Stray Ch158

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 158: Confinement Requirements

Elmer’s body stiffened instantly. He looked in disbelief in the direction of Oliver’s escape, and then moved his gaze to Nemo. The latter’s expression was tight, his gaze was glued to the snake-maned lion, and he couldn’t catch any exposed emotions at all.

A logistics running away wouldn’t affect the situation of the battle. The commander’s face became ugly, but he didn’t say a word.

All the combat units of this team had some skills. They avoided the maned snakes that were ejected from time to time between the mane of the snake-maned lion, and unfortunately, a few of them suffered a few scratches from its claws. Nemo moved in accordance with the calculated steps, staring closely at the wounds and quickly calculating the blind spots of the surveillance crystal ball.

All current matters were within his expectations. Only Hayden’s reaction surprised him.

The little man who found out that he was holding the maned snake and was about to scream and run away, was now terribly calm. Hayden didn’t boast. He was really suitable for this kind of profession. In intermittence, when someone got injured, the healer student almost panicked, but Hayden Wilhelm seemed to be a different person.

Thanks to his own strength, Nemo could see the injuries of the others at a glance, but Hayden was just an ordinary human with low magic powers, so his reaction wasn’t much slower than Nemo’s. He treated the soldiers skillfully and even had time to soothe the healer’s emotions in the midst of chaos.

Nemo assisted calmly, neither too much nor too little, and now he was more like Hayden’s shadow. From time to time, he glanced at the huge snake-maned lion from the corner of his eyes. The professor or school staff didn’t appear, so it was to be said that this snake-maned lion was probably arranged by the college in advance.

But the front line of the group had already shown signs of collapse.

Truthfully, Nemo knew this situation well. He and Oliver had also walked on the path paved with real swords and guns, so he was extremely keen on the possible problems of newcomers on the battlefield. Actual combat was different from training, and the students here weren’t stupid enough to be blindly confident. They just went to the other extreme—they didn’t know how to allocate their energy and strength. As soon as they fought, they went all out and didn’t consider the length of the battle at all. At present, various combat units were beginning to experience subsequent fatigue, and the mana of the healer was close to being exhausted.

However, the sunk cost was already too high. They had no choice but to knock down the enemy in front of them and get the main mane snake. Even if they could barely escape now, the group no longer had the energy to deal with another energetic snake-maned lion.

Fortunately, when the situation was close to despair, the five warriors who had left before finally returned to the team. The creeping swamp wasn’t easy to break free from, and they seemed to have expended a lot of effort, especially Leonard. One of his arms was already bloody, and there were many long bright green thorns in his wound.

The protective barrier of the defensive mage finally broke, and the mage almost fainted.

The soldiers rushed forward one after another, and the few in charge of defense barely stabilized the situation. As soon as Leonard was about to rush over, Hayden kicked him on the knee and caused him to kneel on the ground.

“You—”

“Stop!” Hayden screamed; his big, neurotic eyes were almost on fire. “If the thorns of the creeping vines aren’t taken out in time, you’ll be paralyzed in less than ten minutes from now! Do you want to be paralyzed under the claw of that thing?”

Leonard closed his mouth and his eyes looked complicated.

“The healer is almost out of mana,” Hayden said coldly, with an unquestionable taste. “Bear with me, warrior. You’ll be fine soon.”

He was talking with his mouth, but his hands weren’t slow. Hayden’s movements were light and fast. The blood-stained long thorns were removed one by one and neatly thrown on the ground. This was followed by a suture movement that could not be seen clearly. After the ointment was applied, the wound was almost no longer oozing blood. The whole process took no more than ten seconds.

“Go.” Hayden didn’t stop, and turned directly to the next wounded man.

Leonard didn’t talk nonsense any longer and directly raised his sword and rushed up. Honestly speaking, this arrogant aristocratic young man’s foundation wasn’t bad. He even cut off a small half-maned snake from the snake-maned lion, causing the latter to let out a howl of pain.

‘However, they’re still too young and green,’ Nemo thought. If the enemy was an ordinary snake-maned lion, this battle wouldn’t be suspenseful. Enemies of this level were much too early for them. Although nursing could suture the wounds of the soldiers in time, they couldn’t restore the lost mana and blood. The healer finally couldn’t support them any longer and knelt to the ground. Hayden’s face was covered with sweat and dust, and his white clothes were covered with blood and dirt.

However, he still kept going.

Seeing such a small head gritted his teeth and persisted, the wounded warriors rushed towards the behemoth again and again; among them, Leonard’s offensive was particularly fierce. Unfortunately, it was useless. The gap in strength was obvious. Nemo moved his wrists. If they continued to work hard, the professor would certainly intervene. The task would almost certainly fail this time.

If Oliver didn’t make it back in time…

The snake-maned lion let out an angry roar. Its eyes were completely red. The maned snake left on its neck was struggling frantically. The grayish-green beast raised its claws and slapped Leonard, who insisted on attacking in front. The latter seemed to be red with murder and didn’t intend to take a step back, going for a serious blow.

Nemo took a breath and began to calculate the blind spots again. It was one thing to hide his strength, but it wasn’t his style to ignore someone’s death. Leonard’s sword had reached its limit, and he would definitely be unable to withstand this blow. With the guards and the professor, Leonard probably won’t die, but he won’t escape without serious injuries either.

But before he could make a move, the harsh sound of loud piercing metal sounded. The only logistics left on the field used an iron pot as a shield and rushed forward, barely blocking the blow in time. Elmer’s muscles were violently convex, and he remained standing in silence. The iron pot was directly pierced by the sharp beast’s claws, and the tip of the claws was less than half a centimeter from the tip of his nose.

“Your sword is about to break,” Elmer whispered. “I can hear it, sir. You’re very heroic, but the weapons provided here are too fragile, and you seem to have forgotten this.”

He twisted the iron pot. The broken metal pierced into the beast’s claws, causing the snake-maned lion to suddenly retract its claws. The sturdy logistics took this opportunity to pull Leonard back, and the two quickly escaped the danger zone.

“You don’t understand,” Leonard roared. The noble warrior slashed the sword on the stone pillar of a ruin, and the upper half of the sword flew off. He observed the broken sword for a moment and wanted to step forward again. “It was my initial misjudgment that led to the separation of combat power. I have a responsibility. Listen! I have a responsibility to solve this!”

“No. Now our first priority is to save our strength.” The commander panted. His body was stained with blood. “If this is really a battlefield, facing an enemy that cannot be defeated, it’s not wise to fight hard—and that logistic, Elmer, right? Don’t act without authorization! Everyone understands this time, but military regulations are military regulations. There won’t be a second time—”

Before he finished speaking, another logistics officer who had been fleeing for a long time finally arrived.

Oliver was covered in dust and still looked like he was running away. A large cloud of smoke and dust was following behind him, and a dark shadow about the size of a snake-maned lion appeared in it.

“Help!” Oliver tried to make himself sound more frightened and cast his eyes directly at Nemo.

“Damn it, back off!” The command screamed and swore directly. “Oliver Borne, fuck. You’re—”

Naturally, the snake-maned lion didn’t give up this opportunity. It aimed at Hayden, the shortest and weakest of the team, and rushed straight at him. Leonard didn’t hesitate and directly pushed the little man back and blocked the snake-maned lion directly with one hand, holding the broken sword. It pierced the main maned snake on the head of the snake-maned lion.

The impact was much more severe than he thought, but the main maned snake was extremely cunning. The blow only scratched the face of the snake-maned lion, leaving it with a bloody gash by its mouth. Hayden, who was pushed to the side, didn’t avoid. He gritted his teeth and threw a bottle of paralysis potion at the snake-maned lion. Although it was impossible to bring down this behemoth, it could delay it for at least half a second.

The potion penetrated into the wound on the face of the snake-maned lion, causing the beast’s biting motion to stagnate for a moment. Hayden desperately pulled out Leonard’s arm while the rest of the fighter’s legs softened. They barely survived another wave of attacks.

“Shrink the formation. Hurry! What the hell did that bastard attract—”

This sentence was like a spell. Oliver fell beautifully, and his whole body was almost submerged in dust. The dark figure ambled down, making a standard attacking motion.

The face, with extraordinarily brilliant care, instantly lost control.

“Oh my god, Ollie!” Nemo shouted, leaving the team “regardless of danger” and rushing forward.

In his mind, he simulated the surveillance screen of the crystal ball. Nemo hooked the corners of his mouth. While observing the blind spots between his teammates and the monitoring crystal ball, he secretly gave the snake-maned lion a kick. If he read it right, Oliver just relied on the cover of the dust to throw another attack at the behemoth. He could help his lover calibrate his goals.

The snake-maned lion was suddenly knocked out of balance and took a few steps back as if it was drunk. It just happened to be squashed by another behemoth that rushed over. The movement of the giant beast rushing over was slightly weird, as if it had been thrown over alive, but no one had the mind to care about this right now.

“It’s a dust storm snake mongoose,” the commander murmured. He didn’t have time to care about the two inexplicable auxiliary personnel anymore. “Yes… Yes, since there are so many snake-maned lions, the college must also raise these things to control…”

The dust storm snake mongoose seemed a bit confused. It shook its head dizzily and found itself lying on a lump of fresh food, so it did what most creatures would do—happy lowered its mouth and directly bit the snake-maned lion’s maned snakes.

The snake-maned lion let out an earth-shattering whine, and the two behemoths instantly fought.

“Why did you come so slowly?” Nemo ran to Oliver, who “fell to the ground”, pretending to check his lover’s injuries.

“I almost had to tap dance in front of it because it refused to attack me.” Oliver coughed a few times in the dust raised by the dust storm. “In the end, I could only pull its fur… When I pulled on it for the fifth time, it finally became angry.”

“…Thank you for your hard work.” Nemo patted Oliver sympathetically on the shoulder and helped him up.

The dust storm snake mongoose finally pressed the snake-maned lion to the ground at this moment and began to eat the mane snake on its neck with a pleasant grunt in its throat. Before the others could react, Leonard dragged his bloody wounded arm forward and cut off the main maned snake quickly like lightning and dragged it back to the team.

The snake mongoose gave him a blank look and continued to bow its head to enjoy its afternoon meal happily. All the team members listened to the chewing sound in silence for nearly twenty minutes. Finally, the dust storm snake mongoose finally chewed the snake-maned lion completely bald, then it let out a belch in satisfaction and walked away slowly.

“You two, you failed and seriously violated the rules.” The attackers quickly finished scoring the auxiliary personnel after handing the head of the main maned snake to the presiding professor. Except for the two team members who were almost unscathed, the rest were guided to the school hospital.

The scoring adopted a public system, but the name of the scorer was hidden.

Hayden Wilhelm got a perfect score of 100%. It seemed that his thin roommate at least didn’t have to worry about the contempt of Leonard anymore, Nemo thought with relief while ignoring his bloody face.

Oliver was worse, with only one pitiful ten.

They knew very well what misunderstanding their approach would lead to, so after the battle, they just followed the team far behind and didn’t even return with them.

“One escaped from cold feet and even led danger back to the team, the other disobeyed the commander on the spot. Hmm?” When they watched their teammates leave and finally reached the exit, the professor scolded them. “Oliver Borne, if you lead another snake-maned lion back, your team would be dragged down by you alone. Understand? And you, Mr. Light, your commander, should have emphasized that auxiliary personnel are not allowed to cross the line. To nursing, personal disobedience is the most taboo on the battlefield.”

“We… are very sorry.” The two of them lowered their heads cooperatively.

“Yes, you two weren’t injured much, but all your teammates need to be hospitalized until tomorrow morning.” The professor’s expression became even more ugly. “’Sorry’ is no use on the battlefield. Listen, you two, go to the confinement room after dinner and write a battle review. Analyze your own problems and describe the performance of qualified personnel. You’re confined until tomorrow morning, and both of you need to appreciate the sacrifices of your comrades who achieved this victory.”

“Okay, professor.”

The sun was about to set. After dinner, the uninjured students continued to wander or study in the castle, waiting for the start of evening class. Only two people walked to the school building alone, preparing for their confinement.

“Actually, it’s pretty good,” Nemo said suddenly.

“What?”

“Going to school.” Nemo looked at the sky dyed red by the sunset. “This way of living is also… interesting.”

If he could, he even wanted to stay here longer. The prejudices here were sharper, but they were also more fragile. In the process of being temporary comrades-in-arms and doing their best to reach out to their goal, there were a few seconds that made him completely forget his situation.

“You’re right.” Oliver’s fingertips flashed across the delicate walls in the corridor, and everything there revealed a little warmth. “I like this feeling of peace very much.”

After that, he opened the dorm door that had his copper nameplate, he hesitated for a few seconds, then scratched his cheek. “Nemo…”

Nemo, who was about to take out his bronze badge, turned his head. “What?”

“It will all end.” Oliver’s tone was firm. “Then we can choose a similar place to live. A lively and peaceful place. I can’t say it well, um… maybe we’ll have a chance to come back here.”

Nemo’s movements stiffened for a few seconds. “…I hope so.”

His voice was very soft.

Oliver covered his face and began to put water in the bath. He took out a brand-new clean uniform from the closet, put it on the bed, and then stuffed the dirty clothes into a hamper that was painted with a cleaning array. Unlike Nemo, there wasn’t much blood on his body, but it was full of sand and dirt. At that moment, he didn’t even dare to lean against the edge of the thick carpet for fear of soiling the soft fabric.

They took a bath and changed clothes, then they had to make do with one night in the confinement room.

Each dorm in Clementine Academy was equipped with two private bathrooms. Oliver soaked himself in the hot water and was pretty sure he smelled the fragrance of fresh citrus. He put his hand in the hot water, stirred it a few times, and water droplets dripped over the dense scars on his skin.

Withered Castle also needed to ensure that the prisoners’ bodies were clean; otherwise, with their frequent injuries, most death row prisoners would die first from wound infections. Usually, they only had an extremely simple cleaning spell after entering the arena. It was over in an instant, and they wouldn’t feel anything. They didn’t even bother cleaning up the bloodstains.

Now he was lying in a large, comfortable bathtub.

Oliver put his hand on his wet hair, and the sound insulation of the room was very good. Except for the sound of water in his ears, everything else sounded extremely weak. The students were either in the hospital or the school district. Nemo was well hidden, and the breath of life around him was close to nothing.

It was as if he was the only one left in the world.

Oliver was sure he was getting better. He wouldn’t lose his mind because of these dark memories, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t make him feel restless. Oliver slid into the water again, sank his mouth and nose under the water, and blew out strings of bubbles solemnly.

He was concentrating intently, so when the bathroom door opened, Oliver almost choked from shock.

“Are you making your own soup, Ollie?” Nemo leaned against the bathroom door, wearing only a bathrobe with his black hair still dripping. “You’ve been washing for almost an hour.”

Oliver glanced at Nemo’s clavicle that was carelessly exposed, then he spat out a string of bubbles before sitting up slightly and raising his mouth and nose out of the water. “Something happened?”

“That bastard Bagelmaurus still ran away.” Nemo shrugged. “I can feel it flying around in the castle.”

“Don’t worry. You dyed it like that and its aura is sealed, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

“I hope so,” Nemo sighed, but he didn’t leave. He threw off his indoor shoes and walked barefoot to the big bathtub, then leaned down slightly and straightened Oliver’s wet bangs with his hands.

“Your face is very bad.” Nemo’s tone was serious. “I guess so. The Withered Castle, right? It’s not the first time, Ollie. I know every time you wake up in a panic. I won’t think you’re weak because of this, or…”

“I know you won’t.” Oliver grabbed his hand and pressed it to his lips. “I just don’t want you to worry, just like you don’t want me to worry.”

Nemo was silent.

“Have you already forgotten about being the ‘Demon King’? Nemo, you’re the envy of all these students. I could see it.”

“Don’t say that.” Nemo pulled back his hand, lowered his head, and exchanged a moist kiss with Oliver.

“Good.” Oliver’s breathing was chaotic for a moment. “Let’s talk about something else. Let me see… What exactly did you say to Leonard about this ‘technique’ thing?”

With a forceful movement, he directly dragged the unsuspecting Nemo into the bathtub. The thin bathrobe was thoroughly wet, and Nemo was half-kneeling in the tub. He wiped the hot water on his face in embarrassment.

“‘If I made a list of reasons of why I like him, that would definitely be at the bottom of the list’… But this is the truth.” Nemo tore off his robe, threw it out of the bathtub, and reached out to clasp Oliver’s left hand. “How about admitting a loss occasionally? Let me do it this time.”

“Oh.” Oliver arched an eyebrow and looked at the pale skin of the other party that was faintly turning red under the hot water. “Your Majesty seems very confident in his skills.”

“Hey, don’t call me ‘Your Majesty’,” Nemo protested in a low voice.

“I like it though, especially now.” Oliver smiled. The dark void in his heart was completely filled by Nemo’s temperature and weight. “I’m not confused by your appearance. I know exactly what you mean—isn’t that great? …Well, this isn’t entirely true. In another sense, I’m indeed bewitched.”

Nemo was stunned for a few seconds, then his ears began to turn red again. “In terms of reading or theoretical studies, I certainly don’t lose to you*. Of course I’m confident—”

*Clarity: He’s saying in terms of learning and studying “techniques” he certainly won’t lose to Oliver.

He forced the topic back, with his ears getting redder.

“Have you forgotten my family’s business?” Oliver shook his head, amused. “You know, in a place like an inn—I’ve been forced to run into all kinds of scenes. I lost control last time. I’m sorry. But this time…”

“…Wait, Ollie. There’s just a little over an hour left before the confinement begins. Last time you were—”

“I know, so we have to move faster. After all, you can’t use a cleaning spell this time, right?”

“You… Uh.”

“Don’t scratch the edge of the bathtub. You’ll break it. Hook your arms around my neck, Your Majesty.”

……

“Actually, I’m very curious.” Oliver tentatively spoke as the two of them wiped the water stains on the floor together. “You said that technique is one of the last reasons you like about me, then what is the last thing on that list?”

“There’s no such thing.” Nemo smiled and twisted the towel in his hand. “I originally wanted to say, ‘Everything else is tied for first place, Ollie’… but now it’s different.”

“Huh?”

“Put away that smugness on your face.” Nemo gritted his teeth. “Okay, it’s really not the penultimate reason now. Now there’s a new winner in its place—Ollie, get rid of your habit of calling me Your Majesty.”

“You see, I’m still confident in my ability to learn.” Oliver looked at the clean floor and put on his uniform jacket. “Besides, I won’t stop, Nemo. At least for that time just now, you looked very pleased whenever I called you by that title.” Rather than deliberately avoiding this fact, it was better to let Nemo recognize it. He knew his loved one very well and knew that he had resigned himself to it.

Then Oliver paused meaningfully for a few seconds. “I won’t call you that on any other occasions, so rest assured.”

“There has to be a penultimate reason. Otherwise, number one is meaningless*.” Nemo rubbed his ears, exhaled deeply, and began to change into his uniform. “To be honest, it’s not easy to choose anything else.”

*Clarity: He’s saying since he likes everything about Oliver and ranks them all #1, there must be something that is ranked #2 or else all those things rank #1 would be meaningless.

“Then maybe I can provide an idea on the spot. So far, you heartily dislike it, but I like it quite a lot… Yes.”

“Hmm?”

“…I really like your uniform.”

“……”


The author has something to say:

Turned off the light! Young people just have to study hard (^ρ^)/

Nemo’s heart to counterattack never dies, but it’s a pity he’ll never succeed in his attack* (…)

*Referring to him trying to be the gong but will always fail.


Kinky Thoughts:

Wow, things are heating up and I’m not talking about the water in that tub. God how I wish I could read the details of what went on in that bathroom.

Don’t be so close-minded, Oliver. Versatility is a thing, you know!


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