Chapter 212: Mist in the Aftermath of War
After Zero brought Montra somewhere safe, he left without a word . Of course, Montra knew Zero was only doing this in order to gain his trust . Once, however, was not enough .
‘Even though it’s true that he can catch up to Revin and Kawin on the way to Belacia City, the fact that Zero made an appearance at Grea City meant he wanted to personally investigate something . I will have to keep an eye on him . ’
Montra activated an invitation card and returned to his private dimension . The torch, the refrigerator, the shelf, and the grassland were in their usual state . That was a given, though, since only he could enter this place .
Many unexpected things happened today . However, although everything didn’t go according to his plan, the result was still acceptable . The only big loss for Montra was losing Ramiel .
‘Well, that guy is no longer needed . The exact reason why I centered the raid around Ramiel was to keep them occupied with countering him . A loss is a loss . The important thing is how I can make use of the loss . ’
In a sense, Montra had the same way of thinking as Sila . He thought that Monster Soul was just a game . No matter how valuable the lost item or the skill was, he wouldn’t grieve over it .
Montra was different in one way, however, as he wasn’t simply indifferent about the loss . He would try to come up with a way to exploit the loss as well .
To solve a problem, Montra always believed that the solution had to be created, not waited for . He decided to reorganize the problems he had . His priority was Martial Radiance Art .
Montra released a sigh once . He clenched his teeth and canceled the power of Martial Radiance Art .
Montra collapsed on the field . Although he didn’t feel pain while the art was active, once he canceled it, all of the accumulated pain would pour into him in an instant . The suffering was beyond what Montra could describe . He gnashed his teeth to the point that blood seeped out from his gums . His fingers dug into the grass to the point that his nails almost came off . Ordinary people would prefer dying to experiencing such excruciating pain .
Montra’s one minute was as long as a hellish eternity . He didn’t let out even a single anguished sound . His body was covered in stains, dirt, and grass . He removed his bloody clothing and dropped it nearby, revealing his strong body marred by numerous scars . These scars could also be seen on his body in real life . He got none of them from battles though . All of them came from him practicing—surpassing his limits .
“My Martial Radiance Art combined with Triple Sky Energy was indeed stronger than Sila’s qi . However, his qi changed from simple to constantly changing—as if he forsook the previous one for another and practiced from the start, along with his developed martial art . Is it Flaming Cloud Qi? It seems to be different from what I have heard though . ”
The Sky Dragon Dojo didn’t have a qi art . Even the Wulin Masters Association’s Profound Library only had a few books regarding qi arts, and most of them were mediocre or incomplete .
Sila still didn’t realize how fortunate he was to get a chance to study so many qi arts . Be it Tiger Dragon Qi, Flaming Cloud Qi, or Profound Qi Circulation Art, they were all first-rate profound arts . By comparing the three, Sila comprehended the core part of qi arts and finally came up with his own according to his understanding .
Most profound practitioners didn’t have such an opportunity . It was practically impossible to create a qi art from nothing . Even Montra made his based off a wild guess . He randomly circulated and studied Sila’s Tiger Dragon Qi until he accidentally got Triple Sky Energy .
One could say that Sila had more resources than Montra . Honestly speaking, Triple Sky Energy combined with Martial Radiance Art was considered a middle-tier qi art which had the potential to compete against first-rate qi arts . The only kind of person that could come up with it despite having insufficient knowledge regarding qi arts was undoubtedly a genius like Montra .
Nonetheless, harming oneself in order to acquire greater strength was considered a dark art, be it Sila’s Yin Yang Energy which caused the user to suffer in the process of practicing it, or Montra’s Martial Radiance Art which caused the user to suffer after use . The standard qi art was supposed to slowly build up the user’s inner force through cultivation without any harm involved .
It could be said that both Sila and Montra were too hurried . Considering their ages, their strengths were already more than excellent .
Montra took out a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator to drink . He released a heavy sigh and concentrated . He needed time to rethink .
Sila in the latter half of the battle was undeniably stronger . However, he didn’t seem like himself at all . It was as if someone else was controlling Sila’s body .
Montra shook his head to dismiss the ridiculous thought . Controlling the player—robbing them of their freedom to take action according to their will—was a serious crime . Every brain scanner had undergone heavy inspection to prevent such an illegal act . Therefore, it was impossible for Sila’s actions to be controlled by someone else . It was another story if he pretended to be controlled though .
That meant the Sila who had been acting like he was innocent, naive, childish, and honest to the world around him was nothing but a pretense . As it turned out, Sila was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing . He acted like he was a victim in order to gain favors from everyone else, but would show his true character once he obtained sufficient strength and power .
How would someone who couldn’t even control himself be able to manage the entire association? If Sila were to become the Wulin Lord, with the power he held, the Sky Dragon Dojo would be in danger .
“I don’t need to hesitate anymore . Even if I have to die, I will protect the dojo . ”
Montra took the scroll containing the dark art, Grand Deity’s Breathing, from the shelf . He opened it and read the first page .
Grand Deity’s Breathing consisted of five stages . The first stage was to adjust the user’s breathing in order to prepare them for the next stages . It wasn’t complicated so Montra suspected it wouldn’t take long to master .
Montra had to race against time . Even though practicing dark arts was known for requiring less time than usual, just one month might not be enough . He also had many quests and problems left for him to tackle . They had been piling up around himself without showing him an exit . In addition, the people around him were all his enemies; only very few of them were his allies .
Nonetheless, now that he decided to put his mind into practicing the art, all he needed to do was to practice its first stage . He would solve a task at a time, step by step .
At the very least, the war at Grea City allowed him to get a clearer look at the strength the Wicked Union held to a certain degree . Be it Cross’ strategies, the ways they utilized traps, or Sila’s current strength, Montra knew it all .
“Hopefully, it will cause enough turbulence so my men can leave the city’s rebirth zone . Let me see how you are going to cope with this move of mine, Cross . ”
Montra soon discarded all of the unnecessary thoughts . He stared at the page he left open while alternating between inhaling and exhaling with a certain rhythm . Eventually, he no longer felt his body while his mind was clearer than ever . His concentration reached a realm where it couldn’t easily be shaken . It seemed his body and mind were gradually changing him into a vessel that could contain bottomless power .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — First Stage, Stabilize Breathing and Return to Nihility .
Sila slowly stood up . Ever since he had practiced Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, he could continue exerting his power as long as he didn’t overextend himself but kept supplying his power with his qi circulation . However, after Dark Self seized control of his body, he felt remarkably exhausted . It seemed Dark Self exerted all of his strength without keeping any in reserve .
It left Sila with no choice but to solely focus his remaining power on recovery . Sila relaxed his body and controlled his breathing .
Attribute of Wood — Forest God’s Body .
Sila’s personal profound strength was the power of using the five elemental attributes—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire—through what he called the five martial moves—inner body, hand, foot, weapon, and outer body—totaling in twenty-five moves .
The move he was currently using, Forest God’s Body, was the result of him using the power of the wood element through his inner body . It sublimated his body’s recovering ability, though he becomes incapable of movement while the move is active .
Although his body couldn’t move, his mind continued to function . He wondered why he was controlled by Dark Self .
Ultimately, Sila concluded that it was due to the nature of his psychic power a . k . a . his mind . Dark Psychic Corrosion was negative power . The deeper he fell into the darkness, the stronger his Dark Self would become .
Sila recalled Divine’s words .
“For a psychic power that focuses on destroying, you need to be gentle with it . Only use it when your mind is calm . Unlike qi, emotion greatly affects your psychic power, so you need to be careful . Anyway, remember that it’s a part of yourself, so don’t deny it nor think of it as dangerous . ”
‘Use it when my mind is calm . . . that’s it . When I was angry, my mind was blank and my body moved exactly the way I wanted . However, when my anger . . . my hatred accelerated, I lost control of my power and was instead controlled by it . ’
Emotions affected psychic power more than qi . This was the concept that made Sila always consider psychic power harder to use than qi . However, it was the other way around . Rather, psychic power was relatively easy to use . It was so easy to the point that he could use it without mastery . In the end, however, without enough proficiency he easily lost control over it .
‘My psychic-type skills were supposed to be destroyed by Lucifer . Strangely enough, my Dark Self could use Dark Psychic Corrosion . This means my psychic power still resides within me . It might have just changed its form like when I fused it with my qi and created Yin Yang Energy . But . . . Five-Attributed Cloud Qi doesn’t have negative power, does it?’
Sila invented Five-Attributed Cloud Qi with the hope that it would be a standard art, not a dark one . Thus, he didn’t include any negative power, unlike Yin Yang Energy which he clearly split into white and black .
Still, everything in the world goes according to the principle of duality . All things great and small possess a polar opposite, including Sila’s Five-Attributed Cloud Qi .
If the creation cycle exists, so does the destruction cycle .
Dark Self understood the destruction cycle more than Sila did, so he relied on the clash of the overwhelming relationships of the five elements to unleash greater power . It came with a downside though . Unlike the power gained from the creation cycle that Sila used to supplement his moves, the power coming from the destruction cycle was strong yet short-lived, resulting in Sila’s exhaustion .
In fact, the duality of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi wasn’t something entirely new for Sila . If his Yin Yang Energy could be separated into one big white part and one big black part, his Five-Attributed Cloud Qi could be separated into five small generating parts and five small overwhelming parts . It was the extended, latent power of his new qi .
Dark Self made Sila realize that . In some sense, if he was brazen enough, he could call himself an expert regarding qi knowledge . With his new realization, Sila figured that the second stage of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi didn’t have only five moves as he had previously thought, but ten . It seemed that the path to complete mastery over his qi suddenly grew longer .
Although he was concerned, it was good news . At least, that meant there was still room for him to grow stronger . As Dark Self had told him, while he had exhausted everything he had, Montra still didn’t use the eight Gems of Catastrophe in his possession .
This victory was merely temporary . Only the final battle would decide the final victor .
Sila heard the sounds of footsteps to his left . He couldn’t move his body so all he could do was take a side glance . He saw people running toward him .
It seemed Dark Self listened to his request . Not even one person belonging to the Royal Armament Guild had died .
Actually, Sila’s request was easily doable . Third-party players had already evacuated and exited the city by the time the army of the Heavenly Dragon Guild arrived . As for the Royal Armament Guild members, they remained near the construction site and didn’t go far from there . As a result, all Dark Self wiped out was a third of the city and the Heavenly Dragon Guild members .
Sila felt relieved that everyone was safe . However, their expressions seemed to suggest otherwise . They appeared rather shocked looking at him .
Sila couldn’t help but be curious whether his pants went missing or not . He shifted his glance downward and found that his clothing was still intact .
Looking carefully, Sila realised that they weren’t looking at him, but rather something behind him . He forcefully moved his body slightly and finally understood why everyone was shocked .
A white mist .
No matter how one looked at it, the mist wasn’t a natural phenomenon . It covered at least a fourth of Grea City . More importantly, underneath the mist, there was a giant silhouette with a size similar to Rex of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest .
As it turned out, it was a massive white dragon who made an appearance without a system notification . It invaded the city even though there wasn’t an event about it, which meant it belonged to a player .
Although it didn’t show any oppressive or hostile might, just its appearance alone was enough for everyone to tell that it didn’t come to visit with good intentions .
What the players thought was mist was actually a vapor of magic power being emitted from Infernee, the Dragon Empress, who possessed transcendent beauty and bottomless power .
With just the slightest movement, the mist around her gradually crushed the buildings below her into dust . While Dark Self had to use all kinds of skills to destroy a third of the city, Infernee destroyed a fourth of the same city by simple crawling .
This was the power of an Emperor Rank monster .
Infernee had yet to use any skills . Just the excess of her magic power emitting from her body was enough to bring harm to her enemies . Especially now that she noticed Sila, a nemesis of her race . Her magic power formed into a mass before flying at him, knocking him away .
Bluebird was the closest to Sila . He leaped forward and caught Sila’s body before it crashed against the building . Meanwhile, Sila suddenly fell unconscious . He was in an injured state, so he couldn’t bear the sudden pain from a powerful attack .
Cross looked at the white Infernee . Her gentle eyes looked back at him as if telling him that she didn’t intend to harm anyone . Ironically, her existence alone brought danger to anyone who wasn’t her ally .
After contemplating for a while, Cross issued an order to retreat . He told everyone to exit the city first . It was a logical choice . There was no way they could take down the Emperor Rank monster . Even a Lord Rank monster was risky enough .
Along with them, Bluebird carried the unconscious Sila out of the city toward the west, heading to a peaceful location near Grea City, a place nobody dared to enter as they would risk their lives .
The edge of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest, the sole entrance to the Valley of Immortals .