TGL Volume 3, Chapter 8 (1)

The first trial ended. Fifty people have passed. A majority of them were weak and related to the barkeep while the twenty or so who passed on their own were sky-realm experts. As for the foxkin…, she’s still eating the slaughter fish. She already ate over a thousand of them, but she says they’re tasty and refuses to stop. I haven’t explained to her what the second trial consists of, and I don’t think she’s going to ask anytime soon. But if I wait any longer, it’ll be too late to convince her to free me. “Excuse me.”

“Excuse me.”

“Hey! Foxkin!”

“Mm?” The foxkin raised her head. Her cheeks were puffed out, and she was holding a bamboo skewer with half a slaughter fish on it. Her throat comically bulged as she swallowed. “What’s up?”

“The hour’s up! The first trial’s over. You should get ready for the second trial. While you’re at it, free me, please? I didn’t trick or lie to you.” The key to communicating with the foxkin is to bombard her with everything at once to prevent her from interrupting.

The foxkin tilted her head. “Um. Can you repeat that, but slower?”

…Or not. “For the second trial, statues are going to appear. You have to destroy them to progress.”

“Oh. Okay.” The foxkin threw the rest of her skewer inside her mouth before grabbing another from the campfire. “That sounds easy.”

“Right, it’s easy, but I won’t be able to complete it if I remained tied up.” I won’t die if I can’t fight back because the tomb isn’t made to kill, but I don’t want my trip to end—at least, not like this. “So, do you think you can untie me? I won’t run away.”

“Nope! Can’t do that,” the foxkin said and shook her head. “I know you’re going to escape if I do.”

“But I said I wouldn’t.” This foxkin…. “Haven’t I earned even a little bit of your trust?”

“You can’t fool me!” The foxkin snorted and chomped on her fish. I waited until she was done because it seemed like she had more to say. “See, if I were in your position, the first thing I’d do once I was free is run. And I’d definitely tell the person who captured me that I wouldn’t run, but I’d run away anyway. So, nope, can’t untie you.”

Because you’re a bad person means I’m a bad person too? That’s called projecting, and it’s heavily frowned upon! “Then … what are you going to do about the third trial?”

“Mrs. Feathers will help you pass the second one. It’s just beating up statues, right?”

…If the phoenix’s help was anything like the first trial’s, she’s probably going to slam my head against the statues to destroy them. “Yes, but the statues have illusion arrays on them. They turn into the people closest to you, and you have to steel your heart to kill them.” Which shouldn’t be an issue for me if the phoenix is going to wield my body like a weapon, but I wonder, do phoenix’s even have people they’re close to? In my mind, divine beasts were always aloof and lofty. After meeting one, my image of them is ruined.

“Mm…, people I’m close to,” the foxkin said through a mouthful of fish. “That’s good! I’ve been meaning to punch Durandal, but he’s been hiding this whole time. If a few statues of him appear, that’ll be great!”

…I wonder what the Slaughter God was trying to test when he created the second trial. Did he want his successor to be a bloodthirsty murderer who would even slaughter his friends? Considering the fact the tomb is a benevolent one that doesn’t kill people who enter, perhaps the key to the inheritance is to not destroy the statues during the second trial? No one’s obtained the inheritance yet, but there was one person, the pacifist monk, who passed the second trial without destroying the statues…. If that’s really the case, will this foxkin kill me for giving her incorrect information? I, I wouldn’t put it past her. Please, you damned Slaughter God, be consistent with your trials!

There was a beeping sound, and a few people shouted as their bodies faded. The people who failed the previous trial, yet tried to stay behind, were expelled from the area. “The second trial will commence shortly. Each person shall face three people that they must kill to proceed to the next trial. A special circumstance has been created for the bushy-tailed lady over there. She will have to face an infinite number of statues until she dies or chooses to leave on her own.”

The foxkin dropped her fish. “Say what?”

“Let the second trial begin.”

“No, don’t begin! What the f***!” The foxkin shot to her feet and looked around, presumably to find the owner of the mechanical voice, but the voice echoed from everywhere. In the first place, I don’t believe the voice even had a body; it was part of the tomb. “Hey, Treasure Finder!”

…Is she going to blame me? This isn’t my fault at all! “Y-yes?”

“How do I pass the trial?”

“Um….” That’s a good question. “I, uh, don’t think you’re meant to. By any chance, does the Slaughter God have a grudge against your ancestors?” I can’t think of any reason why she’d be singled out like this. Actually, it was pretty strange that all the slaughter fish targeted her in the first trial. “You heard the voice speak. Destroy the statues coming after you to pass, and there’s not even a time limit….”

The foxkin furrowed her brow. “Mm, so I have to destroy an infinite number of statues?” Her head tilted to the side. “How long will that take?”

“…Forever?” Does she not understand the concept of infinity?

“Well, I’ve done things that’ve taken forever before! I’m sure I’ll be fine this time too.”

I, I don’t think I should correct her. Maybe I should let these three statues kill me, so I can escape from this place before the foxkin figures it out.

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