Stray Ch3

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 3: A Blind Blow

The temptation of demons was not always effective.

“No,” Oliver didn’t answer. “I have no reason to believe you.”

That wasn’t the answer the parrot expected, so it simply took action. The same golden mantra that was used back then suddenly started spreading, pulling out a fat spider from the darkness.

The hanging spider blocked their way. It instinctively curled its eight legs in the air and its abdomen split from the middle, revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth and biting in vain in the direction of the parrot. Transparent saliva splattered everywhere, almost spraying all over Oliver’s body.

Subordinate demonic spider-dogs were as common in the forest as ordinary spiders. Their teeth were poisonous, and their saliva was horribly sticky, but they weren’t very difficult to deal with. It was a miracle that this thing had grown to half a meter long, as usually ordinary people would just kill them by whacking them with a shovel.

The next moment, the golden threads suddenly tightened, and the spider-dog disappeared into thin air.

“Does it look familiar?” The parrot clicked its beak triumphantly. However, the two stupid humans were unmoved and ignored it tacitly, continuing on their way.

“Ramon… Um, Oliver.” After a few minutes, Nemo couldn’t help but speak. “Are you really not going to listen to it?”

“Demons cannot be trusted,” Oliver said quickly, with a stiff tone, as if he was reciting those boring safety regulations. Nemo hurriedly shut his mouth as Oliver didn’t sound eager to talk at this moment.

The two men marched silently into the depths of the forest.

It was midsummer at this time, which meant more lush branches and leaves that made the night even darker. While the sounds of birds and insects were fine, the rustling noise of a body sliding across the ground or through the bushes was quite dreadful. These unknown movements sounded far and near enough that it made Nemo start to hate his imagination. Oliver continued walking in front of him without saying a word, leaving him to stare at only a vague figure.

Nemo touched the goosebumps on his arm. The courage he had just mustered had already been wiped out. He stared at the back of Oliver’s head, not even sure if he was still the original “human” that was walking in front of him.

Despite his cautiousness, he couldn’t help but say a few words to prevent himself from being driven mad by the dark forest.

“Oliver, why don’t we take a break… We’re both very tired. In case we encounter something…” He paused as he wanted to give himself some face and quickly covered it up with a dry smile. “I mean, it’s also important to regain some of our strength.”

Oliver turned his head. Although it was pitch black all around, Nemo could still see the familiar facial features of his face from this distance. He couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. Fortunately, everything was just in his head.

“Ok.” Oliver cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, I just… I haven’t been into the woods at night, so I’m not sure…”

He might as well not say it, as Nemo closed his eyes in pain. Even now, he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to stop and rest. He even began to feel pity for the monsters that had not attacked them until now. Considering they lacked knowledge, weapons, and were exhausted both physically and mentally, they were like two hot and fresh warm meals waiting to be served, with a sign lighting up as if inviting the forest’s occupants to come have dinner.

Roadside Town was located on the border between Garland and Alban, with Garland being on the west side of the Frontier Forest. Since Roadside Town was a small transportation hub, the nearby forest wasn’t too difficult to traverse. The Garland people would usually come to do business, and seasoned adventurers could pass through the woods within a day.

However, unless the situation was urgent, no one would step into the Frontier Forest at night. It was too close to the Abyss, and there were as many messy species as there were stars in the sky. God knew what kind of creature that they had never seen before would suddenly appear. The most popular horror stories in Roadside Town used the Frontier Forest at night as their setting.

Terrified by those horror story, it only added more suffocation to Nemo. Just as he was letting his imagination run wild, something grabbed his head. Nemo shuddered violently, barely managing to hold back the scream that was rushing out of his throat.

At the same time, Oliver, who was walking in front, fell forward silently. Nemo didn’t dare look back, nor did he dare move forward. The clothes on his back were completely soaked with cold sweat. Before he had time to imagine the dangerous situation ahead and what monsters were behind him, a familiar and annoying voice sounded again…

“Why the fuck are you leaving me again—” The gray parrot squawked as it angrily jumped up and down on his head. “Did I give you permission to go!”

Nemo was determined to ignore it.

“Oliver,” he took a short step forward nervously, “are you okay?”

The young man, who had just fallen, got up silently, stretched out his right hand, and a small flame ignited in his palm. The soft light cut through the darkness.

For the first time in his life, Nemo never loved light as much as in this moment. Perhaps due to safety concerns, the fire was the size of a walnut and could only illuminate a few steps ahead of them, but it was enough for the two of them to see the culprit who tripped Oliver. Several human bones were scattered on the ground, covered in an unknown filth. What looked like a string of eyeballs was drilling in and out of the skeleton’s empty eye sockets, creating an amazing visual effect.

Oliver’s face turned blue while Nemo rescinded his love just now and his hatred for light came boiling from the bottom of his heart.

“It’s just an eyeball centipede. This thing only eats carrion.” The grey parrot sneered, and then seemed to have thought of something serious. “I say… The two of you don’t have any ability to protect yourselves, do you?”

“Dad… My father taught me a little basic swordsmanship before,” Oliver whispered as he moved the fireball, sounding a bit despondent, “but I haven’t cut a living thing before.”

“I work in the library, so don’t count on it,” Nemo replied, matter-of-factly, with a hint of righteous despair. “I have only ever used knives in the kitchen.”

“Fuck, two losers—” The grey parrot was distressed.

“…Didn’t you call yourself a superior demon?” Nemo couldn’t help pouring all his grievances and anger towards the bird, wishing that every word had thorns in it. “Then, my dear Mr. Bagelmaurus, why do you care about the combat experience of two lowly humans? It stands to reason that no matter how strong we are, we can’t possibly compare to a single hand of yours.”

“Because an idiot caused me to lose most of my strength,” the parrot retaliated by pulling on his hair.

“I may not be comparable to an intermediate demon now, but the person who stole my power can’t even hold back a fart,” it squawked sadly as it pecked his fingers angrily.

“There are three swords here.” Oliver was beginning to get a headache caused by the quarrel between the two of them, so he quickly interjected. “Light, do you want one?” As he said it, he moved the fireball closer thoughtfully, and the filth on the hilt of the sword was illuminated clearly.

Nemo poked the hilt of the sword with his left hand causing the unknown filth to stick to his fingertips along with the wrapping.

“No need,” he replied, shaking his swollen right wrist. “It doesn’t seem convenient.”

Oliver nodded and said nothing. He picked up a relatively clean-looking one-handed sword and waved it around.

“You don’t have to be so nervous. Even if I am not in the best of shape, those stupid bastards will not get close.” The gray parrot jumped off Nemo’s head. It was hard to say whether it wanted to appease them or was just showing off. “They can sense class suppression. This is instinct—”

“Are you going to follow us?” Nemo interrupted the parrot’s chattering unceremoniously.

“Until I get my strength back.” The grey parrot puffed out its chest. “Thanks to you two—”

“Alright, alright. I know.” Nemo interrupted it again, impatiently. The Frontier Forest was a wonderful place surrounded by boundless darkness and monsters. Nemo no longer had the strength to be afraid of this noisy bird.

It was always reassuring if they had weapons. They cautiously passed the corpses and continued to advance in the dark. There was no one to lead them, they had no map, and there was nothing beneath them that could even be remotely called a road. As they ventured forward, the shrubs got denser. The two young men were dressed thinly, in tune with the summer season. They didn’t know how many cuts were made on their legs and how many poisonous burrs they had rubbed against, but their speed did not slow down. Fear and tension sometimes were much more effective than anesthetics.

“…Would you like something to eat?” This was probably the reason for the high degree of tension right now. Although he was exhausted to death, Nemo wasn’t troubled by drowsiness. Oliver had just puked out all the contents in his stomach not long ago, that even the night couldn’t hide his pale, stricken face. The young man kept walking ahead with a dirty sword as his clothes were soaked in blood as his back shivered. 

Nemo touched the package on his belt that held a little butter, jerky, and hard bread. It was barely enough to feed two. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any water.

“Let’s eat something.” He lied, “I brought a lot, so don’t hold back.”

As he said it, he handed a small package wrapped in oil paper over, and instantly the delicate aroma of butter wafted.

“Thank you.” Oliver whispered. He turned around but did not pick up the small paper bag. “You can keep it first. I’m not hungry yet—”

Without warning, his voice got stuck strangely. Suddenly, Oliver used his sword to pierce Nemo’s ear, trembling, as he drew a bloody gash in his ear. It was hard to say whether Nemo felt the pain first in his ear or felt the sense of heat coming from behind him. In the next second, a hoarse roar exploded from behind, causing Nemo to turn his head stiffly.

Ratliff wolfhounds.

The garrison in Roadside Town were indeed experienced, as they didn’t intend to give them a chance to cross the border. Ratliff wolfhounds were experts at catching fugitives. They knew to gnaw off the limbs of sinners and take their heads back to the cross.

The thing was taller than them just by standing.

When Nemo read about these wolfhounds before, he often wondered how the garrison could afford to support these big guys. Seeing them now, drooling with saliva, he believed that he had found the answer.

“This isn’t appropriate.” Nemo began to regret that he hadn’t grabbed a sword just then. “We haven’t been formally convicted yet!”

“It’s because a demon intervened,” Oliver pointed his sword at the wolfhound and glanced at the parrot with his eyes.

The gray parrot dodged his look as it gazed into the sky.

Ratliff wolfhounds were inherently cautious and human training had made them cunning. At that moment, the wolfhound lowered its body slightly and stared at Oliver’s shaking sword. Its eyes cast a green glow in the dark.

He wasn’t sure if it was due to fatigue, nervousness, or fear, but Oliver’s sword shook even more severely. The duel wasn’t fair from the beginning, and the beast didn’t intend to give him any time to prepare or warm up. The wolfhound seemed to have discovered its opponent’s vulnerability, and it jumped up with a low growl, creating blue halos that rippled out like water lines.

Nemo’s vision was instantly engulfed by darkness.

His heart suddenly tightened, as if he was clenched by cold claws. The beast did not underestimate its enemy, despite their lack of combat power.

There was nothing more terrifying than losing your vision unknowingly. Nemo clenched his fist in pain. The huge beast was mere steps away from him, and he had no idea when it would rush over. All kinds of weird noises and chirping in the depths of the forest were instantly amplified, and his temples felt like they were pierced by awls. His brain wanted to burst from all the chaotic sounds.

He couldn’t help but hug his head and bend down towards a thorny bush until a repressed scream filled his ears.

“Oliver!” Nemo yelled subconsciously, ignoring his swollen and painful wrist and blindly sticking out his right hand in the direction of the sound.

“Don’t come over!” The other party cried back almost immediately. “It’s just a scratch. It’s still here… Don’t come over!”

“Bagelmaurus, didn’t you call yourself a superior demon?!” Nemo struggled to push a bush aside that was in his way. “Do something!”

“The rest of my strength was used up just now!” He didn’t know in which direction the parrot’s voice sounded from. “This thing doesn’t have demonic blood. I can’t control it. You have to think of a solution yourself…”

Think my fucking ass. Nemo gritted his teeth. Think about what? How to die more decently? If this thing regards itself as a superior demon, then he could call himself the fucking Pope!

How ridiculous.

Usually, at this time, he would be lying in bed with some honey tea at his bedside. If he was in a good mood, he would read a few books under candlelight. Everything would be safe and warm.

He didn’t know why, but suddenly he was struck with the urge to live.

Nemo broke off a branch that felt relatively sturdy and rushed out of the bushes. He squeezed the branch tightly in his left hand and felt around aimlessly with his right, desperately trying to sense the heavy breath of the wolfhound that contained a fishy smell amidst the countless noises. The moment his right hand touched fur, Nemo raised his left hand and vigorously stabbed his stick, poking something.

However, a miracle didn’t happen.

The thick-skinned wolfhound wasn’t injured, and Nemo wasn’t lucky enough to poke at its eyes. His left arm was wrapped in something warm as it was followed by a creepy crunching sound. Nemo couldn’t suppress his screams as he pulled his left arm away frantically. He broke free from the wolf’s mouth, but it didn’t get rid of the pain. In addition, the pain on the back of his neck where he was drilled was starting to itch, and his brain was boiling in agony.

I don’t want to die.

He stared at the darkness in front of him, his teeth clenched tightly, and his mouth was full of blood.

I don’t want to die. At least not here.

His right hand was still clutching the thick fur. The wolfhound shook its body vigorously, but the young man seemed to nail himself onto it, as if his clenched right hand was like iron pliers.

If he couldn’t see and couldn’t escape, it was better to just fight for his life than to die in fear like a coward!

“Oliver,” he called hoarsely. “Oliver!”

“Nemo, stay away.” A weak response came from not far away. “I can’t see it anymore. I might hurt you by mistake—”

“Attack here!” Nemo gripped tighter onto the piece of fur, clinging to life to prevent the wolfhound from chewing him to pieces. “I caught it. Come to me!”

Oliver took a deep breath.

“…Okay.” He replied slowly, without unnecessary nonsense. “I’m going to cut it. Be careful.”

Nemo dug his fingers into the wolfhound’s fur as he smiled weakly in the direction of the voice.

Come on. He thought coldly. He could only hand his fate over to God now.

Suddenly, something cold swept by, and the wolfhound let out a hoarse roar as warm liquid poured all over its face. Nemo found that his left shoulder was tender, but the severe pain prevented him from thinking about it further. There was only one thought in his mind—I’m alive.

Even if half of his body was burning with pain, he was still alive.

The gray parrot looked at everything silently among the branches. It stared at its contractor. Nemo Light’s left arm was bitten to pieces by the ratliff wolfhound, while Oliver Ramon’s sword lopped off a piece of the wolfhound’s left shoulder. The blood from the wolfhound mixed with Nemo’s own, covering him completely.

However, the young man himself seemed to be unaware since he did not collapse because of blood loss. Rather, it was the opposite—the terrifying wound started squirming rapidly as his bones began to recover. Muscle tissue slowly started to form before finally the skin covered everything back up. In less than a minute, Nemo’s left arm was intact again, as good as before, as if he had never been injured in the first place. Nemo hobbled closer to Oliver, ignorant about the entire event.

On the other hand, Oliver, who was sturdier than him, had lost too much blood. He dropped the broken sword from his hand and knelt weakly on the ground before collapsing forward.

“Wow,” the grey parrot smacked its beak, “for someone who’s ‘never cut a living thing before’… For your first time, I must say, well done.”

In the golden eyes of the bird, Nemo lugged Oliver’s arm around his neck and carried his companion forward with great care and difficulty, while behind them lay a huge wolfhound motionless on the ground…

It was nearly split in half and behind it was a fan-shaped spot of ten meters that once had lush trees but was blasted completely clean, replaced with an empty ground that was covered with thick frost.

<<< || Table of Contents || >>>


5 thoughts on “Stray Ch3

  1. I went it to this rather blind, not reading much of the summary. And tbh, I wasn’t on board right away because of how it began. However, this is getting a bit more immersive and I like the dynamic of the two leads. I’m interested in knowing how they will grow these new powers and abilities, how their relationship will develop, what will happen next, and if they will ever clear their names of being demon worshippers.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s