TGL Volume 3, Chapter 16 (4)

“You provide more than just karma readings, right?” The Karma Association offers ways to reduce someone’s negative karma; though, I’m not sure how much of a help that’ll be to me, but I’ll take what I can get.

The old man was still looking at me, his previously calm exterior showing signs of cracking. “Yes, we offer karma boosting programs. Would you care to take a look?”

“Yes.”

Let’s see how this works. The old man bowed at me and walked out of the room, gesturing for me to follow him. He led me to a place that looked like a cafeteria, but instead of food on a counter, there were pieces of paper laid out on tables and tacked to the walls. The old man dismissed the two attendants that approached before turning around to face me. “This is the assistance hall. When people are in trouble and need assistance, our Karma Association logs their requests and hands them out to cultivators seeking to increase their good karma. We have a committee that carefully filters these requests, making sure they only generate positive karma. Assassination, theft, kidnapping, no requests for those will make it through. The requests are ranked by the amount of positive karma they’re projected to generate, and they have a price to accept them accordingly. For you, I suggest you purchase our highest-tier requests to—”

“I’ll buy them all.”

“…All the highest-tier requests?”

“No, all the requests. Every single one of them.” I don’t think just the special requests are going to cut it. Actually, isn’t there a better way? “In fact, would it be possible to buy the whole association?”

“E-excuse me?” The old man’s face cramped, but he regained his composure a second later. “You wish to purchase the whole association?”

“Yes.” I don’t believe this Karma Association is running on good will. Even the spirit stone payments for accepting requests should barely be enough to keep the day-to-day operations running. There isn’t any profit to be made. So, the question is why is the person doing this? Obviously, the founder created a way to generate positive karma for himself by helping others indirectly. If I can purchase a portion of the association’s ownership, I don’t see why I can’t generate good karma passively myself. And if I can’t purchase it, why can’t I seize it? With a hundred sky-realm experts as my bodyguards, who can stop me?

“A, a decision like that is beyond me,” the old man said. His voice was strained, almost as if it were about to crack. “You’ll have to discuss this with the association leader.”

If the association leader is an immortal, the same one that created the karma-reading crystal, I might have to call in a favor from Pill Valley. I wonder which of the two factions is stronger. Pill Valley is rich, extremely rich. Nearly all the important pills and medicinal herbs are made and grown by them. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of this Karma Association until now, but it seems like only the truly strong and vicious—and unfortunate like me, who accidentally acquired bad karma by associating with the wrong individual—are in need of the Karma Association’s services. What about the people that the Karma Association help? If they were strong enough to be a threat, they wouldn’t have to ask for help in the first place.

“The association leader is busy a large majority of the time, it may take a few weeks to get back to you,” the old man said.

“Is that so?” It’s a shame the only explanation I received on the crystal was it’s created by an immortal; otherwise, I could’ve made my own. Anyways, I’m not Lucia; I’m not going for a violent takeover. It’s best if I can settle deals with immortals using money. Deals with sky-realm experts on the other hand…. Well, it’s not like I’m dealing with a sky-realm expert, so there’s no point in pursuing that train of thought. “If that’s the case, then I’ll just purchase every request here for now.”

“That…, I might still need permission to do that for you….”

“Really? How many requests can one person purchase?”

“Ten.”

“Alright, then I’ll purchase ten requests, and everyone following me will also purchase ten requests.” A thousand good deeds. I wonder if that’s enough to offset whatever bad deeds I’ve done. I still don’t understand how Lucia has less bad deeds under her belt when she was the one who incited that pillaging spree. “While they’re doing that, do you mind explaining to me how one accumulates bad karma? Are there any specific actions that garner a lot at once?”

The old man stared at me before nodding. There were tiny beads of sweat on his forehead, too small to roll down, but noticeable enough to make his head glisten. “First and foremost, murder is the worst thing you can do. It generates immense amounts of bad karma.”

“Murder? Why is that the worse thing you can do? Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘torture you until you wish you were dead’?”

The old man’s face turned pale. “If you murder someone, you’re severing their connection to everyone in the world. Torturing someone until they wish they were dead doesn’t necessarily guarantee their death. Their loved ones may still be able to see them again.”

So, it’s the permanence that’s an issue? “How about manslaughter? Is accidentally killing someone worse than torturing them?”

“That’s…, no. Torturing someone generates more bad karma than manslaughter.”

“Why?”

The old man’s face cramped. “Esteemed guest, I don’t make the rules, I can only tell you what generates more bad karma based on what we’ve observed.”

I guess I was being a bit unfair to this old man. Does me pushing him into a tough spot give me bad karma as well? If only there were some way to tell. “Is there an item that indicates whenever I’ve accumulated bad karma? Like a pocket-sized crystal that can judge my actions.”

The old man exhaled. “Yes, we do sell some items similar to what you’re describing.” A small crystal attached to a string appeared in his hand. “This costs a hundred thousand spirit stones. Whenever you take an action, it’ll glow either white, black, or yellow. A white glow indicates positive karma, black indicates negative, and yellow is neutral. Of course, the world isn’t black and white, so sometimes, a gray color may be produced. Would you like to give it a try?”

I held my hand out, and the old man placed the necklace into my hand. At that moment, a burst of black light flashed, but not from the crystal. The old man’s eyes widened. He tugged at the collar of his shirt and pulled on a string, revealing a necklace similar to the one he had just given me. “Handing you that crystal generated this much bad karma…? What, what exactly are you planning to do with that!?”

“…I was just going to perform a few tests to see which actions generate bad karma.”

“Like murdering someone!?”

“…Not personally. Anyways, here’s a hundred thousand spirit stones.” I handed the old man an interspacial ring while he stared at me with trembling eyes. There’s no need to look at me like that. It’s not like I was going to do anything to him even if he didn’t sell me this necklace. Anyways, my bodyguards had finished purchasing ten requests each from the two attendants that were dismissed earlier. I’ve gotten what I came for; now, it’s time to figure out how to be a good person.

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