We caught a lot of fish. Mm, I say we, but it was mostly Mrs. Feathers. I was about to eat the fish, but the barkeep told me that the tomb only said we had to have ten fish in possession. It’s a good thing he told me because if I ate these, I’d probably puke. They smell bad—like Surströmming. Mm, what’s that? I’m not sure! A voice must’ve planted that word into my head, but which one was it? I already burned the despairy one and the slaughtery one into nothing thanks to the Secret Phoenix Rebirth Technique.
“The first trial is ending in three seconds. Those without ten death fish will be expelled from the tomb.”
There aren’t a lot of people left. Mrs. Feathers is actually really, really strong. I’m glad I captured, err, convinced her to join me! Apparently, her flames can melt down bodies into nothing. And she says their souls disappear as well, but I don’t know if that’s true. Either way, she scared off even the Death Seeking Sect after burning half of them! Mm, I knew I couldn’t fully trust the barkeep, saying those people wouldn’t be scared and all that. But it’s not that he’s purposely lying to me: He’s only a saint with no experience of the world. Now…, what was the second trial again according to Treasure Finder? Ah, Mrs. Feathers and the barkeep disappeared, leaving me behind on a sandy hill. “Durandal?”
There was no response. But that could’ve been because he was still sulking. “Puppers?”
Mm, still no response. I guess that’s…, hmm. Did Puppers revive since he died at the Despair God’s Tomb? I’m not sure…. “Mr. Heart of Slaughter?” This was the only voice that I didn’t burn away, and that’s because he didn’t ignore me unlike those other two. Err, I mean, and that’s because I’m a merciful person!
I’ll always be with you as long as you’re slaughtering things!
“Face your heart devils! Failure means death!”
…That’s not reassuring. What exactly is a heart devil? I know I plant them in people…. Could the tomb be talking about the worms? Oh…, that reminds me, didn’t I unleash a bunch of squirrels made of wormies with the Heart Devil Apparition technique? I wonder how they’re doing. It’s been ten years, after all. Wait a second. Do I even have any heart devils? With my Heart Devil Cultivation Technique, I’m super sensitive to them. And I don’t sense any inside of myself! Does that mean I automatically pass? Ah, someone’s there. A pretty girl with bunny ears…. Wait a minute! That’s not a girl! That’s Snow! Snow … is my heart devil? I don’t get it. Isn’t he dead?
“Hello, Lucia,” the fake Snow said in the dead Snow’s voice. “Still being you despite becoming so strong, I see. How’s Durandal doing?”
“You….” What does the tomb mean by face my heart devil? Do I just look at him? How do I pass? “Stupid tomb! Your instructions are crap!” Do I have to kill him? Beat him up? Poison him back? Mm, when in doubt, ask! “Hey, Snow, how do I pass this trial?”
The fake Snow sighed and shook his stupidly beautiful head. “You really haven’t changed. I can’t tell you how to pass the trial, but maybe I can guide you through it?” Snow waved his hand, and a table appeared on the sandy hill. Two chairs grew out of the ground, and he sat on one of them. “What would you like to drink? Hot chocolate? Acorn stew?”
“Nothing made by you!” I didn’t forget how he poisoned me! Alright, it’s settled. I’ll beat him up. Even if I’m smarter now thanks to that bone of knowledge, violence is still the best way to get answers! Ah? My fist passed through his head? But there’s no blood. And his expression didn’t change.
“I’m a ghost, Lucia,” the fake Snow said and rolled his eyes. “You can’t hurt me.”
Could it be…, my heart devil consists of ghosts!? They are a bit scary, I’ll admit. But I’m not afraid of them! Like how I can’t touch them, they can’t touch me. And if they can touch me, that means I can punch them! Or whack them with my hammer. Mhm. Odd. The chairs and table are solid, and the hot chocolate smells like real hot chocolate. It wouldn’t hurt to take a sip, right? I have the Immortal Poison Body after all! I don’t believe Snow can poison me again! A-ha! This must be what it means to face my heart devil. I almost died to poison once, and now, I have to face the same situation again. I’m a genius. …But the last time I thought I was a genius, the Despair God’s Tomb defensive formation was still active when I thought it wasn’t. Is this a trap?
“Lucia…. Lucia? Do you still not listen to people? Hello…? Guess I’ll wait.”
Was the fake Snow saying something? Ah, I don’t get it. If only Ilya were here. But if she were here, she’d still not be here thanks to the tomb. I hate having to think for myself! It’s hard. Wait a second. Before I tried to punch him, didn’t Snow say he’d try to guide me through what I had to do? “Right! Tell me the secret to passing the trial.”
Snow took a sip of his hot chocolate and sighed. “Think, Lucia. What is a heart devil?”
I know this! “It’s something I plant in people to cultivate!”
Snow stared at me and sighed again. “That’s what you do with them, but not what they are. Think about it, Lucia. What is a heart devil? How do you plant them in the first place?”
“I … don’t know.” Why do people get heart devils from me anyway? “Whenever I talk to people, they just appear!” It’s a mystery.
Snow sighed for a third time. Was he depressed? Can ghosts even be depressed? What do they do if they are? Snow rubbed his eyes before shaking his head. “This is a lot worse than I thought.” He pushed the second cup of hot chocolate towards me. “How about we start from the beginning?”
The beginning? The beginning of what? But sure! It’s been a while since I’ve talked with someone over a cup of hot chocolate. Hah…, Ilya’s a bully who abandoned me. Durandal’s a sulky bastard. Puppers isn’t worth talking to. …For some reason, I really miss Softie.Previous Chapter Next Chapter