TGL Volume 3, Chapter 12 (1)

“Welcome to the second trial!”

According to the Tomb Hunter’s Almanac, I have to face three of my worst nightmares in order to pass. Luckily, the ropes that the foxkin used to bind me were undone once I was transported to this new space. Unluckily, I have a feeling that the foxkin is going to be included in the three nightmares. However, if I can overcome her, the rewards I’ll be given … are not worth it. There should be a reward for passing each nightmare, so if I’m lucky, she’ll appear as the last one.

“To proceed to the next trial, you have to face three of your worst nightmares! For you, that means you have to face … a rainbow phoenix nicknamed Mrs. Feathers! You have ten seconds to prepare yourself!”

“…I concede.” Nope. I already recognize the disparity between me and the phoenix. As someone who was captured by her twice, there really isn’t a way to pass this trial. Capturing someone is dozens of times more difficult than killing them.

“You … concede?”

“Yes, according to the Tomb Hunter’s Almanac, the second trial of the Despair God’s Tomb can be conceded without issue.” Before I enter a tomb, I always memorize the contents about it written inside the almanac. It’s saved my life more than once.

“Well, you’ve just encountered your second nightmare! What do you do when the information in your almanac is incorrect!? Have a taste of true despair as the world you recognize crumbles around you, as your truths turn into lies, as your reality warps to fiction! You’re not allowed to leave!”

You have got to be kidding me.

“Skreeeee!”

…And Mrs. Feathers is here.

***

What’s this? Did Lucia find a way to forcibly summon me out of my weapon body? No, that’s not right. She’s not smart enough to do that. And she’s not here. Where is here anyway? An empty space, perfect for some quiet cultivation. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t leave my weapon body until I was able to withstand Lucia’s attacks without dying. I knew she was going to kill me once I hit her, but I didn’t expect her to be able to kill me in one hit!

“Welcome to the second trial! You’ll be temporarily detained here until your owner finishes her trial. In the meantime, you’ll have to face three of your worst nightmares!”

My worst nightmares? We’ll see about that. There’s nothing in this world that can cause me to despair. Even Lucia, who may be stronger than me now, can’t bring me to despair. When I see her strength, all I see is a goal to surpass. “Bring it on.”

“Let’s see if you can still be as confident after watching … this!”

A hologram appeared in front of me. It was Lucia with a … male squirrelkin? “What is this supposed to be?”

The voice didn’t respond, but the hologram moved. Lucia stretched her arms out and hugged the male squirrelkin. “You’re the best!”

The male squirrelkin embraced Lucia, hugging her head against his chest. Then, his gaze landed on me, and he smirked. “You think so? Didn’t you say your weapon spirit was the best? What was his name again, Durandal?”

“Mm, no, when did I say that?” Lucia asked. It didn’t seem like she could see me. Or the sword that I had stabbed through the male squirrelkin’s head. Too bad he wasn’t solid. “You’re much hotter than he is! And he’s so weak: anything he can do, Mrs. Feathers can do better. And anything he can come up with, so can Ilya. Even I’m smarter than him! Since it’s like that, how can he be the best?”

Hmph. Mere tricks. All I have to do is sit down, cover my eyes, and block my ears.

“Is that so?” But I could still hear the male squirrelkin’s voice, as if he were speaking directly into my head. “I suppose he is someone who runs away from reality and pretends it doesn’t exist. If you didn’t used to have feelings for him, I bet you would’ve thrown him away a long time ago.”

*** 

Well, this is odd. For once, I’m not stuck inside Lucia’s socks. And I can’t sense my weapon…, no, armor body anymore. Have I been separated from her thanks to the tomb? Sadly, this is probably only temporary.

“Welcome to the second trial! To proceed to the next trial, you have to face three of your worst nightmares!”

Too bad I don’t know what the second trial consists of. If I fail and Lucia passes, do I move on anyway? In the first place, did I even pass the first trial? I didn’t even eat any fish. “Excuse me. I think there’s been a mistake.”

“A mistake? No, this was done intentionally. You see, the tomb is made to harvest as much despair as possible. And one of the best ways is to completely isolate the contestant. Your owner will take the trial, and if she passes, regardless of whether or not you pass, you’ll join her in the third trial. In the meantime, however, please despair for me.”

That makes sense. So, what are my three worst nightmares? I’ve already lived through a lot. I think I’m numb to everything, including death. What haven’t I experienced? I’ve fallen from a great height, an illustrious spear spirit, to the bottom of the barrel, a mere sock spirit, no, excuse me, a pair of socks spirit. My owner was once a renowned hero. Now my owner’s a delusional psychopath. According to the Slaughter God, my closest companion is a pair of shoes. I really can’t think of anything that would send me into despair.

“Now, for your first nightmare, you will have to face—!”

Is it Lucia? I don’t think so. Lucia doesn’t cause me to despair anymore. It’s like constantly staying around the smell of mold and no longer being able to smell it. I’ve grown immune to whatever ridiculous demands she makes because I don’t have any other choice.

“…Hey. Are you okay?”

Huh? Am I okay? “What do you mean? What’s my nightmare?”

“No, no,” the voice said in an almost apologetic tone. “Just by existing, you’re generating enough despair for the tomb. I don’t think you need further stimulus. Um, here, you can have this spear. There’s usually a reward given to those who conquer a nightmare.”

…What exactly does that mean? That I’m constantly living a life filled with despair? However, this is a nice-looking spear, and following Lucia’s principles, one should never turn down free stuff. “Thanks, I guess.” Hold on a second. Why am I following Lucia’s principles? …Well, this is a really nice spear.

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