TGL Volume 3, Chapter 17 (2)

In ten years, Lucia became even stronger than before, far beyond what I imagined she’d have achieved. I should’ve expected it solely from her ability to subdue such a strong phoenix, but it’s only when witnessing her strength firsthand can I appreciate how strong she’s become. With a swing of her hammer, the air was set ablaze, and the bandit leaders were vaporized instantly. She hadn’t put any effort behind her attack at all.

“That’s my warning swing to you!” Lucia said and slung her hammer over her shoulder. It was still on fire, and shadows flickered across her face, highlighting her fierce charm. “Ah? Those leaders already ran away?” Her glaring expression was replaced by a baffled one, and she looked around, swiveling her body. With every turn, flames would drop off her hammer and attack the bandits as if they had a mind of their own. They screamed, and Lucia’s eyes widened. “What the heck, Mrs. Feathers!? I didn’t tell you to burn them!”

“That wasn’t…, I…, sorry, Boss. I won’t do it again.”

Mrs. Feathers is quite smart. Unlike Mr. Feathers, she knows how to speak. I don’t know whether that’s her fortune or misfortune. Mr. Feathers never had to defend his actions that he didn’t do from Lucia like this. As for the bandits, they definitely encountered misfortune after meeting Lucia. It was odd though; they didn’t behave like bandits. They were well-dressed, and their cultivation levels were much higher than what bandits’ should’ve been. If anything, they seemed like the remnants of a destroyed sect.

“Don’t let any of them escape, Mrs. Feathers! We have to catch them all and turn them in for the reward!”

“Wait, Lucia, you should catch them all, yes, but we’re not turning them in for a reward, remember?”

Lucia tilted her head. “Then where does the reward money go? There’s always rewards for turning in bandits, right?”

“Since we accepted this request through the Karma Association, there won’t be any rewards.”

“…No rewards?”

“The good karma you’ll get is the reward, remember?” Does one still obtain good karma for reluctantly performing a good deed? There aren’t many established rules for karma; in fact, it wasn’t until the Karma Immortal ascended one thousand years ago that people realized karma affected one’s life in enigmatic ways. However, most people don’t really care about their karma, but there’s a few fanatics that made a religion out of it. Why don’t people care about karma? It’s an intangible thing like luck. Hard work, perseverance, and seizing what you can to grow stronger are much more important to becoming an immortal.

“The good karma…. I can’t eat karma! Ilya said I’d appreciate doing a good deed, and that means I’ll get rewarded for it! How can I appreciate doing something I won’t be getting paid for?”

“Your tribulation to ascend to an immortal will be weaker. Isn’t your life more important than money?”

Lucia sighed and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Softie. Softie, Softie, Softie. Let me ask you a question.”

Question? What was she going to ask me with such a serious expression on her face?

“If someone offered you a bowl of acorn stew for free, would you take it?”

Probably not. I don’t eat food since it hinders my cultivation, but Lucia clearly wants me to say yes, so I’ll indulge her. “Yes.”

“Now, if he offered you two free bowls of acorn stew tomorrow, but you had to give up your free bowl of acorn stew now, would you take the first offer or the second?”

“The first offer being acorn stew right now, and the second offer being two bowls of acorn stew tomorrow?”

“Mhm.”

Isn’t this simple? “I’ll take the two bowls of acorn stew tomorrow.” Where is she going with this? Is she trying to compare riches now and tribulation reduction later? If that’s the case, I have to convince her to take the second offer. “Think about it. Isn’t the reward much greater if you wait? You’ll be rewarded for your patience.”

Lucia sighed. Was she disappointed in my answer? “Softie, Softie, Softie. If you keep thinking like that, people will take advantage of you!” She looked at me with a gaze that asked, “What are you going to do without me?”

…It stung a little. “Then what would you do?”

“I’d kidnap the person and have him make me acorn stew every day.”

…Yes, that’s certainly something Lucia would do, but I don’t see how that’s an option when it comes to obtaining good karma. “Go on….”

“See? Why worry about one bowl today or two bowls tomorrow when I can have as many bowls as I want at any time?”

“I understand that concept, but how does this relate to the bandits?” Did Lucia become a little smarter? She never really used analogies to explain things before. Her analogy might be a bit off and doesn’t really work, but it’s still an improvement from how she explained things before—which was saying a couple of words, pausing for a really long time, saying something completely unrelated, and then expecting me to understand what she was thinking about in her head. Maybe it’s unrelated to intelligence and more related to focus. She seems less easily distracted.

“Okay,” Lucia said. “One city head made the request to the Karma Association, right? So, all I have to do is turn in half of the bandits to him to get the good karma. Then I’ll turn the rest of the bandits into a different city that has a bounty on them. Or I can disguise myself and turn them into the same city! Ah? If that’s the case, how many bandits do I need to turn in without pay to get good karma? Does it have to be half? Mm, probably not, no. How about two bandits? Two’s a nice number. It’s bigger than one, so it’ll seem like I tried. Right! I’ll turn in two bandits for good karma, and the rest will be turned into money!”

“I—”

“Wait! I have an even better idea! I’ll turn all the bandits in for karma. Then I’ll raid the prison and set them free. A week later, I’ll catch them again and turn them in for money! I’m a genius! Mrs. Feathers, hurry up! Don’t let any of them escape.”

…Sister Ilya, I don’t think Lucia understands what it means to do a good deed.

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