Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 89: Horizon’s Invitation
Countering magic took much longer than they thought.
Nemo only felt that he was performing an unusually detailed surgery, and it didn’t take too much power to wither the nodes. The magic passed through the bones in his hand, condensed into a very fine bundle, and swam with the slightly trembling roots. In his eyes, the ugly root system had gotten closer and became clearer.
The squirming roots almost covered Nadine’s thin body. Nemo didn’t dare move a step, patiently withering them one by one. He could feel sweat oozing out of his forehead and sliding down along with his eyebrows. This seemed to be an endless job, and just looking at it made people discouraged. Fortunately, Oliver couldn’t see the roots.
Nadine was still bleeding slowly. She was barely hanging on to what little life she had with the residual magic she had left. Oliver was holding her hands and gently transferring his magic as he carefully adjusted it as the roots were absorbed. It wasn’t an easy job. The amount of root system extraction would only get bigger, and fatigue would become more imminent. The two of them tightened their nerves, making sure nothing could go wrong for even a slight second. This was a struggle with no end in sight. After all, no one knew what kind of reaction would happen once the root system left.
They could only continue to concentrate as seven hours passed.
There was a loud noise of spells colliding on the other side of the house, signifying the only possibility; Godwin was approaching and Adrian and Jesse were delaying him.
“Lopez is here!” Ann, who was in charge of keeping watch on the roof, confirmed their guess. “He’s not alone…” She hesitated for a while before changing the subject. “Cross can delay him for the time being. Come on you two. Hold on. If Cross can’t hold him off, I’ll go support him.”
Most of the hanging roots had shriveled and withered, leaving only the thickest roots left that continuously drew strength. Nadine had lost too much blood. She was on the verge of death, and no more life could be drawn from her. The root system seemed to be keenly aware of this, and it instead tried to drain all the remaining energy that was still supporting her body.
Ten, five, three, and finally the last one. The root system’s extraction speed became more frantic.
Nemo could see very clearly. Sweat had slipped onto Oliver’s eyelashes, but he didn’t even dare blink. Lisa stood aside stubbornly but didn’t retreat to rest despite the hours that had passed. She clung to the small wooden comb that she had just used to comb Nadine’s hair. The teeth of the comb jabbed into the flesh of her palm, drawing blood that dripped into the sand, but she seemed completely oblivious to it.
Nadine’s hand moved suddenly. She opened her mouth slightly and let out a sharp dying gasp.
“Stop… You gave it your all,” she said softly, her tone sighing.
“But…” Oliver’s voice had doubts, but his huge magic output wasn’t chaotic. A large torrent of power rushed through the root system without any fluctuations.
“…This will only lead to your death, Mr. Ramon.” Nadine’s hand shook a little. “It’s almost over, I know. You’ve opened your spirit to me. Once I…”
She didn’t go on, but both of them understood.
No one expected that the process would take this long. She was in a dying state for seven hours, and the end had to be accompanied by a great burst of energy. They didn’t know if they could keep up. If something went wrong, they may or may not be able to save Nadine in time, but the root system would take notice of this, so they wouldn’t have a second chance.
At that moment, she was like a person that was about to drown. When the most painful moment came, she could be desperate and grab onto her rescuer and drag the other party into the water together. Oliver was transferring his magic into her, and his spirit was open; that was to say—his lifespan was within Nadine’s reach.
It was as if a glass of water appeared in front of the person who was about to die from thirst or a fire in front of a freezing person. Her will had been consumed all night, and her desire to survive on the verge of death would become stronger and would be difficult to restrain.
Nadine herself was aware of this.
“As I said, you don’t owe me anything, Mr. Lop… Ramon.”
“I’m helping you because I believe in you.” Oliver didn’t withdraw his hands. There was even a smile on his face. “It has nothing to do with what my father did. Ms. Nadine, I trust you. If you stop because of ‘possible danger’…”
He quickly glanced in Nemo’s direction. “…Then this kind of trust is meaningless.”
“You are such a cruel person.” Nadine murmured.
“That’s right,” Oliver replied gently. “I’ll say it again. I trust you, Ms. Nadine.”
The witch raised her head extremely slowly. Her sandy golden eyes appeared from the drooping skin that looked calm and sad.
The root system suddenly swelled, and then shrank quickly. Nemo took a breath. The black spell thread was quickly tightened, and at the same moment, Oliver suddenly increased his magic output. The sky above their heads made a series of explosions, then suddenly all the roots withered and slowly faded away. Nemo suddenly cast his gaze on the witch in the rocking chair…
The air around Nadine’s body was twisting, and she seemed to be cauterized by a transparent flame. Oliver subconsciously let go of her hand, took a few steps back and stared at the thin figure.
The witch didn’t utter any sound, and she didn’t move. Nadine lay there quietly, like the ashes of firewood after the last trace of spark had been extinguished. Her eyes were closed tightly, and her chest didn’t move up and down.
Oliver wanted to touch her but was held back by Nemo.
“She doesn’t seem to be in a conscious state. It’s safer if I do it,” Nemo said calmly before wiping the sweat from his face and stretching out his right hand towards the rocking chair.
But he didn’t touch the “skin” of a living creature.
Although it looked like skin, it cracked and collapsed under his touch, scattering into gray powder. Nemo felt a chill in his back and increased the strength of his touch as he tried to stimulate a healing spell.
He caught sight of something under the thick layer of ashes.
The witch moved a little, and ashes began to fall all over her body. Her wrinkled skin cracked and turned into dust that fell off along with her gray hair. The scene was quite terrifying.
A little gold was exposed in the gap between the dust and ashes.
Most of the dust and ash on Nadine’s body fell off, revealing something like a mummy or an anorexic patient that was on the verge of death. The witch’s pale skin stretched over the skeleton and blood vessels that entangled her bones like worms. Her eyeballs were extraordinarily protruding, and attached to her scalp was soft golden hair. She looked weak and creepy.
But it wasn’t the body of an old woman.
“I held back,” she said. Her voice was extremely soft, and that pleasant sound of her no longer seemed inconsistent at this moment. “…I held back.”
“I didn’t kill you…” Tears slid down the eye sockets of the “skeleton”. “I’m so glad.”
Nadine was so weak that her eyes closed slightly after speaking. Nemo hurriedly grabbed her hand, and then breathed a sigh of relief.
“She’s fine,” he said, with lingering fear. “Just…very weak and needs to rest.”
Lisa fell flat on her ass. She unconsciously grabbed the sand with her injured hand. Her expression was mixed with crying and laughter, and finally the mixed emotions turned into a difficult choke. The orange cat slipped to the rocking chair and rubbed the witch’s thin ankles skillfully, making purring sounds.
Oliver also breathed a sigh of relief. He shook in place a few times and almost collapsed. Thankfully, Nemo quickly held him up.
“Ollie.” Taking advantage of the numbness of his brain and the eruption of emotions, Nemo took a few deep breaths, intending to explain clearly in one breath. “Listen, I—”
“You did this?” A somewhat familiar voice sounded, directly interrupting Nemo’s muttered words.
The two raised their heads and saw Godwin Lopez with crossed arms held against his chest, looking at Nadine, who was no longer the old woman in the rocking chair. They couldn’t see any joy or anger in his expression. “Her power response disappeared.”
Nemo immediately looked at the roof, and the figure of the female warrior was gone. Ann wouldn’t attack without leaving a signal, so the situation may not be as bad as they thought. Oliver, who was beside him, grabbed the hilt of the Rest in Peace and stood listlessly.
“Yes.” Oliver raised his emerald eyes, which were the same as the other party. “Ms. Nadine is no longer part of the root system, which means she’s no longer an Eastern Witch.”
Godwin raised his brows, and he strode to the witch. The tail of the orange cat, which was still dawdling at the witch’s feet, quickly drooped down, and it hurriedly ran away and hid quietly behind Oliver.
Oliver clenched the hilt of the sword, while Nemo hid his hand behind his back, causing the shadow to flow quickly between his fingers.
However, Godwin didn’t draw his sword. He didn’t even seem interested in Nadine, who was in front of him. Two magic arrays formed in the air, then dazzling translucent lines directly filled the entire backyard, extending into the sky above their heads.
“The power of abyssal magic is not worth mentioning, but the control accuracy is very good.” After analyzing the lines, he glanced at Nemo. “As for surface magic… Well, it’s interesting.”
He put away the arrays and walked in front of Oliver. Nemo arched slightly, ready to cast a defensive spell. If something were to happen, he didn’t mind revealing his true identity.
At the same time, the familiar scream of a girl came from far to near. “Commander, wait a minute—”
“Oliver Ramon.” Godwin’s voice was steady. “Follow me and join Horizon.”
Debby tripped under her feet, causing her whole body to fall flat on the ground. The dark shadows between Nemo’s fingers trembled and almost dissipated.
“……What?” Oliver expressed his doubts bluntly.
“I investigated,” Godwin said in a deep voice. “From the Black Chapter exam to all the tasks you had taken over, your team had not experienced a single casualty. Vincent Town had the most negative comments, but I’ve asked someone to investigate it and found that you definitely helped calm a small-scale war.”
“It’s impossible for a person with this style of behavior to conspire with others to kill his father because he ‘wants property’,” Godwin said indifferently. There was nothing resembling softness in his expression. “If you join Horizon, I can assign someone to help you investigate what happened that day. Your strength is very strong, so you should use it on the right path.” He glanced at the bone sword in Oliver’s hand.
“I don’t think I have deviated from the right path.” Oliver felt no joy from being praised.
“Nemo Light, Adrian Cross, Jesse Dylan,” Godwin named them one by one. “The first two are involved with demons, and the latter is famous for his coldness and bloodlust. Even if you haven’t deviated now, it’s not wise to walk toeing such a line.”
“I’ve been an adult for a while now, Mr. Lopez.” Oliver twitched the corners of his mouth. “I can make my own judgment.”
“I am providing you with an opportunity to get out of the Black Chapter.” Godwin didn’t seem surprised by Oliver’s response. “You can live as a legal citizen and serve your country and for justice—If you’re worried about your companions, I believe Ms. Savage will be a good leader.”
Nemo subconsciously held his breath; he turned his face to look at Oliver.
“I am very grateful for your proposal, Mr. Lopez, but I don’t quite agree with Horizon’s style.” Without hesitation, Oliver shook his head seriously. He accentuated the word “Lopez”. “To say the least, I have no dissatisfaction with the status quo. I’m just a small person, and the word ’righteousness’ is too heavy… I prefer to help those around me first before I think about such heavy burdens.”
This time, Godwin stared at him for a long time before he said, “Don’t you have the pride of a swordsman?”
“No,” Oliver said, smiling.
Nemo desperately suppressed his chuckle.
Godwin seemed disgusted by this answer as he frowned. “I respect your decision, Mr. Ramon.” His voice was cold, and he also accentuated “Ramon”. “Then that’s it. My mission is over. According to regulations, I won’t do anything to Ms. Nadine. Since there isn’t any substantial ‘hostile’ behavior, I won’t deal with you this time.”
“…But this may not necessarily be the case the next time we meet.”
“Commander…” Debby got up from the ground and patted the soil off her robe. “Can I stay here for a while?”
“Whatever you want. Remember to meet at the inn at noon.” Godwin didn’t dawdle, he turned around and swiftly left.
“Are you sure?” Seeing Debby walking in his direction, Nemo put away the shadow between his fingers. “He may really be able to clear your charges.”
“When the situation stabilizes, we can try to do it ourselves.” Oliver shrugged. “I have a hunch that my cousin and I are not in tune… After all, I still don’t know what this so-called ‘swordsman’s pride’ is.”
This time, Nemo didn’t hold back his laughter. To his surprise, Debby didn’t come to talk to him first but instead ran to Nadine and used magic to levitate the rocking chair.
“I’ll come talk to you later, Nemo,” Debby solemnly said. “I’ll help settle Ms. Nadine first.”
“Okay, let’s go get her something to eat.” Nemo nodded and grabbed Oliver again. “Ann must have gone to Adrian’s side. Listening to Godwin’s tone, it shouldn’t have been a big deal.”
However, Nadine had thoroughly cleaned everything so neatly that there wasn’t even a single slice of bread left in the home. A few minutes later, Nemo closed the last cabinet with a stern face.
“Speaking of… What did you want to tell me just now?” In the gradually whitening sky, everything in the kitchen progressively became clear. Oliver, who was resting against the wall, turned around. He had just washed off the sweat and dirt from his face and was showing an anxious look.
Nemo’s movements froze. He walked to the door of the kitchen numbly, slammed the door and locked it, then cleared his throat unnaturally. Seeing his movements made Oliver, who was still leaning against the wall, straighten up his back instantly. He was now more nervous than when he was facing Godwin.
Nemo took a deep breath. His heart pattered and his fingertips became numb, as if they had been shocked with electricity. Does a confession feel like this? Compared to when Oliver did it so calmly, he was in much worse shape. After adjusting his emotions for a few seconds, Nemo stepped in front of Oliver and tried to frantically sort out all the relevant knowledge in his mind. He tried his best to make himself look calm, but based on Oliver’s expression, he wasn’t successful in doing so.
“I really have something to tell you.”
He straightened out his left arm and wrapped it around the right side of Oliver’s neck while using his other hand to support him from behind. Nemo couldn’t control his strength well and accidently cracked several of the ceramic tiles on the wall.
“…You were saying?” Oliver listened to the clattering of the broken tiles as he responded with great difficulty.
“I’ve clearly thought about it and… I like you.” Nemo solemnly grabbed Oliver’s front lapel with his right hand, and his voice started becoming erratic due to the tension. “Ollie, would you like to be my girlfriend?”
“…” Oliver was silent for a long time before he put his hand on the other party’s hand that was holding his front lapel.
“That may be difficult,” he replied blankly, as he was still dazed from the shock of the question. “How about being your boyfriend instead?”
The author has something to say:
These two fight as if they’re flirting, and flirt as if they’re fighting…
Nemo now has the illusion that he’s a gong, so we can let him keep dreaming a bit longer.
Gray parrot: Young man, do you desire great power?
Nemo: No thanks.
Godwin: Young man, don’t you have the pride of a swordsman?
Oliver: Nope! (Heartily)
…They really are a match made in heaven…
Nemo confesses!!! Kyaaaaa~~~
While the confessions are more direct and there are no sweet eccentric words or poems, given that they both grew up in basically a small village with minimal schooling, they most likely aren’t well versed in romanticism. Still, I’m dying from the cuteness of these two. Sometimes the direct approach is the best!
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5 thoughts on “Stray Ch89”
Ollie: *solemnly solemn*
Nemo: would you like to be my girlfriend?
LikeLiked by 4 people
lol, i think he’s a bit confused, but his heart is in the right place.
LikeLiked by 4 people
no– the way this sent me xDDD i love saying that so it was PERFECT for this scenario. I’m wheezing
LikeLiked by 1 person
How are they always flirting? Congratulations on confessing Nemo!