“Ah!?” I got it! I finally caught this stupid bird! Why did it have to resist so hard? There was barely any time to reel in the line, and I think it would’ve taken even longer if the ruler hadn’t helped me out. Apparently, other than the rope breaking, there’s other ways to lose the fish, err, bird. Right, if the bait I use gets digested or spat out, then the bird can escape. Mm? That’s weird. “Hey, Teacher, how come the bird didn’t spit out the bait?”
The ruler chuckled and grabbed the line. She gave it a sharp tug, and the bird at the end squawked, but it stopped making noise after the ruler’s hand wrapped around its neck. “Haven’t you heard the saying? Birds die for food, and humans die for treasure. Since the fruit we used as bait was both food and treasure, there’s no way it’d be willing to spit it out even at the cost of its life.”
Oh. “I always thought birds were supposed to be smart like crows, but I guess they’re actually pretty dumb, huh?” Mm, this red bird could’ve spat out the fruit at any time, but now, it doesn’t get to finish its fruit, and it’s trapped. Why did I think crows were smart? Is it because I was tricked by them in the past? Hmm. Is it possible that … I was an idiot when I was younger? Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmm. Nah! There’s no way that’s the case. Those crows that tricked me were just smarter than the average bird. Mhm.
Mm? This bird can speak? Is it okay to eat something that can speak? Of course! It wouldn’t be the first time I ate something that could speak. As long as whatever I’m eating is not a squirrel and not a human, then it’s perfectly okay. “Can I try cooking it with Sir Pot? I want to see if he can cook a phoenix.”
The ruler tightened her grip on the red bird’s neck. It opened its beak and closed it a few times, but no sounds came out. “We’re not going to cook this one,” the ruler said. “At least, not yet. It’s a vermillion bird, so it’ll be helpful for developing your style.” She took a rope out of her interspatial ring and tied up the bird. It was the same kind of rope the supervisor used to tie me up, so unless the bird was capable of cutting off its whole body like me, then there was no way it was going anywhere. After placing the bird to the side, the ruler continued spinning the lever on her rod. “Although we can’t eat this bird, I’m going to catch one soon, and it shouldn’t taste too different.”
Oh, right, we were catching birds for training or something like that. But isn’t it a bit of a waste to only use this bird for training? Waste not, want not, right? “How about one of its legs? Does it need both legs for my training?”
“I suppose it’s possible,” the ruler said after glancing at the bound bird. What was it called again? A vermillion turkey? “This bird isn’t very strong though; it hasn’t reached the undying realm. If we cut off its limbs, it won’t grow back without external help. I have elixirs that can recover its leg if you chop it off, but that’s a waste of an elixir. We can use the elixir as bait and catch another vermillion bird with it.”
That’s a lot of words to say, “No, you can’t chop off its leg, Lucia.” That’s really weird though. “Is this bird a weakling or something?” I chopped off Mr. Feathers wings plenty of times, and each time, they grew back without an issue. Cooking the wings was the problem. Aren’t vermillion birds supposed to be advanced phoenixes? I’m sure Mrs. Feathers told me that before. “If a phoenix can grow back its wings without external help, why can’t a vermillion bird?”
“It’s because a vermillion bird is much stronger than a phoenix,” the ruler said, not making any sense at all. If it’s stronger, then shouldn’t it regenerate even faster? “Think about it this way. There’s a house made of clay, and a house made of stone. If you punch a hole in their walls, which one is harder to break, and which one is easier to repair? The phoenix is like a clay house; its defenses are weaker, but as a tradeoff, it can regrow its limbs. The vermillion bird, however, is much sturdier, but it’s harder for them to recover unless their vermillion flame seed reaches the undying realm.”
The ruler is much better at explaining things than Ilya. Ilya always tries to lead me to the answer by asking a string of questions which is super frustrating because I’m forced to think. The ruler asks questions, but she answers them immediately, so I don’t feel dumb for not knowing the answer. So, according to the ruler, this bird that I caught is indeed a weakling. It can’t even regrow its limbs. It is giving off a strange glow though. Ah? “What about the fruit we used as bait?” It looks like it's still inside the bird’s belly.
“Let the bird eat it,” the ruler said. “The stronger it gets, the easier it’ll be for you to understand its flow of spiritual energy.”
If letting the bird eat the fruit will help me, I guess it isn’t a waste of a fruit, but … why does it seem like the bird’s eating better than me? The ruler might’ve fed me a phoenix drumstick, but I’m pretty sure this fruit is worth way more; it can help a vermillion bird get stronger, and I doubt a phoenix leg can do that. Mm, it’s settled. The next time the ruler gives me free time to explore her house, I’m definitely going to find the room where she stores all her rare fruits.Previous Chapter Next Chapter