Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 131: Instinctive Torture
This was Oliver’s fourth night in the Withered Castle.
‘There’s still hell in this world,’ was the first time he had such thought. There were no complex or ingenious traps or sharp blades that made people nervous. Presumably, everyone’s mental weaknesses were different. If they were to take them down one by one in a targeted manner, the efficiency of the Gatekeepers would be horribly low.
The method they used was simple and crude—
There was no fresh water.
It was fine to say that there was no lack of food, but if there was no drinking water, people would die very quickly. The Gatekeepers obviously found a countermeasure. After almost three days of sleepless nights, Oliver probably understood why the metal ring at the end of the tag was directly inserted into the clavicle.
A very low amount of magic flowed into his body along with the metal, barely restoring his body to a level that could survive. However, it did nothing to reduce his hunger and thirst, which only worsened. He didn’t doubt at all that if someone took off the metal tag at this time, he would immediately fall into a coma due to lack of water.
The Gatekeepers designed it beautifully. The death row prisoners used in battle couldn’t touch a bathroom or any water-related places. All cleaning was done by a magic array, and most of the metabolic functions of the death row inmates were also suspended by the embedded metal ring. Compared to humans, they were more like flesh machines that were being cleaned up at the moment.
There was only a simple magic input and nothing else.
There was also a way to relieve the thirst and hunger that made it seem like one was dying, as long as they won. After defeating an opponent, the Gatekeepers would reward the player with a powerful recovery spell. It would make the human body instantly return to its peak state, and all discomfort, fatigue, and wounds would disappear. Someone once described its effect like this: One second it was still burning like the fires of hell, and the next it was like lying on a cloud in heaven.
As long as one obeys, as long as one wins. There was no better reason than instinct to shake human faith.
As long as one gave in, it was easy. Sticking to one’s virtues made no sense, except to make themselves weaker and easier to kill.
By now, Oliver was very clear about the Gatekeepers’ intentions, because at this moment, temptation was lying in his ear and whispering, roaring deep in his brain, making a soft call in every shadow…
Start lightly and don’t kill people; just take away a hundred points of value from others. Even if the other party enters the test zone earlier due to the loss in value… but who could be sure? Besides, there would be several battles before the opponent completely lost their points, and he wasn’t the person personally responsible for it. Taking a step back, perhaps his opponent could win the next round?
Do it, it whispered. Now that your power is suppressed, you’re not much different from ordinary people. This isn’t bullying. It’s survival. No one will blame you. Grab it.
But Oliver knew very well that that would be the first step to his descent.
He chuckled a few times at the empty darkness beside him. At this moment, his mouth was terribly dry, and his lips were cracked because of thirst, unable to withstand the pull of his muscles. The small cracks that had been scabbed were torn apart again, and Oliver greedily licked the beads of blood oozing from his lips, only to feel as if he was licking a thick bark.
He was already too weak to take the initiative to create more wounds and he couldn’t use his own blood to alleviate his thirst. It would only make him lose his physical strength faster. The wound on his body was slowly exuding blood, and the coagulated parts were stuck to the lining, causing tearing-like pain as soon as he moved. His head was dizzy and swollen from extreme thirst. In contrast to this, the pain in his body wasn’t strong.
The initial unbearable hunger had already turned into cramps and colics. His stomach acid seemed to be digesting his stomach. In a sense, he endured a lot. At present, Oliver had only one wish—that those wounds should not get infected too seriously. At this moment, he absolutely couldn’t afford the price of disease.
Because what was waiting for him during the day was another uninterrupted battle all day. He couldn’t sleep peacefully at night. Oliver clung to his Rest in Peace and leaned against the corner, staring at the darkness in front of him through his heavy eyelids.
There was a slight friction in front. Oliver suddenly pulled the Rest in Peace out of its scabbard. A soft blue light rolled across the snow-white body of the sword, but the friction didn’t disappear, but suddenly increased. A sharp iron thorn ran across Oliver’s cheek, bringing up a string of blood.
The sound of a heavy meteor hammer rose in the darkness as it smashed into the wall of the cell. Oliver rolled on the floor, holding the scabbard in one hand and the handle of the Rest in Peace in the other. His hand was still trembling uncontrollably.
‘So tired,’ he thought numbly, once again avoiding the murder weapon that almost hit him.
I want to rest. I don’t want to move anymore.
Oliver waved the sword in his hand and cut off the iron chain connecting the meteor hammer with one swing. He could feel his muscles screaming and aching, and his whole body was ridiculously soft.
But the cell was still full of hostility and fear. The man whose weapon was destroyed let out a roar, followed by a second opponent, a third, and then Oliver didn’t even bother to count. The offensive of the people in the same cell became crazier, and he could only keep resisting their attacks while trying not to hurt them.
The more restrained he was, the more fearful people became and the more aggressive their attacks became.
That’s right. Oliver waved his sword wearily. He could guess what those people thought. The value of 300,000 was enough to tempt some of them to take risks. On the other hand, his body seemed to have reached its limits. If his mental defense completely collapsed and he decided to seek comfort and relief… Then the first wave of suffering would definitely hit the people who were locked up with him.
Those people were only worth a few thousand at most. Even if he was also deprived of magic and could only rely on his physical strength, the gap in combat skills was clear at a glance.
Just taking the lead and killing them would be a wise decision. Oliver gasped hard. The lack of sleep made his heartbeat extremely fast, but the annoying healing magic that poured in from the metal ring inserted into his clavicle made it so he couldn’t even faint.
In the end, it was the warden who came forward to end this exceptionally long night. It was just that he wasn’t there to protect “precious goods” but to inform them of the rising sun.
The daytime fight was about to begin.
“Are you going to tie again, 300,000?” The big man holding the meteor hammer had bloodshot eyes. “Don’t underestimate people.”
Oliver smiled with difficulty under the skeleton helmet, unable to respond to his opponent’s provocation. Indeed, in hundreds of short-lived battles so far, he had never won or lost.
But he was getting weaker and at this moment, Oliver wasn’t sure if he could return back alive.
The death row prisoners in the test area wearing standard robes were repairing weapons for a big man. Most of them were crawling with dense sutures, and their faces were expressionless. Under the restrictions of the collar, death row prisoners in the combat zone and the test zone couldn’t harm each other. In order to save manpower, each cell would have a few death row prisoners in the test area do chores uniformly.
For example, Micah. The mole-like man was looking at Oliver suspiciously, nervously scratching the suture marks on his arms.
“You’ll kill people sooner or later!” he said in a sharp voice, sweating profusely on his forehead. “You’ll sooner or later… You can’t…”
Oliver glanced at Micah but didn’t respond. He looked down at his left wrist…
He no longer had armor on his left wrist. A slightly festering engraving was exposed, protruding from the skin, making it dazzling red.
“Hi,” he muttered. “I’ll live until dawn today, Nemo.”
After that, Oliver sighed softly. He staggered to keep up with the warden, and marched towards the multiplayer arena as usual, but this time, when he was about to plunge into the entrance gate, a soft female voice sounded in his ears.
“Kill 3,005—the fat man in red armor who uses a long ax.” Mora’s voice came from behind the white cloth covering her face. “Usually no one wants to come up and provoke him, and he’s not in good health since yesterday. You can easily kill him if you want, and you’ll recover quickly.”
“Thank you,” Oliver said, trying to get his voice out of his throat. “But no need.”
“Why? Are you a crazy believer or something?”
“Because I can imagine a more painful situation.” Oliver rubbed the mark that was slightly swollen due to being infected. “If I give up on my principles here to escape pain… I can no longer believe in myself.”
If there was really a day when he needed to kill Nemo with his own hands, it would be hundreds of times more painful than it was now, but if things really got to that point, he would be able to do it. On the basis of that promise, the current Nemo could have the qualifications to live a stable life under the presiding eyes of the knight commander.
Indeed. If he couldn’t even bear the pain now, how could he believe that he could “kill Nemo”?
“If I can’t believe in myself, how can I convince others to believe in me?”
He must hold on to his bottom line. There was no other choice. After all, he and Mr. Cross had made an agreement.
“Then go to hell,” Mora’s voice was icy and calm. “If you continue to weaken… Anyone worth over a hundred can kill you.”
“I know,” Oliver said, pulling the sword out of its scabbard. He could already smell the blood that seemed to never dissipate on the field. “But I’m still alive.”
The female assassin disguised as a warden sneered softly, sounding irritable, “You don’t know what’s good from bad*.”
*(不知好歹) Idiom referring to not being able to understand the kindness of others from Zheng Tingyu’s “Golden Phoenix Hairpin”. || Basically she’s admonishing him for not recognizing her good intentions (advice to kill and survive).
Oliver bowed slightly to her and carried his sword into the vast arena. The huge wooden door embedded with metal closed quietly behind him.
The arena was deeper underground.
“Have you heard of the kid who insists on tying?” A member of the Gatekeepers in a red robe pushed his glasses up. “The bones are hard enough. Do you want to deal with it?”
“That’s something you need to worry about in the combat zone. Why are you concerned when you’re in the management of the test zone,” another man wearing the same robe cackled.
“His collar reading is amazing. Didn’t you see? That kid is generally not strong, but looking at his willpower, maybe it could be great material.”
“Let’s not talk about whether he can hold on. Even if he holds on, do you remember the previous failure? There’s not much room left in the blood furnace, so we have to be cautious.”
“Let that lunatic try him? I’m going to make a bet with the man in the combat zone. If he kills that lunatic, then it just goes according to the will of the combat zone… But if he’s killed by that lunatic, we’ll go and get the body.”
“…What if he doesn’t kill the lunatic and he’s not dead yet?” A new voice joined them. A sloppy middle-aged man stretched out his hand from the pile of books and waved weakly. “You’re too absolute.”
“How is it possible?” The man wearing glasses shouted. “Then all the more reason to bring him over—but how could you say such illogical things? It’s not like you, Tela.”
“Well,” the middle-aged man who was paralyzed in the pile of books responded carelessly, “I fell asleep.”
No wonder. Telaranea looked at one of the several light screens at hand…
Out of interest, he had been silently paying attention to Oliver Ramon’s data. It didn’t take long for him to make an extremely interesting discovery. If it were in the past, Telaranea would definitely be the first to jump up and dissect Ramon’s body.
But considering Vance’s strange attitude towards Nemo Light, coupled with a vague premonition, Telaranea didn’t want to get involved in this matter too actively. If he wanted to start things, he should let others lead the way. In the end, he would still be able to study it himself.
He glanced at the beating runes and flashing images on the screen again. There was no doubt that Oliver Ramon’s heart bore traces of a curse, which was unique to the Trent Plague. As far as the data was concerned, the curse had existed for at least twenty years.
A human heart shouldn’t be able to bear such a thing. The Trent Plague would invade the human body from the heart, first destroying the brain, then slowly eroding the nerves and paralyzing the internal organs. Although Ramon’s body was weak right now, he was definitely healthy. It was just that his heartbeat was completely different from normal humans…
It was like some kind of external force was forcing it to beat.
It was the first time he had seen a human who had survived the Trent Plague, a terminal disease born from the curse of the Abyss that had disappeared for hundreds of years.
The author has something to say:
…No, anyway, I’ll lie flat first.
Lost the desire to survive x 1
Today’s warm tip: Trent Plague appeared in the Abyssal Church arc. It’s the disease suffered by Colestoro’s host.
Tela: I have a bad hunch, so I’ll let the fools come out first.
Many years later.
Tela: That was the most correct and best decision of my life!!!
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5 thoughts on “Stray Ch131”
Every time we think we have uncovered all the mysteries, the author makes sure to add another layer of them! (╯ರ ~ ರ)╯︵ ┻━┻
LikeLiked by 3 people
Is Nemo our family’s demon king forcing his heart to beat as a pact from Lorenz to take the skull to the surface? They simply can’t live without each other (literal
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh? So many mysteries! *flips table*
Is this the legendary “My heart beats because of you”?
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my originally already befuddled mind becoming even more befuddled! it’s all too unexpected ! my long term reader status is continuously being challenged by all these unexpected twists!
i love it, give me more _(┐「ε:)_