Stray Ch138

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 138: Love and Shackles

The manager of the test zone poured himself a glass of water and pushed up his glasses.

The two people on the light screen finally started fighting, and he couldn’t tell what it was like in his heart—not out of sympathy or guilt for the two people on the battlefield, but more like worry; worried that Randy Panther was losing.

Randy Panther, Sancho’s Gray Fox. As an assassin, his combat skills were absolutely first-class, but in the final analysis, his magic power reserves weren’t particularly outstanding. Among the materials processed by the Withered Castle, this assassin was barely considered a first-class product, as there was still a considerable gap from the top.

Oliver Random was different. After his power had been strangely doubled several times, he had perfectly reached the upper limit of surface creatures…

And he was a true fighting genius.

When magic from both sides was sealed and his own state was in poor condition, his offensive became fiercer. Ramon’s swordsmanship was no longer regular but was like a beast that finally obeyed its hunting instincts. His moves were unrestrained and extremely natural and beautiful.

A born warrior.

He now understood the look on the face of the combat zone manager after he applied for it. It was as if he had seen the enemy who killed his father. If Ramon’s willpower was a little more fragile, he would never have been able to grab such a perfect material.

Now was the critical juncture. The manager wearing glasses swallowed water in small sips. If Ramon killed Sancho’s Gray Fox, then he would immediately be transferred to the mobile barracks for training and slip away from the palm of his hand. After all, once a stubborn stone cracked, it would become extremely easy to overcome. This was the specialty of the mobile barracks. 300,000 wasn’t expensive at all. If Ramon could really be transferred, he’d be made into an excellent death row fighter. He would certainly become a rare weapon worth thousands.

Recently, Alban had been in chaos. If the guys in the combat zone trained him and sold him back, they would fetch a price of 30 million or even higher.

…Short-sighted idiots who dared not take risks. The manager pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose again.

People in the combat zone only saw the benefits of stability. They had always lacked foresight. Yes, Oliver Ramon did have a fairly high risk of dying in the flesh-and-blood furnace, just like the previous 1,326 people, but he was also the best sample in history. They had two choices—to choose 30 million gold coins with a 100% success rate or a priceless treasure with a 1% success rate.

After all, no one could price a god-level weapon of destruction.

The experiment of the flesh-and-blood furnace had been going on for a long time, and this was the first time he had the opportunity to embark on this great and noble path of exploration. His predecessors carefully selected thousands of people in its long history, but none had succeeded, but they had never doubted the correctness of this path.

After all, their basis was clear. All surface life had an upper limit on its ability, an unnatural ceiling.

For the vast majority of life, vitality was perfectly proportional to the strength of mental and magic power, but once the magic exceeded a certain limit, the growth rate would flatten, infinitely approaching a definite value. At first, they thought it was the limit of the biological body’s ability to withstand magic, but when the limits of humans and dragons were exactly the same, this matter became subtle—it was like something added a simple and brutal power ceiling on all creatures.

So what would happen if it broke?

The flesh-and-blood furnace needed to be maintained by living creatures, and they had never lacked living materials.

For thousands of years, the furnace melted countless lives, and the power in it should be enough to create an impact—as long as the “nuclear” they threw down had the qualification to surpass the power ceiling. In theory, people who were regarded as “nuclear” may be able to break away from the current restricted magic system and show their true biological potential.

There was only one problem left.

Not many creatures came close to the power ceiling, but it was definitely not an issue of a once-in-a-thousand-year encounter. The problem was controllability. Once they were stripped out of the current magic system, and their speculation happened to be correct, they would create a real monster, an artificial god who was not limited by the law. The Gatekeepers didn’t intend to dedicate themselves to their ideals and leave the surface in a state of trouble—they must ensure that this creation was absolutely controllable.

Thus, the answer was also simple. They needed to destroy the will of the “nuclear”. While he or she was stripped out of the magic system, the spirit of that life would be completely annihilated, turning into an ultimate weapon that wasn’t bound by laws and obediently obeyed all orders.

That is the true “transcendence of truth”, the true progress and glory of mankind.

They had prepared everything. Relatively upright people were the easiest to destroy, but finding a guy with a strong enough spirit was more difficult than finding a creature close to the power ceiling. Among the more than thousands of people in front of them, there were hundreds of them who had forcibly increased their strength through experimental means, but none of them succeeded in holding on at the last moment.

Not surprising. The manager of the test area squeezed his cup tightly and thought dejectedly. After all, they set up a magic array to amplify negative emotions, and all the previous “nuclear” collapsed too early, without exception. Those stupid people who didn’t know how to adapt; either they couldn’t face the real desperate situation in the furnace and ended their lives, or they had a nervous breakdown before the impact of power was completed, and completely gave up on themselves, eventually becoming a part of the flesh-and-blood furnace.

Come on, the manager looked at the black figure on the light screen. Come and let me see your persistence.

Oliver’s head was a little dizzy. His sword was faster than his thoughts. His blood seemed to turn into boiling metal. It seemed that another person dominated his body, and his speed didn’t slow down due to injury but was getting faster.

He didn’t think about death or pain; all he could see was the blade cutting through the air in his eyes. A strange sense of pleasure crept on Oliver’s nerves. Time was slowing down, and the other party’s movements were dropping. The bone sword pierced Randy’s muscles, and the next moment the disgusting touch reached his palms. Oliver was so numb that he couldn’t feel anything. His limited consciousness was constantly repeating broken, simple sentences.

To defeat. You must defeat your opponent.

Randy felt chills for the first time.

When he met this somewhat brainless young man, he only regarded him as a first-class adventurer with good skills. It may be because his opponent’s behavior was too upright, and he just defended and avoided in battle. He didn’t know the degree of seriousness of his opponents.

Now he would rather not know.

Randy never thought he would lose. He was in much better shape than his opponent. Targeted killing was also his specialty, but the other party seemed to have lost the feeling of pain. His movements were frighteningly flexible, like a ghost. The shield in his hand became heavier, and there were more wounds appearing on his body, while his opponent became more comfortable, and his attack was as elusive as a phantom.

The sight without any emotion stuck to him, cold and focused. Oliver Ramon was analyzing his attack pattern at an alarming speed, absorbing it and turning it into his own advantage.

As time passed, Randy couldn’t even land a hit. The weird knight opposite of him seemed to have endless strength, and the cursed pale sword couldn’t be shaken off. The confident hunter finally became the hunted.

Monster.

As soon as this thought crossed the assassin’s mind, his heavy shield was kicked away, and his wrist made a crisp, cracking sound. The opponent’s heavy metal boot kicked Randy’s stomach and caused the tall assassin’s eyes to turn black. He couldn’t maintain his balance and fell to the ground, unable to move for over half a minute.

The tip of the Rest in Peace was held against the assassin’s throat. The sharp white bones pierced the skin on Randy’s neck, and beads of red blood rolled down the skin, leaving a dazzling blood mark. Randy tried to struggle a few times, but Oliver’s knees pressed against his chest. His shield had fallen in the distance, his wrist had been sprained, and his tough body was riddled with wounds. Those sword wounds turned outwards, and warm blood continued to penetrate into the dark black land.

But Randy didn’t give up.

He stretched out his hand and tried to punch Oliver’s head, but was easily blocked by his opponent. The assassin exhausted his last strength and attacked again and again, but the result became more desperate. After several revolts, Randy let out a very light sigh, and those eyes finally dimmed. He turned his head sideways, and his murderous aura gradually dissipated.

Oliver knew what Randy was trying to do, or rather, looking for.

He recognized the sadness. There was no fear in the eyes of his enemy. Randy was unexpectedly calm, but he looked a little sad. The steel-gray eyes finally stopped looking at the tip of the sword and turned in the direction of something empty.

Mora should be waiting close by for Randy, Oliver thought groggily. What was she thinking at this moment?

But Nemo was also waiting for him.

He was about to use the sword born from a blessing to take the lives of others for his own selfish desire. Under the Rest in Peace, was there going to be a soul that wouldn’t be able to rest for the very first time?

He had no choice. Oliver gasped for breath. There was plenty of air, but his lungs felt as if they were pierced by his ribs, which made breathing extremely painful. As long as his wrist gently exerted force, pushing the Rest in Peace downwards…

No. Did he really have no choice?

He once believed that he would die. Not so long ago, the Black Chapter test in the Border Forest was the moment he faced Pandorater. The person he loved was faced with the same choice at that time, to reasonably save his own life, or to take that step…

[If I don’t try it, I’ll have nightmares for the rest of my life. Oliver, you and Ann take those people away. I’ll lead it away. If it doesn’t succeed—]

The person he fell in love with was truly gentle.

The bone sword pierced hard, but the blade was buried in the soil on the side of Randy’s head. The assassin’s eyes widened subconsciously.

“If it weren’t for Nemo, I guess I would have done it a long time ago.” Oliver gave the other party an extremely weak smile. “…It’s really hard to persist.”

Kill the person who had protected themselves and pass on the pain of losing a loved one. He may never be able to truly return to Nemo. He would be imprisoned at this moment for the rest of his life, and he could no longer hold Nemo’s hand.

“If I really kill you, I’ll probably have nightmares for the rest of my life. Why is my opponent you?”

The young man laughed sadly under the pale skeleton helmet.

“…And why am I here?”

Abandoning everything for the sake of a lover, betraying everything, and being an enemy of the whole world sounded desperate but romantic. ‘Maybe Randy and Mora can really do it,’ Oliver thought. His own depravity may be understood by his own kind, but as a true superior demon, Nemo’s enmity would only invite chaos and undissolved fear.

Once that step was taken, the person he loved would not have the chance to turn back. This he knew very well.

He must not be the one who shook Nemo.

How he once wished that he could be the chain to the other party. To prevent him from getting out of control and falling off a cliff. Then he could proudly dismiss all doubts about him, and they could continue to live together under the sun.

He wanted to be a better person for each other. However…

“After you escape from here, go find Nemo Light of Tumbleweed,” Oliver murmured. He loosened his grip on the assassin. His voice was hoarse with a slight tremor. “Tell him everything that happened here.”

If all this could leave some meaning, there was indeed something he could do. It was very cruel, but if the other person had suffered as much as he did at that moment because of his own departure, then he still had the chance to become a yoke.

…Become a yoke that could imprison Nemo under the sun.

“Tell him that I didn’t give up on my principle for him and I hope he’ll not do the same.”

“Tell him that he’ll always find the most suitable solution, and I’ll always believe in him.”

“Tell him, I love him from the bottom of my heart…”

“…No, tell him, I’m sorry.”

He was always slower when facing difficulties, Nemo. Every time, he needed someone to rush in front of him first before he could summon the courage to follow.

This time, it was his turn to take the first step.

“I admit defeat.” Oliver straightened his back and lowered his gaze.

Randy knew he should have taken the opportunity to take his opponent’s life, but he didn’t move. He quietly raised his upper body and looked at his fierce and unreasonable enemy. The circles of his eyes behind the terrifying bone helmet were slightly red, but the young man was still smiling.

The assassin’s throat bobbed. He wanted to answer, “I will”, but the bloody soil instantly rose like a wave, completely obscuring his sight, and when they returned to the ground again a few seconds later…

The black figure had completely disappeared.

The light screen was bright and dark in the room that wasn’t bright. The manager of the test zone finally put the cup that had been empty in his hand and breathed a long sigh of relief.

Well done. Ramon didn’t give up in the end. Fate was still on their side.

If Oliver Ramon could deal with “true despair”, they might really be able to succeed this time. After all, the most desperate thing wasn’t forcing them to break their principles, nor adhering to said principles, but to abandon hope and end everything.

After thousands of years of experimentation and observation, they were more familiar with human nature than anyone else…

True despair exists after a moment of courage, when you’re ready to face death. The warriors embraced their last attachment to the world and were ready to give their lives to stand firm.

Then they would find they couldn’t rest in peace.


The author has something to say:

Countdown to reunion: 2—! (;ω;)


Kinky Thoughts:

I bawled this chapter. Nemo’s coming Ollie!

Yes, these chapters are some of the most painful to translate.


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