TGL Volume 5, Chapter 14 (5)

There’s a rumor that I heard a long time ago: disciples of legendary figures were destined to be legendary figures themselves—unless something horribly tragic happened to them. Usually, the disciple of a sect master would become the new sect master. The son of a beast tribe leader would become the new beast tribe leader. The offspring of a transcendent beast would grow up to become a transcendent beast themselves, unlike me, a poor, pitiful vermillion bird cast out of his nest. 

Well, truthfully, the offspring of transcendent beasts weren’t guaranteed to become transcendent beasts themselves because they were usually hunted and killed before they could grow up. Who told them to take over a hundred thousand years to mature? But still, the fact that they could become transcendent beasts was undeniable. I thought it was their bloodlines that allowed them to become strong, but clearly, external methods played an important factor. 

A regular person would grow up with the assistance of their parents or elders; they’d be encouraged and supported until they became an adult on their own. An unfortunate person would grow up without guardians watching over them; they’d have no support, no one to tell them the right path ahead, and picking themselves back up after falling was much more difficult. A fortunate person, such as Lucia over there, would have their futures hand-paved by their parents and elders; as long as they didn’t do something monumentally stupid, their starting point would be even greater than a regular person’s endpoint. Right now, Lucia’s undergoing a privilege only the truly fortunate have access to. Her body is being taken apart and slowly pieced back together like a broken sword being scrapped and reforged. After the process’ completion, gathering and controlling spiritual energy would be as easy as breathing for her. 

Even though this process is guaranteeing Lucia a successful future, I’m not too jealous of her. If I had heard she had undergone the process without witnessing it personally, I think I’d probably feel otherwise, but there’s nothing anyone can say to me to convince me to go through with the process after having seen it—not that anyone would want to spend so many heavenly treasures on a waste like me. Right now, Lucia’s having parts of her brain removed by the White-furred Tyrant and the spider with eight legs aptly named Master Seven Legs. 

“So, you guys are absolutely sure nothing bad will happen to me, right?” Lucia asked. Her eyes were rolled up as far as possible to look towards her skull, but no matter how hard she tried, it was impossible for her to see the White-furred Tyrant slicing away at her exposed brain with a tiny knife. Blood poured down from all around the circular incision. Could it even be called an incision when practically a quarter of Lucia’s skull had been removed? 

“I’ve never done this before,” the White-furred Tyrant said and flicked away a sliver of brain, “but I watched and reviewed lots of jade slips, and I’ve even Soul Scoured people who’ve done it before. Right, you can count on me, and if for any reason you feel uncomfortable with relying on me, you can always count on Master Seven Legs. She’s done this process hundreds of times to promising disciples and beasts before.” 

“Really?” Lucia asked. “That’s a relief. Are those guys you performed the surgery on unparalleled geniuses now?” 

“They’re all dead,” Master Seven Legs said. 

Lucia fell silent. After a moment, she asked, “…Because of the process?” 

“No,” Master Seven Legs said. She wasn’t doing anything other than standing by the White-furred Tyrant’s side, most likely overseeing the process. “There was a secret ground that opened thousands of years ago—maybe it was tens of thousands of years ago; I don’t really keep track of time anymore. A lot of the younger generation went inside, including those prodigies I helped. Everyone inside died. There was a big hubbub, but time washes away all things. Nowadays, that secret ground is a forbidden zone, and the only people who go inside are desperate and on the verge of death or just really lost.” 

“Everyone who went inside died? That’s crazy! Didn’t”— 

Lucia’s mouth stopped moving, and the glint in her eyes faded. A droplet of drool fell from her mouth onto the ground. 

“Oh, cr**,” the White-furred Tyrant said and leaned over, taking a glance at Lucia’s face. The White-furred Tyrant patted Lucia’s cheek, her hand steadily increasing in strength until the pats practically became slaps. “Lucia? Are you alright?” 

“Stop slapping her,” Master Seven Legs said and came forward. She took the tiny knife from the White-furred Tyrant, and it floated up in front of her. Since she didn’t have any thumbs, Master Seven Legs manipulated her surroundings with spiritual energy. Bits of brain and blood flew out of Lucia’s head, and the knife flashed a few times. Two pieces of diced fruit on a platter nearby were lifted into the air and tossed into Lucia’s open mouth. Upon hitting her tongue, they dissolved into liquid and flowed down her throat. 

“That’s crazy!” Lucia said, not realizing how close she had been to living a life worse than death. “Didn’t those young prodigies’ masters go inside to look around? How do you know everyone died if everyone who went inside died?” 

The White-furred Tyrant exhaled and patted her own chest, shooting a grateful glance at the spider beside her. 

“Mm?” Lucia’s eyes glanced at me. “Why are you looking at me like that Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband?” 

Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband? That’s even worse than Mr. Feathers Number Two! I know I’ll be someone’s future husband, but I want to pick who’s going to be my lifelong companion! …I’ll save these objections for later. The White-furred Tyrant is staring at me with a look that says she’ll eat me if I say something wrong. “I, I wasn’t looking at you. I was just trying to … learn some knife techniques by observing the esteemed beast empress. I apologize if my gaze offended you.”

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