We voted. Slayer Junior and Durandal want to go to that endless battleground. I want to go to the seven mountain ranges and see my fellow squirrels and conveniently find a way home. Since the vote was the two of them against the one of me, I won, obviously. Ah? Why did I win? Because one of my votes count as three of theirs since Sir Pot and Puppers will never vote against me! They may be side characters, but they’re important when things really matter. In reality, the vote was three to two in favor of going towards the seven mountain ranges, and nothing that Durandal or Slayer Junior says can change my mind.
Overall, the immortal realm doesn’t seem too different from the Immortal Continent. The boat I’m using is still powered by spirit stones, and the sky is still blue. Mm, maybe the clouds are a bit more colorful, but other than that, there isn’t anything noticeable. Cities are still cities, and the ground is still the ground. The people are about the same as well—other than the fact that they can melt me like the previous owner of Sir Pot did. Do squirrels have any secret techniques? “Hey, Slayer Junior, what kind of techniques do squirrels have?”
“Can you please stop calling me Slayer Junior?” Slayer Junior sighed before looking at me from his position at the mast. He was firmly planted in the center of the boat, hugging the mast as if it were a tree. Apparently, he has a fear of heights, but he tried to use a big word—something-phobia—to describe it to downplay his cowardice. I’m not going to judge him for being scared; after all, it’s unnatural for squirrels to fly. Although I’m not going to judge him, I did take a photo as a souvenir using the fancy necklace Ilya gave me to record Sophia’s important life moments. “And stop pointing that thing at me. It makes the fur on my neck stick up.”
“Mm, forget about your fur. How about them techniques?”
Another sigh came out of Slayer Junior. “We have cultivation techniques, but they can only be used by immortals,” he said. “As you know, once beasts grow up, they can transform their bodies and take on a humanoid shape—the so-called optimal cultivation form.” Slayer Junior gestured towards himself with his front paws, making sure to keep his tail wrapped around the mast of the ship. “As you can see, I haven’t undergone a transformation yet, so I’m not qualified to learn the tribe’s cultivation techniques. However, I am quite proficient in the Art of Claw and Tail—if my parents are to be believed. Who knows if they were lying or not to encourage me?”
Art of Claw and Tail…. I don’t have claws, but I do have a tail! “Can you teach me?”
Slayer Junior furrowed his brow as he hugged the mast again and stared at me. “Why do you even ask when we both know you’re not going to take no for an answer?”
Huh? What does he mean? “Your opinion matters! If you don’t want to do something, then just say so.” Jeez. It’s not like I’m a tyrant who always has to get my way. Just look at Ilya. She gets her way sometimes when she bribes me.
“I don’t want to teach you the Art of Claw and Tail because if you’re anything like my peers, you don’t know how to control your strength, and I’ll be maimed or grievously injured in the process.”
I don’t know if I should feel insulted or not. If it’s not just a me problem, then is it so bad? If all squirrels are like that, then my violence can’t be blamed on me! I can blame it on the squirrel blood running through my veins. Ahem. Moving on. Everyone knows I’m a reasonable person. “It’s completely fine if you don’t want to teach me.” That’s right. I don’t want to grievously harm a child! I’m not a monster. “I can just Soul Scour you instead and learn everything that way.”
“…I thought you said my opinion matters.”
“Yeah, and I listened to it. What’s the issue?” I don’t know why people are always so wary of me Soul Scouring them. “If you’re worried about permanent brain damage, don’t be! I’ve had lots of practice with Soul Scour, and I’m way past the phase of turning people into empty, drooling husks.”
Slayer Junior stared at me. “I think I’ll take my chances with being grievously injured while sparring,” he said. “Our tribe has a lot of medicine to cure physical wounds, but damage to the soul is much more difficult for us to cure. Oftentimes, squirrels are misdiagnosed with soul damage when it turns out they’re actually just lunatics who aren’t right in the head. Squirrels are actually so stupid sometimes.”
There’s something wrong with Slayer Junior. “You shouldn’t criticize squirrels so much when you’re a squirrel yourself.”
“It’s not criticism if I’m just telling the truth,” Slayer Junior said and wrinkled his snout.
Ah, this poor child. “You know, once upon a time, I used to be like you. I always wondered why I couldn’t be born part crow instead of part squirrel. Then, I wouldn’t have so many distracting thoughts, and I’d probably be smarter—not that I’m dumb—just smarter than I already am.” That’s right. It seems like Slayer Junior here is ashamed of being a squirrel.
“And?” Slayer Junior asked. “What changed?”
“A group of crows tricked me into believing they were a helpless family being mauled by wild beasts to lure me to my death.” Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, stupid scavenger crows!
Slayer Junior tilted his head. “So, you were fooled, and now you’re proud to be a squirrel?”
…I think the message I was trying to tell him got lost somewhere. In fact, I’m not even sure what I was trying to tell him anymore. Hmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmm. “Where were we? I think you were going to teach me the Art of Claw and Tail?”
“…Yes, that’s where we were,” Slayer Junior said. He took one paw off the mast before putting it back on. “Actually, can we wait until we’re on solid ground? I don’t want to tumble to my death. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I’m scared of dying, I just don’t want to die from falling, you know?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter