Stray Ch248

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 248: Doomsday Chess Game

Adrian Cross was in a complicated mood.

There were countless incredible situations on the battlefield. As an experienced warrior, he had the ability to forcibly stabilize his emotions. Unfortunately, all his calmness today was spent on Jesse Dylan.

Jesse Dylan confided in the truth, completely revealing his true emotions for the first time.

The supreme guide that people admire, the “Zenni” with a long white beard and the appearance of a serious old man, didn’t exist. However, as a believer, Adrian’s heart was filled with relief and liberation.

His belief that was identified as “deviating from the right path”, the strong fortress with only one stone brick missing, finally became complete in the absurdity of the facts.

For the first time in his life, Adrian was satisfied with the fact that he was “born into this world”—as he wished, the world wasn’t absolutely chaotic and ruthless. In a sense, the existence of Jesse Dylan made it a lot more romantic.

Those mischievous jokes, those provocative statements, and those specious behaviors suspected of secretly guiding Tumbleweed all had explanations.

Simply as “Zenni”, he was already satisfied at this moment. Originally, what he had was distant, unrequited feelings and nothing more.

But he looked at the beautiful blue eyes of the behemoth with a slight confusion, and he always had the urge to touch it.

Adrian couldn’t analyze this subtle emotion—not exclusive desire, not admiration, not closeness out of gratitude. He was conscious of his own transience, the other’s antiquity, and the fact that the world they were viewing was fundamentally different.

Yet the sight of his God’s taut, shaggy face and chastened chin resting on the table, Adrian found that the previous soft emotions were still there, not broken along with his previous heart.

It was mixed with laughter, helplessness, peace, and satisfaction, as well as the expectation of wanting to continue watching.

Whether warm or absurd, unpleasant or joyful. The emotionally drenched memories turned into a light and soft net that held his entire heart in place. After all these days of entanglement, was he still really a “simple believer”?

The former Knight of Judgement’s face was calm, and he pressed his right hand to his chest relatively naturally. The miraculously resuscitated heart was beating vigorously, a little too fast.

But before he could fully figure out the definition of this relationship, another one exploded, as if a bomb had detonated.

“He is what you call the ‘Demon King’… and to this day, I still love him.” For his own question, Oliver Ramon gave such an answer.

Adrian moved his gaze away from his head resting on the round table, as quiet as a specimen-like beast-shaped god, and subconsciously pinched his brows. Unexpectedly, it made sense. If Mr. Light was just an ordinary superior demon, there would be no reason for him to follow them for so long.

If Nemo Light was the new generation…

But Oliver didn’t end the topic there.

“Nemo is the Demon King, the only Demon King. Every generation of Demon King killed by the previous expedition from the surface was just… a small piece of Nemo’s flesh. Not his original body.”

The handsome and depressed young man turned the teacup in his hand uncomfortably, looked in Ann’s direction apologetically, and continued to speak out crazy words with his mouth.

“Just like Bagelmaurus here, it is just the flesh that carries its ontological consciousness. The corowen flat snake, which is its body, is now unconscious and sleeping in the depths of the Abyss. The same is true of the Demon King.”

Adrian crossed his fingers and frowned. The last joking expression on Ann’s face disappeared. She hugged her arms and bit her lower lip.

No one else asked a jokingly rhetorical question, and no one even made another sound. The two veteran warriors of Tumbleweed simply cast their emotionally drained eyes over to him, gesturing for him to continue.

“That’s why Nemo was able to see through Dylan’s identity and tell me. In fact, he… after he discovered this, his first reaction was to tell you. I stopped him, and the fundamental problem with this matter lies with me.”

Oliver squeezed the delicate handle of the teacup tightly.

He had no reservations, from when Nemo began to suspect that he was the Demon King, to when Nemo sacrificed himself to send the reconnaissance team out of the explosion of the destruction array. Oliver explained everything in full. His voice was smooth, and his narration was skillful and organized.

As if he recalled it millions of times.

“…I can understand that.”

While Oliver picked up the teacup and moistened his throat with cold tea, Adrian spoke. He tried to digest the information that had just entered his brain, and it gave him a headache like a blade poking into his head—just bearing the identity of Jesse Dylan, his mind was already struggling on the edge of chaos.

“If you inform me of this in advance, I must report it to the Holy Church. Assuming that Mr. Light is really the Demon King I know, he can’t be stopped by just one person. Even if the person of prophecy really appears…”

Having said that, he frowned and looked at Oliver.

Ann didn’t speak. She was expressionless, and the fingers of her right hand, holding her arm, gently tapped her upper arm.

“He didn’t lie about Nemo Light,” Jesse finally spoke. “Also, you two, more or less, have caught on, right? Guided by the ‘king’, blessed by the ‘gods’, following the “star” light—Now all three of us are at this table. Mr. Ramon is the man the Laddism Church has been looking for.”

Then the beast licked his nose.

“…I should have said that. But I don’t want to give you false hope—everyone remembers the Bluebirds of Vincent Town, and the prophecy can be rewritten.”

Oliver suddenly raised his face. “False hope?”

“You see, until now, you haven’t had the heart to tell them the reality. Let me do it. Don’t talk about our dear leader now, even I am not Mr. Light’s opponent.”

“False hope… Because the prophecy may only be aimed at the Demon King who is a ‘flesh’, does it not include the body of the Demon King?” Ann asked with a stoic expression. Her tone was as if she was engaged in a real negotiation. “I want to know the details.”

The female warrior no longer showed all her emotions carelessly. At the moment, her sharp temperament had been absorbed, and Oliver couldn’t see her feelings at the moment.

“Wait.” Oliver stretched out a hand and interrupted Ann’s questioning.

“Next, I want to say a very important thing. Regarding Nemo’s ontology, personally, I don’t want you to know. I’m just here to tell the truth. That’s enough. We may be able to skip this topic.”

The icy-blue beast pupil turned around and looked at him with interest.

“You know who Jesse is—It’s enough to know that you have fought with God,” he repeated.

“I want to understand, no matter what it is.” Ann insisted, “Oliver, I can probably guess your concern. It was because of this that your father lost his fighting spirit, right? But I think… no, I need to know.”

Then she turned to Adrian’s direction. “Cross, this is my personal problem. I don’t want to involve you; you can avoid it.”

The knight commander didn’t move. He sat quietly in his position, not looking like he was going to get up.

Ann moved her eyebrows and turned to Jesse’s direction again. She cleared her throat, raised her chin, and her tone was neither humble nor overbearing. “To be honest, personally, I’m not that curious. I don’t want to know the true appearance of the Demon King at all—but now I need to be responsible for the people in this land. Even if we are all just, um, humble people.”

“Please tell me, Jesse Dylan,” she insisted on not calling him “Zenni” with a little hardened pride.

This time, Oliver didn’t try to stop Jesse from speaking again.

“Land? Under the rock formation of more than two dozen kilometers, his body is there.”

Seeing that Oliver was unresponsive, Jesse shook his fluffy tail and continued the interrupted topic without the usual schadenfreude in his voice.

“You and your subjects are stepping on his body, Miss Savage.”

God’s explanation was quite simple, and Jesse directly displayed part of the information in the air.

In the illusion, the white monster curled up tightly, not as quiet as a living thing. Several wide wings cover the back, like petals covering a flower bud, with an inorganic beauty. At this size, the soil layer covering it was almost too thin to be visible, and the entire surface was like a colorful sheet of sugar paper.

Oliver noticed the obvious difference—different from what he had seen. In the picture shown to the two of them, Jesse Dylan hid his physical appearance.

For the next half hour, the meeting was deadlocked.

Adrian Cross stared into the void, obviously lost in thought, and Ann still didn’t show the slightest emotion. She just turned her head sideways and looked through the large window of the conference room to the golden leaves swaying and flashing in the wind outside the window.

The two veteran warriors didn’t scream or collapse. The two of them were just mixed with a little ash-like silence in their temperament, and their bodies were motionless like stone carvings.

Jesse glanced at the knight commander in front of him a few times, and his tail swayed even more anxiously.

Oliver didn’t say a word anymore. He held the teacup that had already been emptied and waited quietly for his companion to come back to their senses.

He knew the possible psychology of his companions. They all thought that what they saw of the world was all that they had seen.

The sky wouldn’t fall, and the earth wouldn’t crack. People had inexplicable self-confidence and believed that they could get through each day as they deserved. Most of the things to worry about were wars and epidemics. As for those earth-shaking, apocalyptic disasters, they only existed in the absurd stories of the bards.

They firmly believed that they would die in an ordinary way, and they rarely really thought about the crimes they had committed.

But reality would not cease to exist because people chose not to see it. The monster he loved had been curled up under the ground for billions of years, and he had only just learned this a few days ago before he even had enough time to collect his thoughts and stepped onto the surface.

Children ran by laughing in front of him; vendors drove carriages, worried about business; young people kissed behind the bushes and hugged each other carefree, but he looked at the land under his feet, wondering if the world would be doomed in the next second.

The ignorant were fearless, but those who didn’t understand fear may live more safely and happily.

How cruel.

Seeing that the time was about half an hour and the silence was spreading indefinitely, Jesse took the lead in speaking.

“Mr. Light is not the first Pillar of the World I have ever seen. To be precise, he is the second one. Oliver Ramon, I have seen a very similar situation, but last time, the ‘God of Nature’ who was born unexpectedly like you didn’t have the slightest love for the Pillar of the World.”

The white beast habitually showed its fangs, but then he seemed to think of something, and immediately retracted his teeth, looking a little uncomfortable.

“Then what?” Oliver snapped the teacup in his hand, but the fragments failed to scratch him.

“Unlike the cautious Mr. Light, the Pillar of the World once slept for so long that it failed to find that the life that broke the upper limit of power had appeared. You should know by now that as a true kindred spirit of the world—if you want, your utilization rate of power will be dozens of times higher than that of Light and myself. The same was true of that ‘God of Nature’.”

Jesse’s voice was cold and calm.

“That newborn ‘God’ couldn’t wait to become stronger, and then discovered the truth of the world like you. He was frightened and desperately extracted the power of life on the surface, trying to kill the Pillar of the World that was still sleeping as soon as possible to ensure that the world would last for a long time. Ah, the “surface” over there regarded him as a hero and the last hope.”

Oliver clenched the fragments in his hand unconsciously. Adrian was still thinking, but Ann’s gaze retracted from the window and turned to the side again.

“He did succeed, diving from the surface for several years to set it up. The newborn God completed a spell destructive enough, like a potent poison. Something like a drug. Under the gaze of all those with power on the surface, he activated the spell—and that spell hurt the Pillar of the World.”

Jesse narrowed his eyes.

“It woke up, writhed in pain, and twitched for a long time before it died. Long enough to completely crumble the thin layer of rock on its body to powder.”

“……”

“Yes, that world was destroyed, so as a spectator, I had to leave that huge corpse and look for the next world suitable for survival. This time I was supposed to watch from the sidelines until the end.”

The long white tail intentionally swept over the direction where the knight commander was.

“As someone who has been here, let me give you a piece of advice, Oliver Ramon. You don’t want to hurt the Pillars of the World underground, but you also want to ensure the peace of the surface, right? What a greedy guy.”

“If you really want both, then don’t continue to become stronger, don’t continue to fight, and don’t develop your dependents. Now it seems that with the Pillar of the World possessing all the memories of Nemo Light, you still have a bit of hope—at least in Light’s memory, your image has always been restrained and gentle. Don’t spoil this information.”

“If, just if, the one underground still has a little bit of logic close to feelings, he might look at that memory and not immediately regard you as a threat. Your best choice is to ‘do nothing’.”

Oliver clenched his fists. The fragments in his palm finally stung him, and the bright red liquid slowly oozed out along the gap in his fist.

“…If you are willing to give up everything for the so-called ‘true love’, you will not be here now to have a meeting with your team members. You should have rushed to the bottom of the Abyss regardless of it and confirmed Mr. Light’s situation.”

Seeing that the other party didn’t answer, the god on the surface added mercilessly.

“You know very well in your heart, Mr. Ramon—you know the fact that ‘Nemo Light is probably gone’.”

“No.”

Oliver squeezed the fine porcelain pieces out of the wound one by one and opened his mouth firmly.

“Because I promised Nemo that if he really wants to destroy the surface, I will kill him. You are right, Dylan. I want to rush to there right away. I want to say, ‘I believe my Nemo must still be there’… I still believe so.”

“Trust is a good thing, but reality will not respond to my wishful trust.” The leader of Tumbleweed looked at the old scars on his hand that had already healed. Those were the scars left to him by the Withered Castle that he stubbornly kept.

“Since I made a promise to him—there’s no point in shouting trust at this time. It’s my obligation to consider the worst possibility.”

This is no longer a matter between him and Nemo. Whether he wanted it or not, the “world” has become a bargaining chip. This chip was too heavy, and it made his heart ache.

He couldn’t even abandon himself easily and escape from this game.

Just as he had dreamed when he was a child, he eventually became a “Hero” who could influence the world, but this made him so miserable that he couldn’t breathe.

“With all due respect, whether you admit it or not, now you and the ‘Demon King’ are playing a game. The worst part is that you can’t see your opponent’s chess pieces. You can only feel what you have lost on your side.”

Jesse wagged his tail harder, obviously not satisfied with Oliver’s answer.

“If you choose to ‘become stronger’, strong enough to kill your opponent, you must plunder a lot of power from the Demon King. The Pillar of the World will be aware of this plunder—guess how he will respond? Let me tell you, once he recognizes you as a real threat, he will immediately rush to the sun.”

“Take a step back. There’s really a miracle happening, Nemo Light’s feelings are still there. Guess how he will react? As I said before, he probably needs to choose between ‘Oliver Ramon’ and ‘Other Life on the surface’—if he thinks you are going to attack him, and he’s not sure that you can kill him with one blow, in order to maintain the existing civilization on the surface, he’ll request to have a deathmatch with you.”

The white behemoth specially emphasized the pronunciation of “miracle”.

“Of course, of course. If you want, it’s okay for one party to take the lead in giving up their life, but that is probably not the ending that the two want. Let me say it again, Mr. Ramon. The current calm is a good thing. Your best choice is to ’do nothing’, and then pray that the Pillar of the World will ignore your existence.”

Oliver was silent for a long time this time.

“I can’t pray.”

A few minutes later, he replied thusly.

“…I won’t use death to escape.”

Adrian raised his head and stared at Oliver steadily. Ann sighed for a long time. “Do you have any ideas, captain?”

“Not yet.” Oliver stood up, walked in front of Jesse, and looked directly at the blue beast’s pupils. “But I will think of it.”

“I only know one thing, and that is that I am not strong enough to fulfill my promise. A simple question—at present, I’m the only one who has the potential to kill him and end the possibility of destruction, right?”

“Yes.”

“Very good.” Oliver touched the hilt of the Rest in Peace with his right hand. “Then there is only one choice for me—in any case, I need to become stronger. Jesse Dylan, I need your help.”

The white behemoth finally lifted his chin from the round table. He twitched his nose and thought for ten minutes.

“Yes, but you might be killed by me first,” the beast said carelessly, “Even so, are you willing?”

“Yes.”


The author has something to say:

In fact, this is not a question of simply rushing down to save Nemo. _(:””∠)_

The information between them is transparent~ If Ollie isn’t strong enough, he may be killed by the Demon King just by looking at the situation (.

Naïve trust… He has already fallen once, and this time the price is too high.


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