Chapter 208: The War Between Two Men
Both Sila and Montra were people belonging to the martial world. With just a few exchanges, they could gauge the other’s fighting ability and art to a certain degree.
Montra estimated that Sila’s current power was comparable to or slightly below Revin and Kawin. However, Sila qi’s unique characteristic helped him gain an upper hand all of the time even though Montra’s raw power should have been superior. Even so, Montra wasn’t too concerned since he still had trump cards left.
Likewise, Sila sensed that Montra had more inner force than him even though he was sure that he previously possessed more. Obviously it was due to him abandoning his qi when he entered the Desert of Death. Nevertheless, Sila didn’t regret it. Five-Attributed Cloud Qi had a unique trait that enabled him to always gain the upper hand against his opponents if he used it right. Even if the amount of his inner force was lower, he was confident that he could win.
Montra’s art was vigorous and decisive. However, it had a weakness. Even if Montra was a genius, he was still human. His power wasn’t bottomless. If the battle was prolonged, he would exhaust himself and die.
The unexpected factor was Montra’s Dragon Domain. The gentle fog lingering on the ground around his ankles wasn’t harmful to Sila at all even though his experience told him that every Dragon Domain brought negative effects to the dragon’s opponents. Yet, based on his observation, it seemed Montra’s Dragon Domain was different from others.
It affected Montra and his allies instead of the opponents. Its power seemed to be the healing kind. What proved Sila’s theory was that both Montra and Trick Master’s wounds were healed. On the other hand, Sila, who was closest to Montra, didn’t get affected by the domain at all.
Sila’s guess was right on the mark. Infernee held the title “Immortal Dragon.” She was a gentle dragon, so no one had ever seen her making an attack before. Moreover, nobody knew what kind of offensive skills she possessed. With her transcendent healing ability that instantly invalidated any damage done to her, there had never been any record of a dragon successfully harming her to this very day. In the end, she was hailed as the empress of dragons.
Montra selected Infernee simply because her Dragon Ritual was the hardest one to accomplish. Generally, the Dragon Ritual’s objective represented the selected dragon’s way of living. The quest to stay alive for five years despite becoming the target of all monsters symbolized living a peaceful life.
The traditional way to complete the quest was to stay in the Dragon Kingdom without going outside for five years. If one could do that, they could easily succeed while getting to experience Infernee’s preferred way of living.
However, Montra believed that there was always more than one path to success. There was no way he would be willing to waste his time in the Dragon Kingdom for five years. He interpreted that ‘Staying alive for five years’ as equivalent to becoming so strong that no one could kill him. He relied on the loophole created by Dragon Heart invalidating death penalties combined with the Left Arm of the Sealed One’s fraudulent ability to accomplish the quest in a way that Infernee never imagined.
What worried Sila was that Montra covered his weakness with in-game ability. Still, this was a game, so it made sense that Montra utilized in-game skills. As a result, Sila had to forsake the plan of prolonging the fight and exhausting Montra’s strength.
‘I can win if I use Heaven’s Decree Sword Art. However, this war is only a prelude to the real one. If Montra sees the sword art, in one month he will surely be able to come up with a countermeasure.’
Sila didn’t know whether it was coincidence or fate. When he discussed his qi art with Pumin in the Desert of Death, he stumbled upon the similarity between Five-Attributed Cloud Qi and Heaven’s Decree Sword Art; the resemblance his father praised him about many times.
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi allowed him to change his element and gain the upper hand against his opponent, though it didn’t directly affect the enemy. On the other hand, Heaven’s Decree Sword Art didn’t affect himself. Its terrifying aspect was to force the opponent into a state where they couldn’t use the best of their ability.
Pumin declared that the day when Sila could utilize both arts simultaneously would be the day that even ten Montras couldn’t be his match.
Sila glanced at the battle between the Royal Armament Guild members and Trick Master. It seemed Jundtrathep had already activated Land of Promises, so the situation got a lot better. Nevertheless, as long as Trick Master still received the beneficial effect from Montra’s Dragon Domain, the result of the battle would be decided by whether Jundtrathep’s skill duration came to an end first or Montra’s skill lost effect first.
The battle between Sebastian and Ramiel took place far away. Ramiel had to constantly maintain the barriers so he couldn’t show the best of his ability. As a result, he was neck and neck with Sebastian, who had lost his spells.
Sila didn’t understand why Sebastian didn’t use the lantern he got from Anubis, though he had no one to ask. There might be some sort of condition that had to be fulfilled first, or maybe Sebastian had some kind of a plan. In any case, based on Ramiel’s firm defense, Sila guessed that the battle would be a prolonged one.
The furthest away, Sila could sense Bluebird’s power running around from place to place. Sila had to admit that Bluebird was really great at fleeing despite the fact that the area was limited due to barriers. Even though he was being chased by two Dragon Warlords, he had yet to be cornered. The game of tag seemed to be a prolonged one as well.
Ultimately, the decisive battle was the one between him and Montra. The instant one of them lost, the fate of their entire team would be decided.
The outcome of the war that decided the fate of Grea City was dependent on the smaller war between the two men.
Montra noticed it too. That was why he put more effort into the fight.
Once he finished saying the word, Montra’s left hand turned as black as ink and as scary as a hand belonging to a devil.
Montra clad his spear with magic reinforcement. The power emitting from the spear was incredibly strong, double what he had been releasing before. As soon as he saw it, Sila immediately realized that he could no longer touch Montra’s spear like before. With this level of power, his hands and feet might be torn apart just by being near it.
‘What is this abnormal increase in power? Is it due to the left arm’s ability? Umm... makes sense, I guess. Since Illuminus is the ultimate weapon of protection, it isn’t strange for the left arm to possess some absurd offensive ability.’
Montra’s Left Arm was currently at the fourth stage. Even though it hadn’t reached the final stage yet, it granted Montra a slot for installing a single skill that he could exert twice as much power from.
The skill that Montra chose was the most ordinary skill: Magic Reinforcement.
In Montra’s opinion, the most important skill was the skill that he would be using most. Montra was an expert at magic power reinforcement from the start. With this ability, he could exert twice the power he normally did.
“Prepare to die, Sila,” Montra announced while pointing the spear tip at Sila for the second time. However, it was overwhelmingly oppressive this time. Sila was aware that his Sea Star Wheel couldn’t weaken this level of power anymore.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Readying Brionac.
“Illuminus,” Sila muttered. Then, a mechanical arm appeared on his right shoulder. Just by looking at its appearance, Montra figured it was at the fifth stage, which was the final one. That meant Sila had already encountered the Sealed One.
Montra spent a lot of resources but his Left Arm only managed to reach the fourth stage recently. On the other hand, Sila had only just started playing the game but he managed to get it to the final stage. That clearly meant Sila’s teacher was giving him a hand behind the scenes.
Not only was Mora an Independent NPC, but Montra had heard that he was also among the first ones who were invited to try Monster Soul Online. It was possible that Mora personally knew the person who took the role of the Sealed One and asked that person to secretly assist Sila.
“You are really disgusting.” Montra gritted his teeth. Against someone like this, there was no need for him to exchange words anymore.
The power of Triple Sky Energy exploded out from within his body. His body couldn’t withstand its power so his skin was constantly torn apart, though it quickly regenerated later. The cycle of breaking down and healing continued to occur.
The power he exerted was so overbearing that many Royal Armament Guild members shuddered.
‘Montra unleashed the power of the metal element along with the fire element. They conflict with each other, so they are damaging Montra himself. In a normal situation, I can just leave him alone and he will eventually die from his own powers. However, his Dragon Domain allows him to resist the backlash. What a terrifying matchup. Could it be that I have to use the second stage of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi already?’
Theoretically, Sila’s Five-Attributed Cloud Qi consisted of three stages. The first stage was what he was currently using. He could use it proficiently and maintain its usage for a long time without any drawbacks. As for the second stage, he could do it during practice, but that was because he was in a no-pressure environment. Lastly, the third stage was something beyond the current him. He still lacked the amount of inner force and proficiency necessary to exert its power.
Montra didn’t leave Sila any time to think. The unyielding spear clad with intense power flew at Sila. It was a simple movement, yet the power contained within the spear was far from normal.
Sila didn’t possess any move that could cope with such a powerful thrust.
Even though Pumin suggested that he pretend to heavily rely on Illuminus in order to make Montra think that he couldn’t live without it, Sila admitted that except for using Illuminus, he had no idea of how to oppose Montra right now.
Sila controlled Illuminus to block the spear. Similarly to how Sila was confident that his Corpse-Igniting Stomp could kill Montra, Montra was confident that there was no need for him to change the spear’s trajectory. He believed that even a strange-looking third arm couldn’t resist his powerful spear.
However, Montra was wrong. As soon as the spear clashed against Illuminus, all that happened was Illuminus flashing once, then nothing.
No scratches, no damage, and no crashing sound. It was as if the power in his spear had suddenly vanished.
While Montra was puzzled at what happened, Sila quickly seized the opportunity and controlled Illuminus to take hold of the spear. Even if Montra tried to retract it now, he would have a hard time doing so.
Unfortunately, Sila had never had three arms in his life. By using the third hand to grab the spear, although it did help him obstruct Montra’s ability to use a spear, doing so also limited his movement.
He originally planned to advance forward to enter Montra’s blind spot. However, he had to change his plan and tugged on the spear to bring Montra to him instead.
For him to kill Montra, he should exert the power of the fire element. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to penetrate Montra’s invisible armor.
Attribute of Fire — God-Slaying Spear.
Sila concentrated the hot power of his qi into the tip of his elbow. This move was derived from Nine Sun-Melting-Fists and Flaming Cloud Qi; both were offensive arts so this move was especially powerful.
As long as he could strike Montra’s heart, no matter how great his regenerative ability was, Montra would die.
Montra released his hands on the spear and solely clad his chest, around the heart position, with magic power reinforcement while leaving other parts of his body defenseless. His finger moved slightly with a gesture as if pulling a trigger.
Instinctively, Sila sensed danger. He moved some portion of his power back to raise his defense, resulting in a thirty percent loss of power in his elbow.
At the exact same time that Sila’s elbow struck Montra’s chest, a mysterious arrow suddenly and precisely struck Sila’s temple.
Sila collapsed with his face against the ground. Blood spurted out from his head. People were shocked by the sudden change. Their faces went pale.
Meanwhile, Montra’s vision was flashing red. His chest was lacerated. Even with the strong healing ability, the wound still couldn’t be closed in a short time. This indicated that Sila’s previous strike was indeed powerful.
Montra tried to recall his spear, but he failed. In the end, he had to resort to transforming his spear into a mage staff in order for it to escape Illuminus’ clutch. Montra was aware that there would be a slight dimensional gap when transforming a weapon, so he made use of it.
As for the previous exchange, if he didn’t get Shuran’s help, he would have already died.
“Since you want to die so much, just die.” Montra transformed his mage staff back into a spear and thrust it at Sila.
Having no choice, Sila rolled his body, evading the spear, and jumped back up. Seeing that he was still alive, everyone released a sigh of relief.
Sila pulled the arrow out of his temple. Actually, it had only penetrated two centimeters deep. However, its spin caused a lot of blood to gush out. Noticing a chance, Sila had pretended to die by grabbing the arrowhead with his pulling power. He planned to lure Montra into approaching him in order to collect the spear before making a counterattack. Apparently, his plan failed.
“Why haven’t you died already?” asked Montra.
“You too,” Sila replied without giving up.
The number of Sila’s opponents increased by one. In front of him was Montra while Shuran was outside, ready to snipe him.
Sila could only hope for Mamon or Lookhin to quickly take care of Shuran. Otherwise, he had to cope with attacks from both sides.
“Do you really intend to fight me two-against-one, Montra?” asked Sila.
“Don’t forget that this is a war, Sila. History is written by the victors.”
Montra decided to use his secret move that he hadn’t mastered yet. One part of his power dynamically stimulated his overall power, radiating intense heat. Even though his posture was the same, Sila felt something had changed.
God’s Realm Spear Art Combo — Spear Readying Brionac & Spear Thrusting Shemao.
Even though he lacked proficiency, it seemed the time had come for Sila to display the second stage of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
Despite the two of them thinking that this battle was only a prelude to the real war so they shouldn’t use all of their cards, it seemed both Sila and Montra had totally forgotten.
Dual Generating Attributes — Wood Feeds Fire, Shapeless Flame.
Montra and Sila were glaring at each other without blinking.
Montra showed the might of God’s Realm Spear Art Combo, which was very taxing for his body and power. Even though his power was replenishing with the help of his Dragon Domain, it still couldn’t keep up with the power consumption.
Concurrently, Sila’s body was surrounded by a red cloud, drifting slowly but radiating strong heat, burning everything entering its radius. Sila hadn’t mastered using dual attributes yet, so he chose the move that he was most proficient with. Nevertheless, as utilizing dual attributes was still new to him, an opening would eventually show.
In the middle of such a decisive deathmatch, a certain voice suddenly broke everyone’s focus.
“Ermm... Excuse me, Sila. Do you need my help?”
The voice was familiar. Everyone shifted their attention to the voice’s owner. Witnessing who that person was, it was Montra who found it most shocking.
The person standing in the distance was Bluebird, and there were no signs of Lost Ghost or Cheris. Everyone was too focused on the fight between Sila and Montra, so they ignored what had happened to Bluebird. They didn’t understand how he could appear there without the two who had chased after him.
“Bluebird? What about the two Dragon Warlords?” Sila asked immediately, though he still kept his eyes on Montra, afraid of him making a sudden attack.
Then, Bluebird’s answer shocked everyone, including Sila and Montra.
“Ermm... I’d say... I have already defeated them.”
Chapter 209: Psychic Nest-Returning Bird
Bluebird tried his best to stop his legs from shaking. He felt like he didn't really belong in this battle. Maybe it was foolish of him to listen to Asmodeus’ instructions.
Twenty minutes ago, Bluebird was trapped inside the barrier like everyone else. He watched Sila’s fight with a feeling of indifference. It wasn’t that he looked down on Sila. It just that he had gotten used to seeing Sila’s battles so he didn’t find it shocking like the rest of the audience. He was more concerned about himself.
Bluebird knocked on the barrier a few times and found that Ramiel’s barrier had a soft yet strong texture.
“How could Sila break it easily?” Bluebird muttered to himself.
—Darling can get out easily too, you know?
The voice that he was very familiar with interrupted his line of thought. Bluebird’s face was pale. It was this voice that always suddenly echoed in his head, causing people around him to think he was kind of crazy, talking to himself.
“Asmodeus! I told you I won’t let you out! Also, stop calling me darling,” said Bluebird.
—I said Darling can easily get out, not me. Why do you always underestimate yourself? Don’t you remember when you defeated tons of enemies in Zhongsuyuan City?
“That wasn’t me. I wasn’t that strong. You controlled me.”
—Everything I did, you are also capable of achieving. I didn’t use my own powers at all. Don’t you know that the essence of magic is timing? You just have to use the right spell at the right time.
Among the demons of the Seven Deadly Sins, Lucifer was the strongest, there was no doubt about that. Opposite Lucifer in the rankings and heralded as the weakest was Asmodeus. However, that only considered when she was alone, not latched onto someone else like a parasite.
Although she was the weakest and didn’t possess any powerful or fraudulent skills, she was the master of control. Even though she was a psychic type, she was proficient at using every kind of skill, regardless of the energy type required, including magic spells that needed great timing to be used effectively. It was speculated that there was no skill she didn’t know about and that she could use skills even better than her host.
The nature of her psychic power was the mind that understood everything as if it all belonged to her. She understood mother nature as well as understood the desire of every single being she met.
With her by your side, she would always be with you and understand you, using her power to help you. In a sense, she was the perfect lover, anyone’s dream girl.
Bluebird touched the barrier and activated Psychic Nest-Returning Bird in his mind. Instantly, the barrier trapping him vanished.
“Oho? It really worked.”
—Let’s get out of this place before someone spots us, Darling.
Bluebird agreed with her. He looked around and found that everyone was busy focusing on Montra and Sila. He sneakily retreated, step by step. However, Montra’s next statement shattered his hopes.
“Black Star Warlord and Star-Finishing Warlord, step back. Both of you, go and take care of the Blue-Colored Catastrophe.”
—Darling~ Why didn’t you hide your presence? We got caught, you see?
Asmodeus’ tone of voice was teasing, like she was a young girl caught while eloping with her lover.
‘Damn. Hiding my presence? How could I do that? Playing dead?’ Bluebird was spewing curses in his mind when he turned his head to both Dragon Warlords and scratched his head.
“No need to mind me, everyone. Hehe~”
Bluebird had already clad his feet with magic reinforcement. If there was one thing he was incredibly good at, that would be escaping.
—Wow~ You said you were weak, but I must say your utilization of power for movement is top-notch, Darling~
Bluebird didn’t care about Asmodeus’ comments. Before he even finished saying he was going to use his ultimate strategy, he darted off.
Lost Ghost’s roar followed behind him, but Bluebird didn’t stop running. He got an edge since he had a head start.
Lost Ghost was the slowest among the Five Dragon Warlords. Nevertheless, the javelins he materialized were much faster. Several of them continued to fly at Bluebird, though he could dodge all of them, albeit barely.
Relying on his two feet, sometimes Bluebird tapped the ground, sometimes he tapped off walls, sometimes he used levitation spells, and sometimes he threw himself with magic power. He could evade any incoming attacks.
Nevertheless, because he needed to keep dodging, his speed fell. Both hunters were gradually approaching him.
Yardpirun didn’t want to show suspicious behavior so she attacked him for real. Although her semi-transparent sword waves weren’t as powerful as the black javelins, they were difficult to spot. Yet, Bluebird still managed to dodge them all as if he had a third eye.
—So you are emitting magic power from your body to enhance your detection ability, Darling? It’s a nice idea, though you will die if you make a wrong move and get hit by even one of the attacks since you lack defense.
‘Fufufu. I won’t get hit. Although I might look like this, I succeeded in evading Zero for three days straight without being caught. No one can beat me in an escape contest!’
—Who is Zero, Darling?
‘Ehh? You don’t know? He is the second strongest player, though he is the fastest in Monster Soul.’
The situation between Bluebird and Zero happened many years ago due to Bluebird trying to get his hands on one of the most useless pieces of news: Zero’s real face under the mask.
Bluebird wanted to find out what Zero looked like, so he transformed himself into a bird and secretly observed Zero for a while. He was close to obtaining the juicy news but Zero noticed him first, resulting in the hunt.
Zero chased after Bluebird for three days straight. Honestly speaking, regarding speed, Zero was far above Bluebird. If it was a contest of running from one location to another, it was sure that Zero would leave Bluebird in the dust.
However, chasing required more than speed. Bluebird fled while luring Zero toward monsters, transforming into his bird form while summoning his bird minions, using traps, and so on. He used every trick or strategy he could think of.
That experience had honed his ability to flee even further, making him a master of running away. However, the whole time he was unaware that the main reason he could manage to survive was thanks to Zero wanting to catch him alive, so Zero didn’t use his full strength in order to kill him.
—Anyway, Darling, why don’t you fight? These two are weak. Just use the card. Give me only a minute.
‘Are you crazy? They are two Dragon Warlords, you know? I will simply die in that one minute.’
—I really mean it. The man moves like a sloth. His power is the kind that can limit opponents’ movements in order to kill them once and for all. Sadly, he should have practiced Mind Concealment. He would be a threat if he could mix some concealed javelins in his usual attacks. Otherwise, he should have used Psychic Impact on his javelins to change their trajectory mid-air. This man is simply bad at being creative, which greatly contradicts the nature of his power that requires tactfulness.
Bluebird was pondering whether psychic ability was that adaptive when Asmodeus continued.
—As for that woman, she used to be my host so I know she is holding back. I remember the time when she handed me to you. She probably fell in love with you, Darling.
Bluebird flinched, resulting in one of the sword waves grazing him. Once he regained his composure, he hurriedly started dodging again.
‘What did you just say? Is that true?’ asked Bluebird.
—Darling~ What a bad boy~ How could you show interest in another woman in front of me? I’m angry, you know~
Despite what she said, Asmodeus’ tone of voice was devoid of anger. Rather, she seemed to be having fun teasing Bluebird.
‘Don’t joke around. Is what you said true?’ Bluebird asked again.
—I am not sure about that. What I’m certain of is that she is definitely going easy on you. Given her ability, she should have been able to completely erase the presence of her attacks. Instead, even your shabby magic detection could sense them.
‘Damn. Don’t call my move shabby... whatever. By the way, can you always tell what an opponent’s power and characteristics are?’
—How about no~? I just used your Information Analysis skill. You have such a good skill but you rarely use it. Darling, you are quite stupid, you know?
‘Crap... It can be used in combat? I always thought it was similar to other inspection skills.’
—You can, with the help of the essence of psychic, Darling. Don’t you know? Want me to tell you?
‘I’m a magic type!’ Bluebird shouted inwardly.
—Ah~ You bravely say it, Darling~? Even though your ability regarding magic skills is so mediocre.
Bluebird lost his temper. ‘Just make it short! Are you going to tell me or not?!’
—I will, I will~ The essence of psychic is ‘Creativity’, Darling; the ability to use power in a different way in order to unlock the bottomless potential of your skills. Just Psychic Nest-Returning Bird alone is enough for you to get out of this situation, you know?
‘The tailorbird’s racial skills aren’t suited for combat! Psychic Nest-Returning Bird is just a skill to deactivate another skill. Worse off, the power that gets canceled will just return to the original user.’
At first, Bluebird was glad that he could finally use Psychic Nest-Returning Bird, the ultimate skill of the race he belonged to. However, after he took some time reading its description, he discovered it was, in fact, a disappointing skill.
Not only did he have to touch the opponent’s power directly, but the canceled power would also simply return back to the power’s owner, replenishing their energy.
In conclusion, it was a skill that couldn’t deal any damage to opponents or affect the flow of the battle. In a sense, it was as expected from a racial skill of the peaceful tailorbird race.
—Darling just sucks at using it. The Tailorbird King could bring a fight against Lucifer to a draw, you know?
‘A draw in a fight against such a monster? Are you sure you aren’t making that up?’ Bluebird didn’t believe in Asmodeus’ words at all. Based on what he was told, Lucifer was an unimaginable super strong monster. If what she said was the truth, did that mean the Tailorbird King possessed equal strength to Lucifer?
—Actually, you could say that Orcus, the Tailorbird King, always fought evenly with every single monster. He was kind, so he had never won nor lost. He was the number one draw master of the Monster Realm.
Bluebird was contemplating which action he should take. He could continue fleeing until the overall fight ended. If he kept at it, he could hold off two Dragon Warlords to himself, which was a good move for his team. However, if he were to take action and die, both of them would be free, and the overall situation could get worse.
Seeing that Bluebird was hesitant, Asmodeus continued to persuade him.
—Women love strong men, you know~? Maybe she will find you more charming. I mean Boss.
Asmodeus had a chance to delve into Bluebird’s mind once, so she knew the complicated relationship between the two. She used it to persuade Bluebird into following her instructions.
And it worked. Bluebird contemplated for a while before making a decision.
‘What do I need to do?’
Asmodeus made a grin in her mind.
—First, go there. I will explain the proper ways to utilize Psychic Nest-Returning Bird when you arrive.
Bluebird immediately changed his direction. Seeing where he was heading, the two Dragon Warlords felt suspicious. He was heading into a dead end surrounded by Ramiel’s barriers.
Bluebird stopped his feet with his back against the barrier. Finally, the two Dragon Warlords successfully cornered Bluebird.
Lost Ghost didn’t want to miss the chance so he activated Rhythm of Subduing Earth. The visible black psychic power crept along the street to where Bluebird was standing.
Bluebird was about to dodge it by jumping, though Asmodeus prevented that.
Bluebird decided to listen to Asmodeus. His entire body was dyed by the black psychic power, completely restraining his movements. He couldn’t even move his finger.
“Here I was thinking you were formidable. As it turns out, you are nothing much,” said Lost Ghost. He materialized an axe in his hand. Meanwhile, Yardpirun was secretly worried. She didn’t understand what Bluebird’s intentions were.
—Now, use Psychic Nest-Returning Bird. However, be sure to remember that you don’t have to plainly give the opponent’s power back to them. During the split second in which the power is about to return, it will be yours. You have to seize that chance to contaminate it with your own power. With that, when it returns to its owner, it will be harmful to them. Be warned, though. The stronger the power, the more power you need to spend to contaminate it.
Bluebird activated Psychic Nest-Returning Bird while mixing a part of his magic power within. Since the power was impure, Lost Ghost couldn’t take it back. As a result, Bluebird was free from the restraint while Lost Ghost became the one who couldn’t move.
Lost Ghost was shocked that his own power, Rhythm of Subduing Earth, suddenly returned and bit himself. He tried to cancel the skill but found that he couldn’t. Unbeknownst to him, his skill belonged to Bluebird temporarily.
Yardpirun was surprised to see what Bluebird could achieve. In any case, in front of Lost Ghost, she had no choice but to take action, otherwise, she would look suspicious. The invisible sword waves flew at Bluebird, though—if one looked closely—they would see that her aim was his shoulder instead of his head as it should have been.
—Darling, your next lesson is on altering the result of a skill. As long as the power is there, you can alter its result to be beneficial to you. Tap your foot on the barrier. Change its shape to protect yourself.
Bluebird’s heel touched the barrier. He closed his eyes and activated Psychic Nest-Returning Bird. A part of the barrier was disintegrated. Then, Bluebird controlled it to take shape in front of himself, blocking the invisible sword waves.
Bluebird opened his eyes and found that he was still alive and the barrier was properly protecting him. He smiled, though Asmodeus scolded him.
—Don’t stop! Keep injecting your magic power into it, Darling. Please remember that you have to maintain your power in order to alter the opponent’s power. Now, let’s control the barrier to imprison these two.
Bluebird was heartened by the consecutive successes. He waved his hand with a motion that he thought was the coolest while controlling the barrier to imprison both Dragon Warlords.
“You... How can you...? Such a complex and strong barrier comparable to what Ramiel created...?” Lost Ghost wondered.
“Fufu. Such a simple barrier. It’s a given that Sir Bluebird could make it. There is nothing that Sir Bluebird can’t do,” Bluebird said with a loud voice.
—Darling didn’t make it, though~ You just restructured Ramiel’s barrier. If a monkey possesses your skill, it could do it as well.
‘Ouch. You hurt my self-esteem, you know? ...Really, even a monkey could do that? By the way, this is quite tiring.’
—It sure is. Ramiel’s barrier is a high-level power, so it requires spending more of your magic power. I will use this chance to impart upon you the last method to utilize Psychic Nest-Returning Bird.
‘There is still more?’
—Do you see the fog lingering around your ankles, Darling? That’s the Dragon Domain Abode of the Angels. Its ability is to greatly increase the regeneration rate of health points and energy resources for those the skill owner recognizes as allies. However, as long as you maintain the skill’s equilibrium, you can alter not only the shape but also the target. Understand? As long as the number of the targets stays the same, you can alter who the skill registers as targets.
Bluebird concentrated. Asmodeus didn’t distract him and let Bluebird build up his power.
—Change the Dragon Domain so that it recognizes the big guy as its enemy, then replace him with you.
Bluebird followed what Asmodeus said. Soon, Montra’s Dragon Domain registered him as one of Montra’s allies while Lost Ghost became the enemy. As a result, the speed of Bluebird’s power regeneration increased.
His magic power was constantly replenished at a rate faster than he could spend. Within Montra’s Dragon Domain, Bluebird was certain that he could easily cast Psychic Nest-Returning Bird over and over.
—Darling, you are free to choose how you’ll punish these two now. It’s completely up to you~
Bluebird put on a solemn expression and looked at Lost Ghost with contempt.
“Kukukuk. The Dragon Warlords are so shoddy. You already ended up like this even when I only used ten percent of my power. Sigh. You are not even worthy of dying by my hand.”
Lost Ghost gritted his teeth and tried to break the barrier. He was cursing Bluebird non-stop. He was unaware of the fact that Bluebird actually had no way to kill either Warlord. Bluebird didn’t possess a single skill that could penetrate the barrier.
“See you again, Lady~” Bluebird blew a kiss at Cheris. Her face reddened for a very brief moment.
‘So cool! I’ve always wanted to play the main character role.’ Bluebird thought to himself while leaping forward. He used his maximum speed to rush to where Montra and Sila were fighting.
Bluebird’s current goal was to show his coolness before Montra canceled his Dragon Domain.
When dawn arrived, the title Blue-Colored Catastrophe would surely be inscribed in Monster Soul’s history as one of the legends.
Chapter 210: The Monster Emperor
The fighting ceased for a moment due to Bluebird’s sudden emergence. Even Bluebird himself felt bashful taking part in the important battle. Previously, he had prepared several ways to dramatically appear before them. However, now that he actually stood in front of the fight between two inhuman people, he stuttered. All he could say was:
Bluebird scolded himself inwardly. Why didn’t things go as he had planned? Was it because of the tense atmosphere emitting from Sila and Montra?
Montra opened his system window and found that Lost Ghost and Cheris were still alive. Thus, Bluebird’s previous statement must have meant he successfully made them fall into a state where they were incapable of fighting.
In fact, Montra had already added Bluebird to his list of people to be watched ever since he got the report about Bluebird singlehandedly killing the Star-Finishing Warlord. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that Bluebird could still subdue two warlords in a two-against-one situation. It seemed Bluebird was going to be given the honor of soaring to the top spot of his list of people that need to be eliminated.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Throwing Mokkhasak.
Montra took action in the blink of an eye. Bluebird wasn’t that close to the fighters, so Sila couldn’t interrupt the attack in time.
When Montra’s spear was about to leave his hand and fly toward Bluebird terrifyingly fast, Sila immediately took offensive action. He leaped at Montra to put pressure on him, weakening the power Montra put into the spear.
—Dodge it!! Psychic Nest-Returning Bird won’t work on a physical attack!!
Asmodeus let off a cry of alarm.
However, Montra’s spear was too fast. The spear throw was one of his ultimate techniques. Its power was far more powerful than his other moves.
Bluebird originally planned to counter by using Psychic Nest-Returning Bird. However, the spear had already reached him before he could even take a breath. He panicked and tightly shut his eyes close.
In the instant when Bluebird was only a half-step away from visiting the underworld, Sila and Asmodeus did their best to save his life. Asmodeus controlled Bluebird’s magic power to thicken and partially solidify, reducing the speed of Montra’s spear for a split second. At the same time, Sila activated the skill he acquired from Illuminus.
Shield of Illuminus.
A barrier, which was exactly identical to Ramiel’s barrier, emerged around Bluebird, trapping the spear during the barrier’s creation process. It was a high-level technique that Sila unintentionally succeeded at. The spear was stuck inside the barrier, unable to move.
The distance between the tip of the spear and Bluebird’s chest was less than an inch. While everyone was thrilled by the result, Sila had already narrowed the distance and approached Montra who didn’t have a weapon in his hand.
Attribute of Fire — Solar Emanation.
This time, Sila didn’t have to be wary of Montra’s spear. Both his hands radiated intense heat. They caused Montra’s power to be weakened by thirty percent just by being in close proximity.
One claw aimed at Montra’s head while the other aimed at his heart.
Heavenly Dragon’s Spell — Reversed Holy Scale.
Montra cast Infernee’s magic for the first time. The Dragon Empress’ magic spells mostly consisted of supporting spells while the offensive ones were rare. Her prominent point wasn’t destructive power but her ability to survive.
Reversed Holy Scale was a skill that enabled the user to, upon taking damage, move it to another part of the body. As such, it was close to impossible to kill Infernee even by attacking her heart.
Sila’s claws easily struck Montra’s head and heart. His hostile power seeped into Montra’s body.
‘No... this is too easy,’ thought Sila.
In that second, he sensed his energy flowing through Montra’s body without him being able to control them. Both flows of heat ran their courses to Montra’s right arm and burned it instead of the vital spots he aimed for.
The pain on Montra’s arm should have been severely enormous. Even the toughest person would have at least flinched. However, Montra didn’t even furrow his brows. His left arm cut through the air and darted at Sila’s heart like a spear.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spearless Longinus.
This was another move that Montra could use even without a spear. The difference between this move and Spear Dropping Eight Trigrams was that this move was short and simple, thus not suitable for defense. On the contrary, it was precise, fast, and powerful. In a sense, this move perfectly represented the simplicity of a spear.
Sila was reminded of Sanon’s warning that Montra couldn’t feel pain. Although the feeling of pain had already returned to Montra, it’s not like he had told Sila or Sanon. Nevertheless, Montra had mastered using Triple Sky Energy along with Martial Radiance Art. When he was using it, the feeling of pain wouldn’t affect Montra.
Sila had just used the skill to protect Bluebird’s life. In an emergency, he didn’t have time nor composure to use any skills to protect himself. In addition, although Illuminus could easily block Montra’s attack, it wasn’t his real arm. Therefore, he had difficulty moving it, unlike his real ones.
In the moment of crisis, Sila decided to activate the ultimate skill that had once saved his life.
Racial Skill — Way of Slime.
Sila’s body shrunk as he transformed into a slime the size of a soccer ball. Then, he contracted himself into a size of an orange. With his body becoming smaller, Montra’s killing move missed its target in a way that no one could have expected.
In the slime form, Sila couldn’t use Illuminus nor Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. As a result, he had to be creative. He stopped contracting and instead enlarged his body, bumping against Montra. It was a move that, not to mention Montra, even Sila himself didn’t think it was possible.
Way of Slime — Genesis Punch.
Since it was his first time performing this kind of movement in his slime form, the power behind Sila’s move was significantly lower than usual. However, its strength was compensated by the skill Monster Heir. Moreover, as it was a slime-race skill which specialized in killing dragons, just seventy percent of Genesis Punch’s power was enough to threaten Montra’s life.
Montra’s body was rapidly cracking. It was a terrible sight. The devastating force in the Genesis Punch scattered all over his body so even Reversed Holy Scale wouldn’t be helpful. Montra immediately clad his body with magic reinforcement to slow down the rate of the damage done to him. His pure white clothing was now completely dyed red.
Sila’s protection around Bluebird vanished, followed by the Heavenly Dragon Spear dropping on the street.
Montra’s vision was flashing red rapidly. Genesis Punch was so powerful. Even though it was only seventy percent, the damage was severe because Montra took the attack directly without thinking about defense.
He was going to die in a matter of seconds. There was no time for him to pick up the spear. Hence, Montra decided to use his secret move.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Pulling Gáe Bulg.
The spear flew backward from Bluebird’s feet to Montra’s hand. During its course, It also destroyed everything in its path.
Sila transformed back into a human form as he observed Montra’s secret move while feeling alarmed. If the spear wasn’t stuck in the barrier, Montra could have pulled it back anytime to kill him. Sila had thought that he was relatively safe while the spear wasn’t in Montra’s hand, but it seems he was wrong.
On the surface, Sila had a higher chance of winning. However, the fact remained that Montra was stronger and possessed more skills. In addition, Montra could use most of his skills proficiently, unlike him.
Once the spear returned to Montra’s hand, he transformed it into a mage staff in order to increase his magic power. What if his Dragon Domain and Reversed Holy Scale couldn’t keep up with the damage? He just had to use another healing spell.
Heavenly Dragon’s Spell — Sacred Heal.
This spell was one of Infernee’s most powerful and instantaneous healing spells. Its downside was that it affected everyone within a large-scale radius regardless of them being his allies or his foes. Therefore, Montra didn’t use it when he had an advantage.
Montra’s wounds vanished, along with everyone’s health points being instantly refilled.
Just now, Sila saw Montra didn’t have a weapon in his hand so he stepped back to recover his strength in order to prepare for any incoming changes instead of taking a risk and continuing attacking with his remaining strength. Regretfully, he just missed his best chance to kill Montra.
Suddenly, an arrow with a red piece of fabric tied around its tail stabbed the ground next to Montra’s feet. It was Shuran’s signal telling him that the enemy’s reinforcement had arrived.
Although Montra had predicted that the enemy’s reinforcement would eventually come, it came much sooner than his estimation. The nearest ally of the Wicked Union should have taken at least three hours to get to Grea City, but barely an hour had passed since the first battle broke out.
Montra bumped the tail of his mage staff against the ground and fired a firework to burst in the sky; it was his signal for withdrawal.
Running from the battlefield didn’t mean losing a war; it was a respectable tactic. In fact, the generals who can’t make such a decision are the ones who aren’t suited to lead. Montra discarded his personal grudge and retreated to where Ramiel and Trick Master had gathered.
Ramiel had already deactivated all the barriers except for the giant one. For the record, Montra had been casting a spell ever since he noticed Shuran’s signal. Although Infernee’s offensive spell he was casting held disastrous power, the time required for casting it was longer than most high-tier spells. Even Montra, who possessed the Incantation Shortening skill with a high level, had to spend more than twenty seconds to complete it.
“O, Great Infernee, the angelic and benevolent Dragon Empress. Please shine thy rainbow lights upon mine enemies, purging the souls of those who have strayed from the one true path. Soul-Purging Seven Rays.”
The sparkling coming from the Dragon Head Staff looked brilliant yet terrifying. The devastating area-of-effect spell which would wipe out the caster’s enemies with consecutive seven rays of light was about to unleash its might.
Sila figured out the reason why Ramiel had deactivated the barriers. Of course, Montra wanted everyone to be attacked by his spell without the barriers blocking it.
He activated Illuminus’s skill, though he did it quite late. Three out of the seven rays of light had already poured down on everyone when the skill showed its effect.
Armor of Illuminus.
A barrier covered the entire area everyone was, perfectly blocking the remaining rays of light. For the record, Sila had accumulated a few minutes of time he could use both Illuminus’s skills. It seemed the system was kind enough to count the time he had spent in the Desert of Death.
Sila quickly examined the damage Montra’s spell had done to his teammates. It seemed everybody was heavily injured. If he had used the skill just a moment later, someone might have died. Cross was one such person, having used his own body to protect Varee and received twice the damage.
Varee quickly took out a potion and urged Cross to drink it, her face clearly showing that she was worried about him.
In that instant, the darkness shrouded Sila’s heart again. Even he himself didn’t understand why.
Deep down in his heart, he wanted to be there, injured, replacing Cross. The more he looked at how concerned Varee was, the dimmer the light in his eyes became.
If anyone were to know Sila’s current feelings, they would think that he was selfish. Cross risked his life for Varee, so it was natural that she would care for his safety.
Even though his name was Sila, Sila wasn’t a stone.
He is a human, not a deity. He has emotions of thirst, desire, longing, and greed like everyone else.
It seemed, deep in his heart, not only had the warmth of the star’s light made the stone feel like it wanted to float up and stay right beside her, but the small river was also able to scour the stone’s apathetic heart. He only realized the importance of the river when he was about to lose her.
At long last, the dark being that had been pacified within Sila’s mind finally awakened. Sila’s eyes looked so heartless that they were fearful. His Dark Self that he had successfully subdued in the Cave of Immortals started to create a ripple.
Sila’s mind was severely stirred twice in just one hour. It knew it wouldn’t get such a rare opportunity again. As Sila lost his calmness and his negativity reached its peak, it began to slowly assimilate with Sila’s body without letting him know. It waited patiently for the right moment that it could unleash its power and destroy every single thing in its path.
Cheris and Lost Ghost noticed the retreating signal as well. The barriers trapping them vanished when Ramiel deactivated them, so they rushed to where Montra was. Soon, they all exited the giant barrier together.
Sila leaped forward, following them. He felt that his negativity was too much for him to bear. He needed to violently release it, or his mind would explode otherwise. Sila tried to forget everything and focused solely on the task of killing Montra.
Bluebird quickly followed behind. He felt worried seeing Sila punching the magic barrier upsettingly while showing grim expression. He didn’t understand what caused Sila to suddenly become furious.
Each person has their own ways of expressing their anger. For Sila, his way was to try to be expressionless and cut himself away from the surroundings.
Attribute of Metal — Metal Stomp.
Sila kicked the barrier several times but none of them worked. The size of the barrier was too big and the power running through it was too much for his Metal Stomp to penetrate.
“Err... How about letting me try...?” Bluebird tried to give Sila a hand. However, Sila wasn’t in the mood to listen to everyone. He aimed all of his negative feelings and attention at Montra. At this moment, nothing was important to him except for Montra’s demise.
Asmodeus warned Bluebird. Concurrently, Sebastian did the same.
“Mister Blue! Please get away from Mister Sila immediately!!”
Everyone turned their gazes to Sila. He was emitting some kind of unseen, mysterious power. With the intuition of an escapee sensing danger, Bluebird quickly made a retreat.
Sila eyes flashed golden.
Evil God’s Essence — Transcendent Qi Reinforcement.
Sila clad his right fist with qi reinforcement. The power contained in his fist was far too powerful for his body, so his skin continued to peel off and the bones underneath were cracking, before constantly getting regenerated with the same power. Great pain ran through his arm and reached his brain, pushing him to the verge of insanity, but his hatred was too much for him to lose consciousness.
His right fist crashed against the barrier, totally shattering it in one hit. Ramiel blankly looked at the results with disbelief.
The armies from both sides paused and looked at Sila with different reasons.
The Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members were waiting for Montra’s next order while feeling terrified by this lone player. They didn’t dare to move.
As for the Royal Armament Guild’s members, along with their powerhouses, no one approached Sila because of the sudden change in the atmosphere. Strangely, Sila came to a stop after he had destroyed the barrier; he just stood there motionless, looking at his feet.
“Sila, are you okay?” Varee felt worried and asked. She was about to run to check on him but was interrupted by Cross, who sensed danger.
“Don’t go yet. Something is wrong.”
“Don’t stop me!” Varee pushed Cross out of her way. Simultaneously, Sila’s body began to move.
Subtly, Sila’s hair color changed from dark brown to jet black. His body was shivering like he was crying. It wasn’t until he raised his head that everyone could see that he wasn’t crying, but laughing.
“Ahahaha. Finally! Finally! To use your full strength when you are in no state to be able to control your emotions... you are such a fool, Sila. Ahahahaha.”
Sila continued to laugh while ridiculing his own foolishness.
“Sila, you really are stupid. You couldn't properly utilize even half of what you had. All good things are wasted on you. If you don’t know how to use them, I will do it for you. Think of it as a celebration for my awakening. I will do all those things you didn’t dare to.”
Everyone looked at each other. It seemed to them that Sila had gone insane. He suddenly talked to himself. Some even mocked and pitied him.
For the record, the one controlling Sila’s body right now was his Dark Self—Dark Psychic Corrosion. His Dark Self was a mass of negative energies, secretly molding a form and ultimately becoming his other persona; the persona which had a polar-opposite disposition and personality to Sila.
He wasn’t naive, wasn’t bound by morals, didn’t just go with the flow, didn’t give a damn about others, and would never allow himself to be a pawn walking on the path that others had drawn for him.
“Seal Mamon, Seal Lookhin, Seal Illuminus.”
Illuminus, Mamon, and Lookhin were absorbed into the Mechanical Evil God's Protection, though Mamon’s soul body was kicked out.
“Damn! Your Hidden Gift showed its effect at such a bad time,” Mamon exclaimed upsettingly.
Sila disdainfully looked at Mamon’s soul. If someone were to make eye contact with him, they would surely realize that he wasn’t Sila.
“This body belongs to us. You are a nuisance.”
Sila quit giving Mamon his attention as if Mamon wasn’t worthy of it. Everyone wanted to ask Sila what was happening but the atmosphere around him told them that they could die instantly if they approached him.
“Study it well, Sila. This is the method to use what we have in the most efficient way.”
Sila raised his head, looking at the moon. The full moon would come in three nights so the moon tonight was relatively bright. However, it gradually lost its light as if someone covered it with a black curtain. Soon, it was completely swallowed by the darkness.
There were abrupt changes happening on Sila. His wuxia clothing shrunk in order to prioritize mobility and the gears symbol behind his back were spinning non-stop. At that moment, Sila was no longer Sila.
In the future, someone would define what happened to him as a “Mutation.”
His black hair stretched further down to his back and both of his hands transformed into silver mechanical claws which looked futuristic yet magical. As he opened his right palm, a blue crystal blade extended from the middle of it. His eyes shone bright red, resembling priceless refined rubies. Two horns were materialized over his head, which Mamon could recognize instantly since they were the symbol of the devil prince from the world of devils. Then, a giant pair of black wings consisting of onyx-colored feathers spread from his back, illuminating charmingly under the darkness in the moonless night.
Sila ascended thirty meters from the street and looked down on everyone as if they were nothing but trash.
“Your baby bird had limited imagination. She could only think of normal insects,” Sila muttered to himself.
Sila waved his hand once, and the black mist created from Dark Psychic Corrosion flew and covered the swarm of wasps Lookhin had previously summoned. Once they came into contact with the black mist, they fell onto the ground and stayed motionless.
“What happened?” One of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members asked while others didn’t dare to make a sound.
His head was sent flying before he was aware of the attack.
To be honest, he was rather fortunate to be the first to die, because he wouldn’t get to see the hell that was unleashed just moments later.
The creatures in front of them were clearly not insects... or at least the insects they knew about. What stood in front of them were mysterious creatures with bodies that consisted of several hard shells neatly connecting to each other. They had four scythe-like arms that looked sharp and lethal, and two sturdy legs for standing firmly. Presently, they were five of them, though their numbers would increase in the near future.
Sila laughed crazily while the otherworldly insects began to wreak havoc throughout Grea City.
Now that all of his morals had been stripped away and the monster inside had awakened, he would bring fear and a never-ending nightmare to every player in Monster Soul.
A certain nightmare called Sila, the Monster Emperor.
T/N: In case you have forgotten, “Sangdao = Starlight (Dao = Star)” and “Varee = River”. Thus, “the warmth of the star’s light” is a metaphor representing the gentle Sangdao. On the other hand, “the river scouring the stone’s heart” is a metaphor representing the fussy Varee.
T/N: Also, “Sila = Stone”.
dday2day said:Wat if Sila, wants to go out of the game now. how will he be able to, and would the second character come with him.All these questions are rising in my head, i am pretty sure i wont be able to sleep tonight haha. i will be pondering over this xd
Chapter 211: Monster Soul
If humans are stripped of their morality, etiquette, their obligation to the rules, conscience, and socialization, we are no different than monsters. Under the human mask and the human skin, there is always a dark creature waiting for the day it can be free.
True, you have a human body. However, what about your soul? Is it a human’s, or a monster’s?
Sila believed he had his Dark Self under control in the Valley of Immortals. However, the fact was he had only managed to temporarily subdue it. His Dark Self was his other half. As he became stronger, it did the same.
It had been patiently and calmly waiting... waiting for the moment when Sila’s negativity reached its peak.
And finally, thanks to what Sila experienced, its waiting was not in vain.
Mora had taught Sila how martial arts must consist of both profound ethics and martial skill, and that they should receive equal attention. Despite this, in recent months, Sila had solely focused on training his martial skill whilst neglecting training his mind. He let his emotions get the better of himself and acted on a whim.
His condition was even worse than Montra. At least Montra had grown up in a brutal world since his childhood, so his mind was stronger than Sila’s. On the other hand, Sila wasn’t prepared for how brutal the world was, resulting in him easily being swallowed by the darkness.
Situations that people could brush off would instead deeply affect Sila’s mind.
If this place was the real world, he would only feel a turbulence in his mind, nothing more. However, this place was Monster Soul, the place where abstract concepts became substantial matters. Who Sila was at the moment was the reflection of what his mind really was.
While Sila was pleasantly watching the killing insects performing their works, a sturdy barrier took shape around him without him showing any resistance whatsoever. Ramiel focused his power into one point, creating a single barrier. He was confident that it couldn’t be easily destroyed anymore.
He couldn’t be more wrong.
Sila lectured his other self, who couldn’t do anything but silently watch from the inside.
“Look. This is how you correctly use Way of Slime. Do you really think that the S-grade ultimate skill given to the strongest player of the slime race is just a simple transformation skill? You couldn’t exert even ten percent of its full ability. Just watch and learn from me.”
Sila opened his right palm, and his Crystal Divine Sword protruded from it. The almighty sword shattered and broke. Sila’s body absorbed the fragments of the sword within, and the tips of his fingers transformed into crystal shards.
“Slimes are creatures with no fixed form. We change according to our surroundings and our enemy. Formless Soldier, Orbiting Cosmos, and Moon Reflecting Mirror; these three skills are the hint to the answer of the last, ultimate skill. Way of Slime is a skill that allows us to change everything we have to become advantageous in each battle.
“Look at what I did. Having another arm is great, but it isn’t as convenient as our own arms. Illuminus can absorb any kind of attack but can’t inflict damage, while the Crystal Divine Sword can gather the power of nature but can’t be wielded by a single entity. If we just combine these two items together with our hands, there will be nothing that both our hands can’t break... even the entire world of Monster Soul.”
One couldn’t wield the Crystal Divine Sword alone. That meant one had to borrow power from nature in order to wield it. However, Dark Self overcame the item’s limitation by fusing it directly with a part of his body.
Sila's claws tore apart the barrier as easily as tearing a piece of paper. He opened his palm again. This time, six suntetsu were revealed, they lingered in the air with his psychic power.
“The Mechanical Evil God's Protection has a similar ability. With the Eternal Onyx, we can always evolve. Be sure to use it to overwhelm our opponents. The armor that Mamon altered for us isn’t suitable for our fighting style. Such a complex armor requires us to spend time learning all the Hidden Gifts and we also can’t choose them according to our will. It will take us a year before we can make practical use of it.
“Worry not. I already evolved it to suit us best. Simple yet powerful. We can now use the power of those sealed within the armor like they are ours... no, with Monster Heir, we’ll use the skills even better than the actual owners.
“And this is Lookhin’s Oceanic Mind. Imagine yourself as the center of the ocean, being able to control everything like it is all just parts that make up our body.”
The six black suntetsu were rotating around Sila at high speed. The simplest form of Oceanic Mind was the ability to control objects with absolute precision. Presently, Sila could even lift up an entire building, five hundred meters away from him, without moving a finger.
“It’s time for us to attack. With only five insects, they can at most cause a small confusion. We must redirect everyone’s attention to us in order to give the insects a chance to grow and multiply.”
Although that was what Sila said to himself, he had actually been the center of attention for a while.
It was like he just said, the killing insects were just born so they were relatively weak. The reason they could kill people in the early moments was only thanks to their fearful appearance.
When everyone had calmed down, they could easily oppose the early-stage insects. In fact, it was Entomomageia’s biggest weakness that Mamon discovered. As for how Dark Self knew the weakness, that was thanks to Asmodeus’ Hidden Gift that allowed her to comprehend any and all skills, which Mamon had stolen at some point.
Sila pointed his finger at the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s army, and the six suntetsu heavily quaked and glowed with powerful bright lights, a different color for each.
“With Orbiting Cosmos’ restriction, we can’t use any other magic-type skills, including Entomomageia to summon more insects. I can only alter the insects which Lookhin already summoned before. Nevertheless, our magic is far from weak if we use it right. We just need physical mediums to unleash its power.”
The six suntetsu enlarged and became six giant pillars, each the size of a Roman column. They consisted of a fire pillar, a stone pillar, a water pillar, a lightning pillar, a wind pillar, and an ice pillar.
Sila pushed them toward the center of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s army with Oceanic Mind and commanded them to explode. Unfortunately, Ramiel summoned barriers to block the explosions.
Sila frowned with displeasure. “That angel is annoying. If we could just use Omniscient Evil God Qi, the battle would have already ended. By the way, don’t underestimate Montra. Although it’s true that he didn’t hold back against us, he should still have a few trump cards left. Do not forget that he still has eight Gems of Catastrophe on him.”
Sila suddenly descended. With Great Sparrowhawk Qi, he could travel in the sky at fantastic speed. Naturally, it was difficult for the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members to cope with an opponent who could move freely in the sky.
Sila flew at a low altitude while waving his hands, creating qi waves to cut unfortunate people into seven or eight pieces. His attacks were a combination of Cruise Breeze and Ray Assemble; their sharpness and speed were dominant, especially when projected through Great Sparrowhawk Qi which made them delicate and thin. The attacks were so subtle that some of the players didn’t notice the damage until they tried to move.
Sila’s aerial movement was swift and agile. In front of his eyes were electronic screens showing the map of Grea City, including the positions of all people in the city. Thus, he could fly to the places where defense was lacking and assassinated opponents at high speed. He started off by killing the weak ones in order to demoralize the opponent’s group and reduce the number of enemies. In the meantime, he was gradually narrowing the distance between him and Ramiel.
As Sila grew closer to Ramiel, the area became narrower and his onyx wings hindered his mobility. In just a split second, Sila transformed the pair of wings into a scarf. The reason he could fly was thanks to qi, not the wings, so the shape didn’t matter anyway.
The tail of the onyx-color scarf was blown around by the wind. Everywhere Sila flew past would become bloody scenes filled with corpses and the remnants of weapons and armor. He was like an ominous comet who brought misfortune wherever he went. Soon, Grea City began to smell like death.
The sound of blood splashing, soulless bodies falling onto the street, weapons breaking in half, and people screaming in pain harmonized with each other like an orchestra from abyss.
Finally, Sila arrived at the center of the army. He waved his hands, releasing a wave of qi outward. The combination of Cruise Breeze and Galaxy Eclipse sent at least thirty players to their deaths without them knowing what happened. It was a way to die that was as light as a feather yet as grim as the darkness of a moonless night.
Montra, Ramiel, and the four Warlords prepared for the incoming attack. Ramiel trapped Sila within a barrier, though he could instantly rip it apart.
Sila emitted black fog, no, a group of dots as small as dust from his body. This was the skill that Dark Self was best at using since it was his own skill.
Dark Psychic Corrosion.
The fine specks of dust broke down whatever they touched as they scraped against each other. The size of the black fog expanded as they continued to corrode everything around them. It chipped away and dug into human’s flesh just by flying past. All attacks aiming at Sila were erased by the fog.
Nonetheless, it seemed Montra’s Dragon Domain held greater power. If the targets of the attack didn’t die on the spot, the wounds would be healed, preventing them from dying. Eventually, six powerhouses managed to surround Sila.
“The essence of psychic power is creativity. The same power can be used in a different way to get a different result. Since the scattered version doesn’t work, let’s try assembling it into a single strike,” Sila said to himself.
Lost Ghost noticed Sila’s fog wasn’t capable of harming them and the user was busy talking to himself like a crazy person, so he thought it was a chance. He relied on the fact that he was in Sila’s blind spot to raise his massive axe and then swing it down toward Sila from behind.
“Don’t!!” Trick Master, Cheris, and Shuran shouted almost simultaneously. As they weren’t behind Sila, they could see his face.
The face wearing a dreadful grin.
Dark Psychic Corrosion — Crystallization.
Sila crystallized a sword from Dark Psychic Corrosion and stabbed it backward through the gap under his armpit. The blade precisely pierced through Lost Ghost’s abdomen.
Rather than a sword, it looked more like a five-meter-long semi-transparent black crystal stick. Sila slid the stick sideways, creating a long incision along Lost Ghost’s stomach.
Lost Ghost collapsed on the street, his hands pressed to his wound while writhing in agony.
“Arghhh!! Why?! Why isn’t the wound being healed?!!” Lost Ghost let out a roar of pain. Montra frowned and cast a healing spell on him, though it didn’t work.
The thing was, Sila crystallized Dark Psychic Corrosion into a temporary weapon, which left a corrosive effect in any wounds inflicted. For the record, the scattered version worked better on weak opponents; just a small wound would spread quickly and become lethal. However, the crystallized version worked better on strong opponents or those who healed quickly. This kind of psychic power wouldn’t spread out but focused on devouring a single point, preventing the wound from being healed.
“One down. Although the effect doesn’t spread, it can’t be healed either. Leave him alone and he will eventually die.”
The dark sword disappeared from Sila’s hand, though everyone got the feeling that he could easily summon it again whenever he wanted. Nobody could ever believe that the sword with such a fraudulent ability was purely made from psychic power. Even some A-grade swords weren’t half as good as the sword Sila created.
More importantly, qi was Sila’s main energy type, not psychic power.
“We are withdrawing. Why are you holding us up?” Trick Master asked. He prepared two spells in his hands while delaying five more spells in his mind, preparing for the inevitable battle.
Sila leisurely replied, “Do you think you’re in an amusement park? That you can come and go as you please? Have you heard the phrase, ‘You can come, but you shall never return’?”
Montra found the way Sila talked rather strange. He had investigated Sila for a while and felt that the man in front of him was someone completely different.
“Are you really Sila?” asked Montra.
“We are Sila... and all of you must die!!”
Sila emitted Mental Oppression with a hint of corrosion. The extremely small black dots flared up and stabbed everyone. Sila leaped at Ramiel, who was his main target.
Montra sent the signal for everyone to pour their attacks on Sila while Ramiel created a three-layered barrier to obstruct Sila’s path. At the same time, Ramiel’s body was shrouded by white light.
It was one of Montra’s trump cards that enabled him to collect five of the Seven Deadly Sins effortlessly.
The genuine form of Ramiel, the Angel of Truth.
There appeared an angel in elegant golden armor. A pair of beautiful white wings wiped away the darkness. Above each of his palms floated a small white halo. Ramiel’s entire body was enveloped by a white aura as if he was an angel descended from the Heaven.
The devil named Sila ripped the barrier apart with his silver claws. With his psychic power, Sila slammed Cheris into a building behind her, which caused her to cough up blood.
Summoning a sword made of Dark Psychic Corrosion, Sila brandished it and severed Trick Master’s arms at the elbows. As for his other hand, Sila caught the arrow Shuran powerfully fired at him, before counterattacking with a black suntetsu.
At such a short distance, a hidden weapon was more dangerous than an arrow. Furthermore, Shuran had just performed an attack so there was a delay to his reaction. Taking advantage of the gap, the metal suntetsu—which was hard and heavy thanks to Formless Soldier—penetrated Shuran’s forehead. His soulless body fell down as Montra made his move.
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Spinning Rhongomyniad.
The spear’s movement was slow yet exerted a terrifying might. In Sila’s perception, it was like the flow of time was under Montra’s control. Although the spear was slow, he felt it was inescapable. If he made a mistake at defending, just this single move could kill him.
Sila felt his body became slow and couldn’t move according to his will. If he was his usual self, he might be able to fix the abnormality with Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. However, Dark Self couldn’t use Sila’s personal profound art. Even though they were one and the same person, their existences were clearly separated from each other like black and white.
In fact, Dark Self was sure that Light of Illuminus could easily block the attack. However, he wanted to keep the skill that Montra hadn’t seen yet as his trump card. He was inwardly scolding his other self for being bad at using skills. Instead of using Illuminus’ skills and deactivating them properly, Sila left the armor and the shield as they were until the duration ran out and they disappeared.
Nevertheless, even if Dark Self couldn’t use Sila’s personal profound art, it didn’t mean that he didn’t possess Sila’s knowledge. Noticing that the spear was slow, he knew it was a move of the wood element. Thus, he quickly exerted the only metal element skill that he could use.
Formless Soldier, Maximum Power.
With how slow his perception became, Sila couldn’t tell which part of his body that the spear would strike. Therefore, he clad his entire body with Formless Soldier, changing his body to become as sturdy as the legendary mineral.
The spear tip slowly connected to his abdomen, though it was stopped by his skin and couldn't penetrate his body due to Formless Soldier. Nevertheless, the power within the spear constantly poured into his body, causing Dark Self to be injured for the first time, though it wasn’t enough to kill him.
Ramiel opened his palms and showed them toward Sila. He activated his transcendent ability, one of the two exclusive powers previously belonging to the Sealed One.
The Power of Rebirth.
“You foolish human. Admit your defeat.”
The golden beam of light flew toward Sila. For the record, Sila had already used Mamon’s Star Seer to inspect Ramiel at the start and was aware that even Illuminus couldn’t block this power. For ordinary players, the only way to oppose the power was to dodge it.
However, Sila had already come up with a way to cope with the Power of Rebirth. In truth, for someone to defeat Ramiel, the first thing they had to come up was a method to cope with this ability. That was the reason why Sebastian didn’t use Manifesting Soul Lantern; he still didn’t have a way to subdue this power.
If it was indefensible, all he did was to not block it. Sila still possessed a skill that could do what Illuminus couldn’t.
“Do you think this power of yours is invincible? You brainless angel. Go die and reincarnate by yourself.”
Sila endured the pain from Montra’s spear penetrating into his body while using his right hand to draw a curve in the air. As it turned out, a mirror reflecting Ramiel’s shocked expression appeared out of thin air.
Moon Reflecting Mirror.
The golden beam entered the mirror and vanished, before flying back to the original user. Once the golden light crashed against Ramiel’s body, he irresistibly transformed into a white diamond-shaped brooch.
Montra was extremely shocked. He promptly recalled the brooch to return to him with the right of ownership. However, it didn’t work. The brooch flew to Sila instead.
“Hahaha. Don’t struggle in vain. Everything in this area belongs to me.” Sila let out an evil laugh.
The original Sila might think that King’s Treasury was the most ridiculous and troublesome skill he had ever gotten. However, as Dark Self told him, every skill had its own use. If he utilized it the right way at the right time, it would deal a drastic blow to the opponent.
“Now that you all no longer have someone protecting you, die!!”
Orbiting Cosmos — Fire and Wind.
The remnants of the equipment and items on the street shone a bright light. The truth was, Dark Self had been making use of King’s Treasury ever since he started killing the players on his way here. Normally, Sila couldn’t use Orbiting Cosmos on things he didn’t touch directly or things that didn’t belong to him. He usually used the skill on himself or the hidden weapons flying out of his hand. However, with King’s Treasury, everything that dropped on the street, including broken weapons, was considered his. Dark Self deliberately didn’t collect them into his system window but left them on the street. There were visible yet invisible bombs waiting to be ignited—hiding leaves in a forest.
Some remnants exploded into fires while some exploded into wind. Combining, they caused a disastrous chained explosion.
Sila used Mamon’s power to create a protective barrier made of psychic power around his body. He waved his hand at Montra once as a goodbye. Then, a third of Grea City exploded and was blown into pieces. The flame of the blast shot up, reaching the clouds in the sky. It made the Two Monarchs’ previous destruction of the Royal Armament Guild look like a trivial matter in comparison.
Sila inside the group of smoke flew up high and deactivated the barrier around him. He was looking down at his work. A third of the entire city had been reduced to rubble. The experience points from killing thousands of Marquis Rank players poured into him, increasing his level by leaps and bounds.
Nonetheless, Sila was extremely upset. That was because the one he wanted dead didn’t die. The proof was that the Dragon Domain, Abode of the Angels, was still active. Expanding his profound sense, Sila pinpointed two sources of power on the other side of the city.
One was Montra, whose wounds were perfectly healed, and the other one was a man in black, donning a white mask. It was thanks to his speed that he instantly pulled Montra’s body from the series of chained explosions.
Zero, the Shadow Emperor.
In just the blink of an eye, both people vanished. It wasn’t due to teleportation but Zero’s pure speed.
Sila tilted his head, and something deeply grazed his cheek. It was Zero’s throwing chakram that was hard to see in the dark night.
Sila rubbed his cheek once, then tapped the blood on his finger on his tongue before laughing.
“Kukukuku. Montra and Zero. Only these two can get me serious... Well, since everything has settled down, I will take my rest, Sila.”
Dark Self closed his eyes, and once he reopened them, his body turned back to normal. The extra hair from his transformation detached and fell away while his horns disappeared. His body fell from his place two hundred meters up in the sky and slammed into the ground.
Sila coughed up blood, his vision rapidly flashing red in the middle of the city’s wreckage.
While barely conscious, Sila heard the system notification.
You have been enlightened about the Essence of Psychic: Creativity. You have acquired the right to unlock the hidden potential of three of your skills. Please refer to your system window for more information.
You have achieved a certain condition. Your status and rank have been promoted to Orange Slime, Level 1 Lord Rank.
Congratulations! As a Lord Rank player, you shall obtain a certain special privilege from the system. Please visit the Information Building in any of the main cities for more information.
Sila circulated qi to recover himself. He sat down, thinking deeply while silently staring at the soulless wreckage. He saw and remembered everything he did, though he couldn’t control his body.
As he examined the damage, he began to wonder who the real monster was.
Chapter 212: Mist in the Aftermath of War
T/N: The chapter name is a phrase used in Thai, meaning “What remains after the war”. The phrase can be interpreted either negatively (=nothing is left, or a lot of casualties) or positively (=spoils of war).
After Zero brought Montra somewhere safe, he left without a word. Of course, Montra knew Zero was only doing this in order to gain his trust. Once, however, was not enough.
‘Even though it’s true that he can catch up to Revin and Kawin on the way to Belacia City, the fact that Zero made an appearance at Grea City meant he wanted to personally investigate something. I will have to keep an eye on him.’
Montra activated an invitation card and returned to his private dimension. The torch, the refrigerator, the shelf, and the grassland were in their usual state. That was a given, though, since only he could enter this place.
Many unexpected things happened today. However, although everything didn’t go according to his plan, the result was still acceptable. The only big loss for Montra was losing Ramiel.
‘Well, that guy is no longer needed. The exact reason why I centered the raid around Ramiel was to keep them occupied with countering him. A loss is a loss. The important thing is how I can make use of the loss.’
In a sense, Montra had the same way of thinking as Sila. He thought that Monster Soul was just a game. No matter how valuable the lost item or the skill was, he wouldn’t grieve over it.
Montra was different in one way, however, as he wasn’t simply indifferent about the loss. He would try to come up with a way to exploit the loss as well.
To solve a problem, Montra always believed that the solution had to be created, not waited for. He decided to reorganize the problems he had. His priority was Martial Radiance Art.
Montra released a sigh once. He clenched his teeth and canceled the power of Martial Radiance Art.
Montra collapsed on the field. Although he didn’t feel pain while the art was active, once he canceled it, all of the accumulated pain would pour into him in an instant. The suffering was beyond what Montra could describe. He gnashed his teeth to the point that blood seeped out from his gums. His fingers dug into the grass to the point that his nails almost came off. Ordinary people would prefer dying to experiencing such excruciating pain.
Montra’s one minute was as long as a hellish eternity. He didn’t let out even a single anguished sound. His body was covered in stains, dirt, and grass. He removed his bloody clothing and dropped it nearby, revealing his strong body marred by numerous scars. These scars could also be seen on his body in real life. He got none of them from battles though. All of them came from him practicing—surpassing his limits.
“My Martial Radiance Art combined with Triple Sky Energy was indeed stronger than Sila’s qi. However, his qi changed from simple to constantly changing—as if he forsook the previous one for another and practiced from the start, along with his developed martial art. Is it Flaming Cloud Qi? It seems to be different from what I have heard though.”
The Sky Dragon Dojo didn’t have a qi art. Even the Wulin Masters Association’s Profound Library only had a few books regarding qi arts, and most of them were mediocre or incomplete.
Sila still didn’t realize how fortunate he was to get a chance to study so many qi arts. Be it Tiger Dragon Qi, Flaming Cloud Qi, or Profound Qi Circulation Art, they were all first-rate profound arts. By comparing the three, Sila comprehended the core part of qi arts and finally came up with his own according to his understanding.
Most profound practitioners didn’t have such an opportunity. It was practically impossible to create a qi art from nothing. Even Montra made his based off a wild guess. He randomly circulated and studied Sila’s Tiger Dragon Qi until he accidentally got Triple Sky Energy.
One could say that Sila had more resources than Montra. Honestly speaking, Triple Sky Energy combined with Martial Radiance Art was considered a middle-tier qi art which had the potential to compete against first-rate qi arts. The only kind of person that could come up with it despite having insufficient knowledge regarding qi arts was undoubtedly a genius like Montra.
Nonetheless, harming oneself in order to acquire greater strength was considered a dark art, be it Sila’s Yin Yang Energy which caused the user to suffer in the process of practicing it, or Montra’s Martial Radiance Art which caused the user to suffer after use. The standard qi art was supposed to slowly build up the user’s inner force through cultivation without any harm involved.
It could be said that both Sila and Montra were too hurried. Considering their ages, their strengths were already more than excellent.
Montra took out a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator to drink. He released a heavy sigh and concentrated. He needed time to rethink.
Sila in the latter half of the battle was undeniably stronger. However, he didn’t seem like himself at all. It was as if someone else was controlling Sila’s body.
Montra shook his head to dismiss the ridiculous thought. Controlling the player—robbing them of their freedom to take action according to their will—was a serious crime. Every brain scanner had undergone heavy inspection to prevent such an illegal act. Therefore, it was impossible for Sila’s actions to be controlled by someone else. It was another story if he pretended to be controlled though.
That meant the Sila who had been acting like he was innocent, naive, childish, and honest to the world around him was nothing but a pretense. As it turned out, Sila was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He acted like he was a victim in order to gain favors from everyone else, but would show his true character once he obtained sufficient strength and power.
How would someone who couldn’t even control himself be able to manage the entire association? If Sila were to become the Wulin Lord, with the power he held, the Sky Dragon Dojo would be in danger.
“I don’t need to hesitate anymore. Even if I have to die, I will protect the dojo.”
Montra took the scroll containing the dark art, Grand Deity’s Breathing, from the shelf. He opened it and read the first page.
Grand Deity’s Breathing consisted of five stages. The first stage was to adjust the user’s breathing in order to prepare them for the next stages. It wasn’t complicated so Montra suspected it wouldn’t take long to master.
Montra had to race against time. Even though practicing dark arts was known for requiring less time than usual, just one month might not be enough. He also had many quests and problems left for him to tackle. They had been piling up around himself without showing him an exit. In addition, the people around him were all his enemies; only very few of them were his allies.
Nonetheless, now that he decided to put his mind into practicing the art, all he needed to do was to practice its first stage. He would solve a task at a time, step by step.
At the very least, the war at Grea City allowed him to get a clearer look at the strength the Wicked Union held to a certain degree. Be it Cross’ strategies, the ways they utilized traps, or Sila’s current strength, Montra knew it all.
“Hopefully, it will cause enough turbulence so my men can leave the city’s rebirth zone. Let me see how you are going to cope with this move of mine, Cross.”
Montra soon discarded all of the unnecessary thoughts. He stared at the page he left open while alternating between inhaling and exhaling with a certain rhythm. Eventually, he no longer felt his body while his mind was clearer than ever. His concentration reached a realm where it couldn’t easily be shaken. It seemed his body and mind were gradually changing him into a vessel that could contain bottomless power.
Grand Deity’s Breathing — First Stage, Stabilize Breathing and Return to Nihility.
Sila slowly stood up. Ever since he had practiced Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, he could continue exerting his power as long as he didn’t overextend himself but kept supplying his power with his qi circulation. However, after Dark Self seized control of his body, he felt remarkably exhausted. It seemed Dark Self exerted all of his strength without keeping any in reserve.
It left Sila with no choice but to solely focus his remaining power on recovery. Sila relaxed his body and controlled his breathing.
Attribute of Wood — Forest God’s Body.
Sila’s personal profound strength was the power of using the five elemental attributes—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire—through what he called the five martial moves—inner body, hand, foot, weapon, and outer body—totaling in twenty-five moves.
The move he was currently using, Forest God’s Body, was the result of him using the power of the wood element through his inner body. It sublimated his body’s recovering ability, though he becomes incapable of movement while the move is active.
Although his body couldn’t move, his mind continued to function. He wondered why he was controlled by Dark Self.
Ultimately, Sila concluded that it was due to the nature of his psychic power a.k.a. his mind. Dark Psychic Corrosion was negative power. The deeper he fell into the darkness, the stronger his Dark Self would become.
Sila recalled Divine’s words.
“For a psychic power that focuses on destroying, you need to be gentle with it. Only use it when your mind is calm. Unlike qi, emotion greatly affects your psychic power, so you need to be careful. Anyway, remember that it’s a part of yourself, so don’t deny it nor think of it as dangerous.”
‘Use it when my mind is calm... that’s it. When I was angry, my mind was blank and my body moved exactly the way I wanted. However, when my anger... my hatred accelerated, I lost control of my power and was instead controlled by it.’
Emotions affected psychic power more than qi. This was the concept that made Sila always consider psychic power harder to use than qi. However, it was the other way around. Rather, psychic power was relatively easy to use. It was so easy to the point that he could use it without mastery. In the end, however, without enough proficiency he easily lost control over it.
‘My psychic-type skills were supposed to be destroyed by Lucifer. Strangely enough, my Dark Self could use Dark Psychic Corrosion. This means my psychic power still resides within me. It might have just changed its form like when I fused it with my qi and created Yin Yang Energy. But... Five-Attributed Cloud Qi doesn’t have negative power, does it?’
Sila invented Five-Attributed Cloud Qi with the hope that it would be a standard art, not a dark one. Thus, he didn’t include any negative power, unlike Yin Yang Energy which he clearly split into white and black.
Still, everything in the world goes according to the principle of duality. All things great and small possess a polar opposite, including Sila’s Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
If the creation cycle exists, so does the destruction cycle.
Dark Self understood the destruction cycle more than Sila did, so he relied on the clash of the overwhelming relationships of the five elements to unleash greater power. It came with a downside though. Unlike the power gained from the creation cycle that Sila used to supplement his moves, the power coming from the destruction cycle was strong yet short-lived, resulting in Sila’s exhaustion.
In fact, the duality of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi wasn’t something entirely new for Sila. If his Yin Yang Energy could be separated into one big white part and one big black part, his Five-Attributed Cloud Qi could be separated into five small generating parts and five small overwhelming parts. It was the extended, latent power of his new qi.
Dark Self made Sila realize that. In some sense, if he was brazen enough, he could call himself an expert regarding qi knowledge. With his new realization, Sila figured that the second stage of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi didn’t have only five moves as he had previously thought, but ten. It seemed that the path to complete mastery over his qi suddenly grew longer.
Although he was concerned, it was good news. At least, that meant there was still room for him to grow stronger. As Dark Self had told him, while he had exhausted everything he had, Montra still didn’t use the eight Gems of Catastrophe in his possession.
This victory was merely temporary. Only the final battle would decide the final victor.
Sila heard the sounds of footsteps to his left. He couldn’t move his body so all he could do was take a side glance. He saw people running toward him.
It seemed Dark Self listened to his request. Not even one person belonging to the Royal Armament Guild had died.
Actually, Sila’s request was easily doable. Third-party players had already evacuated and exited the city by the time the army of the Heavenly Dragon Guild arrived. As for the Royal Armament Guild members, they remained near the construction site and didn’t go far from there. As a result, all Dark Self wiped out was a third of the city and the Heavenly Dragon Guild members.
Sila felt relieved that everyone was safe. However, their expressions seemed to suggest otherwise. They appeared rather shocked looking at him.
Sila couldn’t help but be curious whether his pants went missing or not. He shifted his glance downward and found that his clothing was still intact.
Looking carefully, Sila realised that they weren’t looking at him, but rather something behind him. He forcefully moved his body slightly and finally understood why everyone was shocked.
A white mist.
No matter how one looked at it, the mist wasn’t a natural phenomenon. It covered at least a fourth of Grea City. More importantly, underneath the mist, there was a giant silhouette with a size similar to Rex of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.
As it turned out, it was a massive white dragon who made an appearance without a system notification. It invaded the city even though there wasn’t an event about it, which meant it belonged to a player.
Although it didn’t show any oppressive or hostile might, just its appearance alone was enough for everyone to tell that it didn’t come to visit with good intentions.
What the players thought was mist was actually a vapor of magic power being emitted from Infernee, the Dragon Empress, who possessed transcendent beauty and bottomless power.
With just the slightest movement, the mist around her gradually crushed the buildings below her into dust. While Dark Self had to use all kinds of skills to destroy a third of the city, Infernee destroyed a fourth of the same city by simple crawling.
This was the power of an Emperor Rank monster.
Infernee had yet to use any skills. Just the excess of her magic power emitting from her body was enough to bring harm to her enemies. Especially now that she noticed Sila, a nemesis of her race. Her magic power formed into a mass before flying at him, knocking him away.
Bluebird was the closest to Sila. He leaped forward and caught Sila’s body before it crashed against the building. Meanwhile, Sila suddenly fell unconscious. He was in an injured state, so he couldn’t bear the sudden pain from a powerful attack.
Cross looked at the white Infernee. Her gentle eyes looked back at him as if telling him that she didn’t intend to harm anyone. Ironically, her existence alone brought danger to anyone who wasn’t her ally.
After contemplating for a while, Cross issued an order to retreat. He told everyone to exit the city first. It was a logical choice. There was no way they could take down the Emperor Rank monster. Even a Lord Rank monster was risky enough.
Along with them, Bluebird carried the unconscious Sila out of the city toward the west, heading to a peaceful location near Grea City, a place nobody dared to enter as they would risk their lives.
The edge of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest, the sole entrance to the Valley of Immortals.
Chapter 213: The Secret of the Star
Sila slowly woke up. He couldn’t tell how long he had slept. Once he opened his eyes and sat down, he found that he was outside of the city. When looking back through his memories, he remembered he was hit by the fist of white mist. He still didn’t know the reason why he was here though.
“Are you awake? How are you?” Bluebird asked after approaching Sila, having noticed that he woke up.
Sila looked around for familiar faces, but he only saw people he didn’t know. From what he could tell, they were a bunch of Royal Armament Guild members, who stood some distance away while looking at him with mixed feelings between fear and respect. Sila somehow felt troubled by their gazes.
“Where are we?”
“The outside of Grea City. The edge of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.”
“How long did I sleep? And why are we here?”
“Around two days, I think. The reason why we are here is because of that. Look.” Bluebird pointed his finger at Grea City.
Even though it was quite far, Sila could clearly see the white mist covering the city. Obviously, it wasn’t the mist that came from steamed engines like usual but the residual traces of magic power being emitted by a certain massive silhouette hidden inside.
“She is Infernee, the Dragon Empress. We believe she is just a materialized body from Montra’s skill, Dragon Soul, though. Do you remember the skill?”
“Is it fine for us to be here then? The distance is not that far.”
“There seems to be no problem... I guess. Cross has tried sending people to investigate. It seems she won’t do anything as long as we leave her alone.”
Sila stood up. His power was drained due to the disturbance during qi circulation. He tried to circulate qi anew but found that it was clogged up. In a sense, Five-Attributed Cloud Qi was similar to an entire structure consisting of spinning cogwheels. If something was struck between the cogwheels, its ability to spin and function would be hindered. It seemed an external force was required in order to fix it.
“Why are they standing so far away?” Sila asked Bluebird while shooting a side glance at other players.
“That can’t be helped. Look at what you have done. The city fell into pieces of wreckage. You shouldn’t have shown off that much. Fortunately for you though, Infernee completely annihilated the city. No one should care how much damage you caused.”
Sila hurriedly argued, “No, that’s not it. That wasn’t me. I was being controlled.”
Bluebird sighed. “You better come up with a better excuse. It’s a serious crime to force players to perform involuntary actions as it violates a human’s basic rights. Nothing in the game can physically control you. Every brain scanner has undergone strict investigation.”
“But I really—” That’s all Sila could say before he stopped himself.
‘Is it because my brain scanner differs from others? Maybe Joshua’s brain scanner doesn’t have such protection. If that’s the case, I can’t explain what happened to me. This matter is even more confidential than the Wulin Masters Association.’
“But what?” asked Bluebird.
Sila released a sigh. “Nothing. What I was trying to say is that I was being controlled by my anger and fell into a rage. That’s why I couldn’t hold myself back.”
Sila had to take the blame for actions he didn’t commit in order to secure the secret. At this time, he still didn’t realize that this small secret would eventually escalate and ultimately have a tremendous impact. It was like the saying, “Tell a lie once, and you will have to continue lying in order to maintain it.”
However, this wouldn’t be the only secret he had to keep. Before the war event started he would inevitably discover other secrets, along with the reason why Mora had to keep him in the dark all this time. Later on, Sila would sometimes come to wonder whether his life would have been better off without him knowing the truth.
Sila was like a newborn in the vast world, a dry, clean sponge ready to absorb all the things he saw, and learn from them. As his journey went on, his views and horizons would eventually broaden. On one side, he would see the novelty of the world and become excited. However, on the other side, he would get to see something he didn’t want to experience.
Still, such is life.
Bluebird nodded. He didn’t seem to be bothered by Sila’s words.
“Sure, yes, you reacted too strongly. Please be careful next time. Well, you may not get another chance to show off. If the Infernee we see is really the result of a skill, I can send her flying with just a touch... um... how to touch her will be a problem though.”
Sila took a bit of time to try and regain his strength, but it didn’t work. Being attacked while using Forest God’s Body caused him more trouble than he previously thought. The next time he used this move, he would need to be extra careful.
Gossiping sounds nearby became silent as someone came to visit them. Sila and Bluebird turned to look at the visitor and found that it was Sangdao. It seemed many players found out what kind of relationship she had with Montra. The truth about her being Montra’s fiancée was one of the most popular pieces of news in the game forum right now.
Sangdao didn’t seem to mind their attention like Sila. She approached the two and asked politely.
“Mister Bluebird, if you don’t mind, could you please let me have a moment alone with Sila?”
“Oh, sure, sure. You’re welcome.” Suddenly, Bluebird seemed to become a person with good manners. He left without even saying goodbye to Sila or waiting for his response. Instead, once he had moved a bit away from the two, he turned to Sila, winked, and gave him a thumbs up. It was like he knew what they would talk about while even Sila himself had no clue.
“A lot of people are here. We better talk over there.”
Sangdao walked into the forest, Sila silently following behind.
As they went two hundred meters deep into the forest, Sila swept his eyes to look for the Single-Horned Dragons, but he couldn’t spot even one.
‘What’s going on with them? At this point, I should have seen at least two of them.’
“This should be private enough.” Sangdao stopped walking and turned back to Sila.
“What do you want from me, Miss Sangdao?” Sila asked flatly. His tone was icy cold.
Sangdao showed him a dry smile. “Are you angry that Dao didn’t tell you I’m Montra’s fiancée?”
“I’m not angry. I just don’t like being lied to.”
“Well, I didn’t tell you any lies, Mister Sila.” Sangdao’s tone of voice was as cold as Sila’s. She showed an expression like she and he were complete strangers.
Sila was overcome with anxiety, his breath gone. The sense of distance caused him to feel discomfort. It seemed Sangdao could sense that from him.
“That was Dao’s feeling when Sila acted coldly. So please, stop doing that, okay?”
Sangdao gave Sila her usual calm smile like she always did. In one way or another, women seemed to be mysterious creatures for Sila already. Their emotions could change at a rate which he couldn’t possibly keep up with.
“Are all women capable of reading minds?” asked Sila.
Sangdao giggled. “No, we can’t. Sila’s expression is just quite easy to read. Despite that, there are times when Dao couldn’t tell what Sila was thinking.”
“I have my secrets as well. It isn’t like I should go out of my way and reveal my secrets to others out of the blue.”
“Me too. For some matters, Dao also isn’t ready to tell anyone about them until it is the right time or it is to the right person. If you are curious, the easiest method is to ask. If Dao can tell you, Dao will tell.”
Sila got to understand Sangdao better. Come to think about it, she always had a way of convincing Sila to understand things by comparing himself to her.
“Err... Is it true...? About the fiancée...” Sila half asked and half mumbled.
Sangdao lifted her hand up, indicating for Sila to stop. With that, Sila thought she didn’t want to answer his question. Then, Sangdao fired a kunai toward him, which he tilted his head to barely dodge.
“Err... If you don’t want to answer, you didn’t have to...”
“You are not my target, Sila. Look behind you.”
Sila turned back. He saw her kunai stuck in a tree behind him. There was a familiar-looking blue tailorbird perching on the tree’s branch.
“Mister Tailorbird, if you don’t stop eavesdropping on our conversation, the next one will pierce your head. Please believe me that I can really do it.”
The tailorbird’s face turned pale. He thought his disguise was decent enough but he was still caught. He chirped as he tilted his head once, showing the bird’s cuteness and innocence, acting like he didn’t understand what Sangdao was saying. If some girls who loved small animals were to witness his action, they would surely want to tame him.
Sila sighed and took out three suntetsu. His energy was still clogged so his detection ability fell sharply and couldn’t sense the bird’s approach. However, just looking at it once was enough for him to discern the bird’s true identity.
“Or, do you prefer my suntetsu drilling into your head instead?”
The blue tailorbird, a.k.a. Bluebird, sighed and flew away without consent. It seemed he was going to miss an interesting gossip scoop.
“Your friend is funny, Sila. Honestly, if we weren’t going to talk about a matter related to the association, I would’ve just let him continue eavesdropping.”
“The engagement between you and Montra is related to the association?”
Sangdao walked and sat on a fallen tree. She brushed away the dust next to her, causing Sila to have a feeling that he should be sitting there. Then, he actually went and sat down like he was bewitched.
“Sila, Are you aware that you are a very lucky person?”
Sila thought that Sangdao tried to change the topic because she didn’t want to talk about the betrothal. Strangely enough, he was fine with it. “Lucky? How?”
“As we are directly related to the Wulin Masters Association’s three Elders, all of us—Dao, Sila, and Montra—are considered people belonging to the underground world, which is the world of darkness.
“Yet, despite the fact that you live in the underground world, Sila is the only one who has never come into contact with the darkness. Maybe this is how Uncle Mora expresses his love for you.”
“The Wulin Masters Association is the underground world?”
“Yes. Even though the association is not a villain organization that you might see in films, we are still a kind of secret organization hiding in the shadows. We have our own rules and our codes of conduct that take priority over the laws of the world. From an outsider's point of view, we are heretics.
“That’s why Dao doesn’t hate Montra. Dao lives in the same world he does. The brutal underground world where the ones who approach us might be spies in disguise while the ones we think of as our close friends may betray us when we need their support the most. If we show our weakness even for an instant, it will be exploited or we will be threatened. Thus, we have to become strong in both strength and mind in order to survive in the world without being devoured by it.”
“Have you always been through these kinds of experience, Dao?”
Sangdao nodded. “Yes. That’s why we tend to keep our secrets with us as if they are something precious. Dao and Montra’s betrothal is just a way for us to borrow each other’s influence. Montra wanted to get support from two Elders. Meanwhile, my father and I have neither an influential dojo nor personal influence like Uncle Sanon or Uncle Mora. With just the two of us, we only had four hands and four legs to rely on. By betrothing, it means if someone were to bully Dao, the Sky Dragon Dojo could use that pretense to intervene and help us.”
Sila listened silently. He just sat there, waiting for Sangdao to continue.
“Seeing you get angry last time, Dao was worried. As you already know, Sila, the three Elders shall evaluate the method you use to accomplish your mission, And I must say letting your emotions get the better of you won’t win you any points.”
“I’m sorry,” said Sila. His face was dejected like he was a child feeling guilty.
“You don’t have to feel sorry, Sila. Everyone has the right to feel angry or hostile. It’s normal. However, Sila will need to learn to control those feelings. You might only be a potential successor right now, but when you fully enter our world, you will get to experience the world the way Montra and I do.”
“So, Dao, you will have to continue being Montra’s fiancée like this?”
“It’s just a political status, Sila. In fact, Dao still has the right to love whoever Dao prefers. Montra also knows this. He just took advantage of the fact that Sila didn’t know. This betrothal thing might be something big in your eyes, Sila. However, for us, we think that it’s rather regular. We have already become accustomed to it... Well, maybe we are the abnormal ones. Actually, something like this isn’t something we should be apathetic about.”
Sangdao might not realize it herself, but she always used the term ‘We’ when she was talking about her and Montra. Of course, she meant in the way that they both belonged to the underground world. However, for Sila, he felt like there was some kind of special connection between Sangdao and Montra that he didn’t have the right to access. It was enough for him to want to plunge into their world right here and now.
Sangdao’s expression that showed a grievous smile told Sila that everyone had their own problems. Even he himself had so many secrets such as Joshua’s special brain scanners, the Sila Sword, his parents, Teacher Mora, and tons of profound arts which he wouldn’t and shouldn’t impart to others. Who was he to reprimand Sangdao for the fact that she didn’t tell him about her betrothal? In comparison, his secrets were even more impactful than the Wulin Masters Association.
Sangdao’s secret was something that everyone in the association knew except for himself. On the other hand, he couldn’t whisper a word about his secrets to another soul. Was he angry at Sangdao for not telling him her secret? Or was he angry at the fact that it was Montra who revealed her secret to him?
Nevertheless, these matters were no longer important. Sangdao could always capture the moments they spent together and make them precious for both of them, be it the Evening Near the Misty Valley or the Night in the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. It made Sila want to savor the moments and engrave them in his memory so that he could look back at them again when he found himself lost in the dark.
The distance between the two was gradually reduced as if there was some mysterious kind of magnetic force pulling them. The atmosphere of the primeval forest at night was chilling and quiet. The moon’s pale light was blocked by clouds, regrettably hiding its gaze from a memorable scene. Only a single star, which was shining weakly in the night sky, was the sole witness of a certain scene.
Sometimes, an unforgettable moment happened and was over in an instant. It was because that single instant was the most blissful, sincere, priceless, and purest moment. It was undeniable that people would desire to keep that moment for the rest of their life.
The lips of the two people touched and then separated in a matter of milliseconds. It was a subtle touch as light as a butterfly touching a flower petal. Personally, Sila actually wondered if the touch on his lip was a real butterfly. Because, in that flash, he felt his body become weightless, his head blank, and hundreds of butterflies in his stomach.
The two people withdrew from each other, letting the silence do its work. They turned their heads to different sides and didn’t dare to look at each other. Even they themselves couldn’t tell who was the first to lean toward the other. Only the star got to know the truth as it had witnessed the entire process, though it couldn’t tell anyone.
It would forever be the secret of the star.
Chapter 214: Give Me Time
Everyone sat around an extinguished bonfire. They were holding a meeting after resting the entire night.
However, nobody could sleep soundly. In front of them was the Immortal Dragon and behind them were Single-Horned Dragons. There were no comfortable beds, only hard soil. An army without a base was no different than a group of mountain bandits. No, their situation was worse than mountain bandits in a sense that they couldn’t even enter the forest. They were like bandits living near the mountain rather than on top. It was inevitable for their morale to plummet.
Cross dragged a large log and sat on it, using it as his chair. Then, his first action in the meeting was to turn to Sangdao.
“I’ll be blunt. Can you just leave?”
Sangdao stood up and politely bid farewell. “Dao understands. I hope we will have a chance to work together next time.”
“It’s an option to be considered. Honestly speaking, I don’t trust you. You clearly have a connection with Montra,” Cross said frankly.
Sila interrupted. “But, Dao chooses to become Montra’s enemy. I think she can be trusted.”
Cross stared at Sila. “Not to mention her, I still don’t trust you. Don’t think that we are close friends just because we are in the same alliance. Our relationship is about mutual benefits, no more, no less. If one day you seem useless to me, I will not hesitate to take care of you by my own hand.”
Sangdao lightly tapped on Sila’s shoulder. “This is fine, Sila. Mister Cross is making the right decision. If you doubt someone, you can’t use them. That’s basic. We can meet again next time.”
Once she finished, she activated the invitation card in her hand and disappeared without waiting for Sila’s objection. Witnessing Sila’s crestfallen expression after her exit, Varee’s brows twitched subconsciously. After that she subtly moved closer to Sila without anyone noticing, possibly driven by women’s intuition.
After Sangdao had left, Cross began discussing the big problem literally sleeping in their entire city and driving them crazy.
“The topic we are going to discuss today is the same as two days ago. We will have to decide our next course of action.”
Sila had slept for two days, so he was clueless as to what Cross was talking about. He looked at Varee, his expression revealing his confusion.
“We are discussing the method to cope with Infernee’s invasion, Sila. We have to come up with a method before it becomes a grave problem. In wartime, an army without any city as a base will be put into an extremely disadvantageous position. Thus, we have to quickly seize the city back and reconstruct it, or escape and find a new base.”
Cross added, “Varee is right. Based on what Bluebird told us, this dragon will cease to exist when Montra deactivates the spell. This is the third day and he still hasn’t deactivated it, so we have to assume the worst case, which is that he can maintain the spell as long as he wants. It’s time for us to come up with countermeasures. The topic of the discussion today is to decide which option we will take.”
Sila was attending the meeting for the first time, so he asked, “What are the available options?”
“The first is for us to take a detour around Grea City and march to Colossia City. That city was conquered by a newly established army of the Heavenly Dragon Guild, so we stand a chance at taking it over. Moreover, that city is at the center of the Main Continent. Whoever occupies it will have a mobility advantage; being able to unite forces from different areas. It’s the city that we absolutely have to get our hands on in wartime. If we go with this option, it will be like we are doing that ahead of schedule.
“However, this option comes with risk. Montra will have anticipated this option. He should have prepared ambushes during our travel or strengthened the city’s defense. If we die, we will revive at Grea City and be constantly killed by Infernee. Considering the risk, we are currently voting for the second option. The vote is two against one for the second option, with Beluga being the one voting against it.”
Everyone listened and gave it some thought. Most of them agreed with Cross and chose to go with the second option. Except Sila of course, who raised his hand and asked again.
“What is our second option?”
Cross turned to Sila and replied with annoyance, “The second option is to mimic Beluga. We won’t use a city as our base but will seize a monster’s territory. If we succeed in raiding the boss monster, its minions will become weaker and won’t pose much of a threat to us. In short, we will raid the boss monster and place the Territory Flag. Then, we will acquire a temporary stronghold with wild monsters as the natural guards around our base.”
The Territory Flag was a special item which only a guild leader could use. Once a boss monster was slain and a guild leader planted the flag in its pool of blood, the guild would obtain a temporary guild base. With it, guild members could register the base as their revival spot. Moreover, monsters that inhabited the area wouldn’t respawn until the guild base collapsed.
“So, take a good rest, everyone. The day after tomorrow, we will take over the Single-Horned Dragon Forest!” Cross shouted, and the members shouted back with liveliness.
“W-What did you just say?! The Single-Horned Dragon Forest?!” exclaimed Sila.
Varee turned to Sila. “Yes, the Single-Horned Dragon Forest is the closest area. Furthermore, it’s an unpopular location that players rarely visit. Although Rex is a dragon, based on the information, it’s only a Marquis-Rank mutated dragon. If everyone joins forces, there is a high chance that we can take it down.”
Sila imagined the scene of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest being engulfed in the flames of war. The sight of the Single-Horned Dragon’s families playing with each other was still deeply ingrained in his memory.
He didn’t want to destroy the balance of the forest, especially when Rex was one of his benefactors and had taught him Tiger Dragon Qi. There was no way he would ever allow such a thing to happen.
“I object to the idea! We should search for other options,” said Sila. Everyone looked at him.
“You don’t get a vote. As such, the result from the high-position members is two against one. Even Lone Wolf agreed with me,” said Cross.
Sila didn’t know what to say. The only thing he was certain of was that he wouldn’t let it happen. Meanwhile, Bluebird gave it a thought and raised his hand.
“In fact...” Everyone turned their heads to Bluebird. “...Er, what I want to say is the Wicked Union was loosely established with Sila as one of the main founders. He is in the same position as you, Beluga, and Lone Wolf. He isn’t the representative of any guild but himself. Therefore, he has the right to take part in the voting. With his vote, the voting result is now not two-against-one but two-against-two.”
Since Sila was alone and had never taken part in any of the meetings, everyone had assumed that he was just an ordinary member in the union. Honestly speaking, it was indeed hard to accept that one person could have a high position in such a big alliance.
Cross took out the alliance agreement and read it. He really couldn’t find any words to oppose Bluebird’s reasoning. It seemed to him that Bluebird was more capable than he appeared. Thinking about it, Cross wondered why such a person who was perfect in both strength and intelligence chose to become a part of an information guild.
He even started to feel that the rumor “The guild which Bluebird joins will inevitably face calamities” was a fake rumor the Blue Pigeon Guild made up in order to prevent other guilds from poaching such an excellent player.
Sila sent Bluebird an expression of gratitude, to which the latter only winked and stuck his thumb up like usual.
Actually, that was Bluebird’s specialty; the ability to search for any loopholes in documents for him to exploit and be as lazy as possible. Every time he was assigned work, he would read the assignment attentively in order to come up with some excuse to reduce his workload. By doing this repetitively, his talent for spotting loopholes in any kind of contract or agreement blossomed.
In the end, every time work was assigned to Bluebird, Yardpirun had to be the one writing up the documents.
If someone were to see that thirty pages were required to assign a simple task to Bluebird, they would come to understand how the Wicked Union’s alliance agreement was full of loopholes in Bluebird’s eyes.
“Bluebird is right. In that case, what is your idea, Sila?” asked Cross.
“We will proceed with the third option. Kill Infernee and reclaim the city,” Sila replied resolutely.
“Humph! If that’s the third option, how about I tell you the fourth option? We break into the city and every one of us dies, leaving us with no chance to participate in the war event.” Cross disputed. “My point is that your idea isn’t an option. It’s suicide. Infernee can’t be killed. That’s why her title is the Immortal Dragon. Montra will laugh at us as soon as we step into the city.”
“I wouldn’t have an ounce of confidence if she was the real Infernee. However, that isn’t possible if she is only the effect of Dragon Soul. If I can’t take her down, it isn’t too late for us to discuss other options.”
Cross read the agreement again, then he said, “According to the agreement, you are indeed a high-position member. It’s true that I have no right to order you around, however, you don’t have the right to order the Royal Armament Guild members as well. I won’t allow you to bring even one of my members to die in vain. Fighting a dragon requires hundreds of players. Even worse, this dragon is the Emperor-Rank one. How do you plan to recruit members for your party in such a short time?”
Everyone looked at Sila, waiting for his answer. Sila thought about it for a minute before he replied.
“I won’t borrow even one of your people. Tomorrow, Bluebird and I will defeat Infernee with just the two of us.”
“What?!!” Everybody was shocked. It was impossible for only two players to defeat the Emperor-Rank dragon, even when you took the fact that she wasn’t the real deal into consideration.
In fact, the one who exclaimed the loudest was none other than Bluebird.
“Hey, Sila, wait up... I don’t...” Bluebird was stuttering.
“Was what you said to me last night true? You said that you can send her flying as long as you can approach her.”
“Er... well, yes, but...” Bluebird tried to come up with an excuse. However, it seemed Sila had already decided everything for him.
Cross laughed. “Haha, fine. I will let you try. However, I won’t give you more time.”
“Tomorrow, midday.” Sila gave his words.
“Alright. Then, this meeting is dismissed. Let’s continue practicing. We will have to prepare for the invasion of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest in two days.”
Cross ordered everyone to train, and his men went off to comply with that. Although Sila was undeniably strong and Bluebird’s strength was beyond their expectations, nobody believed that the two of them could achieve such a feat.
After they all left, only Sila, Varee, Bluebird, and Julia remained. As for Sebastian, Sila had not seen him once since waking up. When he asked Julia, Sila found that the butler said he had to leave for a while to take care of a certain matter, and that they didn’t have to be worried about him.
Sila was deep in thought. He tensely considered the ways to get out of the current predicament.
Varee lightly placed her hand on Sila’s arm. “Is there anything Nam can do to help you?”
Sila looked at Varee’s hand and sighed. He recalled the scene of Cross using his body to protect Varee while he did nothing for her. He hoped that kind of situation wouldn’t happen again.
“Nam, you don’t have to be worried. Bluebird and I can take care of this ourselves,” Sila gently replied to her.
Bluebird interrupted. “About that, you better consult with me first, pal.”
Sila’s gentle words caused Varee to feel doubtful rather than delighted. “Sila, what’s wrong? You’re acting stranger than usual.”
Sila didn’t know how to reply to that. “Err... Nothing. I'm just concerned about your safety. That’s all.”
Bluebird interrupted again. “Umm... You should be concerned with my safety too, don’t you think? I’m the one you dragged into this mess.”
“No, Sila, you are kinder than usual. What happened? Are you planning to do something risky? Let Nam help.”
Sila seriously thought that women must really be able to read minds. “No, just Bluebird and I are enough. I will leave Lookhin and Julia with you.”
“But...” Varee was about to argue. However, Sila hurriedly released Lookhin and entrusted her to interrupt by jumping into Varee’s arms.
“Please know that… just knowing you are safe eases my mind,” said Sila, to which Varee’s face reddened.
Yet again, Bluebird interrupted the two. “Oi, oi. I’m still here, you know? Please be mindful about what you say. I’m feeling embarrassed just from listening.”
Finally, Sila shifted his attention to Bluebird. “Let’s go over there, Blue. I have some questions to ask.”
The two walked into the forest. Varee found it was difficult to follow them as Lookhin was hugging her tightly.
In the end, she gave up and muttered a question to Sila. Her voice was so light that Bluebird couldn’t hear. However, as a qi-type player, Sila could hear her words just fine.
“Give me some time. I promise I won’t take long,” Sila said without looking back.
Varee replied back. Her cheeks were pink. “...You better keep your promise.”
Sila and Bluebird walked a hundred meters into the forest. Finally, they stopped and had a serious talk.
“Blue, let me confirm. You said you can defeat Infernee as long as you can touch her. Is that the truth?” asked Sila.
“Yes, I can. However, as things are, I can’t possibly approach her. The density of Emperor-Rank magic power emitting from her is enough to kill me several times over. I don’t have a lot of health.”
“In that case, your only task is to speedily find a chance to touch her. I will handle the rest.”
“What is the rest?”
“Acting as a decoy, attacking, and protecting you.”
“Are you sure you can do all that by yourself? Just one task is already deadly. Why don’t you try to persuade someone to help?”
“I already have someone in my mind, though I will have to talk with him first... Let’s meet again tomorrow midday. If I still haven’t returned, please help me stop Cross from invading the Single-Horned Dragon Forest at all costs.”
“Err... Fine. I’m an expert at coming up with excuses. I assure you that nobody will step into the Single-Horned Dragon Forest... unless I run out of excuses.”
“Thank you very much.”
“By the way... what is it that won’t take long?” asked Bluebird.
It was irritating. When it came to a topic that he didn’t care about, those two talked freely without minding him. Yet when it came to a topic that smelled of juicy news, they fell silent and kept him from finding out.
“It’s nothing, just a personal and trivial problem.” Sila released a sigh to keep his mind clear.
Sila left Bluebird standing there confused and without an answer to his question. His two feet brought him deeper into the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. Fortunately, there would be a full moon tonight. If he traveled in a hurry, he would be able to reach the Valley of Immortals before midnight.
The person who could answer the many questions in Sila’s mind would be at that place. The only person who knew him more than he knew himself. The one Sila never imagined wanting to meet again.
His own Dark Self.
Player Status: Sila
Race: Orange Slime
Health Points: 8,500,000/8,500,000
Special Points: 750,000/750,000
Unison Percentage: 45%
Skill Potential-Unlocking Slots: 0/3
Title Status: Nameless Elder’s Main Disciple, Lost Android Kingdom’s Conqueror
Title: Weapon Subduing Fist, Monster Emperor
(S) Illuminus, the Ultimate Weapon of Protection
The Right Arm of the Sealed One, Joshua, that acted as the ultimate shield, armor, and light of all armaments in Monster Soul.
Illuminus cannot inflict any damage.
Illuminus cannot be broken. It can block any kind of threat and negates any attacks it comes into contact with.
Illuminus doesn’t require an equipment slot to be equipped. You can control Illuminus regardless of your physical condition.
You can use the Item Skill: Shield of Illuminus.
You can use the Item Skill: Armor of Illuminus.
You can use the Item Skill: Light of Illuminus.
(S) Crystal Divine Sword [Zeref]
A sword made from crystal refined from a certain meteor by the legendary weaponsmith Zeref. It possesses the ability to draw out power from nature. When the power of nature is imbued in it, the sword will let off a light blue glow and can exert twice as much attack power.
- One cannot wield the Crystal Divine Sword alone.
(S) Mechanical Evil God’s Protection [Orpheus][Mamon][Sila]An armor produced by the Android King using Orichalcum as the main material and the eleventh Gem of Catastrophe, the Eternal Onyx, as a generator. Later, it was altered by the Devil Prince who is an item specialist. Now, the spirit of the Devil Prince dwells within the armor. It was then altered once more by Player Sila.
- You can’t equip other armor or cards.
*The armor opens up four slots (excluding the slot for Mamon) for registering and storing items or pets inside. When any of the registered matters are inside, the wearer will be able to use their prominent abilities.
*Produced from Orichalcum, but cannot collect experience points. The armor’s level will be equal to the average level of Player Sila and Mamon.
*Cannot be unequipped, sold, transferred, or lost.
[Main Gift Slot: The Devil Cyborg Prince]
The slot where Mamon, the Devil Cyborg Prince, is residing. This slot is exclusive to Mamon. You can summon Mamon. You have acquired the following abilities:
The Lord of Devils: You have an easier time commanding monsters who have a lower level.
Mamon’s Hidden Gifts: You can unleash the full potential of your Hidden Gifts.
Devil Prince’s Great Knowledge: You can access Mamon’s knowledge regarding items and skills.
[First Gift Slot: The Great Sparrowhawk.]
The slot where the Lord-Rank great sparrowhawk, Lookhin, is currently registered. The pet inside the armor will need neither food nor drink. You can summon Lookhin, the great sparrowhawk. You acquire the following ability:
Majestic Power: You can use Lookhin’s Transcendent-Rank skills.
[Second Gift Slot: The Legendary Android Right Arm]
The slot where Illuminus, the completed legendary right arm of the sovereign of Monster Soul, is currently registered. It used to belong to Joshua as the ultimate form of protection. You can summon Illuminus. You acquire the following ability:
An Item From a Foreign Land: You can sense junctions leading to the Monster Realm.
[Third Gift Slot: The Crystal Divine Sword]
The slot where the Crystal Divine Sword, the signature weapon of the God of Death Anubis produced by the legendary weaponsmith, is currently registered. You can summon the Crystal Divine Sword. You acquire the following ability:
Medium of the Great Flow: You have an easier time connecting yourself to nature.
[Fourth Gift Slot: None]
The slot where nothing is currently registered.
A+ Grade System Window
Provides 600 slots for storing items.
Provides the function to inspect players, monsters, and items in great detail.
Provides several ringtones and wallpapers for you to choose from.
Allows access to all low and mid-tier in-game information.
Invitation Card to the Bamboo Hut
A special item which cannot be sold or transferred. Upon paying 1,000 silver, you can teleport to the Bamboo Hut. When you exit, you will return to the last city you visited.
Invitation Card to the Slime Kingdom
A special item which cannot be sold or transferred. Upon paying 1,000 silver, you can teleport to the Slime Kingdom. When you exit, you will return to the last city you visited.
Invitation Card to the Mansion of Secrets
Upon activation, you can teleport to the Mansion of Secrets. When you exit, you will return to the last city you visited.
Can be used as a Black Platinum credit card.
Invitation Card to the Lost Android Kingdom - Palace
Upon paying 1,000 silver, you can teleport to the main palace in the Lost Android Kingdom. When you exit, you will return to the last city you visited.
Invitation Card to the Dragon Kingdom
Upon paying 25 gold, you can teleport to the Dragon Kingdom. When you exit, you will return to the last city you visited.
Profound Arts which Sila inherited from others (Not shown in system)
Profound Qi Circulation
Flaming Cloud Qi
Sila’s Personal Skills:
Dark Psychic Corrosion
The power that is born from Sila’s negative emotions. The full extent of the ability is still uncertain. As far as Sila is aware, Dark Self can control his body when he loses control of his emotions.
*Currently known abilities: corrode, devour, crystallize.
*Sila believes that he can use Dark Psychic Corrosion together with Five-Attributed Cloud Qi to exert the power of Dual Overwhelming Attributes.
Formless Martial God
Sila’s personal martial art. The concept is 'Formless'. It’s a set of martial moves that are hard to predict.
*Currently Known Moves:
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi
Sila’s personal qi art. The concept is 'Five elements'. Like a cycle of elements, all things—either great or small—have something they are strong against and something they are weak against. With this qi, Sila was free and formless like a cloud, being able to temporarily change his elements and his moves, granting temporary advantage against his opponents.
Each element has different strengths.
Heaven’s Decree Sword Art
The last sword art of Pumin, the Sword Prodigy. It is based on the concept of “Changes” according to Yijing (The Book of Changes). Mainly, it’s a sword art that focuses on driving opponents to perform bad moves and eventually lose. The foundation of the sword art relies on the Great Flow—the art of borrowing power from nature.
The Great Flow
All of the eight sword styles have no fixed movements. They are meant to create phenomena caused by nature through the use of the sword. The phenomena are real, but mostly used as hallucinations to trick the opponent into taking action that will be advantageous to the user.
(E) Bare Hands Mastery - Level 100 (Maximum)
Increases attack power when not wielding a weapon. The granted attack power depends on the level of the skill.
(E) Hidden Weapon Mastery - Level 100 (Maximum)
Increases attack power when using small, throwable, hidden weapons such as needles, knives, darts, bombs, etc. The granted attack power depends on the level of the skill.
(F) Hidden Weapon Firing - Level 100 (Maximum)
Increases the speed of firing a hidden weapon and enables you to fire it directly from your system window. The granted speed depends on the level of the skill.
(A) Qi Reinforcement - Level 100 (Maximum)
You can strengthen a part of your body using qi. The speed and efficiency depend on the level of the skill.
(D) Qi Transmission - Level 35
You can transmit your qi to others. The speed and the efficiency depends on the level of the skill.
(A) Qi Advanced Circulation - Level 100 (Maximum)
The highest grade of the Qi Circulation skill. Greatly increases the speed of qi circulation and enables you to circulate qi while moving.
(S) Five-Attributed Cloud Qi - Transcendent Rank
The merged power of your qi and psychic power. Possesses the power of five attributes. Can be used in various ways thanks to its versatility.
(S) Omniscient Evil God Qi - Level 0
Lucifer’s special qi. Its true might largely depends on the target’s hostility toward the user. The more the target resists, the more powerful it will become. On the other hand, if the target lets the qi roam free, it will be comfortable and harmless.
+ Possesses the ability to trace the origins of any kind of power.
- Not available until its skill level reaches 1.
Slime-Race Skill: (A) Formless Soldier
Qi-type skill. An art of qi manipulation. Can be used to change a part of the body or its attached parts to become harder, softer, heavier, or lighter.
The power of its effect is dependent on the skill level of Qi Reinforcement.
Decreases an opponent’s qi-based attack power by 20%.
Slime-Race Skill: (S) Orbiting Cosmos
Magic-type skill. An art of magic manipulation. Can be used to change part of the body or its attached parts to become one with the elements.
Decreases an opponent’s magic-based attack power by 20%.
Prevents the user from being able to use any other magic-type skills.
Slime-Race Skill: (S) Moon Reflecting Mirror
Psychic-type skill. An art of psychic manipulation. Can be used to change part of the body or its attached parts to become mirror-like, becoming able to reflect power.
Decreases the efficiency of illusions by 50%.
Decreases an opponent’s psychic-based attack power by 20%.
Slime-Race Skill: (S) Way of Slime
You can change between your slime form and your human form.
You can use slime skills while in your human form.
Passive skill. You can activate qi-type skills without speaking the name of the skill.
(A) Qi Concealment
Passive skill. You can choose to not display the aura of qi surrounding your body.
(B) Way of the Hermit
Greatly decreases your need for food, water, air, and sleep. Fatigue takes longer to build up.
You have a relatively easier time staying alive when living in a harsh environment.
(S) Evil God’s Essence
Unleash the Evil God Lucifer’s essence to elevate a skill’s level.
No resource required for activation. Can only be used once per day. You can only activate it again after midnight.
+ Evil God’s Essence can elevate one of your non-special skills to Transcendent rank for five seconds.
(A) Monster Heir
+ Monsters will show more respect toward you and become friendlier.
+ The efficiency of all of your racial skills is doubled.
(S) King's Treasury
+ You will earn twice as much money when defeating an opponent.
+ Doubles the drop rate of all items.
+ You have the rights to all items and money that drop within a twenty-meter radius.
(A) Mind Link
+ You can give command to your pets through telepathy.
Shield of Illuminus
Upon activation, select any number of targets. Monsters, items, players, or places are all valid targets. The largest possible target is the entire world.
Expand Illuminus’ protection range as a dome-like sphere covering the target(s). No attacks can pass through either side of the shield.
Skill Duration: One minute per day (accumulative). The skill duration will be reduced depending on the number and size of the target(s). Any unused time will accumulate with no upper limit.
The damage to Shield of Illuminus cannot be absorbed for Light of Illuminus.
Armor of Illuminus
Expand Illuminus’ protection range as a dome-like sphere covering the target(s). No attacks can penetrate the armor, though the target(s) can attack normally.
Skill Duration: One second per day (accumulative). The skill duration will be reduced depending on the number and size of the target(s). Any unused time will accumulate with no upper limit.
The damage to Armor of Illuminus can be absorbed for Light of Illuminus.
Light of Illuminus
Receives any attacks taken by the target(s) and reduces the damage. The amount of damage it reduces is relative to how much damage Illuminus has absorbed directly or through Armor of Illuminus.
The skill will fail once all absorbed damage is depleted.
Partner Status: SebastianLevel: 400
Race: Undead, Lord RankHealth Points: 1,500,000/1,500,000Magic Points: 575,000,000/575,000,000Satiety: 0/0Affection Level: 67%
(C) Basic Magic - Level 100 (Maximum)
The most basic magic-type skill. Increase the efficiency of all magic spells.
(C) Flow of Magic - Level 100 (Maximum)
The most basic magic control skill. Increase casting spell by 10%. Decrease magic power consumption by 5%. Decrease the cooldown times of all spells by 10%.
(A) Magic Power Reinforcement - Level 100 (Maximum)
Sebastian can strengthen a part of his body using magic power. The speed and efficiency depend on the level of the skill.
Pet Status: Lookhin
Race: Great Sparrowhawk, Lord Rank
Health Points: 5,000,000/5,000,000
Special Points: 300,000/300,000
Affection Level: 74%
(S) Oceanic Mind - Transcendent Rank
Psychic power that can link the user’s mind with things around the user. The effective range is as far as the ocean. You must study the skill’s potential by yourself.
(S) Great Sparrowhawk Qi - Transcendent Rank
Lookhin’s unique and versatile qi, developed from its own experiences. You must study the skill’s potential by yourself.
(S) Entomomageia - Transcendent Rank
Living magic inherited from Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. It is a sentient spell. You must study the skill’s potential by yourself.
Changes the user’s body into a human form.
(B) Energy Reinforcement - Level 25
Lookhin can strengthen a part of her body using any kind of energy. The speed and efficiency depend on the level of the skill.
Chapter 215: The Demonic Cyborg
Three hours after Sila went deeper into the Single-Horned Dragon Forest, he still couldn’t find any Single-Horned Dragons. It made him feel worried about what happened to them. The feeling intensified as he saw the traces of a battle along his way. He sped up and finally arrived at the inner part of the forest. There, he sensed ominous powers in front of him.
Surely, Sila was aware of Rex’s Tiger Dragon Qi. However, the powers clashing with it were Lone Wolf’s Sun God Qi and another sinister cold qi which possessed comparable strength. In addition to these two supreme qi, the person who was up against Rex was also able to control the chain whip in his hand as if it were a living being. Furthermore, he was emitting some kind of dark magic domain around him.
This person could use qi, magic, and psychic power simultaneously, each at terrifying degree.
Of course, most if not all players could use three energy types simultaneously as well. However, only the selected energy type could be polished and exerted to its full potential thanks to supporting skills.
The reason Sila was in awe of this person was that all of his powers from each energy type were formidable.
Rex in human form had trouble coping with this man. For the record, all the Single-Horned Dragons had gathered in this place. Their horns were glowing orange as they constantly transmitted their powers to Rex.
It was their fault that Zazae had to spend three days fighting non-stop even though he could usually end most of his battles in three moves. If it wasn’t for Lone Wolf’s Sun God Qi which helped to stimulate his vitality and his own Frost Demon Qi which helped him to keep his calm, he would have already ran out of stamina and died.
His Dragon Domain had already considerably weakened Rex. However, fighting against Rex was equivalent to fighting all of the Single-Horned Dragons in the entire forest. Their ability to transfer their power to Rex had been prolonging the fight for two days.
It was a battle of attrition. The side which ran out of energy and couldn’t go on would end up losing. Will it be Zazae or the Single-Horned Dragons?
Looking at the situation, it was Zazae who got the upper hand.
Though, that was only the case if no third party joined the battle. With Sila witnessing the fight, although he had never seen the person who wore the assassin garment, he figured the man must be one of the Five Dragon Warlords—Zazae, the Three Stars Warlord—based on Bluebird’s summary of the situation in Zhongsuyuan City.
Sila’s power was still clogged up, so he couldn’t properly circulate his qi and exert his full power. However, for him to be able to defeat Zazae who could subdue Cross and Lone Wolf simultaneously, he had to rely on Five-Attributed Cloud Qi in order to have a chance. Thus, he decided to use a shortcut, forcefully circulating his qi.
Evil God’s Essence — Transcendent Qi Circulation.
The jam of power within Sila’s body dispersed in an instant. Sila knew he only had five seconds so he had to hurriedly make use of them. He circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi at a speed he almost couldn’t keep up with. He felt pain all over his body due to him being too forceful, though he clenched his teeth and continued rushing forward as he didn’t want to waste time.
Personally, Sila didn’t want to perform a sneak attack. However, Rex seemed to be near his limit. Rex was the representative of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. When he collapsed, that would mean the death of all the dragons living in the forest. As such, Sila didn’t have the luxury to be mindful about righteousness.
Attribute of Earth — Ghost Claw.
Sila bore his claws and instantly slashed Zazae’s back. The black power spread into five lightning streaks, running through Zazae’s body and attacking five of his internal organs.
Sila was best at using the attribute of Earth, so it was extremely effective as his killing move.
Zazae was tired from fighting against Rex for three days straight. Moreover, his concentration had been mainly locked on Rex. As Sila exerted his power in the blink of an eye, Zazae became aware of the assassination attempt only when the attack had already struck at him.
The impact sent Zazae flying several meters away. The power of the earth element exploded and injured his five internal organs, sending him to death without even seeing the face of the one who killed him.
Sila’s five seconds were fast yet slow. His body connected to nature, absorbing and returning the power to the great flow as if he became a part of it. Immersing himself in that moment, Sila felt his body become weightless like he was about to ascend to a higher realm. However, the precious five seconds ran out. Afterward, he regained his senses and he felt his body collapsing on the ground.
Sila coughed up a mouthful of blood. He circulated his qi and found that it was no longer clogged up. Sadly, he suffered internal injuries. Regardless of his pain, he was glad. As long as his power could flow properly, he could recover his strength when he found a safe place to cultivate.
Rex sent a thankful gaze at Sila before sitting down and cultivating to recover its strength. The situation seemed safe now, however, Sila still felt danger looming. The reason for that was revealed instantly when he turned his head to look at Zazae. Sila had to hurriedly tilt his head to dodge the metal ball attached to the chain whip, which almost hit his head and exploded it like a watermelon.
Zazae’s body shortly glowed with a faint light. Sila had seen Montra in such a state before. It was the effect of Dragon Heart. Nevertheless, Dragon Heart should have belonged to Montra. He wondered why Zazae could revive.
The Dragon Domain, Fallen Kings, was reactivated. Though, because it started anew, its effect was negligible.
Based on his experience fighting dragons, Sila knew that every Dragon Domain was horrifying. Thus, in addition to circulating Five-Attributed Cloud Qi to recover himself, Sila covered his body with Divine Raiment.
His Divine Raiment also gained an increase in strength as Sila grew stronger, especially when it gained a boost from Monster Heir.
Sila could decide what to pass through Divine Raiment and what not. Zazae’s sound of movements clearly entered Sila’s ears. He could envision the scene even if his eyes were closed. His concentration increased, enabling him to think things through without feeling the pressure. He calmly analyzed the situation as if he wasn’t a part of it.
‘The problem at hand is to defeat Zazae. There is no need for me to take unnecessary risks.’
Mamon made an appearance in a black long-sleeved turtleneck and a beanie on his head. He looked at everyone with contempt.
Receiving such a gaze, Zazae didn’t show any mercy even if Mamon had the appearance of a boy. The black chain darted forward and squeezed Mamon’s body.
“Begone, pet. Blame your master for this.” Zazae sent his power through the chain to cancel Mamon’s psychic power reinforcement.
Sila had approached Rex to check on him since he believed Mamon could handle Zazae. Looking at the current situation, he started to feel concerned. However, looking again at Mamon’s expression, he could tell that Mamon was in a good mood.
“I’m not anyone’s pet. I’m my own boss,” said Mamon. Then, a single metal link on Zazae’s chain broke and the entire chain fell despite Mamon not doing anything.
Zazae was surprised. It was possible for weapons to break. However, this chain had never broken even when he used it in extreme situations. He wondered why it broke this time when he used it normally. It was such bad timing.
“You dare to look down on me? Today, you shall know the reason why I’m the monster every being doesn’t want to fight against the most.”
Mamon’s body had a sudden growth spurt and became a slender male model with an elegant demeanor yet wearing the same gaze of disdain. He showed his signature evil grin. It was the effect of Lucifer’s Hidden Gift, Perfect Physique, which enabled him to exert his full power regardless of place and time. Meanwhile, he also activated Satan’s Hidden Gift, Horrifying Existence, which brought primitive fear to those near him.
Zazae’s psychological state sharply fell. In fact, Mamon had yet to exert any power. However, he felt an irresistible fear without any reason.
People had different ways of handling fear; some cried, some screamed, and some ran away. As for Zazae, his method was to destroy the source of his fear as soon as possible.
Dozens of small daggers flew at Mamon. Some of them were strengthened by Sun God Qi’s explosive power while some were imbued with Frost Demon Qi’s slow yet terrifying power. Both contradicting powers blended together and posed great pressure.
Sila was interested in seeing how Mamon would cope with them.
“Are you using Leviathan’s card? Do you know how much it desires to kill me for stealing its ability? Such an envious creature. How about facing your own ability to alleviate your longing?”
Mamon snapped his fingers and his body sank into his own shadow before reappearing behind Zazae. With Leviathan’s Hidden Gift, Envious Shadow, Mamon could emerge from any shadow in his line of sight. It was an ability that Leviathan cherished greatly and had chased after Mamon for years, trying to regain it.
Mamon possessed hundreds of Hidden Gifts that he had stolen from monsters all over the Monster Realm. During his prime, he desired for his own devil race to reign over the Monster Realm, so he utilized Moon Alterer to share the Hidden Gifts he had stolen with the devils serving him. As a result, all of them gained every single beneficial Hidden Gift Mamon possessed. It strongly led to the crumbling of balance in the Monster Realm. Even a newborn Squire Rank devil could fight evenly against Marquis Rank monsters from other races.
Ultimately, Joshua had to personally descend and seal Mamon. With Mamon’s disappearance, the devils under his wing lost their shared abilities. Then, they were hunted down by enemies and on the verge of extinction.
Zazae clad his back with qi reinforcement. However, Mamon simply smiled and plunged a metal rod into Zazae’s thigh, electrocuting him.
“With my creation, Portable Neutralizing Pole, directly touching your body, I think you can’t use your energy resource for several seconds. Kiekkiek. Lost Grea City is indeed a treasure land. It has materials that even the Monster Realm lacks. If I return with them in my hand, the dream of having the devil race rule over the Monster Realm will be within my reach.”
Zazae flicked his mantle once, and several spider-shaped bombs appeared on Mamon’s body, locking their legs onto his body parts. They were time-bombs with a clinging function, the latest product sold in Lost Grea City. It price was rather expensive at 50 gold each, and the detonation timer was set at three seconds. Zazae lifted up his mantle, which was explosion-resistant, to cover himself.
“Such a low-grade item. You dare to use it in front of me? Don’t be so stingy, kid,” Mamon said while opening a system window on each bomb. Then, instead of the timers going down, the numbers continued to shoot up.
Mamon wielded a laser sword in his hand and penetrated through Zazae’s mantle along with his body. A hole with burnt flesh around it appeared in Zazae’s stomach and his blood gushed out.
Zazae gnashed his teeth and grabbed onto Mamon’s wrist, directly injecting the weakening power of the Skeleton Dragon to completely cancel Mamon’s power. His dagger in his other hand was strengthened by powerful qi, flying at Mamon with the intent to kill.
Zazae’s dagger missed its target as Mamon utilized Envious Shadow to teleport himself next to Sila.
Zazae spat out blood. “You coward. Fight me fair and square if you dare.”
“You are really stupid. I have never fought anyone fair and square. The most blissful moment for me is when I drive my opponents to death while they scream in agony due to being cheated. Personally, I enjoy losers like you who always bark at me to fight fair and square. You use your prominent powers while I use mine. What about it that is unfair? You luring me into a fistfight is what I call unfair. Oh? Is this your attempt to try to play dirty against me?”
Mamon’s strange logic stimulated Sila’s thinking. Exactly like Mamon had said, fighting with everything you have is a fair fight. A tiger challenges a shark to fight on land, a falcon challenges a lion to fight in the sky, an orca challenges an eagle to fight underwater... What is fair about those? Everyone had different things they were good and bad at. Rather, it was unfair to force others to fight without being able to give their all.
Zazae jumped at Mamon while firing hidden weapons to his surroundings. However, his strength suddenly left him and he felt a strong headache. He collapsed and held his head with both hands.
“What did you do to me...?” Zazae felt dizzy.
“Hm? Aren’t you just drunk from smelling the air? I guess no one had warned you not to talk to me when fighting, otherwise, you shall die feeling puzzled. Kiekkiekkiek.”
Mamon’s statement reminded Sila of Sebastian’s warning that he should defeat Mamon as soon as possible if he were to fight the devil prince. The longer the fight dragged on, the slimmer his chances of winning grew. No one had ever known the reason, though Sila believed that it must be related to one of Hidden Gifts in Mamon’s collection; a secret ability which couldn’t be blocked by either qi, magic, or psychic power. The only solution was to defeat Mamon before he could use it.
Mamon slowly approached Zazae and kicked his stomach, causing Zazae to vomit. Then, Mamon spread his arm. Eight short laser swords protruded from arm, making it look like a mechanical insect’s leg.
“Try defending against my Spider Blade.”
The laser swords created eight wounds on Zazae’s body at once. Zazae gritted his teeth as he seized Mamon’s other arm and stabbed his dagger through his backhand to pin Mamon down, preventing the devil prince from teleporting as he pleased.
“You are about to die, yet you still try to drag me down with you.” Mamon’s words seemed like praise but his tone was mocking. “Oh, right... Your bombs are already outdated. They are products from two weeks ago. I take it you don’t mind if I do a few modifications?”
The bombs detached themselves from Mamon and crawled toward Zazae with an automatic pilot system in a spider-like manner. The numbers on their screens counted down at incredible speed. Soon, the explosion went off with a bright light. Before Sila knew it, Mamon had appeared next to him, sweeping dust off his clothing.
“Are you injured?” asked Sila.
“Some sandworms possess a Hidden Gift that helps them have extremely high resistance against explosions. I’m using it, so I’m fine,” Mamon replied. His body was covered in dirt, but he had no major injuries.
“What about Zazae?”
Mamon lifted his arm up as an answer. Zazae’s severed arm was still holding onto Mamon’s wrist. It seemed he cut off his own arm at the last moment before the explosion to escape.
Zazae was standing next to a nearby tree, using his mantle as a bandage to wrap around his severed arm. His cloak was ragged, revealing a large scar on his face, which he hurriedly covered with his other hand.
“This time, you might—”
Zazae hadn’t ended his sentence when Mamon suddenly used a laser gun to shoot him, adding one more wound to Zazae’s stomach.
“The words from losers are all the same. You will take revenge someday or the next time won’t be the same. I have listened to these lines more times than you realise. I’m bored. If you want to run away, just run. You are annoying the great me!”
Finally, Zazae left. He disappeared into the woods.
“Thank you, Sila. Things would have gone badly if you didn’t appear,” said Rex.
“I didn’t do anything much. You should give your thanks to Mamon instead.” Sila turned to Mamon.
“Truly, thank you. All the Single-Horned Dragons in this forest owe you their lives.” Rex politely bowed his head to Mamon.
“Ah, no need to thank me. I merely couldn’t stand him. Moreover, I have obtained his Gift. Think of it as me doing something for myself.” Mamon shrugged it off. He still wasn’t used to receiving words of gratitude. In the past, the ones meeting him always either cursed at him, fled from him, feared him or wanted to kill him.
Sila looked in the direction Zazae fled to with concern. “By the way, is it okay to let him leave? What if he returns?”
Mamon let out his evil laugh. “Kiekkiekkiek. No worry. Although I’m like this, I actually don’t like taking advantage of someone else. Since I got something from him, I obviously already returned the favor. This is fairness... I guarantee that he won’t come back any time soon.”
Sila didn’t know how Mamon repaid Zazae for his Hidden Gift. However, he was certain that Zazae wouldn’t like it.
Chapter 216: Monster Follower
Sila focused on recovering his strength, not stopping until he had restored about seventy percent. Compared to him, Rex’s progress was faster. When the fight ended, all the dragons in the forest helped him recover his strength. Then, when Rex had regained his full strength, it was time for him to cultivate and send power back to all of his minions. As for Mamon, his body shrunk and returned to normal. He just stood there without doing anything since he didn’t spend any psychic power in the previous fight.
Sila looked at Rex who had fully regained his strength, yet looked rather weak after the previous event. He had never expected Rex, the giant dragon with overbearing strength, to lose in a one-on-one match against a player who had a lower rank.
“Mamon, are you sure that Zazae won’t come back?” asked Sila.
“Honestly speaking, I’m not. Most people won’t come back. However, his eyes told me that he still hasn’t given up. He is the same kind as the white-haired man, your enemy. For this kind of person, I can kill them but I can’t make them surrender. They are the kind that I don’t want to fight the most.”
Although Mamon was the being who most monsters didn’t want to fight against the most, he also had some opponents he didn’t want to encounter, and both Montra and Zazae belonged to that group—the type of people who he couldn’t force to submit no matter how many bad Hidden Gifts he crammed into them, the type that always rose up every time he slammed them into the ground.
“I wonder why Rex couldn’t win against Zazae.” Sila expressed his doubt, and it was Mamon who gave the answer instead of Rex.
“Hmph! That’s because all humans are fraudulent and cheaters. It’s the reason why I hate humanity.”
“Fraudulent? How? I personally think that Mamon’s ability is more fraudulent.”
“I’m not surprised. You look at me with a human’s perspective, so you think so. However, the fact remains that the human race is the most fraudulent race compared to others. Legend has it that humanity is under divine protection from a certain goddess. As a result, humans obtain several privileges which other races don’t have. Take individuality as an example. Every monster in any single race possesses similar characteristics, strong points, weak points, and skills. On the other hand, the human race is the sole race in which every individual is unique. With this, we have to come up with a different method to win for each human. This is just one of the many privileges exclusive to the human race.”
“Can you provide me with more examples?”
“Basically, territories conquered by humans shall be under divine protection. Monsters below Lord Rank can’t enter those territories except for some rare cases. On the other hand, monsters’ territories can be easily invaded.
“Once in their lifetime, humans can change their race to any race they desire. After the race change, they don’t have to restart at Level 1 Squire Rank. Furthermore, even when they have selected to become a part of the monster race, they are still considered a member of the human race. This is beyond fraudulent.
“You get the gist yet? There are more. Every monster can start developing and honing their abilities only when they reach Lord Rank and obtain supporting skills. Meanwhile, you humans can learn such skills even when you are at Squire Rank. Just this fact alone grants humanity a tremendous advantage. Monsters at Squire to Marquis Rank can’t stand a chance if they come across a skilled human.”
Sila listened silently. He wanted to tell Mamon that the reason for all that was because the world they lived in was a game. The ‘Humans’ Mamon was talking about were, in fact, ‘Customers’. Therefore, all of the above privileges were bestowed upon humanity as monsters were only created for the sake of entertainment.
Indeed, the world of Monster Soul tipped toward humans. It could even be said that it was a world specifically designed for humans.
Mamon continued. “Thus, even though Rex is Lord Rank, he will have a hard time fighting against a really skilled human who is Level 1000 Marquis Rank. Based on my observation, Rex still doesn’t have any supporting skills. Also, with him being in the forest all the time, he won’t have many chances to hone his ability.”
“Is there a solution?”
“Normally, monsters can learn instinctually, though it takes some time. It will take him one or two years for him to master the important supporting skills, maybe? Nah, thinking about it, this place rarely has visitors, so you should add two more years to that prediction.”
“Will it be actually take that long? Lookhin is much faster than that.”
“That’s yet another thing that the human race gains as an unfair advantage over other monster races. The monsters who discard their pride and submit to humans are blessed with the ability to learn faster. You can say that some portion of humanity’s divine protection is shared with them. If this dragon becomes your pet, he will learn faster as well.”
Rex quickly made his stance clear. “Sila... even though we are comrades and I know you are a good man, I must say that I won’t become a human’s pet, not to mention I can’t abandon the Single-Horned Dragons to live in the forest without me.”
Sila nodded. “I understand. I’m just trying to find a solution to help you.”
Mamon sneered as he found the moment of friendship disgusting.
“That thing can help. That item girl. Erm, I mean, Julia,” said Mamon.
“That girl seems to know a lot about humanity’s privileges. There was a time when I asked her what humans could do, and she babbled non-stop to the point where I wanted to build a shut-down button to switch her off. I remembered that she mentioned something about the relationship between humans and monsters during her explanation.”
“That’s right. Julia is a system AI. It is a good idea to talk to her regarding system-related matters.”
Sila was aware that he could contact Julia almost anytime. He opened his system window and activated the function to call the household AI. Then, a holographic screen showing Julia floated up.
“Greetings, Master Sila. How can I serve you?” greeted Julia. Her eyes clearly showed a hint of surprise that Sila called her from the outside since he had never done so before.
“I want to ask you something. Is there a method to make a monster learn fast without becoming a pet?”
“There is, Master. It’s called the ‘Monster Follower’ pact. It’s a system which is quite troublesome and grants low benefits, so most players aren’t interested in it. Instead of the master-pet relationship, the relationship between you and the monster who decides to be your follower shall be like this:
“Firstly, you can’t access the monster’s details except for its name and level. Secondly, the monster can still stay in its own territory. You can try to summon it to your aid, though the monster has to give its consent in order for the call to be succeeded. Similarly, it shall have the privilege to summon you if you give it your consent. Lastly, both you and the monster can choose to break the pact anywhere and anytime.”
As he finished listening to Julia, Sila turned to ask Rex, “How about it? I don’t dare to call myself an expert but I have comprehended Tiger Dragon Qi to some degree. With you being my follower, not only will your supporting skills develop faster, but we can also call each other to spar or discuss qi-related topics.”
Rex looked at the other dragons to ask for their opinions, then nodded. “In that case, let’s do it.”
Julia interrupted. “To form a Monster Follower pact, unlike a master-pet relationship, it requires a ritual and a symbol to make it legitimate. Master Sila has to leave the symbol within the monster’s territory. If the symbol breaks, it shall count as the end of the pact. Thus, it needs to be something durable, yet can’t be too small and must be placed in a visible area.”
“Mn. It indeed sounds troublesome.”
Checking the time, Mamon warned Sila. “Hey. It will be midnight in an hour. Don’t you need to be somewhere else?”
“That’s true! I will take care of the pact when I come back, then. It won’t take too long. I have to arrive at the Valley of Immortals before midnight.”
“Well, I will stay here. There is something I want to do,” said Mamon.
“Sure. I was worried you would get bored if you came with me. I will come and pick you up in the morning, then. Please behave yourself and don’t be a naughty boy, okay?”
“I’m not a kid!! I’m the Devil Prince from Hell, the one and only...”
Mamon shut his mouth as Sila had already left. With most of his power returned to him, Sila could use his top speed to head into the forest.
Mamon sighed and turned to Rex. “I have business with you.”
“With me?” asked Rex. Mamon was considered a monster under Sila’s wing, so he acted friendly toward him.
“Do you seek power? Power which is so powerful that you won’t lose to anybody, which can even trample on the Monster Realm.”
“Power? Do you intend to grant it to me? Based on your fighting style, I think you are not a combat type. How do you plan to give me power?”
“I’d say I’m a talented devil prince who can achieve the task that others deem impossible. Well, I won’t do it for free. I have never done anything for free.”
Sila speedily rushed through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. With his current speed and the fact that he wasn’t obstructed by Single-Horned Dragons, it only took him half an hour for him to spot the words ‘Xian Shan’ engraved on the stone valley. In front of the path leading to the inside, Crow stood there with a bottle of sake in his hand.
“Hello, Mister Crow.”
Crow observed Sila and stuck his thumb up. “Young lad, it’s only been a while but you have gotten a lot stronger. Did you come to visit me? How about some sake?”
Sila waved his hand in denial. “No, sir. I came to use the Cave of Immortals for a bit.”
“Ah? That quest can only be done once, you know? Even if you go inside again, nothing will come of it.”
“I don’t want anything from it. I just want to use that place, sir.”
Crow drank another gulp of sake. “Was it you who caused trouble for all of the Single-Horned Dragons in the forest? Even though I catch them to eat from time to time, they are still my neighbors, you know?”
What kind of person catches their neighbors to eat? That question came into Sila’s mind, though he didn’t ask it out loud.
“No, sir. It’s the work of another person, but I already took care of him. By the way, it’s almost midnight. May I go inside?”
Sila stepped forward. However, Crow gestured for him to stop while grinning.
“You have become a lot stronger. How about having a match with me? It’s been a long time since the last time I fought a talented player.”
Sila rejected politely, “I don’t think I can stand a chance against you, sir. Can you wait for when I come out? We can have a sparring match then.”
Crow nodded twice. “Your words are nice. Very nice. However, do you know that an act of humility can be similar to an act of disdain? Are you trying to imply that I don’t have what it takes to gain the right to challenge you?”
Sila wondered if he had used the wrong choice of words. “That’s not it, sir. However, it’s almost midnight. I’m afraid I won’t make it in time.”
“Since it’s a race against time, that means you will have to go all out, right? That’s what makes it fun,” Crow replied while grinning.
“You may think that I’m being unreasonable. However, for me, a battle without pressure is hardly different than eating fried tofu without dipping sauce. It’s tasteless. I want to see with my own eyes how far the young lad I met in the Town of Beginnings has gone. If you want, I can even give you a reward. It’s based on your performance though.”
“The reward is unnecessary, sir. I am just aware that I can’t end the fight before midnight. Else, if I get too hurried, I will simply die. Mister Crow will be disappointed that way.”
“I am well aware, young lad. That’s why...” Crow extended a sharp aura from his finger and marked a perfectly straight line in front of him, then continued. “As long as you can get past this line or deal some damage to the valley behind me, it will count as your win.”
“Will it be my win if I throw a rock past the line, sir?”
“If that rock hits the valley, then yes. Even if there is no mark left behind, it will be your victory. Furthermore, I will give you another handicap. I won’t attack you until this bottle of sake breaks. See? What a super good deal you have there.”
Sila opened his system window and found that he was running out of time. It would be too late if he wasted time arguing.
“Fine, sir. Let’s start.”
Since it was a battle with a time limit, Sila started by exerting Five-Attributed Cloud Qi’s flame element since it had the property of temporarily stimulating his strength to give him a dynamic boost.
Attribute of Fire — Flame God’s Body.
Crow poured the remaining sake into his mouth. He looked at Sila with the eyes of a kid looking at a new toy as he tossed the empty bottle forward.
With the temporary boost in power, Sila flicked both his wrists and fired a hundred suntetsu. Some of them flew to attack Crow while some flew toward the valley. He also charged right after his hidden weapons.
Crow’s fingers were enveloped by an aura that extended. Sila had seen a move like this before. For Shueria, he could extend the blade-shaped aura out of his hand. However, Crow could do it with each of his fingers. Crow’s hands looked like extremely long claws, positioned like a fishnet that wouldn’t allow anything to get past him.
Sila still kept running forward. He relied on the fact that Crow wouldn’t attack him unless the sake bottle broke. With his current speed, he could get past the line before the bottle hit the ground. Therefore, he swiftly ran past the bottle.
“You’re too naive, young lad. I didn’t tell you I won’t attack the bottle.”
Crow’s blade aura on his finger shot forward. The sharp wave flew at the sake bottle.
If the bottle broke, Crow could attack Sila directly. Thus, Sila had to do his best to prolong the life of the bottle for as long as possible.
Attribute of Wood — Beckoning Hand of the Reaper.
The sake bottle changed its direction and flew after Sila as if he was pulling it with an invisible rope. Actually, Sila invented this move with the intention of relying on the control trait of the wood element to subdue his opponent’s movements. Nevertheless, he adapted it to control the bottle’s trajectory in mid-air.
“Oh? Splendid. Using qi to control an object, eh? This is neither Mora nor Sanon’s art. Is this your own profound art? You are more capable than I thought.”
Even though he was giving praise, Crow didn’t stop his movement. He spun his wrists and his aura curved accordingly. Several sharp blade energies—that could cleave a mountain as easily as tearing paper—flew at the bottle.
Instead of abandoning the bottle, Sila continued to drag the bottle toward himself.
Crow believed that Sila made that choice because he wanted to protect it. However, it was a bad move. When the bottle broke, Crow’s attack would simply continue to fly and hit Sila. In his opinion, Sila should have tossed the bottle in a different direction. If he had done that, Crow would have had to waste one more second.
Nevertheless, Sila’s thought was different. He believed that Crow had given him too many handicaps, especially the one regarding the sake bottle. With that condition, Crow wouldn’t be able to harm him as long as the bottle didn’t break. Thus, all he really needed to do was to protect it, and he had already come up with a method.
Sila stopped his feet, kicking the ground and jumping backward, heading for the sake bottle. Additionally, he poured more strength into pulling it toward him.
Crow rotated his wrist again, and this time, the fishnet of blades expanded and surrounded Sila from every direction. Sila, who was in the middle, would have no other choice but to accept his inevitable fate of being chopped into pieces.
However, when the distance between the tip of Sila’s finger and the sake bottle was exactly three meters, the bottle in question transformed into light and flew into Sila’s body. Looking at what happened, Crow furrowed his brows and dismissed his blade-claws. His strength had reached the realm of instantly unleashing and retracting his qi according to his will.
Sila fell to the ground and released a heavy sigh. “Phew~ That was close.”
Crow looked for the sake bottle. “What did you do? Where is the bottle?”
“I collected it into my system window, sir. This way, Mister Crow can no longer attack me. Can this count as my win, sir?”
Sila relied on King’s Treasury that deemed every dropped item in a twenty-meter radius around him as his. However, for him to seize the items belonging to others, the distance had to be less than three meters, similar to how Dark Self utilized the skill to snatch the brooch from Montra.
Crow scratched his head, stared at Sila, and laughed. “Hahaha. Fine. It’s my loss for underestimating you. Next time, I will lower the amount of handicaps. No, maybe I won’t even have to give you any.”
“That’s fine, sir. But now...”
“Oh, alright. You may go, but return the sake bottle to me first. I’m too lazy to go out and buy a new one.”
Sila took out the bottle and returned to Crow. “In that case, you shouldn’t have used it to play around from the start, sir.”
“Mn. You are right. If I didn’t use it to play around, I would have won. With this, I will have it work its ass off. I won’t feel satisfied until it finishes the task of pouring sake into my mouth to my heart’s content. Hahaha.”
Sila entered the Valley of Immortals. He remembered the layout of the valley so there was no need for Crow to lead him.
Once Sila had left, Crow, who was alone, released a sigh. He took out a small golden box from his sleeve and gave it a serious look.
“Sanon, Vichien, you guys miscalculated. This young lad isn’t just a stepping stone but a massive mountain. Indeed, how can Mora’s disciple be just a mere stone?”
Even though Crow wasn’t affiliated with the Wulin Masters Association, he and the Three Elders were friends. Therefore, it was natural that he would come to know some matters about the association. He was aware of the path that Sila walked upon, and how difficult it would be. If he lacked strength, not to mention becoming the lord of all experts, he wouldn’t even have a place to stand in the martial world.
That was the world’s eternal truth.
“Except for the fact that I personally know you guys, I am not related to the association in any way. I’m just an NPC giving a reward to a player. According to my role as the NPC stationed in the Valley of Immortals, based on my discretion, I have the right to grant a reward to the player who goes through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest and arrives at this place by themselves. Thus, you have no right to blame me. Actually, the last time Sila visited, he should have already received this reward, but you guys asked me to withhold it. Now that he has returned, I will just think that it’s his fate to obtain it.”
Chapter 217: Yin and Yang
The narrow path leading to the cave was unchanged. Sila slowly walked inside. He lightly touched the cave’s wall and found the claw mark he left behind the last time he was here. At that time, he had successfully unleashed the might of Tiger’s Claw for the first time and felt elated, his heart dancing and jumping with joy. Many months had passed, and he could perform the same move as easily as breathing today. Sila left a similar mark next to the previous one, his mind longing for the preceding excitement he gained from the achievement.
A human’s emotions were truly strange. Even when he repeated the same actions in the same place, doing it at a later point in time gave off a different sense of achievement.
The open area surrounding the pond was still there, with the missing ceiling that revealed a shining full moon. How many players got a chance to enter this place? There had only been a few. Being the only player to visit this place twice, Sila couldn’t help but make a comparison.
He compared himself with the Sila who previously visited this cave.
Sila stopped his feet in front of the pond. He looked at the time in his system window indicating that midnight would arrive in less than five minutes. He shifted his gaze to the water surface and saw the reflection of himself and the moon.
He was about to dip his hand into the pond, yet he stopped mid-way.
“The last time I did this, time went by rather fast. What felt like a few minutes turned out to be three days. Maybe I will go back late if I dip my hand into it.”
Sila stared at the water surface without knowing what action he should take. His gaze lingered on it for a long time until the new day arrived. In an instant, the eyes of his reflection changed color and stared back into his.
“Dark Self, right?” asked Sila.
“Finally, we can talk face-to-face.”
Even though he had expected the reply beforehand, seeing his reflection actually talk made Sila shiver with excitement.
“Mn. When you seized control of my body, I witnessed everything but couldn’t move. Is that what life is like for you all the time?”
“Yes. Are you going to complain? It’s just a few minutes. I have never once complained, and I’ve been forced to just watch from the inside for more than twenty years.”
“Has it been that long? How come I’ve never noticed you before?”
“You’ve always known about me, but you just avoid the truth. I’m your loneliness. I was you when Nunthima left you. I was you when Teacher Mora scolded you for sneakily watching other disciples practice the dojo’s martial arts. I was you when you had to hear all of the insults that the other disciples threw at you. I was you when you trained by yourself while other disciples got to learn martial arts. I was you when you felt alone even while you were surrounded by people. We have always been together. However, you only recently acknowledged my existence.”
“I always thought you would be... erm... more evil than this? Since your name is Dark Self.”
“We are both Sila and we are both Dark Self. Your enemy is similarly my enemy. It’s just that we have different approaches regarding many things. You keep the negativity to yourself while I unleash it. You take the blame and say you are okay with it while I think it’s not my fault and I won’t tolerate it. That’s all.”
“You also seem smarter than me even though you are me.”
“It’s for the sake of survival. You have what I don’t have, which is the body. In order to maintain my state of existence, I have to attentively absorb what we learn. We have learned the same things, practiced the same arts, read the same books, and seen the same world. However, you neglect some knowledge while I don’t overlook it. That’s the reason I am better than you. In a world where only the mind matters, I have to devour everything we learn in order to survive. In the end, I’m strong enough to make my appearance in your world.”
“What do you want?” asked Sila.
“You already know that. We are the same person. What you seek is what I seek. The question is, what method will we use? Your method or my method?”
“What is your method?”
“The opposite of yours. Since our mission is to obstruct Montra from winning, we will use the Wicked Union as our pawn. When the war starts, we will leave everything to them and head straight to assassinate Montra. That’s all there is to it.”
“There are a bunch of flaws in that plan. If something goes wrong, we will lose instantly.” Sila started to use ‘We’ with his Dark Self in order to build up intimacy.
“No, you’re wrong. You are thinking too hard. There is only one hole in my plan: Are we strong enough?—Are we strong enough to place the world beneath our feet?”
“The strength of a single person is limited. Humans will be weak if they are alone.”
“With me, you have all the support you need. If we join forces, we can trample on even Monster Soul. There will be no game, no war, and no victory for Montra,” replied Dark Self.
“If we do that, other players will suffer. Some of them are only playing this game to have fun.”
“It’s not our fault. Since the Elders selected this place as a battlefield, it is the battlefield. The weak who can’t even protect themselves should get out. In fact, it’s an act of mercy to drive them away. Even if Monster Soul collapses, there are still other games out there. The decision is theirs, not ours.”
“Is that what you really think? I have never considered it that way.”
“That’s because I look at things from a different perspective. For example, I know that you aren’t here to ask me these questions. You are here because you want to know about Dark Psychic Corrosion. Keep in mind that I’m you. I always know what you’re thinking. Don’t beat about the bush or try to get along with me.”
Sila released a sigh of relief. He had tried to act friendly due to what Divine had told him—for a psychic power that focused on destroying, he needed to be gentle with it. However, that was his misperception. In fact, being gentle meant an act of acknowledgment, not an act of kindness.
“True. I came here for Dark Psychic Corrosion and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.”
“Dark Psychic Corrosion is a part of us, so it can’t be destroyed. Your guess is right—it has become a part of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. The reason you can’t put it into use is that, mind-wise, you are weaker than me. On the other hand, I can’t use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi because body-wise, I am weaker than you—since I have never had a body.”
Qi was related to the balance between inner force and body, so the body was more relevant than the mind.
“Then, what should I do to be able to use psychic power the way you did?”
“The fact that you acknowledge your flaws strengthened my existence. However, for you to be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion, you will need me to acknowledge you first.”
“You are me, aren’t you? Why don’t you acknowledge me?” Sila asked with curiosity.
“Yes, I am you. Look at you. Why did it take you so long to admit you have a dark side? It annoyed me to see you make tons of stupid decisions. You always cared about others, even at the cost of your own gain.”
“How can I make you acknowledge me?”
“Just you trying your best to pay me a visit in the Cave of Immortals is enough to make me acknowledge you, at least to some degree. Even if, in fact, it displeases me to see you wasting time by coming here. Just using Moon Reflecting Mirror is enough. Such a wasteful trip.”
“Can I do that? This is the first I’m hearing of this.”
“A mirror doesn’t only reflect an enemy, it can also reflect oneself. Divine told us this when we passed the trial and got the skill. You listened and let it pass, while I pondered deeply over it.”
Sila opened his palm and activated Moon Reflecting Mirror. A mirror then materialized and floated in front of him. Sila had never observed his reflection in the mirror before. Now that he did, he noticed that the man inside the mirror was Dark Self, not him. With that, he sat down on the ground and continued to converse through the mirror.
“Even if you say that, I don’t think it was a waste of time. At the very least, I got to help Rex and had a little sparring match against Mister Crow.”
“You are free to think that way. Let me say this first. Us acknowledging each other is just the very first step. From now on, you will be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion while I can similarly use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. The next step is for us to oppose each other.”
“Eh? Why do we have to acknowledge each other, then?”
Dark Self was aware that Sila would understand what he wanted to say better if he gave Sila room to think. Rather than giving Sila a direct answer, he changed the topic.
“When did you start becoming stronger? Do you remember?”
“Was it when I entered the game? In the beginning, I felt like there was no way I could lose.”
“No, that’s just you enjoying the game. You started to become stronger when I made an appearance as a harmful psychic power, devouring you from within. For the sake of survival, you never stopped polishing yourself or pushing yourself past your limits. Likewise, for me, I started to become stronger when you subdued me. I needed to struggle to survive. In the end, I won over your qi and regained the state of my existence. Fighting each other doesn’t make us weaker. Instead, it strengthens us both. Thus, your greatest opponent isn’t Montra, but me.”
Sila immediately understood. “We are the duality of Yin and Yang—overwhelming each other yet supporting each other. When one of us grows stronger, the other one will also need to evolve to keep the opposing one in check. This process will continue until we reach an absolute balance.”
“When that time comes, there will be neither you nor me. We will completely become one.”
“Do I need to teach you how to use qi?”
“How are we opposing each other if you do that? I won’t teach you anything. Similarly, you don’t need to teach me. However, we can observe and study each other all the time. This is what we call overwhelming yet supporting each other.”
Sila nodded. Actually, he felt Dark Self possessed the same knowledge regarding qi that he did. Dark Self only lacked the proficiency to put qi into practical use. For example—Montra’s last attack, Dark Self could use Formless Soldier to defend, correctly utilizing the metal element against Montra’s wood-element attack, despite Genesis Punch being a move of the earth element.
In fact, although Genesis Punch was of the earth element, its power also slightly leaned toward the metal element—not pure earth. For the sake of comparison, Poluk’s Genesis Punch was at the same level as Sila’s Dual Attributes. It was highly likely that Poluk was attuned to the earth element like Sila. Therefore, he could exert the power of the metal element to enhance his move.
“Does that mean I can now use psychic power?” asked Sila.
“Why don’t you find that out yourself?” replied Dark Self.
Sila opened his other palm and brought forth psychic power. Then, a loose ball of fine black dust floated above the hand. Sila felt glad that it no longer corroded his hand. It was the result of Dark Self acknowledging him.
He mimicked Dark Self by forming the black mist into a sword and crystalized it. However, the black mist distorted as it refused to combine, causing Sila to feel upset.
“Do you think it’s an easy task because I made it look as such? Do not fret. There is plenty of time for you to learn. By the way, I need something from you. It’s about our qi.”
Sila showed a mild smile. “I won’t teach you. If you want to use it well, you will have to study it yourself.”
“That’s not what I want. What I want is the right to name the moves. Since you already came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes, I want the right to name the five moves of the Dual Overwhelming Attributes. With this, we will be equal.”
“What? This is what you’re concerned about? Actually, I don’t mind the names. You should have known that our parents helped me come up with the names for all Single Attribute’s moves. I only came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes.”
“Be it Supernova, Genesis Beam Punch, Hundred Victories, Rippling Moon Block, or Shapeless Flame; not one of them suits my taste. Since psychic power is the core of Dual Overwhelming Attributes, I shall be responsible for giving their names.”
“Well, they’re just names. It doesn’t matter what you call them. Anyway, have you already come up with the names?”
Dark Self smirked. “Yeah, I have. You will know and be surprised when I use them. I guarantee that they sound cooler than yours.”
“Whatever. This should conclude everything I am here for. I should go back already.” Sila stood up and was about to deactivate the mirror.
“Hmph. Don’t you still have one more topic to ask me about? The non-combat one.”
Sila swept dust off his clothing and asked Dark Self, pretending to act like he wasn’t interested in the conversation, “Oh, right. About that. What do you think?”
“I think we don’t have enough time to spend on this topic. Our hands are already full of problems. We shouldn’t seek more.”
“Is that so?” Sila slowly walked to the cave’s exit.
“Well, if you want the answer from the deepest part of your heart, I will simply tell you that you lacked people who gave you love and attention since your childhood. That’s why you desire to obtain love from others even if it’s just a small feeling. At the same time, you are afraid to adhere to it and experience the same sadness you felt when it was gone. In the end, you lack the ability to make a decisive choice and leave the problem as it is.”
“Then, what should I do?”
“She gives all her love to you, but you share your love with several people. How is it fair for her? Try to look at the situation from her perspective. If she also shares her love with someone else, can you accept it? A loss is natural and inevitable. You can’t resist it, but you can treasure it in other forms.”
Sila listened and agreed. “You are a better person than I thought. I always thought that you must be quite evil since you are my Dark Self.”
As the words left Sila’s mouth, he wondered if this was what they called ‘self-praise’.
Hearing Sila, Dark Self replied, “I’m not evil. I’m the opposite of you. In situations where you’re a piece of trash, I shall be a good person.”
As the words left Dark Self’s mouth, Sila wondered if this was what they called ‘self-blame’.
The Cave of Immortals had achieved its purpose. The one who went inside was a young man confused about himself with his mind full of questions, but the one who came out was the new generation profound practitioner, enlightened about his own existence and with a mind full of answers.