Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 72: The Witch
Those fragments were like a whole piece of debris falling from his memories, creating gaps. They were blurred and broken, making people unable to distinguish between reality or a dream that was too far away. Since fighting Witherspoon, their hands had turned into cold hands, stroking the back of Nemo’s neck when he was most unsuspecting.
Nemo could probably guess their source.
When he was first adopted by Old Patrick, he didn’t understand the lingua franca at all, and the words of others were just meaningless syllables in his head. Before being attacked by Bagelmaurus, Nemo thought there was nothing special about him except that his memory was better than others’, but no matter how good his memory was, he shouldn’t remember a bunch of irregular noises more than ten years ago.
And now, they were gradually returning.
From every little trifle, every word that was said to others, every wrinkle on their clothes, every word in a book, all the details going back in time, came brand-new knowledge out of the depths of his mind. He was pretty sure he had never touched them before, as only the memory from before he was six was still vague, with a few afterimages and echoes.
He couldn’t figure out why some of these fragments had returned again. They were like blisters floating at the bottom of the water. They were different sizes and floated in a disorderly manner, as if they were following some kind of mystical and incomprehensible law.
For example, when he woke up this morning, the temperature had picked up. Nemo slowly removed the blanket Oliver was still clutching, causing White II to awaken from his movements. It stuck out its tongue in the early morning air and opened only two of its four eyes. Everything was calm and peaceful until he removed the blanket and ran his fingers through the soft hair of the other party. The string of uncomfortable blisters popped into his mind again.
Nemo could now remember every encounter with Oliver Ramon. Roadside Town wasn’t big, so he had some of his own impressions; except for the first time, they only encountered each other three times after that.
When he was twelve years old, he went to help people run errands and bring news. The reward was a silver coin.
Nemo walked through the town and stepped into the front yard of the Ramon’s inn for the first time. At that time, it was so hot that he felt uncomfortable all over his body and almost suffered heatstroke. Nemo could still recall the feeling of dizziness and irritability. At that time, at the corner of the inn, a young man about his age hid in the shadows, staring at him.
Light brown hair and beautiful emerald eyes. Oliver was even shorter than he was at that time. They looked at each other briefly for a moment, and then the other slipped away along the root of the wall.
The second time was at the age of seventeen.
Debby Light, who was in her early teens, was about to be taken away by a mercenary group the next day, and she insisted that Nemo carry her to the candy shop on the other side of town. The weather was nice that day, and Oliver was holding a box of falling vegetables, trying to kick the potatoes that had fallen to the ground back into the wooden box with his feet. Seeing this, Nemo put down Debby and helped the innkeeper’s son stuff the potatoes back into the box. They nodded to each other, simply introduced themselves, and greeted each other very perfunctorily. He still remembered that Oliver’s smile was a little stiff at the time.
The third time was when they fled Roadside Town together and have been in exile ever since.
But Nemo just remembered the young and familiar voice and was positive that it belonged to Oliver Ramon. When did they talk? Or rather, when did he hear Oliver’s words? Even if he didn’t have the memory of before he was six years old, Oliver wouldn’t have suffered from amnesia like he did.
And he was about to get an answer.
Nemo rolled the blanket into a roll and tied it firmly to the back of the fuller goat with a thick cloth soaked in grease. He glanced at Oliver, who was still asleep, and suddenly felt his stomach tangled in a ball because of the tension. A resistance that seemed to originate from instinct was pricking his brain, screaming frantically for him to give up.
But he needed that answer, Nemo thought. However, that odd sense of resistance didn’t disappear because of his firm mind.
In the days that followed, Nemo couldn’t hide his absent-mindedness at all. Considering his situation, his teammates all expressed their understanding, except for the gray parrot who occasionally mocked him. Even Jesse Dylan didn’t touch on this topic.
When they arrived in Caleb Village, this resistance reached its peak. It was as if an invisible claw was scratching his internal organs and pulling him away from the village. Nemo suddenly punched himself in the stomach and continued towards the village with gritted teeth. Oliver, who was walking beside him, thoughtfully ignored his eccentric actions.
Compared to the towns on the edge of the desert, Caleb Village was more like a real oasis. The village was very small, and one could see its entirety from a single glance. The village and the yellow sand were clearly demarcated by a strange planted fence. The dense shrubs formed a low wall that couldn’t cover the green scenery inside. The wind here was much softer than in the center of the desert, with a refreshing dampness. The grass was soft and stepping on it made people feel light.
Although it was located on the border between two countries, there wasn’t even a garrison. There were only two people dressed as soldiers lying under the tree at the entrance of the village, and one of them seemed to be sleeping soundly.
White II, who followed them all the way, shrank uncharacteristically. It lowered its body and rolled its tail into a ball.
“We can’t bring it in,” Adrian said. “The arthropod monitor lizard has the ability to kill plants. It’s okay in the desert, but it’s absolutely unwelcome here. “
“The fact that it’s an ‘intermediate demon’ alone is enough for it to be unpopular,” Jesse said casually. “Captain, it’s time to get rid of it.”
White II tried to raise its face and looked at Oliver pitifully. The four small eyes of the arthropod lizard were very wet and full of sadness.
“What do you want?” Oliver squatted down and looked straight at it.
White II shook the bone shell on his body, as if thinking about something, and then suddenly, the next moment, it began to transform.
The white hard shell became thick hair, the four eyes became two and condensed towards the side of its head, then curly hard horns protruded out from its head. Within half a minute, another fuller goat appeared in front of them. It even bleated, then it bit Oliver’s pants and dragged him in the direction of the village.
“’Demonic mimicry’,” Jesse touched his chin and commented with interest. “It’s pretty desperate.”
Oliver slowly regained his pants and ignored Jesse. “I hear you’re very smart… Can you understand what I’m saying?”
The fuller goat nodded quickly.
“If you can guarantee that you won’t hurt people or kill the plants inside, I’ll take you in with me,” Oliver said seriously. “I’ll watch you carefully… If you can’t do it, I will definitely be the first to send you out.”
The fake goat nodded frantically and licked Oliver’s hand flatteringly.
“It’s taken care of,” Oliver announced, shaking the saliva from his hand. “You said it wasn’t malicious, didn’t you, Mr. Cross?”
The knight commander pinched his brows and decided not to express his opinion on this matter.
After briefly greeting the soldiers at the entrance, they entered the village that was wrapped in green. It was in the afternoon, so it was still a bit hot outside, and there weren’t many people in the street. The atmosphere was calm and lethargic, and the villagers didn’t even show much curiosity. Even if it was a bit unnatural to bring two fuller goats, not many villagers gave them a second glance.
Just when Nemo was almost overwhelmed by his own sense of resistance, they finally arrived at the witch’s residence.
Nemo thought it would be a dark and gloomy corner at the edge of the village that all the townspeople would be secretive about, but it turned out he didn’t guess anything right except the edge. The villagers didn’t shy away from talking about the weird witch, and even calmly pointed out the directions for them.
When he arrived at his destination, he vaguely understood the reason. The house was not like a witch’s residence at all.
A hut that was extremely warm. The front yard was full of all kinds of flowers. Each clump was alive and full of vitality, and the colors matched just right. Clusters of wisteria hung from the windowsills, and even half of the roof was covered with climbing vines decorated with flowers. This was like a scene that appears only in fairytales.
A round orange-haired cat was lying at the front door of the courtyard, showing its belly unabashedly as it basked in the sun leisurely. The scenery was so soft and gentle that it made Nemo feel bad about facing his sense of resistance at this moment.
“Witch?” He pointed to the orange cat with only a fluffy tail. “Did a witch raise this thing?”
“Uh, that’s just a cat,” Ann’s tone was shocked. “Don’t ask too much… That’s not our goal.”
An old lady came out of the hut tremblingly with a watering can in her right hand. Her dress wasn’t the plain color common to the elderly, but a lively style that matched the bright colors of the lovely garden.
Nemo was sure that she was older than all the old people he had ever seen combined. Though it was an impolite thought, he was too shocked by the fact that “she was still alive”. The old woman’s hair was all white, terribly sparse, and a little burnt of dirty yellow. Her facial features were almost completely covered by wrinkles and sagging skin, and because she had no teeth, her mouth was severely deflated inward. The old lady suspected of being a witch was leaning on a crutch in one hand and holding a watering can in the other. She moved carefully; her back hunched as if she was carrying another person. Every step she took made water leak from the mouth of the watering can.
The whole team fell silent.
“Old madam, there is something wrong with my companion’s memory. We are here…uh…” Oliver found that he couldn’t say the words “for your help” for a moment. Even if they could provide the remuneration, he couldn’t open his mouth.
“Which one has a problem with his memory?” The old lady arched her back even more severely, and she began to carefully water the flowers at her feet. The orange cat, who was still basking in the sun just now, quickly got up, jumped to the old lady’s feet, and rubbed against her thin ankles back and forth.
But none of them could answer this question.
A strange feeling appeared for the first time. From a distance, it was definitely an old woman who seemed to be on the verge of death. They could smell the moldy smell unique to the elderly, but the voice definitely belonged to a young woman; crisp, clear, and powerful.
The author has something to say:
Black cat, it doesn’t exist!
Oliver (12 years old): !!! This is the shadow of my childhood before— (escape)
Nemo (12 years old): ?
Oliver (23 years old): I like you.
Nemo (23 years old): ???
……Happy growth, Oliver, who started to chase his childhood shadow.
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One thought on “Stray Ch72”
Thank you so much for the chapters!!!