Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 120: Goodwill or Malice
The first sound he heard was the sound of cloth and leather armor rubbing against the ground, mixed with the muffled sound of metal objects. Oliver didn’t risk opening his eyes to confirm as he could hear the sound all around him. The puppets dragged the fainted prisoner, like ants dragging a dead insect corpse, but it was mixed with a strange sound that came from all directions, as if following some grand momentum and astounding laws.
He had never heard such a sound before.
Then there was the smell. He could smell fresh blood, sour sweat, and excrement. Someone must have been incontinent and soiled himself. These unpleasant smells were mixed with a strange fishy smell that was similar to overcooked dried kelp; salty and humid.
Oliver opened his eyes with only a tiny slit, and he saw a large area of blue appear in his narrow field of vision.
It was the sea.
He had never seen the sea before, so he could only guess that this was it. There was no such strong salty smell from the lakes. They were most likely on a certain coastline or an island. Considering the function and security of this place, Oliver thought it was the latter.
This wasn’t a good time to run away.
He had just seen Micah being dragged away. If their destination was the same, then they would be sent to a place called the Withered Castle. He didn’t hear any sound of towing in front of him, and the current mode of transportation didn’t seem to be a ship.
The sound of metal impact and dragging stopped. After the sound of a heavy object landing, only the footsteps of the puppets could be heard.
This was probably a teleportation array.
Oliver tried his best to suppress his heart that was beating like a drum. This was the opportunity he had been waiting for. Unless one was particularly assured of the teleportation entrance, few people would fixate on a large teleportation array indoors. They were usually built in a separate building dedicated to it alone, or simply built on an open-air platform.
After the teleportation was over and before being transported, that was his chance, unless he was really unlucky and the destination was another island. Oliver prayed silently in his heart, tried to save every ounce of energy, and obediently let the puppet throw him onto the stone platform.
The light of the teleportation array lit up and pierced through the gap in his eyelids. The unique bumps of the teleportation array wrapped around him, then the dampness and fishy smell in the air instantly faded and the smell of vegetation became more pronounced.
Oliver knew he was right.
The next second, he hit the ground firmly. A biting cold diffused from the collar and penetrated his skin, deep into his bones. Oliver woke up in an instant. He wasn’t the only one. There were other prisoners around him who were struggling to get up, while the rest were still collapsed on the ground, letting out painful groans.
Olive staggered to his feet. The cold immediately turned into pain again, but it wasn’t severe this time. It was just enough for him to handle. It didn’t make him lose his mind from the pain, and it wouldn’t make him lose his concentration. The pain was sharp and fine, like a toothache that could spread throughout the entire body.
However, he ignored this. Adrian Cross had specifically trained him in pain tolerance. If it was just this level of pain, Oliver was confident it could be ignored. He raised his head slightly and looked around.
He saw that what surrounded him were high, white walls, and above his head was a rough sky divided by the wall. They seemed to be in a white pipe, and the soil not far away was moist and fresh. There were vague rustles that came from outside the wall. Ahead was only a single exit that was embedded into the white wall, like a stain.
Oliver stared at the exit and pursed his chapped lips. He carefully separated a little spider silk-like thread to test the sensitivity of the collar. There was a short time difference in its feedback on magic. This meant that if he held back his power and then applied a burst of it with full strength, it should be enough to explode the collar. He should be able to destroy it in time without losing his ability to move.
However, there were also disadvantages. This trick could only be used once. He was originally a high-priced item. Once his escape failed, his opponents would become much more vigilant. It would be harder for him to escape again, but right now he had no choice.
In this way, the moment he reached the exit, he would be able to escape.
Oliver cheered himself up blankly, feeling a bit relieved. Only then did his spirit had the opportunity to deal with the noise from the outside world.
Micah also woke up. Perhaps because the accident came too suddenly, unlike most other prisoners who were numb, he was still crying as tears and snot covered his fat mole-like face. He howled hoarsely and unpleasantly and would intermittently sob from time to time.
“It hurts!” he screamed in pain, pulling the metal tightly to the skin with his thick fingers. “Fuck, it hurts!”
However, in addition to him, dozens among these two hundred or so people were in extremely high spirits. To them, it seemed like they were hit by a greasy and thick pie that fell out of the sky. They even ignored the pain in their collars and their faces were full of joy.
Such a weird situation. Oliver frowned. Where’s the Withered Castle?
He almost spoke aloud, as if Nemo would be next to him and answer immediately. It was a pity that this warm illusion lasted only less than half a second. Oliver returned to reality again with a wry smile on his face. He had started to miss the feeling of Nemo by his side.
At the same time, Micah’s wailing became increasingly louder. “It was just a bottle of perfume. A bottle of perfume! Less than twenty gold coins—”
“Shut the fuck up!” The joy on the face of the man closest to him collapsed. He raised his foot and kicked Micah’s head mercilessly, kicking the short Mr. Mole to the ground and causing him to roll a few times.
Micah stopped howling instantly. The skin on one side of his head swelled visibly to the naked eye and his mouth was bloodied. He collapsed on the ground, touched his wound in disbelief, and saw that his fingers were covered with warm blood. He then put his fingers under his nose and sniffed hard in disbelief.
“Unnecessary conflict,” the man with his face wrapped in white cloth said in a cold tone. He shook a wooden handle in his hand, and a whip made of white light suddenly appeared on it. However, he didn’t take a single step. He didn’t seem to plan to do anything practical to stop the brutality. “Listen, don’t resist, don’t make trouble, don’t run away. Please supervise each other. The punishment of others will be turned into a reward for you.” He paused for a moment. “It’s my responsibility to remove inferior products from the good. Those who insist on disobeying orders… Please use your worst imagination.”
“Come with me now,” he said. “Line up by yourself.”
Micah stopped speaking immediately and shrank back, tightly covering the wound on the side of his head, not even daring to breathe. Oliver moved silently, swearing that he could hear Mr. Mole’s teeth chattering.
“Don’t panic,” he said in a very low voice.
Micah looked at him in horror and moved back. “Three hundred thousand,” he sighed in an angry voice as his tone trembled.
“And I still owe you a gold coin.” Oliver pretended to line up and moved slowly at the end of the line. He stretched out his hand to pull Micah up from the ground and stuffed the gold coin into the palm of his hand.
Micah clenched the gold coin tightly, showing a smile on his face that was uglier than his crying. “It’s useless.” He almost couldn’t hold back his tears as he held the gold coin tightly. “It’s useless.”
“Where’s the Withered Castle?” The team began to move forward. Oliver tried not to move his lips as much as possible as he forced his words out from between his teeth.
“I don’t know what will happen to you, but people like me… I can’t go to the battlefield. There’s only a dead end ahead.” Micah stuffed the gold coin into his pocket, then scratched his neck in despair, causing traces of bleeding. “We’ll become mice for the Gatekeepers… Oh god… It’s not fair. It’s not fair! Look, it was just a bottle of perfume…”
He stared at Oliver in despair as his figure was completely pale and drenched.
“I’m going to die,” Micah murmured, continuing to scratch the skin on his neck. “I’m going to die. Why?”
Oliver suddenly felt that his despair was a bit familiar. Those dim eyes were exactly the same as those of Nadine’s father back then. They were still some distance away from the exit. Oliver breathed tremblingly and made up his mind.
“Stay with me.” He pressed his voice even lower, so low that even he couldn’t hear himself clearly. “I’ll take you out.”
“You don’t understand at all. You can’t get rid of this thing—”
“With a powerful enough impact, I’m 90% sure,” Oliver muttered. “Don’t worry.”
“You’re crazy.” Micah shook his head uncontrollably. His fingers were full of his own blood. He finally scratched his neck to the point where blood had accumulated along the metal collar, dripping down to the side. “You’re crazy… You’ll be killed if you fail.”
“You stated that there is only a dead end ahead.”
“No, you don’t understand…” Micah moved his lips. His small eyes sank and were bloodshot. After a few seconds, he seemed to want to say something but swallowed it back. “Oh, okay… Okay. Let’s go together. Thank you. Thank you—”
Oliver nodded. “I’ll use coughing as the signal once in a while. You need to pay attention.”
Mr. Mole showed a stiff smile. He turned his head and continued to scratch the wound on his neck with his fingers.
As he was waiting for the trial, Micah stood in front of him as the team slowly moved towards the only door. Oliver adjusted his breathing, tightened every muscle, and got ready. The moment he stepped out the door, the sun became particularly dazzling.
When his strength reached its peak, it was almost explosive. Olive coughed and held his breath.
But Micah didn’t tighten his limbs. He just collapsed his shoulders and slowly raised his head.
“My Lord!” he screamed at the man holding the whip a dozen steps away, pointing his finger at Oliver behind him. “This man intends to escape. He’s accumulating strength!”
Oliver stared at the person in front of him in disbelief, and then he realized he had no time for anger. After a second of shock, he decided to implement his original plan alone, but the distraction at that moment caused a leakage of power, and the delay of a single second made him miss the best time. The enemy’s attack came faster than he thought.
Several long steel needles erupted through the ground and easily pierced the Knight of Silence’s armor like a specimen. Blood dripped down from the steel needle in an instant, and almost into a line. There was a tear-like pain, and Oliver could feel blood rushing up from his throat and flowing down his cheeks.
His injuries weren’t as serious as they seem. Oliver judged with difficulty based on the amount of bleeding and pain. As if he was self-conscious, the steel needle roughly avoided important organs but nailed him firmly in place, creating an extremely terrifying visual effect.
“Good job.” The man with a white cloth on his face approached. He pulled out his left hand from his pocket, and a snake-like creature climbed onto his left arm.
It twisted its body, approached dangerously along the steel needle, and finally wrapped around Oliver’s neck. Oliver’s breathing hitched, and he tightened his muscles, trying to stop the blood flow. After the weird thing was wrapped around the collar, it made a crisp “click” like two metal parts that fit together.
The man gestured casually with his fingers, and the steel needle was instantly drawn away. Blood surged frantically along the black armor, and the man just glanced at it and threw a magic array on Oliver, moving so fast that he could hardly see clearly. Oliver knew that it would make all his wounds disappear within a second.
It was just that it wasn’t only his wound that disappeared, but also his only chance to escape.
There was no longer a feedback delay in the collar that the strange creature was wrapped around. It was a lot heavier. To Oliver’s surprise, it didn’t create new pain but continued to absorb his strength. Oliver’s legs went soft, and he half kneeled on the ground. Now he had to do his best to stand and breathe.
“No matter how many injuries you have suffered, I can heal you.” The Gatekeeper member holding the whip said softly. It was undoubtedly a threat. “So you have the opportunity to experience all kinds of deadly torture. Don’t have any extra thoughts.”
Oliver turned his gaze to Micah.
The mole-like man looked as if he wanted to run away. He turned his gaze to the Gatekeeper. The latter tapped lightly on his fleshly neck, causing the metal collar to fall off and shrink into a thin card shape again.
“Return to the group,” the Gatekeeper said indifferently. “You can stay comfortably for a while.”
Micah knelt on the ground, panting like a person who had almost drowned. He shivered for a while, and finally moved his gaze in Oliver’s direction.
“I… I know. I’ve seen many things,” the mole-like man said stumblingly. “You must have had ulterior motives and were trying to use me as a diversion… You’re not sincere. I won’t fall for it!”
“You must be trying to use me,” he repeated stubbornly. “I’m not wrong.”