Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 28: Fallen Star
Nemo knew very well that at this moment they should stay collected and accept the conversation calmly, but thinking about it was much easier than actually doing it. He simmered for a long time before finally hardening his heart and letting out an “Mm”.
The superior demon in human skin smiled even more brightly.
“Are these Mr. Edwards’ friends?” The chubby bishop looked like a kind-hearted old man. When he smiled, his face looked ruddy and cheerful.
“We happened to meet before,” the demon said, turning his gaze away from Nemo. “Then I won’t bother your lordship. I’ll consider what you said.”
The bishop nodded in satisfaction, “May the glory of Zenni shine on you forever, dear Mr. Edwards. Both of you, please come with me.”
The demon accepted the blessing calmly, with a smile on his face. The bishop stepped into the room first. Oliver took in a breath and followed in, and just as Nemo was about to follow up, the voice of “Cahill” sounded from behind him…
“Don’t be like a stranger,” he said softly. “If you want to know more, just ask me.”
He stared at Nemo. For a few seconds, his right eye wasn’t an ordinary eyeball. Countless pupil-like things flowed onto the red eyeball, squeezing and fusing with each other. Nemo almost threw up at the sight. He turned his head and rushed into the room, slammed the door, and put his back against it, as if the thin wooden door could resist the power of a superior demon.
It’s just a piece of flesh from a superior demon. He made every effort to console himself in his heart. Cahill, like Bagelmaurus, was just a piece of flesh. He shouldn’t give in to despair. When he calmed down and raised his head, he found that the bishop and Oliver were staring at him together.
“Your friend… His mind is really not stable.” The room was divided into two parts by a gleaming silver railing. The bishop opened a small metal door and sat on a leather chair opposite the railing. Behind him was a spacious window, and the afterglow of the setting sun added a golden outline to the fat old man, which made him look sacred.
When the old man snapped his fingers, suddenly the other side of the railing, the ceiling, the ground, and the surrounding wall, including the wooden door they had just passed through, were all sealed tightly by a thin silver fence. The two were instantly locked in a silver cage.
“Don’t be nervous, my children,” the bishop comforted them as he saw their shocked faces. “This is a fixed procedure, which can save us a lot of trouble. Your friend may experience a bit of pain. Now come, my child. Sit down first.” He turned his head to Oliver.
Before Oliver had time to ask what “a bit of pain” meant, the wall on one side slowly slid open, revealing a huge sacred emblem. The center of the triangle made of three feathers was no longer empty but filled with a complex magic array with silver wires as the stroke. A white light the size of a nail cover was embedded in the middle of the magic array, and it shone with a silver shimmer under its effects.
Nemo naturally noticed it, but he didn’t suffer any form of pain. He stared at the bright white dot and stretched out his hand as if possessed.
Even with the light at his back, Oliver could see the bishop frowning. He quickly activated the charm technique. Thank God. The bishop’s brows drooped, and his expression turned blank.
“Don’t touch it yet!” After confirming that there wasn’t a problem, Oliver immediately warned.
Nemo recovered instantly. He stared at the dot with some wonderment for a while, then retracted his hand and turned his gaze back to the bishop.
“Please… Um, please tell us everything you know about Adrian Cross.” Although the charm technique was successfully enacted, there was still discomfort in Oliver’s voice.
“He’s a dirty traitor. A hateful heretic,” the bishop said in a voice without any emotion. “A man who does whatever it takes for his status.”
“What do you mean?”
“Adrian Cross and Mr. Edwards are friends who grew up together,” the bishop said. “I have to admit that he’s a genius that has been hard to ignore since he was a child. At that time, his Holiness even praised him as the ‘Glorious Divine Grace’ and the ‘Bright Morning Star’. We trusted him, taught him, loved him from the bottom of our hearts, and firmly believed that he was the miraculous person referred to in the prophecy. But in the end, he ruined everything!”
Even if he was in the state of enchantment, the bishop’s breathing still became rapid.
“He lost all his magic after the Battle of Kandal. If you ask me, he definitely did something incredibly blasphemous. I have never heard of anyone’s divine grace that can completely disappear, but this was the case. That old man Mercer still trusted him and didn’t throw him out! He even allowed the heretic to stay and work as an inquisitor, which was absolutely ludicrous.”
“Heresy is heresy. He couldn’t even live in peace for two years. He must’ve found that he couldn’t regain his strength and couldn’t stand his low status, so he wanted to find other shortcuts to climb up. That heretic actually falsely accused his best friend, our hero, Mr. Edwards, of being a superior demon! Oh, Zenni is just. Of course, he wouldn’t let that damn bastard succeed. Mr. Edwards’ innocence is impeccable. How ironic that it was him who we found the demon’s seal on.”
“Mr. Edwards even came forward to intercede for him, but the heretic didn’t appreciate it at all. He resolutely did not take back his lies and refused to mention a word about the seal. He probably still fantasized about the one day when his luck would turn. Personally, I sincerely hope that he dies in the dungeon. Of course, Zenni has his own arrangements. There will be no filth left under Zenni’s glory.”
The bishop’s anger almost overshadowed the calming effect of the charm technique, but Nemo couldn’t help being taken aback. Judging by the bishop’s words, Mr. Cross seemed to be quite different from the Knights of Judgement that Ann described. There was quite a considerable gap.
“Is… there anything else?” Oliver tried his best to keep his voice steady.
“Except for the fact that he’ll rot in the dungeon? Nothing else.” The bishop’s tone was mixed with hatred from someone who had been betrayed.
They got less information than they thought. Nemo sighed silently and nudged his elbow towards Oliver. “Ask him what this thing is… I don’t feel uncomfortable now, but if we don’t figure it out, I might get exposed after we lift the spell.”
“What is that?” Oliver pointed to the huge holy emblem.
“A skull fragment from the previous Demon King, Ulysses.” The old man’s tone returned to its monotonous nature. “Before it was lost, His Holiness, the Pope, had removed a piece. It’s a very effective weapon against demons, and even if a higher-level demon is present, it’ll feel uncomfortable after being provoked. It’s a pity that the skull has been lost for so long, and its residual powers are getting thinner by the day. Now, it can only suppress a demon warlock at best.”
Nemo glanced at the small bone fragment again only to feel that his hands were deathly itchy. He obeyed his heart and stretched out his hand across the silver railing and poked it carefully.
Facts had proven that there was a reason why some things shouldn’t be touched indiscriminately. It seemed as if a sharp ice pick had broken through his skull and pierced the back of his head abruptly. Nemo hugged his head and hissed coldly while Oliver glared at him disapprovingly.
“What are you going to do with us?” he asked.
“Put on holy shackles for the black-haired child and begin to prepare for the ceremony. He has one night to spend with his family and loved ones. I will invite dignitaries to sacrifice him to Zenni at sunrise tomorrow.”
Nemo rubbed his forehead, and as soon as he was about to stand up, Oliver pressed his head down again.
“What are you doing?” he asked discontentedly.
Oliver didn’t answer him. “What are the holy shackles?” He returned to his usual cautious style, and the questions he asked flowed out more smoothly. “What effects does it have?”
“The sacred restraint given to us by Zenni can prevent sinners from casting spells. If it isn’t lifted by someone recognized by the holy church within a time limit, its brilliance will burn the body of the sinner.”
“What the hell—!” Nemo squatted on the ground and shouted. “Isn’t Ann overestimating us? Is this really okay?”
“Are there any restrictions on use?” Oliver asked.
“It is only effective on demons and humans below the strength of a demon warlock.”
“…Still! What if I’m really just a demon worshiper—”
“I can persuade him and make him think that he has already put on the holy shackles on you, but I can’t charm everyone in the church at the same time… There are too many loopholes. Nemo, you decide. Do you trust Ann?” Oliver’s tone was extremely serious. “I have no right to choose for you.”
Nemo hugged his head and took a few deep breaths.
“Let’s do it.” He gritted his teeth. “This is nothing compared to Pandorater.”
Oliver nodded. He called the bishop to the railing and patted the old man on the arm.
The old man glanced at Nemo, who was squatting on the ground, and his expression became more natural.
“I understand the specific situation, there is indeed room for redemption.” He assumed a posture as if he had been talking freely with them all this time. He made a motion, and the massive holy emblem was once again hidden in the wall. “What a lucky child. God will definitely smile on you.”
Nemo laughed dryly.
“Come, stretch out your hand.” The old man smiled. “It’s just a small restraint. Don’t worry, but please remember, please be sure to return here before sunrise tomorrow, otherwise it will cost you your life. You won’t turn your back on God, will you?”
Nemo took a deep breath and stretched out his hands. Dazzling light gushed from the old man’s fingertips, twisting into two thin glowing chains that wrapped around his arms tightly. The silver fence slowly disappeared, and the bishop even took a few steps forward and gave Nemo a hug. “May Zenni’s glory last forever.”
“…May Zenni completely ignore me.” When they walked out of the church, Nemo said with bitterness as he scratched the chain on his arms.
Ann was leaning on a marble statue of an angel. Its wings blocked most of the female warrior’s figure, so they almost didn’t notice her.
She raised an eyebrow at the shackle of light on Nemo’s arms. “How surprising. You two are quite obedient.”
Nemo rolled his eyes at her. “You’d better tell me that you have a way to fix this thing.” He waved his arms pitifully. “I don’t want to go back to that damn place anymore.”
Ann smiled slightly. She recited an incantation in a low voice and then easily tore the shackles apart. The shackles of light turned into spots and slowly dissipated in the air. “Look, Nemo. If I really wanted to kill you, I wouldn’t use such a roundabout way.”
Oliver pursed his lips and gave her a thoughtful look.
“Curious as to why I know how to lift the shackles?” Ann obviously knew what Oliver’s eyes were thinking. “Don’t worry about it. It’s all in the past.”
“You’re not a Laddist, are you?”
“It’s a long story.” Ann cleared her throat, “…So I decided not to talk about it.”
“If there ever comes an appropriate time, I won’t hide it from the two of you—Nemo!” Her joking words suddenly turned to a shout.
Nemo fell over silently. Oliver reacted quickly. He grabbed the back of Nemo’s neck without letting him bump his head into the base of the marble statue. He tried to wake Nemo, but the black-haired young man closed his eyes and breathed gently, as if he had fallen into a deep slumber.
“The holy shackles shouldn’t have any effect,” Ann whispered. “Take him back to the inn first.”
Nemo had a dream.
It was dark at first, but then he heard someone singing. Although he wanted quietness at the moment, he decided to endure it for the sake of the beautiful singing. The singer was a young man with icy hands that had sweat all over them. For some reason, at this moment, he was holding the man’s hand and moving forward in the darkness.
“I would like to follow you and step through the ruins and smoke—” The young man hummed, “Sandra, Sandra. The dew on the tombstone gleamed… Forget it, forget it. This isn’t very auspicious.”
“You can shut up now.” Nemo suggested it amicably. The voice was not like his. The tone was wonderful, although the content was in a lingua franca*, it was by no means a human voice.
*A language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect (AKA a common language).
“It’s too quiet here,” the young man replied. “It’s so quiet that people panic.”
Nemo was silent for a long time, then tentatively opened his mouth. “Aren’t you afraid?”
“My lover and companions are still waiting for me. I’m so happy. I’ll definitely survive! Hey, let me tell you. My fiancée, she’s…”
“Enough, shut up.” Nemo heard himself interrupt the young man. “You’ve already said it like nineteen times!”
“We can just round it up.” The young man’s voice sounded a bit aggrieved.
“It’s not far away.” Nemo digressed. “Human, do you really have the confidence to kill the Demon King?”
“Maybe,” the young man replied, without the joy in his voice. “To be honest, since I got here, I’ve been thinking—”
“…You answer my question first.”
“If everyone does their best… Yes.”
“Then I have a request,” Nemo heard himself say. “Cut off his head and take it out of the Abyss, so that the Abyss can sleep longer, which is exactly what you want.”
“But according to legend, once its corpse touches the ground, it will…”
“That’s because the previous fighters were too useless.” The mystical voice continued, “Your magic is amazing. As long as you keep wrapping its head with pure magic, its head will not be swallowed by the Abyss. Your power should be enough.”
“But you… You’re just a wanderer, right? Aren’t demons your kind? Why are you telling me this?”
“You don’t need to know.”
“…I see the lights from my team! Thank you very much, kind wanderer.” The young man cheered, “God, I don’t know how to express my gratitude, so I’ll give you this. If you have the opportunity to go to the surface, you can find me with this, and we can talk about it then.”
He stuffed something into the palm of Nemo’s hand.
“After all, it’s a life-saving grace… My name is Flint Lopez, and I sincerely look forward to seeing you again. Do you have any wishes? If I can do it—”
“I want to take a look at the surface. Just one look is enough. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can do, human.”
Nemo jumped out of bed, not because of the dream, but because of a biting coldness. He found himself lying on the soft bed of the inn. It was dark. Oliver was lying on his bed, sleeping soundly.
He grabbed Oliver, who was still asleep, and rolled onto the ground. A giant sword swept across the place where Oliver had just been lying, then pierced through the mattress and plunged into the ground.
“Superb alertness.” A low voice came from the darkness. “Why bother… You could have died peacefully.”
The light of teleportation magic lit up, and they were no longer surrounded by the setting of the comfortable inn, but a vast desert. A tall man stood in front of them. His whole body was wrapped in dark armor. He casually threw the gray parrot, who was still talking in its sleep, into the cold sand and raised his giant sword again…