Stray Ch243

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 243: The Beginning of the Battle

After saying those words, Nemo Light—or the Demon King himself—drew his hand back and made a simple gesture.

The pain that lasted for several years stopped at that moment.

Aurorae touched the wall of the illusory bakery and felt the touch was rough and slightly cool. The air was faintly permeated with a reassuring aroma. Not far away, the chatter of passersby came faintly.

He looked at his hands. The cuffs of the waiter’s uniform were white and clean, leaving no traces of blood or sand, as if nothing had happened.

Since the death of its body, the flesh belonging to the lantern blind bug had begun to rot irreversibly. The eyeball provided by Telaranea could only delay the speed of its decay, but it couldn’t fundamentally solve this problem. The pain of death continued to gnaw at his internal organs from the inside, and now it finally stopped.

The gentle and dry air, a body without pain, the despair of dying not so long ago, was like a mirage.

But Aurorae didn’t believe that death was far away—he only felt colder, and an ominous chill extended from his limbs to his heart, and the expression of the black-haired young man in front of him became even sadder.

His father was grieving.

Aurorae didn’t know whether the tears flowing at the moment were due to reluctance or joy. He had never shed a tear before, and at this point didn’t know how to stop it. After living for too long, the demon slayer didn’t have many emotions left, and now they were squeezed together, and all melted into tears.

The sky in the illusion was getting brighter and the sun was about to rise.

“You don’t like the darkness.” Nemo touched his face. The action looked a little weird and jerky. “I’m… sorry. I’m not very good at handling situations like this.”

His voice was very soft, and he looked even sadder.

“How long do I have?” Aurorae coughed again, splattering blood on the white cuffs of the waiter’s uniform. Soiled again, he thought regretfully, as numbing dizziness crept up his spine.

“…Less than ten minutes.” Nemo closed his eyes. “That’s the best I can do. Aurorae, I’m sorry…”

“You don’t need to be sorry. This has taken longer than I thought. I am very happy, father.”

Aurorae could feel his long-stiff facial muscles twitching. It was probably a smile.

He once thought he had a lot to say.

But now, looking at the street in front of him, he was relieved. Even if he had many things to say, whether it was remorse, grief, or otherwise, it couldn’t make those missed times come back. There wasn’t much time left for him, and he didn’t want to waste it on expressing regrets.

“You’ve remembered it all.”

“Yes.”

“Don’t blame Telaranea too much. It doesn’t really hate you, father. It’s just…”

Remembering his partner, who was still waiting at the entrance of the Abyss, Aurorae chose the first topic in his gradually hazy consciousness.

“No, that’s my fault.”

Nemo hesitated for a moment, stretched out his hand awkwardly again, and patted him on the head. Aurorae suspected that he had learned this from some human, but at this moment, it was no longer important.

“Uh, I just wanted to make a flesh puppet for you to use to explore the surrounding. Finding that it reached self-awareness, I shouldn’t have simply identified it as a failure and…”

“It asked me if I wanted to have him for dinner. It was scared enough and still remember it to this day.” Aurorae let out a soft laugh, followed by a violent cough.

“You were only so young at that time. It was reasonable for you to eat it then… Well, it’s always good to eat more.” Nemo gestured and scratched his head habitually.

“Fortunately, I refused at that time.” Aurorae looked at the sky above his head, which was already slightly white as sunrise neared. “He’s a good partner. Father, I know you have had some conflicts…”

“Just different positions. I’m not sure what it thinks, but at least I don’t hold a grudge against it.” Nemo sighed. “Don’t worry. I won’t give it a hard time as long as Telaranea doesn’t overstep too much again.”

Aurorae nodded slightly. The arc of the smile at the corner of his mouth became wider.

“You said ‘worry’,” he muttered. “You’re different from before.”

Immediately, he got a somewhat awkward and detached hug, which made Aurorae’s eyes widen, and he couldn’t help but tremble a little.

“I can guess the reason behind the things you did,” the Demon King’s appearance of the young man said. “…You did a good job.”

“I saw the surface, Aurorae. I like the way it looks now. The stories you once told me are very interesting, but I’m just finding that out now. I never really understood you. I…”

Aurorae hesitated for a few seconds. He stretched out his hand and tentatively grabbed the clothing on Nemo’s back. Although the pain no longer bothered him, his eyelids gradually became heavy.

“I shouldn’t have said those things to you before.” Nemo seemed to try and tightened the hug.

“But I’m leaving you behind for the second time,” the demon slayer replied a little vaguely. He could feel the Demon King’s body stiffening. “I’ll never come back this time, and if I’m not there, you’ll be the only one…”

The spinning of his thoughts stagnated, but Nemo couldn’t suppress the sour pang in his heart.

The emotions that he had once regarded as useless were making it difficult for him to breathe. Yes, maybe it didn’t bring him any benefit at the moment, but it was able to give him an answer. A spell that could make the other person calmer.

“It’s okay.”

There was a bit of bitterness in his voice. Nemo patted the back of the demon in his arms. Its life was disappearing like flowing water, which caused a sour tingling somewhere in his chest.

“…I will be sad, but I will overcome this and remember you.”

Always remember. Not as a piece of intelligence, not as a tiny life that had been fed, but as someone who would cause pain and whom he would miss dearly.

“But if you continue to stay here alone like this…” Aurorae seemed to want to say something.

Nemo was silent for a moment. He probably knew what the other party wanted to say, and the guilt in Aurorae’s tone was almost palatable.

He didn’t realize it in time.

“Listen, Aurorae.”

Nemo grabbed the tip of Aurorae’s gray hair. He learned to touch emotions and, in the same way, learned to lie…

“I’ll be fine,” he lied. “If I can find a way to leave the first time, I can find a way to leave a second time. Unlike before, I will not deny my current feelings again… I still have unfinished things on the surface.”

“Unfinished…?”

“I fell in love with a human.”

The body of the demon in his arms struggled due to shock.

“You are right. I care about ‘that boy from Lopez’ from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t have been able to meet Oliver Ramon as I am now. You did a great job Aurorae… In a sense, you did save me.”

Even if he would be erased by Ulysses next, and this emotion would eventually turn into ashes, at this moment, he did have it.

This was enough.

“I will be fine,” he repeated. His tone habitually carried the majesty of a superior being. Nemo didn’t pause and continued to lie. “I won’t stay here. I won’t be alone. Trust me.”

“…I really hope I can investigate that human properly again.” Aurorae sighed in a low voice. “But now… I wish you could return to the surface as soon as possible, father. I hope Ramon is different from me. If it weren’t for me still being afraid and suspicious of you, I wouldn’t have found out about you…”

He said it softly, with a little bitterness mixed in with his smile.

“You’re gentler than I thought. My body was still alive before you left the abyss. That ‘Ulysses’ would attack all living things nearby, but never come near my essence… Even then, you remembered that I was here… to protect me…”

He let go of the hug. His orange-red eyes were half closed, and everything was getting darker.

“Look, father. Feelings aren’t useless, whether they are mine or yours. They kept me alive so much longer than when I should’ve died.”

Aurorae craned his head slightly to look at the sunrise in the illusion.

Nemo grabbed his wrist in silence, trying to deliver more magic, but found that Aurorae’s magic circuit had begun to collapse. His heartbeat became weaker, and he could no longer absorb any more mana.

“Now let me answer your question. The last time I left here, I just wanted to tell you… For so many years, I have wanted to tell you. If it’s you now, you should be able to understand…”

The melancholy that had always been entangled between the demon slayer’s eyes finally melted. At the last moment, Aurorae didn’t look at Nemo. He continued to stare at the false sunrise, breathing a sigh of relief…

“…Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see the world.”

There was no dissatisfaction, regret, disenchantment, or attachment. There was only simple gratitude.

Simple and persistent.

“My pleasure,” Nemo replied softly, giving the other party a hug again.

But he was still a few seconds late, and only fine ashes were scattered in the air in front of him. The wandering undead was finally able to rest, and the body that had already reached its limit turned directly into dust.

He always failed to make a proper farewell.

The streets and the pedestrians disappeared, and only the faint light of dawn still fell on the bottom of the Abyss. This time it illuminated not a peaceful and quiet human town, but a pile of corpses that existed in reality not far away.

Nemo stood up and walked to the corpse of the lantern blind bug that had already lost its life. He stretched out his hand and carefully stroked the demon’s cold body.

“Sweet dreams, Aurorae.”

A red flame ignited, illuminating the blind bug’s unclosed white round eyes as the corpse began to gradually turn into dust.

He didn’t want him to see the battle that was upcoming.

In the past few thousand years, Nemo hadn’t revealed too much about his body to Aurorae. Aurorae may not know, but he knew very well in his own heart. Facing a “Ulysses” whose combined strength was all the Demon Kings in history, that only had its fighting instinct; he had no chance of winning.

Nemo raised his eyes and looked at Ulysses, who was standing quietly not far away. As Aurorae’s body burned out, it began to become murderous and restless again.

Whether it was the Demon King, who always followed the best choice, or Nemo Light from Roadside Town, perhaps he would no longer make meaningless resistance. He had to work hard and struggle, right?

Nemo stretched out a hand, and the dark shadow condensed into a piece of rope in his palm. He skillfully twisted the rope and tied his scattered black hair behind his head into a short ponytail.

[Your behavior is meaningless. You have no chance of winning.] A voice repeated in his heart, familiar and cold.

[I know.] He answered himself calmly.

[You know what will be waiting for you. Jesse Dylan is still on the surface, and Oliver Ramon may already know the truth.]

[I know.]

[He’s a human after all. Even if he doesn’t take the initiative to attack you now, he will do it one day. This body will be destroyed and returned to its original body, sifting out those useless feelings, and you’ll continue with your original plan. And he promised Nemo Light that he would give priority to maintaining peace on the surface.]

[I know.]

[If you don’t do it sooner, he will definitely kill you. Now you can calculate all the possibilities, and you know this very well. What you are doing now will only give him more time to become stronger.]

Nemo stopped and took a few deep breaths. The extremely destructive aura exploded violently, covering the bottom of the Abyss with flying sand and rocks. He cracked his neck and stared intently at the huge and twisted monster not far away—the very form he had taken more than twenty years ago.

[I have learned two very important pieces of information on the surface—death throes are very effective.]

He calmly responded to the “instinct” that was clamoring in his heart.

[And there is no such thing as “destiny” in this world.]

Nemo stepped on the ground. The fine sand dissipated, and the ground suddenly sank into a huge crater full of cracks. The dark shadow opened like fangs around him and bit straight at his target…

“Come, Ulysses.”

The dark shadow collided with the sharp limbs, and a series of sharp explosions exploded in the cold air.

“Until one of us falls.”


Kinky Thoughts:

Aurorae!!! Too tragic! I bawled so badly in this chapter.


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