Chapter 30: King’s Landing
The black armored warrior’s right arm did not shed much blood. He froze in place like a stone statue, and an uncomfortable red light lit up in the gap of his helmet.
"Wait, I remember your taste." Nemo said, taking two steps closer. From this distance, Oliver could see his eyes clearly. The silver-gray eyes glowed pale in the dark night, and the light of was like a full moon covered by the clouds, like pearly ghost. His pupils were no longer the normal circle of human standards but split into four direction and became cross-shaped, which were unique to demons. "You live near the Gravity Maze. Let me think… Witherspoon?"
Witherspoon, the black armored warrior, took a small step back without saying a word.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to speak, he even actually wanted to scream. Oliver Ramon was just a human. Naturally he couldn’t understand the fear engraved in the souls of demons— if they really have souls.
Even if the Demon King of each generation were very different, when they unreservedly showed their hostility, a superior demon would never get it wrong. It wasn’t just a simple sense of oppression, but the heavy terror brought on through the natural course of nature. That cold sense of horror gnawed at his nerves, biting his flesh that was attached to this human body. His tongue became numb from fear, and his mind seemed to be frozen. He even forgot how to breathe. He instinctively wanted to escape, but he didn’t want to expose his back to his opponent. He was like a young bird trying its best to fluff up its feather in front of a predator. Witherspoon stood there, awkwardly inching back, even though he subconsciously knew that it was just a futile struggle.
This was clearly impossible. Everyone knew that that monster couldn’t leave the bottom of the Abyss.
"A suggestion." Nemo raised his hand, in a brisk tone, as if he was discussing the dinner menu with the black armored warrior. "Don’t get too close to Telaranea. That little guy has a problem with his personality."
Witherspoon and Oliver stared at the hand.
However, Nemo did not attack. He made a simple gesture; he raised his hand slightly to the sky, with little movement. It was like he was repelling mosquitoes than casting a spell. There was no chanting, no complex magic arrays, not even any dazzling brilliance.
Suddenly, the sky cracked.
It may not be accurate to say that it cracked— the space was torn apart, as if the sky above them was like a painting on a side of an eggshell. At this moment, the fragile shell cracked creating a gap, revealing the hell on the other side. Inside the crack, the fire burned in the dark, and from time to time, and some huge creatures wandered by the gap, or peeped out of the gap with weird eyes.
"It’s time to go home." Nemo announced. There was no condescending sarcasm or cold anger in his tone. "It’s only fair; This is self-defense after all. Get a good night’s sleep, Witherspoon. It’ll be good for you."
From about ten steps away from them, he flashed like a ghost in front of the black armored warrior, stretched out his hand and pushed down on the opponent’s breastplate. The air suddenly twisted into wave-like ripples, accompanied by a shrill roar. Witherspoon instantly shot away as dark shadows unceremoniously caught him. This time, the dark shadow no longer appeared out of thin air. The huge crack was like a hideous fresh wound, and its edges dripped with dark and sticky shadows. They swallowed Witherspoon’s figure like a creature, then flowed back into the crack.
Everything was calm again.
The terrifying crack in space was still wide open. There was low and strange hissing that came faintly from it. The fire was burning among the stars and ashes fell from the night sky like snow on a winter’s night. Nemo retracted his hand and looked down at Oliver lying on the side.
Oliver Ramon knew he was about to die.
In the battle just now, Oliver’s arms became completely mangled. His flesh and bones were mixed together, in addition to the unstoppable flowing blood that was dripping down his arms, blood also gushed from the wound in his abdomen. There was a deep bruise on his forehead, and the blood made his handsome face a bit more tarrying.
Oliver grasped the air with difficulty.
He was facing a huge crack, a burning crack that was embedded in the dark night sky. The ashes floated towards his eyes but did not melt like real snow. They blurred his vision, and everything in front of him seemed like a dream.
Nemo stopped in front of him and leaned down slightly. With his back to the firelight, Oliver couldn’t see Nemo’s expression clearly. He could only see the flickering non-human eyes. He didn’t restrain his momentum. Oliver couldn’t help coughing a few times. His throat was full of the sweet smell of blood and the oppression he felt was like a mountain crushing him.
With what little strength he had left, Oliver thought dimly he could try to move like Witherspoon and try to escape or ask for help… or for mercy.
Nemo just stared at him, doing nothing and saying nothing, as if he was in a state of contemplation.
Oliver’s consciousness began to blur. He raised his head slightly and looked at the familiar companion in front of him and the gorgeous blazing fire behind him. He subconsciously decided how he would use his last bit of strength— to give Nemo a smile.
The next moment, a pair of warm hands held his face.
Nemo half knelt down beside Oliver and supported his head with both hands. He leaned forward and imprinted his lips on the wound on Oliver’s forehead. The black shadow dripping from the cracks gathered from all sides, spreading across Oliver’s deformed arms, flowing on the wound in his abdomen. It felt light and cold, not soft, like the pain of a razor rubbing against his skin.
The broken bones in the area where the dark shadows crawled past returned to place. New skin grew, and all the hideous wounds closed. His intact skin came into contact with the moist air and the sense of being alive returned to Oliver again. He found that he had the strength to move, but he didn’t want to move at this moment.
"You didn’t run away." Nemo stood up and wiped the blood from his lips with the back of his hand. "…Thank you."
Oliver was finally able to see the other person’s expression clearly. It was the person he knew. The face of Nemo, which was mixed with calmness, relief, and a little joy. Oliver stretched out his right hand, which was no longer bleeding and had fully healed, and stroked Nemo’s cheek as if to confirm something. The unique warmth of life came to his fingertips, and unconsciously raised the corners of his mouth into a more obvious arc.
"You’re welcome." His voice was clear, even if the terrifying sense of oppression was still crushing his brain. "It’s me who should be thanking you."
Nemo was taken back for a moment, then gave him a smile back.
Oliver suddenly felt his heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t tell what it meant. His brain was screaming danger, and instinctive fear made all his hair stood up. Anxiety and tension pierced his back like steel needles, but he couldn’t remove his gaze.
The ashes continued to fall like snowflakes, accumulating a thin layer of gray on the sand. The flames on the other side of the crack were so ominous, but it filled his vision with light, and everything was shining brightly…
Just like a summer day a few years ago.
"You rejected Susanna?!" the father in his memory shouted at him. "God, Oliver, how could you break a lady’s heart like this?"
"She’s indeed a lovely girl, but…"
"You dare say but? God, what did I teach you? Euphemism, Ollie. You have to be euphemistic, not ‘I don’t have any feelings for you’!"
"There are many lovely people in the world, dad. It’s impossible for me to be attracted to everyone. You haven’t told me anything about mother yet… but you’re telling me how to fall in love with someone? Stop saying crappy lines like ‘she’s the most beautiful woman in the world’ and ‘she’ll make your world lose its color and your food lose its taste’— I can’t understand that kind of feeling."
Piper strained his face. He put back the shoe he had just grabbed in his hand and his expression became serious.
"Then listen up," he sighed and looked away. "She may not be good or beautiful. You may have a lot of quarrels and frictions, and even feel disappointed in each other from time to time, but there will be a moment when the scenery that person gives you will be unparalleled. You’ll know that you’ll never see anything more beautiful than that in your life."
"Love does not necessarily mean total acceptance or self-sacrifice, Ollie, but it will make you want to live more."
Is that so?
Oliver lowered his arm.
At this moment, he was blindly convinced that he would never be able to see such a beautiful and shuddering scene for the rest of his life. He could still feel the warmth left by Nemo’s hand, and that warmth made him… made him want to live for a moment longer.
Nemo remained half-kneeling when he suddenly shook his body and gasped in pain. The cross-shaped pupils began to shrink, returning to their normal human appearance, and the slightly flickering silver light went out. The cracks in space that stretched across the starry sky closed abruptly, and nothing could prove it ever existed except for the pile of ashes.
"Oliver, I…" he panted laboriously, inserting his finger into the blood-soaked sand.
"You…" Oliver was still in a daze. Too many emotions were mixed, and he didn’t know what to do with them. "Are you good?"
"I’m not good. I’m particularly bad!" cried Nemo. "Did you see what I just did? Does this look good to you?"
"Remember! …Part of it." Nemo muttered in a low voice. "It was like a dream. I could understand everything in my dream, and when I woke up, that feeling was completely gone."
"But I do remember what I said and what I did… now I can even do this." He stretched out his hand and black flames ignited on Nemo’s fingertips, making his face paler.
"At least now we can all be sure one thing; Oliver, I don’t seem to be human, and maybe I’m the kind of dangerous…" Nemo couldn’t find a suitable term that wouldn’t make him uncomfortable, so he had stopped midsentence awkwardly.
"Oh." Oliver laid solemnly on the ground and stretched out his hand. "Anyways, do me a favor first and give me a hand. I’m a mess now and I’m not in the mood to stand up by myself."
Nemo’s sadness was completely stirred up. He rolled his eyes and pulled Oliver from the sand dune.
"Come on," Nemo lowered his head with courage akin to dying generously*. "Say it."
*Comes from: It’s easy to die generously, but difficult to die gracefully (慷慨赴死易，从容就义难). A generous death refers to passionately/impulsively while a graceful death refers to calculated/meticulously planned.
"Say what?" Oliver raised his eyebrows.
"…Don’t you have any feelings? Just say what you want. Otherwise, I… uh, I would think we can still act together in the future."
"Okay?" Oliver said absent-mindedly, brushing the ashes off from Nemo’s black hair. "I promise you before, didn’t I? I won’t be afraid of you because you’re ‘whatever-it-is’. That’s still valid now."
Perhaps it was too effective. Oliver stared at the gray on his knuckles.
Not only did he not want to escape, but he wanted to go on longer with Nemo. The sense of oppression had long since disappeared, but his heartbeat did not slow down. Contrary it became even more rapid. Something was wrong. Oliver rubbed off the ashes from his hand and sighed secretly in his heart— I must be crazy.
The author has something to say:
Oliver: Super fierce, it’s hard not to be moved.
Nemo: ??? Wait a minute.
Second step, kiss. Check.
This chapter is EVERYTHING. We’re getting some progress people. Are these two not your cutest couple ever?
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