My father’s theory was right. The giant plant that had infested Lucia’s home was the leader of all the plants. Once I destroyed it, all the people who were possessed regained their sanity. Removing the plant that had sprouted in their heads was a bit harder, but it was a simple process once I figured out the trick. All I had to do was put them under a sleep spell, crack their heads open, and burn away the roots while maintaining a healing spell so they didn’t die during the surgery. My father thought my cure was barbaric, but I didn’t think he was one to speak considering the fact he’s very good at torturing people.
Anyway, since I became a thirteenth-circle magician, I realized how small our pocket realm actually is. I could fly from the southern pass to the desolate mountains in a day. And I also saw the edges of the world. Our pocket realm is flat. To the north, there’s a humongous glacier that’s nearly impossible to traverse. To the east and west, there are mountain ranges made of marble and obsidian respectively. And to the south, there’s just a really steep cliff. I flew up to see what was over all of them, and it was the same sight for each: an endless sky. I had a feeling I’d fall to my death if I tried flying over them to see what was underneath the world, so I didn’t try.
It feels weird being the second strongest person in the world. According to Reena, Cain disappeared around the time Lucia dragged me into the Immortal Continent, and no one has broken through to the legendary, err, saint realm in the time that we were gone. Using my newfound strength, I bullied the emperor and forced him to step down, elevating my father’s status to ruler of the empire. …Just kidding. I actually failed the surgery on the emperor to remove the plant in his head and he died. It was an accident, I swear. After the first successful surgery, the royal family implored me to fix the emperor. I warned them I needed more time to perfect it, but they insisted, so … yeah. It was quite unfortunate, really. I’m crying and feeling a lot of remorse right now, okay? I didn’t do it on purpose.
“Hey, Ilya! You look cheerful today. What’s up? Did you figure out how to cure Durandal’s sterility?”
…Okay. The botched surgery happened over a year ago, alright? You can’t expect me to grieve forever. The survivors have to move on instead of living in the past. Speaking of surviving, if I don’t answer this loaded question carefully, I might be the next person to lose her life. “You’re not pregnant?”
“Nope! You’ve given so many cures to Durandal too. What if he’s actually not sterile anymore, but there’s a problem with me!?” Lucia’s eyes widened as she gripped my shoulders. Her pupils shrank as she ground her teeth together. I didn’t think it was possible for a sky-realm expert to look as if she hadn’t gotten enough sleep…. I only need to sleep once a week or so ever since I reached the saint realm. “Right, right. The next time you give Durandal a cure, give one to me too!”
“You know…, there’s a way to test who’s the sterile one amongst you two….”
“Really!?” Lucia’s eyes gleamed as her tail rose into the air and swished around. “What is it? Tell me, tell me!”
“You can mate with, uh, other people.”
Lucia’s grip tightened, and I’m pretty sure both my shoulders shattered. Luckily, I had obtained a technique from a sect—that I refuse to name because it’s embarrassing—that converts pain into a sense of pleasure, but I pretended to be hurt anyway and yelped. Lucia shook me back and forth. “Are you crazy!? Absolutely not!”
“Okay, okay! You can stop shaking me now.” For the past year, I’ve been giving Lucia placebo after placebo, but all that does is delay the inevitable. I’ve been working on finding a real cure, but it’s difficult. Really, really difficult. In fact, I’ve forcefully recruited every professor, teacher, and self-proclaimed genius to tackle this problem, and we’ve gotten nowhere. Well, I suppose we figured out a few things that don’t work.
Lucia snorted and glared at me before placing me back into my chair like a doll. She dusted off my shoulders and stared me in the eyes. “Alright, Ilya, be honest. Can you fix Durandal or not?”
“If I devote the next eighty years of my life to solving this problem, I’m sure I can.” Well, I think I can figure it out in fifty years or so but giving myself a buffer is nice.
“Eighty years is too long! Shorten it!”
“Alright, how about seventy years?” Wow, the buffer came in handy already. No wonder why everyone calls me a genius. …My lord, I sound like Lucia. I’m not an idiot, I swear.
Lucia’s tail twitched. She exhaled and lowered her head, staring at my feet. “Alright, you can stop then. If I try really hard and cultivate nonstop, I can become an immortal in one or two years. Then, I’ll go back to the Immortal Continent and find a cure there. There has to be a cure there, right? There are billions of old fogeys who’re over hundreds of years old! It’d be weird if none of them had issues with their penises, right? There’s definitely a cure out there. Mm. Alright. Work hard, Lucia. You can do this.”
Lucia teleported away, leaving me behind. …She’s gone baby crazy. I know she wasn’t right in the head before this, but at least she was somewhat predictable. But now…? There’s no doubt she’s going to kill someone if they get in the way of her goal, so I think I’ll leave her alone for now. While she isolates herself in cultivation, I’ll be the strongest person in the pocket realm…. I think I could get used to this. And the next time Lucia leaves for the Immortal Continent, I’m definitely not going with her. Definitely, definitely not. Now that I don’t have to worry about Durandal’s sterility problem, I can finally do what I want! I’m finally free! Yeah, it’d be nice if life could continue like this: no worries, no responsibilities, and no one stronger than me to threaten my lifestyle. Yeah, that’d be real nice. …I really do sound like Lucia now, don’t I?
Author's Note: End of Volume 2.