Chapter 236: A Battle on a Roadside
Burapha summoned his lance and stopped in his tracks. His gaze fell onto a certain red-haired man sitting under an ice tree with his eyes closed. The man in red magician clothing embroidered with the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s emblem opened his eyes to look at Burapha, but closed them once more when he realised that Burapha wasn’t the one he had been waiting for.
“Revin…!” exclaimed Burapha.
He had taken a route outside the city by walking through a snowfield. Unexpectedly, he found Revin sitting under a tree.
Burapha turned left and right before asking, “Could it be that you’re waiting to ambush me?”
Revin replied without opening his eyes, “Ambush you? Don’t think too highly of yourself. I’m waiting for someone else.”
Thinking about why Revin was here, Burapha came up with the same answer as Sila. It seemed the Heavenly Dragon Guild was also interested in recruiting people in Belacia City.
Nevertheless, Burapha didn’t understand why Revin didn’t remove his guild’s emblem.
“Don’t you know that people in this place don’t like those who belong to a guild?” Burapha stared at the symbol on Revin’s clothing. It was the symbol of a Chinese dragon curling into a shape of the number eight in Arabic.
“Hm? Montra said I could do whatever I want. And about this, this is the Sky Dragon, our dojo’s symbol, not the guild’s.”
Naturally, Burapha was aware of the Sky Dragon Dojo. In fact, it would be strange if he wasn’t. Montra was extremely famous in the real world, and the same could be said about his father’s martial arts dojo—the Sky Dragon Dojo. If one were to have a letter of recommendation from that place, they would have a brighter future in various professions such as military, law enforcement, professional sports, or even entertainment. For example, the most famous action star in Thailand had once trained his martial arts at the dojo.
In a sense, Montra was exploiting the dojo’s reputation by using it in the game. In fact, the Wulin Masters Association had a rule preventing such an act. However, Montra used a loophole. He changed the symbol from a green dragon to a white one and changed the name from the Sky Dragon to the Heavenly Dragon. With these two changes, the Elders couldn’t claim he was breaking the rules.
Even though the symbol wasn’t exactly the same as the original, the influence it carried was no less. There were always those who wanted to join the Sky Dragon Dojo but couldn’t do it because of restrictions such as physique, distance, or time; they could join the Heavenly Dragon Guild instead. Although it wasn’t exactly the same place, they would feel like they had successfully become a part of the dojo. Ultimately, they became the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s assets.
Although Revin acted like he wasn’t interested in Burapha, he was secretly probing him. Reading an opponent was an important skill in a battle. The fact that Burapha was here meant he was traveling from the western side of the city to the north using the most efficient route for people who were on foot. He must be either extremely confident in his ability or unaware of the existence of the White Giant, the Lord Rank monster who wandered around outside the city. It was an impregnable monster that even the citizens of Belacia City had no choice but to avoid, abandoning the route outside the city in the process.
“Coming alone, huh? No one can help you this time, then. Hmm~ I think I will reduce your levels while waiting as a warm-up.” Revin stood up as he swept the snow off his clothing.
Burapha had witnessed Revin’s speed before. Revin’s movements were as violent as a meteor. Burapha knew he couldn’t keep up with Revin’s top speed. Thus, running away would be a bad choice. His only path to surviving this crisis was to subdue Revin using his own strength.
Burapha knew his strength was still far from competing against Revin, but he didn’t give up. He slowed down his breathing and calmly emitted several small ripples of psychic power to secretly sink into Revin’s veins. His lance on his hand was firm, pointing forward.
“Oh, your battle stance is more praiseworthy than last time, it seems. Well, is it just the surface that’s good?” Revin asked, before chanting, “Flaming Blades of the Underworld.”
A cluster of flame materialized into a heavy sword. Revin gently held it with both hands and swung it twice before pointing the tip at Burapha. His Dragon Scale and Dragon Domain were activated, causing the nearby snow to melt and become a puddle of water.
Revin bravely strode forward and brandished a heavy sword with no trick, only pure speed. His attack was as fierce as a rising flame.
“Water Spirit,” Burapha activated one of his racial skills. All the water in the area was sucked into the center and turned into a dome filled with water, submerging both Revin and himself.
The water sphere could reduce temperature by some degree, yet it couldn’t reduce the fierceness of Revin’s heavy sword at all.
The cold water become warm, then eventually became boiling. Yet, Burapha calmly looked at the incoming attack. His expression didn’t change even though he felt he had already taken half a step through death’s door.
When Sila mentioned he should become more calm as the battle heats up, Burapha didn’t think the battle would literally become hot like this.
A thin layer of Burapha’s psychic power could only manage to fend off a hundredth of Revin’s offensive might. However, there were several layers. As he let his power go freely, his psychic power automatically generated multiple ripples at high speed. On the other hand, if he tried too hard when controlling it, the creation speed would be slower.
Psychic power was easier to utilize compared to qi. More importantly, it could develop even easier in a moment of crisis. That was because people naturally and instinctually strived for survival.
Several small ripples of Burapha’s psychic power negated most of Revin’s attack. The Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art was indeed a profound defensive art. Once the tip of his lance connected with Revin’s heavy sword, upon defending, Burapha’s waves of power naturally ran through the lance and reached Revin.
Sensing that Revin had only a faint amount of power clad around his own body, Burapha was confused as to why that was the case.
“Blub, blub, blub,” Revin was saying something underwater. Based on the movements of his lips, he seemed to be saying, “That wasn’t half bad.”
Then, Revin’s seemingly dormant power exploded in an instant, from the size of a candle’s flame to that of a volcano. Triple Sky Energy helped Revin achieve the feat of igniting his power in the blink of an eye.
The impact sent Burapha flying. If not for the defense options attached to his lance made by Zeref, Burapha would have already burnt to a crisp. Thanks to it, Burapha got off alive with only a few burns.
Burapha finally understood Revin’s fighting style. Many told him that Revin was like a flame. However, he could give a deeper explanation for it. Revin’s flame was different from Lone Wolf’s which was hot and warm like the sun. Revin’s flame wasn’t an ordinary flame but a volcano that could erupt any time. The eruption might be temporary, but an instant was more than enough if the timing was right.
Even though Burapha’s brain understood it, his body couldn’t keep up with the damage dealt. He remembered Mamon once told him that his recovery speed would be higher when he was near a source of water. Therefore, he muttered a skill activation to submerge himself in the dome made of water, reducing his pain from the burn wounds.
“Uwah, you didn’t die again,” Revin complained.
Even though Revin seemed playful, unlike Kawin who always gave his opponent a chance to attack as he waited for the right time to counter, Revin rarely played with his opponent as he always dealt a powerful blow. Although he loved fighting, if his opponent died too fast, that was their own fault for being too weak.
In any case, it wasn’t like Revin deliberately held back against Burapha. It was more like he miscalculated Burapha’s strength. As a result, he exerted insufficient power to take down his opponent.
His first chance to kill Burapha had come and gone. Revin stopped his feet. He didn’t continue his attack against his opponent since he spotted one more person behind Burapha.
That person was Bluebird.
“I planned on finding you so I could warn you not to use a route outside the city, as you may encounter the White Giant. As it turns out, you encountered a dragon instead. You are a jinx similar to Sila, I’d say,” Bluebird said to Burapha, his gaze locked onto Revin.
Burapha knew that he could rely on Bluebird in a time of crisis, so he felt less tense as he took his time opening a health potion. He poured it into the water dome so it could be diluted, healing his external wounds. Meanwhile, he healed his internal wounds using psychic power.
“Bluebird... the Blue-Colored Catastrophe. Even though I have been here for only a couple of days, I still know how much the people in the city loath you. Is it a good idea for you to come out of hiding?”
“Actually, my title is the Bluebird of Happiness, or you can call me the Sky Emperor. I won’t mind either way.”
“You must not be aware of how the word ‘Sky’ is important to us. It’s a part of our dojo’s name, not something you should take lightly. I know you aren’t our direct enemy, but I won’t let you off.”
Revin took out a sword from his system window. It was a short sword with a futuristic design. Anyone would recognize at first glance that it was made in Lost Grea City. In fact, it was likely that Orpheus himself had created the sword.
“Let’s have some fun, Mister Bluebird of Happiness.”
Revin waved his sword, and its length extended, becoming a three-meter-long sword. The circuit embedded in the black blade let off an orange glow.
Bluebird showed no hesitation when he announced, “Lust!”
Blue vapor came out of Bluebird’s body and formed into the shape of a half-naked, slender woman. She was hugging him from behind like a lecher. Though, she was a lecher who could help her host by bringing out the most of their potential.
—Mmm... Solaria’s magic spells are powerfully offensive with no regard for defense. Based on what I see, your opponent’s fighting style is the type who can boost his power in an instant. His weapon is the Explosia Sword which can generate grenades through the user’s magic power. If you can use water-elemental magic spells, the fight will be completely in your favor. Still, there are many other ways to win, so don’t worry.
Asmodeus whispered words next to Bluebird’s ears.
Eight blue tailorbirds flew out from Bluebird’s ring and dispersed as bird feathers, leaving behind eight lightning balls floating around him.
“Hmm? What is this?” Revin looked at what Bluebird did with interest. He loved fighting in the game more than in real life mainly because each opponent he met in the game always had an exciting fighting style.
“Prepare yourself!” Bluebird said as one of the lightning balls vanished. Surprisingly, he also disappeared from Revin’s line of sight.
Revin spun his body and swung his sword back, hitting Bluebird. However, the blue vapor cloaking Bluebird was too hard for his sword to penetrate.
At the same time, Bluebird clapped his hands in front of Revin, and blinding light covered Revin’s vision.
“Blinding Blue Flash.”
Bluebird’s magic spell caused Revin to temporarily become blind. Revin had to rely on his hearing instead. All he could catch was the sound of pieces of clothing rubbing together.
It appeared that Bluebird swiftly circled around Revin as he released two spells that he had delayed beforehand.
It was a combo Bluebird came up with on his own. He impaired the opponent’s sense of sight first. Then, most people would immediately and automatically rely on their ears, which he would exploit by creating thunderous sound next to their ears.
The exploding sound rang twice near Revin’s ears before everything went deathly silent. His vision was blurry, only seeing several small, glowing balls flashing around in the darkness, and his hearing was impaired, with ringing filling his ears.
He had no other choice but to completely rely on his profound sense. Strangely, he sensed tiny masses of bird-shaped magic power near him while Bluebird was standing quite far away.
If his hearing was still fine, Revin would have heard Bluebird’s constant casting of a spell named “Mark of Lightning.”
For the record, Mark of Lightning was a kind of ridiculous spell that caused the user’s body to illuminate and be incapable of using magic power until the user physically hit the target, and that would leave a mark on the target’s body. Once the target with the Mark of Lightning on their body was hit by any lightning-element spell, the effects of the spell would be doubled.
The reason why this skill was obsolete was that it forced the user, a magic-type player, to engage in close combat with no access to magic.
Cleverly, Bluebird exerted this spell through his flock of tailorbirds. A hundred of them repeatedly pecked Revin, and the skill, Mark of Lighting, was completed. Although the effectiveness of the spell used through his birds was only a thousandth of the usual, Bluebird relied on quantity over quality.
On the other hand, Revin could neither see nor hear what was happening to him. He only felt that he was being pecked continuously, and it was annoying. Unbeknownst to him, his body was covered in so many Marks that it would be easier to pick out the few areas that were untouched.
“Damnit! Quit playing around!”
Revin exploded flames through his Dragon Scale. The tailorbirds were burnt to death and fell to the ground. By this point, Revin’s vision had started returning to normal. Unfortunately, the time he spent on dealing with the birds was enough for Bluebird to finish the incantation of one of his high-tier magic spells.
“O, Great Lightning Eagle, Thunderixth, who stays above the peak of the Sky-Breaking Canyon, please let me, thy lowly servant, borrow thy wings to soar high above my foes, thy eyes to look down on them, and thy lightning to punish them. As thine marvelous light shines and thine blazing thunderbolts rain down, my foes shall be turned to ash with no traces left of their existence. Wings of the Sky-Blue Lightning Eagle.”
The sky twisted as two holes appeared above Revin’s head. Two blue thunderbolts struck him from different angles, making them seem like a pair of wings belonging to a giant creature.
Furthermore, the lightning remained there as it continued to electrocute Revin thanks to the Marks of Lightning on his body. Revin had to put his all into cladding his body with magic power reinforcement and strengthening his Dragon Scale to resist the continuous waves of attacks. His deep red eyes glared at Bluebird.
Wings of the Sky-Blue Lightning Eagle also possessed the ability to stiffen the target. As it was repeated, this attribute would continue to lock Revin down until he died or all of the Marks were consumed. The sight of the pair of blue wings locking Revin in place was similar to two massive chains sealing him from another dimension.
Bluebird approached Burapha. “Oi! Enough healing. Let’s get outta here.”
Opening his eyes and seeing the state Revin was in, Burapha was shocked. “W-What is that?”
“I’m sealing him with bolts of lightning through my godly technique. Well, it won’t last long, so let’s run. I will bring you to the Medical Saint. He will cure you faster than you doing it yourself.”
Burapha looked at Revin who was unleashing his full power in order to break free from the chains of lightning. He gulped his saliva at such a sight.
“Why don’t you just defeat him once and for all?”
“This is already my strongest spell. Since he didn’t die from the first hit, just run. The only reason he isn’t coming after us is thanks to the attribute of my spell. He can still exert his strength as usual though. I don’t think I can take him down.”
“You’re the same as always, Bluebird...” A hoarse voice came from a different direction, which prompted the three people to look at a new visitor.
Bluebird’s face went pale at first, but he regained his cool once he saw the person. He released a sigh of relief. “Phew... You scared me there, Kraizer.”
A large man with a broad chest slowly walked closer. His only defensive equipment was a shoulder guard and pants. Hanging on his waist was an abnormally large katana which was at least twice the size of a normal sword.
“For you to dare to return to this place, you have my praise. Do you know how much the people here hate you?”
“Luckily, that excludes you. Anyway, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you head to where the bell rang instead?” Bluebird asked as his gaze was still locked onto Revin.
“This man challenged me to a sword duel. Unfortunately, my challenger was snatched, and it was even done by Bluebird, the number one escaper, at that. Who will believe me if I tell them? Hahaha!” Kraizer pointed at Revin.
“Oh, in that case, he is yours now. I will leave. Come, Burapha, let’s go.”
Kraizer shook his head. “This man is injured. It will be no fun even if I fight him. Let’s have a match in three days, then, Revin.”
Finally, Revin was released from Bluebird’s spell. His Dragon Scale had protected him from lightning. Although his health points had dropped, there were no visible big wounds on his body.
“No need to postpone the match. My injuries are only external.”
“I don’t mean Bluebird’s childish thunderbolts. He is a crowd control type. Even his strongest attack is not life-threatening. The reason I’m postponing the match is because of this kid’s power.” Kraizer pointed at Burapha.
Bluebird frowned. Although what Kraizer said was true, it was irritating to be told so directly. Indeed, he specialized in speed so he focused on learning spells with relatively short incantations with no regard for the destructiveness of the spells. The damage that his high-tier spells could deal was, at most, equal to mid-tier spells that focused on strength.
“Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art... Kid, how are you related to Kirishima Kai, the One-Eyed Evil God?” asked Kraizer.
“Do you know my dad?” Burapha was confused because there was a person who knew his father.
“I lost to him once in a fight. Be careful if you want to live in this city. There are many people here who dislike the One-Eyed Evil God.”
“Aren’t you Bluebird’s enemy? You’re a citizen of Belacia City, aren’t you?” Revin was confused. As far as he knew, everyone in this city hated Bluebird. However, that didn’t seem to be the case with Kraizer. In fact, they were on good terms.
“Mmm. That depends on each person, I’d say. Actually, Ryou also doesn’t hate him because of that event. He just wants to hunt him since he heard even Zero couldn’t catch Bluebird alive. It’s a whole other story.”
Bluebird nodded. “We’ll take our leave, then. See you again.”
Bluebird and Burapha intended to re-enter the city. Nevertheless, Revin refused to let them go. “You asked for permission from the wrong person. If you want to leave, you must consult me first. How about one-versus-three? I won’t mind it.”
Burapha tensed. However, there was no fear in Bluebird’s expression. He didn’t even look back since he knew how reliable Kraizer was.
“The current you is no match for me. At the very least, you have to get healed first,” Kraizer said as he pulled his katana, Heaven’s Sword of Punishment, out. His qi ran through his veins.
Qi, magic, and psychic power flew and united together in the katana. White aura enveloped the blade, materializing a giant blade pointing at the vast sky. Kraizer struck it down powerfully. His strike was mighty as if he was delivering a punishment from heaven, cleaving the sky into two.
Revin raised his Explosia Sword to block the attack. He ignited the power in the sword instantly before the moment of impact.
The crashing sound reverberated. Kraizer stood still as he sheathed his katana while Revin coughed up blood. For the record, he wasn’t affected by the previous exchange against Kraizer as both strikes perfectly negated each other. Rather, he was injured from Burapha’s psychic power that erupted when he unleashed his full strength.
“As I said, three days later,” Kraizer repeated as he left. This time Revin didn’t hold him off since he was finally aware that he had an internal injury. Even though it wasn’t major, it would become a decisive factor when fighting against an opponent of Kraizer’s caliber.
Revin sighed as he returned to lean against the previous tree. It seemed he had to let Kraizer keep the title Master of Swords for three more days.
“This city sure is fun.” Revin smiled at himself before closing his eyes and starting the healing process.
Chapter 237: An Unlucky Day
For Sila, a battle was an obstacle that he had to overcome by himself in order to reach the goal called victory. This time, though, he got a chance to fight alongside others, and it allowed him to experience something new. The pressure he felt was less despite the battle being more intense than most of the fights he had participated in.
Obviously, Sila had experienced fighting with his comrades. However, with a big disparity in their strengths, the group battles he had done so far were like each person fighting by themselves.
This time wasn’t the same though. The flow of the battle went the way everyone intended. More than twenty players moved according to Sila’s thoughts like they were one unit.
Sila naturally couldn’t control others’ actions. However, each person seemed to know when they should step back and where they should attack. They knew when to go offensive and where to defend without needing a leader to give out orders. Every action was perfectly aligned with others as if they could read the minds of the other players. It was simply because they all had similar ways of thinking.
This was a battle with capable comrades who shared a similar level of strength.
Sila’s qi art consisted of the five attributes of elements—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire—through what he called the five types martial moves—inner body, hand, foot, weapon imitation, and outer body—totaling in twenty-five moves. Each move had its own strengths and weaknesses, and that included suitability for different enemies and situations.
In a brawl against a large number of enemies with high regeneration speed, he needed to rely on quick, decisive moves rather than slow ones. Thus, the earth attribute was the most appropriate and the martial move that imitated weapons would be the best. Ultimately, Sila materialized two sabers in his hands using Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
Attribute of Earth — Sky-Splitting Saber.
Although he called them sabers, they were, in fact, blades with no handles. A black blade made of qi protruded from each of his palms. The two blades penetrated through two Vampires’ hearts with swiftness.
For the record, Sila’s current move was similar to Crow’s Dignified Palm Blade. However, as he had sparred against Crow once, Sila was fully aware that his qi blade was lacking in the versatility department.
As for its sharpness, he wasn’t sure to what extent it was inferior to Crow’s. Still, it was already enough to defeat the Marquis Rank Vampire in one move.
Two Vampires simultaneously disappeared. If this feat were to happen in other places, people would be surprised and exclaim with excitement. However, such a situation didn’t unfold in this place.
When Sila took down two Vampires, three other Vampires died.
The first one died from Fallun’s straight punch. His punch was imbued with frost power as it smashed through the Vampire’s chest, creating a hole. Furthermore, the ice shards that penetrated its chest also flew forward and dealt additional damage to the bats behind.
The Sky God, Tsunji, attacked from above. He leaped downward as if he was a great eagle. His claw emitted cold might as it tore apart the chest of an unfortunate Vampire, revealing its beating heart. The wound started to heal at a thrilling speed, yet wasn’t fast enough to keep up with Tsunji’s ice peg that stabbed at the center of its heart. He also ran to attack another vampire with no wasteful movements visible in his actions. Both of his claws moved in harmony as if they were dancing.
The Chinese Sword God, Skyless, stayed in the same place above the ground. Under his feet was the motionless Sky-Breaking Chinese Sword while what flew from his hand was Vibrating Lightning Chinese Sword, which penetrated through three Vampires consecutively. Only one of them died on the spot, though the other two became numb from the lightning imbued in the flying Chinese sword, opening up a chance for other players to defeat them.
Even though these Vampires possessed durable physiques and formidable speed, a group of identical monsters was still considered weaker than a unique monster, such as a dragon, of the same rank.
The Vampire Earl, Ballock, looked at the brawl in front of him with utmost displeasure. He expected the battle to be in his underlings’ favor as soon as he made an appearance. However, the result hardly changed.
He extended his hand and caught the nearest Vampire before easily tearing its body into two. Its blood sprayed from its corpse into the air.
“Blood Fog of Insanity.”
Blood Magic, one of a few subcategories of Death Magic, was activated. Droplets of blood dispersed as red fog, spreading throughout the battlefield.
Encountering an unknown skill, all players automatically stepped back. Some accidentally inhaled the fog and immediately felt dizzy. Their eyes turned red as their feelings of rage erupted along with their increase in power. Regardless, they did their best to calm their minds and could eventually suppress their insanity.
Fallun, Skyless, and Tsunji also retreated. All of them showed various expressions.
“This must be a skill to force others into the berserk state, similar to the Orc’s racial skill, but has a wider area of effect,” Fallun analyzed.
“Don’t you like it? It suits your title,” said Skyless. His Vibrating Lightning Chinese Sword returned to his hand before anyone had noticed.
Fallun ignored the tease as he looked into the group of fog. Meanwhile, Tsunji said with a bored expression.
“Your friend didn’t come out.”
“We just met today. I also wonder why he didn’t step out of the fog’s range.”
“A newbie’s mistake, I guess. He couldn’t dodge it in time. Maybe he died already,” Skyless said apathetically.
“No, he is still inside. He is strangely motionless, even,” said Tsunji. His eyes subtly gleamed with qi. Eagle Eyes, his racial skill, allowed him to see through the fog.
Sila stood amidst the blood fog. He was used to fighting in disadvantageous domains, so he decided not to retreat but to take the wait-and-see approach, readying himself for an incoming change. This trait could turn out either good or bad depending on the situation.
Like Fallun’s analysis, Ballock’s Blood Fog of Insanity wasn’t an offensive skill but a skill that forced his enemies into the berserk state. The duration of the state would depend on the amount of the blood fog they breathed in. In Sila’s case, although he had some resistance for magic thanks to Orbiting Cosmos, it wasn’t enough for him to negate the abnormality caused by the spell.
At long last, Dark Self regained control over his body.
Berserk. This was the state Sila was currently in.
His deep brown eyes turned ruby red. His hair didn’t become longer like last time, but it still turned completely black. He looked rather calm. Yet, the one who could remain calm despite being surrounded by a group of lively Vampires who were stimulated by the smell of blood was undoubtedly an insane person.
Attribute of Fire — Flame God’s Body.
His inner force was stimulated as his power surged. Dark Self depended on the momentary boost to unleashed Dark Psychic Corrosion and spread it out, eating away the blood fog in an instant.
“Is this it? The feeling of qi flowing through my veins? It feels like my body has become lighter and faster. My vitality continues to surge as if I have unlimited energy. Cool.”
Ballock sensed an oppressive force coming from Dark Self. Other players also sensed it as well. In any case, they didn’t have any obligation to help Sila, a stranger who was surrounded by Vampires. In Belacia City, although people could rely on each other’s strengths, they ultimately had to take care of themselves.
“Kill this human!!” shouted Ballock.
A horde of Vampires leaped to their sole target in the center. Dark Self found them pitiful as he smirked. His eyes flashed once as he pressed his right hand down.
Dual Overwhelming Attributes — Fire Melts Metal, Crushing Sky.
The Blood-Sucking Bats and Vampires felt like something extremely heavy came from above, pressing them down to the ground. The Bats, which were Knight Rank monsters, were completely pulverized while the Vampires’ bones continued to let out cracking sounds. Some of them died on the spot as their cracked bones penetrated their hearts. However, most of them continued to squirm as their bones constantly alternated between being squashed and healed. As a result, their painful cries synchronized with the sound of their cracking bones, creating something that couldn’t be anything other than a symphony from Hell.
Even Ballock, a Lord Rank monster, had to kneel down due to the abnormal force of gravity.
Dark Self’s Dual Overwhelming Attributes were the polar opposite of Sila’s Dual Generating Attributes. They leaned toward being psychic power rather than qi.
Crushing Sky was a move derived from Sila’s old Fist of Reversal combined with Formless Soldier and Dark Psychic Corrosion. Upon activation, his vicious power would secretly enter an opponent’s body and corrode their resistance from within. At the same time, Dark Self would exert his Psychic Oppression from the outside. It was a bone-crushing, flesh-ripping kind of pressure. Apparently, his opponent would feel like a powerful gravitational force was pressing down on them.
Like the name implied, even the sky would be crushed, leaving Dark Self as the only being who could stand firm under the vast sky.
Looking at her own master, Lookhin was trembling in fear as she stopped eating her snack. Likewise, witnessing such a complex usage of psychic power, Asura had a difficult time swallowing his saliva.
Dark Self trampled on the group of Vampires as he moved closer to Ballock. His feet were as hard and heavy as metal. Every step he took caused the Vampires’ bones to break and their flesh to split.
Dark Self’s ruby eyes stared at Ballock who was trying his best to raise his head. As the Vampire Earl was a magic-type monster whose specialty laid in spells, not physical stats, using raw magic power to resist psychic power proved to be a difficult task.
“What is the name of the skill you just used?” asked Dark Self.
“W-What did you say?”
“I won’t repeat a second time. Tell me. What is the name of the skill that generates a blood fog?”
Although Ballock was in an unfavorable position, he was still an earl, a Lord Rank monster. He wouldn’t submit to a mere human. He spat saliva to the ground as an answer.
Unfortunately for Ballock, he had a constitution similar to humans. Thus, Sila’s version of Death Bridge could work perfectly on him.
Formless Martial God — Mortal Bridge.
Dark Self flicked his hands twice, and Ballock’s arms were bent and twisted. It was a scary sight to behold. His broken bones protruded through his skin.
Ballock gritted his teeth as he waited for the wound to be healed. The same could be said to Dark Self. He silently waited as he continued the torture, letting the Vampire Earl have an endless serving of pain.
“I have a day’s worth of time, but I'm afraid you don’t have such a luxury.”
“Kill me if you want. When I respawn, I shall take my revenge, you human bastard! My comrades and I shall obliterate this puny city!!” shouted Ballock.
“That’s totally unrelated to me. I just want to know the name of your skill. Tell me now.”
Dark Self frowned. Even if he killed Ballock, he wouldn’t get the answer he desired.
Sila had recently discovered that an extreme wave of emotion would trigger Dark Self’s emergence, so he became a lot calmer, reducing the chance for Dark Self to surface.
Therefore, Dark Self had to know the spell that Ballock used previously, no matter the cost.
Dark Self finally opened his system window and input some commands.
“I want to use the Skill Awakening Rights on Evil God’s Essence and Monster Heir,” Dark Self said before giving his confirmation once the system asked.
“Alright. Let me try again.”
Evil God’s Essence — Transcendent Monster Heir.
Dark Self’s eyes glowed bright red. In that instant, all monsters—be it the vampires, Ballock, Asura, or even Lookhin—trembled in their primitive fear.
Fortunately, Sila had been using both skills on a daily basis, so their levels grew by leaps and bounds once the concept of skill levels was unlocked.
You have acquired a skill: Evil God’s Essence — Level 100 (Maximum).
You have acquired a skill: Monster Heir — Level 69.
Dark Self read the newly added ability of the skill Evil God’s Essence with a pleased expression. It could still only be used once per day, but the duration had increased.
“As expected of the rewards from psychic power enlightenment. Such a splendid and worthwhile ability. I will need to properly select the last skill.”
Since the rights came from attaining the essence of psychic power which was the ultimate realm of psychic power comprehension, the result was better than what Dark Self anticipated. At the moment, the skill Evil God’s Essence was sublimated and Sila could use it for five minutes or until he personally deactivated it. There was a downside though; when he used this skill, he wouldn’t be able to use other skills.
“Now, tell me. The name!”
Ballock now felt like Dark Self was the scariest villain he had ever met. He stuttered as he gave Dark Self the answer.
“It’s called Blood Fog of Insanity... categorized as Blood Magic... can be used to forcefully make an enemy fall into the berserk state.”
“Blood Magic...?” Dark Self gave it a thought. He recalled Sebastian using a similar spell in the Mansion of the Seven Deadly Sins. “How is it related to Death Magic?”
“It’s only a part of Death Magic. Death Magic consists of several subcategories, namely Blood, Corpse, Bones, Curses, Souls, Ritual, and Summoning, totaling six hundreds and sixty-six spells.”
“How can I acquire those spells?”
“Only the qualified ones can learn them by reading the scrolls. The only other way to learn them is...”
“Is what?! Answer at once!!”
Ballock’s reply was as light as a whisper. “Is... by robbing them from those who have learned the spells. As long as you are qualified, once you kill others who hold Death Magic spells, you will steal the spells that you haven’t learned yet. This is a top secret among the users of Death Magic.”
Dark Self grinned. “Is that so? Thanks. You may leave.”
Dark Self opened his palm and a flash of his Lordship shone briefly without anyone noticing. He lightly tapped on Ballock’s shoulder as if they were close friends.
“See you tomorrow.”
Ballock stood up and looked at Dark Self with askance. Who would be insane enough to come to meet him again tomorrow?
The light, which had been shining on the top of the castle, finally died down. The Vampires were released from Dark Self’s oppressive restraint. They stood up and flew back.
Meanwhile, Dark Self was communicating with Sebastian when Ballock noticed an opening as Dark Self showed his back to him. His sharp wings flew toward Dark Self’s throat.
“You fool! Die!!”
Dark Self didn’t even care. For him, Ballock was dead the moment he tapped his shoulder and sent his dual-attributed power into his body.
Dual Overwhelming Attributes — Metal Splits Wood, Surging Strike.
Ballock’s wings halted in mid-air. He felt like there were numerous bombs existing in his veins. They continued to explode, causing him to collapse and squirm in great pain.
For the record, Surging Strike was derived from Psychic Crush, Bone Claws, and Moon Perishing Yizichan. Dark Self’s power secretly infiltrated Ballock’s body before exploding and tearing apart his veins, bones, joints, and acupoints. Even though Ballock’s body seemed perfectly fine from the outside, his internal organs were completely blown to bits.
Dark Self’s eyes returned to a dark brown color. They expressed Sila’s feeling of sympathy. Personally, Sila didn’t think he had to be so heavy-handed, even against an enemy.
Ballock became light and disappeared. Yet, Sila didn’t have much time to mourn his death. He, along with the rest, could feel an overbearing oppressive might from the north, in the same direction that the vampires had fled in.
With just a glance, many players leaped back into the city. The one who was slowly walking toward them was a small child with sad eyes, covering himself with a thick, white fur significantly larger than his body. The boy dragged the fur along with him, leaving a trail on the snowfield.
Fallun, who was always calm in any situation, frowned. The same could be said to Skyless who landed himself on the ground as he crossed both his weapons behind his back. Likewise, no drowsiness could no longer be seen from Tsunji’s face as he made a serious expression.
“Even the White Giant appeared? What kind of day is today?”
Chapter 238: Animosity That Lasts Through Time
The boy with golden hair had a pitiful appearance. His small body had only a few pieces of clothing protecting him from the cold. A giant piece of white fur hung from his shoulders like a cape. It seemed coarse though, as if it was violently peeled off a beast, unlike the boy’s sad expression. Such a contrasting sight caused the onlookers to be speechless.
Sila didn’t know what he was supposed to do as many players had disappeared from the scene, leaving only those who were confident enough in their abilities that they could oppose the White Giant to some degree before fleeing when things got more serious.
Sila heard the bell ringing three times from somewhere. It seemed someone rang it to inform others about the White Giant’s arrival.
The remaining players were Sila, Fallun, Skyless, and Tsunji. As for the monsters, they were only Asura and Lookhin. In any case, the ringing sound of the bell brought forth another two players to the scene. Both of them stopped their feet next to Fallun while staring at the White Giant.
“The White Giant? With our numbers, how long can we last? Well, I need to fine-tune my part first,” Said one of the men who just arrived as he kneeled down and inspected his legs.
The man’s name was Earthy. He had prosthetic legs, representing his affiliation with the android race. As he inputted some commands into his legs, they illuminated as their appearance started to transform. For the record, Earthy’s legs could change into several forms, though they took time for the customization to finish.
The other man was wearing dark grey wizard clothing. In his hand was the Dark Soul Mage Staff, which had a blade attached to its tip. His feet always hovered ten centimeters above the ground. Although his facial features looked like those you would find on a savage bandit, his expression was gentle. He was one of the most important figures in Belacia City who lived without a title. His name was Balaz.
Earthy and Balaz normally didn’t engage in worldly matters. However, they always appeared without fail at the place where the bell rang three times. They were the two dependable men who always showed up in a crisis.
“Balaz and Earthy... So it’s six versus one now,” said Skyless.
“Who is that girl? Why is she here at such a dangerous place?” Balaz pointed at Lookhin as he asked with concern.
“All I know is her name is Lookhin. She is Sila’s companion.” Fallun pointed at Sila who was very close to the White Giant.
“Is he good?” asked Earthy. He meant Sila who was standing next to the most terrifying monster in Belacia City. In fact, he was too close to it. They wouldn’t be able to help him in time if the White Giant took action.
“He is strong, maybe too strong, even. Well, his raw strength is still below the White Giant, especially when fighting in its territory,” Tsunji answered.
“Although his overall strength is inferior, there are many other factors in a battle,” argued Fallun.
“Hey, this is the White Giant we are talking about,” Skyless retorted.
“You have a point. We won’t be able to kill it. Nevertheless, I don’t think we will die or lose too badly if we join forces.”
As the five of them were discussing how they’d face this threat, the oppressive might from the White Giant had calmed down. Sila probed the boy with his profound sense and found out an unexpected truth. As it turned out, the boy in front of him was magic-type. More importantly, his magic power was domineering and exceptionally powerful, more so than everyone Sila had encountered.
“What is your name, kid?” asked Sila.
The others swallowed their saliva. Who in their right mind planned to talk things through with a boss-level monster?
“I don’t remember,” said the boy, which prompted the five players to fall into silence. The White Giant always took action without any delay. Everyone thought he couldn’t talk. Today marked the first time they heard his voice.
In that second, Fallun sent a sound transmission to Sila to tell him everything they knew about the White Giant, most of which consisted of warnings.
Upon realizing that the boy was magic-type, Sila quickly contacted Sebastian—who possessed a vast knowledge regarding magic—and prompted him to come over. In any case, he would have to stall for time before the butler arrived.
“Where did you come from?” Sila continued his question despite sensing the White Giant’s power surging.
“I’m... someone who belonged to somewhere... the time passed is long... too long... I can’t remember my past. I can’t recall anything no matter how hard I try...”
An intense magic power emitted from the White Giant, so powerful that Sila had to take a step back. Sila wondered what the boy’s magic capacity was for him to be able to continuously unleash his magic power as if he was throwing it away.
“I smell the devil who appeared that night. The smell of the devil who destroyed the Sunless City...”
‘The Sunless City? Isn’t that a place in the Monster Realm?’
A new theory formed in Sila’s mind. Maybe the White Giant wasn’t just a monster who was affected by being near the Monster Realm’s junction; he could be a monster from the Monster Realm.
The White Giant’s energy type and rank were the same as Ballock’s, but the differences in the pressures they gave off were worlds apart.
With his rank being Lord, Sila had believed he could resist the pressure generated by Lord Rank monsters. However, the White Giant proved that his belief was presumptuous. The boy’s tyrannical aura was so great that it made Sila think he was drowning despite being on land. His movements became slightly sluggish due to the density of mana.
This showed the absolute difference between the monsters of the Monster Realm and the monsters living in the New World. They were on totally different levels.
The players began to take action. They spread out to surround the boy without dealing the first blow, As Sila was asking them through sound transmissions to hold off for him.
Despite their feeling of skepticism over Sila’s request, they didn’t oppose the idea of stalling for time. In fact, it was their original goal. Every time the White Giant made an appearance, he only lingered for less than ten minutes before he left. As such, their only duty was to stall for time and prevent the boy from invading the city for ten minutes.
The White Giant didn’t particularly mind that he was being surrounded by six humans. His sad gaze only locked onto Sila.
“It’s just a faint smell... You aren’t him but you’re related to him... Who are you?”
“My name is Sila.”
Sila stated his name at the same time Sebastian arrived. Witnessing the White Giant, the butler stared at him for a short while before shaking his head, indicating that he didn’t know about the boy.
However, the same couldn’t be said for the White Giant.
“I have seen you before...”
Sebastian’s arrival called for the White Giant’s first action. He leaped toward the butler. The boy's speed was fast, but not too outstanding. Sila, who was standing between them, decided to obstruct the boy’s path by boosting his speed through qi.
Attribute of Metal — Wind God’s Body.
Unexpectedly, Sila wasn’t the only one who could accelerate his speed. The White Giant used his magic as he saw Sila on the move.
There was a certain strange letter on the White Giant’s skin. Once his magic power concentrated on it, the letter glowed as the boy’s speed shot up. He vanished from Sila’s line of sight and suddenly reappeared in front of Sebastian. With the boy’s transcendent movement speed, only Zero would be able to catch up to him.
Sila now understood why the White Giant didn’t feel pressured even when being surrounded. It turned out that the White Giant could exit the encirclement at any time according to his will.
The boy’s sad, gloomy eyes inspected Sebastian from up close. Sila intended to come help, but the butler signalled at him to stop. With Sebastian’s gesture, the others also decided not to take action. At the very least, the White Giant had yet to attack anyone.
“Where have I seen you? Surely, I must have seen you before,” muttered the White Giant.
Sebastian explained to the White Giant with a voice loud enough for Sila and the others to hear him, “I have never seen you before, sir. Nevertheless, it’s possible that you have seen me. Previously, I was unsure what kind of magic ability you possess. However, seeing your magic just now, I immediately realize that you are a member of the ancient golem race—the race that went extinct thousands of years ago during the invasion directed by the Devil Prince from Hell, Mammon.”
“The ancient golem... You’re right... That’s who I am. How do you recognize me?”
“I know every kind of magic in existence, sir. Only a member of the ancient golem race can utilize Rune Magic, one of the great Ancient Magics,” replied Sebastian.
Rune Magic was the magic exclusive to members of the ancient golem race, similar to Orbiting Cosmos which was exclusive to slimes.
For the record, Rune Magic consisted of twenty-four runes, with each of them possessing a powerful ability. The greatest benefit of this type of magic was that the user didn’t need to spend time casting an incantation; they could engrave the rune in preparation and only needed to inject their magic power into it to invoke its ability.
Still, there were several downsides. First, the user was unable to learn other types of magic. Second, the letter could be easily damaged. Third, the user could only learn up to three runes. Lastly, it required an enormous amount magic power to activate the rune’s ability.
“You must have seen me when my master descended to seal Mamon... erm, I mean the Devil Prince Mammon, sir.”
“Yes... yes... You’re right. The Sunless City was being sieged by an army of devils. Alone, I...”
“Maybe I should inform you that the Sunless City wasn’t destroyed, sir. However, its ownership was transferred. The battle between ancient golems and devils ended up with both sides losing. Ultimately, zombies seized the chance to invade and conquer the city without much difficulty. Well, I thought the ancient golem had already gone extinct. Unexpectedly, there is still one remaining.”
Sila felt less tense as the battle didn’t occur. He interrupted. “Wait? Even if they died, they could respawn, right? How can they be extinct then?”
“When ownerless monsters kill each other, they won’t return to life, sir.”
What Sebastian said was a trivial fact that most players in Monster Soul didn’t know about nor care about. It was natural though. No one would care what would happen to a monster after it dies.
In the Monster Realm, the ruler of the territory could grow stronger and have more subordinates according to the size of their territory and the time they spent living there. As such, invasions were a common sight.
“In any case, this place isn’t the Monster Realm, sir. I don’t know how you arrived here.”
Nevertheless, the White Giant was no longer listening to Sebastian’s words. He held his head tightly as he unleashed more magic power. His lost memories began to return to him in a form of blurry puzzles with no clear connections.
“You made me wonder what kind of urgent matter is unfolding. It turns out that it’s just a mere golem making a fuss.”
A disgusting voice came from the sky. Everyone raised their heads and witnessed another boy who was casting his disdainful gaze downward.
“Mister Mamon!” exclaimed Sebastian. Unfortunately, Mamon chose the worst timing to make an appearance. Unbeknownst to him, the fact was Mamon intentionally selected this exact time to show himself.
The boy in the sky descended down and landed next to the White Giant. Their heights were about the same. Mamon’s nauseating psychic power came out and clashed with the White Giant’s almighty magic power.
“Your appearance has changed... but I will never forget you... MAMMON!” the White Giant let out a thunderous roar.
“I didn’t expect you to still be alive, Clute.”
The White Giant’s eyes flashed with madness. His greatest nemesis was standing in front of him. There was no way he would let this chance slide.
“This is the day you die, Mammon!!”
The White Giant removed his fur cape for the first time since he had donned it. In the past, no matter how battles became intense, he had never removed it. In fact, this cape was the reason the boy was called the White Giant by the citizens of Belacia City.
“You’re wrong... rather, this is the day the ancient golem race will truly go extinct,” Mamon said slowly.
The players here didn’t know Mamon’s identity. In any case, they still deemed the White Giant as the most dangerous threat. The five players, excluding Sila, charged at the White Giant.
Still, they were a step too late.
The White Giant engraved a letter on the snowfield, deep into the stone underneath. Suddenly, everyone except himself and Mamon was blown away. A transparent barrier was formed, caging both of them within.
Sila felt uneasy. He threw a punch at the barrier, but it didn’t work.
“It’s even sturdier than Ramiel’s barrier.”
Sebastian was sent flying the furthest. He hurriedly returned to Sila.
“Rune Magic has a clear weakness that the spell will lose its effect if the letter is even slightly damaged, sir. If Mister Mamon scratches the letter on the ground, this barrier will be undone.”
“Mamon! Damage the letter on the ground!” shouted Sila.
Mamon naturally heard what Sila was saying, but he pretended he didn’t. He stared at the White Giant. “Blame your own misfortune for meeting me today.”
“Why did you need to invade and destroy our Sunless City...?”
“That place has no sunlight. It’s the second-best place next to the inner region of Hell for devils to assemble. I could use that location as my next base to conquer the Monster Realm. Unexpectedly, those zombies ended up reaping what I sowed.”
“Just for that reason... We never harmed anyone.”
“So what? Doing so, you just declare yourself as a weak race. Who in their right mind would choose to raid stronger opponents? Stupid! You are still as naive as ever, huh Clute.”
“Who is Clute?”
“You can’t even remember your name? Well, I remember it so well. Actually, it’s because of me that you are here. At that time, I found you unpleasant as you always used yourself to protect others, so I used the Hell Jade to trap you between the two worlds, forcing you to witness your friends dying without you being able to do anything. After that, the Sealed One suddenly appeared and sealed me inside a card. I guess you went through space and came out on the New World's side at that time.”
Mamon’s words eventually unlocked all of the White Giant’s lost memories. The events of that fateful day returned to him like a movie flashing before his eyes.
The devil army marched into the Sunless City before the ancient golems could put up a proper resistance. He tried his best to help his friends from losing their lives in the war.
Soon, the Devil Prince Mammon arrived and looked at him with contempt. When the Hell Jade in Mammon’s hand shone, his body became transparent and was unable to touch anything. He continued to try helping his friends, but his hands could no longer reach them.
Mammon let out a loud and evil laugh as he saw the sight of the boy striving for help change to crying, then begging for mercy, and finally cursing at him.
Back then, as well as presently, the boy’s gentle eyes were replaced by the eyes full of irreconcilable anguish. They were the kind of eyes that Mamon loved to see the most.
“Only you do not deserve to live!!” the White Giant, or rather Clute, roared.
“How about you wait until the end of this battle and tell me again who won’t be living?” replied Mamon.
Mamon’s body enlarged and he became a young man with black hair thanks to Lucifer’s Hidden Gift. He emitted purple psychic power out from his body. It was, by far, the darkest and evilest psychic power Sila had ever sensed.
Mamon gave off a different vibe compared to the time he fought Zazae in the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. Sila considered the change and finally noticed what it was. The difference was Mamon’s vile psychic power and depressingly fearsome mental oppression. Prior to this moment, Mamon had never shown his own psychic power in any fight.
In a similar manner, Clute’s body enlarged and the boy became a young man with golden hair. His body was covered in scars. However, those who were used to fighting like Sila could tell that all of the scars were in places where the boy received attacks to protect others. The rune engraved on his chest gently shone a white, pale light.
The two eternal enemies who couldn’t bring themselves to breathe the same air were about to have a deathmatch. The process and the result of this battle would impact heavily on Sila’s view of the world.
That was because... Sila was seeing himself in Clute and Montra in Mamon.
Even though Mamon was on his side, at that moment, Sila truly wished for Clute’s victory.
Chapter 239: Alone But Not Lonely
The players ended up being mere spectators. Meanwhile, Mamon let out a burst of laughter as he witnessed Clute’s foolish actions.
“Kiekkiekkiek. You truly are a stupid dimwit! Each golem can learn only three runes, and you have already shown me all of yours! The first is for acceleration, the second is for creating a domain, and the last one is for human transformation. That means you don’t have anything new in your bag of tricks anymore.”
Through Asmodeus’ Hidden Gift, Mamon recognized the limitation of Rune Magic. His knowledge of Rune Magic even rivaled Sebastian’s. He was well aware that if he only put a tiny scratch on the rune on the ground, the magic domain surrounding them would collapse.
Clute’s mind didn’t waver from Mamon’s remarks. His sad and gloomy eyes focused on Mamon without blinking. He had waited a very long time for this moment, when he would avenge his friends. It had been so long that he had forgotten his past. Now that his eternal enemy—who he must kill at any cost—had appeared in front of him, Clute refused to lift his gaze from the source of his predicament.
He was well aware of Mamon’s fighting style: Insulting the opponent with words, stalling for time in order to secretly prepare tricks.
He was wholly aware of Mamon’s fighting style through the cruelest method—witnessing his friends dying one by one by Mamon’s hands. Even though he braced himself and used his body to protect his comrades, every attack passed through him as if he was non-existent. He couldn’t even hold his dying friends; such a simple right was robbed from him by the Demon of Greed.
It could be said that Clute was the only eyewitness who survived despite witnessing Mamon’s fight up close.
The rune of acceleration suddenly appeared on Clute’s leg and shone. He wouldn’t allow Mamon to stall for time. His body moved and vanished before reappearing instantly behind Mamon.
The rune Mannaz (Mankind) enabled Clute to use Rune Magic through voice command instead of having to write the letter down. It helped him use Rune Magic, which was supposed to be classified as a ritual-based magic, in an actual fight.
Rather than feeling panicked, Mamon grinned. The back of his clothing was ripped apart as four mechanical spider legs were deployed from his back. The final joint of each leg projected a laser, counterattacking without Mamon having to look.
A laser blade was a sharp and powerful weapon, especially when its lethality was sublimated by Mamon’s psychic power that could strengthen items. The four laser blades could become blades capable of cutting through almost anything.
The Mamon of today was different from his old self that had to rely on his underlings and tricks to win against his foes. He now possessed a strong constitution.
Clute poured his magic power into two Raidho (Ride) characters that he had prepared in advance by engraving them on his hands. Both of them moved at extreme speed and neatly parried Mamon’s counterattack.
Usually, to unleash spells, a spell user had to expend their magic power as they think about using a certain spell and the chants would emerge in their mind. Upon successfully completing the chants, the spell would show its result.
However, Rune Magic had a unique system, making it different from most magic spells. The process was performed in reverse. Instead of expending their magic power first, the user could write or engrave a letter in advance without activating the spell. Then, they just simply inject the required amount of magic power into the rune once they want to use the spell.
Thus, if the user prepared the letter in advance, they would be able to activate it instantly.
Clute’s kick—which was strengthened by magic power—fiercely hit Mamon’s back. As Clute was a magic-user who specialized in close combat through enhancing his speed and strength with his enormous magic power reinforcement, each of his attacks was absurdly powerful. Although Mamon generated psychic armor to protect himself, the kick still sent him flying several meters away.
Mamon rotated his body and plunged his Spider Blades into the snowfield to regain his footing. Four lines were added on the ground as Mamon’s stance was similar to a frog’s. His purple eyes looked out for Clute but he couldn’t find him.
In the next moment, Belphegor’s Hidden Gift, Secluded Space—which Mamon always relied on—showed its effect. Its ability rendered every attack useless as long as the user didn’t sense it coming.
Clute’s foot missed Mamon’s body by less than an inch. It stomped on the snowfield yet no crack nor footprint could be seen on the ground. Still, everyone standing could feel the earth shake. It seemed Clute could masterfully control his strength. His attack only affected his target without harming the surroundings.
It was natural. The first precaution that all users of Rune Magic kept in mind was to be careful, preventing their attack from damaging the rune. As a result, Clute could perfectly control his power not to damage anything aside from his target.
Sila started to know why Clute was feared as the White Giant.
Clute’s attack was so powerful that every one of his moves wasn’t inferior to Genesis Punch.
Mamon’s eyes expressed his rage. He couldn’t dump bad Hidden Gifts onto Clute during battle. Usually, he tended to spend time exchanging words with his opponents since that was the condition for him to transmit Hidden Gifts to others.
In any case, there was another way for him to force Hidden Gifts into his target. It was through direct contact.
Still, Mamon was concerned about whether Clute was aware of this fact. All of Clute’s attacks were so strong that Mamon would receive terrible damage if he was hit by just one of them.
It seemed he had to get serious for the first time after being freed from the card.
Mamon possessed numerous Hidden Gifts. However, the ultimate Hidden Gifts he held dearly were Hidden Gifts from Seven Deadly Sins. They were the symbols that boasted of his ability that could even steal the Hidden Gifts from the other Deadly Sins.
“You will regret making me get serious,” Mamon declared as his body sunk into his shadow and reappeared behind Clute.
Mamon shot several strings at Clute. After that, twenty or so grenades flew along the strings and tightly attached themselves to Clute.
“Kiekkiek. You can’t possibly remove them. And they will explode in... Y-You...!!” Mamon’s couldn’t finish his sentence as he saw Clute rushing at him instead of bothering with the grenades.
The flash of the explosions covered Clute’s body. The combined explosion was especially powerful since it came from Mamon’s special bombs that were enhanced by his psychic power. The force of the explosion couldn’t exit the domain, so it generated a chain reaction. The domineering power kept rebounding inside until the rune on the ground was damaged and the domain vanished.
A giant cloud of smoke emerged with Mamon standing inside it. He was completely uninjured as he had protected himself with Beelzebub’s Hidden Gift, Universe Boundary, which made the user receive no damage from their own attacks.
Mamon puffed his chest up as he let out a disgusting laugh.
“Kiekkiekkiek. He finally died. That was satisfying. Let’s head back.” Mamon turned his back and headed to where Sila was. However, nobody aside from him made any move.
Without any warning, a certain left hand flew out from the cloud of smoke and grabbed onto Mamon’s neck. Soon, a snowy wind fluttered and blew the smoke away, revealing Clute who was lifting Mamon up from the ground.
Mamon’s weakness was that he underestimated his opponents too much. He wasn’t a direct combat type, so his ability to sense presences was lacking compared to other experts. On the other hand, everyone else had been aware that Clute was still alive.
Otherwise, the title White Giant wouldn’t be so fearful in Belacia City.
“Cough, cough. H-How can you still be alive... without a single injury at that?! There was no way you could protect yourself against that explosion. You should have been on the verge of death even if you spent all of your magic power reinforcing your body!” Mamon tightly grabbed onto Clute’s wrist.
“I’m not fighting alone. The power I got from my friends creates infinite possibilities,” replied Clute.
“The hell are you on about?! Fool! You have made a mistake by letting me touch you directly!” Mamon forcefully granted Clute some of the devastating Hidden Gifts in his possession.
However, he was one step too late. Clute had already prepared a countermeasure.
“Tiwaz (The God, Tyr).”
A letter, similar to an arrow pointing upward, appeared in the center of Clute’s back. This rune was a warrior rune named after the God Tyr, who is the Northern god of law and justice. Tiwaz brought about a correct balancing of the scales, preventing disruption of balance due to chaos in the environment. Mamon’s abilities couldn’t work on someone under the rune’s protection.
“What the heck...?! A fourth rune? Aren't you supposed to have only three?” Mamon was shocked and confused.
Clute slowly pulled his fist back. On the back of his hand appeared yet another rune representing vigor and strength.
Clute’s punch, which originally couldn’t be taken lightly, doubled in strength.
Everyone jumped at the two but they were too late. A powerful punch bumped into Mamon’s body. The sounds of psychic armor and a metal body breaking and cracking was terrifyingly loud.
Mamon’s body was sent flying away. No one knew whether he was alive or dead. Nevertheless, Clute wouldn’t allow his eternal enemy to be free.
Again, everyone except Mamon was bounced off the manifested domain. Rune Magic was indeed fraudulent. Each of the runes possessed tyrannical might. That was exactly why the user could learn only three of them and was forbidden from learning other kinds of magic. Otherwise, they would be too strong.
With continuous usage of magic, Clute’s magic power was draining quickly. The rune Tiwaz (The God, Tyr) was disappearing from his back and was replaced by a rune with the appearance of a trident. It represented protection and spiritual force.
Clute’s magic power recovered at an astonishing rate. Sila swallowed his saliva. He finally came to understand why the White Giant was a monster that even the citizens of Belacia City could only manage to stall.
“Kiekkiekkiek!” Mamon laughed as he brought his tattered body up from the ground, limping. Many mechanical parts on his body fell off. Mamon knew his level and rank would fall down due to the missing parts as soon as he deactivated Lucifer’s Hidden Gift.
He emitted a fearsome aura using Satan’s Hidden Gift, causing the players to feel restless, yet Clute’s determination was firm as he looked straight into Mamon’s eyes which were filled with madness.
“What a pretentious bastard... You said you loved your comrades and blabbered on. However, the fact is you and I are alike.”
“We have nothing in common,” replied Clute.
“Snort! The reason you can use more than three runes is because you stole them! From those who you said you loved dearly!”
“That’s not it. Everyone gave them to me.”
In fact, Clute originally only had three runes. However, one of them was Gebo (Gift), which represented giving and taking.
In their dying moments, Clute’s friends gave their runes to him through this exact rune. As a result, Clute was the first, only, and last ancient golem to be capable of using every letter of Rune Magic.
“Gave them to you? What a funny remark! They are not something people give away for free! Snatching and robbing precious things from others is our true calling, Clute! Or you are going to tell me that the Bison King willingly gave its fur to you as well?”
Mamon pointed at Clute’s cape, which clearly showed signs of being ripped from the body of the original owner.
“N-N-No, that’s not it. I suddenly came to this world out of nowhere and that wild ox attacked me first. I had to protect myself. It was self-defense...”
“Self-defense? Given your strength, you could easily spare its life. However, you still chose to kill it. Am I right? You chose to rob its life! You chose to fiendishly and ruthlessly rip its skin off its flesh!! Kiekkiekkiek. Respect... You have my respect! Maybe I should follow your example. Kiekkiekkiek!”
Tears welled up in Clute’s eyes. His body shrank and his appearance returned to a pitiful boy. He couldn’t win against Mamon’s argument at all. It was true that he could have chosen to spare the Bison King’s life given the difference in strength. However, at that time, everything had happened so fast. He came to the New World and appeared in some other monster’s territory. He was lonely and afraid. Suddenly, he was under attack, so he lost control of his strength and killed his opponent.
After everything had calmed down, he ripped the Bison King’s skin off and covered himself with it. It wasn’t there for protecting him from cold but for keeping him from experiencing loneliness.
Once the Bison King had died, its territory’s ownership got transferred to Clute, and he had been protecting it ever since. It was because of him that Belacia City—which existed in the middle of many monster dens—was under a few attacks per day. Without him, the frequency of monster raids would have been much higher. Sadly, his heroic actions had never been recognized or appreciated.
Mamon floated up from the ground. He grinned as he had successfully broken Clute’s fighting spirit. It wasn’t strange at all that the common strategy against Mamon was to avoid chatting with him. Even though his combat strength was lower than Clute’s, his verbal skills were above and beyond.
A purple crystal embedded in Mamon’s chest shone a dark light. A pair of devil horns protruded from his head. It showed that Mamon was exerting his full strength for the sake of taking down the dangerous foe in front of him.
Mamon activated Envious Shadow and teleported himself behind the depressed, small Clute. His laser blade in his hand emitted a mysterious purple glow. This blade was clad with the entirety of Mamon’s remaining psychic power. It would surely cleave Clute, who was losing himself, in half.
“Die!!” Mamon roared as his victorious grin surfaced.
Clute was shocked that he was under attack. However, he wasn’t using Mannaz (Mankind) right now, so he couldn’t use his Rune Magic fast enough to protect himself. All he could do was clad himself with magic power reinforcement. Unfortunately, it was a useless move since Mamon’s laser weapon could penetrate energy reinforcement.
Mamon was hit by an invisible force and rolled down on the ground. He lifted himself up but the same psychic power pinned him down on the snowfield. Both Clute and Mamon turned to look at the one who intervened.
Mamon roared, his eyes were filled with rage, “What are you doing, you stupid bird girl?!”
Lookhin nonchalantly tossed a snack into her mouth. “Your laugh. Ugly.”
“Grrrr!! Die! Both of you...!” That was all Mamon could say before Sila finally sealed him inside his armor.
Sila sighed. “And here I thought his personality had gotten better. As it turns out, he is still the same as ever.”
Clute stared at Sila. His eyes were gloomy. “Mammon has become a human’s pet? Are you Mammon’s master?”
“Yes, he is with me. I really apologize for Mamon’s behavior. Erm... Actually, saying sorry won’t be enough. He has done so much to hurt you...”
“That’s what Mammon has to take responsibility for, not you. And... you are...?” Clute turned to Lookhin.
Lookhin wiped her mouth using her sleeve as she curtly stated her name, “Lookhin.”
“Thank you for your help.”
The rune Raidho (Ride) and Mannaz (Mankind) shone as Clute suddenly appeared next to Lookhin. He lifted her right hand up and kissed it on the back.
A small rune gently materialized on the back of Lookhin’s hand before she knew it.
“A favor exists to be returned... If you face any problem, just call, and I will come to help...” Clute became a boy once again as he walked to the cape he had dropped before donning it. “...Please tell Mammon that this time is my loss. I won’t let the same thing happen next time.”
Sila took a liking to Clute’s character. In the previous battle, no one could bring themselves to wholeheartedly declare Mamon as the victor. Despite that, Clute didn’t mind Mamon’s cheap trick and willingly accepted his defeat. Suddenly, the small body seemed to have belonged to a great man in everyone’s eyes.
“Ten minutes have passed. A group of monsters up ahead has already gone by... I was here to prevent people from encountering them... I will have to go. There is someone inside the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle. I have to help him.”
The back of the small figure became fainter as Clute walked away by himself, heading into a snowstorm. Those who saw his back felt that there were far too many responsibilities resting on his shoulders.
Coming to know the White Giant’s hardships, Fallun and his colleagues were speechless. They had never tried talking to the White Giant before. Seeing him, people only engaged in battle or fled on sight. Unbeknownst to them, the White Giant’s only intention was to block their path and prevent them from needlessly encountering a group of monsters.
Sila made a silent promise to himself that he wouldn’t leave things as they were. He had to do something about it.
Chapter 240: A Borrowed Sword
Indigo’s restaurant resumed operations shortly after the other players confirmed the danger had passed. Burapha, Sila, and Lookhin reunited at the same table less than an hour after they originally split up. They were exchanging intel. Meanwhile, Bluebird was nowhere to be seen as he couldn’t show himself in this city.
Franz was sent off in search of rare herbs to use as ingredients. Meanwhile, Asura and Sebastian were sitting at the table next to Sila’s, discussing things in secret.
For the record, Lookhin had been trying to rub the rune on the back of her hand off ever since a moment ago. However, it didn’t come off no matter how hard she tried. In the end, she quit and focused on eating the Salted-Grilled Bats placed in front of her.
“This is only our first day here, yet so many things have already happened. It seems staying here for too long might not be a good idea,” said Sila.
Within an hour, Burapha had suffered an internal injury while Sila had lost a third of his power. His body was exhausted as if he had been fighting all day.
In addition, Mamon’s rank was demoted to Marquis due to his fight against Clute. He refused to come out from the armor until he finished repairing and upgrading himself, which he said should take at most two days.
“We also don’t know Mister Lomyok’s situation. Will he be okay?” Burapha wondered.
“Lomyok can take care of himself. We don’t have to worry about him. More importantly, what about you, Burapha?” asked Sila.
“I feel weird. My health bar is full, but I still feel uncomfortable as if some kind of negative energy is present in my veins. I can’t expel it no matter what I do. Big Brother Blue suggested that I visit the Medical Saint in the residential zone.”
Sila placed his hand on Burapha’s shoulder and transmitted his qi to inspect the latter’s body.
“Mm... It must be Revin’s qi. It has a similar characteristic to Montra’s. It’s even real-life inner force. You will have a more difficult time expelling it than usual.”
Among the three men from the Sky Dragon Dojo, Revin’s innate talent laid in physical mobility, so qi type was the most suitable for him. Kawin specialized in his calmness. His actions became one with himself, so psychic type would be the best for him. Lastly, Montra had a unique constitution and highly adaptive martial arts, so he was most compatible with a magic-type playstyle.
Even though their inner force—Triple Sky Energy—shared the same origin, each of them polished it differently and pushed it further through their own paths.
Triple Sky Energy was the very foundation of their strengths. Prior to acquiring it, none of them possessed high amounts of inner force due to their young age. They had to rely on the system-generated energy to show off their martial moves.
However, now that they had Triple Sky Energy, they could finally step into the realm of true martial artists who relied on actual inner force.
Indeed, Montra was a true genius of the era. He, who had little to no knowledge regarding the circulation of inner force, could borrow Sila’s Tiger Dragon Qi which had invaded his body and turned it into his asset by using himself as a lab rat. He had endured an unbearable, excruciating pain and slowly comprehended the flow of his opponent’s inner force, then refined it into a whole new qi art that had never existed before on Earth.
Regarding raw power, Triple Sky Energy was inferior to pure qi arts like Flaming Cloud Qi or Tiger Dragon Qi. Nevertheless, its prominent point wasn’t raw strength but its foundation.
Montra firmly believed that the most important factor in learning something was the basics. Triple Sky Energy was born through this ideology. This power wasn’t difficult to practice. The user could feel only a subtle increase in strength in the early days of training. However, its most important trait was that it would evolve itself differently for each user, depending on how they used it.
Triple Sky Energy would refine the user’s inner force into the form that suits them the most. It was the qi art that grows with the user, largely influenced by a matter of patience. No talent or luck was required. Most importantly, it could ultimately become the foundation for practicing other profound arts without any deviation.
Sila removed his hand. “As far as I see it, you have two choices, Burapha. First, let me help you force it out. Second, keep it.”
“What point is there in keeping it, Big Brother?” Burapha asked, feeling greatly confused.
“Umm... If you let me drive it away, you will no longer feel uncomfortable as your body will return to normal. On the other hand, if you keep it, your psychic power will naturally develop a resistance against it. This is a chance for your psychic power to make a breakthrough as it will try its best to strive for survival. However, I’m concerned that this choice will be too risky. This city is extremely dangerous. If you die, your overall strength will drop and you will have a harder time surviving.”
“You’re right, Big Brother. If I die even once and become weaker, the process may repeat and even my rank may fall.”
“That’s not the only concern. Revin’s inner force is real, meaning it will continue to stay in your body even after you die. The system considers it a part of your body. Thus, so long as you can't overcome Revin’s power, your strength will remain stagnant at this level.”
“Eh?! Isn’t that totally weird? It’s not like every player is a profound practitioner. No, even if they are, it’s not like everyone can control their inner force. What if normal players were to get hit by this kind of move? Won’t that be the end of their character? Where is the fairness in this game?”
“You raise a good point. I agree that this aspect is strange. I have never played other virtual reality games before so I always figured it was like this for every game. However, after I investigated it, I found that only this game affects our real bodies to this degree.”
‘For example... Bow’s case. It isn’t normal to allow an underage patient to use a brain scanner as it is too risky for their health,’ Sila thought without saying it out loud.
“Eh? You did an investigation, Big Brother?” Burapha was curious as he didn’t consider Sila the type of person to do that kind of thing.
“Yeah, I looked into it a bit,” Sila replied with a dry smile.
In fact, after he came to know that the game creator was Joshua, his teacher’s acquaintance, Sila had been wondering about the game Monster Soul Online. His curiosity intensified when he encountered his parents, who didn’t behave like AIs at all.
He searched for information due to this curiosity, rather than some obligation as a candidate for the next leader of the Wulin Masters Association. The fact that his personality was undergoing changes and he started to express curiosity showed that Dark Self’s existence was affecting him.
A notification informed Sila of an incoming message. Sila hurriedly checked his inbox and found that it was a response from his teacher, Mora. The message told him to log out five hours from now. The flow of time in the game and in reality was different. That meant Teacher Mora wanted to meet him in an hour, which was rather urgent considering Mora's personality.
“You got a message, Big Brother?” asked Burapha.
“Ah, right. Five hours later, I will have to log out for a while.”
“Log out? Come to think of it, I always see you online all the time, Big Brother. It’s good that you’re going to take a break. How long do you plan to be offline?”
“I don’t think it will be too long. Well, it may take a couple of in-game days. Don’t mind me. How about it, Burapha? Have you made a decision?”
Burapha replied without a moment of delay. “I will keep it, Big Brother. My goal is to go above Revin. If I can’t win against a meager amount of his power, how can I hope to win against him?”
Sila didn’t comment on Burapha’s decision. “Montra, Kawin, and Revin. These three are equally skilled. However, Montra is the most flexible, Kawin is the calmest, and Revin is the wildest. They are all formidable opponents. Remember that we always have the option to flee. There will always be another chance as long as we’re alive.”
“In fact, I wanted to flee, Big Brother, but Revin’s speed surpasses mine. It’s lucky that Big Brother Blue and Mister Kraizer lent me their help this time.”
“Speed isn’t the only factor in a successful escape, Burapha. Well, for this topic, I think you will be better consulting Bluebird. He is the only person who can escape from Zero. Even I’m not confident I can do that.”
“I’m not sure our Sky Emperor will be delighted if he knows people from all over Monster Soul hail him as the best escapee. Hahaha!” Burapha laughed, though his laughter ended early since a familiar voice interrupting him from the stairs.
“Well, that will be the last time you escape from me. I was just a little bit careless.”
Four more men came up to the second floor of the restaurant. Sila instantly recognized three of them. They were Revin who just spoke, Kawin who was walking slowly, and Zero who was becoming the center of attention. As for the last one, Sila had never seen him before.
Burapha quickly stood up from the table. “Revin?”
Revin took out a strap and used it to lazily tie his long hair. He joined Sila’s table without asking for permission. “Calm down, man. Don’t make a fuss in the restaurant. Don’t you know this city’s rules?”
“Revin, we aren’t here to pick a fight. The time and place aren’t right. We will come back later,” Kawin said to Revin.
“Easy, easy, Kawin. It’s a small matter. Sila won’t mind me joining his table, right?” Revin talked like Sila was his close friend. On the other hand, a feeling of disapproval was clearly shown on Kawin’s face.
“I don’t mind. You are free to sit with us,” Sila replied, and Revin shrugged at Kawin as if telling him, ‘See?’
Kawin ignored both of them and sat at another table with the man Sila didn’t know. Meanwhile, Zero approached restaurant’s balcony and stood there, alone.
Burapha sat down as Sila observed Kawin and the stranger—a tall man with a ponytail and amber eyes. The two of them were very prudent. It seemed they were having a conversation through their system windows. As a result, Sila couldn’t eavesdrop on their conversation. In any case, based on the looks on their faces, they seemed to be talking about some serious matters.
“We are here to invite players in Belacia City to join our guild,” Revin said, out of the blue.
“Pardon?” Sila was confused.
“Like you guys are doing, right? Belacia City is full of strong players who can be key assets for the team. No one can overlook their influence in wartime,” Revin explained while using chopsticks to feed himself the Salted-Grilled Bat. He chewed it deliciously. “Oh! it tastes better than it looks.”
“Why are you exposing your intentions to me?”
“What do you mean by exposing? You probably already guessed it before anyway. By the way, recruiting these players isn’t our top priority. Actually...”
“Revin!!” Kawin shouted from the table he was sitting. “What do you think you are doing? Can’t you just sit there silently?”
“Ouch, another lecture. Fine, fine, I won’t talk about this topic.” Revin stuck out his tongue to mock Kawin.
“What do you want, Revin?” Sila directly asked for Revin’s intention behind approaching them.
“Nothing in particular. I just want to know more about you since we have never talked before. How about it? What is your progress on sword training?”
“Sword training?” Sila panicked, though he didn’t express it. Could it be that Montra knew he was practicing Heaven’s Decree Sword Art? How? There should be no way Montra could know about it.
“I’m talking about my Black Dragon Sword. Could it be that you aren’t using it? In that case, can you return it to me?” Revin earnestly and shamelessly stated his request.
Sila released a sigh of relief. ‘Oh, so he meant the Black Dragon Sword. This means Montra really planned to let me practice using a sword, just like Teacher Mora warned me.’
“I must apologize. I already melted that sword down and forged a Chinese sword for Sangdao.”
“Is that so?” Revin didn’t seem to regret it. “Well, it’s cool. Montra is my friend. Sangdao and Montra are considered one and the same. Lucky for me. On their engagement day, I will just tell them that I have already given them my congratulatory gift. Saving some money~”
A cold and dangerous red light faintly flashed through Sila’s eyes. Revin said every word in a kidding manner, so Sila couldn’t read his true aim. In any case, he believed that Revin’s character was deeper than it appeared. His mind, which was usually calm, started to have ripples as if a rock was thrown into a still pond.
“Sigh. And here I thought we could have a duel, swordsman to swordsman. There is no one bad among sword users. Well, it seems this city only has Kraizer. I will snatch his title, Master of Swords, from him soon.”
Revin played with the chopsticks in his hand. He spun them around smoothly and freely. Based on how it looked, Sila could tell that Revin’s control of swords was superior to his by a great margin.
Heaven’s Decree Sword Art focused on directing the flow of nature to cause profound phenomena. There were no specific movements of a sword.
Thus, if disregarding the power borrowed from nature, Sila’s mastery and proficiency of the sword could never hope to rival Revin’s, who had been honing his swordsmanship for years.
Sila found the conversation engaging. “Actually, I can more or less use a sword. Saying that there is no one bad among sword users... isn’t that too extreme? Or are you saying that I’m not a bad guy in your eyes?”
“Let’s see... I’m not like Kawin who blindly hates you following Montra... Oh, sorry, pal.” Revin sent an apologetic gaze at Kawin. “Truthfully speaking, I don’t think you are a bad guy. It’s just that we are standing on opposite sides, so we are enemies. If we met each other in a different situation, we could have become friends instead. Well, let me tell you firsthand that, despite me telling you this, don’t expect me to take pity on you. If we face off, I will not hesitate to hit you as hard as I can with my sword.”
“Why is that?” Sila raised his brows. Revin seemed to possess the most playful and friendly personality out of the three men from the Sky Dragon Dojo.
“Because, when wielding a sword, I will have to clear my thoughts of everything except for the sword. There are no friends or foes, no winning or losing. Only this way can my sword shine the brightest. Every person has their own reason for fighting. Most people say they fight in order to protect something. However, they’re actually all the same. We all have something worth protecting. For some of us, it’s our pride. For others, our loved ones. Some people fight to protect their duty, while some fight to protect their lifestyle. Regardless, when I fight, I must only feel the weight of my sword. There is no need for me to carry someone else’s responsibilities or even mine. Just my sword alone is heavy enough.”
Sila began to understand what kind of man Revin was. On the outside, he appeared to be a playful, mischievous person. However, at his core, he turned out to be a man who saw things through, both objectively and subjectively.
Revin fully understood that each person or organization had their own situation. If two sides with conflicting paths were to face off, discord may occur. At that moment, he wouldn’t ever hold back out of sympathy. Harming someone else in order to reach one’s own goal may seem brutal. However, it is the most natural order of the world. If a certain job is open for recruitment, once someone gets that position, the rest who applied for the same job, be it a hundred or a thousand people, will have lost.
Likewise, only one person can step into the position of the Wulin Lord. Either Montra or Sila could acquire it, not both.
“Now I see why you say there are no bad people among sword users. With your ideology, everyone in this world is considered half good and half bad.”
Revin snapped his fingers. “You get it, right? Only Kawin says I’m weird.”
“Revin, our business here is done. Let’s go.” Kawin stood up, along with the man who accompanied him.
“Eh? I’m not full yet.” Revin placed two gold coins on the table. He used a chopstick to pierce another Salted-Grilled Bat, making it a Grilled Bat Skewer, before following Kawin. “Hm? Zero? Aren’t you gonna go with us?”
Zero didn’t give any reply. He simply stood still. His lack of a response clearly implied that he wanted to stay there.
Kawin had already gone downstairs while Revin stopped his feet on the staircase on the second floor.
“Oh, right, Sila. I also have a bad side. It makes up half of me. And I have told you that I won’t hold back against my foe.”
“Please pass my greetings to Bluebird, will you? Both of you are buddies, right? I saw you enter this city together. I take it that you must have some means of contacting him.” Revin deliberately said it loudly in order to make everyone in the restaurant hear him.
Several hostile gazes were soon directed at Sila and Burapha.
All the people here quickly thought about it and found that what Revin said was highly likely. The alert indicating the appearance of Bluebird rung when Sila had just arrived in the city. Everyone wanted to punish Bluebird from the very beginning, so they wouldn’t overlook even the smallest clue.
Some people searched the game forum and eventually found the connection between Sila and the Blue-Colored Catastrophe, especially in the columns written by the Bluebird himself, which expressed that he and Sila were ‘as close as real brothers’. The killing intent in the restaurant intensified.
The funny thing was, at that time, the words that came to Sila’s mind were ‘Kill With a Borrowed Sword’. It seemed Revin had already unsheathed his blade.
T/N: ‘Kill With a Borrowed Sword’ is one of the Thirty-Six Stratagems, meaning “Attack using the strength of another (in a situation where using one's own strength is not favorable). Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to betray him, or use the enemy's own strength against him.” The idea here is to cause damage to the enemy by getting a third party to do the deed.
Revin’s words were as sharp as his sword and as wild as his sword art. They might seem warm and powerless at first, but fiercely blazed and burned once they erupted.
“See you again, Sila.” Revin bid his farewell as he left.
Obviously, the citizens in Belacia City were aware of the rule not to fight in the restaurant. They paid money for the food and walked outside, waiting in front of the restaurant. Looking below, Sila saw more than twenty people surrounding the building.
Revin’s sword was indeed terrifying. With this first sword, not only did it obstruct Sila from recruiting people to join the union, it also became harder for him to even stay in the city.
Chapter 241: Crisis and Opportunity
People silently assembled outside of the restaurant. There were no shouts or curses, yet their hateful gazes showed how dire Sila’s situation was.
Sila couldn’t see Revin and Kawin anymore, though he still sensed their presences. The situation was extremely bad for him as his options were severely limited.
Burapha was restless too. Now he knew Revin’s character was deeper than the man seemed on the outside. His slyness and quick wit were as sharp as the blade he used, meaning it struck his opponent at their weakest moment. Sila’s group came to this city with the intention of recruiting people. There was no way they could fight the citizens without there being consequences.
Zero still stood in the same place, his gaze roaming as if he was looking for someone. He opened his mouth and said to no one in particular, “With crisis always comes opportunity.”
Sila understood Zero’s meaning. No matter how dire the situation was, his only choice was to go out and clash against the people. If he didn’t show his strength, he would be looked down upon, and his chances of recruiting players would be reduced further.
“Burapha, Sebastian, and Mister Asura. From now on, the situation will become more chaotic. Let’s separate now before it’s too late. Instead of splitting into two groups like usual, we will split into three for mobility. Burapha, please go with Mister Asura. Sebastian sticks with Miss Franz. Lastly, Lookhin will stay with me.”
“What about Mister Mamon, sir? I think he doesn’t want to stay with Lookhin,” Sebastian asked.
“Mamon tends to make things worse. It’s best that he stay by my side. In conclusion, my group will consist of Lookhin, Mamon, and myself.”
“Oh, tomorrow, don’t forget to go and defeat the Vampire Earl north of the city, Sebastian. Maybe the current you can’t take him on though. Anyway, please go by yourself and don’t hesitate to use the Manifesting Soul Lantern.”
Mamon was currently sealed within Mechanical Evil God’s Protection, so Sila could access Mamon’s Hidden Gift to understand items. He came to know the reason why Sebastian avoided using the lantern. The butler was afraid of stray bullets hitting his comrades.
“Lookhin, please come into the armor for the time being. I want to borrow your strength,” Sila requested, to which Lookhin nodded. He then sealed her into the armor.
Burapha cast his gaze outside. “There are a lot of people, Big Brother. Do you need my help?”
Sila shook his head. “No, I’m okay. Burapha, you should focus on training yourself. Just forget that we came here together. Use this place as a training ground. Remember that you can always flee if it’s a fight that you can’t win.”
Burapha nodded, his expression showing that he understood. Sila had intentionally grouped Asura with Burapha. He knew Asura was often apathetic, so he wouldn’t disturb Burapha’s training. In any case, Sila would be more at ease knowing that there was a reliable helper staying with Burapha.
“Once I go down, you can all go wherever you want. Don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself.”
None of them doubted that Sila could take care of himself. They weren’t worried about him.
Once Sila had made sure that he didn’t forget anything, he stepped on the balcony before descending from the second floor. He relied on Lookhin’s Great Sparrowhawk Qi to leisurely step down on air as if he was walking down invisible stairs.
Zero didn’t follow after Sila, though he did expand his profound sense using God’s Cathedral as he silently waited for his target to make an appearance. Still, his gaze fell onto Sila’s movements, which had developed greatly since the last time they had talked. He speculated that the current Sila was worthy of being his opponent.
The players below stepped aside to form an open spot for Sila to land, making a horseshoe-shaped encirclement. The distance between them and Sila was exactly five meters. Some of them had witnessed Sila’s strength when he previously welcomed Ryou’s attack, so they were extremely vigilant, readying themselves for a battle that could break out at any time.
‘What great pressure! Well, it’s a good sign that they didn’t attack me right away. Maybe I can still talk things out with them.’
Sila stood motionlessly with his hands behind his back. He seemed defenseless on the outside. Despite this, his qi was steadily circulating throughout his body.
The players didn’t beat around the bush. One of them threw a question at Sila. “Are you the Blue-Colored Catastrophe’s comrade?”
Sila couldn’t tell whether Revin had calculated this beforehand, but he wasn’t the type to lie. His reply was honest. “Yes, I am.”
The atmosphere was so quiet that it was uncomfortable. A sense of hatred was clearly visible in everyone’s gazes.
Soon, a black-haired man with an eyepatch stepped forward.
“We aren’t irrational people. Just tell us Bluebird’s whereabouts, and you may leave. We won’t harm you.”
Sila glared at the man, his eyes gleaming red. They looked downright scary. “So you are saying I just need to sell out my friend in order to leave this place?”
“Why do you have to put it that way? That sounds harsh. I mean we only want Bluebird’s whereabouts. We have no wish to harm you.”
“And? What if I don’t comply with your request? You will gang up on me. Is that right?” Sila’s voice became louder. He couldn’t afford to seem unconfident, or he would immediately be seen as a weakling.
Some began to spew out curses while others were consulting among themselves. Sila started to notice that the people here could be divided into three groups. One group wanted to find Bluebird’s location regardless of the method. The second group wanted to negotiate with him and avoid conflict if possible. As for the third one, the group with the largest number of people, they were on the fence and waiting to see what happened.
The first group consisted of hot-tempered people, so they quickly took action. Even though the attack was thrown at Sila with an intention to warn him, it was still so fierce that it stimulated Dark Self’s survival instinct.
“Take this blade first! Else you don’t even have the qualifications to talk with us!”
A shout echoed as a certain man jumped forward and aimed the tip of his thick Chinese sword at Sila. His attack was neatly and beautifully done, possessing both terrific strength and speed. It was unexpected that the attacker was only a nobody. If he lived somewhere else, given his strength, he would be selected as a vice-leader in a middle-sized guild.
Nevertheless, what Sila was concerned about wasn’t this blade. Even though everyone else acted like mere spectators, some among them used this chance to probe his strength. As far as he could tell, at this exact moment, four more people also took action in accordance with the Chinese sword user. Each of them sneakily acted by their own without planning ahead. Their attacks were concealed, making it as if Sila was simply fighting one-on-one despite it actually being one against five.
A transparent ice blade was formed on the snowfield below Sila’s feet. It was Snow’s attack. She secretly invoked a mid-tier spell which she had delayed beforehand.
From far away was Skyless, who was standing on a building. He strengthened a snowflake and used it as a hidden weapon. It flew toward Sila with his object-controlling art at an astonishing speed, aiming at his flank from a blind spot.
The man wearing a pirate eyepatch, who Sila would learn later was called Menar, also took action. He flicked his fingers and tossed a plant seed toward Sila. The seed flew together with the Chinese sword in the first attacker’s hand, concealing itself using the shadow of the blade.
The last one was Zero, still standing on the balcony. He materialized a chakram using his magical qi. His chakram was so thin that it couldn’t be seen, though its sharpness was second to none. He mercilessly sent it toward the back of Sila’s neck.
Sila quickly sorted the attacks in sequence. Zero took action last but his attack would reached him first. Next would be Skyless’ hidden weapon, Menar’s plant seed, Snow’s ice shard, and then finally the stranger’s Chinese sword.
Formless Martial God — Drifting Cloud.
Sila moved left and right, yet his feet stayed in the same place, creating a blurred afterimage as if he had become a cloud.
The magical chakram slit Sila’s neck and left a faint red mark behind. It was fortunate that Sila had been especially careful and strengthened his body with Formless Soldier and Divine Raiment. Still, it was unexpected that his Drifting Cloud couldn’t completely evade Zero’s attack.
The chakram flew past him but didn’t stop. It swiftly curved back and rushed at Sila for a second attack. It even came back at the same time as when Skyless’ hidden weapon arrived.
Attribute of Metal — Unhindered Fist.
Both of Sila’s hands were strengthened by the forceful nature of the metal element. In an instant, his left hand struck the hidden weapon while his right hand was thrown at the chakram flying toward his head, shattering it.
Unhindered Fist was the metal-attributed barehanded move. It was a simple, unyielding martial move that was the most direct and couldn’t be easily migrated or fended off. It represented the user’s determination which wouldn’t let oneself go along with the flow but instead forcefully break through.
The plant seed finally arrived before him and broke itself into a small wisp of smoke. Sila didn’t stop his movements as he waved his hand before the smoke and invoked his wood-attributed power.
Attribute of Wood — Beckoning Hand of the Reaper.
The smoke was forcefully grouped together and returned into the form of a seed. Sila flicked his hand and sent it into the sky before releasing his control. It once again broke and dispersed along with the wind.
Time continued to flow as Sila neatly handled each attack. The snow blade below him started to pose a threat. Thus, he lifted his foot up and stomped.
Attribute of Earth — Instant Stomp.
The earth-attributed martial move’s trait laid in its explosive strength. The ice below Sila’s foot was stomped and broken. A strong footprint was pressed into the snowfield. Furthermore, Sila borrowed the rebounding impact to ready himself against the stranger’s Chinese sword. Compared to all those previous moves, this blade aimed at him openly, so Sila would have an easier time perfectly subduing it. As long as he handled the situation well, the opportunity for him to negotiate with these people would open up.
With crisis always comes opportunity. However, the reverse also applied. With opportunity comes crisis.
As Sila was about to show off his strength by beautifully receiving the blade using his martial move Moon-Catcher, something bizarre happened suddenly. His body froze up and his instincts kicked in, telling him that he was in grave danger. The energy he had built up vanished as his strength left him.
The blade finally arrived. It cut through Sila’s flesh as it stabbed into his abdomen. Everyone, including Sila, was speechless.
Even the four people who secretly attacked Sila were dumbfounded. Sila could calmly cope with their sneak attacks, yet he was unable to handle an inferior attack openly thrown at him. How was that possible?
Sila’s eyes turned dark ruby. He gritted his teeth as he unleashed qi and psychic power, which prompted the Chinese sword user to step back, the Chinese sword still stuck in Sila’s body.
Dark Psychic Corrosion spread out. Belacia City was so dangerous that it had stimulated Dark Self several times in one day. Under the surface of a peaceful city was the atmosphere of death and looming dangers that could come in any form.
“Who... Who the hell is it?!” Dark Self roared.
The Chinese sword user flinched. “M-My name is...” In fact, he was quite surprised. He didn’t expect his simple move to be able to harm Sila to this extent.
“I didn’t mean you...!” Dark Self said as he wondered. ‘There was one more person who sneakily attacked me! How could I not sense them?!’
Apparently, during the last second, someone had stealthily directed a concentrated line of mental oppression at Sila without anyone realizing. It was done in a place where strong players gathered, yet no one, including Zero, had detected the presence of the sixth, mysterious attacker.
Dark Self expanded his profound sense using Galaxy Eclipse, yet he couldn’t pinpoint the sixth attacker. Either the said person had left after they had made their move or was concealing themselves so masterfully that he couldn’t detect them. Either way, it was undeniable that the attacker was a fearsome opponent.
The attacker’s unique, almighty mental oppression wasn’t as scary as their ability to select the most precise and deadly timing to make their move. It instantly crushed Sila’s opportunity and turned it into a great crisis.
Dark Self removed the Chinese sword from his abdomen and his blood sprayed on the ground. He borrowed the power of the Great Flow into his hand and pressed it on his wound. Meanwhile, he quickly circulated qi to regain his vitality. His face was deadly pale.
Unfortunately, Dark Self had no time to recover his strength. Most players, who saw Sila as incompetent since he had been easily injured, started leaning toward using violence. Many tightened the encirclement around him as they pressed for the answer.
“Now, tell us. Where is the Blue-Colored Catastrophe?”
Dark Self didn’t even mind their intimidating shouts. He focused on healing himself in order to prepare for the next action that the mysterious attacker might launch at him. He wanted to be in his best condition if that person were to reveal themselves and openly attack.
Suddenly, it was Zero who moved first. He deactivated his God’s Cathedral and focused his qi into his feet. He exclaimed, “Found you!” before leaping to the west.
Dark Self thought Zero meant he had found the sixth attacker, so his gaze followed Zero. However, it turned out that Zero’s target was a certain tailorbird who was crazily flapping its wings in order to escape from the Shadow Emperor. Its flying speed was significantly below Zero’s though.
Apparently, Bluebird had been secretly looking at Sila around there out of worry. Seeing Sila being injured, Bluebird slightly panicked, which prompted Zero to catch that faint reaction and discover him.
Dark Self gnashed his teeth. Personally, he wanted to stay put in order to prepare himself for the mysterious attacker’s emergence. However, Sila—who was inside his body—was worried about Bluebird’s safety, and that broke Dark Self’s concentration. It seemed Sila’s state of mind also affected Dark Self’s.
“Goddammit!!” Dark Self cursed as he shot into the sky, swayed in mid-air, and went after Zero using Lookhin’s Great Sparrowhawk Qi.
As Dark Self was cutting through the sky, the players below shouted “Follow him!” and ran to the west as well. The situation turned into a game of tag involving Bluebird, Zero, Sila, and the group of players.
Meanwhile, the restaurant was left abandoned. The two fairy girls started to clear the tables. Seeing that several dishes were unfinished, they showed distasteful expressions. It seemed that everyone in this city was more concerned about the Blue-Colored Catastrophe, and left without finishing their meals.
“Pardon? I haven’t finished yet.”
The two fairies stopped their hands—which were wiping tables and collecting dishes—as they felt greatly surprised. Indeed, there was a single player still seated, slowly chewing his food. Strangely enough, they couldn’t feel the man’s presence at all prior to the moment he spoke. Both of them apologetically bowed their heads before leaving to clean other tables.
The man placed his chopsticks down next to his dish. It seemed he had been here for a while, yet no one had been aware of his presence.
The two fairies came back with Indigo. They pointed at the table where the man previously sat. However, the man was no longer there. There were only three gold coins left on the table.
Indigo and the two fairies approached that table. For the record, this table was next to the one that Sila, Burapha, and Revin sat at.
“Do you remember his face?”
Surprisingly, both fairies shook their heads. No matter how hard they tried to recall the man’s face, they couldn’t picture the man’s appearance at all. This was despite the fact that they had clearly seen his face just a moment ago.
Indigo collected the gold coins on the table. “Hm? What is this? A symbol?” He glared at one of the coins, which was engraved with a certain illustration.
A skull in the center of a door.
At that time, Indigo felt the unsafe atmosphere coming from Belacia City, which had been his home for a long time. It was as if something dangerous was bound to happen, and it was clear that he, along with the townspeople, wouldn’t like it.
Could it be that the Belacia City’s greatest calamity, next to the one Bluebird had caused, was about to unfold?
Can anyone guess what kind of figure is Kimon? And what is their objective?
i am quessing it has something to do with the castle
Chapter 242: The Shadow Emperor
Bluebird in tailorbird form was desperately flapping his wings as the Shadow Emperor closed in on him. His plan to shake off the fastest player in Monster Soul was none other than the strategy he had used once and it had succeeded before.
It was the simplest strategy of them all—fly up. He was just going to ascend as high as possible. Seventy percent of those who had chased after him would lose track of him this way once they lost their footing.
The small tailorbird flapped his wings so hard that his sides hurt. He relied on the wind and his magic power to draw a beautiful curve with his flight path.
Bluebird felt a sudden chill. He hastily stopped his movements in mid-air as Zero’s invisible chakram sliced through where he would’ve been had he continued. The chakram missed his vital spot by a hairbreadth, lightly grazing his left wing and drawing blood.
‘Shit! He wants to kill me for real this time!’
Because of the curse imbued in the chakram, Bluebird lost his sense of balance for a brief moment. Zero lightly tapped on a roof and sent himself into the sky in an instant. The distance between him and Bluebird was closing fast.
Zero materialized three chakrams on each of his palms and threw them in curves to close off Bluebird’s escape routes.
Zero deliberately left Bluebird with only a single safe choice, and that was to fly back to him. Regardless, Bluebird showed no hesitation. Even though Zero’s Soul-Seeking Chakram-Throwing Art was scary, it was the art that Zero developed after obtaining the ability to wield magic power. It couldn’t be compared to Zero’s signature martial art, Shadow Reaper Hands, which he exerted through one of the Ten Supreme Qi, Shadowless Soul Qi, and was the main reason he became known as the Shadow Emperor. As such, Bluebird decided the safer choice was to risk his life by flying into the storm of chakrams instead of engaging in melee combat.
“Saint Elmo’s Fire.”
Bluebird discharged plasma, creating an electrically charged atmosphere. The voltage was emitted without a clear target. It deviated Zero’s magical chakrams from their targeted paths, opening a space for Bluebird to fly through.
—Darling, you are so cool! You spotted the weakness of those bizarre magical objects even though I didn’t tell you anything.
Asmodeus praised Bluebird through their mental connection.
‘It was just a wild guess. Luckily, I was right.’
Through the previous struggle, Bluebird could build up distance between himself and Zero, who was losing his momentum in the air due to having no footholds.
Bluebird speculated that, although Zero could utilize two energies, he was still originally a qi-type player. Thus, Zero’s materialized chakrams should have contained more qi than magic power. Based on the natural order, qi was weaker than magic power. Therefore, it wasn’t strange that Bluebird’s magic power could divert Zero’s chakrams even though his overall strength was weaker, especially when taking into account how Zero’s attainment in magic focused on the dark element, which specialized in attack power and curses.
Under the mask, no one could tell what kind of expression Zero was making. He took out his weapon for the first time. It was a silver chakram with a radius of half a meter. As it was cloaked with Zero’s magical qi, the chakram spun around so fast that it seemed motionless.
Zero threw the Sun-Breaking Chakram, an A-grade weapon personally made by Zeref, toward Bluebird. He then linked himself with it using the pulling power from his qi, following the weapon closely.
Bluebird realized he couldn’t outfly the chakram. He immediately tucked his wings in and shot downward, relying upon the force of gravity to accelerate his speed.
The weakness of the tailorbird form was the weak physical body. If he was hit by a clean hit, all the bones in the tiny body would be pulverized. Still, he didn’t think that transforming back into the human form was a good idea either as he would end up becoming a bigger target in mid-air. He had no choice but to descend. He tightly closed his eyes and wished for Zero’s attack to miss him.
Fortunately, it seemed Bluebird wasn’t doomed to die today. His efforts at stalling had allowed Dark Self to catch up and come close enough to attack Zero.
Dark Self flicked his hand and used Lookhin’s Oceanic Mind to slap Zero down onto a roof, collapsing the building underneath him. At the same time, he blocked another chakram, which Zero threw to counterattack him, using Illuminus.
Bluebird landed himself on a different roof and started preparing a high-tier magic spell.
Soon, the debris from the collapsed building scattered in all directions. It seemed Zero had moved out.
Even though Dark Self couldn’t tell where Zero was, he was certain that the Shadow Emperor’s target was Bluebird. Thus, he pulled out his trump card in order to catch up to Zero’s speed.
Dual Overwhelming Attributes — Earth Absorbs Water, Steel Sage.
Steel Sage was derived and modified from Lone Soul and Formless Soldier. Dark Self tapped lightly on the roof beneath him, yet the roof shattered and turned into dust. The world seemed to slow down for him.
However, today, this slow world didn’t belong to him alone. There was Zero who could rival Dark Self’s enhanced speed.
Bluebird could only see two shadowy figures clashing at transcendent speed. In a split second, Zero and Dark Self had exchanged more than five blows.
Zero spun the Sun-Breaking Chakram in his right hand while his left claw grazed the wound Sila had received earlier.
In the Steel Sage state, Dark Self’s punches and kicks were as lethal as finishing moves. He felt elated as Zero could still keep up with them and wasn’t losing. A worthy opponent was difficult to come by. Zero was suitable to be a stepping stone that would allow him to grow stronger.
Their power and speed were at the same level. As the fight was in a deadlock, Zero decided to change his approach. He relied on the concept of ‘Slow Beats Fast.’
In Dark Self’s point of view, Zero suddenly came to an abrupt halt and looked like a statue. Surprisingly, Dark Self’s neck seemed to be pulled toward the chakram as if his movements were read. He had no choice but to change his approach as well.
Attribute of Metal — Serene Universe.
Dark Self launched his punch in the simplest and most straightforward manner. His punch united with Zero’s flow of attack as if their moves had become one. Nevertheless, the perfection of Dark Self’s move made the latter pale in comparison and lose its profound might.
Witnessing this, Zero pulled his move back as well. He did a backflip and threw the Sun-Breaking Chakram at Bluebird, his main target, instead.
Dark Self pulled Bluebird out of the chakram’s path. The Sun-Breaking Chakram cut through a building as if the walls were made of paper. It missed the tailorbird by less than three inches before flying back and returning to the Shadow Emperor’s hand.
Zero stopped moving. He looked through his mask and stared at Dark Self. His eyes expressed his feeling of admiration. “You have become a lot stronger, Sila.”
Dark Self didn’t reply. His blood continued to drop from the wound on his abdomen. Because he had been constantly using his top speed, the wound was further ripped apart. As long as he didn’t take his time tending to it, his body wouldn’t stop bleeding.
“Except for Montra, you are the first opponent to be the target of this skill...”
Zero hadn’t even finished his sentence when the tailorbird fiercely opened his eyes.
Apparently, Bluebird had finished casting the spell. He raised his small wing toward the sky and a part of his magic power shot into the clouds above him.
“Judgmental Hammer Bolt.”
It was a single-targeted spell that Bluebird was confident Zero wouldn’t be able to dodge. A streak of lightning descended and started to form the shape of a hammer. Even if Zero didn’t die from this move, he would at least suffer a heavy injury, opening up Bluebird’s chance to run away.
“Rhythm of Eternal Shadows.”
No apparent change could be seen in Zero’s body language. However, the moment when the lightning hammer crashed against him, Dark Self could have sworn that he had seen Zero stepping aside and completely dodging the spell, before vanishing from where he stood at a speed which even Dark Self couldn’t follow.
Shadow Reaper Hands, Zero’s personal martial art, instantly came at Dark Self from above his head. The art was indeed fearsome. All the qi in Zero’s possession was shifted to strengthen his hands while leaving the rest of his body defenseless. The power behind the hands was so deadly, as if they really belonged to the true grim reaper who could deliver death whenever they pleased.
Attribute of Wood — Stellar Hidden Weapon.
Dark Self ducked as he shot numerous specks, which he materialized using qi, from all over his body. It was a captivating move, like several stars streaking across the night sky. Rather than stars, however, these were qi bullets fired at point-blank range.
Because Bluebird was nearby, Dark Self couldn’t exert his full power. There was a need to drive Bluebird away from the scene so that Dark Self could fight the Shadow Emperor without holding back.
Dark Self enabled mental communication with Lookhin. He then pointed his finger at Bluebird and released her. Lookhin in the great sparrowhawk form darted toward Bluebird like an arrow fired from a bow, before using her claws to latch onto him and fly away.
In the meantime, Zero pulled himself to the ground using qi in order to avoid Dark Self’s hidden weapons. He landed on a roof before jumping after Lookhin.
Dark Self kicked a roof tile under his feet while strengthening it with ice-element Orbiting Cosmos. The tile shot ahead of Zero and turned into an ice wall blocking his path. Supplemented by the cold temperature of the city, it became a moderately durable barrier which couldn’t be easily broken.
Six black spears shot from Zero’s palm and put six holes in the ice wall. He then struck the wall with a qi-strengthened palm and broke it into pieces. As he continued moving forward, he used his qi to pull the broken pieces together before launching chunks at Dark Self.
“Shield of Illuminus, Light of Illuminus.”
Dark Self simultaneously activated two of the item skills attached to the right arm. The shield encaged Zero while the light enveloped himself. The more damage Zero dealt to the shield, the more durable the light would become.
Dark Self forcefully broke through the debris and approached Zero. His qi and psychic power were combined into his fist as he was about to unleash his deadliest martial move.
Dual Overwhelming Attributes — Wood Drains Earth, Phantom Barrage.
Dark Self deactivated the shield around Zero at the last second. Realizing that he couldn’t dodge the attack, Zero exerted all of his remaining qi to reinforce the Sun-Breaking Chakram and used it as a shield against Dark Self’s attack.
The sound of the A-grade chakram made by the legendary weaponsmith breaking could be heard, along with the bones in Zero’s arms. In the middle of the exchange, he still counterattacked by kicking the wound from earlier, sending black magic power into Dark Self’s veins.
Both of them were sent flying in opposite directions. Dark Self crashed against a roof and his body glided along the tiles. Meanwhile, Zero rotated his body in mid-air and kicked a roof prior to taking three steps back to reduce the momentum. Both of his arms were broken and blood was dripping through his mask. He stood still as he silently circulated Immortal Qi to heal his arms.
The cursed magic power seeped into Dark Self’s body and corroded him from within, dyeing his skin brown. He had a difficult time circulating his qi and couldn’t fix his wound. Blood poured out of his mouth, the black liquid looking nothing like blood normally did, as he pressed his hand on the bleeding wound. His legs were shaking when he stood up.
Lookhin had successfully fled with Bluebird to a faraway place. The burden on Dark Self’s mind was finally removed. At the same time, he questioned himself. Never did he imagine that even Phantom Barrage—which was derived from One Above All, Genesis Punch, and Nine Sun-Melting-Fists—still wasn’t enough to take down Zero.
‘We need to grow even stronger. We will always be a weakling otherwise!’
“The Medical Saint’s clinic is close by, Sila. If you go now, you may survive. Just don’t block my path,” Zero advised Dark Self. His voice was heavy though, indicating that he was injured.
Dark Self had been weakened, so Sila finally regained control over his own body. His eyes returned to their usual dark brown color. He quickly sent his psychic power into his veins to keep Zero’s invading magic power in check, similar to what he had done against Infernee’s.
Nevertheless, the serious wound and the fact that he had spent an enormous amount of energy exerting many Dual Attributes greatly exhausted Sila, unlike Zero who was gradually healing his broken arms.
Sila activated Way of Slime to alter the form of the Crystal Demonic Sword into a mass of liquid before leading it into his bloodstream. It ran through his veins and cleansed the curse attribute in Zero’s magic power. Still, doing so was pretty painful. Sila gritted his teeth as he bore the pain, and took the Crystal Divine Sword out. He then pointed the tip of the sword toward Zero.
Zero’s legs were still in perfect condition. He knew he could easily catch up to Bluebird. However, in order to do so, he had to defeat Sila first.
Sila borrowed power from the Great Flow, and the Crystal Divine Sword responded to it. The blade shone a crystal clear blue light and emitted a profound glow. Sila was still motionless, but he had already taken action.
Heaven’s Decree — Seventh Sword Style, Unforeseen Sword.
Zero suddenly started thinking Sila’s body was full of openings he could exploit. With the intuition of a martial artist, it was the best chance that anyone would unconsciously use without thinking. Still, Zero noticed Sila’s determined eyes and realized that it was a trap. Yet, it was a trap that he felt a strong urge to jump into. His intuition screamed at him that if he didn’t do it now, Sila’s sword would soon stab him out of nowhere.
The sword art that forces and manipulates the opponent into taking an action that will be advantageous to the user. How can such a bizarre sword art exist on Earth? Zero couldn’t help but question what just happened.
Zero calmed his intuition down. He no longer hesitated. He coolly judged the situation and confirmed that it was more advantageous for him if he stalled for time to continue healing his arms. Taking out a pellet from his system window, Zero removed his mask for the first time as he swallowed the pellet.
“I never thought that you were this good, Sila. You are qualified to make my desire into reality.”
Zero’s feeble, sickly expression couldn’t hide his handsome facial features, especially his eyes which were full of vitality.
“What is your desire, Mister Zero?” asked Sila.
Zero shook his head. “It’s no longer important. This will be the last time we meet. There will be no Shadow Emperor in the future.”
“What does that mean?”
“You will know when our battle ends. I will not hold back. We will decide this battle in a single move.” Zero moved his arms to tell Sila that he was done healing himself.
Zero gently placed his mask on the roof. He reinforced his right hand with a huge amount of qi and magic power, so much that his hand turned black while the rest of his body became pale. It was as if the remainders of his lifespan had been transferred into this hand.
Bluebird, who stood far away in human form, saw Zero’s real face. He was shocked and rushed back to the scene. Still, the atmosphere around Sila and Zero emitted a sharp aura, and that prevented him from marching forward. He stopped on a building one block away from the battle.
“How can it be you...? Narin... Weren’t you...?”
“...Dead? Right?” Zero replied, “...The answer is recorded in the file hidden under this mask. Keep it.”
Zero kicked his mask at Bluebird, which he took with mixed feelings.
“Look closely, Bluebird. Look at my fight and my spirit. Don’t ever forget it.”
Zero’s body cracked and disintegrated into a mass of darkness, charging at Sila. His move had no start or end point. It was impossible for Sila to take it head-on. Clashing against such a move seemed to be an idea that opposed the laws of nature.
Sila had to simultaneously rely on two sword styles. He waved his sword using the sixth sword style, Flaming Fireflies, to trap Zero’s shadow. After that, he swung his sword three times in an instant through Triple Lightning Bolts to finish it.
Unfortunately, Zero’s last move was like a true shadow. Each of Sila’s swings missed its target while the dark claw sank into Sila’s chest. Five fingers dug into his flesh, two knuckles deep. The dreadful force invaded, harming his internal organs. It was the power that was hot yet cold, heavy yet light, hard yet soft, cycling endlessly.
Dual Generating Attributes — Fire Creates Earth, Supernova.
Since he couldn’t touch Zero, Sila decided to unleash his power in the form of an energy wave. The buildings in the area collapsed with Sila as the center of the explosion.
Within the qi explosion, Sila saw Zero’s body standing still in mid-air. It seemed as if his avatar was malfunctioning as several ones and zeros were floating around him. He showed a pleasant smile before he finally disappeared.
Sila and Bluebird were left alone amidst the collapsed buildings. The system didn’t inform Sila about the fact that he had killed Zero. It was as if he simply faded away.
...It was as if his existence simply returned to zero, nothingness.
The sounds of people chasing after Sila came from a distance. This city was no longer safe for Sila and Bluebird. Thinking so, Bluebird supported Sila’s body and soared to the north—the region filled with dens of high level monsters that no one, including the citizens of Belacia City, dared to approach.
T/N: So far, Zero’s revealed abilities are:- Shadowless Soul Qi (One of Ten Supreme Qi, the combination of Qi of Little Fish and Little Bird).- Shadow Reaper Hands (Zero’s personal martial art, designed for melee fight).- Soul-Seeking Chakram-Throwing Art (Zero’s personal weapon art, designed for long distance).- Rhythm of Eternal Shadows (Zero’s Rhythm, enhancing his overall abilities, especially the ability to dodge magic spells).- Eroding Nightmare Magical Qi (the name will be revealed in the next chapter)(the combination of his racial qi, qi of the nightmare horse, with his ability to wield magic power as the secondary energy type).- The ability to use magic spells of the dark element. (So far, he has used only Night Lances and that single spell to create black fog in chapter 36).
i am quessing it has something to do with the castle
The castle? I guess you didn't mean the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle, the place where vampires living in, or did you?i did mean that, yes.but that is about all i can quess, what they are planning in more detail, that i dont know
Chapter 243: The Three Horsemen
Two men and one sparrowhawk leaped through a skin-biting and bone-freezing snowstorm. It was tolerable for Bluebird and Lookhin, who were in perfect shape. However, the absolute cold was lethal to Sila in his current condition. He had to spare some of his power to protect himself against the cold despite his body being on the verge of death and extremely exhausted.
He had spent too much power in the fight against Zero, especially when he used Dual Overwhelming Attributes several times, which greatly consumed his stamina.
Even though the curse was lifted thanks to the Crystal Demonic Sword, the remains of Zero’s magical qi still continued to fiercely run through his veins and harm his organs. It acted as an unwanted foreign substance that suppressed Sila’s qi and psychic power from tending to his wounds.
If Shueria’s Bomb Lurking Psychic was like bombs that had been scattered all over his body and acted up from time to time, Zero’s magical qi brought him a unique miserable pain that he had never experienced before.
The black magical qi wildly ran through his veins as if it was a living creature—and that made it more difficult for Sila to drive it away. The blood vessels visible underneath his skin had become a terrifying black. Sila coughed out blood several times, and each time the blood was black as ink and quickly evaporated. It felt like his skin was burning, as if he was put into boiling water. Just the gentle touch of snow blowing in the wind was enough to torment him.
All of that was just a small portion of the suffering if he included the pain from the five holes in his chest and the stab wound in his abdomen. These wounds didn’t close at all. The best that Sila could do was reshape the Crystal Demonic Sword into a steel plate and plug the wounds to prevent blood loss. It was a temporary remedy though.
Lookhin utilized her psychic power to help Sila up in the air and dragged him along the way. Eventually, Bluebird led them to the entrance of a certain cave—one of his secret hideouts. It was a deserted cave located between the city and the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle that he had stumbled upon by chance in the past. For the record, Bluebird had researched and discovered that it used to be the habitual residence of the Bison King. However, it was always empty each time he checked. As such, he decided to seize it as one of his hiding spots around Belacia City.
After the two leaned Sila against the cave wall, Bluebird tried to come up with a solution. Inspecting Sila’s wounds and conditions through his Information Analysis skill, he frowned as he made a serious expression.
“As expected of the final move of Zero, the Shadow Emperor. Given the state you are in, you are better off dead.”
Lookhin sat beside Sila, tears welling up in her eyes. Sila gently stroked her head. “Let that be our last solution. How is my condition?”
“According to my investigations, Zero’s magical qi is what he invented on his own. He combined the qi that is exclusive to his race—the horse race of the nightmare species—with his magic power of the dark element, which is perfectly matched to his species. His magical qi rampages through your veins as if it is a wild horse, tearing your veins and muscles apart and torturing you. Fortunately, the curse that came with it has lost its effect, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to move.”
Sila nodded. Now he understood why he couldn’t use his qi to inspect his body. Zero’s magical qi quickly moved through his veins, and it outran the speed of his qi circulation.
If he truly wished to drive it away, he would have to rely on Dark Psychic Corrosion. Coming up with the idea, Sila quickly attempted it. He put forth his concentration and controlled his psychic power to circulate throughout his body. The fine, black particles made of psychic power flowed through his bloodstream, yet the speed of Zero’s magical qi far surpassed his. No matter how hard he tried, his power couldn’t catch up to Zero’s at all. Instead, it felt more painful than ever since the magical qi ran fiercer, deteriorating his concentration and breaking his control over his psychic power.
In the end, both his qi and his psychic power failed to oppose Zero’s power.
“Cough! Cough!” Sila coughed up more black blood. In the meantime, Bluebird communicated with Asmodeus in his mind. He was trying his best to search far and wide for the solution to help Sila.
“Mnn... Actually, Asmodeus said there’s still a way out.”
Bluebird’s speech was no less than a ray of hope, yet his expression didn’t look so good.
“It’s good that there is a way... What is the problem?” Sila could tell that there was a catch.
“We are shorthanded, both in the number of people and items. Asmodeus said we should use external help. First, we must block the magical qi from moving with a sealing spell. Then, we must have two people—one using qi and one using magic—transmit their powers into your body to suppress it. Anyway, these two have to possess magic artifacts to prevent recoil from the magical qi’s struggle. Otherwise, our plan will just lead to two more victims. Lastly, you have to eliminate it with your psychic power... Dying is far easier, I’d say.”
“What are we lacking?” asked Sila. He was grasping at straws.
“First off, a spellcaster who can use a sealing spell. Additionally, it has to be of the light element. As for the two who must transmit their powers to you, I can take on the role of the one who transmits magic power, but we lack the other who transmits qi. Finally, a magic artifact to prevent the rebound. Transmitting power into you is like forming a bridge. Without the artifact, Zero’s magical qi can jump at the ones who transmit their powers to you.”
“Unfortunately... I can use my racial skill, but slime’s magic skill lacks the light and dark elements.”
“Even if it didn’t, it would be useless. I don’t think you can both maintain your magic power and control your psychic power to destroy Zero’s magical qi while your body is in this wrecked state. Just a single mistake and you will die.”
Indeed, Sila was fully aware that he wasn’t that good at dividing his focus.
“Lookhin can.” Lookhin stood up. “Lookhin will transmit qi to Papa.”
Bluebird shook his head. “Asmodeus said you are not suited to the role. Great Sparrowhawk Qi leans toward the cold element, which is the same as Zero’s magical qi. We need someone with qi of the hot element. By the way, my magic is lightning type which is classified as of the light attribute, so it can oppose the dark element, though not as efficiently as pure light magic.”
“We are lacking a lot... Besides, in this kind of place, we can’t possibly ask for help...” Sila replied weakly. His health points continued to decline with no sign of stopping.
Lookhin kept pouring Bluebird’s health potion into Sila’s mouth. She was sad to know that she was useless. She raised her right hand to wipe tears from the corners of her eyes.
“Hm? Lookhin... What is that on the back of your hand?” asked Bluebird.
“Clute gave me,” replied Lookhin as she showed it to Bluebird. Conversing with Asmodeus, Bluebird smiled as he saw a glimmer of hope.
“That is the rune, right?! ...We may have a way! Who is Clute, Lookhin? Do you know this person, Sila? Where is this person right now?”
Sila gulped down the health potion and replied, “Clute is the White Giant of Belacia City. You’ve probably heard of him.”
“The White Giant? Did you guys encounter the White Giant? Tell me what happened.”
Sila briefly explained the earlier events to Bluebird. Apparently, the White Giant in Sila’s story was completely different from the one in Bluebird’s imagination. Bluebird regretted missing the opportunity to witness such a scene. Regardless, he was still more concerned about Sila’s condition.
“Asmodeus said Rune Magic can create a high-tier magic artifact. If we are lucky, this will solve two of our problems: the magic artifact and the sealing spell, since Rune Magic is also classified as of the light attribute. The White Giant promised he would come for help, right? This is the time.”
Lookhin had never wanted Clute to come and help her to begin with. Regardless, it was another story if it was to help Sila. She tapped on the rune and called out for Clute. Yet nothing happened.
“He doesn’t come.”
“Asmodeus said you must imagine yourself in danger or in a state where you greatly desire help. The rune will automatically respond to it.”
Lookhin nodded. She imagined the sight of Mamon’s grin, which she hated the most, while unleashing her power to make it feel like she was fighting. Soon, the letter on the back of her hand shone and floated up, before expanding itself into a dimensional door.
The small figure covered in a white fur cape crossed the dimension and reached Lookhin’s side. He wasn’t alone though. Another similar figure followed him from behind.
“Lomyok!!” exclaimed Bluebird. Meanwhile, the elegant Deity Lomyok waved the Gorgeous Female Fan at himself.
“Oho? Isn’t this Bluebird, my number one fanboy? Hmm... What happened to Sila? Why do you look so worn-out?”
Clute swept his eyes through the place and found that he was inside a cave. Noticing Sila, he also wondered why Sila ended up in this sorrowful state despite being perfectly healthy just a few hours ago.
He asked, “What is going on? Can I be of any help?”
Sila hurriedly explained to them what had happened. On the other hand, Lomyok also told him what had happened on his side.
Lomyok said that he had arrived at the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle using his godly qinggong. After he had leisurely taken some time to go sightseeing, a horde of vampires appeared to chase after him. Unfortunately for them, Lomyok was used to the experience of being chased down by his fans, so he could comfortably roam free while evading all of them. He went deeper into the castle without taking any offensive actions. For the record, all the monsters in the castle were magic-type, so they posed no threat to Lomyok who was wearing the Queen’s Spirit Raiment. Ultimately, he arrived at the Vampire Queen’s private bedroom.
He continued his story with a serious expression. “Totally disappointing. I expected her to possess otherworldly beauty, yet it was simply ordinary, nowhere near my level. I wanted to take my leave but the Vampire Queen suddenly fell into a rage and charged at me, claiming that I looked down on her beauty. I have a principle not to harm women, so I only fended off her attacks. In the end, this boy appeared, and the Vampire Queen shut her mouth. She was even eager to invite us out.”
Clute explained, “Lookhin called me when I planned to bring this Big Brother out of the castle. Therefore, I took him with me.”
“Oh, right! Lomyok, you are a qi-type player. Tell me, is your qi of the hot element or the cold element?” Bluebird enthusiastically asked.
“Ara~ Ara~ I just got here, and you are already giving me your full attention. Well, well, I won’t keep it a secret from my fan. As its name—God’s Grace Qi—implies, it’s qi of the hot element.” Lomyok circulated God’s Grace Qi throughout his body, and his skin glowed and gave off a soft, golden aura.
Bluebird ignored Lomyok’s narcissistic remark. “We have everything ready!! Unbelievable! With this, there is a way for you to survive, Sila!”
Sila was happy, though he was a bit hesitant to bother them. “It’s fine if you don’t want to do this, everyone.”
Clute volunteered, “I will handle the task of sealing and preventing the recoil. You can count on me.”
“Seeing an injured person before my eyes, how can I, the elegant hero, leave them to suffer? Especially so when you are someone I know.”
Seeing that everyone was willing to help, Bluebird repeated the method while Sila rested on the cave wall with Lookhin taking care of him.
Clute picked up two small rocks and engraved a rune on each of them. He then sent in his magic power to invoke their power.
Clute handed Bluebird and Lomyok the rocks with shining letters as he said, “Keep it on you.”
Bluebird took one of the rocks in his hand and inspected it. “Just like that? You just wrote a letter on an ordinary rock? It seems... quite unsafe... I’d say.”
“For Rune Magic, magic power is far more important than the material. The user’s magic power is what indicates the efficiency of the artifact. Higher quality materials only help in extending the duration of the spell. Those rocks can protect your bodies for ten minutes before they break.”
Listening to the explanation of the most powerful Rune Magic user, Bluebird felt assured. He and Lomyok sat next to Sila. Both of them placed the rocks on their laps.
Clute drew a letter directly on Sila’s bare chest before stepping back. He swept his gaze across everyone. The process would initiate once he activated the sealing spell.
“Let’s start,” Sila instructed, to which Bluebird and Lomyok nodded.
The rune, which Clute had used it to create the domain, was activated to create a small world inside Sila’s body. It locked Sila’s power within his body, leaving no path for escape while slowing down the speed of Zero’s magical qi.
Lomyok and Bluebird placed their hands on Sila’s shoulders before respectively transmitting their qi and magic power to him. Lomyok’s warm qi went in to oppose the cold qi part of magical qi while Bluebird’s lightning magic power went in to oppose the dark magic part.
For the next step, the one who had it the hardest was Sila. He calmed his mind and controlled his psychic power to flow along with Bluebird and Lomyok’s power, slowly but steadily corroding Zero’s Eroding Nightmare Magical Qi.
Zero’s magical qi had nowhere to escape. With its wild nature, it went on a rampage like a wild horse, crazily running through Sila’s veins. The pain it brought to Sila was too much, almost breaking his concentration.
At that moment, Sila reminded himself to use Moon Reflecting Mirror. Thus, he activated it from the inside of his mind.
Moon Reflecting Mirror was like a rein which pulled the unruly black horse to calm down. The magical qi in his body was being purified instead of being corroded away as planned. It flowed through the three people’s bodies with Sila as the center.
Once the foreign power entered Bluebird and Lomyok’s bodies, the rocks on their laps shook and cracks appeared on them. Clute was busy focusing on the rune on Sila’s chest, so he didn’t notice that the magical qi had been partially purified, turning into a power that was half-helpful and half-harmful. As a result, the artifacts couldn’t decide whether they should provide protection. Soon, they malfunctioned and broke, leaving Bluebird and Lomyok’s bodies defenseless.
The purified magical qi ran wild at the last moment. It divided itself into three parts and kicked Sila, Bluebird, and Lomyok away from each other. Their bodies flew and heavily crashed against the cave wall.
The power that should have calmed down started to go on a rampage again. Regardless, Sila realized this situation was similar to when he suffered from Lucifer’s Omniscient Evil God Qi. He quickly shouted to inform his two friends, “Don’t resist!”
Despite the doubt in his mind, Bluebird was aware that his knowledge regarding qi was lacking compared to Sila’s, so he lowered his resistance and let the magical qi roam free inside his body while enduring the pain. As for Lomyok, he never tried to resist. Instead, he even used Worlds Crossing Bridge to make the magical qi run along with his own qi circulation.
Realizing that their plan had gone wrong, Clute was startled. He hastily wrote the rune Algiz (Elk) on the ground to create a domain that helped the three people replenish their strength. At the very least, this would prevent them from dying. On the other hand, Lookhin, who couldn’t do anything in this situation, showed a worried expression next to him.
Sila was the first to succeed in circulating the energy. It was natural since he had gone through this kind of experience before and had comprehended its process.
The system notification rang out in his head.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have gotten the Transcendent Rank magical qi skill: Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have acquired the ability to wield magic power as your secondary energy type. You have gotten one Transcendent Rank magic-type skill as the base of your magic ability. Please give it a name.
Due to a racial limitation, you can’t select the element of your magic ability. Its element has to be the dark element in accordance with the origin of it.
Lomyok soon followed Sila’s achievement. His proficiency in qi was no less than Sila’s, so he only took a few more seconds.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have gotten the Transcendent Rank magical qi skill: Sky-Soaring White Horse Magical Qi.
You can select the element of your magic ability. Please find more information from your system window.
Bluebird struggled the most since he had no fundamental knowledge about qi. Unlike qi, magic power could be directly unleashed without having to go through the circulation. After squirming on the ground for a few dozen minutes, he was completely exhausted when the system notification rang out.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have gotten the Transcendent Rank magical qi skill: Lightning-Quick Qilin Magical Qi.
You have achieved a certain condition. You have acquired the ability to wield qi as your secondary energy type. You have gotten one Transcendent Rank qi-type skill as the base of your qi ability. Please give it a name.
The three of them barely stood up and looked at each other with tired expressions. They shared what had happened. It seemed they all got the ability to use magical qi from making Zero’s into their own. As their magical qi originated from Zero’s, they all received magical qi that emphasised speed, though each of them mutated according to the characteristics of their energy.
The nature of Sila’s power leaned toward the cold and negative element. Also, regarding his magic skill, he already had the slime-race magic skill to manipulate six basic elements. As a result, the system granted him Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi, which was basically of the dark element like Zero’s, so it maintained the Nightmare naming part. It had the ability to strengthen the six basic magic elements through the offensive trait of the dark element. Regretfully, it came with no spells due to Sila’s racial limitation. The only way for him to exert its strength was to use it through qi circulation.
As for Lomyok, he was a pure qi-type player, so the system gave him the magical qi that simply emphasized speed. It was the power that flowed and ran elegantly like a graceful white horse. Regarding the magic aspect, he didn’t have any limitations, so the system granted him the freedom to choose any magic element as his core element. In any case, like Sila, he wasn’t skilled in spell casting, so he preferred strengthening his qi through magic power instead of relying on spells.
Lastly, Bluebird had no prior knowledge regarding qi. Qi circulation was learned through proficiency and repetition, thus he would have a difficult time before he got the hang of it. Apparently, his magical qi possessed the attribute of loading and discharging electricity. It granted him an increase in movement speed and could strengthen his spells through qi reinforcement.
The three of them had grown a single step stronger by acquiring a newfound power. The new abilities would become great assets for surviving in the crueler world of Monster Soul that would unfold in the near future.
T/N: The chapter name refers to the three kinds of horses—Nightmare, White Horse, and Qilin—which are parts of Sila, Lomyok, and Bluebird’s magical qi name. Surprisingly, the rune Ehwaz (Horse) also means "Teamwork."
So Sila now has magic as his secondary energy as well as psychic?
So Sila now has magic as his secondary energy as well as psychic?
Yup, along with his Qi. If that’s not OP, I don’t know what is. I just don’t quite understand the last system message for Sila is. I thought he always had the Dark Psychic Corrosion energy in him.
T/N: From this chapter onward, the term “saber” will be used in the place of the term “Chinese sword.”
Chapter 244: The Hall of Omniscience
Sila sat down and circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi while using the Attribute of Wood’s move, Forest God’s Body, to quickly regain his strength. He opened his eyes when sixty percent of his vitality had returned to him. Looking ahead, he saw the sight of Lomyok joyfully jumping around in the cave and Bluebird sitting with a big frown and furrowed brows.
‘From the fight against Zero, it’s obvious that I’m still lacking. But… the hard part is that I don’t know what it is that I lack.’
Sila used to think that his current strength was more than sufficient for him to roam free throughout the New World. Unexpectedly, he was just like a frog in a well. There were many kinds of dangers that could take his life—be it the continuous battles with no breaks in between, the large variety of skills that were beyond what he could handle, or the final battle against Zero that he had barely survived.
Lomyok seemed to be the most excited one with the increase in speed. He could jump around freely through the cave’s wall and ceiling.
“Magical qi is really amazing. I didn’t know that magic power is this easy to use.”
On the other hand, Bluebird was grumpy. “But qi is so damn hard to use. I thought it would be as easy as magic power reinforcement, but it turns out that I have to manually control its circulation.”
Sila explained, “It’s only hard at first. Once you get the hang of it, it will be as easy as breathing. Qi is versatile and no incantation is needed. Well, it will be a bit troublesome for you, Bluebird, since you don’t possess any qi techniques.”
“Why does the game have to make it so troublesome? Using a magic spell is far easier. I just have to remember the name of my skills and their abilities. The chant will automatically come to my mind once I want to cast any particular spell.”
Sila added, “Actually, psychic power is quite easy to use as well. It shows its strength through the power of thought. It can unleash its full power no matter how injured you are. You just need to maintain your focus.”
Lomyok’s method of utilizing magical qi was to strengthen and supplement his qi with magic power. It was the most direct and easiest method, so he quickly got used to it.
For the record, the three’s magical qi directly originated from Zero’s. It didn’t separately come in the form of qi and magic power, so they didn’t have to bother fusing both powers together like Sila had done with Yin Yang Energy. It could be said that it was instant magical qi, ready to use whenever they wished.
In any case, it would take time for Bluebird to take advantage of his magical qi. That was because the key learning process of qi was practicing, unlike magic, which focused on timing, and psychic, which required training one’s imagination.
Sila tried using his magical qi. The suntetsu in his hand was engulfed in flames. It wasn’t an ordinary flame, but a magical red flame with a tint of black. Sila could sense that its offensive power was increased. He opened his system window to check his newly acquired skills.
(A) Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi — Transcendent Rank.
Magical qi with the ability to add the dark element to other magic elements, increasing their destructive power.
(A) Triple Horsepower — Transcendent Rank.
The base of your magic power. Triples your magic power utilization speed.
“Hm? Didn’t it say I could give it a name? Why is it that—” Sila looked at the name of the skill that granted him the ability to wield magic power as his secondary energy type.
Bluebird hurriedly explained, “Oh, so yours is the same. It seems we all got the same kind of skill. Even though mine is the ability to use qi, not magic like you two, my skill also has the same name. Apparently, Lomyok was too quick to give his skill a name, so we have no choice but to use this name together.”
“Triple Horsepower is such a fine name, don’t you think? We got the skills together and the names of our magical qi are all based on horses,” Lomyok explained with a smile on his face.
“Mine is Qilin! It’s not a horse!!” Bluebird argued.
“Qilin in Thai mythology is the Black Dragon Horse. Don’t you know this, Bluebird? You are quite a birdbrain.”
T/N: Black Dragon Horse is one of the mythological creatures in Thailand.
“Lomyok! You bastard!!!”
Bluebird snapped and fired a lightning arrow at Lomyok. Unfortunately, such a low-tier spell was useless against him. He simply waved his fan and blew Bluebird out of the cave and into the snowstorm outside.
“Easy, easy. I was just kidding.” Lomyok smiled while Bluebird enveloped his body with magic power reinforcement to warm himself after re-entering the cave.
Sila changed the topic by saying, “The name is not important. This one is fine. The question is what should we do next?”
“We? Are you including Lomyok?” asked Bluebird.
“Oh, right. Excuse me, Mister Lomyok, do you have any plans?” asked Sila.
Lomyok pointed at Clute. “I have only one task left. After that, I think I will just tour around this northern region until I am bored.” He lowered his body to talk to Clute. “Little Brother, I have something to ask. Can you tell me where I can find the creature with fur like this?”
Clute looked at the white fur cape on his body. “Do you mean this? This fur belonged to the Bison King. It was the last member of its race... I don’t think you can find it anywhere.”
Lomyok stroked his chin. “That’s too bad. May I borrow it for a minute?”
Clute nodded and handed Lomyok his thick cape, which he flipped around twice before returning it to Clute. “Completely clean and tidy. As expected of a quest related to Emperor Rank content, it is difficult. How can I hunt an extinct monster? It seems I will have to abandon my hopes of upgrading my Gorgeous Female Fan’s rank.”
As Lomyok was returning the cape to Clute, he noticed that the boy was only wearing worn-out pants. Thinking about it for a second, Lomyok took an outfit out from his system window.
“Since you helped me escape from the Ten-Thousand-Year-Old Castle, I will return the favor with this. Its design is a bit simple but its texture is so good that I couldn’t bring myself to toss it away.”
Clute delightfully looked at the clothing made of cotton in his hands. It indeed had a soft, comfortable texture. Its overall color was light cream while its edges were trimmed with red and black thin lines. For the record, this outfit was the uniform of a certain tribe living in a mysterious forest that Lomyok had discovered by pure chance while hunting White Wyverns. After he had purchased it, he got too wrapped up in admiring its texture and was killed by a giant scorpion.
“Thank you.” Clute held the clothes close to his chest, feeling deeply grateful. This was the first gift he had been given after his friends had died. “I will take good care of it.”
Lomyok didn’t mind the boy’s sense of gratitude, but Clute wanted to return the favor. “In fact, you don’t have to thank me for bringing you out of the castle. Let’s just exchange gifts. I will give you this cape made of the Bison King’s fur in exchange for your clothes.”
“Oh? Actually, this fur is quite pretty. It will show its true beauty if I bring it to a shop to cut and trim it. Although I want its blood rather than its fur, since you are so willing to give it to me, I will gladly take it.”
“Ah, so you want its blood? You should have told me sooner.” Clute wrote a rune on the edge of the cape and sent his magic power into it.
The rune of giving and taking brightly shone and the Bison King’s blood slowly dripped from the edge of the cape. Lomyok quickly put his Gorgeous Female Fan under it to receive the blood.
“Wow, this is great. Truly, thank you, Clute.” Lomyok gave a thumb up.
Bluebird found it distasteful that Lomyok could easily succeed in the hidden quest. Meanwhile, Sila looked at Clute with a worried expression. He saw his younger self in the boy.
“Clute... Do you want to travel together with me?” Sila suddenly asked, and his question brought everyone’s attention.
“Travel together...? But...”
Bluebird opposed the idea. “Sila... although he is adorable, he is still the White Giant, you know? If the people in Belacia City find out about this, you may be exiled.”
“I think my situation can’t get any worse than it currently is. By the way, if it’s someone who has witnessed Clute’s fight against Mamon, they will surely understand.”
“Mammon... is my enemy. Don’t you also see me as your enemy?” asked Clute.
“I’d say Mamon has yet to see the kind part of the world. I think he will become a better person as he experiences more of life. If Clute is with me, you will be able to help me look after him. In my eyes, you are the only one that is able to fight Mamon on equal ground. Even Zazae, who everyone said is strong, couldn’t attack Mamon even once.”
“It’s because Mammon is a cheater.”
“That’s it. Think of it as helping me controlling Mamon’s behavior. Mamon is dangerous. Instead of staying in this city and helping only the people in Belacia City, if you help me keep Mamon in check, it will be like you are helping everybody in Monster Soul.”
“But... if I become your pet, this land will have no ruler and the Eight Rulers of the Northern Region will quit staying dormant in their own territories. The city called Belacia will be engulfed in flames.”
“Who are the Eight Rulers of the Northern Region? I’ve never heard of them before.” Bluebird was all ears. This was his first time hearing about this despite having investigated Belacia City for quite a while.
Clute explained, “The vast region that humans call the northern region is actually divided by monsters into nine territories, each having a ruler. All nine rulers have similar levels of strength, so they don’t dare to invade each other. The territory around this cave, including Belacia City, used to belong to the Bison King. Sadly, I accidentally killed it, so this land ended up in my hands. Since I have no subordinates, the other eight rulers always send in their minions to check the situation.”
From the monsters’ perspective, having more land under them meant more power and influence. Thus, the land in which only Clute resided was like a delicious dish in their eyes. Unfortunately, Clute was originally from the Monster Realm, so his strength far surpassed the remaining eight despite all of them being the same rank. In the end, the other eight rulers had long been waiting for Clute to leave in order to invade the land.
“If I leave this place, this land will become vacant, and the eight rulers will not hesitate to take advantage of this. The balance will crumble and the damage will spread.”
Sila scratched his head. “It indeed sounds worrisome. How about just traveling with me? You don’t have to become my pet or follower.”
“I have no problem if it’s only in the northern region. However, I can’t go outside.”
This subject related to many lives in the northern region, including the citizens in Belacia City, so Sila didn’t dare to make a rash decision. In the end, he agreed with Clute that the boy would tag along with him in the northern region, like how Franz and Asura did.
Soon, Lomyok’s fan emitted a bright, blinding light. Everybody squinted to witness an important moment in Monster Soul’s history.
The birth of an Emperor Rank weapon.
The Gorgeous Female Fan’s appearance only had subtle changes. The folding frames, which were made of several metal strips, had transformed into luxurious tiny silver sabers. What held them together was a fine white silky thread. Once the fan was unfolded, the illustrations on each of the tiny blades would connect and reveal the captivating image of the artistic Fairy Queen, who seemed to be alive despite being a painting. Attached to the end of the fan’s handle was a small white tassel made of the Bison King’s fur.
“How gorgeous... Fairy’s Spirit Fan... as expected of an Emperor Rank weapon.” Lomyok admired it as he elegantly waved the fan. Ten sword waves shot forward like the time when he exerted them through the saber form. In addition, he even had an easier time controlling the sword waves.
“There is no need to change form anymore. Both forms have been simplified and combined into one.” Lomyok waved his fan for a second time and an almost transparent barrier was formed in front of him.
Out of nowhere, the dimension in front of him distorted and expanded. Sila and the rest stepped back, preparing for battle.
Soon, a golden door emerged and opened, and a middle-aged man with grey hair and a short beard stepped through the door. He wore a pair of round glasses and a clean, white butler uniform.
“I’m glad to meet you, Mister Lomyok.” The man bowed his head in a beautiful arc.
Lomyok leisurely waved his fan. “Hello, mister...?”
“Please call me Altia, sir. I will be your guide.”
Bluebird stared dumbfoundedly once he heard the man’s name. “The Supreme Sage Altia...? Could it be that this is a gate leading to the Monster Realm?”
Altia seemed to be a kind and friendly middle-aged man. “That’s not it, Mister Bluebird. This is the door leading to the Hall of Omniscience. Once you return, you will be able to use the Monster Stamp—which you will get from me—to open a door to the Monster Realm, sir. For your information, the doors can be found in some designated locations.”
“You know me?” Bluebird pointed at himself.
“I know all of the events that happen in Monster Soul, sir, and you are my favorite person due to what happened in Belacia City a year ago,” Altia replied with a gentle smile while Bluebird made an awkward expression. “Do not worry, sir. I have a duty to keep everyone’s personal secrets. I also don’t have the right to interfere in any of your actions.”
Bluebird sighed in relief while Altia continued, “The reason I am here today is because Mister Lomyok is the very first player to achieve all the conditions and has met the qualifications required to visit the Hall of Omniscience for one day.”
“Lomyok? This guy?” Bluebird exclaimed in disbelief. “What is going to happen when he visits the Hall of Omniscience?”
“I can only tell that information to Mister Lomyok, sir. Though I can tell you if he allows it, since he has the right to share this information with anyone he wants.”
Lomyok didn’t even need time to consider. “Bluebird must be dying to know everything related to me. I don’t mind if you tell him.”
Although Bluebird wanted to argue, his curiosity won him over. Thus, he shut his mouth and was all ears.
“As you wish, sir. Once you enter the Hall of Omniscience, the hall will analyze your fighting style and come up with a way to increase your odds of survival in the Monster Realm. When you exit the hall, you will have enough capability to survive the journey in the Monster Realm in your own way.”
Altia took out a stamp with a nine-pointed star printed on it and handed it to Lomyok. “This is the Monster Stamp, sir. You can only use it after you have visited the Hall of Omniscience. For your information, the owner of the stamp can only bring themselves to pass through the door to the Monster Realm, so you can’t bring your companions with you. My warning, sir, is that if you die in the Monster Realm, you will revive in the New World and this stamp will become dormant for three months.”
“It’s beautiful.” Lomyok inspected the stamp in his hand before tossing it inside his system window.
“Something else, sir, is that once you exit the Hall of Omniscience, other players may no longer be your match.”
Bluebird quickly argued, “Oi! Isn’t that cheating?”
Altia shook his head. “That’s not it, sir. It’s a fair deal since all humans have the same rights. Whoever you may be, you can visit the Hall of Omniscience once you are qualified. If Mister Bluebird considers this as cheating, does that mean every human stronger than you is a cheater?”
Bluebird couldn’t argue with that. “But... from the sounds of it, won’t he be too strong against others? With just this achievement alone, he can enjoy more content and trample on the weak.”
Altia calmly explained, “Don’t worry, sir. Once Mister Lomyok comes out of the Hall of Omniscience, he will lose any benefits obtained by killing other humans. Those who die by his hands will not experience any loss in levels, money, or items. Still, he can get bounty rewards or similar things if there are any. It will be another story if his opponent is someone who has visited the Hall of Omniscience though. In that case, he will obtain benefits like usual.”
“What are the qualifications for entering the hall?” Bluebird asked the important question on everyone’s minds.
“The conditions are as follows, sir. First, you must be enlightened to at least one of the three energy types’ essences. Second, you must have defeated at least five monsters with the ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ title. Third, you must have visited the city of your main energy type. Fourth, you must have completed at least one quest in the Valley of Immortals. Lastly, you must have reached Emperor Rank.”
Bluebird typed every word down in his system window, but stopped once the explanation reached the last condition. “Hmm? But Lomyok is only at Squire Rank, isn’t he?”
“You’re right, sir. However, weapons made of Orichalcum are considered parts of the users, so it’s okay if it has reached Emperor Rank in the user’s place.”
“Then, what are the conditions to reach Emperor Rank?” Bluebird continued to throw questions.
“I can’t tell you that, sir, since Mister Lomyok himself hasn’t reached Emperor Rank yet.”
“Tsk. So stingy.”
“Are you ready, Mister Lomyok?” Altia turned to Lomyok.
Lomyok nodded and walked toward the door. “See you tomorrow, everyone~”
Sila nodded, Lookhin ignored him, Clute waved his hands, and Bluebird opened his system window to send a message to Boss without caring about him.
The golden door soon closed and disappeared, leaving Sila and Bluebird in the cave to take care of their own problems. Simultaneously, the system notification rang inside the heads of all players in Monster Soul.
Notice to all players in Monster Soul. The first player to obtain the right to enter the Monster Realm has finally appeared. Therefore, some hidden storylines of the game will start to unfold and some mechanisms will be unlocked. All of these changes will come into effect starting at midnight.
We hope you enjoy the world of Monster Soul.
***This article was written by the author himself.
(Special Article) Regarding Five-Attributed Cloud Qi - First Part
Many people may still be confused about the art which is the most confusing and has the most screen time, especially regarding the second stage, as it can be quite complicated due to its combinations and contradictions. Please allow me to explain.
First of all, let’s discuss the concept of five elements, shown below.
It’s believed that every creature has an affinity for one element each. In fact, this concept also applies to more than living beings—including internal organs, inanimate objects, and martial arts.
When a practitioner studies the martial arts that shares their elemental affinity, they will learn said arts faster and more efficiently. On the other hand, it’s difficult to practice martial arts of the elements that are far away, according to the diagram.
Regarding Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, Sila comprehended the term “change” using the shape of a cloud. With his desire to be free and formless like clouds, Sila invented an art that allowed him to temporarily change his element affinity and his moves, granting him the ability to have an advantage over any element. Obviously, like how the shape of the cloud is not something permanent, the change in elemental affinity is only temporary.
Each element has different strengths.
Earth: Instant, explosive, stable, absorbing, transmuting, transforming.
Metal: Simple, direct, rigid, unifying, unyielding, determined, forceful.
Water: Complex, flexible, continuous, ever-changing, shapeless, cleansing.
Wood: Slow, controlling, restoring, growth, rising, expanding.
Fire: Heat, intensifying, stimulating, active, combusting, dynamic.
Sila called the above five qi elements the “five elemental attributes.” They had to be used in conjunction with “five martial moves.”
By using five elements in five ways, Sila has a total of twenty-five moves. (5*5 = 25.)
For the record, the five martial move types consist of…
Inner body: Temporarily changes his overall element affinity in order for him to gain the element’s prominent strength.
Hand: Uses the power of the element through his hands—Palm(Fire), Fist(Metal), Backhand(Wood), Claw(Earth), Finger(Water).
Foot: Uses the power of the element through a kick.
Weapon: Materializes qi into an object. Compared to other moves, this martial move requires the highest amount of inner force, thus it’s the most lethal.
Outer body: The special move that uses a special aspect of the channelled element. As such, each element has a different style.
First Stage—Single Attribute
[Attribute of Earth]
Inner Body - Lightning God’s Body - Temporarily and explosively increases movement speed.
Hand - Ghost Claw - Quick claw strikes imbued with qi to damage a target.
Foot - Instant Stomp - Quick short kick. Suitable for limited spaces.
Weapon - Sky-Splitting Saber - Materializes a blade. It can be either short or long. Not powerful, but quick.
Outer Body - Crushing Gravity - Materializes a tiny gravity ball, projecting it forward and crushing the target(s).
[Attribute of Metal]
Inner Body - Wind God’s Body - Increases movement speed for a longer period of time.
Hand - Unhindered Fist - A direct punch that can’t be easily negated/dodged/parried.
Foot - Metal Stomp - A strong, direct kick that is as powerful as a metal hammer.
Weapon - Nimbus-Severing Sword - Materializes a blade covering a palm. The blade is strong and sharp.
Outer Body - Serene Universe - Stabilizes Sila’s movements and actions.
[Attribute of Water]
Inner Body - River God’s Body - Increases agility and nimbleness.
Hand - Conjured Yizichan - Finger art. Instead of directly attacking the acupoints, Sila can attack elsewhere and control qi to flow within the opponent’s body and damage their acupoints.
Foot - Drizzle Stomp - A kick along with qi that generates echoes of the kick. Not powerful, but hard to dodge.
Weapon - Sealing Chain - Materializes a chain. Allows for whipping and binding the target.
Outer Body - Sea Star Wheel - Cancels out the opponent’s power. If used correctly, it can even reflect weak attacks.
[Attribute of Wood]
Inner Body - Forest God’s Body - Greatly increases regeneration speeds. Sila can’t move or perform other activities while the move is active.
Hand - Beckoning Hand of the Reaper - Controls objects by dragging them with psychic power through the back of his hand (like pulling a rope).
Foot - Illusory Stomp - Tricks an opponent into thinking that he is about to kick, but actually stimulates his recovery ability.
Weapon - Stellar Hidden Weapon - Materializes hidden weapons using qi and fires them.
Outer Body - Artificial World - Materializes a domain, slowing down the opponents inside the domain.
[Attribute of Fire]
Inner Body - Flame God’s Body - Stimulates the power within the body. Explosively increases strength for five seconds.
Hand - Sky-Burning Palm - Attacks an opponent using a palm that is as hot as real flames.
Foot - Corpse-Igniting Stomp - A blazing kick, sending hot qi within to further injure the opponent.
Weapon - God-Slaying Spear - Concentrates power into a single point (Sila mostly prefers his elbow) and strikes the opponent.
Outer Body - Solar Emanation - Radiates heat like a sun. Anyone within a certain range will be damaged just by being near Sila.
The Dual Attributes will be covered in the second part.
Chapter 245: Zero
Once Lomyok had left and more than an hour remained before the appointed time for Sila’s meeting with his teacher, he and Bluebird sat down and discussed the events regarding Zero.
Bluebird took out Zero’s white mask and placed it on his right palm while his other hand held the disc which had been attached to the mask. He was hesitant to open the file inside.
From their last exchange, Sila could tell that the two, Zero and Bluebird, weren’t strangers to each other. “Do you know him?”
Bluebird finally removed his gaze from the disc. “I don’t personally know Zero... but I know Narin. He was the one who recommended this game to me. We... were friends.”
“Were? So, you two are no longer friends?” asked Sila.
“Narin died two years ago... I was the one who killed him,” replied Bluebird, his voice light.
“The thing is...” Bluebird started to reveal his past with Narin, his eyes blankly staring at the mask.
Bluebird and Narin were childhood friends. When they had grown up and entered universities, Narin became interested in learning martial arts as a hobby and invited Bluebird to join a certain small dojo with him. After two years had passed, the difference in their strength became obvious. Narin was more diligent, so he developed faster. In any case, Bluebird wasn’t particularly interested in martial arts, so he didn’t mind. For him, practicing martial arts was just an exercise.
The dojo that Bluebird mentioned was just a small one that imparted traditional martial arts—at the level of a hobby or, at best, sports—not as profound as Sila or Montra’s. Thus, the arts were not as deep and lacked killing intent.
“That day... it was just another ordinary sparring match between us. We were put onto the same stage and, as usual, I stood no chance against Narin. By the way, Narin’s family is very poor, so he often worked hard and slept less. I guess he also worked a lot the day before and didn’t get much sleep either, so he was quite exhausted. Therefore, he couldn’t dodge my simple punch. The impact I felt through my fist wasn’t heavy at all, but it was enough to knock him down. The back of his head hit against the mat...”
“Then... he died?” asked Sila.
“No, he instantly got up and was perfectly fine. He even won against me. However, a month later, he collapsed when he was working and got carried to a hospital. A doctor performed a CT scan and found out that his condition had worsened after the spar. He fell into a coma for a week before passing away.”
“...Blue, you said you were the one who killed him, but that’s not it. It’s...”
“An accident... Yes... the doctor also told me that. That light collision wouldn’t kill anyone, yet it was the starting point. Combined with the fact that he worked his body too hard with not enough rest, it eventually became what killed him. He was just unlucky. Even Auntie, Narin’s mother, told me that it wasn’t my fault.”
“Me too. I don’t think it’s your fault, Blue. For martial artists, injury and death are inevitable. It’s not anyone’s fault.”
“We are not like you!! Sila!!” Bluebird roared. “I didn’t even want to train! Narin was also just enjoying it as a hobby! It wasn’t like he planned to learn martial arts as a career. We were normal people!!”
Sila fell silent. “...I’m sorry.”
Bluebird released a long sigh. “No, it’s my fault. Sorry that I got upset.” He looked at the disc as he wanted to change the subject. “Let’s see what Narin left behind.”
Sila nodded when Bluebird inserted the disc into his system window. While the system was loading the file, Bluebird finished his explanation.
“Narin invited me to play this game before it even launched. He wanted us to start at the same time and travel together. When he died, I no longer cared about it. It was four or five months after the game launched that I found it interesting and wanted to try.”
Sila silently listened as he didn’t know what to say.
The file was finally ready. A hologram of Zero floated from his screen. Bluebird muttered to Sila, “It’s a video file.”
The hologram of Zero removed his mask. It revealed Narin’s tired face, who looked straight into Bluebird’s eyes, the two gazes locked onto each other.
[Hello, Bluebird. I’m assuming you will use this name for your avatar... I remember the time when we were talking about the names we would be using in the game and you pointed at your dad’s old car and said ‘I will go with Bluebird.’]
The two of them listened attentively. They were aware that Narin had more to say.
[...Unfortunately, if you are listening to this file, it means my brainwaves became unstable and I can no longer exist in Monster Soul. Technically, I died... died for a second time...]
[You may wonder what I am talking about... I will have to start from when I was in a coma. At that time, I was conscious of myself. It was like I was trapped within a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I stayed in a completely dark world with no exits, floating around with no purpose. In fact, I was supposed to die like that. However, someone entered my nightmare... he is the creator of Monster Soul... Doctor Joshua.]
“Joshua?” Sila exclaimed, though Bluebird wasn't interested. He still listened carefully to what Narin was about to say.
[The doctor said he came to meet me through a brain scanner. Actually, I had heard about it and was aware that using a brain scanner on a patient whose brain was having problems is against the law. He told me I was dying and he gave me a choice...]
“Against the law? Why?” Sila interrupted.
Bluebird was quite knowledgeable about it, so he replied, “Yes, that’s because using a brain scanner interferes with the brain’s processing functions. Even if it looks like you’re sleeping, your brain doesn’t get to fully rest like real sleep. Generally, when the user’s brain discovers anomalies, the scanner will automatically shut down and prevent the user from logging in until their brainwaves stabilizes. However, patients with brains that are having problems may cause the wavelength of pattern of their brainwaves to deviate from the norm, which can make the scanner miscalculate. Although the chances of that happening are low, the law strictly prohibits it since it’s about people's lives.”
Narin continued without listening to their conversation.
[...He said I was going to die in a couple of days, and he wanted to purchase my remaining ‘lifespan’ for the sake of his experiment. He said he was secretly studying the field of brainwaves and would like to have a large number of examples. In return, he would give my family a huge amount of money... Sigh. My mother couldn’t bear the medical bills I had caused. If I died like that, I would leave a huge burden behind. Our family only consisted of both of us... If I were to die, I at least wanted my mother to live a comfortable life...]
[After I had accepted his deal, he moved me out of the hospital that night. He issued a fake death certificate for me and switched my body with someone else’s corpse. Also, he disguised himself as staff from an insurance company and gave a lump sum of money to my mother, claiming that I had secretly taken life insurance on myself without telling anybody. My mother wasn’t knowledgeable about this kind of thing, so she didn’t suspect him. Everything went smoothly.]
Bluebird could remember that so well. Even though she ended up with a large sum of money and no longer had to work hard, Narin’s mother hadn’t smiled even once since his funeral. It was the part that Bluebird always blamed himself for.
[My second life began on the first day that Monster Soul officially launched... my new life under the name of Zero. This world became my new and only world. Since I can stay online 24/7 and use my life to its fullest, I became stronger at a quick pace. I even ended up with this Shadow Emperor title.]
[The doctor always tells me that the brain is a complicated organ. His research focuses on the numerous possible reactions seen in brainwaves in different situations. He grants me complete freedom. Furthermore, if I’m lucky, he may discover a way to cure me. At the same time, he warns me to watch out for extreme situations and serious injuries. If my brainwaves weaken, maybe I will cease to exist even in this world.]
[Since I no longer have to work and my mother already has a comfortable life, my desire has changed. From a hobby... martial arts became my lifetime goal. I want to fight an intense and worthy battle. I want to die in a real match... so that I can finally return to genuine zero and have no more regret.]
As Sila was listening, he deeply pondered about it. Narin said he was one of the test subjects. If Bow was included, that would already make two. Sila wondered how many people were involved in Joshua’s research.
[...Man, you surely know what I’m thinking. I’m doing this because I want to tell you that I’m the one who chose my way to die, Bluebird. From a deathmatch, not your lucky punch. So... please, stop blaming yourself.]
Bluebird stared straight into Narin’s eyes. He was strangely calm.
[Lastly, as I promised the doctor, this file will override itself with empty data. Remember that even when I die, others are still alive. Zero means nothingness, yet nothingness is the beginning of everything. Please live on and happily continue your life.]
[...Farewell, my best friend.]
The video file had ended as the hologram vanished. Looking at the mask, Narin’s memento, Bluebird noticed something behind it. He moved it closer to his eyes and spotted lines of letters engraved inside.
“Hmm? This is... Shadow Reaper Hands. Narin engraved his martial art on the inside of his mask.”
Sila was thinking about something else, but his focus shifted to the mask once Bluebird mentioned it. “I guess he wanted you to inherit it.”
Bluebird shook his head. “Too bad. They’re all texts with no illustration. I can’t possibly make anything out of them.”
“May I have a look?” asked Sila, to which Bluebird simply handed the mask over without question.
Sila read through the texts while Bluebird did nothing to interrupt his concentration. Once he had finished reading it once, Sila gave it back to Bluebird.
“They’re the core concept and primary movements of his martial art. Reading this kind of text requires a moderate level of experience. Since this is not your area of expertise, you will have a difficult time comprehending them. As for me, I can understand about sixty or seventy percent of it right now. The rest will have to be adapted during actual combat. Anyway, do you want me to perform each move to show you? You can look at them and adapt them in a way that suits you best.”
Bluebird nodded and took out a notebook, ready to jot down notes. Gradually, he read aloud each sentence inside the mask and Sila performed the move accordingly, one by one.
“Zero... erm, I mean, Narin used Shadowless Soul Qi as a foundation of his power, so his Shadow Reaper Hands is light and quick. If you plan to inherit it, you will have to use other kinds of power instead. The result may differ, but martial arts are about repetition. If you keep on practicing, Narin’s martial art will eventually become yours.”
Bluebird nodded. He decided not to start practicing yet as he would try to understand the moves first.
Sila considered this martial art as a gift Zero prepared for Bluebird, so he tried his best to forget the contents. Still, a fraction of Narin’s martial art remained in the back of his memory.
Sila clawed the air for the last time and stopped. He looked at Bluebird, who had his notebook open on the ground and was trying to comprehend the moves he just saw.
Noticing that the time for his appointment with Teacher Mora was approaching, Sila decided to leave in order to go to the hotel and log out.
“I have to go. Blue, what will you do?” asked Sila.
“I think I will be staying in this cave for a long while. No worries. Call me if you want anything. By the way, be careful on your way back.”
Sila nodded and turned to Lookhin, who was sitting and chatting with Clute. Apparently, Clute was teaching Lookhin the proper way to use magic, and Lookhin was listening to him attentively. It seemed she disliked herself quite a bit at the moment because she had been unable to help Sila earlier.
“...The quality of a spell’s result is dependent on the timing. If you just find out the suitable timing for using your magic, it will be as if a battle is halfway yours...” Clute explained while Lookhin kept on nodding.
Witnessing such a scene, Sila showed a warm smile. “...Lookhin, please stay with Clute and learn from him, okay? I have to go out. It may take several days before I come back, so I don’t want to seal you if possible. I will just come and pick you up when I return.”
“Mn,” replied Lookhin. It seemed she was really eager to learn and polish her skills as she didn’t want to end up being a burden. In fact, after she had witnessed the fight between Mamon and Clute, she was aware that she couldn’t win against Mamon in a serious match the way she was now.
The cave soon disappeared from Sila’s sight under the heavy snowstorm once he departed. His head was filled with questions, be it about Joshua’s research or his parents. Still, the most important question he had was about Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
He had been very confident that he could win against anybody using this art, yet it turned out that he was unable to take Zero down. During the last exchange, he was pretty certain that the reason Zero disappeared was due to his unstable brainwaves, not because he had died or lost due to Sila’s move. If the fight went on, the real loser might have been none other than him.
Sila was aware that even his versatile qi art must have weaknesses. No profound arts are flawless. No matter how they seem to be theoretically perfect, they must surely have some flaws when in action, which can certainly be seen in the user’s actions.
Zero is the starting point, but there is no end.
Nobody is perfect. Perfect means stagnant, and being stagnant in a world where everyone keeps going means going backward.
“...Maybe I’m missing or forgetting something important. I should consult Teacher.”
Sila leaped through the snowfield. Although he left footprints in the snow, the snowstorm soon flew past and his trail disappeared. Sila was contemplating his questions when he spotted Belacia City from far away. However, he suddenly came to a stop.
...There were people blocking his path.
Two magic fighters, the Two Monarchs who were above all others except Magic Emperor Montra, were in top shape. Kawin inspected his metal armguards to ensure they were in perfect condition while Revin spun his heavy sword before placing it on his shoulder.
The magic power around the two players shot up. No words were needed. Sila was fully aware of their goal.
Apparently, the difficulty of his simple task of returning to the city had gone up.
Two Dragon Domains—one earth and one flame—were activated and overlapped. Together with the snowstorm, the atmosphere became bewildering. The earth trembled as the sound of the snow wind let out a mysterious roar, but the air Sila inhaled was hot.
Sila started by activating Divine Raiment to provide protection against the Dragon Domains. Seeing Kawin, it reminded him of when they first met in Grea City. At that time, Sila couldn’t manage to land even a single clean hit on Kawin.
This time, however, he wouldn’t allow himself to be the only one receiving attacks.
Chapter 246: The Martial World
The distance between Sila and Kawin was exactly ten meters. Both of them stood still, watching each other. Sila locked his gaze onto the two armguards, trying to gauge Kawin’s reach and the most effective range for using Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws.
Revin dragged his heavy sword along the ground and circled around Sila, coming at him from behind. As such, Sila had to divide his attention between the two directions.
“Aren’t you curious as to why we chose this exact moment to take action?” asked Revin.
Sila didn’t answer. He circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body. His muscles were strengthened through Formless Soldier while his skin was covered by Divine Raiment. He was preparing to fight with all of his techniques. For the record, a month ago he wasn’t be able to simultaneously exert three supreme profound arts like this. It was thanks to Dark Self that his mind had grown stronger and eventually possessed a higher level of concentration.
Revin continued, “You are injured due to the fight against Zero. Although you look fine, I’m sure you can’t fully use your maximum power for the time being. Also, you are a public enemy of this city. Killing you once will make the citizens our supporters. Or, even if we can’t kill you, we can just relay that you are returning, and they will surely wait to ambush you.”
Sila couldn’t afford to spare his concentration on replying. His brain was constantly searching for a way to survive. Just one of them was superior to him, so it wasn’t plausible for him to take on the two of them at the same time. In order to break through their defense line, he had to make a choice. Should he focus on Revin or Kawin? Who was the correct answer?
Kawin specialized in defense. He was like a metal fortress that stood firm on the land—the type of opponent that Sila didn’t like to fight against the most. Regardless, his advantage over Kawin was that he had studied Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws before, so he could guess Kawin’s martial moves and range.
As for Revin, he seemed to excel in attacking. Given his speed, Sila wouldn’t be able to get very far if he managed to break through their defense. Even though Revin’s movements seemed to be full of openings, Sila was aware that he was more terrifying than his outward appearance suggested. His blade was concealed behind his smile.
Sila had to make a quick decision. As soon as Revin took action, Kawin would do the same, and he would end up being in the middle of a pincer attack. His only choice was to make a preemptive strike.
Dual Generating Attributes — Wood Feeds Fire, Shapeless Flame.
A red cloud emanated from Sila’s body. He didn’t dare to underestimate the two, so he decided to unleash the power of Dual Attributes from the start.
Sila tapped on the ground and dashed at Revin, forcing him to be defensive rather than offensive. Following him, the red cloud spread over. It was as hot as Revin’s Dragon Domain, so both Revin and Kawin strengthened their bodies using Dragon Scales. Revin’s skin was engulfed in an orange cluster of flames while Kawin’s became as sturdy as a mountain. Still, Shapeless Flame managed to strip off some of their magic power.
Revin’s blade extended in length, becoming a three-meter-long heavy sword. He swung it around to drive the red cloud near him away. In addition, the blade flew in a curve toward Sila’s right side.
Possessing Illuminus which could nullify any kind of attack, Sila extended his right hand toward the blade, intending to catch it. In the meantime, using Death Bridge his left hand curled into a claw shape and mercilessly aimed for Revin’s eyes.
Revin raised his brow. He flicked his wrist to change the angle of his sword. Sila’s right hand failed to catch it as it connected his wrist instead. Triple Sky Energy exploded, but no damage was done to Sila.
Feeling surprised, Revin continued to swing his heavy sword and created beautiful red curves, cutting through the air.
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Empyrean Flame Dance.
Sila had to stop his left hand to avoid the red sword waves. He did a backflip while using Metal Stomp, which Revin blocked using his heavy sword. The latter took three steps back before relying on the impact to swing his arm, shooting a grenade at Sila.
The main reason Sila chose to engage in combat against Revin rather than Kawin was that he thought Revin would be inferior at defending compared to Kawin. Moreover, Revin still had an internal injury from his previous exchange with Burapha’s Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art.
Little did he know that Revin had spent a week practicing the use of Triple Sky Energy together with Kawin. Thus, he learned from Kawin the art of counterattacking. Combined with Triple Sky Energy, which increased his overall stats, and the Explosia Sword that could accumulate damage and turned it into bombs, Revin was as scary as Montra.
Attribute of Wood — Illusory Stomp.
Sila kicked the grenade. Through the power of the wood element, instead of a normal kick, the kick created a barrier made of qi to reduce the blast. Still, the remaining impact from the explosion was enough to send him flying toward Kawin.
Similarly, as Revin’s sparring partner, Kawin was no longer a martial artist who simply waited for his opponent to show an opening. His Triple Sky Energy could continue to endlessly cycle throughout his body, changing from defense to offense and vice versa in an instant.
Once Sila had rotated his body in mid-air and was about to bare his fangs against Kawin, the latter’s simplest and inescapable punch—imbued with a mysterious pulling power—was launched.
Kawin’s Personal Art — Sun-Freezing Fist.
Sun-Freezing Fist was a punch of the wood element. Even before coming into contact with it, the slowing power imbued in the punch would negate the opponent’s defensive power. Even though the punch seemed rather weak, it wasn’t a move to be taken lightly.
Sila belatedly realized that Kawin’s punch had negated most of his qi reinforcement. His defense sharply fell and his qi became slightly disordered.
Kawin’s fist had yet to touch Sila but it continued to negate his power. Since his qi became turbulent, Sila temporarily couldn’t recover his qi through circulation. He hurriedly gathered the rest of his power in his body into his right index and middle fingers, using it through Nine Sun-Melting-Fists since it was the profound art which required the least amount of inner force to show a visible result.
Sila’s thrust his fingers forward fiercely, digging a hole in the armguard and transmitting hostile qi to damage Kawin’s acupoints. It briefly froze Kawin’s movements, which prompted him to withdraw and circulate Triple Sky Energy to heal the damage done to his acupoints. His wrist went numb. He looked at the finger-sized holes on his armguard.
Sila retreated three steps back as he spewed out blood to lessen the pressure he felt in his body. The spilled blood even spun around on the snow four times before stopping, indicating that Kawin’s power had infiltrated the inside of his body. For a short period of time, Sila wouldn’t be able to exert Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
After exchanging moves for the first time in the battle, the three of them began to know each other’s strengths.
“Normally, your wrist should have been cut off. So that’s the Right Arm of the Sealed One. I will have to attack somewhere else,” analyzed Revin.
“It’s Flaming Cloud Dojo’s Nine Sun-Melting-Fists, concentrating power into a finger then using it to damage an acupoint. Be careful of his Yizichan, Revin,” warned Kawin.
Sila had miscalculated. The two of them were far stronger than he anticipated, especially Kawin. This meant he wasn’t the only one who had grown stronger. His opponents were the same. It was questionable when he would be able to surpass Montra.
There was a time when he trained so hard that he couldn’t take it and protested to his teacher. Mora’s reply at that time was, “Training your body and practicing martial arts are both like upstream paddling. If you stop, your progress starts to come undone.”
He only understood Mora’s words half-heartedly that day. However, he now finally understood the full meaning of them. In the martial world, you have to be constantly growing in order to stand with pride.
‘Even though my psychic power is more powerful, it’s detrimental for recovering myself from abnormal conditions. I will have to rely on qi to recover myself, so what I have left is magic. How about Orbiting Cosmos? Wait... I still have magical qi left.’
Sila saw a glimmer of hope in a crisis. Although he hadn’t tried using it in an actual fight, magic power was logically easier to control compared to qi and psychic power. As long as he could maintain the concept of Formless Martial God and strengthen it through magical qi, the result should be satisfying.
‘The skills and profound arts I know that are related to magic are Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi, Orbiting Cosmos, Divine Raiment, Great Flow, and Heaven’s Decree. Maybe I can win this if I use them well. If I die here, my rank will be demoted and there will be no way I can catch up to Montra. I can’t die no matter what.’
The two young dragons slowly approached Sila with caution, surrounding him and leaving no routes for escape.
Sila calmly took deep breaths according to Profound Qi Circulation Art. His body faintly emitted an aura of the Great Flow. He borrowed power from nature to strengthen Divine Raiment.
Still, Divine Raiment was, ultimately, a defensive art. It was unsuitable for what Sila was about to do, which was to go on the offensive.
Thus, today marked the first day Sila applied Viola’s profound art in a totally different manner that it was even beyond the original inventor’s imagination.
New waves will eventually catch up to old ones. The kids of the new generation—Montra, Sila, Kawin, and Revin—never cease to grow as they continue to polish their skills. The martial world was going to be overturned as the old profound arts were replaced by newer and more amazing ones. It was the world Kiryu wished to witness but died before he could.
Monster Soul, the virtual reality world, was affecting the martial world. The profound arts that were once seen as supreme generations ago were going to be surpassed by arts invented by the new generation.
Element-Changing Nightmare — Demonic Raiment.
The aura of the Great Flow was being dyed black, changing the previously pure white snowfield to become a dazzling sight. Sila wielded the Crystal Demonic Sword in his left hand and the Crystal Divine Sword in his right. He transmitted his magical qi through both swords and pointed one of them at Kawin and the other at Revin.
“Kawin... be careful,” Revin showed a serious expression for the first time after sensing the majestic oppressing might coming from the swords. He tightened his grip on his heavy sword while Kawin nodded and unleashed more magic power.
Kawin knocked his armguards together, signaling something to Revin and getting a nod in response. Sila was clueless about their strategy. Regardless, he only had to focus on his attack. Since his opponents were being especially careful, Sila decided to start with the first sword style of Heaven’s Decree Sword Art.
Heaven’s Decree — First Sword Style, Inverted Ground.
In Revin and Kawin’s perspectives, the atmosphere around Sila seemed to be changing non-stop. The world seemed to be upside down and the ground they stood on was greatly shaken.
Their instincts kicked in. It told them that they would lose if they didn’t attack now. Despite Sila not taking even a single step, the feeling was so great that they couldn’t stop their actions.
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Widespread Phoenix Wings.
Kawin’s Personal Art — Twin Sun-Freezing Fists.
The two didn’t hesitate to unleash their most powerful moves. Revin jumped into the air as he constantly slashed his sword and sent dozens of crimson sword waves forward. The sword waves lit on fire, causing them to look like phoenix’s wings, captivating yet dangerous.
Kawin didn’t only attack using both of his fists, he also invoked a magic spell through the Earth Dragon’s special trait which enabled him to activate some spells with no incantation as long as his feet were touching the earth.
The spell instantly showed its power. The earth shook and waves of stone slid toward Sila. As the danger approached, Sila became calmer. He activated Orbiting Cosmos using magic qi as the foundation of his magic power, cladding the elements which were superior to fire and earth into his swords.
Element-Changing Nightmare — Left: Dark Wind, Right: Dark Water.
“A circle,” Sila muttered. It hadn’t been directed at anyone, but Kawin and Revin lost some of their focus the instant they heard it. At that moment, Sila activated Moon Reflecting Mirror from within his body. All things around him became clear in his mind. Winning, losing, pressure, the flame sword waves, and the twin fists—everything had become insignificant. He was so calm that he could see through the Sky Dragon Dojo’s tenet.
Sila had studied Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws, Sanon’s personal profound art, once. At that time, he wondered why Sanon referred to the circle as the perfect shape. Then, when he was fighting Montra, he noticed that Montra’s series of martial moves chained with one another like a circle. Nevertheless, everything became clear once he saw Revin always drawing his sword in a beautiful curve.
Even though they were different arts, the core teaching of every art that the profound practitioner of the Sky Dragon Dojo was using was one and the same—the circle.
The circle was the perfect shape, representing the endless cycle. In fact, most martial arts in the world rarely go against this perfect form.
However, perfect means stagnant. On the other hand, the cloud is shapeless, and the flame never ceases to burn. The core teaching of the Flaming Cloud Dojo is to think outside the box.
No matter how great the martial arts a practitioner has learned are, they should only be considered the foundations—the stepping stones.
Even Pumin’s peerless sword art, Heaven’s Decree, could be improved further and reach new heights.
The arts are unchanging while humans are living.
Sila’s Personal Sword Art — Redirect Stream (Originally Swirling Vortex).
The sword wrapped in fierce black winds crossed with the sword enveloped by a black vortex. Sila’s dual swords acted like an enraged flash flood. The fierce vortex cycled in the opposite direction of both Revin and Kawin’s powers, reducing their strengths. Meanwhile, Sila slashed the black wind several times at some strange places in the empty air, yet all of them were the spots where Revin and Kawin’s powers would cycle to and connect. As a result, their moves inevitably came to an abrupt stop.
Their power shattered even before the point of contact. Revin and Kawin were aware that the situation had become disadvantageous for them. The two did their best to clad their bodies with magic power reinforcement. Their Dragon Scales responded to their magic power—Revin was totally engulfed in flames while the entirety of Kawin’s skin was covered by rocks.
Sila unleashed more magical qi into his swords. The strength of the magic qi he inherited from Zero was speed. Instantly, the blades of his swords flashed with black lightning.
Sila’s way to survive wasn’t simply escaping. He had to leave both of his opponents in a state that would hinder their ability to follow him. At the very least, he had to injure them.
Heaven’s Decree — Fifth Sword Style, Triple Lightning Bolts.
Through the swords, six bolts of lightning struck Revin and Kawin along with the sound of thunder. The remaining electricity shot up to the sky, returning the power to nature.
Revin was injured from the start, so he couldn’t take the damage and was sent flying while coughing up blood.
On the other hand, Kawin had used earth-element magic power to protect himself. Earth wins against lightning, so he was relatively fine, just suffering from the dark element magical qi that came with the strikes.
He had also migrated the rest of the damage using Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws. With his high mastery over the profound defensive art, it would be a difficult task for anyone to injure him.
Sila returned the swords into the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection. He relied on the Great Flow to use Sky Step, cutting this distance between him and Kawin. However, Kawin calmly waited for him to come. He precisely and easily grabbed onto Sila’s wrist.
“Do you think it will work a second time? As long as I watch out for your fingers—” Kawin hadn’t finished his sentence yet when Sila interrupted him.
“As expected. I knew you would be able to catch me. Fortunately, you are as skilled as I thought.”
Element-Changing Nightmare — Dark Ice.
Using Kawin’s armguards as a medium, Sila exerted his magic qi through them and froze both of his arms with ice which was materialized at insane speed thanks to the dark element enhancing offensive power.
Kawin quickly channeled his magic power to break the ice, yet Sila was quicker. His fingers seemed to grow in length as suntetsu made of magical qi appeared.
Formless Martial God — Star-Shatter.
Sila adapted Yizichan, using it through hidden weapons instead of his actual fingers. The two suntetsu made of magical qi of the earth element were both hard and heavy. They were small, yet they accurately stabbed into the acupoints in Kawin’s shoulder, which prompted him to release his grip on Sila’s wrist.
Sila rotated his body and pushed Kawin toward Revin. He circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, which he kept accumulating during the previous exchanges, into his feet before jumping and drop-kicking Kawin.
Attribute of Metal — Metal Stomp.
The Earth Dragon Scales cracked as Kawin flew to crash against Revin and collapse together with him. In the meantime, Sila relied on the impact to send him flying in the opposite direction before running away to the city. At the last moment, he also kicked a boulder on the snowfield and enhanced it with ice-element Orbiting Cosmos. The boulder exploded in mid-air, creating a smokescreen and an ice barrier before he left.
Revin stood up and wiped blood from the corner of his mouth. He then sighed. “Whew... he has become a helluva lot stronger.”
Kawin removed the suntetsu out of his shoulder. He didn’t seem significantly injured. Apparently, Sila’s Metal Stomp couldn’t harm him like it should have.
“That last kick proved that Montra’s theory is right. Sila’s bizarre qi art indeed has a weakness that we can exploit. Better yet, Sila seems to be unaware of it.”
Revin swung his heavy sword once, and the ice barrier shattered in one hit. “Let me fight him one on one next time. I want to have a sword duel with him. It’s rare to see someone good at using dual swords.”
Kawin didn’t answer. He simply sent a message to inform the people in Belacia City that the wounded Sila, who knew the Blue-Colored Catastrophe’s whereabouts, was heading into the city.
By the way, I wonder if the main messages in this chapter were too subtle when translated.Did you, readers, get the messages that Sila achieved quite a feat in this chapter? If not, please kindly tell me, I will make the messages more noticeable.The messages were:1. Sila adapted Divine Raiment into Demonic Raiment. (Demonic version is basically Divine Raiment plus dark magic power, btw.)2. Sila adapted Pumin's Heaven's Decree Sword Art into his own Heaven's Dismissal Sword Art. (The nature and characteristics of the latter sword art were unexplained yet.)