Why is this tablet suddenly attacking us!? It shut up once I proved it wrong, but it must’ve still been talking to Ilya! Just how strong is this inanimate thing? Wait. Is it still an inanimate thing if it can move, communicate, and attack? Wouldn’t it be an animate thing? But it’s not living! Right? Hmm, what are the characteristics of living things? How can I tell if something’s alive? If it breathes, it’s alive. But this tablet doesn’t breathe! I think. If it poops, it’s alive. But Softie doesn’t poop. Is she still alive? Hmm. This is very difficult. Gah! Focus! The tablet’s slaughtering Puppers, and he can’t even fight back because it tore off his limbs! “Ilya! You’re a genius! Figure something out!”
“Instant-teleportation button!” Ilya pulled out a button and crushed it with her hand. Nothing happened. “Uh…. One-week shield!” She threw a talisman towards Puppers. A barrier of yellow light appeared over him. The tablet stopped poking Puppers and turned to face us. Did it work?
The shield broke! It burst like a bubble! We’re so f***ed; this is all Durandal’s fault! “Heart Devil Apparition! Eat the tablet, Replacement Fluffles!”
The black squirrel made of heart devil wormies leapt forward, it’s jaws expanding until—it died!? The tablet instantly skewered poor Replacement Fluffles! He’s been turned into a kebab…. Even Fluffles didn’t die such a vicious death.
“W-wait!” Ilya shouted as the tablet drifted forward. Why is it moving so slowly now? Is it taking its time because it knew it had us trapped!? Who designed such a sadistic tablet? If I live, I’m going to beat that person up and shove his head up his ass! “You said you wanted to impart your master’s technique to me, right? I don’t cultivate! I don’t have any qi. I’m completely positive I won’t be able to learn it.”
The tablet stopped. Eh? It listened? I knew Ilya was communicating with it! This is all her fault. Right, let’s separate myself from her and try to bring as much distance between us as I can…. Like a dog smelling cheese, the tablet pointed its sharp spike at Ilya, turning its back completely to me. Phew. Alright. Now that it’s guard is down, I’ll pull out that massive hammer the smith made for me and, huh, it fits in the cave? I thought the smith said he wasn’t coming because he was too large to, wait! Focus! Focus…. And… swing! “Unrelenting Path of Slaughter: Maximum-Weight Breaking Hammer Madness Strike!”
…Did I get it? There was a really loud cracking sound. Why’s the cave so small? I can’t see what’s behind my hammer. I’ll put it away for now and, gah! It didn’t work! “Eh-he-he. I, I was just testing to see how hard you were, Mr. Tablet! Y-you can discuss things with Ilya now, okay?” The tablet stared at me. It didn’t have any eyes, but I knew it was staring at me! And that’s because the massive purple spike was pointed directly at my forehead.
If she cannot use qi, then you will have to do. After seeing the end, you did not lose your mind. Though you did not quite comprehend it, I believe that is good enough to fulfill my master’s qualifications. That strike you performed was impressive. I may have misjudged you.
…Is it complimenting me? I thought it was upset at me for soundly beating it down with logic. Why is it acting all buddy-buddy now? No, why is the spike moving closer to my face!? Dive to the side! “I’ll die if you stab me!”
Nonsense. This transfer needle is perfectly harmless and painless.
“You tore apart Puppers with that perfectly harmless needle!” Gah! I shouldn’t be shouting right now. It’s taking all my focus to dodge this giant spike! Mm, this tablet’s like a bee. They both have sharp pointy ends that, ah! I almost lost focus just now! Dodge, Lucia, dodge! No matter what, don’t think of acorns!
You’re mistaken. I tore apart that spirit with my edges. My needle didn’t touch him. And what exactly is an acorn?
“Eh? It’s the most delicious food in the world.” Phew. I barely managed to dodge it again. And with my perfect planning, I managed to position myself with my back facing the exit! All I have to do now is turn and run. I’m sure Ilya will be fine since this tablet’s focused on me.
The most delicious thing in the world? Is that it, on the ground over there?
Hmm? The tablet pointed its needle at my feet. “No? There’s no ac—”
Gah! F***! It tricked me! It f***ing tricked me! I was tricked by a rock! …Eh? I’m pretty sure the needle’s stabbed into my forehead right now, but it doesn’t hurt?
I told you. The transfer needle is painless.
Oh…. Maybe this tablet isn’t such a bad person after all?
I am starting the technique transfer process. Rest assured, this will be painless as well … unless you’re an idiot. On second thought, this is going to be very painful. Brace yourself.
“W-wait! Ow! Stop!” It, it hurts! I’m going to die! It feels like someone stabbed my head with a giant f***ing purple needle to mush up my brain! I hate learning! Why is learning so painful!? This technique sucks! Stop, stop, stop, you stupid tablet! Gah! This really, really hurts! I’m going to die. Here lies Lucia Fluffytail; she was murdered by a rock. That’s what Ilya will inscribe on my tombstone. And Claw and all my other minions will kowtow in front of it over and over until their heads are bleeding. And Softie’s going to cry a whole bunch before burning her panties as an offering for me in the afterlife. And I’ll never get to see or f*** Durandal again. And Puppers will be so devastated that he’ll never search for another master right up to the day he disappears. And poor Mrs. Wuffletush is going to eat Reena out of the hunger that comes with depression. And—
You know the process is over, right? Now that my master’s final wish has been fulfilled, I can finally rest. I wish you luck, airheaded squirrelkin.
—Mirta, ah? It doesn’t hurt anymore? Whew! I thought I was a goner. What did I end up learning anyways? “The Despairing Blade….” Wow. Just like the tablet, the name of this technique is super depressing. I don’t think I’m going to use it. Ah! This mind-reading tablet’s going to hate me for thinking that!
…Tablet? Hello? Mm? It’s not moving or glowing anymore. “Is it dead?” Hmm. Did it say something about leaving? I think it did….
“Weren’t you listening?” Ilya asked. “It said it can finally rest since it fulfilled its master’s final wish. And, uh, thanks. I thought you were going to leave me behind to die but was pleasantly surprised you only used me as bait instead.”
…Is she sincerely thanking me or is that sarcasm? I can never tell with Ilya. I’ll ignore it. Mm, the best way to win is to not play! “So, you think I can use this tablet to upgrade Durandal at the altar? We’re at the altar, right?” There’s writing on the wall, and we’re at the very end of the Cave of Wonders, so I’m assuming this is the right place.
“Probably. The tablet wasn’t damaged by your sky-realm-ranked hammer. It must be made of something of equal or higher rank.”
Great! “Then I’ll use this tablet! How’s the altar work?”
Ilya stared at me. “Just a few moments ago, you were nearly crapping your pants from fear. How does your mood change so fast, and how can I become like that too? My knees are still shaking!”
Mm? Did my mood change really fast? I didn’t notice. It must be because I’m a fearless genius!
Ilya sighed. “Right. Ignorance is bliss. The ignorant are always happy.”
…I’ll noogie her after she tells me how to work this altar.