TGL Volume 5, Chapter 25 (1)

I’m worried about Sophia. Sister Ilya is a horrible influence on my poor child. Even Lucia is a better role model than that demon. I don’t know what kind of ideas Sister Ilya has been planting in Sophia’s head, but they’re simply not good ones. When Sophia said she wanted to invite some of her friends from school over, I thought she was being a social butterfly. Instead, she became a gang leader. 

“Stop! Only senior members can play twice in a row,” Sophia said and snatched away a jade disc from a stunned girl’s hand. “If you die, you have to let someone else take a turn.” 

The stunned girl blinked and pouted. “What do you mean by senior member? How do I become one?” 

Sophia pointed at herself. “I’m the boss, so I’m a senior member.” She pointed at Ri, who was attacking a jade target with tiny little puffs of flames. It was adorable watching my disciple wave her fans around to create fire. “Ri is my second-in-command, so she’s a senior member too.” Then, Sophia gestured around broadly. “The eight of you are my new underlings, and none of you are a senior member yet. When more people join us, the eight of you will become senior members too, so go find people who’ll join my study group.” 

Sophia calls her gang a study group, but I know what it really is. She’s applying concepts she learned in the game Sister Ilya gave her to the real world. I saw the notes she left behind while planning with Ri. They already have a contribution and reward system in place for the members they haven’t recruited yet. As Ri’s master, I feel like I should stop her before she strays too far from the right path, but at the same time, I’m really curious and want to know how far the two of them can go. As long as they don’t cause problems for me, I suppose I can allow it, but if they turn domineering and arrogant, I’ll have to ground them both. 

“Anyone can join the study group?” the girl asked. Her eyes were still staring at the game disc Sophia had taken away from her. It isn’t the same game Sophia played to become Sister Ilya’s disciple but something similar Sister Ilya designed where people play as followers instead of leaders. 

“Not anyone,” Sophia said and shook her head. She casually pulled a spirit stone out of her pocket and rubbed it against her bracelet. It dispersed into golden lights as a sheet of paper, a vial of purple liquid, and a second spirit stone appeared in her hands. She pocketed the spirit stone and passed the paper to the girl. “Here’s a list of requirements someone has to meet to be a member of my study group.” 

The girl took the paper, and I used that chance to teleport to a corner where I could view the contents of the sheet. For a child who comes to me for help with everything, Sophia’s a very private person. When I walked into her room to see what she was doing, she hid her papers and rushed me out. She must’ve inherited her independent side from Lucia. From where I was standing, I could read the paper, but … the contents on the page made absolutely zero sense to me. 

Like me, the girl stared blankly at the page. Then, she looked at Sophia. “I don’t know how to read this.” 

“Drink this,” Sophia said, offering the girl the vial of purple liquid. 

The girl grabbed the vial and stared at Sophia. “Uh….” 

“You can’t hesitate when the boss gives you orders,” Sophia said and gestured towards the vial with her chin. “If you want to be a senior member, you’ll have to listen to all my commands.” 

“That doesn’t sound very fun,” the girl said. 

“It’s alright,” Ri said and came over to their side while wiping sweat from her forehead. “Once you become a senior member and we have newer members, they’ll have to listen to all of your commands.” 

…I’m not sure I approve of this study group Sophia and Ri are trying to form, and what’s with the purple liquid Sophia’s trying to make someone drink? If it were Sister Ilya offering a vial of unknown liquid to one of her subordinates, I would’ve come to the conclusion it’s some sort of slow-acting poison that requires an antidote at a fixed interval: a method many questionable organizations use to control their people. I don’t think Sophia would do something as horrible as that, but … I don’t know what kind of strange ideas Sister Ilya planted in my precious child’s head. Before the girl gets hurt, I better stop this. “Don’t drink that yet. Sophia, what’s in the vial?” 

“Um?” Sophia turned her head to look at me. “It’s special fruit juice.” She pointed at the sheet of paper in the girl’s hand. “It’ll help her read.” 

“Where did you get it?” 

“Auntie Il—, err, Master gave it to me,” Sophia said and nodded. “She invented it to help keep secrets. Only people who drink the special fruit juice can read words written with special fruit juice as ink.” 

“I see.” Invented it? Many organizations have techniques to encrypt their messages. It’s more likely that the demon stole it from one of the groups she’s eliminated. Speaking of groups she’s eliminated, it really won’t be long before the whole Immortal Continent is unified under the Righteous Holy Sect’s rule. It feels like Sister Ilya’s been more motivated ever since receiving Lucia’s letter. 

Sophia turned away from me to face the girl. “Drink it.” 

Instead of drinking the vial of purple liquid, the girl looked at me with a questioning expression. Since it’s a decryption method, there shouldn’t be anything harmful inside the vial. “You can drink it.” 

Sophia pouted at me while the girl drank the liquid. “Mommy, you’re undermining my authority in front of my underlings.” 

…I hope Lucia returns soon.

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