“Hey, Durandal, use your strange sorcery of reading beastkin like open books and figure out if she’s really Snow or not.”
I’m afraid my powers of reading beastkin only works on Lucia. But just by inspecting this woman’s aura, she’s nothing like Snow, and there’s no signs of Bouncykins coming into contact with her. Weapon spirits are pretty sensitive to each other’s auras. In fact, I can sense at least thirteen other weapon spirits in the nearby vicinity, not including Pup—Gae. “She’s not Snow, Lucia. You should probably let go of her ears before they break.”
“That’s right,” Lucia said and released the poor bunnykin’s ears. “Don’t even think about turning into Snow or I’ll kill you.”
That’s an unreasonable request. Is it just me, or has Lucia become a lot more unbridled after becoming a divine warrior? I suspect it has something to do with the strange path she took. Unrelenting Path of Slaughter…, I don’t even have to wonder what she did with a name like that. Slaughter implies she won her fights effortlessly. Winning fight after fight after fight must’ve boosted her confidence to extreme levels bordering on arrogance.
“I, I understand!” the bunnykin said. “I won’t even think of changing my gender!”
“Good,” Lucia said and nodded twice, sticking her chest out. “Now get out of my face. You’re making me feel inferior.”
The poor bunnykin scampered away while Ilya and Mirta approached us. “That wasn’t Snow?” Ilya asked. “Are you sure he didn’t just use a gender transformation spell?”
Lucia stiffened. “Does that exist?” she ran after the poor bunnykin and tackled her to the ground, grabbing her by the ears and dragging her back to us.
“You didn’t let me answer,” Ilya said and sighed. “There’s no such thing as a gender transformation spell.” She looked at the crying bunnykin. “And she doesn’t have any traces of magic on her. I thought you were sensitive to mana.”
“Oh,” Lucia said and released her unfortunate prey. “You can go.”
“For real this time?” the sniffling bunnykin asked. “Or are you going to tackle me again?”
“If I said you can go, then you can go!” Lucia shook her fist at the woman, causing her ears to stiffen. No matter how I see it, she looks exactly like Cottontail. Could she be related? But before I could ask, she ran away.
“Hey, Lucia. Just because she isn’t Snow, that doesn’t mean she’s not related to him in some way, shape, or form. You should probably—”
Lucia disappeared before I could finish my sentence. An ear-piercing scream filled the air, and the crowd parted as Lucia dragged back the sobbing bunnykin. “This is abuse! Guards! Guards! Somebody help me!”
“Whew, she almost got away.” Lucia wiped her brow with the back of her arm and deposited the limp woman by her feet. “It’s a good thing I caught her in time.”
The bunnykin sniffled. “W-why are you doing this to me?”
“So you might not be Snow, but how are you related to him?” Lucia asked and placed her hands on her hips. “And don’t say you’re not. Bunnies can have up to a dozen babies per litter! I bet you’re related to him in some way, shape, or form.”
“At the very least, you’re related to Cottontail Flopsy, correct?”
“C-Cottontail’s my grandmother,” the bunnykin said. “I’m Reena Flopsy.”
“Then you’re Snow’s sister, cousin?” Lucia asked, tilting her head to the side.
“N-no,” Reena said, shaking her head. “I might be his half-cousin? I don’t know the right term, but my grandfathers are completely different from Snow’s.”
Well, that’s new. Cottontail had more than just Roland as her lover? It’s a good thing Roland’s dead or there’d be a massive shitstorm. But, wow, I never thought Roland would be cuckolded. That’s…, wow. Should I be angry at Cottontail? But she’s already dead…. Ah, forget it. The heavens will handle it. But still, wow. Why would she…?
“What!?” Lucia shouted with bulging eyes. It looks like she figured it out. “You—”
“Not so loud, please!” Reena said and covered Lucia’s mouth with her hands. She flinched and drew back after realizing what she had done. “I, I didn’t mean to do that. I was nervous.”
“Then are you working together with Snow?” Lucia asked, tilting her head.
She’s not going to tell you even if she was, you know?
Reena shook her head. “I’m not! I swear.”
“I can’t trust you,” Lucia said. “You look too much like Snow.”
“The gates are opening!” someone shouted. It seemed like the Godking’s Brawl was about to start. Lucia said she’d let me and Puppers fight by ourselves during this competition. I’d like to see how I compare to the talent of this generation. …This is not the old bullying the young. It’s, hmm, teaching? Yes, it’s teaching. As a member of the older generation, I have to teach these punching bags—err, star pupils how to fight properly.
“A-are you going to let me go?” Reena asked, tears in her eyes.
“Nope! You’re coming with us,” Lucia said and looped her arm around Reena’s waist. “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. You’re sticking to me like a third arm. Let’s go, Ilya Number One and Two. We have a legendary beast core to claim!”
“There’s only one beast core for first place,” Ilya said.
“I have a legendary beast core to claim!” Lucia said. “You two can, uh, struggle for second and third, I guess.”
Ilya sighed and shook her head before entering the coliseum. She might be an annoying brat, but she’s sensible. I’m glad Lucia met someone like her while I was asleep. Who knows how much more differently Lucia would’ve turned out if she hadn’t? Lucia told me a little about her experience while I was asleep, but I have a feeling she omitted a lot of details. Puppers told me she was indistinguishable from a wild beast when he first met her. I was afraid Lucia would never be able to trust someone again after Snow’s betrayal, but I’m glad my fears didn’t come true.