I’m on a flying boat. Yeah, I don’t understand it either. How can a boat fly? Even magic isn’t capable of lifting something like this high above the clouds for an extended period of time. The boat has three floors below deck and two cabins above deck on the stern and bow. It also has four masts with two crow’s nests. In other words, this boat is huge. Apparently, the interspacial rings of the Immortal Continent are a lot larger than those of our tiny pocket realm. A vessel like this would never fit in a ring even if ten ninth-circle mages worked together.
Also, I don’t understand the purpose of a mast. The boat’s using some sort of energy to travel through the air; if anything, the sails are slowing the boat down rather than speeding it up. But Black Devil Shu says the sails are a necessity because the design on them will intimidate any robbers. But still, wouldn’t it make more sense to paint the designs on the sides of the boat and remove the masts? Surely the natives of the Immortal Continent are smart, no? According to Black Devil Shu, saint-realm experts can live up to three hundred years, and earth-realm experts can live up to a thousand. A sky-realm expert’s lifespan easily exceeds five thousand years. So how is it possibly that the natives lack common sense?
Take this boat for example. It’s huge, bigger than Lucia’s lakeside guest home. But it’s being used to transport a total of three people: Lucia, Black Devil Shu, and me. Before that, it was only used to transport Black Devil Shu and the poor disciple that was poisoned to death by Lucia. That’s a massive waste! Why not just take a smaller boat? When I asked Black Devil Shu about this, he gave me a really, really unexpected answer: Face. The natives—who will willingly hand over five percent of their belongings while kowtowing the instant they encounter someone stronger than them—are concerned about face. And when they say face, they mean reputation. So someone with a lot of face has a really good reputation. A shameless person has very thick skin on his face. It’s a weird concept, but it’s not unheard of. Back in the pocket realm, people would live above their means, forcing themselves into financial debt, just to show off amongst their peers. Of course, I believe those people are mentally ill. Going even further, the Immortal Continent is a crazy-house filled with mentally unstable individuals blessed with irresponsible amounts of power. Lucia would fit in perfectly.
As for why we’re on this boat…, we’re going to the Shadow Devil Sect. There is definitely an ulterior motive for Black Devil Shu to recruit Lucia, but Durandal and Lucia won’t listen to me. Durandal says, “A true legend must face traps head on even with foreknowledge about them,” while Lucia says, “My tail’s soft and springy. What danger?” I really hope Black Devil Shu’s motive is something innocuous like he’ll receive a promotion for finding a promising sect member, but just judging by his name, it’s not going to be as simple as that. Someone with the middle name Devil can’t be a good person. His first name is Black, by the way. Apparently his disciple’s first name was Sly. Weird, right?
So far, we’ve been traveling together for half a day now. Currently, I’m eating dinner with Black Devil Shu above deck. And right now, both of us are trying to ignore the moans and grunts coming from down below.
Let’s pretend I didn’t hear that. Even Black Devil Shu’s face is red. My lord, this is awkward. “So….”
Black Devil Shu coughed. I couldn’t tell where he was looking because I was staring at the plate in front of me, but I’m pretty sure he’s staring at the table too. Did I mention how great the food was around here? Apparently, the food is filled with the energy of the world, similar to divine beast meat, but vegetarian. I’ve always been fonder of vegetables than meat. Black Devil Shu’s chopsticks nudged around some beansprouts. “Does she, uh, duo-cultivate often?”
“I’m not sure how to answer that.” Lucia’s always been holding back because of her belief that Durandal would die if he engaged in, uh, nighttime activities with her unless he became a legend. Or should I say saint? Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if this became an everyday thing. “I hope you have earplugs.”
Right. Can we change the topic? “What exactly is a chosen of the sect?” Black Devil Shu wanted Lucia to become one of those. Yes, I know what the word chosen means, but I’m not sure if Lucia was chosen to become a sacrifice or chosen to become the next sect leader or chosen to become a religious figure. There’s many things she can be chosen for.
“Don’t you dare faint again!”
Black Devil Shu made a strange noise before leaning back in his chair. I put my fork down and met his gaze. “Chosen of the sect…. Do you know how sects are structured?”
“No.” Back in the pocket realm, there was one leader who distributed his techniques and the rest were disciples who paid the leader. I don’t think it’d be the same here.
“Where do I start…,” Black Devil Shu said and rubbed his chin. “I never had to explain such common knowledge before. Mm, you seem young, so I’ll keep it simple.”
“There are sect elders and sect disciples. Amongst the disciples, there are those of the outer court, the inner court, the core, and the chosen. The closer a disciple is to the center of the sect, the more resources the sect will invest in them. With Junior Lucia’s abilities, there shouldn’t be any issues with becoming a chosen. Of course, she could also become a guest elder, but the sect won’t nurture her as much if she does.”
“So you want Lucia to become the highest class of disciple.” The question is … why?
Black Devil Shu must’ve realized my unasked question. “I wish to sow good karma with her. On a cultivator’s journey to immortality, there will come a time when they have to resolve their debts. They have to pay back what they’ve been given. If Junior Lucia happens to become an immortal, there’s no doubt that the whole Shadow Devil Sect, including me, will be blessed by good fortune. The whole purpose of a sect is to produce an immortal.”
Something that’s been bothering me for a while now has been the whole concept of immortality. I still don’t really believe in the longer lifespans for obtaining more circles, but putting that aside…. “Do immortals actually exist?”
“Yes. I’ve seen one with my own eyes.”
Anyone can claim to be immortal because they’re alive. They’re only immortal until they’re dead, then they’re clearly not immortal anymore. Heck, I can claim to be an immortal. But it seems like these kinds of beliefs are deeply engrained in this society, so I’m not going to question it too much. I’ll just keep it at a distance, neither acknowledging nor disregarding these delusions. After all, as a wise man once said, there are only two things that are certain: death and taxes. Which wise man was this? My drunkard teacher, Rogath Winemark. From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t been wrong yet. For a drunkard, he’s pretty smart. I wonder if I’ll ever see him again. I hope not; I really didn’t like him.
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