TGL Volume 3, Chapter 15 (4)

While Mrs. Feathers is flying us to the closest city with a transportation gate, I’ll be inspecting my loot! Let’s see…. Inside the ring, there’s a … skeleton. There’s all kinds of weird engravings on it, but I don’t recognize any of them. Maybe it’s not meant to be absorbed? Or I could try absorbing it and see what happens, but that’s like trying strange foods found on the ground, so I won’t do that. Is there anything besides this skeleton? Ah, here we go. Underneath it, there’s a blanket. And … that’s it. A blanket and a skeleton. This is the Death God’s inheritance? Well, I took the coffin and the corpse inside of it, so maybe those count too.

Wait a minute. If the Death God was inside the coffin, who does this skeleton belong to? “Hey, barkeep, do you recognize either of these?” Maybe he’ll know. He’s a citizen of this country that the Death God was raised in. Though, that was seven hundred years ago. Eh, it’s still worth a shot! I took out the blanket and skeleton, and Mrs. Feathers squawked while dropping a few feet in the air out of nowhere.

“Boss! That’s really heavy!”

Hmm? This skeleton almost weighs as much as my hammer! When I’m not increasing the hammer’s weight, that is. If I ever lose my hammer, I could smack people with this skeleton instead! Ah? I have a sky-realm-ranked sword that I could use if I lost my hammer? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Slicing is not as satisfying as smashing!

“This….” The barkeep scrunched up his forehead and stared at the skeleton and blanket pair. If he doesn’t know what it is, can’t he just say it? Unless, could it be? He’s smart enough to figure out what they are just by thinking about it harder? Only someone like Ilya can do that! After a few more expressions, the barkeep sighed. “This skeleton belongs to an immortal. The Death God must’ve used a technique to control it. Even if it’s just a skeleton, its combat prowess should be on the level of a quasi-immortal, not to mention it’s near unbreakable.”

An immortal’s skeleton? He wasn’t very immortal, huh? Unless he’s still alive, living without his skeleton, like a blob. Or he regrew his skeleton. Ah, that’s probably it. Anyways…. “What about the blanket?”

“The blanket is actually more valuable than the skeleton,” the barkeep said. “And it’s not a blanket. It’s the fur of a squirrel.”

…Well, I’ll just put that away. “Why are squirrel furs so valuable?”

“What!?” Mrs. Feathers turned her head around even though she was supposed to be keeping track of where we were. “You don’t know about squirrels?”

I know a lot about squirrels. After all, how can I not know about myself? But I won’t tell her that since it’d be silly for me to not know why squirrel furs are valuable even though I’m a squirrel myself. And, in the first place, isn’t a squirrel’s tail the most valuable part? “Nope. Tell me about these things I’ve never heard of called squirrels.”

“Hmm…, they did go extinct a long time ago,” Mrs. Feathers said. “How old are you, Boss? I thought you’d’ve heard of them since you’re so strong.”

“I’m thir—twenty! I’m twenty-two!”

Mrs. Feathers stared at me, and I swear she forgot to flap her wings. Ah, I’ll put away the skeleton too since it’s heavy. “Boss, you…, okay. You’re twenty-two.” She sighed and turned her head back around. “What about you, barkeep? How come you know about squirrels? Aren’t you even younger than Boss?”

“I read about them somewhere…,” the barkeep said and cleared his throat. “But that’s not really important, is it? Boss wants to know about squirrels. I’ve only heard about them, so why don’t you explain?”

Mrs. Feathers flapped her wings twice, going higher into the air, before responding. “Squirrels…, squirrels are monstrous beasts with four legs, a head, and a tail. They’re like rats, but their tails are bushier, and they’re, ugh, why am I describing their appearance to you? It doesn’t really matter since they’ve gone extinct. But way back when, when I was still a young phoenix, barely yet a saint, the war between squirrels and the holy beast alliance was going strong. You’ve heard of the four holy beasts, right? The azure dragon, the vermillion bird, the white tiger, and the black tortoise. I’m a descendant of the vermillion bird, though very far removed.”

Those four animals sound familiar…. “These holy beasts ganged up on the squirrels?” Isn’t that bullying?

“You have to understand how terrifying squirrels were,” Mrs. Feathers said and sighed. “All the dragons, phoenixes, tigers, and tortoises combined couldn’t match up to the strength of the squirrels. The most frightening part of the squirrels were their reproductive abilities combined with their insane growth rates. One sky-realm squirrel could die, and three months later, there’d be another five to replace it. Not only that, but their fighting potential was nothing to joke about either. Their intuition allowed them to avoid nearly all ambushes, and their strength allowed them to shrug off just about every trap set for them. It took ten holy beasts to kill one squirrel.”

Hmm? “Wait. If the squirrels were that strong, and they had babies that fast, how come they’re the ones that went extinct? And if there were that many of them, how come their furs are so rare?”

“Well, every creature has a weakness,” Mrs. Feathers said. “For the squirrels, it was their inability to work with others, and their … monumental stupidity—like you, Boss.”

“I’m not monumentally stupid!” Um, actually, what’s monumental mean?

Mrs. Feathers shook her head. “Squirrels would fight each other to the death over dumb things. If one squirrel eyed another squirrel’s mate, they’d fight to the death. If one squirrel obtained a treasure, another squirrel would kill them for it. And then that squirrel would announce that it got the treasure due to pride, and then it’d be killed by a different squirrel, continuing the cycle of greed, pride, and stupidity. The squirrel and holy beast alliance war wasn’t between all the squirrels and all the holy beasts; it was between all the holy beasts and every individual squirrel. Some squirrels would even work with the holy beasts to kill another squirrel before being killed by the holy beasts it worked with.”

…Squirrels sound dumb, but I’m not! It’s a good thing I’m only part squirrel. Phew. If I was a full squirrel, then I’d be an idiot.

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