Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 2: Murderers and Demon Worshipers
The Ramons ran the only inn in town.
Piper Ramon was the nominal boss, since almost all inn-related work was done by his son. Although he was less than 50 years old, Old Ramon had already turned himself into an old man who spent his days in the tavern listening to adventurers talking and boasting while playing his homemade ukulele and singing a few words. He would go to the library, where Nemo did odd jobs to read books on occasion, and as soon as the sun went down, he would rush back to his inn.
His reputation in town had always been good. Whether he was too enthusiastic or simply foolish, no matter who was in trouble, he would always provide help. If the adventurers were seriously injured, Old Ramon would even allocate special rooms from the inn for them to rest for free. This kind of reckless behavior from the good old man made it so that the inn’s revenue was just enough for the father and son to eat.
It was hard for people to hate a truly warm-hearted person, not to mention that Old Ramon had a tough and good appearance. Although he often made a mess of himself, he couldn’t hide the sharpness in his eyes. It was a pity that his son Oliver didn’t look much like him. Oliver Ramon was the more serious innkeeper. He was handsome and gentle and always had a smile accompanied by his bright eyes.
If it weren’t for the fact that they both had exactly the same emerald eyes, Nemo would have suspected that Oliver had been picked up somewhere by Old Ramon.
Strictly speaking, Nemo could be regarded as the beneficiary of Old Ramon’s warm heart. If it hadn’t been for Old Ramon picking up Nemo when he was around six from the Frontier Forest more than ten years ago, he wouldn’t have lived to his current age, so witnessing this kind of scene was something that he didn’t want to see at all.
Piper Ramon straightened his back, which had always been slightly hunched, making his whole figure look like a sword’s scabbard. He smiled at Oliver as if what he was holding wasn’t a giant monster but a harmless young deer.
Oliver looked completely stunned. From the moment he was attacked by the monster just now, his accumulated confusion and loss finally exceeded his tolerance limit. The young man shook his head and took a step back.
“Uncle Ramon…” Nemo whispered to the other party, but he didn’t know what to say. The grey parrot slipped to his feet, grabbed Nemo’s clothes with difficulty, and climbed onto his shoulders, but Nemo didn’t bother to pay attention to it at all…
Old Ramon didn’t look too good.
The golden thread-like mantra was still swimming in his left hand like a living thing, but his whole entire right arm was almost entirely bone. The poisonous gas from the deadwood jellyfish was devouring this old man. His flesh and blood gradually melted, dripping down his bones as they fell to the ground, like a wax doll that was too close to fire. However, the smile remained on his face. There wasn’t the slightest trace of a frown, as if he didn’t know what pain was.
Old Ramon obviously heard Nemo’s muttering, as he turned his face and nodded at him. His gaze seemed to stay on the gray parrot for a few seconds.
“Ollie.” Then he turned his gaze back to his son. “I’m really sorry.”
This time, Nemo took a few steps back. He didn’t like what he saw in front of him, and he didn’t dare imagine Oliver Ramon’s mood at all. He too had lost a loved one when Patrick Light died on a soft bed. It wasn’t painful to walk, but the moment the old man closed his eyes, he felt as if someone had punched him in the gut and stirred his internal organs into meat sauce.
“I have a dagger in my belt, but unfortunately I can’t hand it to you,” Old Ramon said. The bones on his right shoulder began to show white. “I have to control this big guy.”
Oliver’s Adam’s apple bobbed, as if he had lost his ability to speak. He stared at the white bones on his father’s shoulders, seeing the flesh and blood flowing down like hot wax. He didn’t even dare to move or breathe, as if worried that the disturbed air flow would make the flesh and blood crackle and fall even faster.
“I don’t have time to explain to you, son.” Old Ramon grinned. “This is all my responsibility… I’m sorry.”
He didn’t seem to plan to explain anything at all. He just apologized repeatedly.
“But you have grown so big.” As he was talking, his ribs could faintly be seen under the melted flesh. “When I see your mother, at least I won’t be scolded too badly by her… Come on, son.”
He gently urged.
“It’s too late.”
Nemo couldn’t watch it anymore. He was out of breath. He felt that he had stepped into a nightmare that was about to run its course through his life. Even standing quietly was like stepping on someone’s wound. This cognition made it unbearable, and he wanted to escape from here, but his legs were too soft to obey.
Just as he tried to move, Oliver moved.
He quickly drew out the dagger, and then gave his father a hug as he pointed the tip of the dagger towards him. He didn’t ask for anything, and he didn’t seem to care about the melted flesh and blood. The young man was holding the hilt of the dagger in his right hand, while his left hand was holding his father tightly, as if trying to distract each other’s pain. The white coat he had on was soaked in a mess by the blood of his close relative.
Nemo couldn’t see his face, but he could hear his steady voice.
“It’s okay, Dad,” he said; his voice clear and firm. “I don’t blame you.”
“…I don’t blame you.”
The huge monster gradually became transparent, and eventually the pale figure completely dissipated in the air. The small town was still burning, but the frightening sense of oppression was missing. As if centuries had passed, Oliver slowly bent down and carefully placed his father’s body on the grass.
Nemo tentatively walked forward with staggering steps. He wanted to pat Oliver on the back but felt that this comforting gesture was completely unsuitable for the occasion, so he bitterly retracted his outstretched hand. He didn’t know what to say, but he intuitively couldn’t leave Oliver alone.
The town was still emitting billowing smoke in the distance, as Oliver was half kneeling in front of the corpse, motionless, like a tombstone.
Nemo didn’t have a hero complex, but he wasn’t cold-hearted either. Seeing others in pain but doing nothing gave him a tingling sense of guilt. Unfortunately, while he could skillfully laugh at his younger siblings, he could only remain silent before the truly incomprehensible sadness.
“Sir—!” He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but a sudden scream came from not far away. “Murderer!”
Nemo was taken aback and didn’t realize who they were referring to until an arrow flew across Oliver’s cheek and almost hit him, who was standing behind him.
‘I can explain.’ Nemo thought. ‘I’m a witness. I can prove it—’
The gray parrot, which had been neglected for a long time, let out a roar that did not belong to a bird at this moment. An unknown light lit up and radiated out along the ground like lightning, leaving some conspicuous traces of corrosion in the night.
“…It’s abyssal magic…”
More human voices were mixed with the increasingly clear sound of armor rubbing. The garrison had arrived late. Their steel armor reflected the vague light of fire, giving off a bright orange edge to them. Nemo couldn’t clearly see their faces.
“There are demon worshippers here. We have to report it…”
Nemo glanced at the arrow stuck on the ground. He instinctively thought, ‘Ask for help’. He could ask for help. As long as they explain things well, they can be saved, and all this will be over. They still have time to return to their original lives. Oliver will be sad for a while, but they can talk about it then…
Suddenly, a hand grabbed his wrist with astonishing strength, causing Nemo to gasp for air. He didn’t realize when Oliver had stood up. With bloody hands, he grabbed Nemo’s wrist tightly, turned, and ran towards the road that they were on.
Nemo was almost dragged forward; his mind hadn’t even registered what was going on.
It wasn’t easy for them to talk, considering the speed at which they were moving was close to frantically running for their lives. The gray parrot had fallen off when Oliver pulled him, and he wasn’t sure whether or not it was still following them. They ran like this until the two stumbled towards the Frontier Forest. Fierce shouts and screams could faintly be heard from behind, but it was all scattered by the winds and they couldn’t hear the contents clearly.
When they got to the forest, the sound of their chasers finally disappeared completely.
Oliver slowed down his steps while Nemo collapsed on the ground and began coughing. Although his physique could be considered good, he usually only did work in managing the bookshelf at the library, so he was completely unaccustomed to such intense exercise. After accumulating a night of fear, confusion, and anxiety, Nemo found that he could hardly think normally. His whole body was exhausted and he wanted to faint.
After he finished coughing, he raised his head and looked at the young man in front of him.
Oliver stood there with his back tightly stretched. He was also gasping violently but didn’t make much noise. He stood there upright as the dim moonlight leaked through the branches allowing Nemo to see the tears that were clearly flowing down his face.
“You…” Nemo subconsciously wanted to ask if he was okay but felt what complete nonsense that was. He decided to change the subject to try and distract the other party. “Why did you run?”
“You made a wish, right?” Oliver grinned, as if trying to squeeze out a smile, but he didn’t succeed. “That thing uses abyssal magic. No matter what you say, you’ll be treated like a demon worshiper…”
Nemo certainly knew what a demon worshiper was. There were always those out there who liked to use magic to control demons. They yearned for the abyss, though they lived under the sky. However, his understanding was only at the level of “the law stipulates that collaborating with demons is a capital crime”. According to Oliver’s tone, the “punishment” may be worse than he anticipated.
“Then… You don’t have to run away with me,” he stuttered. “Besides, we can prove our innocence by being each other’s witnesses.”
“But it’s a fact that I’m a murderer,” Oliver whispered. “No one will believe what a demon worshiper will say.”
He had originally wanted to divert the other’s attention, but it had circled back anyways. Nemo felt discouraged. “But you’re his son. They can’t—”
“So, after killing my father, I have to abandon the person who saved my life from that monster?” Oliver finally gave a wry smile. “I don’t want to be that much of an asshole.”
He stretched out his hand to Nemo, as if to pull him up. In the dim moonlight, the bloodstains on his hands were almost black, making them extremely dazzling.
Oliver looked at his hand in silence and suddenly puked. Nemo got up from the ground in fright and patted him on the back hurriedly. Oliver seemed to have emptied out his entire stomach. He didn’t howl or sob, but his whole body was shaking badly.
Nemo sniffled and turned his gaze away. He looked at the familiar forest in front of him. He came and went here countless times to gather mushrooms or bird eggs to add meals to the little ones in the orphanage. At this moment, it felt terribly unfamiliar. It seemed that someone had dragged them out of a world that relied on common sense and left them in some magical realm with the same scenery but full of dangers.
“Let’s run away together,” he whispered, still patting the young man’s back. Oliver wiped his face and turned his head slightly to look at him.
“I said, let’s run away together.” Nemo raised his voice this time. These words used up almost all his courage. “Or do you have any better ideas?”
“So this is where you guys are!” Before he could adjust his emotions, a rough voice intervened. The two of them subconsciously looked at the source of the sound; the thin gray parrot that was trotting over. “How dare you leave me—”
Nemo immediately threw the topic of escape into the air, squatted down and grabbed it by the neck. His anger directly overshadowed the fear and pain. “What spell did you just use indiscriminately?!”
“Didn’t you see someone shoot you with an arrow?” The grey parrot replied in shock. “Do you have a death wish?”
“…That has nothing to do with you.” Nemo gritted his teeth.
“How come it has nothing to do with me?!” The gray parrot’s feathers exploded, and its voice rose a pitch. “I haven’t settled accounts with you yet. Where is my power? I thought things would return to normal after the contract was completed, so spit out my power—”
It finally realized that it had wings, and it fluttered frantically in Nemo’s hands.
“Things can return to normal…?” Oliver stood up straight.
The gray parrot stopped fluttering.
“Yes.” Its neck was grabbed by Nemo, but it still tried to pose proudly. “I’ve fulfilled his wish, and he gave me his body. Is there any problem?”
“Is this thing really a demon?” Nemo recalled. “…Are you talking about the demon’s contract?”
“I’m the superior demon Bagelmaurus.” The grey parrot raised its head vigorously, but due to body’s problems, this move didn’t bring the slightest deterrent.
“I don’t think so.” Nemo hesitated for a few seconds, but still said his thoughts. He let go of the hand choking the grey parrot, allowing it to plop to the ground. “It’s too…”
Compared with a legendary, powerful, and mysterious superior demon, it was too stupid.
“…I understand.” This time, his attention was successfully distracted. A little life seemed to have come back to Oliver. “It’s very common for demons to lie.”
The gray parrot let out a sneer, but a bird making this kind of notion without momentum only looked ridiculous.
“You’ll know if you try,” it snorted angrily at Nemo. “Part of my flesh is in your body. Although I don’t know why I can’t control it… You should be able to use spells on the level of a superior demon now.”
It then uttered a long string of obscure syllables. Nemo looked at it with some embarrassment.
“It’s too hard to remember.” He frankly admitted. He didn’t want to torture his brain given the bad situation that they were in.
The parrot rolled its eyes and changed it to a shorter one. After repeating it more than ten times, Nemo finally managed to memorize the mouthful pronunciation. He hesitantly stretched out his uninjured left hand and recited the string of syllables quickly. Oliver, who was at his side, took a few steps back and held his breath.
“This is impossible!” the parrot squawked. “You must have read it wrong!”
Nemo sighed and repeated it again—still nothing happened.
The grey parrot, who claimed to be a superior demon, was stunned. It stared at Nemo in a daze, looking inexplicably pitiful.
“I have no magical talent. I can’t even activate the most basic lighting magic.” Nemo shrugged, feeling a little relieved as this thing now seemed to have no longer had intentions of killing him. “You lied to the wrong person.”
“Let’s go.” Oliver rubbed the blood on his hands as he stared at the ground. “It’s best to go through the woods tonight… After crossing the border, they won’t be able to catch us.”
Although Nemo felt that he was on the verge of exhaustion and would collapse on the ground any minute now, he still nodded vigorously. ‘But what do we do after crossing the border?’ he thought bitterly.
He was afraid none of them knew where to go or what to do.
“Okay, let’s go,” he said, ignoring the gray parrot, who was still in a daze.
“Wait! That brat over there—” the gray parrot yelled from behind them. “I still have proof. Don’t you want to know what your father just did?”
Its voice sounded happy and vicious.
“Don’t you want to know? Why did your father use the ‘domination’ on the superior demon?”
The first three chapters are just the prologue, but it’s already very exciting.
<<< || Table of Contents || >>>
2 thoughts on “Stray Ch2”
wonder why that demon even formed contract w/ Nemo? like what did it want to do after it’s flesh was in Nemo?
That’s sad. And I’m sorry, I’m calling the demon Bagel XD
Thank you for picking this up, I can’t wait to read more!
LikeLiked by 2 people