TGL Volume 3, Chapter 2 (4)

Durandal’s acting strange…. Ever since Ilya gave him that piece of paper ten minutes ago, he’s been different. I knew it: nothing good ever comes from reading. Then again, ten years passed while I was cultivating. People change in ten years; that could be it, right? Nah. It’s definitely reading’s fault! When I become the ruler of the world, I’ll ban all books! Wait a minute…, I already am an empress of this pocket realm! “Ilya! I’m banning all words!”

“What?”

Don’t look at me like that. “Words. They’re banned now. Imperial decree. Mhm.”

“But you just spoke.”

“Oh.” Words can be spoken too, huh? “I meant written ones. No writing words! Only pictures.”

“Um, sure, okay. Ignoring that for now, what about Softie?” Ilya pointed at the lantern on the table. “It dimmed again. Maybe she got into another fight?”

“Ah!” That’s right. Durandal and his strangeness distracted me just now. We have to go beat up Softie’s bullies! Mm. Durandal already read the letter and became strange; it’s too late to help him. But it’s not too late to help Softie! How dare people bully her? Only I’m allowed to do that! “Let’s go!” Wait. We were already going, but Ilya had to do something…. “You’re done packing, right?”

“Yes,” Ilya said and sighed. “I just have a question though.”

“Hmm?” Ilya has a question? That’s impossible! She knows everything. “What…, what is it?”

Ilya’s expression hardened. It must be something serious! Something that Ilya can’t solve…. If she can’t solve it, I can’t even think up what it is! Ilya took in a deep breath and exhaled. “Why … do I have to go with you to the Immortal Continent?”

…Huh? “What do you mean why do you have to go with me to the Immortal Continent?” Does Ilya not want to go? But why not? Could it be…? “You’re married!?”

“What? No!” Ilya rubbed her forehead with her hand. “I really wonder what goes on inside your head sometimes. After ten years, I almost forgot how … disorienting … it is to talk to you.”

If it’s not a husband…. Hmm. “You don’t want to go back to the Immortal Continent because….”

“It’s not that I don’t want to go back, it’s that, uh, you know, I don’t really … want to go back with … you…?”

“Lucia?”

“Um, are you listening?”

“Hmm? Did you say something?” I thought I heard Ilya say she wanted to go back to the Immortal Continent, just not with me. Whew, this is what happens when you get old. You start hearing things. Also, ten years of built-up earwax probably doesn’t help either.

Ilya took in a deep breath. “I don’t wish to travel around with you anymore, Lucia.” Her eyes widened, and she raised her arms. “Please! Put away your hammer, and let me explain myself, alright?”

That’s odd. When did my hammer appear in my hands? What was Ilya saying? Mm. My hammer helps me hear better. “I’m not putting it away!”

Ilya chewed her lower lip. “Alright,” she said and took a step back after I coincidentally took a step forward. “It’s things you do like this”—she gestured towards me—“that make me not want to travel with you. You don’t listen to reason, and when things don’t go your way, you always resort to violence.”

“That’s not true! Sometimes I make Durandal do the violence instead!”

“That’s the same thing!” Ilya glared at me. She’s a lot more imposing than before since she’s taller now. But it’s not just her height that changed; it’s her whole attitude. Can people really change that much in ten years? “Wherever you go, you bring problems with you because you don’t use reason! It’s always violence with you. Even when people aren’t bothering you, you antagonize them because you want their stuff. You’re like a big bully, and I don’t want to be there when you get your comeuppance. There’s so many people that want revenge against you, and you refuse to even acknowledge that you’re at fault. Do you really think anyone will listen when you say, ‘Teehee, I forgot so it didn’t happen’? No, they won’t!”

“But you robbed them with me!” I’m the bad person here!? “You’re the one who makes jelly out of people’s corpses!”

“That’s different!” Ilya retreated three steps back when I advanced three steps forward. “They’re already dead, so it’d be a waste to let their corpses rot! Besides, you’re the one who kills them in the first place. And, for the record, I don’t make jellies out of people’s corpses anymore—I make weapons.”

“As if that’s any better!” And I don’t kill people. I’m not a murderer. I only beat people up on occasion, okay? “So, what? Are you afraid of people coming to attack you? I can protect you just fine.”

“There are immortals chasing after you, Lucia. Remember that guy from the war, the one who killed twenty sky-realm experts with basically a shout and a fart?” Ilya bumped against her table. With that, she has no more space to retreat! “I sincerely believe I’ll die if I follow you. In fact, I came close to death so many times back then that I can’t even recall how many instances there were.”

…Close to death doesn’t meant death, right? It’s no big deal! “Aren’t you overexaggerating?”

“No. I’m probably underexaggerating how terrible it is to follow you around.”

My chest feels weird. And my nose feels a little sour. Can noses feel sour? Maybe I’m smelling something sour. “Do you really think that?”

“Absolutely. If I follow you around, it’ll be the death of me. And I don’t want to die just yet.” Ilya swallowed and lowered her eyes … towards my hammer. “So, please don’t hit me with that because it’ll really kill me.”

“I’d never hit you with the hammer, stupid.” Does she really think I will? I might not be as smart as her, but I’m not dumb. I know she’ll die if I hit her with my hammer. “You really don’t want to come with me…?”

Ilya furrowed her brow and took in a deep breath. “I—”

I didn’t have to hear her answer to know it. “Well, that’s fine too. I didn’t want you to come with me anyway!” My chest really hurts, and my eyes sting. Where’s that dumb orb that I break to leave the pocket realm? Here it is.

“Lucia, wait.”

It’s too late to wait. I grabbed Durandal, crushed the orb. And everything went black.

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