Stray Ch76

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 76: Black Iron and White Tin

This time the liquid wasn’t as lethal as the previous bottle. Although it smelled pungent, after the smell dissipated, it unexpectedly didn’t leave too strong of an aftertaste. Nemo didn’t know if he should faint. He waited with bated breath for a moment, but his mind was still as sober as if he had been soaked in ice water.

Nemo had indeed heard of the Eastern Witches.

At first, he had read all the novels in the library. It just so happened that that race made a very high appearance in all kinds of adventurous love stories. Compared with humanoids, they were closer to poisonous flowers that extend from the same parent plant. To be precise, they were plants that were similar in appearance to humans.

Unfortunately, this species would never have romantic stories about true love; only endless tragedies. The awakening of the Eastern Witches comes from a twisted mind. They extract the strength and lifespan of their offspring and personally raise them to become new witches.

They had never failed. After all, young hearts were easy to control, destroy, and distort.

Therefore, the Eastern Witches never showed any feelings close to “maternal love”. They just instinctively create more offspring, resist the extraction of the previous generation, and do their best to live longer and become stronger. When the power of their children began to appear, it had to be accompanied by a breathtaking beauty. Then, in order to survive, they must begin to repeat this cruel cycle.

Rooted in their own blood, they were a beautiful and dangerous parasitic plant.

Nemo had never seen a real Eastern Witch. In addition to matching the rumored “good at potions”, the old woman in front of him was far from the characteristics of an Eastern Witch. He couldn’t help but open the heavy book again and glanced at the photo.

Generally speaking, in order to obtain more offspring, the Eastern Witches had a longer youth than humans. The witch Nadine claimed that she was only thirty-three years old, but she was close to withering.

“You don’t feel tired?” The witch sat on the chair closest to the thick blanket and gasped hard for a few seconds. The orange cat had mysteriously gone off somewhere, leaving behind a room that looked a bit deserted.

The potion he drank this time was closer to a refreshing drug than one with a sleeping side effect. Nemo could even feel a trace of numbness in his brain, but he didn’t feel sleepy, so he shook his head honestly.

“You’re stronger than I thought.” Nadine smiled, causing the knife-like wrinkles on her face to gather. “Very good. If you can maintain this state, you might be able to return to your team earlier.”

Nemo looked at the old face. He was very curious, but he didn’t want to ask rashly. After all, the witch didn’t seem to want to continue chatting. She moved to the rocking chair on the other side of the living room and began to take a nap in the sun. The rattan rocking chair shook gently, lifting her thin body up, making it more difficult to see the ups and downs of her breathing on her shriveled chest.

Nemo wanted to turn his attention back to the book, but suddenly there was a huge change.

In the bright and warm sunshine, a huge phantom slowly twisted. Nemo narrowed his eyes hard, and the outline of the thing became more obvious. It wasn’t something that really existed there, like a tangled soft root or a deformed and enlarged blood vessel. The end of the phantom root plunged into the old woman’s thin body and wriggled like something being sucked in. The witch Nadine’s body became more and more shriveled, as if that thing had directly sucked away part of her internal organs. The vitality that had just been added soon disappeared again, and she was even a little older than before.

The shadows dissipated, and the air in the room seemed to be a bit colder. The old woman opened her mouth slightly and let out a sigh that was so light that it was almost inaudible.

It was a pity that the house full of flowers was located on the edge of the village, and the excitement on the other side of the village couldn’t spread here…

People gathered in one direction of the village, like ants that found sugar cubes. There was no one left in the tavern. The party could only stuff the money and tips under their plate, revealing a corner of it, and pray that no one would flip it over and steal them.

One side of the village became empty within an instant. The four people present maintained a tacit silence, and no one proposed to join in the excitement. Fortunately, not everyone rushed to watch the Horizon Mercenary Group. The snack shop next to the tavern was still open normally. There was a fat middle-aged shopkeeper who was taking a nap inside.

“I’m going to buy some food.” Oliver shook his pitifully deflated purse, causing Ann to tilt her eyes at him.

“Didn’t you have enough food five minutes ago?” The female warrior raised her brows. “If you want supplies, it’s still early.”

“…I’m going to buy some food for Nemo.” Oliver moved his gaze away and finished making up for what he had just said. “We only asked for treatment, so we can’t reasonably think she should also provide meals too.”

“Geez,” Jesse sighed, “have you ever heard of a superior demon who starved to death?”

“No.” Oliver walked to the snack shop without looking back. “But I have heard of people who want to join the team.”

The blond young man instantly shut his mouth.

“Then let’s go to the inn to book a room first—” Ann waved her hand and pulled on the knight commander, who had a complicated expression. “Anyway, this small place only has two inns, so you can come find us by yourself.”

Their leader waved his hand, indicating that he heard it.

The snack shop was full of the unique aromas of butter and baked goods, which made people feel relaxed. Oliver wasn’t sure what Nemo liked to eat, so he had to pick a variety of things and stuffed them into his large paper bag. When he thought about the toothless mouth of the witch Nadine, he asked for two more puddings. After settling accounts with the yawning owner, he carefully carried them in his other hand.

Things have settled down since then.

Most of the villagers just wanted to see some lively fun. After seeing the freshness, they began to walk back, and the number of pedestrians on the street was slowly increasing. Oliver cautiously avoided the excited passersby, holding the snack bag close to his chest with his right hand and the pudding tied to a hemp rope firmly with his left hand, trying hard to keep them from hitting his scabbard.

He followed his memory and walked to the witch’s residence, but unlike before, when they first arrived, people seemed to be staring at him intentionally or unintentionally, and even a few began to point their fingers.

He quickly confirmed what he was holding in his hand. The snack bag wasn’t damaged, and the pudding bottle remained intact. The paper bag wrapped around his chest even covered up the black badge, and he was dressed very ordinarily. The Rest in Peace remained in his scabbard, and it didn’t emit any light that would randomly appear.

So, he looked back suspiciously, and the murmurs of the villagers became even louder.

Oliver stopped and repeatedly checked whether there was anything wrong with his attire and behavior. He even turned his head to confirm if there was any suspicious note attached to his back, or if a piece of fabric was stretched awkwardly, but he found nothing.

He had to lower his head, speed up his steps, and trotted almost all the way back to the witch’s residence.

Hearing someone knocking on the door, Nemo put down the book in his hand and subconsciously looked at Nadine in the rocking chair. The witch wasn’t asleep but looked weaker than before. Seeing her struggling to fumble for her cane, Nemo quickly stood up.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it.” He strode to the door.

Fortunately, there were no strange patients outside the door. The moment they saw each other, they both showed a little relieved expression, almost at the same time.

“Are you… feeling better?” Oliver asked a little nervously.

“Not bad.” Nemo turned sideways to make way and then closed the door. “Ms. Nadine said that I recovered very quickly, so I can probably return to the team earlier.”

“That’s good.” Oliver carefully placed the snack bag and pudding on the tea table.

“It seems a bit noisy outside.” Nemo looked out the window. “What happened?”

“The Horizon Mercenary Group just arrived here. It should be the spectators who have come back from watching the excitement.”

“The number one mercenary group Ann mentioned?” Nemo quickly picked up the conversation smoothly. “Aren’t they on a mission to explore the tomb of the elves?”

“Maybe that task has been completed.” Oliver untied the rope from the pudding bottleneck. “I bought some doughnuts… or do you want a pudding first? You haven’t eaten much in the past few days—”

The other person’s attitude was too natural. For a few seconds, Nemo almost forgot his freshly acquired true identity. He didn’t realize what happened until he took the bottle. At that time, Oliver had already walked in front of the witch, bent down and put a pudding in her hand. The witch smiled softly at him.

“Thank you… Uh, what are you doing here?” Nemo, who was half a beat slower, struggled to find a topic.

“It’s said—” Oliver was about to open the paper bag when a knock on the door came again.

“Is it Ann and them?”

“It shouldn’t be,” Oliver put down the snack bag. “They went to the inn first. It might be a guest of Ms. Nadine—don’t move, I’ll open it.”

Nemo nodded in silence, sat still on the thick velvet blanket as he poked the soft dessert in the bottle with a spoon. However, less than five seconds after the sound of the door opening, a heavier sound of closing the door reached his ears. Nemo raised his head with a spoon in his hand and saw Oliver walk back blankly with no so-called new guests next to him.

“Who is it?” He took the spoon out of his mouth and asked curiously.

“…It’s an illusion.” Oliver replied very confidently.

Nemo slowly dug into the pudding. “But your illusion is knocking on the door again.” And the frequency of knocking on the door this time wasn’t as polite as just now.

“Oh,” Oliver said, taking out a doughnut from the bag and shoving it stiffly into his mouth. “Maybe I accidentally ate something wrong. Sorry, you go this time.”

Nemo raised his brows. He put the half-eaten pudding on the table, rushed to the door quickly, and opened the door again.

Another blond “Oliver Ramon” was standing at the door, also expressionless, exuding a cold breath. Nemo rubbed his eyes and almost closed the door. Fortunately, the observation power of a superior demon stopped him, and he reacted before pulling the door handle.

That wasn’t Oliver.

At second glance, he didn’t look similar. Oliver Ramon always had a gentle feeling, but the aura of the visitor in front of him was much sharper. His blond hair was slightly shorter than Oliver’s and he looked a bit thinner. The self-confidence and sharpness between the eyebrows were also much more obvious.

The attire was even more contrasting. The visitor was dressed as a standard veteran swordsman. He wore exquisite, but not fancy, armor without any traces of superfluity in its decoration. Every seemingly decorative pattern was made of charms that seemingly were like magma surging under the earth’s surface. His sword exuded extreme power but also had a weird sense of familiarity. Nemo couldn’t help but do a double take.

Even if they sold all their team’s belongings, it was estimated that they wouldn’t be able to even afford a shoe that this person was wearing, Nemo thought bitterly after he looked up and down thoroughly. In the end, he managed to find a white tin badge on the other party’s chest that was insignificant against the background of the visitor’s clothes.

He subconsciously wanted to cover the black badge on his chest but saw the words “it’s too late” on the other party’s expression.

“You… Hello.” This time, Nemo wasn’t sure if he wanted to get out of the way. “Who are you?”

“Godwin Lopez.” The visitor replied in a deep voice. “I need to meet Ms. Nadine… Can you let me pass?”

The author has something to say:

Oliver: (Opens the door)

Godwin: ?????

Oliver: ?????

Oliver: (Closes the door)

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