Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 193: The Purpose of the Expedition
As if he wanted to touch Oliver, Medes stretched out his hand with only bones left, but as soon as he leaned out a little bit, he took it back as if it was burning with fire. He stood quietly in place, not saying a word to the cracking sound caused by the rapid expansion of the Lock of Pain.
“Mr. Medes,” Oliver called softly, with some soothing meaning in his tone.
“Of course I can tell you.” Medes finally spoke again, though the volume was extremely low. “You have the right to know this.”
Although the necromancer had no body, Medes felt as if he had suddenly rapidly aged. “…But since you want to ask this, that is to say, Flint… he… didn’t want to tell you?”
The bone hand grasped the hem of the robe, and there was a bit more despair in the voice of the Necromancer who foresaw the answer. “Flint, is he okay?”
“My father passed away not long ago.” Oliver lowered his head. “In order to protect our town, he forcibly transferred a demon summoning ritual.”
“…Was he killed by the demon?” Medes tore the edges of the robe with bone fingers carved with black charms, as if he wanted to tear his soul apart.
“No. After the transfer ceremony, he asked me to kill him in order to send the demon directly back to the Abyss… So I killed my father, Mr. Medes.”
Medes stopped tearing the corners of his robe, he stretched out his bony hand and patted Oliver’s head cautiously—The movement was so light, as if Oliver was a fragile item that would dissipate from a touch. Their similar heights made this behavior look a little weird, but Oliver didn’t avoid it. He looked straight into the empty red eyes.
“That is indeed the Flint I know. A pure idiot,” Medes gritted his teeth and said, his voice ringing out from his hollow chest. “God, he wasn’t even fifty years old yet. How can he just be like this…”
Medes shook his head. He retracted his hand, took two steps back, and sat on the edge of the stone bed, burying the fleshless skull in his palm.
“It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault—if it weren’t for me, he would still be able to deal with summoning demons.”
He was shaking badly, and there was a low whine in his throat. Compared to humans, it was more like a wounded beast whimpering.
“So, Oliver… You have an Albanian accent. If I’m not mistaken, did you embark on the path of a Black Chapter because you escaped after killing your father? It’s impossible for Flint to raise a deviant child.”
‘No,’ Oliver thought to himself and glanced at Nemo a few steps away. ‘He may already be the most deviant human in the world.’
“Partially,” Oliver replied sincerely. “As for the other part, my lover is a superior demon, and I don’t want to be separated from him.”
There was no expression on Medes’ skull. He remained motionless, sighed for a long time, and looked at Ann. “Is that so.”
The female warrior rolled her eyes very shamelessly, patted Nemo on the shoulder, and pushed him a step forward. “…I have had enough. That boy likes this. This!”
The necromancer let out a few hoarse and unpleasant chuckles.
“In terms of the strange taste of choosing lovers, you are indeed like Flint,” he said as he glanced at Nemo faintly.
“If this is your choice, and you firmly believe that this is your happiness, I’m not going to judge this time, kid. Now, since you want to know about the past and information about the Trent Plague, I can provide them to you all at once.”
Medes made a gesture, and the illuminated bones wandering above the room flipped at the same time. The mercury-like contents finally poured out. They fell to the ground and turned into fine silver smoke, instantly filling the entire room.
It was Medes’ memory, overflowing with happiness, pain, and guilt. He copied and extracted them as the only light source at the bottom of the tomb.
Unlike in the confinement room of Clementine Academy, everyone didn’t need to touch any figures and was directly wrapped in memories. But Medes’ figure did not disappear. He stood beside them, pointing to the phantoms twisting around.
“This was the first time I had heard of your mother.” Medes’ bony hands formed a complex pattern in the air, and the surrounding images began to become clear…
“I’m in love, friends!” The young man opened his arms and gestured a V toward the sky. Vitality and joy made his smile sparkle. He had just rushed into the tavern from the outside, and there were still a lot of fine grass leaves stuck to his armor.
The Sword of Ruinous Fire was hanging safely on his belt, and a little light of fire drifted around.
Oliver swallowed laboriously as he realized it was his young father. Perceiving Oliver’s abnormality in an instant, Nemo stretched out a hand and grabbed his lover’s hand vigorously.
“How many times is this now?” A brown-haired mage sitting at the table propped his forehead with both hands, with a slightly helpless smile on his face.
Nemo’s mood suddenly became heavy—the deputy commander of the Tin Soldier Mercenary Regiment, Abbas Alastair.
Ann, who was standing not far from them, didn’t say a word.
“The one hundred and forty-ninth time. Come on, captain, if you work hard to lose your love, you will soon be able to usher in the 150th this spring.” Balthazar Medes, who was still had his flesh was covering his face with a book. “Who is it this time? The youngest daughter of the tavern owner? The incense girl in the shop? Or a peasant girl selling potatoes? Abbas, you have to tell him—This man has no idea what true love is. Someone has to tell him that one-sided compliments behind people’s backs doesn’t work.”
“Flint is just livening the atmosphere. Don’t take it seriously.” The second prince of Alban looked rather bemused.
“How can you say that my deputy commander?” Flint yelled in discontent. “Well, I was just praising their beauty in that way before. After all, lovely girls are the most precious treasures in this world. You have to admit that.”
“Yes, yes.” Abbas humored him as he added some milk to his hot tea. “Would you like some tea?”
“I’m really in love this time,” Flint announced solemnly.
“You said that last time, and the time before last, and the time before last. Your ‘love’ is to send a flower to someone, dance, and then say goodbye happily.” Medes coughed hard and dryly.
“This time it’s different.” Flint grimaced and raised his middle finger at Medes. “My angel is a wandering dancer. God, she’s so cute. She even kissed me! Yes, I have a hunch that I will definitely marry her!”
“Oh,” Abbas replied calmly.
“Oh,” Medes snorted.
Oliver stared at this strange father. Although the father in his memory was equally as cheerful, he was always missing something compared to the “Flint Lopez” in Medes’ memory.
“The captain isn’t a frivolous person, Oliver. He respects every woman he meets. The Tin Soldiers have always been on the front lines of all kinds of danger, and now it seems that they are praising a lovely girl to enliven the atmosphere. You can see this more thoroughly than me.”
Medes, who had now become dead bones, spoke as he stared sadly at the long-gone past.
“…We didn’t take it seriously at the time, but he was indeed serious. We didn’t see Sonia Ramon then, but since then, they have been communicating by letter, or using a communication crystal from time to time.”
“To be honest, we still didn’t think the two of them would make it. Flint was a hero all over the world, and Miss Ramon was just an ordinary wandering dancer. I personally even suspected that her motives were impure.”
The necromancer lowered his head, sighed, and used his fingers to make a few virtual strokes in the mist.
The scene becomes a room at night.
“Balthazar, I won’t take you on the expedition. The list has been handed in, and your name is not on it.” There was no smile on Flint’s face. He read Medes’ name very seriously, and he paused.
“I know you are unwilling, but the bottom of the Abyss is really dangerous. Your physical condition doesn’t allow it. This is an order.”
The young Medes slammed down the table. The double crutches leaning on the edge of the table fell crookedly to the ground with an unpleasant crisp sound.
Flint looked at his comrades-in-arms quietly, showing a little sadness. “And I have a bad feeling, Balthazar. In case we don’t come back…”
“Shut up.” In the memory, Medes’ voice became a little angrier, “Don’t say such things!”
“I know, just in case.” Flint smiled reluctantly. “Don’t get angry. Don’t get angry. It’ll only hurt your body.”
“Even if Ulysses killed all four generations of the expeditionary army, we still have the best elf archer, the most powerful dragon warrior… We have you. Captain, if the Tin Soldiers can’t kill it, I can’t imagine who else can defeat it,” Medes murmured. “His Majesty, who is so shrewd and cautious, is willing to let Abbas go with you, so everyone should be fine.”
“But I occasionally think about some strange questions.” Flint picked up Medes’ crutches and gently put them back in place. “Balthazar, you know a lot of strange knowledge, right? Do you think our expedition behavior… Is considered an invasion?”
“…What nonsense are you talking about?”
“In order to prepare for the expedition, I collected a lot of information,” Flint sighed fiercely. “The scope of the Abyss has never expanded, and the Demon King has never been to the surface, but the expedition on the surface has lasted for thousands of years. There is no indication that the demons are destroying the surface at its behest.”
“The damage caused by subordinate and intermediate demons is no different from that of surface beasts. Most of them have no brains and rarely act together. Except for the different power systems, they are no different from ordinary animals. Needless to say, the superior demons must find collaborators on the surface, and their actions seem to be very self-contained. Compared with the joint destruction of mankind, they are more like exploring and enjoying in their own way. It is human beings themselves who established the Abyssal Church, and the guardian who maintains the balance of power is a superior demon ‘Aurorae’… All in all, their behavior seems to be unaffected by this so-called ‘Demon King’.”
“But for a period of time after the Demon King is defeated, the Abyss will be closed, and the actions of all demons on the surface will be slow for a period of time. This—this is to protect mankind.” Medes’ tone rarely stumbled.
“That’s just a few short years, so it’s okay to fool ordinary people. In fact, people have long been accustomed to dealing with subordinate and intermediate demons. On the other hand, although the closure of the Abyss will weaken the superior demons, compared to the power gap with humans, this weakening is almost negligible.”
“What are you trying to say, captain?”
“I rummaged through all the history and found only one motivation—to obtain bone jade. Kill the Demon King and get the valuable resources at the bottom of the Abyss.”
Flint Lopez began to pace up and down the room. “Let me make an analogy, Balthazar. It’s just like a few Garlanders killed someone in Alban. Alban will directly declare war on Garland. We led the army into Garland, executed their royal family, brought back the wealth accumulated by the Garland royal family for many years, and declared this to be ‘justice’.”
“But we have to go, Captain. Alban needs bone jade more than ever, and Willard’s research on weapons is far ahead of us. If they cannot obtain enough bone jade to deter them, Alban will lose the war. This is not the time to care about the Demon King’s mood. After all, the Demon King is just a monster…”
“I understand.” Flint smiled and shook his head, “I’ll go. But… Balthazar, just because the opponent is stronger than us, doesn’t mean that it’s justified to attack them. I don’t like this idea very much.”
“You’re human.” Medes looked at his leader seriously. “Whether it’s justice or not, you have your position, captain. At least now, you are carrying the fate of this country.”
“Well, what were you going to ask me for?”
“If I don’t come back, can you transfer my share of the property to Sonia?”
“I proposed to her yesterday, and she agreed.”
“At this time?!”
“We’re both conscious of each other and don’t want to leave regrets.”
“…Okay, I understand.”
Nemo’s palms were cold and full of sweat. Oliver held his lover’s hand with his backhand, trying to help the other party regain some temperature with his warm palm.
“Flint is such a weirdo,” the necromancer said lightly. “The expedition had lasted for thousands of years, and the surface had already widely accepted this concept, but he was still thinking about this kind of problem before he left. At that time, I was almost disgusted with Sonia Ramon, and I admit that this was my prejudice. Because she was really… Sorry, her status was much too low compared to the captain. “I assumed her goal was to steal his property.”
“Anyone with some common sense knows that as long as the leader of the group can survive, he will inevitably marry the daughter of a nobleman… or even a woman of the princess level. When did you ever hear that the Hero married a migrant?”
“And he survived,” Oliver whispered.
“Yes.” Medes nodded.
The smoke surged, and the figure of the young version of Medes reappeared. This time, his complexion looked a lot better, and his double crutches were replaced with a cane.
But his eyes were terribly swollen, his face had a full beard, and he didn’t seem to have taken care of himself seriously for many days. Medes’ hand clenched the communication crystal carved with the Tin Soldiers emblem, and he looked blankly at the blue sky outside the window, completely ignoring the messy room full of garbage around him.
The crystal began to flicker, he muttered in his throat, and eagerly turned on the communication.
“Captain…” Medes responded with a desperate desire.
“Balthazar, help me.” Flint didn’t bring the good news he wanted. For example, telling him that the destruction of the Tin Soldiers was just a nightmare. For example, telling him that everyone just played a bad prank on the unflattering Balthazar Medes.
Flint sounded helpless and desperate.
Their leader was always full of courage and could face any difficulty with a smile. But the sound coming from the crystal was almost as fragile as the crystal itself.
“Regiment… Flint, you said…” Medes forced himself to calm down, and he directly bit his lower lip, causing blood to spill.
“Sonia’s situation is very bad.” Flint’s voice trembled a little. “It’s the Trent Plague, Balthazar. It’s the Trent Plague… I’m going to lose her, right?”
“I’ll be there soon. There will always be a way.”
Medes repeated numbly, eagerly sweeping the messy pile of books on the table with his hands, and then scratched his dirty hair.
“…There will always be a way, believe me.”
The author has something to say:
Ann: I want to write “I’m not interested in the Lopez family” on my face.
Ann: Or write “This is our captain’s lover” on Nemo’s face.
Ann: …Or write “I’m gay” on Oliver’s face and let them guess.
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2 thoughts on “Stray Ch193”
Lmao, Ann is so done with people misunderstanding 🤣
That is a good take… Did the expedition to the Abyss really protect the surface..?
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backstory time with author’s notes to offset the depression :’)
thank u so much for the translations