Stray Ch115

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 115: Bad News

The church was collapsing at an accelerated speed. The sound of stone cracking was extremely harsh. The ground fell more and more rapidly, and as stone chips and dust continued to leak from the ceiling of the underground hall, Ulysses’ skeletal stone carving began to gradually collapse. The hideous cracks crept to the stone and brick floor, and the scene was as dark as the end of the world.

The superior demon who had just descended to the surface was crying. It wasn’t out of stinginess or grief. It was more like an instinctive reaction after losing all hope in an instant. The woman’s black skirt was scattered on the ground, and the several faces on her head were gone, leaving only an elegant and beautiful face behind. That should be what the Bishop of the Abyss should have looked like when she was still a human.

But it was now only Hagen Ingram’s body in name.

At the moment the contract was completed, the demon’s flesh would overtake the brain of the dependent and completely crush the original brain. The Bishop of the Abyss a few minutes ago was indeed no longer alive. She had disappeared quietly, with her answer.

“…She figured out the ‘truth of the existence of the Demon King’?” Nemo ignored the collapsing building. He stiffly loosened the preacher’s collar and walked towards the superior demon, who was paralyzed on the ground. “Tell me.”

“I don’t know!” the beautiful superior demon cried, crawling into the distance without any direction. If the previous Hagen Ingram had a fox-like temperament, the current demon was more like a frightened rabbit. Though her body was the same, she looked flustered and neurotic, as if she would collapse at any moment. “I only have the knowledge and memory of that human. It’s impossible to know what her specific thoughts were!”

“I understand, but is there no sign at all?” Nemo tried hard to suppress the trembling in his voice. He didn’t like the other party’s reaction of fear. She looked so scared, as if he would chew her into pieces in the next second. “Impossible.”

“She only said, ‘The law has not been broken’,” the superior demon sobbed, shrinking like she was about to freeze to death. “At that moment, she thought she had gotten a satisfactory enough answer, and the contract would naturally be completed. It’s really not me—”

Nemo shook subconsciously.

He did confirm his identity, and currently he had all his own memories, plus a little bit of fragments of Ulysses’ memory. The books in the Abyssal Church were all put into his mind, but even so, he didn’t question Bagelmaurus’ previous speculation. The law came from cognition, and he was able to erase his cognition and was able to leave. This was a relatively ambiguous explanation, but it barely made sense in theory.

However, Hagen Ingram wasn’t an empty-headed fool. She participated in the crusade and even climbed to the position of Bishop of the Abyss. According to the level of obsession by the Abyssal Church with the Demon King, her inference was obviously more valuable than Bagelmaurus’. The new information that the Bishop of the Abyss got was limited to only two points. He was on the surface, and he didn’t know why.

Referring to Adrian Cross’ first reaction,

[A complete superior demon cannot descend to the surface. This is the iron-clad rule.]

If the law wasn’t broken… then what exactly was he? Was there anything behind the “incomplete” him?

Unfortunately, the Bishop of the Abyss who had the answer was no longer alive, and no one could answer him. There were too many thoughts rampaging in his mind, like sharp nails shaking around in his flesh. Colestoro’s body was about to fall back into the Abyss, and Nemo could even feel the strange pull radiating from the cracks, as well as the illusion-like warmth.

Nemo stood in place. Behind him was a crazed believer who had fallen into madness, and in front of him was a demon who was stunned. The others in the church had withdrawn, and a bad premonition climbed onto his back like a swarm of poisonous spiders. Nemo gritted his teeth, and he directly grabbed the demon warlock who was still kneeling. At the same time, the intertwined cracks tore the floor apart, revealing an ominous fire.

The superior demon in the long black dress sat on one of the broken floors as the fragile rock was rapidly turning into a walnut-size piece. She seemed to have forgotten how to move, and she was about to fall back into the Abyss.

Nemo stretched out his hand to her. “Grabbed on!” His mind was blank as he shouted intuitively.

But the superior demon didn’t move. Tears kept flowing down her face. In the increasingly strong gravity of the Abyss, she finally moved her finger…

An incomplete and weak protective cover separated the two.

Nemo knew that he could smash it with his hand, but it made his arm suddenly heavier, and he hesitated for a moment. At that moment of hesitation, the superior demon moved to the edge of the collapsed slate and threw herself into the Abyss.

“Don’t come over.” Her voice trembled, full of fear, and it could be heard amongst the sound of debris collapsing around her.

Her figure was instantly engulfed by the cracks.

Nemo stopped breathing and stared at the burning crack for a second. He then cut open a space, grabbed the collar of the demon warlock, and immediately left the Church of Silence. They landed in a scorched open space behind the church. The sound of bombardment and the roar of magic arrays suddenly poured into his ears. The sound of a battle of the distant army came with the wind. Most of the demon worshipers who escaped from the church ordered their demons to rush to the battlefield, while a small number scattered and plunged into the scorched forest, not knowing what to do.

Before the ruins of the church completely sank, Nemo tore open a rift for the last time and fished out his staff from the cell. In the next second, the peeled spire of the church was completely swallowed by the cracks and the land aggregated like a liquid.

The Church of Silence had completely disappeared from the surface.

The corpses that were guarding the entrance to the church were scattered all over the place, and surveillance bugs flew frantically over the remaining ruins. The sun shone down unconsciously, making the metal staff warm to the touch. Everything in front of him revealed a dreamlike erratic and a false sense of absurdity. Nemo’s perception was no longer keen—rather no longer too keen—and his spirit didn’t allow him to feel it carefully.

He gasped hard, as if he was going to drown in this vast open space with plenty of air. He pressed all his weight on the staff so that he wouldn’t fall down.

“Don’t mention today’s affairs to anyone.” Nemo finally settled his mind and turned his face toward the demon warlock with only a mouth for a face. “I’m very sorry. Just in case… I have to put a silence spell on you.”

Nemo murmured something. A black spell wrapped around the demon warlock’s body like silk. It was a modified silence spell that would not cause substantial harm to the bound but would forcibly stop their actions when they were about to leak. Honestly, Nemo didn’t like this kind of one-sided forced seal, but he had to end the matter here as soon as possible…

Nemo didn’t want to stay here any longer. His uncontrollable thoughts upset him. If he didn’t find a place to relax again, he may have really collapsed for a moment because he couldn’t accept it.

Of course, the emotional breakdown wasn’t a big deal. Everyone had been overwhelmed by anger, sadness, or despair. They just needed to break something, scream or cry, and just vent.

But he couldn’t do it now.

Nemo knew better than ever before what his power represented.

Destruction was much simpler than repair. He firmly believed that he couldn’t afford the price of losing control of his strength and emotions. Just maintaining his calmness now was almost exhausting all his mental energy. The demon warlock a few steps away quietly maintained a half-kneeling posture until the dark spell disappeared into his body. After that, he raised his head slightly and let out a sigh.

Nemo turned around, not intending to have any more conversation with the other party. His eyes were sour, and there seemed to be a poisonous thorn stuck in his throat. The metal staff in his hand poked into the dark, dead ground, bringing up a little smelly mud. He lowered his head and stared at the ground, stopping for a few seconds at each step, trying to suppress the crazy tumbling emotions in his heart.

Then he saw blood. The bright red liquid came from behind and wetted his soles.

He didn’t want to see it, he thought, but he had to go back and confirm it.

The preacher was still kneeling there. A black erosion spell had already eroded his heart. Blood gushed out of his body from an incurable wound.

“I won’t divulge any of it.” He still had a happy and weird smile on his face. “My Lord… I’ll never add burdens to your plan.”

The red blood flowed into the soil and was immediately sucked in by the land, turning into disgusting black-red mud. The preacher was still half kneeling as the erosion spell was constantly gnawing at him. His body maintained that posture as it rotted and disappeared at a terrifying speed.

Until it all turned into pus and blood.

He didn’t want to kill that person. Nemo stopped forcibly as he supported his body with his staff. He had lost his last strength, and he slowly sat down on the empty, dead ground.

“I didn’t want to kill you.” He stretched out his finger into the wet soil and slowly tightened it. “Because I don’t know who you are, what your desire was to give your life to this. I don’t want to judge you based on your identity…” Just as I don’t want to judge myself based on my identity.

But the preacher was dead, and he couldn’t answer him either.

Nemo let the hem of the robe soak in the blood and stick to the mud. The whole world swept towards him at this moment, and the pain seemed to be quietly crushed, like a scream that couldn’t be heard.

Yes. It’s very quiet now.

This was a strange world, Nemo thought. In the not-so-distant past, he was weak and ordinary, and wasn’t worth mentioning at all. A drunken thug, a bloodthirsty beast, a galloping carriage; he could easily die from any of them. Even so, he would get up on time for breakfast, followed by work, and would talk to people. When night fell, he would quietly go to sleep.

Every day. In a small town with troubled times, he embraced a stable life like that, living smoothly and steadily. He didn’t need anyone’s help and he didn’t need anyone.

And now no one in the world could hurt him. Everything was soft and fragile. Even if the world was destroyed by fire, he would be the one who could survive in the end. He possessed absurd, crazy, and unreasonable power. He began to try to hold on to the people around him and finally turned everything into futility.

He had never felt so helpless.

This is inevitable, isn’t it?

He didn’t have the strength to escape, so he had to face the cruel facts. His favorite mercenary group, Oliver’s father’s mercenary regiment—their legends accompanied him through countless boring afternoons. He once lamented and was inspired by them because they made him smile.

Kind, powerful, and interesting heroes.

And they were almost completely annihilated by Ulysses—that was to say, they were destroyed by him.

He didn’t even know why, whether he was the perpetrator or the victim, or both. He didn’t remember his mood at that time. He didn’t remember their deathbed. Naturally, the Tin Soldiers mercenary regiment wasn’t the only group. From the so-called first-generation Demon King… No, since then, how many people had he killed? How many times had he been killed?

He probably never counted it himself. Perhaps only by restoring his memory could he find all the answers.

But now he… dared not.

This pain may be in his calculations. The former “Demon King” may be looking forward to his choice to restore his memory under the pressure of pain. The thoughts and memories accumulated over tens of millions of years were extremely heavy. Could the “sensibility” of more than twenty years really withstand it? No one believed that he had no other plans, not even himself. Would a life as powerful as this make such a sophisticated plan without a purpose?

He couldn’t think about it anymore. He must bear it, and before making sure that his “former self” was not malicious, he could not escape from this pain and doubt. The only thing he could control now was the “current self”.

Don’t run away. Don’t collapse. Don’t give up.

With trembling hands, Nemo drew the gold pendant to the outside of his robe. The golden metal glistened under the warm sun. Then he grabbed the only remaining blood-stained communication crystal chip.

He had to tell Oliver. Tell him everything, just as he had decided in advance. The calculated time should be almost up. He would go to his side and then make sure that there was another person—that person that would never leave him.

Like someone dying from thirst, reaching out for that last water source in the desert…

There was a small cracking sound. Nemo almost accidentally crushed the crystal chip. He twisted it carefully, and his breathing became rapid in an instant.

But the voice he was waiting for didn’t sound.

“Nemo,” Ann’s voice appeared with a bit of ominous caution. “How are you over there? You’d better come here soon.”

Ann was usually efficient when communicating. She rarely hesitated when speaking, but this time there was a short pause before she continued.

“Something has happened to Oliver.”

Don’t run away. Don’t collapse. Don’t give up.

…Don’t despair.

“I’m fine.” His voice was hoarse. Nemo clenched his arm holding the staff, embedding his nails into his flesh. Warm blood penetrated the black robe in an instant. “…I’ll come to you right away.”

As soon as his voice fell, the crystal chip couldn’t bear the burden and turned into powder in his palm.

…The dying traveler in the desert that stretched out his hand to the last water source could only grab a handful of yellow sand.

Kinky Thoughts:

This arc is over. Get ready for some angst. Ahhh, poor Nemo.

Just to provide a summary of this arc for clarity for those who are confused:

Colestoro is a superior demon that was dragged up forcefully from the Abyss. However, the laws of nature state that superior demons cannot come to the surface in their original form, so only a part of Colestoro (similar to Pandorater) was pulled out. Unlike Pandorater, however, whoever dragged him out couldn’t tame him (because he’s a fully grown demon that has already developed thoughts and feelings). Because they couldn’t utilize him and because he’s a superior demon, they decided to destroy him instead, but they couldn’t fully kill him, leaving behind a part of his body that was rotting and dying on the surface. Thus, for years, Colestoro suffers the pain of part of his body dying on the surface.

600-700 years ago, when the Trent Plague was spreading across the land, ordinary humans came to his rotting bones to find a cure for it and fed the sick with his remaining flesh that was still on the bones. Out of all of the bodies that ate the flesh, one survived and allowed his consciousness (or soul) to occupy the body. However, because of the Trent Plague symptoms, the body his flesh occupied no longer had brain capacity, so he couldn’t propose a “deal” with it, which meant the “contract” was incomplete. While Colestoro occupies the body, his soul is still bound to his original body in the Abyss and the surface.

Aurorae then gave him two options. He could consume his own flesh and become “free” so that he could take revenge on humans (since they were the ones that put him in this situation in the first place). Then he would be consumed by madness, and Aurorae would kill him, and he would die in excruciating pain and agony as his consciousness returned to his original body, or Aurorae would apply a seal to his original body and put him to sleep, which would alleviate some of the pain.

At first, Colestoro wanted revenge, until he met Virgil. Colestoro sees Virgil as a way for him to escape his original body and his current incomplete contract. He “befriends” Virgil in hopes that Virgil would make a deal with him. At first, Virgil acts oblivious until he is on the verge of death and reveals that he’s actually an exorcist and he knew all along Colestoro’s origins and history. Virgil said he’ll make the deal with Colestoro as long as Colestoro promises not to harm innocent lives. He understood Colestoro’s pain because he too, was dying and was suffering the pain of a dying body, but he wanted to die with dignity.

In a twist, Colestoro decided not to form a contract and instead willingly offered his flesh to Virgil to save his life and turned him into a demon warlock. He then asked Aurorae to seal him and put him to sleep. Hundreds of years later, the Church of Silence was built upon his bones. The Bishops know about Colestoro’s history and, in order to forcefully keep him alive, they continue to give him sacrifices. This wasn’t because they truly worshiped him, but because his bones, and the Church of Silence were the symbol of the Abyssal Church.

Ironically, Virgil, given new life, is determined to fulfill Colestoro’s wish and grant him everlasting peace. Through the years, he learned many exorcizing (erosion) spells that could destroy demons, in hopes of one day perfecting one powerful enough to destroy Colestoro’s current human body and his original body on the surface (thus permanently ending his suffering).

Then in comes Tumbleweed who he commissioned because two demon-related beings were needed to open the gate where Colestoro’s body lies. However, his plans went awry as Nemo presented him with a third option (an option that none of them except him could do because they lacked the power).

Nemo planned to send Colestoro’s bones on the surface back into the Abyss, and complete the incomplete contract with Colestoro’s current body. He did this by pretending to be the sacrifice for Colestoro in order to find out the secret array of how the Church of Silence was providing Colestoro vitality all this time. With that knowledge, he then sent Colestoro’s bones back into the Abyss (thus collapsing the Church of Silence) and completed the incomplete contract. Colestoro should now (theoretically) live on the surface as the human he currently possesses, feeling no pain or agony of his original body until that body dies in the Abyss, at which point he would die as well. The caveat was now Colestoro would no longer be as strong as before (since he’s no longer connected to his original body).

And yes, it is heavily implied that Colestoro and Virgil have a thing for each other, but it’s not explicit. You have to read between the lines~

Also in this arc, Nemo discovers his true identity, more mysteries surrounding Ann, Jesse, and Oliver have sprouted, and now something has happened to Oliver?! Stay tuned for the next arc~

Join my discord server and we can discuss! I really love this arc, from Colesi’s x Virgil’s story, to the philosophical discussion of (religious) beliefs. Let me know what your analysis of this arc is? Am I on the mark or did I miss something?

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7 thoughts on “Stray Ch115

  1. I feel melancholic thinking about the way they were so helpless the day they escaped from their town (╥﹏╥)

    This chapter was so heavy, Nemo’s emotions have such a presence, they bleed through the text. Nemo is suffering.

    Ollie, please be well, I beg the angst to go away soon 。:゚(;´∩`;)゚:。

    Thank you so much for the mass update and your hard work all along, I’m looking forward to (fearing) the next arc :3 Thank you for the summary of this arc and for the translation >.<

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i have no idea who Ulysses is… did i miss something? was it when he read all those books in the church library? bc i didnt really understand anything he said at that part lol.
    but based on this chapterbim assuming its his past selves? so the 1st to 19th demon king are all him?


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