Chapter 124: Montra's Pain
A strong wind was blowing on top of a certain steep cliff that was covered by traces of an intense battle. There were many marks left on the cliff, and much of the cliff was destroyed. There was so much damage that the current state was nothing like its original appearance.
Red blood was dripping onto the rocks. Montra looked expressionlessly at the wound on his right arm. Even Monster Soul couldn't replicate the feeling of pain for him.
Twelve years ago, this unusual phenomenon was like a heavenly blessing for him. However, during the past few years, he started to think that it was, in fact, a curse.
He was curious. If he left it unattended like this, would his other feelings be robbed away from him as well?
The Golden-Eyed Great Eagle, Marquis Rank, Level 1,000, glared at its opponent who was deep in thought despite currently in the middle of a battle. Its eyes were always flashing with qi, searching for its opponent's weak points or an opening.
However, it mostly stayed in the sky, keeping its distance. The reason for that was simple: it couldn't see any opening from Montra.
"Hand over your item, bird. My level has reached its cap at 1,000. I won't gain anything from killing you."
The Great Eagle declined Montra's offer with action. It clad its body with qi reinforcement, flapping its wings with Cruise Breeze.
Blades made of qi quickly flew toward Montra's side, followed by its qi-strengthening claws aiming at the opposite side.
"Sky Snowflakes." Montra waved his Dragon Head Mage Staff and white flashes surrounded his body. The cold affected the Great Eagle and caused its speed to slightly slow down while its wind blades made of qi were significantly slowed down.
Montra moved his body, evading all the attacks without any difficulties. His right hand spun his mage staff while the dragon's eyes on it gleaming.
His magic power was poured into the mage staff, reinforcing it. Then, he threw it at the Great Eagle.
"Gw-!!" The Great Eagle cried in pain once the Dragon Head Mage Staff pierced through its stomach. Its body was crucified on the cliff while the eyes on the mage staff stared at it as if the mage staff itself was a living thing.
The snowflakes landed on Montra's right arm and their color changed from white to red. Even when direct touching the snowflakes, Montra still couldn't feel cold.
He was aware that using the brain scanner affected the user body. So, if he were to take considerable damage in Monster Soul, maybe his sense of pain might return to him.
Although almost two years had passed, Montra still hadn't given up hope. Montra had never given up. No matter what it was about.
As Montra was still deep in thought, the Golden-Eyed Great Eagle used its beak to rip its own chest. Blood sprayed from its wound as its beak was holding onto a blood-soaked gem.
It immediately swallowed the gem into its stomach. Then, its body began to emit a bright, golden aura.
The Golden-Eyed Great Eagle was relying on the power of the gem to awaken its power and promote itself to Lord Rank. This was its only hope of survival.
"I have no time to play with you, bird." Montra shot his eyes at the Great Eagle again once his system window was informing him that it was about to evolve into Lord Rank.
"Rhythm of Martial Radiance." Montra's body unleashed a tremendous amount of magic power, enveloping his body and causing him to look like a warlord on a battlefield.
Slamming his feet on the ground, creating a loud noise, Montra narrowed the distance between him and the Great Eagle in the blink of an eye.
Montra grabbed his mage staff and pulled it out of the wound on the Great Eagle, further tearing apart its body.
As if it was aware of its wielder's intentions, the Dragon Head Mage Staff transformed back into its original form. A glow of light engulfed it for a brief moment before it transformed into a spear.
Heavenly Dragon Spear, Montra's actual weapon.
A weapon made of Orichalcum is several times better than a normal weapon, especially in the sense that it shares its soul with the owner.
Varee could adjust the length of her Shadow Moon Sword at will. Meanwhile, Montra could conceal its true appearance with the mage staff form whenever he wanted. The only people who were aware that Montra used a spear as his main weapon were Kawin and Revin.
Actually, Montra was a pro at using many kinds of weapons. However, the weapon that most suited his style and personality was the spear. Thus, when he had made a request to the legendary weaponsmith NPC to create his weapon, he demanded that it would be a weapon with two forms. One was a spear to increase physical attack, and the other was a mage staff to increase his magical attack.
There was no one nearby, so Montra could exert his full strength. Even though he had yet to finish his Dragon Ritual and a part of his power was locked away, the power he gained from activating Rhythm of Martial Radiance compensated for that.
As there was a limit to how long he could use his Rhythm, he intended to finish the battle in a flash. The system continued to inform him of the Great Eagle's evolution while his body was full of the power of Martial Radiance Art.
Both his hands spun the spear in a small circle. The key factor of using a spear is to strike the target in the blink of an eye and the strike should be powerful enough to decide who wins.
When you thrust a spear it should be fast, but when you retract the spear it should be even faster.
His hand that was holding the spear moved. The spear thrust forward at lightning speed with the help of a technique of Heavenly Destiny Fist.
For Montra, a weapon is only an extension of the body. Regardless of whether he was wielding a weapon in his hand or not, he could still utilize his personal art, Heavenly Destiny Fist.
This art was very powerful. Once he unleashed it, it would be as if his opponent was already destined to lose by the will of heaven.
Montra canceled his power and his spear transformed back into a mage staff.
The Great Eagle didn't know what was happening. Why did its opponent suddenly stop attacking?
However, in the next moment, its question was answered. Tens of wounds instantly appeared on its body. Every wound was on its vital spot.
Apparently, Montra's attacks hadn't stopped, rather, they had already ended.
It was defeated. Its body didn't suddenly turn into light. Rather, the turquoise gemstone floated from its body and landed on Montra's palm as if it was a spoil of war. It was after that that the Great Eagle could die peacefully.
Montra looked at the gem in his hand and took out a certain ticket.
"Heavenly Dragon Guild." He teleported from the spot, showing not even the tiniest bit of interest in the opponent that was just defeated by his hand.
As he was the leader of the guild, Montra had a spacious private room for himself. In this room, except for himself, only Kawin and Revin were allowed to enter. Even the Five Warlords didn't have permission to access this place.
Montra gently put the jewel into a black box.
"Have you gotten Sky Emerald, Montra? In that case, only five of them remain, right?" A voice could be heard from a corner of the room.
"It would be four, Revin, if you just properly did your part," Montra said without paying much attention to Revin.
He walked back to his desk and placed his hand on it. Then, hundreds of documents were sent to him.
"Oho, I'm tired just looking at them. When will you have time to practice when you have to read all of these?"
"Our guild is large. It's natural that there are a large number of documents, especially when the war event is coming closer and I have to allocate budget to the sects who have joined our guild," Montra replied as he attentively read every document, page by page.
"Why don't you hire someone to do it for you?"
"I already did. What I'm doing is just reviewing and monitoring. As I said, our guild is large, it wouldn't be weird if someone wanted to defraud us. I need to thoroughly read these."
Revin scratched his head as he said, "It is fortunate that my position doesn't require me to do paperwork, otherwise my brain would explode."
A stern voice came from behind Revin, "You should at least try. Don't act spoiled."
Kawin entered the room. Montra and Revin noticed that his metal arm guards were missing.
"The list of players we should be wary of has a new name. The Silver Knight Shueria."
"Friend or Foe?" Montra stopped reading and looked at Kawin.
"Most likely a foe. At the very least, he helped Sila escape from me," Kawin said while observing Montra's reaction.
"Aren't they supposed to be enemies?" Revin asked.
Kawin shook his head. "Not anymore. The current Shueria is even stronger than Lone Wolf."
Montra turned his attention to a pile of documents. "It's alright. If we can collect all of the Gems of Catastrophe, it won't matter who our opponent is."
"In that case, you should get out of this paperwork, Montra. Let's go look for the gems. It's been a while since the last time we hunted together," proposed Revin.
"I can't do that. I still need to prepare for a situation where we aren't able to collect all of them. It won't hurt us to have a backup plan," replied Montra.
Kawin finally found a chance to ask Montra about the thing that kept nagging him. "Montra, about the match between you and Sila, did you..."
Montra put a document down again. He stared intently at Kawin. "...play dirty? No need to fret. You have gone and met Sila. It's natural that he would say something like this."
Revin turned to look at Kawin with anger. "Oi! Kawin. Are you suspecting Montra? There is no way Montra would do that."
"Well, I did play dirty," Montra said nonchalantly.
Revin stopped what he was doing. Both his eyes looked at Montra with disbelief.
"I sent a person to spy on Sila. I wanted to know what kind of person my dad... no, the Elders, chose over me. I wanted to know his ability so I challenged him to a match.
"Well, from the reports I got, it seemed that man hadn't learned any martial arts. I was curious but maybe it was something like a secret rule of the Flaming Cloud dojo. Based on the historic records, this dojo always had only one outstanding disciple. So, I guessed that it was possible that Sila had been ordered not to show his true ability.
"When I knew that the Elders were having a meeting in Monster Soul, I tricked him into thinking that I had kidnapped his teacher so he would show the full extent of his skill. Regretfully, except for his quick wit, that man had nothing. It was as if he simply mimicked the moves of others. I was very angry that this kind of person was chosen over me, so I was heavy-handed when I beat him.
"That's all. If you ask me whether I played dirty, it could be said that I really did."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Kawin asked while Revin shrugged his shoulders implying that he had guessed what had happened.
"It was a personal matter between Sila and I."
"That's not playing dirty. They're just investigating and using strategy. Someone who is unable to focus in a match only has himself to blame."
"I quit being conscious of something like this a long time ago. Loser's excuses are something I got to hear for nearly a lifetime."
Kawin stayed silent for a while before continuing, "Sila should have met our teacher already..."
Montra didn't say anything back, but he mistakenly skipped a page of the document and had to reread it again.
The pain didn't come from his body. Rather, his mind was hurt and he felt like he was betrayed.
For each generation, Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws was supposed to only be taught to a single person. Montra had planned to come up with his own arts and he valued his friendship with Kawin, so he gave the right to learn it to Kawin.
However, in the end, his father was the one who went against the dojo's customs and imparted the art to Sila.
Although he told Kawin that he didn't care about Sila, it was a lie. In fact, Montra hated every part of Sila, down to his very bones, even though he had never cared about weaklings like that guy before.
Sila wasn't superior than him in any way, yet he was selected to replace his position.
Ever since Montra has been chosen to inherit the position of the Wulin Lord, he had trained intensely and sought out every piece of knowledge that would help him manage the association in the future.
He put his soul, his body, his everything into this position. What about Sila? What had he ever done?
Kawin didn't want to disturb Montra any more than this. He knew that the quicker Montra finished his paperwork, the more time he had to rest. So, he dragged Revin out of the room and planned to do their errands to take some of the burden off of Montra's shoulders.
Although Montra was called a genius, some work still required time. For example, this paperwork. Two hours passed and Montra finally decided to take a break. His eyes were looking at the pile of documents he wasn't even half of the way through.
Montra thought deeply about the obstacles that awaited him.
Part of his power was currently locked away so he always had to rely on Dragon Heart to help him survive. However, once his Dragon Ritual was completed, this skill would no longer be important to him.
Montra was confident that no one would be his match if he could exert his full power.
About Sila, that guy wasn't supposed to be a threat to his plan. However, now that the Elders decided to take Sila's side, Montra's concerns started to grow. The Elders might pull off some tricks to obstruct his victory.
Thinking that one of the three Elders was his own father, Montra's mind felt pain even though his body didn't feel a thing.
Sila waited for a while until Crow came back. They bid farewell to each other. For the record, Crow didn't invite him to drink, unlike what Sila had expected.
Once he arrived at the entrance to the Valley of Immortals, he found Sangdao waiting for him.
"Are you mad at me?" Sangdao said.
"I'm not mad. Rather, I'm just sad. I thought we were friends."
"Even now, we are still friends. All those things that Dao asked Sila were what Dao really wanted to know."
Sila could feel the sincerity in her voice. It was the same sincerity he had found in Nunthima's voice.
Sila sighed as he replied, "Let it be."
"No, I can't. I will try to make up for making Sila feel sad next time."
"You don't need to do that."
Sangdao smiled and took a certain crystal out. He looked at it and felt like he had seen one before.
"Crystal of Connecting, Sila. If you need some help from me, just call me and I will come to you. It doesn't need to be related to the association."
Sila finally remembered that he had seen one in Varee's hand.
He didn't know how to reject Sangdao's offer so he took it with him and kept it in his system window.
"Next time, let's go on a trip together. Please bring Lookhin with us as well. There are many beautiful places in Monster Soul. Dao will be your guide."
Sila nodded at her proposal. "Lookhin should already feel content with being able to fly around in a vast sky. It should be Bow who will be excited at the sight of beautiful places."
"Bow? Is she Sila's friend?"
"More like my little sister, I'd say. I will introduce her to you later if..."
Thinking about Bow, his body suddenly froze.
"What's wrong, Sila?" Sangdao called out to him as she saw that Sila was making a strange expression.
"Ah. This is bad. I've completely forgotten about Bow!"Author Note: Let's take a look from Montra's perspective. While Sila is biased against Montra, Montra is biased against Sila as well.