During our pillow talk, Durandal confessed something weird to me. He … eats swords. Am I married to a cannibal? Wait, I’m not even married to him. Yet. It’s so weird; I never thought there’d be a day when I’d consider marriage. I don’t think of the future very often, but when I do, it’s about what I’m going to do for dinner the next day. Thankfully, I still have lots of divine beast corpses to eat inside of my interspacial ring. And my interspacial ring was upgraded! Well, replaced with a shinier and bigger one that I received as a tribute. But that’s what upgrades are, right? I wonder if I’ll be able to upgrade the quality of my dinners. I hope so. There should be plenty of legendary realm beasts. Why do I think that? Because that crazy old lady said phoenixes existed! I bet they taste like fried chicken since they’re already on fire. That settles it. I’m going to eat a phoenix. “Mr. Shoe!”
“Lucia?” Durandal asked. He was sitting in a corner of the room eating a really fancy-looking sword that I probably could’ve sold for a fortune. “What’s up?”
“I want to eat a phoenix.” I cupped my hands over my mouth and shouted at the ceiling again, “Mr. Shoe!”
A few seconds later, Mr. Shoe’s and Ilya’s presences were announced by the stomping of footsteps. I think they were being extra loud on purpose. Why? Hmm, well, it doesn’t matter. I wrapped my blankets around myself because I’m not an exhibitionist and waited. The door to my room opened, and Mr. Shoe and Ilya peeked their heads inside. What’s with that red face? Was Mr. Shoe drunk? And Ilya’s face was red too! She’s underage; she’s not allowed to drink alcohol! What are you doing, Mr. Shoe!? You’ll end up in jail!
“Junior Lucia. Did you call for me?”
“I want to eat a phoenix.”
Mr. Shoe stared at me. What? Is there a problem? “Phoenixes are a very intelligent kind of creature. They make great companions, and I don’t think there is a single person in Kong County who’d be willing to eat a phoenix. In fact, there are only two phoenixes that I know of that even live in Kong County, and they both belong to the Star Phoenix Sect. Is there any particular reason why you want to eat a phoenix?”
There’s only two phoenixes here? Then breed them to make more! Unless those star phoenix people are as unlucky as me and ended up with only female phoenixes. But still, I’m not going to not eat a phoenix! I was a slave that became a legend; I refuse to believe I can’t fulfil my goal of snacking on a fiery bird! “How strong is the Star Phoenix Sect?”
“They’re one of the five fingers of Kong County. Our Shadow Devil Sect is the strongest of the five, but even we’d suffer losses if we went to war with another of the fingers. They have four earth-realm experts, including their two phoenixes, while we have five.”
That’s a bit problematic. I don’t think I can fight against an earth-realm expert. I mean, that selfless senior who blew himself up for the sake of my tribulation was an earth-realm expert, and he had some really scary techniques! Sorta. He could command so many flying weapons! …But they were all destroyed by the black lightning. Hmm. Maybe, just maybe, I can win against an earth-realm expert?
“You’re thinking of whether or not you’d win in a fight against an earth-realm expert, right?” Ilya asked.
Don’t read my mind!
“I asked him”—Ilya pointed at Mr. Shoe—“about a lot of things pertaining to the Immortal Continent to gauge our chances of survival. Right now, you’re a low-ranked saint-realm expert. Before you can become an earth-realm expert, you still have to pass through mid-ranked and high-ranked.”
Huh. Isn’t that pretty simple? The saint-realm is a whole lot easier than becoming stronger in the pre-legendary-realm! Like first I had to be a warrior, then a spirit warrior, then a divine warrior, and each of those were split into low-ranked, mid-ranked, and high-ranked. This is three times less difficult!
“And the three sections of the saint realm are split even further into three subsections, so there’s a low-low-ranked and a mid-low-ranked and—”
“Stop! Too many words and I can guess the rest!”
Ilya coughed. “Not only that, but to go from one subsection of the saint realm to another is as difficult as going from a spirit warrior to a divine warrior. In other words, there are nine walls you have to cross to become an earth-realm expert.”
Nine walls!? Wasn’t it three times easier just a few seconds ago? How did it become three times harder!? This is why I hate info dumps! Why does Ilya always try to crush my hopes and dreams with facts? She’s the worst. Hmph.
Mr. Shoe coughed. “If, if you really want to eat something like a phoenix, there’s a restaurant that specializes in serving peacocks. They’re a high-ranked saint-realm beast and the next closest thing to a phoenix.”
…Did he just say peacock? And it’s almost like a phoenix? “Say … if I fed this peacock a pole-stiffening pill, would it become as strong as a phoenix?”
“If you fed a peacock a pole-stiffening … pill?” Mr. Shoe’s face turned even redder. Even the base of his black hair was turning red. Gosh, how much alcohol did he drink? I hope he didn’t give Ilya the same amount. I wonder how a drunk Ilya would behave. Hmm. Lucia, no! Don’t give alcohol to minors. “Junior Lucia, please, can you act in a bit more refined manner? Such vulgar words shouldn’t leave the mouth of a woman as beautiful as you.”
As beautiful as me? And he’s saying that with such a bashful expression. Like a young boy confessing his love for the first time…. This…, this…! Am I being wooed? What the hell!? I’ve never been wooed before! How am I supposed to react!? “M-Mr. Shoe! Restrain yourself! I’m a married woman!”
Durandal choked on the sword he was eating. I’m going to ignore that reaction.
Mr. Shoe blinked. “P-pardon?”
“She thinks you’re coming onto her,” Ilya said. “You haven’t fallen in love with Lucia, have you?”
Blood flew out of Mr. Shoe’s mouth. Ew. That was pretty gross. The nonexistent chance he had with me has become even less tangible. But why do so many people vomit out blood like that? First it was those people that I robbed back at the temple. Then it was the people who I refused to take the underwear of back at the temple. Then it’s Mr. Shoe. Perhaps everyone on the Immortal Continent has an illness? What illness forces people to cough out blood? Bronchitis? Pneumonia? Eh? How do I know these terms? …I’m not sure.
“To think a junior of the sect would try to plant a heart devil into me, an elder….” Mr. Shoe wiped away the blood on his lips with the back of his hand. Beads of sweat dripped from his forehead. “To think she nearly succeeded as well.”
“…How sensitive are you?” Ilya asked.
“Even if it wasn’t a confession, that was the first time I have ever been rejected in my life!” Mr. Shoe’s back straightened as his chest puffed out. Was he proud? He was taking pride in being rejected? Wait, what did he mean it wasn’t a confession? Do people on the Immortal Continent compliment women like that for no reason? If that’s the case…, I might want to stay here and never go back! Hey. I’m not a narcissist. I just love compliments as much as I love myself—a lot. There’s no one in the world that doesn’t like compliments, okay?
“Anyways, what are you doing, Durandal?” Ilya asked.
Durandal paused and put down a half-eaten sword. “Replenishing my energy. Lucia stole a lot.”
Ilya sighed. “I shouldn’t have asked.” Then she sighed again while shaking her head. “I should not have asked.”
What was that supposed to mean? Was she looking down on Durandal? She was, wasn’t she? Before I could call her out, Mr. Shoe coughed in a really obnoxious manner that was clearly meant to draw my attention towards him. He must be a narcissist.
“The restaurant that I was talking about that served peacocks is in the city we just flew over. Would you like to turn around and drop by?”
“Yes! If I can’t eat a phoenix just yet, then I’ll just eat its unevolved, limper form!”
“A phoenix is not an erect peacock!”
Yeah, yeah, okay, Ilya. No need to hit me with facts. Jeez.