TGL Volume 5, Chapter 31 (3)

Not more than a few months have passed since Lucia was taken away by the tribulation lightning, pulled through the immortal door she had summoned. A few months is barely enough time to grow a potato, so how did Lucia manage to find her way back home within that timeframe? Some immortals would take centuries to finally send a message back home to their original sects—if they even bothered—and even the fastest among them took slightly less than a decade to accumulate enough resources to check back in. Either the immortal realm has turned into a joke in the past few millennia, or Lucia breaks common sense up there as well as she broke it down here. Since I read Baldie’s mind, I already know the answer to that. 

“Is that Mommy?” Sophia asked, her eyes wide. Thanks to the formations I added, I can project images from outside onto a screen inside my lab. “That’s Mommy!” Sophia turned around and dashed outside. It was quite clear she was going to run up there to meet her mother despite having someone capable of teleporting her over. Well, it’s a good thing she didn’t ask me because I wasn’t planning on heading over just yet. I’ve developed a spell that can hide my presence even under Mrs. Feathers’ divine sense, so Lucia shouldn’t know my current location. As for why I want to hide my current location from her, isn’t that obvious? I don’t want to be within grabbing range when Lucia finds out I took her daughter in as a disciple. Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about this for at least a decade. If I knew Lucia was coming back so soon, I might’ve thought a bit harder before taking Sophia under my wing. 

First, I’ll send a thousand flying beads up towards the black dragon in the sky. It doesn’t look like a typical dragon, one that looks like a lizard with wings. Instead, it looks more like the dragons from legends depicted in the books from the Immortal Continent. With the formations drawn into the beads, I’ll have a thousand different viewpoints to observe the dragon from. As for why I’m going to observe the dragon, it’d be silly not to. What if Lucia wasn’t alone when she came back down? What if she was with a human who, I’ve learned from reading Baldie’s and Bloodmoon’s memories, kills demons on sight? 

These orbs can fly rather quickly and stealthily; after all, their sole purpose is for reconnaissance. I’m actually not the one who came up with the idea for these sky-down-view orbs, as the inventor named them, but I do own all the factories needed to manufacture their parts. They were only recently created, and this is their first practical test. If I can successfully gather information about a dragon without it noticing, then these orbs would count as a great success. Meanwhile, I’ll tune in to the sect plaza’s audio formation to hear what Lucia’s saying to Softie. 

“—Sophia doing? Did she miss me? Did anyone bully her? Where the heck is she right now, and why can’t I find her?” 

“She should be with Sister Ilya,” Softie said after Lucia paused to take a breath during her barrage of questions. “There’s something I have to tell you. Sister Ilya tricked Sophia into becoming her disciple, and I was completely powerless to stop it.” 

Softie, you snake. I should’ve expected her to toss me under the bus. What does she mean forced? I’m not the one who wanted Sophia to be my disciple—at first. Is it my fault Sophia was awed by my intelligence and talent? Knowing Lucia, the answer to that question is violence in the form of a noogie. It’s a shame I can’t zoom in on Lucia’s face with the formations embedded in the plaza, but I can still see enough to judge her general reaction. 

“Ilya became Sophia’s teacher?” Lucia asked and blinked her eyes. No creases formed on her forehead, which was a good sign. “How did that happen? What do you mean tricked?” Suddenly, Lucia’s eyes lit up, and she patted Softie on the shoulder. “Forget it; I’ll ask Sophia directly!” Leaving those words and a stunned Softie behind, Lucia vanished. Seconds later, I swear I heard the squirrelkin's voice faintly coming from the hall leading to my lab. If I had to take a guess, Lucia teleported right outside the point where my magic stopped blocking people’s divine senses. 

“Ah? Softie said you were with Ilya, and if I couldn’t detect you before, that means you were in a divine-sense-free area! That must mean, Ilya’s over there!” 

What in the world? Did Lucia just infer my location? It was pretty obvious, but still, it’s not something she should’ve discovered without asking Sophia first. Clomping footsteps echoed from outside into my room, and I didn’t even have time to decide on where I wanted to teleport to before Lucia flung open the half-closed door, her eyes wide like a savage animal. She stared at me and grinned, baring her teeth. I tried to teleport, but for some reason, the space around myself hardened, and I couldn’t shift myself more than a few inches to the left. Was this spiritual-energy suppression? Lucia must’ve learned it during her time in the immortal realm. Were Baldie and Bloodmoon untalented individuals? Why was Lucia already stronger than them after cultivating for less than a fraction of the time? 

“Hello, Lucia.” Luckily, it doesn’t seem like Lucia’s angry or upset at me for making Sophia my disciple. Logically, I haven’t done anything wrong, so there’s no need to be scared. However, I’m still nervous because logic didn’t make sense around squirrels. “I was just about to go look for you. I see you’ve been well.” 

“Hmm, hmm,” Lucia said and crossed her arms over her chest while raising an eyebrow. There’s something different about her. There’s a glint in her eyes that didn’t use to be there. What on earth did her new master teach her?

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