“Hold it right there!” a voice shouted at me. “Release your sword!”
They want me to let go of Durandal? There’s no way in hell that’s happening. I pointed mini-DalDal at the merchant. “This man has my items. What is the punishment for trafficking stolen goods?”
“That’s not true!” the merchant yelled. “I pay for every one of my transactions. Is it my responsibility to check the source of my items? The beastkin is insane! Look at what she did to that man.”
Wow, there aren’t many people who become more talkative when there’s a sword pointing at their face. Maybe I should move it closer.
“Stop!” the patrol leader said. One of the patrol members ran to the fallen demon’s side, picking up his legs and arm along the way. “Let’s discuss this calmly like civilized folk.” He looked around. “Who’s the one responsible for this beastkin?”
“I am,” Ilya said, raising her hand. She bit her lower lip and ran to my side. “Lucia, put down the sword, please. The merchant isn’t going anywhere. I’ll get your stuff back, I promise. I want to eat it too, remember?”
Well, if Ilya can get those corpses back without an issue, then I won’t have to use force. My tail isn’t stiffening, so I can probably fight these people if Ilya fails. Yeah, I’ll let Ilya handle this. I lowered mini-DalDal, making sure to cut the merchant’s stall on the way down.
“Can I see your I.D.?” the patrol leader asked Ilya.
Ilya shook her head. “I don’t have one,” she said. “I’m a close friend of Bartholomew Shinx; my name is Ilya Pentorn.”
“A friend of Teacher Shinx?” the patrol leader asked and furrowed his brow. His eyes widened. “Did you say Ilya Pentorn? B-by any chance, is your father…”
“Duke Pentorn,” Ilya said and narrowed her eyes. Wow, there it is again with the name dropping.
The patrol leader paled and looked behind himself. The patrol members looked away and lowered their gazes to the ground. The leader pursed his lips before facing Ilya. “I see, Lady Pentorn,” he said. “May I ask what the situation is?”
Ilya pointed at the demon I dismembered. “That man worked as a cleaner for the VIP room of the lodgings I was staying at,” she said and snorted. “He stole the contents of four of my interspacial rings and had the audacity to sell it off to this merchant over here. If it weren’t for my bodyguard, he would’ve gotten away with it. Can the Arcane Arts Academy shoulder the responsibility of having my goods stolen?”
I became a bodyguard? To be fair, it is in my best interest to keep Ilya alive. I guess I am her bodyguard. …I demand a wage!
The patrol leader cleared his throat. “No, ma’am,” he said. He glanced at the merchant. “What are you waiting for? Give her back her goods.”
The merchant bit his lower lip and glanced between Ilya and the patrol leader. “I, I paid for these,” he said. “You can’t do this.”
The patrol leader’s face turned red. “Who’s your backer?” he asked in a low voice.
“I’m an independent merchant,” the merchant said. “The merchants’ union is my backer.”
“Let me see your I.D.,” the patrol leader said, holding out his palm.
“I have to show you my I.D., but she doesn’t?” the merchant asked, pointing at Ilya. “How can you believe she is who she says she is?”
The patrol leader’s brow furrowed, and his gaze shifted onto Ilya. She placed her hands on her hips in return and snorted before asking, “Can you afford to offend the duke?”
How domineering! I want to be able to do that too! Life isn’t fair. But I already knew that, didn’t I? Power is everything, which is why I have to get stronger! Wait, I thought I was getting stronger for Durandal to wake up faster. And to become a legend. …Welp, three birds with one stone; becoming stronger will solve every single one of my problems.
The patrol leader turned his head back towards the merchant. “I.D.” he said, his voice practically a growl. The amulet around his neck glowed bright orange, and I saw tendrils of green in the air flowing towards the man. How am I supposed to see mana without the Path of Slaughter if my theory is right and I have to incorporate the path without actually using it? I turned the path off, but I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
Wait, I can project my qi outwards. I could do that for a while now, but I forgot about it because of the path. How did it work again? I willed my qi out of my body, letting it expand outwards like a hemisphere. When it touched the man’s amulet, I felt a faint sensation like a single hair brushing along my arm. I tried to focus on it, but the amulet stopped glowing when I was getting close. The merchant had handed over his I.D. to the patrol leader.
The merchant’s eyes widened as a tearing sound rang through the air. The patrol leader threw the two halves of the I.D. over his shoulders without even looking at it. “You’re no longer welcome here,” the patrol leader said. “Return Lady Pentorn’s items or drastic measures will be taken.”
“T-this is illegal,” the merchant said and fell to his knees.
“In these parts of the mountains, the Arcane Arts Academy is the law,” the patrol leader said and took a step forward. “Your union didn’t tell you about this when you came here?” The leader looked around at the merchants and students who were watching the spectacle. His voice echoed over the area. “Are all the merchants this uninformed?”
One merchant called out, “No. We all know the rules.”
The merchant on the ground laughed. “You want your goods back?” he asked and stared at Ilya with wide eyes. “Then take them!”
A mountain of beast corpses appeared in the center of the market. The pile was easily five times my height even though there were only nine beasts. Divine beasts are big, okay? Ilya’s face paled as she pulled out her rings and stored the corpses as fast as she could, but everyone was staring at her when she was done.
The patrol leader opened and closed his mouth a few times. “W-were those all divine beast corpses?” he asked in a low voice.
Ilya took in a deep breath and placed her trembling hands on her hips. She cocked her head to the side. “Birds risk their lives for food. Do you know what people risk their lives for?”
“Treasure,” the patrol leader said, his face returning to a neutral expression. He bowed. “I asked something I shouldn’t have. I apologize.”
Ilya nodded and came to my side. She whispered to me, “We should take the teleportation array to the academy grounds back in the capital. If we return to the wilderness, we’ll be attacked.”
“Can I sell my penises first?”
“There’ll be a better market for them in the capital,” Ilya said and tugged on my sleeve. “Please, Lucia.”
Well, I guess that’s fine. I still have 24 divine beast cores in reserve for when I finally finish absorbing this manticore’s. A break from killing divine beasts would be nice. And if we go to Ilya’s mansion, I’ll definitely get better treatment than I was in the VIP room, right? A warrior needs a calm and relaxed mind to breakthrough! Slacking will make me stronger! This is training.