Chapter 46: The Tail that Can’t Be Thrown Off
"I am very sorry, but we have a sudden emergency," Oliver said with a sincere expression. "We have no way of contacting, so we could only leave without saying goodbye."
Jesse Dylan raised his beautiful, sharped eyebrows enlarging his blue eyes that were like a frozen lake. "Oh— Is that so?" He covered his chest sadly and let out a well-acted sigh. "That’s too bad. I had a hunch that we would be able to talk! Alas, Noer is really a heartbreaking place, so I can only say goodbye to you here—"
While talking, he casually opened the Black Chapter tasks list and signed a task without even looking at it. Oliver took this opportunity to quickly input the coordinates on the operation board of the teleportation array and threw out a golden page with some distressed. The surveillance beam swept across their faces and stayed on the black badge for a moment before the next second dizziness and bumps unique to the teleportation array grabbed them.
Vincent Town was extremely remote so the large teleportation array could only send them to the nearest medium-sized city. This time, the teleportation distance was extremely far. After the light flashed, only Ann and Adrian were still standing. Nemo himself had a terrible headache and with such a toss, he laid on the ground blankly as he started to doubt whether his head was still connected to his neck. The gray parrot struggled to get out of his robe, took a few steps askew, and shook its head desperately.
Oliver covered his mouth and supported the wall with one hand, looking like he was fighting a desperate battle with nausea.
The guard on duty glanced at them amusingly, but when he saw the snake heads on their black badges, he stood straight up and pressed his hand on the hilt of his sword.
"Anyways, we got rid of him." Ann didn’t really want to take care of the two struggling inexperienced boys, so she turned to Adrian. "I recall that Willard believes in Manichaeism* here?"
*Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process that takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light, whence it came.*Clarity: Note that religions in this novel is not from real religions though they are based off of it (like Laddism is close to Christianity/Catholicism). I’m unsure at this time whether Manichaeism is actually based on the real-life religion or if the author is has a different version unique to the novel.
"That’s correct." Adrian nodded. "Nearly 80% of the population of Willard believes in Manichaeism."
"That’s good. It’s so much more comfortable." Ann shrugged. "They would love to see what a joke the Laddism Church has become… Hey, have you two had enough rest? Lying there for a long time will cause trouble to others."
Oliver straightened his waist with difficulty, while Nemo rubbed his temples hard and sat up slowly from the cold and hard slate. Perhaps it was because there wasn’t any sense of dangerous elements from this group, so the guard breathed a sigh of relief and slowly moved his hand away from the hilt of his sword.
"Kind sir," Oliver wiped his mouth, trying to keep his voice as smooth as possible. "Is there an inn nearby?"
"Yes," the middle-aged guard replied cautiously. "Follow this street and you’ll reach a Four-Leaf Clover less than 500 steps south."
"That’s a good start." Ann stretched her waist vigorously causing her joints to rattle. "I can finally rest at ease. Thank God."
The Four-Leaf Clover Inn was well-known among adventurers. There would be at least one near every great teleportation array. Its accommodations weren’t very good, but it was convenient and cheap. Because the owner has connections with high-level members of the Mercenary Guild, few people would make trouble for his business. Unfortunately, popularity comes with disadvantages…
"The bunks are all booked?" Ann asked disappointingly.
"Yes, miss. There’s only singles and double rooms left." Although the night was dark, the girl in the light green uniform didn’t look sleepy at all. Her voice was soft and sweet. "Since there’s four of you in total, I recommend a double room and two single rooms. The price of a single room is slightly more expensive but the conditions—"
"Just two double rooms. We have limited funds." Ann waved her hand. "Oliver and Nemo could share one and Cross and I will take the other… Do you mind, Cross? I don’t have the habit of sleeping naked."
The Knight Commander nodded slightly in agreement while Oliver nodded weakly. Nemo felt like his eyelids was glued to his face. Even if he was given a stable now, he was confident he would fall asleep at once even with the smell of horse dung.
"Then it’s settled…"
"How preposterous this is for a lady!" A familiar annoying voice sounded behind them.
Nemo woke up almost immediately. "Am I dreaming?" he asked alertly. "Why does it seem like I’m hearing Dylan—"
"A single room for this lovely lady, plus two double rooms. I can share a room with you." Jesse Dylan smiled sweetly at the girl who was receiving guests, causing her to suddenly blushed. "I’ll pay for the bill, to make amends! You seem to be very busy that you don’t seem to have time for a drink together."
"Okay." Oliver opened his mouth before Ann got the chance. He twisted himself hard so that he didn’t sound weak. Oliver’s face was expressionless, but Nemo, who noticed it, gasped for him. "We’re really busy, so let’s just clear things up. Mr. Dylan, why are you here…?
"This must be fate." Jesse Dylan stepped forward, with a suspicious shyness in his tone. "I don’t know what your task is, and you saw that I just took a task casually. This is probably what people called ‘destiny’—"
Oliver rubbed the goosebumps on his arms and the decent smile on his face twitched.
"And I fell in love at first sight!" The beautiful blond young man announced in a serious tone. Nemo subconsciously turned his head to look at Ann, whose face was livid.
"Oh, it’s not necessarily this lady. I haven’t thought about it yet. You, you, and you." Jesse obviously noticed Nemo’s action. He raised his right hand and pointed to each of them one by one. "…You’re all my favorite types, so makes things quite difficult."
Now Ann wasn’t alone. Nemo took a silent step back while Ann clenched her fist and the lightning between her fingers made small crackling sound. There was no change in Adrian’s expression, but there was a trace of murderous aura in the air.
"Thank you for your generosity." Oliver difficultly squeezed the sentence out from between his teeth. "Please remember, now we are square."
"How heartless," Jesse said with emotion. "But being cold is good too."
Oliver shivered visibly to the naked eye. He took the key handed by the girl, dragged Nemo away and left the front hall. Ann also took her key to the single room and ran away quickly. Before leaving, she didn’t forget to leave the knight with an apologetic look in her eyes.
"Is Mr. Cross going to be okay?" Nemo scratched the parrot’s neck. After a week of sewer life, the hot bath and soft bed made him feel like he was in heaven. "Is it fine to leave him alone with that guy?"
"He has a lot of combat experience." Oliver dried his hair vigorously with a towel. "…And has deeper knowledge than us. He should be able to handle it."
"That Dylan doesn’t seem very good." Nemo buried himself in the quilt and let out a comfortable sigh. "…But I can’t figure out what he wants from us."
"I don’t think he’s good either." The gray parrot finally spoke after a long time. Nemo’s and Oliver’s eyes instantly focused on it.
"…Another superior demon?" Nemo asked in shock, suddenly holding back a yawn. "Are superior demons all over the streets now?"
"I’m not sure. I can’t feel anything." Bagelmaurus sounded unusually serious. "He must have hidden his aura. Maybe there have been some techniques that I don’t know about over the years… but even if some means is used, Dylan’s strength is at least above mine; I mean my flesh."
"…I’m starting to worry about Mr. Cross," Nemo murmured.
"His black badge is a sea scorpion. According to Ann, he should be a dangerous person." Oliver frowned. "Bagelmaurus is not that strong though. It would be fine if Mr. Cross hadn’t lost his powers, but…"
The gray parrot grabbed Oliver’s hair frantically and forcibly interrupted him.
"Anyways, I’ll take a look." Oliver said, casually throwing the grey parrot aside. "You go to bed first. If you’re okay with it, we can let Mr. Cross squeeze in with us."
As a result, as soon as he opened the door, he almost bumped head on into Adrian Cross who was carrying a pillow between one arm and was about the knock on the door with his hand. At this moment, the hand stopped awkwardly in the air.
"Uh… Mr. Cross." Oliver took two steps back and let Adrian into the room. "Are you okay?"
"…Dylan’s too noisy." Adrian thought for a moment, and concluded in a heavy tone. "Can I borrow your floor to sleep for one night."
Nemo didn’t want to imagine what the "noise" was that could make a former Chief Justice would want to escape. "You can sleep on the bed. Oliver and I can squeeze into one."
Oliver didn’t say anything. He quickly made room on his bed.
"Thank you." Adrian didn’t refuse. He sat upright on the edge of the empty bed. "Now that I have time, Mr. Light, can I talk to you for a bit?"
"You don’t need to be so formal. Just call me Nemo," Nemo replied while holding a pillow. The other party’s posture was too formal, so he felt embarrassed to lie down. "What’s the matter?"
"About you… your situation," Adrian said solemnly. "If you don’t mind, can you tell me the more about it? I’ve seen enough demon warlocks before so maybe I can help."
Now Nemo was fully awake. He jumped up from the bed as if he had finally found his savior. From being attacked by Bagelmaurus, to fighting Witherspoon, Nemo describe every unnatural event clearly and concisely.
However, his hope gradually died between the frowns of the Knight Commander.
"Generally speaking, there are three types of abnormal contracts with demons. If the human does not have any magic talent, but the demon still insists on entering a contract, the human would directly dry up and die after making a wish. We call this the ‘poor’s law reaction’. The others are extremely rare. When the human magic talent is stronger than the demon’s flesh, they will die together after the contract is successful because the magic isn’t compatible. This is called ‘excessive rejection’. Therefore, when the superior demon selects the target of corruption, they will evaluate the qualification of their prey first."
"You only said two kinds so far." Nemo’s Adam’s apple bobbed nervously.
"The last one is ‘cannibalism’. We have only seen one example. The experiment done by Telaranea. Even if the human has been completely corrupted by the superior demon, they can still make contracts with other superior demons." There was a trace of disgust on Adrian’s face. "After the wish is fulfilled, the two pieces of flesh will fight in the human body and devour each other with the strong side gaining dominance of the body. When they do that, the human body container will be greatly distorted and the victim will swell up, becoming almost as big…" He looked around, "as this room."
Nemo shuddered at the spacious room.
"He absolutely did not have that situation," Oliver interjected. "I witnessed the whole process of him being attack by Bagelmaurus and we have never been separated since."
"I can only guess," Adrian said. "I really haven’t seen this kind of abnormality. I’m very sorry I couldn’t help."
"No, I feel more at ease," Nemo said hurriedly. "It may be that Bagelmaurus is too weak."
The gray parrot, who had been huddling in the blanket since Adrian entered, poked out its head and squawked aggrievedly.
"Actually, I also have a question to ask," Nemo stuffed the gray parrot back into place and tried to change the subject. "Since you hate Telaranea so much, why did you want to give him information? If he could reproduce the reason why you lost your powers…"
"It can’t be reproduced. If that information was really that valuable, I would never have made that kind of mistake," Adrian sighed. "I know you’re curious and I have nothing to hide. I don’t know why I lost my powers. Simply put, I didn’t do anything special. It just… disappeared suddenly."
Nemo felt much better this time. At least he wasn’t the only one in the room who was being played with by this inexplicable reality.
"So it turns out to be like this. This was beyond my expectations."
"Yes, I am also very… Wait?!" Nemo who was so spirited, suddenly summoned the dark shadow. "Jesse Dylan? When did you—"
"You guys were talking so happily that you didn’t notice me at all." The blond young man in the corner casually carried a pillow and gesticulated happily with his other hand. "It’s such a shame for me to sleep in that room all alone. You see, I’m not so well off so I asked for a refund of that room. Dear Nemo, can you get rid of these shadows? I’m very timid!"
"The floor is still empty," Oliver said slowly. "Please, Mr. Dylan."
"Can’t this bed accommodate two people? Don’t be too insightful."
"Please." Adrian stood up decisively. Instead of lying on the floor, he stood up and leaned against the wall. The former Knight Commander’s eyes were sharp, without any fatigue. He looked as if he could stand all night.
"Do you hate me that much?" Jesse said with a sad face, as if he had just been dumped by a lover who he had been in love with for so many years. "Even if you don’t have the strength, I won’t do anything… too much. Although I don’t mind being watched by others, I prefer to the kind you—"
"Shut up!" the other three roared at the same time.
The author has something to say：
The more eyes on the black badge, the higher the team’s danger level and the more it needed to be monitored.
One eye: Night Owl
Two eyes: Jackal (Ann’s original team level)
Three eyes: Lizard
Four eyes: Snake (current team level of Nemo and Ollie)
Five eyes: Sea Scorpion (Jesse Dylan’s team level)
The numbers of eyes are related to the number of eyes these animals possess.