TGL Volume 4, Chapter 2 (4)

Lucia caught two people from the immortal realm yesterday. Sister Ilya inspected their memories and said she’d keep them locked up forever—according to Sophia—but today, Sister Ilya asked me to get along with the captives, make them drop their guard somehow, make them feel welcome. She claimed it was a psychological tactic: she’d play the evil captor and make them feel dread, then I’d play the good captor who’d trigger feelings of safety and trust from the prisoner. I’d appreciate it if Sister Ilya wouldn’t expose my daughter to such mean tricks, but at least, Sophia will be prepared for them if she’s ever put in a similar situation—which she won’t be!

Ahem. It’s time to inspect the captives now. They seem … miserable. Their clothes were taken away from them after they were captured: underwear included, of course. They were given some orange robes to wear instead. Sister Ilya insists on making all her prisoners wear orange; I think it’s because she dislikes monks, something about their attitudes towards life that irks her. Other than the robes, they weren’t given anything else—not like a cultivator needs anything else to survive. While I was inspecting them, they were also inspecting me. I cupped my hands towards them. “Greetings, visitors from the immortal realm. I’m Vice-Sect Leader Moonlight of the Shadow Devil Sect. I’m not quite sure how you’ve been treated, but I apologize; it must’ve been hard on you. Sister Ilya and Sect Leader Lucia aren’t the most hospitable of people.”

“I’ve already told your demon friend everything, and your beast friend took all of my belongings. What are you here for?”

The woman, Fairy Lin, is pretty irritable. It makes sense; she can’t even cultivate that well in this environment. Sister Ilya gave me a list of things I had to pay attention to. Not only do I have to manage the sect, but I also have to take charge of this task. If someone else is left to take care of these captives, they might be tricked into setting them free. Ah, I’d rather be walking Sophia to school than doing this…. “I’m here to let you know that not everyone in the Shadow Devil Sect behaves like Sister Ilya and Sect leader Lucia. Some of us hope to befriend you rather than treat you as enemies.”

“I understand,” the man, Bloodmoon, said and smiled. “You’re unsatisfied with your position, aren’t you? You’re hoping we’ll give you the strength to overthrow your sect leader so you can claim her spot. Well, you’ve come to the right place. I have a few techniques that can temporarily increase your power to that of an immortal’s. It should be enough to defeat the beastkin. I’ll give it to you for a small price. I merely want some resources to replenish my energy.”

Actually, I’m quite satisfied where I am…. What did Sister Ilya want me to do? Establish a positive relationship with the prisoners and show them around the place, see how they react to it, and record their thoughts. I guess one or two lies won’t hurt. “That’s correct. I want to be the sect leader. However, I might not have access to the resources you need to recover. Sister Ilya is very meticulous about distribution, contribution, and corruption.”

“How about you recruit me into the Shadow Devil Sect?” Bloodmoon asked and smiled even deeper. “I don’t mind contributing as long as the rewards are enough.”

“You can’t!” Fairy Lin said. “He’s an evil person. If you let him recover back to his peak, he’ll likely slaughter everyone in this realm and refine their souls into artifacts.”

Refine our souls into artifacts…. Doesn’t Sister Ilya already do that? She’s turned a few alchemists into those automatic stoves of hers. Is Sister Ilya an evil person? Yes, yes, she is. I already know this. Am I evil for helping her? What is evil anyway? Who defines what is or isn’t righteous? “Shall we have a discussion about good and evil? I’m from a lower realm, and my understandings of righteousness may differ from yours.”

“Of course,” Fairy Lin said. She glared at Bloodmoon. “Perhaps we should have a debate.”

Bloodmoon smirked. “Aren’t you afraid of planting demons inside your heart, Fairy Lin?”

“I will never regret anything I’ve done.” Fairy Lin shook her head and looked at me. Her expression became serious, and I no longer felt like I was facing one of Sister Ilya’s prisoners; rather, it felt like I was facing an instructor. “How do you define what is evil? How do you define what is just?”

What is evil…? Sister Ilya is evil. However, I say that, but it’s more in a joking manner. I don’t seriously think she is an evil person … mostly. “There is no such thing as good and evil, just different ways of pursuing immortality. Everyone wishes to achieve immortality, but the resources in the world are limited. Not everyone can become an immortal; naturally, people shall fall while others will step on their corpses to rise.”

“Agreed.” Bloodmoon nodded.

Fairy Lin’s face remained expressionless. “How about when it doesn’t come to immortality? For example, there is a farmer who works hard in the fields, toils to grow his own crops, and never harms another person in his life. Compare this man to a pillager, a man who slaughters others to take the fruits of their labor to sate his own need when he is perfectly capable of toiling in the fields himself. Is the pillager evil? Is the pillager less good than the farmer?”

“I suppose….”

“Now, say the farmer is an average cultivator. He absorbs the moonlight and spends hours every night cultivating his spiritual energy. Then, a demonic cultivator comes along, kills the average cultivator, and plunders his spiritual energy. If you think the pillager is evil, then what do you think of the demonic cultivator? Is he evil?”

“No, he isn’t.”

“But you agreed that the pillager was evil, correct?”

“Yes, I did.”

“And the demonic cultivator did practically the same actions as the pillager, right?”

“Practically, yes.”

“Then the demonic cultivator isn’t evil because…?”

“There’s no such thing as good or evil when it comes to pursuing immortality.” I thought that was pretty straightforward.

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