It’s been a long, long, long year…. At least, I think a year passed. It’s hard to tell when every day’s the same. And there’s no changes in seasons! It’s always spring here. Or maybe spring is just really long. Hmm. Well, that doesn’t matter! I’ve finally completed that stupid task the sect leader handed me! I’ve thoroughly terrorized, robbed, and planted heart devils in every single sect of Kong County except for the five fingers. Softie said we finished the real task a few months ago, but Durandal insisted on overachieving. Why should we only terrorize the sects on the list? Why not terrorize every sect? …Yeah. Durandal’s a serious slave driver. I haven’t gotten a good rest in a whole year. Attacking three to four sects every day, eating for seven hours every day, cultivating the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique and Immortal Poison Body and Immortal Venom Body instead of sleeping every day…. There was practically no time for decent foreplay!
And now I’m finally taking my well-deserved break…. Not. There’s a horrifyingly scary cloud floating above our boats. It’s very, very big. Like very big. It stretches as far as the eye can see, and there’s no speck of blue anywhere in sight. If it weren’t for the purple flashing lightning, I’d have thought it was nighttime. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a scary cloud like this. During this year of plundering, a lot of my underlings jumped from the mortal realm to the saint realm with their stolen goods, and clouds similar to this one appeared on an almost daily basis to rain down tribulation lightning. I say similar because this one is a lot larger than any from before, and more importantly, it’s making my tail stiff. Which means I’m the target. Shit.
“Lucia…? Is that, um, your tribulation cloud up there?” Softie was inching away from me. Just a few seconds ago, she was cultivating the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique next to me near the steering wheel. “I think I felt you break through to the earth realm….”
“I’m pretty sure that’s mine.” What to do? A stiff tail is no good. Despite the Thundering Heavens Sect’s name, they gave me absolutely zero practice in fighting tribulation lightning!
“That’s really weird. According to the technique, it should only take someone fifty million heart devils planted to reach the earth realm if they have no impurities,” Softie was muttering to herself in the corner. “But Lucia eats a lot”—hey! I do not!—“so maybe it was possible for her cultivation to slow down by that much due to her impurities. It’s still ridiculous to reach the earth realm in a single year though….” Softie stopped muttering and raised her head. “Hey, Lucia? How many heart devils have you planted? I want to know before you undergo your tribulation, just in case it kills you.”
…Softie’s gotten a lot braver during this year. Is it about time to strip her again? Though the heart devil inside of her seems to stop growing so much after every time I do it. Maybe she’s building up resistance. Hmm. Anyways, how many heart devils do I have planted? One…, two…, three…. There’s too many to count. “At least four.”
Softie sighed. “This is why you’re the perfect fit for our sect.”
“Thanks for the compliment.” I’ve never been a perfect fit anywhere before. Except for when I made my own place and became an empress. That was pretty fun. I should do it again once I get strong enough. But first, this tribulation’s still gathering more power! I can feel it sucking up the qi from beneath the boats. This is sincerely scary. Maybe if I hide inside one of the interspacial pouches, it’ll go away.
“What are you doing?”
“You can’t hide from the tribulation by entering a pouch. Only metal-spirit kangaroos can do that.”
A what? Why wasn’t I born as a metal kangarino or whatever? This isn’t fair. “Then what do I do!?”
“Um.” Softie nodded. Did she have an idea? “All the earth-realm experts who’ve survived their earth-realm tribulation have one thing in common. They all lived. So all you have to do is not die. Right. I’m going to evacuate the boat now! Good luck, Lucia!”
“W-wait!” Which bastard taught Softie such stupid logic!? To survive a tribulation, all I have to do is live? No shit! Ah, but she’s already gone, and all my underlings are fleeing from my boat. Hmm. I’ll put the boat away for now and … Ilya? “Huh? What are you doing here? You’ll die to the lightning!”
Ilya shrugged. “Judging by the previous tribulations, you still have a good thirty minutes before your tribulation starts.”
Right. Ilya went through a tribulation too when she became a tenth-circle magician. I’m not sure how she advanced so fast in a year, but she did. “Are you here to help?” Since Ilya’s been studying for a year, she has the answer to nearly all my questions again like an updating encyclopedia! She has to know a way through this tribulation. I’ve seen how my underlings got through theirs, but I don’t like it. They sacrifice too many items. Items are my blood! Without things to sell, I’ll be poor. And being poor sucks. So I won’t throw my stuff at the lightning unless I have no other choice.
What’s this? A piece of paper?
“It’s fake money Immortal Continent natives burn for the dead.”
…Huh? F***! “What is this!? Bully-Lucia-with-false-hope day!? Get over here!”
“W-wait, wait! I have an actual plan! S-stop! It hurts!”
Humph. “Alright. What’s the actual plan?”
Ilya wiped away the tears in her eyes before glaring at me. All I did was give her a noogie. “The Red Phoenix Sect is only ten minutes away. If you fly there and hide inside one of their buildings, then they’ll surely help you out once the tribulation starts breaking things. Remember all those formations you had to break through for every sect? The Red Phoenix Sect should have a massive defensive one since they’re a finger of Kong County.”
What? Using other people to beat my tribulation? That’s an excellent idea! I knew Ilya was the best answerer around. But wait, will they let me in? “But to get in, I have to go past the defensive formation myself, no? Can I do that before the lightning falls?” For the weak sects, the formations took at least five minutes to break apart. Some sects even took up to twenty minutes!
“Don’t worry about that. All you have to do is wear their robes. Only Red Phoenix Sect members can wear red. So wear these”—a red robe appeared in Ilya’s hand along with a sash that had a name stitched on it in gold—“and run over there saying you saw the person undergoing the tribulation nearby and you wanted to hide inside the sect.”
“You’re a genius, Ilya! Help me put these on! But where did you get these?”
“One of the sects we attacked had a visitor from the Red Phoenix Sect, so I stole her stuff.”
Stealing the clothes right off a woman. I taught Ilya well!
“You’re thinking something stupid, aren’t you? Hurry up and go before the tribulation starts.” Ilya patted down my clothes after she finished tying the sash. “You better not die, Lucia. You’re the only hope I have of going back home.”