Chapter 137: Slime Rock
Sila appeared in a restaurant that brought back memories. It was the place where he made a bet with Varee on the second floor and lost.
There was a man in cotton clothing with his face down on the table, sleeping. The Crystal in Sila's hand turned into dust, so he believed that this man must be the one who held the receiving end of the Crystal. There must be some condition regarding Crystal of Connecting usage for this man to have to rest in the restaurant rather than in a hotel.
"Being a merchant is not so easy, isn't it?" muttered Sila. The time was early in the morning so there were only a few people in the restaurant. He exited and decided to visit the nearby weapon shop.
However, it turned out to be futile because there was a sign on the weapon shop indicating that it was temporarily out of service.
"Temporary? How long?" murmured Sila. Well, since there was nothing he could do, his mind returned to the original reason he came back to Beginning Island:
The problematic slime rock.
"Mister Shueria told me that the slime rock is located at the west gate of the town, if memory serves me right." Sila wasn't in a hurry as he didn't want to be the center of attention. Although there were not many people present, most of them were very skilled and they were looking out for a newcomer. Thus, Sila concealed his qi and walked with normal speed to the west gate.
Arriving at the west gate, he didn't even need to search for the slime rock. Its size was ten times bigger than his body and there were white magic particles being emitted from it.
"Little Brother, have you come here for the hidden quest as well?" A man who was sitting nearby greeted Sila. He was the only person present in this place this early. In front of him was a mat with many kinds of potions on it.
"What hidden quest?"
"No one knows. One day, all the slimes around Beginning Town disappeared and instead there is this giant slime rock, so many people have guessed that this situation must lead to some hidden quest."
"Why do you think that I'm here to participate though?" wondered Sila.
"Little Brother, you're wearing C-grade Wind Jade Wuxia Clothing which isn't available in Beginning Town. It's obvious that you came from the Main Continent, and one hundred percent of the people who came from Main Continent return to this place to try this quest."
Sila finally realized his mistake. He planned to act like a newbie so he had picked ordinary-looking clothing but it turned out to be a C-grade item. Nevertheless, he still wasn't aware that he had actually made a good call. There were more veteran players than new players in Beginning Town right now.
He tried to touch the slime rock but found that there was some kind of thin aura blocking his finger from touching it. "Hm?"
"Ah. That rock is protected by some kind of magic power. There were many players from the Main Continent trying to break it but no one has ever succeeded."
"Really? No one was able to break it?" Sila couldn't bring himself to believe it. There were many skilled players in Monster Soul. It was unbelievable that no one had ever succeeded in destroying it.
"Well, maybe the Four Emperors or leader-level players can, but none of them have shown up, so we don't know for sure. Little Brother, you can try to attack it if you want."
"Eh? Can I?"
The man waved his hand. "Sure. This rock doesn't belong to anyone, so you are free to do whatever you want with it. If you had come here during the first few days after its appearance, you would've seen thousands of player trying to break it."
Sila nodded and inspected behind the rock. There was a message engraved on it. Every word was exactly one-inch deep; no more, no less. The message was: Come to the Stone Forest and be prepared for the actual trial - mark 2.
"That message must be some kind of a hint," said the man. "It's still early so there are few players. But, if you are interested, you can join a raid party which often recruits members around midday. Help me by buying some of my potions if you plan to go though."
"Am I really allowed to attack it?" Sila asked once again to make sure.
The merchant shrugged. "As you wish. It's not mine anyway."
Sila looked to the left and to the right while extending the radius of Galaxy Eclipse to ensure that no one was looking at him. He moved around the rock and relied on it to obstruct the merchant's line of sight. The full power of Genesis Punch was infused into his right fist and he threw it at the rock without hesitation.
No sound. No impact. The power of Genesis Punch was used perfectly. However, the rock didn't shatter into dust like he had anticipated. The white magic particles around it rippled like when the surface of water is disturbed. The ripples continued to sway for a moment before everything turned back to normal.
The merchant seemed to notice the ripples which indicated that Sila had made his move, as he said, "Well, your attack didn't work, right? Don't feel down, Little Brother. Everyone is like you in that regard."
Sila frowned. The previous attack was his best move but it dealt practically no damage to the slime rock.
'If a direct punch of Genesis Punch didn't work, Dragon's Fist which has a lower power output wouldn't work too. Well, I should try using soft attribute power of Tiger's Palm. It might work.'
Sila placed his right palm on the mystical magic particles around the rock. His qi circulated using tiger attribute and he pushed his palm forward.
Another ripple appeared on the surface of the white magic particles. It felt as if the power he was injecting into it was wasted and vanished; like trying to fill the ocean with stones.
Then, Sila tried using the full power of Tortured Soul; injecting both the hottest and the coldest qi into the magic barrier. Still, there was no result.
"It won't work, Big Brother Sila. With Miss Viola's protective barrier, even Uncle Poluk had to use his full power to break it."
"If that's the case, I'm really at a loss, Bow. If even Mister Poluk had to use his full power, I don't think any player will have a chance of destroying it."
"That's not it. If Bow helps, I think anyone can destroy it."
That piqued Sila's interest. "How can you help, Bow?"
"Bow has been practicing Miss Viola's Divine Raiment since I was young so I can use it too. Bow will use Divine Raiment and touch the rock. Since they are the same kind of power, they will merge together. During the merging process, if Bow cancels my magic power, a gap will appear on the surface of the rock. If Big Brother Sila attacks at that time, Bow is sure you can break it."
"Divine Raiment?" It was the first time Sila had heard the name of Master Viola's personal art.
Bow jumped from Sila's clothing and her body was engulfed in a white aura. Well, there was a difference between the barrier around Bow and the rock. The rock's barrier was very thin like transparent silk while Bow's was thicker like a blanket.
"They may look different, but they are the same Divine Raiment. Bow is just not as good at it as Miss Viola. Boo~"
Sila argued in his mind that Bow's barrier should be called Divine Blanket rather than Divine Raiment. It was good that he could manage to shut his mouth in time.
"When I cancel my power, there will be a gap. But, with Miss Viola's level, the gap might show up only for a brief moment."
Sila circulated qi with dragon attribute and prepared to throw his Dragon's Fist anytime. He nodded to signal Bow that he was ready.
Bow jumped and held onto the slime rock. Just like when Sila used Genesis Punch, the merchant couldn't see Bow, which was good. The aura covering Bow clearly moved and gradually merged with the slime rock's thin aura. The barrier around where Bow held on was slowly becoming thicker.
Looking at the circular area where Bow's magic power gathered the most, she showed a worried expression.
"This is the most Bow can do. Bow can't extend the size of the area. My magic power is scattered all over Miss Viola's Divine Raiment."
"This much is enough, Bow. Jump to the bottom left when you are ready."
Bow nodded and canceled her power while jumping away. The gap was shown only for an instant. Sila threw his punch a split second before the gap closed.
An explosion resounded throughout Beginning Town. The power of Dragon's Fist had destroyed the slime rock and broken it down into many pieces. The dust spread around the place.
Amidst the rubble from the slime rock, Sila noticed something. There was a significantly smaller slime rock sitting where the previous one was. Bow noticed it as well.
"Take it, Big Brother Sila."
Bow hopped into Sila's clothing while he grabbed the smaller slime rock. Its size was as small as a large grape ball.
"Cough, cough... Little Brother? Did you manage to destroy it?" The merchant looked at Sila with disbelieving eyes.
'This is bad.'
Sila didn't want to be the center of attention but he could sense that there were a lot of players coming this way. Beginning Town wasn't a large city so they could arrive here in less than a minute.
His qi and feet were quicker than his thoughts. Using qinggong, Sila headed toward the forest in the west without looking back, leaving the confused merchant with his scattered potions behind.
Thirty minutes had passed and Sila was sure that he had successfully escaped from where the massive slime rock used to be. He opened his palm and looked at the small slime rock.
Bow slid from Sila's belly and hopped to his shoulder, looking at the slime rock as well.
"There is a message on its back, Big Brother Sila."
Sila flipped the rock and found a single sentence engraved on it: Break me.
"Ah. This is similar to a rock that Miss Viola gave me to test my usage of Divine Raiment. When I successfully activated it, the rock broke."
This rock might look like an ordinary rock at first glance but, looking closely, he could spot a very thin layer of magic power covered it.
Bow hopped to the slime rock on Sila's right palm and started using her Divine Raiment. She maintained her skill for a moment but there was no apparent change to the slime rock.
"Ah~ I can't do it. It's too thin and complicated. Bow can't break it." She hopped back to Sila's shoulder.
"It's okay, Bow. I am probably the one who must break this rock."
"Eh? But, Big Brother Sila can't use Divine Raiment, no?"
"Yeah... I couldn't break that giant slime rock without your help. Maybe this one is the second stage of the test that Master Viola has prepared for me."
"E-Eh? Haven't we just cheated, then? Bow helped Big Brother Sila break the giant rock, so how can Big Brother Sila break this one?"
Sila was stressed too. Most trials start from easy to difficult but he just skipped the easy one and jumped to the hard part. Not to mention that there were still more trials awaiting him in the Stone Forest.
"No problem, Bow. It makes no difference as long as I can break this one."
"Let Bow help~ Bow will try my best to teach Big Brother Sila how to do it."
Afterward, Sila was attentively listening to Bow's lecture on how to use Divine Raiment, while sitting on a tree for three hours and for another five hours during their journey to the Stone Forest. He decided to slow down so that he could at least get the hang of using of Divine Raiment before meeting Master Viola. Despite him not knowing what the actual trial - mark 2 would be like, as it was designed by Master Viola, he couldn't help but be afraid of failure.
It took Bow a long time to explain, but the principle of the art was, in fact, really short. However, Bow was too easily distracted. She always shifted the conversation to something unrelated to the art, got distracted by the sight of flowers she had never seen before, or felt bored and stopped lecturing mid-conversation.
Sila would like to continue but he didn't want to rush Bow. All he could do was remember that Bow was very bad at teaching and that he shouldn't ask her to teach him anything in the future, if possible.
"In summary, its principle is 'changing' and 'holding', right?" Sila concluded Bow's eight hour teaching session in a short -- really, truly short -- sentence.
Bow was eating cream puff cake that she had secretly brought with her, showing her puffed cheeks. "Nom nom. Yes~ Changing the element while still holding the first element within your body. Do this for all six elements and Divine Raiment will be formed. Easy, right~?"
Holding and changing were polar opposites. Even though Bow made it sound easy to do, it was actually very difficult. Sila could tell that there should be a traditional training method for this skill, but he also knew that forcing Bow to tell him about it would prove to be useless.
Right now, Sila felt like someone just told him that the method for walking on water was as such: just step with your right foot before your left foot falls underwater, then the other way around, and repeat. Despite how easy it sounds, who can actually do that?
Sila had been practicing Orbiting Cosmos until he ran out of magic power. It was already nighttime and Bow had fallen asleep a while ago. As he was pondering whether he should return to the mansion or continue walking, he sensed that someone was running out of the forest and approaching him. He jumped up and stayed on the branch of a tree in a hurry and concealed his power, looking out for the one who was running in his direction.
"Isn't that...?!" Seeing the figure of the person running below, Sila no longer intended to hide his presence and descended to stop that person from going any further.
"Kya!" A woman in a light green magician cloak exclaimed in surprise after someone suddenly appeared in front of her.
"Nunthima!!" Sila called out her name.
The woman was shocked and pointed a magic wand that was giving off light at Sila. "Aren't you Sila?"
Sila could only see her face clearly once he was closer to her. It turned out that she wasn't Nunthima but just someone who looked similar. He immediately recognized her as he had seen her once before. He had even seen her pictures multiple times and, in fact, his real body was currently sleeping in her room.