Stray Ch99

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 99: The Statue of the Demon King

The clumsy and heavy carriage creaked away while Nemo’s gaze remained glued to the cage until it disappeared into the dense woods.

“Trouble?” He finally recovered and turned his face to Virgil, who was beside him.

“The sacrifice will be prepared a week in advance, but there are still two weeks before the new moon,” Duran Virgil whispered. His complexion and hair color were already quite dark, which made his white teeth more noticeable in the night. “If the sacrifice has already arrived, then the Knights of Silence will also come early. We have to hurry. Once the sacrifice officially begins, the Church of Silence will be completely sealed.”

“…What will happen to the sacrifice?” Nemo pressed the sandpoint plum to the bottom of his tongue and clenched his staff.

“I don’t know. It’s different every month,” Virgil said in a deep voice. “Don’t bother. They’re dead.”

Nemo looked in the direction where the carriage disappeared again and didn’t answer.

“It should be too late now.” Virgil looked at the magnificent building not far away with a complicated expression. “There’s no sign of a blockage. We can probably catch up. When we get to the church later… Well, you don’t need to pay special attention to anything. I think you’re in very good shape now. There are too many kinds of superior demons, so the deformation of a demon warlock varies. They will not be idle enough to determine the true class of every temporary visitor.”

“Are there many conflicts among the believers?” Nemo tried to confirm.

“It’s hard to say,” the tall man sighed softly. “This is also what I’m worried about… You’re known as a demon warlock, so demon worshippers shouldn’t take the initiative to provoke you, but you better not come into conflict with a real demon warlock.”

“Got it,” Nemo replied.

“As for the demon information you want to know… The library is open to everyone, but how much you can see depends on your strength. After sunrise tomorrow, I can show you the way.” Virgil played with the brush in his hand. “Actually, you don’t have to be too uptight. The Abyssal Church is a bit different from other general religions… Most believers are more self-centered, so they’re not loving to each other. Just by staying as a visitor for three days, the possibility of being exposed is really high—”

“You don’t have to say anything.” Nemo had a bad feeling, so he quickly interrupted the other party.

“Remember to call me ‘Duri’ in a while.” Virgil took care of the clothes on his body without the intention of taking off the strange materials on his belt. “What should I call you? It’s not suitable to use your real name here. Since you’re a Black Chapter, you must have a common pseudonym.”

He really didn’t. Nemo quickly searched his memory and a thought immediately popped into his head. “White,” he said solemnly. “You can call me that, Vergil… Duri.”

“Mr. White.” Virgil nodded solemnly, motioning that he remembered.

However, when they really arrived in front of the Church of Silence, Nemo found that his psychological preparation wasn’t enough.

The structure of the Church of Silence had become more magnificent and distorted as they got closer. The long steps led directly to the entrance of the church, but there were no marble statues that other religions like to place on both sides. Instead, gallows like stone platforms with corpses wrapped in white cloth that were hanged upside down adorned the steps on either side. The body was tightly wrapped, with only a pair of blue and white feet exposed outside the shroud that that was tightly tied by slings. They hung quietly and straight in the air, giving off a faint putrid smell that was obscured by the choking incense.

There was no other lightning. In the faint moonlight, two rows of white cocoon-like shapes gave people chills down their backs.

Nemo stuffed two more sandpoint plums into his mouth and stared at the tip of his boot as intently as possible. This time, his plan failed. After the two stepped onto the stone steps, whispers instantly sounded from both sides. Nemo’s scalp exploded, and the last thing that he wanted to see appeared…

The two corpses closest to them began to shake, while the rest remained silent like statues. The two white cloth-wrapped things started swaying faster, and finally unnaturally went straight towards them, like iron pendants attracted by a magnet. The whispers under the white cloth became louder and were accompanied by a creepy smell.

“The smell of the Abyss,” they whispered in a sickly voice. “Qualified. Qualified.”

Nemo almost tripped over himself. He resisted the urge to ask questions and distributed part of his weight on the staff in his hand, continuing to move forward as smoothly as he could. From the corner of his eyes, he caught sight of what he thought was a “shroud” that changed positions and was squirming very slowly on the surface of the corpse.

“The watchdogs of the church,” Virgil explained succinctly. The thorn corpse bird was still perched on his shoulder as if it had taken root on him. “Generally, it doesn’t bite.”

Nemo pulled his hood down, narrowing his vision as much as possible. The visual effect of the corpses swaying one by one was shocking. Compared to this, he would rather face ten Seymour worms. He really didn’t want to know how these things were going to bite.

“No smell of surface magic.”

“No smell of excessive communication.”

“……”

“The smell of companions.”

When they stepped on the last stone step, the last two corpses also came to the same conclusion. Nemo could feel that the lining of his back was soaked through. He trembled and breathed a sigh of relief as he looked at the entrance of the church in front of him…

The gate blinked its countless eyes and looked back at him.

“…I definitely want to ask for more remuneration for this task.” Nemo gritted his teeth and looked away.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing,” Nemo, who couldn’t control his emotions well, said depressingly. “Let’s go, Duri.”

Virgil, who was walking ahead, didn’t hesitate, as if the eyes on the door were just ordinary decorative patterns. He stretched out his hand and pushed open the door, causing a dim light to peek through the crack.

“After you,” Virgil stood against one of the doors and carelessly pressed several of the eyeballs with his bare hands. He didn’t know when, but suddenly there was a weird mask on his face. The black mask was painted with a weird symbol in red paint. “A demon warlock takes the lead, Mr. White.”

Nemo stepped through the entrance of the Church of Silence.

Within the next few seconds, he wanted to leave.

He really should cherish the poor but normal times in Roadside Town. Nemo looked at the scene in front of him and felt eager to cry without tears. The decoration inside was normal, but the temperature was slightly higher than outside. The lights were dimly lit and there was an indescribable smell that was fishy, and mixed with incense, it only amplified it. And the creatures inside…

If one could collect the nightmares of children and put them all into the same pot of porridge, it would be almost like this scene. For a few seconds, Nemo even doubted whether the always upright knight commander was deliberately cheating him. At present, he was simply the most conspicuous thing there because he looked “too normal”.

Looking at the living things inside, they were roughly divided into three categories.

The first category was subordinate and intermediate-level demons that move around with their master. They were purely demonically looking creatures, and not a single one looked the same. The second was their master, the demon worshippers, who wore the same masks as Virgil, but didn’t show the slightest hint of their faces.

The third category that had the least numbers was…

Nearest to him was a mass of black oil and a half-melted human head that floated in it. The tar-like thing crawled past his feet and the floating head glanced up at him, letting out a disdainful snort. There was also a middle-aged man more than a dozen steps away. He still looked like a normal human, but there were a lot of moving tentacles sticking out of his eyes, nostrils, and mouth, and his facial features were almost too deformed to see what they originally looked like. There was a woman in the front row with a similar situation, but looking at her back, one could only tell she seemed like a graceful lady. From his angle, he could only see the black veil hat she was wearing as well as an abnormally large head.

Nemo could clearly feel the strength gap between these “people” and other creatures in the room. These were the real demon warlocks.

……He suddenly understood why Virgil didn’t pretend to be a demon warlock with him. Now he himself felt out of place in this hellhole. Not only that, their client most likely completely misunderstood his forceful calmness and truly believed that he was confident.

Nemo almost broke his staff in half.

“Visitors.” The demon warlock standing at the sermon table nodded at them. This one seemed to be the most “normal” among the demon warlocks. He had no facial features on his face except for a mouth, which was really normal in comparison to the others he witnessed.

Virgil, who was wearing a mask, lowered his head and saluted, while Nemo stood upright. Fortunately, the demon warlock didn’t seem to mind.

Nemo was attracted by what was behind the sermon table.

It was a life-like monster statue. Compared with the demons he had seen, it wasn’t a large type, but its distorted appearance far surpassed everything he had seen. The width and height of the nave of the Church of Silence were amazing, but the monster statue supported the entire wall of the nave. For a moment, he couldn’t see how many pairs of forelimbs it had. He could only see that they were supporting the wall and were strong and powerful. The hook claws at the end were like death sickles. Its head wasn’t big, about the length of an adult’s, and was slightly lowered. Several pairs of eyes on both sides of the head narrowed slightly, looking like dragon heads that were eroded by beholders.

The rest of the statue was equally distorted yet stunning. However, each tight line revealed a shuddering chill.

“That’s Ulysses,” Virgil said in a very low voice. It was more of a reminder than an explanation. “The statue of the last Demon King was about the same size as this one… If I remember correctly.”

However, the voice seemed to go in one of Nemo’s ears and out the other. He was fixated on the statue, unable to distinguish the wonderful feeling that was surging from the bottom of his heart.

The demon warlock at the sermon table looked at the two of them for a while, then retracted his gaze as if he had lost interest.

“Doubt everything.” The man with only a mouth on his face continued to preach. His voice was amplified by a magic array, and it came out clear and crisp, echoing along the wide nave. “The first who question will always be persecuted. I believe that you have been exposed to many surface religions. They have stopped in the face of power and interests, and will never further clarify the truth of this world to their believers.”

“Everything belongs to the belief in God, and everything belongs to the so-called good and evil. Their eyes are blinded, their minds are shackled, and they only measure everything in the world by their own cognition. In the face of superficial doubts, you just need to keep thinking, keep doubting, and asking questions—”

“Why are demons ‘evil’? Because it hurts people—beasts hurt people. People hurt people.”

“Why do you call the Demon King the ‘Demon King’? There’s no evidence that the power structure of demons remotely resembles that of humans. When did this concept appear?”

“Why is there always… and there will always be only such a powerful existence at the bottom of the Abyss? Why do they go on an expedition if they claim that the Demon King will not come to the surface?”

“Never stop asking questions—Is the common sense in this world really ‘common sense’?”


The author has something to say:

Nemo: SAN CHEEEEEEEECK–!

Virgil: This friend is really unpredictable. Not sure if he can or can’t do it.


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