Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 69: Testing the Sword
“…Do you hate me that much?” Jesse Dylan’s smile showed a bit of reluctance for the first time.
He was to the left of a large string of smoked fish, and on his left were round cheeses covered with moldy spots. A few bunches of dried garlic strewn in rings hung from his shoulders, enveloping the small carriage in an indescribably strong odor. This wasn’t a carriage meant for people to ride in, as the wheels were not reinforced to dampen the bumps on the road. Only the two veteran warriors were calm, while Oliver’s eyes were dull, and Nemo was in a state of confusion over the smell and bumps. The gray parrot wasn’t much better. It hung half-dead on Nemo’s robe as if it were pretending to be a bat.
The fuller goat was squeezed in the middle of the carriage, filling the entire space, and was now biting at the straw rope wrapped in spiced paper. Everyone was busy stabilizing their emotions, so no one answered the blond young man’s question.
Not wanting to owe their newest member any more favors, they decided not to pay to take Fritz’s carriage. Instead, they went to the grocer in town, who didn’t mind their black badge status and happily accepted their request, thinking it was just like adding on five more bags of potatoes.
Unfortunately, the treatment for the entire team was similar to that of five bags of potatoes. They struggled for space among the crowded ingredients inside the carriage, and their sense of smell was completely numbed by all the strong odors.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Now there were only two people who still had the courage to open their mouths. The female warrior stuffed the onion that fell on her knees back into place and turned her head to look at Adrian Cross.
The knight commander was carefully looking at the roughly formed bone sword. “Yes. It’ll be good for them.”
“But we’re not ready yet.” Ann cocked her legs to prevent more onions from falling on her knees. The goat took up too much space, which made her movements difficult. “Supplies may…”
“Don’t bother with food. I’m familiar with the desert and can always find it. Mr. Ramon is used to attacking with ice, so we won’t lack any water. The current supplies are enough—”
“But we don’t even have pillows,” Jesse interrupted bitterly. “Forget those stuffed with feathers. There are not even ones with straws.”
“I can help you find a soft enough cactus.” Ann’s eyes lit up. Her face was saying: “Then get off”.
Just as Jesse was about to respond, another bunch of garlic fell on top of his head, causing him to roll his eyes back and close his mouth bitterly.
“Mr. Ramon has been fighting in a relatively normal climate.” Adrian ignored the unpleasant spark between the two. “The desert is more suitable for his training… This is the same for Mr. Light. I have only seen him use dark-based abyssal magic, so the light from the desert can also have a certain inhibitory effect on him.”
Oliver nodded reluctantly through the bumps and then subconsciously looked at Nemo. Maybe there was no need for strong light since the said Mr. Light looked like he was about to die.
“And this is indeed a good sword.” The big goat was squeezed in front of him, so Adrian could only rub the sword with his hands. “Bluebird bones are quite famous magical materials. The hardness is also very suitable. If it’s given out voluntarily, there won’t be too many impurities in the bones… It’s very suitable for you, Mr. Ramon.”
He grabbed the hilt of the sword. “It’s just a little rough, but I’ll help you deal with it.”
Oliver wanted to open his mouth to thank him, but he only made a precarious “uh” which sounded like nausea. He hurriedly closed his mouth and tried his best to express gratitude with his eyes.
They were heading in the direction of Caleb Village. Truthfully, it wasn’t a good choice. The border between Alban and Willard was naturally formed by a large desert in the middle of the two countries. If they followed the normal route, they would have bypassed this desert and passed by towns on the edge of it or used the teleportation arrays.
“If we go at full speed, it won’t take long to cross it.” The knight’s breath was calm and relaxed.
When they got off the carriage, Nemo had serious doubts about such a statement. The desert in front of him spread to the distant horizon, and the sand was glowing a hot red, making it look endless. The sky was amazingly blue, without a trace of clouds. Many boulders lay obliquely on the hot sand, and masses of tumbleweed rolled down from the sand dunes. The twisted air wavered, making it unquestionable how high the temperature was.
If this was only a painting, the scenery would be beautiful, but Nemo didn’t want to put his feet in it at all.
However, their only hope, the smelly carriage, was already bustling away. Behind them was a wasteland without sparse grass, and ahead was only endless desert. The female warrior and the knight commander had already begun to prepare for sunburn protection. Even Jesse Dylan took off his coat and covered his head.
“Mr. Ramon,” Adrian determined the surrounding environment, then stretched out his hand to point to the boulder-like rock not far away. “Try your sword on that first. This sword should be able to exert all your strength… I need to know how strong you really are. Remember, don’t use magic. I have to consider the intensity of the training based on the degree of the split.”
Oliver squinted his eyes at the dazzling sunlight. Beads of sweat had already begun to slide down his forehead. He clenched the hilt of the Rest in Peace, took in a few breaths, then coughed with the hot air.
Nemo pondered for a moment before he summoned a dark shadow to cover the area above their heads. At first glance, it looked like two black umbrellas without handles. Oliver could finally open his eyes with the shade.
“Thanks.” Oliver wiped the sweat from his forehead and weighed the sword in his hand. He took a long inhale that made his movements jerky.
“Can’t use magic?” He raised his hand and couldn’t help but turn his head to confirm it.
“Can’t.” The knight commander was merciless and pulled his hood on. “Pure power. You should have been taught how to control it.”
Oliver took another deep breath before swinging his sword downward.
Nemo didn’t know what the move would be like. Even if the swing was full of strength, he thought it would only cut a crack at most. Unfortunately, he completely miscalculated. The sword force blew sand everywhere and, like an angry tidal wave, slapped Nemo in the face, giving him a mouthful. He didn’t dare open his eyes.
Others fared better. The female warrior and the knight commander took a few steps back while Jesse had preemptively shielded himself behind the goat and their luggage. The gray parrot was swept away to god knows where.
When Nemo finally finished spitting out the sand in his mouth and raised his head again, the small, mountain-like boulder completely disappeared. A huge rift-like gap appeared out of thin air, and the end disappeared into the sky. Nemo quickly looked at the sword in Oliver’s hand. The bone sword was safe and sound, and the tip even glinted a little with beautiful blue light.
Oliver swallowed hard in front of the freshly made rift. “Sorry,” he said subconsciously.
Ann looked at the sky expressionlessly. Adrian rubbed his temples fiercely with both hands and had a rare blankness on his face. The gray parrot cursed and flew back from behind them, swallowing its curses the moment it saw the sword mark.
“Wow,” Jesse said, with emotion. “With all due respect, Mr. Ramon’s reward of 300,000 is not enough for this sword.”
“It seems that I can’t guide you through battle; at least not against this sword,” Adrian said quietly. “Now I can adjust the basic exercises for you, but your combat training must not fall behind. Mr. Ramon, you’d better not use this sword casually until you master your strength.”
“That’s right. If you had come like this to Vincent Town, you’ll be the reason for the genocide,” Ann added dryly.
“But if you can’t guide me, who am I going to fight against—”
Adrian raised his chin slightly in Nemo’s direction.
Nemo subconsciously looked behind him, only to find a thriving cactus. He turned his face away in disbelief. “Mr. Cross, don’t joke like that—”
“I heard Ms. Savage describe your battle… If there’s anyone here whose strength is closest to Mr. Ramon, the answer is only you. Based on your sparring, I may also be able to find some clues about you.” Adrian’s voice was serious.
“How could you just ignore me?” Jesse stood up from behind the goat and patted the grains of sand off his shirt.
“Then please volunteer.” Oliver’s face instantly brightened, and he became eager to try.
“…No! I don’t want to exercise intensely under such heat,” Jesse decisively refused.
It could be seen that the knight commander was trying his best to hold back from rolling his eyes.
“But I haven’t fought much.” Nemo glanced at the sword, a little scared.
“This is the most effective.” Adrian quickly calmed his emotional fluctuations. “I can see that you like each other very much. I think Mr. Ramon has even expressed this very clearly. Subduing each other without seriously injuring each other will have the best effect on improving control, assuming your purpose isn’t to slaughter your enemies.”
He paused for a few seconds.
“Is that your purpose?”
“Of course not!” the two shouted almost at the same time, tacitly ignoring the first half of Adrian Cross’ words.
“Then let’s get started.” The knight commander nodded with satisfaction. “We can take a break before entering the desert.”
“…Did I miss something very important?” Ann’s ears pricked up as she raised her voice. “Oliver confessed? Have you confessed? When…?”
Oliver stared at the tip of the sword thoughtfully, as if he had suddenly become very interested in it.
“This is not called taking a break…” Nemo protested weakly.
“Tell me about it later.” Ann patted the knight commander on the shoulder. “What are you two doing, fighting?”
“But win or lose—” Nemo tensed in place, as if he were about to flee at the slightest rustle of leaves in the wind*.
*(风吹草动) Metaphor referring to extremely small changes.
“I guess it’s fine.” The knight commander pinched his eyebrows.
“Let’s move away from here.” Nemo pointed to a relatively flat wasteland with an expression like he was about to die a heroic death. “Ollie, why don’t you… You attack first?”
“No, you should go first.”
“But you use a sword—”
“Ah, the one who loses will have to talk to Dylan next time.” Ann was dragging the knight commander far away before suddenly turning her head and adding, “Go on then, boys.”
“Hey!” Jesse shouted in a voice full of grievance as he pulled on the fuller goat.
In the next moment, cold air collided with the dark shadow. A huge blast of wind hit the pair. The surrounding sparse turf was lifted in an instant, and the ground cracked like a spider’s web and collapsed more than half a meter. Ann reacted quickly this time and activated a protective barrier.
“…I knew you didn’t like me that much!” The dark shadow firmly entangled the front of the sword as Nemo shouted out in a deep voice.
“This is a matter of principle.” Oliver’s voice was equally deep. “You moved first, Nemo. It’s supposed to be ten thousand steps back… Aren’t we close friends?” The Rest in Peace slashed horizontally, causing the shadow to split apart from its blade. “How could you treat your friend like this?”
“…It’s a matter of principle.” Nemo coughed a few times and couldn’t help laughing.
The two took a few steps back and, at the same time, burst out laughing, but their offense didn’t diminish. For some reason, Nemo felt that the atmosphere felt a bit familiar. Although he hadn’t experienced any major battles, his body had instinctively reacted most appropriately, as if he had long been accustomed to it.
The ice spikes arched from the ground, followed by a wind slice from Oliver’s sword. Nemo kicked his shadow and jumped into the air, landing on top of a broken icicle to avoid the sword’s force, which left shallow cuts on his cheeks that healed instantly. At the same time, the dark shadows reached out towards Oliver’s shadow, and countless hands grasped tightly at Oliver’s legs. The latter stabbed the sword into the ground at random, creating a pothole.
“You really don’t want to talk to Dylan that much?” Nemo raised his hands, causing countless curly black vines to entangle Oliver. “Ollie, you should have met a worse guest than him—”
“Aren’t you good at taking care of children? Could he be more annoying than a three-year-old kid—” This time, Nemo wasn’t met with an ice spike but a semicircular ice shield. The shadow vines bombarded the smooth ice surface and slid in all directions.
Nemo exhaled and stepped on the ground again, only to slip under his feet and lose his balance. Oliver somehow covered the ground with ice, and now it was melting.
Seizing his chance, Oliver swooped in and hooked the fallen body in the opposite direction. He held Nemo’s waist with his left hand and casually pointed the sword’s tip at Nemo’s neck with his right. “I win, sorry.”
“…I hate you,” Nemo said weakly as he reached out his finger to push the blade away.
“Wishing you happiness,” Oliver said affectionately.
“I don’t understand why some drag others down with them when they fall in love.” Jesse held his cheek with one hand while scratching the neck of the gray parrot with his other. “Ah, I just want to talk to them. That looks more like flirting than fighting.”
Feeling a bit despondent, he made a pergola with his hands and looked at the sun.
“…Forget it, we will become friends in the end anyway,” the blond young man murmured as the corners of his mouth tugged upwards.
The author has something to say:
Jesse: …Don’t beg me when you can!
It’s too miserable when the gray parrot isn’t the most miserable. At present, his status may be a little lower than it… The twisted melon is not sweet, Mr. Dylan.
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4 thoughts on “Stray Ch69”
Thank you so much for translating this! The new chapters have quickly become something I look forward to reading every day after work.
LikeLiked by 1 person
They’re so funny and cute together, give me more sparing, uh flirting, sessions!! I will read 100K of them I swear.
thank u so much for daily updates!! Bows bows
i think there’s much more mistakes than usual in these chapters, especially this one?
“Ah, I just want to talk to them. That looked more like (they’re) flirting than (in) a battle.”