I wouldn’t have guessed it from her appearance, but the ruler is really into theatrics. Her clothes aren’t that fancy, or at least, they don’t look fancy. Who knew that she’d care so much about my appearance, forcing me to wear this gaudy dress? She reassured me it wasn’t over-the-top, saying human and demon nobility wore these kinds of clothes all the time. If I had to take a guess, the dress I’m wearing is completely authentic because it was taken from a princess—human or demon—by the ruler herself. Mm, other than the dress, there’s this … thing … that the ruler is setting up. “What exactly does this fog do?”
The ruler was standing over a blocky contraption with her hands placed on her hips. Earlier, she had filled it up with some kind of liquid, and not long after, this continuous cloud of steam flowed out of the side, going past the gaps in the railings of the boat and falling towards the ground below. It didn’t fall all the way; instead, it was like the steam hit an invisible floor, and the space between the invisible floor and the flying boat was gradually filling up with the steam, creating a misty fog wall. “This fog blocks people’s divine sense. At the same time, it blocks vision and sound too. People are terrified of things they can’t understand, and the best way to leave a strong impression on someone is to scare them.”
Right, because clouds are so terrifying. Mm? Is this how clouds are formed? “Wait a second. Are clouds made of water?”
“Some clouds are,” the ruler said, turning her head to the side to look at me. “This one isn’t though. When you’re walking through the mist later, make sure not to breathe any of it in. You’ll suffer from some paralysis, and your heart might possibly stop beating.”
“…Do I have to walk through the mist?” Not breathing is pretty easy, but what if I take in a breath by accident? Isn’t it better to just not risk it in the first place?
“You don’t have to walk. I suppose you could float,” the ruler said and nodded. “Either way, I hope you’re ready because it’s almost time for your debut as my disciple. Everyone in the mainland knows the world tree is my symbol.” The ruler waved her hand, and a massive tear appeared in the sky above us. A branch with green leaves extended from the tear, growing towards the ground. “So, if an unfamiliar squirrel, you, walks down this branch, they’ll know who’s backing you. You don’t have to recite a speech or anything when you get down there; just tell them you’re the White-furred Tyrant’s disciple, and you wish to take part in exploring the ancient ruin.”
No one told me I’d have to engage in public speaking! I signed up for bullying people in the ancient ruins with my background; I didn’t sign up for everyone focusing their attention on me before we even enter the ruin. Well, luckily for the ruler—and for myself, I guess—Ilya taught me a trick to speak to large crowds of people without getting nervous: all I have to do is pretend like I’m talking to plants and say what I have to say, and if anyone snickers at me or tries to heckle me, single them out and give them a beating they won’t forget. I’ve seen Ilya talk to the sect a few times, but I’ve never actually seen her use this method before, but then again, no one heckles her. They probably learned their lesson the first time, and I must’ve been too busy to attend.
“Alright,” the ruler said. “The branch breached the bottom of the mist. Remember, don’t breathe in until you’re all the way through, but don’t let that pressure you. Even if your heart stops, I can still cure you with the antidote.”
Before I could even prepare myself further, the ruler grabbed me and leapt off the boat, landing on the branch of the world tree. She grabbed the hem of my dress to stop it from trailing on the branch behind me. “Are you coming with me?”
The ruler’s hat appeared in her hand, and she placed it on her head. Then, she tucked her tail all the way so that it went through her legs and curled up in front of her belly under her robes. “Of course,” she said. “We’ll pretend like I’m your servant. Every arrogant young master has a servant.”
I never said I wanted to be an arrogant young master. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to play the part! How am I supposed to pretend like the ruler’s my servant? It’s not like I can order her around to do things—she’ll get her supervisors to beat me when we get back. Whew, judging by the way the ruler’s looking at me, it doesn’t look like she’s giving me any choice in the matter. I’ll hold my breath and walk down the branch. The fog doesn’t feel like anything. I thought there’d at least be a cold sensation when I walked through it. Mm? What if it gets in my eyes? Can I get poisoned through my eyes? I’m pretty sure that’s a thing, but the ruler didn’t say anything about it.
Ah. The ground, err, branch is so hard to see through this fog. No wonder why the ruler said it blocks vision and divine sense. It didn’t look like that far of a walk when I was standing on the boat looking down, but I still haven’t reached the end. Speaking of the boat, are we just going to leave it there with Slayer Junior? Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband is packed away in my bag, so I don’t have to worry about losing him. I guess it’s fine. The ruler’s the one that brought Slayer Junior out. If he gets lost, it’ll be her fault not mine.Previous Chapter Next Chapter