TGL Volume 5, Chapter 19 (1)

So, these are the ancient ruins of Atlantis! …It’s, uh, not quite what I was expecting. Wasn’t there supposed to be lots of treasure? The place was supposed to be teeming with people too, but there’s no one here but me and the ruler. Maybe we were amongst the first group of people to be sent in? Mm, even if that explains why there’s no one here, it doesn’t explain why everything is so gray and dingy! I’m no stranger to exterior-and-interior-appearance conflicts where a building the size of a bathroom can house three hundred air ships. I just didn’t think people would do it the other way around, where they made the inside look much worse than the outside. 

“Oh, this place didn’t recover much, huh?” the ruler asked and looked around. She crouched down and grabbed a handful of dirt, scooping it up with her palm. She brought her hand up to her nose and took a sniff before letting the dirt fall out from between her fingers. “There’s not a single sign of life. It really makes you wonder what those crazies provoked.” 

I’ve been following along, listening and interpreting everything with my new, squeaky-clean brain, but it feels like I’m missing something. Crazies? Provoked? It sounds to me like the ruler knows way more than I do about Atlantis. In fact…! “Did you see what happened to Atlantis with your own eyes?” 

The ruler let out a laugh and placed a hand on my head. Instead of the usual head pat and ear scratch, she ruffled my hair instead. “How old do you think I am, and how long ago do you think Atlantis fell?” 

Uh…. Well, it’s a good thing the ruler doesn’t get offended by her age unlike other squirrels. Right, if the ruler was around when Atlantis was around, she wouldn’t have called it an ancient ruin. She would’ve called it Atlantis, a place that used to be around but got destroyed. 

“You’re right though,” the ruler said and retracted her hand. “I was around for when Atlantis first arrived. I’d tell you more, but I already know you’re not really interested in its backstory. How about this? If you can figure it out what happened to Atlantis without my help, I’ll give you a reward.” 

Mm? A reward? If the ruler considers a really rare fruit like the one used to catch Mrs. Feathers’ Future Husband as mere bait, then what kind of rare fruit does she consider to be a reward? It’s bound to be good! The ruler was right. Before she motivated me, I had no interest in Atlantis’ backstory. In fact, I still don’t, but I’m going to find out anyway! Never underestimate the power of a good reward. I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I want Sophia to do something like eating her vegetables. “What kind of reward are we talking about?” 

“How about … your own mountain in the seven mountain ranges?” The ruler smiled at me and spread her arms out to the side. “Think about it. A whole mountain for all of your friends and family from the lower realm. If we succeed in capturing a void dragon here, you can bring back anyone you’d like. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Ilya here? You could even go to the realm you originally came from and bring her father here too if you wanted.” 

A whole mountain to myself? Those mountains are large enough to fit multiple sects. If it’s in the middle of squirrel territory, then I don’t have to worry about it being attacked by humans or demons, and as the ruler’s disciple, the squirrels shouldn’t attack my home either. In that case, isn’t this a really big reward? Back in the pocket realm, only nobles were allowed to own land. Although it was a little different in the Immortal Continent, that doesn’t change the fact only really rich or really strong people could own top-tier cultivation grounds. In the immortal realm, I might not be very strong or rich, but all I have to do to own a great piece of land is to figure out the backstory of an ancient ruin. Clearly, the ruler is doting on me. …Is this a trap? If it sounds to good to be true, then … get it in writing! “Can you sign a contract or swear an oath?” 

The ruler rolled her eyes. “Do you honestly believe I’m going to trick you?” 

Alright, the deal might not have been a trap, but this question definitely is. “No, no, of course not.” Right, there’s no point in pushing my luck when asking for something if I don’t have enough strength to back me up. “Forget I said anything.” For now, I should focus on more important things. If I don’t figure out the backstory, there’s no point in thinking about how I’ll get the reward out of the ruler if she doesn’t want to give it to me. 

“It looks like you have a good idea of what you need to do next,” the ruler said. Her hand wasn’t even on my head, but she was still reading my mind? Maybe she was reading my face. Ilya does say I’m a pretty expressive person. “Although I won’t directly help you out, you can still ask me for advice. It’s the least I can do for you as your master.” 

What do I do when someone offers me their help? I accept it, of course! Why in the world would I not want to make life easier for myself? “Teacher! Where do you think is the best spot to ambush the people entering the ancient ruins?” Right, since I was given the advantage of entering this place first, I have to make full use of the opportunity. If I don’t set up traps now, I’ll be disappointing the elder spider who teleported me inside here early. 

“Ambush the people entering the ruins? Why would you want to do that?” 

“So I can Soul Scour them to find out information about Atlantis!” Just like the best way to earn money, the best way to gather information is by borrowing it from others and promising to return it at an unspecified date. “Mm, and if there’s anyone that seems really informed, I’ll capture them as a guide. Guides are nice.”

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