Chapter 22: Secret of the Tree Dragon
The sun was shining from the east. The morning had come to the Beginning Island. The fresh air around the forest gave off the scent of nature. Meanwhile, Tiger got out of his tent. He couldn't help but be amazed by the realism of the game. He inhaled the fresh air into his lungs and looked around. Despite knowing all of these were just masses of data in virtual world, he still felt awe that Monster Soul was like another world that coexisted with the real world.
Tiger looked around and felt like something was missing. He frowned slightly and then remembered.
"Hmm? Where is Sila?" Tiger wondered.
Afterward, there was the sound of tents being opened. It was Aek and Tod who came out.
"Good morning, big brother Tiger."
As expected of the twins. They even greeted at the same time.
Tiger gave them a smile in return. Then, Aek looked left and right and said:
"Where is big brother Sila?"
"I don't know too. Maybe he's off to wash his face? Well, don't worry; I'm sure Sila can take care of himself anyway," replied Tiger.
The three of them sat together around the extinguished bonfire. Tiger stacked the woods into it to make it ready to be used for cooking breakfast.
The sound of another tent being opened caught their attention. This time it was Alice who came out of her tent. Her face indicating that she was still sleepy. She came to sit next to Tiger.
"Yawwwn. What do we have for breakfast?" she said in a sleepy tone.
"We don't know too. Jundtrathep still hasn't woken up yet," answered Tod.
"Huh? Is it really Jund we are talking about?" Alice tilted her head.
As Alice said, Jundtrathep usually woke up early. In fact, she always wakes up before everyone here.
Actually, the men here should have noticed that something was wrong since before. However, the fact that Sila was missing had caught their attention and they caused them to forget about Jundtrathep for a moment.
Alice went to open Jundtrathep's tent before shouting. "Big brother Tiger! Jund is not here!"
Tiger wasn't worry about Sila because he knew that Sila possessed outstanding fighting ability. Even upon encountering some monsters that he couldn't win over, he should still be able to flee. But Jundtrathep was different; she was a pure supporting type which wouldn't be able to survive in dire situation if left alone.
"I will try to contact her immediately," Alice opened her pink System Window without waiting for their opinion.
However, at that time, a sound of something moving in the forest could be heard on their right side. Tiger, Aek, and Tod quickly readied their weapon and pointed it toward that direction.
Nevertheless, the one that came out of the forest was none other than Sila who was carrying Jundtrathep at his chest. He stopped his feet in front of everyone.
"Big brother Sila, where have you been?" asked Tod.
Sila didn't want to lie, but he was too lazy to explain his long story. Therefore, he answered shortly. "I've been inside the forest, hunting monster to increase my level."
"What about Jundtrathep?" asked Tiger.
"It seemed like she woke up at night and followed me into the forest. I thought that letting her go back alone would be dangerous, so we hunted together."
"Ermm... big brother Sila..." said Jundtrathep.
"What is it?" Sila lowered his head to look at Jundtrathep's face.
"Please put me down already..." she answered in a faint voice.
Sila realized that he had forgotten to put her down so he gently placed her down on the ground.
"If you guys have any questions, please ask Jundtrathep for the time being. I would like to circulate my qi for an hour," said Sila.
"Okay, let's talk again after you finish your business," answered Tiger.
Sila sat down on the ground next to a bonfire. He closed his eyes and quickly entered into meditation state.
"Whoa, big brother Sila has been hunting all night, and now he still wants to train his qi?" Aek impressed.
"That's not it, Aek. qi-typed player can circulate qi to release fatigue. It's like taking a rest for them. I guess his fight must have really been hard last night," Tiger explained to Aek.
"Why doesn't he take a potion instead?" asked Tod.
"I don't know too. It may be different in some aspect. I don't have much information about qi type anyways."
"What about you, Jund? How come you were together with him?" Alice began to interrogate her friend.
"Last night, I saw big brother Sila enter into the forest and wanted to warn him that the forest at night is dangerous, so I followed him," replied Jundtrathep.
"Don't do this next time. If you're worried, just tell me. I think Sila can take care of himself. It's you who was risking yourself," Tiger lectured Jundtrathep a little.
Jundtrathep lowered her face down and felt guilty. She thought to herself that she was always causing everyone to worry. Feeling down, she walked away to cook as it was her duty.
Tiger felt bad scolding at Jundtrathep. But it was for her own safety. Actually, Tiger wanted to inquire what had happened last night more than this, however, he thought that it would be better to wait until Sila finished cultivating and ask both of them together. Thus, he told everyone this reason to prevent them from bothering Jundtrathep.
Sila opened his eyes after cultivating for an hour. Looking around, he found that everyone was eating soup around a bonfire.
Tiger saw that Sila had finished meditating so he gave Sila a bowl of soup rich with a delicious smell. Sila took it and noticed that there was a chicken wing floating in the soup.
'Are there chicken in this game?'
Anyway, Sila dismissed the useless thought and started to eat the soup, which was quite delicious.
"First of all, Sila, I own you an apology in Jundtrathep's behalf. You must have been bothered by her sharing your experience points," Tiger sincerely said that while Jundtrathep lowered her face down as if she was a guilty student in front of her teacher.
"No, that's not true. It's actually my fault for going off without telling anyone. She just had good intention and wanted to warn me."
"By the way, why did big brother Sila suddenly want to hunt alone at night?" asked Tod.
"Oh, I just don't want to cause everyone trouble," answered Sila, "I just remembered yesterday night that dragons would always attack me no matter what the situation is."
"Huh? So, you decided to go and annihilate them all?" Aek exclaimed with a shocking expression.
Everyone felt shocked too. What type of logic was that? Fearing that dragons would attack him first so he went to eliminate all of them before that could happen.
Tiger thought of something and asked Sila:
"Anyway, is there a dragon in the area? I hadn't known that before."
"Huh? You surely know about Tree Dragons, don't you?" This time it was Sila who was confused.
"But... Tree Dragon is a plant-raced monster, isn't it?" Tod interfered.
"Plant race?" Sila still felt confused.
"Yes, Tree Dragon is a monster of plant race. It's just the tree that looks like a dragon, not a dragon itself," Aek explained.
Sila immediately felt so stupid. He didn't ask for information and had been too quick to act, resulting in having to participate in an almost meaningless fight and causing a big commotion last night. Next time, he must seek information before making any action.
"Well, how about the experience points? Did you gain a lot?" inquired Aek.
"It's so-so, I guess," answered Sila by comparing the experience points he had received from Tree Dragons to the ones he had gained from Great Millennium Ape Boss. He thought so because Great Millennium Ape alone had given him more experience points than many of Tree Dragons.
"Hey, hey, and what about your level now, huh? Jund?" Alice curiously asked Jundtrathep.
Everybody wanted to know too. If Jundtrathep truly had joined Sila to wipe out all Tree Dragons together, her level now should have increased significantly.
"Err... 1." Jundtrathep answered faintly.
"Wah? You've been hunting all night but your level is only increased by 1?"
"Come on, Alice. Jundtrathep is already a player which level surpasses 100; it can't help that her level is raising slower."
Although Aek said that, in his mind, he too felt a bit disappointed by the fact that Jundtrathep's level only increased by 1.
Tiger was thinking the same. If both Sila and Jundtrathep really had eliminated all Tree Dragons, their level should have been increased more than that. So, he presumed that Jundtrathep had joined Sila much later when he almost done eliminating, so she gained very little experience points.
"No, everyone is misunderstanding. My level wasn't increased by 1, it's now 1," Jundtrathep tried to explain.
"Your level is 1?" Alice confused.
"Knight Rank, Level 1," said Jundtrathep.
"WHAT!!?" everyone was shocked. Well, Jundtrathep could understand their feeling because she herself felt the same before.
Even Tiger couldn't assess the situation here. Yesterday, Jundtrathep's level was surely 185. Her level mostly increased by sharing the experience points from the party's members. Although her level was higher than everyone in the party (except Tiger), she wouldn't able to win even against Alice who was level 105 because she wasn't a combat type.
However, with all of that, her rank was still promoted just by hunting together with Sila for only one night?
"How could you gain that much experience points? Even killing all the Tree Dragons in the forest shouldn't cause that to happen," Aek felt curious.
Tiger was curious too. As Aek had said, even killing all the Tree Dragons in the forest wouldn't cause Jundtrathep to rank up. It might be possible for Sila, but for Jundtrathep who could only depend on sharing experience points, that was simply beyond his imagination. Moreover, to be able to promote in rank, the special item or passing the special quest is also needed.
"Umm... I didn't kill even a single Tree Dragon with big brother Sila. Last night, big brother Sila has already killed them all when I reached where he was," Jundtrathep made the story clear.
As those words came out of Jundtrathep's mouth, everyone exclaimed in unison. From here, one would take around an hour to reach the Tree Dragon's nest. Sila slaying them all within that short period of time was very terrifying.
"Ehh? If that's the case, then, Jund, how could you level up?" Aek asked Jundtrathep.
"Umm... It's my fault. I didn't know that if I killed all the Tree Dragons, the real Dragon would appear. Thus, Jundtrathep and I had to fight against a dragon together," explained Sila, while Jundtrathep lowered her face down as she couldn't claim the word 'fight together' herself.
"Dragon!?" everyone exclaimed again. Now, nobody was interested in eating soup anymore.
A Dragon was currently the strongest creature in Monster Soul. They can use magic and possess outstanding ability. They were also very rare to find even on the Main Continent. By the way, the lowest rank of dragon was Knight Rank. It was a creature that a player usually needed to gather hundreds of people to deal with. However, Sila instead had been able to defeat it alone (plus Jundtrathep, of course.)
"Well, I almost had lost, but luckily that Jund informed me that it's weak against ice-elemental attack."
"Oh, is it a dragon of wind-based element?" said Tiger.
"Hmm, no, its title is Earth Dragon so I'm pretty sure it's an earth-based element."
Tiger frowned, "but earth element is weak against wind element, isn't it? Would you be confused with another game, Jundtrathep?" he turned his head to ask Jundtrathep, which puzzled her too.
"Eh? Weak against wind element? But..." Sila also felt confuse.
"Freezing Soul" was a skill that Sila had learned in place of an ice-elemental psychic skill, so he always thought that it was an ice-elemental skill. However, Sila actually didn't know anything about elements in the game. He had totally neglected them since the time he had known that he couldn't use magic.
'It seems I should study about this for a bit.'
Sila made a note to ask his teacher later. If it was a question about qi, he believed that asking his teacher would be the best solution.
"Oh, by the way, I have something to give you, Tiger," said Sila before throwing the Earth Shield towards Tiger, "I'm sorry for Aek and Tod, but I think that the long-shaped shield would be more suitable to your fighting style so I decided to give this shield to Tiger instead."
Tiger inspected the information of the shield and felt shocked. It was an grade item which had already been identified. Meanwhile, the best equipment on him was only a C-grade item.
He slightly shook his head and tried to return it back to Sila. "I cannot accept it. It's too much for me."
"Please accept it. That way, our overall ability to hunt would be increased. Besides, a shield obviously doesn't suit my fighting style," answered Sila.
"But you can just sell it. Actually, it could be sold for even 500 gold coins."
"I'm not troubled by money or anything. Please just accept it, otherwise I will think of it as you insulting me, okay?"
"Well, then, thank you," Tiger smiled while Aek and Tod took the shield to inspect.
"Now, shall we go? I would like to go quickly and return. I'm afraid of missing the ship departure," Sila changed the topic.
"Okay, we will get going soon. We will go past the Tree Dragon's territory and visit the Illusion Forest where it's the habitat of elf-raced monster to hunt for an Elf Card for Alice. Then, we will later visit the area that the Man-Eating Plants live to hunt a Plant Card for Jundtrathep," Tiger explained his plan.
"In that case, I think we don't have to hunt Man-Eating Plant anymore, since Jundtrathep has already changed her race," suggested Sila.
Everyone was surprised again. Now, they already lost count of the number of times they felt this way today. It seemed like Sila always had something to surprise them non-stop.
"That's good, so, we can go back to the town faster."
Everyone comprehended that since Sila had eliminated all Tree Dragons and Jundtrathep already had 3 Plant Cards at hand from the start, it shouldn't be too weird for them to be able to collect 2 Plant Cards for Jundtrathep to change her race. Thus, they didn't ask for detail.
All of them finished packing the tent and ready to go. On their way, Aek and Tod who were now walking beside Sila approached him and whispered to him half-jokingly.
"If big brother Sila wants to sneak out to hunt again, next time, please don't forget to invite us, okay?"
Author's Note: Although it will eventually be explained in the story, many of readers have asked me about elements in this game. So let me explain them here.
Fire > Ice > Wind > Earth > Water > Fire > ...
Dark and Light are mutually exclusive. They are win and lose against each other.
By the way, which exactly is the element of "Freezing Soul?" Please wait for a while before nameless elder will explain to you guys.
The hint is... you can't use the logic above to deduce. That is magic-type elemental cycle, not qi-type.
Principle of qi type is "simple" so...