Chapter 196: An Encounter with the God of Death
Sila and Sebastian watched Lookhin’s transformation with excitement. During the process, however, Lookhin twitched once and returned to the sparrowhawk form. Its eyes glowed green while magic particles of the same colour drifted around its body.
“What is happening?” Sila asked with concern.
“Oh? Look at that, sir.” Sebastian pointed at Lookhin’s green ball made of magic in the sky. It was now blinking repeatedly. “I guess the spell has finally finished,” The butler said delightfully.
The green orb dissolved and rained down like grains of sand. However, looking closely, one would see that they weren’t sand but millions of extremely small scorpions.
They descended and quickly performed the duty they were assigned. They began to scatter in all directions, searching for any abnormalities in order to report back to their master.
“With this, we can just wait. It should only take a few days, or, at worst, a month before they find what we are looking for, sir,” said Sebastian.
“Honestly, I was almost discouraged that it would fail. Now, one of our problems is taken care of. Good job, Lookhin.” Sila gently stroked its head.
“What would you like to do next, sir? We don’t know how long we’ll have to wait.”
“I don’t think we have to hurry. The desert is very wide. Let’s continue practicing like usual,” proposed Sila.
“What about Lookhin, sir?”
“Umm... Lookhin, please try to transform again,” Sila ordered.
Lookhin fiercely glared at Sila, protesting that it was tired already, before curling up and going to sleep.
“Lookhin must be exhausted, sir. We should try again next time. Actually, the transformation almost succeeded just now. It was just bad timing, that the spell happened to finish and interrupt the process,” Sebastian explained.
Sila gently lifted Lookhin up and brought it inside a tent, preventing it from sleeping under the blazing sun.
“I will give you one more day, Lookhin. You have to transform tomorrow, okay?” He spoke in a soft voice, before exiting the tent.
When Sila got out, Sebastian had already gone back into his own tent. Under the sunlight, Sebastian preferred training his magic power reinforcement inside the tent. As a result, the area outside usually belonged to Sila.
Even though the sunlight was strong, Sila preferred practicing outside rather than staying in a narrow place. He approached the canvas and sat cross-legged underneath it.
“I have to start with the Attribute of Earth today. I can’t fail.”
Sila half-closed his eyes and took deep breaths. He straightened his back and put both his hands on his lap before building up inner force like he had done every single day.
Based on the Five Elements Book, the human body consists of five elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. All five elements connect and circulate throughout the human body and maintain a balance.
Most people separated elements of qi into two: the hot element and the cold element. However, as stated in Profound Qi Circulation Art, Pumin relied on the knowledge of Five Elements and separated qi into five elements instead.
Pumin speculated that each person was born with a certain affinity toward a single element, and even profound arts were deeply related to the concept of five elements. The reason why people found some arts easier to practice than others was a result of elemental affinity. People could easily learn or use arts with the same element as themselves, or at least those with elements related to their element. Thus, learning one’s own element and the opponent’s element was extremely advantageous.
This was the first Sila had ever heard of this. He always practiced without minding the affinity between himself and the art. It was only recently that he could comprehend the knowledge his father had left behind and dug deeper into the concept of the five elements.
His father was of the metal element. The power he possessed was simple, sturdy, and resolute. For him to circulate qi, it was best if he started at the lungs. As for Mora, he was someone of the fire element. The power he possessed was hot, intense, and stimulative. Thus, Flaming Cloud Qi, which had a qi circulation method that started at the heart, was the most suited to him.
On the other hand, Sila practiced qi arts by relying only on the textbook without sufficient comprehension. As a result, he couldn’t exert the maximum strength of each art.
There was a way to determine which element one had the most affinity with. With Profound Qi Circulation Art, one only needed to circulate qi one lap and notice the subtle differences in the accumulation of power between five organs.
One could also transmit a small amount of inner force into the opponent’s body to discern which element they had an affinity for. Nevertheless, with Pumin’s vast experience from traveling around the world, he was able to discern the element affinity of someone with just a glance.
Sila circulated qi throughout his body using Profound Qi Circulation Art. He noticed that his spleen could accumulate inner force easier than other organs, indicating that he was of the earth element.
Regarding the earth element, its strength was firm, erosive*, and instant**. It wasn’t strange that the nature of his psychic power, Dark Psychic Corrosion, revolved around breaking down whatever it touches. For Sila to circulate qi, the best starting position for him would be the spleen position.
*Author Note: Erosive is one of the aspects of the earth element. According to Profound Qi Circulation Art, everything in the world will inevitably return to dust and decay to become the soil.
**Author Note: Instant is one of the aspects of the earth element. According to Profound Qi Circulation Art, lightning is a part of the earth element because the earth absorbs lightning strikes.
As a result, the profound arts that Sila could learn and use easily were the arts of the earth element, like Poluk’s Genesis Punch which focused on unleashing power in an instant, as well as elements adjacent to earth in the cycle. For example, the fire-element arts like Flaming Cloud Qi and Nine Sun-Melting-Fists, or the metal-element arts like Profound Qi Circulation Art, Heaven's Decree and Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps.
Sila accumulated his inner force in his spleen. He was extremely confident that he could succeed in what he was about to do due to his affinity.
If he could tap into the power of the earth element, he would have an easier time tapping into the power of the metal element. From metal, he would be able to access water. Water would help him tap into wood, and then wood would assist him in using fire
Ultimately, the fire element would cycle back to the earth element.
Sila got the idea for elemental rotation from the application of Viola’s Orbiting Cosmos. It was an entirely different concept that even Pumin didn’t consider.
Originally, Pumin used Profound Qi Circulation Art to determine the opponent’s element and used his sword art to connect himself with the nature, borrowing power from the great flow to put his opponents into a disadvantageous position and defeat them.
On the contrary, Sila used Profound Qi Circulation Art on himself to temporarily change the element within his body, seizing the power of an advantageous element in order to defeat an enemy.
Since all elements connected to each other, theoretically, Sila’s idea should be practical. Once he mastered a single element, he should be able to rotate it and eventually exert the power of all elements, albeit only temporarily.
For Sila to develop such an eccentric qi, the most difficult part was the starting point. In any case, he didn’t randomly choose where to start. He decided to focus all of his inner force in his spleen, the organ of the earth element.
“Attribute of Earth,” muttered Sila. It was the name he had given to his first new move.
“The earth element refers to firmness. The core of using its power is to unleash the power in an instant. I have to accumulate enough inner force and unleash it all in one go. It will take only an instant to know whether I succeeded or failed. If I fail, I will have to start building up my inner force from scratch again.”
Sila took a moment to imagine his future self, who successfully combined the use of an unconventional martial art and an eccentric qi art.
His formless martial art focused on movements that were hard to predict. If they were supported by his five-attributed qi, five of his punches that looked identical could hold any of the five elements, depending on Sila’s choice.
The fist thrown with the Attribute of Earth would be firm and hit the target in an instant.
The fist thrown with the Attribute of Metal would be simple, yet powerful.
The fist thrown with the Attribute of Water would be continuous and complex.
The fist thrown with the Attribute of Wood would be slow and mysterious.
The fist thrown with the Attribute of Fire would be intense and aggressive.
The fists were identical but imbued with different attributes. As a result, his opponents would be greatly confused by his attacks.
“Let me see if I have succeeded, or if I’m back to square one.”
Sila took a long, deep breath. The very next second would decide his success or failure.
Sila unleashed the power from his spleen, exerting all of the inner force he had been accumulated in one go. His veins expanded and every cell in his body resonated. His body was clad with twice the usual strength. Now, what Sila had to do was to make his body remember the current sensation.
Sila started circulating qi from his spleen to his lungs, then to his kidneys, liver, and his heart respectively before cycling back to his spleen. However, his power output drastically fell instead of being stable. The longer he circulated qi, the weaker his inner force became and the more he lost in the process of qi circulation.
Sila was well aware that he had failed. The Attribute of Earth meant an instant. Since it didn’t succeed, he would have to start over.
Yet Sila refused to admit defeat. Even though he was aware that his action was useless, he forcefully exerted more power from his organs. He coughed up blood and his internal organs were damaged. His gaze was fuzzy and he felt pain all over his body. It was a clear symptom of qi deviation.
Sila fully opened his eyes, blood seeping down from the corners of them. His vision blurred and eventually all he could see was darkness. His health points continued to decline. He even lost the strength to take out a potion. He tried to call Sebastian for help but nothing came out of his mouth.
He was dying. Dying because of his own stubbornness.
“You knew you failed. Why did you still proceed?” A man’s voice entered Sila’s ears.
Sila tried to look, but his vision was dark. He couldn’t even sense the presence of the voice’s owner. Could it be that he had died? Could it be that the person talking to him was the God of Death?
The system notification still functioned normally, telling him that he indeed encountered the God of Death. It was the worst possible timing.
Monster Anubis, the Guide of Souls, Level 1,000 Emperor Rank, has appeared.
Those killed by Anubis will immediately respawn at the nearest rebirth zone. All the memories created since entering Bistem Desert will be deleted. All items and skills one acquired in Bistem Desert will be confiscated. In addition, the player won’t be able to re-enter Bistem Desert again for one year.
“A-Anubis,” Sila muttered. He tried his best to scream, to warn Sebastian and Lookhin.
There was no sound of footsteps, but Anubis’ voice was very close to Sila as if the distance between them was less than a meter.
“Both of your pets have fallen asleep due to my power.”
“Let... them go... I... die... alone.” Noticing that he could still negotiate with Anubis, Sila begged Anubis to kill him alone.
“With your statement, I am now aware that you value your pets’ lives over your own. Now, I have more pawns in my hand. Answer my question. Otherwise, I won’t kill your pets but will torture them without letting them die.”
Sila coughed up a mouthful of blood. He couldn’t see anything, but he gritted his teeth and swung his fist, though all he hit was empty air.
“Don’t ever give away your weakness to your enemies. Remember it well.”
Sila was pushed by an unseen force, knocking him onto his back. The sand transformed into chains, locking his wrists and ankles to the ground. Sila tried to summon his strength and break free, but to no avail. All he did was bring more pain to his wrists and ankles.
Amidst the darkness, Anubis repeated the question, “You knew you failed, so why did you still struggle? For you to exert the power of the earth element, it has to be done instantly. After the first second, if you don’t succeed, that means you have failed. It doesn’t matter how much you struggle. A failure is still a failure.”
In the moment of crisis, Sila failed to notice how Anubis came to have knowledge regarding the earth element. He gave his answer to Anubis with a hoarse voice.
“I have no time... Montra is extremely strong... I have to race against time.”
“Time is what the Desert of Death gives you. Didn’t your teacher tell you that?”
“Teacher Mora...? Why do you...?” Sila was extremely shocked. How was Anubis able to guess the contents of the conversation between him and his teacher in the outside world?
“So he did tell you... You are so stubborn, just like your teacher.”
A small amount of power was injected into Sila’s heart. Just when he thought he was going to die, Sila noticed that the power was hot and warm. Once it entered his body, it began to heal his body and traveled through his spleen, and then his lungs. The power continued to cycle through all the organs of the five elements in his body. As it was healing him, it also stimulated Sila’s own healing, speeding up the process.
It was getting the most use out of the least power.
“The five elements always rely on each other. For you to open the gate of earth, you need to have support from the gate of fire, not doing it alone by yourself. Supporting each other is the principle of Five Elements. You don’t fight alone and your power doesn’t exist to be used individually. Remember it well.”
Sila’s vision returned, though it was still blurry. He could see the appearance of a man in ancient Egyptian clothing with a sword behind his back. He tried to take a look at the man’s face and found that Anubis had a black jackal mask covering the upper half of his face.
“Build up your inner force again for at least two weeks. Don’t be impatient. You will waste more time if you act too rashly,” said Anubis.
Anubis took out the sword and stabbed it down into the sand before preparing to leave. The sword looked ordinary but Sila could identify it in an instant.
His eyes widened. Sila pulled himself up but collapsed right after. He extended his right hand and grabbed Anubis’ ankle.
“Wait... Don’t go yet...” Sila’s voice was as light as a whisper. Suddenly, a feeling of drowsiness overcame him.
“...Who in the world would try to stop the God of Death from leaving? Just let your body rest for one or two days. Once you wake up, you will be healthy.”
Sila’s consciousness shut down. The last thing he saw was the shadow of the man’s broad back, who jumped forward without looking back.
Sila fell asleep next to the sword that looked like a common sword made of stone, though it shone brightly when the sunlight reflected on it. It was as if it was a valuable gem in the rough that had yet to be refined... similar to the person sleeping next to it.
Chapter 197: The Stone Sword on the Sand
Sila was drifting in darkness. He felt his body was light and very relaxed, but he couldn’t breathe, feeling like something was pressing on his face. He tried to take a deep breath but the air couldn’t enter his nose.
Did he die again?
“Lookhin, don’t sleep on Mister Sila’s face. He will die if you keep this up.” Sila could hear Sebastian’s voice.
“Boring~!” A kid’s voice rang out. Sila heard it clearly as if it were ringing on his face.
“Aot’s aap-ening? Aoo-earn-aof-er-aight? (What’s happening? Who turned off the light?)” Sila mumbled.
“Ah? Mister Sila has regained his consciousness. Lookhin, please move away.”
The weight pressing on Sila’s face vanished. He quickly took a deep breath into his lungs. Recalling what happened before he lost consciousness, Sila instantly circulated qi to inspect his body.
‘Normal... No, it returned to the very start. I really lost the inner force that I built up and have to accumulate it again. This means I actually met Anubis.’
“Mister Sila, you have been unconscious for... um, two days, I guess? Lookhin was the one who brought you inside the tent, sir.”
Sila swept his eyes around the tent, searching for Lookhin, but couldn’t see the sparrowhawk. Instead, the person standing next to him was a girl around the same height as Mamon. She was playing with her hair.
The girl had emerald-like eyes, an oval-shaped face, long and disheveled brown hair, and was wearing green clothes made of linen. The most eye-catching features about her were the sharp, hawk-like eyes and her straight lips devoid of a smile.
“Lookhin? Is this your human form?” Sila said while pulling himself up to sit properly.
“Yes, sir. She has maintained this form ever since she brought you into the tent. May I ask what happened to you, sir?”
Lookhin took the liberty to sit on Sila’s lap and continued playing with her tufts of hair. Sila didn’t mind however. He gently stroked Lookhin’s head and answered Sebastian’s question.
“About that, I encountered Anubis. He is the God of Death that you’re looking for.”
“Excuse me? Such a crucial event... how was I unaware?”
Sebastian thought he fell asleep due to accumulated fatigue from being hard on himself. He was always practicing and the time in the Desert of Death was unstable. It was normal for him to doze off sometimes.
“Anubis said he used his power to make you sleep,” Sila explained.
“I see. By the way, did he hurt you, sir? Why did you fall unconscious? Generally, Gods of Death aren’t aggressive.”
“The thing was... Eh? Sebastian, did you just say that Gods of Death aren't aggressive?”
“Yes, sir. Actually, this is common knowledge among us monsters. However, humans use their own common sense to judge that Gods of Death must be evil. That’s a misunderstanding. In fact, they are helping humans more so than the other gods who humans worship.”
Sila scratched his head. “Erm, I don’t understand any of that, Sebastian.”
“It’s actually easy to understand if you think about it, sir. All beings have to die. This is inevitable. Gods of Death pity the dead if they have to find their own ways to Nirvana, so they command grim reapers to guide souls to where they belong without losing their way. However, humans can’t see the grim reapers’ good intentions and hate them, even going so far as trying to banish them, despite how we grim reapers work hard without expecting anything in return. We want neither praise nor a word of worship.”
“Don’t grim reapers normally lead humans to Hell? It’s natural that humans fear them.”
“Mister Sila, we grim reapers are merely the guides. We aren’t the ones who choose the destination for the souls, sir. Whether a human goes to Heaven or Hell, that depends on their actions from when they were alive. The Lord of the Gods of Death, Lord Yama, is considered the deity who upholds extreme fairness and uprightness, more so than those angels in Heaven who tend to take the side of those souls who worship them. Humans do evil deeds themselves. It’s simply absurd for them to blame us for guiding them to Hell.”
Sila was pondering Sebastian’s logic when he suddenly remembered something important. He quickly stood up with excitement, causing Lookhin to fall down. She upsettingly glared back at him.
“The sword! Where is the sword? Sebastian, did you see the stone sword? It looked ordinary but...”
Sebastian gestured for Sila to stop panicking and said, “Calm down, Mister Sila. The stone sword you are talking about is outside. I was about to ask you where it came from.”
Sebastian followed Sila outside with Lookhin tailing behind. The sky was dark, and the stone sword was still in the sand where Anubis left it.
Sila approached the sword and released a sigh of relief. He turned to Sebastian.
“Even though we are the only ones in this desert, you should at least keep the sword inside the tent, Sebastian.”
Sebastian lips twisted into a dry smile. “I would have done that if it were possible, sir. However, I couldn’t pull it out.”
Sila frowned, feeling doubtful. He extended his hand to grab the sword’s hilt.
“Are you kidding me? The sword is embedded in sand, not a stone. Hmm...?”
Sila exerted his strength, trying to pull the sword from the sand. However, it didn’t even budge. He tried it from a different angle. Since it was stuck in sand, and not a stone, Sila tried to move the surrounding sand away from the blade.
“It’s no use, sir. I have already tried,” said Sebastian.
The sand around the sword was tightly clustered like the grains formed a chunk of metal. Sila snapped his fingers. He believed it would eventually work if he continued digging into the sand.
However, Sebastian’s next statement crushed his hope. “If you plan to dig deeper, I’d advise against that, sir. Lookhin tried sending insects down. It seems the deeper we go, the larger the crystallized area of sand becomes. I’d say that the sword has already become part of the desert.”
Sila sighed. “To be honest, I also think that I got it too easy. Ah, what should I do to take it out?”
“There is a message next to the sword, sir. Every time the sand was removed, the letters always returned. It seems to be a hint, though I can’t comprehend it.”
Sila got down on his knees and really found the message. The handwriting was bold and neat, giving off an imposing vibe.
“...One cannot wield this sword alone... Is that it?”
Sebastian said, “Yes, sir. And...”
Sila interrupted. “It’s quite easy! This means we have to wield it together. Sebastian, please come and help me.”
Sebastian sighed. “I was about to ask you if you really think it would be that simple. Lookhin and I have tried pulling it out together and it didn’t make a difference.”
Sila was ashamed to express his stupid idea. If the sword could really only be wielded by two people, it would be an extremely awkward way to use the sword.
“Wait... One cannot wield this sword alone...?” Sila recalled Anubis’ statement.
“Did you understand something, sir?”
“A little, I guess. By the way, Sebastian, do you know which energy type Anubis belongs to?”
“I guess he is a magic-type being, sir. His specialty should be wind and earth magic, though I’m not sure.”
“In that case, can we say that a sword stuck in a desert is a magical phenomenon?”
“Isn’t that obvious, sir? The reason we can’t pull the sword out of the sand must be due to some kind of magical phenomenon.”
Sila nodded. “The essence of magic is Unity. Isn’t it plausible for us to think that the sword is currently united with nature? By ‘cannot wield it alone’, it probably means we can’t wield it with our own strength but have to borrow power from nature to do it.”
“That can be right, sir. However, borrowing power from nature is a sublime ability. Even for me, when I cast a spell, I could only borrow power from the Gods of Death, not the great nature. Does that mean we can’t do anything about it?”
“I think I can find a way, though I can’t do it right now. Let’s leave it alone for the time being.”
“Certainly, sir. I have been training magic skills with Lookhin in the past two days. I suppose it’s your turn to train her how to use qi.”
“Okay. From now on, you should focus on your own training, Sebastian. We still don’t know what kind of mission Anubis will give you when we encounter him again. Maybe it will be a mission that Lookhin and I can’t assist with, so you have to become stronger.”
“I had the same thought, sir. Please excuse me, then.”
Sebastian bowed his head before returning to his tent, leaving Sila with Lookhin who was chewing on a pellet of luxury pet food.
There were times when some kids came to his dojo to practice, so Sila had some experience taking care of kids (though Mora said that he was quite bad at it).
“Lookhin, come here.” Sila sat down on the canvas and tapped the spot next to him, inviting her to join him.
“...” Lookhin slowly walked and sat down on his lap instead, which Sila didn’t object to. He stroked her head gently.
“Lookhin, are you tired? Do you want to rest?” asked Sila.
“...” Lookhin shook her head, and placed another food pellet in her mouth.
“In that case, do you want to train qi circulation? If you do well, I will teach you a martial art. Well, let me think of an art suitable for a girl.”
“...” Lookhin nodded as she was chewing on the food.
Sila raised his hand to kindly wipe the leftover food from her mouth using his sleeve.
“Stop eating for a while, okay? I don’t know about your qi, so let’s start with basic qi circulation.”
Sila placed his hand on Lookhin’s right shoulder and transmitted a small amount of qi into her body. His qi flowed through Lookhin’s veins, slowly guiding the natural process of qi circulation.
“Mn, according to Five Elements Book, you have a good affinity with the metal element, Lookhin. You should start circulating qi in the lungs. When you utilize your qi, it will be most efficient if you exert it from your skin. Understand?”
Lookhin nodded and started circulating qi while following Sila’s guidance. As she circulated Great Sparrowhawk Qi throughout her body, her body gradually became lighter and lighter. Soon, she entered a state of enlightenment as she stopped paying attention to her surroundings. Her body slowly drifted up and floated two feet above Sila.
‘Mn, she can really fly. It’s natural, I think, since Lookhin was originally a bird. By the way, do I have any suitable arts for her to learn?’
Sila retreated a few steps from Lookhin and took all the books containing his arts out, trying to select ones that were suitable for her.
“The decent ones will be Armament Trampling, Stellar Wheel, and Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws... But will they fit well with a girl?”
The only great female martial experts Sila knew of were Sangdao and Varee. Sangdao’s fighting style was gentle and continuous while Varee’s was quick and simple. Based on Sila’s guesses, he thought Sangdao and Varee must have great affinities with the water and the metal elements respectively, so both of their fighting styles would fit well with Lookhin.
Sila pictured their martial moves in his mind and jotted something down on blank sheets of paper. He used the arts he had as a foundation before removing the aggressive parts and replacing them with Sangdao’s gentle part and Varee’s simple and nimble part. Finally, he came up with one more new martial book.
“I will have to organize the contents first. Let’s wait for Lookhin to familiarize herself with qi before teaching it to her... Don’t be impatient. I will waste more time if I act too rashly.”
His last sentence was a repeat of what Anubis had said.
“Who exactly is Anubis? Is he an Independent NPC? Is he a real human or an AI? Why was the sword with him?”
Sila looked at the stone sword in the sand, feeling regretful that he didn’t ask Mora for more details regarding his biological parents.
“...there is something in that dimension that you need to find. It’s a gift that I left for you and also the reason why I accepted the position of Independent NPC...”
Mora’s words repeatedly echoed in Sila’s mind. Now that he thought about it, Mora didn’t explicitly say that the gift was a sword.
Could it be that the gift wasn’t a sword?
Could it be that the gift his teacher had mentioned was a ‘person’ rather than an ‘item’?
This wasn’t the first time Mora concealed some truth from him, though Sila trusted that his teacher would have a good reason for holding back information. It implied that it would benefit him more if he was oblivious to the truth.
The stone sword was in the sand. At first, Sila didn’t realize it. However, Heaven's Decree Sword Art was the art of borrowing power from the great flow to cause phenomena.
That meant, if he could use Heaven’s Decree, he would be able to pull the sword out.
Is this really just a coincidence?
Anubis had the stone sword, possessed a profound understanding of Five Elements, and could embed the sword in the sand. The latter was a phenomenon that Sila had read about before. Not from some random literature, but from Heaven’s Decree’s second sword style.
“Crashing Mountain... As firm as a mountain. Seemingly staying still but actually slowly moving forward. Using the great flow through the sword’s movement.”
Sila could almost recite every word he had read in the Heaven’s Decree book. He just hadn’t started seriously practicing it, as Mora instructed him to wait until he entered the Desert of Death.
Sila looked at the stone sword. As his gaze fell onto it, his mind became calmer and his useless thoughts broke away. He began building up inner force again, slowly this time.
His plan was to succeed in creating his new qi art over the next two weeks before proceeding to practice Heaven’s Decree Sword Art.
His qi was slowly building up in his spleen. Sila didn’t forget to share parts of his inner force with his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys as well. All of his organs resonated and reacted to each other.
Sila touched the stone sword and felt the power within it resonating with his body. Some portion of power from the sword got absorbed into his body due to the ‘digestive’ characteristic of the earth element.
‘We are not alone. As we receive some, we need to return some.’
Sila sent his power into the sword, and the power eventually returned to him. Every organ and every part of his body cycled the power from one to another. Sila didn’t focus his power into one specific part of his body, but his spleen naturally built up inner force at a quicker rate than before.
A pair of eyes was watching from a far distance. He muttered to himself, his voice sounding as if the wind itself was whispering.
“Good. Although you’re stubborn, you’re learning. You will waste more time if you act too rashly. On the contrary, if you are calm, things will go faster. It seems he will use less time than I first anticipated.”
Anubis opened his right palm. There was an ancient, magical eyeball on it. He stared into the eyeball and witnessed something.
“This kid won’t be a problem anymore. However, the other one is...” Anubis let out a long sigh.
He looked up at the stars in the night sky. Each star shone brightly, trying to burn brighter than the others. Together they created a dazzling sight of the captivating night sky, decorated with innumerable twinkling stars. It was a beauty incapable of being created by a single star.
[Lookhin in human form]
Chapter 198: The Two Stars
Montra logged in after he had exited the game in order to investigate rumors about the Sword Prodigy’s return. He failed to obtain any useful information though. All he could find out was that the number of rumors was going up with every day that passed, and it all traced back to a single famous craftsman, who had suddenly started looking for news regarding the Sword Prodigy.
Out of all of his problems and obstacles, Montra had to admit that this one was getting out of hand. All he could do at this point was let it be.
Montra exited the hotel in Alkedia City, observing shining stars in the evening sky.
There had never been a problem that he couldn’t solve. However, this problem was too big for him to handle. His solution to solve it was to do nothing.
Pumin made an appearance in Zhongsuyuan City, and Sila happened to be visiting. This was a suspicious coincidence.
Montra also wondered why Pumin wore a mask, implying that he wanted to conceal his identity, yet didn’t explicitly prevent Zeref from mentioning his name.
Was this something Sila schemed, or a warning from Pumin?
If it was the former, Montra suspected that Elder Mora had helped Sila conceive the plan. He knew from a report that Sila had logged out and met Mora. The meeting of these two was detrimental to Montra’s plan.
Man's schemes are inferior to those made in heaven. Montra was troubled that he had to tell Revin that it seemed they had lost the Black Dragon Sword for nothing.
On the off chance that it was the latter, though the probability of that seemed low, it might be Pumin’s intention to indirectly warn Montra that he was being watched.
This person was far more of a threat than Sila. Montra didn’t even know Pumin’s goal.
Montra was too tired to greet his guildmates, so he teleported himself to a certain lawn. It was an exclusive special dimension he had secretly purchased using his own personal money. Even his two closest friends didn’t know about its existence.
There were only a refrigerator and a shelf on the vast lawn, together with a magical outdoor torch that was always silently burning in the center of the lawn.
Montra laid down on the grass and accidentally fell asleep after a few moments, his exhaustion overwhelming him.
“...Look at that devilish boy. He is only twelve but he can defeat an adult without breaking a sweat...”
“...Even the third’s disciple is this skilled. Imagine how strong Mora’s disciple is...”
Voices echoed in Montra’s head and awakened him from his nap, flinching. The words he had heard from people in the association talking behind his back were still haunting him even now. The more he tried to ignore them, the louder they became.
Inheriting a successor position from a young age had caused people to pay close attention to him. Many people tried to use him as a tool, or a pawn. The world he knew was full of scams, deceptions, exploitation, and even threats. In order to survive, Montra had to grow and become a person who could make decisive and serious judgments without blinking—a cold, heartless, and vicious person.
However, the more he showed everyone how much he was capable of, the more people would anticipate the skills of Mora’s main disciple, who had yet to show any of his talents.
“That guy has never done anything...!”
Montra gritted his teeth and summoned the Heavenly Dragon Spear, stabbing it into the ground. He took several deep breaths to dismiss the useless thoughts in his head.
“Even so, I have to admit that Sila is strong. The Flaming Cloud dojo has an exclusive qi art while my Sky Dragon dojo doesn’t, so I’m at a disadvantage. The only aspect that I’m weaker than him in is personal ability. If I don’t become stronger, the weakest part of my entire plan will be none other than me.”
Sila thought Montra was stronger than him. In the meantime, Montra was pessimistic, so he also thought that he was inferior. His experiences had taught him that being optimistic always led to disappointment.
Montra closed his eyes and recalled all of Sila’s martial movements.
Sila possessed a profound qi art. As for himself, Montra only possessed Triple Sky Energy. However, he couldn’t say he was confident that the art that he—a practitioner of a later generation—could compete against Flaming Cloud Qi, which was invented by the Flaming Cloud Demon God, who was the first generation prodigy of the Flaming Cloud dojo. As if that wasn’t enough, the qi had even been further developed through generations.
“The other thing to consider is the martial art. My Heavenly Destiny Fist is complex but lacks raw power. I couldn’t kill him without attacking his vital spots. Although I could maintain my advantageous position all the time when I fought him, I could only kill him when I started using a spear. On the contrary, Sila could kill me in a single hit, which means his raw power is formidable... I will have to recreate my Heavenly Destiny Fist, this time centered around defeating an opponent.”
Montra lightly stroked the Heavenly Dragon Spear, which shook and gave off a silent roar in return.
“The martial art is not the main problem. The worrisome aspect is the qi art. A shortcut is required for one to quickly catch up to others. In terms of building up inner force, a ‘shortcut’ means... a dark art.”
Montra took out a black book from his system window. He had secretly taken one from the Profound Library’s forbidden zone inside the Wulin Masters Association and scanned it into the game. The books in the forbidden zone were too profound to be destroyed while too dangerous to be studied. Thus, they were sealed within the forbidden zone, a place only the Wulin Lord and the Three Elders can access.
“This art will help me build up inner force in a short period of time, but...”
Montra stroked the letters on the front cover which spelled the name of the book: Grand Deity’s Breathing.
He decided not to practice such a dangerous and risky art for now unless it was absolutely necessary. Montra placed it on the shelf before laying back down, gazing into the starry sky.
‘It isn’t necessary for me to use that art. Let’s consider Martial Radiance Art. It was a power that I got it by chance, but what if I can control it? Feeling pain when I want to feel, and becoming devoid of feeling when I don’t want to feel... it would bring out the most of my body’s potential.’
Be gone... my pains...
Montra’s subconscious voice echoed. However, no one could hear it, including himself.
Three sources of power circulated throughout Montra’s body. He was trying to call forth the demon that had already departed to return to him. He intended to completely control it in order to possess greater strength to fight Sila.
To possess enough strength to survive in such a ruthless world.
Montra’s great plan was going in the right direction. If everything went according to plan without any mistakes, Sila wouldn’t even have a chance to fight him. However, Montra was fully aware that no plan was perfect and all of them had some flaws. He didn’t dare to be careless. Otherwise, he might become the loser before he knew it.
The light in his eyes gradually faded away, turning them expressionless. His power resonated and scattered throughout his body. The sensation on his skin began to refuse the grass’ softness. Even the ground’s warmth was slowly disappearing and the wind’s chilliness had vanished. One by one, his senses turned off.
Only the spear remained in his consciousness. Except for it, Montra sought nothing more. He needed no one to understand his chosen path. Becoming the victor was his sole purpose of living in such a grey world.
The stars were gone and replaced by the sunlight of the new dawn. The magical torch still shone brightly, and the Heavenly Dragon Spear emitted a white glow. However, none of the lights could reach the bottom of Montra’s heart.
This night was the twenty-sixth night after Sila had entered the Desert of Death. It was the day that he had been waiting for. He was determined to succeed this time so he gave himself more time to build up inner force.
Sebastian didn’t exit his tent even once after the day Sila regained consciousness. If not for Sila sensing magic power from inside the tent, he would think that the butler had disappeared from the Desert of Death already.
Lookhin seized the area within the remaining tent, so Sila had to sleep outside. During the past two weeks, Lookhin’s ability to use qi was growing stronger. She had acquired supporting skills like Qi Circulation and Qi Reinforcement and their skill levels sharply rose. As for her martial art, Sila granted her ‘Flight of the Little Bird’, which was a book containing the art he specially invented for her.
Lookhin was too short, so Sila hadn’t sparred with her even once. He still gave her some guidance though. Her affection level toward him was now at seventy percent and had remained at this value for a long time. Even with that, Lookhin rarely talked to Sila. Most of the time, she would exchange only one or two words with him. Sila believed she was a quiet type.
When Lookhin slept, Sila would train his martial art. When Lookhin trained her skills or arts, he would build up inner force.
Sila proudly looked at the new book regarding his new martial art. He had already given it a name.
“Formless Martial God... Does the name sound too arrogant?”
All of Formless Martial God’s moves were actions that naturally pulled out the power of qi without forcefully circulating it. Therefore, his movements would look free and casual, sometimes acrobatic, not looking like they were martial moves at all. His opponents would have a difficult time reading or predicting his moves.
However, even with that, Sila still considered the art incomplete.
The time had come. Although being too hasty was bad, being too lazy was no better. His current basic qi would be replaced with the bizarre qi that he would invent today, elevating his Formless Martial God into completion. By utilizing both the martial art and qi art together, he would be able to exert the power of the five elements. Sometimes his attacks would be fierce and aggressive like a devil’s punishment, and other times they would be gentle and slow like a god’s blessing.
If his idea worked and he mastered both arts, he would be one step closer to becoming the Martial God.
Sila sat cross-legged, placing both hands on his lap, and relaxed his muscles. He blankly looked at the stone sword before slowly closing his eyes. All the problems and the pressing matters lingering in his mind slowly faded away; be it the Wulin Masters Association, Montra, Teacher Mora, Sangdao, Varee, or even his father.
His mind was as calm as an undisturbed lake and as clear as a mirror.
A calm mind is the strongest one.
In that instant, Sila finally entered the realm of complete calmness, which Divine had given him a hint for after he acquired Moon Reflecting Mirror.
Everything was no longer important in Sila’s mind. Even the thoughts of success or failure didn’t appear or disturb his peace.
‘An eruption of the Attribute of Earth requires stimulation from the Attribute of Fire. Anubis could have helped me recover from any of my organs. However, he chose to start in the heart position, which is the fire organ. He must have tried to give me a hint.’
Sila accumulated his inner force into his heart, and his body became warmer. The desert’s coldness couldn’t affect him anymore.
*Thump Thump* *Thump Thump*
The sounds of his heartbeat were loud and clear. His power spread throughout his veins from his flaming heart, the origin of vitality.
His inner force naturally cycled through his body at a slow yet steady pace. It was now time for Sila to pull out power from his heart and stimulate his spleen in an instant in order to create the qi that could freely exert the power of the five attributes.
The decisive moment had come, and he didn’t prolong it. Sila focused his mind into the inner force in his spleen and unleashed it all at once.
Every molecular part of his body awakened, generating twice as much power as usual. His spleen vibrated, while his heart still continued sending warmth into it.
Sila circulated qi to his lungs and could feel the air, the humidity, and the sand's sublime fragrances. The freshness was so great that he temporarily imagined that the place he was in was an ample green forest. As his inner force reached his kidneys, the above feeling became ever stronger, making him feel like he could fly. When it reached his liver, Sila could hear the sound of the wind, which was greatly melodious. Once it cycled back to his heart, Sila felt like his body was connected to the great flow.
Compared to the world, his existence was simply too small.
His qi continued to circulate throughout the five organs. With each lap, Sila would gain more strength. Soon, he started to get used to the previous profound sensation. He slowly opened his eyes, looking at the stone sword with a calm mind.
The system notification rang out.
You have acquired a new kind of energy. Since there is no information about it in the database, you will have to name it yourself and can change the name anytime using the system window. Additionally, the system cannot assess your degree of mastery over it, so its level will be set at Transcendent Rank.
Sila inhaled a deep breath. He had already prepared a name for this qi. The qi that really belonged to him. The qi that he would be the most proficient in, more so than anyone else in the world.
“I will name this power Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.”
The system responded to his call by adding it into his skill list. Sila came up with this name because he wanted to honor his Flaming Cloud dojo and because the cloud was the symbol of a shape without a specific form, representing himself.
“Huu... Success at last. Finally, I can start practicing the sword art as I promised Teacher.”
Sila tried circulating Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body. He found that its raw power was weaker than Yin Yang Energy, yet it was easier to use and handle. It also possessed many methods of utilization, which Sila was about to test.
“Attribute of Earth.”
Sila relaxed his muscles, hanging his arms beside his body, before throwing a quick punch, leaving a trail of black lightning particles behind. As he pulled his fist back, the sound of a small explosion rang out in the air that he had struck.
“It works. It’s really easy to use. Then, Attribute of Metal.”
Sila threw a simple, direct fist, which was as firm as a mountain. It was a perfect straight punch that couldn’t be easily hindered.
“Attribute of Water.”
Sila threw a single punch that contained several subtle changes during the course of its travel. A single punch seemingly split into numerous afterimages, covering every direction and leaving no gap for his target to escape through.
“Attribute of Wood.”
Sila threw a slow punch, though it gave off a dangerous vibe. The fist seemed to have a mind of its own and could follow its target to no end.
“Lastly, Attribute of Fire.”
Heat accumulated into Sila’s fist. The fire element stimulated his body and the fist he threw was blazing and intense. Even when he pulled his hand back, he still felt the lingering heat in the air.
“I can actually apply the knowledge of Five Elements, Profound Qi Circulation, and Orbiting Cosmos and create my own qi art. As expected of them being internal utilization arts.”
Actually, the concept of changing elements didn’t exist in Profound Qi Circulation Art. Nevertheless, Sila relied on Orbiting Cosmos’ knowledge and application to come up with his own way to utilize the five elements.
Sila spent an entire night and the next day having fun matching what he called ‘the attributes of martial moves’ and ‘the attributes of five elements’ to develop various moves. It wasn’t until the moonlight reflecting off the stone sword was caught by the corner of his eye that he was aware of his surroundings.
“Ah, how long has it been? I completely lost track of time.”
Sila opened the Heaven’s Decree book and seriously read its contents from start to finish. Then, he began to practice the art under the moon, starlights, and the faint light from the lamp.
Even though the lights were faint and small, in his heart, he thought they shone very brightly.
Chapter 199: A Gift from Mora
It had been a while since they entered the desert, and Sila had long since given up counting the days. There were a few parts of their time spent there that disappointed Sila. Lookhin’s scorpions had yet to return, as if the desert was so vast that it never ended. The Heaven’s Decree Sword Art was also insanely harder to practice than he had anticipated. Up to this day, Sila could only lightly budge the sword in the sand.
Fortunately, there were also parts that had improved. Sebastian had already mastered the martial art and magic power reinforcement, so Sila finally got a decent sparring partner.
Meanwhile, Lookhin had eaten all of the food. Sila and Sebastian were forced to dilute and boil the expensive Stardrop in a giant pot, brewing it into Food Potions so Sila had something to provide nutrients. Although Sebastian had seasoned the taste so they were delicious, Sila didn’t think he could survive for long consuming nothing but potions.
Regarding Formless Martial God and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, Sila had gotten more used to them. As for Omniscient Evil God Qi, no matter how much he had tried to circulate it, its skill level never increased. Sila started to understand why qi type wasn’t popular among players. Even if one was fortunate and acquired high-tier qi, cultivating it until their body accepted it took a long time. As the qi was Lucifer’s qi, Sila believed that it would take years for him to raise its skill level even if he cultivated it every day.
Sebastian and Lookhin watched from the side as Sila approached the stone sword. After discussing it, they had the same opinion that for them to meet Anubis, Sila would have to be in a near-death state, which could be easily accomplished. However, Sila was worried about the sword. He didn’t want to risk abandoning it.
Sila looked back to see Sebastian and Lookhin. “I will start now.”
“It will be best if you can pull it out today, sir, because we can’t keep going like this. After a few more days, Lookhin may jump at me and swallow me whole.” Sebastian tried to be funny.
Sila gave his attention to the stone sword. He extended his hand while emptying the power in his palm.
“The Great Flow.” Sila’s hand emitted some kind of semi-transparent vapor. He grabbed the sword’s hilt and exerted his strength to pull it out.
“Hah!” The sword budged slightly as usual. However, Sila intended to try something new today.
“Crashing Mountain.” Sila exerted the power of Heaven’s Decree’s second sword style. However, the sword was still motionless.
Sila let out a sigh of defeat. “It didn’t work. Why?”
He took out Heaven’s Decree book to read it again. This must have been the hundredth time he read it. Sila could recite every word in the book by now. However, what he lacked was comprehension. He couldn’t understand it no matter how many times he read it.
“Do I need to find Yijing to read first?”
Translator’s Note: ‘Yijing’ (or ‘I Ching’) means ‘The Book of Changes’. It is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics.
Profound Qi Circulation Art was based on the concept of Five Elements so one should study it with the Five Elements book as a reference. As such, Heaven’s Decree Sword Art was based on Yijing so Sila might be able to comprehend it more if he learned about Yijing first.
In the Heaven’s Decree book, it only referenced Yijing by mentioning the Book of Changes; from existing to non-exist, from non-exist to existing, from subtraction to addition, and from addition to subtraction.
Pumin was inspired by this knowledge and came up with Heaven’s Decree Sword Art using it as the foundation, combined with his other art, Great Flow, the art about borrowing the power from nature.
All of the eight sword styles had no fixed movement. They were meant to create the phenomena caused by nature through the use of the sword. Having read the book so many times, Sila could summarise all of the sword styles.
The first sword style, Inverted Ground, will change the opponent from being defensive to being offensive.
The second sword style, Crashing Mountain, will change the opponent from being fast to being slow.
The third sword style, Swirling Vortex, will change the opponent from being simple to being complex.
The fourth sword style, Sword Storm, will change the opponent from being complex to being simple.
The fifth sword style, Triple Lightning Bolts, will change the opponent from being slow to being fast.
The sixth sword style, Flaming Fireflies, will change the opponent from being offensive to being defensive.
The seventh sword style, Unforeseen Sword, will change the opponent from losing to winning.
The eighth sword style, Fate’s Reversal, will change the opponent from winning to losing.
The more he read, the more Sila was captivated by Pumin’s art. Heaven’s Decree deserved to be called a peerless sword art. The user only had to maintain their best form.
The opponent specializes in defense? Simply force them to attack.
The opponent specializes in attacking? Simply force them to defend.
The opponent specializes in speed? Simply force them to be slow.
The opponent specializes in slow movement? Simply force them to go fast.
The opponent specializes in simple actions? Simply force them to be complex.
The opponent specializes in complicated actions? Simply force them to be simple.
The most confusing aspect that Sila couldn’t understand was the seventh sword. He could understand the eight sword style, Fate’s Reversal, that reversed a losing situation and becoming the winner. However, what was Pumin’s intention when creating the seventh sword style, Unforeseen Sword, that changed the opponent from losing to winning? Sila found it too absurd to understand.
Every sword style depended on the Great Flow, the art of borrowing power from the heaven and the earth, which required some time to form.
The might of the sword art relied on how much power one could borrow from the great flow. Therefore, it was a complicated art to master as it depended greatly on timing. Nevertheless, the concept was similar to using qi reinforcement at the right moment, so Sila believed he could do it well.
“Umm... Why couldn’t I pull out the sword? The power imbued in this sword is surely the second sword style, Crashing Mountain. Why couldn’t I pull it out even though I used the correct style?”
Sebastian was still waiting patiently while Lookhin was squatting down and drawing doodles in the sand.
“Hm...? The Book of Changes? Could it be that...? Nah, it won’t be that easy.”
Sila borrowed the power from the great flow and accumulated it in his hand again before grabbing the sword’s hilt for the second time.
“Triple Lightning Bolts.”
A sparkle of lightning flash ran into the sword, changing the color of the stone sword from greyish to sky-blue. Sila could easily pull it out as if it was embedded in sand.
“I did it!!” Sila delightfully shouted.
“The sword embedded in the sand was slow. Thus, instead of using the same power, I have to change it to become faster. It’s quite easy when I think about it. Why did I not think of that before?” Sila muttered to himself.
Sebastian and Lookhin ran to Sila to congratulate him. At the same time, the system notification rang out.
You have acquired (S) Crystal Divine Sword.
You have achieved a certain condition. The Unison Percentage has increased by twenty percent.
“Crystal Divine Sword? I thought its name would be the Sila Sword,” said Sila.
“It’s just a replica. How could different swords share the same name?” A familiar voice could be heard from behind the group.
Sila, Sebastian, and Lookhin were frightened by how the visitor got so close to them without being detected.
“Lord Anubis.” Sebastian bowed deeply, showing great humility and respect.
Anubis was only ten meters away from them. He was a lean, muscular man with a great physique, wearing ancient Egyptian clothing made of hemp. His long black hair was wrapped behind the back of his neck. The upper half of his face was covered by a black jackal mask. His eyes were majestic yet within them was a hint of gentleness.
“You have been in the desert for too long. If you do not hurry, you will be too late,” said Anubis.
“Too late for what, sir?” asked Sila.
“I will tell you later. Now, wield the sword and fight me.” Anubis’ tone of voice was overbearing and serious. It was more like a command rather than a request.
“Why do we have to fight? I don’t want to fight you. Because... you...”
“Who am I? Who are you? How is that relevant? Your opponent won’t be kind enough to give you time to think. Wield the sword.”
Anubis clad his right hand with vapor, materializing a sword made from grains of sand. Meanwhile, his left hand was imbued with magic power, commanding the sand to transform into chains, locking Sebastian and Lookhin’s legs. It was a powerful display of using two different powers simultaneously.
“Lookhin! Sebastian!” Sila exclaimed. It wasn’t until he called out that his two pets realized they had chains wrapped around their legs. They clad their bodies with magic power reinforcement to break free but the chains wouldn’t budge.
“You two shouldn’t disturb us. Just stay still and watch,” said Anubis.
“Did you just use the Great Flow? How could you know about Heaven’s Decree?”
Anubis ignored Sila’s question. “If you don’t come at me, I will be the one who starts.”
While Sila was still distracted, Anubis disappeared from his line of sight. Sila tried to spot him while sending power from the great flow into the Crystal Divine Sword, enveloping it with a gentle blue glow.
‘If I can’t see him, that means he is in my blind spot.’ With that thought, Sila brandished the sword behind him.
Heaven’s Decree — Sixth Sword Style, Flaming Fireflies.
The Crystal Divine Sword was imbued with the power of the flame. Its fierce strike could burn even the air, ready to turn the enemy to ash.
“When the opponent is fast, force them to become slow. Take this. Crashing Mountain.”
Anubis swung his sword through a gap in Sila’s movements while announcing his move, despite knowing Sila knew about Heaven’s Decree. It was as if he wasn’t afraid that Sila would be able to cope with it.
The sand sword was slow but the pressure was immense. Sila had lifted the Crystal Divine Sword to block and later found that he couldn’t remove his sword from Anubis’. The weight of the sand sword was increasing, pushing Sila’s ankles down into the sand.
Heaven’s Decree — Fifth Sword Style, Triple Lightning Bolts.
Sila exploded the power from his sword and successfully pushed Anubis’ weapon away. His speed sharply rose. He sent three sword waves at Anubis, all of them aiming for the same spot.
“When the opponent is being offensive, force them to defend. Flaming Fireflies.”
It was the same sword style that Sila had used previously. However, the phenomenon it caused was entirely different. The atmosphere around Sila became intensely hot as if he fell into Purgatory.
Sila believed he would surely die if he continued to attack, so he stopped and pulled the sword back near him, preparing to defend.
Then, Anubis’ sword arrived at him. Once it clashed with Sila’s sword, Sila was sent flying ten meters away, his body full of bruises.
“You shouldn’t have done that. I forced you to defend, and you obediently defended? Is that the full extent of your understanding of Heaven’s Decree?”
“Who exactly are you...?” Sila coughed up a mouthful of blood.
“During a battle, your head is still filled with unnecessary thoughts. Your teacher must be greatly disappointed, having such a weak disciple like you. If this is all you amount to, not to mention Montra, you won’t even stand a chance against either Kawin or Revin.”
Sila was aware that Anubis was trying to infuriate him. Instead of feeling angry, he was calm. Sila took a deep breath and circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body while gathering power from the great flow in his sword.
“You might see me do it easily. However, using two different powers simultaneously is like writing with both hands at the same time. If you lack proficiency, you can’t do it,” said Anubis.
Attribute of Earth — Lightning God’s Body.
Sila’s hair turned slightly darker, indicating that he was using the power of the earth element, which he had a great affinity with, at the highest output.
In an instant, Sila took a detour and narrowed the distance, approaching Anubis from behind. He could spot many openings thanks to his own ability. This was supposed to be the victory that he attained with great hardship.
Heaven’s Decree — Third Sword Style, Swirling Vortex.
Sila’s sword was complex and continuous, pouring into five of Anubis’ openings, covering all his escape routes.
The God of Death didn’t even turn back to look. Before Sila knew it, he noticed that the sand sword was pressed against his neck. As such, he stopped moving.
“This is Unforeseen Sword, the style that you have yet to understand. How about it? You feel like you are winning, yet you actually lost, right? This is changing the opponent from losing to feel like they can win. End the battle in an instant.”
Sila stopped channeling his power. So did Anubis. The God of Death’s lesson reminded Sila of Viola’s trial. At that time, Viola always spoke loudly about the moves she was going to use. Similarly, Anubis did the same, except for his last move, which he had performed secretly.
“‘Changing’ is the heart of Heaven’s Decree Sword Art. Manipulating the opponent to perform the action we desire. Actually, each sword style can be further changed during the course of the sword. However, you will need more experience to understand these words: True is False. False is True. Nothing is Everything. Everything is Nothing.”
Sila stared at the God of Death before opening his mouth.
“Are you... the Sword Prodigy?”
Anubis didn’t answer Sila’s question. “This place is the Desert of Wishes. Whatever you wish for, the desert will grant it.”
The God of Death snapped his fingers once, and the chains locking Sebastian and Lookhin turned back into sand. Both of them ran to Sila.
“This place is not comfortable. Let’s have a conversation at my home. You all have no food left, right? I will treat you a meal, then,” said Anubis.
“Follow me.” The Guide of Souls led the way without waiting for their response. Sila, Sebastian, and Lookhin could only follow him silently while pondering what kind of place Anubis’ home was. Could it be that it was an abyss?
“We have arrived,” Anubis announced, even though they had walked less than a hundred meters from Sila’s tent.
Sila and Sebastian swept their eyes but they could only see sand. As they were about to ask, the dimension in front of them distorted before stabilizing, showing a gate leading to someplace with green trees and a small pond.
They followed Anubis through the gate and found a small hut located next to the clear pond. It was a green space surrounded by sand; a single oasis in the lifeless desert.
In front of the hut stood a woman in light-blue clothing. She was clearly a foreigner with her long, silky golden hair. There were a pair of glasses on her gorgeous face. She showed a bright and friendly smile.
Sila slowly walked toward her. “Erm... I... Are you...?”
The woman approached Sila and embraced him tightly. Her voice was sweet, as if Sila was listening to a lullaby.
“Welcome, Sila. Welcome home, my son.”
Anubis who was still standing removed his mask, showing a well-defined, manly face. There was a wrinkle near his brows, indicating that he was worried about something. His stern face caused him to look unfriendly, though he was still considered a handsome middle-aged man. His expression was quite grim as if he had seen the brutal sides of the world enough and couldn’t ever be optimistic again.
“...there is something in that dimension that you need to find. It’s a gift that I left for you and also the reason why I accepted the position of Independent NPC.”
Mora’s words came back to Sila’s mind. So this was the reason why Mora accepted the position of Independent NPC.
Mora’s gift was not the increase in training time, the powerful sword, or the peerless profound art.
Even though Mora didn’t express his feelings much, Sila was fully aware that his teacher loved and cared for him greatly. Even the gift he prepared for Sila was so delicate and heartwarming, completely contrasting his personality.
Sila didn’t know whether they were illusion or AIs. Nevertheless, he hugged the gift tightly, trying his best to hold back tears from falling.
A small drop of water seeped down Sila’s cheek and dropped onto the grass. He now knew the reason why this place was called the Desert of Wishes.
His ultimate wish had finally come true.
Such a heartwarming chapter this was
Chapter 200: The Bizarre Go
“It’s done, Sila. Try looking into the mirror,” Irene suggested while sweeping hair clippings off Sila’s shoulders.
An amateur barber handed Sila a small mirror, which he used it to inspect his new look. The new haircut was clean and decent, so Sila found it hard to believe that what was reflected in the mirror was really himself. The usual messy hair had been trimmed, revealing more of his facial features.
“Looks better, right? It seems you neglected taking care of yourself, leaving your hair frizzy and messy. You’re just like your dad in the past.”
“Normally, if it’s too long, I will have it cut, Mom. However, I was in a hospital for a long time and I’m busy lately.”
“Based on your haircut, you usually cut it yourself, right? I really can’t believe Mora. Haircuts only cost a few baht, why does he have to be so stingy?”
“Err... It’s not like that, Mom. Our dojo has been having financial difficulties recently, so we don’t spend money when we can do it ourselves.”
“In that case, you should have let some girl trim it for you. Which girl will be the best~? Dao or Nam? Oh, or Jund, who is quite shy? You have many girlfriend candidates like your dad in the past~”
Sila felt his face became hot. He had found out earlier that his mother had acquired a special item from Joshua that allowed her to watch his movements, and had been following his adventures through the game. Therefore, she knew everything that happened to him even though he had yet to tell her anything.
A bright smile never left Irene’s face despite knowing that Sila had to leave this place tomorrow morning. If Sila exited later than that, he would end up in an extremely disadvantageous position with no way for him to recover and win against Montra anymore.
“You dad is waiting for us to have a meal together. Let’s go.”
Irene led the way, followed closely by Sila.
A dining table was placed next to the pond which glowed at night. Sebastian served the plates of food that Irene had cooked and prepared beforehand on the table while Lookhin was eating non-stop, compensating for when all she could eat were Food Potions. Her cheeks were covered in grains of rice.
Pumin was looking at an eyeball on his palm, seemingly in deep thought.
“Sila has come, Darling. Look at him. His eyes are the same as yours,” Irene remarked as they approached Pumin.
Pumin stored the eyeball in his pocket and turned his head to Sila. “Umm... Come here, Sila. We have wasted so much time already.”
Pumin gave off an overbearing vibe like Mora, so Sila found it difficult to call him ‘Dad’. On the contrary, Irene was so friendly that he addressed her as ‘Mom’ without even realizing it.
Lookhin tried to sit on Sila’s lap. However, Irene hugged her gently and put Lookhin down on her lap instead.
“Lookhin, please sit here for now, okay? Don’t disturb Sila yet.”
Lookhin looked up to see Irene, who took out a handkerchief to wipe around Lookhin’s lips. The girl tried to resist at first, but she eventually gave in.
“You’re a girl, so you have to eat properly, okay? Let’s eat small pieces, bite by bite. Open your mouth. Say ahh~”
Irene cut the steak into small pieces and fed Lookhin. The smell of the meat was so great that Lookhin momentarily forgot that she was supposed to be a majestic great hawk. She obediently opened her mouth and ate it like she was just a docile baby bird.
Sila didn’t touch the food yet. It was the same for Sebastian. Based on Pumin’s expression, they guessed that the matter Pumin wanted to talk about must be of the utmost importance.
“Time is short, so I will cut to the chase. This place is the Desert of Wishes. Everyone entering this place will have their wish granted. However, they will have to pay for it with something of equal value,” said Pumin.
“What if many people enter together?” Sila couldn’t help but be curious.
“Bistem Desert can only be accessed by a single player at a time. When someone is within, others won’t be able to enter. Otherwise, the flow of time will become chaotic.”
Pumin answered Sila’s question without leaving anything out, then continued what he was saying.
“Sila, your wish is to win against Montra. Actually, I can simply tell you the method. However, there is a problem with that...”
“What is the problem, sir? Is it about a player’s personal secret?” asked Sila.
“No, that’s not it. I naturally have to keep a player’s personal information a secret, that’s a given. However, the problem is that the price you will have to pay for the information is all of the memories you have created since you entered this place.”
Sila gaped. “What?!!”
“You don’t have to panic. I won’t do that. Otherwise, you will also forget the method to win, and that will count as me failing to grant your wish.”
“That’s a relief. In that case, you don’t have to tell me, sir. I will find out a way to win by myself.”
Pumin shook his head. “In that case, you will lose, Sila, in less than a week. You will lose even without knowing why.”
“Less than a week? The war event will start next month, won’t it? How can I lose even before the event takes place?” Sila greatly wondered.
Pumin flicked his fingers, and the shape of the Go board was engraved on the stone floor. Then, he controlled several pebbles to fly and land on the board.
“Do you know about Go?” asked Pumin.
“I have seen Teacher Mora play it, sir. I know some of the rules. Mainly, it is a strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to occupy more squares than the opponent.”
Pumin nodded. “Think of this board in front of you as the current situation in Monster Soul. Montra has played this game longer than you, so naturally he has more pieces. Worse off, as soon as you entered the game, you made a grave mistake. Montra took advantage of that to increase his odds of winning.”
“A mistake? What was it?”
“You caused the Royal Armament Guild to fall... that’s the main reason why you will lose.”
Sila deeply furrowed his brows. True, he was a part of the reason why the Royal Armament Guild fell. However, he didn’t expect it to become the reason for his loss against Montra.
“I don’t understand, sir. How are they related?”
“Before you entered the game, Monster Soul had three influential factions: the Heavenly Dragon Guild, the Royal Armament Guild, and the Victorious Wolves Sect. Each faction was in the state of keeping the others in check. Montra had long been looking for a chance to completely crush one of them for him to become the true number one.
“Sila, you probably didn’t know this, but Montra is more afraid of Cross than Lone Wolf. As he saw that Cross had a personal grudge against you, he seized the opportunity. On the surface, he allied himself with Cross to kill you. However, when Cross spent his trump cards, Montra betrayed him and completely annihilated the Royal Armament Guild in one go.”
“But... I personally think that Lone Wolf is stronger than Cross, sir. His guild also seems stronger than the Royal Armament Guild.”
“You may be right. However, Montra noticed Lone Wolf’s weakness long ago. The only reason he didn’t make a move against the Victorious Wolves Sect so far was because he was afraid that Cross would attack him in the process. In Montra’s opinion, the Royal Armament Guild was more of a threat to his plan.”
“What is Lone Wolf’s weakness, sir?”
“Lone Wolf... this kid’s name is extremely contradictory to his personality. He is simply too kind and indecisive. Every time he makes a decision, he will have to look back to see his comrades’ expressions first. On the contrary, Cross is more decisive. Even with an absurd order like hunting down a no-name new player, his subordinates wouldn’t disobey him. When at war, only terrible options exist for people to choose. The person who is decisive will shine more than those who aren’t.”
Pumin waved his hand, and all the pebbles on the board turned black, leaving almost no room for the white. Then, he placed a single white piece in the center of the board.
“The white is you, who started the game late. Can you still see a way for you to win?”
Sila looked at the board with great worry. Meanwhile, Pumin seemed to have come up with an idea.
“I get it. Let’s go with this option... the equal price.”
“I’m talking about the price you have to pay in exchange for the information. Instead of me telling you a way to win in great detail, I will just give you ambiguous suggestions. I will tell you ‘what’, but won’t tell you ‘how’ or ‘why’. It will count as me giving you information yet also not giving you anything. This will be a suitable price.”
It seemed Pumin had already decided since he didn’t wait for Sila’s response.
“Let’s go with this option. I will also include Sebastian’s mission in the suggestion.”
Hearing that the God of Death mentioned his name, Sebastian began to take part in the conversation. Prior to this moment, he was just standing silently as he didn’t want to interrupt the family talk between a father and a child.
Sila was the God of Death’s son... just thinking about it, Sebastian knew that he didn’t make a mistake when choosing his master.
“Please feel free to entrust me with any mission, Lord Anubis. I will obediently do my best to succeed it.”
“Your mission is to protect Grea City before the war event starts.”
Sebastian was slightly surprised, while Sila asked, “Is that all?”
“Your correct response should be ‘Isn’t that too difficult?’. Your alliance was just recently established and it is still unstable. Montra will rely on the moment when everyone is still careless, launching an attack on the second day after the Union’s establishment. His aim will be Cross, who is the current weakest link in your Union. Montra’s forces will infiltrate Grea City before you know it and deal a decisive blow to Cross, preventing him from founding the new Royal Armament Guild.”
Sebastian bowed his head. “Roger, my lord. I will protect Grea City with my life.”
“Given your ability, you won’t be up to the task. There is a high chance that you will have to fight Ramiel. As such, I will let you borrow my Demonic Armament. When Grea City is out of danger, you will have your genuine form back. You get it?”
“Yes, my lord,” replied Sebastian.
Pumin took out an extremely small lantern, only slightly larger than a thumb. The lantern’s inside glowed a mysterious light blue. Sebastian stared at it with wide-open eyes. He received it with great care.
“M-Manifesting Soul Lantern...” Sebastian’s voice was shaken.
“Based on your reaction, I don’t think I need to teach you how to use it.”
“T-This is simply too much, my lord...” said Sebastian.
Pumin shook his head. “Believe me, this is still not enough. Proceed with the ritual.”
Sebastian slit the tip of his finger and let his blood drop on the lantern. The lantern absorbed his blood, then a system notification rang inside Sila’s head.
You have achieved a certain condition. Sebastian’s status has elevated from being your pet to your partner.
Your partner, Sebastian, has gotten the Demonic Armament: Manifesting Soul Lantern.
The grim reaper symbol on the back of Sila’s clothing vanished as it couldn’t register a partner within. Sila replaced the empty slot with the Crystal Divine Sword.
“What happened?” asked Sila.
Sebastian politely replied, “There are many Demonic Armaments in the Monster Realm, sir. Most of them are wielded by supreme and mighty monsters. Every Demonic Armament possesses power in its own body. Therefore, even without any skills, I can exert the armament’s power by channeling my magic power through it. The power of the Manifesting Soul Lantern is even superior to my Grand Magic of Death, sir.”
Pumin cut the conversation short. “My business with you has ended. Now, I shall talk privately with Sila.”
Sebastian bowed his head and stepped back to join Irene and Lookhin, leaving Sila who was still staring at the Go board.
“From now on, I won’t tell you ‘how’ and ‘why’ but will only tell you ‘what’. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir. Please start.” Sila prepared himself to listen to the advice.
“Sila... what is Montra’s goal? This is the most basic question. If you can’t answer it, you will lose,” asked Pumin.
“Win the war, sir, in order to become the Wulin Lord,” replied Sila.
Pumin shook his head. “Wrong. Montra’s goal is to become the Wulin Lord. It doesn’t matter whether he wins the war or not.”
Sila was confused by Pumin’s words. “Eh? The condition for him to become the Wulin Lord is to win the war event, isn’t it? So why?”
“...You have to come up with the answer by yourself.” Pumin refused to answer.
“Ah, you won’t tell me ‘why’. Sorry, sir. I forgot about it. Please continue.”
“Win the war, and Montra will become the Wulin Lord. Then, what if there is no war, who will be considered the winner?”
Sila thought for a while before answering, “If there is no war, that means Montra can’t win the war, so it will count as my win, right?”
Pumin shook his head again. “A win without fighting is even more praiseworthy than winning the war. If Montra is the one to make it so that the war doesn’t take place, the Elders will consider him a winner.”
“Eh? Is there such an option?” Sila was agape.
Pumin nodded. “Montra’s character is similar to mine, so I know what he is thinking. Actually, if he could just fix some of his habits, the Elders wouldn’t even consider others as Wulin Lord candidates.
“Next question. Lone Wolf, Beluga, and Cross. These three are your allies. However, who should you trust, and who should you be wary of?”
“Err... Trust Lone Wolf and Beluga, and be wary of Cross...?” Since all of his previous answers came out incorrect, Sila began to lose confidence.
“Wrong. Believe in Cross, trust in Beluga, and be wary of Lone Wolf. My suggestion for you is to give your support to Cross, build up your intimacy with Beluga, and keep your secrets from Lone Wolf.”
“W-Wait, Dad, why? You say it like this because you don’t know them,” argued Sila. He didn’t realize that he made a slip of the tongue and called his father ‘Dad’ a moment ago.
Pumin’s gaze on Sila showed a hint of gentleness. “You are still naive to the world around you, Sila. I know what kind of people they are and I didn’t say that Lone Wolf is a bad guy. I just told you to be wary of him.”
“I still don’t understand.”
Pumin pointed his finger at the pieces on the board. “The current situation in Monster Soul is like this board. However, soon, it will change into this.”
Pumin waved his hand once, and all the black pieces turned white, while the single white piece in the center, representing Sila, turned black.
“Superficially, these three people have a common enemy. However, that’s not really the case. Cross’s enemy is Montra. Beluga’s enemy is boredom. Meanwhile, Lone Wolf’s enemy is the wrongdoer.”
Pumin looked at Sila’s confused expression and continued. “Out of consideration for your words just now, I will explain it once... Cross’s enemy is Montra, so no matter what Montra’s color is, he will be the opposite color. Beluga’s enemy is boredom, so he will always choose the most interesting side. For Lone Wolf, his enemy is the wrongdoer, so his color will always be white.”
Sila started to get the hang of it. While he was deep in thought, Pumin continued.
“Use Illuminus as frequently as you can. Use it before you lose the chance to use it.”
“Lose the chance to use it?”
Pumin nodded. “Use it frequently so that Montra will think you always have to rely on it. He has the left arm so he is fully aware of your right arm’s weakness. The reason he still hasn’t used this weakness against you is that he wants to exploit it in the most crucial moment when you truly need it.”
“How come Montra is aware of the right arm’s weakness? The left arm has such an ability?”
“No. Actually, he just realized it when you entered the game, Sila. Prior to that, he was oblivious of this weakness as well. Montra is attentive to details. To be honest, if you think deeply about it, you will notice its weakness too. However, don’t waste your time thinking about it because you can’t do anything about the weakness. You’d be better off spending your time on other things.”
“Is that so?”
“Ultimately, Montra will give you two choices. The first is to admit defeat before even fighting. The second is to struggle from the bottom of the abyss, receiving hateful gazes and curses from all people. At such a time, the only people by your side will be your true friends and the enemy of your enemy. When the time comes, even if you don’t want to understand Montra, you will understand him. Because you will become Montra...”
“I will become Montra?”
“I mean you will end up in the same circumstances as Montra,” Pumin explained slowly, “Looking at the board in front of you, you may think that there will be no way for you to win. However, there is, if you just do this.”
Pumin waved his hand again. This time, numerous red pieces instantly appeared and surrounded the board. Sila was dumbfounded.
“Err... Isn’t that outside the board? By the way, red pieces don’t exist in Go. There are only black and white.”
“Is that the full extent of how you, the Flaming Cloud dojo’s main disciple, can think outside of the box? Black is you. White is Montra. What is red? The Go board is the war. Then, what is outside of the board? If you can come up with the answers to these questions, even ten Montras won’t be your match, Sila. Montra can only see the board and black and white. He can’t see outside of the board or red. You have to use what Montra doesn’t predict and do something outside of Montra’s expectations. That is the way for you to win.”
Sila stared at Pumin’s bizarre Go, deeply in thought. “This is not Go anymore.”
“And who told you in the first place you have to play Go? Montra placed a Go board in front of you, so you thought you have to play it. However, no matter how well you play, you will certainly lose.”
“...” Sila was thinking hard to the point he was feeling like his head was going to explode. He jotted down what Pumin told him to prevent himself from forgetting them.
“Now, let’s eat. We don’t have much time. Afterward, I will train you until morning. Seeing your qi, I have knowledge of Five Elements, so I think I can give you some guidance. As for your swordsmanship, you still have a lot to learn. How come the Sword Prodigy’s son can’t even wield a sword correctly?”
Sila nodded. “Thanks, Dad.”
The two of them joined the table where everyone had a smile on their face. Sila temporarily dismissed all the problems in his head and began to create a precious memory as he immersed himself in happiness, in the oasis called ‘Family’.
so? the red pieces are either monsters from monsterland, slime kingdom etc. or very strong players from that 1 place. Personally i would prefer monsters
Chapter 201: People Change Over Three Nights
Sila exited the desert while feeling like he had become a totally different person. He opened his system window and found that only three days had passed since he entered Bistem Desert.
With Pumin’s warning, Sila didn’t want to waste time going back to Zhongsuyuan City. He took out the invitation card and teleported himself to Grea City.
“Dad said Montra would attack on the second day. Today is the third day already. I hope I won’t be too late.”
Sila, Sebastian, and Lookhin appeared in the Lost Android Kingdom. The place where Sila teleported to was the inner palace, so he quickly ran to a balcony to check the situation outside.
“Lost Grea City seems fine, sir. However, we don’t know about Grea City. If you don’t mind, I would like to go ahead and check the situation.”
Sebastian was as enthusiastic as Sila. That was because whether he would get his genuine form or not depended on the outcome of the mission assigned by the God of Death.
Protect Grea City with your life.
Sila nodded to grant the butler his permission. Sebastian promptly jumped off the balcony, landed on the ground, and ran to the exit.
Lost Grea City was a city that was hard to enter but easy to exit. One only needed to reach an exit gate and their body would be sent to Grea City above.
Sila sensed that his armor was working. That meant Mamon was nearby. Sila didn’t want to spend time searching for Mamon so he quickly sealed him.
A magenta ball of light shot through walls and entered his armor. As it entered, Sila could hear Mamon complaining.
“Wha—t?! Immediately sealing me upon arri—?”
As Sila was about to release the devil prince, his armor vibrated and a sudden jolt of electricity ran through him. Then, his armor’s appearance began to change.
The thickness of the fabric increased and the outfit stretched downward. The original appearance of black wuxia clothing became a long black coat. The fabric’s edges were embroidered with a golden line like usual. The center slot on his back representing Mamon had also changed slightly; three cogwheels were added behind the crown.
Mamon has achieved a certain condition. Mamon’s current level is Level 1,000 Lord Rank. Mamon’s increase in level results in the armor’s development.
“What is this about? Mamon reached this level in just three days?” Sila exclaimed while examining his new armor that looked like what a villain would wear.
A familiar voice rang next to his ear. “I’m not a muscle-head who grinds their levels. For this kind of thing, just using my head is enough.”
Sila turned to look at where the sound came from. “Mamon? How did you get out?”
Upon witnessing what was in front of him, Sila frowned. Mamon was sitting on his shoulder in a small black soul form, like a haunting spirit.
“Mamon? Are you okay? Why are you in this state?” asked Sila.
“Nah, I’m fine. It’s just that my rank is high enough for me to go out in soul form even if my real body is in the armor.”
“How did you reach this level in such a short time?” Sila asked once more. It was simply abnormal for Mamon to breakthrough to Level 1,000 Lord Rank within three days.
“First things first, just release me. Isn’t your neck sore, talking to me this way?” Mamon replied, dodging the question again.
“Oh, right... Release, Mamon.”
A cluster of black smoke emerged out of thin air and materialized into Mamon. He still had a beanie on his head. However, his usual lab coat was replaced by a black long-sleeved turtleneck and jeans.
Mamon swept his eyes to Lookhin and grinned. “Kiekkiekkiek. So you finally transformed, sparrow girl.”
Lookhin felt disgusted by Mamon’s grin and his tone of voice, so she clad herself with energy reinforcement and glared at him.
Sila placed his hand on Lookhin’s head, patting her, and talked to Mamon.
“Don’t fight each other. Anyway, let’s talk later. We have to go to Grea City first. Mamon, do you know where my comrades are?”
“Everyone is in the hotel. I alone stayed in the palace and borrowed the Android King’s laboratory until recently.”
Sila nodded and opened his system window. He sent messages to Sangdao, Varee, and Shueria, as they should still be in Lost Grea City. He also sent messages to Burapha and Bluebird, but he was unsure of their locations.
‘Grea City is in danger. Please be careful. — Sila.’
Sila’s message was short and clear. Then, he turned his head to Mamon. “I am going to go up. Do you want to come as well?”
“Umm... It won’t hurt me to play once in a while. I want to test my new toys anyway, and make sure a certain bird knows who the real boss is,” Mamon said while staring at Lookhin, who stared back at him intently.
Sila was too hurried to mind the fight between two Lord Rank monsters. He was about to jump off the balcony, but he didn’t forget to ask Mamon.
“Mamon, will you be able to keep up with us? Or would you like to return to the armor? I will release you when—”
Mamon’s body vanished from Sila’s line of sight and floated in the sky. Sila couldn’t follow Mamon’s movement at all. It was as if Mamon just used instant teleportation.
Mamon sent a gaze of contempt at Lookhin. “If you are too slow, I won’t wait.”
He vanished again and reappeared on the roof of a building twenty meters away. Meanwhile, Lookhin circulated Great Sparrowhawk Qi and cut through the air, competing against Mamon.
In the end, Sila was left alone on the balcony.
“Ah, I’m left behind before I know it.”
Sila circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi while using Formless Soldier to make himself weightless. After his training in the desert, he could use Formless Soldier as easily as breathing.
Attribute of Metal — Wind God's Body.
Sila dashed forward at incredible speed like he was a streak of black shadow.
As his momentum died down and his body began to fall, he immediately used the technique Pumin had taught him last night.
The Great Flow — Sky Step.
Sila tapped his foot on the air. It was one of the Great Flow’s basic techniques. Instead of borrowing power of nature through his hand, he used his foot to collect power. Once he collected a sufficient amount of power, he would tap to change his direction in mid-air. Even though it was a subpar ability compared to Cloud Stepping—an item skill which Sila used to possess—since the latter could allow him to stand firmly in the air, it was sufficient for helping with mid-air movements.
Pumin’s art was sincerely amazing. Just his fundamental profound art, the Great Flow, possessed a variety of ways to be utilized.
The trio arrived at the exit gate at the same time, and that upset Mamon since he was the first to take off. He wondered how both Sila and Lookhin could grow so much stronger in just three days.
Lost Grea’s exit gate resembled an elevator. Sila walked inside, followed by Lookhin and Mamon. Once the door closed, the elevator quickly ascended.
Mamon seemed to be restless while Lookhin took out a bag of the most expensive pet food to eat. In the silent elevator, there were only sounds of Mamon grinding his teeth and Lookhin chewing on food.
Feeling doubtful, Sila asked Mamon, “Mamon, are you okay?”
Mamon gnashed his teeth. His face was pale. “I-I am fine.”
Sila frowned. “Are you sure? Your expression doesn’t look good...”
Mamon still shook his head while continuing to grit his teeth. In the meantime, Mamon’s voice rang inside Sila’s head, similar to system notifications.
—Don’t act suspicious. I don’t want the sparrow girl to realize my weakness. I am communicating to you by mental transmission. If you want to talk, just form a thought and send it to me.
Sila had never tried mental transmission, though Mamon made it sound easy, so he focused his mind on Mamon and formed a thought.
‘Hello, hello, can you hear me? Am I doing this right?’
—I hear you! Don’t shout! You’re going to give me a headache.
Sila wondered how the concept of shouting applied in mental transmission. How could he adjust the volume, then?
—Just form your thoughts normally. Don’t focus your mind on me too much.
Mamon replied to him as if he could guess what Sila was thinking.
‘Okay, I understand... Anyway, are you okay?’
—It’s just… I was sealed inside the card for so long, so I developed a loathing for enclosed spaces.
Sila began to understand. He also felt sorry that he had once forcefully sealed Mamon in the armor without Mamon’s consent. With this thought, Sila gently patted Mamon’s head.
Seeing this, Lookhin pouted and tightly held onto the hem of Sila’s clothing.
The elevator stopped and the door slid open. Mamon instantly teleported outside and floated in the air, looking around Grea City.
Sila and Lookhin also got out. Sila stood on a roof while Lookhin floated upside down next to Mamon. She yawned, seemingly bored.
There were no signs of battles taking place at all.
“Nothing is happening. The city seems peaceful,” said Mamon.
“That’s weird. My dad... I mean, Anubis said the city was supposed to be under attack since yesterday.”
“Want me to inspect? Maybe the enemy has already infiltrated.”
“That would be nice. However, how can we separate our enemies from ordinary people?” asked Sila.
“No need to separate them. I will just inspect every single one.”
Mamon summoned holographic screens, which confused Sila since monsters shouldn’t have system windows. However, he couldn’t deny that the holographic screens floating in front of Mamon greatly resembled player’s system windows.
“Hmm... Within this city, there are currently fifteen small battles taking place and 5,574 people who are potential threats.”
Sila was shocked. “That many?”
“Nah, this city is quite independent, so this level of conflict and battles is within the normal range.”
“Eh? Does that mean Anubis made a mistake?” Sila thought it was possible that his father’s guess might miss the target.
There was a new message in Sila’s inbox. He immediately opened his system window to check.
At that time, Sebastian jumped and joined Sila’s group.
“Sir, I wandered around but I didn’t see anyone raiding the city,” Sebastian reported.
Sila nodded. “It’s good that it’s peaceful. Let’s discuss with the others. Shueria just sent a message asking me to meet with others in front of the old Royal Armament Guild’s building.”
“Anyway, we better take precautions, sir. Better safe than sorry,” Sebastian proposed an idea.
Sila agreed with Sebastian. After discussing ideas, he asked Lookhin for her help.
“Lookhin, this city is much smaller than the Desert of Death, so it should be easier. Please use insects that are not eye-catching though.”
Lookhin nodded and swept her eyes at Mamon. She showed a triumphant grin before unleashing magic power through her hands, releasing numerous small dragonflies. She ordered them to scatter around the city.
Mamon watched Lookhin’s display of magic without batting an eyelid. As he saw the dragonflies, he secretly grinned.
‘I spotted it... Just as I expected. Entomomageia’s flaw. Kiekkiekkiek.’
Sila was worried over the fact that the enemy’s army might have already infiltrated the city but still had yet to make a move. He forwarded Shueria’s message to Varee and Sangdao before the four of them headed to the city’s center, the location that used to hold the Royal Armament Guild’s headquarters before completely being crushed by Montra in a single night.
This chapter is the very chapter of [Volume#7: Darkness Rising].You will see soon enough what the meaning behind the name of the volume is.
This chapter is the very chapter of [Volume#7: Darkness Rising].You will see soon enough what the meaning behind the name of the volume is.
i am quessing sila will become the villain, atleast in the eyes of the majority, inluding lone wolf.
Chapter 202: Lucky or Unlucky
Alkedia City a.k.a. the Magic Kingdom...
Inside the guild leader’s private room, Revin was walking around restlessly. He was worried about Montra who had finished investigating the Sword Prodigy’s return three days ago, yet had said nothing about it. Instead, Montra blocked all communications and couldn’t be found even though his online status was green.
“Ah~ I hope he is not crying alone in frustration,” Revin said while making a sad face.
Kawin, who was sitting on a chair nearby, frowned. “Are you sure you are talking about the Montra we know?”
“Haha, I was just kidding.”
“Montra must be taking time adjusting his plan. The Sword Prodigy’s return is a huge variable.”
It was at that moment that Kawin noticed a letter icon flashing in the corner of his eye. Once he saw the sender’s name, he immediately opened it.
Revin came near Kawin, trying to take a peek even though he was fully aware that it was impossible.
“Who sent you the message?”
“Montra... He told us to meet him in the guild’s training room. He is there.”
“What? Has he come back? It’s just three minutes by walking. He should have come and greeted us first,” Revin complained.
Kawin stood up from the chair and walked away without caring about Revin. Getting no response, Revin quickly followed him. “Oi~ Wait for me.”
Together they walked to Montra’s training room, which no one could enter without Montra’s direct permission.
Revin pushed the door open, not bothering to knock.
“Done complaining? I thought you wouldn’t come,” said Kawin.
“I just— Oi...? That’s—?” Revin pointed his finger at the center of the room. Kawin followed the finger’s direction and his expression abruptly changed when he saw the sight in front of him.
In the center of the room, Montra was sitting cross-legged. His entire body was embraced by an intense white light full of magic power. The space behind his back distorted, clearly connecting to another dimension. The white aura from the other dimension was pouring into Montra’s body.
“Dragon Ritual...? How is it possible?”
“Dragon Ritual! Cool! I finally get to fight Montra at full power.”
“Shouldn’t it take another week for Montra’s Dragon Ritual to finish?” Kawin wondered.
“Montra must have done something, I guess. Just ask him, pal.”
Montra continued absorbing the magic power from the other dimension. His skin became radiant, shining like he was a deity.
On the other side of the dimension, the sparkling magic particles grouped together and formed into an indeterminable shape. There was one pair of eyes gently looking at Montra for a brief moment before the dimension closed and the space returned to normal.
A system notification rang inside Montra’s head.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have completed the Dragon Ritual of the Dragon Empress Infernee, the Heavenly Dragon.
Your level has risen to Level 1 Lord Rank.
You have achieved a certain condition. Your racial skill, (B) Dragon Scales, has evolved to (A) Heavenly Dragon Scales.
You have achieved a certain condition. Your racial skill, (B) Dragon Ritual, has evolved to (A) Dragon Domain: Abode of the Angels.
You have acquired a new racial skill: (A) Dragon Soul.
You have obtained the right to learn Infernee’s spells.
***There are many spells available for you to learn. Please find more information in your system window.
Montra stood up and briefly read his newly acquired skills.
Revin and Kawin approached and congratulated him.
“Haha! Since you have completed the Dragon Ritual, let’s fight to our hearts’ content! I won’t hold back like before.”
Kawin seemed to be more interested in another thing. “Montra, how could you complete the ritual earlier than the appointed time?”
Montra closed his system window. “I didn’t do anything. That was the exact time. I just intentionally declared a slightly wrong time in order to trick a spy in our guild.”
“There’s a spy in our guild?” Revin asked, surprised.
Kawin replied, “Rather, it will be weird if there isn’t. Using a spy is common. Who are you suspecting, Montra?”
“Excluding Zazae, I believe at least one among the remaining four Warlords is a traitor.”
“One of the Five Warlords? How can you be so sure?”
“I’m basing this off how our raid of the Wicked Union’s gathering party went. Their ability to cope with us was too good to be just luck. They could separate each warlord in a way that gave them the advantage, commanded combined forces that were established on the spot, and had a way to detoxify the Energy-Dissolving Poison prepared.”
“They might just be coincidences, right?” Revin nonchalantly asked.
“On the other hand, they might not be coincidences. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Actually, the reason why the Wicked Union could manage to properly separate the Five Warlords was due to Sebastian’s help. The reason why they could unite and join forces was due to Tiger’s ability. As for the poison, it was just luck that Franz was there at the party.
In conclusion, it really was a series of coincidences, just like Revin said.
However, Montra was pessimistic, so he suspected that someone among the Five Warlords had leaked their plan. Inevitably, Montra’s wariness put Yardpirun’s standing at risk.
“What should we do, then?” asked Kawin.
“Leave the matter about the spy to me. I have a plan. There is something more urgent. Revin, Kawin, what progress have you made regarding Triple Sky Energy?”
Revin took out a heavy sword, feeling delightful. Meanwhile, Kawin circulated his power throughout his body once.
“We have gotten the hang of using it. Well, I will have to spar or fight with other opponents to understand it more,” replied Kawin.
“Are we going to fight? Let’s start with me, ‘kay? Kawin, go and sit over there. Shoo, shoo.”
Montra shook his head. “No need for that. Come at me at once, both of you. However, we will fight for only one minute.”
Kawin and Revin looked at each other. Even though Montra was called a genius, their levels of strength didn’t differ that much. He had left the dojo to train by himself and until recently, Kawin and Revin were still disciples there, with Revin polishing his skills alongside the others while Kawin was the main disciple, receiving direct guidance from Sanon. Not enough time had passed for the difference in strength to grow to the point where Montra could take on the two of them with confidence.
Even though he had left to train by himself, once in a while Montra would come to consult with Sanon. Regardless of their learning methods, they all called Sanon ‘Teacher.’
Montra spun the spear in his hand, pointing the tip forward. His eyes were declaring that he wasn’t kidding.
“Sure. Be careful though,” Kawin warned.
Revin and Kawin took a few steps back while circulating Triple Sky Energy. Although the power they used was the same, all three of them had their own ways to utilize it depending on their personality.
Revin’s Triple Sky Energy was like a warm cluster of flames. However, it was a cluster that could erupt at any moment to reduce his enemy to ashes.
Revin was skilled at exploding his power in an instant; changing a seemingly small attack into a deadly one with thrice the usual power.
Explosia Sword, Revin’s new heavy sword, was resting on his shoulder. It was a sword with no sharp edge and at the end of the blade it was flat, with no tip. It was a thin yet lengthy sword, even longer than Montra’s spear.
Revin wielded the sword tightly, showing a serious expression.
Meanwhile, Kawin used Triple Sky Energy to endlessly block attacks, heal his wounds, and recover his energy, elevating his body to become an impenetrable mountain.
There were no gaps or openings shown. His power was surging silently within, enhancing his defense.
His stance was firm, as if he were a tree and his feet were roots that went deep inside the ground. At the same time, both of his hands slowly drew curves in the air.
Lastly, Montra unleashed Triple Sky Energy out of his body as if it was an invisible armor.
The dragon eyes buried in his spear’s handle shone brightly. The power emitting from Montra was so strong that people could see his emitted power with naked eyes.
A white aura enveloped both Montra and the spear in his hand, creating a surreal pressure on Kawin and Revin.
Revin was an offensive type, so he was the first one to make a move.
From motionless to accelerating. From a cluster of flames to a firestorm. Revin exerted his full power as he knew that Montra possessed the Dragon Heart skill which could prevent him from dying.
“Take it!” shouted Revin.
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Widespread Phoenix Wings.
After numerous sparring matches against Kawin, Revin was better at spotting an opponent’s opening and could pour his attacks on it in an instant.
Sword energy made of fire spread out and engulfed Montra from every direction, leaving him with no room to escape.
Montra liked spears the most. Among all the weapon arts he had studied so far, the spear was the only weapon he didn’t have to spend any time learning a style for in order to unleash its full power.
Brandish, block, parry, and thrust.
These four simple actions were the foundations of how to use a spear. Four basic moves that could be used in various ways.
Montra thought that utilizing a spear was even easier than utilizing bare-handed martial moves.
He had always been dedicating himself to practicing. He trained so hard that his sweat almost turned into blood. He repetitively continued to thrust a spear thousands of times each day over the course of ten years.
It could be said that the spear had become a part of Montra while Montra had become a part of the spear.
All martial moves were pointless. Only the simplest and most natural actions could effectively exert the true might of the spear.
In the last three days, Montra had secluded himself and organized his ideas, polishing and scrutinizing the spear’s simplicity that he had been honing for ten years into his own profound weapon art: God’s Realm Spear Art.
It wasn’t about martial moves or inner force. It consisted of only the core actions of how to use a spear.
Montra narrowed the distance and moved closer to Kawin while disregarding Revin’s sword energy. His spear gave off a silent roar when it traveled to Kawin’s abdomen at incredible speed.
Nevertheless, Kawin had already predicted that Montra would target him. Although Montra’s thrust was exceedingly fast, it was so direct that Kawin had no problem reading the attack.
Relying on Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws, Kawin slowly moved, intending to parry the spear tip away using his arm guard. Furthermore, he borrowed the momentum and pushed his power at Montra’s chest.
Similarly, Montra could read what Kawin would do from the start. He released his left hand from the spear’s handle and exerted more strength into his right wrist.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Thrusting Shemao.
T/N: “Shemao” a.k.a. “Snake/Viper/Serpent Spear” is a signature spear wielded by Zhang Fei, a general who served Liu Bei in “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”.
As the Heavenly Dragon Spear was about to be parried by Kawin, it slightly curved as if it was a living creature. The spear tip stabbed into Kawin’s shoulder and spun with great force, widening the wound. Fortunately, Kawin retreated just in time so the attack wasn’t too deadly.
‘What kind of move was that? To think that it penetrated both Python’s Dragon Scales and Triple Sky Energy…!’ Kawin thought as he stepped back.
Revin was displeased by the fact that Montra ignored him and approached Kawin despite being surrounded by his sword energy. He ignited his power once again and rushed at Montra. The sword was ready in his hand.
Retracting has to be done faster than thrusting. That was a core concept of using a spear.
Montra rolled over on the floor while brandishing the spear backward. He aimed it so Revin had no choice but to stop his attack and block.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Brandishing Sattaloha.
T/N: “Sattaloha” is the name of the spear in Thai folklore “Chalawan”. It’s the spear that was forged using seven magical metals and possessed mystical slaying power.
The power imbued in the spear was so intense that it could split the sea apart. Revin didn’t dare to take it on directly, so he held his sword diagonally.
Nevertheless, the powerful strike still had enough force to spin Revin’s body around in mid-air.
“Uwahhh~ My head is spinning~”
Because Montra was busy attacking Revin, it was a chance for Kawin to act offensively. He summoned several Earth Spears from the floor and ordered them to fly at Montra.
Seeing that, Montra lost his chance to defeat Revin. He had to take care of Kawin’s attack first.
Montra clad the end of his spear with his power and bumped it heavily against the floor.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Shaking Gungnir.
The impact created a shockwave and an earthquake. All the Earth Spears shattered, and Kawin lost his balance before being pushed off the ground from the force.
Montra spun his spear, pointing the end of the spear forward instead of the spear tip. He thrust his spear at Kawin, sending him flying.
It implied that if he had attacked Kawin with the spear tip instead of the spear’s handle, Kawin would have died.
Montra quickly turned his head to see Revin who was about to land himself on the floor.
Montra injected his power into the spear, cladding it with magic power reinforcement. He placed the spear on his shoulder momentarily before throwing it violently.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Throwing Mokkhasak.
T/N: “Mokkhasak” is the name of the spear in Thailand's national epic literary work “Ramakien” which was derived from the Hindu epic “Ramayana.” It’s the spear which contains the power of a god. Whoever got pierced by it would die if they came into contact with sunlight.
This was one of the most powerful moves in Montra’s possession. Once he used it, the spear would leave his hand. Therefore, he wouldn’t use it unless he was confident that he could end the battle.
The spear pierced the floor near Revin’s feet before the imbued power within it exploded outward, causing the walls surrounding the training room to crack.
Revin’s body was blown back by the explosion and crashed against a wall.
“How about it? My new art,” Montra asked.
Revin swept the dust off his clothing, hoisted his sword, and walked over to Montra. “Oi. One more time. Let’s go at it again.”
The wound in Kawin’s shoulder had already healed, and he approached the two. “You have become stronger yet again, Montra.”
Montra shook his head. “That’s not it. I set the time limit so that it would be beneficial for me. You two were trying to determine my intentions in your mind, so you weren’t fighting at full strength. We should actually be about equal to each other.”
“I know! That’s why we should have a rematch. This time, I will fight solo,” said Revin.
“I spent all of my power without keeping any in reserve. This is God’s Realm Spear Art’s weakness. Prolonged fights are too exhausting. Let’s do it next time. For now, I will entrust you with an entertaining job.”
This time Kawin spoke. “Speaking of jobs... Because you went missing, our raid on Grea City was delayed. Anyway, our men have already infiltrated the city. They can immediately cause a ruckus as soon as you give them your command.”
“Those guys are so lucky that you went missing. Well, it’s okay to start a little bit late,” said Revin.
“No, although it’s just one day, Cross must have already finished their preparations. Anyway, I want both of you to travel to Belacia City, and try to recruit the people living there. In the case that you fail to do so and find any that are likely to become threats in the future, you should get rid of them before the Wicked Union can recruit them. There are only strong players living there so it will be a good training place for you two.”
The Wicked Union’s plan was something anyone could come up with. There were many strong players in Belacia City. They would become either great allies or formidable foes. As such, there was no way Montra would overlook this city.
“Even though both of you are the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members, you don’t have any guild-related duties. In some sense, you guys are like individual players so you should have no problems entering the city. Bring Zero with you since that guy knows the city’s rules well. Nevertheless, please be wary of him. Zero entered our guild with some hidden agenda. Even if he won’t betray us, we still can’t fully trust him.”
“What about Grea City? Will we leave them like that? Cross must have received some funds from the Wicked Union. He can rebuild the Royal Armament Guild again, you know?”
“No need to worry. I will go there personally with the Five Warlords. I will use this chance to figure out exactly who the traitor is,” Montra assured them.
Previously, Montra would usually only send the Five Warlords to handle such a large-scale raid. That’s because he was afraid that he might die and his Dragon Ritual would be for naught.
Even though he possessed Dragon Heart, there were still many ways to render the skill ineffective. For example, dying to the Dragon Killer Sword. He didn’t want to take unnecessary risks.
However, Montra was now ready to personally participate in a raid.
If the Wicked Union had been lucky many times, their luck was now running out with Montra’s return to full power.
Monster Soul was undergoing a great change in an unexpected direction.
Chapter 203: Grea City Invasion
The empty square undergoing construction was where the Royal Armament Guild’s headquarters used to be located. Sila walked around it, feeling amazed. The last time he had been there, it had been nothing but a pile of rubble. Nothing had indicated that this place used to be the main base for one of the three leading factions in Monster Soul.
It was all thanks to Beluga’s funding and Grea City’s technology that surpassed other cities. It took only three days for noticeable progress to be attained.
“Sila, come here!” Fargo’s voice could be heard from far away.
Sila turned his head to look at where the voice came from and found that the man was waving at him. Fargo was standing next to a big orange tent next to the construction.
Sebastian led the way and entered the tent, followed by Sila, Lookhin, and Mamon. Inside the tent, they found that the interior was more spacious than it looked outside. There was an extremely long table in the middle of the room surrounded by chairs. Sila suspected that this place was a meeting room.
Cross was sitting on the largest chair in the middle as if he was sitting on a throne. Sitting next to him on his right was Shueria, who was sitting silently with his pet—a giant white tiger—laying on the floor.
On Cross’ left were all seven members of Tiger Team.
Sebastian walked to the right side and slid the chair back for Sila to sit down on. As for the butler himself, he remained standing behind the chosen seat.
Mamon swept a glance over the room, inspecting every person within, then decided to sit on Sila’s right. As for Lookhin, she just nonchalantly sat down on Sila’s lap as usual.
Due to Cross showing a serious expression, the atmosphere in the room was gloomy. Even playful people like Aek and Tod didn’t dare to throw jokes or greet Sila.
It was Sila who noticed that everyone was too stressed, so he broke the silence.
“Long time no see, everyone. How are you all?”
“The hell with your ‘long time’? It has only been three days.” Cross put an end to Sila’s nonsense.
Sila then recalled that the time in the Desert of Wishes flowed differently from the outside.
“Oh, right. I just felt three days were quite long. Shall we get to the point?” asked Sila.
“Not yet. Wait for everyone to gather first. I don’t want to repeat the same thing,” said Cross.
Sila nodded, before turning his head to Tiger. “That’s fine. By the way, Mister Tiger, why are you here?”
Cross didn’t forbid talking. It was just that the atmosphere around him was dark and he always showed a moody expression, so it was hard for everyone around him to act lively.
Tiger shot a glance at Cross once. Then, seeing that Cross didn’t show any reaction, he replied to Sila.
“The thing is, most of our team members are psychic type, so we have been with Mister Cross for quite a while. Mister Shueria helped us a lot in the past two days, and Pim got to train her qi with Mister Fargo’s help.”
Sila turned his head to Pim. “That’s great. Have you gotten the Qi of Little Divine Beings yet, Pim?”
Pim shook her head. “Not yet. I heard they were discussing the order. They wanted the skilled players to get them first.”
Sila nodded, while Mamon interrupted. “Furthermore, without you or the item girl, no one could grant people permission to enter the mansion.”
“Mn, I see. By the way, Mamon, I’ve thought of asking this many times before. Could you please stop addressing Julia as the item girl?”
“But that girl is really an item. What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s just impolite. Think of it as my request, okay?”
“I don’t see the point. Anyway, fine. I won’t call her that anymore.”
It was the first time everyone in the room got to see Mamon and Lookhin in a human form. However, Sila always acquainted himself with strange people like Lomyok(?), Bluebird, Burapha, or even monsters like Franz or Asura, so they didn’t find Mamon and Lookhin too weird.
Since Sila didn’t talk about it, they didn’t ask, afraid of inquiring about Sila’s personal secrets.
Though, in fact, Sila just simply forgot to introduce them. He had grown used to living in the desert where he didn’t have any friends to talk to for two months. If someone just asked, he would honestly answer.
Sila shifted his interest to Jundtrathep and Pond, who were magic types. “What about you, Jund and Pond?”
“...” Jundtrathep kept blankly staring at Sila until Alice poked her waist.
“Kya! What are you doing, Alice? ...Ah? Sorry, Big Brother Sila. What did you just ask?”
Sila didn’t mind. “I was just curious. Since you and Pond are magic types, what kind of training are you undertaking?”
“Oh... Both of us are training under Luna’s guidance. Well, our progress seems slow.”
Jundtrathep was a genuine spellcaster while Pond was a supporter, so they usually cast magic from the rear instead of engaging directly. Thus, they had a difficult time practicing magic power reinforcement.
“Mn. Since you have never used it before, you might find it difficult. However, once you get the hang of it, you will know that it’s very useful and convenient,” commented Sebastian.
“...Yes,” replied Juntrathep. Her eyes were still fixed on Sila’s face. She noticed that his usual messy hair had been cut and trimmed, showing his manly yet polite facial features. Although Sila was still far from being handsome like Lomyok or Shueria, those two should be considered pretty boys, having an attractive face and nice skin. For Sila, he was a manly type who had a clear jawline and a slightly tanned body. His brown eyes projected his sincerity and honesty.
Aek snapped his fingers in front of Jundtrathep’s face. Twitching, she regained focus and looked at Aek.
“Stop sexually harassing Big Brother Sila with your eyes already~, Jund.”
Jundtrathep’s face was reddened. “That’s not it! Umm... It’s just... Big Brother Sila, you got a haircut?”
“Oho~ Look at you, changing the topic~” Tod teased his friend.
Sila couldn’t help but show his smile. It was refreshing to see that the Tiger Team’s members were still the same. “Yeah, I changed my hairstyle a bit.”
Fargo opened the tent and walked inside, followed by Varee, Sangdao, Julia, and Bluebird. Everyone exchanged short greetings before taking their seats.
“You look better with your new hairstyle, Sila. Dao always thought that you would look great if you just trimmed your hair,” Sangdao remarked while sitting two seats away from Sila’s left, leaving an empty chair between them.
Varee gave her a look once, to which Sangdao just smiled back. Then, Varee proceeded to sit next to Sila without saying anything.
Seeing Varee sitting just a seat away, Lookhin moved and sat on Varee’s lap.
Varee was surprised. “Who is this girl? She is cute.”
“Oh, that’s Lookhin. She can take a human form since she has reached Lord Rank,” replied Sila.
Varee touched Lookhin’s chubby cheeks. “You are so cute~ Lookhin, do you remember me?”
Lookhin nodded. “Mommy!”
Varee found Lookhin too daring to mind what the girl called her. However, her smile only lasted for a brief moment before Lookhin took a look at Sangdao. Lookhin furrowed her tiny brows, tilting her head as she was thinking hard, before calling Sangdao.
Sila’s heart sunk. He did his best to keep a serious look while thinking that maybe Lookhin called every woman ‘Mommy’. Meanwhile, Bluebird bit his lip, trying to hold in his laughter.
Cross gave Sila a discontented look. Even though he wanted to curse him, he found the matter about Grea City more important than getting upset over this.
“Sila, you sent us a message saying that Grea City is in danger. What did you mean?”
Cross always cut to the chase. Ever since he got back from the desert, Sila had been more interested in getting to know Cross. If what Pumin said was true, he would have to depend on Cross a lot in the future.
Pumin forbade him from explicitly talking about the desert’s reward, so Sila organized the words in his head and stated the reason in his own way.
“I just have a hunch that Montra would surely target Grea City. Our union has just been established and Grea City is our weakest link. However, I don’t understand why he hasn’t made a move yet.”
Cross was aware that Grea City was the union’s greatest weakness at the moment, though he felt displeased to hear it from Sila’s mouth.
“We are well aware of that. In the past two or three days, there were many groups of unfamiliar players entering the city and they have yet to leave. We don’t know their objective yet, but these people aren’t the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members.”
Sila gave it a thought. “I’m sure those people are Montra’s allies. Montra has a number of secret allied groups who haven’t directly joined his guild. I believe these people are some of them.”
“How can you know that?”
Sila couldn’t explain the matter about the Wulin Masters Association, so he had to give a random yet plausible reason.
“Montra is influential in real life. These groups of people relate to Montra that way. Each of them is a martial artist or at least someone interested in martial arts. Their number should be around fifty thousand.”
“Um... If what you said is true, the good news is that we know about them now, and can expect an attack. However, the bad news is we don’t have a countermeasure.”
“I suggest we rebuild the Royal Armament Guild, recruiting members who are good at playing games. I have fought against some of Montra’s secret force before. Even though they are martial artists, they are inexperienced regarding games. If we rely on in-game skills or techniques that only exist in the game, we can stand a chance against them.”
Cross frowned. He unleashed Mental Oppression at Sila, though it also affected others. Everyone had to protect themselves with energy reinforcement to resist the pressure. The mood turned grim again.
“What kind of a joke you are going to pull this time, huh?! You are one of the main reasons why our guild collapsed. Now what? You’re telling us to rebuild it again? Do you take us for clowns?”
‘Um. His psychic power’s characteristic is the power to control, I guess? He is emitting it gradually from his body. He must have good affinity with the wood element, then. In that case, his personality is contradicting his power. He will be more terrifying if he is calm like Kawin.’
Sila silently circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body. The element that was strong against the wood element was metal. Sila focused his qi around his lungs, increasing his metal attribute.
Once he did that, Cross’ Mental Oppression had a negligible effect on him.
Sila took a deep breath and gave an honest reply.
“That’s my fault. I’m sorry. I only realized later that Montra was using me. If there is anything that I can do to help you rebuild the Royal Armament Guild, please let me know.”
His tone of voice was firm and sincere. Hearing that, Cross canceled his power.
Everyone in the room looked at Sila, feeling astonished. They all thought that Sila had changed from three days ago. However, they wondered how someone could change this much in just a matter of three days?
Sila said sorry without putting up a pretense or being indirect about it. Cross no longer had anything to say, so Fargo continued.
“Since you really meant it, we will gladly accept your help. We are building a guild from scratch, so I admit that we need support, no matter how small.”
“I am glad I can help. In addition, when I am away, traveling to Belacia City, I will let Sebastian and Julia stay here and help out.”
Sebastian had a mission to protect Grea City from being conquered by the enemy, so he was glad to take that duty with pleasure.
“What about the forces that may invade us? What will we do? Should we ask for reinforcements?” asked Bluebird.
“We shouldn’t. That will make other guilds in our union vulnerable to the attack instead. Although our numbers only amount to two hundred, every single one of them knows this city well and their ability is decent. If we avoid the direct clash, we can make it,” said Cross.
“Montra is perhaps planning something. That’s why he is late. We should use this time wisely by studying terrain and preparing traps.”
And so, the meeting continued...
Great City at midnight was disturbed by steam and engines.
On the rooftop of a certain building that could see most of Great City stood a man in full body armor with a white mask on his face. He had been patiently waiting for a signal since two days ago.
As the Crystals of Connecting in his pocket shone and broke, he knew that the wait had ended.
Six silhouettes emerged around the man. One of them was his leader who was hailed as the Magic Emperor. The one next to him was his leader’s partner, an angel name Ramiel. Lastly, the other four were the remaining Five Dragon Warlords excluding him.
The man kneeled down as soon as he noticed Montra. He didn’t know beforehand that his leader would come personally.
“No need for formality, Zazae. I will be in charge today.”
Zazae stood up. Not many people knew that he worshipped Montra, a man blessed with strength and intelligence. Hearing that Montra would personally be in charge, he didn’t doubt that today’s objective would end up successful.
Montra took a look at Grea City once, before commanding Zazae. “Tell our people to start immediately.”
Zazae nodded and opened his system window to input some commands. Soon, the sounds of battles and weapons clashing against each other resounded throughout the city, and fires ignited.
Trick Master couldn’t help but express his curiosity. “Mister Montra, you still didn’t tell us the plan. What are our duties?”
“In this phase, we will wait and see Cross’ reaction first. Then, I will tell you what actions you will have to take.”
“Our guild is a righteous guild. Ordinary players will think badly of us if we raid the city without reason, no?” Cheris asked.
Montra didn’t even look back. “No need to worry. The Wicked Union used us to gain fame for themselves and devalued the reputation of the Five Dragon Warlords. Today, in addition to seizing the city from Cross, I will restore our reputation.”
“Anyway, we will look like a bad guy in ordinary players' opinions, no?”
Montra turned his body and looked at his teammates. “Don’t worry. Since they claimed to be virtuous and slandered us, we will claim that, instead, the Heavenly Dragon Guild are the virtuous ones with the responsibility to crush the Wicked Union.”
Everyone looked at each other, their faces clearly showed that they had no idea what would happen next. Only Zazae knew Montra’s plan beforehand.
“We don’t understand, Montra,” said Shuran.
Montra nodded and gave a meaningful look to Zazae. “Rather than me spelling it out, we better show them... Go, Cross.”
Zazae nodded. He emitted psychic power from his body, controlling five swords to hover around him, before soaring toward the center of the city using Psychic Impact. No matter how one looked at him, the current Zazae was just like Cross.
“War is about writing history, thrusting sins upon the opponent while bearing a sign of justice. There is no such thing as being completely right or being completely wrong in the war. History is written by the victors. By tomorrow morning, we will have written a new page of Monster Soul’s history.”
Both the smoke and steam from the battles below were blown up near Montra. However, his determination wasn’t wavering in the slightest.
He was confident that, come morning, his plan would have shifted to the next phase.
Chapter 204: Riding on the Rumor
Sila, Sebastian, and Cross stationed themselves on a temporary lookout tower made of wood. They were monitoring several battles occurring throughout the city.
The city was bright even at midnight due to the firesignited during battles. Even though it wasn’t to the point where the flames engulfed the entire city, it was enough for people to panic and the situation to become chaotic.
Because the size of the wooden tower was small, only three of them had climbed up and got to see the widest view of the city.
Sila had a clear look at what was happening. The Royal Armament Guild’s members used guerrilla tactics; they only engaged in battles briefly before retreating, leading the enemies to traps or to where they could make use of the terrain.
Grea City had a lot of alleys and side streets, so those who knew the lay of the land had an overwhelming advantage over those who didn’t.
Sila now understood why Cross could manage to survive after his guild collapsed.
“Should we go help them?” asked Sila.
Cross calmly watched the situation. “No, we will wait. The opponent’s main force has yet to be dispatched. This group just wants to cause a ruckus. My men can still handle them.”
Sila looked at the battles again. Even though it was true that Cross’ men could fend off the opponents, the number of enemies was too high. Among all the occurring battles, many were losing.
“I can help over there. They can’t hold off anymore.” Sila pointed his finger at one of the battles below and was about to jump off. However, Sebastian disagreed.
“You shouldn’t go, sir. Luring us to engage in the current battles is supposed to be one of the enemy’s goals.”
“But... they really can’t hold off. They are dying.”
Even if they relied on traps, there wasn’t an unlimited number of them. As they continued using them, it was natural that the traps were running out. Furthermore, the opponents were getting used to how Cross’ men fought and could avoid some of their tricks.
Some of the enemy’ groups chased down a small number of the Royal Armament Guild’s members and forced them into a corner.
Soon, a loud explosion went off and the flame blasted everyone in the alley, annihilating both friends and foes in an instant. It was a nightmarish sight.
Sila looked at the situation with bewilderment. “W-What was that?”
“Suicide bombing. I ordered my subordinates to gather enemies in one place and incinerate them,” Cross explained flatly.
“People on your side were there! I can’t believe you would do that to your own people!”
Cross coldly stared at Sila. “Are you trying to say that I was cruel? Imagine yourself in a one-on-one deathmatch. Would you sacrifice one of your arms in order to obtain a complete victory?”
“I think I would, but it’s not the same. That’s a part of my body, so it’s my choice. Those, however, were the lives of others.”
“My army is a part of my body! The war is a stage where armies kill each other! It’s the same everywhere whether you claim to be generous or cruel! To win a war, we must take a look at the overall situation and do whatever it takes to win in the end, even if it means making sacrifices. It is impossible to win a war completely unharmed!!”
“What about the innocent players? Some of them died.”
“Our opponents are trying to make us fall into that line of thinking. That’s why they are causing a ruckus where most people gather. They want us to be concerned about the ordinary players and divide our forces in order to help them.”
Cross took a glance at his system window. He read the incoming message without a frown. When he finished reading, he said:
“There is news about the Sword Emperor going crazy and slaughtering players in the south.”
“Eh? How is that possible? Mister Cross is here,” asked Sila.
“Clearly, that’s an imposter. This is normal. If it were me, I would do the same. This means they want me to go help people while invalidating the rumor. It’s highly likely that they have set a trap for me, or have prepared to raid us from the other side.”
“In that case, how can we go and help them without falling into their trap?”
“We won’t go. I’m no longer the conqueror of this city. My guild is just a small guild located in the city. These players didn’t pay me tax or anything. Why should I bother to help them? It’s their own life, they should protect it themselves.”
“Huh?! Is that alright? By the way, is it okay to let the imposter do as they please?”
“It’s fine. A bad reputation is useful in its own way. These players already hate me from the start, I don’t care if their hatred for me intensifies. I will just ride on the rumor they make for me.”
Sila could finally see the reason why Montra was more wary of Cross than Lone Wolf. Regarding individual strength, Cross might be the weakest among the Four Emperors. However, if it was about the ability to make decisions under pressure, Cross was as sharp as Montra and completely superior to Lone Wolf.
He wasn’t afraid of being misunderstood and becoming a villain. He didn’t fight for virtue. He fought to win.
“Is it really fine?” Still, Sila couldn’t help but feel worried.
Cross turned his head to Sila. “Do you think that it’s better for me to go help them? Listen. Even if I go, nothing will change. In the sea of rumors and confusing news, people will only remember ‘Cross was crazy and slaughtering players.’ Trying to explain will just make me look like I’m making excuses. At a time like this, it is better to ride on the rumor and add some spice to make it more confusing.”
Cross opened many screens of his system window and gave a command through the guild channel.
“Everyone at the south, retreat immediately. Don’t engage in combat with the fake Sword Emperor and don’t help anyone. Meanwhile, add more rumors in the forum that the Heavenly Dragon Guild has come. Even the Magic Emperor Montra has come personally. However, they do nothing and leave the Sword Emperor and his men to slaughter people without helping.”
Cross closed two of his screens, still leaving some of them open to check the overall situation.
Sila wasn’t sure whether Cross’ plan would work. However, he received the answer in less than three minutes. The battles began to calm down and the enemies stopped slaughtering the ordinary players. Instead, their objective changed as they headed to the Royal Armament Guild’s new base.
From far away, Sila saw thousands of players wearing white clothing with a symbol of the Heavenly Dragon Guild entering the city.
“Just as I expected. Since they used an imposter and the army pretended to be mine, that meant they had prepared another army to put a stop to the first army, claiming righteousness. Kukuku. Playing the side of justice is hard, isn’t it, Montra?”
Sila got to see Cross from a different angle he hadn’t seen before. In the future, some players might see Cross as a villain, hating him to their bones, but little did they know that it was, in fact, Cross’ decision that saved most of the players here.
Trying to help would intensify the level of the battles. Instead, taking the blame that wasn’t true turned out to be the best choice.
Even though Cross’ real goal was to win, his decision brought a good result that prevented people from dying meaninglessly.
In the past, Sila was biased against Cross. However, he now realized that every person had both good and bad sides. He witnessed Cross’ good side today.
‘What about Montra?’ Sila couldn’t help asking himself. Had he been biased against Montra and overlooked Montra’s other sides?
Cross gave another command and closed his system window. He called one of his subordinates to come up on the tower, replacing him, while he dropped down. Seeing that, Sila and Sebastian jumped down as well.
The three of them were still inside the temporary camp. There were many people running around performing their duties. Some healed the injured people. Some commanded their subordinates. Some handed out weapons to others. Even though it was quite chaotic, everyone seemed to know what they were doing.
Sila looked around and saw that all of the people he knew were still in this place. The notable sight was Shueria and Fargo locking a certain player’s arms who was currently unconscious.
Based on what Sila saw, this particular player was quite normal and didn’t seem to be strong. He wondered why both Fargo and Shueria had to keep their eyes on this man.
“Our enemy forces consist of the ones pretending to be us and the ones showing up later as the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s army. They had to pretend to fight each other for a while. In addition, the latter team had to help people to show off their righteousness. They had to be wary of our traps and explosions on top of that. They must be pretty busy. During this time, we have to figure out which symbol these two groups are using to distinguish friends from foes. If we know that, we will have a way to exploit it,” said Cross.
Sila frowned. “Both of them are Montra’s forces. Maybe they just recognize each other’s face?”
“It would be possible if we are talking about a small force. However, with their numbers and how chaotic the battlefield is, there is no way they can recognize each other. They are sure to have some kind of symbol, mark, or signal.”
With Cross’ rational explanation, Sila agreed with him. No matter how good they were at memorizing people, there was simply no way for all of them, an army of more than a thousand players, to recognize each other in the middle of the battlefield.
“Wake him up.” Cross gave an order, and one of his men poured cold water in a bucket on the man’s face.
“Cough, cough, cough.” The man choked on the water that entered his nose. He lifted his head up tiresomely and confusingly.
“What is the symbol?” asked Cross.
The man was still in a confused state. He looked around and found that he was in the middle of the enemy’s camp. The first action he took was to unleash his power, trying to commit suicide.
Shueria and Fargo were waiting for that. Both of them injected their powers into the man. One for healing and one for breaking. The pain was so strong that the man screamed.
“Arghhhh! Kill me! Kill me now!”
“That would be too comfortable for you. Answer me. What is the symbol you guys use to determine your allies?” Cross asked again.
“Puh!” The man spat his saliva and blood out at Cross’s face. Instantly, the sword in Cross’ hand pierced through his abdomen.
“I will add more swords, one by one. The energy clad on them will torture you from the inside. Even if you feel less pain compared to what you would feel in reality, that doesn’t mean it’ll only tickle.”
One more sword was added into the man’s body. The female players in the camp began to shift their eyes from the hellish scene.
“The symbol. Tell me, and I will let you die neatly.”
“No matter what you do, I won’t ever betray Sir Montra...”
“Won’t ever betray? How nice. Bring me another one!” shouted Cross.
Soon, another man was carried and thrown onto the ground. He had several cuts and bruises all over his body, apparently caused by being hit and tortured.
Cross turned his head and spoke to the newcomer, “You are useless now. This young man admitted defeat and confessed to us what the symbol is. Now, die.”
The man who just arrived stared intently and angrily at the traitor, engraving the man’s face deep into his memory. “You! Why did you do that!! We—!”
That’s all he could say before Cross cleaved him into two with a sword. The soulless body fell down on the ground and remained there as a gruesome corpse.
Usually, players would turn into light and disappear in three seconds after dying. However, with Jundtrathep’s passive ability, those who died within a kilometer radius around her would leave behind their corpse, opening up an opportunity to be resurrected.
“I didn’t confess…?” The remaining man muttered, feeling confused.
“Sure... But others won’t know that. Kukuku, since you are so loyal to Montra, I can’t wait to see your expression after that guy revives and tells the others about your betrayal,” Cross said apathetically.
“Humph! You don’t even know the symbol. How can you claim that I have betrayed him?”
“Is that so? What do you think, Fargo?” Cross turned his head to Fargo.
Fargo replied nonchalantly, “The pet storage bracelet on the right wrist.”
Hearing that, the man’s face became pale. Cross turned his head back to him. “You really are useless now.”
“Why should I tell you, you bastard? Hey... Take him to the prison. Imprison him for two or three days before releasing him unscratched.”
Under Cross’ command, Shueria exerted more power to knock the man unconscious. Then, one of the guild members dragged him away.
“How did you know?” Sila couldn’t help but express his doubt.
Noticing that Cross became silent, Fargo explained, “Actually, we had been looking for possible symbols on their bodies. Since they needed to distinguish friends from foes on a battlefield, we believed that the symbol should be something easily noticeable; one that was quite common but not too eye-catching. We narrowed it down by looking only at equipment, and noticed that they’re all wearing six to seven suspicious items.
“When the second person arrived, everyone shifted attention to him while I closely observed the previous man, checking to see where his gaze landed. It was natural for him to look for the symbol to see whether the person was his comrade or not.”
Fargo, Cross, and Shueria were friends for ages. The three of them had come up with several secret signals that were only known among them. Just now, Cross had sent one such signal, informing Fargo to secretly keep an eye on the man.
Cross opened his system window and checked the item’s description. “Hm. It’s a normal bracelet but they aren’t sold in Grea City. Montra must have planned it so that we can’t find them in a short time even if we know about it... Damn. It seems we just wasted our time.”
Julia stepped forward. “If you are talking about the previous C-grade pet storage bracelet, I would like to inform you that Master Sila has thirty-five of them in his possession, though twenty-five of them were damaged by Mister Mamon’s explosion. Only ten of them function properly.”
“Do I have them?” exclaimed Sila, feeling confused. Lately, he had too many items. Since he didn’t use most of them, it was natural that he couldn’t remember everything he had.
“Yes, Master. Would you like Julia to summon them?”
“Mn, sure. Will they be enough though? It’s just ten,” Sila asked Cross.
Cross abruptly said, “Bring all thirty-five of them here. We just want to wear them. Their functionality is unnecessary.”
Julia waved her hand once, and thirty-five bracelets appeared in front of her.
Cross ordered his men to take them and entrusted them with a certain task.
“Take out all twenty of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s uniforms in the guild storage. Give them to two of our small units specialized in mobility. Go and instigate infighting while finding a chance to assassinate those who are alone.”
“Roger, Leader.” The guild members proceeded to do what they were told.
Sila turned his head to Cross, asking, “Mister Cross, do you have the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s uniforms?”
“Kukuku. Not only those. I also have ones for the Victorious Wolves Sect, the Mountain Thieves League, and the Merchants Association. I even have Zero’s Unjust Wuxia Clothing and the Beginner’s Clothing prepared. Montra isn’t the only one to think of using imposters.”
‘He even has the Beginner’s Clothing? Did he intend to impose as me?’ Sila let out a dry cough.
“What is our next course of action, then?” asked Sila. Since the beginning of the battle, Cross only employed his men and held those who were highly skilled on standby.
“We will wait and change our strategy depending on the enemy’s actions. We are the defensive side. The longer we prolong the battle, the better. We will only dispatch the skilled ones when we absolutely need to.”
Sila started to understand what war really meant. ‘We killed some of them, and they killed some of us. Sometimes we lose, but sometimes we win. Only the last, final battle decides the absolute victor. Before that, there are several less important battles. There is no such thing as a noble war. Both sides willingly slander, slaughter, demoralize an enemy, strategize, or strengthen the team’s morale. Even if we are in a disadvantageous position, we shouldn’t show any weakness.’
The flow of the battle seemed to be with Sila and his team for now. However, who knew how long it would last? At the end of the raid, which side would emerge victorious?
can you tell me what is EA?
Chapter 205: Counterattack with the Same Move
Grea City was dyed with the colors of fire and blood. The smell of blood fused with the water vapor and the smoke, bringing a nauseous feeling to those who were in the city.
Nevertheless, it brought a particularly pleasant sensation to some people; the ones who longed for the smell of victory.
Montra was indifferent to the situation unfolding before him. He glanced over his system window and quickly typed words at incredible speed. Soon, he raised his head up, looking at the view of Grea City underneath his feet.
“It seems Cross personally commands the army. It’s the old Cross at that. This will be difficult.”
Montra didn’t underestimate Cross. Actually, in his eyes, disregarding the one-on-one fighting ability, Cross was a very dangerous person, especially the Cross from the era when he had just founded the Royal Armament Guild.
Montra had seen Cross’ ability and potential for a long time. He also figured that someone like Cross wouldn’t submit or yield to someone else. Still, since Cross was of no use to him, Montra had to get rid of him before his potential bloomed.
In the beginning, the Royal Armament Guild was a guild with a solid foundation and structure, having an excellent commander as a leader and two trusted and strong vice-leaders. If left unchecked, the guild would grow and become a pillar that couldn’t easily be taken down.
Since ‘Pull’ wouldn’t work, instead Montra would ‘Push’ them.
Montra secretly helped Cross behind the scene. He took down the Royal Armament Guild’s potential threats and destroyed all their obstacles while avoiding a direct clash between the Heavenly Dragon Guild and the Royal Armament Guild.
He indirectly supported them to become a famous and large guild within a span of a year, which was quite short considering the size of the guild.
As a result, Cross acquired more power, wealth, people, and influence than he ever expected. In the end, he was obsessed with power and greed. His character greatly changed and he became a totally different person.
The guild’s structure heavily relied on monetary benefits. The guild members rarely had a chance to be united in action and spirit, so they lacked the ability to cope with problems and could be bought with money. Most importantly, the guild leader never had a chance to overcome a crisis, so he was drunk on fake success and supremacy.
The rest was easy. Montra just had to seize the right moment to crush them completely.
“Hmph. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be possible for him to rebuild his guild again since he has no funding and his reputation is bad. I didn’t expect there to be people willing to join his new guild. It seems the Mountain Thieves League is at work here. Beluga is a well-known person who knows all kinds of people. It will be possible if he lends Cross a hand. Unfortunately, he is a tough nut to crack.”
Beluga was another person that Montra considered a threat. Nevertheless, if Beluga could be defeated easily, the Mountain Thieves League wouldn’t survive to this day even though they clearly showed hostility to the Heavenly Dragon Guild.
Beluga was a charismatic and straightforward person. He had a lot of friends. Some of them were morally upstanding people, while others were the opposite. He was one of the most influential people, possessing a large network in Monster Soul. If someone wanted to bring harm to Beluga without a proper reason, there would easily be an upheaval.
Therefore, unless it was absolutely necessary or he was certain of his victory, Montra wouldn’t attack Belaga, at least openly.
It was exactly as Montra thought; only the Mountain Thieves League could persuade people to join the Royal Armament Guild even though Cross’ reputation was in the mud.
The Mountain Thieves League was famous for their motto, ‘Achieve the impossible’.
The remaining four warlords still didn’t make any moves. They were silently waiting for Montra’s orders.
“Everyone, go ahead and wait for me at the second meeting point. I will follow you shortly after.” After Montra finished his sentence, all four warlords promptly departed for the new location.
Soon, the disguised Zazae came back to Montra.
“I retreated as you instructed, Sir Montra,” reported Zazae.
“Good. I have prepared more tasks for you.”
“Yes, sir. Nevertheless, Cross is still giving us a hard time. I think we should fix this problem first.”
Montra shook his head. “No, I can handle him myself. These tasks are extremely important, and you are the only one I can trust to do them.”
“Just say the words, sir, and I will accomplish whatever you ask of me.”
“Then, firstly, kill me,” Montra said flatly. Zazae was stunned.
Zazae removed his mask, showing well-defined facial features with a large scar running across the entire face. He only showed his face to those he trusted. Showing it meant he was expressing his loyalty toward Montra.
“...What did you just say, sir?” Zazae asked to make sure.
“I said ‘kill me’. This is your first task. Do it now.” Montra’s eyes were saying that he wasn’t kidding.
Zazae stopped hesitating. He slashed Montra with the blade in his hand. Blood spurted out from the wound. Montra didn’t put up even the slightest resistance.
With Dragon Heart, the white glow enveloped Montra’s body for a moment and his wound instantly closed.
You have been killed by another dragon-race player. You have lost the racial skill (A) Dragon Heart.
You have successfully killed the current strongest dragon-race player. You have acquired the racial skill (A) Dragon Heart.
There was a change in the strongest-of-the-race ranking for the dragons, though Montra didn’t care. He had held onto the top position for so long that people quit checking.
For the immediate future, no one would notice that the ultimate skill of the dragon race had already changed hands.
“The next task. I want you to go to Madmen’s Valley and complete the quest there to polish your psychic ability further. That place is not far from here, and a night with a full moon is coming soon.”
Zazae was still in a daze from taking the skill that belonged to Montra. He quickly asked, “May I ask why?”
“You are one of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s greatest assets. Your strength is comparable to the Two Monarchs and your loyalty is genuine. You deserve to be nurtured.”
“Yes. The Envy Card has good compatibility with you. Now that you have copied Cross and Lone Wolf’s powers, you are more than a force to be reckoned with. However, even if you can copy the power, you can’t develop it. Anyway, with Dragon Heart, the probability of you losing the card will be lower.”
Immediately after he got the report from the Five Warlords regarding the raid at the Victorious Wolves Sect, Montra noticed the weaknesses of the Envy skill that allowed the user to copy the base power of anyone fighting them.
The card that seemed to be fraudulent at first glance had at least three big weaknesses. Firstly, the user couldn’t develop power outside of the user’s energy type. Secondly, the user couldn’t copy power from the same opponent twice. Finally, the last and biggest weakness was that Envy’s ability was always active.
This meant Zazae could use others’ abilities all the time. On the other hand, anytime he died, he would instantly lose the card.
Montra lowered the chance of Zazae losing the card by transferring Dragon Heart to him. With it, Zazae would get a second chance if he made a mistake. He could use that second chance to either continue the fight or flee.
In addition, Montra planned to send Zazae to accomplish a quest that would enable him to unlock the ability to use dual energies, opening up the opportunity for him to develop his psychic power.
Zazae asked with concern, “But, without Dragon Heart, Sir Montra’s Dragon Ritual will...”
Montra’s skin softly glowed white, illuminating the area around them. He unleashed his magic power to accelerate the healing power of the Heavenly Dragon Scale. Soon, the remaining half of his health points were refilled.
He answered Zazae’s question with action rather than words.
“...Heavenly Dragon Scales. Sir Montra, so you have already completed your Dragon Ritual...”
“Correct. Now, go. Contact me when you finish. I still have one last task waiting for you.”
Zazae nodded and donned the mask like before. He removed Cross’ full body armor and equipped the assassin garment he always wore. He lifted up the scarf around his neck to cover his mask and quickly leaped to the northwest, heading for the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.
Montra waited for a minute to ensure that no one was around him except Ramiel. He unsealed the Left Arm of the Sealed One which was at the fourth stage. His left arm turned black and ugly, like the arm of a demon.
“Change the skill in the slot,” Montra commanded.
[Please choose a single magic-type skill for which you would like to disregard cooldown and delay.]
Montra selected a skill to replace Dragon Heart. For the record, the Left Arm of the Sealed One unlocked another ability when it reached the fourth stage. In addition to the slot for selecting a skill that the user would like to disregard the cooldown and delay of, there was one more slot for selecting a magic-type skill that the user would like to double in strength. As a side note, the user can’t select the same skill for both slots.
[The Left Arm of the Sealed One requires an hour to process the new installation. You can’t use the skill being processed during this period.]
“Seal.” Montra activated a skill to return his left arm back to normal.
“Ramiel. Let’s go. I hope you have built up your power for long enough. The next phase of the plan relies heavily on you.”
“I’m ready, Master Montra.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
Montra used a levitation spell and flew up. His destination was the second meeting point, where most battles were taking place. The Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members were doing their best to help out the injured players and lead them safely to the exit. Obviously, their actions brought great joy to the ordinary players.
During his flight, Montra noticed a small group of players being surrounded by both the flames and a group of bandits taking advantage of the chaos to rob the weak.
Montra summoned the Dragon Head Staff in his hand. Several blue magic circles appeared surrounding the flames, covering one hundred meters in each direction. The dragon eyes on the mage staff gleamed once.
Water rained down from the sky, extinguishing the fire and lowering the temperature. Those who touched the rain also felt their health points slightly regenerating.
“Thousand-Year Ice Seal.”
Montra waved his mage staff once, and the pool of rainwater on the street instantly solidified. The ice sealed the lower bodies of those bandits, restricting their movements.
Montra stood on the roof of a building. He looked down and found that there were only a few survivors.
A young woman, one of the survivors, looked up to Montra and said, “Thank you.”
Montra didn’t reply. Instead, he cast healing magic to completely refill the survivors’ health points.
“You should be able to handle the rest, right?” Without waiting for a reply, Montra continued heading to the second meeting point.
“Wow. The Magic Emperor in action,” said one of the survivors.
“Eh? That person just now is the Magic Emperor?” asked the young woman.
“That’s right. With Sir Magic Emperor helping us personally, we will surely be safe. The evil Royal Armament Guild will cease to exist today. Damn. This kind of guild doesn’t deserve to have a place in Monster Soul.”
The remaining survivors agreed. They quickly defeated the bandits in the ice and proceeded to exit the city through the lane that the Heavenly Dragon Guild had cleared for them.
The game forum was filled with topics hailing the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s righteous actions of helping people without expecting anything in return.
People began to see the cruel side of the war. Some of them hoped that if all the evil guilds, who brought harm to the majority of people playing Monster Soul, were wiped out before the war event start, there was a chance that the vicious war wouldn’t take place.
Who knows? Maybe an era where all players joined forces and united as one was closer than they imagined.
As the news was spreading, Montra and Ramiel reached the meeting spot and met up with the four warlords and the rest of the guild members who arrived before them.
Montra started issuing an order once he arrived.
“Cross is using guerrilla warfare against us. The number of people on his side is lower, so he relies on mobility and sneak attacks. It’s possible that his men have already infiltrated our group.
“The smaller team has the advantage of moving quickly, but larger team aren’t useless. From now on, we will no longer march forward but will instead surround them, keeping their base in check. Moreover, issue the order to everyone that we will use the backup symbol instead of the first one. Those who don’t have one are to be killed on the spot.”
One of the guild members quickly sent an order via his system window, relaying Montra’s command.
Soon, some battles broke out. Those who infiltrated didn’t have a backup symbol so they had no choice but to retreat to the Royal Armament Guild’s base.
“If this was a real war, we can just surround them like this. However, we have to advance this time. They have fewer players, so we will win if we clash against them directly.”
Ramiel’s body glowed in white light, and a semi-transparent giant white cube emerged with the Royal Armament Guild’s base as its center, seeming like a barrier.
“We will use the same method that the Wicked Union used against us. We will force them to match us, fighting separately without interruptions. However, we will be the ones choosing the matchups this time.”
As he finished speaking, Montra approached the four warlords.
He handed a sheet of paper to Shuran. “Sun-Extinguishing Warlord, you stay outside the barrier and stick with the order I wrote on this paper.”
Shuran read the contents written down; they were about when he should shoot, the targets who took priority, and some signals for communication. He memorized all of it, then destroyed the sheet.
“Ramiel, the second stage.” Montra gave an order without looking back.
Ramiel’s face was drenched in sweat. He unleashed more magic power, and the barrier’s color changed from white to white-blue. Except for the color, it didn’t seem like anything else had changed.
“Ramiel just reversed the barrier. With this, the people outside can attack those inside but the people inside won’t be able to exit.”
Shuran got it. With this barrier, he could concentrate on shooting without worrying about a counterattack. He jumped toward the rooftop of the tallest building nearby and activated God's Cathedral to cover the entire barrier. He was ready to fire according to Montra’s instructions.
“Everybody except for the warlords, wait outside. The default order is to kill everything that comes out of the barrier, even if it’s a pet or myself. Shuran has command. Listen to him. He will be the one who decides if you attack the ones exiting or not.”
The guild members started to understand. On the paper that Shuran read just now, there should be a symbol known only to Montra and Shuran in order to distinguish whether players exiting are friends or foes.
“Star-Finishing Warlord, Illusionist Warlord, Black Star Warlord, and Ramiel, come with me inside. Ramiel, be prepared for the third stage.”
When the five of them proceeded and gathered in front of the barrier, Lost Ghost asked, “Will we really go in with only five people? Although it’s true that the Royal Armament Guild’s only has a few hundred members, there should be around ten skilled experts inside.”
Montra ignored the question and took out three sheets of paper. He handed one to each warlord. “Follow the instructions written on the paper. Destroy it once you finish memorizing it.”
The three warlords did as he instructed, destroying the sheets after reading. They wondered why Montra didn’t just explain the instructions. Why bother writing them down?
Trick Master asked, “These instructions are...”
Montra lifted his hand up to stop Trick Master from speaking. “The contents are the same but don’t speak them out loud. We have to take precautions in case our enemies are eavesdropping on us.”
The three of them nodded. Grea City was the city of engine and technology. They wouldn’t find it hard to believe if there were machines or items that could eavesdrop on people’s conversations.
Montra headed inside, followed by the rest. They could enter the barrier easily. A great battle like the ones in Zhongsuyuan City was about to unfold. Similarly to that time, no one could predict the outcome of the battle.
Chapter 206: A Fearsome Man
The Royal Armament Guild members put up a defensive formation, preparing for a possible incoming raid. The feeling of uneasiness showed in their expressions. Nevertheless, it was washed away once they saw Cross, along with several skilled powerhouses, making an appearance.
Sebastian raised his head and analyzed the barrier surrounding the guild. “This is Ramiel’s barrier, sir.”
Sila nodded. “Montra is also coming. I recognize his power.”
“Please give me permission to deal with Ramiel, sir. I know his power well. If I can heavily injure him or break his concentration, the barrier will automatically fall.”
“I will leave him in your care, then,” replied Sila.
“Thank you, sir. By the way, Mister Sila, if you have a chance, I suggest you observe how Ramiel uses his power. I guarantee it will be educational for using Illuminus.”
“Because Ramiel’s power was replicated from the Right Arm, sir. Similarly, my power was replicated from the Left Arm. If you study how Ramiel uses his power, you will come to know the correct method to utilize Illuminus, sir.”
“Isn’t Ramiel a magic-type being while Illuminus is a psychic-type object?”
“Specifically, Ramiel’s power is in the middle of magic type and psychic type, sir. You can say that his power is both magic and psychic while, at the same time, neither. He can utilize magic power in the form of psychic power while utilizing psychic power with magic’s properties.”
Sila nodded and declared loudly, “If a fight breaks out, please let me fight Montra one-on-one.”
Many didn’t agree with him. Even Varee opposed the idea. “This is a war, Sila. We don’t need to fight one-on-one. The problem at hand isn’t how to defeat the enemy but how to survive this situation.”
Cross agreed with Varee. “Varee is right. Even if you win, then what? There are still thousands of enemies waiting for us outside.”
Sangdao held onto Sila’s wrist. “Sila, Dao thinks you don’t need to fight Montra so soon. You should take your time and study Montra first.”
Sebastian offered a solution. “Even though there is a large number of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members outside, they won’t expect the assault since they think we are imprisoned. If we can attack them, it will be very effective and deal significant damage.”
“The problem is we don’t have people outside,” said Cross.
Actually, Cross had prepared an escape route and a way to counterattack beforehand. However, he didn’t expect Montra to cover the entire area with a barrier. Thus, his counterattack plan had ended in vain.
Sebastian said, “When I fight Ramiel, it’s possible that some gaps will be exposed in the barrier. As for the assault duty, please leave it to Lookhin and Mamon.”
Everyone shifted their eyes to a girl and a boy in disbelief. Nevertheless, they knew Sebastian was quite sly so he wouldn’t talk nonsense. If he said so, that meant he had already prepared a plan.
“...Sure. What is the plan?”
Sebastian talked to Mamon and Lookhin. “The plan is: once there is a gap in the barrier, I would like both of you to go out there and kill as many people as you can.”
Bluebird exclaimed, “Wait. Is this the entire plan?”
Sebastian replied, “Yes, sir. That is all. Oh, how about a competition? The one who kills the most will be the winner, and the winner will have the right to request one favor from Mister Sila. Is that okay, Mister Sila?”
“Hm? Sure, I guess. But don’t ask for something expensive, okay? I’m short on money.”
In others’ perspective, the plan was ridiculous. However, Lookhin and Mamon’s eyes were sparkling. Their fighting spirits were ignited. The task of killing the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members was degraded and turned into a trivial matter.
Mamon’s lips crooked up, showing a disgusting grin. His eyes curled up into half moons. He could already picture his victory. He couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of Lookhin licking his shoes while he was merrily and joyfully whipping her with a giant whip.
Meanwhile, Lookhin was drooling. She quickly wiped her saliva while envisioning the sight of her sitting on Sila’s lap, enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet as Mamon had to run around in circles refilling the food.
Both of them fell into their own fantasy worlds. Witnessing that his plan was working, Sebastian approached Lookhin and whispered to her.
“Entomomageia is an excellent spell against armies. If you use it wisely, you will win for sure, Lookhin. Actually, you have already summoned insects and they are out there. That is golden. Those who make a preemptive strike often win, you know?”
Lookhin nodded solemnly and concentrated on those insects she had summoned. They were outside. Although they were incredibly weak at the moment, Lookhin ordered them to continue eating mana from nature in order to grow stronger. She was nurturing an army outside of the barrier.
Next, Sebastian moved to Mamon and whispered near the devil prince’s ear.
“Be careful, sir. Lookhin is already using Entomomageia. The reason I’m warning you is because I’m afraid you would end up losing from her cheating, sir.”
Mamon muttered with a prideful tone. “Kiekkiekkiek. You stupid bird. Wanna play dirty against me? You’re a thousand years too early. I have never lost against anyone in a cheating contest.”
Mamon opened his system window. It brought confusion to most players around him. They previously thought Mamon was a high-rank monster under Silas’s wing. However, it turned out Mamon was just a teenager player.
“They are coming. There are only five of them. One of them is Montra.” Suddenly, Sila spoke out loud to warn everyone else.
Cross quickly gave out an order. “Jundtrathep, get ready. Tiger Team, protecting Jundtrathep takes priority. It’s highly possible that the enemy will target her. If she dies, the rest of us will have a much harder time surviving.”
Jundtrathep took a few steps back and summoned Luna, along with twenty Guardians of Light, to prepare a defensive formation. The Tiger Teams’ members also included themselves in the formation.
Sebastian approached Julia and said, “Miss Head Maid, you aren’t good at defense. I think you should stay a few steps behind Miss Jundtrathep and attack from a long range. If things go wrong and Miss Jundtrathep dies, you will be able to revive her this way.”
While Julia was positioning herself, Montra heroically made an appearance via the main street. Following behind him were Ramiel, Cheris, Trick Master, and Lost Ghost. There were only five of them, just as Sila stated.
Even excluding those who had their specific duties, the Wicked Union still had eight powerhouses—Sila, Sebastian, Cross, Shueria, Fargo, Varee, Sangdao, and Bluebird—available for a fight. They held an overwhelming advantage against Montra’s five-man team. Consequently, they didn’t understand why Montra had taken the risk and come at them like this despite having several more options to choose from.
Mamon raised his gaze from his system window to see the opponents’ faces. It was his habit to do so while activating Sky Seer when facing a new opponent. Who knows? He might get lucky and stumble on a new kind of Hidden Gift worthy of joining his collection.
As his eyes swept to Montra, he halted. He thought there was something wrong with his eyes, so he shook his head once to focus. He looked at Montra again. Then, his expression changed.
‘That white-haired kid named Montra is extremely dangerous. Be careful.’ Mamon’s voice rang inside Sila’s head.
‘Montra? How?’ asked Sila. He was well aware that Montra was a fearsome man, though he didn’t know what it was about Montra that caused Mamon to feel worried.
‘The white-haired kid’s Hidden Gift is ‘The Talentless’. You already know about it, remember? This Hidden Gift will make it harder for him to use skills or practice compared to others.’
Sila frowned. ‘Then what? How is it scary?’
‘Just look at his overall ability. Usually, those who possess this Hidden Gift can’t be so strong. Despite that, he is undeniably strong. That means he has tried at least three times harder than others. People like this are utterly determined. A genius is not as scary as someone who practices with great effort. Not only is this guy skilled, but he is also persistent and works hard. He is the type of person who won’t ever give up.’
Sila couldn’t imagine the scene of Montra diligently working hard. People always called Montra a genius, but no one had ever seen him practicing. Could it be that he had always been training behind the scenes?
‘It’s alright. I’m confident that my effort is not inferior in any way.’
‘Be careful anyway.’
Montra swiveled around and stopped thinking for a brief moment. He shifted his eyes to Sangdao and said something to her without minding the gazes of everyone else.
“Unexpectedly, you are here, Dao.”
Sangdao bowed her head. “Long time no see, Montra. Is Uncle still fine and healthy?”
“Teacher is fine. He always says he misses you though. Please find some time to visit him.”
Montra swept his eyes and stared at Sangdao’s hand, which was holding onto Sila’s wrist. “It seems you are very close to Sila.”
Sangdao nodded. “Yes. Dao is on Sila’s side.”
“No problem. I will let him borrow my fiancée for one day. I don’t mind.”
Montra’s statement was like a bolt of lightning to everyone’s minds. All of them had suspected the origins of Sangdao, the mysterious female expert, for a long time.
It was suspicious enough for her to personally know Montra. However, it was beyond their imagination that she was his fiancée.
Montra was quite famous in real life, though there had never been rumors about him being in a relationship with any woman, not to mention an engagement.
Sangdao just showed a smile. “‘Potential fiancée’ would be more fitting. It’s something our parents agreed on without our consent. More importantly, it still isn’t sure yet that you can accomplish the condition that my father set for you. It’s possible that our engagement will be voided.”
Unfortunately, Sila’s brain froze ever since he heard the word ‘Fiancée’. He subconsciously removed his wrist from Sangdao’s grasp and his eyes were cold. His power silently circulated within his body, and his presence gradually faded away.
‘I was a nobody from the start. I’m just an ordinary, worthless rock lying by the road.’
The atmosphere around Sila began to change. He was mad initially, then feeling hatred, then envy. In a short period of time, his feelings mixed up chaotically. Soon, all of his emotions crumbled down.
Sila couldn’t tell anymore what he was currently feeling. The only thing left in his heart was emptiness.
And, at this very moment, he was sure that he wouldn’t lose.
If he even lost in a battle against Montra, what was left for him to be superior in? He would be left with nothing, and his life would be genuinely worthless.
Montra estimated the relationship between Sila and Sangdao and exploited it. As Sila was his direct enemy, Montra decided to reveal the secret in order to crush Sila both physically and mentally.
However, man's schemes are inferior to those made in heaven. Although he had exploited it correctly, there was still a factor that Montra was unaware of:
Sila’s power originated from his negativity.
Sila was the first and only one making a move. His mind was completely blank. He wasn’t thinking about strategies, the Wulin Masters Association, the invasion of Grea City, or any plans whatsoever. He didn’t even think about winning and losing anymore. His body moved on instinct without a destination in his head. There was only a void.
Formless Martial God — Drifting Cloud.
Sila’s body moved in slow motion, though, in fact, it was extremely fast. In the blink of an eye, Sila appeared in the middle of the group of enemies, blankly looking at Montra’s back.
He lifted his hand and placed it lightly on Montra’s shoulder amidst everyone’s shock.
There were four powerhouses behind Sila—Ramiel, Cheris, Lost Ghost, and Trick Master. They all immediately took action. Similarly, Montra sensed danger. He unleashed magic power to clad his body while swinging his mage staff at Sila’s head.
Montra’s mage staff, Remiel’s moving barrier, Lost Ghost’s javelin, Cheris’ sword, and Trick Master’s ice bolt. They all flew toward Sila at high speed, leaving no room for Sila’s comrades to help in time.
Formless Martial God — Nameless Spirit.
Sila rolled down, letting his body flow along with the forces behind his back. He struck his right palm at Montra while placing his left palm on the ground. At the same time, he kicked all four people behind him at high speed as if he had twelve legs, knocking the weapons out of their hands while easily dodging the moving barrier and the ice bolt.
The Great Flow — Earth Form.
Sila executed one of the Great Flow’s techniques; controlling the ground underneath his left palm as if it had become a part of his body. This was the technique with which Pumin crystalized a pile of sand into a sword. However, Sila couldn’t do that yet. He had to directly touch the object in order to change its form.
The ground shook and sunk down, causing all five of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s powerhouses to lose their footing. Sila flicked both of his wrists and several hidden weapons flew in all directions. The five of them had to parry or block them hurriedly.
Sila tapped his foot against the ground and rolled over in mid-air once before landing himself in front of Montra. He stomped the mage staff under his foot and stared at Montra, expressionlessly and coldly.
No one dared to breathe.
All of that had happened in but a few moments. Every eye looked at what unfolded before them with disbelief. To them, it would make more sense if the series of actions just now was a dream rather than reality.
It was at this moment that Mamon realized Sila held back in the fight against him. Otherwise, that would mean Sila really had grown absurdly stronger within a span of three days, just like Lookhin.
A plan wasn’t required. Only true strength was needed in order to achieve a goal; similar to when Lucifer raided the entire Monster Realm with raw strength.
In that second, Mamon realized that his master was also a fearsome man.