Stray Ch97

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 97: The Church of Silence

Roscoe City was in the territory of Willard in a relatively remote location. Garland and Alban used the Ash Mountain Ranges as their natural border, which extended north to Willard. Not far from the end was Roscoe City. If one followed the ordinary way of traveling, it was estimated to be at least half a month of walking and teleportation arrays to arrive at their destination. However, with a fixed teleportation coordinate set up, everything was much simpler. It could be seen that Virgil had spent laborious time setting this up. The teleportation array that was set up for individuals was fragile and expensive and would break after several uses. This kind of behavior from him seemed soaked with a desire for success.

They didn’t know what was in the catacombs that would make a person like this care so much. Nemo was smacking on the sandpoint plums as he thought in silence about their current situation. Fortunately, the location of the area near Caleb was ambiguous, so they didn’t need to register in Alban. Otherwise, if they were to go through the private teleportation coordinates, Willard would judge it as an illegal invasion.

As he thought about it, Nemo, who was still unaccustomed to holding his staff, stepped into the teleportation array with the team in a disciplined manner.

There was a great difference between a teleportation array set up by an individual and a public one. This time, it wasn’t only Oliver who wanted to faint, but Nemo almost spat out the dried plum in his mouth. If the public teleportation array felt like a wooden-wheeled carriage galloping over a pebbled riverbed, the individual teleportation array…

Nemo felt as if he was hung on the blade of a windmill that was spinning in the face of a hurricane that could blast away livestock.

Virgil seemed to be used to this kind of tossing. He looked at the small objects on his body without a change in his expression, then he smiled at them apologetically. This time, even the fuller goat couldn’t stand up. It lay on the ground, aggrieved, and the luggage on its back lurched forward, almost being pierced by its horns.

Adrian only slightly arched his waist and lowered his center of gravity before he stood upright the moment he landed. At that moment, he was frowning as he looked at the scene in front of him.

It was almost nine at night and the sky was already dark. The moisture around them was much heavier than when they were in the desert. The stars in the sky were obscured by thin clouds. In front of them was a forest, or rather, the remains of a forest.

The land on which they stood was still lush with trees and shrubs, and from time to time, the sound of insects would sound from the gaps between the fallen leaves. However, ahead of them was dead land. The general appearance of trees was still there, but the branches were all dried and scorched black. Although the land was wet, there were no traces of plants. Not to mention ordinary animals, even the sight of demons and monsters was rare.

Pale and thin mist flowed slowly against the ground, creating a dead silence. Over the layers of dark branches, Nemo could see a spire of a weird building in the distance.

“The Church of Silence,” Adrian said in a deep voice that had a solemn tone. He finally showed the appearance of a Chief Justice of the Knight of Judgement. The murderous aura and hostility around him suddenly rose.

“Control it Cross.” There were no hints of joking in Ann’s tone. “That’s not the enemy for the time being.”

Adrian adjusted his breathing a few times and quickly suppressed his killing intent. “Sorry, everyone,” he said in a flat voice.

“I understand.” Duran Vergil smiled uncomfortably. “If you want to talk about it, take advantage of it now. If you’re not prepared, it’ll be very troublesome for you to move forward.”

“Why?” Oliver frowned slightly.

They didn’t know which bag Virgil had dug into, but he took out an apple and took a few bites of it. He lowered his body and rolled the round fruit towards the dead land. After crossing the obvious boundary between lush and dead, the ruddy and attractive fruit quickly decayed, and soon only a little black and yellow dry debris remained.

“Unless measures are taken in advance, ordinary surface creatures won’t last here.” Virgil wiped his hands. “This is considered to be their lowest barrier.”

Nemo nervously grabbed the small leather bag hanging from his belt. He wasn’t sure if the sandpoint plums could escape this catastrophe, and eating ash would not help his expression management.

“The weaker the vitality, the better the protection.” Virgil seemed to read Nemo’s mind. “If it’s just food, just protect it with a little abyssal magic. However, if you want to bring people in, you must either use extremely strong surface magic to forcibly counter it, or you must ensure a stable output of abyssal magic. Trust me, there are other barriers besides this one. People of the Abyssal Church usually transport… Uh, other creatures in carriages engraved with a protection array.”

“How do we keep in touch?” Oliver was more concerned about a different thing. “We need to know your situation before we can take cover in time.”

“Communication crystals won’t work. The magic is too strong, so it’ll be detected.” Virgil touched his chin. “I recommend a disposable communication crystal… I have enough here and can give it to Mr. Light.”

“The kind that can only say two or three words at a time?”

“Yes. It’s cheap and easy to use. It doesn’t take as much power to start as a regular communication crystal. The Abyssal Church has never restricted the rules so tightly. I remember that I can bring up to three.”

Nemo hitched his breath. After leaving Roadside Town, he hadn’t acted alone. He didn’t expect that the goal of this task was this big and he was expected to act by himself. Even the sandpoint plum couldn’t hide the prim look on his face at this moment.

“Three days. Communicate once a day and the remaining three will be reserved when they enter the catacomb,” Oliver quickly suggested. “If the people of the Abyssal Church are used to acting at night, then you can report in peace at sunrise. If something dangerous happens, or we don’t receive the news in time—”

“We’ll create some chaos and attract some of their attention—”

“No, we’ll come get you.”

Virgil raised his brows. “Do you have any idea about the level of vigilance of the Abyssal Church…”

“I do,” Adrian whispered. “Mr. Ramon’s proposal isn’t a problem.”

“If I could, I want to go with you,” Oliver breathed out and stood in front of Nemo. “We’ll wait for you here, so relax.”

He then stretched out his arms and gave Nemo, who was wearing his grayish-black robe, a very strong hug. Nemo could feel Oliver’s cool kiss falling between his eyebrows. “Be safe,” Oliver said in a crisp, clear voice after moving his lips away.

Duran Vergil watched them quietly. There was no expression of surprise on his face, but a faint sadness was revealed.

“Oh my god. ‘Be safe’.” Ann’s voice brightened. She glanced at Virgil and spoke In an extremely low voice. “He should be saying that to the Abyssal Church.”

“You’re absolutely correct,” Jesse said, grinning from ear to ear, as if the bleak scene in front of him were just a funny set on a comedy stage. “But I have a hunch—”

“Please shut up,” Adrian decisively interrupted. “Prophecies are not permitted in this task.”

Jesse closed his mouth, aggrieved, and leaned on the fuller goat crookedly.

“Then let’s go first.” Virgil looked at the spire of the Church of Silence in the distance. “If it goes well, two days will be enough. Let’s go, Mr. Light. Are you ready?”

Nemo looked at Virgil in silence. His pupils were already in their non-human cruciform shape. The latter suddenly took a step back and looked at him suspiciously.

“Mimicry,” Nemo explained dryly, putting three layers of black shadows on the bag of sandpoint plums that were hanging from his waist to protect it.

Virgil frowned. After a moment of contemplation, he shook his head as if giving up. “Let’s go.”

Nemo breathed hard and stepped into the dead land. Sure enough, nothing abnormal happened. He turned his head and gave his teammates an “okay” gesture as the end of his staff was inserted into the soft soil.

The mist quickly separated them.

After walking for a while, Virgil said tentatively, “You don’t seem to be nervous at all.”

No, Nemo thought seriously. Although the expression on his face didn’t fluctuate, the soles of his feet were numb with tension. However, what was the use of that? At this moment, he could only trust his problematic origin and the combat effectiveness he displayed while fighting Witherspoon, whom he sent back into the Abyss.

“I’m okay.” He squeezed out a relatively appropriate answer.

“You’re not even curious about how I plan to get in?” Virgil showed a wry smile. “Maybe the Mercenary Guild’s evaluation of you is biased. You seem very confident.”

……No. He just forgot to ask. The corners of Nemo’s mouth twitched. He already knew that Virgil was a demon warlock, so he didn’t consider asking him exactly how he planned to get in.

“Perhaps.” Nemo turned his face away and hummed vaguely, causing him to almost choke on his sandpoint plum.

Virgil’s next actions answered the question on his mind. The tall man moved his shoulder, pulled out a strangely shaped metal whistle from behind his neck, and blew on it.

After a while, a bird flew down and landed gently on Virgil’s shoulder. Nemo curiously propped up the edge of his hood and turned to look.

Then he shuddered.

It wasn’t a “bird”, at least not one belonging to the surface. It was a bit like a crow, but it had no feathers. Instead, long black scales covered its skin. Its size was bigger than a crow and it only had one lone claw.

This was still within his scope of acceptance. The problem was at its head. The “beak” of that thing was larger than that of a crow, as if its entire head protruded forward and then split in half, leaving only a little skin on the back. Its face was covered in scales, and there were no eyes. Rather, three pairs of black and white eyes were embedded on both sides of the long break correspondingly.

At that moment, those eyes were staring at Nemo, which made the roots of his hair stand up.

“Spiny corpse bird,” scratching the thing’s chin, Virgil explained in a low voice. “Uh… You don’t have to stay so far away. They are very docile.”

Originally, Duran Virgil’s aura was easy-going and warm, but when that thing was standing on his shoulder, his whole temperament was instantly titled. At that moment, he looked very much like a grinning serial killer.

The spiny corpse bird tilted its head at Nemo, making him swallow the remaining sandpoint plum in his mouth. He mechanically turned his head away, took out a new one from the cloth bag, and threw it in his mouth, trying to act as natural as possible.

“What is that?” Virgil asked curiously.

“Klebato salamander’s hearts,” Nemo replied dryly. “Would you like one?”

Virgil shook his head politely. “You need to be careful… We’re close to the Church of Silence. Nearby things will not actively attack creatures with demonic auras, but they will respond to ‘provocations’.”

“For example?” The new sandpoint plum had a stronger sour taste. Nemo tried his best to compress the conversation to the shortest time possible while staring into Virgil’s eyes. Mr. Cross’ suggestion was extremely useful, as it had also diverted his attention away from the creepy, spiny corpse bird.

“For example… Be careful not to step on them.”

Nemo’s footsteps stiffened. He thought it was just the soil on the soles of his feet that had softened. He raised his foot as carefully as possible and looked at the myxomycetes that he had just stepped on. The sky was too dark. Even with the dead forest that wasn’t covered with leaves, he couldn’t tell whether the dense reflections came from the myxomycetes bubbles or their small black eyes.

The myxomycetes made an aggrieved grunt but did not attack.

“It seems that this one has a better temper,” Virgil said sincerely, looking straight ahead, “but be careful.”

He really didn’t want to look at Nemo’s eyes.

Virgil didn’t really feel any strong combative power from him, so he should be just a harmless demon worshipper. However, he just couldn’t face those eyes calmly…

It didn’t seem like mimicry. If it was, the effect was too realistic. From time to time, those silver eyes were covered a little by the drooping hood, and in the dim night there was a mercury-like shimmer that it gave off. When the cruciform pupils turned, Vergil always felt as if there was an icicle stuck in his heart that wouldn’t melt. He couldn’t accurately describe this subtle sense of fear.

It could be a side effect of the mimicry; at least, that was the only explanation he could come up with. After all, he had seen a real superior demon before, and he had never felt this way at that time.

At the same time, on the edge of the dead forest.

“Let’s leave too,” Jesse said lazily. “This distance should be safe.”

“We have the communication crystals.” Adrian checked the things in his hands again. “We can still keep in touch at any time.”

Oliver nodded and stroked the hilt of his Rest in Peace with his right hand.

“Keep in touch,” Their leader’s voice was steady. “Ann and I will stand guard here. You two… Don’t act forcefully.”

“Oh, don’t worry.” Jesse blew a kiss to the two teammates left behind. “I believe in our dear Mr. Knight Commander. I will try my best to support him—”

“The Abyssal Church will never find us,” he added sweetly.


The author has something to say:

After all, this was a demon warlock with an unknown agenda. The team can’t possibly act obediently.

————————

Nemo: (Facing the spiny corpse bird) Uh, I think my san* values is a little bit……

*Refers to sanity value that you often find in horror games.

Virgil: (Facing Nemo) I also think my san value is a little bit……


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