Just like I thought, formations are magical. The place that was supposed to be ten years away became only three hours away because of this gate. I should get one of these for my mansion back home. I’ll set up a gate to Ilya’s dad’s house; that way, I could bother Ilya whenever I’m bored! Mm, it was a bit expensive to use the gate though. It took a hundred thousand spirit stones! …That’s a lot, right? I think it is. But it doesn’t matter. I almost have infinite money because of all those sky-realm experts from Fang Country! I tried counting all my spirit stones on the boat ride to the necropolis from the gate, but my head started hurting so I gave up. Anyways, we’re here!
“Remember, stay close to me,” the smith said. Only he and Ilya came to the necropolis place with me. According to Ilya, a necropolis is a gravesite! Why do I sound so excited about that? Because bones! This is a necropolis made for dead immortals! I’m not sure how immortals die, but surely, they’d leave their bones behind! That giantest bone of focus was amazing. I’m consuming sky-realm experts’ bones right now, but they run out pretty quick. “We are heading straight to the Cave of Wonders. Don’t wander off. Though long dead, these immortals left behind many formations to protect their corpses and items.”
…Those selfish bastards. If they’re dead, they should relinquish their stuff without a struggle! Why would a dead person need treasure? Hah, I guess I won’t be getting any immortal bones.
“Halt! Who goes—oh, it’s you, Brother Bear.”
Where did this person appear from? She’s huge too! Are all smiths big chewy-metal bears? Hmm. She’s not missing any of her teeth. Maybe not?
“Good Evening, Sister Bull,” the smith said. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever found out the smith’s name. Mm. He might’ve told me, but I wasn’t listening or something. Well, I can always address him as hey, or you, or Mr. Smith. “This is Lucia Fluffytail of the Shadow Devil Sect from Kang Country. I’m taking her to the Cave of Wonders.”
“The Cave of Wonders, huh?” the lady smith mumbled. What was that supposed to mean? “She might have to wait a few years. The Tablet of Madness roamed over and planted itself at the entrance. Sister Mochi almost lost her life earlier this month.”
“Eh!? Is she alright?” The smith eyes widened. “Of all the places to show up, why would that cursed tablet appear in front of the Cave of Wonders?”
…So I can’t upgrade Durandal? I’m confused. If this tablet is what I think it is, then I’ll just eat it and be done with it! It won’t be the first time I’ve eaten a tablet!
The lady smith shrugged. “Sister Mochi will be fine. If the cave’s all you came here for, then you wasted your time.”
The smith sighed and lowered his head to look at me. “I’m sorry, little foxkin. It seems like the Cave of Wonders can’t be operated right now.”
“Why?” This tablet sounds like a non-living object. Why are they so scared of it? “What’s this Tablet of Craziness?”
“Madness,” the lady smith said. “It’s exactly what it sounds like. Those who view the tablet lose their minds. Legend has it, an immortal recorded the secrets of the universe upon the tablet. Mortal minds aren’t meant to understand the universe. Even if you’re an immortal, the knowledge will consume you and drive you mad.”
Hmm? “…Can’t I just close my eyes and enter the Cave of Wonders?”
“If it was a normal tablet, then you certainly could do that,” the lady smith said and shook her head. “However, the Tablet of Madness speaks.”
“Then I’ll plug my ears…?” I’m not seeing the problem here. And if I’m not seeing it, that means there is no problem! This stupid Tablet of Madness isn’t going to stop me from bringing Durandal back!
“The Tablet of Madness speaks directly into your mind,” the lady smith said. She sounded a bit annoyed. “What could you possibly have to do in the Cave of Wonders that you’re willing to risk your life?”
“Rebuild Durandal’s p****!”
Ilya made a choking sound. Was she drinking something without me? How dare she!? Oh, no, she probably choked on her spit or something. Like I said, she really did get a lot clumsier after becoming an alchemist. Eh? Both smiths choked too! There must be something in the air. It’s a good thing my body’s immune to illnesses! Ilya said idiots never get sick. …Wait a minute.
“I must’ve misheard you,” the lady smith said. “But I understand that you wish to repair an item, but is that item worth your life? The Tablet of Madness has existed for over thousands of years. No one has been able to do anything about it.”
“I’m not going to lose to an inanimate object! I don’t care about the stupid tablet; take me to the Cave of Wonders.” If my tail stiffens in front of the cave, then I’ll run. It’s that simple. But I don’t believe I’ll be defeated by a piece of rock!
“…I’ll bring you there,” the smith said.
“Sister Bull, Lady Fluffytail has clearly made up her mind. According to Crown Prince Single Sky, she’s friends with an immortal. Perhaps she has methods to deal with the Tablet of Madness.”
“Hey, uh, Lucia. This is probably a really bad idea,” Ilya said and tugged on my sleeve. Ah! She called me an idiot earlier! “W-what are you doing!? I’m being serious! Stop! That hurts! I’ll go, I’ll go!”
Hmm. That only made me feel a little better. Hmph. Why does she always say such mean things about me when she knows I’m going to hurt her? Maybe she likes…. She’s a masochist, isn’t she? That explains everything! I have to find a new way to punish her instead. Tickling? No, she’ll still enjoy that. Hmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmm. Eh, well, I’ll figure something out later. There are more important things to do! Tablet of Madness, Tablet of Madness, get in my way and I’ll eat you! Unless you’re strong, then I’ll run away. There’s no shame in running, but there’s plenty of shame in losing to a rock!