TGL Volume 4, Chapter 16 (5)

And the origins of Lucia’s wide-area, ally-and-enemy-harming-alike, overpowered, despair-inducing technique becomes clear—well, not really, but it seems like Lucia’s Despairing Blade has some connection to the Mourning Wood Sect. Perhaps they’re both derived from the same source, or the Mourning Wood Sect’s techniques are derived from the Despairing Blade, or the Despairing Blade is one technique amongst the many created by the Mourning Wood Sect. I’m leaning more towards the first option. Does this matter? Not at all.

“How can I take revenge for my clan? All of you are too strong! It’s not fair! Life isn’t fair! Waaaah!”

Ri’s crying? She must’ve figured out Lucia was responsible for delimbing the Hong clan. Granted, I played a small part in it, but it was mostly Lucia’s fault. I wonder how Ri found out. She’s a pretty good actor—scratch that, she was constantly terrified of me. Her acting is horrible. I should’ve realized the cause, but that’s hindsight. It’s always easy when looking back. Anyway, how is she affected by Lucia’s technique all the way over here? There’s an isolating formation around my watchtower; it’s practically insulated from the world. Does Lucia’s Despairing Blade travel through sound and sight? If that’s the case, how come no one else is affected?

“Ah, Boss just keeps getting stronger and stronger, and I still haven’t finished digesting this vermillion bird’s core. How come she’s so talented? She’s lived for a fraction of my lifetime, and she already surpassed me! Maybe I should kill myself.”

Alright…, let’s make Softie splash the phoenix with a bucket of cold water. I don’t want to be the one to wake Mrs. Feathers up. She’ll probably beat me for drenching her even though I’d’ve done it to save her life.

“Will Sophia grow up normally? I’m trying my best, but Lucia just keeps undermining my efforts…. I just want her to be happy. Are the heavens this cruel? I can’t just have a happy life for my child?”

It seems like the effects of the Despairing Blade are milder than usual. I’m not even affected. How about Sophia? Does Lucia’s attack influence her child too?

“Auntie Ilya, why is everyone being so weird?”

Well, it looks like Sophia’s unaffected; though, she does look a bit concerned. “You don’t feel sad?”

“Sad?” Sophia tilted her head. “Why would I feel sad?” Her eyes widened. “Did something happen that should’ve made me feel sad? Did I miss it?”

Sophia’s too adorable. If she grows up to be anything like her mother, it’d be a tragedy for the world. “Your mom used a technique to make everyone in the area experience a really strong feeling of sadness. See?” I pointed at the wall; images of crying people were displayed everywhere. The people dressed in dark-green robes, members of the Mourning Wood Sect, were faring better than the rest, but they still seemed to be affected. They weren’t bawling their eyes out or anything, but their movements had definitely turned sluggish.

“Oh….” Sophia bobbed her head up and down. “Why don’t I feel sad? Is it because Mommy didn’t want to attack me too? But why did she attack Mommy?” She pointed at Softie. She really, really has to find different ways to address Lucia and Softie. Calling them both Mommy may end up in some confusion down the road.

“I’m not quite sure why you aren’t affected.” Perhaps it has something to do with that soul-devouring acorn inside of her head? If the Despairing Blade is an attack on one’s soul, the acorn could possibly offer some protection. It’d also explain why I’m not affected. The Ten Thousand Thoughts technique is supposed to increase the strength of one’s soul. Baldie also cultivated the Ten Thousand Thoughts technique, but she’s despairing pretty hard right now. It’s probably due to her proximity to Lucia.

“You don’t know?” Sophia asked, her eyes widening. “You’re being weird too, Auntie Ilya!”

…This is Lucia’s fault. She’s always spouting some nonsense about me, saying I know everything. It’s rubbed off on Sophia. “It’s not that I don’t know; it’s that I think it’s too complicated for you to understand, so it’s easier to say I’m not sure.” What am I explaining myself for? Why do I care about what Sophia thinks? These are important questions. I’ll use one of my ten thoughts to think about it while the rest concentrate on more pressing matters. “Alright, be quiet now. I have to do some work.”

My squad of reliable elders was also disabled by Lucia. I’ll have to wake them up first. Luckily, I included all types of attacks in my defensive formations; I wanted to be prepared for everything. There isn’t a cold-water spell, but there’s one that blows a freezing wind over. It should be enough to wake these elders up from their despair—if it doesn’t freeze them to death, that is. While they’re waking up, I’ll put Lucia to good use. I’ve already had plenty of time to observe these sect members from the immortal realm. I know who the leaders are; I’ll have Lucia deal with them since they’ll be the most troublesome.

“Lucia, see? Isn’t it much easier to fight when you actually use the techniques you’ve learned?” I swear, the closer one gets to immortality, the less they use their brains—not as if Lucia used it much before. It’s the power that does it. They get strong enough to handwave their problems away with strength, and after long periods of time, their brains rot from disuse. I won’t let that happen to me. “The person right in front of you, the one you’ve been fighting, likely has a core of the world tree. Think about it. He’s from a wood sect in the immortal realm, and world trees firmly belong to the realm of wood.” I don’t actually know if he has one or not. It’d be nice if he did; it’s always nice to have more rare treasures.

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