Stray Ch85

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 85: Cooperation

There was a lot of open space behind the Earthsea Orchid Inn. Without the cover of dark clouds, the stars in the sky were particularly bright.

Nemo could now regard what the position of “Commander of the Knights of Judgement” truly meant. Despite losing all his powers, Adrian Cross immediately found a way to cope with it. Adrian drew a less complex magic array on parchment paper and directly pasted all kinds of runes on it.

“Drawing a new spell from scratch? Not bad.” Ann casually picked up the parchment and drew on it. A tiny black ball fluttered out of the array and floated aimlessly in the air. “…But what the hell is this?”

“Their problem is not strength,” Adrian said without raising his head, and crossed out two more rune characters. “Those two lack on-the-spot response and cooperation.”

“And how many balls are you going to make for them to play with?” Ann stretched out her finger and tried to poke the black ball that wasn’t much bigger than a grain of rice. It almost merged into the darkness, and it took her a long time to determine its location. As soon as she stretched out her fingertips, the small ball disappeared in place, appearing more than ten centimeters away. “Ah, I see. But this can’t beat Nemo.”

“Only a stable magic output of more than ten seconds can eliminate it. Once the magic fluctuates, it will immediately detach. Surface magic is effective on it, which is something Mr. Light can’t do.” The knight commander made final adjustments, and he handed the parchment to Ann. “This thing isn’t powerful, so it’s not a problem for you to make thousands of them.”

“I probably know what you’re thinking.” The female warrior raised her brows at the pieces of parchment and flipped through them casually. “I’m fine with it, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s that difficult… Huh?” She lowered her head and stared at the last one.

“…You’re really a bad man,” she murmured.

“I’m already very lenient with them.” Adrian stared at the two young men who seemed a little lost in front of him. “At least I didn’t add any offensive element. If they were my subordinates…”

The former knight hitched the corner of his mouth. Seeing as how infrequently he did it, Nemo suddenly felt a chill down his spine.

“Are you ready?” Ann finished painting the array in the air. Black balls like flying insects rushed out from the center of the array, looking as if black sewage was spraying out of thin air.

“No,” Nemo stated flatly. No one seemed to explain what all this was, whether it was the knight commander or the female warrior. Oliver, beside him, didn’t respond as he was too busy intently looking at the creation of the magic array. The black ball flew around them before spreading rapidly everywhere. They flew silently in the night, like a swarming flock of flies.

“Then let’s get started.” Ann happily ignored Nemo’s answer. Her tone was relaxed and cheerful. “If you don’t clean up all the rune balls, you two won’t be able to get out—oh, also, you’re not allowed to use lighting. Nemo, you’re also not allowed to destroy it with brute force.”

“Destroy what—”

Ann completed the last magic array, which gave him his answer. The moment it was completed, all light disappeared.

It wasn’t just light that disappeared. The rustle of the night wind blowing through the leaves, the buzzing of insects in the grass, and the vague human chatter in the distance were gone as well. It seemed as if even sound had faded. The air no longer flowed where it could be felt on the skin. They seemed to have stumbled into a dark coffin that was buried deep in the ground and was cleanly separated from the outside world.

Nemo was in a daze for a few seconds and felt something cold gushing out of his bones. He didn’t like this scene; not one bit. It was like stepping off the edge of a cliff, and he fell into his first memory—dark, cold, silence.

A warm hand was placed on his shoulder. Nemo instantly regained his senses and suppressed the rising unhappiness and discomfort.

“I think I get it.” Oliver was close at hand, but Nemo couldn’t see him. To be precise, he could feel Oliver’s presence more vividly now, from his heartbeat to his breathing to the tiniest movements of his body. Nemo could “perceive” clearly, but he couldn’t see him.

The magic array designed by Adrian was perfect. There wasn’t even a single trace of light left. The rune balls flew around perfectly, blending into the darkness. After the other voice disappeared, Nemo could hear its faint whispers from time to time. The magic contained in those small runes was too weak and flew too fast; sound was the only clue.

He conservatively estimated there were at least thousands of rune balls flying around.

“More than ten seconds of magic output,” Oliver said in a low voice. In such an environment, even the small volume sounded a bit harsh. “It’s impossible for me to see them, and I don’t need physical movements to counter them. I think what Mr. Cross’ intention is… Nemo you have to hold them and I’ll destroy them as soon as possible.”

“I think you’re right,” Nemo tried to answer. Besides Oliver, he couldn’t even see his own body. This made him unsure of whether his vocal cords were still working properly. The unhappiness that was pressed into his heart surged again. “But their power is too weak. I can try… Try it first.”

The task of catching these rune balls was tantamount to catching invisible dust in the air. As soon as Nemo concentrated his consciousness, before he had time to act, the pile of rune balls suddenly scattered.

It seems he couldn’t use too much magic before confirming their location. The only option he had left was to listen to them.

Nemo’s breathing became short, and the darkness that tightly enveloped him made his anxiety heavier. He became frustrated and was unable to concentrate. He tried listening, but it didn’t go well, as another sound was interfering with him.

Oliver’s breathing was very gentle, but his heartbeat was fast. The powerful heartbeat was like the beat of a war drum in the darkness of nothingness as it was mixed in together with his breathing, leaving no quiet gaps, which made Nemo unable to ignore it.

Nemo settled his mind, tried several times, and succeeded in fixing a rune ball through sheer luck. After less than three seconds, Oliver began his spell according to instructions, but it flew away again and disappeared into the darkness.

His magic output was too unstable.

This was just one, and there were thousands of others waiting in the dark.

Were they too confident in their own powers? Nemo stood in place blankly. It seemed that the practical difficulty of the plan was not at the same level as the theoretical one. They only had about one day left, and no one knew when Godwin Lopez would act.

Could they actually do this?

No. Nemo shook his head, intending to empty his mind of negative thoughts. He took a deep breath and tried to control his heartbeat. He succeeded in the first few seconds, but unfortunately, this success wasn’t long-lasting. Their heartbeats had just been consistent for half a minute, but when Nemo turned his attention to the rune balls, his heart returned to its original beating speed.

The thick darkness aggravated the anxiety in his heart.

Nemo’s breathing unconsciously became more rapid and heavy, and after perceiving this, he simply stopped breathing. This didn’t make the status quo much better. In the darkness, the passage of time became unpredictable. God knows how long it took them before they destroyed the first rune ball.

Too slow.

Every time they encountered a desperate situation before, they were able to save the day in the end. Nemo thought this was the first time he had to face his own immaturity and powerlessness so directly. When they face Nadine, they would only have one chance. After all, unlike the fluttering rune balls, a life was much heavier.

“Nemo,” Oliver, who had just put down his sword, suddenly spoke.

“Hmm?” Nemo responded as smoothly as possible, “I’m here.”

“You don’t seem to be using your spatial magic.”

“Yes, I’m listening… They make sounds.”

“I’m sorry,” their leader said, his voice a little tense. “…Am I distracting you? Is there anything I can do?”

“No,” Nemo was distracted, and couldn’t help but start breathing habitually again. He tried to suppress the depression and discomfort in his voice. “It’s okay, Ollie, we still have time. We have just started.”

You can’t mess with yourself. You’re a superior demon. Nemo repeated to himself sternly. A true superior demon. A superior demon shouldn’t have claustrophobia.

“…” Oliver was silent for a while before clear footsteps sounded. He walked closer and then held his breath, as if he was listening to something.

“Are you uncomfortable?” after a moment of silence, Oliver asked tentatively. “Is it because of those potions?”

“No, it’s not. I’m fine. Let’s continue,” Nemo replied quickly. “Don’t talk about me… Your heartbeat is a bit fast—are you too nervous? Don’t be nervous, we will—”

“May I hold your hand?” Oliver interrupted him. “If you don’t mind.”

“If it makes you feel better.” Nemo stretched out his hands decisively.

Oliver fumbled for a while, wiped the back of his hand with his fingertips, and then simply held Nemo’s hands.

“I’m really nervous.” Oliver held his hand lightly and said in a gentle voice. “I’m afraid I can’t do this. I’m afraid I’ll see Nadine being killed by Godwin… I’m afraid I’ll let you down.”

Nemo could feel the caution in his tug. Oliver pulled on his hands and pressed them against his forehead.

“I’m as nervous as you… Even though I don’t know why you’re resisting.”

Still, Oliver found out. Nemo sighed in his heart but didn’t pull his hands away. The other party’s palm was dry and warm, which only meant one thing; his own hands were wet and cold.

He couldn’t hide his anxiety and discomfort.

“It’s a bit embarrassing to say… Nemo, you may not know yet, but I’ve sworn a bunch of vows to others. I know how far I am from you,” Oliver continued. His voice was soft and even had hints of a smile. “While trying to catch up to you, I can only promise one thing—no matter how bad things are, I will always greet you with a smile. At least I won’t cry like the first time.”

“You must remember what happened at that time, right? If you want to laugh, you can laugh. I won’t get angry,” he said very gently.

Nemo tried to hook the corners of his mouth, but he failed to laugh successfully. Honestly, he didn’t think it was funny at all. From that cry, he no longer even dared to look at the weak human child for fear that the other party would run away forever because of fear, and now Oliver Ramon, who had already grown up, was standing in front of him.

Oliver’s heartbeat was still rapid and irregular with no sign of ease.

That’s right. Nemo slowly exhaled.

This darkness wasn’t as empty as he’d thought. It was indeed harsher than he remembered, but from a certain point of view, it was better than what he remembered. At least this time, his light wasn’t too far away from him.

His breathing calmed. His lungs no longer seemed to be as if they were being squeezed by icy clutches, and he didn’t need to suppress his breathing. Nemo was finally able to easily adjust his breathing rate to match Oliver’s.

Then there was the heartbeat.

This time he didn’t try to adjust his heartbeat. Perhaps if he had adjusted it, things would proceed smoother, but Nemo wasn’t sure. He only knew one thing; his heart no longer beat as smoothly and regularly as it did before, and this wasn’t controlled by his subjective will.

Gradually, consistent sound gaps began to appear one by one, interrupting the quietness. The magic of the Abyss exuded a dim light that quickly erupted, like lightning striking the ground from the sky. The trajectory of the spell solidified in the air, like the dead branch of a shrub that suddenly flourished, and each twig had runes strung up at the end.

“We do have time,” Oliver said as he plunged the Rest in Peace into the ground. White silk of light that was a little blue wrapped around the rune balls and, after ten seconds, they quietly turned into ash. “Everything is just beginning.”

Perhaps he was too deeply influenced by the stories in books. Nemo thought he had carefully analyzed his feelings and was waiting for a clear sign. It was as if his feelings could grow their own labels and instruction manual after a while. It was true he had a lot of problems, but now that his identity had been clarified, he suddenly felt relief.

That unique light; if he had to give that persistence, trust, and warmth a label, “like” was a good word for it.

Things may not be as complicated as he thought. If he really simulated everything about humans perfectly, then this abnormal heart rate was enough to prove it.

It was rapid and irregular. There was no need to make any special adjustments. As long as a little correction was made, it would slowly match the other party.

The rune balls began to decrease from a dozen at a time to hundreds at a time. The intervals were getting shorter and faster, and the sense of unity of fighting side by side felt reassuring. He had even forgotten the depression that was caused by the airtight darkness.

When the last rune ball turned into ash, the darkness instantly dissipated, but it was no longer the starry sky that greeted them, but the setting sun that had just sunk to the ground.

The author has something to say:

I want them to start falling in love in this volume!!!

Life is too short.jpg

Knight Commander: …I sent you in for training. (Stop talking)

Kinky Thoughts:

Ahhhhh Nemo finally realizes his feelings!

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