Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 42: The Demon’s Real Name
Oliver erected an ice shield in front of Nemo almost instantly. Ann took a step back, and the sharp front end of her hunting spear was firmly facing the eyeball. Adrian drew the sword out of its scabbard this time while the gray parrot turned around, mooning its ass towards him in disdain.
Nemo did nothing. He patted the dead branches and grass clippings off his robe and bypassed the ice shield, stepping in front of the red eyeball.
“Nemo, don’t—” Ann warned loudly.
“It had a deal with Mr. Cross which seems to have been successfully completed.”
“Be careful.” Oliver moved his finger to remove the ice shield. “Witherspoon is on his side.”
Nemo nodded and looked directly at the distorted pupils in its eye. He couldn’t figure out where the voice was coming from. Those words seemed to flood into his ears from all sides.
“I don’t deny it,” Telaranea said briskly. “I have my position and doing charity is not my style.”
“It’s okay. I can feel it. It’s weaker than me now and it’s constantly getting weaker.” Nemo fixed his hair casually.
Adrian didn’t say a word. The silver sword blade gleamed cold and soft in the moonlight.
“What do you want to know?” It’s strange that Nemo didn’t think the eyeball in front of him was disgusting or scary. He took a deep breath, and a vague thought crossed his mind. “What can you offer?”
“I want your real name,” Telaranea’s voice was slightly rapid. “The engraving is governed by law, so you cannot lie. Oh, don’t worry about human rumors. Knowing your true name is pointless. It’s just a marker of sorts.” It deliberately paused for a few seconds.”Regarding my side, I can provide information—as long as it is within my knowledge. I can answer your question.”
“Listening to your tone… Are you sure I’m not human?”
“Is there a problem? I don’t have the habit of paying a deposit in advance.”
“Of course not,” Nemo quickly added. “I need time to think.”
“Thinking is a good habit.” The eyeball floated randomly in the air, and the dried flesh began to become translucent. “But you have a limited time to think, so I personally suggest you think quickly. If you can’t think of anything, I can give you some examples. Like, the respectable knight over there. I gave him two choices. The past and the future.”
Nemo closed his mouth carefully, so that he didn’t have any doubt about what he said would be counted as the content of the transaction. He nodded his head vigorously and put on the posture of being all ears.
“I can let him see his friend’s ‘deathbed’. It’s a pity that he missed it. It was just a short time. This is the past,” it sounded jubilant, without the slightest bit of pity. “Of course, I can also help him do a harmless little thing. This is the future. I believe you can guess what he chose, but I disagree—he did struggle for a long time.”
Adrian raised the sword a little higher but it simply responded by shaking its eyeball a few times. Because it had too many pupils, Nemo could only guess that it was a symbolic eye roll.
“What about you? Which one do you care more about?” It ignored Adrian’s underlying meaning and continued with interest.
“I accept your deal.” Nemo’s mood wasn’t high. In fact, the caution in his tone was almost overflowing as every word was carefully said as if he was wiping his finger on a blade. “How do we start? Ah, no, that’s not my question—we can start.”
He thought he would see a spell similar to the Pact of Truth, but the magic of a superior demon was much simpler and more straightforward. He felt as if he had been cut by an invisible knife that left a mark on his left wrist. Not a drop of blood oozed out, and the wound flashed with an orange glow like burning charcoal.
“Recipient, please follow the transaction and tell me your original name—the name connected to the Abyss.” The eyeball leaned in closer, almost touching the tip of Nemo’s nose. “The engraving has taken effect, which means you must know the answer to the question.”
“……Bagelmaurus,” Nemo replied slowly.
The gray parrot turned its head in shock and let out an earth-shattering “bah” sound.
“Shameless!” It almost rushed over to protest. “You stole my powers and now you’re stealing my name! I love my name!”
The brilliance of the engraving darkened, and a lot of blood quickly gushed out of the shallow wound. It seemed that it wasn’t a shallow scratch but rather a cross-section on the wrist. The rate of blood loss was so fast that if Nemo was an ordinary human, this would have been enough to make him faint. His body temperature was slowly falling, but the pain was almost insignificant compared to the strange emptiness caused by his blood leaving his body.
Oliver’s body became extremely stiff. Ann didn’t speak. She frowned slightly and exchanged a surprised look with Adrian.
“Lies,” it said, “but it’s okay. You still have a lot of blood to shed—it’s best not to lie in the transaction, Light.”
Most of his gray robe was stained red with blood, but Nemo showed a relieved smile. He stretched out his right hand and gestured to stop Oliver, who was about to step forward.
“Great,” he whispered. The rapid blood loss made him shrink subconsciously. “I understand.”
“Listen, my original name is—Nemo Light.” He raised his voice and his left wrist demonstratively. “I am the adopted son of Patrick Light from Roadside Town. He gave me this name.”
The blood stopped.
The only bright red liquid left dripped slowly along his fingertips. Nemo, who was staring at the engraving, breathed a sigh of relief. He slowly straightened up, with an inexplicable taste of victory.
“That is my only name,” he announced in an oath-like tone.
Telaranea was silent. The pupils on its eyeballs were like grease floating on water, and now they were twisting violently into a ball.
“You are not lying,” it said extremely slowly, fluttering slowly around him in a circle. “The law recognizes this.”
“Yes, I did not lie,” Nemo wiped his blood-stained left hand casually on his robe. “Sorry, I’m a pure human being and not what you think… Well, whatever you’re thinking of.”
Telaranea fell into a long silence until the dry flesh disappeared. Its small eyeball began to become a little transparent. Suddenly, it began to make a series of strange noises. It was hard to say whether it was laughter or some strange scream. The sound was like a bad carpenter sawing a dry log.
“You’re more interesting than I thought—” The eyeball twirled at an increasing pace in the dark night. “How extremely interesting!”
It rotated excitedly for a few minutes, until half of its eyeball began to become smoky and hazy.
“Come on, your question,” it generously said. “Past or future?”
“I have no past, and I don’t need you to intervene in my future,” Nemo’s voice was steady. He had never been so relieved, like a person who had been struggling hopelessly in the sea for a long time and was finally able to catch a piece of driftwood. “I already have the answer to my only question.”
“Do you want to give up the opportunity to ask a question?”
“Of course not!” Nemo shouted. “You stated that you disagree with Mr. Cross’ choice… I’m not qualified to judge other people’s choices, but there is still a chance now. Yes, I think ‘now’ is good.”
As soon as Adrian opened his mouth, Nemo interrupted him without hesitation.
“Tell us the truth. Yes, all of us,” he asked in a loud voice. “Tell us about the end of Cahill Edwards.”
“You need to know that you wasted a very precious opportunity.”
“This sentence sounds a bit familiar.” Nemo tugged at the corner of his mouth and glanced at the gray parrot. The latter was nervously plucking its feathers with its mouth. “…I’m very good at wasting things.”
The dark forest disappeared.
It was a very sunny afternoon. The sun was shining through the windows, and everything was joyfully warm and golden. The fresh roses by the window were still dewy, reflecting crystal-like light in the sun. From time to time, children’s laughter came from outside the window. The owner of the room, Cahill Edwards, lay silently on the bed; his expression calm and empty. He lay flat on his back, staring at the spot on the ceiling motionless, with only a slight fluctuation in his chest.
The half-melted amulet was still hanging around his neck.
The four of them stood in the corner of the house. Nemo tried to reach out and touch the flowers, but his hand directly went through them. Ann looked around curiously, while Oliver and Adrian stayed where they were, silently.
This was the last corner of the truth, and they knew it.
The door pushed away the sunlight and slowly opened. A cute girl with braided hair walked into the room carrying a basket. She hummed a minor tune, and her milk-like skin was sprinkled with freckles. Her dress was a popular style among the common people.
“I came to see you… Yes, I’m here again.” She winked playfully at Cahill and sat down lightly on the edge of the bed. She put the basket at the head of the bed, and the cover slipped slightly, revealing the bright red and tempting fruit inside. Telaranea illusion was so realistic that Nemo could even smell the aromas of cinnamon and roasted apples on her body.
“Why didn’t you drive me away this time?” She looked at Cahill, who was silent, and sighed with a low voice, pretending to be surprised.
Cahill still looked at the post on the ceiling. His gaze didn’t even budge.
“Why don’t you give up?” He said softly. “Don’t you only show up when you’re called? I said last time, I didn’t summon you.”
“I want your knowledge.” The girl shrugged and took out an apple from the fruit basket. She picked up the knife and started to peel it. The bright red peel slid down between her fingers like blood. “Your level of magic is regrettable, but your casting skills and experience are not learned in any books. Do you know how strong the smell of despair is on you? I can smell you from another city. Yes, unfortunately, I am a very active outlier.” She covered her mouth and laughed as if she had told some funny joke. “And I want to correct one thing—you weren’t so polite last time you asked me to leave. It was really hurtful.”
Cahill fell silent.
“Poor, poor Cahill,” she said softly, putting the peeled apple aside. “Are you tired? Do you want to rest?”
“Hawkes committed suicide the day before yesterday. He lost his arms.” Cahill still didn’t look at her. “It was Tobin a month ago. He lost both his legs.”
The girl closed her mouth and flashed her big eyes.
“But I’m still alive,” he said in a hushed tone. “So I’m a ‘strong and admirable hero’, a symbol of hope, while they’re ‘cowards whose faith was not firm enough’… I know Adri has been fighting for them, but…”
He moved his lips without saying any more.
“I need someone to help turn me over and feed me food every day and exorcize evil spirits three times a day. In order to prevent corruption from the Abyss, my mother has to do everything herself.” There was a pause, then he spoke again. “Yes I’m tired… Dragon breath stones are really costly.”
He closed his eyes. “It’s really too costly.”
“Adri? The one who just left?” The girl played with the tips of her hair, sounding a little absent-minded. “That person is also very interesting.”
“I promise you.”
“I promise you. I want to make a wish, Telaranea… Is that your name?”
“Oh—yes.” The girl took out another apple from the basket. It floated from her palm and the peel quickly twisted and festered, turning into a red eyeball. “You will become part of me. What is your wish?”
This time Cahill faced her squarely. He opened his eyes wide as tears kept slipping from the corners of his eyes.
“I want to stand up and work with Adri again to help those friends who have fought together… I want my mother to recover from the irreversible consumption of this period of time. I want to see His Majesty and tell him—”
“Stop, stop, stop.” The girl, one of many of Telaranea’s bodies, made a pause gesture. “You’re too greedy! I said that your magic level isn’t qualified, so only a boring type like me would be willing to make a deal with you. You have too many wishes.” She licked the corners of her mouth and moved the eyeball closer.
“You can only choose one,” she stated cruelly. “I suggest you choose the first one. Look at how young you are. Even if you become a demon warlock, you won’t have such an ostentatious deformation. You can stand up…” she whispered sweetly close to his ears. “You can save countless people and restore hope to those desperate remnant soldiers. Isn’t this what you swore in the first place, dear healer? It’s enough to sacrifice the old lady. She won’t live long.”
Nemo turned his face. He didn’t want to look at this anymore. Adrian had already walked to the bed. He looked down at his friend with a blank expression.
“It can’t be me,” he said slowly.
Telaranea was stunned for a few seconds.
“…It’s okay if it’s not me,” Cahill Edwards repeated. “You said you want to fulfill my wish. Then you will live in my place. I want you to recover slowly and do everything as I would do.”
“Then this is the wish. I want you to be a real ‘hope’… Don’t let them down.”
“Take everything from me, demon. It’s just a human life. It’s short for you, isn’t it?”
The author has something to say:
Since everyone cares so much about being Mr. Studious (…), let’s talk about the demon setting a little bit~
Telaranea (Telaranea), the source is tela + arana, which means spiderweb*. The image is of a giant brain in the center of a huge spiderweb. It has a strong thirst for knowledge and sends out countless eyeballs to climb around the earth’s surface and the Abyss, learning everything. The main body cannot move, so it uses illusions for self-protection.
The objects it selects and possesses are treated equally, regardless of whether they are men, women, old, or young. A friend who is chaotic neutral and loves to learn as learning makes it particularly happy.
Poor Cahill. Such a tragic figure in this novel.
Correcting a mistake. I originally translated Telaranea as Della Leanne until I came across the author’s official name for it. For early readers, please keep this in mind going forward that Telaranea is Della Leanne previously. Western names, especially those unique like this, don’t translate well to English.
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2 thoughts on “Stray Ch42”
Typo: Ann didn’t speak, she frowned slightly and exchanged /a/ surprised look with Adrian. | May also want to put ‘/but/ she frowned..”
““The law recognize/s/ this.” | Either recognize or law should have an s added to the end.
Thats… not a bad deal to be honest. I might’ve accepted it. Thanks for the translation and the chapters!
In Spanish spiderweb sounds almost the same: Telaraña, romance languages never deny its origin 😅
Cahill deserved so much… He was really a kindhearted and devoted person, so much that he not only devoted his life, but his dead and body’s afterlife to others, to not make them disappointed…