Chapter 112: Single-Horned Dragon Forest - First Part
Presently, Sila was leaping through the air over a green, tropical forest full of primordial trees and vines. He finally understood why Shueria had given him the Cloudy Tiger Card. Otherwise, Sila would have lost his way in the forest by now.
Having an overnight rest rejuvenated Sila. After he had circulated qi for an entire night, Sila felt like his qi had undergone a qualitative change. The evidence was him not feeling tired at all despite using Cloud Stepping for half a day.
At first, Sila planned to feed the Cloudy Tiger Card to Lookhin as usual. However, after he had read its ability, he couldn't help but change his mind and instead equipped it.
(A) Cloudy Tiger Card
Increases qi's recovery rate by 1.5 times.
Grants the user the item skill 'Cloud Stepping' (this skill will be lost if the card is no longer equipped).
Item Skill: Cloud Stepping
Consumes 1,000 qi points and creates an area of 30 square centimeters under the user's foot. The area will disappear the moment the user lifts the foot.
And this was the reason why Sila could run in the air, five meters above the forest. Luckily for him, Cloud Stepping was classified as a qi type skill so it was affected by the ability of Soundless. Otherwise, Sila would have to say the skill name out loud every time he took a step, which would be very lame and too funny for him to bear.
While running, Sila pondered the problems he had at hand. The matter about the Wulin Masters Association seemed very complicated so he decided that he would have to gradually investigate it bit by bit. The urgent matters at hand were going to Madmen's Valley and visiting Viola in Beginning Town.
It didn't take long for Sila to come to the realization that the culprit who left the slime-shaped rocks across the Main Continent was none other than Viola. Who else could fit the bill more than her?
Poluk had waited for Sila at Colossia City as he was certain that Sila would eventually visit that place sooner or later while Divine had waited for him at Wu Ming's place as he was aware that Sila was Wu Ming's disciple.
On the other hand, Viola used an entirely different approach.
Instead of seeking for Sila, she caused an uproar to make sure that Sila would have no choice but to come to her.
The problem was, there were many people who she had made enemies of during the task of capturing the Wind Dragon Pythia. Sila was at his wit's end regarding whether he should take responsibility for what she did or not.
'Anyway, the point is that Master Viola tried to capture a dragon for me. Even if she didn't do it, I would eventually have to do it myself for finishing the Decolonizing the Slime Kingdom quest. Since that is the case, if someone were to ask who the culprit is, I will take responsibility.'
It was the answer he came up by interpreting that Viola had done her part for his sake. Well, Sila still didn't realize the fact that, with Viola's ability, it wouldn't be too much for her to prevent casualties. However, Viola was too lazy to beat around the bush. If she were to keep the casualties to a minimum, she would have to explain the situation to many players and that would waste too much of her time.
With many thoughts in his head, Sila tried to put his new move into practice during his journey. Based on what he had experienced with it so far, he was starting to get the hang of controlling his power.
Sila tried infusing his right fist with his new move, then hitting his left arm. The amount of force was increased with each strike. The attack seemed to be ineffective at first, but, after the eighth strike, his left arm began to feel numb.
Immediately, Sila tried to circulate his power into his left arm and found that the power was clogged up in it. The arm was stiffened. He had to forcefully add more power before his left arm could return to its normal state.
This was the main difference between in-game skills and self-made skills. For in-game skills, just activating them was enough to show their effects. However, for self-made skills, the system wouldn't give the user a helping hand.
For example, for Sila to use Genesis Punch, he had to control the amount of power being reinforced by himself. It was the same for Orbiting Cosmos, the degraded version of Viola's personal skill, that required him to constantly maintain his focus, and Divine's Moon Reflecting Mirror that relied on his tranquility to be successful in utilizing it.
With that in his mind, Sila felt a strong sense of respect toward those first generation players who excelled at using their personal skills.
With Sila being too busy focusing on trying his new move and having a misperception that running through the air was safe, his vigilance for the surroundings was at its lowest. Little did he know that the Single-Horned Dragon Forest was one of the most dangerous places in Monster Soul. It was rare for people to be careless while being in this place.
Several pairs of red eyes stared at him who was running over their heads before quickly following after him.
"Grr--" A mysterious sound could be heard and immediately followed by several echoes of the same type of sound from all directions.
Sila was too immersed in his training so he didn't hear the sounds at all. His body still moving forward at a steady pace as he had looked at the map beforehand and had come to the conclusion that all he had to do was going in a straight line to arrive at Madmen's Valley.
A brown silhouette jumped at Sila from the top of a tree, aiming at Sila's back.
Upon being targeted, Sila finally noticed that he was being followed and was currently on the receiving end of an attack. Unfortunately, the timing was really bad; his right arm was numb and couldn't move to block the attack. Thus, Sila had to resort to cladding his entire body with qi reinforcement and shifted his shoulder to receive the incoming attack.
*Pa!* Sila was pushed to the ground due to the impact. The right sleeve on his clothing was torn and a long wound could be spotted. Sila circulated Immortal Qi to close his wound and looked at the torn sleeve with regret.
"Oh, no. My new clothing. I hope it won't tear apart more than this," Sila muttered to himself prior to take a look at the enemy who just attacked him.
Since Sila had muted the notification, unless there was a boss monster or a special situation, the system wouldn't give a warning to him, though the small, blue notification screen could still be spotted in the corner of Sila's eyes.
Looking at the monster in front of him, Sila took the chance to click the blue notification screen for it to show the details of the monster he was facing.
As expected of the grade system window, in addition to telling Sila about the monster's name, it also provided Sila with some of the monster's information.
You have encountered two hundred and thirty nine Single-Horned Dragons, Knight Rank, Level 500. For your information, they are also called Tiger Dragons. They are a mutated, small dragon that uses qi instead of the usual magic. The variety of magic spells are replaced by the powerful qi called Tiger Dragon Qi. With it, the Single-Horned Dragons possess lethal attack power, sturdy defense, high speed and agility, and notable recovery rate. They normally hunt in groups and can only be found within the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.
The melodious sound that calmly explained the general information of these dragons like he was in an animal documentary program couldn't help soothe Sila's mood at all. While he was staring at the Single-Horned Dragon, the sounds of leaves being shaken by the footsteps of many creatures could be heard.
If Sila were to be told to describe the identity of the monster currently in front of him, he would call it a dinosaur instead of a dragon. Its height was comparable to Sila but the length of its body from its head to its tail should be around three meters. Its appearance was similar to one of the dinosaurs that Sila had read about when he was a child. It was a carnivorous dinosaur with an appearance similar to a lizard. Its firm-looking skin was dark brown, green, and black, closely resembling the colors of the trees around it, helping it be harder to spot.
There was a horn on its forehead and it had sharp teeth, distinctive feet bearing toes with one oversized hooking claw, and a long tail providing a counterbalance. On one of its claws, there was a sleeve of Sila's clothing hanging on it together with his blood.
Sila clad himself with qi reinforcement to return the state of his right arm to normal and immediately used Galaxy Eclipse to extend his sphere of awareness. He quickly found that he had been surrounded in all directions.
The Single-Horned Dragon was an aggressive monster by nature. With Sila being a nemesis of the dragon race and invading their territory, their aggressiveness became fiercer than ever. Their red eyes fixated on Sila and they kept letting out a threatening sound from their throat to overwhelm Sila.
Thinking that they were just a Knight Rank, Level 500 monster, Sila believed that it shouldn't pose him too much of a problem. He took several steps forward eccentrically and narrowed the distance between him and the dragon in front of him while striking his right hand at it without delay.
Nevertheless, in the blink of an eye, before the attack connected, the dragon strengthened its tail with qi reinforcement and spun its body to evade Sila's attack and simultaneously perform a counterattack.
Sila's back showed an opening so Sila jumped to dodge the attack.
The tail missed its target but the dragon relied on the centrifugal force to spin its body another time before jumping following Sila. Both of its sharp-looking claws were flashing with qi.
Sila was surprised at how smart this dragon seemed to be but he was still calm. Before it could reach where he was, Sila fired qi-strengthened kunai aimed at its head and expected it to penetrate the dragon's defense since it was putting its qi into its claws rather than its body.
The kunai stabbed into the dragon's head near its horn and the dragon fell to the ground. However, it could stand back up while using its qi to eject the kunai out of its head and heal the wound.
"Is that still not lethal enough?" Sila let out a small exclamation. He had expected it to die with his last attack but it seemed that it was just wishful thinking.
The reason why the Single-Horned Dragon Forest was a very dangerous place was because its main inhabitants, the Single-Horned Dragons, had the strong physique of a dragon and were supported by their powerful qi. Even though they didn't possess active skills, they were a formidable monster to be reckoned.
Sila didn't wait for the dragon to regain its momentum. He dashed at it as if he was an arrow that had been fired and activated Universe Reversal in his left hand to pull the dragon to him while infusing qi into his right fist.
The dragon tried to evade but to no avail as the pulling power of Universe Reversal was restricting its movement. In the end, it was forced to confront Sila's fist directly.
Blood was gushing out from the dragon's mouth as its internal organs were damaged. Sila had learned his lesson from all his fights against opponents who excelled at defense so his fist was focused on damaging the opponent from the inside.
The dragon fell to the ground. Although it could no longer move, it still didn't die.
As Sila was pondering why it was so hard to kill, the remaining dragons had arrived at the scene. Not waiting for Sila to make another attempt to harm their comrade, two of the dragons ferociously jumped at him, forcing Sila to step back using Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps.
In the blink of an eye, Sila was heavily surrounded. The Single-Horned Dragon Forest was a thick forest so the foothold area was narrow. At the moment, there were only five or six Single-Horned Dragons surrounding him but Sila could tell from Galaxy Eclipse that more than a hundred of them were waiting for him not too far away.
He didn't manage to kill a single one of them up to this moment so it was obvious that there would be no way for him to defeat all of the dragons present. Sila planned to flee from this spot as fast as possible as he added the cold attribute of Tortured Soul into Galaxy Eclipse. The temperature began to drop at a terrifying speed and the leaves began to freeze. Surprisingly, the Single-Horned Dragons didn't become frozen as Sila had hoped they would.
Every single one of them unleashed their qi to protect themselves from the cold. Soft orange auras illuminated around them and their claws dug into the frozen ground to stand firmly. Some of them even dug their claws into the trunk to hang themselves from the tree and stared at Sila from above.
"Ah. How troublesome," Sila muttered to himself. Well, his objective had changed to fleeing so he wasn't too worried about it.
Several Flash Bombs were tossed to all directions together with him throwing Genesis Punch at the ground to turn it into dust. The ground in a fifty-meter radius turned into sand. Aside from the light from the Flash Bombs, their impact caused a wind to blow and it dispersed the sand to cover the area.
Sila jumped into the air without delay and activated Cloud Stepping to go over the heads of the confused dragons. The Smoke Bombs in his hands were thrown in the direction he was moving toward and caused a smokescreen which he later leaped into and disappeared.
With the thought that monsters must be similar to beasts in a sense that they rely on the sight or the smell to track down their prey, Sila depended on the Flash Bomb to blind them and followed up by the scattering dust and smokescreen to let them have a hard time tracking him with their nose.
However, Sila had made a mistake. Aside from those normal means, the Single-Horned Dragons possessed another method to hunt down their prey; which was qi sensing. Even though Sila had attained a very high degree of Qi Concealment, with him using Galaxy Eclipse, putting qi into his legs to move faster, and utilizing Cloud Stepping, the trace was naturally left to be spotted. Actually, it would be a better move for him if he stopped using qi and ran across the forest.
Well, to be fair, if he actually ran around that way, he would undoubtedly get lost. Moreover, the Single-Horned Dragon Forest was the home of dragons, so he would be spotted in no time.
The sound of the beasts resonated and followed the direction which Sila was moving to. The dragons scattered and ran to follow him. Their speed while jumping from one tree to another was even faster than Sila's running speed in mid-air. The distance between them was narrowed down quickly.
In fact, Sila wanted to go higher in the sky to reach an altitude where the Single-Horned Dragons wouldn't be able to bother him. However, ever since he had run into the forest, there was some kind of force that prevented him from running too high into the sky. As a result, he could only reach five meters above the tree.
Since Sila was too fixated on reaching Madmen's Valley, he didn't notice that the further he went into the forest, the fiercer the dragons became. The horns on their foreheads began to flash an intense orange light, causing the forest to illuminate with hundreds of torch-like lights.
The sky was darkened despite being midday at the moment. Sila was curious so he looked up into the sky, only to find out why he couldn't reach a higher altitude.
The system sound rang out, to which Sila inwardly complained why it didn't inform him sooner.
You have assaulted a Single-Horned Dragon and entered the inner part of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. As a result, Rex, the Single-Horned Dragon King, Marquis Rank, Level 1000, has appeared to get rid of the invader.
Any slime race players that are killed by the Single-Horned Dragon King will lose all the items in their possession and their rank will be demoted by three.
Even though he had an grade system window, Sila neglected to seek information regarding the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. The shortest path didn't always mean the safest path. For someone to pass through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest, ten out of ten players would choose to keep themselves away from the inner part of the forest to avoid encountering Rex. Even Zero and Shueria were not exceptions.
Rex was a high-class dragon and its ability far surpassed all the middle-class dragons that Sila had encountered.
The shadow of a giant figure was projected onto the ground. Not to mention fighting against it, just the qi that Rex released was pressuring Sila to the point that he could barely move. His movements became sluggish as if he was underwater until Shapeless Qi helped him by focusing its power into Sila's feet. Nevertheless, the pressure he felt wasn't weakened in the slightest.