Chapter 19 – Drill
Tess feels shitty. She feels really, seriously shitty. Her body aches in a weird way and her stomach is doing acrobatic flips. She opens her eyes and feels even worse.
“Where am I?”
Softly mumbling to herself she takes in her surroundings. She feels soft grass under her and sees a peaceful looking pond with thriving plant life and a massive tree. A massive glowing tree. This scene is further complemented by a spattering of suns across the sky.
‘At least the sky’s still blue. Wait, sky? I was in the dungeon right? Then there was that glowing white being. It must have been an angel of some kind, so cute. Am I in heaven? I must be right?’
While Tess is delving deeper into her own thoughts she starts to look further around herself. Behind her are are some wooden huts. A stone building made up of smooth rocks and mortar stands to the side. Smaller trees surround the field she is in. Just as she sees vague shapes laying on the grass around her she hears someone speaking.
“Wajoooow, what is going on here!”
A weirdly enthusiastic voice sounds from her left side. Snapping her head around she starts to notice other people waking up. Five other figures are sprawled around her, each of them showing signs of waking.
“LISTEN UP YOU FILTHY MAGGOTS!”
A voice booms through the entire clearing, jolting the group from their half slumber. Tess blearily looks where to voice is coming from, slowly turning her pounding head. She is not having a good morning.
“YOU HAVE ALL BEEN SELECTED BY THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS ME. REJOICE FOR I SHALL TEACH YOU THE BEAUTY OF GROWING STRONG THROUGH SUFFERING *cough cough*. Was that too much? Maybe I’m overdoing it.”
An imposing air wafts from the figure walking towards the group of bedraggled kidnapee’s. The figure’s simple form of dress only seems to add to the pressure the group suddenly feels. If you ignore the last few words he said, that is.
“I HAVE GRACIOUSLY INVITED YOU MAGGOTS IN MY VERY OWN DOMICILE BECAUSE I SAW SOME SPARK OF HOPE IN YOU SAD SACKS OF SHIT. I WILL- *COUGHCOUGH* “
As this weird shouting guy devolves into a coughing fit Tess is only further confused.
‘We are dirty larvae? Why am I a bag filled with poop? Is he trying to insult us or something? His pronunciation is pretty bad, he needs to lilt his S’es more and his tonal inflexion is horrible.’
Tess immediately concludes that he is a foreigner, not knowing how right and wrong at the same time her conclusion is.
Six people are looking at the figure with growing uncertainty in their eyes. A certain world hopper has not taken cultural differences into account it seems, insults heavily rely on the culture they are spoken in, after all. The group of displaced people have woken up fully now. Although they are feeling apprehensive about this shouting madman, the entire scene he has been trying to paint is being ruthlessly smashed by the bunny he is carrying and gently petting.
Silence hangs thick in the air as the group studies one another. Tess takes another look around and sees a blonde haired, blonde eyed fatty, a short girl spacing out with blue fuzz for hair and a faintly familiar lanky guy with dark circles under his eyes to her left. To her right are two more people, and as she looks over the red-haired guy he studies her back. The last person should be a slave of some kind, Tess thinks, her body is covered with a sheen of brown-hued fur. The vague feline slant to her face gives it away that she is from the far east’s warring states.
The bunny guy stares at the first person to his left and continues shouting.
“YOU WILL NOW TELL ME YOUR NAME, AGE, RACE, SKILLS, AND WHATEVER ELSE IS INTERESTING ABOUT YOU.”
Staring at the fur-covered girl, nothing happens. The hairy girl’s eye seems to be twitching up a storm. Her mouth is slowly revealing sharp fangs. Suppressed rage seems to be boiling just under the skin of the statuesque figure.
“Human, you better explain where I…”
“YOU WILL ONLY SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO, AND THEN ONLY ANSWER QUESTIONS, YOU HAVE NOT EARNED ANYTHING ELSE YOU STINKING HAIRBALL.”
“I am indeed a hair…”
“Lola, please spar with this lovely lady.”
The sudden change of subject seemed to have caught the tall beastwoman off guard. Tess concludes that the feline’s instincts must have kicked in. The moment the rabbit in the guy’s hands looks at the so-called hairball, she crouches in a defensive position.
“Let me introduce your senior. BOW TO YOUR SENIOR.”
An invisible force bends Tess’s head and torso in a ninety-degree angle. A quick glance sideways tells her that she is not the only one being forced to kneel on the grass.
“The moment you can beat this cute little rabbit you gain the right to be her equal. At the moment she is so far above you shits, you’re not even worthy to clean up her poop.”
Then Tess realises that the white fluffball is the angel that saved her. And now she needs to fight with the last thing she saw before making peace with death? Just as she was at peace with her lot in life she wakes up in this insane place. The force releases her and she rights herself just in time to see the bunny flying at the feline. Horrible wails sound from the fighting duo as the beast woman explodes in rage. Tess is about to step forward to prevent the angelic fluffball from being hurt when the bunny kicks the everliving shit out of the beastwoman. Instead of the one-sided beatdown Tess was expecting her eyes nearly pop out as she sees a white streak juggling the feline, keeping her in the air by headbutting her.
“YOU READY TO LISTEN AND ANSWER MY QUESTIONS, LITTLE KITTY?”
A shiver runs down Tess’s spine as she sees the diabolical grin on the enigmatic fellows face.
That could have gone better. I would love to be all buddy buddy and pretend to be their best friend but that would backfire quickly. That can all come later, now I need to make sure that they understand that privilege and comfort comes with strength. I will need to beat any form of resistance out of them, break them down to ground level, pump them chock full of information and then let them rebuild themselves using all I will show them.
My plan is not to teach them, but help them teach themselves. I will not utter a word about finding their Dao or specific techniques, I will simply present them with a lot of information and let them figure out the rest themselves. My method of qi control works wonders for me but tell any other cultivator to mentally shout at their qi and they’ll drag you off to an insane asylum. Teaching them my methods would only hinder their growth.
When I left the dungeon city I went north-west. I found another mountain range with a sprawling forest around it just over the horizon. In said forest, I collected a lot more rocks, plants, trees, dirt and water, growing my little Tree universe substantially.
Building some simple wooden huts with uncomfortable furniture was done in a flash. My own house took a little longer, I do have a minimum comfort standard you know. I shaved the softest animal I could find and made a bed and comfy chair out of it. A wool covered T-Rex knockoff was the softest animal I could find, and now there are a few pissed off naked dinosaurs stomping through the forest. The walls of my house are made of river rocks with compressed earth as mortar. My new unwilling disciples will have to earn or make better dwelling places.
As I watch the poor furry getting curb stomped by a little critter, a smile can’t help but spread on my face. How will this world’s natives handle a higher level of energy? Can I upgrade the entire world and raise its level without any apocalypse type scenarios? The main reason I’m doing all this is because its lonely at the top. If I ever want to leave this place I will not make the same mistake again, I will have people with me to watch my back and cover for me when things go south.
I should really stop this fight now, the wide-eyed gazes of the other people tell me they get the message. Maybe I need to switch to good cop now? “Lola, that enough, I think she gets the message.”
The poor girl smacks into the ground, landing face down and ass up. A stumpy tail has come loose from her clothing, it’s pretty tattered and seems to have been cut off without allowing to heal properly, leaving a ragged piece of scar tissue.
“Are you willing to answer my questions now?” I try to smile but for some reason, they all shrink back. I stopped shouting, okay? Shouldn’t this allow them to relax instead of tensing up further? The feline in front of me has her ears laid back and a green glow flickers in her eyes. She must be pissed, very good.
“Angeta, two decades, *incomprehensible warbling*, I am the best tracker here, plants love me and humans make me angry.”
The incomprehensible warbling must be her race, I can’t make heads or tails of it. My local language library is updating as I speak but it’s really unlikely that a day of listening to people speak covers the entire language. The rest of her answer was fairly predictable though, she should manifest some form of plant connection when she starts cultivating.
“See Angeta, that wasn’t so bad, right? Now focus and remember this feeling.”
I pat her head with a burst of qi, spreading it evenly through her body. She gasps and stands on her toes, eyes wide with shock. Just before I release my control over the inserted qi I feel her dantian acting up, so I set the core formation in progress as I take a step back. Another standard case of the stomach core. May the toilet gods have mercy on you in the coming days.
I give a mental bow of apology as the fuzz-covered woman falls into a stupor. The qi in her body is now ownerless and will start to revert to wild qi in time. Injecting this amount of qi in a person will force a core to form, so the ownership will shift to the controller of said core.
As I guide the now trembling cat woman to the ground and into a sitting position I glance over the rest of my forced disciples. They are all staring at me but one. The black haired girl has her eyes fixed on Lola who is licking herself beside me.
I fix a grin on my face as I slowly walk over to the next person.
“SO YOU SOULLESS GINGER BASTARD, YOU GOING TO BE A PROBLEM TOO YOU PALE SHITSTAIN?”
Aah, this is cathartic somehow. Screaming my head of is truly calming for the soul.
“Oooh, no honey, I will do what – ever – you – want me to do.”
The guy gives me a slow wink. A shiver runs up my spine as I observe a predatory glint of a concerning nature in the fellow’s eye. Come back, my peaceful soul!