Durandal lied. There wasn’t any food at the competition. Why don’t they sell food at the competition? That’s such a waste! With all the people gathered there, they’d make so much money selling food, something that all people need to eat. Sheesh, and people call me stupid. Everyone needs to eat—except cultivators since they live off grains of rice—and everyone at the competition is … a cultivator…. Oh. …Am I stupid? Ahem. Anyways, Durandal went off to watch the competition. And I went to a nearby tavern! I smelled acorns here.
This place is empty. Mm. Makes sense since there’s supposed to be a lot of people at the competition. What was it for again? Entering a sect? Eh, not that important. Why do people make such a big deal out of it? Wait, aren’t I a sect leader? Do I have to do things like recruiting people…? I was going to leave all the tedious stuff to Ilya, but … gah! “Barkeep! Give me your strongest drink!”
“But it’s nine in the morning.”
“…So?” Drinking away Ilya from my mind can be done at any time! It’s not my fault she’s pestering me and ruining my mood this early in the morning. Hmph. “Strongest drink and second-strongest drink and third-strongest drink! I want every bottle, barrel, and container you have of each.”
“Are you alone…? I don’t feel comfortable serving a young girl that much alcohol especially if she’s all by herself.” The barkeep’s looking at me as if I’m a lost child! “Dragonhead City might be a safe city, but there are millions of people living here. There’s bound to be a few scoundrels who’ll take advantage of you in your drunken state.”
This, this barkeep, why’s he so responsible!? I just want to wash away my anger! Mm? That’s not usually done with alcohol? That’s right … I should be punching and hitting things instead…. But Ilya always suggested I try a non-violent method to release my anger. Maybe if I listened to her earlier, she wouldn’t have abandoned me. That’s why, I’ll change my ways and drink away my anger instead! Ah? I’ll become a violent angry drunk? Nonsense! Drinking brings out one’s inner self, and my inner self is practically an angel. Mm, it’s a blob of darkness in the shape of a squirrel, which practically makes it an angel, okay?
“Excuse me, Miss?”
“Ah?” Oh, right! “I’m not alone! Mrs. Feathers, come out!” I keep her in one of the bags that can hold living things. She’s so bright and pretty, and she’ll take me out of the spotlight! And that’s unacceptable, but since no one’s here, it won’t matter if she shows her face. “Look!”
“…A rainbow chicken?”
“…Boss, can I incinerate him?” Mrs. Feathers looked at me. Too bad I can’t read bird faces. In fact, I can’t read at all! Ah, I might have to learn now that Ilya’s not here. Actually….
“Do you know how to read?”
“If I do, can I incinerate him?”
“Wait, why…, oh. Never mind. You can set him on fire if he refuses to serve me drinks! But do you know how to read?”
“I do. Only an idiot doesn’t know—ow! Why’d you hit me, Boss!?”
“My hand slipped.” Oops. “Anyways, Barkeep, booze!”
The barkeep stared at Mrs. Feathers for a long time. I was almost tempted to hit him, but I stopped myself because I’m not a violent person like Ilya says I am. Then, the barkeep took out all kinds of drinks from who knows where—interspacial ring, maybe?—and mixed it up into a barrel before placing it in front of me. “There’s a tap on the bottom.” He grabbed a cup and opened the tap; some pungent-smelling liquid flowed out. It had a faint smell of acorns. Perfect! “How is it?”
It tastes like shit, but that’s perfect to wash away the bitterness of Ilya ditching me. “It’s good enough!”
The barkeep made a strange face before picking up a cloth to wipe down the countertop. “Why don’t you tell me some of your troubles.” Was he staring at Mrs. Feathers? “Someone like you is bound to have an amazing story to tell.”
“My stories are personal!” It’s too embarrassing to say. Who needs Ilya anyways!? I don’t care about her, not one bit! Hmph!
The barkeep nodded. “Then how about I tell you my story instead? They say misery loves company.”
“Who says I’m miserable!?” I’m not miserable; I’m just mad. “But I want to hear your story because it’ll probably make me feel better if you’re in a worse spot.” Mm. Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama? But only when listening to it.
The barkeep’s face darkened. He shook his head and sighed. “You see, I might not look like it, but I’m the young master of the Long family, Long Chen. I—”
“The Long family is one of the two great families of Dragonhead City. The other—”
The barkeep exhaled. “…It’s the city we’re in.”
“Oh.” I knew that. I was just testing him.
“Ahem. Anyway, I’m the young master of the Long family; my father is the patriarch. Eight years ago, I was hailed as a genius, my cultivation was the fastest amongst my peers, and I broke several cultivation records within the family. However, something happened six years ago, and my cultivation stagnated. I—”
“What happened six years ago?”
“Do you always interrupt people’s stories?”
“Uh…, I’m not sure. Maybe.” I don’t think I do. “Anyways, what happened six years ago?”
“Wait a minute. How old are you?”
“…I’m sixteen. Can I continue now?”
Mhm. “Yep, carry on.”
“When I was ten, I—”
“Wait, wait, wait! You were going to tell me what happened six years ago! Why are you talking about when you were ten all of a sudden?”
Mm? Did he break? “Hello?”
“Do you want to hear my story or not?”
“I’m trying, but your story’s too complicated!”
“Damn you! My story hasn’t even started yet!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter