Odd. Why does it feel like someone’s watching me? I set up plenty of anti-ghost formation arrays around my lab, so even if a few experimental subjects die, they shouldn’t be haunting me. Even without Lucia around, there isn’t anyone brave enough to go against the Righteous Holy Sect, at least, not openly. Throwing fireballs at the spots Mirta usually likes to hide in isn’t yielding any results, so she’s likely not spying on me at the moment. Am I being targeted by an assassin? That’s a little concerning, but at the same time, I’m not particularly worried. All the major assassin sects and brotherhoods are under my control. Perhaps I’m overthinking things.
“Auntie Ilya! I did it.”
Was it just Sophia approaching causing me to feel odd vibes? Well, the feeling went away, so it’s possible. “What exactly is it? Be specific when speaking.”
Sophia came up to me and held up a jade disc. Floating above it, there was a holographic projection of a three-dimensional array. “I finished the work you gave me.”
The array I had her create wasn’t something just anyone could figure out. It required out-of-the-box thinking along with an understanding of array fundamentals. I’m pretty sure Sophia has neither of those. Well, no, her thinking isn’t as constrained as most people’s; it’s been liberated by Lucia’s presence. “When you got stuck, who did you ask for help?”
I knew it. There was no way Sophia could’ve come up with this formation by herself. However, I never specified she couldn’t get any external help; after all, without doing research, coming up with original formations is near impossible. People also count as external sources. It wouldn’t be right to deny Sophia’s achievement simply because she asked an adult for help. Hasn’t a majority of my knowledge been obtained by plundering other people’s memories? Although I may have different moral standards compared to the residents of the Immortal Continent, that doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite. “Good job.”
Sophia beamed at me. “Does that mean I can be your disciple now?”
“No.” Results are important, but when it comes to demonstrating foundational knowledge, what one learns is more important. I took the disc Sophia was holding and wiped my hand over it, clearing the holographic projection. Then, I handed the disc back to her. “Create it again.”
Sophia blinked as she stared at the empty disc. Then, she raised her head to look me in the eyes. Her ears were drooping, and her tail, which was perked up before, lowered to the ground. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“I’m not a very nice person.”
Sophia pursed her lips before taking a seat right on the floor in the middle of my lab. “If I make it again, will you tell me why you’re not a nice person?”
Can Sophia create it again without external help? “Sure.”
“That’s a promise,” Sophia said and looked down at the disc. She placed her feet against the edges of the disc and tapped on the surface with her fingers. Every so often, she’d rotate the disc using her feet. Since she wasn’t adept at controlling qi externally, it was a simple and direct method compared to levitating the disc and making it spin. With a few more taps, the outline of a formation appeared, and Sophia’s brow furrowed. She closed her eyes for a bit, and after a moment, she touched the outline of the formation and manipulated it with her eyes still closed. Some people remember things better when they close their eyes. The fact that Sophia isn’t messing up despite not seeing the formation disc is a pleasant surprise. At this rate, she’ll finish the formation pretty soon. It seems like she has potential, much more potential than either Lucia or Softie. I wonder who she inherited her talent from.
“Done!” Sophia said and opened her eyes. She picked the disc up and climbed to her feet. The foot-touched disc approached me as Sophia offered it up, but I used one finger to push it back towards her.
“I did it, right?” Sophia asked and placed the disc on a nearby table. “Now you have to tell me why you aren’t nice.”
A promise is a promise. Normally, I wouldn’t mind breaking one, but if I break this one, Sophia will probably snitch on me to Lucia when she eventually comes back, and I’d rather not deal with that. Where do I even begin? An answer like “I was born this way” or “that’s just the way I am” probably won’t satisfy Sophia. “Believe it or not, I used to be a very nice person. Then, I met your mother and realized some very important things about life.”
Sophia tilted her head to the side. “My mommy taught you things?”
“Her? Teach me? Yeah, right. No, I observed your mom and learned things on my own. Now, pay attention because I’m only going to tell you this once.”
Sophia reached into her pocket and pulled out a spirit stone. She pressed it against her bracelet, and a notebook appeared in her hand along with another spirit stone that she placed back in her pocket. She opened up the notebook, revealing a pencil and a scribbled-on page. “I’m ready.”
Is Sophia more inclined to learning than I thought? Despite the tremendous amount of items Lucia hordes and keeps on her person at all times, I’m sure she doesn’t have a note-taking utensil or even a sheet of paper to record things on. Regardless, whether or not Sophia has the capabilities to become my disciple is still to be determined. “I’m not a nice person because the world rewards bad behavior, and I want to be rewarded. Within an area, there are a finite number of resources whether it be water or food or spirit stones in a mine. If someone takes those resources, there are less resources for others to have. Nice people share with others, and as a result, they’ll have less resources for themselves.”
Sophia finished writing in her notebook. Then, she tilted her head at me. “But won’t a nice person make friends with other people? Isn’t friendship better than resources?”
“With more resources, you’ll become more powerful, and people will beg to be your friend if they don’t want to be exterminated.”
Sophia scribbled in her notebook again before nodding to herself. “So, you’re not a nice person because you care more about resources than making friends?”
Oh, wow, Sophia’s able to link together two thoughts unlike her mother. It seems like she does have potential.Previous Chapter Next Chapter