TGL Volume 3, Chapter 17 (1)

Ilya might not be around, but she’s still helping me. Or she’s trying to keep me away from her. Hmph, hmph. I’ll listen this time around, and then I’ll see what excuse she has to keep me away again! Right now, I’m flying on Mrs. Feathers with Softie, the barkeep, and Treasure Finder’s bald friend; we’re heading to Tong County, which borders Kong County, to subjugate some bandits. Softie says there’s definitely something fishy about this request. Sky-realm experts are almost peerless existences out here. They don’t have to resort to robbery to get what they want when people will practically worship them. She thinks it’s a plot from a neighboring country to undermine the imperial family’s power.

“I disagree.” The barkeep shook his head, but he froze midway when Softie looked at him. He realigned his head and cleared his throat. “Two sky-realm experts would have better ways to weaken a country: Robbing unimportant cities is one of the least effective. Not to mention, you said Tong County isn’t even that important when taking all of Kong Country into consideration.”

Softie leaned against me and tilted her head up to stare into my eyes. “Lucia? Why is this person still accompanying us? He’s only a saint. It’ll be dangerous for him, and he’ll only hold us back.”

I knew it. Softie cares so much about this barkeep. Why else would she be concerned about his safety? Softie’s concern is precisely why I have to bring the barkeep into danger! How else is love supposed to blossom between these two? “He’s coming as bait.”

Softie’s expression softened. “As bait.” She smiled. “That’s perfect for someone like him.”

Hmm? Something’s strange, but I’m not sure what…. Maybe I need to sneeze again? Mm, nope. My nose is fine. Anyways, where are we supposed to find these bandits? “Softie, do you know where the bandits are?”

Softie nodded. “They’re going to Mudfish City.”

“How do you know that?” the barkeep asked.

“Sister Ilya told me,” Softie said and pulled out her messenger. “See?” She pointed at a line of text. “Lucia gets impatient very easily, so I extrapolated where the bandits would attack next. Head straight for Mudfish City, and you’ll find the bandits there.”

“…Isn’t that a bit too fantastical?” The barkeep frowned. “What, can she see the future?”

“It doesn’t matter whether or not she can. Head towards Mudfish City, Mrs. Feathers!”

“Which way is that, Boss?”

“Uh….” I’m not sure. “Softie?”

“I have a map of Tong County, but it’s a bit outdated,” Softie said. “The lay of the land shouldn’t have changed that much. Head south.”

“Alright.” Mrs. Feathers said and changed directions. It didn’t take very long for a place that looked like a city to appear. “Is it this one?”

Softie’s stared at her map. “I’m … not sure. It should be? It seems like we’re still a little far away though.”

“How outdated is that map?” the barkeep asked. “It looks ancient.” And it really did. It was wrinkled and yellowing like someone had poured hot chocolate all over it.

“It’s three hundred forty-seven years out of date,” Softie said. “But, as I’ve said, the lay of the land doesn’t change that quickly.”

“Well, the land doesn’t change, but you two-legged creatures expand like pests,” Mrs. Feathers said. “Listen, don’t you hear the people down there? They’re saying Mudfish City. We’re definitely in the right place. I’m landing.”

How come it seems like Mrs. Feathers is tired of flying us around? Hmm…. Must be my imagination. Or a worm in my head. But I killed them all, didn’t I? The thing is, there was never a deathy-type worm. Maybe it’s hiding from me but influencing my thoughts? I’ll cultivate the Secret Phoenix Rebirth Technique some more later, but first, I have to save this city from bandits.

This city doesn’t really look like a city. I’m not sure why. There’s buildings and everything that a city should have, like roads and stuff, but something’s not quite right…. “Is this Mudfish City?” Ah! That must be it. There’s no mud, and there’s no fish. And no one’s answering me—they’re just staring. Why?

“Phoenix!”

Oh. They’re scared of Mrs. Feathers. “Hey, stop running! She doesn’t bite! As a bird, she physically can’t bite you! At most, she’ll peck you in half or swallow you whole.” Um. Why does that sound worse than biting?

“I don’t eat people, Boss.” Mrs. Feathers sighed. “If I eat anything, I’ll get indigestion. Not to mention impurities will build up.” Mrs. Feathers shrank down to the size of a chicken and shook herself off, ruffling her feathers. “There, now these people won’t be so terrified.”

“Mm, do they think we’re the bandits? All of them are coming out with weapons.” I’ll let Softie do the talking. She’s better at it. Everyone treats beautiful people more nicely. Not that I’m ugly! Softie’s just too pretty. Hah…. I’m jealous. “Softie, go work your people magic and explain what we’re here for.”

“Greetings, people of Mudfish City. We’re here to protect you from the bandits that have been terrorizing Tong County.” Softie smiled at the group of people with weapons surrounding us. “Can you lead us to the city head?”

The people murmured to each other. And murmured some more. Then they whispered. Then talked. Then shouted. What were they arguing about? “Hey! We’re busy people!” That’s right. Ilya left a message for me saying that I’ll really appreciate doing a good deed, and she has lots of good deeds for me to do after this one is done. “What’s the issue?”

“What is going on here!?” Two men descended from the sky. That’s right. The sky. Were they sky-realm experts? They already have two sky-realm experts, so why do they need us to protect them from the bandits? “Who dares invade our base!? Haven’t you heard of the Tong Mountain Bandits!? Are you seeking death!?”

This guy yells so much. Wait, did he say he was part of the Tong Mountain Bandits? Were these the bandits that were causing trouble? Perfect!

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