TGL Volume 5, Chapter 29 (1)

The ruler caught a void dragon! At least, I think it was a void dragon; the ruler wouldn’t abduct a random dragon, right? Mm, maybe if it was a tasty dragon and she was planning on making a snack? Anyway, that’s not what’s important right now! What’s important is dealing with this giant puppet trying to murder me. Luckily, it can’t move around that much because it’s stuck in an enclosed space underground. Unluckily, we’re fighting it in an enclosed space underground, and the ceiling’s going to collapse at any minute. I might not have much experience with digging underground, but detecting cave-ins is part of my natural instincts as a squirrel! 

“We have to evacuate before this place collapses even further,” Mrs. Mu said. “It seems like Patriarch Atlantis was quite a sinister fellow. Along with leaving a way out for his descendants by creating a teleportation formation, he created a self-destruction formation that’ll kill everyone not protected by the puppet.” 

A self-destruction formation? As a squirrel, that shouldn’t scare me! “Where’s the formation? If I rub my tail all over it, will that stop it from exploding?” 

“No,” Mrs. Mu said and shook her head. “That’ll accelerate the explosion process. He created the formation in an unstable manner, and wiping away a large portion of it will trigger the explosion.” 

Formations can do that? I thought squirrels weren’t supposed to be afraid of any formation! None of the ones we encountered while climbing down the tower were able to hurt me, and I’m pretty sure there were all kinds in there: killing formations, illusion formations, trapping formations, formation formations. Mm. “Well? What are we waiting for? If this whole place is going to explode, shouldn’t we leave instead of sticking around?” 

“It’s tricky,” Mrs. Mu said and frowned. “If we evacuate instead of fighting, the explosion won’t be triggered at all, and the demons would simply leave by teleporting away. If we fight to stop them from teleporting, as long as they damage the surroundings enough, everything will explode. For us to win, we’d have to keep it confined in its current room, and we’d have to prevent it from indiscriminately using large-scaled area attacks.” 

“Cousin Ao!” 

Mm? Something warm and red splashed against me. It smells a little like … uncooked eel? Is this blood? Ah! It’s dragon blood! The dragon that transformed earlier because the ruler abducted his friend isn’t looking so good, and by that, I mean he’s been chopped in half. Lengthwise. Well, it’d be a shame to let such a good ingredient go to waste! I’ll teleport over, pick up the pieces, and—ah? I can’t teleport back! I’ve experienced something like this not too long ago when the ruler was beating me with a giant stick. Speaking of giant weapons, there’s a massive sword heading for me right now! The part that’s supposed to be sharp is as wide as a house and glowing with a golden light! Advanced Leap! 

Phew. I got away, but the floor wasn’t as lucky. Surprisingly, the room didn’t shake or anything when the sword cut into the ground. It’s really strange. When I smash the ground with my hammer, there’s usually something similar to an earthquake, but this massive lump of iron didn’t make a sound. The golden light around it is buzzing though, almost like it’s vibrating. The blade must be really, really sharp despite how flat it looks to me! Ah! There’s a second sword swinging at me! Advanced Leap! 

If the ruler hadn’t taught me evasive techniques, I would’ve died there! Mm? Can the ruler read the future? Is that why she trained me while swinging such a massive weapon? Zig, zag, leap, and dig are perfect to use in this environment against this massive puppet. Since it’s easy to dodge the puppet’s attacks, doesn’t that mean it can’t hit me? If it can’t hit me, doesn’t that mean I can defeat it? I’ll whip out my precious hammer that the ruler gave me, leap over to one of the puppet’s finger joints, and…. “Flaming Hammer!” 

Boop. 

Ah? I scored a direct hit, but I didn’t even leave a dent! A golden web of spiritual energy lines appeared and blocked my attack! Since it’s not a living person’s barrier, there’s only one explanation! This is a defensive formation. Thanks, impurity-free brain. All I have to do is rub my tail against this joint, and…! “Flaming Hammer!” 

Boop. 

Alright, what the heck is going on? Squirrel tails are supposed to be great at ruining formations. The demons even said so themselves: if a squirrel uses Patriarch Atlantis’ treasure, it’ll break apart because of our anti-formation abilities, so why isn’t this breaking? Mm? Advanced Leap! This puppet just tried to slap me as if I were a mosquito! Is that how I can defeat this thing? If I can’t break its defenses, then I’ll get it to attack itself! Its hand wasn’t damaged at all by its own slap, but that makes sense. I’ve never broken any of my own bones when slapping at a mosquito, but I have cut myself with a knife before while cooking! I’m sure this puppet’s weapon is sharp enough to damage itself. All I have to do is trick it into doing just that. Alright, brain, think. How can I get this puppet to cut itself? A mosquito has never fooled me into hurting myself with a knife before, so this might be a little trickier than I thought. 

Advanced Leap! I’m thinking of ways to defeat this puppet, but it’s also thinking of ways to defeat me! Instead of slapping at me, now it’s sliding one of its forearms towards me. Luckily, even though it’s huge, I can leap over it with ease. This puppet might be strong, but it’s not as strong as the ruler! When I was running from her, my leaping range was extremely short because her dough, err, spiritual energy was tougher than mine. This puppet’s dough is so weak, I could put the whole thing through a strainer and nothing would be left behind! 

“Food’s really that important to you, huh?” 

Of course, Teacher, without food, I’d die! Also, please stop distracting me! I’m trying to think of a way to beat this puppet! 

“Have you considered baking it?” 

…Is that a joke or a solution? Gah! Zig, zig, zag! Phew, I almost got crushed!

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