Stray Ch18

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 18: Self-Destruction

“Vance, are you sure there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight?” A hearty male voice responded back from the crystal. “I have watched the image carefully, and there is no deformation on Nemo Light.”

“Telaranea, imagination.”

“I only assess what I have seen.”

“I know it’s nothing to be able to suppress a Seymour Worm with an aura, but he restrained Pandorater.”

“His demon left a piece of flesh attached to the bird. It doesn’t look very powerful. Do you have any records of it?”

“No, I checked. It wasn’t introduced to the ‘butcher shop’. I can only assume it was an accidental summoning, so the type cannot be determined yet.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Continue to watch the show,” the man known as Vance responded calmly.

“What a bad guy. Honestly, I’m not very interested in Light. His body will be consumed once his wish is fulfilled. It’s the key to figuring out the identity of the demon.”

“This is the interesting part, Tela. I didn’t sense a contract on him. His contract should have been completed long ago.”

“In other words, it’s not Light, but the demon who has successfully obtained his body? How incredible that it managed to hide itself so well that even I didn’t notice it… It does make sense in this way and explains why there are no signs of deformation. A superior demon outside the rules, hehe. Do you want to maintain the original plan and take him back for ‘education’ while his position remains undecided?”

“He is indeed a demon warlock, but not a superior demon yet.”

“Based on what?”

“Intuition.”

“…Do as you want and tell me about the results after. Also, don’t call me Tela.”

The communication crystal was cut off. Vance raised an eyebrow at it, then continued to watch the struggle not far away with relish.

The people who ran the Mercenary Guild never thought that there would be a demon warlock who was focused on escaping this world.

Demon worshippers could only be considered as madmen who work with ordinary demons and have no bottom line. They were essentially still pure human beings. Demon warlocks were completely different. Usually, they are top mages before they form a contract with a superior demon. If they weren’t, they must still possess excellent magical abilities. The deformation brought by the superior demon amplifies the negative emotions in their body, distorted their soul and mind, and turned the contractor into a paranoid and crazy monster.

They would either show their strength and push back their enemies, forcing them to give up in the beginning, or they would fight to the bloody end. They wouldn’t do such worthless things like run away after provocation.

It was a pity that Mr. Light didn’t even accept his identity as a demon worshipper. To him, the great figures of demon warlocks and the Mercenary Guild were basically equivalent to the deceased celebrities in history books; he’d never be able to contact them in his life, let alone understand the undercurrents of the rules under the table.

He escaped decisively, without hesitation, and with a clear conscience.

Strictly speaking, he didn’t escape by himself. Nemo hung on Oliver’s shoulders like a sack as he controlled the dark shadows in shock. His neck was so sore that he dared not even blink. God knows why the shadow shield, which was only used to intercept spells, suddenly had a more binding effect. At this time, Nemo didn’t want to delve deeper into it. He had a more serious problem to deal with.

He couldn’t command the shadow at will.

The manipulation was as difficult as stabilizing a high pile of slippery dinner plates; three points relied on instinct and seven points relied on hard work. If he didn’t pay careful attention, it would get out of hand. Like now, when he tried to stretch out his hand and turn his palms, the black shadow instantly boiled violently and the smoke column was directly bent a few degrees lower, its shape changing from a magnificent tornado to a trumpet clasped on the ground.

Nemo: “……”

He really didn’t know if this was due to the subjective will of the opponent or the power of the dark shadow. He only knew that the noise-like murmur became even more piercing. The effect of this indiscriminate tossing was not ideal. Pandorater did not follow them and kept twisting in place. The metal block on his chest was getting hotter, and it was beginning to show signs of melting.

Nemo patted Oliver on the back with his free hand, motioning him to put him down.

Oliver stopped and let him down, then lowered his left arm, which was still dripping with blood.

“It doesn’t seem to be chasing us… Are you okay? Should we bandage it?” Nemo carefully looked at the bloody arm and hissed.

Oliver moved his left arm: “…It looks scary, but it’s just a flesh wound.”

“You have to find a better sword.” Nemo turned back to the direction of the pillar of smoke, trying various gestures indiscriminately. “What happened to it?”

“I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like it’s looking for you to fight one-on-one.” Oliver took out some bandages from Nemo’s backpack and wrapped himself up. “At least it didn’t spread out anymore. Well done.”

“Don’t praise me.” Nemo shook his hands nervously, and the dark shadows in the distance twisted around. “To be honest, I don’t know what I’m doing right now.”

His heart sank in the next second. It turned out that Oliver should’ve kept his mouth shut during battle; the column of smoke stopped twisting and began to drift away slowly. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop it. Unlike the previous powerful and purposeful dispersal, the smoke pieces rustle and fall off like dead leaves in autumn.

He turned to look at Oliver with an involuntary look of condemnation and aggravation. Oliver crossed his index fingers in front of his lips and blinked.

A scorpion-tailed wolf suddenly passed by them and went straight in the direction of the column of smoke. It wasn’t the only one. Pale bone crows flew in groups, and poisonous insects fluttered their wings as the forest began to stir. Hordes of demons and monsters ran past them one after another, bypassing the wave-like ice layer and rushing towards Pandorater, creating a dusty sandstorm. Amazingly, not a single demon or monster tried to attack them at this moment; rather, being trampled was the more realistic danger. Oliver reacted quickly. He suddenly put his arms around Nemo and quickly turned around and pointed, creating a thick ice shield that was erected on both sides of them. The bandage on his left arm was stained with blood again.

An alarm rang through the headquarters of the Mercenary Guild.

The demonology mages were sweating coldly as they surrounded a black cube in the underground hall. The massive cube stood silently in the center of the hall, their crisscross magical formation and runes gleaming bright red. The warning tone was broadcast in a loop without the slightest intention of stopping.

“Pandorater’s power is declining rapidly. What’s going on?!”

“I don’t know. The magic pressure around it is too strong for the surveillance bug to stay.”

“It’s self-destructing!”

“Are you insane?! It’s still a baby!”

The power of a superior demon resided in its body, and some species would feed part of their bodies to their offspring or injured companions, thereby conferring them power. Pandorater can be regarded as one of the more extreme types. When the number of diversities in the group was too low, the oldest one in the group would self-destruct, allowing its companions to share its corpse so they may overcome difficulties.

“This is indeed self-destruction. All indicators are right—”

“God! Get it back first!”

An old man with a head and beard full of white hair was stroking his long beard as he spoke. “What about the emotional monitoring?”

For a moment, discussions instantly fell away. Being stuffed into a dark and narrow box will not make any life happy. The mood value of the Pandorater had never changed, always remaining stable at its lowest point. After so many years, everyone had habitually ignored that value.

“It… It’s…” The mage closest to the emotional monitoring array swallowed his saliva as he stammered. “By human standards, it’s laughing wildly.”

It was a joy full of resentment and hatred. When this kind of emotion appeared in a hostile party, it would always lead to nothing good, but they were destined to not know the reason for its ecstasy.

Only young superior demons could be weaponized. In terms of power, better control was one of the reasons, but the main reason, and the most important, was that the baby would not commit suicide because of despair since they haven’t learned what despair is. Even if they were stuck in the cracks of the Abyss, even if they were cut by spatial magic from time to time, no matter how painful they felt, they wouldn’t understand how to resist, because they would think that the world was originally like it.

Pandorater had a docile temperament and belonged to an innate superior demon line. The baby stage was particularly long, which made it suitable for being targeted. While its power was a minor hinderance among superior demons, it was more than enough as a weapon to use on the surface. This one had been used for a long time. It was always quiet and obedient, and it had never done anything wrong.

When it was captured by a magic array, it was still too young, and it hadn’t even had time to master the language of its own species yet. Even with the help of the emotional monitoring array, no creature in this world would be able to understand its specific thoughts.

That should be the case, in theory.

[Destroy them…]

Nemo covered his ears, and the noise became fainter as the column of smoke drifted away, and the melodious murmur came back.

[Destroy them!]

Countless demons and monsters tore through the smoke column, like a swarm of flies swarming carrion.

[Eat me and fulfill my wish…]

The column of smoke slowly drifted towards them. Oliver was just about to drag Nemo away, but it suddenly disappeared into the air, just as suddenly as when it appeared. Pandorater should have been taken back by the Mercenary Guild, although he didn’t know why.

[…Please…]

“Nemo, Nemo!” Oliver patted Nemo’s face with the hand that wasn’t covered in blood. In the midst of the chaos, the black-haired young man was stunned motionless.

“Huh…?” Nemo responded with some confusion.

“Why are you crying?” Oliver stared warily at the demons and monsters not far away who hadn’t dispersed yet.

“Nonsense, how could I… Huh?” Nemo wiped his face. His fingertips touched traces of moisture.

“…Maybe I was blinded by the sand just now.” He shrugged.


Kinky Thoughts:

I like to address some criticism regarding my translations. I am absolutely open to them both, positive or negative… Provided that you actually let me know where I can improve. It’s pretty demoralizing to see people talk negatively about your sincere effort and all that they say is “it’s bad” and then proceed to bash it. Please point out my errors and mistakes so that I can fix them. The reason why I include the original Chinese text in my footnotes is because I’m not sure if it’s been translated correctly or if I’m interpreting it correctly. I welcome fixes in order to improve the translation quality.

Secondly, I have always been upfront that I cannot read and understand Chinese, so I can’t vouch for full accuracy. My disclaimer is everywhere on my website that these translations are done via MTL and I simply fix them. I have never passed myself off as a “professional” translator. Please don’t hold me to some professional standard, especially when my translations are free and easily accessible.

This is done purely as a hobby and because I wanted to read things that weren’t translated, and I figured I’d share them with like-minded readers. The English danmei community is pretty niche, and the pool of translators are even smaller. It’s not very conducive to bash translators as it demoralizes them and burns out their motivation. We should be supportive of each other and help improve each other, so no need to badmouth me and instead help me fix what’s wrong.

Sorry for the rant, but I needed to get that off my chest.

To address criticism of footnotes. I get it’s a decisive issue, and many readers don’t like seeing footnotes as it breaks their immersion while they read. However, I’m translating it as how I want to read novels, and that means I want to understand idioms and terms that are unique to Chinese culture as I’m reading, so I don’t want to include the notes at the bottom of the page. I know there are ways to hide them as well, where you can hover your mouse over the text, but that requires coding knowledge (which I do not have) or a premium account in WordPress to access plugins (which I’m not willing to pay for).

I also know my grammar, especially tenses, is not the best. I’m working on it. I have started going back to my previous translations on all my projects to do a scrub and fix up the grammar and mistakes.

Finally, as readers, you can help me out as well by proofreading my releases and letting me know where the mistakes are.

At the end of the day, we’re all here to read some danmei, so let’s take it easy and be amicable.


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8 thoughts on “Stray Ch18

  1. I don’t know about your Chinese, but your English is great! I’m thoroughly enjoying your work!
    Thank you so much for spoiling us with this novel. It’s been a real treat so far!
    Hugs and kisses, from a random internet person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the translation is fine so far. There are some minor errors occasionally, but as you said, it’s mostly a rare typo or tense. It’s perfectly readable and enjoyable to do so.

    Like

  3. You have been doing great so far! :3
    I love your translation. Don’t listen to those people saying it’s bad, you’re doing your best and bringing this stories to a wider audience!
    Thank you so much!
    (Hope it doesn’t sound like an advertisement…) If you’re MTL-ing in your desktop, there’s an app (plugin?) called Zhongwen: Chinese-English Dictionary.
    It gets you definitions (of words and idioms) by hovering the mouse over the part you want to have a definition of, I find it really useful, so I thought it could also help you :3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know why people are bashing your translation. Although there are some minor sentences than can be corrected. Overall, the whole translation is pretty smooth. Not perfect but better than most.

    Like

  5. Thank you for your hard work!! 😘 I’m enjoying this immensely. The translation is great and i have no problem with it since I’m breezing thru the chapters

    Like

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