TGL Volume 4, Chapter 20 (4)

I came up with an ingenious idea that may finally solve my conflict with Lucia. I simply have to Soul Scour myself with Ilya’s tool. It can save memories into a jade slip without damaging a person’s mind. Lucia won’t trust Ilya’s tool and absorb the jade slip instead of Soul Scouring me, but that doesn’t matter. Even if she messes with my memories, once I accept the knowledge in the jade slip, I’ll reexperience everything that may have been damaged during Lucia’s search. It’s not as perfect as never having been Soul Scoured in the first place, but it isn’t a bad second option. I can’t believe I’m the one compromising. When I become an immortal, no, when I become stronger than Lucia, the things I’m going to do to her will have her trembling in terror.

“Mm, so you’re sure this won’t mess with Durandal’s head, right?”

I’m not sure why Lucia’s scrutinizing Ilya’s tool when she’s the one who’s more likely to scramble my mind. Please, don’t swing it around like that, Lucia. What if it breaks?

“Yes, I used it on thousands of test subjects,” Ilya said and rolled her eyes. “This is the compromise you two came up with? I’m surprised; it’s actually pretty reasonable.”

“You used it on a thousand test subjects?” Ilya certainly has been busy. “What happened to them? None of them suffered from any traumatic side effects, right?”

“Well, most of them are dead,” Ilya said with a small smirk, “due to unrelated reasons, of course. Don’t you worry about a thing, Durandal. Even though you’ve caused me a lot of headache in the past, I’m not going to sabotage this. Lucia will kill me if I do.”

Wait. I’ve caused Ilya trouble in the past? I’m certain I haven’t interacted with her much. Most of my time has been spent on taking care of Lucia. I don’t remember asking much from Ilya at all, unless she’s counting the times Lucia has bugged her about doing something to me. I think that must be it. Ilya formed a negative impression of me thanks to Lucia’s actions. Well, as a weapon spirit, I’ll be magnanimous and forgive Ilya for her misunderstandings. The thing is … I’m not too confident about Ilya’s words. “What do you mean unrelated reasons? You Soul Scoured them with this device of yours, and then they died because…?”

“Claw chopped their heads off. Claw has that special technique of his, remember? The one that lets him grow stronger by cutting people’s heads off.”

That makes sense. “But before their heads were cut off, they didn’t lose their memories, suffer traumatic experiences, or become completely mentally deficient, right?”

“Nope,” Ilya said. “Just look at Baldie; she was Soul Searched, but she’s perfectly fine. All the elders with chokers on them were Soul Searched too. There were a few accidents here and there, but if you consider the sample size, they’re just a rounding error. If you want me to offer you more reassurance, then I guarantee this tool of mine has less of a side effect than Lucia digging through your head will.”

I suppose that’s good enough. The things I have to endure to advance to an immortal. I highly doubt anyone else has had to compromise and risk losing their memories to grow stronger. I’ll think of it as another trial I’ve overcome, or, will have overcome. I will still be me, right? What if Lucia manages to reduce my mental capacity to the point where I can’t even use a jade slip…? No. I can’t let thoughts like these stop me. “Alright. Lucia, remember, no matter what you see in my memories, don’t destroy them, okay?”

Lucia’s tail swished back and forth. Her eyes were gleaming, and a stupid-looking smile was plastered on her face. It seems like she had been waiting for this moment for a very long time. If she’s this eager, maybe I should try to get her to calm down. She’s not even paying attention to my words either.

“Lucia? Did you hear what I said?”

“Yep. See your memories.” Lucia bobbed her head up and down. “I heard you loud and clear.”

This is a bad idea, but I don’t see any other way for Lucia and I to get past our differences. “Ilya, you can begin.”

Ilya approached me with her Soul Scouring device, which really just looked like a corpse’s hand, and didn’t say a word. The cold fingertips made contact with my head, and a chill ran down my spine. Something unpleasant wormed against my forehead in the spot between my eyebrows. It wasn’t tangible, but there was a strong tingling sensation like something furry was brushing against my skin. Moments passed. My saliva pooled in my mouth, and it felt like a rock had been teleported inside of my stomach. There was a sour taste in the back of my throat. Other than the nausea, I didn’t feel much. I thought it was going to be much more painful. Then again, I’ve seen Lucia Soul Scour people, and they usually stop screaming once she starts.

“Alright, it’s done,” Ilya said. She took a jade slip out of her device, but instead of handing it to me, she pressed it against another two slips. “I made three copies of your memories just in case something happens to the first one. I’ll give one to Lucia, one to you, and one to Sophia.”

With this, the first step of my plan has been accomplished. I don’t think I’ve been affected by Ilya’s Soul Scour. Now, it’s time to face the real ordeal. “Lucia, you can start whenever you want.”

“Alright!” Lucia’s ears perked up, and she skipped towards me with a big grin on her face. “I knew you’d come around.” Without any ceremony, she placed her hand on my head, looked into my eyes, and said, “Soul Scour!”

A burning pain stabbed my head, and I couldn’t help but let out a groan, and in the next moment, my vision went black.

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