Stray Ch79

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 79: Written Fate

It wasn’t an important letter; at least based on the contents, it didn’t look like it.

The lines were full of trivial things; the font was clumsy and there were many traces of corrections and typos. There was no grammar to speak of. It was like the sender himself was nagging at the stationery, and that nagging was turned into words and sentences that occupied the piece of paper. However, the witch held her breath and smiled at the corners of her mouth as she listened intently.

The letter was so short that Nemo finished reading it in almost an instant. The witch nodded gratefully at him. She held the frame of her glasses and began to write her own letter.

“Where was I? Oh yes, Mr. Lopez,” she whispered while writing. “I have to write for a while, so you two find a place to sit first. There’s also a plate of candied fruit in the cupboard that you can try.”

Nemo sat down, while Oliver remained standing in place. As if the witch had eyes on her back, she turned her head and sighed at him.

“If you’re still thinking of wanting to stop all this,” she said softly, “there’s no need, really. You don’t owe me anything. I can probably guess who the client is. They will never change their minds, and now Horizon has an obligation to protect them. You two are Black Chapters, aren’t you? In case of conflict… Horizon can kill you in accordance with the rules and regulations without any responsibility. My life is destined to come to an end, but you can still live for a long time.”

“I was just thinking… if there’s any other way,” Oliver said dryly.

“Ollie, I don’t think the head of Horizon will…” Nemo reminded him carefully.

“I know, I have no position to negotiate with him.” Oliver still didn’t want to sit down. “He should be much more informed than me. Sooner or later, he will know about my relationship with him, but blood does not mean friendship, and I don’t think we have a good impression of each other. I mean, other ways, I…”

“I was very young when my father died,” the witch spoke suddenly, interrupting Oliver’s words. “He wasn’t a good father; weak and incompetent and was controlled by my mother. I think you can guess the ‘educational style’ of the Eastern Witches. My mother wanted me to wake up early so that she could find the next prey and make the next victim. I wanted to escape at the time, so she chained me against a wall.”

Negativity. Twisted. Insults. Abuse. It may be that her body was too old and the wounds in those memories no longer revealed lingering pain but had become numbed and blurred. There was no pause in the witch’s writing.

Her mother was truly an excellent Eastern Witch. A model witch that was hated by mankind. Her cowardly father only dared to look from a distance. If he protested a little, he would be whipped senseless. She tried to beg and scream, but there was no innate instinct of love. Her mother patiently watered her with pain and despair, waiting for the day of her transformation, and she didn’t make her mother wait too long; the rough skin of the young girl began to become fair and smooth, and the original withered hair turned brilliantly golden.

The buds of hatred began to grow.

Then there was only one step left, the final step. At that time, she already faintly knew what would happen as her mother would carry out the favorite ending of all Eastern Witches—letting her father be destroyed by mankind and cutting off her last attachment.

Then she really lost him.

An ugly and weak human being; a father who would secretly give her a piece of candy while she was held in the dark room. Within a few seconds, she tasted a little bit of the sweetness of being treated like a living thing, but that sweetness was like an illusion.

Thorns began to crawl under her skin.

As long as she took the initiative to kill a person, as long as she could see blood, she could gain all the powers suppressed in her bloodline. She could start her revenge—on her mother, on the murderer, on the fate that was never kind to her. Her mother had sowed the seeds of hatred and she almost did what she wanted.

“I’m sorry.” Flint Lopez, the head of the Tin Soldier Mercenary Regiment, lifted his cloak and squatted down. His tone was serious; his eyes were moist and painful. “Even though I know it won’t change anything, I’m sorry, young lady.”

The dirty outcast, who was ignored by the soldiers, choked and stared at the man in front of her with wide eyes. The stolen spell book was still in her pocket, and the thin thorns were secretly entangled in her fingertips. She could raise her hand at any time—as long as she raised her hand, she could let the thorns penetrate the man’s neck, and then…

She knew she was being used, but so what? Hatred always had a goal.

But she didn’t do anything. The restless thorns pierced her fingers, oozing small beads of blood. It felt good to be treated as a “human”. She wanted to feel it for a few more seconds. As long as she saw a little perfunctory expression, as long as she smelled even a hint of danger, she would immediately do it. The young witch was determined.

A few minutes… A few hours…

“I understand you have every reason to hate me. I will not ask for your forgiveness.” The head of the number one mercenary regiment would always squat down and look into her eyes when he spoke to her. “But please allow me to take this responsibility. I will definitely not make you homeless.”

A few days…

“There are acquaintances of mine in Caleb Village—a very good-tempered old couple. They are very good mages, and you will be taken care of very well,” he said softly. “It’s a very beautiful village, Miss Nadine.”

She didn’t respond to any of Flint Lopez’s words. She just stared viciously at his eyes, then at his throat, and finally back at his eyes. She sniffed hard, like a wounded young wolf, looking for any traces of malice, but all she could smell was remorse.

The control she had imagined did not come, nor did the imprisonment. Flint Lopez left, and the old couple were indeed gentle to the bone. With warm food and clean clothes, she could no longer find a reason to take action, so she had to stab gerbils in the yard with her thorns. Overwhelmed by her unusual beauty, no one wanted to approach her, but she thought it wasn’t bad. At least she had someone to talk to and could look at the sun. 

Only the memory of that day was particularly clear.

The witch stopped writing, and the tip of her pen trembled on the paper.

“My mother did a very successful job, and I woke up very early… Flint Lopez was just the unlucky guy who happened to hit her trap, but had he been arrogant at that time, you wouldn’t see me here today,” the aging witch continued, staring at Oliver’s emerald green eyes that were no different from those in her memory. “I can never forgive him for killing my father, and this will never change, but he sent me here and gave me a real world. For this, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to him.”

The weather was good that day in her memories. A little head that wasn’t beautiful in the slightest leaned over the railing. The girl’s hair was short, curled up everywhere, and her round face was covered with mud. At that moment, Nadine had just ripped a gerbil open, so she moved vigilantly, covering the bloody gerbil corpse with her body.

“You’re so beautiful!” the strange human girl exclaimed. “Wow, it’s more beautiful than everything I’ve ever seen combined. Would you like to be friends with me?”

She stared at the girl vigilantly.

“What’s your name? My name is Lisa… Hey, wait.” The human girl’s head disappeared from above the railing, and she ran away quickly. Just when Nadine was about to destroy the corpse of the tragically dead gerbil, she came back.

“Look!” She threw a bunch of wildflowers into the front yard that was only covered by a green lawn. “That’s right—although I can’t find a flower that can match you. Can I still come to see you?”

Nadine hurriedly blocked the blood and internal organs with the flowers. She looked nervously at the girl who called herself Lisa without saying a word.

“…Well then, I’ll just… Um, look at you secretly!” Lisa lowered her voice, sounding aggrieved, “If you don’t mind.”

“…I don’t mind.” At that time, she responded in a low voice, carefully taking a step towards the girl.

The witch couldn’t write anymore. Aging itself took away most of her vision, and those memories made her vision even more blurred. Fortunately, she had finished writing the letter, so she won’t delay this matter for too long.

“After all, this is just a grudge between me and Flint Lopez. This hatred will not extend to you, Mr. Ramon.” She suppressed the small tremor in her voice and concluded as calmly as possible, carefully sealing the envelope. The withered thorns stretched out from her fingertips and slowly wound into a skylark. It picked up the envelope and rushed straight out the window. “Just do one more thing for me… After I’m done, I have to start dispensing medicine. There are still many people whose prescriptions have not been adjusted.”

The witch laboriously straightened her waist, took off the rolls of parchment paper attached to the workbench, and put them away one by one. She stroked the handwriting and gave a vague little smile, then she took out a glass bottle from the drawer on the edge of the workbench, which contained a small half-bottle filled with something stone-like.

“Mr. Light, you… You should be able to wield magic, right?”

“Yes.” Nemo took two steps forward and helped the witch pick up the bottle that didn’t look light. It turns out that his intuition was correct, as it was indeed surprisingly heavy.

“That’s good, Lopez… Mr. Ramon, can you help me get the watering can?”

The two followed the witch to the backyard of the house. It was different from the front yard, which was full of vitality and flowers. The backyard was barren, and the soil even showed signs of desertification. The witch waved her cane, and the bottle in Nemo’s hand spit out the cork by itself. As soon as the small stones inside flew up, they fell back into the bottle.

“…I’m sorry. It seems that I really have to ask for this favor, Mr. Light.” Nadine lowered her head. “Bury them in the soil, five centimeters deep… and pour a little water. Here, that’s about it.” She gestured in the air.

“What is this thing?” Nemo twisted a stone, and the unnatural weight almost made him drop it.

“The seeds of the Earthsea Orchid.” Nadine squatted down with difficulty, twisting the sand. “They only grow in the desert.”

“…But aren’t they extinct?” Nemo recalled the tome he was reading. The author spent at least ten full pages lamenting the disappearance of this rare plant.

“Yes, but there’s still a bit of life left in these seeds. I’m also a plant, so I know this,” she said. “They can hardly germinate, but… it’s not impossible. I collected a lot in the early years, but now there are only a few left, so let’s plant them all.”

It could be seen she never succeeded, as there was no greenery in the soil in front of them.

Nemo didn’t say a word. The dark shadow spread out almost instantly, sending the heavy seeds to their designated location. Oliver didn’t bother with the watering can; instead, he condensed water bubbles and accurately watered the seeds.

“Young people are quick to do things. Thank you very much.” The corners of Nadine’s mouth tugged as she stood up straight and patted the dust off her skirt. “Don’t look at this land like this. I almost succeeded a few times. Two plants have sprouted, but unfortunately, they still lack stamina and died shortly after… At least they can still germinate. I hope this time…”

She only sighed and didn’t continue.

There was no need to feel sorry. Nadine raised her head and looked at the scenery in front of her that was still blurred through her glasses. The green in the distance blended into a hazy mass in her vision, while the sand in front of her melted into a golden yellow. She tried her best, she thought. She successfully persisted to the last moment without ruining anyone’s life.

The life cycle of the previous generation would begin after the next generation reaches adulthood. This meant that Eastern Witches without offspring would begin to age soon after adulthood and grow significantly old at a rapid pace.

“Are you going on a trip? …That’s amazing!” Seventeen-year-old Lisa still had an ordinary face. Miraculously, she didn’t become a beauty.

“…Do you want to go with me?” She failed to hold back these words.

“I can’t. I can’t do it. I have to inherit the inn at home. I will always wait for you to come back! Remember to write to me, Nadine.” Lisa still had that rambunctious voice. “Do you want to take a picture together? Otherwise, I will miss you to death.”

“Okay.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been looking for my relatives. I recently found my grandmother, who’s still very healthy,” her throat choked with pain. “Wait… Wait a few years. If I don’t come back, I’ll let my grandmother take care of the house for me. I have already arranged it.”

“That’s good. Actually, I don’t mind taking care of it for you, I—”

“I will write to you,” she interrupted the other party, “I will… keep writing to you.”

…Until the end of her days.

And that day was coming soon.


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