Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 176: The Beginning of Disaster
Jesse hummed a little song as he approached the makeshift tent. He opened the curtain with his hand, and got in carelessly.
This should be a temporary rest place for Horizon, usually provided for weak people who were injured or sick during the march. Horizon took a safe route this time, and no members were injured, so it should be prepared for those students.
Unfortunately, those students were firmly on Tumbleweed’s side, so the tent was empty, except for only a guard and Adrian Cross, who was reading a book. The former knight commander wasn’t tied up or shackled, and only had a restraint array looming at his feet. The Horizon guard next to him seemed nervous as he was completely tense, with veins protruding from the surface of his muscles, like a long wooden nail that had been beaten into the soil.
“I’m back, Adri.” Jesse blew a kiss at Adrian in the chair and made a loud smacking sound.
The former knight commander raised his head. His face was calm and unruffled. “Oh.”
“Those students are all fine. Horizon has confirmed this, so you can rest assured. Alas, the leader of the group only regards you as a sword instructor. Why are you still thinking about your consultant job? Tumbleweed has long had no reputation, so you don’t have to stay here honestly as a hostage to maintain our non-existent reputation.”
“A sincere attitude is still very important.” Adrian closed the book.
“Your student is fighting Godwin Lopez. Don’t you want to see the excitement?”
Adrian thought for a while and stood up from the simple wooden chair. The guard from Horizon trembled all over, and it made his metal armor let out a sound full of dull noises as he raised the sword in his hand. “I’m very sorry, Mr. Cross. Our commander’s order hasn’t come down yet…”
“The students are safe, and our people didn’t run away either. It no longer makes sense for me to stay here.” Adrian Cross sighed softly. “I have more important things to confirm. I hope you can understand… my rudeness.”
The warrior glanced at Jesse from the corner of his eyes, as if estimating the possibility of him rushing up to attack him and save the knight, but the blond young man just held up his arms. His tone was gentle and teasing. “Do you want me to save you, Adri?”
Adrian was unmoved. He placed the closed book upright on the chair, and then moved his feet, accurately crushing the three key circuits of the magic array. The twinkling restraint array suddenly went out and a small explosion raised a low cloud of dust. When the guard was about to launch an attack, the figure vanished, leaving him with a dull pain on the back of his neck.
There were no magic fluctuations as the opponent didn’t activate any form of magic, but…
His vision darkened in an instant.
Adrian carried the fallen guard silently and carefully lowered him to the ground, making sure that the fainted guard wouldn’t be injured by the fall. After doing all this, he dusted the floating soil on his black monk’s uniform and walked quietly to the entrance of the tent.
“You’re really not polite at all.” Jesse whistled. “I thought you would obediently wait for Godwin to let you go.”
“I need to confirm Mr. Ramon’s character at all times. Fighting and tussling are very good channels for observation.”
“Oh… but you didn’t hesitate to attack just now. You still have a little badness in your bones.”
Adrian let out a rare soft snicker, which didn’t have much sarcasm. Helpless emotions accounted for most of it. Jesse circled around his side like a large bee, intentionally or unintentionally, looking unusually highly emotional.
Unfortunately, they only caught up when the battle ended.
The stone platform was basically destroyed, and the Sword of Ruinous Fire was missing. Their captain was running towards the edge of the stone platform very innocently. Godwin took out a page of parchment from his pocket and neatly ignited it with magic. The soft brilliance of a healing spell swept across his entire body. After the hazy brilliance dissipated, the spirit of the leader of Horizon looked a lot better.
Godwin Lopez hesitated for a while, as if struggling to draw his sword again. In the end, the holy sword lay obediently in its scabbard. He didn’t pose in a fighting posture and kept up with Oliver relatively relaxed.
Oliver didn’t look so calm anymore. He fled in a sort of dignified and unobtrusive style… running past Ann and back to Nemo.
“We have to be completely unified. Not a single thing can go wrong,” Oliver whispered after stopping.
Nemo was still holding the gray parrot, who was still immersed in the shock of Jesse’s little story. It looked at Oliver blankly and uttered a few meaningless words in its mouth.
“We must stick to the statement that you’re a demon worshiper. After all, the matter of the Withered Castle is too big that Godwin would not be easily fooled. Now my behavior can still be explained by tension,” Oliver spoke quickly.
“Well… Then use this guy’s getting stronger as an excuse.” Nemo shook the gray parrot that was still trembling in his hand. “Outside, we can add the staff. That should work.”
“It’s getting stronger?” Oliver looked suspiciously at Bagelmaurus who was trying to shrink itself into a ball for a few seconds. “Well, maybe a little bit. I hadn’t noticed it before.”
The gray parrot let out an angry low cry.
“You don’t need to run so fast, Mr. Ramon. I’m not qualified to interfere in your love life.” Godwin approached. His tone was very calm. Oliver, who turned his back to Godwin, laughed dryly. He turned around and tightly grabbed Nemo’s hand that wasn’t holding the parrot.
“How can I put this. You just looked like my dad for a moment. After all, Nemo’s identity is, uh, a bit special, but he’s not the kind of person who would hurt others for fun—”
Nemo remained silently cooperative, standing obediently in place, but his gaze was still a little erratic.
“What are you talking about?” Godwin raised his eyebrows.
Oliver closed his mouth instantly and stared at Godwin’s mouth vigilantly.
“I know he’s a demon worshiper. To be honest, I don’t approve of your choice. Let’s not talk about this first. I was just surprised because… Listening to Mr. Dylan—do you like men, Mr. Ramon?”
He never thought that the other party’s first point of attention was this. Oliver’s gaze became as blank as Nemo’s. “Probably.”
“And you’re serious?” Godwin’s gaze swept across the two clasped hands. There was little doubt in his tone, but it still held a bit of disbelief.
“Yes.” Oliver’s tone instantly became firm, and Nemo nodded quietly.
“The degree of marriage… serious?”
Nemo subconsciously turned his gaze to Oliver. The intense unknown was squeezing his heart, and he stiffened, unable to give a definite answer about the future.
“We haven’t been in love for long.” Oliver scratched his head a little embarrassedly. “I don’t know if we’ll make it to the end, but I’m definitely working in that direction.”
Sure enough, Nemo sighed in his heart. Oliver definitely took into account his identity. And perhaps when they discover the truth—
“I mean… If two people want to live together, their habits must be matched. Nemo may not have had time to discover my shortcomings that could make me unbearable.” Oliver’s hand clenched tighter. “No one can guarantee that there won’t be friction, right? At least now, I can’t find anything I don’t like about him, and I hope he does the same.”
Even after getting along day and night for so long, even after they had experienced so much, he firmly believed that he had figured out who the other person was. Yet Oliver Ramon would always surprise him, and never, even once, let him down.
The intense unknown didn’t dissipate as a result, but the pain of being squeezed in his heart no longer existed. Nemo let go of the parrot in his hand, pulled over Oliver’s face, and gave him a deep, suffocating kiss.
“Me too.” After the two of them separated breathlessly, he whispered, “Always.”
Godwin’s face turned a little blue. He wasn’t particularly used to seeing people who looked like him kissing another man. The leader of Horizon let out a violent cough, which stiffly interrupted the two men’s sticky stare.
“According to the teachings of the Laddism Church, Zenni will not denounce you, but he will not bless you. Your choice is yours, Mr. Ramon. I have no right to say more,” Godwin said dryly.
Godwin would never catch up just to talk about this. After the sweat-inducing joy, Oliver could feel his heart beating rapidly. Sure enough, the next highlight came.
“According to custom, I should have fought with Mr. Light to find out his details. Based on his resume, I can only be sure that he’s not a superior demon yet. His actions are completely inconsistent with the characteristics of the superior demon.”
Godwin stared sharply at Nemo’s silver eyes.
“Yes, I’m a demon worshiper.” Nemo’s expression stiffened, and there was no momentum left just now. He picked up the gray parrot that was slumped on the ground, raised it to Godwin, and muttered flatly, “This is my demon.”
Bagelmaurus looked at the commander of Horizon before him. Its gaze slipped to the holy sword, and its voice was flat like its owner’s.
“I’m a parrot,” it said.
Nemo, Oliver, and Ann, who was a few steps away, looked at it at the same time.
“No, I’m an intermediate demon.” The gray parrot cringed. “I… I was distracted, sorry.”
Seeing that the other party had no tension, Godwin couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated. The bird-shaped demon in front of him didn’t seem to have any unique characteristics of a strong being, but rather more like a frozen partridge. “I will not attack Mr. Light, but I need your oath, Mr. Ramon.”
“If you are willing to make an oath, promise that Mr. Light is definitely not a demon warlock and promise that he won’t hurt innocent people, then I can… no longer pursue his specific situation.”
Godwin decided to trust himself and handed over this responsibility. Oliver thought he should be moved, but he couldn’t laugh or cry at this time. His cousin was just about to extend a friendly hand to him, while he was about to take advantage of it.
Strictly speaking, Nemo wasn’t indeed a demon warlock.
But on the other hand, he would indeed make sure Nemo would not hurt innocent people.
“I swear.” Oliver took a deep breath. “I swear by everything I am.”
“Very good, so now we should discuss the distribution of force. We need to leave this place as soon as possible.” Godwin nodded with an impassive face. “According to my experience last time, we’d better divide at least five times to advance and fight in a circular manner. I don’t know how much you know about this space…”
“About Nemo, thank you, Godwin… no, brother*.” Oliver suddenly lowered his head and saluted, interrupting Godwin’s words.
*Older brother [Gege] (哥哥). Note: this is important because they don’t know each other very well yet (despite them being blood related), so Oliver’s saying this is a form of respect to Godwin and also to show him he regards him as his relative.
The other party seemed shocked by this address and looked dazed for a moment.
“Ann, I don’t know how you got in, but I’m guessing we can’t use your route to get out. Otherwise, you would have proposed it a long time ago, wouldn’t you?” Oliver looked at the female warrior, who looked obviously troubled a few steps away.
“Yeah.” Ann glanced at Godwin and simply nodded. “If there are too many people, we will definitely be discovered immediately, and that pathway is easily controlled.”
“When I was fighting with God… brother just now, I scouted a spatial structure here. This is a large cube made of several cubic spaces, and that orb is the center of this space. It may be because the labyrinth has recently been reconstructed, so some parts of the space are particularly weak.” Oliver cleared his throat and gestured with his hand. “I have an idea that I want to give a try.”
“What about this guy?” Ann raised her chin towards Godwin’s direction, causing his eyes to narrow.
“I don’t want to hide it from him,” Oliver sighed lightly. He had just made an oath to Godwin, an oath similar to his promise to Adrian Cross. Perhaps he needed to assure more people about this in the future.
And use strength to prove that this guarantee was by no means false.
Oliver drew out his Rest in Peace that had been hanging around his waist, became silent for more than ten seconds, then waved it in a certain direction…
A gray mist shot out of the sword, and the space in front of everyone made a clicking sound like ice being chewed. Suddenly, a hole crookedly opened up. Ann glanced at the passage lightly, trying to look as normal as possible. Most of the students in the distance had already collapsed on the ground, leaving only Leonard, who was standing upright, as he jumped and applauded.
Unlike the rift in space made by Nemo, Oliver didn’t seem to have the ability to connect two pieces of space together. It was more like he was blasting out a tunnel that ran through various spaces that led directly to the outside world. The brand-new tunnel was suspended in the air, surrounded by a terribly turbulent air flow. Oliver leaned closer, stretched out his hand and pressed against the inner walls of the tunnel.
“We can walk through,” he announced with joy. “It’s ready. Now we can get out of here. Brother, you can bring your team. If you’re not at ease, we can go first.”
Godwin turned pale and looked at his cousin blankly. Oliver Ramon just violently solved the most difficult puzzle on the surface, but the joy seemed closer to successfully stringing a few pieces of meat with an iron skewer.
Glancing at Nemo Light, who was standing aside pretending to see nothing, the commander of Horizon felt a little suffocated, in every sense of the word.
“Now the Great Isamel Labyrinth is still undergoing spatial reorganization. Even if it’s temporary stable, it may be interrupted by the next spatial shift.” Godwin rubbed his temples and decided to start from the most practical perspective.
“Oh, I don’t think you need to worry about this.” Jesse approached from a distance with a bit of a toothy expression on his face. “Its spatial structure will no longer change.”
“How can you be sure—”
Jesse pointed to the huge dragon breath stone orb with a complicated expression. Countless dense, fine cracks started to appear on the snow-white orb…
Then it shattered abruptly; the falling stone chips were like snowflakes. The land under their feet shook slightly, which was the unique shock of something giant landing.
“……I’m sorry,” Oliver murmured. Nemo looked at his lover bitterly.
“It seems,” Oliver grinned weakly and glanced in the direction of the students, “now that bet will empty the prize pool. Elmer, you should invite me to dinner.”
“…” No, that probably wasn’t the point, but Godwin’s mind was spinning like crazy.
“You really did bet on the Wheel of Calamity.” Nemo’s focus, on the other hand, was highly aligned with that of the captain of Tumbleweed.
“Yeah, we definitely can’t go back to get the money anyway, so I invested some money casually and signed Elmer’s name.”
“What did you bet on?”
“Task level, no determined task, free movement. Location, the Clementine Royal Military Academy. The impact… severe.”
The author has something to say:
Elmer laughed in the end!!! (X
Godwin: Shit, stop fighting. I feel like my hairline is receding… Where is this monster from!
Jesse: Ah… my original small bowl of samples! It was just broken by Ramon! TAT
That’s it for this arc. Arc summary:
After escaping the Withered Castle, Nemo confessed to Oliver about his true identity, and the two consummated their relationship. They reconvened with Ann and went into hiding as someone had commissioned Horizon to dig out more information about Tumbleweed.
Finding the perfect hiding spot away from Godwin Lopez’s eyes, they decided to infiltrate the Clementine Royal Military Academy in Alban. Nemo and Oliver disguised themselves as freshmen, while Ann infiltrated as a janitor. This also coincided with their mission to get Oliver’s sentence repealed, so he would no longer be considered a wanted death row prisoner.
Meanwhile, Jesse and Adrian were escorted to Clementine Cathedral to meet with the Pope. Adrian cut a deal with Jesse in order to get him to behave. When they met the Pope, Jesse wanted his permission to enter the Great Isamel’s Labyrinth and have a try at wielding the Sword of Ruinous Fire, the sword that originally belonged to Flint Lopez. The Laddism Church had issued that only one who could wield this sword could be designated as the “Hero” in the prophecy. Anyone who feels guilty or confused would be burned by the sword.
However, this all turns out to be a ruse designed by Jesse in order to cover up Tumbleweed’s strength. He planned to steal the magic gem inlaid in the sword and escape with Tumbleweed so that instead of being targeted as a “great power of unknown motives”, they would be labeled as “thieves with great abilities”.
While at Clementine Academy, Nemo found out that it was Telaranea, disguised as a professor of the academy, who had commissioned Horizon to dig up more information about them on behalf of Vance/Aurorae. During a secret meeting that Nemo spied on, he found out Vance’s identity and that Telaranea planned to recruit him as an assistant. Knowing his disguise would get busted, Ann, Oliver, and Nemo planned to use the Great Isamel’s Labyrinth to escape from the academy and Horizon.
Things went a bit awry as during their escape mission, four students got sucked into a vortex and were dragged deeper into the labyrinth. In order to protect them, Nemo and Oliver followed.
Outside, political strife had started as something had happened to the emperor of Alban. Using Tumbleweed as an excuse and saying that they captured hostages in the Isamel’s Labyrinth, the principal of Clementine Academy locked down the school.
Horizon naturally assisted the academy to help with the “hostage situation”. As Nemo and Oliver led the four students to the center so they could return back safely, they ran into Horizon waiting for them. Oliver and Godwin had a confrontation, with Oliver winning in the end. It was then revealed that the Sword of Ruinous Fire was just a simple sword that Flint Lopez had put a curse on. Anyone who touched the sword would be burned, whether pure or not, as this was the punishment he enacted on himself because he killed an innocent.
Now the team plans to escape from the labyrinth and leave Clementine before the oncoming political turmoil.
Other important things to note:
Ann’s background was (sorta) revealed, Godwin’s, as well as Emanuel’s (his father) and Flint’s past were revealed, Jesse’s identity was (sorta) revealed, Oliver and Nemo have some bathtub play, while Jesse bangs Adrian in a prayer room.
Side characters: The four students who were held “hostage”.
Quentin Leonard started off as a bully but turned out to be a nice guy in the end. He was also a fanboy of Tumbleweed.
Hayden Wilhelm was a nursing major who suffered prejudices because most nursing majors were women due to the sexist patriarchal system of Alban. He had low magic abilities, so he’d rather be a nurse than a healer (despite the fact that he could technically qualify due to his male status).
Marilyn Lawler was also a nurse major only because women weren’t allowed to hold any job position in Alban unless they had permission from their father or husband or were from a noble line, despite the fact that she had strong magic capabilities as a healer. She initially hated Hayden because she thought he joined the nursing major due to ulterior motives and was envious of all males that benefited from the current sexist system.
Oliver Elmer was a logistics major who joined the academy due to having some talent. He came from a poor background and had a brother who supported him financially. While his brother was more talented than he, his brother was born with a birth defect (which was a common consequence for those who were born with great powers), so Elmer was recruited rather than his brother. He eventually became rich due to Oliver Ramon’s bet on the Wheel of Calamity.
That’s it for the summary. Let me know if I missed anything.
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10 thoughts on “Stray Ch176”
Hmm was Dylan referring to when he choose which form the world will be?
Like, Demon King create many possibilities, and Dylan choose one for the current world to take form? But he forgot to clean up the sample place, which then created the dimensions changing field (which then turned into this labyrinth).
LikeLiked by 4 people
It really seems like so O.o
I’m more concerned about how he described the whole abyss as a dinner table! Is demon king…. Just havin a lunch that is called abyss??
Oh, thank you for explaining this for me!
Such an interesting arc!
Thank you so much for the chapters!!! ^^
Can someone tell me when Nemo figured out Jesse’s identity? Does Ann know?
I was reading, and Adri+Jesse did their thing … which is when I found out. But I’m having a hard time figuring out when Nemo found out.
It’s not implicitly stated but I believe it’s around when Nemo discovers his identity. From there Nemo put the clues together to figure out who Jesse really is. Ann doesn’t know.
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I think it was when he knows how others send pure energy to him and he sends abyssal magic back.
I can’t still get over “Jesse banging Adrian in a prayer room” given their real identities 🤣🤣🤣🤣
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I’m a parrot,,,,