TGL Volume 5, Chapter 12 (5)

Durandal’s being a butt. He’s upset the ruler became my teacher because he knows she can do a better job of it than he ever could. Ah? Since when did I think the ruler was a better teacher than Durandal? When she beat the heck out of those six supervisors, of course! If I want to learn how to get strong enough to defeat peak immortals, then it’s obvious the better teacher would be the one who can beat them. After all, how’s Durandal going to teach me to be strong when I’m already stronger than him? Exactly. He can’t. Because of his jealousy, he’s trying to paint the ruler in a bad light, but there’s no way I’ll fall for something like that. Everyone loves the ruler; according to Slayer Junior, she’s practically the god of all squirrels and maybe some other beasts. Mm, that being said, there are some glaring and obvious problems with the ruler. 

“You look upset. Did something happen while you were exploring my home?” 

Ah? Did I wander into the ruler’s room? Maybe she overheard my conversation with Durandal, so she made herself appear in the next room I was going to enter. Nah, that can’t be it. Even though Durandal’s opinions and thoughts are mostly incorrect, they can still wiggle their way into my brain and make me think of weird things. After all, if the ruler overheard our conversation and was upset about it, she would’ve appeared right there and punched Durandal’s lights out. Besides, it makes total sense for someone’s room to be right next to their treasury. It probably helps her sleep better at night. Well, since I’m here, it’s the perfect time to figure out why the ruler has these glaring flaws. “Say, Teacher, why do you hate meat?” 

The ruler blinked at me from her cushion. She was sitting in the middle of her room with her legs crossed, probably meditating or something. “Hate meat? I don’t hate meat,” she said. “I love meat.” After saying that, she pulled two fried drumsticks out of her interspatial ring and waved them around. “Want one? It’s fried phoenix drumstick.” 

Fried phoenix drumstick? How’d she fry a phoenix? Every time I tried to cook phoenix, the meat would never change! To be fair, I only tried to cook phoenix wings once before. After I got Sir Pot, I never tried cooking phoenix again. If he tried really hard, could Sir Pot make braised phoenix breasts? Hmm. I’ll have to capture a phoenix and find out. Ah? Right! “Yes, please.” I’m not going to miss out on eating phoenix! Who knows when I’ll get another chance like this? 

The ruler slapped her tail on the ground, and a low table appeared right in front of her. Not even a second after, a cushion popped into existence and fell to the ground, landing on the spot across from her. “Have a seat,” the ruler said and placed one of the drumsticks on my side of the table. 

This drumstick smells pretty good. Not only that, but it’s nice being the one cooked for for once! I’m usually the one who’s preparing everything, coming up with different flavors to surprise people when they bite into my meals. That’s right. Softie and Sophia have never cooked for me before. Ilya gets a pass because she makes me chocolate pills. I suppose Sophia should get a pass too because it’s dangerous for her to play near fire—not that cooking is playing. Anyway, I have no idea what kind of seasoning the ruler used. That’s the best part about visiting a new place; there’s new flavors to discover! 

“I see you like it.” 

Of course, I like it! It’s delicious, exactly what I’d expect a phoenix to taste like: sour, sweet, and spicy! The ruler’s eating her portion, and she’s not fake eating it like cultivators do sometimes to avoid impurities. She’s really chowing down. “If you love meat, how come you don’t let everyone eat meat? What’s with the executing people for smuggling meat?” 

The ruler raised an eyebrow at me. “Why do you think I’m restricting access to meat?” 

“Well, at first, I thought…. Hey! Wait a minute!” The ruler’s not allowed to ask me questions like that. “You Soul Scoured me and already know the answer!” Sheesh, I was about to use some of my precious brainpower on answering a rhetorical question. 

The ruler chuckled. “I suppose I do know,” she said and beamed at me. “I’ve restricted access to meat for multiple reasons. It gives squirrels something to strive for. They’ll study harder, be more motivated, if they know there’s meat at the end of the road once they obtain a successful career. Also, we simply don’t have the resources to raise enough meat for everyone to eat freely. Think of how many aurochsen you can eat a day. Now, multiply that by the billions of squirrels living in the seven mountain ranges. It’s not feasible to feed everyone meat. Even if you exterminated the whole dragon population, you could only feed everyone dragon meat for a few days—not to mention the animosity such an action would bring. Squirrels are in a good place right now; we’re feared, but we’re not hated. Demons are feared and hated, which is why the humans have waged war against them. If we start eating everyone to satisfy our desires, we’ll be hated, and the whole world will unite to exterminate us. It won’t be the first time something like that happened to us squirrels.” 

Hmm. I didn’t consider those things at all! It makes sense though. There was that time I ate the guardian beast of some clam sect, and later on, that sect got together with a bunch of other sects—whose beasts I happened to eat as well—and ganged up on the Shadow Devil Sect. Ah, we’re the Righteous Holy Sect now. Right. People get mad when you steal their food. “Why don’t we grow our own meat?” 

“It’s cheaper to grow rice and both get the job done,” the ruler said. “Besides, like I said, offering meat to more educated squirrels is a great way to encourage the next generation to study hard.” 

Hmm. It doesn’t seem right, but there’s no way I can prove her wrong; after all, she has all the smartest people locked up and thinking for her. I don’t even have Ilya with me. The gap in our brainpower is just too big right now.

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