Sila woke up inside one of the rooms in a hotel . He had spent several hours with Mora and it had already been two days in the game since he logged out . He was still unaware of the changes brought about by Lomyok entering the Hall of Omniscience .
His avatar in the game was still in an injured state after the fight against Zero and the Two Monarchs . He could only exert sixty percent of his full power in his current condition . In order to prepare himself, Sila took advantage of the high recovery rate in the hotel’s room and sat down to circulate qi . He also wanted to use some time to practice Flaming Cloud Qi inside the game .
The Cloud Part was about the harmony between profound arts and the user . It helped the user evaluate what they had learned, strip away the unnecessary elements, then refine and merge what was left .
Mora explained that the qi circulation method of the Cloud Part was to transmit qi into the brain . For the record, the brain is a complex organ consisting of neurons, electric signals, and synapses . Flaming Cloud Qi would accelerate the brain by strengthening those components with inner force . This didn’t mean the user would become smarter though . Rather, it enhanced the user’s reaction speed and thought processes .
Failing at this part meant the risk of being struck with dementia or permanent paralysis . Fortunately, Sila had overcome and mastered it with the support of his teacher and his strong foundation .
Several ideas were booming in his mind . It was a surreal sensation that he had never experienced before . It was as if obstacles which had been blocking his innovative ideas were broken apart and a flood of information entered his brain . Parts of the arts which he couldn’t comprehend in the past suddenly made sense .
Now he knew why Mora had suggested he practice the Cloud Part before the Flame Part . His quickened thought process would be a great asset when handling the intense purgatory flame which was hard to control . Being able to think and react quickly were two important requirements for Sila to succeed .
As every art in his possession had been organized and further understood, he could finally elevate his original martial art—Formless Martial God, which was the accumulation of everything he had learned—to a whole new level and would be able to show its never-before-seen profound might . The art was now worthy of the name ‘Martial God’ .
Formless Martial God — Serene Circulation .
In his mind, he could see himself with transparent skin . He could clearly witness his veins, acupoints, and how his qi flowed through them . The abnormalities in his body were also shown .
Mora’s knowledge about life-perishing points that were dangerous when pressed carelessly was adapted by Sila, and became an art of inspection and recovery . Sila gradually pressed his thumb on five different acupoints while exerting the power of the fire and wood elements to stimulate and heal his body .
Sila stood up and took a deep breath . He regained some of his strength back from that short procedure, restoring another ten percent of his power . By tomorrow his internal injuries would be completely healed and his strength would be completely restored .
His next task was to start practicing the Flame Part . He was neither hesitant nor indecisive . He was confident that, given his current ability, he would surely master it .
Sila exited the room and paid 15 gold to the hotel clerk . It seemed Belacia City’s cost of living was rather high . Ever since Sila had stepped into this town, never once had he used silver coins .
Sila bravely walked on the main road . He sent messages to Bluebird and Burapha to come and meet him in the restaurant at the center of the city, saying that he had come up with a way to solve every problem they had . Moreover, if everything worked well, most of the citizens of Belacia City would choose to join their union .
Sila couldn’t contact Sebastian, but that was fine . The very first problem that had to be fixed right now was the animosity of the players in Belacia City, which had been fueled by Revin’s words . These players were needed in the Wicked Union in order for them to have a strength rivaling the Heavenly Dragon Guild .
The second floor of the restaurant was not as lively as it had been . yet it was hardly a problem . In fact, in a few minutes, Sila would make this place become more crowded than ever .
Once Sila had entered, he found that everyone was already waiting for him at a table . Bluebird was hiding under a cloak . It was the same for Clute who had accompanied Lookhin . Spotting Sila, Burapha stood up and greeted him . However, Sila simply strode past the table as he spoke a few words to the group .
“Follow me . ”
Sila exited through the balcony and soared to the roof, standing on the spot where he had a view of the entire city .
“Release Mamon . ”
A purple ball of light shot out from his armor, becoming Mamon with a kid’s appearance . He frowned as he was displeased that Sila had suddenly pulled him out of the armor when he wanted to remain inside .
By no means did Sila mind Mamon’s reaction . What he wanted was manpower, so he conversed with Asura—who was hiding his presence in a corner of the city—through a sound transmission .
“Mister Asura, I need to borrow your strength . Could you please come here?”
As he was quite confident in his Mind Concealment, Asura frowned as Sila could somehow pinpoint his location . He scratched his bald head prior to moving toward Sila’s position .
Meanwhile, Sila opened his system window and contacted someone else . A dimensional door soon emerged when Burapha, Bluebird, Clute, and Lookhin finally arrived on the roof .
Rex came from the other side of the dimensional door and stood next to Sila .
“Rex, how long you can stay here?”
“Three hours,” Rex curtly replied .
Sila nodded . “That’s plenty . I called you here because I want your help . ” He then sent sound transmissions to Rex, Lookhin, and Asura, explaining his real intentions for gathering everyone . Out of the three, Rex showed a surprised reaction to what Sila had requested of him .
Seeing Clute, Mamon emitted purple psychic power as he glared at his enemy . “You were just lucky last time . Let me erase the ancient golem race from the world of Monster Soul today . ”
Clute clad his body with white magic power reinforcement . “I won’t let my guard down again . ”
Sila pressed his left hand on Mamon’s head and used qi to suppress the boy’s psychic power . At the same time, his left hand pressed on Clute’s shoulder and transmitted the same amount of qi to the latter . “No in-fighting today . If you want to go on a rampage, just wait a few moments . ”
The two realized that Sila had sent some kind of power into their bodies . Although the power wasn’t especially powerful, it was flowing through their veins in a strange way . Sila’s qi became as hard as a solid object and blocked some acupoints within their bodies, making them have a slightly more difficult time channeling their powers .
For the record, Sila was relying on the blockade technique he learned from Nine Sun-Melting-Fists, using less to win more . It worked just fine thanks to the fact that both Mamon and Clute had human forms .
Bluebird looked around, feeling restless . “Sila, what are you planning to do? Why did you call me here? Have you forgotten that—”
Sila didn’t reply but flicked his ankle to remove three tiles from the roof . “If memory serves me right, three times mean a calamity that may bring the fall of the city, right? A lot of people will show up, then . ”
Sila kicked all the three tiles at a bell tower next to the restaurant . Seeing what he had done, Burapha and Bluebird became startled . This signal indicated that the city was in a crisis, so the citizens would dash to this spot in a matter of a few seconds .
“What have you done?! These people don’t like a bad joke, you know?” Bluebird nervously warned Sila .
“I did this in order to negotiate . Stay put . I will handle the situation myself . ”
As they had expected, the signal of a bell ringing three times was of the utmost importance . It took less than a minute for several players to show up below the restaurant, and the number continued to rise as time passed . Apparently, everyone dropped whatever they were doing and rushed to this place . Seeing that the destination only had a small group of people, the citizens felt greatly displeased, especially when they saw that one among the group was Sila .
White seemed to be a temporary representative for the townspeople . She could still keep her cool even in this heated situation . Jumping onto the same roof where Sila was standing, she asked politely .
“Mister Sila, you haven’t been here long, so you probably don’t know our regulations . However, knocking the bell three times means—”
“—a calamity capable of ruining the city . I am well aware,” Sila interrupted without waiting for her to end her sentence .
White slightly furrowed her brows . “I see . Then . . . what is the said calamity? Can you please inform us?”
“I will tell you about the calamity later . Now that everyone in Belacia City is here, I want to negotiate with all of you . ”
“Negotiate?” White repeated the word with a feeling of confusion .
Many let out scornful remarks or curses at Sila’s arrogance for summoning everyone just for the sake of negotiation . Rather than a negotiation, what he ought to do was beg for them to spare his life .
White nodded . “I think I understand now . Could this be about the Blue-Colored Catastrophe? You have made the right decision, then . Still, you didn’t have to call everyone . Just telling us his whereabouts would already be enough . ”
“That’s unnecessary . Bluebird is already here . ” Sila flicked his wrist and removed the cloak covering Bluebird’s body . The latter was immediately startled .
“Sila!! What the hell are you doing?!!” Bluebird groaned .
“The problem related to you is chronic and greatly affects our main objective . On this day, this problem will have to be solved,” Sila declared resolutely .
Some players took out their weapons and some unleashed their power . Most of their eyes, filled with resentment, stared at Bluebird . Someone took steps forward, though White raised her hand to stop them . She wanted to hear Sila’s reason first .
“What is your goal?”
“I have already told you that I want to negotiate . ”
“What do you want to trade the Blue-Colored Catastrophe’s life for? Items, money, fame, or your life?” White asked, her eyes showed a feeling of disapproval . It seemed she was disappointed in Sila’s character for selling his friend out .
“None of the above . I don’t have any intention of trading Bluebird for anything . I also don’t care what he has done in the past . No matter what it was, your resentment must be let go of today . From now on, don’t ever use that reason to trouble my friend again . ”
Everyone looked at each other, wondering whether Sila was out of his mind . Considering what Bluebird had done in the past, which had caused the entire town to fall apart, just dismissing it like that was far from acceptable .
“So, you want us to nod at your words, say ‘okay,’ and leave . Just like that? No way things will easily go like that . ”
“Sure . For a negotiation to be successful, an equivalent exchange is needed . No matter what Bluebird has done in the past, just state the price . ”
Bluebird lightly tapped Sila back . “Erm . . . you don’t have enough money to compensate them, Sila . Really, what are you thinking?”
“What if what he has done can’t be fixed with money?” asked White .
“In that case . . . I will give you something that equally can’t be purchased with money . Actually, it was because of Bluebird that I came up with this idea . ”
“What exactly do you mean? What is on your side of this negotiation . ”
“A priceless experience . Calamity, thrills, and dangers . The main reason that you all have gathered in this northern region is that you want to polish your skills and become stronger without minding the shifts of power in Monster Soul, yet each of you is like a grain of sand . You don’t join forces and don’t extend your hands to help others unless your weapons are aimed at a public enemy . Take Bluebird’s case for example . You can drop your personal matters and cooperate to hunt Bluebird . Likewise, I am here today to offer you the thrill of facing a great danger with your comrades . My goal is for the future of Belacia City to not only be the city of guildless players, but the strongest city that is even mightier than the three main cities . ”
“Hahaha! I see . This is indeed interesting . Though I doubt most people here will buy your intangible idea . If I have to guess, I will say only around eight people will accept your proposal but the rest won’t . Well, actually, we don’t exactly buy your idea of beautiful comradeship . We just want to break our shells and try something new . ” With the use of qi, the volume of the voice was increased . The speaker of those words was a brawny man carrying a giant katana on his back .
“You said ‘we . ’ Does that mean you also agree with me?” asked Sila .
“I, Kraizer, have had the same idea as you ever since that time when Bluebird brought a catastrophe upon us . That event made us unite and had a chance to fight together . Still, as I have said, I am a mere minority . Most people here only seek revenge . ”
“I have a way to handle them . Just having some of you support my decision is already reassuring . ”
“Good! I will just sit here and witness how this situation will unfold . If you come out of this place alive, I will consider you my friend . Even when everyone has malice against you, I will still be by your side . ”
Sila looked at the man and nodded . He also saw Fallun walking to Kraizer and stood next to him . “I, too, choose to do the same . ”
Skyless stepped down from his flying Chinese sword and stood with Fallun and Kraizer . He said nothing but his intention was clear . At the same time, Ryou jumped onto the roof and loudly declared, “I agree with you! But I won’t just sit around doing nothing . ”
Sila felt everything was going according to plan . He had successfully lowered the number of experts on the opposing side .
Seizing the chance, Sila accepted Kraizer’s condition and declared loudly . “That’s fine! If anyone on my side dies, you can take everything I just said as invalid! However, if your side accepts defeat first, you will have to accept my deal . Abandon your resentment toward Bluebird and join forces with us! With me, you will face new challenges greater than before!”
“Is this what you call a negotiation? Sounds like an intimidating kind of gamble to my ears . It’s desperate gambling, even,” argued White .
“I naturally am confident in my words and my abilities . I have heard that people in Belacia City talk through strength . Or, could it be that you are not confident that all of you here can take down the eight people on my team?” Sila’s remarks were simply insults to the citizens of the city .
Infuriated, everyone took their weapons out . The combined killing intent shrouding the area was more than Sila had even sensed before .
Still, Sila was not alone today . He would still be firm in his confidence even if the situation turned grimmer .
Sila opened his palm as he raised his hand . The tattoo on his palm emitted a bright light and projected a symbol of two swords crossing in front of a crown into the sky as a spectacular background . It was a manifestation of his Lordship . Sila activated it in a form of a domain to prevent the system from asking him every time he had killed someone . With this domain activated, the death penalty regarding respawn time would be defined by him, though he would only get half the normal amount of experience points for the kills .
“As would be expected of this negotiation, someone will die . But worry not . I have already reduced everyone’s respawn time to just half an hour with my Lordship . Still, I won’t take responsibility for your drop in levels . Since you have decided to battle, it’s natural that you must be prepared for the consequences . ”
Again, Sila’s words were like taunts that enraged everyone . A massacre was about to begin .
Yet who exactly would carry out the massacre, and who exactly would be massacred?
White jumped back as she retreated . “I still don’t know the source of your confidence . What I’m sure of is that even I can’t possibly suppress everyone’s anger the way they are now . I’m not the type to trample on someone when they’re down, so I’m going to withdraw from this fight as well . ”
“Miss White, do you know my title?”
“Weapon Subduing Fist? But will you be able to subdue this many weapons, I wonder?”
Sila’s lips curled into a smile, showing his bottomless confidence . “I meant my other title . Well, you will soon discover why I have no fear . ”
In order to make the negotiation successful, a deal with an equivalent exchange was not the only thing required . In the book holding records of Pumin’s experiences, the most important factor that would make the negotiation successful was also discussed .
That factor was ‘Power . ’ The stronger you were compared to your opponent, the greater your chances of success in negotiating were .
White’s withdrawal from the scene was like a signal for the start of the battle that would affect the history of Monster Soul .
The first to take action was none other than Sila . The Mechanical Evil God’s Protection glowed with an ominous red aura in the same manner that the Gem of Catastrophe in his possession had once shown its power . The sun lost its light as if a demon had swallowed the sunlight . The power of monsters within five kilometers around him surged as they had been bequeathed with power . The five monsters next to Sila’s side immediately scattered to different directions and unleashed their true terror . Asura and Rex were transforming back into their original forms, inducing the most fear out of all five monsters .
Rex soared high into the sky and transformed into an ancient dragon with a gigantic body . He exerted the hard attribute of Tiger Dragon Qi, pressing down on the world below him . The force of gravity immediately intensified and became ten times stronger . Just this action alone was enough to inflict some injuries on those who weren’t careful .
Meanwhile, Asura was assigned the duty of protecting Bluebird and Burapha . His body—the red skeleton with six arms—enlarged, and in each hand was a short beautiful sword seemingly made of garnets . His hollow eye sockets seemed to see through any actions made by the people below . His mere presence made the witnesses of his true form feel unsafe, despite the power he emitted feeling rather weak .
Lookhin levitated above Sila . Her majestic brown wings spread from her back . Her powers—be it qi, psychic, or magic power—were constantly being elevated by the Eternal Onyx .
Mamon and Clute were standing on opposite edges of the roof . The citizens of Belacia City had a hard time swallowing their saliva as they realized that one of them was the White Giant . The reason why they didn’t notice at the start was that the boy wore a different set of clothing and was covered by a cloak . As for the other boy, he was currently looking down on all of them with a pair of the creepiest eyes they had ever seen . His psychic power was extremely disgusting and nauseated anyone who came into contact with it . Just the boy’s menacing presence alone reduced their strength .
The one who found this event remarkably delightful was none other than Mamon . He swept his gaze over every single opponent as he planned to use them to test out his newly-adjusted body . His eyes curled up into half-moons as he showed his exceptionally evil grin . He let out a burst of his favorite, devilish laughter .
“Kiekkiekkiek . My hands have been itching for so long . Let’s fight fair and square, you damn humans . ”