TGL Volume 3, Chapter 14 (4)

“Hey, Mirta, how’s it going?”

“I…, I don’t like plants anymore….”

That’s odd. “But aren’t you an elf?” Can elves even hate plants? That’d be like a person hating water. No, Lucia hates water. Let me rephrase that. That’d be like a person hating food.

Mirta’s face turned red, and she shouted, “Even an animal lover will hate animals if they’re constantly mauled by hippos and eagles!” She gestured around herself, and a root tendril sprang out of the ground, wrapping around her wrist. With a swing of her arm, her sword appeared out of nowhere and cut the root apart, spraying yellow juices onto her face and robes. “Do you see this!? These aren’t plants anymore! Plants don’t eat people!”

“But if your power works on them, then they’re plants, right?”

“I hate you, Granny Ilya.” Mirta sighed, put away her sword, and stumbled over to a nearby chair that was shaped out of a still-living tree. She sat down, and immediately stood back up, narrowly avoiding a vine that tried to wrap itself around her neck coming from below. “I should’ve stayed with my grandma. I thought the Immortal Continent would be fun!” She smacked the vine away and growled at it. “Bad! Don’t do that.” She looked at me with teary eyes. “Can I quit and do something else?”

“Well, if you really want to….” I mean, she’s contributed quite a lot. And I’ve narrowed down the energy coming out of her, but converting qi into it will take a bit more research. “Here.”

Mirta stared at the bag in my hand before looking up at me with wary eyes. “What is it? Another seed? Is this going to try to eat me too?”

“It’s your pay, but if you don’t—” Before I could even react, the bag disappeared from my palm. I’m on the level of an earth-realm expert. How could I not keep track of Mirta’s movements? There was always something weird about her, including the fact she was always able to evade my security and sneak up on me.

“This…, this is for me?” Mirta asked, her voice trembling. “Really?”

It seems like she likes it despite her previous announcement. “Didn’t you just say you don’t like plants anymore?”

“How dare you call the sapling of a world tree a mere plant!?” Mirta glared at me and hugged the bag, which had a sprout sticking out of its opening, to her chest. “Who do you think you are!? Blaspheme it again and I’ll slip a flexible vine dragonhead tendril into your bed while you’re sleeping!” Mirta bared her teeth at me, and even her ears were flattened back against her head like an angry cat. Is that it? Does she have the blood of a catkin inside of her? It’d explain her sneakiness and disdain for the rules I’ve set. And she was raised by her grandmother. Maybe her parents were chased out since interracial relationships are heavily frowned upon.

“W-what are you thinking about?” Mirta asked and gulped, her previous anger dissipating. “You’re not going to ask for this back, are you? That’d be really, really rude!” When I didn’t say anything, her shoulders shrank down even further. “And, um, sorry for yelling. …You’re not mad, right?”

I pointed at a flower bud with a gaping maw sneaking up on Mirta from behind. “Watch out.”

Mirta turned around before pulling out her sword. She slapped the flower bud with the flat of her blade. Despite how much she disliked these carnivorous plants, she really did her best to avoid seriously hurting them. “Don’t even think about eating me or Yggie, got it?”

Yggie? Did she name the world tree sapling already? Well, I suppose it deserves a name considering how rare it is. I saw it while visiting Pill Valley’s headquarters, and they gave it to me when they noticed I was interested. Of course, I was only interested in it because I knew Mirta would like it. Who said I had ulterior motives? I did not. And I still don’t. Definitely.

Mirta pushed away the stunned plant and smiled at me. “Say, Granny, no, Big Sis Ilya, do you have anymore plants that you need to grow? You can count on me!”

Got her. Err, I mean, nothing. I thought nothing. “Didn’t you want to quit?”

“Eh-heh-heh, did I say that? When?” Mirta’s face was bright, and she was snuggling the bag with Yggie inside of it to her chest. “Just pay me with lots of resources to feed Yggie and I’ll do anything!”

“Alright, continue caring for these plants. And whenever you have spare energy, dump it into the plate.” The plate is a container to store her special energy. I need lots of it to figure out its composition to recreate it through qi. Thankfully, with a few mental cultivation techniques that Pill Valley gifted me, I’ve trained my mind to the point where I don’t have to rest for several weeks despite nonstop calculations. If only Lucia would learn one of these techniques, then maybe she wouldn’t be so … her. It’s a shame she has an aversion to improving her intellect in any way, shape, or form. Maybe I’ll prepare one of these techniques for her in a jade slip that requires blood to activate and have Mirta trick Lucia into using it. …Or not Mirta, it’d be a shame if she died. A convict, then?

Also, thanks to Pill Valley, I’ve obtained an interesting tidbit of information. Karma is actually real, and not just a concept used to scare children into behaving. The more negative karma one accrues, the higher the chance of dying during their tribulation. And that may or may not be why I’m trying to settle my debts with everyone. Luckily, when we went rampaging across the county, Lucia was the one who killed and destroyed the most, or it’d be impossible for me to make it up to the sects. It also explains why Lucia’s tribulations are much more difficult than other people’s. Now that I’ve settled my karma with Mirta, Softie’s grandmother, some people who’ve treated me nicely within the sect, and Softie, I’ve minimized the risk of me dying while ascending to the sky-realm. Which I’m about to do shortly.

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