends for me?" These were his thoughts as he descends to the ground.

He felt the impact on his back and ended up lying down, writhing in pain. He can feel the ground taking away his powers from him by just lying down. He tried to get up but his legs had no strength; he cannot crawl as his arms are no different; calling for help is not even a possibility he can consider as he knows no one could help and his voice was robbed as well. All he could do was tighten the grip on the branch he is holding ever so slightly, hoping for it to do something. He waited it to happen: a miracle. Any instance of salvation, anything to get him out of that place.

He starts to lose consciousness, slowly the world around him becomes blur, darkness slowly creeps from all sides, the air becomes colder every second.