TGL Volume 3, Chapter 1 (3)

“C-calm d-down! Stop s-shaking me!”

Oops. I shook Ilya too hard. But calm down? Calm down!? How am I supposed to stay calm! That’s ten years of my life I’ll never get back! And it’s not even the bad ten years, like when I’m old and unable to move and about to die at any moment! It’s the good ten years of being young and reckless and doing whatever I want! Like having kids!

“It’s not as bad as you think,” Ilya said. White strands of qi were circling around her shoulders where I was grabbing. Did I break them? …Well, she’s healing just fine, so it’s okay. And I know she likes feeling pain like a masochist. I shouldn’t feel bad. Mhm.

Ilya coughed. “Are you listening?”

“Yes!”

“Since you’re a sky-realm expert, you’re able to live over five thousand years.”

“Wait, really?” Since when?

“Yes, really. Don’t you remember?”

“Nope!”

“Okay, well, now you know. Again. I’m recording this and every future interaction we have, by the way—just in case there’s something I need to remind you of that you try to deny.” Ilya nodded at me and waved her arms around, stretching her shoulders. It looks like they’re fixed. See? Not a problem. “Anyways, since you’re able to live for five thousand years, you’re basically able to live fifty times longer than a normal person. Under the assumption that every phase of your life is multiplied by fifty times—”

“No math!” My head’s starting to hurt. “Just tell me how me being past my prime birthing age isn’t an issue!”

Ilya sighed. “Right, it’s you.” She rubbed her forehead with her hand before staring up at me. Or down at me. Why is she taller than me!? That’s not fair. She was so short and cute before. Now, she’s too tall. If I press on her head, can I shrink her? Ilya coughed again. I’m paying attention! “So, since you can live fifty times longer, your prime birthing age has been extended by fifty times. That means, for the next five hundred years, you’ll be able to have kids with no issues. Then, the next five hundred years, you’ll still be able to have kids with a little more trouble conceiving them, but it won’t be too problematic. And after that, you’ll have four thousand years to search for spiritual drugs to boost your fertility if you’re not satisfied with how many kids you’ve already brought into the world. Got it?”

“In other words….”

“No matter how old you get, you’ll always be at a prime birthing age!”

Ah! “I see.” But—

“But it doesn’t matter because Durandal’s sterile. So hurry up and go to the Immortal Continent to fix that.”

Why does it sound like Ilya’s trying to chase me away? It can’t be, right? According to her, it’s been ten years since she’s last seen me! Wait. Doesn’t that mean it’s been ten years for everyone else too? All of them must miss me! I wonder how Softie’s doing. Oh! “That’s right! Softie gave me a soul lantern thingy, right? Where’d I put it?” Interspacial ring number one? Two? Three? Found it! “Eh…. Is it supposed to be this dim?” When Softie first gave me the lantern, it was super bright with a huge flame. Now, it’s barely shining. “Maybe it’s dim because the sun’s too bright!”

“My lab’s underground, Lucia.”

“Maybe it’s dim because your lab’s too bright!”

“I think it’s dim because Softie’s on the verge of death. If the fire goes out, that means she’s dead. So if the fire is barely burning, then….”

“Softie’s younger than me! How is she on the verge of death!?” It’s only been ten years! And if she isn’t dying of old age, then that means…. “Someone’s attacking her! We have to go beat them up! How dare they torture my Softie!?”

“Don’t you mean we have to go save her?”

“That’s what I said!” Ilya’s dumb sometimes, and she says I’m the one who doesn’t listen. Hmph. “I have to find a cure for Durandal’s sterility too. There’s no reason not to go right now!”

Ilya held out an acorn, and I stopped myself from teleporting away in time. There was a strange expression on Ilya’s face when I took the acorn from her … like she was disappointed in me for some reason. “Are you an immortal?” she asked. “I think not going if you’re going to die is a good reason to wait a while.”

“Ah! That’s right! I wanted to ask you how to become an immortal.” That’s why I left my secluded room in the first place, right? Right. But Softie’s in danger! “I’m almost there, but it feels like I’m missing the feather to sneeze.”

“Missing the what to what?” Ilya frowned. I opened my mouth, but Ilya cut me off. “Never mind. I think I understand. You’ve hit a bottleneck after reaching the peak of the sky realm.”

“Right! The neck bottle thing! How do I get past it?”

Ilya scratched her head. I still want to push down on it to make her smaller. “Well, along with the other stuff we’ve picked up from raiding those sects, there were a few scrolls with the experiences of immortals written—”

“Just get to the point!” Ilya always talks so much when she knows it hurts my head to navigate through her sentences. She’s bullying me with her intelligence, isn’t she? It’s not fair!

Ilya sighed. “The geniuses that overcame the hurdle to become an immortal were led by their cultivation paths. A voice spoke inside their head, telling them what to do. But since you’re not a genius, the other—”

“Wait!” Voices inside their heads? That sounds like me! “I hear voices all the time!”

“Not those kinds of voices, Lucia.”

…What’s that supposed to mean?

Ilya took a step back. “Don’t glare at me, please. You’re destroying the stuff behind me with your qi.”

Oh. Oops. Since when could I do that?

“Anyways, voices relating to their paths, not random voices. Like there was a sword immortal who walked on the Path of Water. His heart of water told him to train within the ocean to understand water more deeply, whatever that means. And—”

“Right! There was a voice claiming it was my heart that told me how to become an immortal!”

“…Then why are you asking me?”

Hmm. “Because you know everything?”

Ilya sighed. “And what’s that voice telling you to do?”

“Kill everyone I don’t like.”

“…As I was saying, the non-genius immortals that didn’t hear any voices—”

“But I’m a genius!”

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