Montra logged in after he had exited the game in order to investigate rumors about the Sword Prodigy’s return . He failed to obtain any useful information though . All he could find out was that the number of rumors was going up with every day that passed, and it all traced back to a single famous craftsman, who had suddenly started looking for news regarding the Sword Prodigy .
Out of all of his problems and obstacles, Montra had to admit that this one was getting out of hand . All he could do at this point was let it be .
Montra exited the hotel in Alkedia City, observing shining stars in the evening sky .
There had never been a problem that he couldn’t solve . However, this problem was too big for him to handle . His solution to solve it was to do nothing .
Pumin made an appearance in Zhongsuyuan City, and Sila happened to be visiting . This was a suspicious coincidence .
Montra also wondered why Pumin wore a mask, implying that he wanted to conceal his identity, yet didn’t explicitly prevent Zeref from mentioning his name .
Was this something Sila schemed, or a warning from Pumin?
If it was the former, Montra suspected that Elder Mora had helped Sila conceive the plan . He knew from a report that Sila had logged out and met Mora . The meeting of these two was detrimental to Montra’s plan .
Man's schemes are inferior to those made in heaven . Montra was troubled that he had to tell Revin that it seemed they had lost the Black Dragon Sword for nothing .
On the off chance that it was the latter, though the probability of that seemed low, it might be Pumin’s intention to indirectly warn Montra that he was being watched .
This person was far more of a threat than Sila . Montra didn’t even know Pumin’s goal .
Montra was too tired to greet his guildmates, so he teleported himself to a certain lawn . It was an exclusive special dimension he had secretly purchased using his own personal money . Even his two closest friends didn’t know about its existence .
There were only a refrigerator and a shelf on the vast lawn, together with a magical outdoor torch that was always silently burning in the center of the lawn .
Montra laid down on the grass and accidentally fell asleep after a few moments, his exhaustion overwhelming him .
“ . . . Look at that devilish boy . He is only twelve but he can defeat an adult without breaking a sweat . . . ”
“ . . . Even the third’s disciple is this skilled . Imagine how strong Mora’s disciple is . . . ”
Voices echoed in Montra’s head and awakened him from his nap, flinching . The words he had heard from people in the association talking behind his back were still haunting him even now . The more he tried to ignore them, the louder they became .
Inheriting a successor position from a young age had caused people to pay close attention to him . Many people tried to use him as a tool, or a pawn . The world he knew was full of scams, deceptions, exploitation, and even threats . In order to survive, Montra had to grow and become a person who could make decisive and serious judgments without blinking—a cold, heartless, and vicious person .
However, the more he showed everyone how much he was capable of, the more people would anticipate the skills of Mora’s main disciple, who had yet to show any of his talents .
“That guy has never done anything . . . !”
Montra gritted his teeth and summoned the Heavenly Dragon Spear, stabbing it into the ground . He took several deep breaths to dismiss the useless thoughts in his head .
“Even so, I have to admit that Sila is strong . The Flaming Cloud dojo has an exclusive qi art while my Sky Dragon dojo doesn’t, so I’m at a disadvantage . The only aspect that I’m weaker than him in is personal ability . If I don’t become stronger, the weakest part of my entire plan will be none other than me . ”
Sila thought Montra was stronger than him . In the meantime, Montra was pessimistic, so he also thought that he was inferior . His experiences had taught him that being optimistic always led to disappointment .
Montra closed his eyes and recalled all of Sila’s martial movements .
Sila possessed a profound qi art . As for himself, Montra only possessed Triple Sky Energy . However, he couldn’t say he was confident that the art that he—a practitioner of a later generation—could compete against Flaming Cloud Qi, which was invented by the Flaming Cloud Demon God, who was the first generation prodigy of the Flaming Cloud dojo . As if that wasn’t enough, the qi had even been further developed through generations .
“The other thing to consider is the martial art . My Heavenly Destiny Fist is complex but lacks raw power . I couldn’t kill him without attacking his vital spots . Although I could maintain my advantageous position all the time when I fought him, I could only kill him when I started using a spear . On the contrary, Sila could kill me in a single hit, which means his raw power is formidable . . . I will have to recreate my Heavenly Destiny Fist, this time centered around defeating an opponent . ”
Montra lightly stroked the Heavenly Dragon Spear, which shook and gave off a silent roar in return .
“The martial art is not the main problem . The worrisome aspect is the qi art . A shortcut is required for one to quickly catch up to others . In terms of building up inner force, a ‘shortcut’ means . . . a dark art . ”
Montra took out a black book from his system window . He had secretly taken one from the Profound Library’s forbidden zone inside the Wulin Masters Association and scanned it into the game . The books in the forbidden zone were too profound to be destroyed while too dangerous to be studied . Thus, they were sealed within the forbidden zone, a place only the Wulin Lord and the Three Elders can access .
“This art will help me build up inner force in a short period of time, but . . . ”
Montra stroked the letters on the front cover which spelled the name of the book: Grand Deity’s Breathing .
He decided not to practice such a dangerous and risky art for now unless it was absolutely necessary . Montra placed it on the shelf before laying back down, gazing into the starry sky .
‘It isn’t necessary for me to use that art . Let’s consider Martial Radiance Art . It was a power that I got it by chance, but what if I can control it? Feeling pain when I want to feel, and becoming devoid of feeling when I don’t want to feel . . . it would bring out the most of my body’s potential . ’
Be gone . . . my pains . . .
Montra’s subconscious voice echoed . However, no one could hear it, including himself .
Three sources of power circulated throughout Montra’s body . He was trying to call forth the demon that had already departed to return to him . He intended to completely control it in order to possess greater strength to fight Sila .
To possess enough strength to survive in such a ruthless world .
Montra’s great plan was going in the right direction . If everything went according to plan without any mistakes, Sila wouldn’t even have a chance to fight him . However, Montra was fully aware that no plan was perfect and all of them had some flaws . He didn’t dare to be careless . Otherwise, he might become the loser before he knew it .
The light in his eyes gradually faded away, turning them expressionless . His power resonated and scattered throughout his body . The sensation on his skin began to refuse the grass’ softness . Even the ground’s warmth was slowly disappearing and the wind’s chilliness had vanished . One by one, his senses turned off .
Only the spear remained in his consciousness . Except for it, Montra sought nothing more . He needed no one to understand his chosen path . Becoming the victor was his sole purpose of living in such a grey world .
The stars were gone and replaced by the sunlight of the new dawn . The magical torch still shone brightly, and the Heavenly Dragon Spear emitted a white glow . However, none of the lights could reach the bottom of Montra’s heart .
This night was the twenty-sixth night after Sila had entered the Desert of Death . It was the day that he had been waiting for . He was determined to succeed this time so he gave himself more time to build up inner force .
Sebastian didn’t exit his tent even once after the day Sila regained consciousness . If not for Sila sensing magic power from inside the tent, he would think that the butler had disappeared from the Desert of Death already .
Lookhin seized the area within the remaining tent, so Sila had to sleep outside . During the past two weeks, Lookhin’s ability to use qi was growing stronger . She had acquired supporting skills like Qi Circulation and Qi Reinforcement and their skill levels sharply rose . As for her martial art, Sila granted her ‘Flight of the Little Bird’, which was a book containing the art he specially invented for her .
Lookhin was too short, so Sila hadn’t sparred with her even once . He still gave her some guidance though . Her affection level toward him was now at seventy percent and had remained at this value for a long time . Even with that, Lookhin rarely talked to Sila . Most of the time, she would exchange only one or two words with him . Sila believed she was a quiet type .
When Lookhin slept, Sila would train his martial art . When Lookhin trained her skills or arts, he would build up inner force .
Sila proudly looked at the new book regarding his new martial art . He had already given it a name .
“Formless Martial God . . . Does the name sound too arrogant?”
All of Formless Martial God’s moves were actions that naturally pulled out the power of qi without forcefully circulating it . Therefore, his movements would look free and casual, sometimes acrobatic, not looking like they were martial moves at all . His opponents would have a difficult time reading or predicting his moves .
However, even with that, Sila still considered the art incomplete .
The time had come . Although being too hasty was bad, being too lazy was no better . His current basic qi would be replaced with the bizarre qi that he would invent today, elevating his Formless Martial God into completion . By utilizing both the martial art and qi art together, he would be able to exert the power of the five elements . Sometimes his attacks would be fierce and aggressive like a devil’s punishment, and other times they would be gentle and slow like a god’s blessing .
If his idea worked and he mastered both arts, he would be one step closer to becoming the Martial God .
Sila sat cross-legged, placing both hands on his lap, and relaxed his muscles . He blankly looked at the stone sword before slowly closing his eyes . All the problems and the pressing matters lingering in his mind slowly faded away; be it the Wulin Masters Association, Montra, Teacher Mora, Sangdao, Varee, or even his father .
His mind was as calm as an undisturbed lake and as clear as a mirror .
A calm mind is the strongest one .
In that instant, Sila finally entered the realm of complete calmness, which Divine had given him a hint for after he acquired Moon Reflecting Mirror .
Everything was no longer important in Sila’s mind . Even the thoughts of success or failure didn’t appear or disturb his peace .
‘An eruption of the Attribute of Earth requires stimulation from the Attribute of Fire . Anubis could have helped me recover from any of my organs . However, he chose to start in the heart position, which is the fire organ . He must have tried to give me a hint . ’
Sila accumulated his inner force into his heart, and his body became warmer . The desert’s coldness couldn’t affect him anymore .
*Thump Thump* *Thump Thump*
The sounds of his heartbeat were loud and clear . His power spread throughout his veins from his flaming heart, the origin of vitality .
His inner force naturally cycled through his body at a slow yet steady pace . It was now time for Sila to pull out power from his heart and stimulate his spleen in an instant in order to create the qi that could freely exert the power of the five attributes .
The decisive moment had come, and he didn’t prolong it . Sila focused his mind into the inner force in his spleen and unleashed it all at once .
Every molecular part of his body awakened, generating twice as much power as usual . His spleen vibrated, while his heart still continued sending warmth into it .
Sila circulated qi to his lungs and could feel the air, the humidity, and the sand's sublime fragrances . The freshness was so great that he temporarily imagined that the place he was in was an ample green forest . As his inner force reached his kidneys, the above feeling became ever stronger, making him feel like he could fly . When it reached his liver, Sila could hear the sound of the wind, which was greatly melodious . Once it cycled back to his heart, Sila felt like his body was connected to the great flow .
Compared to the world, his existence was simply too small .
His qi continued to circulate throughout the five organs . With each lap, Sila would gain more strength . Soon, he started to get used to the previous profound sensation . He slowly opened his eyes, looking at the stone sword with a calm mind .
The system notification rang out .
You have acquired a new kind of energy . Since there is no information about it in the database, you will have to name it yourself and can change the name anytime using the system window . Additionally, the system cannot assess your degree of mastery over it, so its level will be set at Transcendent Rank .
Sila inhaled a deep breath . He had already prepared a name for this qi . The qi that really belonged to him . The qi that he would be the most proficient in, more so than anyone else in the world .
“I will name this power Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . ”
The system responded to his call by adding it into his skill list . Sila came up with this name because he wanted to honor his Flaming Cloud dojo and because the cloud was the symbol of a shape without a specific form, representing himself .
“Huu . . . Success at last . Finally, I can start practicing the sword art as I promised Teacher . ”
Sila tried circulating Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body . He found that its raw power was weaker than Yin Yang Energy, yet it was easier to use and handle . It also possessed many methods of utilization, which Sila was about to test .
“Attribute of Earth . ”
Sila relaxed his muscles, hanging his arms beside his body, before throwing a quick punch, leaving a trail of black lightning particles behind . As he pulled his fist back, the sound of a small explosion rang out in the air that he had struck .
“It works . It’s really easy to use . Then, Attribute of Metal . ”
Sila threw a simple, direct fist, which was as firm as a mountain . It was a perfect straight punch that couldn’t be easily hindered .
“Attribute of Water . ”
Sila threw a single punch that contained several subtle changes during the course of its travel . A single punch seemingly split into numerous afterimages, covering every direction and leaving no gap for his target to escape through .
“Attribute of Wood . ”
Sila threw a slow punch, though it gave off a dangerous vibe . The fist seemed to have a mind of its own and could follow its target to no end .
“Lastly, Attribute of Fire . ”
Heat accumulated into Sila’s fist . The fire element stimulated his body and the fist he threw was blazing and intense . Even when he pulled his hand back, he still felt the lingering heat in the air .
“I can actually apply the knowledge of Five Elements, Profound Qi Circulation, and Orbiting Cosmos and create my own qi art . As expected of them being internal utilization arts . ”
Actually, the concept of changing elements didn’t exist in Profound Qi Circulation Art . Nevertheless, Sila relied on Orbiting Cosmos’ knowledge and application to come up with his own way to utilize the five elements .
Sila spent an entire night and the next day having fun matching what he called ‘the attributes of martial moves’ and ‘the attributes of five elements’ to develop various moves . It wasn’t until the moonlight reflecting off the stone sword was caught by the corner of his eye that he was aware of his surroundings .
“Ah, how long has it been? I completely lost track of time . ”
Sila opened the Heaven’s Decree book and seriously read its contents from start to finish . Then, he began to practice the art under the moon, starlights, and the faint light from the lamp .
Even though the lights were faint and small, in his heart, he thought they shone very brightly .