I’ve managed to make it to the entrance of the Red Phoenix Sect. I say entrance, but it’s actually a space between two bamboo poles that says, “Entrance.” There’s nothing on either side of the poles, and there’s one person in red robes standing between the poles. What would happen if I tried to enter the sect from the not-entrance space? Apparently, I’d get fried. I sent Puppers through to test, and he instantly combusted into a pile of ash. So … now I’m here. In front of this disciple. In my not-suspicious outfit. “Hi.”
“Returning to the sect?” The person in red stared at my sash. Then his brow furrowed. Did he know the person this robe belonged to? Ilya didn’t steal this from a famous person, right? “Sister Hapless, is it? Your parents have an odd naming sense.”
“Mm. Yeah.” Actually, everyone’s naming sense in the Immortal Continent is weird. People here name themselves after adjectives and nouns. There aren’t any proper names like Puppers or Mrs. Wuffletush. Sheesh. “Let me through? The tribulation’s scary.”
“Hmm.” The red-robed man squinted at me and stroked his chin. “Those ears…. That bushy tail….” His eyes narrowed even further. Was he going to see through my disguise!? “Ha-ha! You almost look exactly like Heart Devil Lucia, but there’s no way she’d be here. Go on in.”
…It worked! And what’s with the weird nickname they gave me? Heart Devil Lucia? Jeez. It’s so tasteless. “Yup, yup. There’s no way Lucia would be here at all. I bet she’s busy doing busy stuff. Yup.” Now I’ll just walk past him with my impeccable acting, and … I’m in! That was easier than I thought. According to Ilya, I still have a few minutes to find a place to seek shelter before this tribulation starts. It’s a good thing sects are so large; I wouldn’t be able to do this in a sect with only a few people. I’m glad not knowing fellow disciples is an extremely common thing. Heck, I traveled with a hundred thousand Shadow Devil Sect members for a year and I can only match Softie’s name with her face. Everyone else is just ‘black-robed fellow’ or ‘hey, you’. Ah, I’m getting distracted. Hmm. Safest building…, safest building…. The cafeteria! It’d be a disaster if the food was … wait. Cafeterias aren’t important in the Immortal Continent. Then the next safest place is the … treasury! Treasures should have a lot of protection…, which means it’ll be hard for me to enter. Darn. This is a lot more difficult than I thought. Eh, whatever. I’ll head over to that pagoda over there because it’s the biggest building and it looks like a lot of people are gathering around it. Whew, there’s really a lot of people surrounding a stage. Is there a play going on? I want to see!
“Fellow brothers and sisters! The time to declare war on the Shadow Devil Sect is now! For the past year, they’ve terrorized Kong County! They’ve slaughtered hundreds of sects!” …We did? “They’ve robbed trillions of spirit stones!” What!? I only got several thousand thousand thousand thousands! “They’ve stolen billions of companion beasts and ate them in front of their crying owners!” …Guilty as charged. “Are we going to let them continue terrorizing the county!?” But there’s nothing left to terrorize. “We attack in three days! Let us herald the summer with the blood and tears of the Shadow Devil Sect! We’ll exterminate every last one of those bastards and display their chosens’ heads on our sacred artifacts!”
Wow. That’s a bit … excessive. I prefer to have my head attached to my body, thank you very much. It’s a good thing they don’t notice me. I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have come here based on the cheers of support the crowd’s giving the speaker who wants to impale my head on a golden pike. Mm. Welp, it’s too late now. I’m already here, and the lightning’s about to fall. I hope this works out! I’ll slip inside the building and then I’ll—
“Excuse me, Junior. What are you doing?”
Me? “I’m digging.”
“This is the skill-storing pavilion. You’re not allowed to dig here.” The person at the front desk didn’t seem to like the fact I took out a shovel and started tearing through the tile. Well, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t like it! There’s a huge thundercloud up there and I don’t want to get zapped by lightning. “S-stop! Didn’t you hear what I said!? How are you digging so fast!?”
Dig. Dig. Dig. Mm. This should be deep enough. Now, I’ll take out this cylindrical building and use it as my first layer of protection. It should be sturdy since I stole it from the armadillo or whatever sect. Apparently, it was a trial tower or something like that, but I’m sure it definitely works better as a shield. Should I keep digging? I don’t think one building will be enough…. Alright, it’s settled. I’ll keep digging downwards! I have to increase the distance between me and the lightning as much as I can. My tail’s so stiff I could use it to kill someone. Err, easily. I could kill someone with a non-stiff tail, but it’d be harder. Oh? Red light’s coming out of the ground. Did I discover a treasure? That’d be super neat! I remember I dug up a wine barrel back in the—gah! I’m falling!
“What’s this!? Who dares intrude on the forbidden ground!?”
The forbidden what? First, I’ll pick myself up off this really warm floor. And … there’s four scary-looking people staring at me! Just judging by the qi coming off of them, they’re about as strong as the sect leader. And behind them, there’s two big bright-red eggs. “Uh. Hi. Wait, no! I mean, uh, Junior Lu—Hapless greets the, err, elders?”
…I don’t think they’re falling for it. The four elders looked at each other and—
Eh!? The ceiling’s collapsing!
“What did you do!?” The four elders dove towards the eggs and created a barrier over them. Of course, I followed the elders! I feel safer next to them than I do by myself when tribulation lightning is trying to kill me! My tribulation finally started. I can tell because there’s purple lightning everywhere.
“Is … this an earth-realm tribulation?”
Lots of screams came from outside the red barrier that I was hiding in with the four elders. I thought I dug really far down. How can I hear the screams so clearly?
“T-this is a disaster!”
Well, that tower that I placed as a shield didn’t last very long. Neither did the skill-storing building of the Red Phoenix Sect. There’s a giant hole leading to the surface and I can clearly see the tribulation clouds above me. It’s a little like looking up a chimney at the sky, but the chimney’s a giant tunnel and the sky’s trying to kill me.
“Look!” One of the elders beside me pointed up. All I saw was a red speck amongst a sea of black and purple. “The ancestral beast is resisting the lightning! We have to help it!”
“Wait! What about Junior Hapless? Doesn’t this tribulation look like it’s hers!?”
“Is it yours!?”
“Shit! Who are you trying to fool!?” One of the elders lunged at me, but I dove towards the eggs and hid behind them. They’re definitely protecting these for a reason! I’m sure they won’t try attacking!? Why are they trying to set me on fire!? The eggs are fireproof! No wonder!
“Wait!” I grabbed mini-DalDal and raised it over my head. “If you don’t stop, I’ll break these eggs right now!” The four elders paused and I took that chance to store the eggs into an interspacial pouch. Hostage acquired! “Help me pass the tribulation and I’ll return the eggs!”
“Y-you!” One of the elders pointed at me. His face was red and it looked like he was about to … he spat out blood. As expected.
“Do you know what you’re doing!?”
Of course! I’m surviving! But before I could respond, lightning rained down onto the red barrier, causing cracks to form. One of the elders screamed and vomited out a fountain of blood. Then he fell onto the ground while clutching his chest. While the other three elders stared at him, I pointed at the sky. “Questions later! Tribulation now!”
The elders, except the one on the ground, cursed before summoning a bunch of fancy artifacts outside the barrier. There were swords, shields, axes, handcuffs, whips, shovels, and more. One of the elders called out a giant cone that he held to his mouth. “All sect members shall work together to surpass the tribulation! Activate the defensive formation, Sect Leader Feather!”
Gah! That hurts my ears! So loud. His shout was even louder than the tribulation thunder. I think my ears are bleeding. Well, they’ll heal quickly. Mm, but Ilya had a really good idea when she had me come here. There’s definitely no way in hell I could’ve suppressed this tribulation by myself. I guess that just means I’m not strong enough…. Maybe if I ate these eggs I’d get a super boost to my strength. Hmm.