I screwed up. Poor, Lucia. She looks so tired. For her training, I decided to increase her strength with the simplest method available—pure weight training. I manipulated the weight of my weapon body to five hundred pounds and had her carry me as we traveled. Of course, I told her I only weighed four hundred pounds to make her feel better. To make sure she didn’t cheat, I used her qi to power my transformation, making her rely mostly on her body. Some qi was definitely necessary to prevent injuries from occurring.
What I didn’t account for was the fact that she had no idea how to manipulate her qi. Who doesn’t know how to do that? Evidently Lucia. I should’ve asked her, but I thought she knew. Qi exists in every living creature, unlike mana, which is why another name for it is lifeforce. Us weapon spirits can only exist by absorbing our owner’s qi which is why all of my friends disappeared in that miniature dimension. I only survived because I used spirit stones as a substitute.
With qi, carrying my five-hundred-pound body would’ve still been difficult for Lucia, but she would’ve been in a much better state instead of this half-dead one. Seriously. She can’t even move her body without tearing a few muscles. Wouldn’t it be super embarrassing for me if my master died due to overexertion? I really did screw up, but the surprising part was how long she lasted. Roland would’ve collapsed before her when he was her age. I think. I still have no clue how old Lucia is. I tried asking her, but she said something about women and their secrets.
The smell of burning entered my nose. How did these walnuts catch on fire? That doesn’t make any sense. And the pot is melting? That’s never happened before. Then again, I’ve only cooked one meal in my life. Roland never let me cook again after that. How was I supposed to learn without some practice? I’m sure a decent meal would’ve been created after a couple thousand tries.
“Durandal?” Oh. She’s awake.
“I’m right here.”
“Is something burning?”
Does molten metal count as burning? “No.”
Lucia stood up and waddled over to the campfire before collapsing, landing face first in the grass with the blanket still draped around her body. The moon shone down on her head, lighting up her brown hair. “It hurts.”
Sorry. “You shouldn’t be moving around. It’ll take a while for you to recuperate.”
“Eh?” Lucia sat up and tilted her head to the side. “But I’m perfectly fine?”
Huh? “What do you mean?”
“I always feel better after sleeping.” Lucia stared at me with her big, round eyes. Her stomach growled, drowning out the sounds of the campfire. “Ugh. It hurts…. So … hungry.”
The ladle in my hand fell out of my grasp. It passed straight through the bottom of the pot and landed in the fire with some liquid metal sticking to it. Her body recovered already? How is that possible?
I think I startled her again. Oops. “You shouldn’t be able to move. Weren’t you dying just a few hours ago?” I squinted at her before placing my hand on her head. Huh? Her qi is overflowing! “Didn’t you say you couldn’t circulate your lifeforce?” Was she lying to me?
“I don’t know how to do that,” she said with a pout. “But more importantly, the food’s inedible! How did you melt a pot with water in it!?”
Her priorities are definitely skewed. “Forget about the food for a second. Do you know that your qi is already replenished?”
“You haven’t even told me what my qi does. How am I supposed to know if it’s replenished or not? …Is this a burnt walnut? You know you don’t have to cook these, right…?”
Alright, I can’t cook! Sue me. Let’s pretend this fiasco never happened.
“Don’t destroy everything!” Lucia yelled and stopped me from getting rid of the evidence. She sighed and picked up a slightly burnt tomato that I seasoned. “At least one thing is fine.” She bit into it, and her face immediately turned red. “Hot sauce!? Why!?”
“It’s good for your circulation.”
Lucia threw the tomato into the fire. “I can’t believe I trusted you. I never thought a weapon spirit would try to kill its own master.”
Hey, hey. My cooking isn’t that bad. Forget it. Let’s change the topic. “Lucia.”
“Mm?” She was rummaging through her bag, taking out new cooking utensils.
“Do you know how to incorporate your qi into your attacks? Have there ever been times where your strike did a lot more damage than you thought it would?”
“Maybe a few times when I was angry.”
Hmm. Wasn’t there a test that Roland did that related to his qi? There were a few books on it too. “Have you done the water test?”
“Are you asking me if I can swim? Because the answer is no.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I took a cup out of her bag and filled it with water. “Hold out your hand, palm up.”
When did she become so suspicious of me? I’m a completely trustworthy person. “I want to see what category of qi manipulation you belong to.” Maybe I should release some killing intent. There we go. I placed the cup on her stiff palm. “Now close your eyes. Imagine there’s a ball of water below your belly button. Do you see it?”
“Now try to imagine a strand of water rising up to your chest, then to your right shoulder, then down to your palm and into the bottom of the cup.”
Lucia’s brow furrowed as she bit her lower lip. I peered at the surface of the cup. When qi entered water like this, there were a few things that could happen. The water level could rise or lower. The cup could expand or contract. For Lucia, the cup exploded, splashing water onto both of us.
“Huh?” Lucia asked and opened her eyes. “What was that? How come I never blew something up like this before?” Her eyes stared at me with accusation.
“I didn’t break the cup. That was your qi.”
Lucia blinked. “I’m special?”
In more ways than one. Ah, I should stop thinking mean things about her. “Not really? Most people can do this, no?”
Lucia shook her head. “I’ve never heard about this before. Maybe it was more widely accepted eighty years ago?”
That’s possible. I guess there are times when she’s intelligent. I placed my hand in her hair and scratched her ears.