TGL Volume 3, Chapter 15 (1)

Ah…, at this point, am I still indebted to Gold Seeker? I’m not sure. I haven’t done anything to help him other than accompany him, and even then, I didn’t assist him when he held down the foxkin’s item spirit and asked me to attack it. As for Money Grubber, she’s long gone. If the status of my debt to Gold Seeker wasn’t unclear, I’d be in the same spot as her, as far away from this tomb as I could get. I don’t know why Gold Seeker is sticking around for the foxkin. She already told him she was going to reject his offer of becoming her disciple. Is this what happens when a man has nothing left to lose? He clings to the last remaining straws of hope no matter how thin they be?

Gold Seeker shot to his feet, practically jumping up. “Welcome back!”

A massive phoenix appeared out of nowhere along with a crowd of slightly burnt people. It seems like … the phoenix failed the first trial? There’s absolutely no way the foxkin finished conquering the tomb in the hour that’s passed. And there’s also no way this many people survived throughout the whole thing. But how did the phoenix fail the first trial, unless … she did it on purpose?

The phoenix looked around before shrinking down to the size of a turkey. Then she flapped her wings and landed in front of Gold Seeker and me. “Wow, you two stayed. I’m surprised.”

“What happened? Did you fail the first trial?” Even though I didn’t want to speak to the phoenix because she probably hates me for the traps I set in the second trial of the Despair God’s Tomb—and I didn’t want to remind her of what I did, even if it was just by showing her my face—I couldn’t reign in my curiosity.

“No, I passed,” the phoenix said. “But I threw away all the fish before it ended. You said the second trial was facing heart devils, and the only heart devil I have is Boss, so I quit.”

What exactly is the relationship between the foxkin and this phoenix? Should a tamed beast really have its owner as a heart devil? “You and the foxkin aren’t on good terms?”

The phoenix glared at me. Did I ask something I shouldn’t have? “Would you be on good terms with someone who drives you around like a slave? Would you be on good terms with someone who wants to eat you but doesn’t know how to cook you?”

“If that’s the case…, why don’t you just leave?” I’m sure if the phoenix flew away now and hid herself, she’d be able to escape from the foxkin with ease. After all, the tomb should take a while to conquer. With the speed of a quasi-immortal, Mrs. Feathers could be long gone by the time the foxkin comes out. “Isn’t now a perfect chance?”

“Now’s a perfect chance,” the phoenix said, bobbing her head up and down. “But what happens if she finds me later on? The Immortal Continent might be vast, but it’s still a small world. If enough time passes, we’re bound to meet each other again, and when that time comes, she’ll have become who knows how strong. Don’t forget, my boss is extremely narrow-minded, petty, and vengeful. If I leave her here, she’ll hold a grudge against me forever.” The phoenix sighed. “Besides, I don’t have a home to return to; Boss destroyed it. Also, I can feel myself approaching immortality by sticking near Boss, so it’s not that bad of a deal for me.”

She can feel herself approaching immortality? Is she on the verge of becoming an immortal, or is it the immortality that phoenixes have? Maybe she’s predicting her own death and rebirth. I haven’t felt any improvement upon hanging around the foxkin. In fact, I’ve lost overall combat strength thanks to her robbing me. And there’s no nonsense like improving my mindset after suffering a setback. I’ve already struggled my way to becoming a sky-realm expert. I’ve lost count of the number of setbacks I’ve face, and none of them have helped. Alright, now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not going to wait around for this foxkin with Gold Seeker. Even this majestic phoenix was ensnared and tricked by her, what hope do I have of keeping my sanity around the foxkin?

Yes, yes, I know I’ve been saying I’ll leave and never meet the foxkin again for a while now, but this time it’s for real! Gold Seeker is a lost cause. He’s been abused so badly by the foxkin and her item spirit that his mind is messed up. Why else would he want to be her disciple? He’s beyond help at this point, and though I owe him a favor, I’ll go to the Karma Association and do a few good deeds to balance out my reneging. That’s the first thing I’m going to do. I must’ve accumulated bad karma from somewhere, causing my luck to plummet which would explain my repeat encounters with this foxkin and her phoenix. But, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what I’ve done wrong. Well, it doesn’t matter. “Gold Seeker, you’re on your own now. I can lead a horse to water, but I can’t make it drink.”

Gold Seeker frowned. “Are you comparing me to a horse?”

“Sorry, let me fix that. I can lead an idiot to water, but I can’t make him drink.”

“That’s not what I meant!” Gold Seeker sighed before shaking his head. “Fine, I get it. You think I’m crazy, but I’ve never been more clearheaded in my life. The foxkin is strong and ruthless, but she has a tender side reserved for the people beside her.”

The phoenix choked on air. Gold Seeker pretended she didn’t make a sound and continued, “So, you see, if I can become her disciple, I’ll have a clear path towards becoming an immortal. Even the phoenix agrees with me on this point.”

I understand where Gold Seeker’s coming from. Without risk, there’s no reward. But at the same time, if the reward is immortality, the risk associated with it has to be tremendous; otherwise, everyone would be an immortal. Even the foxkin should have trouble becoming an immortal. Probably. She should, right?

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