Phoenixes are magical creatures. No matter how high I turn up the heat on the grill, the phoenix simply doesn’t cook! Mm. Oh wells. I’ve cut it apart a few times, but it always turned into a pile of ash and reformed. So now I have a very upset phoenix and a pile of raw phoenix wings that can’t be cooked. There goes my dream of eating a phoenix. I don’t eat raw food; I’m not a savage! During my attempts to cook the phoenix, Ilya kept saying something about a Rainbow Phoenix Sect. I thought phoenixes could only be red. Are there green and yellow phoenixes too?
Anyways, now that Durandal’s in his spirit seed form, I don’t have to work hard anymore! I can finally slack off and rest. After all, I don’t have a sword to perform Madness Strikes with anymore. Mhm. This is justified laziness. And since the Impenetrable Shell needs a sparring partner to train and my usual sparring partner turned into a red bead, I don’t have to train this one either! As for the Footsteps of the Giant, well, that’s fun to use since it lets me walk on walls and ceilings, so I’m always using it. I’ve really been thinking about wearing pants instead of this robe since my clothes are still affected by gravity if I want to romp around upside down. But it’s great to finally relax after this hellish year of training! The only downside is Durandal doesn’t have a penis in his current state. Oh! And I’m an earth-realm expert now! I’ve learned how to teleport! All I have to do is focus really hard on the place I want to go and … poof! I’m behind Ilya now!
Ilya sighed and shook her head. “The last thing Lucia needed was the ability to teleport. She’s hyperactive enough as is. Now, if she’s bored, she’ll blink away somewhere and ruin something. She ruins everything she touches. How am I supposed to keep an eye on her now? This is a nightmare.”
Softie made a strange expression, and Ilya stiffened before sighing. “She’s behind me, isn’t she?”
Softie’s head bobbed up and down.
Ilya screamed when I grabbed her and ground my knuckles against her head. “Who’s a disaster, huh? Who ruins everything she touches, huh? Say that to my face.” For an encyclopedia, she’s gotten awfully brave over this past year! It’s because she reached the saint-realm by breaking through to the tenth circle, isn’t it? I have to teach her not to be arrogant since her dad’s not around to watch over her. She needs a responsible adult—say, a cute squirrelkin girl like me—to keep her from straying on the wrong path.
Speaking of the wrong path…, it’s quite unfortunate about the Red Phoenix Sect. If they helped Durandal pass his tribulation properly, I’m sure they would’ve all survived. But since they tried to kill—wait, no. Since they actually killed Durandal by interrupting him at a crucial moment, they were struck by divine punishment and wiped off the face of the Immortal Continent. Right. It was divine punishment caused by the heavens and not an individual. As the only witness, my words are law. Anyone who disagrees with me weren’t actually there, so they’re wrong since I’m the only one who witnessed what happened. …And this phoenix, but phoenixes can’t talk. Maybe they can talk to other phoenixes, but the other phoenix died while helping me pass my tribulation so that doesn’t matter.
“Mm. Anyways”—I released Ilya—“how do I get to Kang Country? That’s where you said I could obtain a sky-realm-ranked sword, right?”
Softie nodded. “I said Kang Country’s imperial capital. We’re in Kang Country right now. King Province and Kong County are a small part of it.” Softie’s brow furrowed. “I’m sure I told you this before when Ilya asked.”
“Even if you did tell me, you’d have to tell me at least ten times for me to remember something as boring as that.” Mhm. I only remember important things! Like how to cook stuff and miscellaneous things about Durandal like his favorite color. It’s blue, by the way. What was I doing? Right! “Okay, so how do I get to the imperial capital? I’m rich, right? I can just waltz in and buy a sword there, yeah?”
“You’re rich…?” Softie tilted her head. “Oh! It’s because you stripped all the resources from Kong County. But that’s not enough to purchase a sky-realm-ranked sword.”
What!? “A whole county worth’s of stuff can’t buy me a sword? Then how do I get one?” Durandal’s set me on an impossible task! I should just stuff him into a normal sword. Right, even if he swore to never have sex with me if I did, it’s better than never seeing him again because sky-realm-ranked swords are impossible to obtain. Besides, it’s not like he can uphold that promise. All I have to do is shackle him with a spirit-restraining rope and tie him to a bed. Right. It’s settled then. I’m sticking Durandal into the first sword I find.
“W-well, a smith who can create a sky-realm-ranked sword is obviously overflowing with riches; there’s no need for them to worry about money.” Softie grabbed my sleeve, her face bright red. What was up with her? Did she think I was going to run away? “The only way to convince them to forge you a weapon is as a favor. For normal people like us, that means we have to appeal to the people who are capable of receiving the smith’s favor.”
“…Appeal to people? Like prostitute ourselves?” I’m not doing that!
“N-no!” Softie’s hair whipped my face as she rapidly shook her head. “Not like that! The imperial family of Kang Country can give you a sky-realm-ranked sword if you establish good connections with them.”
“Is that the one that Lucia killed a prince of?” Ilya asked. I killed a prince? “He was the thirty-somethingieth archer at the cultural exchange.”
“No, that’s a different one.” Softie pursed her lips. “They’re the imperial family of King Province. The imperial family of Kang Country rules over them, and they aren’t related by blood.”
“Okay.” My head’s starting to hurt. “Tell me the easiest way to get a sky-realm-ranked sword, but make sure you explain it in such a way that a five-year-old can understand.” Right. Thinking too far ahead isn’t my strong suit. I just want to know what I have to do! I don’t care about any family or dead princes or any of that stuff. And if there’s no satisfactory answer, then Durandal’s going into a normal sword. Mm.
“Um. Win the King Province Exchange that’s coming up soon. Then volunteer for the imperial army. Accomplish their tasks and gather merits until the imperial family acknowledges you.” Softie ticked the three things off with her fingers. “That’s it.”
Now that seems simple enough. But I’m the successor of the Godking! There’s paths available for me that normal people can’t take! “Isn’t there an easier way, say, like kidnapping the smith’s son or daughter and exchanging them for a sky-realm-ranked sword?”
“Um. Yes, I suppose that could work, but then every expert who wants a sword from the smith will hunt you down in exchange for the smith’s favor.”
Hmm. That’s a bit problematic. Wait! If I can get the smith’s favor by rescuing his child, then doesn’t that mean…? “So you’re saying I should pay someone to kidnap his child and become the hero who earns the smith’s favor?”
“That’s not what I said at all!”
“Mm. Alright. I like this plan better!” Right. Now all I have to do is find someone willing to and capable of kidnapping a famous weapon smith’s child! Where am I going to find someone like that? Hmm. I lowered my head to think … and made eye contact with the grumpy phoenix. Perfect!
“W-wait!” Softie said. “At least participate in the King Province Exchange first in case your plan goes awry, which it will!”
Hah. When have any of my plans ever gone awry? I’m a strategic genius! …But I’ll do that exchange as a just in case. Strategic geniuses always have backup plans.