TGL Volume 1, Chapter 17 (1)

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Lucia’s been acting strange ever since I invited her to partake in the Godking’s Brawl under my father’s position. She’s been muttering to herself in her room and drawing strange pictures on the wall. I’m not sure where she obtained the paint from, but the drawings are a little creepy. They’re almost like her engravings that she carves on bones to give them power. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact she’s been abstaining from her addiction; I’ve considered having my father throw her in a dungeon to prevent her from hurting herself, but I don’t think it’s possible to keep Lucia caged up. If Teacher Rogath was here, he could disable her, but my father isn’t specialized in controlling magic like Teacher is.

“Ilya, what are you thinking about?” my father asked from his chair in the study.

I was reading up on properties of divine beasts to see how many similarities I could find between them and Lucia. Since the majority of Lucia’s power came from her absorbing beast cores and not her qi, it’d make sense for her to adopt some animalistic characteristics. It’s a shame I don’t have any divine beasts locked up to compare their statuses with Lucia, but I suspect her base stats are similar to divine beasts’ albeit weaker. For example, divine leopards specialize in speed, but while their strength may be low compared to divine gorillas, it should still be stronger than a spirit gorilla’s. So while Lucia might not have absorbed enough divine leopard cores to be as fast as one, she should be as strong as one since she absorbed 25 different divine beast cores. Likewise, her speed should be on par with a divine gorilla’s even if her strength isn’t.

“Ilya?”

Oops. I got lost in thought. “Yes, Father?”

“Mm, never mind,” my father said. “Are you ready for your party? Once the emperor heard about you almost breaking through to the fifth circle, he ordered the princes and princesses to attend.” My father gave me an odd smile. “I heard that the first prince has taken an interest in you; what do you think?”

“I’m only going to be fourteen, Dad.” Marrying young isn’t unheard of amongst the upper nobility; however, I have no intentions of doing so. I’m almost a fifth-circle magician; in the future, I might even be as strong as Cain. Why would I bog myself down with the inevitable fight for the throne if I marry into royalty? It scares me a bit to say this, but I’d rather go on an adventure with Lucia than deal with the first prince.

“Isn’t fourteen when most people start noticing the opposite sex?” my father asked. I glared at him. “Alright, alright. I won’t place any unreasonable expectations on you, but I do want to see grandchildren within my lifetime. Anyways, did you invite Lucia to attend?”

“I was going to, but she was … preoccupied.” Alongside drawing creepy pictures on the wall, I saw her creating dolls made of straw and driving nails through their heads. I think it’s a form of black magic created by the humans called voodoo, but Lucia has no mana, so it shouldn’t work…? I hope she’s not possessed by anything; it’s very difficult to destroy a lingering soul.

“I’ll invite her,” my father said. “Can you bring her here? There’s also something I want to talk to her about, namely, the bodies in the refrigerator.”

“The what?” Bodies in the refrigerator? Did Lucia kill people? Wouldn’t that place the responsibility of those lives on me since I brought her here?

“Just bring her here, please,” my father said and sighed as he leaned back into his chair.

What the heck did Lucia do!? I made my way out of my father’s study and approached Lucia’s room. I knocked on her door, but there was no response. “Lucia?”

A really loud yawn came from the other side of the door. There were some clomping sounds, and the door swung open. Lucia was sloppily dressed with her hair in a complete mess. Her eyes were half closed, and dried saliva was stuck to her cheek. “Ilya?” Lucia’s head flopped to one side while her tail flicked back and forth on the floor. “What’s up?”

“My dad said he wanted to talk to you about the … bodies in the refrigerator.” Will she know what I’m talking about? I hope not.

“Oh, those,” Lucia said with a nod. “Okay.” She placed her hands on my shoulders and stared down at me. “Clean, please.”

So she knew. I hope no serious issues arise from this. I sighed before casting a simple clean spell on Lucia. Then she fell over on top of me, knocking me to the ground. “Lucia!?”

“Carry me,” Lucia said and yawned again. She closed her eyes and turned into dead weight.

“You’re not serious.” I managed to crawl out from under her, but her hands were grabbing my ankles. “Why are you like this, Lucia?”

“I stayed up all night making voodoo dolls,” Lucia said. “And I stopped abusing bones of strength to remove tiredness.”

“Even still! With qi, you should be able to stay up for months at a time without sleeping.” I read about it in one of the books on warriors. As long as they circulate their qi, they can remove fatigue and hunger. A peak spirit warrior wouldn’t need to sleep or eat at all. What went wrong with Lucia?

“I’m tired,” Lucia whined and shook her head.

Why was she more childish than me? “I’ll give you something good to eat if you cooperate.”

Lucia’s tail perked up into the air, but she remained motionless.

“Matthew just came back from the capital, and he bought a ton of sweets. You know what chocolate is, right? But have you tried hot chocolate? It’s a melted form that you can drink.” For some reason, sweets and desserts were her weakness. I suspect it’s because she never had any while growing up.

Lucia raised her head. There was a gleam in her eyes as she sat up, resting her butt on her ankles. “You’re not lying?” she asked and stared at me with narrowed eyes.

“I’m not. He bought it all for my birthday banquet that’s going to happen in a week. I can let you have some earlier than everyone else.”

“What are you waiting for?” Lucia asked and stood up. She grabbed my waist with one arm and slung me over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “Let’s go!”

…If only she would’ve carried me like this while she was hunting divine beasts, then my life would’ve been a lot less stressful during that period. I’ll have to bring lots of dessert for our next adventure.


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