Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 96: Acid
Nemo’s movements stopped instantly. If he was honest, this thing in his hand was scary enough. The hollow structure was like a dead vine and at the top of the staff in that the bone ball was floating on now seemed to have…
“Isn’t there supposed to be a luminous crystal ball here?” Nemo said bitterly as he poked the floating bone ball. “The top of this staff is a bit…”
“That’s because I removed the lampshade.” Ann’s face was full of pride and satisfaction. “You don’t need a staff, and a real staff isn’t cheap. It’s a waste to buy one only to disassemble it.”
“It doesn’t look bad,” Jesse commented impartially, “and it’s very suitable for you.”
Nemo leaned into his sturdy metal staff. As the metal hit the stone surface, it made a dull thump. Now he only had one wish… He hoped that the black was the original color of the metal. If the paint falls off when he’s casting a spell, it would be too inexplicable.
He was unaccustomed to holding a staff, so he tried to make his walking posture while holding a staff not too strange. When Nemo raised his head, he bumped into Oliver’s line of sight. Oliver looked at him very solemnly with those emerald eyes, just like when they first met.
“What?” Nemo widened his eyes. “Do I look like a demon warlock? If I didn’t have this black badge, the effect would probably look better…”
“No.” Oliver shook his head. “I think it suits you very well.” Nemo now showed a bit of edge to him, and his temperament was closer to the state he was in when he defeated Witherspoon that night. The previous linen robe was neat but ordinary, and his short ponytail had hidden his sharpness. Now that it was unsheathed, the shuddering aura vaguely appeared again.
They weren’t currently on the streets right now, so Nemo hadn’t shown his “deformation” yet. When he really reveals it, if he maintained his demon’s pupils, the aura would be more obvious.
“It’s really good.” Oliver concluded sincerely.
Nemo’s unspoken threatening joke got stuck in his throat. He closed his mouth and a slightly embarrassed smile appeared on his face. The sense of solemnity had just suddenly melted away.
“…For the time being, captain, don’t talk to him.” Ann patted Oliver on the shoulder. “You have too good of an effect on him just now! Nemo, just act with Jesse before you sneak in to brew up your frustration.”
“No, buts! Geez, your tone needs to be harsher. Pump out your chest, raise your chin, and act more arrogant. I told you to look arrogant, not pretend like you didn’t get enough sleep,” Ann yelled bitterly. “Hm, can you imagine the type of person who you hate the most?”
Nemo thought seriously for a moment. “A person who borrows books and bookmarks them by folding the corners of the pages.”
“…I can’t do this anymore,” Ann said melancholically. “It’s because I don’t have enough experience.”
“Just keep silent as much as possible and nod and shake your head instead of normal communication. Look directly into the other person’s eye when speaking,” Adrian suddenly said. “If you can do it, please try not to show too much emotion, Mr. Light.”
“Expression management is still necessary,” Ann muttered in a low voice.
“Nemo’s not that type of person. He’s not good at acting either, so it takes a lot of effort for him.” Oliver shook his head amusingly. He took out a small cloth bag from the pile of parcels on the fuller goat and threw it to Nemo. “Try this?”
“What is this?” Nemo caught it with one hand.
“Sandpoint plums, one of the preserved fruits Lisa gave,” Oliver said. “This… She told me to soak in water and drink it, saying it was a good way to relieve the summer heat.”
“Try one,” Oliver coughed. “It should help keep you silent.”
Nemo opened the cloth bag. Inside was a pea-sized red and black fruit with wrinkles unique to dehydration. He picked up one, filled with confidence in his new lover, and stuffed it into his mouth.
His expression successfully disappeared, replaced by a perfect gloom.
“Wow.” Ann walked forward curiously, threw one in her mouth and even chewed it boldly before she spat it out. Her face became wrinkled and deformed.
“What the hell—” Her eyes were full of tears from the taste. “I’ve never eaten anything so sour!”
“That’s why you have to soak it in water,” Oliver said cautiously. “…It’s also very suitable for expression management.”
Nemo maintained a gloomy face and continued to hold in the terrible dried fruit. He carefully tied the bag to his belt, retreated to the corner of the store, and made a “come over” gesture to Oliver. The expression on his face became more complicated. Even the two veteran warriors who had a wealth of experience in observing gestures and words couldn’t tell whether Nemo wanted to praise him or beat him.
“I… I just think that explaining it to you first would destroy its effect.” Oliver, who had always been calm, looked a little guilty at this moment. It seemed he had to overcome the urge to take a few steps back. He hesitated for a few seconds before walking over to the dark corner where Nemo was. “Sorry, you—”
Before he could finish speaking, Nemo grabbed him by the collar and kissed him without delay. Unlike Oliver’s kiss that only touched the corner of his mouth, Nemo’s kiss was deep and thorough. This was a real kiss. Although his kiss was a bit sluggish, it was still firm and rough, with some traces—or rather, a lot of bad intentions.
Oliver instantly stiffened in place. It seemed as if he had looked at the legendary Cockatrice and was petrified. His face flushed instantly, and he forgot how to breathe or even blink.
After a few seconds, Nemo took a somewhat restrained step back, and wiped his mouth. Oliver seemed to have finally reacted, and his expression became a little subtly distorted.
“Expression management, Ollie.” He bitterly spat out the sour dried fruit and said, with an awkward voice, “…Have a good experience.”
“I don’t know whether to cheer or applaud,” Ann muttered. “Does he think ‘public’ means he just needs to avoid us? Rather… Did he think that we couldn’t see them from here?”
Adrian didn’t seem to want to comment on this.
“Oh what a perfect revenge,” Jesse said, with the standard smile of a person watching the scene with excitement. “I’m almost starting to sympathize with Mr. Ramon.”
In the time that followed, Oliver seemed to have calmed down, except he consciously maintained a three-step distance from Nemo. He showed thoughtful expressions from time to time. When they rendezvoused with Duran Virgil again in the hall that night, their leader almost signed “Oliver Lopez” on the baggage claim voucher.
As soon as he saw Duran Virgil, Nemo consciously stuffed a sandpoint plum into his mouth. He felt the vigorous and sharp sour taste instantly and had to clench his “staff”. His expression turned sour and unpredictable.
“We can get to Roscoe by midnight tonight.” Virgil carefully analyzed Nemo’s new outfit, and his attitude became more serious. “I set up a fixed teleportation array near the main church of the Abyssal Church. Demon warlocks and demon worshippers usually act in the middle of the night, so we can get in tonight.”
“Are you in a hurry?” Oliver finally got focused. “The course of action, the general plan, including information related to the catacombs—Isn’t it better for us to check first?”
“I don’t have much time, so I may not be able to explain them all, but I can assure you that Mr. Light will never encounter any danger.” The dark-skinned man frowned. “Or… Do you have any arrangements related to the church?”
“Demon information,” Nemo tried to speak, but his tongue slid over the sandpoint plum, causing his entire body to tremble.
“I’ll help.” Virgil agreed. “I know where their library is.”
“Do you really only need Mr. Light to assist?” Adrian asked cautiously. “If you can, I hope you can tell us something. I can tell just by looking at the things you’re equipped with that you’re a real exorcist.”
“Yes, Mr. Light is an important member of our team after all,” Jesse said with a smile. “Our leader cannot be rest assured that he’s handing him over to a ‘real exorcist’.”
“…Indeed. If something happens, I hope you can help us stall for time.”
“If?” Ann raised her brows. “Didn’t you say that our team wouldn’t encounter any danger?”
“He’s a demon worshiper, and he could escape by pretending to be an ordinary person at a critical time. I’ll fight with my life to ensure his safety.” Virgil’s expression was solemn. “In case… Uh, it’s hard for me to explain. Anyway, it’s almost impossible. Even if there’s a problem at that time, you’ll notice it earlier than me. In short, just wait for us outside. I’ll finish my business within three days.”
“So you are not going to tell us the full story?” Ann concluded.
“I’m sorry.” Virgil bowed deeply to them, with bitterness in his voice. “I understand your concerns, but I have my reasons… I’m really sorry.”
“Nemo…” Oliver turned to Nemo’s direction, with a hint of subtleness in his voice. “Is this okay?”
“No problem,” Nemo said with difficulty as he almost swallowed the plum. “…I can accept this risk.”
“Thank you.” Virgil’s attitude was very solemn.
He couldn’t mention the full details as he had to conceal his identity as a demon warlock to the team. The tall painter sighed in his heart. What he was doing was already immoral, so any more concealment would be too much. However, like the word “in case”, the chance of something going wrong was truly close to zero. Even if it took a long time before finding the right team, and the date was still early and there was still time…
The day of sacrifice was still far away. Aurora shouldn’t show up this early, and the Knights of Silence from the Abyssal Church wouldn’t gather this soon.
He hoped that Mr. Light was courageous enough and won’t get cold feet. Virgil was a little worried. He didn’t want to use Abyssal magic to control anyone’s will, but this team was really his last hope. The turn of events happened too suddenly, and if he wanted to catch up, he didn’t have the time to prepare his partner in advance. Originally, finding a neutral demon worshipper from the Black Chapter was a matter of luck. Even if he still had a few days left, it was impossible for him to bet his next hope on his own shitty luck.
If the situation changes, he thought he could still break his bottom line of “not controlling others”, but he would indeed do his best to protect the demon worshipper who seemed a bit incomprehensible and would offer everything he had to apologize.
Virgil adjusted the wrapping bands on his lower shoulder and showed a wry smile.
After this mission was over, “living” wasn’t important to him anymore.
The author has something to say:
Well, it’s like this… If you run into this unlucky team, the “in case” will always happen.
In fact, Mr. Virgil lost a lot.
Virgil: (Tragically) Ah, I dragged this demon worshipper down, and I have to ensure his safety whatever the cost. My god, I’m such an immoral person.
Nemo: …Please don’t let the paint fall off the staff. Please don’t let the paint fall off the staff…
Oliver: The sandpoint plum is really sour, but… Uh… Uh… Uh—
Ann: I’m starting to get tired.
Adrian: I’m starting to get tired.
Jesse: This melon is so delicious.
Nemo’s most hated type of person: A person who borrows books and bookmarks them by folding the corners of the pages. So cute!
Their first deep kiss probably didn’t go as Oliver imagined it.