Stray Ch57

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 57: The Place Where the False God Sleeps

At that moment, a huge emptiness enveloped him. Nemo didn’t care to pay attention to Oliver’s reaction. His eyes quickly returned to the two Bluebirds. His world was pierced by a huge hole at this moment, and he felt shaken no less than after the battle with Witherspoon.

In Nemo’s consistent cognition, those anomalies were at most parasitic vines that entangled a tree trunk. They sucked on the happiness he had preset for himself and twisted the tree trunk that represented common sense, but the tree was still firmly rooted in the soil, even if it was destined to decay slowly.

Now it was shaking dangerously.

Melody Delaney was just an ordinary girl who grew up in a remote village. Even if her appearance and talents weren’t ordinary, she wasn’t prominent enough to be praised by an entire country. She lived step by step, just like him.

So how did she do it?

Naturally, there were also on-and-off lovers in Roadside Town, but they were all understandable, standard relationships. People appreciated each other, ran with each other, joined hands after success, and separated after failure. Of course, during this period, there was no lack of greasy sweetness, scolding, or indifference. Nemo never believed in descriptions such as fate or love at first sight. Those romantic stories only appeared on paper or in rumors.

As an ordinary townsperson in Roadside Town, Nemo Light would be destined to form a family at the right age with a girl who was average to raise the future generation. He would grow old, living the average monotonous life* until he became a tombstone on the edge of the Frontier Forest, just like most people in this world. He had been so convinced for so many years. Even now, he still thought that there would come a day when the dust settled, and he’d eventually return to “normal” and continue to live an ordinary life.

*Fuel, rice, cooking oil, and salt (柴米油盐) Idiom describing the daily necessities of life.

But now, he wasn’t so sure.

The two Bluebirds were embracing each other quietly, as if all other things in the world had lost their value. It wasn’t the greasy hug that he was used to, and there wasn’t even a sweet atmosphere, but in just a few seconds, they seemed to be the masters of this space, radiating trembling strength and will. It wasn’t like what a three-month weak relationship should look like.

It wasn’t that he hadn’t been “in love”, but compared with the ones in front of him, his former “love” may be closer to a mixture of respect, pity, and habit, and there was something very critical missing.

Nemo knew that he should be relieved at this time and wished for the lovers to reunite from the bottom of his heart, but at this moment, it seemed that someone had put a piece of ice against his heart. It didn’t feel painful, but it made his blood cold and his chest felt like a stone.

“…I admit that she’s Melody Delaney,” Pasototu’s father said gloomily. “You’ve won.”

“We didn’t want to ‘defeat’ you,” Nemo responded instinctively. “I think you can let go of your son. Miss Delaney can’t go anywhere like this.”

“They both have to stay here until I figure things out.” The chief rejected the proposal almost immediately.

“But you know, she’s a Bluebird.”

“So what?” A new voice joined them. Jesse Dylan once again showed off his outstanding eavesdropping skills. They didn’t know when he was standing behind them. The young blond man leaned his back against the wall on the other side of the tunnel, with a ridiculous nightcap on his head. As he spoke, he used his fingertips to draw the text of the Bluebirds at high speed in the air.

“That means the people in Vincent Town may all be—”

“Humans sometimes sell other humans as commodities, whether they are dead or alive, whether whole or just a piece. Just because they’re the same kind doesn’t prove anything.” Jesse yawned. “Do you think when Mr. Pasotalo talks about this, the group of birds outside would immediately let go of their hatred and rejoice?”

“…I’ll consider this.” The chief, Pasotalo, nodded at Nemo, but his attitude wasn’t sincere. He waved his hand and the railing bent by Melody became straight again. He even added a few more magic arrays himself, then he waved a large section of golden handwriting at Jesse in the humid air with neat and fierce movements.

After that, he and his entourage all left the tunnel, unexpectedly leaving no one to guard them.

“I don’t understand,” the gray parrot took the opportunity to interrupt. “This Delaney can’t go home, and you don’t seem to plan to kill that male bird. Why are you worrying about the issues here? Just slip away. You’re not even the same kind as them, so why bother with a group of foreigners.”

“They still owe me!” Jesse pulled off the nightcap on his head and cleared his throat solemnly. “If it weren’t for me, they wouldn’t have a clue about such a big connection.”

The gray parrot’s attitude immediately softened a bit. “But their task isn’t successful…”

“I didn’t plan to break my promise,” Oliver sighed and stared at Nemo’s back. Nemo was still staring at the two Bluebirds in a daze. Although he didn’t understand Pasotalo’s words, with Nemo’s responses, he could surmise what he was saying.

“The first day has passed. The time you gave me was three days, and now there are two days left. Well, I really didn’t lie, Mr. Ramon. You might as well just agree now.”

“I don’t want to draw conclusions based on insufficient understanding,” Oliver responded politely and distantly.

“Isn’t it all obvious now? Or do you think the war should happen naturally if the people in Vincent Town aren’t Bluebirds?”

“If the people in Vincent Town are really humans, their hatred should not be decided by an outsider who knows nothing. At least both sides are making sober decisions.” Oliver pondered for a moment. “If that’s the case, we have no position to stop anything. We can only reduce the casualties… So if you lie, I won’t promise you to ‘stop’ the war.”

“Oh, what a surprise. I thought you belonged to the ‘war is evil’ faction. You’re much colder than I thought, Mr. Ramon.”

“Because I’m neither fair nor mature. I’m also not qualified. If we take a step back, even if our strength can solve the temporary problem, it will continue after we leave… right?”

“How can you be so stubborn!” Jesse cried. “I only care about how many of them survive. I don’t want to listen to the development after a happy ending!”

“…But you said ‘stop’ at the beginning.” Nemo finally turned his head, frowning slightly. “If you really don’t care, you don’t need us. You’re strong, aren’t you? As long as you stun a few and take them away from here, even if the Bluebirds and humans were to kill each other to the point that there’s no one left, your deal is complete, right?”

He walked straight to Jesse, accompanied by an inexplicable foul mood. “Dylan, what do you want from us? Is your goal me? I don’t like being played around like this. If your goal is indeed me, I don’t want you to involve Ollie and the others.”

It was the familiar terrifying aura again, but this time, Oliver didn’t feel any part of his internal organs churning because of fear. He raised his eyebrows and finally retracted his gaze from those silver eyes and turned to Jesse.

“No, don’t get me wrong. I just thought he would agree!” The blond young man’s tone was full of frustration. “Who knew that each of you were more inhumane than the other. Fine, let me explain. You will know when you see my trading partner. If I really do that, I’ll definitely be punished—”

“Are you really afraid of retribution?” Ann interjected lukewarmly.

“…A veritable curse.” Jesse immediately changed his words. “Oh, so strict. Please follow me.”

He leaned sideways and titled forward slightly, making a “please” gesture to the end of the dark tunnel.

Ann was the first to step forward and lead the way. Oliver and Nemo followed. This time, the Knight Commander was last. He stopped and looked at Jesse Dylan’s smile that seemed to be tattooed on his face. He moved his lips, as if he wanted to say something, but in the end, said nothing.

The tunnel didn’t lead underground but slowly rose. They didn’t know how long they had been walking. The boring stone walls kept repeating, and everything became more like a repetitious nightmare. Just when Nemo’s sharp mood was about to be rounded by surging boredom, Jesse stepped forward and walked in front.

There were many moving light bands in the air, like a flying footless centipede. Nemo narrowed his eyes and took a closer look for a while before he could distinguish the bodies of those things. Countless incantations wandered in the dark tunnel. As they approached, they suddenly stopped. The incantations’ soft bodies stretched like a sharp arrow. Jesse knocked on the metal scale-like neck ornament on his neck, and they calmed down and began to swim softly again.

At the end, there were more flying insects of these incantations. The group almost struggled to walk through all the incantations that condensed into a ball. Fortunately, this torture didn’t last long. After passing through the last spell barrier, their eyes suddenly widened.

This seemed to be the interior of a certain mountain. A towering cone space, surrounded by countless fine statues, was all lifelike Bluebirds. There were no traces of weathering or corrosion. The bones of countless Bluebirds scattered on the ground were carved with dense incantation lines, in which dark blue brilliance surged like mercury. They flowed and gathered in the middle of a magic array.

It was difficult to put into words to describe what was in the middle.

It was the largest Bluebird they had ever seen. His… or her eyes were tightly shut, and the huge wings on the back of her waist hung weakly on both sides of her body. The body showed no signs of decay. The place under the abdomen that should have been legs turned into a pale and thick trunk, and there were even branches growing out without leaves.

A Bluebird, or a giant tree that was too weird for the eyes.

“What is that thing?” Nemo swallowed with difficulty. He was completely stunned and forgot about his previous entanglement.

“That’s my trading partner. Since Mr. Light can understand the Bluebird’s language, it would be nice for you to meet.” Jesse curled his lips. “In the words of those little birds, she is the ‘Spirit of Purity’… I know the name is a mouthful, and I can help you translate it into the lingua franca.”

Then he paused for a while, as if a comedian was waiting to shake off his proudest joke. As if alarmed by their voices, the huge Bluebird slowly opened her eyes. Those eyes were incredibly beautiful. Unlike the darkness of ordinary Bluebirds, her eyes were deep blue, with a glimmer of light, like the starry sky on a summer’s night.

“…You can call her ‘Lavinia’.”

The author has something to say:

Oliver is supposed to be in the neutral good camp. He’s not the type who will rush into the center of the battlefield for no apparent reason and hold up the banner of love and peace.

An atypical brave man.

Kinky Thoughts:

Just a note on the lingua franca, the language spoken by the characters in this novel has not been established (so far anyway). Since it’s set in a fictional world, the language they are speaking is considered the lingua franca, or a common language (think about it as how English is usually the common language between foreigners).

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