Stray Ch191

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 191: Lock of Pain

After hastily stuffing the dry cakes, the team that was promoted to the Sea Scorpion level set out dejectedly.

With the lesson of those corpses before, Nemo didn’t dare use the dark shadow to explore anymore. He didn’t really want to think about what he would touch.

Thus, he directed the black shadows to gather into a ball, thought for a few seconds, and then split them into a black sphere the size of a human head. The black ball bounced on the ground, and four small feet were made on either side of the ball. They struggled for a moment, successfully landed on all fours, then scattered in all directions, running awkwardly in various paths. Although they looked a little funny, they weren’t slow in speed.

Nemo decided this was a better way to explore the path.

After all, the walking corpses and arrays were all original traps that had long existed in the tomb. The first obstacle Medes added himself to was the seal of corpses at the main entrance to the tomb. Unlike the rumored omni-scientist, Mr. Medes, who had turned into a necromancer, had undoubtedly become a gloomy person.

Now that they had entered the interior of the tomb, Nemo didn’t want to rely on his own strength and take the darkness in front of him lightly. He still had companions to take care of and countless blood-stained biographical stories were repeated in his mind—even the strong will die from a small mistake. Unlike himself, everyone’s life was just like this, so it was always good to be careful.

“Nemo, since you can sense Mede’s position, can you open a rift?” Oliver clenched his Rest in Peace carefully, constantly remaining vigilant.

“Not a good idea,” Nemo whispered. “If the other party considers the possibility of being probed, it’s likely that they have prepared other means in advance. Under this premise, if I open a rift to some dangerous place… Not only will we not be able to get through, but it’ll also cause Mede’s displeasure. At least for now, we’re acting in a disciplined manner and we’re not a ‘despicable intruder’.”

“Sure enough, it’s not that easy.” Oliver breathed a sigh and used his bone sword to cut off the poisonous spear that shot out diagonally.

Unlike the rough exterior of the tomb, the veteran soldiers were all well aware of the dangers inside. Except for Jesse, no one seemed to want to slack off. Ann cautiously grabbed her hunting spear that would flash sparks of thunder and lightning from time to time on the dark metal. The knight commander held his metal bow, an arrow on the string, and would occasionally warn them of possible traps.

Only Jesse carried the half-bald gray parrot while still maintaining the posture as if he was visiting a museum.

The black dumplings made by Nemo quickly moved their feet as they chirped and ran around. The dumplings actively triggered the physical traps in advance or huddled into a pile in front of a curse array that was leaking magic, desperately prompting their owner to stay away.

Tumbleweed’s advancing speed was reduced by two-thirds after leaving the lobby at the entrance of the tomb.

Fortunately, the cautious advance had increased the safety factor, and no one had been injured.

Under the guidance of the group of black shadows, although they lacked a map, things like getting lost didn’t happen, but there were also disadvantages too. Everyone knew how far away their destination was if they went in a straight line, but they had no idea how many detours they needed to take to get there. The only comfort was that they didn’t run into many terrifying-looking bones this time.

After moving forward cautiously for about four hours, weird things began to appear.

First there was a grotesque skeleton.

Its appearance wasn’t much different from the skeletons that were scattered outside the tomb, but it had a lot of things on it, such as a white lace apron and a blond wig. The blond wig was wavy and curly, and they even spotted the white glue that was fixing the wig to the bones.

The apron skeleton was just holding a metal bucket in one hand and grabbing a wet cloth in the other, looking at them in silence.

“…” It might be an illusion, but Nemo felt he could read a little disdain from the black holes in its eyes.

The skeleton looked at them for a while, clicked its chin a few times, and even shook its head quite humanely. It no longer paid attention to Tumbleweed and squatted down neatly and began to clean the moldy walls.

“Can puppetry do this?” Oliver asked stiffly.

“It should be possible, but I have never seen such a boring caster,” Jesse responded with interest. He approached the skeleton and lifted the corner of its lace apron. “This fabric is quite old, and there are a lot of traces of cleaning. I think they—”

The skeleton who was cleaning stood up and pulled the corner of its apron out of Jesse’s hands viciously—

Then slapped the blond young man directly in the face.

The slap caught Jesse off guard. He turned his head and looked at the… angry skeleton strangely. It tightened the hem of its apron, stood up a little coy, then raised its chin, and even lifted its blond wig vigorously.

“It hit you.” Nemo pointed this out dryly, trying to suppress the shock in his tone.

“Hey, it has no murderous intent or hostility. I’m not paranoid to the extent that I would be defensive at all times.” Jesse stepped away from the skeleton unhappily. “Besides, it has no combat power, so it can’t hurt me at all—Adri!”

The knight commander stretched his face tightly as always, but there was a rare smile at the corner of his mouth.

“I have to put this account in Mr. Medes’ name.” Jesse rubbed his face pitifully, even though there was no red mark left on his fair skin. Anyway, it should have been free to move around for a long time, and now its only acting on a pre-set spell, not controlled by Mr. Medes himself. What kind of puppetry has he set up? It’s really excessive.”

Oliver’s expression was a little distorted, and he seemed unsure whether to laugh out loud, but Nemo’s dark shadow dumplings helped him solve this problem. A black dumpling rushed out of the shadows and crashed into Oliver’s arms. It grasped the seams of his armor with its four little feet, shivering and yipping sharply.

“There’s a problem over there.” Nemo approached Oliver, and without changing his expression, tore the dumpling off Oliver’s chest and placed it on the stone road.

The black shadow dumpling rolled a few times, then stepped on all fours, slowly leading everyone along its path.

It turns out that this “problem” was a lot more troublesome than they thought.

“What the hell is this?” This time it was Ann’s voice.

When she first saw the scene in front of her, she almost poked it directly with her spear.

Unlike the quiet corpses that were glued to the gate, the giant thing in front of them was slowly wriggling. A dull, drum-like heartbeat came from the pile of flesh—some pink was revealed under the smooth grayish-black flesh and many blood-red eyeballs were embedded in it, spinning irregularly. It blocked the entire tomb passage. Slug-like fat tentacles protruded from the flesh and explored slowly and indiscriminately the rough rock wall, making an unpleasant sticky sound.

“It’s not a demon.” Nemo looked away in pain, staring at Oliver’s side face, trying to divert his attention.

“…Are you sure?” Ann coughed dryly. “There is nothing more in line with a demon’s description than this thing.”

Her voice wasn’t small. The mass of flesh seemed to be frightened as all its eyes looked at Ann. The visual effect was so shocking that it made the female warrior utter a cry and instinctively take two steps back.

“The Lock of Pain.” The smile on the former knight’s long face disappeared.

Nemo suddenly pulled his gaze away from Oliver’s face. “The Lock of Pain?! But the way it looks…”

“It’s really not like an ordinary Lock of Pain, but it is.” Adrian approached the huge mass of flesh that blocked the entire tomb, staring at the eyes that blinked in turn.

Nemo knew about the Lock of Pain.

Not to mention the Abyssal Church’s library, even ordinary biographies have mentioned this thing. They were more common in ancient tombs. They were monstrous creatures bred specifically for the purpose of guarding tombs in ancient times.

Thousands of years ago, in order to prevent the internal structure of the tomb from being leaked, nobles would seal the craftsmen directly into the tomb. At first, some people planned to apply puppetry in advance to let the corpses of these craftsmen act as some kind of guard. Unfortunately, the effect could only last a decade at most, and the spell cast couldn’t be handed over to others. When the caster died, these corpses would collapse into ordinary bones.

But this couldn’t stop the desire of the nobles and the royal family to guard their resting place. The Gatekeepers took over the commission and developed a creature called the “Lock of Pain”. Their vitality was extremely tenacious, and they could live in the dark for a long time. Their food source was also very singular…

The pain and despair of creatures.

The craftsmen who were sealed in the tomb would slowly die of hunger and thirst, and the pain generated in between was enough to keep the Lock of Pain alive for nearly a thousand years.

They were supposed to be about the size of humans, and then gradually shrank as their energy disappeared, until some unsuspecting tomb robbers passed by—at which point, they would swarm up, imprison them in flesh and blood, and deliberately prolong the process of their death in order to extract more pain.

A normal Lock of Pain should never grow so large unless……

“Someone has been feeding it continuously for many years,” The knight was silent for a while before he whispered confidently. “…It can continue to live safely if fed with a live person.”

“But there’s only one normal life reaction here.” Oliver had a suspicion that made his heart clench.

“In other words… Medes is using his own pain to raise this thing, and then using it to guard the door?” The lightning flickered at Ann’s fingertips, and the gray tentacles that were about to move were mercilessly repelled.

“So we really can’t move forward like this,” Nemo sighed. “It doesn’t seem to be hungry, so it won’t attack us, but if we insist on moving forward, I think it’ll still be happy to get itself some more reserved food with different flavors. There’s no other option. Maybe I’ll have to slightly injure it to drive it away—”

This thing was basically unintelligent, and even putting out his aura won’t do much good.

“Wait.” Adrian grabbed Nemo’s right arm before he could lift it.

Nemo looked at Adrian in surprise. After all, the former knight commander has never liked physical contact with people. “Mr. Cross?”

“There’s a solution to the Lock of Pain,” Adrian said softly. “Considering their later descendants, the nobles would make a set of questions in advance… If the visitor is caught, they will first be asked these questions.”

“I know, three questions, right? But if this was set by Medes, no one would know his answer.”

“If he really doesn’t want to see anyone at all, he wouldn’t choose the Lock of Pain.” The knight’s voice became flat. “I have been to many tombs when I was still performing missions for the church. More murderous guardian monsters, difficult-to-unlock death curses, highly poisonous carnivorous plants… In any case, there are more lethal options than the Lock of Pain.”

“How rare.” Jesse was still stroking his cheek aggrievedly. “Why do you suddenly care about this? Mr. Light didn’t intend to burn it to ashes, although I don’t think it’s a big deal to kill it.”

“Mr. Medes didn’t set any extra death traps, but he made this… thing.”

Arian Cross stretched out a hand and stroked the monster’s sticky skin. The slug-like tentacles immediately wrapped around his arm and countless red eyes on its flesh turned frantically.

“And I’m familiar with this pain. This can be regarded as some form of expression. Mr. Medes is rejecting his enemies and… calling for help from his visitors.” The former knight pulled the corners of his mouth. “The Lock of Pain will not judge based on how accurate the vocabulary of the answer is. As long as the meaning is correct, it will move out of the way. Since we’re here to ask him questions, it’s more polite to ring the doorbell than kick down the door.”

Expose all your pain, let it fill the dark tomb, and muddy the air…

But truly desperate people rarely express their pain to the outside world.

Nemo scratched his head. He couldn’t feel the category of “pain”, but Adrian looked like he had it all figured out, so he stepped aside obediently. Oliver raised his bone sword. “If something goes wrong, I’ll cut these things immediately. Please proceed, Mr. Cross.”

Ann raised her arms and leaned against the wall; her eyebrows were raised high.

“Visitor… are you in pain at this moment?” There was a thin and hoarse voice from the flesh, as if several babies were whispering together.

“Yes.” Adrian’s answer without hesitation.

The piece of flesh stopped squirming when it heard the words, and the tentacles that were wrapping the knight’s long arm no longer climbed along it.

“How painful is it?”

“Maybe it’s the same as yours.”

“Why is it painful.”

“For the same reason,” Adrian Cross’ voice became low. “I recognize your form, born in the Lock of Pain from ‘betrayal’. Although I didn’t betray, considering your situation, Mr. Medes… My answer is probably the same as yours.”

“…Because of my fault, my friend suffered and was eventually swallowed up by despair.”

Oliver held his breath and stared at the tentacles surrounding the knight’s long arm, but the moment Adrian finished speaking, it fell softly, as if it had lost all its strength…

The Lock of Pain began to squirm, and it spread out its bloated body evenly, giving way to a narrow passage.

The author has something to say:

Jesse suffered a big loss.

Jesse: …The gaming experience is extremely poor.

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