Chapter 217: Yin and Yang
The narrow path leading to the cave was unchanged . Sila slowly walked inside . He lightly touched the cave’s wall and found the claw mark he left behind the last time he was here . At that time, he had successfully unleashed the might of Tiger’s Claw for the first time and felt elated, his heart dancing and jumping with joy . Many months had passed, and he could perform the same move as easily as breathing today . Sila left a similar mark next to the previous one, his mind longing for the preceding excitement he gained from the achievement .
A human’s emotions were truly strange . Even when he repeated the same actions in the same place, doing it at a later point in time gave off a different sense of achievement .
The open area surrounding the pond was still there, with the missing ceiling that revealed a shining full moon . How many players got a chance to enter this place? There had only been a few . Being the only player to visit this place twice, Sila couldn’t help but make a comparison .
He compared himself with the Sila who previously visited this cave .
Sila stopped his feet in front of the pond . He looked at the time in his system window indicating that midnight would arrive in less than five minutes . He shifted his gaze to the water surface and saw the reflection of himself and the moon .
He was about to dip his hand into the pond, yet he stopped mid-way .
“The last time I did this, time went by rather fast . What felt like a few minutes turned out to be three days . Maybe I will go back late if I dip my hand into it . ”
Sila stared at the water surface without knowing what action he should take . His gaze lingered on it for a long time until the new day arrived . In an instant, the eyes of his reflection changed color and stared back into his .
“Dark Self, right?” asked Sila .
“Finally, we can talk face-to-face . ”
Even though he had expected the reply beforehand, seeing his reflection actually talk made Sila shiver with excitement .
“Mn . When you seized control of my body, I witnessed everything but couldn’t move . Is that what life is like for you all the time?”
“Yes . Are you going to complain? It’s just a few minutes . I have never once complained, and I’ve been forced to just watch from the inside for more than twenty years . ”
“Has it been that long? How come I’ve never noticed you before?”
“You’ve always known about me, but you just avoid the truth . I’m your loneliness . I was you when Nunthima left you . I was you when Teacher Mora scolded you for sneakily watching other disciples practice the dojo’s martial arts . I was you when you had to hear all of the insults that the other disciples threw at you . I was you when you trained by yourself while other disciples got to learn martial arts . I was you when you felt alone even while you were surrounded by people . We have always been together . However, you only recently acknowledged my existence . ”
“I always thought you would be . . . erm . . . more evil than this? Since your name is Dark Self . ”
“We are both Sila and we are both Dark Self . Your enemy is similarly my enemy . It’s just that we have different approaches regarding many things . You keep the negativity to yourself while I unleash it . You take the blame and say you are okay with it while I think it’s not my fault and I won’t tolerate it . That’s all . ”
“You also seem smarter than me even though you are me . ”
“It’s for the sake of survival . You have what I don’t have, which is the body . In order to maintain my state of existence, I have to attentively absorb what we learn . We have learned the same things, practiced the same arts, read the same books, and seen the same world . However, you neglect some knowledge while I don’t overlook it . That’s the reason I am better than you . In a world where only the mind matters, I have to devour everything we learn in order to survive . In the end, I’m strong enough to make my appearance in your world . ”
“What do you want?” asked Sila .
“You already know that . We are the same person . What you seek is what I seek . The question is, what method will we use? Your method or my method?”
“What is your method?”
“The opposite of yours . Since our mission is to obstruct Montra from winning, we will use the Wicked Union as our pawn . When the war starts, we will leave everything to them and head straight to assassinate Montra . That’s all there is to it . ”
“There are a bunch of flaws in that plan . If something goes wrong, we will lose instantly . ” Sila started to use ‘We’ with his Dark Self in order to build up intimacy .
“No, you’re wrong . You are thinking too hard . There is only one hole in my plan: Are we strong enough?—Are we strong enough to place the world beneath our feet?”
“The strength of a single person is limited . Humans will be weak if they are alone . ”
“With me, you have all the support you need . If we join forces, we can trample on even Monster Soul . There will be no game, no war, and no victory for Montra,” replied Dark Self .
“If we do that, other players will suffer . Some of them are only playing this game to have fun . ”
“It’s not our fault . Since the Elders selected this place as a battlefield, it is the battlefield . The weak who can’t even protect themselves should get out . In fact, it’s an act of mercy to drive them away . Even if Monster Soul collapses, there are still other games out there . The decision is theirs, not ours . ”
“Is that what you really think? I have never considered it that way . ”
“That’s because I look at things from a different perspective . For example, I know that you aren’t here to ask me these questions . You are here because you want to know about Dark Psychic Corrosion . Keep in mind that I’m you . I always know what you’re thinking . Don’t beat about the bush or try to get along with me . ”
Sila released a sigh of relief . He had tried to act friendly due to what Divine had told him—for a psychic power that focused on destroying, he needed to be gentle with it . However, that was his misperception . In fact, being gentle meant an act of acknowledgment, not an act of kindness .
“True . I came here for Dark Psychic Corrosion and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . ”
“Dark Psychic Corrosion is a part of us, so it can’t be destroyed . Your guess is right—it has become a part of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . The reason you can’t put it into use is that, mind-wise, you are weaker than me . On the other hand, I can’t use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi because body-wise, I am weaker than you—since I have never had a body . ”
Qi was related to the balance between inner force and body, so the body was more relevant than the mind .
“Then, what should I do to be able to use psychic power the way you did?”
“The fact that you acknowledge your flaws strengthened my existence . However, for you to be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion, you will need me to acknowledge you first . ”
“You are me, aren’t you? Why don’t you acknowledge me?” Sila asked with curiosity .
“Yes, I am you . Look at you . Why did it take you so long to admit you have a dark side? It annoyed me to see you make tons of stupid decisions . You always cared about others, even at the cost of your own gain . ”
“How can I make you acknowledge me?”
“Just you trying your best to pay me a visit in the Cave of Immortals is enough to make me acknowledge you, at least to some degree . Even if, in fact, it displeases me to see you wasting time by coming here . Just using Moon Reflecting Mirror is enough . Such a wasteful trip . ”
“Can I do that? This is the first I’m hearing of this . ”
“A mirror doesn’t only reflect an enemy, it can also reflect oneself . Divine told us this when we passed the trial and got the skill . You listened and let it pass, while I pondered deeply over it . ”
Sila opened his palm and activated Moon Reflecting Mirror . A mirror then materialized and floated in front of him . Sila had never observed his reflection in the mirror before . Now that he did, he noticed that the man inside the mirror was Dark Self, not him . With that, he sat down on the ground and continued to converse through the mirror .
“Even if you say that, I don’t think it was a waste of time . At the very least, I got to help Rex and had a little sparring match against Mister Crow . ”
“You are free to think that way . Let me say this first . Us acknowledging each other is just the very first step . From now on, you will be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion while I can similarly use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . The next step is for us to oppose each other . ”
“Eh? Why do we have to acknowledge each other, then?”
Dark Self was aware that Sila would understand what he wanted to say better if he gave Sila room to think . Rather than giving Sila a direct answer, he changed the topic .
“When did you start becoming stronger? Do you remember?”
“Was it when I entered the game? In the beginning, I felt like there was no way I could lose . ”
“No, that’s just you enjoying the game . You started to become stronger when I made an appearance as a harmful psychic power, devouring you from within . For the sake of survival, you never stopped polishing yourself or pushing yourself past your limits . Likewise, for me, I started to become stronger when you subdued me . I needed to struggle to survive . In the end, I won over your qi and regained the state of my existence . Fighting each other doesn’t make us weaker . Instead, it strengthens us both . Thus, your greatest opponent isn’t Montra, but me . ”
Sila immediately understood . “We are the duality of Yin and Yang—overwhelming each other yet supporting each other . When one of us grows stronger, the other one will also need to evolve to keep the opposing one in check . This process will continue until we reach an absolute balance . ”
“When that time comes, there will be neither you nor me . We will completely become one . ”
“Do I need to teach you how to use qi?”
“How are we opposing each other if you do that? I won’t teach you anything . Similarly, you don’t need to teach me . However, we can observe and study each other all the time . This is what we call overwhelming yet supporting each other . ”
Sila nodded . Actually, he felt Dark Self possessed the same knowledge regarding qi that he did . Dark Self only lacked the proficiency to put qi into practical use . For example—Montra’s last attack, Dark Self could use Formless Soldier to defend, correctly utilizing the metal element against Montra’s wood-element attack, despite Genesis Punch being a move of the earth element .
In fact, although Genesis Punch was of the earth element, its power also slightly leaned toward the metal element—not pure earth . For the sake of comparison, Poluk’s Genesis Punch was at the same level as Sila’s Dual Attributes . It was highly likely that Poluk was attuned to the earth element like Sila . Therefore, he could exert the power of the metal element to enhance his move .
“Does that mean I can now use psychic power?” asked Sila .
“Why don’t you find that out yourself?” replied Dark Self .
Sila opened his other palm and brought forth psychic power . Then, a loose ball of fine black dust floated above the hand . Sila felt glad that it no longer corroded his hand . It was the result of Dark Self acknowledging him .
He mimicked Dark Self by forming the black mist into a sword and crystalized it . However, the black mist distorted as it refused to combine, causing Sila to feel upset .
“Do you think it’s an easy task because I made it look as such? Do not fret . There is plenty of time for you to learn . By the way, I need something from you . It’s about our qi . ”
Sila showed a mild smile . “I won’t teach you . If you want to use it well, you will have to study it yourself . ”
“That’s not what I want . What I want is the right to name the moves . Since you already came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes, I want the right to name the five moves of the Dual Overwhelming Attributes . With this, we will be equal . ”
“What? This is what you’re concerned about? Actually, I don’t mind the names . You should have known that our parents helped me come up with the names for all Single Attribute’s moves . I only came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes . ”
“Be it Supernova, Genesis Beam Punch, Hundred Victories, Rippling Moon Block, or Shapeless Flame; not one of them suits my taste . Since psychic power is the core of Dual Overwhelming Attributes, I shall be responsible for giving their names . ”
“Well, they’re just names . It doesn’t matter what you call them . Anyway, have you already come up with the names?”
Dark Self smirked . “Yeah, I have . You will know and be surprised when I use them . I guarantee that they sound cooler than yours . ”
“Whatever . This should conclude everything I am here for . I should go back already . ” Sila stood up and was about to deactivate the mirror .
“Hmph . Don’t you still have one more topic to ask me about? The non-combat one . ”
Sila swept dust off his clothing and asked Dark Self, pretending to act like he wasn’t interested in the conversation, “Oh, right . About that . What do you think?”
“I think we don’t have enough time to spend on this topic . Our hands are already full of problems . We shouldn’t seek more . ”
“Is that so?” Sila slowly walked to the cave’s exit .
“Well, if you want the answer from the deepest part of your heart, I will simply tell you that you lacked people who gave you love and attention since your childhood . That’s why you desire to obtain love from others even if it’s just a small feeling . At the same time, you are afraid to adhere to it and experience the same sadness you felt when it was gone . In the end, you lack the ability to make a decisive choice and leave the problem as it is . ”
“Then, what should I do?”
“She gives all her love to you, but you share your love with several people . How is it fair for her? Try to look at the situation from her perspective . If she also shares her love with someone else, can you accept it? A loss is natural and inevitable . You can’t resist it, but you can treasure it in other forms . ”
Sila listened and agreed . “You are a better person than I thought . I always thought that you must be quite evil since you are my Dark Self . ”
As the words left Sila’s mouth, he wondered if this was what they called ‘self-praise’ .
Hearing Sila, Dark Self replied, “I’m not evil . I’m the opposite of you . In situations where you’re a piece of trash, I shall be a good person . ”
As the words left Dark Self’s mouth, Sila wondered if this was what they called ‘self-blame’ .
The Cave of Immortals had achieved its purpose . The one who went inside was a young man confused about himself with his mind full of questions, but the one who came out was the new generation profound practitioner, enlightened about his own existence and with a mind full of answers .