TGL Volume 5, Chapter 17 (1)

It’s always surprising to see how fast time can disappear when you’re fully concentrated on an activity whether it be training, cultivating, or playing games. I thought I would beat the game Sister Ilya gave my daughter within a few hours. Now, I’m extremely close to the end, but it’s been much longer than a few hours. A week has already gone by. I’m not sure why I persisted for so long in trying to beat this game; it’s not like I’m trying to become Sister Ilya’s disciple. I guess I was feeling a bit competitive and wanted to show Sister Ilya her place … by beating a game she designed for a child. I think I wasted my time, but at least, the game was very informative. Even if there’s death and competition, it’s nothing Sophia won’t be exposed to if she continues cultivating in the future. 

Are you sure you wish to exit? 

Do I wish to exit? Now that I’ve defeated all the other sects’ chosens through power and deceit, obtained the majority of the most valuable treasures, and found three earth-realm inheritances that anyone could learn from? Of course. “I navigate the sect’s flying boat towards the exit of the secret ground and accelerate at a modest speed. I ask my followers to keep a lookout for anyone waiting to ambush me at the end. In fact, I also help my fellow sect members keep a lookout, making sure to infuse my eyes with qi to detect any hidden formations.” 

“Woah!” Sophia’s ears perked up, and she rushed over to me from her spot on the floor where a plush cushion had been placed. “Mommy? You beat the game?” 

It took a lot longer than I expected it to, but I did it. Not only that, but the reward for completing it was definitely worth it. I might not get anything from Sister Ilya, but my chest feels all fuzzy inside when Sophia looks up at me with those eyes twinkling with amazement. That’s the real reward. Perhaps I should treat Sister Ilya in a friendlier manner for helping me experience this feeling. “That’s right; I’m about to beat the game. Do you want to watch?” 

“Yes!” Sophia lifted her cushion and plopped it down next to me before sitting down, scooting close to stare at the jade disc in my hands. 

Although I said what I’d like to do out loud, I didn’t actually write it in yet. I was waiting to attract Sophia’s attention. Now that she’s here, let’s show her a perfect completion of the game. And … done! 

You scan the horizon, and likely because of the prowess you’ve shown during your time in the secret ground, no one dares show their face to rob you. Unfortunately, while you were leaning over the railing to check below for any potential ambushers, you left your back completely exposed. Pig Big, your second-in-command, was an underling of Soft Moonlight, the first chosen of the Shadow Devil Sect. Afraid of the competition, she had hired Pig Big to get rid of you, tempting him with all sorts of questionable promises. Though Pig Big was a greedy man who was easily swayed by riches, he was still a competent assassin. As your flying boat was seconds away from crossing through the exit of the secret ground, Pig Big stabbed you right in the back, piercing your heart—ironically, using the same weapon you had gifted him during the expedition. The last thing you see is the light of the secret ground’s exit wash over you. You die before you exit the void, your soul leaving your body before you’re even home. It’s questionable whether or not you’d even have a chance of reincarnation. 

Excuse me…. What? 

Bang! 

“M-Mommy?” 

This stupid, stinking, smug soul! Assassinated by my own followers? In what world would I let that happen? If this thing wasn’t text-based, I wouldn’t have to specifically read someone’s body language before and after I speak! Shouldn’t something as inconvenient as that be removed for convenience’s sake? If I were actually in a secret ground, I would be alerted to changes in expressions and body languages without having to check. 

“Mommy.”

There was a tug on my sleeve. 

“It’s okay if you lose,” Sophia said, staring at me right in the eyes. She spoke before I could say anything. “I lose all the time. But that’s okay. I learn a lot each time I die, and I get a little closer to winning every time I play.” 

Right. Absolutely. What am I thinking? This is a learning device Sister Ilya created for Sophia to help her in the future. Although it’s inconvenient to have to specify doing things because I already know them, it’s not an inconvenience for Sophia. It’s a learning opportunity. Why am I getting so upset over losing a game? In the first place, knowing Sister Ilya, the game probably can’t even be beaten by anyone but her. It’s just an endless number of failures designed to teach Sophia lessons in reading the room, in what to look out for when reading body language, in watching out for traitors—which I still think is unrealistic, but maybe not that unrealistic as to not be included in the game. I’m not bitter my victory was stolen from me. I just think it was unfair. “I’m sorry for startling you earlier. I shouldn’t have slammed the jade disc. Don’t learn that from me, okay?” 

“Learn that from you, okay,” Sophia said and bobbed her head up and down in one quick motion. 

“No, really, don’t.” 

“Mhm!” Sophia nodded at me without saying anything. What did mhm even mean? Was that a yes? A no? Did she even understand what I asked of her? Well, if Sophia shows any signs of behavioral problems in the future, I’ll know who to blame: obviously, Sister Ilya. If she’s not guilty of teaching Sophia strange things, then no one is.

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