Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 249: Companions
Oliver extinguished the light in the bedroom. It was late at night, and the lights in Doru, the capital of Alban, were gradually fading. The stars twinkled in the azure night sky, and the moonlight illuminated the complex decorations in the room. The silver statue of Zenni on the table glowed with a hazy white light.
Sighing, focusing the strength in his eyes, Oliver looked out the window again…
The true appearance of the world was once again revealed. The monster that obscured the sky was still there. The sky turned into terrible darkness, and in a flash, there wasn’t a single star left.
Oliver thought for a few seconds and closed the thick curtains.
The guest rooms of the royal castle were several levels higher than the dormitories of Clementine Academy. The beds were soft and comfortable, and lying on them was like floating on warm water. The elegant aroma of a sleep aid lingered at the end of his nose, but Oliver wasn’t drowsy. He habitually touched his side, and there was nothing on the cool sheets.
There is no other breath around, no familiar warm body.
Although physically and mentally exhausted to the limit, he still couldn’t sleep. Unlike when he escaped from the Withered Castle, he wasn’t afraid of being swallowed by nightmares. Now he couldn’t even dream anymore.
Oliver opened his eyes wide in the dark, looking at the exquisite embroidery on the bed curtain. After going over and over for more than ten minutes, he sat up, simply put on his nightgown, and left the room.
There was a kitchen on standby all day in the royal castle for guests from various countries and customs. There was a restaurant not far from the guest room area. Although he wasn’t hungry, Oliver still wanted to find something to do.
Once he was free, the memories in his mind began to roll uncontrollably. Emptiness coursed through his bloodstream, corroding his veins and internal organs, while sucking away his tears. He had to find something to make himself feel better, so he no longer felt like a completely cold and empty shell.
For example, a bowl of soup or a glass of hot milk.
He pushed open the embossed, brightly stained-glass wooden door, only to find that he wasn’t the only visitor to the small restaurant.
The new king of Alban, Andrea Alastair—or Ann Savage—was sitting at a table in the corner, pouring wine glass after glass.
The table was full of empty bottles, and the waiter next to her nervously tried to clean it up, but Ann casually waved him away at will.
“Many thanks but stand down. I’m used to it.” She sounded very sober and in a low mood. “You don’t need to worry about these. Five more bottles of ale, plus a little crispy cornbread and dried bacon, and add extra pepper to the cornbread.”
The waiter was shocked by the king’s thanks and coyly retreated. Ann sighed fiercely, knocked on the empty bottle with her fingers, looked around casually, and caught a glimpse of Oliver.
“Captain.” She reluctantly smiled and raised her hand as a greeting. “Sit.”
Oliver pursed his lips and sat down opposite Ann.
Ann tugged at the corners of her mouth and pushed the bottles of wine on the table to the wall, barely clearing an empty area on the table. There were still some unfinished fried nuts on the table, and she pushed the small plate to the center.
“I remember you can’t drink,” she muttered, “Would you like something else?”
“Wine’s fine. Now if I don’t want to get drunk, it won’t let me get out of control.” Oliver took a clean wine glass for himself.
Although he wanted to get drunk as hell, he had countless things to do next besides the necessary sleep, leaving no time for indulgence and decadence.
The female warrior didn’t say much. She picked up the silver bell in the corner of the table, attached magic, and shook it gently. “In addition to the things just ordered, add a bottle of light apple wine, and—”
“Fried mushrooms,” Oliver added softly.
“A plate of fried mushrooms.” She put down the bell after speaking.
“Thank you.” Oliver’s tone was solemn.
“It doesn’t take much effort.”
“It’s not thanks for this but thank you for your willingness to provide us with this. After all, Abbas Alastair, he—” Oliver raised his eyes and his voice became more serious.
“Abbas was my favorite brother.” Ann threw a nut in her mouth and chewed on it. “He was the only normal elder in my shitty childhood. I do love him, just as you love your father.”
The teleportation array on the cart by the table lit up, and Ann brought a tray of wine and snacks that appeared out of thin air to the table and pushed the pile of wine bottles to the side against the wall.
“My father killed your mother and caused your father to suffer deeply, but you and Nemo didn’t leave me alone because of this. There is no need to put on that expression—yes, I know, the situation is different. The Demon King killed my brother, which I regarded as my enemy.”
Oliver’s fork was heading to the frying mushrooms when it stopped in mid-air.
“But it’s impossible for things like people’s hearts to contain only one emotion.” Ann smiled bitterly and took a sip of wine, “But I watched you guys walk all the way until now… How should I put it. You’re just like my brothers. I don’t know what the real Demon King looks like, but at least I admire Nemo Light.”
“Oliver, let’s put it this way. I don’t think my brother is an outright victim. It’s not like the Demon King’s counterattack was ‘wrong’, but to say, ‘I don’t mind Nemo killing my brother at all, and it’s all in the past’, that would also a complete lie—sorry, I don’t plan to lie to you about this, even if it will make you feel better.”
“I understand.” Oliver slowly chewed the fried mushrooms that burned his mouth a little.
Just as he would still be a little disgusted with the Alastair family—he knew very well that it wasn’t Ann’s fault, but every time he saw that surname, he still couldn’t help feeling irritated.
“Yes, if the mind understands the truth and the heart can keep up, then life will be much easier. Abbas is dead, and I have no right to forgive anyone for him. All this mess nowadays is just because I want to feel better in my own heart. Now that I know the original body of the Demon King … On the one hand, as the king of Alban, it is my duty to give support to the prophetic Hero.”
Ann had a piece of jerky in her mouth, and her voice was muffled. She raised her head. Her amber eyes weren’t clouded by alcohol, and they were still extremely sharp.
“On the other hand… As a friend, if you want to make this matter clear in a dignified manner, I want Nemo Light to talk to me face-to-face. Until then, I won’t give you any answers.”
The Queen of Alban paused for a few seconds, put down the glass heavily, and emptied the bottle at hand…
“So Oliver, I will give you all the support you want. In exchange, you have to promise me that you will bring that bastard to me.”
Oliver’s lips quivered a little as a thousand words rushed to his throat.
He just barely squeezed out a “yes” in the end.
“Let’s have a toast next.” Ann shook the full wine glass in her hand. “The thought of being a flea on a giant dragon, and this dragon is planning to take a magma bath… I just want to throw away the throne immediately, take Delia, and spend all my money to have some crazy fun. Unfortunately, like I said—I have a pretty good idea of my little conscience, but I at least have to face it.”
“To psychological trauma.” Oliver laughed, took a few sips of apple wine that caused his face to flush to the naked eye.
“To psychological trauma, but speaking of psychological trauma, that bastard Dylan… I will go and have a good talk with Salter tomorrow. Religious expenses should be cut.”
This sentence was like a summoning spell. The door of the small restaurant opened again, and a head squeezed in, followed by a huge hairy body.
Although the door wasn’t small, the door frame still made an overwhelming, cracking sound.
Jesse Dylan still maintained the appearance of a behemoth. He glanced at the two people in the corner, swept away a table and chair unceremoniously with his tail, and then tapped the ordering bell with the tip of his nail.
“A bucket of mead, fifteen pounds of butter cookies,” he requested solemnly, “and ten pounds of candied berries.”
“…Can you restore your human form, Dylan?” Ann gritted her teeth, “I’m starting to miss you before.”
The huge beast glanced at her faintly and didn’t respond. The mead was sent up first, and Lord Zenni bit open the lid of the barrel, and then directly inserted his long mouth into it.
“I thought he was going to lick it, alright? I really hope that the old coots of the Laddism Church can see this scene with their own eyes,” Ann commented without emotion.
Just as Jesse was drinking mead and waiting for his dessert, the door of the restaurant was opened again.
Adrian Cross looked speechlessly at the god who stuck his head in the barrel, the Queen of Alban, who was almost buried by wine bottles, and the insomnia Hero, who sipped on fruit wine without saying a word.
“How rare. You would actually come here at this time, Cross.” Ann hiccupped.
The former commander of the Knight of Judgement was amazingly self-disciplined. If conditions permitted, Adrian tended to go to bed on time at ten, yet the current time was close to three in the morning.
“Can’t sleep.” Adrian was very honest. “I saw Bagelmaurus while walking. It’s not in a good mood. I want to order some biscuits…”
The cookies Jesse asked for were packed in a large plate that was supposed to hold a roast pig. It piled into a golden pile, almost crushing the cart, but for some reason, he was still burying his head in the barrel.
Adrian naturally walked to the corner and sat down beside Oliver. He put the sluggish gray parrot on the table and touched the white fluffy tail beside him.
Jesse swept his tail to the other side in an instant, and the sound of drinking suddenly became loud.
The former Chief Justice smiled and didn’t say much. He poured himself a glass of water. “Mr. Ramon, please be restrained. I remember you have arrangements for tomorrow.”
“Nn.” Oliver agreed less than crisply, with a hint of uncertainty. “Mr. Cross…”
“I will not report to the Holy Church.” Adrian obviously guessed Oliver’s question.
The pointed ears of the behemoth exposed outside the barrel slowly stood up.
Adrian cracked a nut and handed it to the grey parrot. “Don’t get me wrong. My thoughts have not changed. I will not pretend to know because Mr. Light or you are my companions.”
“If this news leaks, according to the current situation, I believe the surface will be more inclined to execute you now. Once you are executed, and the Demon King won’t give up his plan to destroy the surface, or the still conscious Mr. Light becomes angry as a result, the consequences will be unimaginable. This is my judgement as a knight.”
“Why? Shouldn’t the surface offer Ramon up?” The gray parrot pecked at the nuts absent-mindedly.
Ann stretched out her fingers and rubbed the grey parrot’s head. “No, even if the Pope of the Laddism Church is willing to shelter Oliver, if someone spreads the news to the masses… A rebellious human caused the Demon King to want to destroy the surface. That vague prophecy will probably change from a ‘Prophecy of the Hero’ to a ‘Prophecy of the Destroyer of the World’. After all, in everyone’s concept, the Demon King has never really touched the surface.”
“Yes, the fewer people who know, the better.” Adrian nodded. “Even the Pope will have his own position. Even if his heart is in the right place, what he ultimately wants is stability in the world. According to the teachings of the Laddism Church, Mr. Ramon would most likely be asked to kill himself immediately as a way to ‘protect’ the surface and become a ‘saint’.”
Oliver only felt a little choked on the fried mushrooms in his throat.
It’s not that he hadn’t thought about this approach. If he and Nemo were just ordinary friends, if he hadn’t made that promise to Nemo, maybe he would really be willing to do so.
But not now.
“And that’s not fair,” Adrian continued, smiling in a rare moment. “This matter is not without a turning point. As your companion, Mr. Ramon, I can’t trust the Demon King, but I trust you.”
Oliver’s eyes reddened a little, and he took several large gulps of cider to suppress the sourness in his eyes.
“Thank you,” he said.
“The most we can give you is our will and material support.” Adrian slipped the gray parrot another nut. “Jesse’s the one who can really help.”
The behemoth’s ears instantly pressed back to his head.
“I know.” Oliver sighed lightly. “If it weren’t for him, it would be impossible for Nemo and I to have gotten together so soon.”
“Although it’s okay to forage for food somewhere else, it’s still pretty nice here.” Jesse finally pulled his head out of the barrel. He came out and licked the wet fur next to his long mouth. “But Ramon, I have to warn you. It’s too late for you to change your mind now. Once I start to help you gain strength, the Pillar of the World will definitely notice. He hasn’t moved yet, but once he does…”
He quickly glanced at Adrian, who was drinking water, and then began to eat butter cookies, creating cracking sounds.
Oliver, meanwhile, chewed on a fried mushroom and looked like he was thinking of something.
“I—I can go and check on Light’s condition,” the gray parrot suggested in a low voice.
“No.” Oliver immediately rejected it. “In case the rational part of the Pillar of the World… Well, in case the Demon King really dispels Nemo’s emotions, you may be killed by him immediately. Take a step back. Even if he doesn’t kill you, such a message will be unreliable.”
“You don’t trust me!” The gray parrot’s tone sounded aggrieved. “I—I’m not afraid of death. The corewen flat snakes are very good at escaping. I have the flesh of the Demon King in my body. He won’t go too far on me… right?”
“It’s because I trust you.”
Oliver stared at the tip of the silver fork in his hand.
“According to Dylan’s explanation, assuming that the Demon King devours Nemo’s will, he will have all the information related to Nemo.”
“Considering my feelings for Nemo, if the Demon King wants to minimize the loss, keep the surface and continue to study. Then he can pretend that ’Nemo is still there’, and possibly try to trap me alone.”
This almost cold guess made Ann’s mouth stop chewing on the jerky, and she looked at him with a bit of sadness in her eyes.
“I have to take into account all the circumstances,” Oliver murmured. “Bagelmaurus, you have the flesh of the Demon King, which is a very important card for us. Don’t be impulsive, okay?”
The grey parrot buried its head in its wings and stopped talking.
“Calm down and think about it, Dylan has a point.”
Although the alcohol in the fruit wine was steaming his brain, surrounded by clearly stated companions, Oliver had never been so sober.
“…As long as I start to absorb power, the Demon King will definitely find out. However, the surface is still very quiet at the moment, whether it is because Nemo is still there or because the Demon King has other plans. This is all a good phenomenon.”
The faint power came out from the leader of Tumbleweed.
“Since Dylan thinks that ‘not doing anything’ is the best solution—without considering the possibility that Nemo is still there, depending on the current situation, the Demon King may also be observing my reaction and trying to be cautious.”
Jesse nodded, swallowed the candied berries, and licked his nose.
“Then I can use this in turn to buy some time. I think I can find a way to look at the opponent’s chessboard to determine whether the opponent is the Demon King or Nemo.”
“But if you want to confirm Nemo’s situation, you must go to the bottom of the Abyss. That would be too risky.” Ann calmly pointed this out. “Listen to the gross… I mean, Dylan’s statement. If you want to do it, the safest way is to do it on the surface.”
“I know, but maybe there is a way to connect the surface with the bottom of the Abyss. I can spy on it myself.”
Oliver showed a sincere, nostalgic smile. “I used to talk to him like that.”
“If you mean Ulysses’ head.”
Jesse interrupted mercilessly and licked the sugar stuck to his nose again.
“That skull in Roadside Town could be regarded as how the Demon King was able to climb to the surface. From the moment Light came to the surface, it completed its mission, and the magic circuit began to fail. After all these years, it’s impossible for it to still have an effect.”
“…But that circuit did exist,” Oliver said. “It’s like a communication crystal that loses energy, right? If you find a way to inject power, there’s still a chance it’ll work.”
“That’s an abyssal spell. I’m afraid I can’t help you.” Jesse looked lost in thought, as if he was also thinking about the feasibility of this plan. “After all, it’s something made by the Demon King himself…”
“I think I know who to ask.” Oliver emptied his wine glass.
As it turned out, his target came to the door the next day himself.
“Thorne of the Steel Wolf?” Ann frowned at the servant who came to report. “That guy Fenrir has always come straight for me. Why—”
“I think he came to see me.” Oliver, who was already prepared, carefully inserted his Rest in Peace into the ukulele, and then carried it behind him.
“Let’s go, Ann. Let’s go meet Mr. Thorne… No, let’s go meet the Sage of the Abyss.”
The author has something to say:
Ollie: Since there is shocking information as a bargaining chip, why not ask the magical Tela?
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The poor waiter