Stray Ch21

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 21: First Task

Bagelmaurus stared at the silver candlestick, trying to distract itself. The silvery and delicate patterns reflected an intoxicating halo in the firelight, which was a view that could never be seen in the Abyss.

It knew that it wasn’t special. It was born as an intermediate demon, fully inheriting the traits of a Corewen Flat Snake, which were innately afraid of things. They survive by swallowing the bodies of other demons. Compared to other races, their strong digestion was the only thing special about them. After all, not every demon can extract residual magic powers from rotten flesh.

Because they were amazingly timid, most of them didn’t even know how to spell the word courage. The Corewen Flat Snake, which could eventually turn into a superior demon, theoretically had unlimited potential, provided that they could actually live long enough and could devour large quantities of magical corpses from superior level demons.

That was such a place in the abyss.

However, superior demons didn’t like their corpses being devoured, especially by a group of nobodies. When their lifespan approached its limit, most of them chose to fall to the bottom of the Abyss, the Demon King’s territory, that was empty and silent, filled with thick darkness. Only a very small number of superior demons who were particularly confident in their own power would dare set foot there for food. It was rumored that there were still some strange races that the demons themselves don’t know about that could survive the cold darkness, but most didn’t care about the rare numbers of outliers.

They just needed to know that it was the best place for eternal rest.

Since it inherited the glorious trait from its ancestors that filled its very bones, it was naturally impossible for Bagelmaurus to wander to such a desolated place by itself. It was dragging its massive body through the lava one day when a dying thing fell into the Abyss and brushed up against it. The huge body of a superior demon smashed into the rock platform, shattering it to pieces, and its curled horn had hooked Bagelmaurus’ body, causing it to faint.

It didn’t know how much longer later, but when it woke up, it was at the bottom of the Abyss and found that it was held in the demon’s hand like a broken hemp rope. It stiffened in shock and its countless eyes on the edge of its body turned frantically. It was already considered big among the Corewen Flat Snakes; its body stretched out more than 500 meters, but at this moment, something was holding its tail, and even then, its head couldn’t touch the ground.

Its eyes were all turned in one direction, seeing three huge red eyeballs looking back at it in the dense darkness. It had never felt such terrifying magic pressure, and the scorching power even made it unable to even faint. Bagelmaurus stopped thinking momentarily. His body stiffened even more, desperately trying to muddle through by pretending to be dead.

The three weird eyeballs pressed closer, causing a sharp pain to radiate from his back. Bagelmaurus trembled all over at once, waiting in boundless fear for the swallowing and chewing to commence. That surely would be even more painful…

However, death didn’t come.

Something scorching seeped into its body through the wound, and the flat snake let out a silent wail. The blood in its whole body was boiling, and the pain hurt so much that it wanted to die in that instant. Amidst the overwhelming pain and burning, Bagelmaurus curled its body into a tight ball, and finally fainted.

When it woke up, it found that it was wrapped in a thick cocoon of flesh. The huge monster had already left, and its whole body was surging with endless magic. Bagelmaurus was dizzy from being smashed by the pie that fell from the sky. It recklessly collided in the dark and left the bottom of the Abyss quickly.

The ecstasy of the rest of his life was mixed with inexplicable joy, almost breaking all four of its hearts. It could finally leave here. Although intermediate demons weren’t restricted by the rules of the Abyss; they could freely enter and exit at their will, but with their pitiful power, they would be beaten to the ground by other powerful races within a few steps of setting out of the Abyss, let alone exploring the above.

It had wandered around in the middle of the Abyss for several years and finally found out the specific way to leave the Abyss. It happily took its own flesh and practiced with expectation…

Yet fate slapped it harshly.

Fucking Light. Fucking Vance. Fuck everything. The gray parrot was stumbling as it talked, while falling into endless chagrin. Perhaps from the moment that it was dragged into the bottom of the Abyss by that superior demon, its luck had not improved at all.

“Three giant red eyes.” Vance completely ignored the gray parrot’s bad mood and looked contemplative. “Listening to your description, it looks like the tenth generation, the three-eyed corpse dragon.”

“I do not know,” the parrot replied weakly.

“Do you know what generation it is now?” Vance smiled more intensely. “Now is the 19th generation of the Demon King. Little guy, if you’re not lying, you’ve been asleep for nearly two thousand years… You don’t know how much I hope you aren’t lying.”

The superior demon who was masquerading inside the human body raised his arms, seemingly having no intention of respecting its elders.

“According to you, your piece of flesh was taken away by a human… This is the first time I’ve heard of this kind of thing after living for so many years.”

“Maybe… Maybe I’m not very skilled. I was just an intermediate demon before, you know…”

“Enough.” The crystal pillar by the candlestick suddenly made a sound. It was obvious that Vance wasn’t the only one who was listening. “That’s enough, Vance. We can get Light and study him ourselves.”

“No.”

“Why?”

“This bird does not have the aura of a Demon King. I just checked its body, and its flesh and blood does smell like a superior demon, but its current power is undoubtedly only that of an intermediate demon. It’s just that ordinary flesh segmentation won’t cause this. At least I don’t know who can do such a thing, Telaranea.”

“There are no relevant examples. That’s why I propose catching Light. Aren’t you curious?”

“If this trash isn’t lying, it can only mean one thing.”

“…You’re not…”

“All the power belonging to the Demon King was taken away by Light, which can indeed explain Pandorater’s behavior. I don’t think a mere flat snake has the ability to tell such a lie. Listen, that Light doesn’t seem to be willing to enter this ‘side’. I believe he will seek the truth himself. It’s enough to keep an eye on them for now.”

“Vance.” There was a bit more coldness from the hearty male’s voice. “You have no right to restrain me.”

“But I can kill you.” Vance answered briskly, licking the corner of his lips.

The gray parrot desperately moved into the shadow of the candlestick, trying to reduce its sense of presence.

“It’s just a trivial curiosity. I believe you can overcome it,” Vance added softly. “We have more important things to do, don’t we?”

There was a long silence from the crystal.

“…Although I think it’s unlikely,” the voice sounded again with the same icy tone. “Are you too deeply influenced by humans? Vance, we all know that the ‘Demon King’ is just a title from humans’ wishful thinking. It is not our king and does not need the bullshit of loyalty from our group of small characters. To us, it’s just a monster among monsters.”

Vance Talbott did not answer. He lifted the trembling gray parrot up and drew a virtual circle in the air with his other hand. A black mantra climbed onto the parrot’s neck, causing it to tremble more severely.

“Shh… Good boy. Don’t be afraid,” he said softly. “This is just a small guarantee. If you mention today’s event in any way, it will blow you up into beautiful flowers of blood. Please keep this in mind.”

He let go of his hand, and the gray parrot fled away from the dark basement, completely forgetting that it had wings.

Meanwhile, the two who were still in the registration office were inexplicably relieved about it.

“I really haven’t seen it.” Nemo touched his nose awkwardly and took his gaze away from Oliver’s face. “Ann said it could find me. You see, it’s probably a sup…. Well, you know. Nothing should happen to it. Besides, its power is still with me!”

For the first time in Oliver’s life, he came into contact with an unwilling demon worshipper, or a suspected demon warlock. He had nothing to say, so he nodded.

“It’s not convenient for me to squeeze through, so hurry up and take a look at the taskbar.” Ann had already collapsed in the corner and threw the small lead cube around her neck in Nemo’s direction. “Hurry up, so you still have some selection available… Remember to pick the one near Heilam!”

Nemo lightly grabbed the flying piece of metal, dragged Oliver into the crowd, and used the latter as a shield to open the way. Seeing the two of them coming, the crowd happily let out a gap. The smile of the female employee remained motionless, as if it was painted on her face. She took the three lead squares handed over by Nemo, made a gesture, and then three dim black badges suddenly fell into Nemo’s palm.

Nemo couldn’t help but look down for a few seconds. The black badges were heavy, with pros and cons. There was a living lizard carved on the front, and a simple magic array on the back, with the holder’s name. It’s just that the magic array looked gray and didn’t seem like it could be used. 

“All lizards?” he couldn’t help asking aloud.

“Your team’s rating hasn’t been reduced or increased. This is a tentative comprehensive rating,” the girl said sweetly. “Please pour your magic power into your black badge and choose your task.”

Nemo squeezed the black badge with a sucking force, but it didn’t help stimulate any magic powers. The black badge lay quietly between his fingers, unresponsive.

It seemed like his usual state had returned. Nemo immediately cast a look of help at Oliver.

Oliver touched his black badge with his fingertips, and in the next second, a page-sized light screen appeared in front of them, densely lined with rows of tasks. New ones would appear from time to time while old ones were removed.

“You can specify the country or city, as well as the task type.” The female employee made no secret of her concern for the two of them. “Lingua, Franca. As long as the pronunciation is standard enough.”

“Garland, Heilam.” Oliver cleared his throat. “Task type… uh, task type…”

“How about looking for people or things?” Nemo said. “Seems safer.”

“But isn’t there a task limit for the Advance Black Chapter? Will this kind of task not… Have…”

The two of them stared at the results that appeared in real time, seeing a task quietly lying there.

“Take it quickly.” Nemo poked at the flashing line of text, then found in frustration that his touch was ineffective. “Oh… I hate this design.”

The task description was very short, unlike the type that should appear in the scope of a Black Chapter’s task.

“I want to talk face-to-face with Adrian Cross. The deposit is prepaid, and the remuneration is negotiable. The client, ‘Joanna Edwards’, is located in Heilam. There are no limits to the trustee.” Oliver read, frowning slightly. “Isn’t this a little…” Ordinary, but it looked suspicious.

“Maybe it was just posted. It could be just a couple’s quarrel. Oh, just pick it first! It’s now or never, my friend!” Nemo snapped his fingers anxiously. Just now, he could see a lot of task titles, such as ‘hunting ten mutant griffons’ and ‘handling plague corpses’, disappearing. Compared with those tasks, this one seemed quite ordinary.

Oliver touched the fingerprint mark next to the task, and a piece of parchment full of instructions for the contract instantly appeared in front of them. Nemo read it quickly. It was full of long-winded official rhetoric, but there was nothing substantial. Oliver seemed to have discovered this too. He stretched out his finger and signed the contract. As soon as he moved his finger away, the roll of parchment paper became solid and fell slowly in front of him.

“That’s it?” Nemo looked at the roll of parchment with novelty.

“…Probably.” Oliver rolled up the parchment, not sounding too sure. “Let’s go and let Ann know.”

“You got it? How quick.” Ann leaned back in the corner and nodded at the parchment roll in Oliver’s hand. “What’s the task?”

“It was commissioned by a lady,” Nemo said. “She wants to meet Adrian Cross.”

“Looking for someone. Not bad… Wait who? Who does she want to meet with?”

“Adrian Cross.”

“…Who?!”

The two of them finally realized something was wrong. Nemo and Oliver glanced at each other deeply.

“Adrian Cross…”

“…Sooner or later, you two will be the death of me.” Ann’s hunting spear landed with a clang on the ground as she buried her face in her hands. “Fuck, we’re screwed.”


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3 thoughts on “Stray Ch21

  1. Hi! Thanks for the chapter!
    It should be “lingua franca”, without the comma. It means “common language”.

    Also, when you write “he couldn’t helped but…” it should actually be “couldn’t HELP but”. The “couldn’t” already indicates the past tense. No need for the verb to also be in past tense.
    Past tense auxiliary verb + base form verb. Like, “did climb”, “could kill”, “wouldn’t linger”.
    I’ve noticed you’ve a bit grammatically inconsistent, so I hope this helps!

    This is an awesome novel, so thank you for picking it up!

    Like

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