Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 16: The Worst Situation
“The Seymour Worm at test site 327 died of unnatural causes.”
“Who’s in charge of Noer?”
“Troy Fenrir’s Steel Wolf Mercenary Regiment.”
“Show the images from the bugs.”
“Eighty-three minutes ago, there were two records of two effective attacks, one physical and one mental spell suspected to be bewitchment. None of them died.”
“Let Troy report the reason. After determining the attack, release Pandorater at the test site in Noer.”
The tin badge on Fenrir’s chest suddenly vibrated up and down like a living creature. He skillfully removed it and turned on the message from the Guild Headquarters on the back. He was instantly shocked.
Out of boredom, Thorne was directing a surveillance bug to do a figure-eight dance in the air. Fenrir’s movement wasn’t small, causing him to become distracted and the figure-eight dance suddenly dispersed.
“What’s the matter?” Thorne yawned.
“Retreat!” Fenrir didn’t answer his question but looked at the crystal flakes in his pocket and crushed them, then ordered angrily, “Everyone, retreat immediately!”
“The Seymour Worm is dead.” Fenrir grabbed the back of Thorne’s collar and rushed towards the still black shadow in the forest. “Damn it!”
“Impossible! My bug just confirmed ten minutes ago that it was still alive! The two kids who came into contact with it recently have already run away, and no one has touched it again. Even if I missed it, it’s impossible to kill it this quietly… Ow, take it easy—” Thorne’s eyes rolled to the back of his head as he was strangled by his collar.
“Headquarters won’t make a mistake. Its vital signs have disappeared.” Fenrir stepped on the branches and hurried forward, squeezing out his words one by one through gritted teeth. “They want us to confirm the cause of death immediately, and then start remedial procedures.”
“Wait, wait. Is the remedial procedure the legendary…”
“It’s because a legendary fool attacked it!”
They weren’t far from the huge worm. There were still icicles and broken corpses left at the scene. The trees staggered after being crushed by the worm while the sun exposed the bare ground, revealing a deep cold and the smell of blood that permeated the air.
Fenrir made an extremely ugly face. Without even taking a breath, he threw Thorne to the side and took out an identification crystal and stabbed it directly into the body of the huge worm. The worm lay there quietly. All the eyeballs that had surfaced during the battle sank into its body at this moment. The originally slimy black skin had lost its water and color, leaving behind a fragile figure that was like pudding.
“Someone did this on purpose. It’s ‘sweet dreams’.” Fenrir squinted his eyes at the muddy crystal. “It stands to reason that the worm can drink ten full barrels of wine. I don’t know why this one…” He pulled out the crystal and carefully observed the lines on it. “…Its magic power is severely exhausted.”
“A demon toxin that has just become popular recently. The price is quite high. It’s not difficult to buy, but we can’t trace its source.”
“Even if someone did this on purpose, there’s no need to start the program—”
“It’s useless. Hurry up and leave this damn place quickly. The others in the group should have successfully retreated.” Fenrir took a deep breath and smiled wryly. “We can’t determine the motive of the murderer. It’s just a few hundred Black Chapter reserves. Headquarters won’t mind.”
“I mean, this place is going to be wiped out. Remember to get your bugs back.”
“…Escape with that person? You’d better cure your idealism quickly,” Ann remarked indifferently. There was no resonance at all. “People who live in peaceful areas are sentimental. When someone puts a knife to your throat or your wife’s, you’re probably not in the mood to consider whether that person is innocent or not.”
Oliver chuckled but didn’t respond. He stretched out and laid on the grass. The summer sky was amazingly blue. Fatigue distracted his mind as he unconsciously stretched out his hand towards the dark blue, but before Oliver could straighten his arm, he was directly pinned back by another arm.
Nemo was still fast asleep and had thrown his arm around Oliver’s neck with considerable strength. Oliver’s throat was numb from the blow and he almost coughed. He moved out helplessly and suddenly felt a slight vibration.
He was puzzled for a few seconds. Although “being hugged unconsciously by someone in his sleep” sounded exciting, he didn’t think he would feel moved because he was slammed on the neck by a man. Suddenly, he found that the whole world was shaking slightly, and he hurriedly got up. Ann had already assumed a vigilant posture, ready to fight at any moment.
Nemo frowned slightly because his arm was lifted, muttered a few words in an unclear manner, and then snored slightly.
At the same time, the tremors became more obvious.
“An earthquake?” Oliver asked loudly amidst the increasing clear cracking sound of the ground shaking.
“I don’t know!” Ann yelled back. “There shouldn’t be an earthquake. I haven’t encountered this situation before!”
The gray parrot suddenly used magic to split the vines apart, as if its state of helplessness just now didn’t exist. It flew around them, fluttering its wings excitedly: “Finally!” it screamed. “The smell of the same kind. The smell of the same kind—ow!”
With three living things around him making noise, even the dead would rise. Nemo got up groggily and looked at the bird that was acting crazy in the air.
“What’s going on?” he asked in a low voice.
Nemo’s brain was still in a chaotic state after just waking up. His hair was messy as he didn’t have time to tidy it up. His slightly long hair was resting on his shoulders in a scattered manner, rubbing against his neck, giving him a slight itch. He almost thought he was dreaming. All of this was a ridiculous and long dream. Geographically, there shouldn’t be any earthquakes in Noer, so this was completely unrealistic.
Seeing that the man was about to lie down again, Oliver hurriedly went over and grabbed him by the collar.
“…What are you doing?” Nemo said, slightly annoyed.
“Now is not the time to take a nap.” Ann looked around. “Thank him because you need to get on your feet now!”
“It’s coming!” The gray parrot was still wailing, as if its secret crush was about to come over. “It’s coming—!”
Nemo rubbed his eyes and immediately woke up. No longer muddled, he soon found that the culprit had appeared. A scarlet column of gas spewed out from the worm, but it didn’t spread out naturally like ordinary gas and instead split up like octopus tentacles and rushed to the ground. The vibration gradually became slower as the gas continued to spew, which didn’t reassure them much.
“What is that?” Nemo stared at the pillar of gas. There was no doubt that it was rushing in their direction.
“Pandorater, the Beauty of the Abyss.” The parrot’s unpleasant voice was full of longing. “So they dance like that… Ho, ho.”
The other three couldn’t understand and didn’t intend to understand its aesthetic at all. They couldn’t even distinguish between an arm or a leg on that thing.
“What will it do?” Ann stared warily at the gas column.
“How would I know?!” The parrot rolled its eyes. “Not all superior demons know each other. Would you know what a beautiful girl walking down the street wants to do?”
“But I can at least understand her expression,” Ann gritted her teeth and replied.
They didn’t care whether it was the parrot’s dream lover or not. The humans present had more important concerns… Although no one wanted to believe it, there was some truth in what the parrot said. The thing that was about to collide with them was a superior demon.
“Well, she doesn’t look very happy,” the parrot whispered. “It must be you humans who made her unhappy.”
“I have read in a book that the body of a superior demon shouldn’t be able to leave the Abyss—” Nemo frowned, trying to recall more details from the autobiography of a clergyman he had once read.
“Yes, well, to put it in a way you can understand; that thing is at most, one of her arms,” the parrot said. “What a pity…”
Nemo didn’t feel much loss at all. He turned his head to ask Ann what to do next, but found that the remaining two were sweating and their faces were horribly pale.
“Are you alright?” He swallowed his original question back and replaced it with a different one.
“Don’t you feel it?” Oliver shifted his position to make himself stand more firmly. “…The sense of oppression.”
Ann’s situation seemed slightly better than Oliver’s as she nodded silently in agreement.
Nemo closed his eyes and felt hard. “No.” He shook his head in frustration and looked at Oliver. “Is it uncomfortable? Do you want me to help you?”
Oliver smiled and waved his hand, indicating that he could still stand while Ann glanced at Nemo, giving him a deep look.
“I heard about it once,” she said in a hoarse voice. “I always thought it was fake… But…”
“When I was drinking, I heard mercenaries mention that a demon warlock was mixed in a Black Chapter test once, and she scared off the Seymour Worm… But that was nearly a hundred years ago.”
“Yes. I was also very curious. Demon warlocks are not the peace-loving types, so I inquired more about it. The result I found was… The Black Chapter is a means used by countries to maintain stability, and they will not allow the existence of someone too powerful and aggressive to exist.”
“Aren’t there many solutions? For example, don’t give that person a black badge, or wait for him to join the Black Chapter before rescinding…” Nemo suddenly had a bad feeling.
“You two deserve to be comrades. Two idealistic fools of the same mold.” Ann grinned weakly. “It’s a night long dream*, and the guys above understand that better than anyone else. The Seymour Worm is the Black Chapter’s ceiling, which refers to more than just its strength… Maybe we shouldn’t have resisted it at all.”
*(夜长梦多) Idiom referring to letting something prolonged could make the situation change unfavorably. || The context here is that if a power could defeat the Seymour Worm, then it’s too unstable in strength and needs to be wiped out (thus the idiom) before it becomes uncontrollable.
“You think too much,” the parrot interjected disdainfully. “That worm is still very healthy. It’s no different from cutting your finger with a knife. Fuck, I hate this way of speaking in metaphors in order to make you understand. I’m becoming a god damn poet; in short, it has enough magic for it to recover three to four times over when it’s on the verge of death, and the taste was particularly quite rich.”
“You killed it?!” Nemo strangled the bird’s neck and shook it a few times.
“Bah, no!” the parrot roared, looking like it wanted to spit in Nemo’s face. “Don’t you think I didn’t want to? Do you think I could eat something like that with my size? I can only take in a few mouthfuls of magic from it. It still has a lot left. It’s alive and well—!”
Before it finished screaming, the shadow of the worm in the distance shattered like foam as red mist rolled over.
“…Well, now it’s dead.” The gray parrot added bitterly, “I didn’t do it though.”
“In other words, you’re saying they will bring in a more powerful demon than the Seymour Worm to get rid of the ‘instability factor’, right?” Oliver concluded as he pointed to the red mist that had touched the edge of the grass. “Basically, to eliminate us?”
The mist was like a scarlet tide, pouring into the forest. It seemed difficult to tell whether it was a gas or a liquid being so close to it. It swept the shrubs and tree trunks, though the plants seemed to be unaffected by it. At the edge of the red mist, more than a dozen people and several animals were rushing in their direction.
A deer that was seemingly injured was running slower, got one of its hind legs caught in the mist. The mist that touched the fresh flesh suddenly came to life and enveloped the deer—
Tearing it to pieces.
They really can’t catch a break.