“Feather…, feather…, feather…. Where’s the darn feather?”
Lucia’s mumbling something strange. However, it’s not strange since it’s her. This must be the tempering formation that Gwey was telling me about while I was still being treated as a guest. It certainly is very impressive. It seems like it’s a formation that holds the souls of beasts inside of it, and those are released once that blue light glows. However, it looks like it can only be used a certain number of times. Similar to how I needed someone’s brain to keep their perception awake inside of my alchemy stove, the souls of these beasts will fade away as time passes. They’re probably held in some kind of stasis until released by the blue light. Perhaps they’re more similar to ghosts. I still haven’t done a thorough study on ghosts, but there must be something special about them because I haven’t seen any despite the large number of people Lucia has killed. Once I learn more about them, I can probably improve my alchemy stove, make it less bulky at the very least.
“Mrs. Feathers? She has feathers, right?”
Lucia took the sleeping phoenix out of her bag. It looked fat. Maybe fat is the wrong word. It looked like it was on the verge of exploding. It’s so round that it’s practically a ball. That phoenix ate the core of an immortal beast, so it’s understandable its body can’t handle all that energy. When compared to Lucia, who absorbed dozens of cores in her sleep after drinking all that blood, it’s a little pathetic. But a pathetic quasi-immortal is still a quasi-immortal. The last time I offended a phoenix, it nearly killed me with a slap of its wing. I’m going to leave this one alone.
“Hmm, that’s not right. Or is it?” Lucia stared at the phoenix. Its brows were twitching, and it seemed to be having a bad dream. “Wait a second…. There’s a giant wok that squirrels used…. And there’s a phoenix that I want to eat but can’t cook…. And squirrels ate phoenixes…. Could it be…?”
Lucia’s putting two and two together? It’s a miracle. …I’m poking fun at her right now, but it’s very possible that she’s onto something. This used to be the homeland for squirrels, and if this formation really is just a giant wok leftover from their time, then it most definitely was used to cook beasts. Why they didn’t eat the beasts raw, I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those auras that are attacking Hu Shen right now happen to be the resentful ghosts of the beasts that were cooked inside of the wok. If the squirrels were anything like Lucia, then they wouldn’t be capable of creating a formation like this, but they probably kidnapped people who could—kind of similar to how Lucia kept me around.
“Boss, don’t cook me!”
Oh, the phoenix woke up from its deep sleep, and the first thing it saw was a giant cooking implement. I’m not surprised its first thought was about Lucia wanting to eat it. I feel a little bad for it, but as long as Lucia is bullying someone else, it means she’s spending less time bullying me.
“I’m not going to cook you….” Lucia didn’t sound very convincing with how she was wiping the drool form her mouth. “Look, there’s already a person inside. If I cook you, she’ll be cooked too, and I won’t cook a person.”
“Phoenixes are people too, Boss.”
“Mm, if you say so,” Lucia said. Then she sighed. “Yeah, you can talk, and I feel like you wouldn’t fill me up even if I did eat you. Here, go back inside and go to sleep. It looks like you’re having trouble digesting.”
Lucia stuffed the phoenix into her life pouch. A moment later, her eyes shone, and her tail perked straight up. “Ooh! This is it! The feather!” She tilted the pouch and made a dumping motion as if she were throwing water out of a bucket. Out of nowhere, a giant black rock tumbled through the air and landed inside the formation. It slid down, gaining speed as it did, and collided into Hu Shen who had her eyes closed. There was the sound of a few bones breaking and a muffled shout. Luckily for Hu Shen, Old Bai flew down and scooped her up, saving her from having to resist the formation while injured.
Now, I know Lucia’s not talking about a literal feather. She mentioned this to me once, before heading to the Immortal Continent after her temper tantrum. Back then, she thought she was on the verge of becoming an immortal, but she still hasn’t become one despite gaining so much strength from absorbing those cores. I don’t know what she’s missing. Jin Mo told me only those on the cusp of becoming an immortal would know, and anyone else wouldn’t understand. That being said, it’s easy for me to tell what that rock is. It’s a tortoise. A black tortoise? Isn’t that a holy beast…?
“That’s—! That’s the guardian beast of the sect!” Old Bai dropped Hu Shen, and she groaned when she hit the ground. “How come it was accompanying you!?”
“Eh? Guardian beast?” Lucia tilted her head. “I caught it while doing a good deed. It was blocking a river, and some villagers nearby were suffering because of it! But this isn’t a guardian beast; this is my feather to immortality!”
From one of Lucia’s interspacial rings, gallons upon gallons of wine poured out and into the crater. The tortoise didn’t seem to notice. If this is the guardian beast of the sect, then it’s supposed to be injured according to my intel. Who knew that it would encounter Lucia? Not only did Old Bai run into her, but the tortoise did too. If karma really did influence the world, then it’s clear the Holy Beasts Sect accumulated a whole bunch of bad karma to have so many chance encounters with Lucia.
Old Bai looked as if he didn’t know what to do. “Wine? That’s spirit rice wine, isn’t it? Why are you pouring it into the formation?”
“Eh? This is cooking wine! Everyone knows turtles should be cooked in wine!”
Should they? I don’t know much about cooking since servants have always done that for me, but I’m pretty sure that’s not right…. Maybe the noble that Lucia used to be enslaved to had her cook turtles in wine. Either way, it looks like the tempering formation is returning to its original purpose: cooking holy beasts. Does Lucia think she’ll become an immortal if she eats the tortoise? …She probably would ascend to immortality from something like this.Previous Chapter Next Chapter