I hope this works. No, this better work. If this doesn’t work, someone’s going to have a bad day! I followed Ilya’s directions perfectly, so there’s no way this can fail. Right? Please don’t fail. If this doesn’t work, I’m going to cry. Stupid Durandal! Why couldn’t you just accept your fate as an earth-realm-ranked sword? Mm, once he’s no longer a spirit seed, I’m going to punish him. Right. Okay. Phew.
The spirit stones are glowing gold and melting. The altar’s like a giant mouth, drinking all of it down. It didn’t swallow Durandal, right? I want to take the spirit stones off to check, but what if that ruins the process midway? Gah! This is so frustrating! I wonder if this is what giving birth is going to feel like. Hmm. It’s probably a bit similar? Minus the pain, of course. But the anxiousness! Anxiety? The anxiety! Gah!
“Lucia,” Ilya said. “Take some deep breaths and stop pacing in a circle, please. Every time you turn around, your tail smacks my face.”
Ah, so that’s what that feeling was. I thought my tail was a little stiff because of my nerves, but it turns out it was just hitting Ilya. Hah…, I wish Softie were here. Then I’d have a way to vent all my stress! She’s like a giant squeeze toy with how soft and pliable she is. I guess I’ll have to squeeze Ilya for now…. “Why are you so hard?”
“What the heck are you saying?” Ilya wriggled around, but I didn’t let her escape. Nothing can escape from my grasp! Except Durandal. Gah! This stupid, stupid, stupid spirit! “Did I do something wrong? Why are you doing this to me?”
“To relieve some stress.” Ooh, the pile of spirit stones is half gone. It’s almost over. Should I be excited or should I be nervous? I don’t know! How about both? Can I be both? There should be a word for that. “What’s the word for both excited and nervous at the same time?”
“I’m aflutter?” …That doesn’t sound right. “You’re trying to make me look stupid, aren’t you?”
“I’m not! It’s in the dictionary. If you could read, you could look it up.”
Yup, she’s trying to make me sound stupid! Geez, Ilya’s always bullying me. Why can’t she be more like Softie? But if she didn’t bully me, I wouldn’t have any excuses to punish her, and that’d make my life less interesting. Mm. “I like you just the way you are, Ilya. Never change, alright?”
Ilya stopped struggling. “…Other than imparting that technique, did the Tablet of Madness destroy bits of your brain? The needle was stabbed pretty deep in your head. You weren’t replaced by anything, right?”
Why do I even bother being nice to people? They always mistake my niceness for insanity. Ah! The spirit stones are almost all gone! I released Ilya and ran up to the altar. A layer of gold liquid covered an … egg? Where did this egg come from? The tablet and Durandal’s spirit seed are gone! No way! Durandal had s** with the tablet and laid an egg! He, he cheated on me! How dare he create offspring with a rock!? I’m going to smash this egg. Where’s my hammer? Here it is. Alright, Breaking Madness Hammer Stri—ah? The egg’s hatching. If I smash the egg now while it’s in the process of hatching, is that murder or is it still abortion? Hmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm. Ah, too late. It hatched. And out came a … spirit seed? It looks like Durandal’s spirit seed! Well, all spirit seeds kind of look the same, but still. “Durandal?”
“Yes, it’s me. Place me into the sky-realm-ranked sword now.”
Can I stick him into the hammer instead? The hammer’s much more fun to use. But then he might become fat if I do that. Or a certain part of him will be too thick! Hmm. That doesn’t sound too bad, actually. Should I? But then those two swords will go to waste if I do…. Alright. Fine. Into the sword he goes. I put away my hammer and took out one of the swords. Now I have to embed the seed into the hilt and … it’s done! There was a bright flash of light, and the seed finally f***ing disappeared! He really went in! He’s back in a weapon! “Durandal! Come out!”
Out of the sword, Durandal appeared! He looks exactly the same! But his face … looks a bit angry? Mm. Maybe that’s his new resting face? Why!? The new mini-DalDal looks exactly the same; Durandal’s appearance shouldn’t have changed! Then that means he’s angry. At me? I’m the one who should be angry here! What do I say? I hate you for making me do so much work? I really missed you? You’re finally back? Welcome home? Let’s f***?
And do I hit him? Or do I hug him? Or do I take his clothes off and throw Ilya out of the cave? Wait, no, I should throw Ilya out of the cave before I take his clothes off. Gah! I don’t know what to do!
“Good job. I’m proud of you.” Durandal walked up to me and hugged me. His right hand snaked towards my ears and rubbed them. Ah…, I missed this so much! I can’t be angry at him right now. Once he’s done, I’ll start getting mad. Right. Once he’s done. Mm. Ah, I’m getting sleepy and tired. So relaxing…. Durandal’s touch. Durandal’s heat! Durandal’s … smell? Why does Durandal smell like a plant?
“Durandal? You smell like vegetables.”
Durandal sighed and took a step back. “The spirit inside of that tablet was a cactus. I had wrestle it while completely naked. Do you know how painful that was? Why’d you fuse me with that tablet and not something else?”
Eh? “But Ilya said the tablet was dead?”
“I’m pretty sure I said probably,” Ilya said and coughed. “Which means if I’m wrong, you can’t blame me.”
“Well, whatever! You upgraded and entered a sky-realm-ranked sword! It doesn’t matter, right?” That’s right. It doesn’t matter! Durandal beat up the tablet spirit and leveled up. Does that mean he’s a sky-realm expert now? …Is he stronger than me? There’s no way…, right? Eep! My tail’s stiffening! Who’s letting out this bloodlust!? “D-Durandal?”
“Doesn’t matter? Do you know how sharp a cactus’ spines are!? They tore apart my ballsa—ahem! No, never mind.” Durandal glared at me and crossed his arms over his chest. Why is he letting out so much qi!? He’s much more intimidating than the crown prince! He’s almost like that freaky immortal! “Hmm? Lucia? Are you…?” A smile blossomed on Durandal’s face as his glare disappeared. “Since you used an immortal-ranked item to upgrade me, is it possible that I’m stronger than you right now?”
T-that sadistic smile! He’s thinking of terrible, terrible things to torture me with! The last time he smiled this broadly, he made me hold a horse stance and stuck a wooden spike underneath my ass! I-I can’t show weakness! “N-no! I’m definitely, definitely, much, much, much stronger than you!”
Durandal’s eyes gleamed. “It’s been a while since we’ve last dueled each other, hasn’t it?”
He’s a sadist! A f***ing sadist! “Ah-ha-ha, look at the time. Those smiths must be super worried about us. Can’t keep them waiting!” Flee! I’ve made a horrible mistake!
“Why are you running from me, Lucia? I thought you missed me.” Durandal’s voice appeared right by my ear. He’s next to me!? How is he so fast!?
“Lucia! Durandal! Goddammit! Wait for me!”
Ah, I forgot about Ilya.