Stray Ch221

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 221: Ghost Rider

Time goes back before the sun was about to set.

Oliver took the black horse out of the inn where he was staying. Seeing the boredom on its face, the black-furred Pope probably didn’t cause any trouble worth paying attention to.

The black horse snorted a few times, rubbing Oliver’s head desperately with its long face. It snuggled into Oliver’s brown hair, creating a bird’s nest with it. After rubbing a few times, it then looked up vigilantly at Nemo, who was politely keeping his distance from it and decided to work in the direction of “looking friendlier”.

“According to the Pope—ahem, I mean the Pope of the Laddism Church—Lord Quinn, Dylan, and Mr. Cross should be heading directly to the Central Church. Hatfield is not far from here. We can meet them there.”

As he spoke, Nemo picked up a fresh carrot and carefully handed it to the horse, trying to save Oliver from the sticky horse. The great Demon King even used a cleansing spell to remove the mud from it.

The black horse glanced at the tempting carrot critically and stretched its ears forward. After a while, it finally decided to temporarily abandon Oliver’s head and started chewing on it.

“Well, I don’t think Mr. Dylan will slip away at this critical point in time.” Oliver combed his messy hair with his fingers.

“The Abyss…” Nemo picked up another carrot and smacked his mouth. “This time we may have to stay in it for quite a while. According to those biographies, even a simple shallow exploration will take at least half a month. The premise is that the equipment and arrays function normally in the Abyss.”

No one knew how big the Abyss was. People didn’t know much more about it than the bottom of the deep sea. There was only one thing that they knew. The underground space called the “Abyss” was much wider than the ocean on the surface.

For thousands of years, or even earlier, the various races on the surface had gradually explored downward, carefully accumulating and maintaining a relatively safe passage. Every hundred years, regardless of whether the expedition occurred or not, the surface races would carefully check the situation of this passage.

The Abyss was weird and dangerous. If those large teleportation arrays couldn’t be stabilized—let alone the crusade against the Demon King—most warriors wouldn’t even survive at the bottom of the Abyss.

In principle, large teleportation arrays were only allowed to be used by expeditionary forces on the surface. However, due to the stable surrounding environment of the large teleportation array and proper protection measures making them safer to use, many adventurers would build teleportation arrays for their own use nearby, and even develop supply points close to small villages and towns.

The races on the surface carefully took care of this road leading directly to the underground, but now it had a problem.

The tension between the various races on the surface wasn’t without reason. Except for the special Abyssal Church, even if the races, countries, and religions weren’t amicable with each other during normal times, the interests of the expedition into the Abyss were still highly consistent.

At the moment, the vitality of the Abyssal Church was greatly injured, so it was impossible for them to have the means to make such a big move. This only meant one thing—there was a force in the Abyss acting in an organized manner, trying to obstruct the expedition.

This was an unprecedented event.

Of course, the expeditionary forces of the past would be attacked by demons in the Abyss, but most of the time it was out of hunger, curiosity, or boredom by the demons. The demons were free to move freely, except for the ethnic groups that were accustomed to collective action, they didn’t have cooperative behavior.

No superior demon had ever expressed resentment at the death of the Demon King, let alone deliberately obstructed the expedition as a result.

The Demon King who climbed to the surface and lost his memory, the “other Demon King” at the bottom of the abyss, the man-made teleportation array—This time the reconnaissance team was sent to nominally investigate and repair the teleportation array, but in fact, everyone understood that this was more like an attempt to remove the dust from the outer layer of the mystery.

It was extremely dangerous and full of unknowns.

But this danger wouldn’t scare the Demon King and the Hero. Nemo was more worried about another thing.

Just like he told Oliver—Now he knew that he was the Demon King, and he didn’t want to be dragged to the bottom of the Abyss by the so-called “law”. As soon as he stepped into the Abyss, he may never come out again.

They need to figure this out as soon as possible. Fortunately, they had a way to test it.

“When I ‘visited’ Telaranea, I wrote down the spatial coordinates that could be used.” Nemo tore off the rope tied to the short ponytail and re-tied his hair again. “But it’s all in a public area. Pandorater is deeper underground. I can feel it—Ollie?!”

The great Demon King, who had been immersed in thought, instantly raised his voice.

After chewing the carrot, the horse began to chew Oliver’s hair deeply again. This time the leader of Tumbleweed was determined to resist. He pushed the horse’s face away with his right hand and supported the wall with his left hand.

Then his left hand went straight through the wall.

Oliver was so shocked that he let go of the horse’s face, causing his left hand to stick into the wall. As soon as Nemo tied the messy hair on the back of his head, he saw Oliver carefully pulling his left hand.

Oliver tugged on it for a while and realized that adding a large hole to the wall of a nearby house was going to be a problem, so he stretched his arms and tried to pinch the horse’s ears.

His left hand was instantly free.

“…Its magic can affect you.” Nemo was stunned in place for a few seconds, and then firmly pointed it out.

“It’s not fair. I can’t walk through the wall myself,” Oliver murmured, rubbing the horse’s ears in shock, trying to communicate with the black horse.

“It’s okay. It won’t spit like a spider dog. Fair balance… But speaking of this, Ollie, I have an idea.”

“Hmm?”

Five hours later.

Oliver only thought they were stupid for sneaking in like this, but on the other hand, they may become horror legends of the Mercenary Guild.

As night fell, a black-armored knight who wore a helmet made of the skull of an earth dragon that covered his face, was riding on a black horse. The ink-colored cloak swayed with the movements of the horse, causing black mist to tumble from the hem of the worn-out fabric.

The horse moved forward in the empty corridor. The black knight was like a ghost as the man and his horse passed through the solid and thick walls covered by magic arrays. The wall that could resist both abyssal and surface magic remained quiet without any response.

A poor man wearing a research uniform of the headquarters of the Mercenary Guild was being dragged by the knight, who was also advancing through the wall.

His face was extremely pale, as if he was shouting something, but everything was silent—There was no sound of horse hoof beating, no screams, and no sound of clothing rubbing or objects colliding.

The two researchers who saw the scene dropped their jaws as the cream pancakes they were holding in their hands fell to the floor.

“Then… What is that? Should we inform the floor—”

“But the arrays didn’t respond! It’s an illusion, it’s definitely an illusion… Have you seen it? The outfit on the dragged person was an old uniform, which had been no longer used since 30 years ago. This may be some kind of, yes, some kind of flashback from the past…”

“I’d better inform the above.”

“What are you going to say? There was a knight that suddenly appeared underground, then disappeared directly through the wall full of defensive arrays and dragged a person who couldn’t possibly exist in the present time? My friend, the place where they disappeared to isn’t easy to access. If this is all nothing, if we open it, this month’s research funding will be… you know.”

“But we obviously detected traces of abyssal magic in the hall…”

“There is no trace left. It’s indescribable. You also know that it is the hall, but you don’t know how many people from the three religions have been here during the day. If something really happened, it’s on the outside guards and spell managers for not doing their job properly. Let’s just watch. If the phantom appears again, we’ll notify the above.”

The two “phantoms” behind the wall breathed a sigh of relief.

“I tripped over the wall just now and almost let go. Telaranea’s old uniform is too long.” Nemo patted his chest to make sure the thin rope of horsehair on his wrist was still there.

“I got stuck in the wall three times.” Oliver is still riding on a horse, sounding a little dazed. “It really doesn’t like you, Nemo. It is still upset about its mane.”

“…Tell it, when we return, I’ll bake it some horse snacks. The craftsmanship is guaranteed. I have sold it to adventurers in Roadside Town before, and the sales were very good.”

The black horse stared at him solemnly for a while, then turned its head.

“Let’s continue. That wall has two security measures, and all the mute arrays have failed.” Oliver pulled the reins and jumped off the horse. “It may take some trouble to escape.”

In front of them was their destination. Without any information or explanation, two people could feel the power that was quite substantial.

The lights in the underground hall were empty, and no researchers were active, but the magic lights around them weren’t extinguished, but were slightly dimmed. A huge black cube was placed in the center of the hall. It was painted with magic arrays and runes, and bright red lights flowed along the lines, a bit like the blood array used by Telaranea before.

It was extremely quiet all around. Only the dull sound of overlapping voices came from the black cube.

Pandorater’s heartbeat.

The two recognized this aura as once upon a time, this aura meant pure death to them, but now they could tell more things from it—despair, pain, and desperation.

“She’s very weak. At the time of the Black Chapter test… She should have been forcibly brought back here, and she hasn’t fully recovered yet.” Nemo walked forward and put one hand on the rough outer wall of the black cube. He couldn’t determine the material; he just felt that it was smooth and cold to the touch.

Oliver was silent. The dark horse seemed to feel that the atmosphere was off, and it stopped making noise and stood quietly to the side.

The superior demon who was weaponized was completely bound like the nightmare leopard in the Church of Silence. People had drilled holes with many arrays and fixed them into the gap between the Abyss and the surface.

Through this, neither could something descend to the surface nor return to the Abyss.

Like a person who has been swallowed by a swamp but has been unable to die for a long time.

The situation of Pandorater was even worse—At least the Nightmare Leopard Colestoro didn’t need to be worried all the time, worrying about which part of his body was split by spatial magic and then roughly cut back.

To make matters worse, she would be killed once she reached adulthood, as people couldn’t control an adult superior demon. She was still alive now, which meant that Pandorater’s long childhood wasn’t over yet.

A lonely cub.

A child was crying loudly in the darkness and loneliness.

Somewhat ironically, Nemo twitched the corners of his mouth. People always thought that a child’s cry could change everything, but in the underground hall where people came and went, no one bothered to listen to her.

“Are you ready, Ollie?” Nemo asked in a low voice.

“Yeah.”

Oliver didn’t say much. He made a gesture, causing the gray mist to turn into the shape of a chain that directly wrapped around Nemo’s waist. Another part of the gray mist rose into the air, temporarily isolating the entire underground hall.

Nemo attached a huge black cage to his other hand and closed his eyes.

The glimmer of light flowing on the surface of the black cube suddenly went out, and the thick and sturdy material instantly turned into ash that scattered everywhere. The imprisoned demon showed her appearance—she no longer looked like a scarlet mist tornado, but a dense and thick liquid in the cage. Nemo couldn’t imagine if all these liquids would disperse into mist…

Pandorater floated into the air.

The liquid that originally maintained the shape of a cube began to stretch, and a hazy mist rose on the surface. The demon’s body flowed like mercury, and countless liquid limbs spread out, dancing non-stop, like a dark red blossom blooming in the bright light.

It was an inorganic, creepy dance.

[Beauty of the Abyss, the demon dancer.]

Nemo stared at the scene in front of him intently and suddenly understood the meaning of the gray parrot’s descriptions during the Black Chapter test.

It was a pity that the good times wouldn’t last long.

Finally realizing that she had regained part of her freedom, the young Pandorater fell into madness. The scarlet tornado steamed up from the liquid’s surface, sweeping through the hall’s solemn and luxurious decoration, and it was about to—

“Silence!” Nemo shouted loudly.

The Demon King’s aura was very effective. The moment she noticed Nemo’s aura, Pandorater quickly shrank herself into a ball and lay back on the ground obediently, but the scarlet mist on the surface of her body was still floating dishonestly.

“Next I will send you back to the abyss.” Nemo removed the shadow shield in front of him and glanced at the ruined hall.

Pandorater’s reaction was very intense.

She spread out all her limbs and instantly grabbed every protruding part of the hall, with a fierce posture that said she didn’t want to leave. The liquid limbs were straight and taut, like an oversized sea urchin.

Nemo didn’t think she was nostalgic for this place.

“Listen, little girl.” Nemo stretched out a hand to the alien demon that filled the space. “If you choose to take revenge now, you may be able to destroy this place, but your strength will run out, and they will eventually catch you.”

Pandorater didn’t mean to move.

“I have no desire to hinder your revenge,” Nemo sighed fiercely. “Yes, I have not experienced your nightmares, and I have no right to decide for you whether to forgive those people, but… please listen to me.”

“I will send you back to the abyss. You can find your family and recover. This time, you can rest as long as you want, and you can go wherever you want. If after that, you still want revenge—”

Nemo paused for a moment.

“You may find a way to make a contract with humans and return to the surface. And by then, depending on your way of revenge… I may be your friend, a spectator, or your enemy. At least for now, I ask you, let me take you home.”

Pandora slowly retracted her limbs and shrank into a ball again. She seemed to be thinking.

[You promise? Promise I still have a chance?]

The demon’s mood was still a bit confused. She seemed to have not been able to recover from the discovery of “regaining freedom”.

[I promise.]

Finally receiving a ray of thought, Nemo breathed a sigh of relief.

Having handled the Church of Silence and Colestoro, he was a lot more proficient this time. He quickly drew the magic array he learned from the Abyssal Church, plus some improvements…

The ground cracked, and the entrance to the Abyss appeared.

Pandorater stayed for a few seconds. Even though she had no eyes, Nemo always felt that she was looking at the hall for the last time.

Then she rushed towards the crack firmly, pouncing on her remnant body on the other side of the Abyss.

“Now!” Nemo shouted, and then slid down the cracks in the Abyss. After the superior demon returned to her position, the crack slowly began to close.

At the moment of passing through the crack, Nemo’s vision turned into complete darkness. He desperately meditated “I am the Demon King” in his mind and mixed the memory fragments of Ulysses, but there was no accident—a sense of pulling, heaviness, then nothing.

Nemo sighed in relief and looked up at the crack that was about to close completely. He pulled the gray mist chain that was tied around his waist.

Oliver, who got the signal, quickly retracted the chain, probably because he was afraid that his lover would be left in the Abyss. His speed was frighteningly fast. Nemo was pulled back like a fish by him and directly slammed into Oliver’s chest. The impact caused the two of them to fall to the ground together, sliding on the floor for nearly ten meters.

“There is no problem.” Nemo propped up his body and patted Oliver’s cheek under him. “We can prepare with peace of mind.”

Oliver lay on his back on his black cloak, and his face under the skeleton helmet began to redden suspiciously.

“Nemo, I have two things to tell you.”

“Hm?”

“First, the impact just now… my protective cover fluctuated, and it is estimated that the alarm outside has gone off now. Second, your clothes were burned by the Abyss and there is nothing left. Can you still restore it? …Uh, do you want me to lend you my cloak?”

“……”


The author has something to say:

The alarm has sounded.

Ollie: Uh, in a little while, when we run away, it’ll cause a terrible misunderstanding…

Nemo: (Wrap Ollie’s cloak tightly. Don’t want to talk about it at all)

Horse: *Whine* *Whine* *Whine* *Whine* *Whine*


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