I … don’t remember anything. Where am I? There was supposed to be a banquet for me, celebrating my new position as sect leader…. Hmm. I’ll use my brain to puzzle it out! Right now, I’m lying on a bed with my arms tied together by their wrists. My legs are tied at their ankles. And my tail seems to have poked through the bed because I can feel the floor with it. Can I break this rope? Ah, yeah. That snapped pretty easily. How was I tied up in the first place? Anyways, I’ll undo the ropes at my legs and pull my tail out of the bed and … I’m free! It looks like I’m in a pavilion, and there’s a Shadow Devil Sect crest on the wall, so I wasn’t kidnapped by an immortal. I guess I’m safe? Hmm…. Using my brain’s too hard. I’ll just cheat. “Puppers! What the heck happened!?”
Hmm? Is he ignoring me? “Puppers…?” Ah, it seems like he’s dead. Okay. That’s not a good sign. Only I’m allowed to kill Puppers! Which bastard did this? “Durandal! Are you there?”
Wait, no. He’s dead too. I killed him before the banquet even started. Should I get another spirit just in case something like this happens in the future? Maybe it could learn how to read too…. Well, for now, I’ll just leave the pavilion and see what happened. It’s very quiet. Normally, the sect is bustling since there’s a million people inside of it. And there was a banquet last night; there’s no way silence should be the main ambient sound. People should be having fun at afterparties! Eh, cultivators are prudes; they don’t even eat snacks. Maybe it’s a normal day—let’s see. Mm, the sun’s out and shining. The sky is clear and blue. The fancy sect buildings are in complete ruins. Hmm. That’s not normal. Were we attacked? The pavilion I was in is in horrible shape too! If I stayed in there any longer, it might’ve collapsed on me.
Where is everyone? “Hello? Anyone out there?” Ah, I shouldn’t have used Quick Shot’s roaring technique. The pavilion collapsed, and I can hear other buildings crumbling in the distance. Jeez. It’s like the world ended or something…. Oh! I can contact Ilya with my messenger. I’m so smart.
I pulled the messenger out of my interspacial ring and navigated through the pictures until I could send Ilya an audio message. “Ilya, what happened? Where are you? Wait, no. Where is everyone?” And now I wait! I’ll eat a meal while I’m at it. Hmm? I think thinking of eating triggered a memory…. Gah! I hate not being able to remember things! Eating…, eating, eating, eating…. What is it!? Eating and … drinking? The spirit wine! I drank a whole lot of impurity-free spirit wine…. And then I forgot everything. Ah, this must be what those army soldiers called blacking out. I always thought they were lying to not be held responsible for their actions while drunk! It turns out alcohol really does cause memory loss. Who knew?
If I’m not mistaken, blacking out causes people to do and say terrible things buried deep within their hearts…. But I’m a good person—there’s no way I said or did anything inappropriate! Isn’t that right, Mr. Fluff?
…Wait. Why’s there a squirrel apparition in the sect? Ah, I see. It must’ve returned from the Gates of Hell. Yes, that must be it. Oh, look! There’s another one and another and another … and another. Oh, jeez. There’s a lot of them. But I don’t recognize any of them. I might not be so good at remembering people or their names, but when it comes to my heart devil apparitions, I can differentiate all of them by their fur patterns alone! And none of these apparitions were present at the Gates of Hell.
Ilya responded! I opened the messenger and pressed the audio button. Ilya’s voice drifted out. She sounded a bit, okay, very annoyed. “Are you finally sober? Right now, I’m underground in the main shelter with Softie and a few other people. It’s in the basement of the pavilion that you should’ve woken up in. Everyone else fled from the sect because you went on an apparition-summoning spree. Wait where you are; we’ll come outside.”
Huh. Just because I summoned one or two apparitions doesn’t mean everyone had to run away! Mm, apparently, I was an unruly drunk. Puppers probably died trying to tie me up. I wonder how they managed to tie me, a sky-realm expert, up with normal ropes. Well, I vaguely recall Softie saying something about the spirit wine being like a poison that allowed lower-ranked people to kill higher-ranked ones.
“Lucia!” Softie’s voice appeared from behind me, and when I turned around, Softie was already flying through the air in a leaping tackle! I caught her, but I staggered back by two steps! What the heck?
“Did you get heavier?” How did she push me back? Why do I feel like I’m not a sky-realm expert anymore? First, I wake up with my arms and legs tied by ordinary ropes. Now, even Softie’s able to push me around!
“W-what are you saying?” Softie leaned back and glared at me, but her arms were still wrapped around my back. “The only thing that changed about me is my advancement to the earth realm!”
“Yup,” Ilya said. “She advanced with the Seducing Succubus Sect’s technique. You should’ve seen the ropeplay she performed on you while you were sleepi—”
“Ilya!” Softie shouted as she teleported away from me. She reappeared in front of Ilya and covered her mouth. Ilya struggled while letting out muffled cries, but Softie didn’t let go until Ilya’s face turned blue from exertion—or lack of air. One or the other. Softie glared at Ilya, who had collapsed, before smiling at me. “I bound your arms and legs after you passed out to prevent you from hurting yourself in your sleep. Don’t listen to anything strange coming out of Ilya’s mouth.”
…What kind of excuse is that? Have I ever hurt myself in my sleep before? Hmm. Even if I did, I wouldn’t know because my wounds recover in a flash. “Okay…. Then what’s rope pla—”
“Sect Leader Fluffytail!” Softie’s grandpa appeared out of nowhere. “You were planning on returning to your pocket realm, correct? Junior Ilya told me. With the thousands of apparitions you let loose in Kong County, there’s no doubt immortals will catch wind of you now. For your own safety, you have to return quickly. A special seal prevents anyone higher than a saint-realm expert from entering the realm; immortals won’t be able to get you there.”
“There is no time for anything else!” Softie’s grandpa pulled out a boat that was much smaller than the flying boat that I had. “This is a flying boat built solely for speed. With this, you’ll reach the pocket realm in three hours.”
“…Can’t I just teleport?”
“No. You’ll get lost because you’re directionally challenged.”
Oi. I thought sect leaders were supposed to be respected.
“Little Moon will fly you and Junior Ilya back. I’m sorry we had to part ways like this. Cultivate hard until you can defeat an immortal. It doesn’t matter how many years it takes; the Shadow Devil Sect shall await your glorious return.”