Stray Ch216

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 216: Taboo

The gray parrot seemed to have sensed something. It hesitated for a while and made a very active request to watch the wind outside—even though everyone knew that this dilapidated place wasn’t worth watching at all.

“There is a feeling in it that makes me very uncomfortable!” Bagelmaurus sharpened its claws on the nearest branch. “It’s similar to instinct… Ahem, forget it for you two. I really don’t know how Telaranea got over it. That guy got a lot of guts.”

But since the superior demon had entered calmly, the two members of Tumbleweed had no reason to retreat.

Considering the cleanliness of the abandoned wooden house, even if he mastered the cleansing spell, Nemo still habitually groomed the robe on his body and tightened it a little bit. The light pole staff finally succeeded in doing its job for once, as the black bone ball began to emit hazy light under the influence of abyssal magic.

The first floor of the wooden house was messier than they thought.

The wooden floor had already mostly decayed, and there was a large hole that had collapsed, revealing part of a deeper hole in the cellar. Dark green moss and mushrooms made the ground slippery. Without the trouble of insects, the plants inside grew even better than the ones outside. The doors of the wooden cabinets were skewed, and there was not much left, and the contents were so decayed that their original appearance couldn’t be seen.

However, he didn’t feel any abnormal breath on this floor. Except for the absence of small creatures such as insects and ants, everything was normal, and the ground was littered with common furniture and supplies.

Raising the staff with one hand, Nemo clenched Oliver’s hand with the other. The two cautiously stepped onto the squeaking, crumbling stairs—They could now perceive things in the dark, but in the unknown, light always made people feel more at ease.

There was nothing special about the second floor. The first floor had an ordinary living room and kitchen, while the bedrooms and study were on the second floor. Compared to the first floor, which suffered severely, the second floor was in much better condition, except for vines and all kinds of furniture.

The bedding was almost rotten and was covered with verdant vines. Dusty books were scattered on the shelves. The dust was as thick as a thin layer of snow that had fallen in the early morning. There was an ink bottle, and the pen holder was colored gray from the dust and was tidily arranged.

A decayed and lonely scene.

However, the overly curious Telaranea didn’t stop here, most likely indicating there weren’t any important clues here. Without staying long, the two quickly climbed to the third floor.

The first thing that entered their nose was a strange smell. It was like a potion mixed with rotting internal organs and burned dry at the bottom of the pot. Unlike the first two floors with wide windows, Telaranea only opened the window to bring a little light into the thick darkness.

Nemo slammed the staff on the ground, causing many balls of light to emerge from the bone ball at the top, which then stuck to the walls on all sides of the attic. The room immediately seemed to become daytime under the bright light.

Then they saw the body in the center of the attic at first glance.

‘They really had made a lot of progress,’ Nemo thought numbly. If the two of them were replaced by them from a few months ago, they would both most likely be projectile vomiting at this instant.

The thing that looked like a human corpse was sitting in a back chair with its back to the window and its head lowered. Even if the environment was humid and warm, the corpse showed no signs of decay and was closer to a mummified corpse.

The deceased was almost naked, with only a piece of coarse cloth that covered his lower body. The long, withered beard on his face that still remained had white hair, indicating his relative age.

They could only judge by this; not because the corpse’s skin had become charred and wrinkled due to moisture loss, but because it was nearly unrecognizable. They could barely recognize the identity of the deceased human through the shape of the bones.

Regardless of the head, face, and torso, the exposed wrinkled skin was covered with eyes and shrank into a ball. They varied in size and style, and there must be hundreds or thousands, and it seemed like they were forcibly embedded. The larger ones were the size of apples, while the smaller ones were like a fly’s compound eyes. They were arranged on the skin of the corpse in a strange pattern and made it seem as if the corpse was suffering from some kind of skin disease from a glance.

Nemo even felt the faint aura of the Abyss from the corpse. It seemed that the former owners of those eyes weren’t limited to surface creatures.

“This is the Butcher Shop introducer you’re looking for. I have an impression of his smell. His name is… Well, doesn’t matter. That’s not important as it’s just a mediocre person.” Telaranea patted the back of the chair, pressed his face closer with interest, and looked at the decadent eyeballs.

Nemo looked away unbearably, staring at Oliver’s face for half a minute before calming down. Oliver’s face wasn’t much better than his. The leader of Tumbleweed was livid and looked at the ground intently.

Nemo followed Oliver’s gaze, and the surging feeling in his throat reappeared.

The floor was full of animal remains, so rotten that only bones and fur were left. At first glance, it looks like a weird thick carpet.

“Your definition of ‘mediocre’ is really broad,” Nemo murmured to Telaranea. “How… did he die?”

“Is it possible to find records here?” Oliver added another question.

No longer looking at the corpses on the floor, Oliver carefully crossed them and came to a shelf by the wall. The dusty shelf was neatly arranged with crystal records, and the lower layer was a very neatly tended box of information. Piles of parchment paper were stacked in the corners that were well preserved.

Telaranea didn’t say a word. He took out a pair of glasses that a watchmaker would use from his arm and intently observed the skin of the corpse while humming a little song that sounded incredibly pleasant.

Seeing that the Sage of the Abyss was completely immersed in his own world, Nemo shook his head, crossed the corpses, and came beside Oliver.

“Some cheap recording crystals.” Oliver was using the hem of his clothes to vigorously wipe a dirty crystal that he couldn’t even tell the color. “It seems this gentleman wasn’t really rich.”

“According to the remaining magic fluctuations, these things were recorded at least ten years ago.” Nemo squatted down and pulled out the gray information box. The dust made him choke, and he let out a few coughs. The uncomfortable smell always lingered at the end of his nose, making it a bit difficult for him to breathe.

He looked through the parchment in his hand. “Look, this one is older. This information is from more than 40 years ago. There is no signature. It seems that our introducer doesn’t like to leave his name everywhere.”

“What’s written in it?” Oliver stretched his head over.

“It’s all research materials about the Abyss.” Nemo frowned.

The information in his hand was a comprehensive analysis of the abilities of a certain superior demon, as well as the conclusions drawn from it. The owner of the house’s handwriting wasn’t very good, and the notes were so scribbled that it was extremely difficult to read.

The long formulas were crammed together, thin and dense, making them difficult to identify. Next to the formulas, which were almost muddled together, was a string of notes written in another color ink. Compared to the pile of self-made symbols that God knows what they represented, the notes written in the lingua franca were more legible.

[We have reason to believe that surface creatures and abyssal creatures have the same upper limit of power—this undoubtedly is a hair-raising experience, and we must find out the principle in advance. However, the Withered Castle is continuing to challenge the upper limit of the surface; how stupid. It’s a pity that, as a Gatekeeper with a different research direction, I have no right to interfere. Someone must control them.]

The two turned their heads and glanced at the terrifying corpse with complicated expressions. The night was silent, and the minor hums from Telaranea echoed in the air. The demon took out a lot of weird metal utensils again and was carefully cutting the skin of the corpse.

Thinking that this nasty guy was his own creation, Nemo uttered a desperate “ugh” and retracted his gaze.

The great Demon King, who felt complicated, moved a few more boxes of information, trying to find what they were looking for. His Hero was fiddling with the phonetic crystal in his hand, trying to find the magic array to stimulate it. The gray mist was too corrosive, so Oliver didn’t dare test it recklessly. It would be quite disastrous if the only record was destroyed.

Compared with Oliver, who was making slow progress, Nemo was much faster. He let out the dark shadow, quickly scanned the information on the paper, and quickly locked on to the thick stack of parchment paper.

“Hey, Ollie.” Nemo poked Oliver, who was still concentrating on dealing with the crystal. “Information from twenty-three years ago.”

“Have you finished reading it?” Oliver glanced at the shadow hand that hadn’t released the parchment yet.

“Not exactly. This person’s research habits are very… egotistical. I only confirmed the date, which is faster.”

Moreover, in this weird situation, Nemo didn’t want to be exposed to the truth alone in advance.

“But this looks a bit different from the pile just now.” Oliver picked up one of the small stacks. The handwriting on it became even more scribbled.

Nemo raised his eyebrows and scanned through a few of them.

Compared with the cookie-cutter boring formulas and annotations of previous years, this year’s formulas were much less, but there were a lot of creepier illustrations, and the handwriting had become extremely distorted.

[I asked her to help bring a specific intermediate demon, she brought it, and she didn’t want to leave. She must have noticed something. My girl, she has always been so keen. It’s a pity that she left the Gatekeepers, I…]

The following text was roughly crossed out. An anatomical diagram of an intermediate demon was drawn next to the handwriting, and many blood-red thin lines and formulas were drawn on the part of the eyes.

Oliver’s breathing stopped for a few seconds. Nemo raised his head abruptly, just in time to meet the other party’s gaze—Oliver grabbed Nemo’s robe, shook the piece of parchment in his hand, and motioned to his lover to approach.

[As a representative of the Void Castle, I officially applied to the Withered Castle today. The flesh and blood furnace must be destroyed. It’s too early for mankind. Theories are just theories and cannot reveal the truth. The people of the Withered Castle were blinded by arrogance and forgot the basic principles of a Gatekeeper.]

[They asked me to show evidence, but I didn’t keep it. That is not the knowledge that should be passed on. It’s taboo and it’s the key to destruction. We’re surrounded by the darkness of ignorance, and that darkness is not our enemy, but our cradle.]

“…This thing is turning into poetry,” Nemo muttered in a low voice. “What exactly does he want to express?”

“I don’t know, but looking at these notes… Well, our Butcher Shop introducer is not in a good mental state,” Oliver replied in a low voice.

Then they held their breath for the next entry on paper.

[Mr. Lopez also knows this well, and I don’t think I need to specifically destroy his memory. Regarding the transaction with Mr. Lopez, I erased part of the record. If someone reads this information in the future… Please don’t bother to restore it. It has been lost forever.]

Nemo swallowed laboriously. He hated this feeling—he had to close his eyes and was waiting for the truth to stab him, but the truth was hidden in the darkness again.

He continued reading in frustration.

[She peeked at the records, my lovely girl. She’s so smart, she might have picked up on a few clues. But it doesn’t matter as I have discarded the most critical part. Her research will never surpass my discovery, and I will take it to the grave. As a member of the Gatekeepers, I have a responsibility to guard against this danger.]

[But I want to see that sight.]

“Then he made himself like that?” Oliver’s voice was a bit hoarse, and he clenched the phonetic crystal in his hand. “…What kind of stuff did my father say in the first place?”

“Ollie…”

Nemo patted Oliver’s arm weakly.

Things began to become terrifying.

The information was indeed still full of records, but it was no longer covered with scribbled formulas and diary-like accompanying notes. The words written by Butcher Shop introducer—or Gatekeeper—became noticeable less, and the parchment was full of body transformation pictures and weird spells that no one could understand.

Then they appeared less and less and were gradually replaced by one sentence.

Nemo shuddered behind his back. He took out the information of the next few years from a nearby information box and found that the content was all the same sentences.

[I want to see it.]

The repeated words were written all over the parchment, and the dates kept changing. Bloodstains and oddly colored wet marks began to appear on the parchment.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Nemo didn’t even dare to use the dark shadow anymore, and the two quickly rummaged through the remaining paper.

Ten minutes later, they finally found the end of the record, but it made Nemo feel worse.

The last record left by the old man was only two sentences. No longer the curse-like repeated prayer, but just two simple sentences. It was like the writing was from the blood of one’s finger as there was madness in the strokes.

[I saw it.]

[It is a great honor to be born in this world.]

Nemo only felt a piece of ice sliding into his stomach. Oliver may not understand the meaning of this sentence, but he was very clear. Someone said this to him, not so long ago, in the Church of Silence.

Those were the last words of Hagen Ingram, the female bishop of the Abyss.


The author has something to say:

Ollie’s father was actually amazing just to keep his sanity…


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