Chapter 101: The First Step
Except for the light from the bonfire and the stars in the sky, the Misty Valley was covered in darkness. Sila opened his eyes to see Sangdao throwing firewood into the bonfire.
"Have you finished cultivating, Sila?" Sangdao asked. Lookhin was sleeping on her lap.
Sila furrowed his brows and looked around as he asked, "How long was I cultivating for?"
"Around half a day. If Sila wants an exact number, it was ten hours. We are still within the Misty Valley."
Sila stood up, startled, and looked around with caution. "Aren't we in danger? Aren't the spiders more aggressive at night?"
"It is fine, Sila. All the spiders have disappeared since the Spider King died. It should take some time before they reappear, at least until the one who killed their king has left."
"Do you mean me, Dao?"
"Who else? The last punch that you used against the Spider King was very marvelous. Was that the power of the Right Arm of the Sealed One that you told me about? A power that could defeat Solaria in one hit."
"Ah, that's not it. That power that defeated Solaria was a psychic power, but my previous punch was a move I came up with."
Sangdao was surprised. "Eh? Sila's own martial move? What is its name?"
"Um... I just came up with it in the heat of the moment. I wouldn't dare to call it my own martial move. It also doesn't have a name."
"Is that so? That's fine. Dao thinks Sila just needs more time to perfect it. Please tell me when you have come up with its name, promise?"
Sila smiled and nodded at her. He thought deeply on it.
Actually, after the battle against the Eight-Legged Spider King Aramut, he had needed to spend an hour detoxifying the poison in his body. However, it seemed like this poison that was made of psychic power caused some kind of reaction with the Bomb Lurking Psychic in his body. Thus, he had needed to spend several more hours suppressing the aggressive psychic power in his body.
After the psychic power in his body had calmed down, he entered a state of meditation. He was in a trance, thinking about his last punch that went beyond his expectation. He tried to come up with a method to replace Poluk's Genesis Punch with it.
Personal martial arts are something that reflect the personality of the user. A direct and powerful attack from Poluk reflected his straightforward nature. As for Sila, his personality was similar to Poluk's in some aspects but he, in the end, wasn't Poluk. Even if he dedicated his whole life to practicing Genesis Punch, it was possible that he still wouldn't be able to surpass Poluk.
That was because Genesis Punch was a martial move created by Poluk for his own use. This must be the main reason why Sila had no progress in mastering Genesis Punch even though he spent a lot of time practicing it. The number of times he could throw a Genesis Punch was still fixed at five.
On the other hand, if Sila could adapt some part of Genesis Punch to create his own move that only he could use, it might allow him to surpass his limits for Genesis Punch.
Since he was the most concentrated when he was cultivating, he spent the last few hours of meditation trying to come up with various ideas for experimenting on Genesis Punch and how he could utilize it differently.
In the end, after he had stopped meditating, he had come up with a single, different kind of Genesis Punch that might be more suitable for him than the original one. However, it was just a mere concept that had yet to become practical. Moreover, even if it worked, Sila was still not sure whether it would be that great of a move.
This made him feel that the end of the road toward his self-made martial art was something a long distance from where he currently was.
In fact, for a martial artist to come up with their own martial art, starting at Sila's age of twenty-one was considered too fast. Normally, one would need to be forty years old or more to be able to comprehend the martial arts they were taught before coming up with their own one. Though, there was an exception like the talented Lone Wolf who could come up with one even without any guidance.
Sila's personal martial art was something like a cloud to him. He could see the outline but he couldn't make it out.
Only talent, effort, time, experience, and creativity would allow the intangible concept to become something with a practical use.
Sila still couldn't complete his idea so he started asking Sangdao some questions. "By the way, about Sangdao's martial arts, can you tell me their names?"
They only talked about something in general yesterday so he still hadn't had the chance to ask Sangdao about her combat prowess.
Sangdao threw another piece of firewood into the bonfire and shot a meaningful look at Sila.
"My current martial arts are Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps and hidden weapon arts. My dad was the one who taught me. My mother also taught me a weapon art called Star Ocean Sword. Dao still doesn't have my personal martial art. It seems like Dao is already behind Sila," she said jokingly.
"You are already very skilled. Look at me, if I hadn't entered Monster Soul, I might not have learned any martial arts."
"Hasn't Teacher Mora taught you any martial arts?" Sangdao was curious.
Sila tried to hide his sad expression, but Sangdao could notice. He shook his head. "No, he hasn't. Except for physical training, honing my battle senses, and allowing me to partake in a tournament on a monthly basis, Teacher didn't teach me any martial moves."
"Why didn't you ask him to train you?"
"I tried, but Teacher said it still wasn't the right time. He would personally teach me when the time comes. Even when he taught the moves to other disciples, he drove me to train outside. Sometimes, I even thought that he might hate me." Although Sila didn't show any change in expression on his face, he tightly clenched his fist. Sangdao noticed that and pitied him.
"Sila's teacher was very strict. Actually, he didn't have to go to that extent."
"What do you mean?" Sila wondered. Sangdao spoke as if she knew the reason behind his teacher's actions.
Sangdao sat still without answering. Instead, she asked, "Sila, have you ever heard the name Wulin Masters Association?"
Sila frowned as Sangdao avoided his question. "This is my first time hearing it. What is it?"
Sangdao was about to open her mouth to explain, but Lookhin woke up at this time and quickly flew to Sila. It seemed like watching Sila cultivate for a long time had caused it to worry about him. It was no longer mad at him.
"Oh, Lookhin. Do you finally remember your owner? Haha." Sila used his palm to rub its head. Now, Lookhin was back to fawn over Sila after it had fawned over Sangdao for quite some time.
"You are cute. I will give you a reward then." Sila opened his system window and took out the Eight-Legged Spider King Card.
"This time it is a psychic-type card. I don't know if its flavor will suit your taste like those previous magic-type ones. Anyway, don't spit it out even if it isn't delicious, okay? This one seems expensive."
Lookhin nodded once. Sila held the card near its beak.
Once the card was gone, some psychic power was released from Lookhin's body before quickly vanishing.
Sila took a look at his system window and found that it didn't gain any new skill.
"Ah, is our luck bad this time? Hmmm, wait." Sila double-checked Lookhin's psychic-type skills and found that the two skills it had gotten from the Blue-Scaled Merman King had changed.
It was more correct to say that they had been evolved. The skill (B) Mind Connection had evolved into (A) Mind Link, while (A) Mind Concealment had evolved into (A) Formless Mind.
The skills of the Blue-Scaled Merman King were similar to the Eight-Legged Spider King. Thus, instead of duplicating the skills, the system had upgraded Lookhin's skills.
As for Lookhin's level, it stayed at 700. It seemed this time Sila had missed the chance for Lookhin to get the experience points. Well, Sila didn't mind much. At least Lookhin's maximum psychic points were increased.
His Greed Card increased the chance for him to obtain a random benefit to 80% so there was still a 20% chance that he might miss the benefit. This was the first time Sila had missed one though.
Sangdao watched Lookhin being intimate with Sila and realized that she had been mistaken about Sila not taking care of Lookhin.
Sila put Lookhin down on his lap. Even though it was no longer sleepy, it quietly curled itself.
"Just now, Dao, what were you trying to say?" Sila restarted the conversation.
Sangdao replied. "It's nothing. It isn't important. Since Lookhin has woken up, how about we get ready to move? Traveling at night should be easy for both of us."
Sila was skeptical. He clearly felt that Sangdao was trying to change the subject. He didn't want to press for details from her though. Thus, he easily complied.
Lookhin energetically flew onto the sky. It also sometimes landed on Sila's shoulder. Both players ran through the darkness, scanning through the terrain using their qi. Sangdao dashed slightly behind Sila to hide her expression from him.
'Dao, oh, Dao. That was close. My dad even reminded me to not tell him until the right time. I shouldn't let my personal feelings affect my work. Sila will surely learn everything... when the time has come.'
She was in conflict with herself. Although she agreed with her dad that Sila still shouldn't know about their secret, noticing that Sila was the only one in the dark caused her to pity him. She really wanted to quickly release Sila from such pain of not knowing anything.
Sangdao felt like she wasn't herself when she was with Sila. Maybe she was like someone else, being affected by Sila's personality and wanting to cheer for him.
'My mind just wavered due to the mood. That's right. It's nothing more.'
Sangdao repeated this thought to herself despite being fully aware that it wasn't only the mood that caused her to be like this.
Both of them took another day until they finally arrived at Grea City, the Android Kingdom. They arrived sooner than they had anticipated since they weren't bothered by any spiders during the latter half of their journey.
The Android Kingdom was more crowded than other cities. There were many reasons for that though. The main one was due to the fact that the Royal Armament Guild, who used to rule this city, just collapsed. Thus, many players gushed in to set up a trade, hoping to profit in the middle of the change of ownership.
The atmosphere in the city was gloomy. There were many suspicious groups of people sitting or standing in the shops or on the streets. Many of them belonged to the small and medium-sized guilds, wanting to use this chance to seize the city. They were keeping an eye on the other groups. The atmosphere was tense and a battle seemed to be ready to break out at any moment.
Sila and Sangdao had also been keeping an eye out since they had entered the city. However, they didn't care. They concealed most of their qi and let some of it out to be detected so that they would look like ordinary players.
For the record, Sangdao kept her Chinese sword in her system window and wore a veil to cover her face. As for Sila, he used the Beggar's Cloak he received from Vata to cover himself.
Grea City gave off an industrial district vibe. The sky was filled with gray clouds due to all the steam from the flues. Despite how the current time was close to midday, the sunlight was blocked, causing it to seem like it was evening.
Sangdao lightly tapped Sila. "I can't stay in this city too long. The one we have appointed to meet you also told us that he wanted to meet you alone. Dao has already contacted him. Three hours from now, you will have to meet him in front of the main building of the Royal Armament Guild."
"The main building of the Royal Armament Guild? Is that okay? Ummm, Cross and I don't really get along."
"We better call that place the remains of Royal Armament Guild's building. it is currently a wasteland. As for Cross, he has been missing for a while. Dao guesses he isn't around there though."
Sila nodded. "Where are you going, Dao?"
"Dao will return to the bamboo hut to inform my dad that Sila has arrived in Grea City. Please don't stay here for too long, okay? See you again, Sila."
Sangdao's body turned into light and vanished. With her gone, Sila felt like something was missing.
Lookhin who was resting on his shoulder, rubbed its head against his cheek as if it was telling him to give it more attention. Thus, Sila decided to spend these three hours shopping for pet-related items.
He purchased a hundred units of superior pet food that were only sold in Grea City. His inventory space seemed to be too small so he decided to upgrade it to A grade to keep Lookhin's pet food. Now, his system window was fully upgraded. The system would provide him with more information if he asked. There were also various functions available for him to use, which he decided to study later.
For the record, to upgrade the system window from B to A grade, a player needs to pay 50,000 gold and possess a title. The player also has to have defeated more than five Marquis Rank monsters or above.
Afterward, Sila visited the accessory shop to look for an item to seal Lookhin inside as Sangdao had suggested. Once he entered, he told the owner of the shop that he would like to see the best accessory for sealing a pet.
The shop owner shot a glance at Lookhin for a brief moment and decided not to say anything. After all, the customer is king. Since the customer asked for the best accessory, he would just comply.
"This is the best pet-sealing accessory in our shop, sir. It is an accessory that an independent NPC brought to us a long time ago. Although its ability is well beyond the rest, the price is quite high for an item that can seal only a single monster. To be honest to Mister Customer, no one has bought it for seven years."
The shop owner showed Sila a steel ring which had a rectangular onyx embedded in it. There was also some kind of characters engraved on the onyx.
"The price is 500,000 gold, sir. Its ability is high even in an unidentified state. As for the process of unsealing its ability, if Mister Customer wants, I can contact the people who can identify it for you, but it will cost more," The shop owner said without paying attention since most people always changed their mind when they knew about the price of this ring.
Sila used his newly upgraded grade system window to inspect the ring.
(S) Dark Age Sealing Ring [Unidentified]
Can be used to seal a single pet. Increases the ability to communicate with the pet 100%. Increases the overall ability of the pet 50%. When the pet is inside, it will recover three times faster. Increases the increased speed of the Love Degree 20%. Can keep 1,000 units of pet food inside.
Restriction: Knight Rank or above.
***Binds to a single pet. Player won't be able to change the pet inside.
Sila took his time to decide. His current balance was not enough to buy the ring, but he could depend on his credit. His mind wandered to Varee and Sangdao. Despite how the two of them expressed it differently, their hopes that he would take good care of Lookhin could be easily felt.
The shop owner saw that Sila was hesitating, so he continued, "If Mister Customer doesn't want that ring, I still have many other accessories that are quite decent. The price is much lower. Would you be interested?"
Sila handed the shop owner his black credit card. "I will take this ring."
"Yes, of course, it's okay. I still have more that are much cheaper... Pardon?" The shop owner didn't believe what he just heard.
"I will take this ring. You can deduct the money in that card," Sila repeated and equipped the ring on the same finger that he used to wear his previous one on. The ring adjusted its size to fit Sila's middle finger.
The shop owner returned the card to Sila.
Sila tried to keep Lookhin inside as he said, "Seal, Lookhin."
Lookhin's body shone with a black flash of light before being absorbed into the ring. The system informed Sila that the Dark Age Sealing Ring could no longer seal another pet except Lookhin.
The shop owner watched the sparrow being absorbed into the ring and felt greatly sorry for the loss of its value. "Does Mister Customer want me to contact the unsealer? This service will only cost you a trivial amount."
Sila politely replied, "No, thank you," before walking away, leaving the shop owner to look at his back with eyes full of incomprehension.