Chapter 35: Commitment
"Anyway, shouldn’t we get out of here first?" Nemo made a very realistic suggestion. "They aren’t just ringing the bell for us, right?"
Ann finally recovered a little from her trance. With a pale face, she strode to Adrian and yanked his collar open.
Nemo: "…" Ann did a much better job than him.
Adrian’s front lapel was torn apart, revealing an array under his clavicle. It seemed that it had just been branded as the wound was still festering. There was a faint silver light in his flesh. Ann put her finger on the wound unceremoniously, and the silver thread of light floated out of the pus and blood, circled around her finger twice, and finally shot away in a different direction.
"It’s the Holy Church Tracking Seal," she explained. "I added a little interference."
"Why betray?" There was no swing in Adrian’s tone. "This is not something you can learn by stealing."
"Do I look like those two stupid boys?" She gave a huff. "With one line you want to figure out which side I belong to? No way."
"You act with a superior demon." The former Knight Commander said slowly. His tone lacked emotion, so it was difficult to guess his thoughts through his words alone.
"More like a possible ‘superior demon’. I don’t want to discuss this issue with you now," Ann added impatiently. She raised the back her knife horizontally and went straight to the back of Adrian’s neck, but—
"Wait!" Oliver suddenly said. "How long do we have… I mean, how long can we safely stay here?"
"Half an hour at most." Ann’s palm stopped at the back of Adrian’s neck.
"Give me fifteen minutes." Oliver walked forward, still holding the Amulet of Holy Light in his hand. "Ann, can you put up a shield outside with Nemo?"
"He’s not going to come with us," Oliver spoke quickly.
"He’s just an ordinary person now, so if we knock him out, he’ll be good."
"We must answer his questions first." Although Oliver had no confidence in fighting, he grew up near the entrance of the Abyss. He had been in contact with countless fighters who stayed at his inn since he was a child. He knew very well that Adrian Cross didn’t intend to cooperate. The once famous Knight Commander was obviously very clear about his situation. He stood indifferently in place, not even bothering to struggle, but his eyes did not show the slightest hint of weakness. Even if he was chained and was abandoned by his faith, he still stood tall, like a soldier.
Considering the worst-case scenario, Oliver wasn’t sure if they could parry his ambition to die.
Ann frowned, she glanced at the amulet in Oliver’s hand, pondered for a moment, and then grabbed the back of Nemo’s robe. "Follow me out and listen to my instructions," she said succinctly. Nemo hadn’t even had time to resist. He waved his arms in vain and was pulled out the door like a sack, leaving only Oliver and Adrian left in the abandoned house.
Soon even the moonlight flowing into the room through the window disappeared. As the two people outside the house moved their hands, the dark shadow barrier erected by Nemo on the outside obscured all light sources.
"We don’t intend to use you." Oliver stretched out his other hand and the Amulet of Holy Light floated between the gap of his hands, emitting a dazzling brilliance, once again illuminating the dark room that was full of traces of decay. "On the other hand, Nemo is indeed very likely to be a superior demon, at least a demon warlock. I do not deny this."
"Kane’s Angel." Adrian didn’t seem to say anything more.
Oliver naturally knew what "Kane’s Angel" meant. Although he was still young at the time of the incident, it was appalling enough to be regarded as a good conversational topic.
For those who try to summon superior demons, there had always been only one way of dealing with them, regardless of whether they were successful or not. The summoner and the beneficiary of the wish will be executed. Demon warlocks say the superior demons were always good at disguising themselves, thus no one could tell whether the summoner had failed or not.
In the Town of Kane, a team of Knights of Judgement encountered the youngest summoner ever; a thin boy, dressed in dirty clothes that was the wrong size. His eyes were full of tears. It was said that when he was found, he was shivering in the corner, holding a piece of moldy bread in his hand. The child insisted that he didn’t know anything but sent a signal into the Abyss according to a stranger’s request, but the Abyss did not respond to him. His wish was equally simple and direct; he just wanted to find his parents who had abandoned him.
The leader of the group at that time was soft-hearted. He relented possibly weakened by the child’s tears, or was shaken by his too tragic situation. Instead of ordering an attack, he decided to judge it as a false alarm. The Knights of Judgement put away their silver swords, mounted their horses, and left the beautiful and peaceful town.
Half a day later, more than 5,000 people died in a sea of fire. The Town of Kane completely disappeared from Garland’s territory.
After a month, the Knights of Judgement, who paid a huge cost, finally eliminated the superior demon, who was particularly aggressive. The leader of the group at that time embraced the thin corpse in his arms and stood in front of the statue of Zenni in the Church of Penitence and went on a hunger strike.
Since then, whether it was an old man who was dying, a pregnant woman who was about to give birth, or an innocent child, no one was spared under the sword of the Knights of Judgement.
This is why Oliver knew exactly what the other party wanted to express.
"I know," he responded calmly. "I don’t think my approach is ‘right’. I won’t say that I have known him for a long time. Of course, he may have been acting all this time—"
"…But I don’t mind." Oliver concluded earnestly, while Adrian’s eyes became even colder.
"He saved a lot of people, and saved me, more than once." Oliver continued. "Nemo did use his powers, but he used them to save lives. Even if it’s all an act, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Mr. Cross, Nemo Light isn’t a fool. He knows what his power means."
"You’re not qualified to represent the minds of others."
"Yes, that’s true, but I’m also not qualified to judge him on behalf of others. I understand your honor and responsibility. You have your position and I’m just a little person with no ambition in this world. I hope you don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to convince you."
He folded his hands, crossed his fingers, and wrapped the Amulet of Holy Light in his palm. A pale flame ignited instantly. Its light was no longer soft and became extremely scorching. The ground under their feet disappeared, and there was only a piece of pure white in their field of vision except for each other.
"After what happened just now, I also know what my power means. You’re an expert, Mr. Cross. Tell me, can this destroy the flesh left on the surface by a superior demon?"
Adrian Cross looked at him deeply and was silent for a moment.
"I still don’t know how to control it very well," Oliver said slowly. "If one day, I find out that everything is a lie, and he really intends to attack innocent people, I will personally kill him, even if it cost me my life. And until then, I’ll stand by his side and move forward with him. I know that this sounds a little arrogant, but I’ll work hard to uphold this."
"If it’s you, you should be able to tell if I’m lying."
There was a cracking sound and the shadow shield erected by Nemo was shattered by the overflowing light. Oliver released his hand, and the Amulet of Holy Light fell to the ground with a soft clang. As the dark shadows dissipated, the remaining silver brilliance gradually extinguished, and the bright moonlight once again illuminated the uneven ground.
"You don’t need to trust him, nor do you need to trust my judgement. It’s enough to believe in this promise. You have an acquaintance who wants to see you. Before you meet, I hope we can cooperate for a short time. If you insist on leaving later, I will not stop you."
Adrian fell into a long silence. He stared into Oliver’s eyes and Oliver did not avoid his gaze. He stared back at the dark brown eyes calmly and stubbornly, even though the momentum baptized by blood and fire made his feet feel a little weak.
"Fine," Adrian finally spoke again. "But I hope you know, I didn’t ask for help and I don’t like talks about self-redemptions. I will go with you."
"That kid is making a lot of noise. We should be able to go in soon." Ann pressed on her shoulders and cranked her neck. "Are you addicted to squatting in a corner? Tell me, Nemo, are they done talking? ……Hey, what’s wrong with you?"
The black-haired young man squatted outside the window with his back against the wall. His arms were around his knee and his face was buried between them.
"Has he taken care of Cross?"
"It should be fine." Nemo raised his head with a calm expression on his face.
Ann walked up to him and looked at him up and down. "Do you have something to say to me?" she said with certainty.
"Ann, you knew that Adrian Cross would recognize me," Nemo said softly but affirmatively. "You knew this long ago."
"If he doesn’t even have this eyesight, then those old men in the Holy Church should start lining up to jump off the bell tower." Ann stretched out a hand towards him. "If Cross couldn’t accept you at all, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to sacrifice my teammates to get involve in his shit. Are you really okay? Well, I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have let you eavesdrop, but look, I have to stand out and cover for the both of you. Did Oliver say something he shouldn’t have?"
"No." Nemo smiled startling Ann. She had never seen Nemo Light showed such a relieved expression. "On the contrary, I can finally get a good night’s sleep."
He didn’t think that the power in his body was a blessing, nor did he thought it was some kind of sin. What it brought him wasn’t joy and fulfillment, but terrible emptiness. It was like stepping on cracked ice, shrouded by the fear of falling at any time. He couldn’t find the focus point, and he didn’t dare to take a step forward, let alone finding the truth underneath the ice. Nemo never wanted to imagine what was waiting for him. The power was too great and could make him lose himself, and if that moment ever comes, nothing could hold him back.
He originally thought so, but now he had a small foothold and a pair of hands that can hold him.
Nemo stood up briskly and walked into the house, leaving behind a very confused Ann. The female warrior shrugged her shoulders and followed closely behind.
Everything in the room was the same as when they had left. The two people in the room didn’t move a single step. Nemo straightened the neckline of his gray robe, leaned over to Oliver, and looked at the Amulet of Holy Light in his hand with interest. Oliver moved away a little uneasily; his eyes were wandering from guilt.
Adrian still had that cold face and his attitude didn’t improve at all. It’s just that when Ann approached, he took the initiative to open his mouth and said in a volume that was so loud, everyone could hear it.
"Then, this lady who doesn’t want to reveal her origins." He asked slowly, "Why are you following them?"
"None of your fucking bus—"
"Is it because of the prophecy?"
The author has something to say：
Nemo: (Boulder falling on his chest)
Oliver: (Crazily guilty)
Ann: ??? I can’t keep up with the thinking of young people.
Does this count as a confession of sorts?