Phew. I can’t move. I ate too much. A whole 200 aurochsen disappeared into my stomach. I’m not a glutton! I just have no idea when I’ll be able to eat again; that’s why I ate until I was about to explode. Right now, if I eat even a single grain of salt, my stomach will rupture. That’s how bloated I am. There’s no way Durandal will force me to do anymore Madness Strikes in this condition! My plan is foolproof!
“Alright, since you’re done, it’s time to resume training.”
…My plan is foolproof.
“Lucia. Closing your eyes and pretending to be asleep isn’t going to work.”
Foolproof…. I’m going to cry. Gah! Don’t move me! I’m extremely fragile right now! “Wait! Wait! I’m awake.”
“I had a feeling you’d do something like this.” Durandal patted my head and smiled at me. …That’s his scary smile. I didn’t do anything wrong! It was his fault for threatening to take away my food in the first place! “But don’t worry. Even if you can’t perform Madness Strikes, wasn’t there another technique you picked up?”
Hmm. There was Madness Strike, Impenetrable Shell, Footsteps of the Giant, and Immortal Poison Body. I clearly can’t practice Madness Strike in my current state. If I mess up Impenetrable Shell and get hit, I’ll likely vomit everything out, so I don’t think Durandal will make me train this one. Footsteps of the Giant requires me to stand, so that’s already ruled out. Then the only thing left is….
“It looks like you figured it out.” Durandal’s smile turned even more sinister! “The Immortal Poison Body.”
Wait. How was I supposed to level up Immortal Poison Body? If I recall correctly…, I have to be exposed to—is that a snake!? Ah! It bit me! It went straight through my Armor of Slaughter and it bit me! What the f***!? “Durandal!? Where did get that snake!? Wait, no! Why did you let it bite me!?” My arm hurts! It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!
“Calm down and channel the Immortal Poison Body.”
“You have to warn me first!” Gah! Immortal Poison Body, do your stuff! Pain, pain, go away. Please. I can’t feel my arm. I’m not sure if that’s because the Immortal Poison Body technique is circulating or if it’s because the snake venom killed my nerves. But most importantly…. “Why are you still letting it bite me!?” If I weren’t so bloated, I’d get off my ass and kill it! But, but I can’t! And all my qi is focusing on circulating this technique. “Softie! Save me!”
“Um, D-Durandal. Is, is this a good idea?” Stop being so soft, damn Softie! Kill the goddamn snake! Why are you asking Durandal questions when immediate action needs to be taken!? If I could open my mouth to yell at her, I would, but I just found out my throat is swollen and I can’t speak. I’m going to die. I’m sincerely going to die. At least I had a decent last meal. I can die without regrets. Mm. …F***! Who am I kidding!? I’m not going to die a worthless death like this! Channel faster, you stupid Immortal Poison Technique!
“Of course. The Immortal Poison Body clearly said it required the user to be exposed to poisons.” Durandal’s voice was coming from everywhere. It was spinning too. By it, I mean everything. And I’m sure the snake was still biting me, but I just couldn’t feel it anymore.
“But, um, you know poison is ingested, right? A snake’s bite is injecting venom into her, not poisoning her.”
…What. Did I hear that properly? I better not have. The snake’s poison had better be messing with my hearing.
“But the Immortal Poison Body said it covered venoms too.” Durandal leaned over and picked up the snake. Then it disappeared. Where’d it go? Why’s Durandal looking more like a blob and less like a person? I, I think I’m going to faint. Or die. Is there a difference? Isn’t fainting just a miniature death? Mm. By extension, sleep is death too. I die every day. Right. If I close my eyes now, then this’ll just be like … sleeping….
“No, there’s a footnote next to that statement. It only covers venoms if cultivated in conjunction with the Immortal Venom Body. I’m sure Lucia has it in one of the rings she retrieved.”
Was Softie making me drink something? What is this? I’ll vomit if I drink anymore. I really will. There’s absolutely zero space left inside my stomach! I guess it can float around in my esophagus first. That should work. Ah, I’m losing consciousness again.
“Is this it?”
“Are … you unable to read?”
“That’s right. Look through this ring and find the Immortal Venom Body for me.”
Is this heaven? I’m dead, aren’t I? The world’s black. It’s so dark. So, so very dark…. I can’t feel my body. Am I floating? Where am I floating? Ah. I see a green light. It’s so colorful…. I’m going to eat it. But where’s my mouth? Mm. I’ll eat it with my thoughts. Come closer, little green light…!? It hurts! Gah! F***! I was bamboozled! This isn’t heaven; this is hell! Urgh. I’m dying. No. I’m already dead. I’m suffering. I said life was suffering, but death is suffering too. Everything is suffering. I, I don’t want to exist anymore. Ah. The pain’s gone. Did my wish come true? Wait; if it did, then I wouldn’t be able to think right now. Then something else must’ve….
“Well, she stopped groaning in pain, so I think she learned the Immortal Venom Body. Lucia, can you hear me? Channel the Immortal Venom Body if you want to live.”
But living is suffering…. So I shouldn’t channel the Immortal Venom Body? But I don’t want to die either! That’s suffering too. There’s, there’s just no good choice, huh? Mm, but if I die, I’m sure Durandal would be sad. Right…? The person who put me into this perilous situation would definitely feel sad if I died, right!? Gah! I should just die to spite him! But then I won’t be able to eat if I die…. Mm. Alright. I’ll channel the Immortal Venom Body. Ah. I can feel my limbs again. And I can feel pain again. Ow. It hurts. Why am I so sore? Oh, I can see again.
Softie’s face was hovering in front of mine. It was bright red. “How are you feeling, Lucia?”
I have very, very mixed feelings. But right now, all I want to do is hug something soft and take a nap. And there’s a perfect candidate hovering over me. Don’t struggle, Softie! Any sudden movements and I’ll really puke. Ah. She really is soft. How can she feel like this without any fur? I’ll thoroughly inspect her … one … day….