TGL Volume 4, Chapter 13 (1)

Sophia seems fine after waking up from her soul-devouring-acorn-induced coma. Lucia and I still haven’t agreed on how we’d deal with it. Personally, I don’t want Sophia to embark on a path of death and slaughter. I don’t want her to be exposed to Lucia’s merciless killing of animals in the name of food either. I want to protect her from all the cruel things in the world, keep her safe from the world’s horrors. If it was up to me, I’d have the acorn removed from her body even if it means giving up on her future cultivation. Is it wrong to want my child to live an ordinary life? She doesn’t have to be outstanding. I just want her to be happy.

“Mommy? Do you want some of my snacks?”

Sophia’s offering me her snacks? She never does that; to her, her snacks are sacred. “No, thank you. What’s wrong? You don’t like how they taste?”

“No, they’re delicious,” Sophia said and grabbed a fistful of chocolate pills. “I wanted to cheer you up. You looked sad.”

Sophia…. I want to squeeze her so tightly. How can my child be this angelic? “Thank you, Sophia. I’m not sad at all. I was just thinking about some things.” As a parent, I have to decide what’s best for my child; however, what if Sophia resents the decision I make for her in the future? Why don’t I explain things to her and ask her opinion? “Sophia…, do you like cultivating?”

“Um, it’s fun when I can hit people,” Sophia said and shoved the fistful of pills into her mouth. She chomped twice and swallowed. I don’t think she broke down the majority of the pills. “The posing is boring, but the strength training is more fun. I like running, and it makes me happy when I can do more than other people!”

“If you couldn’t cultivate, how would you feel?”

“Sad!” Sophia nodded, and her ears twitched. “If I can’t cultivate, then I can’t go to school, and if I can’t go to school, I won’t see Ri often. Also, if I don’t cultivate, Long Chen told me I’ll grow old and die!”

Elder Chen did what? “He told you that?” What kind of person tells a six-year-old child she’s going to die? If it weren’t for the fact Lucia already locked him up in a dungeon, I would’ve locked him up in a dungeon! “Don’t listen to him.”

Sophia tilted her head. “I won’t grow old and die if I don’t cultivate?”

I’m not sure if six is an appropriate age for a child to learn about death…. Do I lie to her? Perhaps I should deflect the question, let Lucia answer…, no. If I let Lucia explain the concept of death to Sophia, she’ll probably be traumatized. If I let Sister Ilya do it, then that’ll only be conceding to Sister Ilya; however, I really am ill-equipped to deal with this. “I’ll explain when you get older, okay?”

“Okay. It’s because you don’t know the answer, right?” Sophia nodded and patted my leg. “I understand.”

What? “What do you mean?”

“Um, that’s what Auntie Ilya told me,” Sophia said and blinked her wide, innocent eyes. “She said if someone says they’ll tell me an answer when I’m older, that means they’re making up an excuse because they don’t know the answer.”

Sister Ilya…. Stop undermining my parenting! “When did she tell you this?”

“When I asked you why I was born and you told me you’ll tell me when I was older, I didn’t want to wait until I was older, so I asked Auntie Ilya, and that’s what she told me. You didn’t know, so you made that up as an excuse.” Sophia bobbed her head up and down. “Um? Are you mad?”

Me? Mad? Never. “Did Sister Ilya tell you why you were born?”

Sophia’s forehead scrunched up. “Um, now that I think about it, she didn’t. She distracted me with a cookie! Mommy, why was I born? Am I old enough to know yet?”

I wish Sophia would spend less time with Sister Ilya. Besides, isn’t Sister Ilya busy managing the sect? Lucia and I may be the sect leader and vice-sect leader, but we don’t really do anything when compared to Sister Ilya. “No, you’re not old enough yet.”

Sophia stared at me with eyes that said, “So you really don’t know,” but she didn’t say a word. It really irked me, and it was all Sister Ilya’s fault! When she has kids, I’m going to make them cause her so much trouble.

Ding.

A message? Who would be sending me a message? It’s from the mission board desk. That’s odd; Ilya’s supposed to be in charge of that. Let’s see, Ilya’s unavailable and told them to contact me…. Lucia’s causing a ruckus there, and I have to go there as soon as possible to save them? “Sorry, Sophia, Mommy has to go mediate for some people.”

“I want to go too!” Sophia held out her hands, and I couldn’t resist her round eyes, pleading me to not abandon her. I scooped her up and teleported over to the mission board.

“What the heck do you mean I can’t turn these in for contribution points? These are treasures! I can sell them for ten spirit stones each!”

Upon arrival, the first thing I saw was Lucia holding up a pair of stained panties. “Lucia? What are you doing?”

“Softie! Perfect timing.” Lucia teleported next to me, grabbed my shoulder, and dragged me towards the front desk. “This lady won’t accept these used panties! Mrs. Feathers told me I could exchange treasures here for contribution points and use those contribution points to post missions.”

Oh. “Used panties are only useful for a certain subset of people. I think they’ll be more accepting if you offered spirit stones instead.”

“Eh? I’m the sect leader though! I should be allowed to turn in these panties! How else am I going to get rid of my stockpile?”

I couldn’t stop the sigh from escaping my mouth. “Please bend the rules this one time. It’ll be better for all parties involved. If your superior asks, just tell him to contact me.”

The junior at the front desk let out a breath and nodded. “I’ll exchange your … used panties for you now.”

Lucia squinted at the poor girl. “How come you treat her better than you treat me? I’m the leader! She’s just my vice!”

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