TGL Volume 3, Chapter 8 (3)

Vera. I didn’t think I’d ever see her again, especially not after reading the letter she left behind. Yet here she is, miraculously recreated by the Slaughter God’s Tomb. How far did the Slaughter God go on the road to immortality? Is slaughtering to the point of having no emotions required to traverse the Path of Slaughter? If that’s the case, will Lucia kill me one day? Actually, she’s already killed me plenty of times during our spars. Despite being able to heartlessly cut me down, for some reason, Lucia wants to keep this fake Vera alive.

“Don’t glare at me like that, Durandal,” Vera said and grinned. “To the untrained eye, it looks like you want to strip and eat me.”

If it weren’t for the fact that I was tied by ropes that restricted my qi and prevented me from retreating into my weapon body, I would’ve cut her down. Doing so would be respectful to her memory. Letting a fake like this take her place is unforgivable.

“Aren’t these fakes great?” Lucia nodded and placed her hands on her hips. Only she and Mrs. Feathers were able to roam around. Everyone else, contestants and statues alike, was bound. “They’re so lifelike and real, and they even know things they shouldn’t!”

“Boss, what are you doing?” the barkeep asked. “Didn’t you say you’d help my family pass the trials?”

“I did, but these trials are impossible to pass, didn’t you hear?” Lucia nodded again. “An infinite number of statues are going to appear. And that means the number of statues is unending! But I’m too smart for such a petty trick! The Slaughter God wants to bully me? I’ll make sure no one can ever receive his inheritance!”

That’s … pretty smart. If Lucia really came up with the idea herself, has she gotten smarter? No, it’s more likely that this is one of her random whims. Isn’t there a saying, a thousand monkeys randomly scribbling with a brush will eventually produce a book? Once in a while, Lucia will have a good idea, but I don’t know how effective this will be against someone who’s already dead.

A man in black robes stood up despite being bound. “You’re the one clearly not fit for the trial! Why are you holding us back too?”

For someone who was defeated and captured, he’s awfully aggressive.

“Do you know who I am? I’m Fang Pi from the Death Seeking Sect!”

No wonder why he took such an aggressive stance. He’s literally seeking death. I wonder if it’s his cultivation technique that’s making him act that way. If it is, how is that sect still around?

“Hey, Ilya,” Lucia said. She’s not even calling the statue Fake Ilya anymore. Has she deluded herself into thinking this Ilya is the real one? “Do you know who he is?”

The fake Ilya shrugged. “He’s probably someone unimportant. You should rob and strip him before kicking him out of the tomb.”

That’s a bad idea. “If you do that, the Death Seeking Sect will develop a grudge against you. It’s simply better to just kill him along with all the witnesses.” Only I’m allowed to provoke Lucia into making bad decisions. I won’t tolerate it from anyone else, especially not a fake.

“You’re always wanting to kill people, Durandal!” Lucia snorted and shook her head. “Right! Ilya, don’t you think it’s Durandal’s fault that I’m violent? I’m not saying that I’m very violent, but the teensiest bit of violence that’s inside of me is totally due to Durandal, right?”

“Absolutely,” the fake Ilya said and looked at me. She smirked. “Normally, when a child misbehaves, you blame the parents. However, you didn’t have any parents, Lucia. Instead, you got to meet a sadistic teacher who tortured you under the guise of training. You can’t be blamed for becoming so violent. It’s completely Durandal’s fault.”

“See! I knew it!”

“Our new owner is quite eccentric, isn’t she?” Vera asked, raising her eyebrows at me. What did she mean by our? “How did you two meet?”

“Don’t act so familiar with me, Fake.” I really wish Lucia would untie me. Maybe Puppers could help me out. Speaking of which…, why hasn’t a statue appeared for him? I know Lucia and I haven’t been communicating with him recently, but don’t tell me the tomb hasn’t noticed his presence either. “Puppers, are you there?”

“Yes.”

“Why hasn’t anyone appeared for you?” Could it be? Puppers is a better weapon spirit than I am? Like I’ve said many, many times, a weapon spirit has no emotions. So why is it that Vera appeared before me? As a weapon spirit, it doesn’t make any sense for someone close to us to appear.

“…There has.”

“Where?”

“You see, over there.” Puppers materialized next to me and pointed ahead.

There was no one there.

“On the ground.”

On the ground? “Lucia’s shoes?” Wait, that isn’t right. “But Lucia’s wearing her shoes. Why is there another pair?”

“…That’s my statue.”

That’s…. O, how the mighty have fallen. “I’m sorry, Gae.”

Puppers hung his head. “Gae…, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time.”

“Yeah.” I … don’t know what else to say, so I’ll just nod. “Yeah.”

“It’s been a while, Gae Bolg,” Vera said. “Do you remember me?”

“Pup—Gae, untie me.” While Lucia’s distracted by that Death Seeking Sect member she’s stripping, I’ll take this chance to eliminate Vera and the remaining two statues that come after me. If I’m not wrong, Roland should appear as well, then … maybe Lucia too? I…, maybe I shouldn’t eliminate Vera because I have a feeling I’ll lose to even a fake Lucia. But it’s not like I can keep Vera alive. Decisions, decisions…. Hmm? Another rope? What…, oh.

“What a sneaky statue,” Mrs. Feathers said after she finished tying Puppers to me. “Almost missed him.”

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