TGL Volume 5, Chapter 16 (2)

I’m not sure how it happened. I went to the ruler to ask her for something expensive that could help me generate spiritual energy on my own, but I ended up on a flying boat, heading to who knows where to kidnap a dragon. As for my companions, Durandal, Puppers, Sir Pot, Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband, the ruler, and Slayer Junior are present. I don’t know why Slayer Junior’s coming with us, but I do know he’s afraid of heights, and the ruler likes seeing him frightened, so … that’s probably why he’s riding on the boat with us. I don’t think he’s going to enter the ancient ruin with me; after all, the ruler told me all the strong people from the younger generation are going to be in attendance. 

“Hey, great disciple of mine,” the ruler said and plopped her elbows down on the railings beside me. She turned around to look at Slayer Junior, who was hugging the flying boat’s mast. A small smile appeared the ruler’s face before she made eye contact with me. “So, do you remember what I told you?” 

“Of course.” Mhm. With the impurities clogging my brain out of the picture, retaining knowledge is no issue at all! As for recalling things…, hmm, I’m still a little rusty, but with time, I’m sure I’ll get better. “You can ask me anything.” 

“Alright,” the ruler said and nodded at me. “I will. If you see a spider stuck in a sticky situation, what do you do?” 

This one’s easy! “Help it out, or at the very least, don’t squish it.” As I thought, squirrels and spiders have a special sort of relationship. Apparently, even though spiders are a little creepy, they eat the even creepier things that sneak into squirrel burrows like cockroaches, centipedes, and ghosts. So, squirrels keep spiders as pets to keep their homes clean. Mm, the ruler said I shouldn’t call them pets since it’s a little degrading. We’re allies in an alliance where one side is in charge—the side with the squirrels, of course. 

“That’s right,” the ruler said. “Help out spiders if you can. If you can’t, well, there’ll always be more spiders.” The ruler raised one finger and pointed at Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband, who was sticking his head out of the pouch on my waist. “What do you do if you encounter a struggling vermillion bird?” 

Ooh, this one’s easy too. “Laugh at it, and don’t do anything else.” Ah, I have a question though. “If it dies, can I collect its corpse to eat later?” 

“Yes,” the ruler said. “Just don’t let anyone find out. It won’t be a huge problem, but the vermillion bird elders will throw a fit, and I’ll have to slap them around a few times to get them to calm down.” 

Hmm, that isn’t a huge problem at all. Then, what counts as a huge problem? “Is there anything I can do inside the ancient ruins that’ll get me into big, big trouble?” Right. The ruler told me how to react to certain situations, but she never told me about the things I wasn’t allowed to do. “Like, what do I have to watch out for?” 

The ruler raised an eyebrow at me. “Are you traumatized by that time you touched the Despair God’s Tomb’s wall and triggered its formation?” 

No. In fact, I didn’t even remember it until she brought it up. Mm, that was pretty traumatic, huh? Having to relive that time I almost drowned…, yeah, let’s not do that again. “There won’t be anything like that where I’m going, right?” …Hmm? Why’s the ruler looking at me like that? “Right…?” 

The ruler coughed, but I swear I heard her mumble, “No guarantees,” while she was at it. She arched her neck up, pointing her face at the sky, letting her hair dangle over the edge of the boat. “Things you shouldn’t do…. Well, if your tail is telling you to avoid something, then avoid it. If there’s any mechanisms or inhabitants within the ancient ruin, you probably won’t achieve much success by threatening them with my name, so if something looks like it can kill you, avoid provoking it.” 

The more I hear about this ancient ruin, the less fun it’s sounding. “Why’s everyone going to this ancient ruin again?” 

“There might be stuff people don’t know about,” the ruler said and shrugged. “Think about it this way. Let’s say there was a very famous chef who made delicious meals, and everyone loved eating her special dish made of acorns and corndogs.” 

I like where this is going. “Is this chef me?” 

“No,” the ruler said. “And let’s say the chef was afraid of losing her customers, so she never told anyone the recipe to her special dish. Then, one day, she suddenly dies of a heart attack, and now, no one in the world knows the recipe to her acorns and corndogs dish. They have all the obvious ingredients in front of them, but without the right ratio or hidden secret ingredients, they just can’t mimic the taste she used to bring out. Then, one day, an ancient ruin—the chef’s old apartment room—is discovered.” 

I got it! “So, everyone who wants to eat her acorns and corndogs dish goes to the chef’s old apartment room to discover the lost recipe! Am I right?” I think I’m right. I can feel my brain circulating my thoughts faster already. The next time Ilya asks me leading questions, she’ll be so amazed. I’ll have to bet with her before she asks me anything. Mm, then again, I don’t have to bet at all because anything in Ilya’s possession is technically in my possession because she’s weaker than me. It’s great and totally not unfair at all. 

“That’s exactly it,” the ruler said and patted my head. “That was a nice deduction. So, now you know why people are flocking to the ancient ruin, right?” 

“They’re hoping to steal the hard work of dead people and claim the credit for their own!” 

“Well…, yes,” the ruler said and scratched behind my ears. “That’s certainly one way to describe it.”

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