Lucia thoroughly crushed every single chosen competing against her … and their respective sect leaders and elders. The way she hit them with her hammer made me think she was venting her grievances—whatever grievances someone as carefree as her could have. The elders of the sects were involved after Lucia repeatedly poked fun at the sect names and insulted their disciples in the way that only she can manage to do. I’m a refined individual, so I won’t repeat the things she had said. And Emperor Yi didn’t step in because he thought Lucia’s antics were amusing.
There’s just one thing I was wondering about…. “Hey, Ilya?”
“Whoa. You’re taking the initiative to talk to me? What happened?” Ilya raised an eyebrow at me.
…Is that odd? I suppose I don’t really like her, but I thought I was hiding it pretty well! Besides, aren’t we supposed to display a harmonious façade in public lest other sects think there’s discord within our Shadow Devil Sect? Arguments are meant to be held in private. There’s no need for her to be so snarky! “You seemed to recognize Lucia’s sin. What did you call it? The arm of a predator?”
“Yup.” Ilya nodded then looked away.
Hey. “Elaborate, please.”
“Oh? There’s something the mighty Softie doesn’t know? I bet if Lucia asked, you’d suddenly figure out what it was.” Ilya rolled her eyes and stood up.
…I don’t like her very much. “Where are you going?”
“To Lucia. That was her forty-eighth victory.”
My legs straightened and I stood up before I even thought about it. “I’m coming with you.” I can’t let Ilya be the only one at Lucia’s side! Lucia needs a loving wife to greet her when she comes back from a long day at work, not someone mean and rude like Ilya! Wait. There’s something wrong with that thought. Ah! But I don’t have time to revise it! “Lucia! Good job!” I took a handkerchief out of my interspacial ring to wipe away Lucia’s sweat…, but she didn’t have any. So I wiped away the grease stains on her lips that were left behind by the cooked aurochs that she was eating during one of her duels.
“I trust no one has any complaints if I declare the Shadow Devil Sect as the winners of the King Province Exchange?” Emperor Yi asked, his voice echoing through the stage. No one responded. I would be more surprised if there actually was a response, seeing as Lucia’s beating disfigured everyone’s faces and chests. It must be hard for them to speak when they can barely breathe. “Since that’s the case”—Emperor Yi teleported next to Lucia—“I present to you the proof of victory.”
Lucia blinked and looked around. “Where is it?”
“You stole it from me.”
Lucia stiffened. “…Did I?”
“Right. It was the ring I was wearing.” Emperor Yi smiled at Lucia. Hmm. Maybe that royal crest wasn’t actually a sealed interspacial ring? Then it turns out Ilya was right. But Lucia probably forgot the conversation already, so it won’t reflect poorly on me.
“Oh….” Lucia scratched her head. “Then where’s your actual interspacial ring? Just wondering, you know, out of curiosity. Mhm.”
“I’d be a fool to tell you that,” Emperor Yi said with a snort. “Regardless, all you have to do is present it to the guard captain at Kang Country’s imperial barracks and you’ll be able to join the army.” Emperor Yi hesitated. “You still have it, right?”
“Of course!” Lucia reached into her pants from the front and took the ring out from somewhere…. “It’s right here.”
Emperor Yi’s face turned red. “You damned foxkin. Stop trying to seduce me.” He sighed and shook his head before clearing his dirty thoughts, his face reverting back to normal. “Why’s the tip of the arrow broken?”
Lucia beamed before wetting her lips with her tongue—did I miss a spot of grease? “I bit it off.”
Emperor Yi shuddered and retreated back by a step, lowering his hands towards his groin in a protective manner. “A-anyways! This concludes the King Province Exchange! I ask all of you to leave as soon as possible. Since an unknown expert took away the great wall, some final defensive touches have to be implemented.”
“Wait!” Lucia grabbed Emperor Yi’s arm before he could teleport away. “I was promised an earth-realm-ranked sword for winning this. Could you make it a sky-realm-ranked sword?”
Emperor Yi coughed and glared at Lucia. “Do you know how valuable a sky-realm-ranked sword is? Even I don’t have one! And you’ll receive the earth-realm-ranked sword when you speak to the guard captain at Kang Country’s imperial capital.”
Lucia tilted her head, her tail twitching. I wanted to grab it and play with it, but I restrained myself. “You don’t have a sky-realm-ranked sword? I thought you were an emperor. How are you so poor?”
Emperor Yi winced. “You know I have thousands of wives and thousands of children, correct?”
Lucia’s hair fluttered as she nodded. “Right.”
“Women and children cost money to maintain.”
“So you’re poor because you couldn’t keep it in your pants.”
Emperor Yi coughed again; this time, blood leaked out of the corners of his lips. “I’m not poor! I’m just not as rich as I would be if circumstances were different! Now if there’s nothing else of importance, I hope to never see you again.” A sword made of qi materialized in Emperor’s Yi free hand. Was he going to attack Lucia!? With a swishing sound, Emperor Yi’s sword descended and cut off his own arm, the one that Lucia was holding onto. Then he teleported away before anyone could say anything. H-he actually cut off his own limb to escape from Lucia….
Lucia stared dumbly at the arm she was holding onto. Then she looked at me and blinked. She folded four of the arm’s fingers and poked me with it. Gross! “Do you want this?”
“N-no!” Even if it’s a gift from Lucia, I have no need for a severed arm!
“I’ll take it,” Ilya said and snatched the arm away. “It’s the arm of a sky-realm expert. I’m sure the blood and bones will make decent alchemy materials. Besides, it’s not like it was forcibly taken away—there’s no guilt or immorality involved at all.”
…I still think it’s gross.