I learned my lesson. Clams taste horrible. They’re so chewy and slimy and gross and exactly what I’d expect something that looked like that to taste like. At least killing the clam planted heart devils in every single one of the people who worshipped the clam. Why would they worship something so weak anyway? It couldn’t even take thirty Madness Strikes before its shell broke apart, and once I got a good hit on the soft and squishy parts, it died instantly. Eh? I’m a murderer now? That’s impossible. Clams aren’t people. You can only murder people. It doesn’t matter if the clam could speak; it simply doesn’t count.
Anyways, I distributed the rest of the clam meat to my underlings—there was a lot of it; everyone got at least two servings—and I kept the beast core to myself! Of course, I instantly absorbed it before Durandal could take it away like the other beast cores I found during that cultural exchange. Surprisingly, it got easier to control the Impenetrable Shell technique after doing so. It’s a shame there was only one clam. If I could master Impenetrable Shell, Durandal wouldn’t have an excuse to hit me anymore! But alas, there was only one. Woe is me. On the bright side, the clam said something about its sky-realm father coming to hunt me down once its death was discovered! I’m looking forward to it. Its beast core will definitely improve my Impenetrable Shell to levels where Durandal can’t pierce it. Mm. Too bad clams can’t walk though. The father clam will probably never be able to find me.
And I didn’t forget to accomplish the task that the sect leader handed me. I completely and utterly robbed the evil sect blind. I didn’t even leave a single tree because I remember what Softie said to me about trees on the Immortal Continent. They’re apparently really good at producing qi, so I had to take them all. They fit perfectly inside of these pouches that can hold living things. Let me repeat that, these interspacial pouches can actually hold living things! That means I can store Ilya and take her with me no matter where I go! But she keeps crawling out after I stuff her inside, so I’ll only store her when it’s necessary. Softie says I didn’t understand the purpose of the task, but I’m the leader here! My interpretations are the correct ones.
So now we’re heading to another sect with Softie driving the flying boat. And Durandal’s forcing me to cultivate because he says I’ve been slacking for far too long. I only spent a day cleaning out the clam-worshipping sect and he claims I’m slacking! This is abuse. Well, at least the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique is fun to do. So many tingles. And it’s really effective! Every few minutes or so that I circulate that technique, the amount of qi that enters me is the same as a dragon’s core. But after cultivating for a couple of hours, there were three popping sounds coming from my stomach that really concerned me. Durandal and Puppers have no idea what they’re about, and Ilya didn’t either, which is why I’m off to find Softie!
And she’s at the steering wheel. She’s such a dedicated underling; I want to keep her. “Softie!”
Softie flinched before locking eyes with me. “L-Lucia? You, you broke through three ranks at once!?”
I did what? Hmm. “Speak in terms I can understand without using my head.”
“You became a low-mid-ranked spirit-realm expert in the two hours that you were gone!” Softie was staring at me with the same kind of look that the acorn-picking servants back at my mansion gave me when I met them. “Wait. It makes sense if you deeply planted heart devils in all the Little Clam Sect disciples…. That’s at least 900,000 heart devils to draw qi from…. Right. It makes sense, but why do I feel like it’s unfair…?”
So, in other words, I’m amazing. Right? That’s what Softie’s trying to tell me? “That’s right. I’m the best!”
Gah!? Durandal pinched my tail! “You say that, but you haven’t practiced any of the practical skills that accompany the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique. Since you’re so amazing, you’ll learn those without any problems, right, Lucia?”
Please. No more learning. Learning makes my head hurt. “I, I have to practice my Madness Strikes. Mm. Right. Busy, busy.”
“Weren’t you telling me how sick of Madness Strikes you were just a few days ago? Let’s take a break from them. Why don’t we start with the easiest technique, the Heart Devil Apparition?”
That’s the most difficult technique! I received the knowledge first, Durandal! You can’t trick me! Normally, I’d protest out loud, but Softie told me I shouldn’t quarrel with people in public to protect my face. And she’s right. If I’m quarreling, then my guard will be down and I might suffer an unexpected arrow to my eye! I was already shot in the heart once when I wasn’t paying attention. That wasn’t very fun. What was I saying? Right. “But look, we’re so close to the next sect. It’d be a waste to have to cut practice short. It’s better to not start it in the first place. Mn. Besides, it’s been two hours since I last ate! I deserve a snack.”
Durandal rubbed my ears. It felt good, but I wasn’t going to be tricked! Stay vigilant, Lucia! “Yeah, you’re right. You should eat first.”
…What the hell? Durandal’s being nice about practicing? What is this!?
“I’m nice all the time.”
Don’t read my mind, please. “Are you okay, Durandal? You’re not feeling sick or anything, right?” Can weapon spirits even get sick? I don’t think that’s possible. Maybe he’s poisoned. But he hasn’t eaten anything but swords, so I don’t think that’s the case.
“Are you going to eat or not?”
“Eat!” I was sincerely concerned about his health! There was no reason for him to glare at me like that, jeez. What food do I have in my ring for second lunch? More aurochsen. Hmm. I’m going to be eating aurochsen for a long while, huh? Oh wells. At least they’re tasty.
“Softie, are all the sects going to be as easy to ruin as the first sect?” Durandal went over to Softie’s side while I prepared my grill. “Aren’t there any sects that’ll provide a challenge for Lucia?”
Softie shook her head. “None on the list we’ve been given, no.”
That’s great! I love easy tasks. Everything should be easier so I can live more comfortably.
Durandal sighed. “Then I guess there’s no choice but to artificially increase the difficulty for her.”