TGL Volume 5, Chapter 26 (3)

Whump. 

“Excellent,” the ruler said and repositioned her giant stick. “You’ve mastered zigging and zagging.” 

That’s right. With the help of the formation disc, blue light, and Mrs. Mu’s willing lackey volunteer, I’ve mastered the art of zigging and zagging! I can leave behind a spiritual-energy shell and zig away, and I can immediately leave another spiritual-energy shell and zag away again! Or zig again, it doesn’t matter; like the ruler pointed out, I mastered it. Not only that, but I have enough spiritual energy to zig and zag as much as I want without getting exhausted! If I zig and zag fast enough, I can leave way more than three spiritual-energy shells behind before the first one even starts disappearing. 

“Next, we’ll move onto leaping,” the ruler said. “The concept behind leaping is a little more advanced than zigging and zagging, so we’ll wait a bit before we begin.” 

Mm? Wait a bit? Shouldn’t I be given an explanation of what to do before the waiting starts? 

The ruler pointed at the ground. “He’s still unconscious.” 

Ah, right. I might’ve learned how to zig and zag by copying Mrs. Mu’s lackey, but that doesn’t mean he was better at escaping than me. Even though he was good at creating the spiritual-energy shell, he still got hit a lot because he’s slow when it comes to running. As for me, I only got hit twice! Once because I got distracted by a patch of grass that looked suspiciously like an acorn, and another time because I got distracted by a weird smell. The smell was Mrs. Mu’s lackey peeing himself after getting hit. He probably didn’t do it on purpose because he was completely knocked out. 

Wait a second. Isn’t the ruler supposed to be a super-awesome person capable of doing anything? Why doesn’t she just force the knowledge of her escape technique into my brain like those jade slips I used to learn from? Wouldn’t that be much faster and arguably less painful? I mean, it might hurt my head for a bit, but I can eat a few painkillers to dull the pain. Those two times I got hit by the stick hurt much more than learning does! 

“Having a technique shoved into your head and learning how to do it by yourself isn’t the same,” the ruler said and shook her head. “If I gave you a recipe and gave Softie a recipe, who’d make the better dinner?” 

Isn’t that obvious? “I would!” It might take me a bit because reading’s hard, but my end result would definitely be better. 

“Why?” 

“Because I’m a better cook!” 

“Why?” 

“Uh…, because my nose works better?” Is that it? “Maybe it’s because of my taste buds too.” Right. Beastkin have better senses than humans, and that definitely plays a role in making tasty dishes. 

“And your experience,” the ruler said. “You’ve cooked thousands of dishes before. You know the tiny little details that aren’t included in the recipe.” 

I guess that’s true too, but the main reason is definitely because I’m a beastkin. Mm, actually, I think I’m a better cook than most beastkins too. Maybe it’s my brain? I’m wired to know how to make food tasty like how Ilya’s wired to make weapons out of corpses! 

The ruler scratched her nose with her left hand before placing it on her hip. Her right hand was still holding onto the stick which was leaning against her shoulder. “Let’s just say the foundation you build by learning yourself is better than the foundation you’ll get if I plant the technique directly into your brain. It’s the difference between using a formation and knowing how the formation works. If you know how it works, you can change it to how you like it instead of asking Ilya to do it for you.” 

Ah? That actually makes sense. Formations are a complete mystery to me, but I know how to activate them if I’m given one! I think. Right? Most of them are activated by injecting qi inside their disc, but there’re some confusing ones too. Does this mean I’ve been learning my techniques all wrong? I almost always learned my techniques through jade slips! 

“Don’t worry,” the ruler said. “Even if you learned most of your techniques through jade slips, they’re not that impressive anyway. Learning them by yourself would’ve made them a tiny bit stronger, but in the end, they’re still weak compared to what I can teach you. By the time I’m done teaching you, you’ll replace almost every technique you’ve learned.” 

…All my techniques are going to be replaced? Doesn’t that mean I wasted so much time learning them? 

“You replaced Breaking Blade with Flaming Hammer,” the ruler said. “Does that mean all the time you spent practicing Breaking Blade was worthless? Of course not. You used the experience you earned from practicing Breaking Blade to create an even stronger attack.” The ruler teleported next to me and patted my head. “The world around you is always advancing. If you’re not advancing along with it, you’ll be left behind. Even I’m still learning and replacing techniques all the time.” 

I know the ruler said that to make me feel better, but it really doesn’t help. Why can’t the world just stay still? Let me be the strongest person forever without having to work for it! 

“If it stayed still, you’d still be a slave in the army,” the ruler said and shook her head. “The same way you surpassed people to become the strongest in your lower realms, other people can surpass you if you remain stagnant for too long.” 

That…. Hmm. “Is there a technique to freeze time?” 

“Stop thinking about shortcuts,” the ruler said and chuckled. “There is a way to freeze time, but the energy required is tremendous. The one person I know who can freeze time can only pause it for less than a hundredth of a second.” 

A hundred seconds? I can do a lot in a hundred seconds. 

The ruler exhaled through her nostrils. “After you master the squirrel escape technique, I’m teaching you math.” 

“Ah? Why!?” I hate math!

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