Stray Ch275

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

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


Chapter 275: Ten Years Later — Part 3

Nemo recorded today’s account within five seconds and pressed the folds of the paper roll with the book in his hand. Then he took out the half-sewn stuff in the wooden table lattice and continued sewing—the ball of thread as material seemed to come to life, gently bumping around in the wicker basket.

Seeing that the shopkeeper didn’t mind, the demon worshippers not far away continued the dangerous topic.

“Someone made a wish.”

The old man who raised the two-headed demon crow lowered his voice even lower.

“You all know that statement, right? If you have a dangerous task that no one wants to take, or you can’t afford to pay, you can go to the Mercenary Guild to hang up a task and choose Tumbleweed when you designate a team.”

“I remember that designating a disbanded or non-existent team doesn’t count.”

“The horror is here. Some mission paper rolls were burned on the spot! The tasks were completed well, and the rewards were taken away—even those employers didn’t know how the prepared rewards disappeared.”

“…I’ve heard of it too. The most recent time was nearby, right? The whole village put together two gold coins and found someone to deal with a large area of out-of-control carnivorous magic vines. Two gold coins! A fool took this job. It’s said that the person entrusted at that time was illiterate, so he copied ten designated teams to be selected, and spelled ‘Poisonous Bell Grass’ into ‘Tumbleweed’*. The next day, the group of carnivorous magic vines disappeared from the village, and the two gold coins they had in their pockets disappeared… My cousin was in that village and told me the story.”

*Chinese for Poisonous Bell Grass (毒铃草) vs Tumbleweed (风滚草) for those wondering how someone could possibly mistake that for Tumbleweed.

“Nonsense.” Someone spoke up in a thick voice as he tore a piece of meat from a roasted chicken leg. “It’s all a mess of gossip! I tried it myself.”

“Have you tried?!”

“Yeah. Pretend to be miserable and exaggerate the tasks, but not all of them get picked up. It’s like the same style of a superior demon looking for prey. Compared with ghosts, it’s better to say that they were buried at the bottom of the Abyss and they all turned into superior demons.”

“George, get to the point! Did you really go to post the task?”

“Yeah. I pretended to be a thirteen-year-old girl and asked them to drive away a swarm of intermediate demons on my farm, claiming that they crossed the border to steal cattle and sheep and swallowed my parents alive—Don’t look at me like that. The farm and intermediate demons exist, so I was somewhat honest.”

“Tsk, tsk. That’s pretty damning.”

“It’s because people talk about the ghost of Tumbleweed every day and say that they burn the task paper scrolls immediately. My task is still posted on the Mercenary Guild, and nothing has happened at all.”

“But my cousin—”

“Don’t listen to what others are saying now. Do you really believe it? Why don’t you go to the Mercenary Guild to check? The remuneration I provided is low, so the task is definitely still there.”

“Then you have to be careful. If you don’t cancel it after a long time, you’ll pay a penalty, right?”

“Damn, I completely forgot about this. I will cancel it tomorrow when I have time.”

There was a pleasant sound of jingling bells, and the door of the tavern was pushed open again. With the chaotic experience just now, everyone stopped talking and swept towards the door subconsciously.

There were three guests this time.

The woman was dressed as a warrior and looked like she was in her forties, and she was full of dirt and dust. The female warrior was wearing light old leather armor and had a hunting spear on her back. She was slim and strong, seemingly in tip-top shape.

It looked like a woman who was still active. She was most likely a mercenary, but she didn’t wear any badges on her leather armor.

The man beside her looked slightly older than she was, wearing a sword that didn’t look like an ornament, but unfortunately, the chill of the murder weapon couldn’t hide his noble aura, as well as the faint smell of perfume that wasn’t low grade. The man’s long platinum-colored hair was braided into a neat and loose thick braid, hanging behind his head, and his lips were pursed in a line.

If you ignored the anger on his face, this swordsman’s temperament could be called mature and elegant.

Compared to the outfits and temperament of the two people, this woman was most likely to be the bodyguard of the male swordsman or was temporarily hired. In short, the two of them didn’t seem to come from any royal institution or religious army, so all the demon worshippers breathed a sigh of relief.

“Cow dung,” the male swordsman whispered angrily.

“I can’t guess the mood of that cow, let alone its gastrointestinal condition!” the female warrior shouted. “To be honest, I have burned cow dung to stay warm before. Mr. Mad Dog, I’m saddened by what happened to you, but unless you’re willing to fly all the way, in a small border town like this, you can’t help but get something you shouldn’t in the field.”

“Sad? If you hadn’t laughed wildly for two minutes before casting the cleansing spell, I would believe it…”

“All right, all right.” The female warrior held the swordsman’s face and kissed his lips, interrupting his unspoken words. “I apologize, my love. I shouldn’t have laughed so loudly—I will try to hold back next time.”

The swordsman’s face turned red like a tomato, and he didn’t say a word.

Standing next to the two of them, the young woman who had remained silent simply tsked.

The young girl had short, falling shoulder-length hair, a lady’s hat with wide edges on her head, and the upper half of her face was hidden in the shadow of the brim. Her breath was clean and quiet, her dress style was simple, and her color was low-key. Since entering the door, she had hung her head slightly, far less conspicuous than the two beside her.

A palm-sized spider lay on her shoulder, with its abdomen eyeballs whirring excitedly.

Everyone was relieved—spiders had obvious abyssal biological characteristics, so the young girl was probably a demon worshipper.

“The meatloaf is almost ready.” Nemo put down the knitting needle in his hand. “Ann, it’s your favorite flavor—the skin is crispy, and I added more coarsely ground pepper and crushed chili.”

“Long time no see, Nemo. Very considerate.” The female warrior’s tone was cheerful as she narrowed her eyes. “Give me a blank piece of parchment. Gallagher is too picky that it’s troublesome when ordering for him. What’s up? Cross and the others haven’t arrived yet?”

“The aura of those two is nearby. They are staying at a snack shop and should be here in a bit.”

Nemo handed over the pen and paper in both hands, and Gallagher stared at the hand vigilantly, huffing between clenched teeth.

Regarding whether he would mind if she told Gallagher the truth, Ann had asked Nemo after confirming her relationship with Gallagher. Gallaher’s performance at this moment didn’t surprise him too much.

“Delia, why are you…?” Nemo politely moved his gaze away from the nervous former “Wasteland Mad Dog” and continued to ask.

“Nothing has happened recently, so I came to look. I brought a teleportation spell parchment so I can go back to the royal capital at any time.” Making sure that her seat was hidden enough, Delia took off her wide-brimmed hat.

Cat Whiskers jumped down from her shoulders and circled around the table excitedly. Seeing Nemo approaching, it stretched out its two front feet and waved vigorously.

Nemo poked it gently with his fingers, and a black shadow rotated at his fingertips, condensing into a black ball that exuded the magical aura of the Abyss.

The excitable spider happily caught it and ate it.

“I want potato soup with light cream, boiled chicken with cauliflower, and a little bread,” Delia whispered to Ann, who was writing menu requirements for Gallagher.

“I heard that Alban and Willard signed a peace treaty last week.” Nemo waited patiently for Ann to finish writing and found a topic casually. “Mr. Salter. You’re no longer in the position of Marshal, but I thought…”

“I don’t need to be there; Quentin Leonard can already handle these things beautifully.”

Gallagher raised his chin slightly, and his facial muscles were still a little stiff.

“But with all due respect, you’d better think of a way. Mr. Leonard still always talks about Tumbleweed—when rumors came out that Tumbleweed was almost annihilated in the expedition because of greed, he gave himself an amplification spell and promoted the glorious image of Tumbleweed to his subordinate for a whole week.” Immersed in memories, Gallagher’s voice grew more disgruntled. “This matter came directly to my side and his deputy, Mr. Elmer, had to drag him back.”

Nemo scratched his head and smiled a little embarrassedly.

“Don’t think too much about it. It’s just a simple act of mourning, Mr. Light. Mr. Leonard guessed very accurately. He insisted that the members of Tumbleweed were superior in strength and wouldn’t die because of stupid greed. They just used this to fade out of the public eye. In recent years, the haunting of the “Tumbleweed Ghost” has made him more and more convinced of his guess—if it weren’t for the marshal’s duties that stalled Mr. Leonard, I think he would dare to run out to find you directly, and I have a hunch that he would find you.”

“Then we’ll have to wait for him to leave office.” Oliver walked out of the back kitchen and put a jug of juice on the table. “If he can really find us by then, we will tell him part of the truth.”

“I reserve my opinion.” Ann stuffed the written menu into Oliver’s hand. “…There’s no telling if he’ll know through other channels, like when I decided to tell Gallagher.”

Delia stopped pouring juice. Cat Whiskers stared at its owner with its abdominal eyeballs, and then froze in the air.

“No,” Delia said coldly. “I said that tomorrow I would break up with Wilhelm.”

“You said that the day before yesterday, the day before yesterday and yesterday.” Ann held her chin and pointed it out with a smile.

“That’s just…”

“That kid Hayden has a good temper. In my opinion, it’s a miracle that you can quarrel for three days straight.” Ann took a sip of her juice. “Seriously, what are you two arguing about? It’s hard to tell which one of you is busier. If that’s what this is about—”

“Ann!”

“Okay, let’s change the subject. Nemo, do you remember Hayden Wilheim? That kid just got off the battlefield and ran to Clementine Academy to be a professor of nursing.”

“Ollie and I planned to go to Clementine in a few years. In that case, we might be able to see him then.” Nemo poured himself a glass of juice and shook the cup. “But looking at the situation back then, I thought he would have something for Marilyn Lawler…”

The cold gaze of the current Queen of Alban swept over her in an instant.

“Chief Healer Marilyn Lawler. I know this person.”

There was no hostility in Delia’s voice, only respect.

“When Ann sent me to Clementine Academy, a few of them hadn’t graduated yet. Ms. Lawler is still unmarried and devotes all her time to research. At this point, I admire her very much.”

After that, Delia lowered her head and drank the juice intently, without meaning to speak again.

“Speaking of that group of people… Leonard’s deputy was Oliver’s roommate, Elmer. Do you have an impression? He got married last year, and he left a table for Tumbleweed at the wedding. I secretly glanced at it. He should have received the gift I left behind.”

Ann laughed softly, didn’t touch the pre-dinner juice, and stubbornly waited for the wine. “That stubborn boy actually drove away a guest who pointed to the table and asked him to remove it on the spot.”

Seeing as the topic continued, Nemo’s expression of mixed nostalgia gradually appeared sad, and Ann stopped talking. She reached out her hand and touched her face along the line of sight of the other party, feeling the small wrinkles carved into the corners of her eyes due to the years.

“Come on, let’s not mention this. I have to leave some topics for dinner for a while.” She tried to make her tone appear more relaxed.

Oliver leaned towards the back kitchen’s dining window and served the steaming meatloaf to the table. Nemo took a deep breath, threw an insulation spell casually, and left the table.

“You guys talk first, I’ll go and see what Dylan is doing in the snack shop. I’ll be back in a while.” Nemo smiled a little reluctantly this time.

“Ollie.” Before leaving, he called his lover with something to say, and Oliver nodded knowingly.

Ann stood up from the table after seeing Nemo leave through the door, smacking her lips to the seductive aroma of the sizzling baked meatloaf. “Show me the shop, Oliver. I’m afraid I can’t help but want a tour.”

“Of course.” Oliver glanced at Delia, who was sipping the juice gracefully, and Gallagher, who was sitting upright like a soldier with his lips tightly pursed.

The two first came to the wooden platform where Nemo was just now. After Oliver walked to the wooden platform, he pulled out a bottle of wine.

“That kid Nemo, it’s been ten years, and he still can’t even act. It’s about the thing you mentioned in the letter, right?” Ann put her elbow on the wooden platform and pretended to look at the bottle of wine. “I have thought of the answer.”

“Ann…” Seeing the familiar open smile on the other party’s face, Oliver was sure that he had tasted some kind of bitterness in his mouth.

“I don’t need to live too long.”

Ann brushed the dusty wine bottle with her fingertips, with a smile in her voice.

“Don’t look at Gallagher like that. I still like him very much. And Delia, I watch that child grow so big… I can’t imagine sending them away with my own hands. I know, maybe you can also give them a long life. But as I just said, Delia will also fall in love with others, and she is likely to have her own children. What will you do then?”

“Ollie, we’re humas, and we’re fragile. Relatives, lovers, friends… At least I can’t bear the endless loss. I can’t really forget the pain of leaving now. If I decide not to be sad about it anymore, I may not be considered ‘me’.”

She patted him on the shoulder.

“Humans have human time. In my opinion, a hundred years is enough. Presumably by now, you and Nemo should be able to appreciate a little, uh, the inconvenience of almost eternal life.”

“Ann, we…”

“You don’t need my guidance anymore, Mr. Hero. Don’t show that expression, I can’t be swayed. To be honest, I’m more worried about you two… Looking at you, Debby and Godwin also gave similar answers to that question.”

“……Yes.”

“It’s not surprising, after all, we know our boundaries. Hey, don’t act like I’m going to die in the next second! You know, I don’t have any great ambitions. I’m just an ordinary person who wanted to live and eat comfortably before I die. Now I have a nice lover by my side and a lovely niece who can let me enjoy my life to the fullest, which is much better than my most unrealistic dream.”

“What’s more, it can make you, um, amazing guys show this expression for me. I think this is a pretty perfect life—if you shed tears at my funeral, I won’t spare you.”

“Ann, if you change your mind, we will be here anytime.”

“Uh-huh, it depends on my mood then.”

Ann stretched out her hand and rubbed Oliver’s hair vigorously.

“Live well. On the plus side, two people are better than one person.”

She huffed gently.

“Oliver, I have known you two for a long time now. You are all very amazing guys, and I hope you can always maintain your current state of mind. Coupled with Bagelmaurus, Tumbleweed can maintain at least five members… Don’t let it really disappear, okay?”

There was another bell ringing at the door.

“Nemo!” Ann waved her hand and narrowed her slightly moist eyes. “…And you, Dylan, why are you so slow. I’m starving to death!”

Ann picked up the wine bottle and sat back down in her place.

“Can I start eating my meatloaf now?”


The author has something to say:

Mr. Leonard, the little nobleman of the academy arc, a hard-core fan (……

And unfortunately, not everyone will live for a long time. _(:з”∠)_

————

The next text is the final chapter—!


Kinky Thoughts:

Wow Ann got together with Gallagher! Delia with Wilhelm! I’m just so happy for everyone! The next chapter is the final chapter of this novel, followed by a few extras (*sobs* I don’t want it to end.)


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