Pledging my undying loyalty to Chosen Lucia was the greatest decision of my life. I grew up without any parents, taken care of by only my elder sister. My parents were mercilessly slaughtered by a group of people because of my family’s so-called evil cultivation technique. I was too little to remember who the killers were, and my sister never told me their identity before she died, but she did leave behind a necklace with a message that she made me promise not to read until after I became an earth-realm expert. My sister’s life was spared because women couldn’t cultivate my family’s technique, but they destroyed any chance for her to have children in the future. And I was spared because my mother had fed me to a snake which my sister killed and retrieved me from after the killers left. When I turned twelve, my sister imparted my family’s technique to me, but learning such a bloody technique didn’t come without a cost. The life of a family member was required to start it. After my twelfth birthday, I no longer had a family.
A few years passed, and I reached the peak of the mortal-realm. A lot of people died by my hands, but I didn’t keep track of how many. It’s hard to remember. Everyone makes the same face when they die. They make the same sounds: the dying gasps, the whimpers, the last exhalation before they fall still. Everyone’s the same when faced with death. Perhaps I killed ten people. Perhaps I killed a thousand. In the end, it doesn’t matter.
I attracted the attention of many sects, but the Shadow Devil Sect kept their eyes on me for a different reason than most. They liked me, liked my potential. And I became a core disciple under the terms that I wouldn’t kill a fellow sect member. I kept to those terms, and my growth stagnated. If Chosen Lucia hadn’t made her appearance when she did, I might’ve done something that would’ve gotten me expelled from the sect. She didn’t seem special at first, running away from our greeting when she met us for the first time. But not even a day later, she attended our cultural exchange and started the great massacre. My stagnating cultivation grew by leaps and bounds that day, and when Chosen Lucia recruited people to subjugate some sects in Kong County, I was the first to sign up. When we got back to the Shadow Devil Sect after a year, I claimed the spot of number one core disciple.
Now, I’m part of the squad fighting at the Gates of Hell. The first battlefield we went to, Chosen Lucia let me kill two earth-realm experts and a sky-realm expert. Then, I killed another sky-realm expert when he tried to rob us. Sister Moonlight stopped me from killing more, but I had already surpassed her in strength. The next time she tries to stop me, I’ll claim her spot as the chosen of the sect. Before we entered the second battlefield, another sky-realm expert came out who Chosen Lucia, once again, gave me the honor of killing. The way she’s able to disable people so perfectly is a form of art. I’m just a lowly member of the saint realm, but after Chosen Lucia’s done with her victims, they can’t resist me even if they’re able to kill me with a single glance when they’re in their best conditions.
And we entered the second battlefield despite Sister Moonlight’s protests. She thought we should flee before anyone discovered the sky-realm experts’ deaths. But Sister Ilya gave Chosen Lucia a bracelet that changed her appearance. Combined with the volcanic chameleon robe, Chosen Lucia’s appearance changed to a completely different person’s. She doesn’t even have a tail right now, and her ears are hidden behind her hair. She switched her nameplate to that of the Golden Bush Sect too. They were one of our allies that Chosen Lucia robbed blind on our way here.
“I, Long Mistletoe, challenge any earth or sky-realm expert!”
Right now, Chosen Lucia is pretending to be Long Mistletoe. Before that, she was pretending to be Rough Stone. And before that, she was pretending to be Icy Wind. Every time she wins a fight, she drags her opponent over and has me behead them. Then she changes her appearance, her clothes, and her nametag before running up onto one of the arena platforms again. So far, she’s had me kill over two hundred earth-realm experts, but I think people are starting to catch on.
“How could so many of our earth-realm experts lose in a single strike? It doesn’t make any sense! Since when has Kang Country acquired that many experts? They must be at the peak of earth realm. But none of them were famous beforehand. Where is Sir Fang? He went outside to fix the formation, but he hasn’t shown himself again.”
“You’re right. There’s something strange going on, but there’s no proof.”
“Whoa! Look at that! Long Mistletoe of the Golden Bush Sect defeated her opponent in a single strike! She’s dragging him away to be beheaded like those previous experts!”
“Hey, aren’t all of our earth-realm experts being taken towards the same place every time they lose?”
…Yes. People have indeed caught on. But I’ve been changing my appearance after every kill as well thanks to Sister Ilya’s bracelet. Though Chosen Lucia may be abnormally strong, I don’t think she can win against a crowd of over a million people. Everyone here is an elite who belongs to a sect that won a province exchange. And there’s another problem with having me kill all these earth-realm experts. If I don’t stabilize my foundation, I’ll explode from all the excess qi. In a few hours, I’ve advanced to the peak of saint realm, skipping many levels in the process. This rate of growth is completely abnormal.
“Alright, Claw. This one too.” Chosen Lucia dumped the limp person onto the ground in front of me. I raised the sword that Chosen Lucia had gifted to me and brought it down without hesitation. There was no resistance, as expected of an earth-realm-ranked sword. Warmth flooded my dantian as the fallen expert’s soul entered my body, sucked in by my cultivation technique. I could hear his soul screaming as it was ground to bits before merging with my qi.
“Lady Long Mistletoe, I need to take a break. I can sense my earth-realm tribulation approaching.”
“Earth-realm tribulation!?” Sister Moonlight stiffened, her action so quick that it seemed like she had jumped. “I thought Brother Claw was weaker than me just a week ago! C-congratulations.”
“Mm. Alright. Anyone else want to harvest heads?” Chosen Lucia asked, sweeping her gaze over our fellow sect members. None of them had a technique like mine, so none of them volunteered. “No one? Oh! I’ll just have Puppers do it. I almost forgot he existed.” Chosen Lucia bent over and grabbed her socks. Then she lifted her arm and pulled out a wolfkin by the scruff of his neck. “Go do your tribulation stuff, Claw. I’m not going to stop even though you’re on break! I still have”—she counted off her fingers, but when she reached the last one, she wrinkled her forehead—”a lot of heads to harvest! Mn!”
Like my technique required a sacrifice to learn, Chosen Lucia’s abnormal strength extracts an equally dreadful toll. It’s a shame, but her strength is inversely proportional to her intelligence. I fear she’ll be no smarter than a vegetable if she ever becomes an immortal.