Cheated. Swindled. Why can’t I make any money off of this man-faced lion thing? Well, at least, I obtained a beast core from it. It looks red and black and omninous like the one I got from the three-headed lion back in the southern pass. And Puppers isn’t around this time to tell me whether I should save or consume it. He’ll probably be bitter again since I fed him to the beast. Maybe Ilya will know?
“U-um, this body, are you leaving it here?” Ilya flinched under my gaze. Why was she approaching the divine beast? “C-can I have it?”
“If you want?” Where would she even store it? Unless she has an interspacial ring. That’d make sense considering how powerful her teacher was. “I’ll take the bones later though.”
“Thank you!” Ilya bowed at me before touching the beast. It vanished and disappeared, presumably, into her space.
“Y-yes!?” Ilya stiffened. Was that guilt on her face? What was she feeling guilty for? Hmm. Hmmm. Hmmmmm. Oh wells.
“Do you know what’ll happen if I consume this core?” If she knows, she’ll probably become my new encyclopedia. I’ve tried messaging Liana and the Briarwood envoy a few times, but I don’t think the range of the messenger extends that far.
“Um. You might explode?” Ilya asked and bit her lower lip. “Please don’t explode. I’ll die if you die.”
Explode, huh? “What happens if I don’t explode?”
“…Increase in strength?” Ilya lowered her head. “I’m really not someone you should be asking about this. Most people don’t consume cores. It takes too long to remove their impurities.”
“Eh? But a day of sparring is all it takes.” Right? And it takes around 30 cores of an animal to develop their attributes. That’s only a month of training. And it goes by even quicker the more you take. Some cores won’t even give you any strength if you’re already beyond their abilities. Wouldn’t it take a year at most to develop a body equivalent to that of a spirit beast? Of course, it only took me a day. Mhm.
“A day?” Ilya asked. “Maybe for a beastkin. Demons have a lot of mana, and mana interferes with beast cores a lot. Even ingesting a beast core brings about a lot of nausea for a first-circle magician.”
That probably explains those magical monkey beast cores then…. Their cores had magic in them, and that was an absolute nightmare to absorb. Mm. No absorbing beast cores with mana. Wait. Aren’t I super lucky that I can’t use magic at all then? Well, it depends on what you call lucky: the ability to use magic, or the ability to absorb beast cores easily. In that case, since I’m specialized to absorb beast cores….
“Um, Ms. Fluffytail. What are you doing?”
“Absorbing the beast core.” Ah, her stupefied expression is so satisfying to see.
“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”
“Loud and clear, young encyclopedia.”
“Young encyclopedia? Wait! What if you explode? Lucia!”
“Then I guess we’ll both die then.” Mhm. How unfortunate. Wow, this feels amazing. Like I’m being massaged everywhere at once!
“Y-you’re really absorbing a divine beast’s core…. You could’ve bought a small town if you sold it….”
…Say that sooner! But I do have enough money regardless. I think. But with this, I’m really getting a lot stronger. I can probably lift 14 tons after I’m done absorbing this! Durandal will definitely, definitely, definitely wake up soon! Peak of high-ranked spirit warrior, here I come!
“It was around here, right? The manticore’s aura suddenly disappeared. What the hell?”
“What do you mean its aura disappeared? We hired you to track it down, and you dragged us through this forest for three weeks. You’re trying to tell us it disappeared?”
Wow. Someone sounded grumpy. A nearby tree was knocked to the side as a group of six people appeared in the clearing that was created during my fight with the divine beast. Well, since they could talk, it didn’t seem like they were rare spirit monkeys. Probably.
“A young girl and her slave?” The demon at the head of the group stared at me and Ilya.
Oi. Don’t call Ilya a slave. She’s an encyclopedia. I don’t mind you calling me young though.
“A fight clearly happened here. Hey, girlie, did you see a manticore?”
“Nope. No manticore.” I answered since I was obviously the person in charge. “Right?”
“R-right,” Ilya said. “No manticore. We’d be dead if there were.”
“Hmm. What’s a young girl like you doing out here in the desolate mountains?” one of the demons with a blue staff asked.
“Hey,” another one said. “Leave her alone. She’s probably the heir to a noble family.”
“So what? Everyone is equal in the desolate mountains,” the blue-staffed demon said.
“Are you members of the Arcane Arts Academy?” Ilya asked. She was inching behind me. Was she scared? They’re probably going to attack us, aren’t they? I should horribly maim them, but I won’t kill them because I’m not a murderer. Mhm.
“Oh? You know about us? That’s right, we’re students of the Arcane Arts Academy,” the blue-staffed demon said. “Are you—”
“Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Flying Blade!” Oh, wow. They weren’t expecting that at all. I almost feel bad. Now, grab Ilya and run!
“L-Lucia!” Ilya screamed louder than the demons did when they had lost their legs. “Don’t grab me so suddenly! I’m going to be sick!” Her purple face turned green, and my dress was covered in vomit. It was already bad enough with the blood as it was. I’m definitely making her clean this off of me.
Wait a minute…. Why am I running? I killed a divine beast; I have no reason to fear a bunch of legless demons! They weren’t legless before by the way.
“Wait, Lucia! Why are you going back?” Ilya asked. At least she didn’t struggle in my grip. What a nice little encyclopedia. Much, much more compliant than Snow.
“To gather loot! Everyone knows mages are rich.”