Ilya’s a genius! Through some sorcery and black magic, she created chocolate that can recover my qi! Anyways, right now, I’m following this princess who’s supposed to be leading us to the exchange. It was delayed by a couple of hours because the wall went missing because of a certain someone, but those hours passed really quickly for some reason. I was trying so hard to open that stupid ring that I lost track of time. This giant bone of focus is amazing!
“Oh? If it isn’t the Sniveling Devil Sect. Here to embarrass yourselves again?”
Hmm? From a different passageway, a group of people dressed in golden robes were following behind a prince. I learned to recognize princes and princesses by their crests! It’s a useful skill to learn, you know, just in case an emperor feels like masquerading as a sixteen-year-old again. Thank the Godking that the crests are pictures of bows and arrows instead of writing. The Immortal Continent apparently uses a different written language than back at home. I had enough trouble trying to learn one! I’ve accepted my fate as an illiterate. It’s a good thing my encyclopedias can read. Ah? If I focused really hard on trying to learn the language, then I’d learn it in no time? Of course! I could definitely do it if I tried, but I’m a very busy person with too little time. Mhm. I’m not making excuses!
“That’s the Righteous Buddha Sect,” Softie whispered to me and grabbed my hand. Why did she have to grab my hand? Did she think I was going to hurt them? I don’t need my hands to do that. Well, Softie’s hand is soft and warm, so I’ll let her do what she wants. I haven’t held anyone’s hand in a while since Durandal unbirthed himself…. “They don’t like us, and we don’t like them. We get stronger by planting heart devils in people, but they get stronger by cleansing people’s hearts.”
The sect leader snorted and glared at the bald and fat golden-robed person. “This year, we will grind you beneath our feet and pay you back for the last exchange.”
“Oh? I will look forward to it. I can’t wait to see the look on your face when your sect is ranked last again.” The bald and fat man gave the sect leader a gentle smile before he turned his head towards me. His eyes were narrowed and arched into tiny crescents. He also didn’t have any eyebrows. I wonder if the friction between the Shadow Devil Sect and their sect was caused by this man being jealous of the sect leader’s caterpillar-like eyebrows. Nah. It can’t be. “Is this Heart Devil Lucia?”
Ah? “You know me?”
“Yes. Your exploits have become quite widespread.” The bald and fat man nudged the other bald and fat man behind him. They look exactly the same! “This is my grandson. He’s a mid-low-ranked earth-realm expert participating in the disciple portion of the exchange. He’s only ninety-eight years old.” The fat grandson smiled at me.
“Holy crap!” Ninety-eight! How large is that? Hmm. That’s nine tens and an eight. So…, two less than ten tens…. That’s two less than a hundred! The fat grandson’s smile was even wider than before. “You’re ancient!”
The grandson’s smile stiffened.
“Don’t smile at me like that! I know I’m beautiful and infatuating, but I’m young enough to be your great-great-granddaughter!” His smile suddenly turned a lot creepier once I figured out how old he was. Ugh. Even my tail has goosebumps. Seriously, everyone needs to stop with their age-disguising trickery. Hmm. Now that I think about it. “Hey, Softie. How old are you?”
“Mn? I’m nineteen.”
Phew. She’s normal.
“Too bad you act like you’re twelve,” Ilya muttered.
Hmm? Did something happen between the two of them?
“Ahem! I’ll crush you during the exchange, Heart Devil Lucia.” The fat grandson glared at me before turning away. Then their group left first. It seemed like the princess that we were following knew not to walk alongside them.
“You have to watch out for him,” the sect leader said to me and patted my shoulder. Why? I subdued Quick Shot! A measly earth-realm expert is nothing in my eyes! “The Righteous Buddha Sect’s techniques are direct counters to ours. They’ll destroy the heart devil worms that you’ve cultivated, causing you to directly drop in strength.”
Eh…. Heart devil worms are a supplement for me. My real strength comes from my Breaking Blades mixed with Madness Strikes! It’s a super-duper strong ultimate technique that I’ve named Breaking Madness Blade Strikes! Oh, I’ve also learned the Heart Devil Apparition which was supposed to be the strongest attacking skill of the Heart Devil Cultivation Technique, but I don’t use it much since it summons something to beat up my enemies for me. There’s just something satisfying about cracking open someone’s skull with your own sword, you know? It’s like opening an acorn! It tastes better when you break the shell yourself. Mn. Of course, I don’t eat the contents inside the skull. It was just an analogy! Ah. That reminds me. I still don’t have another sword that can manipulate its weight like mini-DalDal could. Well, I still have my fists.
“Anyways. What exactly is the exchange?” Crushing people and grinding them beneath our feet. It sounds like we’re making blood wine. It can’t be a wine-making competition, right? “Like, what do I need to do?”
“You didn’t tell her?” the sect leader asked Softie.
“I did, but she wasn’t listening or she forgot,” Softie said.
Hey. Well, that’s probably true, but there’s no need to place the blame on me! If you know I’m not going to listen or forget, then you just have to make sure I’m listening and not forgetful at the time. Jeez, it’s not that hard. “Right. So what do I do?”
“You just have to beat people up,” Ilya said. “It’s an exchange, but it’s really just a show of strength. The overall winner of the exchange receives a token that lets them form a squad with a thousand people of their choice for the Kang Country Army.”
What? How come Ilya knows this?
“Yes,” Softie said. “Not only that, but if our sect wins, a thousand disciples will have a chance to move up in the world, further establishing our sect’s foundation. You have to do your best, Lucia!”
Ilya gave Softie a dirty look before snorting. Mm. There’s definitely something going on between these two…. But no one’s said anything to me, so it’s not my problem! “Got it. Beat people up. I can do that. It’s actually what I do best.”