Having a master is an incredible thing! No wonder why there were people pestering me to become my disciple back on the Immortal Continent. All they’d have to do is shout, and I’d have to go solve all their problems for them. It’s a good thing I never took in any disciples; I was so busy being a sect leader that I wouldn’t have had any time to wipe my disciples’ a**es for them. Mm, that’s essentially what a master does. The disciple makes a mess, and the master cleans up the aftermath. Ah, there’s supposed to be teaching involved and all that, but who cares? Why do I have to learn anything when my master can solve all my problems for me?
“Ruler, please, stop! We only beat her under your orders!”
“I told you to spar with my disciple, not beat her mercilessly!” the ruler, my master, said. She grabbed one of the supervisor's front legs and, with a jerk of her arm, she tore the furry limb clean off!
“We didn’t beat her mercilessly! All we did was do what you told us to do!”
The ruler tossed the furry leg to the side and disappeared. She reappeared in front of the squirrel that spoke. With a grasping motion—she didn’t physically touch the supervisor—the ruler slammed the squirrel into the ground so hard that only his tail was showing. Then, she took a step forward and kicked the tail, punting it off while sending a fountain of blood shooting into the air. The ruler turned to look at me and grinned. “Here, in the promised land of the squirrels, things are done a little differently compared to where you came from. If you beat a human underling, they’ll resent you. If you beat a squirrel underling, they’ll respect you. If you want to make sure your underlings are absolutely loyal to you, regular beatings are a must lest they forget why they followed you in the first place.”
Ah? Regular beatings are a must? Is this just a regular beating though? Tearing off limbs and kicking off tails, doesn’t that count as badly injuring? A regular injury is like a black eye or knocking out a few teeth or breaking a few bones. Right, there’s something wrong here. “Didn’t you make rules against violence?”
“Yeah,” the ruler said. “I think there was something like that.”
She thinks there was something like that? “Do you … not remember the rules you made?”
The ruler scratched her head and looked around. All of the supervisors turned their heads away, afraid of making eye contact with her. She shrugged before disappearing and reappearing next to me. “Since you’re my disciple, it’s only reasonable for you to understand how everything is run.” Before I could say anything, the ruler placed her hand on my shoulder and the surroundings blurred. Then, they unblurred, and … we were back where we started.
“—black-hearted. I can’t believe she”—
The supervisors were hobbling around, reattaching their limbs while grumbling. They all froze when they realized the ruler hadn’t actually left. “I almost forgot,” the ruler said, giving the squirrels a faint smile. “There won’t be any more sparring sessions. You’re free to return to your duties. Also, for your sakes, I hope the black-hearted squirrel you mentioned just now wasn’t referring to me.”
“No, no!” the supervisors said all at once. They glared at the one squirrel that had been speaking when we reappeared. The squirrel looked around before putting on a serious expression. He stabbed himself in the chest, ripping open a gaping wound that included parts of his bones.
“Look,” he said. “If you squint really closely, my heart looks black. I was referring to myself.”
Normally, I’m not disgusted by organs and such because I have to cook, but it’s really weird seeing a heart beating out in the open.
“That’s what I thought,” the ruler said before squeezing my shoulder. Then, the surroundings blurred again, and when they unblurred, we were somewhere else. Where exactly are we? There’s a bunch of cages, and … people are trapped inside. Not squirrel people, but human people and demon people and furry non-squirrel people. Mm, not just furry non-squirrel people, but there’re scaly ones and slimy ones too. What is this place? A dungeon?
“Welcome,” the ruler said and gestured around herself, “to my thinking room.”
It’s awfully big for a room. What exactly is a thinking room? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one before. I know a bathroom is where people go to take baths. And I know a bedroom is where the bed is at. Following that logic, the thinking room should be a place where people go to think! Unless it’s like a living room where people don’t go to live but hangout instead. “Right. It’s, uh, nice.”
The ruler smiled at me. “I’ll get straight to the point,” she said. “You know Ilya? Your encyclopedia?”
“Yeah, what about her?”
The ruler gestured towards the cages. “These are my encyclopedias.”
“Everyone here is a respected scholar back where they’re from,” the ruler said and placed her hands on her hips. She stared at the rows upon rows of cages. There were seven rows, all stacked on top of each other, and the ones on top had better furnishing. “Squirrels and all other beasts have been on the decline ever since humans and demons began invading our lands. No matter what we did, the humans grew stronger, and the beasts declined. Clearly, we were doing something wrong, so I came up with the brilliant idea of capturing the brightest individuals of the rising races and had them think up ways to prevent the beasts’ decline. In the future, if you have any troubles plaguing you, feel free to come to the thinking room to get a good answer. Are there any questions that’ve been bothering you? Why don’t you try asking them?”
Oh, uh, whew. I usually have a lot of questions, but I’m having a hard time thinking of one now that I’m put on the spot! “Uh, I think I’m good. No questions. Actually, no, question. Where do they poop?” There’s no bathroom in the cages….
“Interspacial rings!” all of the ruler’s encyclopedias shouted at once. One of the cages lit up, and the person inside let out a cheer.
What the heck?
“The more questions they answer, the higher up they go,” the ruler said. “As you can see, it’s much more comfortable living in the top few rows. They came up with the system themselves.”
…I bet if I threw Ilya in there, she’d make it to the top in no time. Ah? What am I thinking? I can’t throw Ilya in there! She’s my exclusive encyclopedia. No sharing allowed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter