Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 54: The Man Without Desire
He still remembered the appearance of Vincent Town—the soft-toned houses, the carefully tended flower beds, and the atmosphere of life that permeated every corner of the town. Although the clothes of the people who came and went weren’t bright, they were mostly neat and tidy. They talked in a lingua franca with a strong accent and kept their voices down when they were close. The town was indeed clearly marked on every map with ink.
“This is impossible,” he murmured. “Melody mentioned that people can’t hear the Bluebird song… Vincent Town is a town recognized by Willard, and they are legal citizens of Willard.”
“Just like the opening remarks of a fairytale, this is a story a long time ago—a long time ago. But I don’t like telling stories, and you’re not children with insomnia.” Jesse dragged his tone as if he was bored. “I only need one answer. Do you want to help? Don’t be nervous. I don’t need you to crush any earth-shattering conspiracies, and of course I won’t ask you to save everyone. It’s enough that these little birds do not go extinct—that is, as long as one male and one female are guaranteed to live. Isn’t this a very low requirement? Of course, if you want to give up, I won’t stop you.”
“Three days.” Oliver pondered for a moment. “Give us three days. We need to make sure you’re not lying. Before that, let’s… maintain a cooperative relationship.”
“Then I’ll take it as your consent.” Jesse glanced at their faces and gave each of them a triumphant smile, then turned his back contentedly and swayed towards the direction of the tree hole. “I believe you need some time to digest… When you want to see Pasototu, just come directly to the tree hole to find me. The weather is so fine today that I want to take a nap.”
The Bluebirds looked at them from a distance and whispered like soft choruses. Nemo was almost distracted by the wonderful music again. He tried his best to turn his attention back to his companions.
“You’re going to wade in muddy waters again,” Ann said quietly. Unlike last time, there was no dissatisfaction in her tone now.
“We can’t believe everything Jesse Dylan says.” Oliver shook his head. “But one thing is true… At least Melody is still our mission target right now, and she may want to know the truth. As Nemo said, we’re likely to fail this mission, and staying a few more days won’t affect anything.”
“I have no opinion,” Ann said simply. “I don’t think her parents are pleasing to the eye.”
“War is not an ordinary battle,” Adrian said in a serious tone. “I don’t think you’re ready.”
“But they won’t necessarily—” Every time they faced Adrian, Nemo felt a little less emboldened.
“They will,” Adrian whispered. “More than half of the Bluebirds are very hostile to us. I’m familiar with this atmosphere. At least Dylan didn’t lie on this point.”
“War!” the gray parrot yelled happily. “Oh, the last time I saw war was in the Abyss. I want to see it!”
“Then that’s the decision,” Oliver said firmly. “Let’s figure this out… We can start with Pasototu.”
“I have reservations.” Adrian pondered for a moment, then added, “Be careful of Jesse Dylan. All this is too coincidental, and I’m a little concerned about his trading partner.”
“Who knows if he’s telling the truth.” Ann curled her lips. “Let’s go and meet Melody’s boyfriend first.”
When he first heard that Pasototu was the chief’s son, Nemo thought he would be placed under house arrest like Melody. It turned out that the Bluebirds here were much stricter than the “humans” in Vincent Town.
Several Bluebirds with ore hanging from their necks followed them closely. A magic array was suspended in the air, facing their heads and ready to activate at any moment. Jesse’s guarantee wasn’t credible at all. While they weren’t badly treated physically, it was a different story mentally.
The Bluebirds led them around behind the tree, through overgrown ferns and weird large mushrooms, and into a slightly gloomy tunnel. There were terrifying sculptures of unknown meaning standing at the entrance of the tunnel. The walls were made of grayish-cyan stones tightly stitched together, without any decoration, giving off an inhuman taste. The prison-like rooms were embedded on both sides of the passage, and the end of the passage seemed to lead to the ground, engulfed by thick darkness. Nemo glanced curiously in the direction of the end and was almost pushed to the ground by the Bluebird behind him.
They stopped in front of one of the cells.
Both wings of the sturdy Bluebird, who was blind in one eye, were chained and firmly tied to the stone wall. There was only a hole at the top of the cell that cast some hazy light in. Although the ground wasn’t too muggy, it was surprisingly humid. Nemo was pretty sure he smelled the festering of wounds.
There was no magic array pointed at Jesse. He leaned against the stone wall in a relaxed manner, and his face was full of smiles as he watched the excitement.
Pasototu was not alone in the cell. There was a taller Bluebird standing in front of him. The muscles of the free Bluebird looked exceptionally strong, and there was a faint streamer on the edge of its feathers. At this moment, it could be seen that the owner of those streamers was extremely angry.
“Swear to me.” The voice of the taller one was deep. Nemo could tell there was anger from its melody.
“I can’t do it. I love her, father.” The blind Bluebird raised his head.
“It’s only three months.” The leader roared. “Don’t you know your identity? If you’re caught by humans, there will be unrest in the tribe and the humans will take advantage of it… I think we have learned enough lessons in this regard!”
“There’s no conspiracy. She won’t lie to me.” Pasototu’s tone was calm. “Melody must be waiting for me. I don’t want her to wait too long.”
“Don’t you feel sick? She’s just a flat-faced monster without feathers. A heretic living in an ignorant world. Think about it, son. If you want, you can pursue any girl in this tribe, and no one would say no to you.”
“She’s unique, father.” Pasototu stated emphatically, as if it were the only truth in the world.
“…It seems you need to calm down for a while.” The chief took a deep breath. “If you continue to be so obsessed, even if you’re my son, I’ll follow the rules.”
“You’re my father, so I don’t want to lie to you.” Pasototu lowered his head.
“Didn’t you tell them?” Nemo couldn’t help turning his face toward Jesse. “…The facts of Vincent Town.”
“I told you.” Jesse shrugged exaggeratedly. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. People prefer to hear lies; they won’t believe a word even if you tell them the truth.”
“What are they talking about?” Oliver said tentatively.
“Let Bagelmaurus translate, Ollie. It’s idle anyway. I have something to ask Dylan.”
“Translate what?” The gray parrot’s bird eyes were blank. “I didn’t hear anything just now.”
Nemo looked at it abruptly, and the smile on the corners of Jesse’s lips became a little deeper.
“Isn’t this a demon’s power?” Nemo said. “I thought I could hear them because of you—”
“Of course not! These birds don’t have demonic blood… Even if they did, you humans are incapable of understanding all human languages. Why would I understand them? Rather, I can’t even hear them!”
For a while, the eyes of the other three instantly gathered on Nemo, causing him to shrink uncomfortably. He didn’t like being watched like this. Although their gaze was not malicious, it felt like he was being punched in the gut. As if perceiving Nemo’s discomfort, Ollie quickly turned his gaze back to Pasototu. Ann and Adrian still stared at him; the latter’s expression became more serious.
“Hear and translate.” Jesse spoke again, with great interest. “It’s really an incredible ability. I didn’t expect this. A demon warlock with the ability to surpass the demon he was possessed by. Or maybe…”
“I thought you could hear it too,” Nemo said dryly.
“Oh, you see, we communicate by text.” Jesse looked directly into his eyes. “You need to know that their voices are outside the range of human hearing, and I don’t have such ability—”
“We probably understand the situation with Pasototu.” Oliver interrupted. “Nemo, tell us the content of the conversation later. I also have something to say to Mr. Dylan, alone.”
Jesse raised his eyebrows high. He once again drew complicated, unknown words in the air. The Bluebirds turned their heads and half-invited, half-coerced the three of them to the exit, leaving only Oliver and Jesse behind. In the cage separated by a wall, Pasototu was panting in pain because of his wound, while the other Bluebird had already flown away through the hole at the top of the cell, leaving behind only falling feathers.
“Ann told me about what happened in the woods,” Oliver’s tone was still polite, but had a rare coldness. He no longer used honorifics when addressing Jesse. “No matter where you get your information… You’ve been suggesting to Nemo that ‘he’s not human’. As you can see, he doesn’t like it.”
“Aren’t you curious?” Jesse said with a smile. “You should know more than me since you stay with him every day.”
“Not curious. Nemo is Nemo.” Oliver’s tone was steady.
“Ah, I forgot.” Jesse glanced at Pasototu in prison. “Love often makes people blind. You like him, don’t you? You don’t have much experience, Mr. Ramon. Everything is easily seen in your eyes.”
“You can confess to him today, and I assure you that he won’t refuse you. In less than a week, you might even be able to sleep in the same bed, if you know what I mean.”
“…You’re changing the subject.” Oliver breathed hard. His anger was making him a little pale.
“I’m not. I’m talking about the same thing. Mr. Knight Commander is really a gentle person, but he concealed a lot that night. He must not have told you the real reason behind a demon warlock’s deformation.”
“This conversation ends here—” Oliver moved his fingers.
“Ah, after all, that wish was for you. Fate is really cruel.” Jesse didn’t intend to be obedient at all. He shook his head. “Deformation is due to the desire under the desire. Whether it’s love or hate, or whatever—Nemo Light is not deformed. Do you understand what this means? The wish he made with the demon was neither out of selfishness nor any goodwill. This is something that humans are incapable of.”
“I know he looks like a human with his gestures, but speaking truthfully, what you’re falling in love with is probably a piece of nothingness. Shouldn’t you already know? Perhaps he’s just imitating humans.”
“That’s your opinion.” Oliver calmed down, and even smiled. “If your point of view is just that, then I have nothing to worry about.”
Then Oliver breathed a long sigh of relief. The damp air of the tunnel was mixed with a fishy smell composed of fungi and moss, which was neither good nor refreshing, but it made his mood much calmer.
“You’re right. I like him very much, but it has nothing to do with what he is and whether he’ll respond to me…”
The author has something to say：
Jesse: Look, maybe you’ll have an unrequited love all your life—
Oliver: So what?
…But it’s not unrequited love!
Ahhh. I love Ollie and all his small gestures when it comes to Nemo. You know it’s true love based on his actions!
For all this talk about lingua franca, Jesse sure likes to speak in tongues.
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4 thoughts on “Stray Ch54”
Olivier’s love and soul are pure 😭
LikeLiked by 1 person
So Nemo is an existence above demons as well? Maybe he’s not even fully demon!
Must find out what Nemo is!
i love that Nemo also unconsciously reciprocates Ollie’s cute gestures
the tacit understanding is too good