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Chapter: 33

Chapter 33: In the Dungeon

Nemo walked on the streets in the afternoon wearing the holy shackles, returning a numb expression to all the curious gazes. Ann had reinstalled the holy shackles for him again, but this time there was a trace of blackness wrapped around the white light chain.

"You have to control it." After a brief exchange of information, Ann patted Nemo on the shoulder. "Imagine yourself holding a pudding. Don’t break it. It’s long past the arranged time, so we have to give the Church of Penitence a good reason. Even if Oliver has his charm technique, it’s best not to leave any omission on your side."

However, "holding a pudding" was not a simple task. Nemo had to stop every three steps he took, making sure that the holy shackles was still completely wrapped around his wrists. Oliver followed him with a bitter look on his face.

"You’re not really turning me in." Nemo’s soles rubbed against the road, moving very slowly. "Relax."

"They won’t be soft on you," Oliver sighed. "That’s the dungeon of the Heretical Judgement Hall."

"So, I should just stay back and say nothing?" Nemo laughed dryly. "There’s no other way. It’s a superior demon attack and a blessing festival sacrifice. ‘Cahill’ really doesn’t want us to continue. Since he’s putting in this much effort, there’s definitely a secret to this matter."

"I’ve been thinking…" Oliver touched his chin. "Why did he ask another superior demon? He should know that his identity has been exposed. It was late at night, so he must have ways to hide from Mrs. Edwards, assuming she really doesn’t know the truth. Humans would rarely help out for nothing in return, and superior demons aren’t that kind either."

"After all, he was the only one who has the motive to attack us. If it wasn’t for me suddenly… er, something going wrong, Witherspoon would’ve killed us. I’m a bit reluctant to say that it might’ve been a test." Nemo was distracted and almost cause the light chain to snap off, scaring him that he immediately stopped and adjusted his strength.

"What if he knew in advance that you might have a ‘problem’?"

Nemo frowned.

"He might know something about you," Oliver said. "Otherwise, this approach is too odd."

"I don’t think he’ll be kind enough to tell us." Nemo let out a sigh. "Let’s figure out the matter with Cross first. Take it step by step."

When they finally moved to the stone steps of the Church of Penitence, Oliver walked even slower than Nemo.

"Sorry," he looked directly into Nemo’s silver eyes as he said in a solemn tone. "I assure you; I’ll never do this kind of thing."

"I know." Nemo grinned and the black air on the light chain rolled even more violently. Holding a pudding for a long time was extremely technical and he couldn’t hold it for much longer. "Let’s go."

The two of them quickly messed up their clothes, making it seem like they had been fighting. Oliver grabbed Nemo’s collar and dragged him all the way up the stone steps. "Guards—!"

Alarmed by the holy shackles, the soldiers in the church moved quickly. They hastily blocked the stone steps in formation and in less than five minutes, the fat bishop appeared in front of them again. Fortunately, this time, the fake Cahill wasn’t there.

"What’s the matter, my child?" The bishop still had a smile on his face, but that was only directed at Oliver. He just glanced at Nemo quickly, and then put his scepter against Nemo’s throat.

"My friend… he doesn’t want to give up his hands." Oliver looked at the scepter a little nervously. "He almost broke free of your spell, and I wanted to inform you about it."

"Why must it be hands!" Nemo yelled cooperatively. The dissatisfaction in his tone almost overflowing that Oliver seriously suspected that he was voicing it from the bottom of his heart. "Why not the toes? …Half the sole of a foot? Even if it must be the hands, one is enough, right? I didn’t do it voluntarily!" He tossed and turned so much that the light chain was almost broken by the black air.

The bishop did not answer but raised his chin. Then Oliver held his breath for an instant. One of the soldiers drew his sword and pierced Nemo directly in his back. Blood quickly splattered, dyeing the white stone steps dark red.

"Don’t worry my child." As if perceiving Oliver’s stiffness, the bishop explained gently, "we won’t execute your friend so hastily. If you have something to say to him, there’s still time."

"We’re just… a little late." Oliver didn’t move. He clenched his fist under his sleeves, trying his best to suppress the unhappiness in his voice. "And like he said, he didn’t voluntarily—"

"Unfortunately, your friend is no longer a pure human being. My child, he can even resist the holy shackles. Look at those dirty shadows. He has been eroded too deeply." The bishop’s voice became softer, almost soothing. "I can understand your mood. It’s normal to be sad. You have to know that that thing is no longer your friend. Its roars and pleas are to shake you, so you must not be blinded by it."

"…I know." Oliver squeezed an answer through his clenched teeth. Nemo was picked up by the soldiers and dragged into the church— that bastard even took the time to give him a wink. "What will happen to him? Will he be put on trial, or…?"

"Judgement is reserved for mankind, thus the blood of demons need not to be judged," the bishop replied. "According to procedure, he needs to be purified in the dungeon and public executed three days later."

"Can I go to the dungeon to see him?"

"I’m sorry, my child. I’m really sorry, but you have to know that your sacrifice today will never be forgotten. You protected the city with your selflessness and piety. What is your name…?"

Oliver took a deep breath and tried to ignore the lurching of his stomach. He raised his eyes and the emerald color was replaced by dazzling gold. "You should know. It’s Owen Roma from Knott Lang of Lower Town. Can you give me an Amulet of Holy Light, your lordship? I don’t want to see such tragedy happen again."

"Of course, dear Owen."

Nemo wasn’t bothered by the wound on his chest. He was sure that it had already completely healed by now. Fortunately, the bloody clothes helped him cover it up so the guards who escorted him didn’t notice. He didn’t even feel much pain, but Oliver’s face was pale. He hoped this didn’t leave Oliver with some lasting psychological scars.

He tried to look feeble and peeped through his hair. The guards walking in front fiddled with a mechanism that made the magnificent statue of Zenni move backwards, revealing a wide passage leading underground. Although it was daytime, torches were still burning on both sides of the passage. Two old clergymen followed him closely while chanting prayers. He had to admit that after mixing it with the sounds the torches, it made their hypnotic effect absolutely first-class. The steps seemed endless that it made Nemo almost fell asleep.

What kind of appeal does this damn place have? He thought in a daze. He should persuade Oliver when he returns.

When he arrived at the Wall of Sighs, Nemo had to admit that it was much more spectacular than he thought, and at the same time disgusting. The huge gray wall had a strange sense of transparency with countless faces flowing on it, murmuring vaguely. The ceiling of the underground hall was extremely high, but it filled the entire space. If it wasn’t placed underground, it could probably reach the height of the Church of Penitence.

"Guilty—" as soon as Nemo approached, the faces scream. "The smell of killing, the smell of blood! Guilty— Guilty—"

It was so noisy that it gave Nemo a headache that he couldn’t hold himself back and quietly flipped his middle finger at them. The faces suddenly screamed more fiercely.

However, the elderly clergymen did not react in any special way. They cut down using the palm of their hands and pressed on the Wall of Sighs at the same time while they recited a mantra. The "wound" that they made overflowed with brilliance and the faces were stirred into a ball, reluctantly giving way to a gap just enough for two people to pass at the same time.

The tallest guard carried Nemo’s collar and dragged him mercilessly into the wall. The thickness of the Wall of Sighs deserved its reputation. They walked more than ten steps before they fully passed through the narrow gap.

Nemo gasped at the sight in front of him.

He was greeted with a snow-white judgement seat that floated above a huge pit. At the bottom was the brilliance of a magic array that flickered constantly. The downward darkness seemed endless, as far as the eye could see, and there were dense spell circles embedded in the stone walls of the pit that were like lines on a snail’s shell.

This was quite different from the dungeon he had imagined.

"The sinner has been accepted." A cold female voice exploded in Nemo’s ears. Nemo subconsciously wanted to look back but found that he didn’t know when he had been bound by metal. Those things were like insect feet, binding his limbs firmly together. Human-like metal arms encircled his neck.

It’s a puppet. He panted with difficulty.

"No trigger status array found."

"No surface magic props found."

"No Abyssal magic props found."

"No special potion found."

"The sinner has been polluted by the Abyss and is an immediate threat. He’ll be taken and purified soon."

What followed was a rapid fall. Nemo’s eyes were sore from the wind. As he continued falling, the surroundings became darker and darker. When he firmly believed that he was going to puke unceremoniously, the puppet’s speed finally slowed down. At this moment, Nemo could see the bottom of the pit. There was huge holy emblem that emitted a soft white light. He raised his head and the distant inquisition trial looked like a white pea.

The girl-like puppet hand still wrapped around him before he was stuffed into a narrow empty cell. As soon as Nemo gained a foothold, there was a click behind him. The light of the magic array lit up causing the falling prison railings to be covered with runes. He couldn’t tell whether to say the shapes were beautiful or weird. The puppet vibrated its mechanical wings and smashed Nemo in the head with a shining holy water ball.

It was an incredible purification. Nemo wiped his face stiffly. He could feel the magic array behind him faintly heating up under contact with the holy water.

After confirming the puppet had left, Nemo, who was completely soaked, turned around. The cell was horribly narrow and smelled like oily decay. He couldn’t lie down or sit down, as if he was locked in a standing coffin. The area was amazingly dark, and only the shimmers from the magic array provided a little illumination. He took a deep breath subconsciously; this feeling of being immersed in the darkness was inexplicably familiar.

The surrounding was very quiet. There were no strange cries or painful chanting. He couldn’t even hear the sound of breathing. Nemo stretched out his hand and carefully touched the railing in front of him. The patterned runes instantly made a hissing sound, like water dripping into hot oil.

It was a bit hot, but it wasn’t unbearable.

He carefully adjusted his posture, held the stout metal railing, and pulled them apart. The hissing sound became louder, and the sound of metal bending was particularly loud in the silence. Nemo almost stopped his movement guiltily. However, given the time limit, he gritted his teeth and continued. Within a few minutes, Nemo had liberated himself from the coffin-like cell.

He thought for a moment in silence, then broke down two more railings to use as a tool to advance to the bottom. Ann repeatedly warned him that rash use of Abyssal magic might trigger an alarm, so he could only solve his problem using brute force.

There was no turning back now. Nemo inserted the two sections of the railing into the stone wall in turns as he carefully navigated towards the bottom.

The darkness was too thick. The flow of time became unpredictable. It could have been an hour later or maybe even a day, when he finally stepped on the huge holy emblem, completely out of breath. The three corners of the holy emblem pointed to three cells. These should be holding area for the sacrifices. The dim light revealed faint outlines of them, which was much larger than an ordinary cell.

The answer was at hand. Nemo took a deep breath and walked towards the dark cell, guided by a glimmer of light.

"Help me." A soft female voice sounded from the railing. It was weak and sweet. "Help me, kind man."

Three pair of snow-white arms protruded from the railing. The skin on them were glowing, but the length was unnatural. Nemo was still five to six steps away from the cell, but they were about to entangle him.

Nemo swallowed down his spit. He was quite sure that this was not Adrian Cross. He quickly took a few steps back and changed direction.

There was no sound coming from the next cell. When Nemo moved closer, he peeped inward using the light from the holy emblem to scan the cell.

A group of half-human-tall, rag-like things slammed into the railing and then screamed because it was burned by the runes. "The sky will fall, and the Abyss will rise!" He— or she— laughed in an old and coarse voice. "The sky will fall. The Abyss will rise—"

Then it should be the last cell.

"Adrian Cross?" he squatted in front of the railing and asked softly. The figure of the other party was hidden in darkness so he couldn’t see it clearly.

"You are?"

The other party responded to him politely, with a calm tone and a low and pleasant voice. It was as if they had met each other on a sunny street.

"My name is Nemo Light." Nemo came closer unconsciously. "I… Well, we have something we want to ask you."

"Ask away, Mr. Light." The other party didn’t question his identity or intention and his tone didn’t sound half eager.

"We know that Cahill Edwards is now a superior demon," Nemo whispered. "We know you’re not lying. Can you tell me what happened…?"

"No comment." The other party was silent for a moment before he responded softly.  

The author has something to say:

Mr. Former Knight Commander: …Why should I confide my past to a suspicious person who appeared in a suspicious place?

Nemo: … (At this moment was eager to acquire Oliver’s communication skills)

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