TGL Volume 4, Chapter 24 (2)

For the past year, I’ve been living underground. It’s not as bad as one would expect. I get plenty of sunlight and experience outdoors thanks to my corpse puppets. Granted, I can’t feel the warmth of the sun’s rays or the wind running over my skin, but that doesn’t really matter; it’s the thought that counts. Why have I been living underground? It’s pretty simple. I’m hiding from Lucia. Durandal is still braindead, and I can’t make another virility pill. Mirta actually bailed on me. When I went to find her, there was a note on her table saying she was going to explore the world with her world tree companion, and I shouldn’t go looking for her. Obviously, I went looking for her, but I must’ve underestimated the world tree. It removed the tracking formations I left on the two of them. I never thought she’d have the courage to leave; I thought I was treating her pretty nicely. I think it’s Sophia’s fault for tripping Mirta so often. The little brat says she doesn’t do it on purpose, but I don’t think that’s the case; she inherited Lucia’s genes after all.

Anyway, not much has changed in a year. I did make Baldie my assistant though. Sometimes people attack my corpse puppets out of surprise, fear, or habit when I go to give them orders. Having Baldie wander around with me prevents that from happening. Also, she caught a lot of visitors from the immortal realm and spent a lot of contribution points to recover her strength. I don’t believe there’s a possibility of her ejecting her soul out of her body like Bloodmoon did, and as long as she can’t get access to any spiritual energy, there shouldn’t be a chance of her betraying me. Other than the choker around her neck, I did have her swear a few oaths to the heavens as a precaution. I didn’t think Mirta would disappoint me either, but she did. Unfortunately for Baldie, Mirta’s betrayal created a few restrictions for all my extorted workers.

Right now, I’m hosting a welcoming ceremony. Lots of sects have heard about our rapid expansion, and some of them preemptively sought us out. Surprisingly, there was one sect that had a quasi-immortal ancestor who was on the verge of becoming an immortal. When he heard people from the immortal realm regularly dropped by—and were captured by us—he came looking for rare materials. I figured I’d give his sect a chance to integrate peacefully through a competition. People from the Immortal Continent love their competitions. I had Lucia preside over the competition as a show of strength, but I’m beginning to think that was a bad idea.

“He almost kicked my daughter; of course, I had to stop him!”

No, I should’ve known it was going to be a bad idea. Why did I do it in the first place? Oh, right, I said it to distract her because her tail was pointing in my general location when she asked where my real body was. I don’t know why she wants to find my real body when she can just interact with my corpse puppets. However, if it’s for the reason I suspect it is, I can’t let her find me no matter what. Since Durandal came out of his weapon body and didn’t respond, Lucia has been mumbling the words “immortal realm” in her sleep at least three times a night. Why do I know this? Because I spy on her constantly. It’s important to know what she’s doing to mitigate any damages.

Like right now. Lucia’s fighting with the quasi-immortal from the sect: he’s probably going to be the very first soldier in my thousand-immortal-army plan. I can’t let him resent the Righteous Holy Sect. He might betray me after we go to the immortal realm. Oaths to heavens might be useful down here, but who knows if immortals have found a way to avoid their punishment up there?

“You threw my great-great-grandson into a wall! Even if you had to stop his attack, you didn’t have to be so heavy-handed, did you?”

“Are you calling me fat?” Lucia whipped out the hammer I made for her. It was a dull yellow color, and white tendons were wrapped around it like snakes. It was very pleasing to the eye, if I may say so myself. “My hand might be a little heavier than yours, but that doesn’t mean you should say it out loud!”

At this rate, I won’t have to worry about the quasi-immortal growing resentful. He probably won’t survive one of Lucia’s attacks. The protective barrier around the audience can’t hold back the shockwaves from her swing either; the audience will probably die too. “Sophia, can you hear me? Stop your mother.”

“Mommy, stop! I told you to not hit anyone today!” Sophia is such a sweet child—when she’s not tripping an elf in a garden of dangerous plants. I wonder how long she’ll continue to listen to me. Children are supposed to grow rebellious as they get older, no? Well, she’s Softie’s child too, and Softie has been very obedient her whole life. Maybe Sophia will be like that as well.

“Huh? You told me I couldn’t kick anyone, and I didn’t!”

It’s sad Sophia had to tell Lucia that.

“Throwing and kicking is the same thing!” Sophia cheeks puffed up, and she placed her hands on her hips. Where did she learn that from? Has someone expressed anger around Sophia before? Probably Lucia.

“It’s not exactly the same thing,” Lucia said and put her hammer away. She turned away from the pale-looking quasi-immortal and squatted next to Sophia. “Here’s a cookie. Don’t be mad, okay?”

“Um! Okay!”

I’m pretty sure Sophia’s conditioned Lucia into giving her cookies. …I think she’s done it to me once or twice as well, but it’s whatever. Cookies are inexpensive, and she’s not even my child. It doesn’t matter if I help her foster a few bad habits. I wonder, if Lucia really does leave to go to the immortal realm, despite all her protests saying she won’t, is she going to take Sophia with her?

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