Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 111: The Love at the End of Life
‘Thank God,’ Nemo thought. Oliver had metal armor on his arms, so he couldn’t feel the cold sweat on his palms.
He tried his best to look like he was in control, but his neck seemed to be rusted by anxiety, making him unable to look back at Oliver’s face. No matter how harmless he tried to find an explanation for himself, the facts were always contrary to his expectations. Nemo didn’t know what expression was on his face right now, but it was far from “calm”.
This was the third time he had directly confronted a real superior demon.
The first time was when he faced Pandorater. At that moment, he only heard the other party’s call for help, and he didn’t have the slightest idea of his identity. The opponent gave up their attack, and the whole event passed in a daze. The second time was when he faced Witherspoon. At that time, his state was delicate, and he had no impression of how to use his “powers”.
This was the third time.
This time, he was extremely sober and determined that everything at this moment was of his own volition. Because of this, he felt more deeply about how unnatural the current situation was.
To crack a spell, a normal mage must analyze every feature of the enemy’s magic array, step by step, and then make the most appropriate response in time during the process of cracking it. Just like chess players, they carefully calculated their opponents’ intentions and all possible future moves, and finally mobilized their remaining pieces to win the game. To do this, knowledge, experience, and strength were indispensable.
But the world he saw was completely different.
What was in front of him wasn’t chess pieces and a chess board, but stone and trees, which could easily be overturned by just a raised hand. Those abyssal magic had no resistance to his behavior. No matter how Nemo avoided this matter, he could see that it was abnormal. If it weren’t for the concern of the demon’s poor physical condition, he could even ignore those changing magic arrays and break through forcibly and move directly to the source of the magic.
No book had recorded this situation; not even the collection in the Abyssal Church. Whether it was abyssal magic or surface magic, the rules and restraints within it were like truths that couldn’t be broken.
However, he did do this. There were no arrays or formulas. He just needed to feel and dominate.
There was only one piece of conclusive evidence he needed. Nemo’s chest felt blocked. He didn’t want to test that possibility. The word “Demon King” was like a thorn that could bring out the pain of a cut across his mind. When this matter was over, he must talk to Oliver about it.
The memories on the side continued.
“Revenge.” The legendary “Superior Demon Slayer” repeated Colestoro’s answer. “…I respect your choice.”
Aurorae took out a small communication crystal from the bag at his waist and casually threw it at the pale demon. His voice wasn’t bitter or light. “If you change your mind, just use this to contact me.”
“You’re much different from the rumors.” Colestoro stuffed the crystal into his pocket. “I thought you would kill me directly.”
“Rumors? Ignore them… It’s just that you remind me of someone. Unfortunately, I owe him.” Aurorae’s voice came from behind the squirming helmet, and there was a rare sadness in his cold tone. “Now enjoy the rest of your life, my compatriot.”
Aurorae sighed in a low voice, turned around, and gallantly walked away.
Nemo clenched Oliver’s wrist and accelerated his steps. This was already the shortest route. After all, now was not the time to stop and peer into people’s memories. They didn’t have much time.
It wasn’t easy to step over the junction of memories. It felt like a person struggling through a thick skin film. When they entered the next memory, Nemo almost stopped subconsciously. Oliver apparently stopped for a moment, and Nemo had almost dislocated his wrist.
Seeing that the season should be spring, they saw Duran Virgil in the forest.
It was just an extremely thin Duran Virgil. Mr. Virgil looked like a dead branch that had completely lost moisture. This dead branch was sitting in front of an easel, awkwardly sketching the skeleton of a monster in the distance. Yes, only a skeleton. At present, there was no shadow of the Church of Silence, which meant this was at least 600 years ago… The appearance didn’t even remotely look similar, but Nemo was sure that this was their client. Even if he was too thin to look at, the details of his face were all there.
In this way, Duran Virgil was a demon warlock who had lived for at least 600 years.
His outfit was still familiar to them, but the big bags were placed on the ground to one side. The linen clothes he was wearing were soaked in sweat, revealing his spine and ribs. A young man in a dazzling white robe stood beside him.
Colestoro stood silently beside Virgil, crossing his arms and staring at the canvas.
Virgil was talking in a rambling manner, with a wry smile in his voice. “…I knew I should have quit sooner. Alas, that’s how people are. They always think they still have a lot of time, you know? Before, I’d been bored in a closet-like room, dealing with data and samples all day long. To be honest, I didn’t like my work very much.”
“Duri,” Colestoro said while holding a bloody animal limb in his hand. “You should eat something.”
“It’s Duran,” Virgil corrected him patiently. “I don’t eat raw meat, thank you. I’ll clean it up in a bit.”
Colestoro frowned and said nothing. He moved his gaze away from the canvas and stared at Virgil, who was nagging him while painting. His eyes were burning as if he was looking at prey.
Nemo thought it wasn’t difficult to understand. Duran Virgil had good qualifications. His limbs were intact, and he was sane. Although it wasn’t clear why he looked so weak, for a superior demon—even a dying one like Colestoro—human diseases had never been an issue.
Colestoro stared at his prey like a real leopard, waiting for the opponent to reveal the most vulnerable moment and planning to kill him with one blow. After all, the place here was remote, and the scope of personal activities of someone with an incomplete contract was small. It was hard to come across a body with an acceptable qualification, so the opportunity was extremely rare.
The deathbed of the superior demon was long, more than decades. Colestoro seemed patient. It was imperative to make a contract with the human in front of him. Nemo could see his strategy. The superior demon decided to accompany the weak human first to gain his favor and trust. Unfortunately, Colestoro couldn’t get much effective information from his current body filled with brain lesions. His kindness was too awkward.
The white demon was sullen and stuffed the bloody raw meat into Virgil’s face.
Virgil pushed the hand away with a smile, coughed a few times, and continued to smear paint on the drawing board in front of him.
“The painting is wrong, human.” Colestoro’s kindness was rejected, which made him quite dissatisfied. “Stop painting. I said you should eat something.”
“What’s wrong?” Virgil raised his brows.
Colestoro unceremoniously grabbed the brush and quickly painted across the board.
The crooked and clumsy paintings disappeared. The demon’s brushstrokes were rough, but the shaping was accurate. Virgil smacked his mouth loudly. “Would you like a drawing board?”
“Why?” Colestoro’s tone became more dissatisfied.
“Because I want to change this one back to its original appearance.”
“But that’s meaningless.”
“…Look at my current situation.” Virgil’s eyes bent slightly due to his smile. “Does it seem like I’m pursuing some ‘meaning’? I just like painting.”
The demon stared at him quietly as the raw meat in his left hand was still slowly dripping with blood.
“I’ve spent my entire life searching for the ‘meaning of life’, Colesi,” Virgil said softly. “Work step by step and live according to the expectations of my elders, but I have only now discovered… The ‘meaning’ of others has no value to me.”
“I don’t understand,” Colestoro said in a deep voice. “You are in pain and you’re suffering for a purpose.”
“No,” Virgil shook his head. “Live naturally, die naturally. This is good.”
Nemo held back the desire to stay. He pulled Oliver forward, leaving the two phantoms behind.
In the next memory, Virgil looked weaker. He curled up his tall body and trembled from the pain. Colestoro still stood beside him in silence with a twisted expression.
The forest in the summer was full of vitality. The sound of cicadas could give one a headache. Virgil held his brush and painted clumsily.
“Don’t you have any wishes, Duri?” Colestoro asked. He was carrying a piece of meat with bones in his hand, but this time the meat was burnt black. “Do you want to talk?”
“…It’s Duran.” There was an unpleasant phlegm in Virgil’s low smile. “Wish? There are many. The world is beautiful, isn’t it? If you ask what I want the most… I want to go to the end of the world to see the glaciers. I have been bored with city life all my lifetime. I’m really at a loss.”
“Oh,” the white demon said, falling into contemplation. “I don’t think it’s pretty.”
“You don’t need to agree with me.” Virgil glanced at the piece of meat, and the smile on his thin face became wider. “Colesi, what about your wish?”
Colestoro looked away, almost crushing the bone in his hand into powder. “I want to be free without pain,” he said, trying his best to suppress the hatred in his voice.
Nemo could hear Oliver sighing behind him. They were very close to the source of the magic, and the fragments of memories were passing by much quicker.
The last memory was probably on an autumn day. Most of the lush forest turned into gold and red, but this time there was no erected easel. It fell to one side and was buried under the fallen leaves. Virgil was half-lying on the ground. He had become almost skeleton-like as his body leaned against a tree. His skin showed abnormal green and gray colors. He looked as if he could die at any moment.
“Colesi,” he murmured. “Are you still there? I can’t see you anymore.”
The demon jumped from a nearby tree, still without any expression on his face. He was still carrying meat, and it looked like it was roasted just right, but he threw it aside casually.
“Here,” he responded hastily.
Virgil smiled weakly. The flesh on his face shrank and collapsed, and the smile even looked a little terrifying.
“You’re going to die,” Colestoro commented calmly.
“Then make a wish,” the white demon said. “I am a superior demon, and I can keep you alive—Duri, you still have a chance to see the glaciers at the end of the world.”
“I know. I’m sorry for hiding it from you for so long… I have indeed been huddling in a small place, sorting out data and samples—as an exorcist’s assistant,” Virgil said with a sigh. “Colesi, I know what you want.”
“Yes, I am a despicable villain,” Virgil said. “If you want to do something ‘meaningful’… I should pretend to be ignorant, leave your area, and inform the nearest army. Then they will… solve the hidden danger.”
Colestoro looked at him quietly.
“But I know what happened to you, Mr. Mountain Nightmare Leopard.” The thin man coughed heavily as dark purple blood dribbled down from the corners of his lips. “You didn’t do anything wrong… and I know how desperate it is to be trapped in a dying body.”
“…I don’t need human pity.”
“No, maybe I’m too sentimental.” Virgil’s voice was very low. “I move myself on my own initiative. I ran away and waited to die on my own initiative. I liked it on my own…”
Not knowing if it was because of pain or something else, he stopped talking and took a few deep breaths.
“I want to make a wish to you.” When he spoke again, Virgil’s voice became even smaller. “I want to make a wish to you.”
“And that wish—you’ll be able to realize,” he said. “I’m sorry. I have a position as a human, but there’s one more thing I can do… My wish is, ‘please don’t indiscriminately kill innocent people’.”
His body twitched a few times as he gasped for a while. “You can take this body, and then go anywhere—even to the Abyss to cut yourself off… You just need to swear to me…”
Colestoro was silent for a long time before he finally spoke, “I see.”
Virgil’s arm moved, as if he wanted to make a gesture of raising his hand, but in the end, he didn’t succeed. He lowered his head and bowed, as if accepting his fate, and fell into a lingering lethargy.
Colestoro once again approached with meat, but the dark purple flesh was still pulsating. It was his own flesh.
The white demon pursed his lips tightly and slowly painted a magic array. On the other side, the pulsating flesh seemed to have gained life. It wrapped around Virgil’s neck and pierced the back of his neck. Dark blood flowed out slowly.
“You should keep painting,” he said to the unconscious human. “You paint terribly.”
Colestoro straightened up and stood expressionless for a while. He then turned around and walked towards the bones of his body without looking back. Nemo could clearly see the cold sweat oozing from the demon’s forehead and the slightly trembling body. After consuming this piece of flesh, his strength could no longer suppress the pain. Now it was all coming back.
“Lord Aurorae,” the white demon activated the communication crystal, “I changed my mind.”
“Seal me… The sooner the better.”
“…What did he do?” Oliver’s voice came from behind Nemo. It sounded unpleasant.
“Ollie, just like I told you before. In theory, there’s also a rare situation that can produce a demon warlock.” Nemo found that his voice was also extremely dry. “A superior demon gave up the contract and voluntarily gave away its strength.”
They gave each other their freedom, but no one really succeeded. Considering the complexity and obscurity of the erosion spell and the ancient passage that was secretly broken underground in the church, Virgil should know the Church of Silence like the back of his hand…
As far as the current situation was concerned, Duran Virgil didn’t gain true freedom.
“He’s fulfilling Colestoro’s wish.” Oliver’s voice was soft. “Do we really want to intervene? Isn’t it rude to Mr. Virgil?”
“I don’t know,” Nemo said. His voice was trembling. “But in theory… there is indeed a better way.”
Generally speaking, Virgil’s choice may be the most reasonable. Nemo took in a few deep breaths, trying to make himself think as calmly as possible. If his conjecture wasn’t wrong, if he really had that terrifying unknown power…
Then another option was viable.
The author has something to say:
Nemo set up a huge flag* for himself.
Virgil and Colesi… blurry double arrows*√
*Refers to an ambiguous (blurry) requited love (double arrows).
In fact, after thinking about it carefully, it was quite embarrassing to be honest.
Nemo: (bitterly) Ollie, I think I am the Demon King.
Ollie: (thought he was joking) Huh? If you’re the Demon King, then I might be the hero.
Oh… Colesi’s and Virgil’s story hurt my heart. They deserve happiness too! All these side characters deserve happiness!
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2 thoughts on “Stray Ch111”
Yep, they all deserve happiness 😭 I don’t want Ollie to be the hero 🥺
And I’m crying again noooo