Stray Ch208

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 208: Unpredictable

At some point, major events that seemed to be earth-shattering in history often happened quietly. From the perspective of the parties concerned, that legendary time was closer to a normal day like any other.

Whether it was a beggar or a king, there was only a muffled noise when he fell to the ground. The war on the border never stopped, and the soldiers slowly rotted on the edge of the battlefield as new corpses were added to the soil from time to time. Only after a long time of scouring, would those mediocre days be gilded with blood and gradually become heavy.

Perhaps today was one of those days.

Adrian Cross tightened his reins and watched the army fighting at the foot of the mountain.

According to the plan, Ann had already approached the palace at this time and had even killed the prince herself. Alban’s future was at a fork in the road, and no one knew where it would lead.

The blood and screams in the distance reminded him of the past, but the former Knight of Judgement wouldn’t feel frightened because of this trivial matter. After watching the warring parties in silence for a while, and after confirming that the Alban defenders who had prepared in advance had the advantage, Adrian rode away.

Knowing that Ann intended to let Adrian and Jesse go to the border, Marshal Gallagher prepared a token for them in advance to prove that they were related to the army. It kept the two of them from being suspected and from being watched because they were “too close to the rebels”.

The two of them successfully delivered the information without incident, and the Alban defenders arranged for them a luxury tent that wasn’t inferior to that of a high-end guest room.

In this way, the two members of Tumbleweed got a fairly large lounge.

After sleeping in the open for a few days, Jesse had no intention of getting on his horse again since he had been given a pillow stuffed with feathers—Adrian had just lifted the curtains to see Jesse contentedly clutching his pillow and chewing on a cherry pie in a slow, deliberate manner.

Seeing the Chief Justice enter the tent, Jesse beckoned happily and licked the dark red cherry sauce at the corner of his mouth.

“You’re back,” he greeted happily.

“Nn.” Adrian thought to himself that it seemed that the other party had no plans to ask about the battle. But then again, with his mysterious divination powers, he probably wouldn’t worry about such trivial matters.

“The chef here is extremely good.” Jesse happily chewed on his pie as he spoke in mumbles. “I can forgive Miss Savage for her abusive request two days ago.”

“Maybe we can go help.” Adrian casually picked up the conversation.

“No, no. That wouldn’t be appropriate.” In a rare move, Jesse didn’t seem to offer any pie to Adrian. “I don’t want to lose my ability to foresee this war. Since dear Miss Savage did not ask us to do so, I will not intervene.”

This in it of itself was outside their directive, and Adrian was only asking the question politely out of respect for Ann. After the age of boiling blood, he knew that people have their own lives, and he himself didn’t think it was necessary.

The knight commander had not expected an affirmative response, but Jesse’s reaction was a bit unexpected.

“Are there limits to your divinations?” Adrian rarely became a little curious.

“Where in the world have you seen a diviner that’s free?” Jesse clicked and nibbled on the meringue of the cherry pie.

“But I haven’t seen you pay a ‘price’.”

There was a large tea table in the center of the tent with only a pot of tea, two teacups, and a small plate of cherry pie on it. The small jars of sugar cubes and milk were exquisite and compact, tightly attached together, making the wide table look a little empty.

Adrian squared the hem of his monk’s uniform and sat at the table with his back facing the entrance of the tent.

Jesse’s soft blond hair was scattered over his shoulder, and he sat with his legs crossed casually. He held the pillow snugly in his arms, with both upper arms jammed against his chest and stomach, and hugged it tightly, as if the soft feather pillow would sprout legs and run away on its own in the next second.

“Oh, I’m not referring to ‘restrictions’ or ‘costs’.” Jesse took a sip of tea. “Everyone likes the feeling that everything is under control, and I’m no exception. If I make a move, no one really knows where the war will go.”

“But you have always behaved quite freely.” Adrian continued to sit upright. He raised his hand and poured himself a cup of clear tea.

Jesse smacked his mouth. “For example?”

“For example, the Bluebirds. For example, the Church of Silence. For example, the war not long ago… For example, the intelligence of the enemy attack just now. The use of your prophecies has always been very natural.” Adrian lowered his eyes to the tea in the cup.

“Is this an interrogation?” Jesse stopped moving with interest.

“No.” The knight’s voice remained even. “Just curious.”

“Since my sweetheart is curious, of course I’m happy to explain. It’s not a big deal. It’s just convenient for me to go along with it because a realistic reason exists—”

Jesse lazily stretched his voice, having long ago unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt for ease of movement. A strand of blonde hair slid down with his movements, hanging in front of a beautifully shaped collarbone.

Adrian didn’t look away.

“At that time of the Bluebirds, my last team wanted me to poach the Bluebirds bones. When we were at the Church of Silence, Mr. Light ordered us to save those stupid sacrifices.” Jesse lifted the strand of unruly hair and tucked it behind his ear as he kept talking. “As for the war not long ago… Miss Savage entrusted us, and asked us for our help. And just a while ago, Her Royal Highness Delia gave me clear instructions—These are very certain ‘reasons’, so it’s not a big deal to take a peek at the answer in the process.”

“If I understand correctly, are you saying that you must have an order from ‘others’ in order to predict without fear?”

“I hate the term ‘order’,” Jesse muttered.

After that, he stretched out his finger and drew a golden circle in the air. “Once someone becomes the ’cause’, then a certain range of ‘results’ will be produced. I am in this circle looking at what else is in the circle. Of course I can move freely and comfortably.”

Then Jesse stuffed the last piece of cherry pie into his mouth with his empty hand, and with the other hand, he split the shaky circle. “If I intervene casually, it will become like this.”

“Destruction?”

“Unpredictable.” Jesse shrugged. “A ‘diviner’ cannot actively intervene in his own calculations, otherwise the things he intervenes in will always become unknown. Then you can only guess by intuition and experience. To be honest, it’s not a price to pay. I just don’t like too many ‘unpredictable’ things under my eyes very much.”

“I really don’t like it,” he emphasized specifically.

“But I just made a suggestion.” Adrian didn’t plan to let go of the loopholes in the other party’s words, “That should be enough for you to ‘draw a circle’.”

Jesse laughed dryly. “This is very troublesome to explain, my love. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you. If I want to talk about this issue, I’m afraid an afternoon won’t be enough… Why don’t we talk about something else?”

He licked his lips ambiguously.

Since the other party’s rejection was obvious, Adrian wouldn’t press. The knight commander continued to sip the tea and returned to silence.

Jesse let out a long and regretful sigh, but before he could finish his breath, a sound of breaking through the air came from the mouth of the tent. The momentum wasn’t big, and the magic power fluctuation wasn’t strong, but considering the environment they are in…

Adrian moved.

He stood up for the first time and kicked away the tea table that was in the way. The former knight commander turned around in a very short period of time and made a defensive posture in front of Jesse.

Suddenly, an apple came straight at him.

Then everything went wrong.

The apple rolled to the ground, exploded in the corner by itself, and dense golden spots of light rose into the air. The entire tent was hit by an uneven source and shook violently.

A string of cracking sounds went around the complicated decorations inside. The exquisite decorations fell to the ground one after another, and the picture frames that were originally painted with flowers revealed fresh bouquets of flowers. Accompanied by a pleasant crackling sound, a large dark shadow fell from the top of the tent and shook the tent’s roof.

Then it hit the two people, who were still in a daze.

That thing was soft and slightly cool, exuding a pleasant fragrance. Adrian slowly wiped it on his hair, stared at the cream in his hand without saying a word, and then looked at Jesse, who was also covered from head to toe with it.

“…” The knight commander wiped the cream on his face in confusion.

“…” Jesse was rarely lost. He stood in place a little blankly, as if he had just fallen into deep self-doubt. “Why did you help me block that? That thing wasn’t strong. You must have felt it.”

“Occupational habit,” Adrian replied succinctly after a brief pause.”Would you mind explaining this, Mr. Dylan?”

Jesse twisted a strand of creamy hair, as if he was in some kind of struggle. He rarely shut up and thought for a moment before grabbing the remains of a piece of cake from his head.

“Happy birthday, Adri,” the blond young man said dryly. It sounded more like an aggrieved cry. “If you hadn’t done so much, it should have landed on the table properly. Promise me you’ll control your occupational habit, hm?”

For a while, Adrian didn’t know how to answer.

He had long forgotten that he still had such a thing as a “birthday”. To be honest, he didn’t remember how many years it had been since he celebrated it.

In a sense, the Chief Justice was very close to a killing puppet but had a more complex judgement mechanism. The smell of blood on his armor had never completely dissipated, and no one would have had the stupid idea of “celebrating the birthday of the cold officer”. As a person who lost his loved ones early on, Adrian himself never mentioned it. He did not feel happy or grateful for the fact of “surviving in the world”. Rather, he had almost no feelings about it.

He had investigated Jesse Dylan himself, so it wasn’t surprising that Jesse Dylan had investigated him, but he never expected this.

The cunning guy who was full of confidence on the battlefield was now covered with cream, and the feather pillow that was regarded as a treasure in his arms was completely destroyed. That surprise and grievance did not seem to be false, and the powerful diviner seemed to have really not expected this.

Perhaps he was too confident in himself and didn’t calculate other possibilities, Adrian thought amusingly.

Then he realized that he was really laughing.

It wasn’t a wry smile nor an angry smile. It was a real smile that hadn’t been seen for many years—he just smiled happily with cream on his head.

It was the first time he had seen Jesse Dylan like this… close to being angry.

A criminal, a powerful man with mysterious magic, a bastard that just did as he pleased. From any point of view, Adrian Cross didn’t think he would have the slightest emotional entanglement with this guy.

The other party didn’t even have the pure purpose of showing kindness; he knew this very well in his heart.

However…

Some kind of strange emotion gradually spreads through the blood. It felt like stepping out of a stuffy, narrow room and being instantly wrapped in the breeze. As if learning to breathe for the first time, the drowsy mind instantly became clear.

He didn’t know what to call it.

It may not be the “love” that Jesse Dylan was seeking. The knight commander had only read that kind of emotion in the dogma of the Laddism Church—it was like an eternal flame, a fierce emotion that would ignite the moment he saw the person. Lovers had a passionate beginning, were loyal to each other, and maintained a firm and pure love through their lives. The protagonists were often wonderful people who would always understand each other and would never falter.

This feeling was too remote yet clear.

Adrian once believed that his blood-stained hands couldn’t touch similar feelings. He had already lost that qualification, not to mention the person for whom it would ignite such unreasonable and intense emotions.

To this day, his own judgment was still right. The knight commander thought so.

He really couldn’t touch the noble love that existed in legends, nor was he overwhelmed by burning emotions, but in those short seconds—funny and embarrassing seconds—he had never felt so vividly alive.

If the “love” between people was really that clean and pure, the curiosity, interest, companionship, and entanglement, coupled with a little joy and relief, would accumulate into what in the end?

Jesse was startled by the knight’s pleasant smile, and then moved his fingers angrily, unaware of the emotions in Adrian’s eyes—he was holding the cake in his hand, staring at the cream in his hair, and his entire person seemed to be struggling with something.

“Forget it. Let’s make do with what we have, Adri. Supplies are limited, and if I ask for another big cake again, the cook will beat me up.” Jesse stifled his decision. “Although… Ugh, I’ll deal with it later with a cleansing spell.”

Adrian stared at the puffed-up diviner. He took two steps forward, grabbed his wrist, and took a small bite of the cake that Jesse’s hand was holding.

“Thank you,” he said softly, licking the cream on his lips carefully.

It was too sweet and creamy to his own liking, but it was good. After all, this was a sweetness that had never been seen before and might never be seen again.

Jesse raised his creamy eyebrows, and his grasped wrist twitched a few times.

“Wow,” the blond young man who didn’t look so beautiful at that moment exclaimed. “I didn’t expect the effect to be so good. Hey, Adri, do you like me a little bit today?”

Adrian stretched out his hand and touched the corners of his lips, which were still slightly cocked.

“I don’t know,” he replied honestly.


The author has something to say:

Jesse… Intentionally planting flowers, they will not bloom. Inadvertently planting willows and they will make shade*.

*(有心栽花花不开,无心插柳柳成荫) From the ancient teaching “Zengguan Xianwen”. It’s a metaphor for what you want to get, you don’t get what you want, but unexpectedly got something else. || In this context, it’s saying Jesse’s surprise cake for Adrian didn’t go as planned, but unexpectedly he got something else.

Persist! Success belongs to those who persevere!


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