There’s something wrong with this sect. Something seriously, terribly wrong. They’re abusing their chosen! One grain of rice and one cup of water every month for food? F***! I had a better life when I was a slave. At least I had a quarter of a carrot every day! And I could drink water whenever I wanted even if it was a bit muddy. “Stop running from me, damnit! Let me feed you properly!”
“I can’t ingest impurities!”
“Whose cooking is impure!?” How dare Softie not accept my goodwill! I don’t offer hot chocolate to just anyone! Gah, why do I care so much about this crybaby anyway? She has nothing to do with me. But I just hate how weak she is! She reminds me of a slave with no free will, but she has the power to change that! Grr, I don’t know why I’m so pissed off at her, but once I catch her, I’m going to shove a barrel of hot chocolate and acorn stew down her throat.
“This isn’t about your cooking, Lucia! Please, stop chasing me!”
So far, we’ve ran down the chosens’ mountain, through a plaza of people, past a marketplace of sorts where suspicious-looking things were being sold. We ran past a field of rice, a couple of mountains with people on them, a few fancy-looking buildings that I should steal on my way back, and an enclosure filled with animals. There’s clearly plenty of animals to be eaten! What’s this one grain of rice a month nonsense! Now we’re running past a forest of bamboo, and I think I just stepped on a really precious flower because someone screamed when I did, and Softie still hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. Is she speeding up? This is nonsense! There hasn’t been anyone I haven’t been able to catch since I became a legend. Is it time to bring out the Puppers Ballista?
“H-how are you still following me?” Softie was slowing down! She stopped in front of a building that looked like a red tower with frills. She swallowed as she inched backwards and pressed herself against the door. “T-this is the impurity-cleansing pool. There’s no violence permitted. And, and you can’t use qi either.”
“It’s against the sect rules! Please, stop radiating like that!” Tears fell from Softie’s eyes as she whirled around and pulled on the door just as I grabbed her shoulder. “Elder who’s on duty! Elder who’s on duty! Save me!”
“What’s going on!?”
Ah? This voice. I recognize it. Like I thought, it’s Mr. Shoe.
“Elder Shu, please, save me!” Softie was squirming in my hands, but I wasn’t going to let her go! She’s extremely hard to catch, but extremely easy to restrain.
“Ah. Junior Lucia. Junior Moonlight. Is something wrong?” Mr. Shoe was inching backwards, and the door to the tower was slowly closing. “Like I thought, there’s no issue, right? Ah-ha-ha.” Then the door closed before Softie could say anything.
“E-Elder Shu…. Elder Shu! My grandfather ordered me to bring Lucia to the impurity-cleansing pool! If you don’t help me out right this instant, you’ll be disobeying the sect leader’s wishes!”
Ah? Softie became brave all of a sudden? That’s good! She’s less spineless now.
“The sect leader may have ordered such a thing, but have you asked Junior Lucia whether or not she agrees? It seems like she’s unwilling or there wouldn’t be such a racket at the door, no?” Mr. Shoe was talking through the door. It sounded like he was standing really far away and getting even further with every word. I also felt the heart devil inside of him growing. Hmm. Is he that frightened of me? There must be something wrong with this Heart Devil Cultivation Technique. It must be making me seem scarier than I actually am!
“N-no way.” Softie became limp in my arms and her head hung down. Did she lose her spirit? What happened to the spine she just grew? “Why do you have more face than my grandfather…?”
That’s a compliment, right? I was totally complimented just now. I’ll go a little easier on Softie. “Mm. So what’s this whole impurity thing you were talking about?” Of course, if I don’t like her answer, the punishment of a barrel of hot chocolate will resume!
“You really don’t know what impurities are?” Softie asked. Her lower lip was quivering, and there were tears in her eyes. …I’m jealous of how pretty she is. I’ll pinch her cheeks to make her face puff up. “Ahwah!? Luciwah? S-shtop!” Ooh, this is pretty fun. Smoosh, smoosh. They’re so squishy and elastic. And I thought squirrels had the softest cheeks.
“Sister Moonlight is being violated again!”
Who’s violating someone!? I’m not a pervert, and only perverts can violate people! I’m just playing with her face! “Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Puppers Ballista!” Mm, I’ll have Puppers deal with the annoying people who don’t know when to shut up. Back to kneading Softie’s cheeks. Smoosh, smoosh.
“Brother Forest’s been attacked in the sect’s no-attacks-allowed zone! He’s being murdered!”
It’s a good thing I have Puppers or I’d be the one blamed for attacking someone in the no-attacks-allowed zone. It looks like Softie really wasn’t lying about that rule. A large sect must have a lot of rules, huh? There’s absolutely no way I’m going to remember all of them. Can there be a rule to exclude me from all the rules? I’m going to petition the sect leader for that rule.
“C-can you let go of mwai face?”
Ah. I was still holding onto Softie. What were we talking about? Right. Impurities. I know what those are! Those are the things that Durandal said would build up if I continued consuming beast cores like I did while completely ignoring his advice to use them one at a time! Mm. Why didn’t I remember earlier before pinching Softie’s face? …I’m not sure. Sometimes, weird things jostle my memory.
Oh. I forgot to let go.
Softie sniffled and rubbed her cheeks. Then she spoke really fast as if she was afraid I’d interrupt her. “Why do cultivators cultivate? For immortality. Cultivators want to transcend the earthly lands and become a part of the heavens. And if we want to do that, we can’t eat earthly foods or it’ll hold us back. We call these earthly shackles impurities. That’s why we have the impurity-cleansing pool. If someone bathes in the pool, their impurities will be cleansed. But prevention is always the best solution, so it’s better to never ingest impurities in the first place. Please don’t hurt me.”
“So what you’re saying is … you want me to take a bath?”
“Ah? A bath in the impurity-cleansing pool, yes. Why are your eyes so scary!?”
Me, scary? Maybe. Me, bathe? F*** no! I’ll drown!