TGL Volume 3, Chapter 21 (3)

I haven’t found a good opportunity to fire the anti-Lucia cannon. However, it might be unnecessary at this point. Lucia freed up Mrs. Feathers, so now it should be two against one. The man seemed evenly matched with Lucia, so adding on Mrs. Feathers’ firepower should guarantee her victory—in theory. Every cultivator has their trump card that they’ll only reveal in the direst of moments. I’ve only seen Lucia’s once during her fight against Smiling Pig of the Righteous Buddha Sect: It was a giant claw that emerged from her body and squished her opponent when she was attacked by the Sin-Devouring Bell. I’m not sure if she can use it freely, though. She didn’t seem to remember what happened.

Despite defeating Mrs. Feathers’ opponent in a flash, the tables weren’t turning that quickly. Mrs. Feathers was hanging back; perhaps she was like me, waiting for the best time to attack. If that man is as strong as Lucia, then he could defeat Mrs. Feathers in a single strike too. If I fire the anti-Lucia cannon, will it even hit him? It might not, but it could provide a moment of distraction that Lucia or Mrs. Feathers can take advantage of. For now, I can only watch and wait. No…, would it be better for me to escape from here? What if that man targets me like Lucia targeted the woman? …Somehow, I don’t think that’d affect Lucia too much. Sister Ilya said she installed a defensive formation on the boat, but I’m not sure how strong it is. Sister Ilya called it the anti-Lucia defensive formation. Surely it could stand a single strike from Lucia or someone as strong as her?

“Flaming Hammer!”

“Tiger Maul!”

Lucia seems to have gained a fire essence thanks to Mrs. Feathers. I wonder what it cost. A fire essence is essential for becoming an alchemist—maybe not anymore thanks to Sister Ilya—and only a rare subset of the population can manipulate their qi into fire. Before Sister Ilya’s alchemy stoves were invented, sects would compete over people with fire essences since every one of them was a potential alchemist. The Secret Phoenix Rebirth Technique must’ve been hard to train, and clearly not everyone could learn it: the word secret is in its name. However, even with the help of phoenix flames, this man is still able to counter all of Lucia’s strikes.

I don’t know who he is or what sect he’s from. I’ll admit I don’t know much about the center of the continent. It harms people more than helps if they witness things beyond their understanding. For example, if someone who spent a thousand years as an earth-realm expert encounters a ten-year-old sky-realm expert, wouldn’t they feel as if all the time they spent struggling was worthless? Comparison isn’t bad, but comparisons have to be reasonable. Ants should compete with other ants, not with birds or fish. That being said, even an ant can bite something larger than itself. I’m … just waiting for that chance to bite.

Instead of slowing down, the speed of Lucia’s and the man’s strikes have increased in pace. My grandfather once told me battles between sky-realm experts were decided in an instant, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. It seems like these two have unlimited amounts of energy. Wait, this is a battle between two quasi-immortals, not sky-realm experts—three, if Mrs. Feathers is included. I always thought fights from people in the realm above would be awe-inspiring or nearly incomprehensible, but this seems more like a fight between two regular, non-cultivating martial artists. Mountains aren’t being moved, oceans aren’t being overturned. There’s just two people with weapons trying to hit each other. There’s a lot of damage being done to their surroundings from the shockwaves and Lucia’s flames, but it’s nothing too impressive.

Suddenly, Mrs. Feathers shrieked, and a beam of golden light shot out of her eyes, striking the man. He froze for only a second, but in that second, one of Lucia’s strikes slipped past and struck him directly. He was slammed into the ground and knocked back, leaving a long fissure in the earth until he finally came to a stop hundreds of meters away from Lucia. Dozens of trees in the fissure’s path toppled over, but before they even touched the ground, Lucia was standing over the man and swinging down with her hammer. The man wasn’t under the effect of Mrs. Feathers’ attack anymore and raised his sword, blocking the strike, but Lucia kept attacking. Once Lucia seized the advantage, the man was pushed into a miserable state, unable to even stand up from the position he had fallen in.

When it seemed like there was no hope left for the man, he let out a roar that pushed Lucia back. The trees surrounding them were uprooted and blown away, and even the boat I was in rocked from the shockwave. The image of a giant white tiger appeared in the sky, and the man shot to his feet. The robes he was wearing tore apart as he swelled in size, revealing bulging muscles. His left hand let go of the massive greatsword he was holding onto, and a second one appeared in his now-free hand. He looked much more imposing than before, but for some reason, I didn’t think his double-greatsword-one-in-each-hand style was very practical.

As if to quell my doubts, the man roared again, and he grew in size until his person-sized swords seemed more like knives. What was Lucia going to…, where was Lucia? I lost track of her after she was blown away. Mrs. Feathers seemed to have—

“Drive!”

Ah!? I almost had a heart attack. Lucia and Mrs. Feathers were on the boat, standing right behind me. Drive? What did she mean drive?

“Softie! What’re you doing!? Hurry up and get us out of here!”

Oh. That’s what she meant. I slapped the railing of the boat, and it sped away from the now-giant man. I didn’t even bother turning the boat around; it could go just as fast forward or backwards. I don’t think it’s fast enough to escape from a quasi-immortal though….

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