Julia’s dark blue eyes sparkled like they were precious gems . The glass on the human tube slid open, and she stepped down from it to touch the ground .
“Greetings, Mister Sila and Your Majesty . ”
Sila was about to greet her back, but the Android King got the first word .
“How are you feeling? Are there any abnormalities in your movements? If you feel like something is out of place, even if only by a little, don’t hesitate to tell me . ”
“I feel… life force, sir . It’s a new sensation for me . I also feel the air, the ground, the gravity . . . ”
The Android King cut her words short . “Those must be due to you having a physical body for the first time . Back to the life force, tell me more . ”
Julia shook her head . “Even if you ask, I don’t think I can put it into words, sir . ”
Rubbing his chin, the Android King said, “Mn . That might be natural . The power of the Ocean Heart Aquamarine is ‘Life’, so it isn’t weird for you to feel it . ”
Sila interrupted . “Excuse me, I have been wondering for a long time . What are the Gems of Catastrophe? How do their powers work?”
“As you might already know, the phrase Gems of Catastrophe refers to the existence of twelve gems, all of them S-Grade items . Some gems can unleash their powers directly, like the Eternal Onyx, while some require a medium or a specific procedure to trigger their abilities . Each of them possesses otherworldly might, but that isn’t what makes them so dangerous that they are called the Gems of Catastrophe . ”
“What is it, then?”
“It’s their conceptual abilities . Each of the Gems of Catastrophe possesses a single conceptual ability that can be interpreted in many ways . Usually, S-grade items are very powerful but have severe downsides . However, the abilities of the Gems of Catastrophe are ambiguous; only a single word can be used to describe each of them . ”
“Is being ambiguous better?”
“In their cases, it’s indeed better . Whatever you want from the gem, you can make it happen as long as you can interpret the result to suit its word and the effect is within the extent that the system can accept . Well, it also depends on the holder’s creativity . ”
“Is Mechanical God's Protection the same?”
“Correct . Its power relies on your interpretation of the word ‘Evolve’ . The same applies to Julia . Her power depends on how she interprets the word ‘Life’ . ”
Julia opened her palm, and on it appeared a flower that sprouted and started to blossom . “Like this, sir?”
“That’s okay for a start . By the way, what kind of weapon do you prefer, Julia?”
Julia shook her head . “I have never used a weapon before, sir . I’m a maid . ”
Sila expressed his opinion . “Julia doesn’t need a weapon, I think . I don’t intend for her to fight anyone . ”
The Android King waved his hand . “Your mindset is too shallow . Does the fact that you don’t want to fight anyone mean others will not pick a fight with you? Being able to protect your own life is the basic of living in Monster Soul . ”
Sila shut his mouth . The Android King was completely right about that . He couldn’t argue .
Rubbing his chin for a second time, the Android King mumbled to himself, “No experience using weapons, so starting with a melee weapon is a no go . It will take a long time for her to use it properly . A long range one will be safer . . . ”
Julia and Sila left the Android King to think and began a conservation between themselves .
“Mister Sila, may I ask where Mister Head Butler and Lady Bow are?”
Sila’s eyes showed sadness once he was reminded of Bow .
“Mister Sebastian is wandering around like usual . As for Bow . . . She already returned to her home . ”
“Returned to her home? You mean the Slime Kingdom, Master?”
Sila showed a dry smile . “Something like that . What about you, Julia? There is no problem with your body, right?”
Julia tried moving her arms and legs . “It feels somehow weird to have a physical body, Master, but I guess I will get used to it eventually . May I also ask how long I slept for? Is the mansion fine and has been taking care of?”
“How long . . . ? I think it’s been around two or three weeks . As for the mansion, I didn’t go back there, so I don’t know . Maybe Sebastian took care of it while you were out . ”
Julia closed her eyes for a brief moment before reopening them again . “My apologies . I forgot that I am still connected to the mansion . I just checked the state of the mansion and found that it’s fine, Master . ”
“That’s good . ”
The Android King clapped his hands . “I see! If it’s you, you might be able to use that properly . No, it will be your perfect match . ”
As he said, the Android King opened his system window to search for a certain item and pulled it out .
“My 403rd creation, Trickstar . Try holding it . ”
Taking the item from Orpheus’s hand, Julia noticed that it was a silver handgun . For Sila, this was the first time he saw a gun in Monster Soul . Well, he also just had a chance to see futuristic laser spears for the first time in Lost Grea City as well . It seemed the technology in this kingdom was more advanced compared to the rest .
Julia held the gun with her right hand . Sila didn’t know anything about handguns except for the fact that they are mid-to-long-range weapons Many people think that guns are easy to use, but, in reality, they require a moderate level of training .
Unlike most short-range weapons that can be used instantly, to fire a bullet, one needs to lift the gun up, aim the muzzle at the target, and pull the trigger, totaling in three steps . As a result, it wouldn’t be effective at a distance as the opponent could run away, while it takes too long to complete the motions when the opponent is in close proximity . Still, it also depends on practicing . Some people can fire a bullet faster than brandishing a sword .
“This gun is . . . ?” Julia exclaimed as she read the description of the gun in her hand .
“You’re connected to Sila’s treasure room, right? Therefore, this gun will be the best weapon for you . In addition, Trickstar is a weapon that relies on techniques rather than raw power . It can compensate for your inability to use qi, magic, and psychic power . ”
Sila wasn’t interested in the conversation at first, but he was startled when he heard Orpheus’ last line .
“What? She can’t use them?”
The Android King sighed . “It’s not strange at all . Let me ask you something . What kind of existence do you think Julia is?”
“Julia is Julia, isn’t she?”
“I meant, what exactly is she? A monster? A pet?”
“Oh? It’s not that hard, is it? She is an AI; artificial intelligence . ”
“That only means she is controlled by AI . It’s not about her being . ”
“If Mister Orpheus puts it that way, I don’t think I can give you an answer, sir . ”
“I will answer it for you . Julia is the same as the Mechanical God's Protection; she is an item, an ego item that is controlled by an AI and possesses a life force . ”
“Item . . . ”
“Correct . So, she is the same as other items . She can’t collect experience points, has no health points, and is unable to use qi, magic, and psychic power . She can’t be healed by healing spells, and normal potions won’t work on her . And, if you are not careful, she can be broken . ”
“Isn’t that very dangerous? By having no health points, doesn’t that mean she can be killed in one shot?”
“That’s not it . Think of her as a sword . If you use it to block an attack that is not too powerful, it won’t be broken, right? It’s the same . Most items are designed to have a moderate level of durability depending on their kinds and grades . ”
“I see . ”
“It seems you purchased an expensive item maintenance room in your dimension . Other players tend to ignore it due to its price, but it’s good for you . If Julia takes a lot of damage, you can bring her there to repair her . ”
The Android King’s words reminded Sila of the room . He indeed purchased it at Burapha’s recommendation . It’s unexpected that it could be used for this purpose .
Turning his head to Julia, Sila asked, “How about it Julia? Do you like the gun?”
Julia tossed the gun between her hands and pointed the muzzle at nowhere in particular . Her pose and actions looked like she was a professional marksman rather than an amateur .
The Android King was surprised . “Oh, I forgot that you are an AI with the ability to understand items and know how to proficiently use them . Should I change your weapon?”
“This gun is good enough, sir . Based on my calculations, even if I use other weapons, I will only understand the basics and won’t be able to use the more advanced techniques regardless of my proficiency . I also can’t use energy reinforcement; if I fight a skilled opponent, I will be at a disadvantage . Whereas, Trickstar will make up for those shortcomings . ”
She pointed the muzzle toward a wall, and the sound of gunshots rang two times in succession . There were two holes, each the size of a coin, in the wall . Even Sila would have a difficult time reacting to her bullets .
“Trickstar, a gun-type S-grade item . The user can use their own health points or items to fire a bullet . The more health points used, the more power it can display . Although I don’t have health points, I can compensate for that with the ability of the Ocean Heart Aquamarine, and use my life force for bullets instead .
“If an item is used as a bullet, the gun will transform into a rifle . I can utilize it creatively by using a potion as a bullet to heal an ally or using cursed items to shoot an enemy .
“As each bullet gives a different result, it will be very tricky for opponents to cope against its attack . This is the reason why Trickstar is its name . ”
“Or, you can call it the 403rd creation of Orpheus . It’s good that you like it . Take good care of it . Be warned that its price isn’t cheap . ”
Sila was shocked . “Eh? Won’t you give it to her for free?”
“Do you see me as a charitable organization? The reason I granted life to Julia was because I wanted to try doing it myself, and most of the materials came from you . However, my 403rd creation is different . It’s one of my proud masterpieces . The cost of it is 200,000 gold . Well, your income is quite stable, isn’t it? I see that your friends have started a business to transport players to this kingdom . Just go out and advertise Lost Grea’s weapons and you will increase the profits we rake in, including your share . It won’t take you too long to pay it off . ”
Sila understood that much . Only, the last time he checked, his debt had lowered to 25,302 gold and it would be cleared soon, so he was hesitating as this would increase it again . Nevertheless, looking at Julia, he sighed .
“That’s fine . I will think of it as Julia’s birthday present . ”
“Thank you, Mister Customer . That settles it . You may exit now . I’m going to produce my 2,540th creation . ” The Android King snapped his finger, and the system informed Sila that his debt increased .
“You seem to have a lot of creations, Mister Orpheus . ”
“Well, not all of them are decent, but I think of every failure as a step to success . So, I give all of my creations a number . ”
Sila was reminded of his failure to acquire a sword .
“Mister Orpheus, do you happen to be free to produce a weapon for me? For example . . . a sword?”
“Hm? What kind of sword do you prefer? Tell me . If you’re lucky and I have one, I will sell it to you for the discounted price . ”
Sila described the appearance and details of the Sila Sword, including drawing a picture of it . Orpheus was a specialist, so it took him only a short while before he understood what Sila wanted . However, his expression obviously changed .
“Is there something wrong?”
“Sila Sword . . . Where did you see it?”
Sila was about to reply honestly, but it struck him that Mora had told him to keep it a secret . Being aware that he was bad at lying, Sila decided to tell Orpheus a half-truth, distorting some facts . Fortunately, it made his story sound more plausible .
“I saw a man holding it when he met my teacher . I think the sword looked simple but unique, so I want to have one too . Is its name Sila Sword? Unexpectedly, its name is the same as mine . ” Afraid that Orpheus might feel doubtful about its name, Sila mentioned it first .
“It should be a coincidence . Can you tell me the appearance of that man?” Since Sila was the first to bring the topic about its name up, Orpheus wasn’t curious about it .
Sila had never met Pumin, his father, but he had his suspicions that Orpheus must know something about his father . At the very least, Orpheus knew about the sword’s name even though not many people should have known about it .
“I didn’t see his face, sir . He covered himself in a black long coat and a hood . When my teacher saw him, he ordered me to wait outside . . . By the way, why do you ask, sir?”
Orpheus fell into his own thought . “Nothing in particular . It’s just that the sword was the last sword produced by the man who taught Zeref and I . Despite its look, it deserves to be called the pinnacle of all swords . The materials for making it were ordinary and conventional, but just by seeing it you can tell it is the ultimate sword, made by the ultimate craftsman . That’s why its name is Sila Sword . ”
Listening silently, Sila just learned that Orpheus’ teacher was the one to make the Sila Sword for his father .
“The Sila Sword belonged to the Sword Prodigy who disappeared twenty or so years ago . Naturally, the sword went missing with him . Maybe the person you saw was his descendant, or even Pumin himself . Even though most rumors stated that he had died, no one ever saw his corpse . In addition, there’s some rumor that Pumin didn’t truly die, but only secluded himself to come up with a new peerless sword art . ”
Listening to Orpheus’ explanation, Sila somehow felt awkward . Indeed, his father had died, but the rumor was also right about him inventing a new sword art .
“About the sword, I’m afraid I can’t make it for you . I have a policy to not imitate my teacher’s creations . Also, my craftsmanship ability isn’t up to its standard . Even if I make it, it will just a replica, not a genuine one . ”
It was the first time Sila saw Orpheus act modestly . Since he couldn’t do anything about it, Sila and Julia excused themselves and left .
When he was alone, Orpheus opened his system window .
“Sila doesn’t use a sword, and didn’t seem to be lying . It seems I need to do some research . The return of the Sword Prodigy isn’t some trivial matter . ”
As a person, Pumin wasn’t too good nor too bad . He was a kind man who had a fearless personality . Although he helped many people while adventuring, he didn’t care about how he did it, and also acted however he pleased . As a result, he had as many enemies as he did friends .
As a renowned weaponsmith, Orpheus was a man with a high degree of influence . For someone like him to dig into Pumin’s topic, it inevitably caused the martial world to enter a state of chaos . In the short future, there would be rumors about the return of the Sword Prodigy, and that would greatly affect the Wulin Masters Association .