Stray Ch196

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 196: The Expensive Remedy

For the part of the truth that finally surfaced, it was Ann who had the most intense reaction. The female warrior cursed a rather unpleasant expletive and gritted the back of her teeth to a crisp.

As one of the protagonists of the tragedy, Medes’ memories looked like a fragile life of rotten meat—Oliver tried to calm his breathing. A slightly sad blankness rose from the soles of his feet, slowly devouring his body like a cold swamp.

“…I’ll try,” Oliver said as he clutched Nemo’s hand. “Mr. Medes, I need some time to calm down. Ann, you can tell Mr. Medes about Delia’s situation first. I’ll be back later.”

The female warrior turned her sad and grateful eyes.

“You intend to continue,” she said softly.

“I have no intention of abandoning the mission,” Oliver said softly. “Mr. Medes has become like this, and I think he‘s paid enough of a price. And the late Emperor Sampson is dead. Even if I stormed the royal cemetery and plowed him out, it wouldn’t change anything… I just need time to digest.”

How simple they used to live, Oliver thought numbly.

If the Abyssal Church people hadn’t summoned the deadwood jellyfish in Roadside Town, he and Nemo might still be continuing their normal civilian life. The biggest worries would be demanding customers and deflated pocketbooks. They would even sigh at the bad weather, buy more bread and vegetables after work, and finally end the day in a familiar room for a peaceful and mundane day.

Until they die.

Yes, it was just that kind of pure life as an ordinary librarian and the son of an innkeeper.

But now Oliver had never been so clear about how much blood and darkness was hidden under that trivial and unworthy life.

Unlike the Withered Castle, this time he wasn’t dragged halfway to hell, but had been living in a carefully constructed tender dream since birth.

He never thought that his father could still show such a desperate expression.

“Do you want to stop here?” Gently pulling Nemo out of the room, the two leaned against the dark tomb as Oliver asked in a low voice. “Uh, I mean the exploration of the past… Do you want to stop, Nemo?”

“Maybe that sounds a lot like I’m defending myself,” Nemo said, his voice low enough to be inaudible as he stared at the shadowy flames leaping from the corridor lampstand. “I… I did destroy the Tin Soldiers. From the time I met your father to the time Ulysses died, I have all these memories, but Oliver, I still don’t understand why your father would…”

“I know,” Oliver said softly, tapping the back of Nemo’s hand soothingly with his fingertips. “I know you won’t hide it from me.”

Nemo buried his face in the palm of one hand and took a long breath.

He pulled the gentle lover who trusted him wholeheartedly, despite him possessing the power to destroy the world. If he only looked at this, he shouldn’t have any trouble.

But Nemo could faintly feel that everything was inexorably slipping towards darkness.

He understood the meaning of Oliver’s question very well.

After a long time, the concept of “escape” once again crossed his mind—everyone in Tumbleweed would act separately. Except for appearing when doing necessary tasks, he and Oliver would find a small place to live in seclusion. For just a cooper he would hesitate for a few days whether to use it to buy bread or a new book.

God knows how much he wanted to propose like this.

But he couldn’t.

The facts that have been known were turned into memories, and memories only fade, lying dormant in the shadows but never completely disappearing.

Nemo knew that if he nodded at this time, Oliver wouldn’t continue to pursue the secret of the bottom of the Abyss.

But it would become a poisonous thorn, stuck in a certain corner of his lover’s heart. Oliver wouldn’t say it, but the doubt in his heart couldn’t be erased. Maybe one day, he would take this unanswered question to the grave…

From now on, it would drag his soul like an invisible shackle, getting heavier and heavier, and would never free him.

Nemo knew this very well because this problem was already torturing him like this. Oliver did promise that if things changed, he would kill him with his own hands. Under this premise, escape may make his own future easier, but for Oliver…

“I don’t want to stop.” Nemo heard himself speak with a bit more despair in his voice. “I want to know the truth, and I also want you to know the truth.”

Even if that meant the end of their relationship.

No one knew how much pus and blood would flow out of this ancient wound after it was pierced, but at least he knew that even if it seemed okay on the surface, it would never heal at this rate.

“Good.” Oliver let out a sigh. “We continue to investigate. If there is no choice by then… It seems that we are likely to go against Mr. Medes’ last advice.”

Nemo didn’t say a word. Oliver’s breathing still wasn’t stabilized, so he stretched out his hands and touched his cheeks. Oliver, as always, never reacted with any subconscious rejection.

This was his light.

Nemo drew the other party closer and kissed him gently. Oliver tasted a little cold now, but the temperature meant that “he was still there”, and it made him feel at ease. Soon, the kiss turned into a sad and fierce bite. A few minutes later, Oliver’s breathing became more rapid, but it was no longer a drowning shortness, which might be a good thing.

“Let’s go back.” Oliver adjusted his breathing. “Look on the bright side, now we simply need to find one more answer.”

Nemo nodded. His fingers wiped the gold pendant under the cloth on his chest unintentionally.

“We have a conclusion.” Seeing that the two of them finally returned to the room, Medes didn’t ask much. “Miss Savage has already said everything she has to say. Whether it’s the situation of that little girl or yours.”

“Nn.” In order to keep his mind calm, Oliver didn’t plan to look directly at Medes for the time being.

“I only have one question now, Oliver.” Medes’ tone became focused. “Are you sure you and Mr. Light were in some kind of contractual relationship when you were pierced through the heart at the Withered Castle?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm… How long did it take you from being injured to waking up?”

“It’s not easy to record the time in that place, but at least for a whole night.”

Medes pondered for a moment, then picked up the empty ink bottle, walked to the stone cylinder by the wall, and took out a little dark liquid from it. As the lid opened, the rich smell of blood broke through the pickled smell, and the strange odor went straight to the nose.

“What’s in there?” Nemo couldn’t help asking. “I feel a little breath of life.”

“My blood, internal organs, and skin. They are still alive in there. I just stripped them off.” Medes responded calmly. “No one can ‘live’ with just bones.”

“But those in the corridor…” Nemo’s scalp went numb.

“Those are all pre-set spells. After all, it’s too quiet to be here alone…” Medes waved his arm and made a gesture. The illuminated skulls floating in the room gathered in unison in front of the stone table and were neatly arranged in a straight line.

The area around the stone table became extremely bright in an instant.

Medes put away the blood-filled ink bottle, picked up the quill pen, and nodded to everyone. “It will be too messy to demonstrate in the air. It’ll be faster on paper.”

Except for Jesse, who was carrying the gray parrot, all four of them leaned in.

“You were too young when you were sick. Considering your physique, Flint exhausted all his strength and suppressed the curse in your heart.”

Medes quickly drew the outline of the heart, and then circled it in a blood-red circle.

“In the years you have survived, your father’s power has been sealing the curse and forcibly keeping your heart beating. Flint likes to use fire magic. You subconsciously like ice. It is likely that you subconsciously wanted to maintain the balance of power in your body, but your father’s powers have always been stronger than yours before. If I’m not mistaken, you used to be afraid of the cold, right?”

Medes drew a small red circle next to the other red circle.

“Yes,” Oliver admitted calmly.

“Mr. Light is a superior demon. If I’m not mistaken, he should be considered strong among the superior demons. At least his power is much stronger than the curse of the Trent Plague. Well, according to Miss Savage, the contract between you two should be strong enough to be mistaken for a knight’s oath—but Mr. Light has no malice towards you, and you are strong enough yourself, so the abyssal magic brought by the contract only existed in your body and wasn’t used by you and wouldn’t hurt you.”

Medes drew a huge triangle next to the circle representing Oliver’s power.

‘In fact, that was really a knight’s oath,’ Nemo thought bitterly. Smart people were prone to overthinking sometimes, and this helped them save energy to find some lame excuse.

“Although the power brought by the demon contract is very strong, under the premise that your father’s power sealed the Trent Plague, the two abyssal magics were separated, and were at peace with each other. When your heart was destroyed in the Withered Castle, and the sudden change in the situation caused your father’s power to fluctuate, giving priority to treating your heart. During this period, the Trent Plague took the opportunity to slip out and collided with Mr. Light’s power.”

Medes made a cross in the heart.

“According to the current situation, Mr. Light’s power swallowed the Trent Plague, and then continued to be at peace with your power. Without the constraints of the curse, Flint’s power completely healed your heart, and the remaining parts merged with your power.”

He used the pen to draw a line between the two circles.

“To be honest, abyssal magic devouring each other is quite scary. That is, your physical fitness is good, plus the fact that you and Flint’s power combined was considerable, allowing you to withstand the side effects of the devouring. Now you should only have Mr. Light’s harmless power left in your body. Your power has swallowed the rest of Flint’s spare power.”

“But this method can’t be used for that little girl.” Medes sighed. “I said from the beginning that medicine inhibition is another way. The medicine will not completely seal the power of the curse; at most, it will delay the spread of the curse. Her heart was beating on its own, and the curse had already spread, so Flint’s method could no longer be used.”

“What about sending in some more abyssal magic?” Nemo asked.

He was the origin of abyssal magic, so there should be no so-called “devouring each other” side-effects.

“Even if you make a contract with that little girl now, she will die first because she can’t bear your power. Miss Savage told me that that girl’s magical talent is very ordinary. Her curse has also spread, so when your power sweeps through her, it’s enough to kill her.”

“That…”

“There is indeed a way.” Medes quickly wrote a formula. “Since the girl is already taking medicine, we can solve this problem from the perspective of medicine. Mr. Light is a living demon, so his power is too pure, but if Oliver can survive in this form, it means that there is a prescription that can be precisely controlled and weakened, while also ensuring that the curse can be swallowed.”

Ann stopped breathing nervously.

“Bone jade and the dragon breath stone.” This time it was Adrian who spoke.

“Yes.” Medes glanced at Adrian quite unexpectedly. “The dragon breath stone contains pure surface magic, and the abyssal magic in the bone jade has the power of origin. The power of bone jade can be quantified. As long as the bone jade is treated with a large amount of dragon breath stone, reducing its power to a level acceptable to mortals, it can be taken as medicine—to ensure that its power and the power of the curse are evenly matched.”

“So we need to get some bone jade,” Ann said dryly.

“I have a dragon breath stone here. It should be enough, but I need the bone jade and that girl’s blood.” Medes filled out the whole parchment paper and tapped twice with his quill pen at the end of the formula. “It should be feasible.”

Ann sighed fiercely and bowed. “I see. Thank you. I need to discuss it with my companions.”

Everyone squeezed out of the narrow stone gate one by one and returned to the corridor. Jesse let out a huge yawn.

“Alban has enough bone jade.” Ann got straight to the point, “But they’re all stored in the deepest underground, and the outermost part is setup with a magic array that needs to be personally confirmed by the royal bloodline. This has nothing to do with everyone’s strengths or weaknesses. If you unlock it, it will attract the attention of the prince. When he finds out, we’ll probably still be heading underground, so we’ll definitely be caught.”

“But since you still said it anyway, it shows that you have other ideas about this matter.” Jesse shook the half-unconscious parrot in his hand.

“Yes, it may take longer and countless hours of energy, but I can find a way to explore the storage room of the bone jade. With Nemo’s ability to open rift space… If I can get the exact coordinates, it should work.”

“Yes.”

“Then, I’ll find a way to get into the palace and figure it out as soon as possible.” Ann’s expression was very solemn. “At least within this month, I’ll get that coordinate.”

“It won’t take a month,” Nemo said cautiously, trying to wave away the death of Abbas in his mind, and looking into Ann’s eyes. “As long as Delia is willing to cooperate, one day is enough.”

“No, you don’t understand. Under the supervision of the prince, we can’t contact Delia, and I heard my family mention that the storage room is very…”

“It’s okay,” Nemo said. “Actually, the last time we sneaked into the palace, I left something behind.”

“What?”

“Cat Whiskers.”

The next night, Delia was leaning near the entrance, pretending to be lost, while Cat Whiskers wandered happily around the bone jade storage room. Relying on the positioning of the Cat Whiskers, Nemo smoothly split the space and successfully reached the storage room.

According to Ann, he should have seen rows of uncut bone jade—they should have looked like opaque clumps of white crystals, properly placed on cushions embroidered with countless magic arrays.

But he only saw one thing.

Nemo had seen this thing in the Withered Castle; he even destroyed one with his own hands.

Rows of bone jade bombs. The bombs lay quietly on the clip, emitting a suffocating aura of slaughter. Nemo swallowed and carefully stretched out the dark shadow and began to gather information about all the paper products in the room into his head.

…He knew this task wouldn’t end so simply.


The author has something to say:

Fastidious Marshal: I have enough troops. I can take 40,000 first. This is our numbers… How about you? How much forces are behind you?

Ann: …I have four here.


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