My name is Ilya Pentorn. I’m the only child from a prestigious noble family, the Pentorns. I’m supposed to have a bright future based on the test results gathered from me after my birth. My father is a duke. My mother is deceased. My teacher is a drunkard. And my current companion is a bamboozling squirrelkin lady. Where is my promised future?
As the oldest scion of a noble family, I’m expected to inherit my father’s title after he dies. But since my father is a duke, I’m expected to be strong enough to fulfill his role by the time he dies. I have to be at least a seventh-circle magician, but eight or nine is preferable. So my father sent me off to Rogath Winemark, an eighth-circle magician, to learn from him when I was twelve. Before that, I had reached the third-circle. My father had taught me himself, but due to some recent tensions between the three factions, he wasn’t as free as he used to be. Six months after arriving at Teacher’s laboratory, I finally convinced him to accept me as a pupil. And three months after slaving under Teacher without learning anything, my current companion, Lucia Fluffytail, was caught in one of his traps. And three months after that…, I crossed the first wall and became a fourth-circle magician. I also nearly lost my life seventeen times.
“Keep up or be left behind!”
Those were the only words Lucia said to me during the whole time I’ve known her. I’m actually a little thankful for that. I see how her words mentally destroy her ex-weapon spirit, which she stuck into a sock, and I don’t know how long I’d last if those vitriolic words were directed at me instead. I’d probably have a nervous breakdown and cry. Can you believe she named someone older than her Puppers? A sentient being! Puppers! You name a newly born fox Puppers, not an experienced weapon spirit who can swallow your face without chewing.
Anyways, I’m doing my best to adhere to her words. What I didn’t know at the beginning of our journey was that being left behind meant I would die. Seriously. I will die if I let this eccentric squirrelkin lady out of my sight. As much as I loathe to say it, my livelihood depends completely on Lucia. And the reason for my dilemma is that beast chasing after me—the four-meter-tall creature with two heads, six legs, and a snake for a tail. Well, it’s not only that, but that’s just an example of the average beast I run into at least eight times a day.
“Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Breaking Blade!”
And the creature that could kill me if it even looked at me the wrong way was promptly killed in a single strike. I don’t know if Lucia is at the peak of martial arts or not, but if she isn’t, then I’m willing to bet my left pinky toe that she’s extremely close. Her fighting style is very simple: approach, dodge, slash, repeat. She never blocks, never disengages, and doesn’t care about getting minor injuries. She’s a completely self-destructive fighter who reminds me of a blood magician. Her personality probably has something to do with it too.
“Oh, nice! There were two cores! Like I thought, two-headed beasts are the best.”
When she talks to herself like this, I’ve learned not to say anything or else she’ll glare at me with a bloody aura. Why did you leave me with such a crazy person, Teacher? No, why did my father even choose you to teach me if you were going to abandon me like this? Experiences? Worldliness? I’ll die before I learn anything. And keeping up with her is extremely difficult. That’s actually how I broke through from the third circle to the fourth circle. Everywhere Lucia goes, she engages in a battle which attracts the attention of many beasts because of the bloody smell in the air. We have to leave the area quickly before a swarm of beasts arrive.
To keep up with Lucia, I had to use all the wind magic I knew. But even that wasn’t enough, and the motivation of not wanting to die spurred some kind of breakthrough in my magic. I transcended the wall and learned how to control my wind magic in a more efficient manner that allowed me to barely keep track of my crazy companion. Not only that, but Lucia doesn’t sleep. It’s odd, yes. She doesn’t eat either which I had trouble adapting to. She occasionally gives me bones to consume—which are extremely addictive by the way—to rid me of my weariness and hunger. I don’t think she realizes what consuming the bones are doing to her body. I don’t think she realizes anything at all.
A faulty machine. If I had to use three words to describe Lucia, those are what they’d be. How does someone become like her? What kind of life has she lived so far? What about her—dear lord, that’s not a normal tree. Why do even the trees want to kill me in this place? “Lucia! Help!”
“Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Flying Blade!”
I dove down as the massive red surge of qi flew towards my head. I felt it shave off years of my life as it passed by and bisected the giant tree that had a mouth and face. It screamed so loud that I thought I’d be hearing ringing noises in my ears for the rest of my life. When I finally managed to pick myself off the ground, Lucia was staring at me with completely white eyes—no traces of irises or pupils. She opened her mouth but closed it again before turning away while muttering something about a fluffy cross-dressing bastard.
And with the narrow escape from the tree, I’ve nearly died eighteen times now. That’s an average of six times a month. Six times too many if you ask me. I wonder how long I’ll have to live like this. I don’t think I can take much more.