Stray Ch110

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 110: Severe Pain

To Nemo’s surprise, Oliver took the lead this time. Instead of attacking, he extended his hand and twisted a leaf in the decorative potted plant on the side of the stone steps. As white light was injected into the leaves, the veins of the leaves flashed with a faint silver light. Oliver released his hand, and the leaves drifted towards the weird, misplaced forest without any wind.

Then it automatically split into several pieces without moving forward, and a few pieces disappeared out of thin air.

“…” Oliver’s expression became stiff. “I’m starting to think about whether the sentence ‘I can’t find you’ means something else.” He grabbed another leaf and threw it in the same position, but this time the leaf moved further away.

“The attack mode of this thing is constantly changing,” Nemo said, tearing off a piece casually. Unlike Oliver’s situation, the leaves withered directly in his hands, but the dead leaf was unexpectedly lucky. It jumped up and down around the space in front of them and circled the field slowly before returning back to its original place. It didn’t even break the edge.

“Uh… but its attacks seem to only be aimed towards surface magic,” Nemo added dryly as he stepped off the stone steps first.

This nightmare leopard was on the verge of death. Not to mention a human body, the power from its actual body was already dwindling. Nemo didn’t think it could cause him any substantial harm. At that moment, the owner of this dreamland was already delirious, and the uncontrolled abyssal magic was surging frantically, instinctively guarding the consciousness of the nightmare leopard, but when those violent forces hit him, it only brought a soft touch of warm water that flowed through his fingers.

Nemo reached out his right hand and pressed it into the air. At that time, countless runes unfolded in front of the two of them, flashing and beating from time to time.

“Here’s the identification of the aura of the abyss.” After dispersing the runes, Nemo breathed slowly. “Cognitive interference is also attached.”

“In other words, I have to find a way to get in.” Oliver wiped his face. He was able to cheat the two rows of corpses at the front entrance. Considering the uncertain identity of visitors, it was reasonable that there would be some leeway. But this was the stronghold of the Abyssal Church. Its defenses couldn’t be that simple. “What is cognitive interference?”

“It’s hard to explain. You can experience it for yourself later.” Nemo stretched out his hands towards the back of his neck and untied the gold pendant he was wearing. He threw it at Oliver, who subconsciously caught it.

“This is…?”

“We all know that it’s very valuable to me.” Nemo’s voice was clear and serious. “Oliver Ramon, I’ll now lend you this valuable item. You’ll need to return it to me when we leave here.”

Oliver instantly understood. “Okay, I promise you.”

Suddenly, his left forearm burned, as if someone had cut his skin with a hot blade. After the burst of pain, a faint burning sensation lingered. Oliver took off his armor to confirm it. A complex and bizarre engraving appeared on the inside of his left forearm, burning quietly near his left wrist.

“This is a trade seal of a superior demon, similar to that of Mr. Cross.” Nemo smiled dryly. “As an ‘aura of the Abyss’, this should qualify.”

Oliver walked down the stone steps in the direction of Nemo. After officially stepping into the weird nightmare forest, he immediately understood the actual meaning of “cognitive interference”. He was sure that he was moving at a more stable pace, but it felt extremely weird, as if he was squeezing through invisible narrow tubes at different speeds. The scenes around him that were already distorted became even more distorted, passing by quickly and slowly.

He even had a strong nausea when he stopped, as if the carriage he was riding in suddenly stopped while traveling at high speed.

“It’s interfering with our perception of time.” Nemo grabbed Oliver’s arm, who shook his head and closed his slightly dilated pupils. “Sorry. Considering the physical condition of this demon… I can’t interfere with it rashly or I’ll hurt it.”

“But there doesn’t seem to be any problem with Virgil’s movement.” Oliver stood firmly. “Even if you want to move forward in a place like this… If I’m not mistaken, you can only cooperate with the environment. His situation doesn’t seem right.”

“That’s right,” Nemo nodded. “He should be the demon warlock of this superior demon.”

“But you said, ‘its body is sleeping’.” Oliver moved carefully, turning his head to avoid the twisted branches floating slowly. “If he’s a demon warlock, shouldn’t the will of the superior demon be in his body? Is it possible that other demons besides Telaranea could split their soul—”

“No.” Nemo immediately shook his head and stretched out his hand again. “In theory, there’s another case of producing a demon warlock, but it’s very rare.”

“What do you mean?”

“Even if I can’t stop the cognitive interference, I can restore the elements of these dreams. You know, it can’t create such a thing out of thin air. This is all based on its memories.” Nemo didn’t look at Oliver. “Perhaps we can see it.”

Black filaments emerged out of Nemo’s shadow and poured into the darkness behind the peeling crevices. As they slowly closed, the black forest in front of them seemed to be smashed into pieces by an invisible mortar, and then gradually bonded. Everything around him was quickly restored, giving Oliver an uncomfortable feeling. It was like watching a plate of applesauce turning back into a complete apple, and they happened to be submerged in that plate of sauce. This definitely wasn’t a good feeling.

The twisted nightmare and the weird floating trees were gone, and the surrounding scenery quickly reorganized. The scene in front of them had become a complete and normal night view of the forest, with stars twinkling in the night sky, and the air was fresh and cold.

Listening to what Nemo just said, this should be the basic element of that nightmare, the memory of the superior demon.

“Follow me closely.” Nemo grabbed Oliver’s arm again and walked in front. “Don’t stop.”

Oliver stared at the hand with complicated eyes, then moved his gaze to the back of Nemo’s head. Nemo had become different, and he seemed to be desperately downplaying this. When he did things that the “Nemo before” couldn’t do, there would always be some unintelligible embarrassment in his voice.

Oliver didn’t specifically point it out. He had an inexplicable confidence that Nemo would never hide anything from him. If the other party didn’t want to talk about it, he naturally wouldn’t force it. He just stared at Nemo’s hand that was holding on to him; those slender and fair fingers squeezed tightly around his wrist.

This scene was a bit familiar, Oliver reminisced. A few months ago, it was also the same scene—but at that time, he was the one leading the way, and they were clueless, scared, and flustered.

But that was when they were equally ordinary.

Now, he didn’t say it, but he knew Nemo’s strength had left him far behind. He didn’t feel envy, rather only a deep sense of powerlessness. It surged repeatedly along the way, wantonly inflecting pain and bitterness in his blood. Nemo had been protecting him, guiding him, and he couldn’t do anything to help in return.

He didn’t like the feeling of being protected unilaterally by Nemo.

Oliver bit his tongue fiercely, forcing himself to focus on the present. It wasn’t the time to be irritated. Someone had appeared from the ‘memories’.

A group of people had appeared, walking in a strange, winding way. Not far away was a huge skeleton that seemed to pierce the sky. There were still traces of flesh and blood between the white bones. The smell of decay penetrated his nose and a strong sense of vomit came. The smell seemed to be pulling his stomach through his nostrils.

Oliver reluctantly held back his steps.

On the other side, people in simple cloaks approached the skeleton. They knelt in front of the half-mutilated body and smashed their foreheads into the mud religiously. They dressed very old-fashioned, and they didn’t look like demon worshipers. This should just be a group of… ordinary people.

After kowtowing, they untied the people on their backs and carefully placed them on the grass.

The unconscious people wore white clothing painted with distorted blood characters. The place had not become a desolate area yet; the grass and leaves were still verdant. Those who were placed on the ground were no longer vibrant. Their eyes opened blankly, their pupils were extremely dilated, and their eyeballs seemed to have lost the ability to move. These people were still breathing faintly but had no other reaction.

Trent Plague.

The time period should be seven or eight hundred years ago. A plague had emerged, causing people to respond in a special way. They would put on white clothes covered with blood runes for the sick, trying to drive away the disease with various sacrifices. The characteristics of the patients were also fully in line with the symptoms. Considering the current geographical location, Oliver was confident in his judgment.

The leader yelled something loudly and raised a sharp machete. After more than a dozen prostrations, he cut off the remaining flesh between the bones and fed it one by one to the patients lying flat on the ground.

Indeed, they were seeking any cure. According to records of that period, many people were driven crazy by the inexplicable plague. They would search for all kinds of incredible “medicinal cures” and make unreasonable “sacrifices”. Some even dug up coffins and ground the hair of the sick and dead corpses into powder for other patients to take, just to get a glimmer of hope.

The current leader’s approach initially seemed to be effective.

The limbs of the patient who swallowed the demon’s flesh began to twitch, and two even showed signs of awakening. It was a pity that the good times didn’t last long. Black blood gradually gushed out of their mouths, and their bodies began to rot rapidly, quickly turning into a mass of black and rancid mud. People began to scream and stagger away, and fragments of their offerings and extinguished torches fell to the ground.

But… Not all the patients’ flesh rotted.

After everyone fled, a white figure slowly stood up among the pile of rotting corpses. He looked at everything under him blankly, then squatted down. As if he had found his voice for the first time, he let out a mournful and painful scream.

“Those patients didn’t have enough magical qualifications,” Nemo added without looking back. They left in the night and stepped into the forest in the daytime. The scream still lingered in their ears. “They were careless, leaving one behind.”

“It’s Trent Plague, right?” Oliver said softly. “Can such a possession succeed? If I remember correctly, patients with this disease… Their brains begin to shrink and rot. If the foundation of the contract of a superior demon is a wish, then this contract is impossible to fulfill. It’s impossible for humans who have completely lost consciousness to make a wish.”

“Yes, so this contract was not completed.” Nemo’s voice was a bit bitter. “He couldn’t get a complete contract; thus, it stands to reason he couldn’t leave too far from the noumenon.”

The sun was gradually shining. Only two people appeared in the memories this time.

Oliver saw the body of the superior demon clearly. Its body was suffering from a lack of pigment. The color of its hair and skin was surprisingly white, and the face was beautiful and thin. His face was very calm—not the good kind of calm, but closer to ash-like numbness than “calm”.

His lavender eyes were staring at the person opposite of him.

No, that may not be a “person” either. The other party looked like a warrior, but it didn’t have a human appearance at all. He had a terrifying helmet buckled on his face that seemed to be alive, as the holes had obvious biological characteristics. The wrinkles on it were constantly distorted. The warrior was carrying a big sword behind him, and the texture of a spine protruded from the brown sword. The entire sword looked like a withered skeleton of some kind of monster.

“You can’t kill me,” the ghostly pale superior demon said slowly. “Why?”

“The part of you on the surface is dead,” a low, muffled voice came from the helmet. “The part of the Abyss can only be killed if you’re in the Abyss. Even if I kill your body, your consciousness will only return here.”

The warrior pointed with his hand wearing leather gloves to the rotting skeleton in the distance with his fingers.

“…The pain will not go away but will only worsen. You’ll only waste a piece of flesh in vain. Now you can’t afford any more loss of flesh, Colestoro. You should use all your strength to suppress the pain.”

Colestoro didn’t speak; his face was still expressionless like a corpse.

“Two options. You can consume part of your flesh and change your body to gain ‘freedom’.” The warrior’s tone was flat. “Of course, you know the result of excessive wear and tear. You will become a monster, tormented by pain and then destroyed by instinct. I will eliminate your body and you will return to that rotten corpse and die in madness and severe pain.”

“Option two. I can give you a seal when you can no longer bear it. It won’t eliminate the pain, but it will put you to sleep. Although it still hurts, it will always be better than waking up. You will die in your sleep.”

“Choose. Revenge, or wait quietly for death? The former is actually quite cost-effective. I won’t take action against you if you only kill 10,000 or 20,000 people. You’ll still have time to take a group with you to your funeral.”

“Revenge.” Colestoro raised his eyes, and his voice was calm. “I choose revenge, Lord Aurorae.”

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