Chapter 4 – A Fated Encounter (6)

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Lucia has surpassed my expectations. It seems like she was serious about not slacking off anymore. She actually forsook sleep to stand in a horse stance. Even though she doesn’t know anything about qi or where it came from, that doesn’t matter. It’s easier to educate someone than to motivate them and keep them disciplined. Hundreds of that bastard’s subordinates were like that, riding on the Godking’s coattails and doing nothing to improve themselves. Roland’s personality was horrible, but I have to admit he was a very determined person.

Well, let’s add on to her determination. “D-Durandal?”

“Didn’t you say you wouldn’t care how hard you had to work?” It’s just a few spikes. As long as you don’t fall, it’ll be fine, Lucia. “Don’t tell me that was all talk.”

“But how am I supposed to circulate my qi if I fall asleep!? It’s impossible.” Ah, that frantic expression of hers really is cute. Cute? Maybe a better term would be Lucia-like.

“It’s only impossible because of that attitude. The Godking could do it.” Actually, Roland couldn’t. I’ve never met anyone capable of circulating their qi while they were asleep. Wouldn’t that be too easy? But Lucia was the first person I’ve ever met who was able to replenish her qi to the fullest just by sleeping. Maybe she’ll be able to. Of course, I’m not that cruel. I’ll remove the spikes if she shows any signs of falling.

“I’ll do it!” That determined face of hers is also very Lucia-like. …Shouldn’t every expression she makes be that way? Hmm. Roland’s expressions weren’t always ‘Roland-like’. What’s the difference? “Uh, do I just try to fall asleep now?”

Don’t ask me. I’m just a leech. I can’t generate any of my own qi. “She’s going to turn into a pincushion, you stupid sword spirit.” When did Bouncykins get here? Did he want to watch Lucia’s suffering—err, training too?

Snow said something that was too far away to hear over the crackling of the fire. His voice is really soft like Cottontail. It’d be nice if Snow could accompany Lucia like Cottontail accompanied Roland. That fluffy beastkin was a good person even if she was a bit … clingy. Maybe she’s the reason why I didn’t want to form a bond with a human? Beastkin are honest and upright while humans are dirty and manipulative—Cottontail and Roland showed me that.

“She’s trembling so hard that she’s starting to stutter.” Hey, you stupid rabbit, why are you stealing my mushrooms? “Are you sure she’ll be alright?”

Lucia looks fine. See? She just closed her eyes to concentrate a bit harder. “Lucia will be fine. I’ll remove the spikes from underneath her at the first signs of her falling asleep.” Why are you looking at me like that? Do you have a problem? “What?”

“…She’s asleep. You didn’t notice?”

What? No way. She’s … really asleep? How is she still standing? That’s amazing. “Do you think her qi is circulating?”

“How would I know anything about your abnormal master?” Bouncykins asked. I think he’s still bitter that Lucia can catch him so easily. Now that I think about it, there’s many strange things about Lucia. If only Vera were here, she’d know.

“Should I just leave her like this…?” Well, I’ll remove the spikes just in case she does fall over. Let’s try taking some of her qi. Warmth flowed through my body as I tuned myself towards Lucia’s energy. “She’s overflowing with qi. Where is it coming from?”

“So … she can hold that monstrously heavy sword while sleeping?” Snow asked. “It still weighs over eight hundred pounds, right? Is there any way for her to decrease its weight?”

“There is, but she I’m not letting her use that function right now. I’m in sole control. She’d cheat if she could.” Would she still cheat with her newfound determination? Maybe not for a day or two, but motivation is very fickle. I’ll withhold the ability to manipulate mini-DalDal’s weight until she reaches a ton.

“I see,” Snow said. His head and ears lowered. Cottontail used to do that when she was deep in thought. I still can’t believe how similar the two are. If Snow wasn’t a male, I’d think he really was Cottontail.

“Are you going to teach her the steady sword?” Bouncykins asked. His ears twitched a few times as they swatted a fly away. “I can’t think of a better suited technique for her: It’s as simple as she is. And she’s like an unmoving mountain right now.”

Steady sword…. “That really is a good fit.” I wanted to teach her the berserk blade though. Her qi is extremely explosive…. Wait. What? How can her qi be explosive and calm at the same time? “Hey, Bouncybounce.”

“That’s an even worse name!”

“Lucia’s qi and water test caused the cup to explode. Doesn’t that make her a brute?”

“Huh? Really?” Bouncykins tilted his head. “Are you sure you did it right?”

“Yeah. Put the water in the cup; put the cup in her hand; let her send qi into it.”

“And it exploded? Does the current sleeping her look like someone who’d have explosive qi? How peculiar.”

“Maybe she’s a dual type?” Snow asked. “You didn’t test her before you became her spirit?”

Should I have? “I didn’t.”

“…Really?” Snow’s tail inflated. Wasn’t that Cottontail’s sign of being mad? “I see. Whatever. I’m going to sleep.”

I glanced at Bouncykins. He stood up on his hind legs and shrugged before falling back onto all fours. Anyways… dual type? Maybe I’ll teach her both techniques and see which one is the better fit. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. With this, it looks like Lucia’s future training regimen has been set.

“Why don’t you teach Lucia magic?” Bouncykins was staring at my master with a strange look in his eyes. Hey. She’s mine; back off. “Well, not you. I already know you’re incapable of that. But if you could find someone to teach her lightning or even fire spells, think of how strong she’ll be. How the heck can she even lift a sword that heavy anyways? Even with qi, Snow’s limit is three hundred pounds.” Was that bitterness on Bouncykins face? It’s hard for me to tell with a normal person, but it’s way harder to tell on a rabbit’s face. “You chose a good master.”

Did I? Lucia would be happy to hear that. Too bad she’s asleep. And I doubt she’d ever be able to cast spells with her nonexistent amounts of mana. Thankfully, that’s what magic tools are for, right? Lucia’s right. I promised I’d make her into a legend, and if I have to throw away some of my pride and employ magical tools, then I’ll do it. “You said you had a cache of magical tools lying around somewhere that you had to recover, right?”

“Yeah, but it was confiscated by those imperial guards,” Bouncykins said. “Those dirty bastards. I, King of the World Lucifer, the All-consuming Devourer of Gods and Planets, the Mighty Unstoppable Force of Nature, the Terror of the Eigh—“

“Yeah, yeah. You’re going to get revenge on them, right?” Ow. Don’t bite me. “If I help you recover them, give me a cut?”

“…Two. I’ll give you two tools.”

“L-Lucifer!”

“Sorry, Snow. I actually owe Durandal, no matter how much I hate admitting it. Besides, we lost the hoard even with your gang behind us. How are you going to reclaim it without Durandal’s help?”

“Two tools, but I get to decide.” I wonder what kind of tools they have. Hopefully, they’ll be able to help Lucia. …What, you think I’m getting ahead of myself? Do you think a measly group of guards could stop me?

Snow looks upset. “So we’re redirecting our course to chase after my cache?”

I nodded.


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