TGL Volume 3, Chapter 14 (6)

I miss Lucia. For cultivators, ten years can pass by in the blink of an eye, but for mortals, ten years is a large part of their life. The time Lucia and I have been separated can be called neither long nor short. The majority of the time, I was in secluded cultivation, purely focused on refining her impurities into my own strength, but now that I don’t have any of her impurities left, and I can’t use my Heart Devil Cultivation Technique without planting new heart devils, I’ve found that it’s very lonely. Has Lucia made any new friends? Does she miss me as much as I miss her? Probably not.

“Don’t sigh when you’re all alone. You’ll make yourself sad.”

Who…!? “W-who are you? How did you get into my room!?”

“Hi, I’m Mirta!” The strange, teenaged girl with blonde hair and green eyes stared at me with a bright expression. “What’s wrong? Are you okay? My grandmother once told me that you shouldn’t sigh, and if you’re sad, you should smile instead.”

Am I okay? I … don’t think that’s important right now. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that…?” She’s … covered in blood and some other strange fluids. I’m sure it’s from some kind of rare medicinal plant, but I didn’t have any potential for alchemy, so I never bothered learning about any herbs beyond the basics. “Eat this pill.”

“Oh, thanks.” The strange girl took the pill from my hand and ate it without any suspicion. Hasn’t anyone taught her about the dangers of the world? Wait a minute. Why am I helping her? The girl licked her lips and nodded at me. “You’re nice. Much friendlier than everyone else. When I snuck into their rooms, they attacked me instead!”

…Is that where the blood came from? “Excuse me, but are you a part of the Shadow Devil Sect?”

“Uh….” Mirta scratched her head. “I’m more like … property of the Shadow Devil Sect?”

“Property?” What does she mean property? The Shadow Devil Sect might plant heart devils in people, slowing their cultivations down, but we don’t deal in slavery! “Who’s your owner?”

“Ilya.”

Oh. That’s…. “I’m sorry.” Sister Ilya and Brother Claw are perhaps the only two people I can’t scold in the whole sect, other than Lucia, of course. But still, engaging in slavery? Has Sister Ilya sunken to a new low? Perhaps it’s not slavery? Mirta seems to be … an elf!? I thought they went extinct a long time ago!

“Ah?” Mirta’s eyes widened, and she covered her ears with her hands. “When did I lose my hat?” She coughed and took a step back. “You’re not an alchemist, are you?”

“I’m not.”

“And you’re a nice person, so you definitely don’t want to cut my ears off to sell them, right?”

“Right.” Only Lucia would do something like that.

Mirta exhaled and sat down across from me. “That’s good then.”

Um. It feels like I’m forgetting something. “Excuse me, but why did you sneak into my room again?” In the first place, how did she get past my security formation? Ilya was the one that made it for me, no, for the whole sect. Someone who’s able to sneak past Ilya’s formation and maintain a cheerful, carefree countenance.... Is she an immortal? She’s also an elf, and those haven’t been seen since the ancient times when squirrels and other fearsome beasts roamed free…. Then … she’s here to hunt for Lucia? The pursuit my grandfather said would come has finally arrived. If she tries to get information out of me, will I have the strength to resist?

“Well, I was on my way back from taking care of the plants, and I saw a closed door, yours, and I wanted to know what was inside.” Mirta smiled and nodded.

She said she snuck into other rooms before mine as well. “So, because the door was closed, you wanted to know what was inside? Is it the same for all closed doors?”

“If I’ve already been inside once, then I don’t need to know, but if I’ve never been inside before….” Mirta shrugged and lay down, stretching herself out along a beam of sunlight streaming in from my window while balancing on her chair with only her hip. “Your room’s the nicest one I’ve seen so far. Everyone else’s is so plain and empty; you’d think they’re living in a monastery or something. Honestly, they might as well be living in holes in the ground at that rate.”

That’s where we used to live…. Is she not an immortal? No, she can’t be, unless…. “You said you were taking care of the plants?”

“Yeah, Ilya needs my help growing the rare ones.” Mirta yawned and sat up. A green tendril snaked out of her robes near her neck and approached her nose. Mirta kissed it and guided it back down with her finger. “Like the frozen dragonheart fruit and the phoenix claw roots and the … man-eating beast vines.” At the last one she mentioned, Mirta made a face and wiped at the unidentified liquid on her robes.

I’m not very knowledgeable with herbs, but anything with dragon or phoenix in it have to be beyond precious. I think I know this girl’s identity now. She’s the immortal from Pill Valley, but why would she declare herself as property of Sister Ilya? Has Sister Ilya’s clutches extended to even the immortals…? Lucia really needs to come back to keep Ilya in check. Lucia might be a bad person when judged only by her actions, but on the inside, she’s a really good person! Sister Ilya, on the other hand, is evil through and through! Recently, there’s been a large influx of sky-realm experts coming into the Thousand Sect Alliance’s area. Sister Ilya claims they’re her employees, but I know better than that. I asked one of them, and she said she sold herself to Ilya for a period of three hundred years! …Just what is Sister Ilya planning to do by amassing so many sky-realm experts?

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