Stray Ch59

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 59: Holy Scriptures

When they left the tribe again, the leader, Pasotalo, didn’t appear.

Nemo could probably determine the tribe’s attitude towards Jesse Dylan. Compared to the relatively civilized residents of Vincent Town outside, the primitive Bluebirds no longer identify with their gods, especially the younger ones. Under the improved illusion array, year by year, the lives of the Bluebirds were no longer full of tension like their ancestors, and Lavinia’s prophecy of destruction two hundred years ago had long lost its deterrent power.

They didn’t need God.

The so-called divine envoys were more like relics of the past than envoys who actually had power. They were willing to respect him and show a certain degree of obedience, but he was just a symbol of a small privilege, which wasn’t worth mentioning in the face of their growing hatred. In other words, they were willing to give Jesse Dylan a little bit of face—but only just a little.

The older Bluebirds were still afraid of “God”, but most of them had lost the right to speak. The two forces clashed with each other within the tribe, and at present, the advantage of the war faction was particularly obvious. After all, there was nothing in the world more acute than the hatred of young people.

Oliver reluctantly left Jesse Dylan a small communication crystal. Although their leader tried his best to hide it, Nemo still noticed the regretful expression that was like throwing gold coins directly into a trashcan. When Oliver did that, Jesse was comfortably lying in the tree hole, looking leisurely as if he was on vacation. He was casually flipping through a book while yawning, but the book looked surprisingly familiar…

“You took it out?” Nemo almost choked on his own spit.

“She didn’t stop me.” Jesse threw the book over, and Nemo hurriedly stretched out his hands to catch it, for fear that the ancient book, which was very valuable at a glance, would hit the hard slated floor.

The ancient book was heavy and thick, and the pages were already slightly yellow. Its spine was embedded with a circle of finely polished ore in which the light flowed with the change of angle. The edge of the book cover was wrapped in fine embroidery. The silk thread had not faded due to the passage of time, and the powerful magic array was perfectly integrated into the embroidery pattern. It was closer to a work of art than a book.

There was no title on the cover of the book; only a line of small characters was printed in the blank space. Written in a lingua franca, the handwriting was clumsy and immature, which was usually seen in workbooks where children learn to write from an early age—

[To Lavinia, my faith.]

Nemo wiped his hands on the hem of his robe and carefully opened the book cover, but was immediately disappointed. It was full of the sacrificial language of the Bluebirds, so he didn’t recognize a single word. He had to carefully close the book and put it in a cleaner corner of the stone platform.

“You see, it’s not a big deal. There are no Bluebird fairies and the like… I can’t go with you, so I need something to do to pass the time.”

In fact, Nemo was grateful for this. At least this meant that Jesse Dylan would no longer come out of any nooks and crannies when they were unsuspecting and completely disturb their thoughts. One Bagelmaurus was noisy enough, but it could only make people’s ears hurt at most, while Mr. Dylan’s nonsense could be considered torture to the soul.

There weren’t any Bluebirds that kindly escorted them back this time. Although the group set off when the sun rose, they managed to reach the edge of Vincent Town at noon. They crossed the dry and cracked riverbed and bypassed the muddy puddles full of duckweed and insect larvae. When they saw the first human-style building in the distance, it was already close to noon, and everyone immediately stopped tacitly.

Nemo still remembered the appearance of the Delaney couple, as well as the face of the young hunter, but he didn’t know if he could face them calmly now.

The closest house to them was ordinary and not that conspicuous. It had a thatched roof and dilapidated chimneys. Two children were playing in the yard. Their hands and faces were covered with mud marks, and the sound of laughter clearly pierced their ears. Another child sat on a tree trunk, blowing soap bubbles with hay stems. A girl with long braids that reached her knees came out the door with a large clump of dark green vines in her arms. She carefully aired them on the rough wooden fence.

A quiet and peaceful life.

‘And none of them are humans,’ Nemo thought in a daze. The image of Melody struggling on the ground appeared in his mind again. The girl may no longer be able to pluck the strings of the lute again.

“Are we still going to Delaney’s house?” He shook his head like Oliver as he tried to get rid of the messy thoughts in his mind by speaking.

“…Let’s not go yet.” Oliver also looked a little absent-minded. “First go to their mayor or religious leader… Or whatever.”

Fortunately, the mayor and religious leader positions in Vincent Town seemed to be held by the same person. The girl with long braids enthusiastically pointed the way to them. After a day, they returned to Vincent Town again. This time, Nemo couldn’t help but glance at everyone passing by him—those with hunched backs or straight backs, those covered in satin or plain clothes, those with smiling faces or unhappy faces. They were seriously living in a dream that was as fragile as a soap bubble.

But compared to the last time they passed by, the street was a little different. There were a lot more serious faces. The hot and humid wind had an unpleasant smell of fire and medicine. By the time they reached the mayor’s house, the smell of gunpowder was at its peak. Several heavily armed militiamen stood in the courtyard. They wore snow-white robes, and the white clothes were dyed with strange dark blue patterns indicative of religious clothing.  

Even if they saw the mayor, what were they going to say? Nemo took a deep breath, as if a piece of lead had fallen into his stomach.

Immediately, a violent quarrel reached his ears. After an angry roar, a young man rushed out of the house in a whirlwind. He was too fast and surprisingly big. If Oliver’s quick hands hadn’t pulled him back, Nemo would’ve been hit by this bull-like gentlemen.

The young man stopped, snorted angrily at them, and slammed the door behind him. As soon as Nemo felt that this person looked a bit familiar, Bagelmaurus spoke…

“Idiot! Fiend! Shithead!” it yelled on Nemo’s shoulder, deliberately lowering the tone, dutifully acting like a real gray parrot. “Idiot! Fiend! Shithead!” it repeated happily, as if expecting the other party wouldn’t take action.

It was the young man who attacked the gray parrot with an arrow last time, Fritz’s friend. He frowned tightly and spat at Nemo’s feet.

Nemo had to carefully remove his boots—he only had one pair of deerskin boots on him, so Oliver had to dry them after washing them. He made a bitter grimace towards the back of the figure. Oliver looked inexplicably angry. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door of the mayor’s house with a sullen face.

The person who opened the door was a middle-aged man, probably around fifty years old. He had a weird pointed round hat on his head, a round silver badge hanging on his chest, and a bearded face that was tighter than Oliver’s. Nemo glanced over Oliver’s shoulder, and there was still angry blood color on the man’s neck that hadn’t faded.

“The Black Chapters that the Delaney family commissioned?” He glanced at Oliver’s chest and turned around after receiving a positive answer and gave way to the door. “Come in.”

The mayor’s house wasn’t much more spacious than the Delaney’s. The main color of the living room was a rare white, and metal products glittered with soft silver light. There were five paintings hanging on one of the walls, four of which had the eccentric pointed hat on them, and below the painting was a cube-shaped box covered with white cloth with dark blue embroidery.

“I think you have seen those birds.” As the mayor of the town, or the religious leader, his attitude was much better than that of Mr. Delaney. “Sit down… Don’t be surprised. My son told me that his friend Fritz went to the forest with you, so I had surmised it.”

After that, the mayor waved his hand: “Honey water or tea?”

“No, thank you,” Oliver said, shaking his head.”Actually, we’re here this time to… Uh…”

It was one of the rare times when Oliver was tongue-tied. Nemo fully understood this. At any rate, they have the rank of a snake in the Black Chapter, and what they were about to say was extremely absurd. It was especially difficult to talk about this kind of thing face-to-face. If it was Nemo in Oliver’s place, he would prefer to write to the mayor while ten miles away.

“…I want to talk to you about the Bluebirds.” Oliver turned awkwardly. “Yes, we have seen them.”

Hearing the reference to “them”, the mayor raised his eyebrows and glanced at him quite unexpectedly.

“You’re back, intact.” He murmured and sighed. “Compared to the Delaney family, you chose to see me first. Yes, I know. If you go to Delaney’s house first, Isaac will definitely follow, so let’s talk about it, my child.”

He raised his eyes and stared at them frankly with his light blue eyes. “How much do you know?”

Oliver raised his head in surprise. His voice was trembling a little due to the tension. “The people in Vincent Town are… Right?”

“Their chief told you?”

“No. He doesn’t seem to know, but he should know now.”

“Oh,” the mayor said, his body relaxing. His tone was calm. “I have heard people say that there are many capable people in the Black Chapter. You really do have some skills. Thank you for telling me, my child.”

“You always knew?” Nemo interjected. “Since you always knew, why—”

“I also learned from the previous group.” The mayor sighed lightly. “This matter is a grudge between us and the Grace Bluebirds, and it has nothing to do with you. I would like to thank you for coming to me sincerely.”

He paced slowly to the portrait and uncovered the white cloth with his back to them. He bent his back slightly, as if he had taken something out. The next moment, the living room was closed by a red light film.

“You may be kind people.” The mayor turned around, holding a thick book firmly in his right hand, with sadness in his eyes. “But I can only let you die here. I’m very sorry.”

Nemo’s eyes widened. Like two peas in a pod, he had just seen this book not long ago; it was the same one in the hands of Jesse Dylan. It was almost exactly the same as the book next to the skeleton in the Holy Land.

The same spine, the same embroidery, the same warm and surging power.

“Why?” Oliver moved his gaze away from the book and stretched out his hand to stop Ann, who was about to draw out her spear. “At least let us know.”

“I must protect my townspeople.” The mayor drew a magic array in the air, and the red light film completely separated him from them. “Even if we are like this now, our flesh, blood, and bones can still be used as materials… Vincent Town is different from their tribe. I can’t take the risk of this leaking. It’s hard for me to persuade people to move away, and as long as you say one word, as long as a malicious person tries…”

“I’m sorry,” he said sadly. “I’m really sorry.”

“I’m sorry too,” Oliver responded. He drew out his silver sword, and with one swing he slashed the film of light.

The sound of broken glass resounded through the room. The red translucent light film turned into fragments and shattered to the ground, disappearing quickly without a trace like snowflakes falling on the skin. Oliver walked up to the stunned mayor, took the book out of his hand, and then handed it to Nemo—his actions were smooth, in one single go, with a faint sense of oppression.

“Confirm, Nemo.” Oliver scratched his nose. “Is this the same as the one Jesse Dylan had?”

Nemo flicked his fingers across the gorgeous book cover, which was indeed very similar. Even the naive handwriting and text content on the book cover were exactly the same, but this time, after he opened the cover, what caught his eye was a lingua franca with beautiful handwriting. The paper also looked newer than the one Jesse had.

He dipped his thumb in some viscous powder on the spine of the book and stretched out the tip of his tongue and licked it.

“The book cover is the same.” He nodded. “But the inner page has been reinstalled, and the time difference is quite long.”

“Wow.” Ann sighed in surprise.

“…Don’t look like that. It was my previous job.” Nemo muttered, turning the inner page, which was full of long-winded dogma. He frowned slightly and turned impatiently to the end. On the back cover, the naïve handwriting appeared again.

[We will always love our relatives, our friends, and our lovers.]

[We will always guard them.]

“…Is this your ‘holy scriptures’?” Nemo closed the book and raised his eyes.

The mayor nodded slightly; his face paled. This book was obviously the source of his magic. At that moment, he lost his only weapon and had to stay in place dejectedly.

“We won’t do anything to you, sir.” Oliver simply put away the sword. It slipped neatly into his scabbard. “At least I can understand your concerns, and if you can, I hope you can tell us the details.”

He paused.

“We have an agreement with Lavinia,” Oliver said slowly, “and I think she deserves the truth.”

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