Chapter 199: A Gift from Mora
It had been a while since they entered the desert, and Sila had long since given up counting the days . There were a few parts of their time spent there that disappointed Sila . Lookhin’s scorpions had yet to return, as if the desert was so vast that it never ended . The Heaven’s Decree Sword Art was also insanely harder to practice than he had anticipated . Up to this day, Sila could only lightly budge the sword in the sand .
Fortunately, there were also parts that had improved . Sebastian had already mastered the martial art and magic power reinforcement, so Sila finally got a decent sparring partner .
Meanwhile, Lookhin had eaten all of the food . Sila and Sebastian were forced to dilute and boil the expensive Stardrop in a giant pot, brewing it into Food Potions so Sila had something to provide nutrients . Although Sebastian had seasoned the taste so they were delicious, Sila didn’t think he could survive for long consuming nothing but potions .
Regarding Formless Martial God and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, Sila had gotten more used to them . As for Omniscient Evil God Qi, no matter how much he had tried to circulate it, its skill level never increased . Sila started to understand why qi type wasn’t popular among players . Even if one was fortunate and acquired high-tier qi, cultivating it until their body accepted it took a long time . As the qi was Lucifer’s qi, Sila believed that it would take years for him to raise its skill level even if he cultivated it every day .
Sebastian and Lookhin watched from the side as Sila approached the stone sword . After discussing it, they had the same opinion that for them to meet Anubis, Sila would have to be in a near-death state, which could be easily accomplished . However, Sila was worried about the sword . He didn’t want to risk abandoning it .
Sila looked back to see Sebastian and Lookhin . “I will start now . ”
“It will be best if you can pull it out today, sir, because we can’t keep going like this . After a few more days, Lookhin may jump at me and swallow me whole . ” Sebastian tried to be funny .
Sila gave his attention to the stone sword . He extended his hand while emptying the power in his palm .
“The Great Flow . ” Sila’s hand emitted some kind of semi-transparent vapor . He grabbed the sword’s hilt and exerted his strength to pull it out .
“Hah!” The sword budged slightly as usual . However, Sila intended to try something new today .
“Crashing Mountain . ” Sila exerted the power of Heaven’s Decree’s second sword style . However, the sword was still motionless .
Sila let out a sigh of defeat . “It didn’t work . Why?”
He took out Heaven’s Decree book to read it again . This must have been the hundredth time he read it . Sila could recite every word in the book by now . However, what he lacked was comprehension . He couldn’t understand it no matter how many times he read it .
“Do I need to find Yijing to read first?”Translator’s Note: ‘Yijing’ (or ‘I Ching’) means ‘The Book of Changes’ . It is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics .
Profound Qi Circulation Art was based on the concept of Five Elements so one should study it with the Five Elements book as a reference . As such, Heaven’s Decree Sword Art was based on Yijing so Sila might be able to comprehend it more if he learned about Yijing first .
In the Heaven’s Decree book, it only referenced Yijing by mentioning the Book of Changes; from existing to non-exist, from non-exist to existing, from subtraction to addition, and from addition to subtraction .
Pumin was inspired by this knowledge and came up with Heaven’s Decree Sword Art using it as the foundation, combined with his other art, Great Flow, the art about borrowing the power from nature .
All of the eight sword styles had no fixed movement . They were meant to create the phenomena caused by nature through the use of the sword . Having read the book so many times, Sila could summarise all of the sword styles .
The first sword style, Inverted Ground, will change the opponent from being defensive to being offensive .
The second sword style, Crashing Mountain, will change the opponent from being fast to being slow .
The third sword style, Swirling Vortex, will change the opponent from being simple to being complex .
The fourth sword style, Sword Storm, will change the opponent from being complex to being simple .
The fifth sword style, Triple Lightning Bolts, will change the opponent from being slow to being fast .
The sixth sword style, Flaming Fireflies, will change the opponent from being offensive to being defensive .
The seventh sword style, Unforeseen Sword, will change the opponent from losing to winning .
The eighth sword style, Fate’s Reversal, will change the opponent from winning to losing .
The more he read, the more Sila was captivated by Pumin’s art . Heaven’s Decree deserved to be called a peerless sword art . The user only had to maintain their best form .
The opponent specializes in defense? Simply force them to attack .
The opponent specializes in attacking? Simply force them to defend .
The opponent specializes in speed? Simply force them to be slow .
The opponent specializes in slow movement? Simply force them to go fast .
The opponent specializes in simple actions? Simply force them to be complex .
The opponent specializes in complicated actions? Simply force them to be simple .
The most confusing aspect that Sila couldn’t understand was the seventh sword . He could understand the eight sword style, Fate’s Reversal, that reversed a losing situation and becoming the winner . However, what was Pumin’s intention when creating the seventh sword style, Unforeseen Sword, that changed the opponent from losing to winning? Sila found it too absurd to understand .
Every sword style depended on the Great Flow, the art of borrowing power from the heaven and the earth, which required some time to form .
The might of the sword art relied on how much power one could borrow from the great flow . Therefore, it was a complicated art to master as it depended greatly on timing . Nevertheless, the concept was similar to using qi reinforcement at the right moment, so Sila believed he could do it well .
“Umm . . . Why couldn’t I pull out the sword? The power imbued in this sword is surely the second sword style, Crashing Mountain . Why couldn’t I pull it out even though I used the correct style?”
Sebastian was still waiting patiently while Lookhin was squatting down and drawing doodles in the sand .
“Hm . . . ? The Book of Changes? Could it be that . . . ? Nah, it won’t be that easy . ”
Sila borrowed the power from the great flow and accumulated it in his hand again before grabbing the sword’s hilt for the second time .
“Triple Lightning Bolts . ”
A sparkle of lightning flash ran into the sword, changing the color of the stone sword from greyish to sky-blue . Sila could easily pull it out as if it was embedded in sand .
“I did it!!” Sila delightfully shouted .
“The sword embedded in the sand was slow . Thus, instead of using the same power, I have to change it to become faster . It’s quite easy when I think about it . Why did I not think of that before?” Sila muttered to himself .
Sebastian and Lookhin ran to Sila to congratulate him . At the same time, the system notification rang out .
You have acquired (S) Crystal Divine Sword .
You have achieved a certain condition . The Unison Percentage has increased by twenty percent .
“Crystal Divine Sword? I thought its name would be the Sila Sword,” said Sila .
“It’s just a replica . How could different swords share the same name?” A familiar voice could be heard from behind the group .
Sila, Sebastian, and Lookhin were frightened by how the visitor got so close to them without being detected .
“Lord Anubis . ” Sebastian bowed deeply, showing great humility and respect .
Anubis was only ten meters away from them . He was a lean, muscular man with a great physique, wearing ancient Egyptian clothing made of hemp . His long black hair was wrapped behind the back of his neck . The upper half of his face was covered by a black jackal mask . His eyes were majestic yet within them was a hint of gentleness .
“You have been in the desert for too long . If you do not hurry, you will be too late,” said Anubis .
“Too late for what, sir?” asked Sila .
“I will tell you later . Now, wield the sword and fight me . ” Anubis’ tone of voice was overbearing and serious . It was more like a command rather than a request .
“Why do we have to fight? I don’t want to fight you . Because . . . you . . . ”
“Who am I? Who are you? How is that relevant? Your opponent won’t be kind enough to give you time to think . Wield the sword . ”
Anubis clad his right hand with vapor, materializing a sword made from grains of sand . Meanwhile, his left hand was imbued with magic power, commanding the sand to transform into chains, locking Sebastian and Lookhin’s legs . It was a powerful display of using two different powers simultaneously .
“Lookhin! Sebastian!” Sila exclaimed . It wasn’t until he called out that his two pets realized they had chains wrapped around their legs . They clad their bodies with magic power reinforcement to break free but the chains wouldn’t budge .
“You two shouldn’t disturb us . Just stay still and watch,” said Anubis .
“Did you just use the Great Flow? How could you know about Heaven’s Decree?”
Anubis ignored Sila’s question . “If you don’t come at me, I will be the one who starts . ”
While Sila was still distracted, Anubis disappeared from his line of sight . Sila tried to spot him while sending power from the great flow into the Crystal Divine Sword, enveloping it with a gentle blue glow .
‘If I can’t see him, that means he is in my blind spot . ’ With that thought, Sila brandished the sword behind him .
Heaven’s Decree — Sixth Sword Style, Flaming Fireflies .
The Crystal Divine Sword was imbued with the power of the flame . Its fierce strike could burn even the air, ready to turn the enemy to ash .
“When the opponent is fast, force them to become slow . Take this . Crashing Mountain . ”
Anubis swung his sword through a gap in Sila’s movements while announcing his move, despite knowing Sila knew about Heaven’s Decree . It was as if he wasn’t afraid that Sila would be able to cope with it .
The sand sword was slow but the pressure was immense . Sila had lifted the Crystal Divine Sword to block and later found that he couldn’t remove his sword from Anubis’ . The weight of the sand sword was increasing, pushing Sila’s ankles down into the sand .
Heaven’s Decree — Fifth Sword Style, Triple Lightning Bolts .
Sila exploded the power from his sword and successfully pushed Anubis’ weapon away . His speed sharply rose . He sent three sword waves at Anubis, all of them aiming for the same spot .
“When the opponent is being offensive, force them to defend . Flaming Fireflies . ”
It was the same sword style that Sila had used previously . However, the phenomenon it caused was entirely different . The atmosphere around Sila became intensely hot as if he fell into Purgatory .
Sila believed he would surely die if he continued to attack, so he stopped and pulled the sword back near him, preparing to defend .
Then, Anubis’ sword arrived at him . Once it clashed with Sila’s sword, Sila was sent flying ten meters away, his body full of bruises .
“You shouldn’t have done that . I forced you to defend, and you obediently defended? Is that the full extent of your understanding of Heaven’s Decree?”
“Who exactly are you . . . ?” Sila coughed up a mouthful of blood .
“During a battle, your head is still filled with unnecessary thoughts . Your teacher must be greatly disappointed, having such a weak disciple like you . If this is all you amount to, not to mention Montra, you won’t even stand a chance against either Kawin or Revin . ”
Sila was aware that Anubis was trying to infuriate him . Instead of feeling angry, he was calm . Sila took a deep breath and circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body while gathering power from the great flow in his sword .
“You might see me do it easily . However, using two different powers simultaneously is like writing with both hands at the same time . If you lack proficiency, you can’t do it,” said Anubis .
Attribute of Earth — Lightning God’s Body .
Sila’s hair turned slightly darker, indicating that he was using the power of the earth element, which he had a great affinity with, at the highest output .
In an instant, Sila took a detour and narrowed the distance, approaching Anubis from behind . He could spot many openings thanks to his own ability . This was supposed to be the victory that he attained with great hardship .
Heaven’s Decree — Third Sword Style, Swirling Vortex .
Sila’s sword was complex and continuous, pouring into five of Anubis’ openings, covering all his escape routes .
The God of Death didn’t even turn back to look . Before Sila knew it, he noticed that the sand sword was pressed against his neck . As such, he stopped moving .
“This is Unforeseen Sword, the style that you have yet to understand . How about it? You feel like you are winning, yet you actually lost, right? This is changing the opponent from losing to feel like they can win . End the battle in an instant . ”
Sila stopped channeling his power . So did Anubis . The God of Death’s lesson reminded Sila of Viola’s trial . At that time, Viola always spoke loudly about the moves she was going to use . Similarly, Anubis did the same, except for his last move, which he had performed secretly .
“‘Changing’ is the heart of Heaven’s Decree Sword Art . Manipulating the opponent to perform the action we desire . Actually, each sword style can be further changed during the course of the sword . However, you will need more experience to understand these words: True is False . False is True . Nothing is Everything . Everything is Nothing . ”
Sila stared at the God of Death before opening his mouth .
“Are you . . . the Sword Prodigy?”
Anubis didn’t answer Sila’s question . “This place is the Desert of Wishes . Whatever you wish for, the desert will grant it . ”
The God of Death snapped his fingers once, and the chains locking Sebastian and Lookhin turned back into sand . Both of them ran to Sila .
“This place is not comfortable . Let’s have a conversation at my home . You all have no food left, right? I will treat you a meal, then,” said Anubis .
“Follow me . ” The Guide of Souls led the way without waiting for their response . Sila, Sebastian, and Lookhin could only follow him silently while pondering what kind of place Anubis’ home was . Could it be that it was an abyss?
“We have arrived,” Anubis announced, even though they had walked less than a hundred meters from Sila’s tent .
Sila and Sebastian swept their eyes but they could only see sand . As they were about to ask, the dimension in front of them distorted before stabilizing, showing a gate leading to someplace with green trees and a small pond .
They followed Anubis through the gate and found a small hut located next to the clear pond . It was a green space surrounded by sand; a single oasis in the lifeless desert .
In front of the hut stood a woman in light-blue clothing . She was clearly a foreigner with her long, silky golden hair . There were a pair of glasses on her gorgeous face . She showed a bright and friendly smile .
Sila slowly walked toward her . “Erm . . . I . . . Are you . . . ?”
The woman approached Sila and embraced him tightly . Her voice was sweet, as if Sila was listening to a lullaby .
“Welcome, Sila . Welcome home, my son . ”
Anubis who was still standing removed his mask, showing a well-defined, manly face . There was a wrinkle near his brows, indicating that he was worried about something . His stern face caused him to look unfriendly, though he was still considered a handsome middle-aged man . His expression was quite grim as if he had seen the brutal sides of the world enough and couldn’t ever be optimistic again .
“ . . . there is something in that dimension that you need to find . It’s a gift that I left for you and also the reason why I accepted the position of Independent NPC . ”
Mora’s words came back to Sila’s mind . So this was the reason why Mora accepted the position of Independent NPC .
Mora’s gift was not the increase in training time, the powerful sword, or the peerless profound art .
Even though Mora didn’t express his feelings much, Sila was fully aware that his teacher loved and cared for him greatly . Even the gift he prepared for Sila was so delicate and heartwarming, completely contrasting his personality .
Sila didn’t know whether they were illusion or AIs . Nevertheless, he hugged the gift tightly, trying his best to hold back tears from falling .
A small drop of water seeped down Sila’s cheek and dropped onto the grass . He now knew the reason why this place was called the Desert of Wishes .
His ultimate wish had finally come true .