Only a few minutes after Cleo departed, the worried figure of the duke rushed into the room and immediately gave his daughter a big hug. Sophie wrapped her arms around him and could feel the silent shaking of her father as he tried to suppress his visible relief that his daughter was okay.
Warmth filled her chest and she gave a short pray to the gods to thank them for giving her such a wonderful parent.
"Dad I did it! I finally broke into the qi spirit realm!" Sophie shouted with joy and released a small wisp of qi energy for her father to inspect.
"Congratulations my dear daughter," the duke spoke in a gentle tone. When he saw the figure of Sophie laying down on the floor covered in blood. his heart ran cold.
In fact, he was tempting to persuade Sophie to just stop cultivating.
But he knew better than anyone that laws did not hold any sway over the powerful beings of the universe and his daughter needed to have the ability to protect herself in the event that something happened to him.
He was scared of dying not because of death itself but at the mere thought of his daughter being left alone in this world that may not accept her.
"Did Cleo find you immediately?" Sophie asked.
"Who is Cleo?" her father replied with a puzzled tone.
The duke thought for a moment before a sudden thought hit himWas his daughter referring to the princess brat who snuck around the mansion using an astral projection?
Cultivators who specialised in mental force had a variety of strange abilities that made them quite tricky to face against in fights.
Astral projection was one of these skills which gave the ability to a user to project a mental image of themselves that could explore a limited range around the host body. This range gradually increased as the level of the cultivator improved.
The princess had arrogantly thought that since Duke Peterlor was a sword cultivator that he would be unable to detect her intrusion, but she vastly underestimated the strength of a god stage cultivator.
God stage cultivators possessed a natural domain that could be projected outwards into the surrounding area. Any type of ability or force used within this range could be instantly detected and extinguished with a mere thought.
Rokan had noticed Cleo's phantom instantly as she used the skill but allowed her to freely roam as he watched carefully to see what the hidden purpose of her visit to the estate was. The envoy was provided a basic map to the mansion and the princess ignored all the sensitive rooms and seemed to be looking for a specific person.
The duke was quite curious as to who that person was and it was to his great shock to find out that the princess had visited his daughter in the infirmary and stood guard for almost the entire duration of the envoy's visit.
Sophie watched her father pause for a brief second before turning to her with a serious expression,
"Are you friends with that girl?" he asked.
"YesI met her at the banquet," Sophie saw the concerned look on the duke's face and knew that he was only worried about her.
He never brought up the incident of Leona's falling out with her, but it seems that he knew more than he let on.
"For your sake then I will just scare the girl to let her know not to think that she is invincible with just some petty mental tricks."
The duke may seem cruel but if that princess was going to be friends with his daughter then she needed to learn some humility before her actions outraged someone more powerful than her and she dragged Sophie into the matter.
The conversation between the head butler and the envoy representatives was winding down to a close and a variety of topics had been discussed.
The tax report was only part of the reason for the visit as the royal family would keep tabs on powerful nobles to sound out their positions on certain matters.
Duke Peterlor was a crafty old fox and by having the head butler be his representative, there could be no discussion on matters outside of tax collection as the servant would have no authority to disclose information on his master's behalf.
"You can expect to receive the full tax report in two months time and duke Peterlor would like to reiterate his stance of remaining neutral for the battle of succession," the head butler spoke in a monotone voice.
The Duke's actual words were more along the lines of he did not care which bastard sat on the throne, but the head butler decided to go for a more diplomatic translation.
"Glory to the Federation," the envoy leader spoke in reply before giving a short bow and then signalling the team to depart.
Cleo stood up with the rest of the delegation as they prepared to leave the Peterlor estate. She smiled cheerfully as the memory of her sneaking into the infirmary just to see Sophie made her feel immensely proud of her mental abilities.
Suddenly a wave of pressure struck her with incredible force and Cleo froze on the spot as she lost control of her limbs. Panic began to set in as she could not even call for help from the maidservants beside her.
She attempted to tap her amulet to activate the teleportation function but then a booming voice echoed in her mind,
("Consider this a warning. don't behave so arrogantly in the presence of a god stage cultivator")
("My daughter seems to like you, so I am willing to overlook this transgression but rest assured. there will be no more second chances")
Just as quickly as the mental suppression appeared, it vanished abruptly, and Cleo gasped in shock as she clutched her chest in pain.
"Princess is everything okay?" one of her personal servants noticed Cleo 's apparent discomfort and asked in a concerned tone.
Cleo took a few deep breathes to settle herself and then straightened out her back to pretend that nothing had happened. She ignored the question from the maid and walked out of the mansion with a brisk pace.
Why was her father in law so scary?!
She did not know this fact, but had it been a boy who visited Duke Peterlor's precious Sophie.
...well let us just say that he would not have bothered asking for his daughter's opinion.
(Meanwhile at the infirmary)
Sophie saw her father close his eyes briefly and give a casual wave of his hand which caused a pulse of energy to be sent out. She did not train in mental energy but her golden eyes could see small ripples exit her father's hand which was something that had never happened before.
Could it be that her abilities were enhanced after breaking into the qi spirit realm?
She stretched out her arms and legs to try to feel for any changes but fortunately there seemed to be no more extra appendages this time around. Getting used to the spider legs was already quite difficult and it took some time to get accustom to sleeping with those bulky things.
The duke opened his eyes and gave a short laugh before boasting in a proud tone,
"I gave that arrogant brat a little lesson,"
"She will think twice before messing with the Peterlor family!"
Sophie felt a small tinge of unhappiness and glared it at her father who seemed to have scared the princess that was willing to be her friend. Rokan could sense that his daughter seemed to be unhappy, so he coughed lightly before switching topics.
"Did your body undergo any changes?" he asked curiously.
Sophie frowned in contemplation but there really seemed to be no significant alterations to her physique other than a slight increase in her visual perception.
She was feeling a bit thirsty after resting for so long and reached out for the glass of water on the side of the bed. The glass seemed to sparkle in the light with an almost hypnotic pattern, but Sophie did not pay any attention to the details.
The tray was placed just out of the reach of her hands, so Sophie stretched forward to try to grab it, but the frustrating thing just kept eluding her.
F.u.c.k just let me get this stupid thing!
As the thought flashed across her mind, one of her spider legs shot forward with terrifying speed and pierced the glass which caused the fragile object to instantly shatter into fragments.
Sophie saw her dumbfounded look reflected in her father's eyes as the pair looked down at the glass shards scattered across the floor and both spoke at the same time,
"Um. I haven't been able to use them that flexibly before."
"My expensive glass!"