TGL Volume 5, Chapter 22 (3)

Alright, something strange is going on. I never get chills more than once a month for no reason whatsoever. Is someone trying to assassinate me? “Mirta, if you don’t show your face right now, I’m going to turn Yggie into a sheet of paper.” 

One. Two. Three. Silence. Clearly, Mirta’s not the one responsible for these chills. I heard she lost her legs again recently, and when she sent Sophia to get the doctor, Sophia came back with a single bandage instead. Right, the elf must be too busy recovering to spy on me. Standing in an uncomfortable position while remaining completely silent is much more strenuous than it sounds, not pleasant for a patient at all. 

A glance at the talisman on the wall tells me it’s still working. Its golden light prevents ghosts from entering my lab, or if the ghost is extremely strong, they’ll at least be revealed. I haven’t gotten sick ever since I became a ninth-circle magician, and my diet has remained steady ever since Lucia was kidnapped by the tribulation lightning. If Mirta isn’t in the room, ghosts aren’t present, and nothing’s wrong with my body, then that can only mean one thing. I’m not very superstitious, but I have a feeling someone’s plotting my downfall. How? I’m not sure. Maybe they’re going to do bad things in my name. That’d explain why I’m labeled as someone with a lot of so-called negative karma. If someone’s doing that, then it must be Lucia. What in the world is she up to? She hasn’t sent home a letter in a while. 

Bang! 

“Auntie Ilya!” 

I need a lock on my door, one that doesn’t rely on formations. Sophia’s tail somehow inherited Lucia’s formation-breaking properties. Predators were immune to magic back in the pocket realm, and squirrels are mostly immune to formations in the upper realms. Perhaps the two are more related than I originally thought. I should head back to the pocket realm; it’s been a while since I’ve last seen my father anyway. I could visit him after capturing all the predators. Hmm? Am I not afraid of Lucia’s reaction when she finds out Mrs. Wuffletush is missing? Of course not, no one would know where they went except for me. Lucia would simply think they ran away because Reena was mistreating them. I would get the predators; Lucia would get Reena; and Reena would get screwed, but if a single bunnykin sacrifice is the only requirement for more knowledge on squirrels’ weaknesses, then it’s a price I’m willing to pay. 

The culprit behind my broken lock ran up to me and held a jade disc up over her head, offering it to me. “Auntie Ilya, your game broke!” 

“Did you touch it with your tail?” 

“No!” Sophia shook her head back and forth. “I beat the first stage, and when I went to play the second one, the words froze. Even when I try to write on it, nothing happens.” 

What was that? “You beat the first stage?” 

“Yeah,” Sophia said. Her head bobbed up and down. “It was very hard! I lost so many times before winning.” 

Well, now I know why Sophia’s game froze. I haven’t made the second part of the game yet. There just weren’t too many elder-level individuals who I could convert into soul bodies to power the game disc unlike the number of disciple-level individuals. However, if Sophia could beat the first part of the game, doesn’t that make her a true genius? I did trap the souls of the invaders from the immortal realm, and they were supposed to be the geniuses of the seven great sects. Sophia managed to beat them all in securing resources while leading an expedition. 

Alright, if I don’t take this chance now to secure such an impressive disciple, I’ll definitely regret it in the future. As for facing Lucia’s wrath for stealing Sophia? There’ll be no problem if I can make Sophia stronger than her mother. If Lucia wants to bully me, she’ll have to go through Sophia first. With any luck, Lucia will be stuck in the immortal realm for the next ten to twenty years, leaving me plenty of time to work with Sophia. “Sophia, do you still want to be my disciple?” 

Sophia’s eyes grew round, and a twinkle appeared in her pupils. “Yes!” she said and placed the game disc down before doing a jump out of joy. “I didn’t beat the whole game, but I can still be your disciple?” 

“Yeah, even if you didn’t beat the first stage, I still would’ve taken you in.” That’s a lie, but Sophia doesn’t have to know that. “But since you beat it, it looks like I’ll have to update the plans I had written for you. You’re smarter than I expected. Listen. If you become my disciple, your life is going to get a lot more difficult. Right now, you can live a carefree and easy life under the protection of the sect and your mother—the furry one, not the other one. If you become my disciple, your carefree life will disappear, but it’ll become your own. Your thoughts and choices, no one will be able to control those except for yourself.” 

Sophia furrowed her brow. It really wasn’t fair offering this choice to someone so young. They’re not old enough to understand the consequences of each option. Then again, if Sophia really doesn’t like life as my disciple, I wouldn’t force her to stay as my disciple; I’d let her go. I don’t want a disciple who crumbles under a little bit of hardship; I want one who’ll be forged by the pressure. 

Thwap. 

Sophia’s tail slapped against the ground. It didn’t make a loud sound, but it resonated due to the silence within my lab. “I want to be your disciple,” Sophia said. Before I could say anything, she held her hand out in front of herself and raised one finger. “But on one condition. If at any time I feel like you’re not a good master, then I’ll leave you and find someone who can teach me better.” 

This twerp proposing conditions? Does she recognize her true value? Hmm. “I’d like to add a clause. If you want to leave me, you have to give me six-month’s notice first, and within those six months, I’m allowed to address any problems you have with my teaching methods. If you’re still not satisfied, then you can go, but you’re not allowed to clash against me in the future.” 

“It’s a deal,” Sophia said. She cupped her hands and bowed her head at me. “Master.” 

I hope this was a good decision, or at the very least, I hope I don’t regret making this choice. 

Sophia straightened her back and blinked at me. “Master, shouldn’t you give your disciple a meeting gift?” 

Well, we’re off to a promising start, aren’t we…?

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