Chapter 218: A Fast Learner
Since he didn’t want to be called a crazy person for talking to himself, Sila deactivated Moon Reflecting Mirror before exiting the cave. Despite the the mirror not being activated, he could still feel Dark Self’s existence. It was a surreal sensation unlike anything he had ever experienced. He suspected it was due to the fact that they both acknowledged each other.
The sensation was just a feeling, however. They still couldn’t converse without the help of the mirror. However, Sila could feel what Dark Self would do or say in certain situations. Nevertheless, the one who makes the final decision would still be Sila.
With the same bottle of sake on a table, Crow was waiting for Sila’s return. On the table, in addition to the bottle of sake, was a small golden box. Its size was similar to all the random boxes in Monster Soul Sila had opened before.
“You have finished your business, right? Sit down first. I have something to tell you.”
Crow said while pointing at an empty chair next to him. Sila approached the table and sat down.Crow stared at him. “Whatever you wanted to do in the Cave of Immortals, did you succeed?”
“Yes, sir. I—”
Crow lifted his hand to stop Sila from talking and pushed the golden box toward him.
“It’s better if I don’t know... Take it.”
“What is this, sir?” Sila asked while flipping the box. Except for its eye-catching color, there was nothing special about it.
“The reward of the quest. It’s yours.”
“Is it about our previous spar? You don’t have to do this, sir. I honestly don’t want anything.”
“No, that’s not it. Actually, you should have obtained this prize the first time you were here. As the NPC stationed in the Valley of Immortals, I have the right to choose who receives the reward out of those who can reach this valley by themselves. However, I didn’t give it to you last time because Sanon and Vichien asked me not to.”
“Is that so?” replied Sila. He put the box in front of him. In his mind, Dark Self clearly displayed dissatisfaction when he heard the names of the two Elders.
Crow poured sake into his mouth. “Don’t misunderstand. It’s me who had the final say in the decision. To give it to you or not, it ultimately depended on me. By the way, those two didn’t do it with malice. In fact, they wished you well.”
“Wished me well? How?”
“Once you open this box, it will give you a suitable weapon. It sounds like a good thing, however, we all know that the Flaming Cloud Dojo doesn’t have a weapon art. No matter how great a weapon you obtain from the box, your ability to grow stronger will decline and you will only end up being a stepping stone for Montra. Sanon and Vichien were worried that you might lose, so they told me to keep it at least until after the war event.”
Crow continued. “If I didn’t know about your mission beforehand, I would have already given this box to you. Having a weapon is beneficial for you in the long run. I considered it would be harmful to you in the short term so I kept it with me. However, seeing you this time, I know that you are not a stepping stone, but a giant stone mountain. This trivial matter won’t be able to make you waver.”
Sila sat still. “What have the Elders been doing? Could you please tell me?”
“As far as I know, they are trying to reduce Montra’s army in order to indirectly help you. Sanon announced a strict order prohibiting all his disciples from joining Montra; only Kawin and Revin are disobeying the order. As for Vichien, he exited the game and visited several dojo’s masters he knew to persuade them to withdraw from joining Montra. Only Mora, your teacher, kept his silence and hasn’t done anything.”
“That’s because Teacher believes in me! The other two Elders don’t think I have what it takes to accomplish the mission at all! If Mister Crow gets a chance to meet them, please tell them stop trying to help!” Sila stood up and raised his voice.
Sila had been thinking that he had been cheated by Montra. However, it turned out that Montra was the one being cheated. Even though it was just a small feeling, Sila felt he could sympathize with Montra’s emotions more so than before. He couldn’t imagine his own rage if Mora, his own teacher, was supporting his opponent instead of him.
If that were to happen, undoubtedly, he would extremely loath his opponent. Strangely enough, he had never considered this point of view before. Was this Dark Self’s perspective when he looked at Montra?
“If you were an ordinary player, I would have already given you this box without caring for the consequences. Therefore, take it.”
Sila promptly took the box. Since the Elders didn’t want him to open it, he would open it. As his fingertips touched the box’s cover, Crow fired bullet energy at him through his finger, causing Sila to hastily evade.
“What was that for, sir?”
“Drink this cup of sake and open it elsewhere. I don’t want to know what you get,” Crow replied while pushing a cup of sake toward Sila.
Under normal circumstances, Sila wouldn’t drink alcohol. However, he wasn’t in the mood to decline today. He swallowed all the sake in his cup in one gulp. A sweet fragrance and hot flavor flowed from his neck to his stomach.
“I don't think I will come to visit this place again until after the war event ends. I beg your pardon. Farewell, sir.”
Crow nodded, and Sila leaped toward the exit, heading for the forest. As he left, Crow muttered some words behind without caring if Sila heard.
“You shall come back for sure, Sila, and there will be no handicap next time.”
Crow silently emptied the bottle.
Sila firmly held the golden box in his hand. His body soared through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest like he was a forest spirit. The time was only three o’clock in the morning, but Sila felt like a long time had passed since midnight. As he entered the inner forest, he stopped his feet and stared at the box in his hand.
“I won’t let anyone else decide things for us. Since I already have the Crystal Divine Sword, this one is yours.”
All alone, Sila talked to himself in the forest. Yet he knew that there was someone listening to his words. That person responded to his words by emanating Dark Psychic Corrosion from his hand to envelop the box.
The golden box was opened, and a golden crystal flew out before absorbing Dark Psychic Corrosion and dyeing itself jet black. Even natural light from the moon and stars were absorbed into it. Finally, pure darkness reigned over the area, and in front of Sila was a thick sword, both its dangerously jagged blade and its handle the darkest black Sila had ever seen. It seemed to be made from a black crystal that shone even in a world covered in darkness.
Sila extended his hand to grab it. He gave the sword a name as soon as the system asked him. It was the name that suddenly came to his mind. He guessed that Dark Self came up with it.
“Crystal Demonic Sword.”
You have successfully produced (S) Crystal Demonic Sword.
“Seal the Crystal Demonic Sword,” Sila said, and the black sword flew into the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection.
Reminded of the time when Dark Self fused his sword with Illuminus into his claws, Sila was inspired to do the same.
A third, mechanical arm appeared over Sila’s right shoulder. It seemed Way of Slime didn’t cause a permanent change to items.
A faint gold light glowed from Illuminus, and Ramiel’s brooch flew from his system window even though Sila didn’t have any intention to draw it out.
Illuminus emitted a bright light, and made it appear as if night turned to day in an instant. The third arm broke into fine dust and was absorbed into Sila’s right arm. Then, his right arm transformed into a work of art—a mechanical arm with a beauty that transcended common sense. The small brooch embedded itself into his right shoulder and transformed into a shoulder guard with a white wing symbol.
You have successfully completed Illuminus’ side quest. Illuminus has obtained an additional ability: The Power of Rebirth.
You have acquired the special skill: (A) Domain of Light.
Illuminus has become complete and purged a contaminant from the arm. You have obtained Orichalcum.
For the record, Illuminus’ Power of Rebirth can only be used once. Illuminus shall be the one responsible for activating this ability at the moment it deems suitable.
The mineral which was once used to repair Illuminus was ejected and flew into Sila’s system window. The current appearance of Illuminus was supposed to be its original form if Sila didn’t select an energy type incompatible with it.
Sila looked at his new right arm. He had lost the Seal skill, so he had no way to disable his right arm’s ability. As Illuminus had fused with his original right arm, it made him incapable of inflicting damage using it. This wasn’t the result he desired. Thus, he mimicked Dark Self and proceeded with what he previously planned.
“Way of Slime.”
Sila activated the skill and recalled the scene when Dark Self fused the Crystal Divine Sword with Illuminus so it could deal damage. Similarly, Sila would change the Crystal Demonic Sword to achieve the same effect.
The black sword distorted and became a slime-like substance shrouded around Illuminus. Then, it shrunk and ultimately split into two long, black gloves which shone like diamonds. Their beauty was comparable to the crystal shards that were Dark Self’s claws.
“See? I’m a fast learner. You used my sword to produce claws, so I will be using your sword as my gloves,” Sila talked to himself, though he knew that Dark Self would always hear his words.
The reason why Sila changed the Crystal Demonic Sword into gloves was that he felt uncomfortable with claws, unlike Dark Self who showed his aggressive side through the claws.
Although they both used the same skill, the results were different. It represented the different approaches between Sila and Dark Self.
Sila hastened his speed and finally met up with Mamon and Rex. The two of them seemed surprised that Sila came back sooner than they had expected.
Sila didn’t want to waste time. He quickly opened his system window and continued his conversation with Julia.
“Julia, the symbol that I must leave behind can be anything, right?”
Julia replied, “Yes, Master. However, you can’t hide it. It must be something that is clear and unique; it should be obvious upon first glance that it’s a symbolic object. Its size also can’t be too small. For the record, its durability doesn’t matter, though I recommend you use an object that is hard to break, because the pact will end when the symbol is destroyed.”
“What about that big boulder?” Sila pointed his finger at a certain boulder nearby. Everyone moved their gazes to see it and discovered a boulder that was ten meters tall.
“The boulder is too common, Master. At the very least, you need to engrave some symbol on it to make it stand out.”
Sile jumped to the boulder. With Dark Self’s acknowledgment in himself, Sila was more at ease controlling Dark Psychic Corrosion. Psychic power was different from qi. To utilize psychic power, one needed a firm image in their head rather than qi’s steadfast circulation. Both powers had their own strengths, weaknesses, and usage difficulties. For psychic power, Sila needed to imagine a clear picture in his mind and let the black mist corrode the boulder, shaping it with his imagination.
“Is this fine?” asked Sila.
Once the black mist dispersed, everyone witnessed a slime-shaped boulder. If someone who had seen the slime rock in the Town of Beginnings were to see it, they would think that the rock had returned. That was because Sila copied the boulder’s appearance from the Town of Beginnings.
“It’s fine, Master. However, I personally think that the boulder will be too easy to break.”
Sila sat on the slime-shaped boulder and closed his eyes, focusing. He covered himself with Divine Raiment before extending the aura to envelop the boulder as well. Once it was done, he jumped down and observed the slime rock which was covered with a defensive aura.
“Phew... It won’t be as good as Miss Viola’s, but if its power is about to run out, Rex can call me to strengthen its defense again. How about it?”
Sila’s expression showed some exhaustion. Divine Raiment was a magic-type skill, which was the energy type Sila was the least proficient at using. Therefore, he felt more tired than using qi or psychic type skills.
Julia replied, “It’s fine, Master. Now, you need to recite these words to initiate the pact and let the monster accept your words.”
Sila’s system window displayed the instructions to initialize the Monster Follower pact. The sentences he had to say aloud even included his newly acquired title–one which he just noticed. Sila called Rex to stand in front of the slime rock. Both of them placed their hands on it.
“I Sila, the Monster Emperor, shall form a Monster Follower pact with you, Rex, the King of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. The two of us shall be equal. Will you accept?”
Rex immediately replied, “I accept.”
You have successfully formed a Monster Follower Pact with Rex, Level 6 Lord Rank.
Sila didn’t notice any change, and it seemed Rex didn’t either. Nevertheless, Julia informed them that the pact was properly completed.
Sila told Rex, “About qi, I will put it on hold for now. Please let me take care of a problem in Grea City first. If I still haven’t called you to me in the next three days, you can try calling me instead, Rex.”
Rex agreed to wait. Then, Sila sealed Mamon in his armor as Mamon said he was too lazy to walk. Finally, he ran back to the Royal Armament Guild’s temporary camp.
Sila had an easy time running through the forest at dawn because his eyes could see things clearly. As he was running, he also constantly recovered his strength. Although the recovery rate was slow, it was steady.
Sila arrived at the camp at four in the morning. He didn’t want to encounter people so he sneakily entered his own tent without letting others know about his return. Since his strength was superior to the guards in the temporary camp, it was an easy task for him to slip in.
Sila’s current strength was far from fully recovered. It wouldn’t be enough for a big fight waiting for him, so he calmly sat down on a mat and carefully recovered his strength. In a place where he could be interrupted anytime, instead of using Forest God’s Body, Sila chose to normally circulate qi.
As he cultivated, Sila also imagined how he should use his psychic power. It might play a big role in the fight against the materialized Infernee.
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi circulated throughout his body. Sila’s breathing was calm and harmonious. His mind was clear as two black orbs made of psychic power freely hovered around his hands.
Sila wasn’t in a hurry; he knew being too hasty could lead to disaster, especially for psychic power which relied more on emotion rather than the body.
Everything was almost ready. Tomorrow at noon, Bluebird and he would end the problem in Grea City before his comrades caused trouble in the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.
Even though an important battle awaited him, as Sila was alone, he was surprisingly calm. The matters about the association, Infernee’s power, or even Bluebird’s grumbles from a faraway tent couldn’t affect his confidence at all.
Tomorrow, he would take Grea City back.
(S) Crystal Demonic Sword [Sila]
The sword produced by Player Sila with help from the reward from the Valley of Immortals. It represents the wielder’s mind. It possesses the ability to devour dark energies such as poisons, curses, illusions, or negative emotions. Once the wielder clads it with energy reinforcement, it will absorb light and generate darkness. Increases the damage done by wielder’s psychic power.
When being wielded, the Crystal Demonic Sword will constantly consume the wielder’s health points.
Special Skill: (A) Domain of Light
A psychic-type skill. Creates a powerful defensive domain using psychic power. The domain will consume the user’s magic points in order to maintain it. The domain’s size, durability, and duration are dependent on the user’s state of mind.
Chapter 219: The Immortal Dragon
Sila and Bluebird stared at the massive white dragon sitting in Grea City from afar. Bluebird put down his binoculars as Sila stopped enhancing his vision using qi.
Bluebird turned to Sila and asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? I’m the one who has to get close to her.”
“No need to worry. With all the damage it has absorbed, Light of Illuminus should be able to protect your life for five to six seconds depending on how powerful Infernee’s spell is,” replied Sila.
“If this Infernee is really a clone created from Montra’s skill, my Psychic Nest-Returning Bird will work. But if it isn’t and she turns out to be his pet... we will both die.”
“The probability of a monster this powerful being someone’s pet should be incredibly low. What we need to be more aware of is physical attacks from the city’s debris clad with magic power reinforcement and spells which have a wide area of effect. Forcing you to touch a skill directly is the Psychic Nest-Returning Bird’s biggest weakness,” Sila analyzed.
“Yes, that’s why I will be flying around, using the city’s debris as my hiding spots. When I see a chance, I will transform back into human form and jump at her.”
“Leave the decoy duty to me. The slime race is the dragon race’s nemesis, so she should prioritize attacking me.”
“That’s the most fatal flaw in this plan. Are you sure you can handle Infernee? Even if Cross won’t help, it’s still not too late to ask others to help.”
“More people will make the plan more confusing. Also, I am not used to group battles. No need to waste time. Let’s do it.”
Bluebird transformed himself into a blue tailorbird. Sila pointed his right palm at the bird and activated Illuminus’ last skill.
“Light of Illuminus.”
A faint white aura enveloped Bluebird, acting like armor. Bluebird departed and took a detour. The plan was for him to sneak into Grea City from the opposite direction to Sila.
Sila waited until Bluebird had been gone for five minutes before making his move.
“Psychic power is favorable against magic power. I will need to rely on Dark Psychic Corrosion or Five-Attributed Cloud Qi’s negative power.”
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi was formed from the fusion of psychic power and qi, so it possessed strength that was categorized as psychic power. The psychic power part could display more power than ordinary, but it wasn’t stable and was very taxing on his energy reserves.
Black psychic power emitted from both gloves. When Sila switched from using qi to psychic power, his health points continued to decline as a result of the Crystal Demonic Sword’s effect. Normally his body could always regenerate his health points with qi circulation. The rate at which his health points were restored surpassed the amount that the Crystal Demonic Sword consumed, so if he takes it easy there isn’t a problem. However, once he focused more on psychic power, his health points gradually declined, though the rate wasn’t threatening.
The Great Flow — Sky Step.
His black body cut through the sky and headed into Grea City. Soon, Infernee sensed his intrusion thanks to the magic power emitting from her body. Seeing her nemesis, she reflexively sent a mass of magic power at him.
Sila calmly observed the attack. Upon using psychic power, he couldn’t lose his cool. Emotions directly affected psychic power and imagination affected its power and utility.
‘Although it’s game-based, Infernee’s power is composed of the fire and wood elements. Her power is similar to my Shapeless Flame. However, it’s more inclined to wood’s restorative ability than fire’s burning power.’
Sila dodged the lump of magic power before punching it, causing it to disperse. He tried to come up with strategies. If he used the attribute of metal, he would be able to overpower the wood element, but in turn be weak to the fire. If he used the attribute of water, then it would just reverse that with him having the advantage against fire and disadvantage against wood. However, if he used the same element as her, he would lose in the contest of raw power.
The more he pondered over his choices, the more Sila was clueless about what kind of action he should take.
Most high-level monsters in Monster Soul were created without sticking to real-life logic so they often possessed strength surpassing imagination. It was a way to stimulate players’ enjoyment. It was the main reason why most testers in the closed beta decided to stay as Independent NPCs. They could enjoy what they couldn’t find in reality.
‘Am I thinking too hard? Montra showed me that being disadvantageous when it came to elements didn’t mean he couldn’t fight me.’
Attribute of Metal — Wind God’s Body.
Sila quit thinking and decided to simply increase his movement speed. He dashed forward while evading the attacks throwing at him. The closer he got to Infernee, the denser her mist of magic power became. He felt like he was swimming in a deep sea.
It wasn’t until Sila unleashed Dark Psychic Corrosion to shroud his body that he could move normally. His body was currently being protected by fine dots of psychic power constantly devouring the magic power around him.
Attribute of Water — Conjuring Yizichan.
Sila waved his hands multiple times while firing finger bullets to clash against the balls of magic power Infernee sent at him. However, the result wasn’t as effective as he had expected. Infernee was in defensive mode, so it rarely attacked. There weren’t any gaps between her movements. As she was the Immortal Dragon, if she put her mind into defending, it would be close to impossible for Sila to approach her.
‘It can’t be helped. I won’t be able to beat her if I don’t use it.’
“Crystal Divine Sword.” Sila summoned the sword into his hand for the first time after he exited the Desert of Death. It was a sword which normally looked ordinary like it was made of stone, but shone beautifully like a precious gem when it absorbed the power of nature.
Sila borrowed power from the great flow and imbued it in the blade. If his opponent excelled at defending, all he needed to do was to force her to take offensive actions. Sila’s action of drawing his sword from there to there might seem aimless. However, the fact was he had already exerted the power of the peerless sword art.
Heaven’s Decree — First Sword Style, Inverted Ground.
Infernee’s absolute defense started to show an opening as she felt like the ground and the sky swapped places. The magic power enveloping Infernee seemed to be thinner, so Sila continued to step forward while brandishing his sword.
Finding Sila’s attacks annoying, Infernee opened her mouth, and the mist of magic power around her flew into it. Sila felt danger but there was nowhere he could flee to as Infernee shot a giant light beam at him.
Heavenly Dragon Beam was a skill that damaged any opponents as soon as it was activated. Its power and speed were top class. The light bathed Sila’s entire body the instant it flew out of Infernee’s mouth. It was a speed that no human was capable of avoiding.
The beam wiped out half of what remained of Grea City and several kilometers beyond. Even though attacking wasn’t her prominent point, the power of the Emperor-Rank monster was by no means something one could look down upon.
Nevertheless, Sila was still standing in the same place with his right hand, Illuminus, successfully blocking the light beam. Still, his body was covered in wounds. Infernee’s attack was too fast for him to activate Illuminus’ skills in time.
Infernee was surprised to see Sila didn’t perish under one of her most powerful spells. She moved her body for the first time by stomping her foot on the ground, shaking the entire city.
Wreckages in the city floated up and stayed in the air. Each of them was clad with Infernee’s magic power reinforcement before being transformed into numerous white spears and fired at Sila. All of the spears together looked like a meteor shower, and each spear possessed enough power to end Sila’s life in one or two hits.
Against this level of power, if Sila didn’t use the second stage of his Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, there would be no way for him to survive. As Sila had intended, Infernee had quit defending and started attacking him. The Crystal Divine Sword became a burden for his movement, so he quickly stored it away. Sila unleashed the full power of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, his hair color changing from dark brown to black.
Dual Generating Attributes — Fire Creates Earth, Supernova.
Waves of energy exploded with Sila as the center, creating shockwaves. Supernova relied on the fire element’s dynamic boost to strengthen the earth element’s abrupt explosive power, creating an explosion that annihilated everything around him.
More importantly, he deliberately exerted more psychic power than qi. Along with the shockwaves, the Dark Psychic Corrosion that emitted from his body was crazily devouring the magic power in the air, opening a gap leading to Infernee. Sila didn’t hesitate as he closed the distance before throwing Genesis Punch at her.
A crack appeared on Infernee’s perfect body. Fully aware that the wound would close soon, Sila threw another Genesis Punch in the same spot. Still, the wound slowly healed. It seemed the power in Sila’s Genesis Punch was lacking compared to Infernee’s healing ability.
Dual Generating Attributes — Metal Enriches Water, Hundred Victories.
A barrage of Dragon’s Fists was thrown at Infernee. The sounds of explosions continued to echo like bombs raining down.
Several cracks gradually appeared on Infernee’s body but the damage he dealt was still much lower than he had expected. If Infernee was any other monster, she would have died already. However, she still stood firmly as one would expect from her title—the Immortal Dragon.
The pressure pushed Sila to exert Dual Attributes for the third time against the same opponent. If his next punch didn’t work, he would be at wit’s end.
Dual Generating Attributes — Earth Bears Metal, Genesis Beam Punch.
Sila’s fist was wrapped with both the power from the great flow and Divine Raiment. He threw a right fist while pulling his left hand backward; it was the standard posture for throwing a straight punch. From his punch, the power erupted and shot forward like a laser. It was the evolved version of Poluk’s Genesis Punch in Sila’s style which enabled it to become a long-range offensive move.
The destructive force penetrated Infernee’s body and created a hole that Sila could see the sky through. The number of cracks doubled on her body as Infernee collapsed onto the ground.
The fight lasted only a few minutes and Sila had only dealt a few attacks, however, he had already exhausted his power. Noticing a chance, Bluebird transformed back to human form and dashed toward Infernee, planning to send her back to Montra.
A flash of light shone from Infernee’s eyes, and her body flared up with a tremendous amount of magic power. Noticing the abrupt change, Sila immediately activated Armor of Illuminus to cover himself with a barrier. The sound of an explosion echoed as Grea City was bathed in the brightest white light. When the light dispersed, there was nothing left.
A slow-moving fog expanded and covered the entire area which used to be Grea City a few seconds ago. Seeing the fog, Sila instantly realized that it was Infernee’s Dragon Domain–Abode of the Angels. That meant Infernee was still alive and well. Sweeping his gaze, Sila noticed Bluebird falling unconscious on the ground covered in fog. It seemed Light of Illuminus could offset the damage and prevent him from dying.
Amidst the white light stood a mature woman shrouded by an elegant aura. She possessed exquisite lustrous skin befitting a goddess and silky white hair. Her face was smiling gently, totally devoid of menace.
Obviously, she was Infernee in human form. As expected of the Dragon Empress, she was the embodiment of transcendent beauty and demeanor. Although her long, white hair covered some of her facial features, it still couldn’t hide her majestic charm, in particular her polite smile which naturally bewitched those who saw it. Every part of her appearance emitted her queenly esthetic. Her beauty was immortal and comparable to her lethality.
Since she was a clone, Infernee didn’t possess her signature weapon and couldn’t communicate. Her magic power materialized into a glass-like longsword. She brandished it slowly toward Sila like she was simply dancing.
Although the sword’s movements were calm and slow, Sila could tell that each was hiding hundreds or thousands of subtle changes. Sila quickly summoned the Crystal Divine Sword and brandished the sword to block her strike.
Both of the swords lightly connected but the power running through the blade to his hand almost caused Sila to vomit blood. The impact he felt was no less than being hit cleanly by Genesis Punch. The skin between his fingers was split and went numb. His internal organs became frantic, forcing him to take several steps back.
Sila hurriedly fired the last Emperor Qi Pellet into his mouth without an ounce of hesitation. His power quickly regenerated while his organs were healed. The power of his qi was elevated by yet another small degree.
Heaven’s Decree — Fifth Sword Style, Triple Lightning Bolts.
Sila leaped forward like a meteor. His Crystal Divine Sword emitted a sky-blue light while cleaving the sky. He tried to trick Infernee to hasten her attack speed and make her think that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with his sword.
His quick slash flew at Infernee. However, contrary to what Sila had anticipated, Infernee didn’t hasten her attack as he had intended.
The sound of a blade striking a metal object rang out. However, the sight in front of Sila was his sword stopped on her seemingly fragile body with no signs of damage. As he felt something was wrong, Sila noticed a reserved smile on her lips, expressing her sadness. Before he knew it, her glass-like longsword made from magic power had stabbed through his abdomen.
Infernee had perfectly concealed this exquisite swordplay within the flow of her slow movements. Sila couldn’t sense the attack at all even when it went through his stomach. He quickly retreated, and the sword returned to a mass of pure magic power and damaged him from the inside. It interrupted his qi circulation and prevented him from recovering his health points, and was incredibly effective since qi was weak against magic power. This was without mentioning the fact that the magic power from Infernee possessed greater raw power.
He had lost. He lost in a single move. Infernee’s swordsmanship was slow yet undetectable. In battles, it wasn’t important who spent more time cornering whom, or who could stay aggressive and attack for longer. The most important thing was who remained on their feet at the end of the fight.
Infernee efficiently relied on her first and only opportunity to attack, dealing a fatal blow and defeating Sila in a single strike.
Sila’s body collapsed. Even though his body had lost, his mind still refused to give up. When using psychic power, the mind was a driving force. It didn’t matter how grave the user’s injuries were, as long as the mind still persisted, they could keep using psychic power.
Dark Psychic Corrosion started to devour his insides, purging the magic power. Sila’s wound turned black and constantly ejected fine dust the color of onyx. His psychic power acted like white blood cells, devouring foreign objects in his body system. As it continued to corrode the magic power in Sila’s veins, his eyes briefly flickered ruby red.
“It seemed I really underestimated you too much,” Sila said as he was panting. He stopped to catch a few breaths before continuing. “Even though you do not excel at being offensive, you can still be this scary. It seems I have a lot to learn from you.”
Sila stored the Crystal Divine Sword and summoned the Crystal Demonic Sword. The slime race’s prominent point was to adapt oneself according to the opponent. Against Infernee, Sila judged that the Crystal Demonic Sword would be more suitable for coping against her.
The jagged blade made of black crystal absorbed the light nearby. Sila’s remaining strength was less than half, so he had to be more discreet. He couldn’t afford to waste even a little of his power. His next actions needed to be concise and careful, with efficiency in mind.
Infernee created yet another glass-like longsword. She slowly took a step toward him, yet she cut across the distance in an instant. Meanwhile, Sila slowly took a deep breath and exhaled, dismissing all unnecessary thoughts. He regained his calmness and brandished his sword with the same slow speed.
Heaven’s Decree — Fourth Sword Style, Sword Storm.
The fourth sword style was supposed to be a fast-paced sword style. However, Sila had finally gotten a glimpse of the concept of ‘True is False. False is True.’ His sword moved leisurely like a cool breeze.
Sila was more careful than before. He kept his cool and only exerted a miniscule amount of psychic power to devour any magic power flowing toward his hand from each exchange.
Slow against slow. Both of the swords connected, separated, and reconnected in different points of contact. The exchanges continued and no one had yet to make a mistake. Sila didn’t give up. He dragged on the fight, trying to recover his strength bit by bit and waiting for a chance to kill.
If someone were to see this, rather than thinking it was a fight to the death, they might think that Sila and Infernee were lovers performing some kind of gentle sword dancing.
Nevertheless, only Sila was aware that each strike of Infernee’s glass-like longsword was clad with deadly magic power reinforcement. If he made even a single mistake at defending, Infernee would send him to the rebirth zone with a single swing of her sword.
Chapter 220: The Sky Emperor
‘Being slow means constantly changing. The slower you move, the more subtle changes you can make to your strike. The important thing is that we are slow, yet always a step ahead of our opponents.’
The above was a core teaching of Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws, the profound martial art which Sila was the least proficient at using. His teacher, Mora, had told him that a proper breathing method was required for him to bring forth Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws’ true potential. Sila lacked this knowledge so there was no way he could use it as well as Kawin.
However, Sila found an indirect method to learn that today. He synchronized his breathing with Infernee’s; he exhaled when she exhaled and inhaled when she inhaled. Their exchanges were as slow as each other and their breathing was in harmony. No one could tell which side was winning.
The key was Sila’s calmness. As his mind became clearer, he eventually noticed a path to victory. His profound sense expanded as his power gradually recovered, and he could tell that Bluebird’s breathing was abnormal, indicating that he was only pretending to be unconscious.
Noticing that Bluebird was looking for an opportunity to strike, Sila knew it was his duty to provide it. His swordplay subtly and gradually changed from slow to being a little bit faster, starting as a breeze and growing into a storm, forcing Infernee’s swordplay to become faster accordingly.
Sila drew his feet into circles to reduce the impacts coming from Infernee’s attacks. He progressively shifted his position to stand in the opposite direction of Bluebird, pressing Infernee from both sides without allowing her to notice. It would increase Bluebird’s chance to perform a sneak attack.
Heaven’s Decree — Second Sword Style, Crashing Mountain.
Originally, Heaven’s Decree Sword Art was considered an offensive art. That was because the Sword Prodigy had never met an opponent who could push him into taking defensive actions. However, in front of Sila was Infernee’s longsword. Although it looked like it was made of glass and could easily break, the might it displayed was like that of a weapon which belonged to a god. He didn’t dare to receive it directly, so he relied on Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws’ Migrate technique to slowly shift the course of the longsword using his Crystal Demonic Sword.
It was an adapted version of Crashing Mountain—the sword style which slowly yet constantly exerted the power of the great flow.
Then, Sila rotated his body and kicked Infernee’s arm holding the longsword.
Attribute of Metal — Metal Stomp.
Even though it was a sword fight, Sila didn’t think that he should only rely on the sword. A sword was an extension of the arm. The true weapon was his entire body.
Sila’s kick struck Infernee’s fragile arm and caused a loud cracking sound. Infernee’s arm was bent, resulting in her inability to maintain the longsword. Soon, it dispersed.
Infernee pulled her arm back, and it was healed in no time. However, there was no way Sila would waste the opportunity he created with difficulty.
Sila’s single sword strike sent three waves of energy at Infernee the instant she stepped back. The black sword waves flew at her head, body, and ankle. Sila was being careful in each strike. He was confident that even if they couldn’t kill Infernee, they would at least open a gap and allow him to continue his attack.
Infernee’s body flashed with white magic power. Then, the three sword waves hit her, but not a single wound was visible on her skin.
Sila didn’t have time to be curious. He rotated his body once more and sent another kick at her chest. It was one of his most powerful moves.
Attribute of Fire — Corpse-Igniting Stomp.
Infernee summoned two longswords in her hands, one each, without minding Sila’s attack at all. Once Sila’s kick connected with her body, he felt his power in the kick mysteriously disappear as if throwing a stone into an ocean. He didn’t understand what was happening, but he guessed Infernee must be using some kind of skill. Otherwise, his previous Metal Stomp shouldn’t have done any damage to her.
His guess was on the mark. In the instant that Infernee stepped back, she had activated Immortal Queen—the skill which granted the user temporary ‘Immortality’.
Sila had yet to find out that monsters of Lord Rank and above usually possessed some fraudulent skills, which made killing them difficult for any players who tried, especially the monsters of the dragon race which was hailed as the strongest race.
True, Sila had experience killing dragons. However, the highest rank of them he had slain was Marquis Rank. For Lord-Rank dragons and above, even the Three Slime Guardians—Poluk, Viola, and Divine—wouldn’t be able to catch them alive.
Infernee was the Dragon Empress standing at the very zenith of all dragons in the New World. Even though the current Infernee in front of Sila was only her clone, Sila still couldn’t look down on her ability.
Infernee opened her mouth, and five small glass-like pearls flew out of it. They hovered around her body like they were moons orbiting a planet. Each of them was sparkling beautifully.
Before Sila could admire the pearls’ beauty, one of them emitted a bright light and fired a laser at him. Sila moved his body to dodge it by his instinct, but the laser was too fast. A hole appeared in his torso, and not even a drop of blood gushed out from the wound. The wound neatly appeared as a perfect circle. It was the most beautiful wound Sila had ever seen in his lifetime.
Nevertheless, the pain was not as beautiful as the wound. Infernee had concentrated her magic power into a small high-speed laser. It could penetrate even a high-level armor. Only Illuminus would be able to block this level of attack. If the previous laser had pierced his vital spot, Sila would have already died.
The five pearls emitted light. Learning from his past mistakes, Sila couldn’t afford to stand still. Infernee’s pearls were scary in mid-range, so he cut the distance and entered a melee-range once again. This time, he had to cope against her two longswords.
Having two swords didn’t mean she had become twice as strong though. It depended on whether the wielder was more proficient at using one sword or two swords. After fighting against Infernee for some time, Sila could somehow tell that the real Infernee didn’t use swords as her main weapon. The proof was that although she wielded two swords, her strength was not that different than before.
Heaven’s Decree — Third Sword Style, Swirling Vortex.
Subduing a complexity with a single strike. That was the concept of this sword style. Sila’s one simple strike was overwhelming like an overflowing vortex, forcefully breaking through all subtle changes in both of the Infernee’s longswords. Unavoidably, Infernee had no choice but to cross her swords together to block against Sila’s attack.
Sila knew his guess wasn’t wrong. Whatever Infernee did before, its effect must have run out. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have to block his sword.
Sila refused to let Infernee move freely. He pressed down with his sword like it was a giant mountain while circulating qi in his left hand, preparing to cope against the incoming lasers from the pearls.
Attribute of Metal — Nimbus-Severing Sword.
At the same time the pearls emitted flashes of lights, Sila struck his left hand on the back of his blade while releasing his grip on the Crystal Demonic Sword. As Infernee pressed back against his strike, he used her force to fly up into the air and somersaulted over her head to land behind her.
Infernee’s exquisite back was in Sila’s sight. Most people would want to take their time admiring the heavenly beauty, but the only thing in Sila’s mind was a chance to attack.
Even though Sila didn’t know whether Infernee’s human form possessed a set of acupuncture points like humans, he was willing to try sending a small portion of his power into her body. Regarding raw power, he was weaker than Infernee. Therefore, he had to rely on superior techniques. Using less to achieve more.
Dozens of small waves of Dark Psychic Corrosion infiltrated Infernee’s body. Each of them ran through her body to seek her most vulnerable spot. Finally, they discovered it as every bit of his power flew and merged with it.
The strongest spot could similarly be the most vulnerable one. Infernee’s source of her bottomless magic power was her heart. Sila didn’t dare to delay. He poured his remaining power into an attack that would stimulate the foreign psychic power within her body.
Attribute of Fire — God-Slaying Spear.
Sila glided around her and returned to his original position, pulling Infernee’s attention to him before performing a violent elbow strike. As the raging power within his elbow crashed against Infernee and intensified the water-attributed psychic power in her body, the clash of powers ignited from within her. The impact sent her toward Bluebird.
Sila was fully aware that Infernee could heal her injuries in no time. Nevertheless, his intention was to make her suffer an internal injury, opening an opportunity for Bluebird to make his move.
“Now, Blue! Do it!” Sila shouted as he grabbed the Crystal Demonic Sword and dashed forward, following Infernee.
Bluebird quickly got up. He saw a delicate and beautiful woman flying at him as his hand was ready to activate the skill. Due to the momentum, he noticed that the only area on her body that he could touch was her bosom. Although it might be quite inappropriate, he didn’t have the luxury to choose.
When his hand was an inch away from her chest, Bluebird pulled back by intuition. Unnoticed by anyone, Infernee had swiftly brandished her swords, aiming to sever the hand trying to molest her body. If Bluebird was a little bit slower to react, he would have already lost his right hand.
Infernee was recovering her strength. Sila was well aware of that. Their chance of victory was about to disappear. With her realizing that Bluebird wasn’t really unconscious, she would change her approach to fight them. She might unleash another fraudulent skill and defeat them in the next moment.
The distance between him and Infernee was only three meters, but Sila felt it was as far as a kilometer.
‘Please, it better works.’
Sila thought while brandishing the Crystal Demonic Sword even though its length wasn’t enough to reach Infernee.
Sila recalled the time when Dark Self used crystallized Dark Psychic Corrosion against Montra’s group. The sword was made from psychic power, so its shape wasn’t fixated. As long as he believed that it could reach, it would.
As if it was aware of its owner’s thoughts, while the Crystal Demonic Sword’s length remained the same, the Dark Psychic Corrosion strengthening it extended and shot forward. It slashed Infernee’s back and produced a wound which couldn’t be healed in a short time.
Infernee’s body was knocked forward from the strike, and Bluebird could finally touch her head. He immediately activated the skill without needing Sila to tell him.
“Psychic Nest-Returning Bird!!”
Infernee’s body turned transparent and transformed back into a massive lump of magic power soaring into the sky. The remnant of magic power was returning to the original user of the skill Dragon Soul.
Sila recalled the Crystal Demonic Sword into his system window and collapsed onto the ground, panting heavily. The fight against Infernee lasted only a few minutes but he felt like it had been an hour. He had spent every last bit of qi in his body.
The fight had elevated Sila’s swordsmanship by leaps and bounds. Previously, he was afraid to use a sword as he didn’t want Montra to come up with a countermeasure. However, if he never used a sword in real battles, how could he gain sufficient experience? He needed to be capable of proficiently wield a sword in order to stand a chance against Montra’s spearmanship, which he had been honing for years. Thus, it was better for Montra to find out about his swordsmanship rather than him keeping it a secret and ultimately using his lousy swordplay to fight against Montra’s god-like spearmanship in the future confrontation.
Sila didn’t obtain any experience points or items from this fight. Nevertheless, the real reward he had acquired from it was combat experience by utilizing his power through hardships.
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi’s prominent point was the cycling of elements while its fault lied in the lower quality compared to Yin Yang Energy. In the fight against Infernee, Sila had learned how to use less to win more. During the fight, he had suffered a heavy injury, forcing him to use every bit of his power cleverly and carefully. This exact experience would give him a strong edge in the future.
Indeed, going beyond limits was necessary. However, it was similarly important to reduce the number of mistakes one made in utilizing power.
In fact, this aspect was what made Montra gain an upper hand over Sila most of the time. Montra rarely made a mistake in his movements, so he could always show the best of his capability. On the other hand, Sila sometimes had an edge yet sometimes lost his advantage. There was a large gap in Sila’s ability to control his power output. It was a result of him focusing too much on breaking his limits while neglecting his training of control over his power.
With the dragon gone, the system-generated NPCs started to respawn, along with some system-generated buildings which got automatically rebuilt. Looking from afar, Grea City had become a vast empty space with five buildings scattered around.
“Oh, no!” Suddenly, Bluebird exclaimed. Meanwhile, Sila sat down circulating qi to regain his strength and heal his wounds.
“What happened?” asked Sila.
“The system is telling me that I helped Grea City overcome a disaster, so I have become the city’s conqueror.”
The system assessed the entire battle and ultimately decided to grant the city to Bluebird. Although Sila played a more active role fighting Infernee, it was Bluebird who dealt the most important blow, sending Infernee out of the city.
What Sila had done could be replaced by numbers of players or other powerhouses. However, what Bluebird had done was something only he was capable of. He alone possessed the skill Psychic Nest-Returning Bird.
“It’s good news, isn’t it?” Sila asked without caring too much about it. His concentration was on the wounds Infernee left on his body. They weren’t normal wounds, so they required more effort to be healed. The rate of the wounds closing was extremely slow.
“Good my ass! Don’t you see the state of the city? What city? This is empty land. Do you think I have enough funds to rebuild an entire city? I have less than 20 gold on me.”
Sila didn’t pay attention to Bluebird’s complaints at all. He opened his palm and borrowed power from the great flow. A faint vapor emitted from his hand as he pressed it on his wounds. He also stimulated his body’s natural healing power with the Attribute of Fire. The speed of his recovery became slightly faster, though still less than what Sila desired.
Bluebird contemplated his choices and finally came up with a brilliant idea. “I should donate it to the guild. Boss will be delighted. With this, I will be successfully throwing a problem... cough, I mean, giving a big, pleasant gift to the guild. Heh, I am truly a good guy.”
The Royal Armament Guild’s members started to march into the city. Witnessing Sila and Bluebird standing there without Infernee in sight, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Shockingly, it was later revealed that Bluebird was the one who defeated Infernee. People began to respect and be in awe of him. Bluebird possessed a cheerful and friendly personality and a big heart as vast as the sky, willing to donate the entire city to his guild, which would be beneficial to the union. Considering his unimaginable strength, his vast area of knowledge, his expertise in both brain and brawl, and his signature blue clothing, Bluebird was like a majestic bird flying freely in a broad sky. Coupled with his personal ability to manipulate rumors, soon, many players began to address him as ‘Bluebird, the Sky Emperor’.
Chapter 221: Mamon’s Products
In the span of just a few hours, Grea City had transformed from its usual sight of a big metropolis full of engines into a vacant land with only a few important buildings. Even though the news about the dragon being expelled had spread, no player aside from the ones affiliated with the Wicked Union traveled into the city. With most of the buildings gone and no market in the city, it would take a long time before players paid this city a visit.
The Royal Armament Guild’s members spent their time moving their campsite from the forest’s edge into the city. Bluebird, as the Blue Pigeon Guild’s representative who donated a big asset to the union, had several things to discuss with Cross and the Royal Armament Guild’s leading figures.
Noticing that the discussion wasn’t related to him, Sila left the main camp.
“Where are you going, Big Brother Sila?” Someone called him from behind. Sila didn’t need to turn back to realize that the owner of the voice was Jundtrathep.
Tiger and his team members were sitting nearby, chatting. They all turned their heads to Sila.
“Hi, everyone. We didn’t get a chance to talk after that day,” Sila greeted them.
“That’s true, Big Brother. After the fight, this is the first we’ve gotten to rest. How about sitting with us, Big Brother? Let’s talk about what happened,” said Aek, to which Tod added.
“Yes, Big Brother, especially the fight of you and Big Brother Blue against the Emperor-Rank dragon. You have to tell us.”
“Eh? I thought Blue already told you all,” Sila wondered. In fact, he wouldn’t find it strange if Bluebird had told the tale to every single one of the players present in the city.
After the fight against Infernee, Sila lost all his power, so he had to spend his time recuperating. Therefore, he asked Bluebird to explain what had happened to everyone in his place, which Bluebird was willing to do.
“He did, but we also want to listen to the story from Big Brother Sila’s mouth. I personally think that what Big Brother Blue told us was too boastful.”
“What did he tell you?” Sila sat next to Tiger who was cleaning his already shiny shield.
After he finished hearing Aek and Tod recount Bluebird’s explanation, Sila didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry. He replayed the contents of ‘The Great Battle: The Eagle and the Tiger Subduing the Dragon’ in his head.
One was a young formidable tiger whose fearfulness was renowned throughout the land, and one was a great eagle who traveled in secrecy but always attained glory each time he revealed his strength. Both of them desired to eliminate the calamity befalling the masses without minding their personal safety. They stepped into the domain of the Dragon Empress without any fear in their determined minds.
The young tiger rushed and clashed against the female dragon in an intense fight while the great eagle was waiting calmly and patiently for an opportunity to deal a decisive blow. He was calm and collected no matter how tense the battle became. Even as he witnessed his dear colleague, the young tiger, make several mistakes and come close to losing both the battle and his life, the great eagle still waited while gritting his teeth as he believed in his friend.
Once the battle intensified and the young tiger was on the borders of life and death, the great eagle decided to execute an astute plan, making the female dragon lower her guard while opening a chance for the young tiger to resume his fight. Soon, the young tiger continued to trade blows against the female dragon.
The great eagle always hunted his prey with ultimate precision. Every single one of his attacks must be deadly. The battle went on with the female dragon always gaining an upper hand against the young tiger. Finally, once she showed the briefest opening, the great eagle’s dreadful claw flew and seized her head in an instant, sending the soul of the Dragon Empress to Nirvana in a single strike.
“...Why does it have to be the young tiger, the great eagle, and the female dragon? Everyone should know that they’re me, Bluebird, and Infernee,” Sila wondered.
“We also asked this question, but Big Brother Blue told us that we will know once we read the special volume, which will soon be published.”
“We want to know whether his story is true. It isn’t that we are suspecting him. We know that Big Brother Blue got the right to conquer the city from the system, and it implied that he really was the one who defeated Infernee. However, his story was too unbelievable. How was it possible that he could defeat Infernee in one move?” asked Tod.
Sila thought about it for a really long time. As expected from Bluebird, his writing skill as a newshawk was unparalleled. Even Sila, who personally took part in the situation, couldn’t find any lies in Bluebird’s tale.
Sila indeed rushed and clashed against Infernee, and he couldn’t argue that Bluebird was waiting calmly and patiently for the right timing. It was also true that he had lost against Infernee. She was far stronger than him. With the skills in her possession, if she were to fight without focusing on her defense, she would have killed him several times.
In the middle of the battle, Bluebird pretended to fall unconscious, which was undeniably an astute plan to make Infernee lower her guard. Not to mention the last part implied Sila had fought for a long time yet was always overwhelmed by Infernee, but Bluebird showed his power only once and could send her back to where she came from. It wasn’t a lie at all.
Today marked the first time Sila saw the truth in the saying ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. Even he, who personally took part in the battle, felt his ability was severely lacking compared to Bluebird’s.
“Ermm... Not a single part of his story holds any lie, I’d say,” Sila muttered. He also wasn’t confident in his own words.
“Eh? Sila, do you mean Mister Blue could really defeat the Emperor-Rank dragon in a single attack?” Tiger asked as he was shocked.
“Erm... she is just a clone. I’m quite positive that her ability must be lacking compared to the real one.”
“Nevertheless, she is still the clone of an Emperor Rank monster, isn’t she? There was no way she was weak. The monsters of that rank are absurdly monstrous. My legs still shake every time someone mentions Lucifer,” said Tod.
“Talking about a monster... Mamon said he has something to give to you all... Release Mamon,” Sila said and summoned Mamon.
Mamon neatly made an appearance and looked at everyone with scornful eyes. “Hey, I didn’t say I would give them anything for free.”
“Easy, easy. It’s the same anyway.” Sila shrugged.
Mamon felt Sila’s disposition had changed yet again. Sometimes Sila was fearful and sometimes he looked harmless enough to make Mamon want to try breaking him. Mamon opened his system window and tossed several items onto the ground like they were worthless pieces of trash.
“What is this, Mister Mamon?” Tiger asked while lifting his hand up to prevent Aek and Tod from playing with the odd objects. Although they didn’t ask Sila who Mamon was, they had already discussed among themselves the boy’s identity and figured that he was another one of Sila’s Lord-Rank monsters.
“Weapons, obviously. You asked me to make something that you could sell. These are fit for your request. I produced and modified them personally. I guarantee that you can’t find them elsewhere.”
Seeing everyone’s confused expressions, Sila explained, “In the past, the Wicked Union asked me to come up with items that can compete against the Cloudy Baby Dragon Ring. Thus, I requested Mamon’s help and he finally came up with these.”
Everyone began to pick up the items on the ground. Dissatisfaction was clearly shown on Aek and Tod’s faces.
“A sword without a blade?”
“A ragged pair of gloves?”
“A bow without a string?”
“A half-broken spear?”
Mamon gritted his teeth. “You fools!! Are you looking down on the items I made? How about I bully you for a bit?!”
Sila quickly caught Mamon’s head to stop the boy from dashing forward. He explained, “They are laser-based weapons like what the androids in Lost Grea City use. You can’t find a place to purchase them no matter how hard you look. Please try pressing the blue button.”
Everyone followed Sila’s instruction and pressed the blue buttons on the weapons in their hands. Soon, the missing parts were replaced with lasers, giving off a surprisingly powerful aura. Inspecting the weapons, they found all of them were A Grade items.
“Aren’t laser-based weapons exclusive to the android race? I always thought players can’t use them,” said Pim.
Laser-based weapons were one of the unique traits of the android race. They were powerful weapons that couldn’t be easily defended against. Even Zazae’s body which was properly clad with energy reinforcement was still easily pierced by Mamon’s laser blades. However, the laser-based weapons normally required the energy being generated by the android cores. Thus, players couldn’t use them. Nevertheless, Mamon altered the weapons by reducing the energy generator’s size and directly embedding a small, replaceable version within each weapon. As a result, the laser-based weapons with built-in generators were born.
“I modified them, that’s all. They are what you want: the items which your comrades desire but are harmful to your enemies. The approach that the white-haired brat used is too indirect. True, that ring is decent. However, what everyone truly desires is power, and weapons are the simplest answer.”
Tiger waved the laser spear and found it was very suitable for him. “However, aren’t they also beneficial to our enemies?”
“No, the energy generator can only last five minutes. We can just sell them at a high price. We hold the monopoly, so we can set whatever price we want.”
“Five minutes? Isn’t that too short?” Aek wondered.
“Do not worry. The public-use version lasts five minutes, but the ones we will be using can last an hour. The cost of manufacturing energy generators is not high. However, craftsmanship skills at the level of the Android King or myself are required.”
“But... it’s just five minutes anyway. Considering the short period of time, people might not want to buy it,” Pond expressed her opinion while feeling reluctant to do so.
Mamon turned his serious gaze to her. “Listen to me, little girl. I will teach you an important life lesson. Power and authority are the ultimate addictive substances. Once tasted, the feeling of being able to defeat the opponents stronger than themselves will be ingrained into the deepest part of their mind. Afterward, no matter how expensive such a power costs, they can’t resist their desire to obtain it. Remember. You chose your words incorrectly. It’s not just five minutes but, five whole minutes. For five minutes, they feel like they are War Gods.”
Tiger agreed with Mamon. “What you said is right. However, isn’t it still dangerous for us even if our opponents can use such powerful items for five minutes? They can just spend money to purchase the energy generators in bulk.”
Mamon grinned. “I already thought about it. Have you noticed the three buttons?”
In fact, they had all noticed them from the first glance. The three buttons had different colors, going in order of blue, green, and red.
“Only the weapons for your group have three buttons. The public-use versions will only have one. The blue one is for activating and deactivating the laser.”
“What about the other two?” Aek asked while pressing the red button.
“The red one is for detonating...” Mamon said flatly, but Aek’s face immediately became pale. He didn’t dare to release his finger from the pressed button.
Pim promptly scolded her friend. “Stupid! Playing with a gadget without listening properly. Go away and explode elsewhere. Don’t blow yourself up near us.”
“Oi?! What should I do? Could you please cancel it, pleaseee?! Oi? Tod, you are my brother, why did you get the furthest away from me?” Aek panicked while everyone stepped away from him.
Mamon sighed wearily. “Calm down, brat. You are annoying. Release your finger. It won’t explode. The ones that will explode are the public-use version.”
Aek released a sigh of relief and removed his finger from the button. His friends returned to their seats, and Pim lightly hit Aek on the head once out for making everyone panic.
“For the red button, when you press it, you will detonate all of the public-use weapons within a kilometer. The more energy generators they carry, the more powerful the explosion will become. Those fools who get their hands on them won’t even be aware that they are carrying a massive bomb wherever they go. If they come at us with these weapons, we can just simply press the red button and send them to the afterlife.”
“What about the green button?” Tiger asked, while everyone shifted their gazes to Aek, who didn’t dare to play around anymore.
“It will generate a barrier to cover your body. It will be useful for defending against an attack. If the attack isn’t powerful enough, it can’t penetrate the barrier. Well, the energy consumption is quite high.”
“Wow. These are cheat items. As expected from Mammon, to be so devilish... Ah!” Tod said before covering his own mouth.
Mamon turned to Tod and let off an evil laugh. “For me, those are compliments. It’s my style to cheat and be devilish. Kiekkiekkiek.”
Seeing that the conversation had gone long enough, Sila said, “There, take the items and try using them. Mamon, please give everyone spare energy generators.”
Mamon poured dozens of mini energy generators onto the ground. Tiger attentively listened to the instructions for usage. Meanwhile, Jundtrathep secretly tugged on Sila’s sleeve.
“Hm? What is it, Jund?”
“Er... Why are you giving them to us, Big Brother Sila?”
“I remembered Pim’s complaint that the union favored the skilled members above others, like with the Qi of Little Divine Beings. These weapons too, if I give them to Cross, you all will have to wait before your turn comes. That’s why I decided to secretly give them to you first.”
Jundtrathep felt she saw a fascinating glow emitting from Sila’s eyes. Her cheeks were pink. She took a deep breath to muster her courage.
“Big Brother Sila, where are you going?”
“I’m thinking of going to the Information Building. I want to ask the NPC about the Lord-Rank privilege and the hidden potential of skills,” replied Sila.
“Jund knows where the Information Building is. I will bring you there, Big Brother Sila, in case you can’t find it.”
“Err... there are only four or five buildings though. I bet I can find it easily.”
“Think of it as me returning your favor. Big Brother Sila is always kind to us.”
“It may be boring though. Even I’m hesitant to go,” Sila replied honestly.
Suddenly, Bluebird came to join their conversation. He even naturally blended into the team as if he was a part of the Tiger Team.
“Sir Blue has arrived~ Have you been missing me? Come, come, I will tell you the heroic tale of when I defeated the Water Dragon Leviathan this time. It will be a fun story.”
Everyone joyfully welcomed Bluebird. It seemed the ability to get along with others was another one of Bluebird’s special abilities.
Jundtrathep tugged Sila’s sleeve again. “Please, let Jund go with you. I don’t want to be here and listen to Big Brother Blue’s story. I think it’s better for me to listen to Big Brother Sila’s version.”
Sila looked at Bluebird who was about to tell a story by creating special sound effects and flashes of lighting through his magic spells while matching his voice to the characters in the story.
Even though the Tiger Team’s members tried to act like they were uninterested in the story, their curiosities were piqued and they couldn’t resist the urge to listen to Bluebird.
“It was a stormy day. The sky rumbled and a death star was shining brightly in the sky. Three heroes rode a raft in a dangerous quest to encounter the Water Dragon—the Lord of the Sea. Everyone said that it was a suicide mission, though the three heroes weren’t discouraged.
The great eagle consoled the other two heroes, ‘Don’t worry, guys. I’m well prepared. Hunting a dragon is no different from catching a fish. See? I have a fishing rod with me.’
On the other hand, the young male merman trembled in fear. He clung to the great eagle’s leg and said with his shaky voice, ‘Oh, the great eagle, but this lowly one is so weak…’.”
Sila sighed as he listened to Bluebird’s tale. “Sure, let’s go. I don’t think I want to listen to his tale either.”
The two of them sneakily left without letting anyone know as they were busy listening to another one of Bluebird’s legends.
Chapter 222: Lordship
Sila and Jundtrathep entered the Information Building, the place managed by a system NPC who had a duty to provide basic assistance. Exactly as Sila had anticipated, finding one building out of the five remaining buildings in the city wasn’t a difficult task. In fact, there were even signs leading to this building.
Inside the building, there was a vast lobby similar to the Hall of Beginnings on the Island of Beginnings which Sila had used once. However, unlike that time, there were no people at the moment.
Sila rang a bell on a counter, and a clerk came running to him from behind a curtain. He was a bespectacled man in a formal suit and he looked drowsy, like he had just woken up.
“Hello, sir. My name is Dan. How can I help you?”
“Hello. Um, I have some questions to ask.”
“Your welcome, sir. Please come this way. How about you, lady? Do you also have questions to ask?” Dan turned to Jundtrathep.
“Ah, no. I’m just accompanying him. I’ll wait here.”
“I see. I’m really sorry that my room can only take a single player inside. It’s for the sake of privacy,” said Dan.
“I only have a few questions, so it won’t take long. Nevertheless, Jund, if you don’t want to wait, you can head back first without waiting for me. I don’t mind.”
“No problem, Big Brother Sila. I will just wait here.” Jundtrathep obediently went and sat on a couch.
Dan led Sila through the curtain and entered the room inside. When he looked around, Sila saw a comfy sofa, a small table, and two chairs. Dan entered first and poured Sila a drink of water before gesturing for him to sit down.
Sila looked around, feeling interested.
Witnessing Sila’s peculiar reaction, Dan asked, “What’s wrong, sir? Are you feeling uncomfortable?”
“Oh, nothing. I’m just surprised at how simple the room is. I’ve come across some strange ones like a flower-decorated room and an interrogation room.”
“I see. About that, the NPCs in charge have the freedom to decorate their rooms, sir. I’m a minimalist so I like it this way. However, an interrogation room? Are you kidding me? Is there actually someone who prefers that kind of room?” Dan chuckled and sat down on the other chair.
“Well, it’s a long story. By the way, Is this service free?”
“Our service is free of charge, sir. However, we can only answer questions which are directly related to you. Also, the questions must be about the system in general.”
“Can I ask about the essences of qi, magic, and psychic power?”
“Certainly, sir. However, I can only talk about the ones in which Mister Sila has received enlightenment. Which one are you asking about? Qi, magic, or psychic power?”
“Can’t I ask about all three of them?”
Dan gave Sila a friendly smile. “Sure, sir, but only if Mister Sila has been enlightened about all three.”
“Mn,” Sila said flatly, and silence shortly filled the entire room.
“...Pardon? Surely, you must be joking. Just one of them is already hard to attain. Each of them requires a completely different set of expertise and understanding. Are you saying that you have received enlightenment for all three of them, Mister Sila?”
“Can’t system NPCs inspect that?” Sila asked back.
“We can, sir. Please pardon me.”
Dan opened his system window, and Sila’s system window automatically popped up accordingly. Reading Sila’s information, Dan’s eyes were wide open.
“Wow. It’s actually true. You are qi type, but you have been enlightened about all three essences. Please accept my apologies for my previous behavior.” Dan politely apologized for his mistake, which made Sila feel better.
“As you might already know, there is the concept of essence for all three energy types. Since you’ve received enlightenment, you have the right to learn about their characteristics and how to acquire them.
“The essence of qi is ‘Fusion’. The conditions for obtaining it are as follows. First, you must have experienced a situation where your qi infused itself in your body at least three times. Second, you must have used any two of eight qi techniques together at least twice. Third, you must have experienced at least two near-death situations. Lastly, you must have invented your own unique qi. Once you have attained the essence of qi, the three energy resources will fuse together and become Special Points, which elevates your ability to utilize your power.
“For magic type, its essence is ‘Unison’. First, you must have acquired all magic-type skills available for any single kind of magic. Second, you must have experienced using all of said skills in actual combat. Third, you must have killed at least one Marquis Rank or above magic-type monster. Fourth, you must have used magic to get yourself out from at least one near-death situation. Lastly, you must have stayed alive in a place condensed with magic energy for at least thirty seconds. The reward for completing all of these is the new stat—Unison Percentage. The stat helps to increase magic-type skills’ effectiveness, reduce delay and cooldown times, and reduce magic power consumption.
“As for psychic type, the essence is ‘Creativity’. First, your primary psychic skill has to reach the maximum level. Second, you must have altered the results of your psychic power at least three times in real combat. Third, you must have used psychic-type power to get yourself out from at least one near-death situation. Fourth, at least one of your emotions must have reached the extreme state at least once. Lastly, you must have mastered and possess a complete understanding of the nature of your psychic power. The reward for enlightenment is the right to unlock the hidden potential of special skills. The number of special skills that you can choose is limited to three, so I recommend you choose them carefully.”
Sila replied, “Actually, the reason I came here today is that I would like to ask about that reward. I got the hang of qi’s Special Points and magic’s Unison Percentage, but I’m clueless about psychic’s one.”
Dan nodded as he understood Sila’s feeling. “That’s not strange, sir. The psychic type is the most difficult type to comprehend. There are some players who have also obtained the essences of qi or magic. However, for psychic type, I think Mister Sila is the first. About the right to unlock hidden potential, actually, it’s not that hard to understand. May I ask if you know the differences between normal skills and special skills?”
“Normal skills have a concept of skill levels while special skills don’t.”
“Exactly, sir. Like most players, Mister Sila got most of it right. However, there is actually one more minor difference which can greatly affect players’ playstyles. For normal skills, when you first acquire them, they can’t exert their full capability. Only when their skill levels reach the maximum will they grant you an additional ability, such as Mister Sila’s Hidden Weapon Firing.”
With Dan’s example, Sila immediately got it. “Ah, I know what you mean. In the beginning, Hidden Weapon Firing could only bring out small objects from my system window. As its skill level went up, I didn’t see much difference. However, once it reached the maximum level, I became able to bring out any kind of item from my system window.”
“Exactly, sir. Although it takes time to level up a skill, most normal skills will grant players an additional ability upon reaching the maximum level. On the other hand, special skills are powerful from the start but lack the concept of skill levels. You can train to be more proficient at using them, but the skill itself won’t change in any way. Do you get what I’m saying, sir?”
“I think I do.”
“Regarding the essence of psychic power, you have the right to permanently change three of your special skills into normal skills. It provides you with a chance to discover the latent potential within three of your skills. These subtle advantages may, one day, give you a significant edge over your competitors.”
Sila looked at his own system window. “How can I choose the skills?”
“Just voice out your desire to unlock the potential of your special skills, sir. The system shall ask which skills you want to upgrade later.”
Sila nodded as he got it. “What about the Lord Rank’s privilege? I heard I got it when my rank reached Lord.”
“Yes, sir. Mister Sila is among the earliest players to reach this rank, so it isn’t weird for you to wonder about this. The one who reached it before you also came to ask me.”
“You alone, Mister Dan? I thought there are several NPCs doing this job.”
Dan scratched his head. “Ah, about that, there were indeed more staff members in the beginning. However, the game has been operating for years, and the number of players using our service is declining. Therefore, the company trimmed the staff and I am now the only one left. You will reach this room even if you entered buildings located in other main cities. ”
“I see. In the end, what is this privilege about?” Sila got back to the main topic.
“The privilege is called ‘Lordship’, sir. It’s a kind of buff, showing that you are an elite compared to others. With it, you shall have small discounts when using the services provided by the system and you can access a location that is inaccessible by ordinary players. More importantly, you will get an exclusive buff depending on your choice. However, if you want to change the buff you choose, you will have to be demoted to Marquis Rank and reach Lord Rank again, or wait at least three months to change it.”
“Three months? That’s quite long.”
“It’s to prevent players from changing it too frequently, sir. There is no deeper meaning.”
“What kind of buffs can I choose?”
Dan enlarged his screen and flipped it for Sila to see. Witnessing Dan’s system window, Sila was dizzy. There were too many options for him to choose from. There were at least twenty categories, and each category had several kinds of buffs.
“That’s... a lot.”
“Actually, there aren’t that many, sir. Most of them share similar characteristics. The more specific you choose, the more powerful it will be. For example, this one. You will get a 100% increase in all stats when you fight against horse-race beings. Or these ones, you get more experience points when killing monsters of a certain race. On the other hand, if you pick the one that’s versatile, you will only get a small benefit.”
“I see, but that’s still a lot. Can you recommend any to me?”
“Of course, sir. What do you plan on doing during the upcoming three months, then? Oh, right, the war event will start next month. Should I get you the one that is suitable for wartime?”
Sila pondered. Since it would be three whole months before he could change it, he would have to choose wisely. He didn’t want to win the war. He just wanted to prevent Montra from winning it.
“Are there any of them that are specific to just a single player? For example, one that can make the target instantly lose the war.”
“Err... I don’t think there is one, sir. Well, the closest to your request will be this one, I’d say.”
Dan flipped his screen back and selected a certain buff, before flipping the screen again to Sila’s side. As Sila was reading its detail, Dan explained.
“Lordship of Time from the ‘Death’ category. When you kill any player, you can forcibly change how long it takes them to respawn. You can make them respawn instantly, or you can make it take longer, to a maximum of seven days In exchange, you lose half of the experience points you would have received for killing them. Likewise, you can do the same for monsters, ranging from instantly to a maximum of three times the length of their normal respawn time.”
“I don’t see how it will be helpful to me though.”
Dan smiled and explained, “Guiding players is also a part of my job. If you pay attention to the war’s rules, you may notice one that says the players have to stay online when the war event starts in order to participate. Although I don’t know who you are planning to use it on, if you kill them in the seven days leading up to the start of the war event and use your Lordship, that person will have no right to participate in the war event anymore.”
“Oh, I see. People are prone to be more careless before the war event starts.”
Sila began to see a light floating down the path before him that was shrouded in darkness. Even though he had an alliance to oppose the Heavenly Dragon Guild, Montra still had several powerhouses with him. If he could depend on their carelessness before the war event and kill them one by one, it would reduce Montra’s forces by a certain extent. In addition, if he was lucky enough to kill Montra, his mission would succeed even before the war started.
“Yes, it sounds good. I will pick this one. Thank you for your recommendation.”
“No problem, sir, it’s my duty.”
Dan pressed his finger on his system window, and a semi-transparent aura flew from the screen to Sila’s palm. The aura formed itself into a tattoo with the shape of a crown with two swords crossed behind it. The tattoo then sank into his palm.
Witnessing Sila’s confused expression, Dan explained, “If you want to activate its ability, please show that symbol. It will come out when you think about using it.”
Sila tried summoning the tattoo several times and found that he felt he was brimming with confidence when it emerged. Well, he didn’t know whether he was thinking things or it really had that kind of ability.
“Thank you very much. I will take my leave now.”
“You’re most certainly welcome. Please feel free to come again, or you can add me to your contacts list as well.”
Thinking that wasn’t a bad idea, Sila did just that. Afterward, Dan walked Sila out. Despite having only spent less than twenty minutes in the room, once they got out, the first thing they saw was Jundtrathep napping on the soft and comfortable couch.
“Ah? She is asleep. It seems I will have to change the couch soon. I also fall asleep often when I sit on it,” Dan said jokingly.
“She must be tired. She had to sleep in the wild for two or three days,” said Sila.
“Oh, I see. I heard a dragon had come into Grea City.”
Sila didn’t say anything. Part of the reason why everyone had to sleep in the wild was his fault. He would have to become stronger and choose his actions wisely in order to prevent people near him from suffering in the war between him and Montra.
Since he didn’t want to disturb Jundtrathep, Sila gently picked her up and held her against his chest. Jundtrathep’s body was significantly lighter than he thought, so it wasn’t a problem for him at all. Sila enveloped her with his soft-attributed qi to help her relax. Juntrathep curled her body within his embrace.
“Nom, nom. Five more minutes, please, Mom...” She murmured in her sleep. It brought a smile to Sila and Dan’s faces.
“Would you like my help, sir?” Dan asked with a smile.
“No problem, her friends are nearby. I will send her there.”
Sila carried Jundtrathep back to her tent surrounded by her comrades. Seeing the situation she was in, the members of Tiger Team didn’t forget to tease her when she woke up later. They also added extra details and exaggerated what happened on purpose, making her want to dig a hole and bury her face in it out of embarrassment.
Chapter 223: To the North
“Oh? You just got here? In just a month, how fast.” Bluebird’s voice, dripping with sarcasm, could be heard from within Sila’s tent. Today was the day they set off for Belacia City. Based on what Bluebird said, it seemed the person they were waiting for had finally arrived.
“How can you say that, Big Brother? That was the most rushed trip I’ve ever had! Your guild’s teleportation service shut down and I couldn’t find a Crystal of Connecting that would take me to Grea City. I had to travel by foot from Colossia City,” Burapha complained in response.
Sila exited his tent and found Bluebird and Burapha. As they noticed him, the trio shared greetings.
“Hello, Big Brother Sila. I heard you drove a dragon away from the city? Achieving yet another amazing feat like always.”
Bluebird interrupted. “Oi, oi, I was the one who drove her away. You are talking to the current conqueror of Grea City, you know?”
“Erm... I think I know who really took her down,” Burapha replied.
Sila stopped the argument. “We both contributed to the result. If Blue hadn’t been there, we wouldn’t have been able to defeat Infernee.”
“See? Sila also said it himself.” Bluebird puffed up his chest.
Sila used the lull in the conversation to inspect Burapha, noticing he had changed his attire. Burapha was now wearing a long-sleeved shirt and ocean-colored pants. He also covered himself with a thick blue coat made of beast fur and a pair of leather gloves.
“Wow, I just noticed. You look rather cool today,” Sila complimented.
Bluebird expressed his opinion. “Heh. I bet you were spending your sweet time with Swan and forgot about your friends.”
“That’s not it,” replied Burapha.
Bluebird’s brows curved up. “Hm? Didn’t you spend time shopping with Swan? Are you sure? I believe this kind of costume can be found in Zhongsuyuan City. The one you are wearing is also the type that is likely to match her taste.”
Burapha’s face reddened for a brief moment. He wondered why Bluebird’s guess was so spot on. In fact, he really did purchase this costume with White Swan in Zhongsuyuan City.
“I mean... I made a mistake last time as I didn’t prepare enough. This time, however, I have prepared several sets of thick clothing, spare food cans, and even borrowed the Snow Bison from the Mountain Thieves League.”
Bluebird was quite surprised. “Whoa? Beluga let you borrow the Snow Bison? You two must really get along. The Snow Bison is good at traveling in areas with low temperature. The Mountain Thieves League only has one of them so they aren’t able to open up a transportation business in snowy areas.”
Burapha lifted up his right hand, showing off a white bracelet. “Correct. This way, we can rest in the middle of our journey. Even better, we can just ride on it all the way.”
However, Bluebird didn’t react to Burapha’s boastful attitude. He simply smirked and thought to himself.
‘Kuhuhu. Thick clothing? Riding a monster? You will know your place soon, Little Burapha.’
Seeing Burapha so well-prepared, Sila felt like he hadn’t prepared enough. All he did was ask Julia to prepare him a few bento boxes and food for Lookhin.
“Excuse me. I will go and prepare some more. I will also need more food for Lookhin and Mamon.”
Bluebird caught Sila who was going to enter his tent. “Don’t worry, Sila. Your preparation is enough already.”
“Hm? Really? More is better than less, I think.”
“Trust me, pal. I have been to Belacia City before. You will get it when you travel with me. Let Burapha be the only one to carry a lot of things.”
Burapha frowned. “It’s called being well prepared, Big Brother. How about you? What do you have?”
Bluebird said proudly, “Except for food, I’m not bringing anything with me.”
“Ah~ What an amateur. If you want anything from me during our trip, I will sell them to you at a special price, then. A special expensive price, that’s it! Hahaha!”
Bluebird simply smiled. “You shall soon see who is the genuine amateur, Little Burapha~”
“Shall we get going now?” asked Sila.
Burapha nodded. “The sooner, the better, Big Brother Sila. If we depart now while it’s still morning, we can travel a long distance before nightfall.”
“Morning? The sooner the better? Hahaha.” Bluebird laughed, which caused the others to give him a strange look. Slightly embarrassed, Bluebird let out a dry cough and opened his system window to check the time. “Um. Let’s wait another hour and a half before leaving. We’ll meet up at the north gate. See ya.”
Although he was told that, Sila had already finished up with everything he needed to do here. Well, there was still one more task left for him to do. It was a small task which he had been deliberately avoiding. He would rather fight Infernee again than deal with this. However, he knew that the problem would escalate if he left it unattended.
“The message was sent. I can only wait,” Sila said to himself.
The location where Sila was waiting was above the gate leading to the underground city—Lost Grea City. No one was interested in it and it wasn’t destroyed when Infernee came to the city. It was a suitable meeting place.
Sila opened his system window and read the information regarding Belacia City. Even though his eyes were staring at the text, none of it entered his head. He was too restless to comprehend the words. He felt like he was in danger of being attacked at any moment, and was awaiting a battle that wasn’t coming
“Sila? What’s wrong? I thought you left for the north already.”
Finally, she had arrived. His most formidable opponent who was greater than even the eight dragons combined. The person whom Sila had no idea which skills he should use against or which element of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi could gain an edge over her.
“Nam... Err, the weather is nice today, isn’t it?” Sila turned to Varee.
Varee furrowed her brows. She looked up to the sky. “Today is too cold, and the clouds are too thick. The city is currently empty without buildings so the wind from the north is blowing in. If the city walls aren’t built soon, parts of Grea City will be buried under the snow.”
“I-Is that so? Haha.” Sila let out an awkward laugh.
“Is there something wrong? You are acting strange. Ah? Could it be that you are planning to do some risky things again? What is it this time?”
“Er, no... Well, it’s quite risky if I really think about it. The thing is...”
“Could you please stop murmuring? Just tell me what you want to say.”
“It’s about what you asked me last time,” Sila said in a soft voice.
Varee was thinking about something else, so she didn’t realize what Sila was talking about. “What I asked you last time? What was it?”
“Err... that time before I went into the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.”
Finally understanding what Sila wanted to talk about, Varee’s cheek turned slightly pink. “Ah, about that... Erm... I thought you would take longer... since you asked me to give you time.”
“I will have to go to Belacia City soon, and I think it will be a long trip. That’s why I want to tell you first.”
“Um... I see.” Varee nodded lightly. Usually, she tended to bug him a lot and that annoyed him. It was perplexing for Sila to see her being speechless like this.
“Varee? Are you okay?”
“I'm fine. By the way, you don’t need to be so rushed. Even if we are not facing each other, we can still keep in touch using our system windows.”
“Oh, you’re right! The system window! I completely forgot about it. Well, let’s talk using the system window later, then.” Sila hurriedly spoke and prepared to leave. However, Varee pulled his sleeve.
“Wait. Since you and I are here anyway, you should say what’s on your mind.”
Sila turned back. “Are you sure? You may not like the answer though.”
“Do you know what kind of answer I’m expecting? Aren’t you being too cheeky?”
“Eh? You were the one asking, so I think—” Sila scratched his head, feeling confused.
“Teehee. I’m just kidding. Just tell me honestly.”
Sila took a deep breath and calmed his mind like a pond without any ripples. He slowly spoke with a firm voice.
“To be honest, I’m still not sure about my feelings. Actually, we barely know each other. The only thing I know is that being with you, I don’t have to be overly cautious and can do whatever I want. Well, it may seem self-centered in your perspective. I neither dislike nor hate you. Erm... I also don’t know if this kind of answer is too self-centered.”
Varee fell silent for a few seconds before replying to Sila in a similar manner.
“Actually, I asked you that question because I felt the same way. Sila is childish and self-centered. You always do stuff without considering how worried the people around you will feel. I must admit that, in the beginning, I thought of you as a hindrance that my dad asked me to take care of. Considering how old you are, Sila should act more mature. Although you got better lately, you still never stop making me worried about your risky behavior.”
“Why does it sound like I only have flaws... hey, wait, I’m not childish.”
“How about following my line of thinking? Self-centered, unreasonable, inattentive, and always acting like you are alone in your own world. Do these traits make you childish?”
Sila couldn’t dispute any of what she said, so he kept his mouth shut.
Varee seemed to remember something. “Oh, right. Please unblock me from your contact list, otherwise I won’t be able to contact you.”
“Do I still have you blocked?” Sila opened his system window and gave a dry smile. “Ah, that’s true.”
“...Inattentive,” Varee muttered.
Sila pressed his finger on his system window. “I know. I know. You don’t need to repeat that... You’re unblocked now.”
Varee released a heavy sigh. “Like you just said, maybe we don’t know much about each other. Except what my dad told me about you, we only met a few times and seldom have good conversations. I think we should learn more about each other and let time decide where we go with this.”
The problem was that Sila wasn’t sure he was ready to do that. Time was the thing he lacked the most. His mission regarding the Wulin Masters Association was too great for him to spare time for anything else.
“I don’t have time. The war event is coming but I still have tons of things to do. Furthermore, I will have to keep practicing to catch up to Montra. You should know how strong Montra is, and he will be even stronger the next time I meet him.”
“Time is what we equally have, Sila, even more so in Monster Soul. You just make poor use of it. Isn’t it tiring to be constantly running? You should take some time to rest as well. I believe no one has told you not to. Nam always saw Sila either practicing or fighting. It’s like that’s all you have in your entire life. It’s sad.”
Varee swept the floor next to the metal door on the ground. “When will you depart?”
Sila sat next to her. “Bluebird said in an hour and a half.”
“That means we have a whole hour and a half. We have a lot of time. Nam will tell you my story, and you should tell me yours too.”
“Anything you want to tell me.”
Varee started telling a story about her when she entered the game. Sila listened to her, sometimes attentively and sometimes without focusing. Naturally Varee sulked every now and then because of it. Her emotions were always surging up and down like tides. Similarly, Sila was too quiet and inattentive like a stone.
When he was with Sangdao, Sila felt he became a talkative person while attentively listening to every word she said, afraid that he would miss even one sound. He thought deeply over her interpretations regarding a lot of things. He longed for the few words from her mouth and tried his best to make a precious memory out of his time together with her.
On the other hand, his time with Varee passed quickly. The two of them swapped their roles between speaker and listener constantly. The more they talked, the more they came to know each other. Their time together was neither romantic nor philosophical. In fact, there were some silly moments. Sila lost track of time and let the conversation dictate the flow of what they were talking without thinking ahead.
He didn’t know which was the right answer. In fact, there might have never been a correct answer since the beginning.
“So late. Where is Sila?” Bluebird complained as he waited for Sila. Although he delayed their departure, it seemed he became the most enthusiastic person before everyone knew it.
Burapha leaned against his large backpack. He used it to collect items in addition to his system window which had already reached its full capacity.
“It’s not yet the appointed time. Anyway, it doesn’t matter even if we depart a bit late.”
Bluebird replied, “If we miss this period, I think we should depart tomorrow instead. I don’t want to take a detour.”
“Why are you so serious? And what detour? The trip to Belacia City is straight to the north, isn’t it?”
Bluebird was still looking for Sila. He was contemplating whether he should send tailorbirds to get him when he saw Sila walking from afar.
“Sila, quickly. We are about to be late!” Bluebird shouted, which caused Sila to quickly close the remaining distance.
“What’s going on? Late for what?” asked Sila.
Bluebird smiled. “You will know soon. Are you sure you’re not forgetting anything?”
Burapha was about to open his backpack. “Let me check my items again. I’m not sure how many blankets I have with me—”
“Oi! Don’t bother! We will be late if we wait for you. Let’s hurry. Don’t blame me if you lose your way,” Bluebird said and clad his feet with magic power reinforcement before leaping forward.
“Let’s go.” Sila used qinggong to quickly follow Bluebird, followed lastly by Burapha who had to run roughly with his large backpack behind him.
Chapter 224: An Uninvited Companion
Burapha carried various items on his back as he followed Sila and Bluebird. The air became colder and the freezing sensation entered his thick coat like the last time he had traveled to the north before. His sweat started freezing, making him feel frosty as the journey went on. Soon, he was quivering from extreme coldness like he was swimming in a pond that was just above freezing point.
Bluebird and Sila came to a stop in front of an open area that only had an ancient stone archway. Burapha had gone beyond this area the last time he tried traveling to the north. The ancient arched entrance was like a landmark telling travelers that they were about to enter the vast snow region in front of them.
“Why did you two stop?” asked Burapha. He took a heat stick out from his backpack, snapped it to make it glow, then tossed it inside his coat. With it, he felt slightly warmer.
Sila turned to Burapha and shook his head. “I don’t know. Bluebird just told me to stop.”
Both of them stared at Bluebird who kept checking the time via his system window. Then, Bluebird turned and started to speak.
“When I run past the arched entrance, you two will have to run after me, okay?”
Sila just got a proper look at the arched entrance. He exclaimed, “Eh? This is?”
He took a detour around the entrance, looking at it from different angles. Burapha was curious, so he did the same. However, he couldn’t see anything strange about it.
“Sila, did you notice?” asked Bluebird.
Sila nodded. “I’m not sure what it is, but the scene I get from looking through the entrance is strange. Like, there is a crystal cave behind it, though it is very blurry.”
Burapha, on the other hand, could only say, “I can’t see anything, Big Brother. There is only snow.”
“That’s remarkable for you to see it that clearly. I bet you have some skills or items that enable you to see through illusions,” Bluebird replied to Sila.
“Oh, right. I do have one like that. It’s a racial skill—Moon Reflecting Mirror.” Sila nodded.
He almost forgot that Moon Reflecting Mirror had such a passive ability. Fortunately, after his talk with Dark Self, he started paying more attention to what he had, especially to his slime-race skills which were enhanced by Monster Heir. In fact, it might be thanks to Monster Heir that he could see through illusion, since it improved Moon Reflecting Mirror. It was not an exaggeration to say that most illusions wouldn’t work on Sila anymore if he knew where to look.
“To have this kind of ability, the slime race is awesome. Compared to me, my merpeople race is not well-versed in combat. My racial skills are also mostly related to water.”
“What about the ultimate racial skill? You should be the only one playing as a merperson,” asked Bluebird.
“I don’t even know the name of the skill. The Sea King told me I still lack the qualifications to use it.”
Sila encouraged Burapha. “Usually, to obtain good skills, we have to finish some quests to unlock their true potential. Take my slime-race skills for example. All three of them had useless abilities in the beginning. However, after I passed the Way of Slime’s ordeal, they are all excellent skills.”
Burapha felt slightly more motivated. He asked Bluebird, “In the end, what are we waiting for, Big Brother? What is the illusion about?”
Bluebird kept watching his system window as he answered Burapha’s question. “It’s a shortcut to Belacia City. Instead of having to spend five days traversing the vast snowfield, we can arrive at the Winter Forest in one day if we go through the cave.”
“Eh? Isn’t that super convenient?! I spent a week just to reach the snowfield last time! Why didn’t you tell me before?” Burapha asked, sulking.
“Did you ask me? All I saw was you asking for information from Swan. Geez, you still have no idea that most secrets in Monster Soul were discovered by me, Sir Bluebird. Swan is just an administrator. She only knows general information. Well, she is more well-known than me because of that.”
For the record, Bluebird had discovered this secret route long ago when he was searching for information regarding Monster Soul’s northern region. However, Yardpirun believed that a secret is only valuable when it is still a secret. Belacia City was a difficult city to conquer. If this information was leaked, the city would lose an edge and be significantly easier to raid. Thus, she ordered Bluebird to keep this to himself.
“When can we enter?” asked Sila.
“We will have to wait until the exact moment that it opens. In the beginning, I thought it opened at random intervals. However, when I researched it, I found that there is a pattern. I will test my theory today.”
“When will the door open, then?” asked Burapha, to which Bluebird checked the time again.
“Based on my calculations, it will open in five, four, three, two, one, zero!!” Bluebird pointed his finger at the entrance.
Unfortunately for Bluebird, nothing happened.
“Nothing happened,” said Burapha, breaking the awkward silence.
“That’s weird...” Bluebird was talking when the entrance started shining faintly. The scene behind the entrance transformed into the interior of a cave with crystals embedded in the walls, like Sila had described.
“See?!! Hurry up! I don’t know how long it will stay open for. Sometimes it stayed for only a few seconds and sometimes it lasted for a few minutes,” Bluebird shouted before rushing through the entrance, Sila and Burapha close behind.
Once they were inside, Sila looked back and saw that the gate was still open. Bluebird let out a sigh of relief and headed into the cave.
The interior of the cave was extremely spacious. It was enough for a big caravan to comfortably pass through. Burapha admired the scenery and went to knock on one of the glowing crystals.
“What a beautiful cave. What are these crystals? The way they glow is pretty.”
“Soul Crystals,” Bluebird said nonchalantly, to which Burapha opened his eyes wide.
“Soul Crystals?!! You mean the super rare item that can elevate the rank of weapons made of Orichalcum?!” Burapha’s voice echoed through the cave. Bluebird had to block his ears.
“You don’t have to shout. Yes, they are those Soul Crystals.”
Burapha rubbed one of the crystals. “Why aren’t you excited? Don’t you know how rare they are?”
“No matter how rare they are, they are useless without Orichalcum. In addition, you can’t take them with you no matter how much you desire them. You can only admire their appearance.”
“Why is that? What if we break some off to take with us?” Burapha placed his backpack down and started searching. He wondered if he had prepared a pickaxe with him.
Bluebird let out a sigh. “No need to find a digging tool. Sila, try taking one of them.”
Sila was enjoying the beauty of the pale blue crystals, each with a soul residing inside. Hearing Bluebird, he approached the side of the cave. The souls in the nearby crystals shook and emitted a brighter glow as the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection, the armor made of Orichalcum, moved closer. Sila extended his hand, grabbed onto one of the crystals, and removed it from the cave wall.
“We got one,” Burapha said delightfully.
Bluebird shook his head. “Just wait and see.”
As soon as Bluebird finished speaking, the soul residing in the crystal Sila was holding left the crystal and flew into another one on the wall. The crystal in Sila’s hand became an ordinary stone.
“What happened?” asked Burapha.
Bluebird knocked the Soul Crystal behind him. “These souls can’t leave this place without the Fairy Queen’s permission.”
“The Fairy Queen?” asked Sila.
Bluebird pointed his finger toward the deeper part of the cave. “Follow this path, and we will have to pass through the Fairy Kingdom—the place where fairies live. The Fairy Queen is the Emperor Rank monster residing in that kingdom.”
Sila asked in a hurry. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“No, the fairy race living in the kingdom is very friendly. They even welcome visitors with open arms. There are two things you need to keep in mind though. First, always check the time. Second, don’t stay in the kingdom for longer than a day.”
“An entire day? What if we stay longer than that? What will happen?”
“I don’t know, but there is a warning sign in front of the kingdom’s entrance. I also don’t know what will happen if we stay too long,” replied Bluebird.
“One day is quite long anyway. Since they will give us a warm welcome, how about we take some rest before continuing our journey the next morning?” Burapha proposed the idea. He took a liking to this cave since it was a lot warmer than outside.
Bluebird refused. “No, you can’t. It’s dangerous to stay there. As far as I have noticed, our perception of time will be distorted inside the Fairy Kingdom. If we don’t constantly check the time, an hour can instantly pass. If you sleep, a week may pass when you wake up.”
Sila had experienced changes in the flow of time when he stayed in the Desert of Death, so he nodded. “I agree. We shouldn’t take unnecessary risks. Our objective is to arrive at Belacia City as fast as possible.”
Bluebird continued to lead the way to the deepest part of the cave, closely followed by Sila and Burapha. The three of them no longer conversed anymore, the idea of losing time having killed the mood.
Soon, Sila sensed a life force ahead of him, so he blocked Bluebird from advancing.
“Someone is there, ahead of us,” Sila whispered.
Burapha tried to release his psychic power to detect up ahead, but the cave disturbed his psychic power by echoing it around. Therefore, he felt extremely confused and wondered how Sila could achieve the feat.
Similar to Burapha, Bluebird couldn’t detect anything. However, he sent a small tailorbird to investigate the area and nodded at Sila’s statement.
“There really is a player ahead of us, and they seem to be unconscious. Anyway, this is strange.”
“How is it strange, Big Brother?” asked Burapha.
“There is only one entrance. If this player entered the cave the last time the gate opened, they should have arrived at the Fairy Kingdom already.”
“Maybe they got lost?” Burapha whispered back.
Bluebird shook his head. “Did you see any intersections? We went straight from the entrance up to here. There is no way someone can get lost. The Soul Crystals are always glowing, so there is no way they couldn’t see where they were going either.”
“We have to go through anyway. Just be careful,” warned Sila.
Burapha and Bluebird agreed with him. Sila became more vigilant and slowly walked forward while Bluebird transformed into a tailorbird in order to become a smaller target. Bluebird, in the tailorbird form, flew and perched on Sila’s shoulder. Lastly, Burapha took out the Eastern Sea Evil Lance. However, with a large backpack on his back, his movements looked rather sluggish.
The three of them headed forward slowly. It took them less than five minutes to see the person lying on the cave floor. Based on his attire, he seemed to be a qi type player. Several parts of his body were covered in a thin layer of ice. His clothing was ragged, indicating it had gone through many hardships. His body was subtly moving up and down based on the rhythm of his breathing.
“This is—!” Bluebird and Sila exclaimed simultaneously.
“What is it?” Burapha asked quietly, feeling tense.
Bluebird said, “Nothing. I was just surprised because it seems like he is just sleeping normally.”
“Dang... Here I thought you were about to say something important. You too, Big Brother Sila?” Burapha complained.
Sila replied, “No, what I want to say is... Based on his clothing and his back, I think I have seen this person before.”
Bluebird and Burapha stared at the person whose face was against the floor. They indeed felt this person looked rather familiar. Burapha tried using his lance to poke at the man once, which worked. The man sprang up from the lying position.
“Hm? Did I fall asleep?” His voice was also familiar. Once the man turned his head, the three of them instantly recognized him.
“You... Lomyok. Why are you here?” asked Burapha.
The Deity Lomyok in his green clothing swept his eyes, scanning through everyone. “Oh, Sila and... you two. I beg your pardon. I don’t remember your names.”
Lomyok stood up and swept the dust off his clothing. Although his body was covered in dirt, his face was exceptionally clean. It was as if he had put special effort into preserving his looks.
“I didn’t expect you to track me to this place. Actually, you could have just asked me directly.”
Sila repeated Burapha’s question. “Lomyok, why are you here?”
“Hm? Sila, did you get a haircut? You look better this way. I have been thinking that a shorter hairstyle would suit you more. I always know that you have the potential to be more handsome. As expected of my rival.” Instead of answering, Lomyok nonchalantly went off topic.
“Oi, how did you get here?” asked Bluebird.
“I simply came here to search for clothing worthy of being worn by me. When I heard there is the best, most elegant clothing in the Fairy Kingdom, I instantly knew that it was made just for me. I lingered around the arched entrance which is rumored to lead to the Fairy Kingdom, and, suddenly, I got into this cave before I knew it. As my rank is only Squire, I exhausted my qi and fell asleep.”
Lomyok didn’t seem to mind the fact that his rank was demoted to Squire Rank even though it would be the most devastating thing for any other player.
“To put it simply, you were lost,” Burapha summarized.
“Considering my handsomeness, I have never lost my way. I always walk on the paths that destiny leads me down, and my destinations are decided by fate.”
Sila turned to Burapha and gave him a blank look. No matter how he tried to interpret Lomyok’s statements, it sounded like getting lost.
Lomyok headed into the deeper part of the cave, to which Burapha asked, “Where are you going?”
“Hm? I’m going to the Fairy Kingdom, obviously. Let’s go separate ways. Thanks for waking me up.”
The three of them looked at each other. Sila said to Lomyok, “We have to go past the Fairy Kingdom as well.”
“Aha! I caught you. You want to follow me, the handsome one. Fine, fine. Come and follow me. I won’t mind.”
“Erm... We really have to go that way. We have absolutely no intention of following you,” Bluebird replied.
“Fine, fine. Everyone always says that. I really don’t mind. Just don’t try to get a piece of me. I don’t want injuries on my face.” Lomyok shrugged and continued to roam inside.
Sila, Burapha and Bluebird didn’t know what to do with Lomyok. Unfortunately, this route was the only shortcut to arrive at Belacia City, so they had no choice but to go after him. They even all thought that if they had known beforehand that they would bump into Lomyok, they might’ve instead chosen to go through the snowfield.
Chapter 225: The Fairy Kingdom
The four men headed deeper into the crystal cave. Lomyok openly expressed his admiration for the beauty of the location they were in. Meanwhile, Bluebird constantly asked Lomyok about how he ended up searching for clothing in this place, which Lomyok didn't mind explaining.
After he parted ways with everyone in Zhongsuyuan City, Lomyok stumbled upon two mortifying problems. Firstly, he felt the clothing he had received from the Victorious Wolves Sect didn’t suit him. Even with Burapha’s confirmation that the current B Grade clothing Lomyok was currently wearing was surely better than his old clothing made of White Wyvern’s feathers, Lomyok still insisted that options weren’t as important as appearance.
His second problem was the fact that he had lost the special skill, Scar Remover, which he deemed more important than his life. Since it was a skill he got from opening Random Cosmetic Boxes, he planned to acquire a large sum of money by testing his luck in Lost Grea City’s casino like he had done before. Unfortunately, he had already accomplished every mission that could provide him with a lot of points for entering Lost Grea City. Those missions couldn’t be performed again, so he had no means of entering Lost Grea City and it would take a while for that to change. To make matters worse, he also didn’t have enough money to use the teleportation services provided by the Blue Pigeon Guild. In fact, if he had really thought about it, he would have realized he didn’t even have money to use in the casino.
“What about the fact that your rank got demoted to Level 1 Squire Rank? Isn’t it the most glaring problem?” Burapha couldn’t help but ask.
“Compared to my looks, that problem is trivial,” Lomyok replied without hesitation.
“About the clothing you mentioned, Mister Lomyok, you have never seen it, have you? How do you know that it will look better than what you are wearing right now?” asked Sila.
Bluebird answered that question in place of Lomyok. “If that’s what you’re wondering, I can give you an answer. Regarding the textile art, no one can compare to the fairy race. Even the worst clothing crafted by a fairy should look better than what Lomyok is currently wearing. Moreover, about the best, most elegant clothing in the Fairy Kingdom that he mentioned before, it is not a secret. Rather, it’s like one of the legends you can find in some literature. In the early days of the game, there were people looking for it. However, they later quit trying since they judged that it would take them a lot of time and resources just to find one set of light armor.”
“That’s because the legendary clothing was born for me. No one can find it no matter how hard they try,” Lomyok declared.
Bluebird quit giving Lomyok his attention and continued explaining. “Legend has it that, once in her lifetime, the Fairy Queen will use her own soul instead of the usual material to knit the most glamorous clothing. The clothing’s grace is so magnificent that even angels can’t stop looking at it and the sun will dim its light out of embarrassment in front of the clothing’s fascinating radiance.”
“That’s right. In the entire game, its beauty can only fit on my body. See? I told you it was born for me,” added Lomyok.
“Is it that good? What about its performance and options?” asked Burapha.
“Who knows? The legend didn’t mention anything about those. What I just said was the entire legend.” Bluebird shrugged.
Suddenly, Lomyok accelerated his speed, his face brimming with joy. The three of them didn’t have to catch up to him to know the cause. Looking ahead, they saw the end of the crystal cave leading to a more spacious area. There was an arched entrance made of Soul Crystals glowing brightly, welcoming the visitors. Looking past the entrance, they could see several small magical caves inside. It was a mesmerizing sight.
“Finally, I have arrived. The Fairy Kingdom!”
Lomyok stopped his feet in front of the arched entrance, still in a daze at the sight of the enticing kingdom full of illuminating crystals and jewels. The other three caught up to him. Sila read a short sign next to the entrance.
“Travelers united in mind... no obstacle. Spend only a day... no trouble.”
Lomyok was about to step into the kingdom. However, Bluebird pulled his sleeve. “Wait! Don’t go in yet.”
“Hm? What do you want from me?”
What Bluebird said wasn’t directed at just Lomyok, but the entire group. “Everyone. Keep your system windows open. If possible, always stare at it no matter what you are doing. If we take our eyes off, the time might jump forward.”
“Is it that scary?” Burapha asked.
“Better be safe than sorry. In fact, just glancing at the time frequently should be enough. As I told you, our perception of time will be easily manipulated in this kingdom. I don’t want to make a mistake and stay longer than a day.”
They all opened their system windows. Burapha and Lomyok had C Grade system windows, so they had to open a large screen. On the other hand, Bluebird had B Grade and Sila had A+ Grade ones, so they could open a small screen showing a digital watch without it being obstructive to their vision.
The four men entered the Fairy Kingdom together. The crystals in the kingdom glowed brighter and three small fairies came out to greet them with hospitality.
“Greetings, travelers. Welcome to the Fairy Kingdom.”
“Greetings,” replied Burapha.
This was the first time Sila had a chance to see fairies. They were humanoid monsters with the appearance of children around ten years old. When both Sila and the fairies stood on level ground, they only came up to his waist. They had stunning facial features, a lovely smile, and exquisite clothing. It was an innocent kind of beauty that Sila couldn’t help but admire.
Likewise, the fairies also got a chance to observe humans. Among the four men, Lomyok was clearly the most handsome and elegant. Although his clothing was full of dirt, his clean face was still brimming with radiance. His facial features were perfectly aligned as if heaven had designed them with extreme care. In his hand was a foldable fan and his smile was pleasing to the eyes. Basically, he had a vibe of a good-looking scholar who was also a ladykiller.
The next most handsome man would be Burapha. Due to his status as a merman, his eyes were deep blue and quite charming. With his hair covering one of his eyes and some part of his facial features, it let off a sense of mystery and complexity to those seeing him. His thick long coat made of fur gave off an overbearing aura. Sadly, his large backpack caused his back to slightly bend forward. It made him seem less brave than if he had stood up straight.
As for the last two, it was hard to judge who was the better looking player. Each of the two possessed different qualities. Bluebird was wearing combat magician clothing suitable for high-speed movement. His eyes wandered here and there like the eyes of a child, always ready to absorb and learn new things. His long hair was wrapped untidily behind his back, revealing his playful expression which could be said to be his most charming trait.
The other was Sila. His facial features were neither handsome or pretty compared to Lomyok or Burapha. Yet, his determined and stubborn eyes which always looked further ahead were quite captivating. His short hairstyle revealed his manly face which was calm and expressionless like an oppressive sculpture. The atmosphere around him gave off some kind of a sense of distance that made him look lonely despite being surrounded by people. His back and shoulders were upright, creating an imposing demeanor.
Considering only facial features, Sila was absolutely no match against the other three. However, looking at the overall physique and posture, the three of them were, similarly, no match for Sila at all.
“Travelers, what is it you seek in our the Fairy Kingdom? Are you our friends or our foes?”
Sila was greatly confused by the female fairy’s question. Who in their right mind would ask complete strangers whether they were friends or foes?
Nevertheless, as expected of Bluebird who had visited this place before, he fluently replied to the fairy’s question.
“We just want to pass this place to the Winter Forest.”
“In that case, please make yourselves at home, travelers. You are free to roam our kingdom. We shall leave.”
The female fairy floated backward. At that time, Lomyok, who had a different goal than Sila’s team, called the fairy to stop.
“Wait a minute! I don’t intend to go to the Winter Forest. My goal is something else.”
The female fairy stopped. She said with an alluring voice. “What is your goal, then, you elegant traveler?”
“I want clothing personally made by the Fairy Queen. May I ask where I can get it?”
All fairies in the kingdom stopped what they were doing and locked their eyes on Lomyok. Instinctively, Sila and his friends felt unsafe. They didn’t expect Lomyok to directly mention the Fairy Queen. Although they couldn’t sense malice from the fairies, being glared at gave them a feeling of uneasiness.
“I see. Sadly, I can’t tell you about it. You have to ask Her Majesty directly.”
“Where is the Fairy Queen, then?” Lomyok continued his questioning without minding the gazes locked on him. Why would he care? It was the most natural thing for people to look at him in a daze because of his handsomeness. He didn’t find it strange if the fairies fell in love with him just from glancing.
Bluebird interrupted as he said to the female fairy, “Erm. For your information, unlike this guy, we aren’t looking for the clothing. We just want to pass through the kingdom.”
Sila looked at Bluebird with a slight frown, asking ‘Is that okay?’ via eye contact. He didn’t like the feeling of leaving someone behind.
Bluebird looked back. Likewise, he spoke with his eyes, saying ‘We don’t have time to waste on someone else’s problem.’
While Sila was still hesitating, Lomyok said, “As he said, I’m the only one looking for the clothing. Where is the Fairy Queen? Can you lead me to her?”
The female fairy nodded. “Her Majesty is resting in her bedroom. You will have to wait until tomorrow. For you who wants to meet her, please come this way. For the rest of you, feel free to take in the sights. The residential area is that way. Don’t forget to take a moment to purchase a souvenir from our kingdom.”
“Tomorrow?” Sila repeated.
Burapha knew what Sila was thinking. He warned Lomyok. “Mister Lomyok, the sign in front of the Fairy Kingdom warned us not to spend a day in this place. I don’t believe staying here until tomorrow will be a good idea.”
Lomyok folded his Gorgeous Female Fan with a gentle smile on his face. “Don’t worry, Little Brother. I, Lomyok, have never been afraid of anything. All rules have an exception for the handsome one. For example, even if a sign says ‘Don’t cut the line’, when I approached, all of the ladies practically insisted that I cut the line. In addition, female clerks always give me a special discount.”
Sila gave what Lomyok said a thought while Burapha was agape and about to disagree. Nonetheless, Bluebird summoned a tailorbird and ordered it to perch on Lomyok’s shoulder.
“Anyway, let’s separate ways. I will leave one tailorbird with you just in case, okay?”
The female fairy didn’t say anything. She slowly led Lomyok inside while he followed with a carefree expression, completely neglecting the warning in front of the kingdom.
The three of them sent Lomyok off with their gazes. Soon, Bluebird led the remaining two somewhere else. They started a conversation along the way.
“Will Mister Lomyok be okay? Even though the fairies seem friendly, I don’t like the feeling I got when they looked at us,” Sila asked.
“How do I know? Anyway, I always wondered what would happen if someone stayed longer than a day, so I sent a tailorbird to keep an eye on him. Hehehe. This is a good day. It seems I will get my hands on new information soon.”
“Ah? I thought you sent a tailorbird to track him because you are worried about him,” said Burapha.
“Well, he said it himself, right? That we shouldn’t worry about him. Why should I be concerned about his safety? It’s not like we are that close.”
Sila couldn’t bring himself to wholeheartedly agree with what Bluebird said. Still, he couldn’t deny that it was true. They were not Lomyok’s friends, and the person in question didn’t ask for their help.
Rather, seeing Lomyok’s attitude, Sila couldn’t help but envy Lomyok’s carefree personality. Lomyok seemed to be truly having fun playing the game. He did whatever he wanted without caring about how other people would look at him. On the other hand, Sila was far from enjoying the game. In fact, most players were like him. True, in the beginning, most of them just wanted to have some fun. However, the more time they spent playing the game, the more their competitive spirits were ignited, leading to them being serious about dominating other players.
“We have arrived. Let’s shop a bit.” Bluebird entered a certain cave and pointed at several stalls in front of him. Burapha’s eyes gleamed with interest at the vast array of items.
“Wow. There are many rare items I have never seen before!”
Burapha quickly ran ahead, visiting several stalls. He picked many items up and negotiated prices with fairy merchants. On the other hand, Sila wasn’t particularly interested in souvenirs. His eyes simply wandered around but stopped when he saw small handkerchiefs that seemed to shine. He picked two of them up and gave the fairy merchant his credit card. Surprisingly, the fairy merchant just looked confused. Seeing what happened, Bluebird walked over.
“Why do you want two handkerchiefs? Whatever. Don’t you have money? Wanna borrow from me? I only have a little bit on me though.”
Sila showed a dry smile as he lifted his black card up. “I have money, but I don’t understand why he says he doesn’t know about credit cards.”
Bluebird laughed. “Oh, pal. Didn’t you know that shops in rural areas don’t accept credit cards? You have to pay in silver or gold.”
“Aw. I don’t have much on me either. By the way, is it okay to go to Belacia City without cash on hand?”
“I thought you knew. When you arrive there, just revisit your mansion and call your banker to withdraw money. Easy peasy.”
Sila asked the fairy merchant for the price of the handkerchiefs and found that they were quite expensive. With the money he had on him, he could only afford one. The handkerchief he picked was knitted by the Fairy of River. Besides its beautiful appeal, it also possessed a cleansing property that helped reduce the effectiveness of poisons and curses. When used, the handkerchief would gradually lose its shine. However, if it came into contact with clean water, it would become completely new again.
The three of them, especially Burapha, spent a while shopping before they left. In the end, Sila only purchased the handkerchief. He checked the time and found that only a few minutes had passed. It was likely thanks to Bluebird, who always kept an eye on the time.
Bluebird, Burapha, and Sila went toward the exit. Bluebird had visited this kingdom before so he knew the way. The three of them continued to chat along the way until they finally saw the exit. There was a small sign with the same message they had seen at the entrance.
“Done~ Just pass through this exit, continue walking for half an hour, and we will arrive at the Winter Forest. How is that? It’s always easy traveling with me, Sir Bluebird.”
Bluebird’s head bumped against something. He retreated a few steps and pressed his hand on his head.
“Ouch. What was that? What did I bump into?” Bluebird asked while looking ahead but found nothing blocking his way. The same applied to Sila and Burapha. Sila even expanded his profound sense but couldn’t detect anything unusual.
“There is an invisible wall, Big Brothers,” Burapha said as his palms touched something invisible yet solid in the air. Likewise, Sila and Bluebird could touch it as well.
“You are right,” Bluebird replied, confused.
“We can touch it, but my qi can’t sense it at all. It doesn’t seem to contain any power.” Sila inspected the invisible area.
“It must be a system intervention according to some kind of condition. If it’s like this, I don’t think we can pass through it with normal means,” Bluebird suggested.
“System intervention? Didn’t you say you passed through the exit before, Big Brother?” asked Burapha.
“I don’t know too. This is weird. I haven’t once faced a problem with this place.”
Sila looked at the hints on the sign again. “Travelers united in mind... no obstacle. Spend only a day... no trouble.”
“Ah! Isn’t this the obstacle it’s talking about?” Burapha exclaimed.
“It’s possible. If we go with this logic, that means we, including Lomyok, have to exit this place together,” Sila guessed.
Burapha gave Bluebird a look. “Why didn’t you know about this, Big Brother Blue?”
“I always came alone. How could I know that?” Bluebird shrugged. “Oops! This is bad... I forgot to pay attention to the time when we were talking just now.”
Not only Bluebird, but Sila and Burapha had stopped paying attention to the time from the moment they saw the exit. The three of them simultaneously checked.
“A day has already passed?! How is it this fast?!” Burapha exclaimed.
“When I was here before, the time didn’t pass this fast. It must be because all four of us aren’t looking at it, so time flew four times faster than normal... I think,” Bluebird randomly assumed.
“Anyway, we have to go and find Lomyok,” Sila proposed.
“Do we? If that guy dies, we may be able to exit, don’t you think?” Bluebird was reluctant to go back.
“...Or maybe we won’t be able to leave anymore because one of us is missing. I agree with Big Brother Sila that we should go back,” said Burapha.
Since they couldn’t move forward, they naturally had to go back. The three of them looked back to the Fairy Kingdom. As their eyes naturally took in the sights, they all noticed something strange. The pale blue souls residing within the crystals that were all over the kingdom had changed color and exited the crystals. The souls enlarged and became semi-transparent blood red fairies. They shot a look of hatred at the three players. The entire kingdom was filled with malicious magic power.
“Sila, why does everything always turns into a mess when you’re around?!” Bluebird let out an irritated shout.
Chapter 226: The Queen’s Curse
Beauty-wise, the change of color in the Fairy Kingdom didn’t negatively affect the place’s enticement at all. From the pale blue color giving off a calm feeling to the exciting red color. It created an exotic novelty.
Unfortunately, the gazes of the souls glaring at Sila and his friends gave off a dangerous feeling. It was as if the souls were saying that Sila’s group were existences that didn’t belong in this sacred place.
Burapha removed his backpack and placed it down next to the sign. He wasn’t afraid someone would steal it since there were only four players in the entire kingdom. His psychic power sharpened as he was aware that conflict was inevitable. Similarly, Bluebird prepared to engage. The rings on his fingers emitted light as he started casting a spell.
Meanwhile, Sila was used to this kind of situation. Qi type was unfavorable against magic type. Strangely enough, he had a lot of experience fighting against powerful magic-type beings. In this kind of crisis, he was still calm as he observed the insane number of red souls. He opened his system window to check their information but couldn’t see any.
Fairies were supposed to be magic-type creatures, not psychic-type. He couldn’t understand why the system window didn’t warn him of their arrival.
Sila concluded that, unlike their appearance, these souls weren’t fairies. They just shaped themselves as fairies. In addition, considering the magic power he sensed in the air, these souls weren’t psychic type beings. In fact, maybe they weren’t even monsters. That must be the reason why the system didn’t let him know that they had appeared.
The next question was: what exactly were they?
“They are a curse,” Bluebird suddenly said as if he could tell what Sila was wondering.
“I have never seen a curse like this before. I’ve never even heard of one like this,” Burapha replied as he armed himself with a black lance. His psychic power was emitted in several layers of waves.
“Are you sure, Blue?” asked Sila.
“Well, I’m not, but Asmodeus is. She said the ultimate skill of the fairy race is the skill to create half-curse, half-illusion fairies. She is certain that this is the work of the Fairy Queen.”
Sila swept his eyes over the red souls in front of him. “I don’t think they are illusions though.”
“That’s because their existence are also a half-curse. Your slime-race skill that can see through illusions only works if you know where to look. In this case, you will have to look at the Fairy Queen for you to realize that they are illusions,” Bluebird recited what Asmodeus told him.
Burapha released a sigh of relief. “That’s a relief. If they are illusions, they shouldn’t be able to harm us.”
Bluebird shook his head. “That’s the problem. They can harm us since they are also categorized as a kind of curse. On the other hand, we won’t be able to attack them unless we use skills that can attack incorporeal beings. Normal energy reinforcement won’t work on them.”
Sila tried cladding a suntetsu with qi reinforcement and fired it toward one of the souls. His suntetsu really went through the soul like Bluebird had anticipated. In this kind of situation, Sila was reminded of Omniscient Evil God Qi. If Lucifer was here, these souls wouldn’t pose a problem at all.
The souls slowly drifted toward them. They didn’t need to be wary of counterattacks since normal attacks wouldn’t work against them.
Since magic-types were at a disadvantage against psychic-types, psychic-type skills should be effective against these souls. Sila tried activating Moon Reflecting Mirror. He had never used it to attack before though. Normally, he only used it to reflect attacks back at their owners. Even so, as psychic-type skill, its ability mostly depended on the user’s creativity. Sila pushed his hand forward while imagined the mirror flying forward rather than remaining fixed in the air. The transparent mirror shot forward and drove away souls in its flying path. However, with their uncountable number, they soon filled in the empty area.
Noticing that Sila’s skill worked against them, Bluebird quickly came up with a strategy. “Your skill has no cooldown, right? Let’s break through them. I will stun them first. Then, we will have to run non-stop. If we stop, we will be surrounded by them and die. Sila will go first, followed by me, then Burapha. Everyone, cover your ears.”
The three of them had fought together before. Sila and Burapha knew Bluebird was surprisingly dependable in crises. No one asked further questions and waited for Bluebird to take action.
Bluebird glided forward and clapped his hands while activating the spell he cast previously.
“Thunderclap.” The thunderous sound echoed. It was so loud that even Burapha, who had covered his ears, still felt them ringing. Bluebird’s skill wasn’t an offensive skill. Rather, it was a purely crowd control.
The souls halted in place temporarily thanks to the loud sound. Sila hurriedly pushed mirrors with both hands and cleared a path for the trio. The three of them ran in a line and thrust forth into the center of the kingdom. Sila had to slow down his speed slightly to wait for Burapha, who was the last in the queue. Bluebird tried using Psychic Nest-Returning Bird but it wasn’t effective. Dispersing two or three souls at a time didn’t make a noticeable difference.
Burapha spun his lance and unleashed waves of psychic power from his body, driving the souls away. Since he was a psychic-type player, his attacks moderately worked against them. However, he had no idea how long he could last.
The deeper they ran into the kingdom, the larger the groups of souls became. Everything turned red. Bluebird couldn’t see the way and tripped, falling. The souls didn’t show any mercy as they jumped at him.
Bluebird gritted his teeth as he prepared himself for a powerful impact. However, blue vapor automatically released from his body, slowing down the souls’ movements. Thanks to that, Bluebird could dodge them and stand back up.
“Erm... Thanks,” Bluebird said to Asmodeus. At that time, Burapha’s voice suddenly rang out.
“Arghh! What the hell? It’s very painful.”
With Bluebird stumbling, the team’s formation became chaotic. Sila was worried and went back while Burapha made a mistake and was attacked once. Although the souls’ attack didn’t take even a single point of his health points, the pain was unbearable. It was a cursed attack that brought intense pain rather than damage.
Everyone had to take care of themselves. Sila was surrounded. He constantly drove the souls away with Moon Reflecting Mirror. Briefly, he noticed his reflection in the mirror moving his lips and saying something, but it was inconceivable since the mirror moved too fast. Wondering about it, Sila summoned another mirror and looked into it.
Dark Self was there, in a bad temper and scolding Sila. “Use the Crystal Demonic Sword!! Otherwise, let me out!!”
As the Crystal Demonic Sword was mentioned, Sila recalled it had the ability to devour poison, curses, and negative energy. Even though Bluebird said physical attacks wouldn’t work, if he attacked with his fists while wearing the Crystal Demonic Sword in gloves form, it should do at least something.
‘Better change its form to be suitable for this battle.’
The pair of black gloves changed their forms as they combined and became a long, black chain with blades at each end. Sila flung it around him, and once it came into contact with the souls, they disintegrated and were absorbed into the chain, strengthening its attack power.
Naturally, Sila had never used a chain or a whip as his weapon. Nevertheless, he imbued his psychic power into the chain to have an easier time controlling it. The chain’s movements were smooth as if it were an organ he never knew he had yet could use flawlessly. Sila swept it around skillfully as if he was an expert who had practiced using the chain as his main weapon for years.
‘This is surprisingly fun.’
Sila felt elated at the chain moving exactly according to his will. Although he wasn’t Montra who was proficient at using various kinds of weapons, using Dark Psychic Corrosion to manipulate the course of the chain’s movements should be able to compensate for his lack of experience. Thinking about it, Sila felt the urge to try out new kinds of weapons. It would be educational and help to develop his fighting prowess.
From then on out, the souls no longer posed a problem to the three. Sila’s chain became more powerful as it devoured more souls. Just a single touch was enough to completely destroy them. The three safely managed to arrive at the inner part of the Fairy Kingdom.
Inside the kingdom, some souls remained blue, not red. It seemed half of the souls were blue and the rest were red. The same thing applied to all the fairies in the kingdom. All of them, souls and fairies, were fighting against the side of the opposite color without minding Sila and his comrades.
Sila retraced the chain and transformed it back into a pair of black gloves. Burapha and Bluebird were curious about how Sila came to possess this item, but they knew this wasn’t the right time to ask. The three of them searched for Lomyok, who they believed should still be here.
“Why are these souls fighting among themselves?” asked Sila.
“It may be the race’s infighting. I have heard some rumors but never seen it before,” replied Bluebird.
“In that case, we should quickly find Lomyok and make an escape before their fight escalates,” Burapha proposed the idea.
“From what I’ve seen so far, Lomyok won’t leave this place unless he gets his hands on the clothing he desires.”
“We will just have to drag him out with us first. Then, he is free to re-enter. I don’t believe us three together can’t drag him out,” Bluebird summarized the solution.
Burapha tried searching for Lomyok with his psychic sense. “I can’t find Lomyok. Maybe he died?”
Sila shook his head. “No, I can sense him, but it’s faint. Although he looks weak, Lomyok is more than meets the eye. If he intends to hide his presence, we will have a hard time pinpointing his location.”
Bluebird nodded. “Even though he seems dotty, he could make it to this place when he is only Squire Rank. I admit we shouldn’t underestimate him.”
“Really? He stood no chance against Big Brother Sila before though.” Burapha was referring to the match in Colossia City.
Sila disagreed and pointed his finger forward. “That was because he wasn’t serious in the fight. If he was, he would have been a formidable foe. Look there.”
Bluebird and Burapha followed Sila’s finger and saw Lomyok amidst the chaotic battlefield. His movements were flawless and nimble. In his hand was his fan, which he continuously waved left and right. There was a light blue aura surrounding his body. He seemed to be able to perform the most optimal movements to dodge any attacks thrown his way. Even though some of the attacks grazed him, his face was completely spotless, with not a single injury nor speck of dirt to be seen.
“That must be Qi of Little Fish,” said Sila. He naturally remembered the qi he relied on when he first started out. Nevertheless, he recalled Lomyok had told him before that his Qi of Little Fish was lost. Sila didn’t know why Lomyok was still able to use it.
In fact, Lomyok’s Qi of Little Fish was neither destroyed nor lost as he had thought. Instead, it had been infused in his body when Thanatos possessed his body. Once he came back to life and checked his skill list only to find that most of his skills were lost, Lomyok naturally thought that Qi of Little Fish was similarly destroyed. It was simply his misunderstanding.
Based on Sila’s observation, among Qi of Little Divine Beings, Lomyok seemed to possess only Qi of Little Fish. Thus, even though it had fused with his body, it was the only one out of the four and as such didn’t mature into one of the Ten Supreme Qi. Because of this, Lomyok was incapable of exerting the full strength of Qi of Little Fish.
Lomyok noticed Sila and the rest. He waved his hand at them without minding the chaotic battlefield around him. “This way, guys~”
Then, he seemed to only just notice the battles taking place. Lomyok was worried the other three might be unable to approach him, so he strengthened Gorgeous Female Fan with his qi. Once a suitable amount had accumulated, he waved the fan in the shape of a half-circle in front of him.
“Waves of the Beauties!!” Not only did he perform his move, but Lomyok also boastfully declared the name of his move. No matter how Sila looked at it though, Lomyok’s move was simply an action imbued with power, not a skill activation. It was the first time Sila witnessed someone shouting the name of their move in real combat.
An invisible force blew the souls away and opened a clear path between Lomyok and the three. The power Sila could sense from Lomyok’s move was rather powerful. In fact, it was too powerful to belong to a Squire Rank player. Sila wouldn’t find it weird even if it came from a Marquis Rank being.
The three approached Lomyok without believing their eyes. Even Sila and Bluebird, who believed they had already thought highly of Lomyok, found that they had still underestimated him.
It was normal for them to have a misperception of Lomyok’s true power. Similar to Sila in his early days, Lomyok always fought alone and aimlessly roamed free in the world of Monster Soul. No one had ever seen his true strength. There were only rumors about it.
“It’s good that you guys came. I’m having a problem. Please lend me your help.”
Sila observed the battlefield and found that both souls and fairies no longer targeted them. No, actually, he had previously noticed since the beginning that it was rather Lomyok’s fault to stand in the way of the fairies’ infighting. They never directed their attacks at him to begin with.
“I think I see the problem. Let’s get out of here,” said Bluebird.
Lomyok unfolded his fan. “Oh? I don’t mean these souls and fairies. They aren’t a problem at all. The problem I am referring to is inside. Follow me.”
Lomyok quickly led everyone without explaining. Without another choice, the three had to unwillingly follow him.
Seeing this as a chance, Bluebird quickly asked, “Hey, how can you be this good?”
Lomyok didn’t look back but answered proudly, “I always take good care of myself. I avoid strong sunlight and am wary of dust. Moreover, I always circulate qi throughout my body if the temperature is too high or too low. Otherwise, my skin would become dry or damaged.”
“I didn’t mean your looks! I meant your ability! How could you easily drive away those fairies? Isn’t your rank Squire?”
Sila also wondered. He glanced at Lomyok’s hand and found that the wounds on it had disappeared. This must be the work of Recovering Qi.
“I’m indeed a Squire Rank player. However, my Gorgeous Female Fan is quite peculiar. Her rank is already Lord. I don’t know what happened to my life. My level always drops but her level always goes up. She is even stronger than me now. Hahaha.”
Listening to the explanation, Bluebird gaped while Sila started to get it. If Gorgeous Female Fan was really a Lord Rank weapon, that meant it was the same rank as his armor, the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection. It wasn’t abnormal for it to possess the strength to push away the fairies and the souls in a single wave.
Sila’s Mechanical Evil God’s Protection largely focused on features instead of raw power. It was an extremely versatile item which could collect matter, and even wield the abilities of the things stored inside. However, it was because of its versatility that it lacked raw power compared to Lomyok’s fan, which had far fewer options.
“What is your aforementioned problem? Do you mean the Fairy Queen?” Burapha couldn’t help but ask. He wanted to know what awaited them so that they could at least make preparations.
Lomyok reached a certain cave and pushed the door open. Walking inside, Sila and the team could easily identify the Fairy Queen due to how beautiful and stunning she was. However, she wasn’t alone. There were two Fairy Queens in the room. One was red and one was blue. They were staring at each other.
Lomyok turned his head back and answered Burapha’s question.
“Mn. I don’t know which color will suit me best. Red or blue? In which color do you guys think the clothing will look the best on me?”
Chapter 227: The Most Beautiful One
“Did I hear incorrectly? The color of your clothing?!!” Bluebird shouted. He thought his ears had played a trick on him. There was no way this absurdly trivial matter would be Lomyok’s problem.
“No, you heard me correctly. Which one do you think is better? The blue one will give of the atmosphere of being calm and collected, but the red one will let me seem wild and rousing. I really can’t choose.” Lomyok pointed his fan at the two Fairy Queens. His face told the team that he was serious.
“Can I kill him? He is too annoying, and I can’t take it anymore.” Bluebird started rolling his sleeves up, but he was stopped from doing anything else by Sila.
“What exactly is going on?” asked Sila.
The three newcomers were on guard against the Fairy Queens, but both of them seemed to only care about glaring at each other. They didn’t pay attention to Sila’s group at all
Lomyok coughed once. “Ahem. The story begins with me entering this exact cave, in which I discovered a beautiful lady sleeping. I didn’t want to waste my time waiting, so I turned off the clock on my screen. I heard from you guys that the time will go faster this way—”
“So you were the one at fault,” Bluebird complained. If someone were to completely shut off the clock, it was understandable that the time would flow extremely fast like it did.
Lomyok didn’t mind Bluebird’s complaint and continued. “...Soon enough, she woke up. I quickly explained my intention to acquire clothing made by her. I also handed her the Soul Crystal according to the tale—”
“Mister Lomyok, do you have the Soul Crystal?” Burapha interrupted. Soul Crystals were rare and expensive. They had a very specific use, however, so they weren’t popular.
Lomyok nodded. He showed everyone the Soul Crystal in his system window. It was a transparent stone with two souls within that kept spinning around in circles.
“I got my hands on it long ago. It’s pretty so I always keep it with me. According to the legend, I have to give the Soul Crystal to the Fairy Queen in order to obtain the clothing made by her.”
Bluebird nodded. The legend indeed stated that. It was unexpected that Lomyok was this well-prepared.
In fact, Sila also had one Soul Crystal in his treasure room. It dropped from the Snow Dragon Dorolia. Still, it was thanks to his Greed Card which fraudulently increased the drop rate of all items that he got his hands on it. Part of him wondered where Lomyok got one from.
Lomyok tossed the Soul Crystal in his hand up and down. “...Then, there was a system notification telling me I got a hidden quest named ‘The Queen’s Masterpiece’. Next, the Fairy Queen emitted a bright light and split into two as you can see.”
“That was all?” Bluebird was disappointed. “What does it have to do with the color though?”
“...After that, I asked the fairy in front of this cave what I needed to do, and she replied ‘You must choose’. She repeatedly told me this, so I was sure that I must choose the color, either red or blue. I couldn’t decide so I went to ask both Fairy Queens which color would suit me the best. From then on, the two of them began fighting.”
Sila frowned. “How can you be so sure that the quest is about you choosing the color of the clothing?” Having heard what happened, Sila couldn’t link the situation to the clothing’s color at all.
“Aha!! In this kind of situation, what can be more important than the color that would best fit my beautiful body? Well, it’s also a first for me, seeing someone command their subordinates to kill their former allies just to choose which color I wear,” Lomyok said proudly.
Sila decided to ignore Lomyok’s haughty remarks. He continued with his questions. “What else do you know? Do you know how to accomplish the quest?”
Bluebird dismissed the discussion. “Oi, oi. No need for that. You, come with us first. Once we exit the kingdom, you are free to return and proceed with your quest.”
Lomyok waved his fan leisurely. “I will have to decline. I, the embodiment of handsomeness, don’t like being forced to take action. Moreover, if I exit this kingdom before I finish the quest, it will count as a failure. I won’t allow that to happen.”
Bluebird could no longer tolerate Lomyok. He imbued lightning magic power in his hand and intended to paralyze Lomyok before carrying him out of the kingdom. Unfortunately, Lomyok was quicker. His eyes showed a glimpse of playfulness as he slammed Bluebird’s wrist using his fan. Then, he waved his fan to blow Bluebird away. His actions were so fast that even Sila couldn’t help Bluebird in time.
“Some ladies also like to charge at me. Well, this is my first time receiving such admiration from a man. Most of them only send me gazes of envy from a distance,” Lomyok said nonchalantly.
Lomyok’s casual defense forced the three to reassess Lomyok’s ability yet again. His speed was on par with Sila, and that was why Sila couldn’t react in time if Lomyok acted first. It was due to Qi of Little Fish having been infused in his body. With it, in melee range, Lomyok could move agilely and precisely. In addition, he could rely on his Gorgeous Female Fan to strengthen his insignificant attack power and send Bluebird flying without bringing him any harm. His control over qi was even greater than Sila’s.
Bluebird felt ashamed. It wasn’t like he had looked down on Lomyok. However, he always saw Lomyok being charged at by his female fan club without fighting back, so he didn’t think Lomyok was that competent. Unbeknownst to him, Lomyok had a personal rule, which was to never harm a woman. Because of this, even if it meant dying, he refused to use his qi against his fan club.
Sila noticed a flash of qi aura in Lomyok’s eyes but it didn’t emit from his body. That meant Lomyok possessed Qi Concealment. Not only had Qi of Little Fish and Recovering Qi been infused in his body, but Lomyok’s previous attack also showed the power of Worlds Crossing Bridge and Cruise Breeze. Sila couldn’t tell which of the other qi techniques Lomyok possessed.
Lomyok’s weakness was his low rank, resulting in his low stats. Nevertheless, the undead race had no vital spots. With Lomyok’s flawless movements, he would be able to avoid most of the powerful attacks while using Gorgeous Female Fan to defend himself against the rest. Moreover, if he got a chance, he could deal a decisive blow to his enemies using the Elegant Male Chinese Sword. Still, Lomyok always had his everlasting playful smile on his face. No one was able to tell what was really on his mind.
This was the first time Sila encountered someone whose true strength was indiscernible, who had a unique fighting style with no clear weaknesses.
Lomyok folded his fan and turned to Bluebird. “By the way... why do you want to drag me out?”
Finding there was still room to talk without conflict, Burapha explained. “The thing is, all four of us have to exit this kingdom together.”
“Mn.... Is that so?” Lomyok finally gave it his thought. “In that case, back to the main topic, red or blue?”
It seemed Lomyok would never leave this place before getting his hands on the clothing. Therefore, Sila decided to help him solve the problem. If Lomyok were to quit playing and get serious at fighting them, Sila was unsure whether he could subdue him without killing, not to mention he didn’t want to resort to violence. As a result, the quickest way for them to get out of this place was to help Lomyok get the item he desired and leave together.
“If we pick the color, what do we have to do next?” asked Sila.
“It said that I have to bathe the Soul Crystal in the blood of the most beautiful one in order to acquire the clothing I desire,” replied Lomyok.
Bluebird walked back to the rest. Even without speaking, just looking at his eyes showed that he was still angry at Lomyok for humiliating him. He inspected the two Fairy Queens. However, except for the color, they shared the exact same appearance.
“They completely resemble each other.”
“Well, they did split apart from the one body,” Lomyok said while shrugging. He unfolded his fan and explained the characteristics of the fairy race that he had discovered through research.
“Fairies are magic-type monsters. Each of them possesses two souls in one body, granting them the ability to wield two contrasting magic abilities. The fairy race is popular among magic type players who specialize in techniques. Well, that’s not important. The important thing is that fairies are kind and beautiful, both in body and mind. The legendary clothing knitted using one of the Fairy Queen’s souls is transcendentally beautiful and possesses mysterious magic power. It is rumored that the clothing’s beauty is eternal with the power of the Ancient Magic she wields.”
Burapha shrugged. “Since the two of them are the spitting images of each other, how about we just pick one and be done with it?”
Lomyok shook his head. “The legend said I need to choose the most beautiful one. It’s clearly the difference in color.”
Bluebird released a sigh of contempt and spoke sarcastically. “It’s easy. Kill whoever you think is the most beautiful and dye the crystal with their blood. Oh? Don’t you always say that you are the most elegant one? How about stabbing yourself to death? This ridiculous quest will finally come to an end that way.”
Unexpectedly, Lomyok couldn’t tell that Bluebird was being sarcastic. He folded his fan and snapped his fingers. “You are right!! Aside from me, who can possibly be the most beautiful one? Truly, thank you.”
Lomyok walked in between the two Fairy Queens. The Soul Crystal was in his left hand while he transformed the fan in his right hand into a Chinese sword.
“Oi, oi. He won’t be serious about that, right? I just—” Bluebird was cut off when Lomyok slashed his wrist and his blood poured onto the Soul Crystal.
The trio leaped forward to try and help. However, an invisible barrier blocked them from approaching Lomyok. It was a barrier that didn’t belong to anyone. It seemed the system decided that the trio could only be spectators in the event that was unfolding.
The Soul Crystal continued to suck Lomyok’s blood. As a result, the previously transparent crystal was now a dark red. Lomyok’s face became noticeably paler. His rank was only Squire. Losing this much blood could be lethal.
Once the blood filled the crystal, Lomyok raised it up above his hand and declared, “No one is more beautiful than me!! This is it—the Soul Crystal which was bathed in the blood of the most beautiful one!! Take it!”
Lomyok collapsed on the ground, but the crystal remained fixed in the air. Both Fairy Queens gave Lomyok a gentle look before combining back into one. The fused Fairy Queen extended her hand and the crystal flew onto it. Once the crystal landed on her hand, the blood in it dissolved and its color turned pure white.
The Fairy Queen began to speak. Her voice was so dreamy and captivating. It bewitched those who listened and put them into a daze.
“Dear beautiful traveler, you sacrificed yourself for others and you held no greed for the treasure. You refused to kill others for your own personal gain. If there is someone worthy of being called the most beautiful, it can only be you–who is beautiful both in body and mind.”
“...Of course. You don’t have to tell me something so obvious.” Even when he was suffering from major blood loss, Lomyok still continued to praise himself.
“All of the previous travelers always intended to kill me for their own good. Only you chose this path. Only you are worthy of wearing the Queen’s Spirit Raiment.”
“...Obviously, since it was born for me.” Lomyok struggled to stand up. He recovered his vitality by circulating Recovering Qi while drinking a medium-grade Health Potion for Ladies through a straw. (The normal variation has to be gobbled, which was too unstylish for Lomyok.)
The Queen gave him a warm smile and a slow nod. The crystal transformed into a thread ball and flew to envelop Lomyok’s body. The thread was as beautiful as crystals and glowed like the souls previously held within. After a short period of time, the clothing was finished. It perfectly fit Lomyok’s body. The clothing was green like jade, and gave off an elegant aura that was stunningly captivating.
“With the power of the Ancient Magic in my possession, the wearer of this clothing shall become incomparably beautiful. However, it comes with a price. The attacks you receive when you are wearing it will become five times more harmful than usual.”
Sila, Burapha, and Bluebird gaped. No matter how attractive this clothing was, by wearing it, one would die easily.
Surprisingly, Lomyok didn’t let out a single sound that expressed discontent. He inspected his new clothing with pleasure. “These clothes are indeed peerlessly beautiful. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind even if the damage was increased to ten times the normal amount.”
Once again, the Queen smiled and nodded. “You are truly a traveler devoid of greed. Upon hearing its downside, others would argue. However, you didn’t. Your heart is exceptionally beautiful.”
Lomyok had never shied away from praise. He puffed his chest up confidently. “That’s true.”
The Fairy Queen smiled. “I apologize for my previous behavior. I was just testing you. If you showed even a tiny bit of dissatisfaction, the clothing would indeed have that downside. However, since you praised it from the bottom of your heart—”
The clothing on Lomyok’s body emitted a warm aura. “From now on, you won’t have to fear energy oppression, curses, illusion, or poison. In addition, with the power of my Ancient Magic, all low-tier magic spells can’t cause you harm while mid-tier magic spells shall be half as effective against you.”
Bluebird, as the magic-type player, immediately realized the fraudulence of this clothing. His mouth opened even wider.
Magic spells ranged from low-tier to high-tier. The tier of the spell directly affected casting time and power. The prominent point of low-tier spells was that they were chantless and required little time to utilize. This made them ideal for disturbing an opponent’s actions. With Lomyok’s clothing, this tier of magic spells wouldn’t work on him anymore.
As for mid-tier magic spells, they usually required around thirty seconds to cast, but this could change depending on each spell and the caster. They were relatively more powerful compared to the low-tier ones. However, if their effect was halved, it could be said that they had lost their lethality.
Lastly, regarding high-tier spells, they required long casting time. There were only a handful of people who could use them in the middle of real combat.
“Dear traveler, for you and your comrades, I still have one more reward to give to you; it’s the secret method for promoting weapons made of Orichalcum to Emperor Rank,” the Fairy Queen announced.
Bluebird and Burapha were interested in the news. It was rumored that even Montra, who had owned a weapon made from Orichalcum for the longest time, was still unable to promote his weapon to Emperor Rank. Players speculated that there must be some special condition for the weapon to reach that rank.
The Fairy Queen waved her hand once, and magic particles fell down on Lomyok’s Chinese sword and Sila’s armor. Then, the two pieces of equipment emitted some kind of white smoke.
“When they are created, weapons made from Orichalcum randomly choose one monster to be their nemesis. Once your weapons reach Level 1,000 Lord Rank, you should seek out that monster and pour their blood on your weapon. When that is done, your weapon will advance to the next rank. Normally, no one can tell which monster is your weapon’s nemesis. However, with my ability, you can take a peek at their appearance for an instant. Please don’t look away.”
As the Fairy Queen finished speaking, the images of the monsters appeared in front of Sila and Lomyok’s eyes for a brief second. The one before Lomyok was a monster completely covered in white fur. No one could tell what kind of monster it was, except for one man.
Seeing the monster, Bluebird exclaimed, “Ah! That’s—”
Once he could guess the monster’s identity, Bluebird shifted his eyes to the image in front of Sila. Sila could recognize the monster in the group of smoke instantly. Both Burapha and Bluebird also recognized the monster’s identity. Their eyes were wide open.
The image disappeared. Still, it no longer important. The monster’s identity had already been ingrained into Sila’s memory.
A dignified and graceful fallen angel with twelve wings. The supreme being who stood at the zenith of all qi type beings.
“Lucifer...” Sila muttered.
Chapter 228: Lomyok’s Past
A group of five people walked through the Fairy Kingdom’s exit, this time without any obstacle blocking their path. During their short journey, the atmosphere was quite awkward since Mamon was complaining, Lomyok was praising himself, and Sila was keeping his mouth shut.
‘Lucifer? That Lucifer? How can I stand a chance against him? He can kill me just by snapping a finger, I think.’
Sila was trying to come up with a way to make Lucifer bleed. Meanwhile, Mamon, who got summoned at Burapha’s request, was mumbling.
“Don’t ever call me out again for doing something so unimportant like this,” said Mamon. He gave a small pouch to Burapha, who was grinning from ear to ear. The reason for this was that Burapha had asked Mamon to modify his large backpack and turn it into a smaller one. Burapha fastened his pouch around his thigh. From now on, he would be able to move nimbly again.
Sila’s reply was rather dry. “Mn. Thanks. Do you want to go back inside?”
“Nah, I don’t. Since I’m already out and a chance for me to play will come soon, I will stay outside for a while.” Mamon grinned as if he knew something. He looked at Lomyok with sparkling eyes like a child seeing new toys.
Noticing Mamon saying something like a bad omen, Bluebird argued.
“Sorry, but I think you will be disappointed. The Winter Forest is a place where peaceful fairies live. There will be no problem as long as we don’t light a fire. No, even if we do and the conditions to summon Doloria are met, Doloria still won’t appear since Sila killed it recently. The elemental dragons normally require a year to respawn.”
“Kiekkiekkiek. You carry such a big fire with you but you are still unaware of it. Never mind, I will just reap the rewards when the time comes,” Mamon replied mysteriously while pointing at Sila and Lomyok. “Just one of them is fine. However, if nothing happens when these two are together, I am willing to give up my title as the Devil Prince from Hell.”
Sila was, by no means, in the mood to pay attention to Mamon’s nonsense. Moreover, it seemed Mamon wouldn’t explain more if Sila didn’t personally ask.
Bluebird poked Sila several times. “Why do you have to be overly concerned about Lucifer? It’s a very far-off problem. Not to mention fighting him or even making him bleed, how are you going to find Lucifer? Even Lucifer said himself that going to the Monster Realm is difficult. I guess the monsters living in that place are surely sadistically strong. Therefore, stop stressing over a future problem. Let’s focus on the problem within our sight. I want to know what we will face, and why.”
Bluebird gestured to Mamon, urging Sila to ask for the meaning behind his words. Sila gave up and released a heavy sigh as he turned to Mamon.
“Mamon... What did you mean by that?”
Mamon inspected the crystal cave while taking some of the crystals with him. The souls inside left as soon as he plucked them out though. He stopped and turned back to reply to Sila.
“The meaning behind my words is the Gifts belonging to you two.”
Gifts, or rather, Hidden Gifts, were the concept Sila had heard about from Mamon before. He remembered that they were hidden passive abilities which were always active regardless of the user’s willfulness. Since he had no means to control them, Sila didn’t think he should spare them any thoughts.
Mamon pointed at Lomyok. “For that kid, his Gift is Twist of Fate. His fortune always comes together with misfortune. Sometimes they come in pairs and sometimes they take turns. However, the surest thing is they always come in short intervals. Because he got his hands on the Queen’s Spirit Raiment, which must have required tremendous luck to obtain, we can certainly expect great misfortune to follow.”
“God must be jealous of my beauty, I’d say. Come to think of it, there was a time when I went all-in and wagered my entire bankroll on roulette and won hundreds of thousands of gold. However, I was penniless in three days,” said Lomyok. He didn’t seem to mind at all even when he heard a big misfortune would befall him soon.
Once Mamon said it, everything started to make some sense. Lomyok possessed several rare skills and items, his strength was also not half bad. Yet, he still died a lot and didn’t seem to bother even when the situation turned bad. He was able to smile in the face of all kinds of danger. It wasn’t strange if they considered the fact that he faced these kinds of situations frequently and had already gotten accustomed to them.
Sila recalled something. “Wait. Mamon, don’t you have the skill to stop Gifts from working?”
“Yes, but I can’t use it now. That kid’s Gift has already gone into effect. He already got good luck. I can’t prevent the second part of it from happening.”
“Damn. Turns out he is a jinx,” said Bluebird.
Then, Mamon pointed at Sila. “As for you, your Gift is a bit more peculiar than others. It’s called Black Cat of Misfortune...”
Bluebird muttered, “...That doesn’t sound like a good thing.”
Mamon continued without minding him, “...that kid’s Gift still provides the user some good luck in exchange for bad luck. However, yours is pure misfortune. Not only that, your misfortune even affects those near you.”
“Super damn! Two jinxes are here with us!!” Bluebird shouted.
Sila was quite shocked while Burapha cocked his head. “But I don’t think Big Brother Sila is that misfortunate, yes? He didn’t bring misfortune anywhere he went, right? I think... erm... he just had bad luck sometimes.”
Mamon nodded. “That’s because this Gift isn’t always active. It will be only active in response to some situations such as the appearance rates of monsters, the success rate when crafting items, or gambling. If he stays passive, nothing will happen. However, if something happens around him, the event will always lead to relatively bad outcomes.”
Bluebird and Burapha recalled several situations where Sila was involved.
“Went hunting the Great Millennium Turtle, but ended up having to fight against the Water Dragon...”
“Solaria suddenly made an appearance in Colossia City’s battle tournament. Tons of people died...”
“Entered Lost Grea City and encountered an entire android army...”
“Spent some time revisiting the Island of Beginnings, but the Town of Beginnings fell into chaos and was engulfed in flames...”
“Lucifer showed up in Zhongsuyuan City...”
“My rank was demoted and I became this small...” Mamon couldn’t help but join in.
“I always got scolded by Boss and suffered a cut in salary...”
Hearing Bluebird’s last statement, Burapha frowned. “Wait, the last one is not right. Don’t just conveniently blame every bad thing that happened to you on Big Brother Sila as if everything negative is his fault.”
Bluebird gave a dry smile as he scratched his head. He thought for a moment then asked Mamon, “Isn’t it bad? As far as I understand, everyone has a Gift, right? The ones who get the bad Gifts, like Sila, will be unlucky forever. Isn’t it unfair?”
Mamon showed a smile which clearly expressed his feeling of disgust. “Heh! Don’t worry, humans. With the degree of unfairness your race has against us monsters, there is no way the Goddess will just sit tight and let you suffer.”
“The Goddess?” Bluebird was confused.
Like what he did with Sila, Mamon started explaining that all humans were secretly under the divine protection of the Goddess. He also explained the privileges the human race got to exclusively enjoy. It made Bluebird, Lomyok, and Burapha start to see the world of Monster Soul from the monsters’ perspective.
“In short, if any human has bad Gifts, the Goddess shall grant another Gift to them as compensation for their bad luck. You also have it. I call this kind of Gift Goddess’ Blessing. Even I can’t steal it from you.”
It was one of the main reasons Mamon hated humans. For the record, Mamon only temporarily added bad Gifts into Zazae when they fought. He knew that if he did so permanently, the Goddess would soon grant Zazae Goddess’ Blessing as compensation.
“Your Goddess’ Blessing is Baby Monster. It makes monsters with a higher level than you feel friendlier toward you than normal. Let me guess. You must have some experience conversing with several high-level monsters.”
“Isn’t it normal?” Sila wondered.
“It isn’t normal at all, Big Brother. Most high-tier monsters look down on us like we are ants. They don’t normally talk to us. Some of them simply crush us as soon as we meet them.”
Sila had never seen monsters interact with anyone else, so he didn’t realize monsters weren’t usually on friendly terms with players. For example, Lucifer only conversed with Sebastian and Thanatos without paying attention to any players except Sila. Some dragons even talked to Sila first before starting the battle even though they and Sila were sworn enemies.
“You shouldn’t feel too elated though. For this Goddess’ Blessing, the higher your level, the less effective it becomes.”
“Hey, hey, can you tell us what our Gifts are?” Bluebird asked while Burapha was also interested.
Mamon swept his glance to Bluebird and Burapha. “Yours aren’t so distinctive. Sense of Omen, which helps you sense lethal attacks coming your way the instant before you are hit, and Riverside Guardian, which increases your recovery rate by half if you are near sources of water.”
Bluebird and Burapha felt a little disappointed. Compared to Lomyok and Sila’s Gifts, theirs were indeed rather normal.
The five of them reached the cave’s exit, which was a similar-looking archway. The scenery behind the arch was a vast snowfield. The strong and harsh cold breeze entered the cave, making them slightly cold. Their next destination was the Winter Forest, which they could see in the distance.
“Let’s rest before moving on. When we exit, we will have to go through the forest. After we come out of the forest, we will reach Belacia City.”
“Is the city that close?” asked Burapha.
Bluebird shook his head. “Not quite. Belacia City goes by other names like the City of Freedom or the Borderless City. Although it is a city, the place where people reside is the central part near the city’s rebirth zone. You have to be careful of monsters even when you are inside the city. In Belacia City, monsters can raid whenever.”
“You said monsters can invade whenever?” Mamon asked, feeling interested.
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
Mamon walked to Sila and tugged his sleeve. “You, call Sebastian. I have something to ask him.”
“I don’t know where he is though. He is not my pet anymore. I can’t rely on the brooch to summon him.”
“You can at least contact him, right? He is your partner, so he has almost all the rights you have, including the right to teleport to your Monster Follower. Tell him to meet you in the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. You can go and pick him up there.”
Sila nodded and closed his eyes. He concentrated his mind to contact Sebastian. It took him a few minutes before he reopened his eyes.
“Sebastian said he is already there. He is talking to Rex, and told me to wait thirty minutes.”
“In that case, we will rest here for thirty minutes. We will enter the forest when Sebastian joins our team,” Mamon ordered, but no one objected to his idea. If great misfortune really awaited them as Mamon predicted, more members would be better.
Everybody sat down. Lomyok ate a recovery pellet while circulating qi. On the other hand, the others didn’t lose that much energy in the journey, so they simply sat without doing anything.
“Isn’t your business done? Why are you still here? Please tell me you don’t plan to accompany us,” Bluebird asked Lomyok.
Lomyok leisurely waved his fan at himself. “Since I am here, I think I will visit Belacia City at least once. I heard there is a place called the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle where the beautiful Vampire Queen resides. I want to witness her beauty with my own eyes. I doubt she is half as beautiful as me.”
Sila nodded. “Let’s travel together, then. I’m relieved that a skilled player like you is joining our team.”
Burapha seized the chance to ask Lomyok a question, “Speaking of being skilled, I think Mister Lomyok is stronger than you look. Can I ask for your progress regarding qi?”
“Regarding the Eight Qi Techniques, all of them have been infused in my body. When I achieved that, I got the skill Way of the Hermit, which is quite convenient for poor players. As for Basic Qi, it became Intermediate Qi at maximum level. About Qi of Little Divine Beings, I can proficiently use Qi of Little Fish, but I am still not in the mood to learn the other three,” Lomyok replied nonchalantly with an award-winning smile. He took out three unused scrolls that held Qi of Little Tiger, Qi of Little Bird, and Qi of Little Turtle.
“How is this possible? Did you acquire all of these yourself?” Bluebird was shocked.
“Not to mention his learning speed. This is the first time I’ve heard of someone who has already infused all Eight Qi Techniques in their body. As far as I know, even Mister Lone Wolf, the Qi Emperor, is still missing two or three of them.”
Sila always thought that he was the only player to achieve infusing all Eight Qi Techniques in his body. With this, he was aware that there was always the sky above the sky. Now that he thought about it, he obtained the Eight Qi Techniques from the Right Arm of the Sealed One. He didn’t know how they were normally acquired.
“Normally, where can we acquire these Qi Techniques?”
“There are eight high-tier quests exclusive to qi-type players. The quests’ difficulty level is extremely high. In addition, the difficulty level of each quest will shoot up every time you accomplish one of them,” Bluebird answered while staring at Lomyok. He found it unbelievable that Lomyok could complete all eight quests when even the Qi Emperor Lone Wolf couldn’t perform such a feat.
Lomyok shrugged. “In fact, I didn’t perform those quests myself. Someone traded them for my item. Mn, about this, during the early days when I just started playing the game, I got my hands on a certain strange S-grade item. It always sent me to some dark and hot place where I always died before my eyes could see anything...”
Despite the fact that he wasn’t bothered by the story before, suddenly, Mamon jerked up and showed a serious expression. “What did you just say?! What is the name of the item you just mentioned? What is its appearance?”
“Hm? It’s a door-shaped rock with a size that fits into my palm. Its color is black and red like burning charcoal. I didn’t feel hot when touching it though. If memory serves me right, its name is... ugh... something similar to my name, I’d say. I can’t remember it well.”
“Hell Jade,” Mamon said with a stern yet hopeful expression.
T/N: A small reminder. “Yok” in “Lomyok” means “Jade” in Thai.
“Yeah, that’s right. That’s its name. Hell Jade.”
“Where is the jade?” Mamon asked curtly. Even Sila could notice the seriousness in Mamon’s voice.
Nevertheless, Lomyok didn’t mind Mamon’s oppressive gaze at all. “As I said, I traded it with someone else and got something in return. Actually, you will know if you just keep listening.”
Knowing the Hell Jade wasn’t with Lomyok anymore, Mamon sat down and paid his full attention to the story.
“...After I got my hands on it, there was a man who came to me. He wore a mask and covered himself in a full-body cloak, so I didn’t know who he was. All I knew was that he was a man, based on his voice. He said that he truly wanted the Hell Jade and that it was very important to him. Seeing how polite he was and sensing the sincerity and exhaustion in his voice, I gave it to him. He thanked me and asked me to meet him again next week at the same place.”
“You gave the Hell Jade to a stranger for free?” Mamon gritted his teeth. He was displeased by people like Lomyok who were unable to understand the true value of some items.
“...After a week, I returned to where we met. However, he wasn’t there. Instead, there was an angel telling me his master couldn’t come due to some circumstances. Still, his master asked him to give a certain bag to me. The angel left, and I opened the bag. Inside it, there were eight scrolls of qi techniques, four qi scrolls of Little Divine Beings, a sheet of paper explaining how to efficiently practice qi and which order I should follow to make the qi techniques easily infuse in my body, undead cards for changing race, and a one-time-use special emblem to visit the Zombie King. In short, they were items for making qi-type players stronger.”
“That’s a lot of things you got there in exchange for a single jade.” Burapha gaped.
Sila was expressionless as he asked Mamon. “Is the Hell Jade one of the Gems of Catastrophe?”
Mamon nodded. “Correct. Its ability isn’t as versatile or complicated as the Eternal Onyx though. It can open the gate connected to Hell or unleash the devils imprisoned there. It’s the item that I must get my hands on at all costs.”
“In that case, we now know where it is currently. There is only one person who could search for all those items within the short span of a week and provide instructions for training qi efficiency that even qi players don’t know. Moreover, he had an angel as his subordinate. There is no doubt about it...”
Sila released a heavy sigh and turned to Lomyok.
“...The one you met at that time was Montra.”
Chapter 229: A Looming Danger
Thirty minutes after Sila teleported to the Single-Horned Dragon Forest, he returned to the team with Sebastian. Unexpectedly, Sebastian didn’t come alone. He came with two of his dear friends: Franz and Asura. Still, based on the expressions on their faces, everyone could easily tell that they didn’t accompany him voluntarily.
Sebastian introduced Mamon–the new member who Franz and Asura had never met before. The first reaction from Asura was:
“Legends and reality are very different, I see.”
Mamon gave Asura a gaze of malice. “How about you try me to see exactly why I was renowned as the monster everyone didn’t want to encounter the most?”
Asura was a psychic-type monster who possessed keen senses and high speed. Sensing Mamon’s mental oppression, he was aware that Mamon’s strength was far from normal. The psychic power he felt was filled with negativity and gave off a nauseating feeling. The vibe being emitted made people want to run away.
“Nah, I take my words back. I apologize.” Asura bowed his head. He wasn’t the type to be serious about his pride anyway. In his opinion, dignity was useless if he had to end up dead because of it.
Mamon scoffed at Asura. “Let’s depart.”
“Depart? Now? Can’t we take a break? Sebastian has been dragging us around non-stop. I’m so tired that my body is about to fall apart from exhaustion,” Franz complained as she sent her pleading eyes toward Sila. She knew for a fact that Sebastian would be kinder in front of Sila.
“In that case, let’s take some more time to rest. I’m also curious about where you have been, Sebastian.”
With Sila’s proposal, Sebastian couldn’t help but comply. In fact, even Mamon, who was the highest level monster, didn’t object to Sila’s idea. Sebastian simply made a mental note regarding Franz’s ill behavior and would take care of it in the future.
Burapha lit up the bonfire, which had already been extinguished, for a second time. The trio of monsters gave him a strange look.
“The night is still far off yet. Why are you lighting up the fire?” asked Asura.
Burapha realized that between Asura and Mamon, the former was much easier to have a conversation with. “Isn’t it obvious, Mister? To warm our bodies. I don’t think it is effective though. I’m still freezing.” Burapha rubbed his hands together. He wondered why nobody else was showing any reaction to the temperature even though it was extremely freezing.
“Are you stupid? The whole region in the north is under the curse of the Fairy Queen. This chill doesn’t come from the snow, but from her magic power. You have to cover yourself with energy reinforcement in order to keep yourself warm.”
“R-Really?” Burapha was shocked. Meanwhile, Bluebird, who was holding himself back, suddenly exploded with laughter.
“Hahaha! I was biting my lip when I saw you preparing warm coats, using heat sticks, and lighting up a bonfire! Hahaha! I can’t hold my laugh back anymore!”
Any monster that had been around for a long time like Sebastian, Franz, or Asura knew this fact about the north. Mamon had a Hidden Gift that granted him a resistance to high and low temperatures. Sila and Lomyok were qi-type players who were always circulating qi throughout their bodies, so they never felt the cold to begin with. As for Bluebird, he was aware of the curse, so he had been cladding himself with magic power reinforcement.
“Why didn’t you tell me beforehand, Big Brother Blue?” Burapha asked Bluebird, feeling annoyed.
“Ah~ I’m only an amateur, so I didn’t dare to share my insignificant knowledge with an expert like Sir Burapha. Oh, about the Snow Bison, I suggest you ride it soon because you won’t be able to ride it after you enter the Winter Forest. The territory around Belacia City rarely accepts monsters from other regions.”
“Only if their levels aren’t high enough,” added Franz.
Burapha looked at the edge of the forest. “That’s only five hundred meters away!!”
“Yeah, that’s why. Quickly ride it, pal. Hahaha! This is funny. I will have to report this joke to Boss.”
As Bluebird was laughing, Burapha tried covering his body with psychic power reinforcement. The cold sensation vanished in an instant. However, maintaining this state was troublesome and required constant energy consumption. Burapha was only a Knight Rank player, so his maximum amount of psychic points was rather low. He judged he couldn’t maintain this state for longer than twenty minutes.
“Hey, hey, you shouldn’t do that. You are spending too much power. You have to reduce your psychic power consumption. Reduce it so that the consumed amount is less than your regeneration speed. Make the aura surrounding your body become as thin as possible. With this method, not only can you save up psychic power, but your psychic points capacity will also gradually increase,” Asura explained.
“Because of this environment, all the players in Belacia City can do this kind of thing as naturally as breathing. No wonder they are strong,” Bluebird added.
Burapha tried to suppress his psychic power consumption, but it required great concentration, which was rather difficult given that Bluebird was still laughing next to him.
Recalling that he could use psychic power as well, Sila stopped his qi circulation and tried covering himself with a thin layer of psychic power. Achieving the feat was far easier than activating Divine Raiment, so Sila could do it in a few tries.
Everybody sat in a circle. For the record, Franz snuggled up to Sila to prevent Sebastian from taking any offensive actions.
“Where did you go to after you left Grea City, Sebastian?” Sila asked. Meanwhile, Burapha didn’t seem to be interested in the conversation. He was diligently controlling his psychic power to become as thin as possible.
“I went to invite my friends to help me out, sir. It seemed there was some misunderstanding between us, so they hurriedly left me behind. Well, the misunderstanding was cleared up and we are back on good terms, right?” Sebastian swept his gaze to Asura and Franz, which made them shudder.
‘Invite us your ass! To bring out the Manifesting Soul Lantern to threaten us... I wonder where he got himself such a powerful Demonic Armament.’
Sebastian didn’t wait for their replies. In fact, he knew from the start that they had no choice but to comply.
“From then on, the three of us went to Alkedia City, the Magic Kingdom, sir.”
“Hm? Why did you go there?” asked Sila. Interested by the conversation, Bluebird stopped messing with Burapha and listened attentively.
“I knew that I couldn’t win against Infernee even though she was only a clone made of magic power. Therefore, I planned to use the simplest method to get rid of this kind of magic—and that is to kill the spellcaster, sir. Normally, if the spellcaster dies, the result of their spells will disappear.”
“The three of you went to assassinate Montra?”
The conversation heated up. Even Mamon seemed to take an interest in what Sebastian was saying.
Bluebird interrupted. “Wait, wait. If Montra died, why did we still have to fight Infernee? Could it be that Mister Sebastian made a mistake?”
Sebastian shook his head. “We didn’t make any mistakes. However, there was a mess.”
“It’s better to see it yourself, sir. Asura, lend me your help.”
After Sebastian finished, Asura stepped forward. He closed his eyes and opened his palm, showing a crystal ball on it. The ball was showing moving images as if it were a television screen.
“Asura can record what he sees and show it at a later time, sir. He generally uses this ability to study opponents he has fought against. What you are seeing right now is what happened back then.”
“Is there no sound?” asked Bluebird.
“I can only record what I see. You can neither sense powers nor hear sounds.” Asura opened his eyes and looked into the crystal ball like everyone else.
The ball projected the scenery of the Magic Kingdom, a place Sila had yet to visit. The entire city was floating in the sky. It was divided into many areas and split among several islands on the one cloud. It was a captivating sight. The city gave of a surreal atmosphere unlike Zhongsuyuan City’s naturalness and Grea City’s futuristic vibe.
“This scene shows the time when we were entering the city. According to our plan, Asura would summon an army of skeleton soldiers to spread chaos all over the city, making the Heavenly Dragon Guild members come out and take care of them. Then, Franz would use poison to deal with their troops and Warlords to save our strength before entering their guild’s headquarters. Lastly, when the timing was perfect, the three of us would gang up on Montra. No matter how skillful he is, with the right place at the right time, there would be a high chance we could take him down.”
“The plan looked rather lenient. Nevertheless, your team consisted of three Lord Rank monsters. How did your plan fail?” Mamon asked directly.
The recording in the crystal changed to in front of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s headquarters. Even though the power couldn’t be sensed through the crystal ball, the viewers could see that all that remained of the front door were pieces of wood, the whole entrance having been reduced to a hole. There was no corpse, but the traces of blood and the intense battle could easily be noticed.
“Someone raided the guild before us, sir.” Sebastian revealed what happened.
“Who? The Heavenly Dragon Guild had their front door demolished and it looks like they were humiliated… How was this news not spread everywhere,” Bluebird wondered.
“I investigated and found the reason why the news could be kept hidden; It was due to Mister Sila and Mister Blue. Your achievement was exceptionally renowned. In fact, the Heavenly Dragon Guild helped you spread the news in order to redirect people’s attention away from them. It was enough for Mister Blue to get your new title, the Sky Emperor, in the span of a single night.”
Bluebird was rather proud of his new title. He was smiling from ear to ear when he continued his question. “By the way, who were the invaders? Were they members of the Wicked Union? How many were there?”
For the record, when Infernee appeared in Grea City, attacking the spellcaster was one of the options to solve the problem. Therefore, the Royal Armament Guild sent a request to do so to the Victorious Wolves Sect. Nevertheless, raiding Montra in Alkedia City sounded like a suicide mission, so they didn’t expect anything from it.
“I am not sure, sir. Maybe they belonged to a new guild. The only thing they had in common was a symbol on their clothes, a door with a skull in the center.”
“Wait, wait, Mister Sebastian. Are you telling us that there were only three of them?” asked Bluebird.
“Yes, sir. There were only three invaders. Please look at them yourself.”
The crystal ball showed the scene of Sebastian and his teammates successfully infiltrating the guild’s headquarters without any difficulty since the enemies were busy handling an enigmatic raid. The three monsters concealed their presence and sneakily observed the situation unfolding in the front yard located inside the compound. There were three mysterious people facing off against Montra, Shuran, Lost Ghost, and hundreds of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members.
Among the three people, the one who seemed to be the leader possessed a mediocre physique and was wearing a set of golden light armor under a white robe. His light brown hair was gently blown by the wind. His face was decorated with a kind smile that looked as if it would never fade. The reason Sila guessed he was the leader was due to the fact that he stood furthest in front and seemed to be the one speaking on behalf of the other two.
As for the other two, the first was a big man with blood-red hair. His eye sockets were black and his eyes were devoid of emotion as if he wasn’t human. He was wearing several layers of ragged black robes. Strangely enough, he was carrying a black coffin twice his size on his back. The other one had her entire body covered under a red cloak. Well, she should be a woman based on her physique. Some of her long red hair could be spotted outside of her cloak, giving off a sense of dangerous beauty. Even though her face was completely hidden, everyone seeing her figure couldn’t help but feel that her beauty must be extremely captivating.
“Then, Montra ordered everyone to go inside the building...” Sebastian explained as the images inside the crystal ball showed the guild’s members going into the building. The Warlords seemed to protest, but Montra insisted on it.
Once everyone disappeared, Montra stood alone facing the three people. He tightened his grip on his spear. Even though the power couldn’t be sensed through the crystal ball, Sila and his teammates could still see the ground shaking from the oppressive might being emitted by both parties. Finally, Burapha quit practicing his psychic power reinforcement and paid attention to the recording within the ball like the others.
“What happened next?”
Sebastian sighed. “After that, I was informed that Infernee had vanished from Grea City. We had no business left to do there, so we withdrew.”
The video in the crystal sphere came from Asura’s perspective. It showed Sebastian and Franz retreating, though Asura remained in the same place.
“Hm? Why is it still running?” asked Bluebird.
“I thought it was quite interesting, so I decided to observe more of it,” replied Asura.
“Is there no way we can know what they are talking about?” asked Sila. They could see Montra’s lips moving but, unfortunately, the remaining three were standing at an angle which hid most of their faces from Asura. Nevertheless, based on all their facial movements, Sila could somehow tell that the leader of the three was the only one holding a conversation with Montra.
“I can lipread to some extent. Well, I can only read the kid named Montra since the other one rarely showed his lips. Actually, this is not my business at all. Do you want me to try though?” asked Asura.
“Could you please?” Delightfully, Sila requested for help. Asura smiled inwardly. There was some merit in him doing a favor for Sebastian’s master. He would be able to make use of it in the future.
Asura coughed once. The images rewound to the part when Montra started talking to the others. Asura stared at Montra’s lips.
“It seemed he was saying... What does this mean?”
The leader-like man said something they couldn’t see. Then, Montra replied, “We have never meddled with each other before.”
The woman in the team of three stepped forward and removed her cloak. Suddenly Montra changed his expression, though very subtly. It was an expression showing surprise tingled with sadness. Sila had never seen Montra make this kind of expression before. Based on Sila’s point of view, he could see only the woman’s back. He couldn’t see what Montra saw. Still, he felt the woman was somehow familiar.
Montra let out a dry laugh as if mocking himself, yet his eyes gleamed with a flash of wisdom like he had finally realised something.
“So it’s you. If it’s you, then I finally understand what I never got it until now. So this is why the association supports Sila instead of me. Regardless, I don’t understand why you decided to make an appearance today. Why bother revealing what could have been your trump card?”
“That’s because we have investigated, and finally discovered your objective... Please step back and let Sila become the winner.” The young man stepped forward. Coincidentally, he was at the angle from which Asura could read his lips.
“Do you actually believe I will just submit? It’s easier for me if you guys are siding with him. I will just get rid of all of you simultaneously.”
Montra took a battle stance. Even though it was just a recording, Sila could tell from the environment that Montra had become stronger. The environment around Montra shook from his emotions as if he had become one with nature. It was the art which Montra didn’t use against Sila the last time they fought in Grea City.
“We didn’t come to fight you today. We are here to give you the first and last warning. Withdraw, or else, the next time we meet, you will encounter the genuine Hell.” The young man waved his hand as if he was using a paintbrush to draw a picture on the stone tiles in front of him. They cracked into the illustration of the skull in the center of the door. In addition, there were two inconceivable characters engraved below the skull.
“Keep your warning!” Montra bumped his spear’s handle against the floor, and the picture was crushed and transformed into the picture of a Chinese dragon twisting its body into number eight. The dragon eyes were gleaming, similarly to Montra’s. Both pairs of eyes stared at their opponents without giving up.
The clash of powers was both masterful and almighty.
Soon, the ball turned dark as if the television was turned off. Asura scratched his bald head. “With that level of power, if I continued to conceal my power nearby, I would have received injuries. As such, I retreated.”
Burapha didn’t seem to be very interested. “In any case, that’s good news for us. They told Montra to withdraw, and that meant they were on our side. It’s lucky we have such skilled players as allies. Maybe they are individual players supporting us from behind the scenes.”
“No, I think there must be something else to what we saw.” Sila was sure that the three belonged to the Wulin Masters Association. Come to think of it, even though he was one of the candidates for the position of Wulin Lord, he was pretty much clueless about the association. It seemed to him that the darkness shrouding the association was getting darker the more he learned.
“By the way, the red-haired woman looked rather familiar, no?” Bluebird asked. “I feel like I have met her before.”
Burapha nodded. “You think so too? I thought I was the only one.”
Even though Sila didn’t say anything, he was trying to guess the identity of the woman. Who could she be to be able to make Montra show that kind of expression?
Nonchalantly, Burapha informed everyone, “Ah... just so you know, the characters the man engraved are read as Kimon.”
“Hm? Can you read Chinese?” Bluebird asked, feeling doubtful.
“They are Japanese, Big Brother. My dad is Japanese, so I learned the language when I was young. Although the characters are the same, the native speakers can discern Kanji apart from Chinese characters through the sequence of lines drawn. Even though the man wrote them quite fast, I’m confident that they were written the Japanese way.”
“Kimon?” Sila wasn’t familiar with the word. Rather, this was his first time hearing it.
“It happened so fast. How could you read them?” Bluebird was still doubtful.
“Alas, Big Brother. It’s the language I know. Just a glance is enough. In any case, Kimon means Hell’s Gate. I’m positive I got it right because their symbol is a gate with a skull on it.”
“Hell’s Gate...” Sila muttered. Although the three might turn out to be his allies, Sila didn’t feel at ease about it at all. He felt some kind of looming danger was sneakily approaching him. The gate which shouldn’t exist on Earth was slowly opening before everyone was aware of it.
Chapter 230: The Winter Forest
There was a spacious forest with wide gaps between leafless trees. It was difficult to tell whether they were trees locked within ice or just tree-shaped ice sculptures. The wind was blowing gently, dropping snow on the travelers’ clothing. It took Sila and his group two days to reach this place after leaving Grea City. According to Bluebird, they were three quarters of the way to their final destination. It was thanks to the Fairy Kingdom that they could make such exceptional progress.
Sila looked ahead blankly. His feet continued to move without him paying attention to the way he was walking. He sneakily summoned Moon Reflecting Mirror on his palm. He was conversing with Dark Self in secret.
“What kind of person do you think Montra is? Is he a good guy or a bad one?”
“What do you think yourself? Good or bad?” Dark Self asked back.
“Why do you like to answer my questions with another question?”
“You are doing the same—asking me a question instead of answering mine. Kukuku.”
Listening to Dark Self, Sila frowned. He was seeking an answer and not in the mood to play around. In any case, Dark Self was aware of Sila’s thoughts. He sighed once and gave Sila a serious look.
“I have an answer, but I doubt you’ll like it. You’re biased and already have your own answer. You only want me to support your beliefs. In any case, my answer is Montra is just an average person. Rather, he leans toward the good-guy side.”
Sila furrowed his brows. It was his first time hearing someone saying Montra was an average person. Surprisingly, that someone was Dark Self, or rather himself.
“Montra is a good guy? Do you think so because of Lomyok’s story? I’m sure he must be planning something. Maybe he planned to exploit Lomyok in the future.”
“See? I told you wouldn’t like my answer. Since you so strongly believe your opinion, why did you bother asking for mine?”
Hearing Dark Self’s reply, Sila calmed himself down. “I’m sorry... Can you explain?”
Dark Self nodded. “We’ve been set up to be his enemy since the very beginning, so it wasn’t weird for Montra to show us hostility the way he did. If it were me, as long as the opposing person is my enemy, regardless of the kind of person he is, I won’t hesitate to eliminate him, just like Montra. However, what about unrelated people? For example, Lomyok, who Montra met accidentally. If it were you who stumbled on a stranger who was holding something very important to you, would you take violent action and snatch it from him?”
“I wouldn’t do that.”
“Yes, I know. Montra was the same. Moreover, instead of acquiring the Hell Jade for free, he did a favor in return. That’s why I said he leans toward the good-guy side. For the kind of person Montra is, he is merciless against his enemies. However, against his comrades, he won’t complain even if he is betrayed and stabbed in the back. He is the type to repay favours and avenge grievances. We are his enemies, so we see only his merciless side.”
“...Is that so?”
“I’m never prejudiced. I look at things from many angles. Regardless, it isn’t important whether my opponent is a saint or a devil. As long as they obstruct my path, I will destroy them all the same.”
Dark Self was Sila’s inner thoughts. He had no bias, so he could look deeper at things compared to Sila. However, at the same time, the way he didn’t care whether his opponents were good guys or villains meant he lacked morality.
Humans naturally have times when they want to do bad things. However, not all humans turn out to be criminals. There is a line separating those who do and those who don’t commit a crime. That line is called a conscience.
What stops us when we are about to commit a crime is the voice of conscience which reminds us of what is right and wrong, and prevents us from performing bad deeds.
Such a conscience is born from learning, experience, and discipline. It is also born from socialization.
Socialization was, in fact, another form of bias. Dark Self was devoid of it, so his point of view was broad and profound. Yet, at the same time, he didn’t fully understand the concept of ethics.
In any case, he was merely one half of Sila.
Sila fell into thought. If he followed Dark Self’s line of thinking, many suspicious things in his mind would be cleared up. For example, how could a seemingly good person like Kawin became Montra’s friend, and how some people said Montra was evil while others hailed him to the point Sila found it unbearable.
“What about Kimon?” Sila asked shortly.
“They are surely related to the Wulin Masters Association. Montra wouldn’t drive his guildmates away otherwise,” replied Dark Self. The matter regarding the Wulin Masters Association was a secret to outsiders, so he could infer this much based off Montra’s actions.
“Are they our friends or foes?” Sila asked again. In fact, he had his own answer. Still, he wanted a different opinion from Dark Self.
“Both,” replied Dark Self. It was the same answer Sila had in his mind. This meant their existences were slowly merging without them noticing. Sila started to think like Dark Self while Dark Self started to become like Sila.
Both friends and foes. This was the type of relationship Sila currently assigned to Kimon, or rather Hell’s Gate. Even though they acted like they were siding with him and clearly showed hostility toward Montra, Sila had never heard of them yet Kimon seemed to know him very well. It implied that they investigated him, which could mean they intend to exploit him somehow.
In short, until he knew what Kimon and their objectives were... he shouldn’t trust Kimon.
“Both Montra and Kimon have yet to realize that we accidentally know about their encounter. We can make use of this fact,” Dark Self proposed.
“Do you think the Three Elders know about them?” asked Sila.
Dark Self raised his brow and looked back at Sila as if asking him, ‘Do you seriously need me to answer that?’
“You’re right... If Montra knows about them, there is no way the Elders don’t. The problem is... how can we learn what they are?”
“If we seek the truth, the shortest way is to ask Teacher. Teacher Mora is the only person who won’t lie to us. At worst, he simply won’t explain.”
“I will have to find a way to contact him, then,” Sila replied to himself and deactivated Moon Reflecting Mirror. He opened his system window. Although he didn’t have his teacher’s contact information, he remembered Mora once sent him a message from the outside world. He could simply use the reply function to send a message back to his teacher.
Sila searched his inbox and eventually found Mora’s message among the rest of the letters which he had never deleted. Sila wrote a message expressing his desire to meet Mora and hit the reply button.
It had been a while since Sila last met his teacher. If he included the time he spent in the Desert of Death, he had gone longer without seeing him than during the period of time when he thought Mora was missing.
‘The time in the game flows five times faster than outside. I will have to wait for a while before getting in touch with Teacher.’
Sila smiled happily as one of the problems was going to be solved. To be honest, his life in Monster Soul was stressful as it was filled with battles. Knowing he would meet his respected teacher soon helped his mind relax.
Meanwhile, Bluebird, like others, was silently observing Sila’s suspicious actions through side glances.
“What’s up with him? He just made a serious face a moment ago but now he is smiling alone,” Bluebird whispered to Burapha.
“You should ask him directly, Big Brother Blue. Don’t interrupt my training,” replied Burapha. He was concentrating on his training regarding controlling his psychic power, so he was slightly annoyed by Bluebird nagging him.
Suddenly, the uninvited Lomyok walked in between the two. “I believe I know what Sila was stressing about.”
Lomyok tucked his fan into his belt and nodded. “Of course. I used to be the same.”
“You? Have you ever stressed?” asked Bluebird. He tried to imagine Lomyok in serious mode but his imagination couldn’t produce such a result.
“Occasionally, yes. Did you notice that Sila was hiding a mirror in his hand until just now?”
“I did see he was holding something shiny. It may or may not have been a mirror.”
“It was a mirror, I assure you. Sila must have been worried that thinking too hard probably negatively affected his beauty, so he checked his face using his mirror. Then, seeing that there were no visible wrinkles, he felt relieved and smiled delightfully.” Lomyok was absolutely sure in his deduction.
Burapha could finally maintain his psychic power. “I don’t think that was the case. I saw Big Brother Sila muttering something to himself as well.”
“He was obviously encouraging himself through the mirror. It’s one of the techniques to boost your own confidence. I told you I used to do that a lot. Just take a look.”
Lomyok took out a mirror from his system window without minding Burapha and Bluebird’s reactions.
“Mirror, mirror, on my hand, who’s the fairest of them all? ...Aha!! What did you just say? Did you say the Deity Lomyok? Haha. That’s of course. Who else can it be?”
Bluebird was fed up. “How can a person become this shameless and narcissistic?”
“Oh, I truly want you to see your own face when you were retelling ‘Legends of the Sky Emperor’. It made me embarrassed to be your acquaintance... Yeah, I also wonder how a person can become this shameless and narcissistic.” Burapha clicked his tongue as he reprimanded Bluebird using his own words.
“I’m not narcissistic,” Bluebird argued.
“Yeah, yeah, Mister Selfless. Please don’t disturb my training, will you? I need to maintain my focus. I want to be skilled at this before we reach Belacia City.”
“I am not disturbing you... By the way, do you really not intend to ride the Snow Bison? That sucks. You even managed to borrow it. Hahaha!”
Burapha was annoyed. He furrowed his brows. “I think I better walk with Mister Asura. Maybe he will teach me some psychic-type techniques.”
Burapha didn’t wait for Bluebird’s response as he hurriedly walked up to Asura.
The Winter Forest was quieter than everyone expected. There was neither trouble nor crisis as Mamon predicted. Mamon was still very positive about his prediction though. He was always grinning as he swept his gaze, trying to find some enjoyment.
Finally, heaven seemed to respond to Mamon’s prediction. Sebastian, who was leading, stopped his feet, and the whole crew also came to a stop.
“We are surrounded...” Sebastian announced curtly.
Hundreds of transparent blue silhouettes floated out from the trees, rocks, and slopes. They all shared the same appearance, which was that of a young girl with vacant eyes. They were classified as a type of fairy. Sila even had a chance to encounter them before when he fought the Snow Dragon Dorolia. They were snow fairies.
The Winter Forest was the habitat of the Snow Dragon Dorolia, who lived peacefully with snow fairies. Naturally, those who wanted to slay Dorolia had to fight the snow fairies as they were allies. Nevertheless, some players could avoid the conflict with the snow fairies by cleverly becoming a member of the fairy race like Ginny. She could fight Dorolia in a one-on-one battle that way.
“Alas, you made me panic for nothing. These snow fairies aren’t aggressive monsters. We can simply walk past them.” Bluebird shrugged. Although he had never seen a large group of snow fairies before, he was still confident. It was obvious that he was. He had been to the Winter Forest twice.
Unfortunately, the cold wind that could freeze even souls told him otherwise. Bluebird jumped back in the last instant before the wind the snow fairies blew froze him into a statue.
“Oi! What are they doing?”
“Anguish... anguish... We resent you...” A voice of anguish from each snow fairy resounded. They echoed and struck everyone’s hearts. The sound was lonely, depressing, and profound.
The temperature dropped sharply. The distance between each tree became blurred, so far yet so close. The energy reinforcement covering everyone's body started to malfunction. The group prepared for battle as they increased their energy output. Only Mamon remained unfazed as though the cold didn’t affect him while Franz ate one Purgatory Pellet to produce heat from within her body.
Sebastian looked around. “Mn... This is such a high-level spell. It is one of the Ancient Magics.”
Bluebird grinned. “If they are the result of a spell, I will take care of them. I will send them all to their birthplace.”
Sebastian smirked. He looked at Bluebird with a gentle gaze as if looking at a child who knew nothing. “Don’t waste your time, sir. I have seen your skill. An Ancient Magic is far more profound and complicated than elemental magic or even secret magic you can find throughout the world. The one in front of us is one such Ancient Magic. It is a maze-type spell named Ice Labyrinth of Resentful Spirits. I speculate that the spell must have been cast and installed here long, long ago. It seemed to activate only when certain conditions were met. Its source of energy must be these hundreds of snow fairies. Not only is it forbidding us from going outside, but the temperature will also continue to drop. I don’t think we can hope to survive unless we break the spell from the outside.”
“Anguish... anguish... We resent you who bathed in the blood of dragons—our dear allies...”
“You who bathed in the blood of dragons...? Damn, Sila, you brought us more trouble again,” Bluebird complained. Indeed, he was aware that the fairy race and the dragon race were on good terms. However, he had never heard of instances when the fairies took offensive actions for the sake of avenging dragons, not to mention creating a domain to trap them inside like this.
Burapha argued, “We both once killed a dragon too. Did you forget, Big Brother? Maybe the spell activated because of all of us.”
Sebastian nodded. “That is possible, sir. The spell shouldn’t be this strong in normal circumstances. Is there anyone here who has never slain a dragon?”
Franz, Asura, and Sebastian had all lived for a long time, so obviously they had killed dragons a few times. Bluebird and Burapha once helped Sila kill the Water Dragon Leviathan, and Sila’s history of dragonslaying clearly made him qualified for the condition. In the end, every gaze fell on Lomyok.
“Does killing Wyverns count?” Lomyok replied nonchalantly.
“It might, sir. I am not sure about it myself. Well, in short, everyone in this group has killed dragons before. That must be the reason the spell activated. What a coincidence,” said Sebastian.
Nevertheless, Burapha and Bluebird’s gazes alternated between Sila and Lomyok as they thought, ‘Is it truly a coincidence?’
Sila felt something was out of place. He couldn’t sense Mamon. He turned back and found that Mamon had really disappeared, though he didn’t know when.
“Where is Mamon?” asked Sila. Everyone started to look for him, but they couldn’t find Mamon even though he was there just a few seconds ago.
“Don’t tell me he got lost in the maze,” said Bluebird.
“I personally think he will be fine. We should be more worried about ourselves, sir.” Not only Sebastian, but Sila also believed that Mamon would be fine by himself. He may have even escaped from the maze already.
Who knows? He might even be laughing as he looked down and mocked them from the outside as they spoke.
Chapter 231: Mamon’s Great Plan
“Kiekkiekkiek!” The laughter, which leisurely mocked everyone’s misfortune, echoed amidst the snow storm. No one could hear it aside from the voice owner since they were all trapped inside the domain made of Ancient Magic.
Mamon was floating with his legs crossed fifty meters above the tallest tree. His eyes were sparkling as if he was a child seeing a new toy.
“And here I wondered how great the Ancient Magic was. It turns out to be an outdated trick. How many hundred years ago was the era when it was hailed as an inescapable domain? My technology surpassed this kind of old magic a long time ago.”
Back when Mamon was still living in the Monster Realm, aside from his unique ability to exploit Hidden Gifts, he was also proficient in item utilization.
For the record, raw materials in the Monster Realm were of exceedingly higher quality than those found in the New World. Just an ordinary medicinal herb possessed more healing power than a high-grade healing potion. Even Orichalcum, which was the legendary mineral in the New World, only amounted to a relatively rare mineral in the Monster Realm.
It was natural though. The level of living beings in the Monster Realm was unfathomable. Thus, the environment, including but not limited to the background items such as pebbles and trees, was far sturdier and of a higher quality than usual.
Nevertheless, the level of technology in the Monster Realm was lacking compared to the New World. Most monsters in the Monster Realm were oblivious to the concept of item modification and refining raw materials. Indeed, the main reason was that the quality of the items was insanely high to begin with, so no one cared. In any case, Mamon, who relied on the art of alchemy, could climb from a lesser devil position to become the Devil Prince despite the fact that his combat ability was relatively low.
By having the opportunity to visit the Lost Android Kingdom, it was a real eye-opening experience for Mamon. His horizons were broadened and his scientific knowledge was sublimated. Mamon believed that if he returned to the Monster Realm as he was now, he would be able to make all of his enemies submit with his newfound knowledge.
There would be nothing that he couldn’t achieve.
For example, what was currently in Mamon’s hand right now was a pile of seemingly ordinary rocks. They were Soul-Entrapping Rock, one of the rarest items in the Monster Realm. However, they could be easily collected in the Fairy Kingdom. This contradiction made Mamon realize something.
Monster Realm’s Orichalcum and New World’s Soul Crystal, these two items possessed almighty strength if they were together. However, they were separated from each other as if someone deliberately arranged it like that.
Mamon used a steel thread to bind the Soul-Entrapping Rocks and link them into a line. Then, he activated Envious Shadow and emerged behind a certain snow fairy who stood the furthest away from the rest. He tapped the rock against her, and the snow fairy was absorbed into it. The rock glowed as there was a soul inside it. Apparently, it became a Soul Crystal.
“Kiekkiekkiek. The Soul-Entrapping Rock can be found right next to where the snow fairies live. This is indeed a land of treasures. Let me test my hypothesis...”
Mamon carefully selected the most beautiful Soul-Entrapping Rock out of the rest. He trimmed it with his laser blade, making it look like an energy cell. He then raised his knitted clothing, revealing a terminal with a previously ordinary-looking energy cell placed where his heart should be.
Mamon replaced the previous energy cell with the trimmed rock. He quickly activated one of his skills to alter the utilization of the Soul-Entrapping Rock. Soon, the rock emitted a purple glow. Seeing the result, Mamon grinned delightfully.
He successfully combined alchemy and the Lost Android Kingdom’s technology. It was the first time this had ever happened in Monster Soul.
Prior to this moment, he was merely a spirit haunting the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection. His status was even lower than a pet as he didn’t have his own life.
In the previous battles, although he said he didn’t need to utilize psychic power to win against his foes, it could be said that it was a half-lie. The fact was that he created his vessel using the materials in Sila’s treasure room. Mamon controlled his vessel as if it were his own body. However, as it wasn’t his real body, he couldn’t exert much of his psychic power. Thus, he needed to rely on items and Hidden Gifts rather than his psychic power in order to acquire victory over his enemies.
However, now that he had sealed his own soul inside the Soul-Entrapping Rock and placed it inside his vessel, his original psychic power would gradually regenerate over time. Once he regained all of his lost power, his life would no longer be attached to the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection. He would become a full-fledged individual monster.
...Regaining genuine freedom.
Once that time came, he only needed to return to the Monster Realm to reclaim his glory. His army of devils would reach their usual height by regaining the shared Hidden Gifts with the help of his skill—Moon Alterer. Moreover, he would arm all of his troops with Lord-Rank weapons made of Orichalcum.
The day when both the Monster Realm and the New World came under his feet was closer than ever.
He only lacked the Hell Jade. If he just obtained it, Sila would no longer be useful to him.
Planning to this point, Mamon couldn’t help but let out a loud evil laugh.
Sila and the rest were facing a major crisis. The snow fairies were scarier than they had anticipated. Sila didn’t know whether it was due to the Ancient Magic or the accumulated anguish. In any case, he needed to put his all on the line without showing any openings. Each of the snow fairies in the magic domain was emitting terrifying magic power from their body. Their magic power was so cold that Sila’s bones were numb and his soul was freezing.
Sila combined the fire elements from Five-Attributed Cloud Qi and Orbiting Cosmos. Flames ignited throughout his body, enhancing both his attack power and his defense. He learned from his experience in the Fairy Kingdom that fairies were weak against wide area-of-effect attacks. Sila shifted the attribute of his power to water which specialized in flexibility.
Attribute of Water — Sealing Chain.
His qi extended from his hand and materialized into a long chain. Sila flipped his hand and the qi chain moved like a snake. It curved and struck the snow fairies in succession. Pulling the chain back, Sila attacked the other fairies in a line. With this method, he could deal with the snow fairies without directly touching them.
Sebastian brandished his pale, new scythe to get rid of the snow fairies as if plucking weeds. Asura moved a short sword in his hand, and five more ruby short swords flew according to his movements like he was a conductor. A single wave of his attack could damage five fairies simultaneously. With his Crown Ruby gone, Asura’s overall strength fell sharply. Despite that, Asura relied on the Blood Stone Sebastian had given to him to exert his strength. As for Franz, she focused on defending by circulating qi throughout her body and lazily tossed Flame Liquid to attack the fairies from time to time.
Bluebird relied on his speed to evade the fairies’ attacks. His lightning spells didn’t work against them at all. In addition, he couldn’t make use of his ultimate skill since the fairies emitted extreme coldness that could freeze his hand before he could manage to touch them. In any case, seeing that the others were fighting diligently, he knew the number of fairies would decrease without him having to do anything. With that in his mind, he only focused on taking evasive actions.
Lomyok stood smilingly. Fairies were beautiful creatures so he thought they deserved to die in an elegant manner. He didn’t transform his weapon into a Chinese sword. Personally, he preferred the foldable fan over the Chinese sword. He sent his power through the Gorgeous Female Fan using Ray Assemble, Flame of Torturing, Freezing Soul, Worlds Crossing Bridge, and Cruise Breeze. The power sent out from the fan shot forward as a thin line, directly penetrating the core of each snow fairy in its path. Once the power struck their cores, it would scatter and freeze the fairies from within, immobilizing them. Then, the power would ignite and let the fairies disintegrate as beautiful ice particles.
“How beautiful~ There will be no other names more suitable than Sparkling Snow Jade that can describe the beauty of this move. Let's call it as such, then.”
Out of nowhere, Lomyok stopped to give a name to his move. Regardless, excluding Sila, Lomyok was the person who killed the highest number of snow fairies. In addition, his killing method was the cleanest compared to the rest.
Lomyok unfolded his fan, changing his attacking method from pointing to waving. The snow fairies were blown away by a hot cyclone made of Flame of Torturing combined with Cruise Breeze.
The one who had the hardest time against the snow fairies turned out to be Burapha. He wasn’t as fast as Bluebird, so he struggled to evade all of the fairies’ attacks. The prominent point of his family lance art was the continuous waves. Burapha emitted several layers of psychic power through his lance. However, against the snow fairies, his waves of psychic power only amounted to small waves rather than a tsunami. Even if they received the attack head-on, they would only flinch for a brief moment. It was still fortunate that his lance possessed mighty defensive power. Otherwise, the glacial breezes from the snow fairies would have already frozen him to death.
Burapha was anxious. He injected more power into his lance, which made the energy explode into several layers once it came into contact with one of the snow fairies. There was a moment of chaos as his comrades needed to hurriedly avoid the explosion. Bluebird couldn’t avoid it in time as he was hit by it and fell down.
“Oi, Burapha, be careful! Don’t attack the people on your side.”
“It’s my lance art’s fault! I suspect it may not be suitable for group battles.”
Burapha was restless. His attack yielded no results if he reduced the power, and became uncontrollable when he tried to make it powerful enough to damage the fairies. His father invented this lance art on his own, so it was possible that it really had such a downside.
Excluding Bluebird, nobody blamed Burapha. They knew it was normal for crossfire to occur in a group battle. Even Asura and Franz sometimes deliberately yet sneakily aimed their attacks at Sebastian, who would calmly dodge then pretend to be surprised while counterattacking, which Asura and Franz would also dodge.
The number of snow fairies started to decline. Witnessing this, Sebastian wondered what the reason was. Generally, these fairies were supposed to instantly respawn upon death as long as they were bound by the Ancient Magic. Even he himself had been stressing about what method he could use to break the domain from the inside. He didn’t understand why the number of them could diminish. Unbeknownst to him, Mamon, who was outside, was constantly absorbing the snow fairies into the stones.
“My teacher once told me this: when doubting your ability, rather than blaming other factors, you should be doubting yourself first.” Sila sent a sound transmission to Burapha.
When Lomyok’s indiscernible strength was excluded, Burapha was the weakest member of the group. It wasn’t like his strength was lacking. Rather, what he lacked was experience. Take Bluebird for example, his strength wasn’t exceptional but he could survive various situations. Honestly speaking, if a death match between Burapha and Bluebird were to occur, Burapha would have a higher chance of winning. However, with Bluebird’s personality, he would run away the moment he realized his odds were low.
As far as Sila saw it, Burapha’s lance art was quite interesting. It was a defensive profound art with complexity, likely to be an art with dual attributes of wood and water. It was more of a martial art rather than a qi art. With this kind of art, even if the opponent was stronger, the user would still have a shot at winning as long as they properly utilized the art.
Sila had never seen the Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art’s original inventor, so he naturally couldn’t tell the right way to utilize the art. However, as he saw Burapha using it, Sila could at least tell that Burapha must have been using it in an incorrect manner. He guessed it might be the methodology of the art’s owner to let Burapha discover the correct way to wield the art himself through trial and error.
“As far as I see it, I think you swing your lance too fast, Burapha. To utilize psychic power, you have to clear your mind first. The more a battle heats up, the calmer you must become. Don’t mind what others say about you. Don’t mind the enemy. Don’t mind the result of the battle.”
Sila refined his experiences and put them into his own words. Burapha’s lance art was more inclined to the wood attribute rather than water, so it obviously focused on control and slowness. As for clearing one’s mind to utilize psychic power, it came from Divine’s guidance.
‘The more a battle heats up, the calmer you must become.’
Only this line gave Burapha a spark of thought. He couldn’t properly understand the rest of Sila’s words. For example, how was swinging the lance too fast a problem? In his opinion, the one who was quicker would become more advantageous in battles as the enemy wouldn’t be able to keep up with their speed. Also, what does it mean to not mind the enemy? If we don’t mind the enemy, who will we be fighting against?
“Ah… We are fighting ourselves,” exclaimed Burapha.
In fact, He had been so close to realizing this fact. He had been missing just a single step to push his Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art to another level. With Sila’s words, they finally pushed Burapha from a gamer to become a true martial artist.
“So this is the true meaning of the eyepatch,” Burapha muttered to himself. At first, he relied on it to train his Psychic Eyes. Once he mastered it, the eyepatch was no longer important to him. Yet, his father still insisted that he wear it. His father told him he would understand the reason when the time came.
In the beginning, Burapha thought his father just wanted to act cool. Wearing an eyepatch to match his title: the One-Eyed Evil God.
Finally, he understood the reason why he had to wear it.
One eye was there to look at the enemy when the other was needed to look into yourself. He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. Thus, we must closely and constantly observe ourselves so as to not fall into depravity.
Burapha decided not to remove his eyepatch, similar to how his father always wore it to remind himself of this exact moment. His power flowed according to his body’s movement. His series of movements were consistent, balanced, and continuous. His lance art emphasized gentleness rather than raw power. The short lance in his hand precisely connected with the snow fairy’s attack.
His psychic power sent out five ripples, going from his hand through his lance to inside the snow fairy. Each of the ripples supported the previous one. Soon, the snow fairy screamed and disintegrated.
This didn’t mean Burapha increased his power output. He merely changed his way of utilizing it. His father was famous for being able to defeat any enemies in a single blow, so he had mistakenly thought the Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art was an offensive art. It turned out that the art was rather defensive. However, its defensive power would accumulate in the opponent’s body every time the user blocked attacks with the lance. The invading power appeared in a form of small ripples which were difficult to detect. Then, when the user attacked, the waves of power would explode from within the opponent’s body, fierce like a stormy sea.
This was the Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art's hidden application, the trick that made it the art which could defeat any opponent in a single move.
Burapha’s psychic power emitted in the form of several layers rather than a protective aura like others did. It was a unique trait of his family lance art. The layers would gently come into contact with his opponent and echo back to inform the user of how much power was needed to invade the opponent’s body without letting them realize it.
Burapha went purely defensive. He didn’t dare to call himself an expert yet, but it was the fact that his current strength was sufficient against the snow fairies. The number of the fairies which he killed was slowly catching up to what Sebastian and Asura had achieved, though they weren’t trying their hardest. Up to now, Bluebird was the sole person who ended up unable to kill even a single fairy.
An explosion rang out, followed closely by the snow fairies’ screams. All of them collapsed on the ground, twitching while showing pained expressions. The number of trees returned to normal. It seemed the domain was out of power.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked in the direction of the sound, where a cloud of smoke was rising. Soon, Mamon walked to them from that way.
“What happened?” asked Bluebird.
Mamon revealed a blue crystal in his hand. It was tied with a rope and there was a talisman with ancient characters placed on it. It had originally been buried under the snow, protected by various spells. However, Mamon discovered its location thanks to one of his Hidden Gifts. He apparently used a bomb to dig it up.
Witnessing the crystal in Mamon’s hand, Sebastian exclaimed, “Ah, that must be the artifact which converts the fairies’ magic power into the domain.”
Mamon tossed it into the sky before slashing it into tiny pieces using his Spider Blades. The snow fairies screamed painfully. Their transparent tears slid down their cheeks as their bodies shivered pitifully before completely vanishing.
“With this, there will be no more of that stupid labyrinth. Let’s go,” Mamon said indifferently.
“Did you really need to kill them? Asking them to free us should have been enough,” said Asura.
“It would waste my time.” Mamon shrugged before leading the way. Even though his action seemed to be excessive, no one objected to it. Being too kind to the enemy could be welcoming future misfortune. Maybe what Mamon did was the right call.
Sila and the rest could comfortably walk past the Winter Forest as there were no more obstacles blocking their path.
Not a single snow fairy could be seen in the Winter Forest. In fact, there would be no more of them even in the future. Mamon intentionally set it up that way to prevent someone else from obtaining Soul Crystals the way he did.
There had to be no mistake in his great plan, no matter how small it was.
Chapter 232: Monster Realm’s Junctions
Sebastian released a sigh of relief. He hid a pale blue thumb-sized lantern in his pocket before anyone could notice it.
‘That was close. It was fortunate that we could take care of them. Otherwise, I would have no choice but to rely on the Manifesting Soul Lantern.’
If Mamon didn’t take care of the Ancient Magic, Sebastian would really have no choice but to use the lantern. Personally, he didn’t want to use it in front of his teammates since he wasn’t sure he could control what happens after activating it.
Exiting the Winter Forest, there was a white desolate landscape with some ruins which indicated that this area once used to be a grandiose city. There were half-destroyed structures and broken walls scattered throughout the snow slopes, showing traces of severe battles that must have taken place long ago.
“Welcome to Belacia City, the Borderless City where strong unaffiliated players gather,” Bluebird declared.
Mamon swept his gaze over the ruins. He picked up one brick among the rest to inspect as he said, “Sebastian.”
Sebastian, who was thinking about other things, turned to Mamon. “What is it, sir?”
“I heard this human city can be raided by monsters regardless of time. I want to know if this area is one of the Monster Realm’s junctions.”
The conversation brought everyone’s attention. The news regarding the Monster Realm started from Lucifer’s dialogues in Zhongsuyuan City. From then on, people began to search for clues related to the place called the Monster Realm. Soon, the game company released some information about it. It was a parallel world, yet on a higher plane compared to the New World where players lived.
The average rank of monsters in the Monster Realm is Lord while the average rank in the New World is Knight. The reason why the world where players currently reside is called the New World is because of the fact that the Monster Realm was the original world in Monster Soul. The game creator intended to test the monsters’ evolution, so he created several batches of Squire Rank monsters and set it that they could evolve at transcendent speed. Then, he exited the game and accelerated the flow of time by an astonishing degree; the time could be sped up since only monsters existed in the game. He entered the game to intervene from time to time in order to restore the game balance when it was needed. He repeated this process several times until it had been more than ten thousand years since he started.
Eventually, the game creator discovered that no human would be able to survive in the Monster Realm. He tried putting a lot of fraudulent items and useful quests into the game to make it easier for humans, then invited various famous people from different areas of expertise, both combat-oriented and normal careers, to test the game for a certain period of time.
The conclusion was worse than his imagination. The survival rate of even the first generation players, who were the best experts and professionals in different fields, was less than ten percent. The chance that common people could survive the Monster Realm would undoubtedly be a flat zero. The Monster Realm project was considered a failure at that time. Subsequently, the game creator duplicated the world before he put the monsters into it, and hired a team of expert game designers to properly handle the game creation process. Finally, the current Monster Soul Online was born.
The game creator let the first-generation players test the game again, and the feedback was divided into two. The first took a liking to the new version of Monster Soul since it was more thought out and playable, while the others said the new version lacked excitement; the world of monsters was supposed to be wild, hardcore, and reigned by the strong to suit the theme of the game.
Ultimately, the game creator decided to include both versions, namely the New World and the Monster Realm, in Monster Soul. However, he set up harsh conditions for players to be allowed to step into the Monster Realm.
Because of these strict requirements, in the two years since the game launched, not a single player had managed to enter the Monster Realm.
One of the conditions was for a player to search for a place where the two worlds overlapped, the so-called junction, in order to go past the gate to the Monster Realm.
Although the Main Continent was duplicated from the Monster Realm, the latter had gone through long years of great battles, which caused the environment to be tempered and undergo an intense transformation. Thus, the terrain was completely changed and there were not many places that remained overlapping.
The game company’s marketing department seized the opportunity to make an announcement about this piece of information as soon as people inquired about it. It piqued players’ interest and made them desperately search for clues. Even gamers who had already quit the game, believing that they had been to every corner of Monster Soul and encountered every kind of monster, came back to the game. As a result, Monster Soul Online, which always stayed at the sixth in the top ranking game, regained some of its popularity and shockingly jumped to the fourth place even though the competition in the virtual reality gaming industry was fierce.
Aside from taking notice of a bizarre change in environment, Sebastian was one of many other methods which could discern whether a specific location was a junction or not.
Similarly to what Mamon did, Sebastian picked up a brick to inspect it. “Hmm... I think this place really is one, sir. There is an intense smell of death in the air. Based on these ruins, this place is likely to connect to the Sunless City in the Monster Realm.”
“The Sunless City? That’s great. Can you open the gate for me, Sebastian? I have been wanting to pay a visit to that place for a long time,” said Asura.
“The current me can’t do that. I have to get my genuine form back first.”
“Can we also go there?” asked Bluebird.
“We, monsters, can go there without limitations, sir. We just have to go past the gate. However, for humans, I heard they can’t simply go there. They need to get permission from the Supreme Sage Altia, who is the master of the Hall of Omniscience, first. Unfortunately, I don’t know where the hall is located. I only heard that humans would be invited to that place once they are qualified, sir.”
“Ow. It must be a chained quest. This is going to be troublesome,” Bluebird complained as he wrote down new information he acquired in his notebook.
“What kind of place is the Sunless City, by the way?” asked Sila. He was mildly interested since Asura seemed like he really wanted to go there.
“It is a dream-like land for us undead monsters. There is no day, only night. No living creatures stay in that place, only the dead. Just staying there will make us feel refreshed and our bones will look healthy. It is truly a good place,” Asura replied with a bright expression.
“Like hell that kind of place is good!! Who would want to go there?” shouted Franz.
“Yeah, it’s good for ghosts and undead creatures, similar to Hell. You are indeed knowledgeable,” said Asura. He didn’t know that Franz was being sarcastic.
Mamon wasn’t interested in the conversation. He simply memorized that this place was a junction for the Monster Realm. Once he got his hand on the Hell Jade, he would be able to summon his devil army through this place.
Burapha asked, “How long will it take for us to reach Belacia City, and I mean the place where people actually live.”
“Not too far. If we hurry, we will reach there today.”
“Is it safe?” asked Sila.
“Mn. There is nothing to be worried about. There will be one or two monsters raiding the city at a time though.”
“Mn. That means it’s relatively safe, right? Then, Release Lookhin.”
Sila released Lookhin out. The petite body emerged and looked around the place. She soon approached Sila and grabbed onto his sleeve. Sila gently stroke her hair.
Lookhin shifted her gaze to Mamon. She stared at him before tearing a bag of pet food apart and eating the food inside. Mamon didn’t respond to her actions. He just grinned and headed forward.
With Lookhin staying by Sila’s side, Franz had no choice but to unhappily step away and go back to walking alongside Asura and Sebastian. Meanwhile, Burapha approached Sila from the other side and exchange knowledge regarding martial arts with him.
Except for Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws, Sila had no knowledge about other martial arts which focused on slowness. He explained his comprehensive version of the six techniques to Burapha, but it was up to him to grow using this information.
“Based on what I saw, your art seems to focus on defense. If you understand the application of the Stop, Weaken, Parry, Spin, Migrate, and Combine techniques, your ability to handle attacks will become more formidable, I’d say.”
“What about what you said last time, Big Brother? You said I was too fast. I don’t get why being fast is a bad thing.”
“Being fast and being slow have their individual strengths. I didn’t mean being fast is a bad thing. I just noticed that your lance art seems to be one that is more compatible with slow movements.”
“If I am too slow to take action, how will I be able to fend off the attacks?”
“That’s why you need to read the opponent’s attacks in advance. Being fast means acting speedily while being slow means an act of unending changes between each movement.”
Sila raised his hand and slowly moved it toward Burapha. Seeing Sila’s movement speed, Burapha raised his wrist and tried to block. However, no matter how much faster he moved, Burapha couldn’t touch Sila’s hand at all. In the end, Sila successfully placed his hand on Burapha’s shoulder.
“See? This is an example though. I’m proficient at bare-handed combat while you aren’t, so you had a difficult time coping. If you used your lance, you would be able to block my hand. Well, it’s your turn. Try attacking me.”
Burapha nodded as he said, “Please be careful.”
He didn’t dare to smack Sila’s in the face, so he threw a punch at Sila’s shoulder instead.
Rather than relying on his speed to dodge the incoming punch, Sila took the hit directly. The moment Burapha’s fist struck Sila’s shoulder, Sila relaxed his muscles and subtly shifted the angle of his shoulder. His inner force gently channeled through his veins and entered his muscles, completely canceling the power behind Burapha’s fist.
“This is the Weaken technique. I used my inner force, but if you can’t, you can achieve a similar feat through martial moves. The concept is letting yourself go with the flow of an impact. All experts can do this, and even common people can do it if they focus on defense. If your target just now was Kawin instead of me, he would even be able to borrow your power to counterattack you.”
Kawin was a profound practitioner who focused on defensive martial arts. He possessed tons of martial moves to stop, weaken, and migrate the opponent’s attacks. In any case, Sila kept using the core part of Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws and relied on his soft qi to compensate for his lack of martial moves. Although he wasn’t in pursuit of a perfect defense, he still had a way of negating attacks.
Burapha jotted down Sila’s lines without leaving out any details.
Since the conversation centered around qi, Sila asked Lomyok.
“Lomyok, may I ask you whether you have attained the essence of qi? Also, which of Ten Supreme Qi do you want to have?”
This question piqued Bluebird’s interest. He also wanted to hear which of Ten Supreme Qi that Lomyok planned to use.
Lomyok replied, “Regarding the essence of qi, I only lack the condition of inventing my own qi to attain it. As for Ten Supreme Qi, I won’t use it. In any case, Qi of Little Fish has already infused itself in my body. If Qi of Little Divine Beings don’t fuse simultaneously, I won’t get one of Ten Supreme Qi.”
“Eh? So you already know about all of that?” Sila asked, feeling surprised. He had planned to share his knowledge with Lomyok. He didn’t anticipate that Lomyok would already know.
“They were written on the same sheet of paper Montra gave me. There were warnings as well, that following the written instruction would result in being unable to obtain any of Ten Supreme Qi, since it described how to train each of Qi of Little Divine Beings in the most efficient sequence. By the way, I’m now learning Qi of Little Turtle. I will start training others once it has also been infused in my body.”
“How does it work? Can you repeat said instructions?” asked Bluebird. He was ready to jot down the qi-type’s secret training.
“I must apologize. There is a line in the paper asking me not to share this knowledge with others until two years have passed. It has only been one and a half years since then, so I won’t tell you. This handsome one has never broken a promise.”
“Eh? But... Montra is not a good person, you know? He was surely scheming something or laid down some traps. Following his instructions might lead you to severe qi deviation. If you tell us, maybe we can come up with a solution,” Bluebird tried to persuade him.
“That’s your opinion. I’m just an individual player who has neither true friends nor eternal foes. This world is a game where we pay money to enjoy our time however we please and do what we can’t do in the real world. Anyone can do whatever they want. It’s their freedom.”
Sila was thinking about the time Montra set. To ask Lomyok not to share the secret for two years, that meant this information would be of little to no value for Montra after the upcoming war event. On the other hand, if someone got to know it prior to the time he set, it might cause some kind of trouble for Montra.
Bluebird gritted his teeth. Such delicious information was being dangled in front of him, so how could he easily give up on it? Finally, he decided to show his trump card.
“You know what? I know the identity of the destined monster for promoting the rank of your weapon. Maybe we can negotiate.”
Lomyok didn’t seem to mind. “Telling me or not, it’s your own choice. Either way is fine by me. Ultimately, it exists somewhere in the game. As long as I keep traveling, I’m sure I will encounter it one day.”
Bluebird was agape. “It may take you years to find it. Don’t you want to become stronger soon?”
“With the difference in the flow of time, we have more time on our hands in the game. I don’t see the point in hurrying. Adventuring is fun. Well, if I have to make a guess... With its thick white fur, I think it will be somewhere in this northern region. I have traveled to nearly every place in the south and the east but have never seen it. As for the west, the environment is quite hot, I don’t think it is a suitable environment considering its appearance.”
‘Damn. This bastard is smarter than I thought. I never imagined that he would be this thoughtful.’
Bluebird couldn’t believe his ears. A crazy person like Lomyok could accurately deduce the truth. Indeed, the monster was in the northern region. In fact, it even lived near Belacia City.
Bluebird’s mistake was due to him using time and strength as bargain chips. Both of these were worthless in Lomyok’s eyes. Furthermore, he forgot to take into consideration that Lomyok had traveled to most of the places in the New World. He could identify the distinctive features of each area to some degree. Most monsters in Monster Soul lived in suitable environments, so it was easy for him to deduce that a creature covered in thick, white fur most likely lived in the north.
“What about your own unique qi? What is keeping you from inventing it?” Sila wondered.
“Actually, there is no significant problem. I have already roughly come up with its concept and most of its features. There is only one missing part. Please take a look.”
Lomyok took a sheet of paper out and showed it to Sila. Thinking that it was the paper with a secret regarding qi-types, Bluebird hurriedly poked his head in to read it. However, upon reading it, he frowned.
“Erm... Handsomeness Qi, Heavenly Beauty Qi, Deity-like Attractive Qi, Aesthetic Handsome Qi... What the hell is this?”
“It means I can’t decide on the name for my qi.”
Bluebird furrowed his brows and left the conversation with his sullen mood. Sila swept over all the names and pointed at one of them.
“In fact, you can change the name whenever, so it doesn’t matter which name you choose. In any case, if you want my help, I think this name is the best.”
Burapha followed Sila’s finger and said, “Oho... Lomyok Qi. Your naming sense is terrible, Big Bro. Please, just don’t... Let me have a look.”
Burapha swept his gaze through the names as he explained, “A name is quite important, Big Brother. It can give off either an overbearing, majestic, or fearful impression. You don’t want to use an item with a lame name, right? It’s the same. In any case, the name should be in line with the characteristics or the attributes of your qi, Mister Lomyok. Since I don’t know its features yet, I will just pick a name which is a bit ambiguous. How about this one?”
Sila and Lomyok looked at the name Burapha pointed at.
Personally, Sila didn’t think it was different from the one he had chosen. Nevertheless, Lomyok seemed to be very satisfied.
“Oh, I see. This name is indeed great. It sounds as glorious as my graceful being and gives off a subtle vibe of ultimate nobility. So, from now on, I’m the Deity Lomyok, the master of the unique qi named God’s Grace Qi. My qi shall shine brightly like a child chosen by the heavens.”
“Erm... Actually, I picked it simply because it was the only one among the rest that seems versatile. It was also the only one in the list without words like Lomyok, Handsome, Cool, or Beauty in their names.”
“Okay. I have decided. I will use this name. Thank you, Brother Burapha. If you ever want my help, just say the word, and I surely will return this favor.”
This was the first time Lomyok had called Burapha by his name. It seemed he could only memorize the names of those who he recognized.
All of them traveled the rest of the way with a bright mood. Sila had a chance to exchange his knowledge regarding qi with Lomyok while Burapha joined in the conversation. They had a good time together to the point where they lost track of time.
Three hours later, a small city surrounded by a row of short walls appeared before their eyes.
Sila and his team finally reached the actual Belacia City, the City of Guildless Players.
Chapter 233: Belacia City
Belacia City was a small city, just like Bluebird said. Even when compared with other small cities, such as the Town of Beginnings or the Port City Lockheart, Belacia City was still the smallest. Seeing it from afar, there were only a few buildings surrounded by a row of walls that only came up to their chests, a height that seemed useless for defense considering the local monsters. There was only one two-story building in the city. It was a restaurant located in the center.
Bluebird took out a cloak from his system window and donned it. He also wrapped it around his face to cover most of his facial features.
Witnessing what he did, Burapha asked, “Didn’t you say that clothing is not helpful in resisting the cold? Why are you suddenly putting on a cloak?”
“Erm... I just want to warm my heart, okay? Don’t ask too much. Let’s split up. I’m going back,” replied Bluebird.
Sila turned to Bluebird and asked, “Eh? Why? We just arrived. Aside from you, we are clueless when it comes to this city.”
“The restaurant is the very center of this city. The western side is the residential area, the eastern side is the market, the northern side is monster territory, and the south is where we just came from—the Winter Forest. Don’t pick a fight in the restaurant and don’t cause trouble for the Medical Saint. When people are fighting or monsters are raiding, you don’t have to be concerned about the safety of others. The people here can take care of themselves and they are always so vigilant.”
Bluebird’s explanation was so hasty as if he was in a hurry.
“Don’t pick a fight in the restaurant and don’t cause trouble for the Medical Saint. Why?” asked Burapha.
“Because there is only one restaurant in this city. It acts as a resting, relaxing spot for everyone. If you dare to start a fight there, you will surely be hunted down. The people here won’t care which side of the argument is right or wrong. They only care who starts it. As for the Medical Saint, he works in a clinic located at the rebirth zone. His fighting ability is not that great compared to others, but his medical skills are second to none. Everyone in this city, no matter who they are, has been treated by him at least once or twice. In conclusion, he is one of the most important figures in this city. Thus, don’t harm him and don’t damage the clinic. Otherwise, the citizens are going to lynch you.”
“Is there a potion shop, sir? In the case that I want to open a business in the city, are there any regulations I must follow?” asked Sebastian.
Franz and Asura’s faces went noticeably pale. Sebastian opening a business meant they would have to work their asses off in a sweatshop without being able to see the light of day.
Bluebird replied, “They didn’t have one last year. The ingredients for potion-brewing seemed to be difficult to acquire, so people often used ones that could be purchased from the system-generated building. If you really want to open a business, you can set up a stall or rent a building, and you can sell whatever you want. This city is separated from the outside so there are always some strange shops opened on a whim. Just go there and you will see for yourself.”
Franz interrupted the conversation. “B-But... Erm... our objective behind coming here is not to open a shop, r-right? I heard we came here for another purpose.”
Sila nodded. “Indeed, our main objective is to recruit people. We have to keep this in mind.”
Asura secretly gave Franz a thumbs up. “Mn... In that case, opening a business will just waste our precious time... Young man, you’re absolutely right, we have to keep this in mind. Let’s make it so that any plans regarding opening a shop are not a priority.”
Sebastian smirked. “In order to invite people to join us, I believe the first thing we must do is to create a sense of unity, sir. By having a potion shop, we will be able to form a bond with the citizens. Then, the recruitment will become easier.”
Sila followed this line of thought. “Umm… You’re right. What Sebastian said also makes sense. What should we do?”
“Why don’t we just do both, Big Brother? That way the chances of us failing are reduced. Let’s split up into two groups and perform different tasks,” proposed Burapha.
“That sounds good. What do you think, Bluebird?”
“What do I think? Why does it matter? I’m going back. I even brought you here through a shortcut. What else do you want from me?” Bluebird’s gaze wandered around, being oddly vigilant.
“Your Boss seemed to order you to stay with us in Belacia City and help us to the best of your ability though,” Burapha said with a victorious smile.
Bluebird swiftly turned his head. “How do you know about that?”
“Your Boss instructed White Swan to pass a message along to me. She asked me to tell you this in the case that you aren’t willing to help us. Your Boss seemed to predict that you would surely flee from the responsibility.”
‘Sheesh! Boss, oh, Boss! And here I thought I was the only one who knew about her order. I didn’t expect her to pass her order through Swan to Burapha!’
Since it was the Boss’ order, Bluebird had no choice but to grit his teeth and comply without his consent. “Fine. However, I will act alone. Just contact me using the system window if you want anything.”
“That is fine. Bluebird specializes in gathering intel, so acting alone will give you more freedom. Just inform us when you obtain any important intel,” Sila agreed.
“I will also go my own way here. Let’s meet again when the opportunity arises, Sila, Burapha, and umm... you too, my number one fanboy,” Lomyok said.
Bluebird opened his mouth widely. “Who is your fanboy?!”
Lomyok straightened his back as he waved his fan elegantly. “Ahem~ No need to hide it. Your behavior made it kind of obvious. You were always furious when I ignored you, and always tried to get my attention. Moreover, you kept jotting down every word I said. Who else can you be aside from being my fan? Well, to be honest, I’m surprised to know that I have such an enthusiastic fanboy.”
Bluebird’s brain went temporarily blank; he was speechless. Meanwhile, Burapha was laughing so hard that his stomach hurt. “Wahahaha! A fanboy! What a great joke! Hahahaha!”
Lomyok took out a sheet of paper and wrote his signature on it. He swiftly threw it to Bluebird who caught it unconsciously.
“That is for my number one fanboy... In any case, I will be traveling around Belacia City for quite a while, at least until I finish visiting the Vampire Queen in the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle and make sure that the white-fur monster is not around here. If destiny truly exists, we may meet again. Adios~”
Everyone politely bid Lomyok farewell. Only Bluebird stayed silent as he was still too shocked. Even Sila had a hard time suppressing his chuckle.
“D-Damn! Just you wait, Lomyok! I will take my revenge one day, you bastard!!” Bluebird declared loudly as his dignity was trampled on.
“Oho, Big Brother Lomyok just left, yet you are already expressing your desire to meet him again. As expected of his number one fanboy. Hahaha!” Burapha teased.
Bluebird was about to retort. However, he noticed blue vapor emitting from his body. It meant he was losing control over his emotions, which prompted Asmodeus’ psychic power to surge. He had to calm down, so he counted to one hundred in his mind.
Seeing that the joke went too far, Sila stopped it. “Easy, easy. Let’s quit it and split up. We will split into two equal groups. One will act openly while the other will act secretly. My group will openly invite people to join us while Sebastian’s group will open a potion shop to slowly build up intimacy with the people.”
“I am quite knowledgeable when it comes to trading and management, so I guess I will be with Mister Sebastian,” Burapha volunteered.
Sila shook his head. “No, I think Burapha should be in my team. You want to train yourself, right? In that case, being in the open will be more convenient. As for the potion shop, Sebastian used to run one in Zhongsuyuan City, so there won’t be a problem. Am I right?”
Sebastian agreed with Sila. “Yes, sir. You can count on me to take care of it.”
Sila looked at Lookhin who had been doing nothing but eat. “I guess Lookhin will have to stay with me. What about you, Mamon?”
“I prefer staying away from the bird girl,” replied Mamon.
“Mn. Actually, Mamon is good at item utilization, so it will be better for you to join Sebastian’s group. What about you, Mister Asura, Miss Franz?”
The monster duo turned to look at each other. Sila stated beforehand that the teams would be equal in members. Now that Sila’s group consisted of three members while Sebastian’s had two, if the two of them both volunteered to join Sila’s team, the ratio would be five to two; the gap would be too wide. However, if only one of them joined, the number would be acceptable.
“Well, I’m willing to sacrifice myself and join your group.” Franz was the first to take action.
Asura hurriedly argued. “Oh, no, Franz, my dear friend. Of course I can sacrifice myself for your sake. You can stay with Sebastian. As for me, I am willing to put myself in danger in your place.”
Franz didn’t give up. “No, thanks. You and Sebastian are both undead. There must be many things you want to talk about together. I will go for you.”
Seeing that the two couldn’t settle it easily, Sila said, “To be honest, neither of you have to force yourself to come with me. Both of you can stay with Sebastian. Maybe you two will want to spend time with friends.”
‘This is bad! At this rate, both of us will end up being in Sebastian’s group. If that is the case...’
“Hold on, Sebastian’s Master!! There is a solid reason I want to join your team. This kid, Burapha, still has a lot he has to improve and learn about psychic power before he can fight on par against a skilled opponent. I’m but a benevolent monster who holds my comrade dearly. Seeing his talent, I can’t afford to let it go to waste. Therefore, I’m willing to impart to him my special technique regarding psychic power in order to make him become stronger.” Asura made an excuse. He went as far as dragging Burapha into it.
“Really? You will teach me?” Burapha asked as he was pleasantly surprised.
“That kind of technique is unneeded. I will teach you my poison art. You don’t need to be that strong. Just toss it at your opponent, and they will fall down squirming in pain,” Franz argued.
“It’s good that you mentioned poison... Oh, Franz, my dear friend. I felt really guilty when you forced these two pellets into my hands. I was opposed to the idea, but you still insisted that I take them. Please, just take them back. Stealing products from the shop really doesn’t sit well with me.”
Asura activated the ultimate skill—Selling A Friend Out. He blatantly exposed Franz’s wrongdoing as he handed Sebastian the two pellets Franz had stolen from the shop.
“Asura, you bastard...!” Franz gnashed her teeth.
“Mn... these are indeed the pellets from our shop. It seems strict discipline for employees is required. Well, Franz, you will have to join my group,” Sebastian said lightly, however, his words were like a decree. Upon hearing them, Franz froze up. Looking at the other member, Mamon, she realized there was no way he would do the physical labor. Having to work alone was bad enough by itself. On top of that, she was going to be punished. She glared at Asura.
Asura walked to Sila and said to Franz with his most sympathetic voice, “I’m doing this for your own good, my dear friend, really. You need redemption. It’s still not too late for you to reform.”
Franz was so close to screaming her lungs out. Nevertheless, she suppressed her anger. Revenge is a dish best served cold. She would wait ten years if she had to.
‘From now on, I will have to be on guard against poison. I won’t touch anything Franz gives me,’ Asura thought while eyeing her expression.
“Well, let’s split up,” said Sila, to which Sebastian nodded. Before they went their separate ways, the butler handed Sila a certain amount of money.
“This is 500 gold, sir. Please take it. I heard you didn’t have much money on you.”
Sila happily took it. After that, Sebastian’s group walked off, and Bluebird took this as his cue to leave. Now only Sila’s group remained, consisting of himself, Burapha, Lookhin, and Asura.
“Where should we start, Big Brother? Do you have a plan?”
Sila shook his head as he replied, “In order to persuade someone to join us, at the very least, we will have to know their circumstances. Let’s start by visiting the restaurant. We will observe what kind of lifestyle the players have.”
The rest of the group, except for Lookhin who didn’t bother expressing her opinion, agreed with Sila’s plan. They entered the city and walked along the main street. Some people glanced at Sila’s group briefly before removing their gazes. They were mildly curious. It was rare for this place to have newcomers. Despite this, there had been an unusual amount of people arriving lately.
The restaurant was a two-story building entirely made of wood. It stood firmly, perfectly fine, against a cold storm. There were only a handful of people on the first floor. Nevertheless, Sila wanted to have a better look at the city, so he went upstairs.
The four of them sat at the table next to the window. As soon as they sat down, a female waitress approached them, using her magic power to levitate four bowls of noodles. She placed them on Sila’s table and quickly left once it was done.
“Eh? We didn’t place an order, did we?” Burapha wondered.
“That girl just now was a fairy. Members of the fairy race have an appearance resembling humans, so I can’t tell whether her rank is Lord or not. In any case, she is quite skilled compared to most fairies you see in public. Her movements were quick and she could use magic power to levitate several bowls of noodles without spilling the soup. I guess she is someone’s pet.”
Asura expressed his thoughts as he looked at the bowl of noodles in front of him. He normally only consumed liquids, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t eat normal food. It just wasn’t necessary for him, nutrients-wise. He used a pair of chopsticks to grab the noodles and found that every strand had the exact same length and thickness.
“The chef is skilled.” He took a bite. “And the food is delicious.”
Lookhin activated her psychic power and lifted her bowl up, then made its contents float out of the bowl and into her mouth.
Sila reprimanded her. “Lookhin, please eat properly. Use a spoon and a pair of chopsticks.”
Lookhin pouted. She picked a pair of chopsticks up. Still, she only pretended to use it as she secretly used her psychic power to control the bowl. Sila sighed looking at her.
“Is it okay for us to eat? Maybe she served the wrong table,” said Burapha. He looked around and found that, aside from their group, four tables were seated. Everybody was similarly eating bowls of noodles.
“They are yours. You can be at ease, she didn’t deliver them to the wrong table. The chef here sought for, hunted, and cooked ingredients personally. The menu changes every day according to what he has. We can’t be picky.”
A man sitting at the table next to them started a conversation. He stood up and approached Sila. “Can I sit with you?”
Sila couldn’t tell what kind of person this man was. He was a robust man in loose clothing made of cotton. His skin was tan and sturdy like a steel plate. His gaze was rough but tingled with a beautiful shade of blue as if his eyes were ice jewels. The qi this man emitted was calm and cool.
The expression on Sila’s face didn’t change. Although he couldn’t tell whether this man was friendly or hostile, he politely greeted him. “You’re welcome. Please take a seat.”
The man sat down as several gazes from other tables fell onto theirs. Sila really couldn’t discern whether the gazes contained vigilance, suspicions, something else.
The atmosphere in Belacia City was tense. The relationships of the players in this place seemed to be complicated as Sila couldn’t tell who was friendly and who was hostile. Like the city’s nickname—the Borderless City—implied, there was no clear line separating the types of relationships the citizens of this city had with each other.
Chapter 234: For Which Purpose Does The Bell Ring?
Sila, Asura, Lookhin, and the mysterious man enjoyed their food as if it was the most ordinary thing to do. Only Burapha was tense and barely able to eat. He was completely on guard.
“You are making a face like you just ate poison. Your psychic power is annoying, you know?” warned Asura.
Sila added, “Burapha, overstressing can be counterproductive. Your psychic power emphasizes being continuous and traceless, so you should emit it steadily. If you’re this tense, you will lose your prominent point.”
The mysterious man nodded. “Regardless of what kind of situation you are in, either you’re advantageous or disadvantageous, you shouldn’t express what is in your mind. You need to maintain control over your facial expressions, your actions, and your power.”
Even a stranger gave him advice. Burapha couldn’t help it anymore. It was fine if everyone kept their cool. He gave up as he introduced himself.
“Thank you for your advice, sir. My name is Burapha. May I ask for your name?”
“My name is Fallun. Everybody calls me the Frosty Berserker though.”
Burapha felt that Fallun’s title didn’t suit him at all. The ‘berserker’ part couldn’t possibly describe this seemingly simple man who seemed to have a carefree personality.
“My name is Sila. This is Asura, and this is Lookhin.” Sila introduced his teammates.
Fallun scratched his head. “Um. It has been a year since the last time I left Belacia City. I didn’t expect the outside players to become this strong. As I don’t keep up with the news, I’ve never heard your name before.”
“Me too. I haven’t heard the name Fallun before,” Sila replied sincerely.
What Sila said could be taken as an insult, but Fallun knew that Sila meant no harm, so he laughed. “Hahaha! You’re right. Neither of us has heard of the other before.”
Noticing that Fallun was quite friendly, Burapha inquired, “Why did you decide to come over and greet us?”
“Hm? It’s nothing. I just thought that it’s a good opportunity. Belacia City rarely has newcomers. You guys may become my friends or my enemies in the future, who knows? In any case, since the future is uncertain, it’s better for us to get to know each other when we still have a chance.”
His reasoning was a bit sketchy. Nevertheless, Sila didn’t mind. He continued the conversation. “Mister Fallun seems really strong. I don’t doubt it. However, for me, I don’t think I am worthy of being called strong yet.”
Fallun grinned as he laughed. “Haha! Don’t be modest. I can discern who is strong or not without having to watch them fight. Other than Little Brother Burapha, the rest of you are brimming with confidence, and that shows you have faith in your ability. Here, even if you are weak, you will have to pretend that you are strong. Otherwise, everyone will walk all over you.”
Fallun’s statement seemed to be directed at Burapha. He was warning Burapha about his lack of self-confidence. For an expert, regardless of the situation, they shouldn’t express their worries.
Suddenly, the sound of a bell ringing could be heard four times far in the distance. Sila and his comrades turned their attention to the source of the sound. On the other hand, Fallun frowned as he heard it.
“What was that sound? It rang from the west.”
Fallun stood up. “It’s an alert. There are several bells in Belacia City. If monsters raid the city and you need assistance, you can ring any bell once. If you see a dispute between players, you ring the bell twice. Then, if the city is at risk of falling, you ring the bell three times.”
“What about four times?” Sila asked as he was sure that the previous sound rang four times in succession. Furthermore, Fallun made a strange reaction as soon as he heard it.
“Maybe someone accidentally knocked it. Otherwise, it means that guy is brave enough to return to this place. At this rate, today will be hectic. I’m going to go take a look at what happened.” Fallun placed five gold coins on the table. “It’s on me this time. Think of it as a welcome meal. Who knows if we will ever get another chance to enjoy a meal together.”
Not only Fallun, but it seemed that many people were also leaving and heading straight to the west.
“Can we go as well?” asked Sila.
Fallun, who stood at the edge of the balcony, turned to him. “Here, you can do anything you want without having to ask for anyone’s permission. Well, let me give you a warning that it can be very dangerous. If the alert is real, we will be facing a great catastrophe. A disastrous day in this city’s history may be repeated.”
Every customer left. Noticing that Burapha’s bowl still had remaining noodles, Lookhin lifted the bowl up and poured everything into her mouth. She hastily swept the corner of her mouth using her sleeve and followed Sila. Meanwhile, two fairies, who worked as waitresses, came out from the kitchen. One of them dashed to each table and collected the money while the other floated up and released the rope binding a sign to the top of the restaurant, revealing a sign beneath, which said ‘Closed.’
“Catastrophe? What kind?” Sila asked as he looked around. He found people from all over the place leaping toward the west. It seemed everybody in this city could move quickly. Not a single one of them simply ran on the ground; someone flew while someone else jumped from rooftop to rooftop. He even noticed a person in a chef uniform dashing forward. It seemed this was an incredibly important alert as the restaurant even had to close down.
“It’s not just a normal catastrophe. It’s a blue-colored one.”
Fallun leaped through the sky as he finished answering Sila’s question. Based on Sila’s observation, Fallun relied on his qi to materialize sheets of ice and use them as footholds. His qi was so strong that it could even freeze air. Sila’s Tortured Soul was no match for Fallun’s mastery.
“Blue-Colored Catastrophe? It sounds weird. What kind of catastrophe has a color?” Sila wondered.
“This is terrible, Big Brother! That’s Big Brother Blue’s title!”
“Bluebird’s title? How is he related? He even has an exclusive alert in this city?”
“I don’t know, but let’s hurry up.”
Burapha relied on Psychic Impact to send himself flying. Asura and Sila quickly followed him while Lookhin used her Great Sparrowhawk Qi to fly forward.
Lookhin used to feel confident that there was no one who could rival her top speed in the vast sky. However, it seemed that didn’t apply to Belacia City’s sky. In this place, there were at least two others who were considered Lords of Speed.
Both of them flew past Sila’s group with astonishing speed. The two of them even glanced at Sila and his teammates before they left.
Sila had an opportunity to observe both players. One of them was a man with a messy hairstyle dressed in old white clothing. He could run through the sky as if running on flat ground. As he ran, he kept yawning like he had just woken up. The other one had golden hair and was wearing loose clothing. He didn’t run through the air, but stood on a flying sword which flew at an extreme speed. Their destination was the same as everyone else, the west.
“This place is really full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons. I’m glad I came,” Sila muttered as he followed Burapha.
“I have seen people flying with levitation spells or stepping on air with psychic power before. However, this is my first time seeing people completely disregarding gravity.”
“They are both psychic type. The man with the messy hairstyle seems to be a member of a qi-type race though. I felt qi in his body.”
“A mixed type? Those are quite rare.”
Mixed type players meant players who selected a race with a different energy type from their main power, and made up a minority of the entire playerbase.
By choosing to become a mixed type, players wouldn’t obtain a synergistic effect from their supporting skills enhancing the racial skills. Their racial skills wouldn’t be able to exert their full strength. On the other hand, mixed-types possessed a variety of skills. For example, Zazae was a member of the dragon race, which was a magic-type, while his main energy type was qi. As a result, he could utilize magic-type racial skills while possessing high health points and great physical abilities. However, he couldn’t cast the Skeleton Dragon’s spells.
In their group, since Burapha was in the lead, Sila and others naturally had to follow him. Except for Burapha, no one used their top speed. Nevertheless, even if Sila were to use his top speed, he still didn’t think he could catch up to the two previous players. He would have to seal Lookhin in his armor in order to rival them.
Soon, Sila reached an area where more than twenty players had gathered. There was a person in the middle of the group. However, unlike what Sila had expected, that person wasn’t Bluebird. Instead, it was a young woman holding an ice-cream cone. She was carefreely standing among the others.
“How dare you ring the bell without a proper reason, Snow? You surely know what ringing a bell four times means.”
Sila looked over someone’s shoulder and noticed a certain woman dressed in a white scholar outfit scolding the young woman in the middle. She had an oval-shaped face and a pair of sharp eyes. Her posture was upright and stern. Sila would know later that her name was White and the young woman in the middle was called Snow.
“I really saw Bluebird, White. Although he donned a disguise, I’m sure it was him. I approached him in order to take a better look, but he quickly fled. If it wasn’t him, he wouldn’t have escaped,” Snow argued as she pouted. She seemed childish, so the scene looked like a daughter arguing with her mother.
“In that case, where did you last see Bluebird?” White asked with a serious expression.
“I followed him to that corner, but he suddenly vanished. That's why I knocked the bell to summon everyone, so we can search for him.”
“Could it be that he masked himself with magic? One year ago, Bluebird had yet to select his element. If he chose the earth element, some mid-tier spells will be unlocked and he will be able to use them to disguise,” White speculated.
Everyone immediately looked around, looking for any strangers. Soon, their eyes locked onto Sila and his teammates.
“I think I have never met these four before,” said White, and her statement instantly made Sila become the center of attention.
Fallun stepped forward. “All four of them just arrived in this city today. They were with me in the restaurant when the bell rang. They can’t be the Blue-Colored Catastrophe. Indigo can be an eyewitness to my statement.”
“Yes, all four of them were in my restaurant. They are not Bluebird. I remember every customer in my shop.” A man in a chef uniform stepped up. Apparently, he was the restaurant’s owner. His name was Indigo.
“Other newcomers? Again?” White cocked her head. With Fallun and Indigo’s confirmation, the others were no longer interested in Sila’s group. Nevertheless, Sila was aware that his face was already memorized by the players present.
“In conclusion, you hallucinated or lied. As one would expect from a child’s words.” Another voice came from behind Sila. Turning around, Sila got to see the most outstanding person he had met so far in Belacia City. He was a white-haired man with a bulky, muscular physique, like Fallun. His most eye-catching part that couldn’t be easily removed from Sila’s memory was the fact that the man was only wearing underpants. Furthermore, they were the indestructible underpants generated by the system, an object meant for preventing obscenity that couldn’t be removed.
“Shut up, you pervert!! I’m not lying!!” Snow shouted.
“You are not lying? Where is the Blue-Colored Catastrophe, then? No matter how hard I look, the only thing I see here are those white tailorbirds.” The man pointed at five tailorbirds perched on a roof.
Sila and everyone else followed the man’s finger. If anyone observed closely enough, they would notice that one bird among the rest flinched as soon as it was pointed at. It was constantly shivering.
‘Oh, smooth,’ thought Burapha. He was one of the few people who knew Bluebird could transform himself into a tailorbird. Some people only knew that Bluebird liked to form his magic power in the shape of birds.
Even for those who were aware that Bluebird could transform, almost no one knew he could pick any color for his bird form. Normally, as he liked the color of the sky, Bluebird transformed himself into a blue tailorbird.
For the record, tailorbirds were like background objects in the world of Monster Soul, similar to rocks next to roads. Every one of them was identical to each other, aside from their colors. Killing them was possible, but it was simply a waste of time. Naturally, no one cared about them.
“Stop it, Ryou. Anyway, let’s be on guard. If anyone sees him, please inform the others,” concluded White.
“Heh. If I really find him, I won’t share him with anyone else and will execute him personally,” Ryou, or rather the underpants man, said. He disappeared from where he was standing and reappeared in front of Sila. In any case, Sila could tell that Ryou had temporarily accelerated his speed to the point where it seemed like teleportation.
Ryou stared at Sila, along with his teammates, as he kept the distance between them at four meters. He snapped his fingers three times, and, like a lighter, three clusters of flames were lit up on his fingers. The three small clusters gave off pale glows as if they were souls. Ryou tossed the fireballs around between his two hands as if he was a clown in an amusement park.
Sila came to know that this man was a qi type player. Moreover, his mastery over Flames of Torturing, Ray Assemble, and Cruise Breeze was exceptional. He could even touch the flame he made out of qi with his bare hands.
“Here you go, a housewarming gift from me. Take it.”
The three fireballs shot toward Asura, Burapha, and Sila. Maybe Ryou thought Lookhin was a kid, so she was the only one he didn’t make a move against. In any case, Lookhin continued to enjoy a bag of snacks in her hand apathetically.
Nobody came to interrupt or even gave a warning. They were also curious about the newcomers’ strengths.
The three fireballs traveled at a different speed. Asura was the target of the first fireball. His face was devoid of emotion like he was just a lifeless skeleton. As far as he saw it, the fireball wasn’t lethal. It was just a tool to gauge his strength. He wouldn’t allow himself to be tested that easily though. Thus, he neither dodged nor blocked the attack. He pretended to fail to evade it and got hit directly.
The fireball submerged in his body as he secretly utilized his psychic power to negate most of its power. He took several steps back and pretended to stagger. He deliberately allowed himself to be hit and lost an insignificant portion of health points as he refused to show his real strength. Aside from his poker face, his acting was realistic.
Asura made it look like it was easy to cope with the fireball. However, the fireball was extremely fast. Burapha couldn’t bring his lance out in time. Still, he moved his hands in circles and depended on Parry technique which Sila just taught him recently to sweep the fireball away. Although the fireball was made of qi, it was touchable. He redirected the fireball upward, which caused it to explode in the sky like a firework.
Unfortunately, Burapha’s hands suffered from a hot sensation like he was scalded. He had to rely on his psychic power to reduce the pain.
As for Sila, he was accustomed to being attacked. Since the opposing side told him to take it, he decided to literally take it. He extended his right hand and materialized an invisible cone made out of his power. The fireball passed through the cone and its strength was reduced by half before Sila grabbed it with the Stop technique. For the record, his movement wasn’t one in Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws. It was his own move.
Formless Martial God — Moon-Catcher.
Sila held a fireball in his hand, like what Ryou did previously. Everyone was surprised. The reason Ryou could hold the fireball easily was that it was his own power. The feat of holding an opponent’s power as if it belonged to oneself meant Sila was more skillful. Still, this fireball wasn’t Ryou’s true strength, so it couldn’t be concluded yet.
“I didn’t know that there would be a gift. Well, I don’t know what to do with it, so please take it back.”
Sila’s eyes shortly gleamed with killing intent. Encountering several strong people stimulated Dark Self. Although it wasn’t to the point where Dark Self surfaced and gained control over his body, Dark Self’s influence affected Sila’s state of mind. As a result, his next action wasn’t a mere test but an actual attack.
Formless Martial God — Sun-Melter.
The fireball ignited and suddenly became larger. Sila added all of his combined qi techniques—Tortured Soul, Unblemished Cool Breeze, Galaxy Eclipse, and Universe Reversal—into this attack. The fireball radiated an intense heat like it was a sun. It even vaporized the snow below Sila’s feet.
The bystanders stepped back as they protected their bodies with energy reinforcement.
The miniature sun shrank and became a glass marble. Still, its might was unchanged. Ryou, who always showed a playful personality, showed a stiff expression as his entire body was engulfed by a blue flame that he emitted.
Sila flicked his fingers and sent the glass marble toward Ryou. Under normal circumstances, Ryou would accelerate his speed and dodge it. No one would be foolish enough to directly receive this level of attack. However, Ryou was a stubborn person. Since Sila literally took his fireball, there would be no way he could feel content with evading Sila’s attack. He planned to literally take it as well.
However, once the fireball came into contact with Ryou’s palm, it lost its powerful might and came to a halt. Mimicking what Ryou did, Sila snapped his fingers once, and the fireball disappeared.
“With this, I have properly returned it,” Sila said as he felt relieved. Dark Self’s flash of killing intent caused him to attack Ryou for real. Thankfully, the heart of Formless Martial God was Formless. True is False, False is True. No matter how powerful his attack was, Sila could change truth into a lie, canceling it instantly. On the other hand, he could also change his seemingly weak attack into one that dealt high damage.
The flame that was surrounding Ryou dispersed. It seemed the reason he only wore a pair of underpants was due to the fact that no clothing could handle his flames.
“My name is Ryou. What is your name?” Ryou asked with a serious expression.
“My name is Sila. As for them—” Sila was about to introduce his teammates, but Ryou cut in.
“I only asked for yours. Here, you have to be strong enough to be able to declare your name. Otherwise, you have to live without people caring about you.”
Honestly, Asura didn’t care whether his strength was recognized by others. It was perfectly fine for him if no one wanted to know his name. As for Burapha, he admitted he was still lacking. He knew he didn’t deserve to stand on the same ground as the other players here. He made a firm determination that he wouldn’t leave this place unless his strength was acknowledged by the people in this city.
The sound of a bell ringing was heard once more. It came from the north this time. Furthermore, the sound constantly rang with no sign of stopping. If one listened carefully, they would know that the sound came from several bells being knocked simultaneously.
“What does this mean?” Sila asked, hoping for someone to answer.
“It means a horde of monsters is raiding the city. This is rare. I wonder who invaded the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle. Why don’t they wait for two more days?” Fallun asked after answering Sila’s question. At the same time, most of the players in the area started leaping to the north without any discussion.
As everyone followed the bells’ sounds, a certain white tailorbird finally stopped shivering and flew in a different direction with its mind at ease.
Oh i caught up, so what was the release rate again? Anyway thanks for the chapter
Chapter 235: The Weight of the Mission
Sila looked at the many people leaving the scene. He was considering his next course of action when he noticed Bluebird flying in a different direction.
In addition to his team, only Fallun and White were still there. White seemed to be particularly interested in Sila’s team and tried to probe for information.
“Nice to meet you, everyone. Welcome to Belacia City. My name is White. May I ask your name?” White greeted them with a smile. Her eyes didn’t smile with her though.
“I thought I had no right to announce my name,” Burapha replied dryly.
“Oh, that only applies to Ryou. Please don’t think that all of us are savage people like him.”
“In that case, my name is Burapha. This person is Asura, and she is Lookhin. As for Big Brother Sila, you must have heard his name a moment ago.”
White nodded. “It turns out that you’re Burapha who is currently being hunted because of the Dragon Killer Sword, and you’re the new star of this era: Weapon Subduing Fist Sila, also known as the Monster Emperor.”
Burapha and Sila looked at each other. White simply smiled at them before ascending to a roof.
“There are those who read the news in this city, just so you know,” she said, “No matter what your objective for visiting this place is, please try not to cause trouble. Otherwise, we will not yield even if the one coming at us is the Magic Emperor Montra.”
Finally, White left, and only Fallun remained by their side. The man approached Sila. “How about you guys? Wanna go with me?”
Sila looked at Burapha who nodded at him in return. Seeing strong people made Burapha want to see them in action, so he decided he would follow them.
“In that case, let’s go, Burapha,” said Sila.
Fallun shook his head. “Are you a babysitter, Sila? Listen to me, Little Brother Burapha. If you want to go somewhere, you have to go using your own two legs. If you keep following other people, there is no way you can grow up. Or... could it be that you didn’t realize Sila slowed his pace in order to wait for you?”
In fact, Burapha was well aware of that. He knew that Sila’s top speed was clearly faster than he had shown previously. Fallun’s statement made Burapha stop and think. It wasn’t like Sila could always be with him. He needed to rely on himself more.
“Mn. Big Brother Sila, please go ahead. You don’t have to wait for me,” Burapha said with a determined expression. Seeing him like this, Sila didn’t oppose his decision even though he had grasped how dangerous this city was.
Sila, Asura, Lookhin, and Fallun jumped onto a roof. Sila looked at Burapha one last time and opened his mouth.
“Burapha... Qi is born from tempering a body, so repeatedly practicing is necessary for qi-types to become stronger. However, psychic power is different, as it is directly related to your nature. To develop it, understanding is required, not repetition. It is the easiest, yet most difficult type to train. If you just find a training method suitable for your nature, your psychic power will grow by leaps and bounds within a short period of time.”
Sila finished his explanation. He could clearly describe the pros and cons of each energy type, especially psychic type as he had received direct guidance from Divine. It was the main reason behind the massive growth of his psychic power.
While he still had Burapha’s full attention, Sila continued.
“Divine, who taught me about psychic power, once told me that there is no fixed way to polish it. The only way to master it is to understand its nature. In my case, it’s about me acknowledging my own flaws. As for yours, if I have to guess, I think a different description will be more fitting.”
Sila’s psychic power was wild, fierce, and destructive, so he needed to handle it gently. The more he acknowledged it, the more power he could bring out without harming his own body.
“And what is that, Big Brother?” asked Burapha.
“Slower will be faster...”
Sila, Fallun, Lookhin, and Asura left, using their highest speed. Soon, Fallun spoke to Sila.
“You are quite kind, aren’t you? Giving him that much of a hint.”
“I’m kind of like a trainer’s assistant in real life. Seeing someone striving to become stronger, I can’t help but cheer them on.”
“Are you sure what you did is consider helping?”
“You raise a good point, Mister Fallun. You’re also kind. What you said was right. Burapha will become stronger if I leave him alone. Psychic power will develop the most in dire situations. I have always been too worried about him and thought he needed to get the basics down first. As it turned out, I was the one who held him back.”
Fallun didn’t change his expression. “I’m not kind. I just found it annoying. He is a man, not a baby. Seeing you raising him with care irritated me.”
“I wasn’t. I just didn’t want him to overdo it.”
“How can a person grow without pushing themselves to their limits? If he can survive in Belacia City for two weeks, I guarantee you will see a new Burapha.”
As they didn’t slow down to wait for Burapha, they didn’t take very long to reach their destination since Belacia City was quite small. They witnessed a brawl in front of a belltower at the North.
The invading monsters were vampires, though their appearances were far from noble, unlike the Count Dracula one could see in films. They were, in a sense, human-sized bats with sharp fangs and long nails. Their blood-red eyes gleamed with malice as a hundred of them were flying around in the sky. All of them were Marquis Rank monsters. Additionally, there were lesser minions, Knight Rank Blood-Sucking Bats, acting as vanguards. From Sila’s perspective, the horde of monsters was like a black cloud with several illuminating red eyes.
“It’s a lot more than usual. This is going to be troublesome,” Fallun said, though he didn’t seem to be worried at all.
Sila continued to observe the fight and understood Fallun’s meaning. His idea of ‘troublesome’ meant the fight would simply take more time to settle. The thirty players engaging in the fight could handle the horde of Marquis Rank monsters without significant problems despite the numerical disadvantage. Moreover, they could calmly reduce the number of monsters one by one. The most noteworthy part about this was the fact that no one had died yet.
Sila had seen a similar situation in the Town of Beginnings. At that time, with the Eternal Onyx’s power, a horde of Werewolves came into a city. Even though there were tons of skilled fighters in the town, they were dying like tree leaves falling in autumn. None of the groups present at the time could fight without suffering casualties.
Another similar instance was a small war in Grea City. Cross could mobilize a smaller number of people to oppose the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members. Regardless, a clear difference was the fighting methods. Cross and Montra commanded their armies as if they were their chess pieces. Both of them relied on strategies and formations to gain victory from battles. On the other hand, the people in Belacia City had a totally different fighting style.
Each player possessed the strength to protect themselves without requiring any assistance. Everyone could fight individually, yet they could lessen each other’s burden in a brawl without hindering the others even though they hadn’t trained together. Several sparks of energy, be it qi, magic, or psychic power, flew around crazily. However, the people here thought of them as mere background visual effects. They could evade them easily and didn’t need the casters to shout out warnings. Even if the number of enemies was larger or they were stronger, the fight would simply be extended troublesomely without a raise in difficulty level.
Sila always fought alone. He had been finding that team play was painful and quite pointless as the combined ability of players wasn’t frightening at all. However, today, he was aware that he had been a frog in a well. He just got a chance to witness a group battle consisting of truly skilled players. If Lomyok was here, he would describe the group battle in front of him as the most elegant brawl.
Having reminded himself of Lomyok, Sila swept his gaze around to search for the troublemaker who ought to be the cause of this situation, but he couldn’t find him.
“Mister Fallun, do you happen to know the reason why these vampires invaded the city?”
Fallun stared at the battlefield as he replied, “Everyone knows. Someone must have entered the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle. Because of the game’s story setting, these vampires can only exit their castle after being invited to the city by humans. However, if anyone enters their castle first, they will make an excuse that since a human can be inside their residence, they should be able to enter a human’s city too. With this kind of excuse, they often caught the invaded player without killing them in order to rampage outside.”
“Hm? How can we get inside the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle without risking them going outside, then?”
“We will have to wait for the right time. There will come a time when the tip of the castle is shining, though we don’t know when specifically. Based on our estimations, it will happen two days from now.” Fallun pointed to the north, where an old castle stood in the distance.
‘Mn. Considering the distance, if Lomyok rushed there as soon as he left us, he would have arrived there around this time. Didn’t he want to stop by the city first?’
“Vampires usually don’t keep their prey alive for long. Therefore, if the person in the castle dies, these monsters will automatically retreat. That’s why some people decided not to take any actions yet.”
Fallun took a glance at three people who didn’t engage in the fight. Two of them were floating in the sky; one was sitting on air, yawning, while the other one stood on his flying Chinese sword. These two were the ones Sila had met before. As for the last person, he was a plain-looking man with two metal armguards.
“Who are they?”
“Hm? Are you curious? That sleepyhead is Tsunji, the Sky God. Don’t underestimate him just because of his looks. He will become a different person when he fights. His race is the eagle. With his racial qi, he can travel freely in the sky and accurately aim at his enemy’s vital spots. Together with his ice-attributed psychic power, his claws are quick and icy. He is a tough one to beat, that’s for sure.
“The man on the flying Chinese sword is Skyless, the Chinese Sword God. He is tough as well. His weapons are dual Chinese swords. Under his feet is the Sky-Breaking Chinese Sword and the other one he hasn’t shown yet is the Vibrating Lightning Chinese Sword. His speed is unfathomable, not to mention his reach. Don’t blindly think that he is a melee fighter just because he uses Chinese swords as his weapons. He once assassinated someone from half a kilometer away. His object-controlling art is even more fearful than his weapons.
“For the last one, I don’t know him either. He is a newcomer just like you. He arrived three or four days ago and has yet to show his strength.”
Sila found the third man familiar. He even thought the man was Kawin at first glance, though the face was different.
The man looked back at Sila. He didn’t show any noteworthy reaction. Looking closely, Sila found that the man’s face had a blank expression as if wearing a plain mask. Strangely enough, Fallun didn’t seem to notice it.
Sila felt Dark Self knew the man’s identity. In fact, it could be said that it was because of Dark Self’s awareness that he noticed the man was strange. Nevertheless, Dark Self possessed the same information he had. The fact that Dark Self knew the man’s identity meant Sila should know it too if he tried.
If Sila just activated Moon Reflecting Mirror and asked, he would get an answer. However, he wanted to unravel the mystery himself in order to hone his thinking ability.
‘The first impression is important. Maybe this man is really Kawin. But why? Why would Kawin be here? Why is his face not the same?’
Sila wondered. He still couldn’t come up with answers. It was then that he took a look at the brawl in front of him. Suddenly, all the answers came to him.
Like the Wicked Union, Montra also targeted this city!
Honestly speaking, witnessing the strengths of people living in this city, it would be more strange if he chose to neglect them.
In that instant, Sila was aware of the weight of his current mission.
These people could become either strong allies or formidable foes.
As for the change in the man’s face and appearance, it wasn’t that difficult to solve. Kawin was a magic type player. In fact, his specialty was earth magic. Using a spell to disguise himself should be child’s play for him, especially when his face wasn’t vastly recognized by the masses.
Sila could tell Kawin apart only thanks to the fact that he had met him before. Metal armguards were too unique as a weapon. Moreover, with Moon Reflecting Mirror, he could see through illusions and notice that Kawin’s face was, in fact, a mask.
The next problem was: Did Kawin come alone?
Sila didn’t have much time to think. That was because the system notification interrupted him and Fallun, along with a tremendous amount of magic power that could be sensed from the direction ahead of them.
Monster Ballock, the Vampire Earl, Level 600 Lord Rank, has appeared. Within the Vampire Earl’s territory, the recovery speed of all vampires and bats will be increased by a factor of ten.
Those who are killed by the Vampire Earl will suffer from a Bleeding Curse for seven days after reviving.
There appeared a large nobleman behind the previous group of vampires. He had pale, corpse-like skin and a large physique that put him at three meters tall. He was looking down at the players with his vicious gaze.
“Ten times faster recovery rate despite vampires having a relatively high one from the beginning? The magic type players will have a difficult time, then. They will have to focus more on attacking their vital spots.”
Fallun calmly analyzed as if it wasn’t a big problem. On the other hand, if this situation were to occur anywhere else, players would already be cursing at the game creator.
“Mn. The good news is that Ballock doesn’t deliver a death penalty regarding level and rank though,” said Sila.
“Kuku. In any case, Belacia City’s first rule of survival is to not die. If you can’t fight, then flee.”
Sila noticed some players chose to retreat immediately upon hearing the system notification, though they still lingered nearby. Meanwhile, the sound of a bell ringing twice could be heard from somewhere. Many people frowned.
“I guess today must be a cursed day. Our city isn’t always this busy, you know. At the very least, alerts aren’t normally rung on the same day,” explained Fallun.
“Do you want to see what happens that way?” asked Sila.
“Nah. Twice means people are fighting each other. This spot is more interesting.”
“What about you, Lookhin and Mister Asura?”
Lookhin said nothing. She made a bored expression while simply floating around slowly.
Meanwhile, Asura took his sweet time to take his long-awaited rest.
“I’m undecided. I will just observe for now.”
Fallun circulated qi throughout his body and said to Sila, “I already saw your speed. Next, allow me to see your strength.”
Sila turned to check up on Kawin, but the man had already left. He turned his head back and nodded. “Sure, sir.”
“Well, let’s hurry up before our prey is snatched away, especially that big guy.”
Sila and Fallun dashed toward the battlefield. Likewise, Tsunji and Skyless, who didn’t take action before, also started to move.
I think that saber would be a better choice for "chinese sword". It's seem to be the popular translation.