Chapter 136: Return to Beginning Town
While it was only a day for Sila, five days had passed in Monster Soul. Even with that, Lost Grea City was still a deserted city without any outsiders. Sila perceived that five days weren't enough for people to complete those absurd missions so they could reenter the city.
On the way from the hotel to the palace, every android saluted him with respect, and that caused Sila to feel on edge. So, he greeted all of them back. It was the reason why he spent an hour traveling a distance that should've taken twenty minutes. It seemed he had to consult the Android King regarding this problem.
After he greeted the last android guarding the inner room, Sila finally arrived before the throne room. He walked past the mechanical door and entered the room, where the Android King, Bluebird, and Burapha were having a conversation.
Somehow, the Android King seemed to be annoyed by the thing in his hand which Sila had thought was a black stick with golden trims. It wasn't until he got closer that he realized it was actually a short lance.
"Hello, everyone. It's good to see you all together," greeted Sila.
"Stop talking! Wait a sec." Bluebird suddenly yelled. Sila didn't know what this was about but he obediently shut his mouth.
Bluebird opened his system window and looked at it with a frown before shifting his gaze to Sila.
"Player Sila, Grey Slime, Marquis Rank, Level 50... Am I right?"
"I don't know. I don't have a system window and I haven't inspected my status for quite some time. What is this about?"
Burapha waved his hand. "Nothing in particular, Big Brother. It's just someone wanting to show off his new skill. Big Brother Sila won't be able to guess how many times I have been inspected."
Bluebird shook his head in a hurry. "Inspect? Fufu. This is not the normal Inspect skill or even the inspection done via the system window. It's the Information Analysis skill that I have obtained from the Data Analyzing Unit who is stationed on the fifth basement floor under the palace, fourteenth room on the right. Actually, it also allows me to see your remaining health, qi, magic, and psychic points, along with the skill that you use the most and the skill that you are weakest against."
"Interesting. What skills do I use the most and what skill am I weak against, then?" Sila was eager to know the answers.
Burapha interrupted, "Let me guess. Big Brother Sila's most used skill is Qi Reinforcement and you are weak against powerful magic spells that have a wide-area of effect."
Bluebird showed a dissatisfied expression but didn't say anything to argue. It seemed Burapha's guess was on the spot.
Burapha added, "Sure enough, Energy Reinforcement will be the most used skill for many, if not all, players. It's very obvious. And it's common for most people to be weak against powerful wide-area magic spells. They are the same answers I got when Big Brother Blue analyzed me."
"True... But, the Android King told me that the skill can access more useful information when its level reaches 100. Isn't that right, sir?"
The Android King didn't reply. His eyes were still fixated on the black short lance in his hand and there were dozens of system windows floating around him. It seemed all of his focus was on the lance and not on their conversation at all.
"What is that?" Sila asked about the identity of the black lance.
"Oh. That's my weapon, Big Brother." Burapha smiled with a prideful expression. "It was especially made for me by Uncle Zeref, the most skilled weaponsmith in Monster Soul."
Killing intent could suddenly be felt from the Android King and the atmosphere in the room took a turn for the worse. All three players present had to put up their energy reinforcement to resist while the Android King spoke with a chilly tone. "Beware of your words, kid. You might be Sila and Bluebird's friend, but you didn't complete the quest with them. The only reason you are allowed to sit in this place is because I'm kind enough. The most skilled weaponsmith in Monster Soul is me."
Burapha swallowed his saliva. "...I take back my words. I meant, Uncle Zeref, the most skilled weaponsmith in the Qi Kingdom."
The killing intent suddenly vanished. "Better... Anyway, this is interesting. Truly interesting. A weapon with the power of armor. It's a challenge letter to me, that's for sure."
Sila couldn't help but be curious. "I don't know who Mister Zeref is, but it seems Mister Orpheus doesn't like him… yes?"
"Well, it's not like that. We had the same teacher but our ideas about weapon creation are different. You can say that we're both friends and rivals. Zeref believed in maintaining the traditional weapon forms, while I think that weapons always need to develop. Staying still is not different from going backward. Otherwise, we would still be using stones and wooden clubs to this very day. Don't you agree?"
Sila frowned as he couldn't tell which one was better between maintaining the traditional concept and developing something new. Well, there was no obvious right or wrong answer to this kind of question. Each idea has its own charm and good points.
"The funny thing is, my weapons are often purchased by military forces while Zeref's are purchased by dojos and weapon collectors. So, while I'm richer and more people use my weapons, Zeref is more famous."
"And both of you continue your rivalry in Monster Soul, right?" asked Burapha.
"Well, yes. When I discovered that Zeref decided to stay as an Independent NPC, I decided to become one too. Both of us are quite free anyway. Zeref can just produce one or two weapons each year to make plenty of money while I have more than I could spend in my life. As a bonus, making weapons in Monster Soul is more enjoyable and free. I can make as many lethal weapons as I want without violating any of the contracts I signed with countries."
All of the system windows were closed by the Android King. "Anyway, I have to admit that this weapon is very well-made. It's delicate, strong, and easy to wield. It definitely can be called a masterpiece."
Burapha started to feel restless. "Your Majesty wouldn't want to keep it... right?"
"Hmph. Why would I want to keep Zeref's weapon when I can just make a better one?"
The Android King handed the lance back, and Burapha received it with a sigh of relief.
"This might be troublesome for you, Sila, but can I request something from you?"
Sila was surprised that the flow of the conversation came back to him. "That should be fine, sir. What is it?"
"I have heard your story from your talkative friend." Sila and Burapha locked their eyes on Bluebird simultaneously. "I had my suspicions from the beginning, but why you are wearing that kind of trash equipment? Honestly speaking, regarding your clothing, I am certain that I can make a better one even with the worst fabric, a needle, and thread. Well, I found out later that your favorite set of clothing was torn apart recently, so I kind of pity you."
Many people had critiqued Sila's clothing sense but the Android King was the first to be so direct about it. At the same time, Sila wasn't so sure about Unjust Wuxia Clothing being his favorite one as he hadn't used it that much before it was destroyed.
"Therefore, I would like you to hand me your Orichalcum and Eternal Onyx and I will make armor for you in return."
"Eh? It's my first time hearing that Orichalcum can be used to produce armor," said Burapha who considered himself an expert regarding items.
"No one has ever done it, including Zeref. Orichalcum can only be used to forge a weapon. Zeref could produce a weapon with the power of armor, so I will make armor with the power of a weapon. That's the reason why I need your Eternal Onyx. The power of the Eternal Onyx is 'evolve', so I can surely make the impossible possible."
Hearing that, many problems arose in Sila's mind. "I have no problem with giving Orichalcum to you, sir. You can think of it as me returning it to you. However, I have some problems."
"Don't hold back and tell me. What are the problems?"
"Um... I have never worn metal armor, be it in real life or in the game. I think that it will be heavy and limit my movement, so..."
Sila hadn't finished his sentence yet when the Android King interrupted, "And here I was wondering the issue was. Don't worry. I'm an expert when it comes to equipment creation and won't produce something that the user doesn't like. I have never received a complaint regarding my equipment. Now, state your next problem."
"...Um. Then, about the Eternal Onyx. It's stuck in the ring and I can't remove it. I don't know the whereabouts of the Transcendent Rank Unsealer."
"Is that so? Um... First things first, take this." The Android King handed Sila a brown envelope.
Sila took it and saw that there was a letter inside the envelope, but the address and the name of the recipient couldn't be seen. "What is it, sir?"
"I heard that you're planning to go to Beginning Town from that tiny, talkative slime girl. I have a small favor to ask. Give that envelop to Bronze, the owner of the weapon shop there, for me, please."
Sila recalled the clue that he had obtained regarding the Transcendent Rank Unsealer living in the weapon shop of a certain city that is the farthest away from others. It turned out to be Beginning Town's Mister Bronze.
"Is Mister Bronze the Unsealer?"
"Obviously, I don't know. I just want you to send a letter to my old friend, that's all," whistled the Android King.
All three people could understand the hidden meaning behind Orpheus' words so they didn't continue asking.
"When will you go, then? I would like to get my hands on the Eternal Onyx soon."
"I think I will waste no more time and go now." Sila stood up.
"Big Brother Sila, are you planning to run to the harbor?"
Sila nodded in response to Burapha's question. He didn't understand why Burapha had to ask him this question. For him, excluding using Invitation Cards, running was the fastest transportation method in Monster Soul.
Burapha sighed, "If you are really in a hurry, I suggest you stay in this city for a little while, Big Brother. I noticed that traveling to Beginning Town is easier than it used to be because there are many merchants selling Crystals of Connecting that are linked to people in Beginning Town. It may be expensive but you will save a lot of time."
Surely, Sila had heard about this, but he had no friend who was in Beginning Town.
"You don't have to personally know the person on the opposing end. Many merchants utilize the Crystals by connecting them to a single person and let them wait in Beginning Town. When you purchase a Crystal connected to that person and use it, you will be teleported to the waiting person, that's all. By the way, is the reason you are going to Beginning Town related to the slime rock event?"
Sila nodded again, "You can say that. How did you know, though?"
"My, Big Brother Sila. It's slime rock and that obviously refers to you. Anybody who knows you would be able to notice. I recommend that you keep yourself hidden as much as possible. There are many groups of players currently investigating the mystery of the slime rock and trying to raid the Lord Rank monster."
Sila didn't worry about himself as much as he worried about the ones who were going to raid the Lord Rank monster. Among the three Slime Guardians, he believed that Master Viola was the one people should avoid bothering the most. She also rarely held back.
"In that case, I will just wait in this city for the time being. Thank you, Burapha," said Sila before he turned his head to the Android King. "Let me go and get you Orichalcum first, then."
"No need. Your system window is with me so I only need your permission to retrieve it. I am going to produce your armor soon. Just leave a message with the Secretary Android in front of my personal room if you need anything or have a request for your armor."
"Eh? Are you going to produce it soon? But I still haven't gotten you the Eternal Onyx yet."
"The Eternal Onyx will be required at the end of the entire process. I will be forging and shaping the Orichalcum for the time being. Just return to this place immediately when you get the gem. Take this, by the way." The Android King gave Sila an Invitation Card with the symbol of Lost Grea City, but what was engraved on the card was a different name.
"Grea City and Lost Grea City used to be the same city before being divided into two. The original name of both cities was Siaferia. Anyway, don't forget what I just said! Return to this place immediately after you get Eternal Onyx. By 'immediately', I mean 'immediately', you hear me?"
Sila didn't understand why Orpheus needed to emphasize the word to him, though he nodded nevertheless. Afterward, everyone separated to do their own thing.
Burapha went to Grea City to search for a Crystal of Connecting and would visit Sila in the mansion when he got one. He also told Sila that he would go to the Snow Realm in the north after that.
Bluebird was still roaming around Lost Grea City, searching for a skill to take his third slot while summarizing any he found. He would leave notes on the skills he found in the mansion so Sila could review them and pick his skills.
Meanwhile, Sila returned to his mansion and found Bow and Lookhin sleeping in the garden. He didn't want to disturb their rest so he entered the treasure room alone.
Without Julia, searching for any item turned out to be a difficult task. Sila spent an hour inside the treasure room just to find the Tiger Dragon Qi book. For the record, it was an important item so Julia had kept it in the innermost room, but it was the last place Sila had visited, so he had wasted his time.
Then, he went to the clothing section and picked a dark green set of wuxia clothing to wear. He took a liking to it since it had special compartments near the sleeves which were suitable for keeping hidden weapons.
Without the system window, Sila had to keep items on himself unlike before. So, he only took six kunais and shurikens with him while completely disregarding potions as he hadn't used them for a very long time, though he still took a bottle containing the last two Emperor Qi Pellets with him.
He tucked his hidden weapons inside both sleeves and decided that he would only use them in an emergency.
Finally, he went to the dojo outside the mansion and sat cross-legged before opening the Tiger Dragon Qi book in front of him. He planned to practice partial qi circulation.
Practicing partial qi circulation wasn't as difficult as he had anticipated it to be. It only took him an hour and a half to remember how to do it. Still, it was still questionable whether he could properly use it during combat. Sila believed he still had to familiarize himself with using partial qi circulation when his focus was split.
Power started focusing inside his right hand and flew to his left hand, right foot, left foot, and his torso respectively. The process continued to loop with a gradual increase in speed. Slowly, he began to shift his power into more delicate parts such as his elbows, knees, shoulders, hip, back, and arms.
This kind of practice required concentration rather than strength. The more Sila practiced, the less he had to remember about the circulation. In the end, his mind entered the meditation state and lost track of his surroundings.
"Big Brother Sila." A familiar voice woke him up.
"Oh, Bow? How are you?"
"That should be Bow's question. Are you okay, Big Brother Sila? I have called you many times but you haven't answered until now."
"Ah. I was practicing my skills. Don't worry about it." Sila gently rubbed Bow's head.
"Big Brother Burapha visited us and left an item for you, Big Brother Sila." Bow pushed the Crystal of Connecting, which had the exact same appearance as the one that Varee had shown him, to Sila.
"Where is he, then?"
"He left a while ago as he didn't want to disturb you. Bow didn't plan to disturb Big Brother Sila as well but many hours have passed so Bow thought that Big Brother Sila was sleeping."
"I wasn't sleeping. I was practicing."
"Anyway, Bow has come here to call you to eat breakfast. It's almost morning. Big Brother Sila has been sitting here for an entire day."
"An entire day?" Sila remembered that he started practicing yesterday afternoon and didn't expect himself to meditate overnight.
'Teacher Wu Ming has told me that qi circulating for a long time means there is an imbalance between my body and my qi, so they need time to adapt to each other. It seems I have focused too much on Tiger Dragon Qi and have neglected training my body lately.'
What Sila thought was quite correct, but not entirely true. There was another reason, which was that his right arm was undergoing changes, causing his qi to have to familiarize itself with a new body, which led to Sila circulating qi for a long time.
Sila followed Bow and Lookhin to the living room. There were many types of food, no, desserts on the dining table. Bow hopped onto the table and started eating.
"Bow made all of these yourself?"
"No~ Big Sister Julia left them in the refrigerator. Bow and Lookhin just took them out."
Sila sighed and went to place the desserts onto a tray before keeping them in the refrigerator. He took out a simple meal for himself to eat and tried to ignore the strawberry cheesecake that Bow hid behind her semi-transparent body.
"You are only allowed to eat that much, Bow. You need to eat proper food as well if you want to eat more desserts."
Bow's cheeks puffed up and swallowed the strawberry cheesecake in a single gulp, afraid of Sila taking it from her like the rest.
Sila slowly ate his meal. Instead of paying attention to his food, he was trying to circulate qi to each part of his body.
'This should be enough. It seems circulating qi all night wasn't a waste of time.'
After he finished eating, Sila, Bow, and Lookhin entered the kitchen to wash the dishes (though the latter two didn't help at all). Although there was an automatic dishwasher, Sila didn't know how to use it so he washed the dishes manually.
The three of them gathered in the front yard and checked themselves again to make sure they didn't forget anything. Sila sealed Lookhin inside the ring and widened the gap between his shirt and his chest so that he could put Bow inside. He also didn't forget to poke a hole to so Bow could see outside.
The Crystal of Connecting in Sila's hand emitted a faint glow before his body was engulfed in light and disappeared.