TGL Volume 3, Chapter 19 (5)

Is this what fishing feels like? Mm, definitely not. Fishing is way, way scarier. I can’t believe people get so close to the water and try to catch the demons inside.

“Um, Lucia, don’t you think this is too obvious?” Softie asked. She was holding onto a bottle of black … water? And she was taking slow sips of it every so often. “If you keep such a thick rope tied around her, no one’s going to try to capture her.”

Hmm? “Is that so?” I thought people would want to capture her no matter what. “Some alchemists were kidnapped out of their sects, right? There’s no way those evil kidnappers would be more afraid of a rope than a sect.”

“Lucia…, I’ve been thinking this for a while now…,” Softie said so softly that I would’ve barely been able to hear her if it weren’t for my odd hearing improvement. “Somehow, you really did become smarter, didn’t you?”

“I was always this smart!” The bone of intelligence only helped me express my smartness more! It didn’t actually make me more intelligent. Mm, there’s also the Secret Phoenix Rebirth Technique. Mrs. Feathers said it promoted brain growth or something along those lines. Am I really partly turning into a phoenix? “Hey, Mrs. Feathers, your Secret Phoenix Rebirth Technique, does it turn people into birds?”

“It was created to make humans more phoenix-like, but I’ve never heard of anyone actually turning into a phoenix.”

“So … its goal is to try and make people into birds?”

“Not just any bird—a phoenix.”

Hmm…. Should I continue practicing this technique? I always wanted to be part crow instead of squirrel…, but now that I’m given the chance, I’m a bit unwilling. Well, first of all, there’s something I need to find out first. “How related to phoenixes are crows?”

“…As related as monkeys are to humans.”

So…. “Pretty close, then?” I remember there were those monkeys that wore clothes and could speak back when Durandal abandoned me on a mountain because I was poisoned by Snow. They behaved almost exactly like people. Mm. Yeah, I guess that means crows are pretty related to phoenixes. They’re just darker and less burny. Well, the secret technique’s only flaw is making me explode if I want to learn woman-exclusive ice techniques, but who’d want to learn those anyway? Not me. Hmph. Ah? What did I ask Mrs. Feathers that question for? Um…. “Right. I was always this smart!”

Mrs. Feathers nudged me. Mm? “Someone took the bait.”

Bait? Ah! I was catching alchemist catchers! “They cut my rope! After them, Mrs. Feathers! Beat them up, but don’t catch them!” Right, I have to be the one to catch them for the good karma. Mrs. Feathers is nice enough; she doesn’t need any positive karma. Mm, I’m not saying that I’m not nice enough; I’m just saying more good karma is always good. Mhm. …I’m not a bad a person!

Ooh, these people are sky-realm experts. It wasn’t just one of them going around kidnapping people. There’s five of them! “Hey, Softie.”

“Yes, Lucia?”

“Didn’t you say sky-realm experts were supposed to be super rare or something? How come we’ve been running into so many of them?”

“Well, most of the requests in these regions are made by people in the earth realm. And the only problems that earth-realm experts can’t solve by themselves involve sky-realm experts or above.”

Oh. That makes sense. “But aren’t five sky-realm experts a lot?” Does the Shadow Devil Sect even have five sky-realm experts? Mm, there’s me, Ilya, Softie, Claw, and…. Is that it? No! There’s Mrs. Feathers too. That makes five. Ooh, and there’s Treasure Finder’s bald friend. That’s six! Eh? When did they join the sect? When I needed our sect’s sky-realm expert numbers to increase, so about three seconds ago. They just don’t know it yet, but that’s okay.

“It is a lot,” Softie said. She was still holding onto the bottle of black liquid. I didn’t bother moving either because Mrs. Feathers knows to throw the people she captures in front of me. “They belong to a powerful organization, one that can mobilize a group of sky-realm experts with ease. I know of one such group, and that group also has ties to the alchemy stove….”

Softie knows the group behind this? “If I beat them up, will they send immortals to chase me?”

“If it’s the group that I’m thinking about, they won’t dare do anything to you.”

Ah? Why’s Softie speaking so cryptically? She knows I hate it when Ilya does it to me! “Speak clearly! What’s going on?”

“I think Sister Ilya’s responsible for this,” Softie said after she recovered from me shaking her. “Five sky-realm experts are nothing to her, and a great way to increase the sales of her alchemy stove invention is to remove all other forms of creating pills: kidnapping the alchemists who can. Maybe she’s not directly behind it, but Pill Valley definitely has a hand in this.”

Huh? That’s odd. “Wait a minute…. Aren’t we doing a good deed right now?” Doesn’t that mean catching Ilya’s subordinates is a good deed? Ilya’s … a bad person? I knew it! Only a bad person would accuse someone as cute and innocent as me of being a violent bully! Hmph, I’ll ruin her plans to get back at her! …But what if Softie’s wrong? What if Ilya isn’t the one behind this? I mean…. “Ilya wouldn’t give me a request to capture her own people, right?”

Softie nodded and put away her empty bottle. “She wouldn’t. That’s why I wasn’t completely sure. Mrs. Feathers is coming back with them now though. We’ll figure out who sent them with your Soul Scour. You needed to practice it anyway, right?” Softie sighed. “Though I hope you never perfect it….”

Mm? What did she whisper just now? She hopes I never perfect it? Maybe I’m hearing things. If I never perfect my Soul Scour, then Durandal would never come out of his sword to have s** with me! And then I’d never have kids. There’s no way Softie would wish for me to never have kids. Mm, sometimes the hearing of a phoenix can’t be trusted. My most dependable body part is my tail after all, and it’s telling me Softie’s totally harmless.

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