TGL Volume 3, Chapter 12 (5)

I, I didn’t think I could do it, but I actually wore this dumb phoenix down! But maybe it’s pretending to be weakened as a ploy to drive me even deeper into despair once I’m about to defeat it. Yeah, that’s most likely it. First the tomb forces me to play hide-and-seek with my life against a quasi-immortal phoenix, and then it prevents me from quitting the game. Teasing me with a lifeline should be the next logical step. If it weren’t for the fact that the almanac said this tomb gathered energy from its surroundings to remaining operating, I would’ve suspected it was powered by people’s despair.

Even if I know the phoenix is suddenly going to regain its vigor, I still have to take the chance to defeat it. First off, if I don’t defeat it, I’ll be stuck here for the foreseeable future, maybe even forever. And secondly, if I beat it, I’ll get a treasure. A few people have gotten weapons imbued with auras of despair from the tomb, and the Despair Seeking Sect pays good prices for those.

How am I able to wear down the phoenix despite never being able to escape from her outside the tomb? It’s simple, really: the tomb was created by the Despair God, and he wasn’t an immortal at the time of his death. The formation he created to maintain his tomb just simply can’t reproduce the strengths of quasi-immortals properly. With the foxkin, the phoenix, and the leaders of the Despair Seeking Sect and Slaughter Seeking Sect taking part in the second trial, the majority of the tomb’s energy should be focused on creating their nightmares.

“There you are!”

Ah, it found me again. I dove out of the way, and the wall that I was resting against exploded, engulfed by rainbow flames. I’m pretty sure the tomb summoned buildings for me to hide inside to amplify my fear. Instead of facing the phoenix out in the open and instantly losing, the tomb wants me to hide and pray it doesn’t find me while I leave traps behind to wear it out. I’m a pretty proficient formation creator if I may say so myself. It’s just that I haven’t had the chance to shine because I’ve been tied up for the longest time….

“Ow, ow, ow! What is it this time!? You and your pesky formations!” More flames exploded near me, but I dodged out of the way in time. “Once I catch you, I’m going to roast your soul into ashes!” The phoenix’s head appeared around a wall, and a bright light flashed. Once again, it activated my trap formation. This time, it was an earthen spike trap, very basic but effective. Its eyes widened, and I ran out of the room I was in before it could breathe fire on me. “You! Gah! Stop targeting my butthole!”

…It’s not like I’m targeting its butthole on purpose, okay? Wait, let me rephrase that. I am targeting its butthole on purpose, but it’s not because I want to! It just happens to be the phoenix’s weakest and only spot I can attack to inflict damage on it. How do I know the phoenix’s weakness? It was in my almanac. It’s only a one-time purchase to get an index of different beasts that might show up in tombs along with their weaknesses. Unsurprisingly, most beasts’ weaknesses are their buttholes.

Now, I’ll lay down a trap here, some marks over here to send the phoenix off my trail, and I’ll split off in this direction and hide in a building. Of course, I won’t just be hiding, but I’ll be laying down some formations too. It’s a shame I can’t use any stronger ones, not after having my stuff taken by the foxkin. Why couldn’t I have been a body cultivator? That way, even if my interspacial ring was taken, my battle prowess wouldn’t drop. Well, body cultivators are abnormal freaks anyway. Only a masochist could become one, and not just any masochist, they’d have to have a special constitution too.

“You stupid two-legged creature! If one more spike targets my butt, I’m going to gouge your eyes out and force them into your nostrils!”

That threat’s a little scary, and it’s a bit too late to remove the traps that I’ve already set that are going to target the phoenix’s butt, but it’s not like it can follow through on its threats as long as the terrain remains in my favor. Besides, even if it wasn’t going to gouge my eyes it, it was still going to kill me. “Hey, you trial proctor, can I quit yet?”

“No. Everyone else is allowed to quit. Only you aren’t. Are you enjoying the taste of despair?”

If I had a few decades to myself to examine this tomb undisturbed, I bet I could modify its formation to make the voice less obnoxious, but sadly, I don’t have the time for that. The phoenix is here. I dodged out of the way and activated a formation that sent out a crude clone of myself. It burned and screamed as I crawled away, leaving the clone behind for the phoenix. Normally, anyone could tell right away that it wasn’t me, but with the fire, hopefully the phoenix wouldn’t notice.

“I finally caught you! I’ll teach you to—ow! Another one!? Even when you’re on fire!?”

At that moment, the mechanical voice rang out. “One person has completed the second trial! The rest of you have twenty-four hours to conquer your nightmares before you’ll be automatically expelled from the tomb.”

Excellent, it seems like I only need to survive for twenty-four more hours. To a sky-realm expert, twenty-four hours might as well be as long as a minute.

“Hmm, that’s odd,” the phoenix muttered. Has it figured out that it only caught a clone? “I defeated one nightmare, but a second one’s not appearing? Maybe I didn’t actually kill it. Hah…, this is such a hassle. Since when was I ever scared of being weaker than normal, you dumb voice? Couldn’t you have picked a more traditional nightmare, like say, squirrels or something? Everyone knows phoenixes are terrified of squirrels.”

…Don’t tell me, is this Mrs. Feathers the real one? If she finds out I was the one targeting her butthole….

“You’re mistaken, phoenix. Your worst nightmare isn’t being weaker than normal. It’s being weaker than normal while having someone persistently target your butthole as you chase them through a maze that disorients you.”

“…And how did you come up with this oddly specific scenario?”

“The Despair God works in mysterious ways. Also, a squirrel is reserved for your third nightmare.”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter