TGL Volume 5, Chapter 25 (5)

At some point, I’m not sure when, I was knocked unconscious. No, that’s not true. I clearly remember when I was knocked unconscious: right at the very beginning of Lucia’s escape-technique training session. …Am I in the ground? According to my divine sense, that seems to be the case. According to my normal senses, goddamn, that’s a lot of dirt. No wonder why the ground was so plush and bouncy. It’s an easy way to preserve my life after being smashed down like a nail; though, the pounding in my head does make it feel like my skull’s been split open. I was hit so hard my divine sense isn’t working properly—its range of perception has shrunk drastically. 

Now, the question is what’s my next plan of action? Should I stay here in the ground where I won’t be clobbered by a stick capable of piercing the heavens with its height? Or should I climb out of the ground so a pregnant woman can clobber me with said massive stick? It should be an easy choice, and I’m not a masochist, but for some reason, I think the second choice is better for me. I have to assess the situation first; if Lucia is performing more poorly than I am, then by exposing myself, I’ll have a shot at increasing my cultivation by a minor realm. If Lucia’s doing better than I am, then the next time I’m hammered into the ground, I’ll stay there until the practice is over. 

It's settled then, I’ll go up. Partially. I’m only going to stick my head out. I don’t think I was unconscious for very long, so it should still be the beginning of the training session. Even without my divine sense, my eyes can see a lot thanks to the treasures Senior Mu embedded in my eye sockets. Lucia’s jumping, but there’s no sign of the stick. Why would Lucia be jumping, and what’s that whooshing sound coming from behind me? It’s—the stick!? If I didn’t pull my head back in time, I’m sure my head would’ve been knocked clean off my body. No matter how soft the ground is, it won’t save my life if I’m struck sideways. 

It's settled, I’m going to stay put right here. Forget the minor increase in my cultivation; a true immortal knows when to call it quits. Only a fool would play a losing game. I was foolish to even get my hopes up about learning a new escape technique; though, I really do need a new one. If I explode into a fine mist of blood, detrimental rumors about me will spread. I’d probably have to resume living as Bloodmoon again if that happens. 

No. I’m not going to cower because I’m afraid of getting hurt. Although I have no doubt Lucia’s bodyguard would have no qualms if I died, I don’t think she’d actually kill me—at least, not this early on into the training session. It’d defeat the purpose of bringing me along as encouragement; rather, my death would terrify Lucia. Who actually practices on the edge of death? No one. It’s a stupid myth talented people perpetuated to make themselves look like hard workers when in reality they were just born lucky. 

In that case, why am I crawling out of here to practice despite the risks? If I had to hazard a guess, it must be a subconscious impulse generated by the soul I suppressed in this body. If I don’t follow its suggestions, a heart devil might form due to the soul fighting against me. Didn’t I possess someone willing to abandon his sect members for benefits? Why is he so principled? I suppose everyone has a fantasy of being invincible while they’re young and haven’t yet been trampled on by the harsh feet of reality. 

“Your leaping technique is pretty good,” Lucia’s bodyguard said. The massive stick had an extremely narrow end, and she was holding it with one hand while resting it against her shoulder, letting the rest of the stick extend out like a slanted pillar of the heavens. “Remember, you can change the direction you’re going in midair if you use your Footsteps of the Giant. Now that I’ve reminded you, try dodging this!” 

Due to the stick’s size, it seemed to move in slow motion when Lucia’s bodyguard swung it. Despite that, I knew the end of the stick was moving at a tremendously fast speed relative to the part she was holding. The closer I stay to the bodyguard, the lower my chances of dying. Judging by the way Lucia’s running away, she didn’t have the same idea as me. Why is she running when the bodyguard is only doing a horizontal sweep? A simple jump is sufficient. I didn’t even have to create front squirrel legs over my arms to leap over the incoming stick. 

“Now zig!” 

What? Before my feet could even touch the ground, the stick was coming down from above. The bodyguard had performed a simple twirl with her arm while holding the stick, and not long after the shadow of the stick had covered my body, the sound of a sonic boom came from behind me. The bodyguard said something about maneuvering in midair with Footsteps of the Giant, but I don’t know that technique! Luckily, as an immortal, I can fly. Unfortunately, my flying speed isn’t fast enough to escape the impending stick strike. At least I can still teleport out of harm’s … way? 

“Teleporting is forbidden,” Lucia’s bodyguard said. “Only an amateur wouldn’t lock down space during a hunt.” 

That explains why I can’t teleport. The explanation doesn’t help me escape from this stick’s range though! The only thing I can do is brace myself for the impact. As for Lucia, she’s practically sprinting on all fours through the air. If nothing unexpected happens, she’ll avoid the strike. As for me, I really have to stop letting this subconscious soul bully me into doing stupid things. Death is much worse than receiving a heart devil. 

Whump.

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