TGL Volume 3, Chapter 16 (3)

Fourteen lightning strikes. I still can’t believe it. Ten more than Lucia’s tribulation? And fourteen is supposedly an extremely unlucky number in the Immortal Continent. Am I that bad of a person? What exactly have I done wrong? Extort Pill Valley? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. They willingly cooperated with me. Perhaps they’ve also received the bad karma I have? The leader of Pill Valley is an immortal. Will bad karma even affect him since he’s passed his tribulation? I’m not sure. Karma is such a fickle and illogical thing if it can label someone like me as a bad person.

Regardless, people in the Immortal Continent have figured out a way to deal with bad karma. There’s this place called the Karma Association that Pill Valley recommended I go to. So, after I realized how unfair the heavens were for assigning me with such terrible karma, that’s where I went.

“H-hello, is this your first time here?”

The attendant at the counter seemed a bit scared. I’m not surprised. When I walk around with a hundred sky-realm experts following me, people tend to be intimidated. I nodded at the attendant, and she gave me a stiff smile. A piece of paper appeared in her hands, and she slid it across the counter towards me. Before I could take it, one of the sky-realm experts behind me slapped the paper and frowned. A moment later, he nodded at me. It never hurts to be too careful; even something as innocuous as a piece of paper can ruin a life. “What is this?” A waiver? People actually care about liability in the Immortal Continent? I thought it was all about face. Never mind, this just allows the Karma Association to use my case as an advertisement to attract more people. I’m not signing this.

“D-dear guest, you’re not supposed to burn the paper….”

“It was an accident.” It really was. I meant to incinerate the paper completely, but it was tougher than it looked. “Anyways, I don’t like the terms.”

“Let, let me get my manager,” the attendant said. There were beads of sweat rolling down the sides of her head, ruining her makeup. She took a few steps towards a door behind herself, and then immediately bolted once she was past the threshold. Since I had time, I took a quick look around. The only other person here—that wasn’t a part of my entourage—was a sky-realm expert with dark bags underneath her eyes. Was this place even reliable if there was only one customer?

“Dear guest,” a voice said. I turned my head. There was an old man dressed in a suit standing behind the counter. It seemed like he teleported there. “It’s completely alright if you don’t wish to sign the form. It won’t affect our ability or willingness to help you. How many people are here to get their karma read? Each reading costs a thousand spirit stones.”

“Thirty of us.” It’s just supposed to be me, but if there’s a device that can read someone’s karma, then I’d want it tested on multiple people instead of just myself. This place smells like a scam—like fortunetellers in tents with crystal balls. All of the people following me are sky-realm experts. They’ve all had to pass a tribulation. If the readings don’t agree with their actual karma, I’ll know whether or not I should run this place out of business.

“Please, follow me.”

I followed the old man to a room with a giant formation inside of it. It took one glance to tell it was a qi-gathering formation used to power a gem that was floating in the center of the room. It was a colorless, translucent crystal about the size of a person’s leg.

“Those of you who are reading your karma, approach the crystal one at a time and place your hand on it. Light will fill the crystal from the bottom up. The color of the light indicates whether your karma is good or evil, and the amount filled indicates how much karma you’ve accumulated.”

That seems simple enough. As usual, one of my guards went first to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with it. The crystal shone with a yellow light, and a liquidlike substance rose from the bottom, filling the crystal a quarter of the way.

“Your karma is greater than twenty-five percent of the population,” the old man said. “Yellow indicates a neutral balance, neither good nor evil. You should expect the usual nine thunderbolts when ascending to immortality.”

My guard looked at me and nodded. “My sky-realm tribulation was of average strength.”

It seems fairly accurate, but I wonder. “How does this crystal measure karma? In units?”

The old man raised an eyebrow at me. “You’re interested in how it works? It’s simple, really. Karma is acquired when you create ties with another person. If that person you have ties with affect other people thanks to your actions, some of that karma is transferred to you as well. If those people affect others due to your actions, you’ll acquire karma there too. All of this is measured and calculated within this crystal.”

“Okay, but how do you know he has more karma than twenty-five percent of the population?” Wouldn’t the whole population have to be measured first in order to tell?

“That’s also simple,” the old man said and smiled. “An immortal made this; thus, it must be accurate.”

…That’s not a very satisfactory answer, but it’s acceptable, even if just barely. “Alright. The rest of you, go check.” Even if it’s an acceptable answer, I’m not going to just take a stranger’s word for it when I can pay some pocket change to verify whether it’s true or not.

A few minutes passed with the crystal handing out accurate readings. Surprisingly, these sky-realm experts didn’t have much influence or something because none of them had more karma than fifty percent of the population. They were most likely rogue cultivators without sects; only they’d be able to sign the contract I drafted up.

And finally, it was my turn. Let’s see just how bad my karma is…. I placed my hand on the crystal, and the whole room turned black. Less than a second later, the crystal exploded. It took a while for the darkness in the room to vanish; it lingered like a fog. The sky-realm experts behind me had expressions on their faces that said, “As expected.” And the old man looked at me as if I had murdered his parents in front of him. Well…, this is a bit problematic.

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