Stray Ch49

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky ||

Chapter 49: Music Score and Deformity

“They were attracted by people.” Adrian’s tone was affirmative.

“Although I don’t know the means,” Ann sneered, “I think we all know who’s behind it.”

The fuller goat that was carrying the luggage shivered behind Jesse, although Jesse tried to stop it. The blond young man petted the goat’s face casually. “I’m not stupid enough to do this kind of thing just after a few words.” He kissed the goat’s furry face very naturally. “Besides, you just saw it. Did I do anything suspicious? If you insist on the reason… Well… It seems that someone was experimenting with abyssal magic just now, and maybe the wolves were frightened by the aura of a demon.”

Nemo stood in place, a little embarrassed. He had just cast a spell, but he didn’t know the effect of the spell himself, so he couldn’t deny that possibility.

“Well, sorry. There’s no evidence,” Ann said with a grin. “Nemo, don’t mess around. Now that Oliver’s awake, let’s keep going. It’s just this—” she shook her hunting spear at Jesse. “You’re not welcome.”

“Mr. Dylan, we really have no intention of traveling with you,” Oliver said politely but kept his tone distant. “Can you stop following us?”

“Darlings, we have only known each other for such a short time and we’re breaking up already?” Jesse said sadly to the fuller goat, and then looked pitifully at Oliver. “Well, Mr. Ramon, since you’re so unwelcoming to me… Well, are you going to stop thinking about it? I’m very useful, you know! If you need a love guide—”

“Goodbye.” Oliver nodded coldly. Nemo suddenly wanted to laugh. Oliver had been much softer towards the scorpion-tailed wolves just now.

Jesse pretended to be sad and breathed heavily. He picked up the cloth bag and blew a kiss at them. “I have a hunch that we’ll be seeing each other again soon!”

The gray parrot and the fuller goat lingered and reluctantly didn’t want him to go, but in the end, they didn’t stay with Jesse. The blond young man didn’t follow them this time. He sat in the shade of a tree and began to eat those strange fruits leisurely. The brilliant blond hair soon disappeared from their sight.

The next part of their journey lost the awkward tension. Even though no one was talking, there was a comfortable atmosphere in the air. As Nemo’s boots knocked on the gravel a few times, probably for psychological reasons, he felt that even the road was a lot easier to walk on now. Oliver found a more suitable way to practice controlling his strength. A few icicles floated around them, and as the wind blew past, it gave them a hint of coolness.

“If the direction is right, we can see it right away—oh, that’s it!” Ann moved her gaze away from the map in her hand. “That tavern! We can teleport directly from it to the forest near the next town.”

The owner of the tavern had good business acumen. This place was really suitable for transit. There were many wine barrels in front of the tavern, and next to them was a vegetable garden blocked off by a wooden fence. The leaves of the vegetables were glowing with a pleasing green color under the sun. A few chickens jumped around in the vegetable garden, and occasionally a few loud noises would sound from the backyard. It was nothing short of a small farm.

A middle-aged man was pulling weeds in the vegetable garden. He wiped the sweat from his head and smiled at them politely. He skillfully tied the fuller goat to the side of the small straw shed, and even the forage was prepared in advance.

Nemo wiped away his sweat and rushed into the hotel as if he was fleeing.

The inside of the tavern was much cooler than the outside. The decoration and service were fitting. The wooden table was smooth and shiny, without any strange nicks or black greasy oil stains. There were even bookshelves standing on the edge of each table with a few books and materials to pass the time. Compared to Heilam’s and Noer’s taverns, this place had a reassuring taste of home.

Although it was daytime, about one-third of the seats in the tavern were filled. Most of the guests seemed to be travelers with luggage, and—

“You will meet good things soon!” The familiar, frivolous tone sounded. Jesse Dylan was sitting at one of the tables, holding a girl’s hand in his hand. The girl was lowering her head and was blushing like a cooked shrimp. “Trust me, sweetheart, my divinations are always accurate.”

“Ahh,” Ann sighed, expressionlessly. “The ‘goodbye’ was too fast.”

Oliver took a deep breath and chose the position farthest from the table. The waitress came over happily. It was a plump girl with round arms, with a healthy wheat-colored skin and a warm and kind smile.

“What would you like, everyone?” Her voice was crisp and pleasant. “If you want to use the teleportation array, just go directly to the backyard. You don’t have to buy anything. By the way, we also provide horse rentals. It only takes a day to get to the nearest town—”

“I’ll have a glass of wine.” Ann wiped the sweat from her neck. “Best if there’s ice in it.”

“Is pear wine okay? …What about these three gentlemen?”

“A glass of water, thank you.” Adrian nodded. The girl widened her eyes at his monk uniform, showing a thoughtful expression.

“I’d like a pear… Er, a glass of juice, thank you.” Nemo thought for a moment.

“I’ll have the same.” Oliver was stunned for a few seconds and then added with a smile.

“Is there any news recently?” Ann put a few more silver coins on the table.

The waitress smiled brightly and wiped her hand with her apron. “What do you want to know? You know, this is a remote place, so we only have some boring rumors—”

“For example, missing people. Have you heard of Melody Delaney from Vincent Town?”

“Never heard of her.” The waitress shook her head. “Nowadays, disappearances are pretty common. We’re better here since there’s no strange religion. A dozen people disappeared from Roscoe a week ago, all at once. Oh, how scary.”

“What about other news? About anything about Vincent?” Oliver shook his hands.

“Did you guys take on a task in Vincent Town?” The waitress glanced at their black badges but didn’t show any expression of fear. “Actually, I don’t recommend you going there now. The situation over there isn’t very good,” she said vaguely. “It’s been a few months and they’ve been in conflict with those strange bird monsters. Who knows if they will fight one day. This kind of news has been repeated recently. I don’t think it has much to do with your task though.”

“Is there anything strange?” Nemo took out a book he hadn’t seen before from the bookshelf. God knew how long it had been since he sat down and read a book. He even wanted to burst into tears for a few seconds.

“There are strange things.” Most of the guests had already ordered what they wanted, so the waitress dragged a chair over and sat down. Her tone had more complaints. “This place—I mean this tavern—has been attacked by monsters recently at night. Although no one was injured, it’s also annoying to have to repair the door panels and windows. Several chickens were lost, and a lot of the vegetables were trampled on. We tried to catch it, but we couldn’t even get a single hair. If you can get rid of it, the drinks here will be free in the future,” she said half-jokingly.

“Only this?”

“Only this.” The waitress winked at Nemo.

It seemed to have nothing to do with their mission. Nemo turned his attention back to the book, and then quickly vented his anger–”The Melody of Love” was printed crookedly on the cover. There were a few sunflowers that were drawn out of shape. The title looked like a fairy tale. It looked terribly old, and it didn’t seem like it had been kept well. The edges of the pages were full of creases and stains that didn’t look like they came from the tavern. Some of them even looked like… blood?

Anyway, it was an unread book. Nemo scanned the familiar titles of the other books and sighed inwardly.

He opened the pages of the book with a sullen face, quite certain that the stains were blood. The inside of the book looked even worse than the outside. The story was printed on one side, and the blank side was full of scribbled symbols. There were a lot of ink marks that seemed to be traces of handwriting that filled all the blanks. It took some effort to distinguish the printed handwriting.

Nemo, who used to work in a library, was almost suffocated. Oliver, who was sitting next to him, played with the ice crumbs in boredom for a while, and finally couldn’t help being curious, and leaned in to read it together.

“A fairytale.” Nemo scanned two lines and turned forward more than a dozen pages. Every page was tragically ruined by that pile of strange symbols. “The usual routine, alas, look — ‘The curse on the boy was lifted and Melody hugged him tightly. They kissed passionately with everyone’s blessings, and they lived happily ever after’… What a standard ending.”

“Melody.” Oliver raised his eyebrows.

“…Coincidentally, this name should be quite common. That—uh, lovely lady, this book is…?”

“Oh, that one. That book was picked up by my dad in the woods.” The waitress approached with a wooden tray. “We thought it was a pity to throw it away, so we left it here. After all, there’s still a score written in it. It has been there for a few months. Last time a bard passed by, he played very well according to it.”

Nemo frowned and turned the pages of the book again. “Can we buy it?”

“Nemo?!” Ann was the first to react.

“I haven’t read this one, so I’ll take it as a relief on the road.” Nemo flipped through it again, staring at the scribbled but still beautiful handwriting.

“There are several over there! Do you have to choose this one…? It looked like something swallowed it and spat it out.” Ann pointed to the small bookshelf next to him.

“I can recite those books to you,” Nemo replied bitterly. “Which page would you like to hear?”

“How much is it?” Oliver said straightforwardly.

“It’s on us.” The waitress smiled heartily, showing a row of beautiful teeth. “I like good-looking young men.”

“…Do what you want,” Ann said weakly. She held the handle of her cup and gulped down a large sip of pear wine. “Let’s leave after drinking, so as not to have any strange things stick to us.” She glanced in the direction of Jesse.

However, it turned out that Nemo’s choice was indeed not very good—they were lucky enough to meet the suspect who attacked the tavern that night.

At that moment, the bonfire had already been lit, and the four of them were neatly setting up tents on the edge of the forest, planning to rest. The annoying young man did not appear, but a deformed monster rushed out.

It looked like a huge bird from a glance, but on a closer look, it didn’t look like it. It was by no means a normal creature in a natural state. Its height was about two meters tall, and its bones were strangely deformed, as if they were melted and then formed randomly and then forcibly glued together. Blue feathers grew in clumps on its skin, like the sequelae of some skin disease. Its exposed skin was a bit like a human, but its facial features were a bit like a bird. Human flesh covered its alien skull, and there was a sense of nondescript horror.

“Give it back to me,” it said in a stumbling lingua franca, with a heavy accent and an extremely unpleasant voice. “Give me back my music sheet.”

The author has something to say:

Nemo’s passive skills: Pick up critical items for the mission.

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