“During this sect’s subjugation, you’re only allowed to use your tail to attack.”
Lucia froze mid-bite. “Say what?”
Lucia has so much potential, but she doesn’t draw it out. I suppose that’s a fault with the environment she’s staying in—it’s too weak to encourage her growth. That’s why I’m imposing some limits on her while she goes about placating the sects. And the first thing that she should work on is using her tail. She only ever thinks to use her tail when she’s in a situation where she can’t use her hands and feet. To get her to use her tail in a fight more often, I’ll threaten her by refusing her nighttime wishes if she uses anything other than her tail to attack the sect waiting below us. And since sects have upwards of a million people in them, I think Lucia will get the hang of using her tail really quickly after smacking around that many victims, err, target dummies. “While you subdue this sect, you’re only allowed to hit people with your tail. If you don’t listen, the usually punishment applies.”
“That’s not fair!”
“Um, Durandal.” Softie didn’t seem like she was intending on stopping the boat. “We’re just passing over this sect. They’re subordinates of the Azure Dragon Sect, our allies.”
What? I’ve already established a plan, and I’m not going to let some feelings between sects change that. Once a man decides on doing something, they should accomplish their goal! Disregard the fact I’m a weapon spirit. “Nonsense! Allies support each other in times of need, and Lucia needs to hone her techniques! This will simply be a friendly exchange where she might happen to plant heart devils in her friendly opponents.”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Lucia put down the drumstick she was holding. “We should leave allies alone. Mhm. It’s not because I’m lazy and don’t want to fight or anything like that. I’m a principled person! I won’t beat up my allies.”
If that’s the case…, I guess it can’t be helped.
“D-Durandal…?” Why was Lucia inching away from me, hmm? “W-what are you planning?”
Why is Lucia so suspicious of my intentions? I’ll look away to lower her guard and ask Softie a question. “Hey, Softie. What’s the name of the sect we’re flying over?”
“…The Raging Wind Sect.”
Darn. It’s not a sect founded by an animal. “I suppose they don’t have any guardian beast that I can insult to trigger a skirmish?”
Softie gave me a strange look. She’s not as easy to read as Lucia—it’s hard to tell what she’s thinking. “…No. The Little Clam Sect was named after the clam that founded it, but the Raging Wind Sect is named after their signature technique.”
Alright. It looks like I’ll have to trigger this the old-fashioned way. I’ll borrow Lucia’s and Softie’s reputations and attack the sect. Am I evil for doing this? The only thing that’s evil is not pursuing one’s potential to their fullest! This is all for the sake of Lucia’s growth. I’m willing to become hated if it means Lucia will become stronger; this is what it means to be a weapon spirit. I walked over to Lucia and hugged her from behind while resting my cheek against the side of her head to distract her. I used my gentlest voice to whisper into her ear, “Lucia….”
I could feel her body rapidly heating up in my embrace. Before she gets too excited, I should hurry up and accomplish my goal. I whispered, “Don’t forget to get me exquisite swords while you’re down there,” and then I threw her off the side of the flying boat.
While Lucia was screaming, I stood atop the railing and fired a few Breaking Blades at the Raging Wind Sect before shouting, “Follow Chosen Lucia! Attack the alliance breakers!” And that’s all it took to convince the Shadow Devil Sect members. They leapt off of their boats and flew after Lucia on flying swords. For some reason, Softie stayed behind.
“T-that’s the second time you’ve done that….”
“Done what?” What is she accusing me of? All I did was ignite the morale of our troops.
Softie bit her lower lip. “Started a massacre using Lucia’s name.” Tears formed in her eyes. Why was she crying? “Y-you can’t keep using her like that…. It’s, it’s wrong.”
“Huh?” Lucia really picked a good name for Softie. She cries so easily. It’s wrong to force Lucia to grow? Impossible. Ah, maybe she’s crying over the injuries people will suffer if a fight breaks out. But getting hurt is a natural part of life.
“I-it’s wrong to treat Lucia like you do. Haven’t you seen her scars? She…, she deserves to be treated better!”
…What was with this girl? “I’m not mistreating her. Lucia’s a lot stronger than you think—she’s just lazy. All I’m doing is giving her the push she needs.”
Well, it seems like Lucia reached the ground since screams started rising up. Surprisingly, after eating a ton of exquisite swords, I can stay further away from my weapon body without instantly being transported back inside of it. The boat’s at least fifty feet above the sect and I’m still materialized up here, but I’m bound to be taken away as Lucia travels deeper in. Along with being able to stay further away from my weapon body, I found out something else that changed. I can’t absorb as much of Lucia’s qi that I used to be able to. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m incompatible with the qi she’s getting from the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique or if it’s something else, but there’s no doubt that I’m receiving less than usual. At least I have the swords to eat to keep up with Lucia’s monstrous growth, and I can gather my own qi by circulating the Silver Sword Sect’s cultivation technique that Lucia obtained for me at the cultural exchange. It’s great that I can cultivate on my own, yet it makes me feel a little lost, like I’m slowly slipping away from Lucia.
“What…,” Softie said and raised her head. “What is Lucia to you?”
What is Lucia to me? I’m not sure of the question. “What do you mean?”
“Is she your student? Your owner? Your friend? Your … lover?” Softie took in a deep breath and glared at me with teary eyes. “What is she to you?”
Hmm? Why was Softie so interested in the relationship between me and Lucia? Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give her an answer. “Lucia’s my sole reason for living. I want to see her reach the very top, the very peak of existence, whether that be an immortal or a god. I want everyone to know the name Lucia Fluffytail, and I want her legacy to live on forever. I made her a promise.”
Softie exhaled. “So … you’re not her lover?”
“…Why are you so fixated on that?”
“N-no reason!” Softie’s face flushed an extremely bright shade of red as she shook her head. “I, I was just—”
The world turned black before I could hear her answer. It looks like Lucia went too far away and I was transported back into mini-DalDal. But for Softie to be so concerned about Lucia’s lover and that over-the-top reaction…. There’s no way, right?