Chapter 052: Choices

[…No.]

The answer comes instantly, without a shred of hesitation.

And for some reason, these idiots seem shocked by my decision.

I mean, there was really no way I would have agreed to such an unreasonable request, now, was there? That should have been obvious.

“M–May I ask the reason for your refusal, Lady Akasha?” Salem asks, tripping a little over his own words.

[…]

Well…

That would be ‘reasons’. Plural. Because I can think of many of them.

I’m glad I read up on human anatomy and life cycles, though, or I wouldn’t have really known how to answer. I guess Sanae could have made the decision in my place, in that case.

Reason 1. I’m physically incapable of reproducing. At the very least, I’m physically incapable of reproducing the way humans do, by way of sexual intercourse with a male of my species; there might be other ways of which I’m not aware. Apparently, from what Salem said, all devils are supposed to be sterile, but in my case, I’m not sure ‘sterile’ would be the appropriate word. In my case, it’s not simply that the organs necessary for reproduction fail to work properly. It’s that they’re not there at all. A womb, for example; I lost such a thing during my transformation into a demon, when all my internal organs shifted and changed and mutated. From the outside, I suppose my reproductive system looks perfectly normal – and would feel perfectly normal to someone attempting to copulate with me – but really, it serves little purpose other than decoration, at this point. It might be correct to qualify it as vestigial.

Reason 2. Even if these devils appear to have found a way to fix reason number one – which I doubt would work on me – there is no way I would subject myself to some sort of experimental medical procedure. I’ve struggled for 300 years to temper and refine this body of mine into a serviceable weapon; I have absolutely no intention of leaving it in some stranger’s hands to do with as they see fit. That’s just too much of a risk.

Reason 3. Even if I did accept the devils’ dubious treatment against sterility, and it did somehow work as advertised, there is still the problem of my body’s rather aggressive defensive mechanisms. Any foreign element that cannot be converted into blood-qi is summarily destroyed after only a few moments. A fetus trying to grow within me would most likely be construed as an invading parasite and thus exterminated.

Reason 4. As I said, I know how human-style reproduction works. And that rhino is just way too huge. It’d never fit inside me.

Reason 5. If all of the above were resolved and I was successfully impregnated, I’d still be stuck in the body of a little kid. Furthermore, my growth rate seems somewhat different from that of a baseline human child. While my proportions are closer to an adult’s than my age – apparent age – would suggest, I’m also slightly smaller overall than a regular 12-year-old. Disregarding the size of my breasts or the curve of my hips, I’m only as big as a 9- or 10-year-old human. Which I suspect would pose some very real problems, if I were to ever try and give birth.

Reason 6. Salem’s claimed motivation to select me as the mother is to transmit my talent to the child I would produce. Which is ridiculous. If they’re looking for such a thing as ‘talent’, they should try somewhere else. Or are they laboring under the misconception that I reached my current level in a measly 30 years, like the rhino over there? No. I have no particular gift in cultivation. The only reason I’m strong is because I spent 300 years fighting one monster after another. Anyone would become strong in such a situation – that, or die, I guess.

Reason 7. I have frankly no reason to help the devils. Certainly, they politely answered my questions, earlier, but that’s not nearly enough to inspire the sort of gratitude I would need to accede to their request. In the end, what fate ultimately befalls the devils and apostles is irrelevant to me.

Reason 8. Human pregnancies last 9 months. If demon pregnancies are anything like them, I can’t afford to waste that much time. I need to look for Nerys and kill that ‘God-Emperor’ fellow – confirming he’s actually my enemy would be good, too; Salem’s information might not be entirely reliable.

Reason 9…

I can’t think of a ninth reason.

But eight of them should already be more than enough.

That would be a lot to explain, though.

Let’s try to shorten it down to a few words for Salem and the others.

[…Because I don’t want to.]

bang!

This time, when Grigori slams his fist down on the table, it shatters completely, one of the legs rolling to a stop against the wall. I actually had to dodge a piece of flying wooden shrapnel. I wonder if I should consider this an attack?

“Do you think we’re playing around, brat? Do you think this is a game? The survival of our entire species beyond slavery is at stake here!” he shouts at me, rising to his feet, the crown of his head almost brushing against the ceiling. “How about you start taking this seriously?!”

[…I am.]

His eyes start burning bright red, and qi pressure that I’m sure the others in the room must find intensely uncomfortable seeps out from his body.

It doesn’t affect me, though.

This is a clear sign of hostility, but this time, Salem doesn’t rein him in. Instead, he is still staring at me, looking greatly conflicted. The other devils too are watching Grigori’s attempt to coerce me. But apart from Sekka, they all look much less conflicted than Salem. If a fight actually starts, I know on which side of the battle they will stand – not that they’ll be able to change its outcome.

If it does turn to violence, none of them will stay standing very long.

“Then are you saying you don’t care what happens to your own species?” Grigori continues his interrogation, still shouting at the top of his lungs. I’m starting to envy Finram for his decision to remain outside; his eardrums are safe. “Are you saying you’re simply going to watch all of us die or be enslaved?”

[…Yes.]

“Are you saying… What?”

Apparently, Grigori wasn’t expecting for me to answer. I think I read about this, somewhere. Rhetorical questions. I’m still not sure how to differentiate between those and regular questions, though, so I hope he’ll forgive me for interrupting him. In any case, as I transmitted my words to everyone in the room, all of them have heard me. If the atmosphere had become tense because of my earlier rejection, then now, it is downright glacial.

“What did you just say?” Grigori growls with his low, rumbling voice.

[…’Yes’.]

That’s what I just said.

Gigori takes a step toward me, walking menacingly along the table. “You…”

“Grigori, wait!” Salem suddenly calls out. Without waiting for the rhino’s reaction, he turns back toward me. “Lady Akasha, please. If you require payment, I’m sure there are many things we could do for you. Strength of arms isn’t the only resource we have at our disposal. Whatever you need, we should definitely be able to help you get it.”

Hmm…

That might actually be true. If they have a decent intelligence organization working for them, they may be able to help me find Nerys.

But… these devils have explicitly admitted that they’re terrible at keeping themselves under control, and that they don’t even try to, when they meet any other species than their own. I’m already worried about myself hurting Nerys if I meet her before finding a way to neutralize some of my more violent instincts. I don’t want an entire army of things even worse than I am posing that exact same danger to her. That would be worse than useless.

In the end, I don’t trust anybody to find Nerys but myself.

[…I refuse.]

This answer doesn’t please my audience any more than before. The smell of impending violence hangs in the air, and I wonder if I’m really going to have to kill them all. I don’t think I would mind that terribly.

When suddenly…

“RAAAAAAAAAH! YOU! YOU WILL DIE FOR THIS! YOU WILL ALL DIE FOR THIS!”

After a scream of utter rage, Finram’s magic-enhanced, crazed voice suddenly rings out like thunder. I hurriedly flatten my ears against my skull. This was so loud I’m pretty sure that everyone within 20 kilometers must have heard him. He’s giving the lie to my comment about eardrums.

Just what on earth happened to make him so angry?

Does it have something to do with Lilly?

I guess I should go take a look.

Without any sign of acknowledgment toward the devils in the room, I stand up from my seat, stepping around the remains of the destroyed table, and head for the door Salem led me through earlier.

However, before I can reach it, Grigori’s bulk steps in front of it, blocking my way. His eyes are glowing like embers in the gloom as he looks down on me from his tall frame. “Where do you think you’re going?”

Which is a really stupid question, I have to say. He should be able to guess without my input.

[…Outside.]

My steps don’t falter in the least, despite his obstruction and the clear threat in his voice. When I’m within a meter of him, it looks like the devils weren’t joking when they said they lose control when excited, because Grigori suddenly decides the smart thing to do at this moment is to attack me.

“Grigori, wait! Stop!”

Salem’s voice has no effect, and Grigori commits to the blow.

[…]

Well, I guess this is it, then.

His two huge hands, each as big as my entire torso, sweep toward me as an animalistic growl bubbles up his throat, his teeth showing in a hate-filled snarl. The strength in those arms is undeniable. Truly. He could most probably give a good fight to Finram or to Shen Lei.

But it’s still woefully insufficient.

If we’re talking brute strength, Haris, the huge god from Fushia City, was better, even on par with me.

As for this arrogant little devil child…

He doesn’t understand.

He doesn’t understand how I’ve lived my life up until now.

He doesn’t understand that, even though I’ve made some efforts to restrain myself since I arrived in this place, I’m having some real trouble seeing him and his little friends as anything other than food.

When Grigori’s fingertips are about to touch me, when I hear the devils behind me scrambling out of their seats too, I duck under the sweep aimed at my face, my motion so fast and abrupt I probably all but disappeared from their lines of sight from one instant to the next.

baaaaaaaang!

A negligible fraction of a second later, the sound of my adamantine fist smashing into Grigori’s chest shakes the whole building, and his large frame blows through the door behind him, and the walls, until he disappears behind curtains of crashing rubble. Most of the room around me has been turned to wood shavings under the shockwave of my blow.

I lightly land from the jump I needed to make to reach the height of Grigori’s chest, then simply direct my steps through the ruined hallway toward the building’s front door, licking Grigori’s blood off my fingers and ignoring the stunned devils behind me. None of them follow me.

Well, I doubt Grigori would die so easily, but he should be knocked out for a short while. I’ll just put him down for good later.

Right now, I want to see what’s got Finram so riled up.

boom! bang! booooom!

Sounds of battle reach me from the street we walked through when we entered the village, and when I exit the building and take a look around, I see that my ears didn’t mislead me. Enormous tree roots are waving in the air, trying to catch and crush a flying devil, who looks slightly distressed but still manages to dodge every attack by the narrowest of margins each and every time, dancing through the sky. His task is helped by the clearly erratic control of the magic imbued in the tree roots. The person using them definitely isn’t at his best, right now.

I spread out my senses and follow the trail of qi to the top of the house on the opposite side of the street.

Finram should be there.

Since the house itself still looks relatively whole and sound – contrary to all the others around it, which are only rubble – I risk it and make the jump, leaping over the street and landing on the edge of the rooftop in a single bound.

As expected, I find Finram kneeling here, with a small bundle in his arms. Drops of red blood are steadily dripping from the cloth wrapped around the bundle, a widening pool already forming under Finram’s feet. Finram himself seems wholly focused on the flying devil and doesn’t appear to have noticed my presence at all. His cheeks are streaked with tears and his mouth twisted in an insane rictus.

[…?]

Without caring about all the magic he’s throwing around, I approach him and take a look at the thing he’s carrying.

Lilly’s pale, bloodied face greets me, her eyes closed, her eyelids fluttering as if attempting – and just barely failing – to open. She looks in pretty bad shape, but she’s still breathing. Her heartbeat does seem to be weakening at a noticeable rate, though, so she probably won’t stay that way for much longer. And something else feels wrong, too, although what it is doesn’t hit me until after a few seconds.

But then, I realize that all her limbs have been removed.

That’s why she looks so small in Finram’s arms.

…Wow.

That must hurt. A lot.

A few things have happened to my own limbs, over the years, and it was never pleasant, but even I never ended up in quite such a pitiful state as this. I wonder why the devils didn’t kill her. What’s the point in just cutting off her arms and legs? Did that serve a purpose of some sort?

As a few strands of my soul force examine Lilly’s condition in more detail, I suddenly hear Salem’s voice pop up from right behind me.

“Lady Akasha,” he says, “please reconsider. Grigori was too rash to recognize the difference between the two of you, but I’m sure we can come to an understanding.”

His words don’t really register, though, so surprised am I that I didn’t even notice him approach me. Does he have some sort of stealth magic? Restraining any outward display of my shock – a predator does not show weakness in front of prey – I slowly look over my shoulder. Not just Salem is here. All the other devils – except Grigori himself, of course – are standing right there behind me, on the rooftop.

…When did they get here?

Strange.

I didn’t notice.

I must have been too focused on inspecting Lilly’s injuries.

Dangerous, that. I must be more careful in the future.

<Heehee.>

[…Why are you laughing?]

<You. Not. Honest.>

[…Honest about what?]

<Heehee. Feelings.>

[…]

What feelings?

What on earth is this dumbass spider saying, now?

Whatever.

I disregard both Sanae’s and Salem’s different breeds of nonsense and reach out for Finram’s shoulder in order to stop him from his ridiculous display of magic. He’s still expending absurd amounts of qi to very little effect, only scoring a glancing blow on the flying devil every now and then, not even managing to bring him down from the sky. If he’d fought that badly against Keller on the train, back then, he would have been killed instantly.

However, it seems I made a mistake, and approaching him wasn’t the right thing to do at the moment.

When my hand lands on his shoulder, he suddenly flinches heavily and finally seems to notice my presence on the rooftop, along with that of the other devils who followed after me. A burning glare turns in my direction, and all of a sudden, the tree roots flailing ineffectually around the flying devil stop.

And then, they turn to me.

They slither through the air like snakes, turning and twisting, their pointed tips and thorns angling in my direction.

But if they couldn’t even injure the flying devil, these roots are obviously no threat to me. It only takes an instant for me to dodge around them and slip through them, and for Finram to be laid on his back on the rooftop, one of my feet pressing down on his throat. The impact of my kick – if it can be called as such, considering Finram didn’t end up spread out in pieces over the entire village – was enough to make him lose his grip on Lilly, so I decide to catch her and carry her myself, since it seems she would die instantly if she fell down along with him.

Seeing Lilly’s broken body held against my chest apparently seems to infuriate Finram even further, and he starts struggling and thrashing and lashing out at me like a madman, screaming and cursing and frothing at the mouth. However, it seems that, by now, he’s completely lost control of his magic. The tree roots are waving crazily through the air, smashing into buildings, ploughing deep trenches in the streets. They don’t worry me, though, since they’re so big they displace enough air for me to perfectly feel out their trajectories, even without actually seeing them. Even if they happened to target me, avoiding them would be a trivial matter.

Still, this brat should calm down a little.

I slightly increase the amount of weight I put on my foot – I still obviously restrain myself; Finram is quite young and doesn’t seem to have practiced much body strengthening, so he should at most be twice as strong as a normal human and probably wouldn’t do so well with my full weight resting on his throat – until he starts making small strangled sounds and his struggles diminish in intensity.

Still, he continues staring at me with hatred, his gaze unflinching.

I don’t really care, though. He can stare all he wants.

The flying devil, freed from the tree roots’ attacks, chooses this moment to land amidst the group, taking a few running steps on the rooftop before finally coming to a halt.

He looks jovially at everyone, apparently failing to notice the still strained atmosphere among the devils – although it lightened somewhat after they witnessed me mistreating Finram like this. “Thanks for that,” he says to me with a bright smile. “That bastard got a bit uppity when I returned the hostage. Hahaha! You sure got him good, though. You really are as strong as Salem said you would be.”

I glance at the new arrival out of the corner of my eye. His eyes are slanted, his teeth sharp and triangular, and he has tiny white feathers growing out of his skin. He looks like he’d be really soft to the touch.

Glancing back and forth between me and Salem’s group of devils, he continues. “Are you guys still negotiating?” He winks at me. “You playing hard to get? Hahaha!” As he laughs, his gaze trails down to Lilly, still held in my arms, her blood staining the apron of my maid uniform deep red. “Anyway, do you think I could have that back? I’m not done with…”

His nonsense is abruptly interrupted when my left arm whips through the air, leaving a sonic boom in its wake. In the flicker it takes for it to reach its intended destination, it extends and sharpens, and before anyone here can react, it pierces straight through this obnoxious flying man’s head, brain matter and bone fragments exploding out the back of his skull and showering the rooftop behind him.

Salem and his devils gasp at the sight of their ally, speared at the end of my unnaturally long arm, and this time, all of them let out some actual bloodlust in my direction.

“Lady Akasha,” Salem says from behind me, his voice now cold and biting, “there are too few of us left for us to engage in factional strife. We have to live in peace with each other. We have more than enough enemies already.”

‘We’… is it?

In response to Salem’s protest, I simply turn to the flying devil’s corpse, still hanging off the ice spear that is my left hand, and open my mouth. Since he’s already died and his consciousness has dispersed, it’s trivial for my telekinesis to directly seep inside his body and take control of his blood. His skin starts twisting and distorting, as if snakes or worms are squirming within his flesh, and after a few moments, it directly ruptures, and jets of blood accurately fly into my mouth, like an airborne river. At the same time, cracking and snapping sounds start coming from the devil’s already mangled head, and soon, a dantian bursts out of his skull, joining the river’s flow and disappearing into my mouth.

Once I have consumed all of the flying devil’s blood, my left arm returns to its normal form, and the corpse, now little more than a desiccated husk, falls and slips off the edge of the rooftop.

Good.

It had been some time since my last meal. I’m used to the constant hunger, after all these years of being a demon, but it’s still better when I can find a meal to alleviate it, if only for a short while.

I glance over my shoulder to a line of horrified faces.

Why are they so shocked by such a little thing? Aren’t they devils? The terrifying, cruel creatures everyone seems to fear?

Sekka is the one to break the silence. “You… You ate him. You actually ate him.” Her face twists in disgust. She looks like she’s going to throw up. “You’re a cannibal! You’re a monster!”

[…Yes.]

Hahaha.

Is it only now that they’ve realized that?

How naive.

How childish.

No wonder they’re losing their little war and are forced to come and beg me for aid. It’s about time for those children to realize that only the monsters survive, in this world. The weak will invariably end up as food for the strong.

Complaining about it will not bring about anything good.

Asking the monsters for aid will be even worse.

The only possible escape is to become one of the monsters.

It’s not complicated, really.

“Lady Aka…”

I assume Salem is going to plea, once more, but I don’t want to listen to him any longer. I throw a backhanded punch behind me. It doesn’t actually hit anything, but the air around my knuckles twists and warps, and an instant later, a wall of solid wind crashes against the five devils. They’re all blown off the roof and down the street, as if struck by a battering ram. Alicia is particularly unlucky and actually collides with the wall of the building where we had our earlier meeting, hard enough to collapse it over herself.

I can’t help but frown inwardly as I look at my own fist. While I did somewhat achieve what I wanted, the strain on my soul was much too great, and the power too underwhelming. That strike should have turned my targets into blood mist. After two months, the damage caused by the demon-sealing stone has mostly healed, but it looks like my soul needs to be in absolutely perfect condition to use this particular telekinesis technique as freely as I want. As it is, I should probably refrain.

Well, at least, I got myself a bit of room to think in peace. The devils should need a minute or two before standing back up.

I glance down at Lilly. Judging by what I can hear from within her body, she’s going to die in a few seconds. A minute, at most. Her heart is about to stop. I think she didn’t enjoy the residual impacts from the few attacks I performed. I tried to dampen them as much as possible, but I suppose, being held in my arms like this, she must have suffered at least some measure of backlash.

Haaa…

<Finram.>

What? Oh. Oops.

I quickly raise my foot a little to prevent him from asphyxiating. His face looks a bit blue, and his eyes a bit unfocused, but he’s still alive. He takes in a deep breath of the air stinking of the death and blood of Dorn, then starts coughing hoarsely, his hands rising to his throat to assuage the pain.

ba-bump, ba-bump, ba…bump…

My eyes flick back to Lilly as the last beats of her life resound in my ears.

Hmm…

This makes me a bit uncomfortable, somehow. I wonder why?

Should I just…?

No, but this was a gift for Nerys.

ba……bump…

Still, I have two of them. And I should be able to produce more, if I find the correct ingredients. I have the formula.

ba………bump…

Though I’m not sure those ingredients can even be found on Caldera. And what if Nerys needs the two of them, somehow?

ba…………bump…

Actually, it might be fine to just…

<Enough. Choose. Now.>

[…]

Sighing inwardly, a perfectly white pill, without any sort of markings or decorations, appears in the air next to me, held aloft by telekinesis. With the hand not supporting her back, I gently open Lilly’s mouth, and the white pill floats inside and down her throat.

Through my contact with Lilly, it becomes immediately obvious when the pill starts to take effect. An inexhaustible, humongous amount of qi suddenly starts flowing within her small body. However, it is so controlled and gentle that, if I wasn’t directly touching her and looking for it inside her, I wouldn’t notice anything’s happening at all. Yet, there is now so much qi within her that it’s a wonder her whole body doesn’t just disintegrate on the spot. Even the strands of my soul force I had inserted into Lilly to check her precise state all dissipate instantaneously under that powerful force, like little drops washed up in a vast, limitless ocean.

Fortunately, I don’t need soul force to hear her strengthened heartbeat and her evened breathing. Nor do I need it to see the growth of her new limbs, fresh bone and muscle and flesh coiling around each other as they burst out of the stumps.

Hmm…

Worthy of its name and reputation.

Rebirth pills are rather precious, even on the Godrealm. They basically give their owner a second life, should they need it, after all, along with a gigantic boost to their cultivation. Indeed, when so much qi courses through one’s body, it would be strange if one didn’t absorb at least some part of it for oneself, whether one wants to or not. Of course, since Lilly is basically a common mortal – and unconscious – most of that qi is going to be wasted and lost, but she should still see some very noticeable improvement. I don’t know very much about ranks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she finds herself having leaped over half a dozen of them at once, when she next wakes up.

Well, all that’s got nothing to do with me.

Except that I’m a bit jealous.

I wish those things worked on me, too, to regrow my arm and my eye. That would be nice. I’ve learned to cope with the loss of them rather well, I think, but still.

<Heehee.>

[…What now?]

<How. Kind.>

[…]

I’m about to start insulting Sanae, as she rightfully deserves, when a powerful qi fluctuation – ‘powerful’ as in ‘superior to mine’, this time, rather than simply ‘powerful for a puny mortal I can still crush with little effort‘ – suddenly rears up from somewhere beyond the village’s boundary, directly behind me.

I don’t flinch or freeze or anything of the sort. I react as I trained myself to and try to evade.

But the energy I sense approaches me fast.

Much, much too fast.

I don’t even have time to turn around and see the form it takes, exactly.

<Dodge!>

For the first time in a while – since the frog godbeast, I believe – Sanae sounds a little hurried.

Unfortunately, however, I can’t follow her advice.

I barely manage to push Lilly away from me, launching her into Finram’s chest as he’s still struggling out of the daze I dumped him into by almost choking him to death, before something containing a stifling amount of qi slams into me. I try to twist out of the projectile’s way – I’m assuming it’s a projectile of some sort – but that only means it hits my ribs instead of my spine.

[…!]

Before the thought can even form inside my mind to wonder what’s going to happen next, the projectile violently discharges all the energy it contains.

That is to say, it explodes.

Onto me.

In a remarkably efficient and optimized way, my brain takes the time to note.

Nothing around me is destroyed. The tiles of the rooftop tremble a bit, but no great scene of destruction happens. There is no flash of flame or anything of the sort. Only a shockwave of concussive force pinpointed at me.

An extremely powerful shockwave.

As quickly and abruptly as a whip crack, and with a sound remarkably similar to it, as well, I disappear from the spot in which I was standing a moment earlier, leaving behind only a mist of black blood floating in the air there.

I feel myself fly, the world around me blurring with the speed. Impacts shake my body as I bounce uncontrollably on the ground again and again, like a thrown stone skipping over the surface of a lake. I blow craters into the earth with each step, great swathes of dirt and soil flung up into the sky. I slam into boulders and trees along the way, reducing them to little more than pebbles and wood chips.

By the time my momentum expends itself and I finally stop moving, buried halfway up a steep hill whose top crumbles into a vast landslide under the earthquake of my arrival, my consciousness is so fuzzy I can barely even wonder about who just performed such an adept sneak attack upon me.

29 comments

  1. Wow, was that guy actually waiting for the best possible moment to attack ? I have to admit I didnt expect tactics from this overconfident kid

    Also I’m a little bit sad Akasha didn’t have the time to eat all these puny devils 🙁

    Thanksforthechappa !

  2. Well then, shit has finally hit the fan with God Jr. I hope he dies in a creative and painful manner, or since Phineas is waking up, he might as well take over his body for shits’n giggles.

  3. I really like how she is slowly starting to become more “human” or in other words she is connecting her emotions with other people even if she doesn’t realize it. Can’t wait for the next chapter and hopefully Lilly can stay with her throughout the story(even if she only pops up from time to time).

    Thanks for the chapter.

    1. Well, I think at one point it was mentionned Lilly’s family had some connection with Yulan and the Major, or a least a way to contact them…which makes sense, as a pro-majin noble family…so, maybe?

  4. Since Akasha spent most of the time in the tower, some in the planar prison and some in the current realm, should she be talking about prices of rebirth pills with readers? Also, the following feels like a description from an observer’s point of view, not from her own: “As quickly and abruptly as a whip crack, and with a sound remarkably similar to it, as well, I disappear from the spot in which I was standing a moment earlier, leaving behind only a mist of black blood floating in the air there.”

    1. Well she obviously received some information about the pills along with the pills themselves, so it is entirely possible that she could know of their worth. She probably received them between some higher levels in the Tower, left there by Miroslav.

  5. Internal Akasha :” I don’t want to go along with your plan because I see problems with implementing it. 8 of them if I put it into bullet points.”
    External Akasha :” Don’t wanna”

    And the moral of the story is that caring about children gets you shot into a hill. 🙂

  6. I dunno about that sneak attack. The Qi concentration she detected, but the spell resolved, locked in and impacted faster than she could dodge? I thought Akasha was far, far more sensitive to the flows of Qi around her. We see it described all the time when she anticipates spells, or tracks an ongoing spell back to a concealed caster. Shouldn’t Akasha have felt the build-up before it reached the “Superior to hers” level?

    Just seemed kinda weird compared to every other instance of Akasha sensing magic. Also, if Akasha is a peak Rank 1, and Gareth a recent breakthrough the 2, the power differential is really so great between one rank and the next that Akasha just got wrecked by the opening shot?

    I’m left wondering if Gareth didn’t just blast her with a high-end Artifact. It would make more sense, since we haven’t seen many examples of how Akasha senses Qi used by Artifacts. Will say this, definitely woke up the narrative.

    1. Oh,
      Lily as a 6th or 7th-ranked cultivator, for free. That’s the same as the elite Werewolf that was sent after Siff, that Akasha wrecked when she came through the teleport circle. Lily uses Uncle Finram’s God-taught secret cultivation technique. Lily achieves Godhood in her mid to late 20s, hurrah!

    2. She took at least a fraction of a second to direct Lilly to a safe location instead of performing a sound-barrier-breaking dodge with Lilly still in her arms. If Akasha hadn’t done that, she might have been able to dodge.

  7. Typos:
    Grigor continues his interrogation
    Grigori

    Since the house itself still looks relatively whole and sound – contrary to all the others around it, who are only rubble –
    which are

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she finds herself having leaped over half a dozen of them at once, when she next wakes up
    I think this probably shouldn’t have a comma

    but that only means it hit my ribs instead of my spine
    hits

    1. Thank you for your help this week, as well.
      In the end, I thought about it and decided to keep that contentious comma, though. I think it sounds a little better with it there.

  8. Well, Gareth doesn’t look so stupid at the moment… He still doesn’t know about Sanae, so he’s in for an unpleasant surprise, but he at least started out smart.

  9. Dammit, why can’t I have all of my thoughts at once?

    Next thought: Even with the directed impact, there’s misted demon blood swirling around near Lilly and Finram. Considering how poisonous it is, they better get away quickly.

    Next thought: Seeing Akasha give Lilly a rebirth pill is going to cement the idea that House Springfield and Akasha are allied.

    Next thought: Sanae has a choice: given her small size and ability to control her qi, she might be able to leave the battle untouched. In the planar tower, and the planer prison, allying to get out was smart, but what reason does Sanae have to _stay_ allied right now? If she attacks, she goes up against a god. The likelihood that Sanae was knocked out of Akasha’s eye socket by the force is really high, which would give her great opportunity to escape or sneak attack: while the gods are paying attention to Akasha, Sanae will be elsewhere. What I want to see is Sanae jump into a god’s throat when their mouth is open and expand while inside – her adamantium body should be able to take the stress and the god would then have a _very_ bad day (for a very short while).

    1. Re: Sanae, there is obviously more of a story to Sanae that we don’t know yet. Someone speculated that Sanae could be Miroslav. Unlikely in my view, but there is clearly some story there, Sanae ain’t no random mutation. So we can’t speculate on Sanae’s motives, beyond the possibility of genuine, if partially one-sided, friendship.

  10. That was me, and I did *NOT* say Sanae = Miraslov. I said: 1) Sanae *lied* to Akasha. Akasha was talking to Sanae about possibly wiping out all sentient life on Caldera to keep Nerys safe. Sanae replied “God-Realm, would kill you easily. Would kill me easily as well.” An adamantine Spider born on the Spider-Army level of Miraslov’s Tower (which the God-Emperor usurped) wouldn’t know anything about the God-Realm, or the comparative strength(s) of its inhabitants to Akasha and herself. Ergo, Sanae’s “origin story” was at least partially bogus.

    2) The Tower-Layer that Sanae was initially found on had *never* been reached by Gods acquainted with Miraslov back during the days when Miraslov’s acquaintance-Gods played the “How many Tower-levels can you make it through before tapping out” Game. We know this because sometime after Phineas went into hibernation and Akasha continued progressing, Akasha began finding valuable rewards left behind for his God-acquaintances who made it that far. The rewards were some very valuable things (like TWO Rebirth Pills), and a man-sized suit of stretchy fabric not even Akasha’s horn could pierce, that magic rolled off like water off a duck’s back. (Incidentally, many of these rewards were books. Akasha read those books, and at least one of them contained detailed info on Rebirth Pills and the exact process for making them. That explains how Akasha knows how valuable the pills are)

    3) Despite the fact the God-Emperor sent AKA-12 (The Lizard-Demon warrior who fled from Akasha, who she ended up killing and looting) to train on the Spider-Army’s level, the God-Emperor gave AKA-12 orders to avoid Akasha. Yet remained silent on the subject of Sanae (who was just sitting there, watching her spider-minions wear AKA-12 down. If the God-Emperor had been aware there was a God-Beast more powerful than the Sulfur Frog on that level, he gave zero sign of it.

    4) In the Fuschia City battle between Haris/Orsino and Akasha, Sanae didn’t reveal herself to block Orsino’s parting shot until Orsino was too far away to see her.

    What I said was that Sanae was FAR more likely to be affiliated with Miraslov, and perhaps intended as a contingency for Akasha by the one who originally cast Akasha into the Tower. (Perhaps not, if it was the God-Emperor who threw her in there.)

    It isn’t conclusive, but I believe there’s more than enough evidence to declare that whoever’s side Sanae is on, it isn’t the God-Emperor’s. Further (this is less substantiated) I believe there’s something significant tying Sanae and Akasha together.

  11. Just a heads up, this chapter is not showing in the table of contents. I had to get to it from the recent posts section on the left nav bar.

  12. So… Will he realise that she just saved a human?
    Or will it turn out he arrived just as she gave her the pill, didn’t notice and immediately assumed she was killing her?
    Sigh… I get the feeling that the stupidity remains strong in this one.

    Also… Is Akasha about to go crazy again and beat the sh*t out of him? I hope so. 😉

  13. Is Akasha actually not a success?
    Is a success to them a devil that doesn’t go insane when it uses the taints powers? In which case, Akasha only seems like a success because she never used it in the tower.
    What a shock it will be when she uses the taint magic word thing on him… Wait. What would be worse for him, Akasha beating him with skill or raw power?

  14. Kind of off topic: Does the rating system for cultivation in stories that have them annoy anyone else in how they’re described? It’s a common theme for the mc to describe the difference between a single rank to be “the difference between heaven and earth” (overused quote). Then later on the mc easily defeats people of a higher rank, despite claims made that it’s LITERALLY impossible to do so. Another theme is that the mc just has a better cultivation, more refined, etc… In which case what’s the point of ranks… (One story I’m reading has the mc explain that quality equals efficiency, which makes rank even more redundant… 1×1=2×0.5)
    Not to mention other vast inconsistencies, where something is explained early on, only for 100 chapters later to be forgotten. Or the harems. Any recommendations for a cultivation based novel without every female falling for the mc?

    But Akasha doesn’t need none of that. Floors 1, 2, 3…. Boom – timeskip, outta tower, already a god, hallelujah! Refreshing. Keep up the good work!

    Wait… She had whatshername from the planar prison kiss her… Lilly likes playing with her tail…. …. …. …. Is her tail developing a harem!? Nooo!

    1. For xianxia novels, I can recommend Desolate Era, The Violet Seal, 40000 millenniums of cultivation (this one hasn’t been translated far yet, so don’t know if it’s harem.), Whisper of the Nightingale and Cultivation Chat Group (also not translated very far, but highly recommended by someone I know to be knowledgeable about xianxia). These are all fairly well-written, though they have their foibles. WotN, The Violet Seal and DE have the cultivator defeating those above their rank, but it’s generally well-justified as opposed to being through a cultivation technique that’s just indefinably ‘better’, though DE does have some of that sort of thing. None of them are harem, as far as I’m aware.
      Also recommended by someone I know is ‘My Disciple Died Yet Again’, but I couldn’t get into it, too much fremdscham.
      And, of course, Taint. 🙂

      1. Cheers! Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll try DE and CCG first. Whisper of the Nightingale is already one of my open tabs (TWF <3).

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