Chapter 115: Bad Timing
The Single-Horned Dragon Forest at night was usually covered in complete darkness as all the tall trees would obstruct the rays of moonlight. Nevertheless, Sila could travel leisurely without relying on Galaxy Eclipse because the Single-Horned Dragons who traveled with him were using their horns as sources of light. Four living torches walked alongside Sila until he reached the border of the forest.
In front of Sila was a high valley with a path in the middle. On a stone wall, there were two characters that Sila couldn't read engraved upon it. The appearance of the characters was similar to the ones on the sign of his dojo so Sila guessed that they were Chinese characters.
It might sound weird, but Sila didn't know the name of his own dojo. For him, his dojo was his dojo. It didn't matter what its name was. Even the name on the sign was written in a language that he couldn't read.
He had once asked his teacher about the name, but his teacher told him that it wasn't important and he should be focusing on practicing instead of wondering about the dojo's name.
Later, Sila heard from senior and junior disciples that the name of the dojo was written in Chinese. However, no matter how much he insisted, no one told him the meaning or how to pronounce it.
Sila guessed that his teacher had told the others not to tell him about the name, so he didn't dig further as he knew that if it was a teacher's order, no one would tell him.
Actually, if he tried harder, he knew he would find an answer. However, since his teacher seemed to not want Sila to know, he believed that it wasn't the right time for him to know. So, Sila quit trying.
Sila waved his hand and said goodbye to the Single-Horned Dragons. He entered the mountain pass. Both sides of the path were trimmed and there were lamps placed on the walls, five meters apart from each other.
The corridor was a straight line, stretching into the depth of the valley. Sila kept his guard up along the way and it only took him five minutes to reach the inside part of the valley.
Based on what he discovered, Madmen's Valley seemed to be an enclosed valley with a single entrance. The layout of the valley was similar to a bottle. The area inside was lit up by lamps. There were several wooden villas scattered around, which made this place look more like a village in the countryside. The name Madmen's Valley was nothing close to its atmosphere.
An old man with a long white beard and a scar on his left cheek appeared and came to Sila.
Once he saw the old man, Sila smiled. "Hello, Mister Crow." He put his palms together to greet the old man.
"Eh? Young lad. Have you come to pay me a visit? You're here early. I thought it would take you at least a year before you could visit this place."
"I have a personal matter to do here, sir, so I came sooner than I planned."
"Um... Oho? Unexpectedly, you can pass through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest without a single wound. Normally, people who arrive at this place are covered in blood. Which path did you use to take a detour?"
"Eh... I didn't take a detour, sir. I passed through the center of the forest. Well, I almost died. I didn't imagine that it was a habitat of the Single-Horned Dragons."
"Oho. No one would do that. So, you have met Rex, I assume? You are crazier than I thought."
"Luckily, we became friends, so I was able to travel the rest of the way comfortably, sir."
"Is that dragon capable of befriending others? You have a lot of surprises in store, haven't you, kid?"
The conversation seemed like it wouldn't go anywhere if he left it as it was, so Sila cut to the chase.
"The thing is, Mister Crow, I'm here to meet with someone. He said he would wait for me in this place."
Crow scratched his head. "Um... are you Sila?"
Ever since they met, Crow had never once asked for Sila's name and Sila had guessed that Crow would naturally know from the time when he was inspected.
"Eh? I thought Mister Crow already know about that."
"I wasn't interested that time. So, are you Sila?"
"Yes, sir. I'm Sila."
"Um, um, so it's you. Sanon has told me a lot about you. He is the one who you have an appointment with. Anyway, you just missed him."
"Missed? He said he would wait for me for another four days though?"
"I think he has an urgent matter to attend to. Do not worry. He said he would come back within a week so you should just wait here. If you are bored, I have a hidden quest for you."
Sila was confused by the words 'hidden quest' since Crow explicitly stated it.
"In that case, I have another matter, sir. The thing is, I came here by Mister Zero's suggestion... I am infected with Bomb Lurking Psychic, sir."
Crow frowned as he couldn't tell at all that Sila was suffering from Bomb Lurking Psychic. "Give me your hand."
Sila reached his hand out, to which Crow grabbed it and transmitted his qi to inspect.
"It's truly Bomb Lurking Psychic. But, it has scattered and almost completely fused with your body. In addition, it was suppressed by qi. By the way, are you Shueria's enemy?"
"Why do you think so, sir?" Sila scratched his head, curious.
"Back when Shueria arrived, he had your Tortured Soul within his body. Meanwhile, you have Shueria's Bomb Lurking Psychic in your body. It also isn't at the level used in sparring but in death matches. I'm that kid's teacher so I'm curious."
"Mister Crow is Shueria's teacher?"
"Yeah, if you are his opponent then be careful. My Dignified Palm Blade is second to none. Anyway, you don't need to worry about me. I won't meddle in a kid's affair."
Sila felt awkward after finding out that Crow was Shueria's teacher. It was fortunate that Crow made things clear.
"He challenged me to an official match. There is no longer any enmity between us."
Crow smiled. "That's good to hear."
"By the way, what do I need to do about the quest?"
Crow smacked his forehead. "Ah, again, you have arrived at such bad timing. The hidden quest, Monster's Soul, is only available to do during a full moon. You will have to wait another five days."
The name 'Monster's Soul' didn't sound like a good quest. Anyway, Sila felt regretful that he didn't get to do anything upon arriving at Madmen's Valley.
Crow could tell that Sila was disappointed by the fact that he had arrived at bad timing. "Why don't you just keep practicing to prepare yourself for the quest? That quest is quite difficult, you know? ...Ah, but you possess Shapeless Qi, right? That's unfortunate."
Hearing the word 'unfortunate' used to describe 'Shapeless Qi' caused Sila to frown. "How is it unfortunate, sir?"
"Do you know about the Ten Supreme Qi?"
Sila nodded as he had heard about them from his teacher, Wu Ming.
"Then, do you know why Shapeless Qi isn't counted as one of the Ten Supreme Qi even though it is originated from Qi of Little Divine Beings like the rest?" Crow continued.
Sila shook his head as he didn't know and the nameless elder didn't tell him why. He just thought that 'Ten Supreme Qi' sounded nicer than 'Eleven Supreme Qi'.
"Why is it, sir?"
"Shapeless Qi is a supportive qi. Its main ability is to support another qi or enhance the user's physical ability when the user is in danger. That's the reason why it is hard to detect. The problem is, no matter how hard you train, its level won't increase unless you can find another powerful qi that qualifies for it to support. However, although many of such qi actually exist, the method to obtain any of them is very confidential and hard to come by. It isn't like Qi of Little Divine Beings where the methods to obtain them are well known."
Sila was agape. No wonder its level had never increased and stayed at Level 1.
Crow tapped Sila's shoulder. "Well, it's still a very useful qi. Using it only in an emergency should be enough, no?"
However, Sila was in deep thought. He took the Secret Scroll of Tiger Dragon Qi out.
"Would Tiger Dragon Qi acceptable?"
Surprised by the fact that Sila owned a qi secret scroll, Crow replied, "Umm, to be honest, I don't know. Maybe or maybe not. The qi possessed by the Single-Horned Dragon is indeed powerful but I have never seen any player practice it, so I won't be able to give you any advice. You should try it for yourself, but..."
Sila nodded and unfolded the secret scroll. Crow was about to stop him but couldn't act in time.
The scroll shone a bright light and pushed Crow two meters away. The characters in the scroll floated off the page and into the air. They began to circulate in the shapes of a tiger and a dragon, before entering Sila's skin. Sila had experienced this occurrence from the Secret Scroll of Qi of Little Turtle so he wasn't surprised.
After being used, the secret scroll scattered into dust.
Crow slowly walked to Sila.
"You are quite impatient, aren't you? You didn't stop to listen to my warning. Are you the type who doesn't like to listen to others?"
"Eh? What warning, sir?"
"It's already too late. Just listen to the system's explanation."
Suddenly, Sila felt very uncomfortable. His body was stiffened and pain could be sensed all over his chest, arms, and legs. He immediately tried to circulate Immortal Qi but was unable to do so.
Meanwhile, Crow placed his hand on Sila's shoulder and transmitted Recovery Qi into Sila's body.
"What's happening to me, sir...?"
The system sound interrupted.
You have gained a skill: Tiger Dragon Qi, Level 0.
Shapeless Qi has entered a parasitic state. Its level returns to 0, which is the same level as Tiger Dragon Qi. You won't be able to use qi or qi techniques until your body is compatible with Tiger Dragon Qi.
As he removed his hand from Sila's shoulder, Crow said, "Shapeless Qi in a parasitic state has caused all of your qi-type skills to be in a state of hibernation. Usually, you will have to wait for your body to adapt to the new qi and you will be fine. But, you have erosive psychic power within your body so it won't be easy. The qi that I transmitted to you will be able to suppress it for seven days but the psychic power in your body is growing stronger over time. You will need to hurry."
The psychic power within Sila's body was like a virus. In the beginning, normal qi was able to suppress it. However, as time passed and Sila continued to suppress it with qi, it would grow stronger to counter. Currently, even Lone Wolf's qi wouldn't be able to suppress it anymore. Even, Crow, who was an Independent NPC, said that his transmitted qi wouldn't last more than seven days.
This result occurred because, so far, Sila had suppressed it with high-tier qi at the level of Qi of Little Divine Beings. As a result, it grew stronger at a ridiculous rate.
Now, Sila had no other choice but to put his hopes in his Tiger Dragon Qi that was enhanced by Shapeless Qi.
"But, isn't this contradicting, sir? I have to circulate qi to adapt my body to Tiger Dragon Qi and get it to Level 1, but Shapeless Qi prevents me from performing qi circulation. Or, if I let the body naturally adapt to the qi without qi circulation, this level of psychic power will kill me long before I can achieve that. I also don't have that much time."
"In that case, you will need to accelerate the process with qi transmission. However, for awakening Tiger Dragon Qi, you will need another Tiger Dragon Qi to transmit to you."
There seemed to be a way out, but another problem arose.
"I got this Tiger Dragon Qi from Rex. But, will a monster be able to transmit qi to me?"
Crow shook his head. "I don't know, young lad. No one has ever been on the receiving end of the qi transmission from a monster."
"I think I need to try. I don't want to die and waste time traveling here again."
"I will send you off at the entrance, then."
Crow grabbed Sila's collar and flicked his ankle to lightly fly and land at the entrance of the valley within a few seconds.
"This is as far as I can send you off. You are friends with these Single-Horned Dragons but I'm not. They will feel upset if they see me."
Knowing that this was all he could do, Crow soared back into Madmen's Valley while thinking to himself that Sila was a lad with poor timing who happened to do everything wrong. Actually, he should have unfolded that secret scroll after he has passed the hidden quest.
In the end, Sila couldn't even spend ten minutes in Madmen's Valley before leaving.
He started to walk and felt that his body was stiffed. It wasn't that he had become weaker but rather he had regressed to the state where he didn't have qi. For someone who had always possessed high-tier qi, losing the ability to use qi caused him to feel a bit empty inside.
Sila continued to run into the forest. The darkness still remained. Because he had no special powers with him, he tripped many times and eventually stopped running after a while, choosing to fumble his way back to the inner part of the forest.
The sound of something moving in the bush could be heard. Sila turned around with his intuition and saw several red eyes staring back at him. Soon, the horns lit up, acting as torches. Some Single-Horned Dragons had come to their limping friend.
"Could you please bring me to Rex?" Sila gently asked, hoping that they could understand him.
One of the Single-Horned Dragons lifted Sila's body onto its back and started running. Sila felt at ease because they understood what he said.
Because Sila had no qi, a lot of fatigue had accumulated from running there. Thus, he could do nothing but accept the wave of drowsiness overcoming him. The Tiger Dragon Qi being gently emitted from the Single-Horned Dragon was so soft that Sila felt like he was laying on a bed rather than a dragon's back.
His eyes slowly closed and he soon fell into a deep slumber despite being on a running Single-Horned Dragon.