Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 281: A Long Time Ago and A Long Time Later
“In 913, the Blood Queen of Alban, Andrea Alasdair, abdicated. She took away her lover, Gallagher Salter, and left the royal city to live an adventurous life. She finally died in 968 at the age of ninety-seven.”
“For this king… So far, historical evaluations have been mixed, and people haven’t reached a more unified conclusion. She has been in power for less than ten years, relying on the murder of her elder brother to take the throne, and what she has done was only the beginning of reform. After her, Queen Delia Alastair was the one who pushed Alban to the top. If it comes to merit, now, the biggest achievement of the Blood Queen was to invest in the Dawn Tavern, the predecessor of ‘Corona’.”
The old professor’s face was serious. He pushed up his glasses and tapped the chalk twice on the blackboard.
“In other words, in theory, she was one of the founders of today’s ‘Corona’. To this day, the Alastair family is still our important investor. Of course, everyone knows that the real founders of ‘Corona’ are Eddie Lopez, Renard Lopez, and Olivia Lopez. They are also descendants of the Hero Godwin Lopez, and they could be regarded as the origin of the ancient exorcist family.”
“I hate the Lopez’s.” Under the podium, a curly-haired young man with freckles complained in a low voice. “Well, I admit that the history of their family is indeed long enough, but nowadays, ‘Corona’ is no longer the private property of their family.”
The newcomer sitting next to him secretly playing on his phone looked up and raised his eyebrows at him.
On the podium, the old professor coughed twice and continued. “From 921 to 1021, it was called the ‘Golden Century’. During that period, more and more people received the ‘Favor of the God of War’. Although there were small-scale wars in some regions, the countries of the world were in a relatively peaceful state. The surface expedition was confirmed to have disappeared, and in order to find a substitute for bone jade, many research institutions and educational institutions quickly emerged. The two oldest of them, the Gatekeepers and Clementine Academy, have reached their peak in the Golden Century.”
“This brings us to one man, Prince Hayden, husband of Queen Delia Alastair. He officially became president of Clementine University—then known as the Royal Military Academy of Clementine— At the age of fifty-one, and with the Queen’s support, Prince Hayden made radical changes to Clementine University.”
“How boring. Hey, over there.” The curly-haired youth yawned widely. “Corona is at least the strongest exorcism institution. I was beginning to think we’d be thrown into the death testing ground—Ugh, in short, it’s just a similar place. You said we had a hard time getting into Corona and up comes a bunch of dry history lessons. That’s not quite right, is it?”
“The Gatekeepers will do that type of test.” The newcomer shrugged his shoulders, still texting on his phone. “Isn’t it good to be more stable?”
“We are here to fight!” Curly hair snorted dissatisfiedly. “Not to mention anything else, at least as far as these courses are concerned, the Lopezes must have learned them long ago. See? The seat over there is empty, and Lopez must have gone to training. He’s already the first in this class, and if this goes on, our gap will only grow.”
“Not necessarily.” The dark-haired newcomer’s tone was a bit more comforting. “Exorcists must act in groups of two, and partners are also very important.”
“You don’t understand anything.” The curly-haired young man fiddled with the fountain pen in his hand. “The people in their family are all lone wolves here. One of them counts as two. When the exorcist license is officially obtained, their family will assign one specifically for him within the family.”
“…Is that so,” the newcomer responded, now sounding particularly surprised.
“I also want to be the top exorcist and get the title of ‘Aurorae’. For seven consecutive generations, ‘Aurorae’ has been a member of the Lopez family.” Curly hair lay on the table in frustration. “Alas, you’re right. In short, first find a reliable partner… Hey, hey! The professor is looking at you!”
It was a pity that this reminder came a bit late.
“Mr. Light, please put your phone away. Yes, you are in second place in the overall score, but as far as I know, you only scored 5 points on your ‘History of the Rise and Fall of Alban’.”
The old professor cleared his throat heavily, but he didn’t sound really angry.
“Those 5 points still depend on the fact that you didn’t turn in a blank paper. Generally speaking, under the topic of ‘the merits and achievements of the Blood Queen, Andrea Alastair‘, it is impossible to score an answer like ‘she likes to eat baked meatloaf a lot’.”
There was a burst of suppressed laughter in the lecture hall.
The curly-haired young man took a breath from his teeth and turned his head to look at the newcomer beside him. The handsome black-haired young man just smiled with a complicated expression, then lowered his gaze, looking a little distracted.
Hearing the professor’s name, the curly-haired young man, Bean Leonard, naturally knew who the newcomer was.
Among the newcomers who entered Corona for training this year, in addition to the descendants of the Lopez family, who ranked first in overall results, Nemo Light was one of the people tied for second place.
He originally thought that the guy with such a scary combat performance had to be two meters tall, but it turned out that Mr. Light was much more elegant and harmless than he thought. As for the other person tied for second place, he heard some news at lunch—Oliver Ramon took leave early today, and he wasn’t sure what he was doing.
Right now, Nemo was apparently done fuming as he spread his book out in front of him in a decent manner and continued to tap his fingertips quickly on the glass screen of his phone.
Nemo’s movements were not big, and they weren’t small. Bean glanced at the ring on the ring finger of the other party’s left hand.
As the most outstanding group of alternate professional exorcists, Bean was very confident in his dynamic vision. The style of the ring was antiquated, unlike the old style, it was probably an antique.
That was definitely very valuable. It seemed that Mr. Light, who was of unknown origin, should have a big family behind him. Maybe it was some famous precious daughter who fell in love with this handsome and powerful young man and they got engaged early…
Bean locked his gaze on the ring and began to use his imagination to pass the boring history class. However, the object he was looking at almost immediately stopped typing information on the phone, raised his eyebrows slightly, and cast his gaze back.
Bean reacted a few seconds later. “Hey, sorry. I just…”
“It’s okay, I don’t care.” Nemo shrugged and continued to look at the phone screen, zooming in on a photo of a light fixture.
“Are you chatting with your fiancée?” Bean lowered his voice curiously.
“Husband.” Nemo sounded in a good mood, again with no intention of continuing to listen to the class.
Bean almost fell to the ground. The chair under his ass made a tragic squeaking noise, and the old professor’s gaze floated over again.
“Oh, oh.” Bean quickly stabilized his body and responded dryly. At present, Laddism was highly popular and people’s tolerance for homosexuality wasn’t high, but if one thought about it, if Mr. Light’s lover could afford such an antique ring, he naturally didn’t care about the words of the little people.
Bean tightened his expression, turned to the podium, and tried to turn his attention back to the content of the class.
“…Just talking about the changes in Clementine University, the research room of Clementine University has provided very important technical support for ‘Corona’. I believe you have all heard that no matter which Dawn Tavern you go to around the world, you can find at least one researcher from Clementine University.”
The old professor continued slowly.
“In comparison, the Gatekeeper’s side…”
‘Still no good,’ Bean thought in a daze. Sunlight poured into the spacious lecture hall, and fine dust floated and flickered in the air. The temperature was just right. The old professor’s voice was soothing, like a lullaby, and the slow words and sentences finally merged into a buzzing sound that was getting farther and farther away from him. Bean’s head was becoming heavier in this comfortable environment, and finally the young exorcist decided to obey his heart, laid down on the table, and fell asleep without realizing it.
When today’s class was over, Bean wiped the saliva from the corners of his mouth, and when he looked around subconsciously, Mr. Light was long gone.
The sun was about to set.
The high-rise buildings in the lower city were dilapidated, and the managers had long left them alone. The elevator stopped running, and the water and electricity were inconvenient. This old group of high-rise buildings became a gathering place for the poor and criminals, and the dilapidated walls almost dyed the surrounding air gray.
As night fell, bright and slightly cheap lights quickly ignited. Among the many hurried and suspicious passersby, Nemo put his hands in his pockets and walked towards the building with the most concentrated lights with a clear goal.
A few months ago, there was an underground bar with understated but tasteful decor.
The sign placed at the entrance was still brand new. It was placed at the entrance of the descending steps. There was no superfluous, exaggerated lighting. Even so, under the lights of the rest of the shops, people could still easily see the words on the signs.
Nemo walked down the steps and opened the door of the bar casually.
Oliver was wearing a waiter’s uniform, wiping the glass carefully. Seeing his lover enter the door, he put down the soft cloth in his hand, walked around the bar, and gave the other party a kiss.
“Look, this is the lamp you chose during the day. Good vision, Nemo. It really looks better than the other one I showed you,” Oliver said in a pleasant tone. He put his left arm around Nemo’s waist, and his right hand pointed to the decorative lights on the roof of the bar.
“It’s much brighter here now.”
“Be careful of too bright environment to scare off customers.” Nemo smiled and shook his head, twisting his head and kissing Oliver on the cheek in the process.
This lamp was really good.
Under the soft light, even the skeleton helmet hanging on the wall looked like an ornament bought from a high-end store. Just like other bars, large or small, there were many photo frames hanging under the helmet. The photos inside looked old, but they were all well preserved.
The content of the middle photo was odd—four old-fashioned people standing in a pile of weird lizard tails. Except for the one in a monk’s uniform with a tight expression, the other three were all smiling.
His gaze stayed on that photo for a long time before Nemo let out a long sigh. “…Where’s Adri?”
“Adri will be late. After all, after the entry procedures, he has to have a drink with his new colleagues—well, he probably won’t really drink. As for Jesse, God knows which nightclub or church he’s hanging out in, but he will definitely come with Adri.”
“As a reliable ‘informant’, Jesse shouldn’t rush into the welcome party of the new police chief,” Nemo murmured, a little more uncertain in his voice. “…Will he?”
“…” Oliver obviously decided to remain silent about it.
“The guests are here!” The gray parrot jumped up on one end of the bar. “If you two don’t get ready, you’ll just have to supply them with my leftovers.”
Nemo flicked the grey parrot’s head and then snapped his fingers. The dark shadows gathered in the corner, gradually turning into a multi-armed humanoid, and then obediently penetrated the back kitchen.
“Thank you for reminding me, Bagelmaurus. Ollie, you receive the guests first, and I’ll change clothes.”
Night was officially coming.
In this dark and dangerous corner, people walking on the edge of darkness were very curious about this new bar. Although in history, the Dawn Tavern was one of the famous sanctuaries for demon worshippers, after the birth of the exorcist agency “Corona”, it gradually became the exclusive intelligence agency for exorcists, and it had long been unsuitable for real marginal people.
This kind of underground bar in the corner of the “Junkyard” was often more popular.
The style of “Tumbleweed” had not been affected by the chaos around it, which meant there must be a terrifying backer behind it. Not to mention, this bar wasn’t even equipped with cameras or any other surveillance equipment.
The only downside was that there were only two young male waiters in this modest bar.
Although gender may not be so important to people living in the lower city, the faces of the two male waiters were also quite outstanding. It was a pity that they hadn’t heard of anyone who had successfully wiped the oil* so far.
*Referring to taking advantage (usually of women) in public.
But with good, not-too-expensive wine and a relatively safe place to talk, one could accept this small regret.
Tumbleweed quickly filled up.
“It’s really terrible. Bob was killed by that thing on the spot, and his skull had to be crushed into oatmeal.” The fat man near the window snorted. “If it weren’t for my fast running at the time, I might have died and wouldn’t have lived to tell the tale. It’s in the underground parking lot. Tell your people to stay away from that shithole.”
“God, isn’t Bob’s demon quite strong? I remember it was intermediate—”
“Who the hell knows what’s going on! That thing also looked like a human being, with arms hanging to the ground and hands that could hold my head tightly. It moved so fast that I couldn’t see clearly. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to stop and wait to see if it cast a spell. Then again, it’s true that the thing had the aura of a demon, but I’ve never seen that type of demon… Hey, kid, what are you listening to?”
“Wine for the two of you.”
Nemo’s voice was soft and his smile was very decent. He took the glass from the tray and adjusted the collar of the waiter’s uniform.
“I think you have met a demon warlock. Sir… Are you interested in exchanging information?”
The author has something to say:
This novel is officially coming to an end here. In the future, Western Magic will basically extend this worldview, so everyone in Tumbleweed still has a chance to appear, don’t worry XD
Thank you to everyone who read all the way to here, and thank you everyone who helped promote it on Weibo. I didn’t expect to receive so much recognition at all. I was really moved to tears. (;ω;)
Because except for the first few days (.) There was basically no saved manuscript, and sometimes I had to work overtime in a rush to write. I know very well that there are still a lot of flaws… Thank you for your tolerance.
There is nothing to say about this, only continuous learning and practice. I will try to make the next book better~
The pre-collection of the next book, “Happy Doomsday” can be seen in the author’s column!
② Although I don’t know if it is necessary, let’s talk about it. Raising gray parrots in my country requires permission from the Forestry Administration, otherwise it is illegal (whisper)
【A little summary postscript】
“Stray” was published on March 31st last year, and it has been updated continuously since April 11th. The data was recorded at the beginning, and on April 30, when the serialization of the article was completed for a month, the collection was about 10.
It is false to say that it was a hit (……
I still remember the period of many chapters with 0 comments in the first volume. hhh careful readers can find that I didn’t write much at first._(:””∠)_
Here, I really thank the readers who accompanied me in the first place. Without you, I really don’t have the confidence to survive. At that time, while relying on the idea of “at least there are still people reading”, I liked the subject matter, and I was a little unconvinced, so I gritted my teeth and went down even more.
During that period, there were gradually more readers chasing the novel, and gradually they became my motivation to stick to it.
I had to work during the day, so it was quite tiring. Because there were also times when I was sad, but there were also happy moments too. In short, I am very satisfied to finish this novel. (;ω;)
Finally, thank you again for seeing you here and hopefully I can see you in my next work. XD
Well, that’s the end. I hope you enjoyed this novel. I think it’s great and I hope you do too. I’m really sad it ended as I would love to read a series of Nemo and Ollie’s adventures in modern times (like this chapter!). For those who have become fans of this author, I am translating another of her works: Happy Doomsday. Do check it out. Now that Stray is finished, releases for Happy Doomsday will now be daily. For those that like this kind of exorcism in a modern-day setting, Bu Tian Gang (my other project) is very similar to this. Do check that out as well, if that’s to your liking.
If you did enjoy it, please consider supporting the author by buying the raws. This is a seriously underrated book on jjwxc and could use your support for more visibility. I used Google Chrome with their auto translate and this guide on how to buy novels on jjwxc. Remember, only with your (financial) support can artists continue to produce more great works.
As seen in the author’s note, if it weren’t for buyers who supported her, she might not have finished this masterpiece, so please do give her your support!
I like to thank everyone for your comments, encouragement, help with my translations, and ko-fi donations. It in part fuels my motivation to release so frequently and try to finish this novel as soon as possible, which was certainly quite a feat as this novel has 281 chapters and over 1.2+ million Chinese characters.
Finally, in consideration for my next project, I’m looking for someone who can read Chinese and is well versed in the xianxia setting (understand terminology, technique, ect.) to help me with my translation. I’ll be mainly needing your help on things that I get stuck on and need a second translation opinion on, mainly because of the xianxia setting, and also guidance on xianxia things in general that I might not understand. If you’re willing, please contact me. I promise I’ll try my best not to bother you too much with my inquiries.
With that, I do have one last treat. This is an extra extra from the author’s blog where she writes mini updates for her characters (usually on special holidays). It’s not officially on jjwxc, but I’ve decided to translate it. She usually updates this yearly, so check back each year on those special days for a new update.