Stray Ch153

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 153: Isamel’s Labyrinth

Jesse Dylan did what he said.

The heavy metal door slowly opened, and the smile on the blond young man’s face quickly disappeared, like ash that had been brushed away. He took a step inside the door, and there was nothing left of the flowing air at the moment. Adrian couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. Just gazing at Dylan like this, the cold discomfort climbed his nerves again.

He almost thought it was fear.

It must be a hallucination. The former Knight of Judgement shook his head slightly and turned his attention back to the room in front of him.

Although Adrian Cross had only been here once, he still had a slight impression of the furnishings in the room. The position of the decoration remained largely unchanged, except that the flowers in the case had changed varieties. This wasn’t a room for a formal reception, and to Adrian’s surprise, Pope Dawn Quinn didn’t even bring a few guards. The old man was wearing a loose cassock, leaning his back against a cushion, steeping soft pastry into his tea. He didn’t even wear his crown, revealing a smooth scalp that perfectly reflected into a halo under the sun as there was no hair on it.

Adrian was silent. The last time he met the Pope, there was the panache of a Pope, but now that he looked at how he was dressed, he looked just like an ordinary man eating snacks.

Seeing the two of them coming in, the old Pope nodded briefly and made a “please” gesture to the table a few steps away.

Jesse Dylan simply nodded in response, and took his seat very naturally, while Adrian still stood straight, without the slightest intention of sitting down.

“Sit down, Adri,” the Pope of the Laddism Church sighed. “I have heard Mercer mention the specific situation, and I think you can understand his decision. It would be great if the current situation could be maintained. My son, I have no plans for you.”

Adrian remained motionless, but he lowered his eyes in silence. The old man shrugged and threw a small pastry into the tea again, and he wasn’t the only one. Jesse picked out a dessert from the tea tray and began to chew on it politely.

The scene was a bit awkward for a while. It wasn’t like an interview with some unknown person, but more like a tea party for the elderly.

“A wise decision.” After wiping away the snack residue in his hand with a handkerchief, Jesse was the first to speak. “You didn’t choose a hall and buried yourself in a pile of Knights of Judgement.”

“You wanted to see me too, didn’t you? Otherwise, you’re fully capable of escaping. I can see that.” The old man touched his smooth head. “Felix reported that you don’t seem to be the type who will be shocked by power. Young sir, you’re very powerful—”

Jesse nodded politely with a smirk on his face. “I thought you were going to poke me from head to toe with the dragon breath stone. It seems that this… religion has its reason to go this far.”

Pope Dawn Quinn didn’t praise Zenni at this time. He just put down his teacup politely. “Young man, I’ll ask you directly—Would you mind introducing yourself?”

“Well… I have many names and I recently used ‘Jesse Dylan’.” The smile on the blond young man’s face became stronger. “You can call me Jesse.”

“Okay, Jesse,” Pope Quinn said without any hesitation and shook his hand casually.

This was a test. Adrian knew very well. When Lord Quinn was serious, he would make this gesture. He didn’t know if Dylan had solved the mystery of this room, as everything appeared to be peaceful now, but this time was worse than the last. He didn’t need to talk to anyone, and he could look at the room wantonly.

Many corners showed traces of magic arrays. Based on their intensity, it really didn’t matter if there was a guard or not. It would only make the latter look more pompous, but looking at the current situation, their Pope still preferred to make this matter into a big deal…

Dawn Quinn was extremely shrewd. He had been Pope for more than fifty years, and the Laddism Church had developed rapidly under his guidance. They no longer vigorously investigate such acts as blasphemy. Despite the numerous bad habits left during the expansion period, the Pope was actually planning to make this sect more people-friendly than the previous one, which advocated for “the supremacy of Zenni’s glory”.

He was indeed a devout and strong believer, but he was also a shrewd and smooth businessman. Dawn Quinn suppressed a lot of the more extreme dogmas, allowing Garland and Alban to quickly develop in the past ten years, which he had greatly contributed to.

Adrian could barely guess what Quinn was thinking. “Jesse” showed amazing strength in the superior demon incident in Roadside Town. After the “magical staff” was confiscated, the real Jesse showed just the right power. His power was enough to defeat the team of Knights of Judgement, but although such people were rare, they weren’t completely absent.

The Pope’s leisurely reception was intended, on one hand, to establish a good relationship with the young man of unknown strength; on the other hand, to explore the details of the person.

The old man’s left foot was buried under the Pope’s robe and never moved. Adrian guessed that he was stepping on a trigger device for a certain magic formation.

“Well, I think I’m a man of legends. It’s… what you call ‘the last brave’,” Jesse directly announced.

Adrian almost swayed to the ground but was able to hold on firmly.

“Interesting.” Quinn raised his eyebrows. “I haven’t heard that name for a long time. How do you know the rule?”

“I think with your information network, it should be clear… I can use ‘spiritual sacrifice’ of the choir, so I naturally have my own channels as well. Dear Pope, I see you just confirmed one thing—”

Jesse paused, and the expression on his face became serious. “Am I qualified to enter Isamel’s Labyrinth?”

“I have indeed heard a little about spiritual sacrifice.” Quinn still had a kind smile on his face. “Felix said that Adri had regained his power, and I almost took it as real… Alas, what a shame. That power that was lent to him was from you, right? You are indeed qualified to enter the labyrinth, but…”

“If I’m not mistaken, Godwin Lopez has already been in it. It’s just that he didn’t succeed, right?” Jesse chuckled. “The person in the prophecy must be able to pick up Flint Lopez’s Sword of Ruinous Fire. If he can’t pick up the Ruinous Fire, then he’s not destined to be the hero of prophecy. This is the rule you set.”

“Alright, fine. I admit it. That was just a weird request from an old man. To be honest, young man—The Sword of Ruinous Fire has nothing to do with the prophecy. ” The old man narrowed his eyes slyly. “As for that kid Godwin… He has too much on his mind and his heart is too heavy. He had challenged the Ruinous Fire, but that sword refused to accept him. Of course, he didn’t approve of the wayward regulations of a crazy old man.”

The old pope leaned into the cushion. “I know he’s very popular among the people, but if a person can’t even face his true self…”

He didn’t go on but sighed regretfully.

“Actually, I don’t think—well, Adri can’t do it either,” the old man added lightly. “Although I suggested that he give it a try, he refused. I think you know this very well… Right, Adri?”

Adrian nodded silently.

Ruinous Fire, Flint Lopez’s sword, was rumored to be a weapon with the power of disaster. Anyone who had a guilty conscience and confusion in their heart would feel strong pain when picking it up. It would be like being burned by soldering iron when they held the sword. Flint didn’t take his beloved sword when he disappeared, and it was brought back to the Laddism Church and placed in the center of the Great Isamel’s Labyrinth.

People who were not strong enough were destined to be unable to step into the Abyss. If he was being honest, Adrian didn’t think there was anything wrong with the Pope’s initiative—after all, the prophecy was illusory, and many details were difficult to verify. Once identified as the person of prophecy, the favor of all parties was indispensable.

Dawn Quinn was very calm. For more than two decades, Clementine had had no shortage of powerful but unscrupulous visitors. This Pope adhered to the principle of preferring “better be short than excessive”. In the future, people would be invited to the ancient labyrinth next to the Clementine Royal Military Academy.

“Please get recognition of the Ruinous Fire.” The Pope would declare in the face of these ambitious challengers.

Unfortunately, although they were powerful, the ancient labyrinth was even more dangerous. More than half the people backed out when they were invited, and the small half that accepted the challenge and decided to give it a shot—most of them died in the maze, and none of the few who successfully returned were recognized by the Ruinous Fire.

Thus, no one had claimed to be the “last brave” for over a decade. Even someone as strong as Godwin Lopez didn’t rush directly to the Pope but took a more low-key path—the leader of Horizon obtained permission to enter the maze from Clementine Academy.

“So, Jesse, even if you know that you’re likely to lose your life, and the Ruinous Fire has nothing to do with the prophecy, do you still want to try?”

“Of course.” Jesse Dylan smiled brightly. “Please give us permission to… Yes. We. I’m going with Adri.”

Adrian stared deeply into those blue eyes and, in the end, didn’t object.

They had an agreement. If Dylan wasn’t so shameless as to deny things, he could have asked the other party’s motives after leaving here. That weird guy definitely had something planned. When those blue eyes swept over, the overflowing teasing and pride almost spilled out.

Adrian sighed softly, turned his face, and nodded in the direction of the Pope.

At the same time, the ceremony hall inside Clementine Academy was still lively.

In fact, Oliver only said a sentence before he went for the kiss.

“Do you trust me?” His expression was very serious.

Nemo almost immediately recalled the familiarity of this sentence. He once asked Oliver that, right after the battlefield between the Bluebirds and Vincent Town, so he happily gave Oliver’s answer then.

“Of course,” Nemo replied.

Oliver smiled slightly. He leaned down, held the back of Nemo’s head with his right hand, and gave a deep and firm kiss.

Nemo could feel his body tighten in an instant because of the shock, but he didn’t push Oliver away. After the brief surprise, he deepened the kiss very cooperatively.

“Care to explain?” After the long kiss, Nemo poked the buttercream cake on his plate. “…The chestnut cake over there tastes pretty good. I hope you can bring a small piece directly next time. Don’t use such a roundabout way.”

Hayden, who was sitting next to Nemo, stared wide-eyed, while the other women chose to turn their faces and pretend to have seen nothing. The logistics major who had been paying attention to them made a series of whooing sounds. In addition, not many people had noticed. There were a lot of people walking back and forth greeting each other, so the hall was no longer in full view. A few combat majors didn’t bother to pay much attention their way.

“A lot of people are talking about you,” Oliver said as he rubbed his reddened ears. His breathing came in gasps. “I can hear it now. They thought you were here…”

“To try to climb into someone’s bed.” Nemo was expressionless. “I heard them, Ollie.”

“So I decided to reduce some of the trouble and save many people from coming over to your side to find trouble.”

“Are you worried about me?” Nemo raised his eyebrows.

“…Uh, actually, I’m more worried about the ones looking for trouble.” Oliver coughed dryly. “If a nobleman from the combat major came to your door, would you pretend to flatter in order to avoid conflict?”

Nemo imagined for a few seconds and shook his head sincerely.

“And I don’t want to see others having fun with you.” Oliver shrugged and took a bite of the buttercream cake on Nemo’s fork. “Seriously, you have been noticed by some people. If that cheap cousin of mine really finds out, with his temperament…”

Oliver tensed his face and forked himself another piece of the buttercream cake. “…Rumors of a couple like this… would help dispel his suspicion. Well, that’s what I think. Any other questions?”

“Yes,” Nemo pointed out solemnly. “You ate all my cake.”

Oliver chuckled a few times, raised his left hand that he had been hiding with, and pushed a plate of chestnut cake that had a small bite in front of Nemo.

“No need to wait another time. I brought it now,” he whispered. “Try it. It’s much tastier than yours.”

The author has something to say:

A shiny old Pope.


…Writing makes me want to eat chestnut cakes and shed tears in the middle of the night…

Kinky Thoughts:

Why does this cake taste like dog food?

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