TGL Volume 3, Chapter 11 (1)

Rest in peace, Money Grubber. I’ll burn incense and fake money for you. You too, Gold Seeker. Those two were blinded by greed, and they didn’t even give me a chance to convince them to stop. It’s been over ten minutes, and they’re still within the boat. Given their strength, they should’ve been out in five. That can only mean one thing: the foxkin got them. I heard Money Grubber’s hand cannon too. It’s a weapon solely meant for rich people, costing spirit stones every time it’s fired. Usually, it’s worth the price, but I’m guessing this time it didn’t pay off. The phoenix must’ve stopped it.

The boat’s been oddly silent. I didn’t run as far as I could; I merely retreated to a safe distance. If there’s a chance to save my friends, I’ll take it, but I’m not going to risk my life for them. Yes, I may owe Gold Seeker a debt, but that debt will be void if he dies. The tiny bit of bad karma I’ll accumulate might make my tribulation more difficult, but I can always suppress my cultivation and avoid it for a few thousand years while building up good karma.

“Oh? Isn’t that Treasure Finder?”

T-that voice! The foxkin!? Did she see me!? How? Is it because I chose an isolated area to hide!? If I stayed within the crowd, she probably wouldn’t have noticed me…. But now that she’s seen me, there’s only one thing to do! Run!

“Catch her, Mrs. Feathers!”

And I didn’t get very far before some very familiar ropes tied themselves around me. I was dragged and teleported until I was dropped onto the ground by two other tied-up people, my friends.

The phoenix that captured me preened herself. “You know I’m not a net, right, Boss?”

“Mm, you’re better than one though,” the foxkin said and held out a handful of seeds to the phoenix. It pecked at them like a chicken. “Good job.”

“So, this is the foxkin you were talking about,” Gold Seeker muttered. “Couldn’t you have warned us about her boat?”

If my hands weren’t tied, I would’ve punched him. “I would’ve if you didn’t rush off so quickly!” I exhaled to expel the burning feeling in my chest and wiggled around to face the foxkin. “Hello. It seems we meet again.”

The foxkin smiled and nodded. “Mm, hello!” Then she turned to the phoenix. “You can let her go now.”

Excuse me?

“Boss, why’d you have me catch her in the first place then?”

“Because she ran before I could say hello!”

…What? “Is that all you wanted to do? Say hello?”

“Mhm.” The foxkin nodded while the phoenix untied me.

I, I’m not sure what’s happening. “Then, I’m free to go? You’re not going to drag me around to enter the tomb with you like last time?”

“No,” the foxkin said. “I’m just going to directly absorb the tomb again. And besides, I only captured you the first time because you were smart, but now I have Ilya! And she’s way, way smarter than you even if she’s a fake.”

Does this foxkin really think I’m dumber than a statue? I, who’s lived over six hundred years, am less intelligent and knowledgeable than a piece of stone imbued with a will? Why does she think that? It’s because she’s dumb! This foxkin isn’t smart enough to judge people’s intelligences; ugh, she really infuriates me. Phew. Calm down. Why am I so agitated? It’s like her words have a sharp edge to them, ready to stab into my heart at any time. It must be her cultivation technique; why else would she be referred to as Heart Devil Lucia? “What about these two?” I gestured towards my friends who were staring up at me with pleading eyes. “Can they go too?”

“Um….” The foxkin scratched her head. “The man can go, but the woman stays.”

“Is there any reason why she has to stay?”

“Because she’s a genius!” The foxkin’s eyes gleamed, and she nudged Money Grubber with her foot. “Hey, hey, tell them about protection fees and how they aren’t robbery.”

Money Grubber was silent, and only the thumps of the foxkin’s foot bumping against her side could be heard—other than the screams and sobs in the background, of course. There’s a fierce battle going on; is this really the best time to have a chat? For now, I’ll free Gold Seeker. He’s the one I owe. As for Money Grubber…. Well, everyone encounters misfortune once in a while, even someone as lucky as her. As long as the foxkin thinks she’s useful, she’ll survive.

“W-wait,” Gold Seeker said and kneeled in front of the foxkin after I untied him. “Can you return my daggers to me?”

…The foxkin took Gold Seeker’s daggers, didn’t she? No, that’s not even something that should be questioned. She’ll take anything of value from anyone including their underwear. Would she really let two sky-realm-ranked weapons slip by?

“Eh?” The foxkin tilted her head. “But those were your protection fees.”

…Is this what the foxkin was trying to get Money Grubber to explain to me? How protection fees aren’t robbery? I have a feeling Money Grubber’s deeply regretting her actions right now. Her stuff was taken too, huh?

“Maybe you should just kill me instead,” Gold Seeker said. “Those daggers are my life.”

“What? Don’t say things like that!” The foxkin frowned and furrowed her brow. “You shouldn’t want to die that easily. Look at this barkeep over here: he’s completely useless in every way, but he’s doing his best to live! As long as you keep your chin up, good things will happen to you. Mm. Treasure your life more, okay?”

…Are those things someone like you should be saying?

Gold Seeker’s face lit up. “Does that mean you’re going to return my daggers?”

The foxkin’s eyes narrowed. “What? No. What do you mean return? They’re mine. Why would I give them to you?”

“B-but you just said—”

“I said they’re mine, and that’s that!”

Gold Seeker’s head drooped, and I could see the defeat in his eyes. I have a feeling that even if the foxkin didn’t destroy the tomb to seize the Despair God’s inheritance in her out-of-the-box method and participated legitimately, she’d inherit it anyway. It’s supposed to be quite difficult to put a sky-realm expert into despair.

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