This year’s been a productive one. I’ve learned a lot about the Immortal Continent while accompanying Lucia on her reign of terror. It’s a pretty nice place. Occasionally, people have a hard time pronouncing my name even though it’s only two syllables, but other than that, I can’t really complain about how I’ve been treated. I’m not discriminated against for having purple skin, and I’m pretty sure people are extra aware about their manners around me because I’m Lucia’s companion. Being the disciple of the sect leader’s wife helps too, I’m sure.
Over the course of the year, I’ve been heavily studying alchemy. It’s interesting and not too different from the alchemy I’ve seen back at home, but that’s only referring to the fundamentals. The alchemy here is much more developed; there’s thousands upon thousands of more formulas and raw materials and effects that pills can produce. But at the same time, the alchemists here aren’t as innovative. They’re still using cauldrons that they have to control the heat of manually. I’ve developed a grill that can be set to—and maintain—any temperature up to a thousand degrees that’ll evenly cook whatever is placed on top of it. Lucia already has one of these. With this magic tool, the obvious thought comes next: why not use it for alchemy? With this, anyone can become an alchemist even if they can’t control fire.
Other than my progress in alchemy, I’ve also crossed over the third wall to the tenth circle. Mana is massively abundant in the Immortal Continent. Maybe it’s because no one uses it; I don’t know. I’ve also washed out my impurities in one of those impurity-cleansing pools that the lesser sects had, and my speed at accumulating mana greatly increased. I tried to convince Lucia to wash herself too, but she says she doesn’t want to bathe in fish pee. I’m not sure how fish pee is related to cleansing impurities, but I’ve already become numb to Lucia’s nonsensical replies. The tribulation that I had to go through when I became a tenth-circle magician wasn’t a very difficult one. My fellow disciples helped me in exchange for pills. I’ve become something of a drug dealer; I’m not too proud of that, but a girl’s got to make a living somehow, eh? The Shadow Devil Sect members hand me raw materials, and I convert them into pills for spirit stones; it’s a lucrative business.
Speaking of tribulations…, there’s a massive one going on right now: Lucia’s. It’s … going well, I assume. At least, it hasn’t ended which means Lucia didn’t die. For the past three hours now, it’s been going on and on and on. There’s been hundreds of boats flooding into the area, all of them belonging to the five fingers of Kong County. I suppose the birth of an earth-realm expert isn’t a very common thing, and the tribulation clouds span an extremely long distance. The sects must be coming out to scout and seek an opportunity to ingratiate themselves with the new earth-realm expert. It’s weird to think Lucia’s already at the top of the food chain of Kong County when she’s only been here a year and everyone else that’s as strong as her has been cultivating for at least a hundred years or so. She’s just that naturally gifted. It’s really not fair. But she had a rough past, so I suppose it evens out. …A little.
As for my plan to use the Red Phoenix Sect to surpass her tribulation, I’d say it’s going pretty well. Although I can’t see the whole sect from my vantage point on the boat, as far as my vision extends, it’s pure destruction. The buildings are burnt to the ground. There’s charred corpses everywhere. Charcoal and ashes are fluttering about. The lightning’s continuously pouring down like rain, and the remains of whatever’s left of the surface is slowly eroding away under the pressure. Did Lucia dig underground perhaps? There’s massive craters everywhere, and the lightning seems to be traveling further into the sect. But sadly, I can see it striking down, but I can’t see the ground it’s hitting. According to Softie, we’re not allowed to intrude in another sect’s airspace—like we’ve been doing for the past year. It was okay to do it to the lesser sects, but the Red Phoenix Sect has earth-realm experts to stop us. I really want to see what’s going on though, but I guess I’ll wait. I don’t believe Lucia will die—wicked people live forever.
“Sister Ilya, are you worried?” Softie asked. She was standing next to me on the bow of the boat. I’ve started calling her Softie after hearing how Lucia and Durandal called her; though, I should be calling her Chosen Moonlight or Elder Sister Moonlight. Titles and etiquette weren’t too difficult to learn, but it’s a little awkward calling middle-aged men junior brothers, so I tend to avoid talking to them.
“Lucia’s the last person I’d be worried about.”
Softie pursed her lips and stared beyond the horizon. “I can’t help but feel nervous. What if she becomes seriously injured? Or what if she doesn’t make it? She’s in enemy territory all by herself….”
“She has Durandal and Puppers, remember?”
“Puppers died instantly before Lucia even entered the sect.”
That’s true. Who knew there’d be a vaporizing formation? Well, it makes sense. It’d be impractical to build a wall around the whole territory seeing as it’s constantly expanding—not to mention the cost of materials and labor. But Durandal’s still there with Lucia. Though he’s weaker than her, so I guess that doesn’t matter. Speaking of which, I wonder if he’ll undergo a tribulation as well when he reaches the earth realm. Wouldn’t it be horrible for the Red Phoenix Sect if right after Lucia’s tribulation, Durandal’s occurred? But the chances of that happening are close to nil. And I don’t wish that kind of misfortune on anyone. “Well, either way, I believe in her.”
Softie sighed. She lowered her head and clutched her necklace. Which was made out of a focus bone that Lucia gave her. For some reason, I have the sneaking suspicion Softie’s feelings for Lucia are beyond a normal friendship. There’s these little things that Softie does for Lucia: wipes off her sweat during training, offers to feed her during mealtime, offers a lap for her to rest on. …Yeah. They even meditate together at night after Lucia and Durandal conclude their nighttime activity. It’s a bit weird, and I feel like I’ve lost my place next to Lucia’s side. But I really don’t mind. I’m free from Lucia’s nonsensical whims and I get to use her reputation? That’s a great deal.
“Say, Softie, how long do earth-realm tribulations normally last?”
“Lucia’s should end soon. The final lightning is building up, see?” Softie pointed up at the black cloud. The lightning that was purple was now red, and a giant vortex was forming. It looked a little like an eye. “If she survives, then our sect will be the strongest in Kong County. Maybe we’ll even win the upcoming King Province Exchange.”
These people in the Immortal Continent sure have a thing for exchanges, huh?