Chapter 26: A Free Monk’s Judgement
"Of course I don’t know! He didn’t show his body like Pandorater. Don’t you know the principle of a superior demon’s possession at all?" Looking at the three vacant faces, the grey parrot suddenly became a lot more energetic. "The most we can bring to the earth’s surface is a small piece of our flesh. Do you hear me? A very small piece! Who can tell me where it came from! If we can move our entire body up, there would be no room for you humans to make trouble on the surface."
Having said that, it looked at Oliver wistfully, giving him goosebumps. "Why am I so unlucky? If I had caught Ramon in the first place, I would be…" It swallowed another nut, and its tone became more erratic reminisce of yearning. "Oh, what a talent! I’m so ignorant that I can’t ask for too much—"
Oliver stood up, grabbed the grey parrot, and stuffed it back into Nemo’s backpack.
"Why did I pick up a loser—" the parrot continued to express its feelings loudly in his backpack.
Nemo quickly tied up the knot at the mouth of the backpack.
"Let’s assume that it didn’t lie." Nemo ignored the gray parrot who had started swearing in his backpack. "If it’s really the worst case… then the other party should know that I’m a demon warlock."
"Believe me," Oliver said solemnly. "Judging from the recent situation, we always have to assume the worst."
"What do you think he’ll do?" Nemo poked the greasy scramble eggs on his plate with an iron fork, almost breaking it to pieces.
"I don’t know." Ann said, "Anyways, there are great differences in the personalities of superior demons that have been recorded. If you meet an extraordinary one, they might ignore us, but—"
"He has been pretending to be a human in a wheelchair for a long time, so he should be the more cautious type, no matter how he looks," Oliver added. "He must have done it for a certain purpose… maybe he would try to kill us."
The three of them held the tableware with a sigh as frustration brew among the table.
"Is it though?" Nemo suddenly realized something. "If he doesn’t want to be exposed, shouldn’t he be the first to kill Cross? Then find a chance to kill Mrs. Edwards, so that no one will question him."
"Your thoughts are treading dangerous territory…" Ann sighed faintly.
"It’s easy to explain why he can’t get rid of Cross," Oliver interrupted. "There’s the Wall of Sighs that was jointly established by the Cardinals on the side of the Heretical Judgement Hall. It’s said that it will isolate all inhumane things, and only people from the holy church can open it. It’s impossible for a superior demon to sneak in, unless it destroys the magic array with brute force. Before that, it’ll be discovered and surrounded by the Knights of Judgement. If it wants to remain undiscovered, it’ll never be stupid enough to attack the Heretical Judgement Hall."
"…You seem very knowledgeable." Nemo was taken aback.
"The Wall of Sighs is a very famous attraction, and I have always wanted to see it." Oliver scratched his head embarrassingly.
"But this doesn’t explain the situation with Mrs. Edwards." Nemo swallowed his scrambled eggs that had the same taste like wax. "She’s his mother. She should be more— Wait, Mrs. Edwards asked us to bring Cross out of the Heretical Judgement Hall. Could it be for…" he choked in horror and coughed violently.
"It makes sense." Ann frowned. "Superior demons never lack the ability to bewitched people. He could be controlling Mrs. Edwards… but why didn’t he post the task himself?"
"We still know too little, so we can’t guess the result." Nemo felt a little discouraged.
"In any case, we have to solve your problem first." Ann patted him on the shoulder. "I don’t want anyone to trigger the demon alarm when we’re passing through the Wall of Sighs." After that, she picked up her plate and shoved all the remaining boiled beans into her mouth.
"Eat quickly," she said with difficulty. "We have to visit a free monk."
Cahill Edwards— better yet to say something disguised as Cahill Edwards— pulled on the curtains, locked the door, and got up from the wheelchair. He walked lightly to the table, stroking his thin fingers through the air. Suddenly, all the walls in the room were printed with complex black magic formations, and a muddy crystal column slowly appeared from thin air in front of him.
"Vance." After the crystal emitted a vague green light, he spoke calmly. "Your little friend came to my door."
"What bad luck he has." Cahill stretched. After all, this body was human and prolonged sedentary still made him uncomfortable. "I promise you that I would not touch him because of your interest, but now I have to defend myself— this is my right. I don’t care what you think about the so-called Demon King. Light is at best the legacy of that monster. The debris will always be blown away by the wind. You have to know that."
"Do as you want. I remember that Hailam’s Blessing Festival is about to begin, so don’t make too much noise."
"Do you have any special interest in the other two?" Cahill asked. "You’re always interested in strange humans."
"No. As I said, you can do whatever you want, Della Leanne."
"Very well." Cahill— Della Leanne replied softly. "If I can get the remnants of the Demon King of out his corpse, I’ll take care of it, and give it to you as a souvenir."
"Then you should be careful." Vance’s indifferent voice came from the crystal. "You should know better than anyone how dangerous that power is, even if it’s just residual. I don’t need any souvenirs. If you want to take action, do it cleanly. If it corrodes your body, that’ll be a world of fun."
"Oh? How very considerate. Can I take this as you’re being caring?"
"Just to protect the diversity of species in the Abyss, and your stupid brain. As our archive, you’d better be a little conscious."
"I will not use other bodies to handle this matter."
"I hope so. Curiosity can kill more than just cats."
Cahill took a deep breath.
At the same time, in another part of this continent, an old man lying in the shade by a tree opened his eyes, a playful and cute girl picked up her skirt, and a middle-aged man who was dozing against a pile of books wiped off the saliva from the corner of his mouth. A female professor who was writing fast on a parchment put down the goose quill pen in her hand… Seemingly unrelated people raised their heads, showing the same gentle smile.
The same smile appeared on Thorne’s face of the Steel Wolf Mercenary Group. The red-haired young man blinked and used a brisk voice to talk to the people in the distance at the same time.
"But I live for curiosity, Vance," They murmured.
Nemo didn’t know that Oliver’s conjecture about "kill a witness to destroy their confession*" had become true. He was holding on to the glass window on the bustling street at this moment with someone else. Oliver was also fascinated as they both looked at a huge model of the universe through the glass window. The stars flickered and floated due to magic, making dazzling light marks in the dark. It filled the entire window with magnificence and splendor.
*(杀人灭口) Idiom referring to killing witnesses to destroy their testimony, thus eliminating the evidence.
"It’s just astrology!" Ann yelled dissatisfied. "Are you two twenty-three or three years old?"
"Three." Nemo retracted his hands and carefully wiped off the mark left by his palm on the glass. "Sorry, mom."
Ann’s eyebrows twitched, and a threatening lightning flashed across her fingertips.
Nemo stood up straight as soon as he saw this and grabbed Oliver, pushing him to the front aggressively. Once he got used to this hapless rhythm, he was able to squeeze out some good mood. Ann’s subtle indifference disappeared, and he could see that she had relieved some of her guard against them. This was a rare, good omen in the near future.
"I smell a bad smell." The grey parrot finally recovered from its sickly state and stood on Nemo’s shoulder again. "It’s the stench of human magic sticks!"
Nemo didn’t smell anything bad, but rather the opposite as they were standing in a small perfume shop that filled their nose with mysterious and light aromas. The shopkeeper looked about fifty, wearing a monk’s uniform without the badge of the holy church. He was sitting behind the counter, carefully wiping a glass vial.
The monks’ uniforms of the Radd Sect were very easy to recognize. They wore black robes with three narrow leather buckles on their high collar, that tightly wrapped the monk’s necks. The teachings of the Radd Sect preached that they represent "no credulity, no blind obedience, and no lies" but Nemo wasn’t interested in those unchanging* dogmas. Under the influence of a perennial environment, he didn’t believe in the existence of Gods. As an ordinary person who had no luck with magic for more than twenty years, it was difficult for him to pay respect to someone in heaven, no matter who it was in theory, than the average level of the public.
*Changing the soup, but not the dressing (换汤不换药) Idiom referring to the change in form, but not content. || In this context it means that what they preach changes from time to time, but the underlying meaning remains the same.
The free monk nodded to Ann, gently put down the soft cloth and vial in his hand and turned his gaze to Nemo.
"Is it you?" While his hair wasn’t white, his voice was mixed with the kindness unique to the elderly. "May God bless you, my child."
The gray parrot made a loud retching sound.
Nemo was a little inexplicably nervous. The monk’s eyes made him involuntarily think of Old Patrick. He stroked the folds of the hems of his robe with his hand, not knowing how to answer so that he wouldn’t appear rude.
"Don’t be nervous." The monk waved his hand and walked up to Nemo. "I heard Ann say that you didn’t fall voluntarily."
"Bah, degenerate fart. Why don’t you fuck right off!" The grey parrot continued to yell, but the monk behaved as if he couldn’t hear it. He took out a few silver needles and plunged them into the body of the gray parrot, then quickly pulled them out. The position chosen was just right and Nemo suspected that the gray parrot had staggered under the needle’s pierce.
The gray parrot screamed on the spot as black light of Abyssal magic suddenly lit up. At this moment, the monk just turned around, his back was wide open, unguarded. Nemo subconsciously used his hand to grab the pitch-black ball of light, but he didn’t expect to really grab it into the palm of his hand. The pitch-black sphere had no weight, and it was rhythmically moving in his palm, like a weird beating heart. He tightened his fingers curiously, and the ball of light popped into countless fumes and disappeared into the air.
Oliver and Ann looked at Nemo disapprovingly. Nemo put his hands behind his back and quietly wiped his robes.
"I’m sorry," he said embarrassingly. "…It was accidental."
The grey parrot was so angry that it began to peck Nemo’s scalp.
The monk was carefully putting the blood on the silver needle into the vial and did not pay attention to what was happening. He cautiously mixed the liquid in the bottle, and then turned around again after a full ten minutes.
"Not a superior demon," he said. "It has the aura of a superior demon, but now the class has dropped. It could be due to many reasons. In short, you’re definitely not a demon warlock, my child."
Nemo could hear the loud sound of a big stone falling off his chest. He turned around excitedly and gave Oliver a big hug, and then spread his arms to Ann, who held crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows. Nemo immediately changed direction and hugged Oliver fiercely again. Oliver smiled helplessly and patted Nemo heavily on the back.
The grey parrot turned its head and pulled on Oliver’s hair angrily.
"Great." Ann said. "Thank you very much."
The monk nodded simply.
"But since you have a way to distinguish superior demons. Why…?" Nemo had calmed down from the joy. If the people taught by the Rudd Sect had the means to distinguish demon ranks, maybe they could secretly get Cahill’s blood…
"Demon warlocks don’t talk about it, but they can usually be distinguished by their appearance," the monk said amicably. It didn’t seem like this was the first time he encountered this kind of problem. He carefully cleaned the silver needle with magic, and there were traces of a smile in his voice. "Superior demons generally hide their flesh in the skull of the occupied body, and then strengthen the bones. That’s not something that can be pierce with a silver needle. We must have the blood from the demon’s flesh to be able to determine it. The blood also can’t be away from the flesh for too long and the demon can’t be on guard. Otherwise, they can use their mimicry, and even if we do get fresh blood, we won’t be able to identify it."
"Your contracted demon is too weak. Even if it splits its flesh, it can’t put it into the skull. That’s why I can use this method, which was originally used to identify subordinate and intermediate demons." He thought for a bit then added, "my child, your subordinate demon was indeed a superior demon, so you have retained some of the characteristics of a superior demon. You are really lucky things haven’t reach the point of being irreversible, and you still have time to turn back."
Nemo was startled.
"Go to the Church of Penitence, my child. It has lost the power of a superior demon, so the bishop can help you remove the filthy flesh from your body." The monk gave him a kind smile.
"Okay…" As a result, before he finished speaking, he was interrupted by Oliver who twisted the back of his waist fiercely.
"Remove the flesh?" Oliver asked.
"Yes," the monk said piously, "the bishop will help this child gather the flesh into his hands—"
"Then cut them off, so he can turn back into a pure and unsullied human being."
The author has something to say:
Nemo: No, no, this really hurts.jpg
That would be a hard pass.