Chapter 254: A New Episode
After the intense battle, Belacia City was almost completely destroyed . Only the restaurant that Sila stood on remained intact .
For the record, Sila intended for Belacia City to be an operational base during the war event . Strategically, Belacia City held favorable terrain due to several reasons .
Firstly, north of Belacia City was an ocean—making it impossible to surround the city—and south of Belacia City was difficult terrain, which would hinder any attempts an army made to march through .
Next, the horribly cold environment surrounding the city causes people who aren’t used to it to suffer greatly .
Lastly, there were many resources which were still undiscovered by players . Still, they were undiscovered due to being located in the territories of monsters .
Sila was now sitting on the roof of the restaurant, at a table specially prepared by Indigo . Julia was standing next to him, silently pouring warm tea into his cup .
Mamon had already returned to the inside of the armor while Lookhin and Clute were touring the city with Bluebird acting as their guide . For the record, Clute had never openly walked around the city, so he was very excited . No shop in the city remained for them to sightsee though .
From the roof Sila had a full view of the entire city . Even though he had successfully handled the people, an unexpected consequence of his choice was the state of the city which required an enormous sum of money to restore to its normal state .
“Sigh . . . I should have warned everyone to be careful with the buildings . ” Sila heaved a sigh of exhaustion .
True, his debt had been cleared and he even made some profit from Lost Grea City . However, he had been using all the money he made to create laser-based weapons according to Mamon’s blueprints for the sake of the Wicked Union . His remaining wealth was nowhere near enough to fund the restoration of the city .
For the record, after the battle, the citizens were quite depressed by the result, though some of them had their fighting spirits ignited . Some of them challenged Sila for one-on-one sparring matches to gauge the bottom of his strength . Sila naturally wasn’t the type to reject a challenge . However, as the number of challengers waiting in queue reached fifty in a matter of an hour, he eventually had to stop accepting the challenges, especially against Ryou who came back to challenge him more than three times wearing a wig and fake mustache . (His disguise was completely useless though, since he always wore only underpants . )
In the end, Sila set it so that the challengers would have to fight Burapha first . After they won against Burapha they would get the right to fight Bluebird, and winning that duel would finally allow them to fight Sila .
Burapha fought while following Asura’s guidance . He had been taught how to utilize psychic power, so Sila was no longer worried about him . Even when Burapha was defeated, there would still be Bluebird, the master of escape .
Humans possess different strengths and weaknesses . Bluebird’s specialty was his profound ability to escape from a fight . He had successfully escaped from these players for a year, so it was a piece of cake for him to avoid being found by the citizens even when he was guiding Lookhin and Clute around the city .
As for Sila, his specialties were his perseverance when practising and his adaptive thinking . However, he clearly wasn’t the type to plan ahead . He was in the dark regarding long-term planning . Although the desired result was in his mind, he was clueless about what steps he should take to achieve it . As he couldn’t come up with a solution no matter how much he wrestled with the problem, he ended up taking a break as his gaze wandered around the wreckages while sipping the cup of tea prepared by Julia .
“Montra would have already come up with a way if he was in my position . Sigh . . . Why am I so stupid?” Sila grumbled .
“Master, you’re not stupid . You just aren’t good at management and planning things through . Don’t blame yourself . No human is perfect,” encouraged Julia .
“You’re right, but this is a problem I have to solve at all costs . Management is harder than I thought . ”
“Regarding solving problems, my opinion is that Mister Head Butler is really skilled . Why don’t you try consulting him?”
“Oh, you’re right . Come to think of it, where is he? It has been two days since I gave him his instructions . Taking care of Ballock shouldn’t take that long . ” Sila closed his eyes as he tried to contact Sebastian through the partnership’s mental connection . The butler only gave a short reply that he would return soon .
In order to kill time while waiting, Sila opened his system window and visited the game forum . With the system announcing that new features had been unlocked due to a new episode of the game, there were several new threads and discussions in the forum . Sila felt his head hurt just by seeing them .
“Would you like me to summarize the information, Master?” proposed Julia .
Sila raised his brows . “Eh? You can do that?”
“Yes, Master . I’m, first and foremost, your supportive AI . Regarding the system, I have all the rights you have, depending on how much access you grant me . Evaluating and analyzing the information you seek is a service I can provide . ”
Sila nodded . ‘Wow . This is convenient . . . Well, this is probably normal considering her price, I guess?’
“Would you like me to do so, Master?”
“Go ahead . I don’t have anything to do anyway . Reading news while waiting for Sebastian is better than doing nothing . ”
Julia opened twenty or so system windows . Her eyes lost their luster as all of the information flooded into her . It seemed she was in the middle of processing the data, so Sila didn’t dare to interrupt her . While waiting, Sila tried to summarize the situation .
‘Mn . . . My task regarding recruiting players is done . The problem at hand is the restoration of the city . Well, restoring Grea City already cost the union a lot . I don’t think the Mountain Thieves League or the Victorious Wolves Sect will have any money to spare . Sigh . Things always require money to solve . ’
“It is done,” said Julia . She sent the summarized information into Sila’s system window . “Most discussions are duplicated whereas there are only a few important topics . Among these topics, some of them are directly related to you, Master . ”
As he was listening, Sila swept his gaze over the summarized information which contained only a few pages . Julia had also highlighted some important sentences .
“The most important topic is the revelation that the reason for a new episode is the fact that someone completed the conditions to step into the Hall of Omniscience . This new episode brought many changes into the world of Monster Soul . One of the notable ones is the territory feature .
“Regarding the territory feature, beings at Lord Rank or above can exert their influence in any territory under their control . The result of their influence varies according to each ruler . This change makes fighting monsters in their territory harder . Many players have complained about this increase in strength . ”
Reading the information as Julia spoke, Sila muttered, “Lord Rank beings? This includes Lord Rank players, then . In this case . . . ”
“Your thoughts are correct, Master . There are currently three Lord Rank players, which are Player Lone Wolf, Player Montra, and you . This fact is no longer a secret . When the territory feature was introduced, the names of you three were announced as well . ”
“What did the other two do?”
“Player Lone Wolf gathered his comrades and tried to expand his guild’s influence around Zhongsuyuan City . As for Player Montra, he unsealed the Magic Kingdom, Alkedia City, into the Floating Magic Kingdom, Lafesta City . He claimed the floating city as his territory, but took no further action . He didn’t even try to conquer the areas around his city . ”
“Montra did what? Unseal the city? Is that possible?” Sila was curious .
“That’s another big topic and notable change, Master . The game system announced that each of the three main cities can be unsealed into a completed state by performing a special, hidden quest . The unsealed city will be bestowed with several benefits . With the floating city being unsealed, many new magic items and buildings are introduced, increasing the number of visitors . The newly introduced buildings include the Library of Wisdom, a place that will grant magic users unique magic upon completing a quest it generates . For the record, Player Montra set it so that all players can access the city and every building inside with no entry fee, which greatly encouraged people to migrate into the city . ”
“No entry fees? So that means he can choose to collect them as well? Why didn’t he choose so, then?”
“It’s another way to make profits, Mister Sila . Even if the city is free to access and some services are free, people living in the city still have to cover the costs of living there . The more people entering his city, the more profit he will gain . He can easily opt to ignore insignificant revenue like entry fees while improving his public image . Word of mouth is the best advertising method, sir . ”
Sebastian jumped onto the roof from the ground . Naturally, Sila had sensed him coming . He gestured for Sebastian to sit down on a chair, but the butler politely declined .
“Standing is fine, sir . Let’s continue with the conversation . It sounds important . ”
Sila expected this reaction, so he signaled for Julia to continue . “It was revealed that the other two main cities can be unsealed as well . Zhongsuyuan City will become the Qi Kingdom shrouded in mysteries, but it isn’t clear if its name will change . The important building that will be unlocked is the Secluded Temple for qi-type players to perform quests and acquire special qi . As for Grea City, it will become the Ancient Kingdom of Androids, Siaferia City . One of the unlocked buildings is the Psychic Refinery, where psychic-type players can train their psychic power and create their unique weapons . Still, there is currently no known information regarding how to unseal these cities . ”
“That’s rather strange,” Sebastian said to no one in particular . “Excuse me, Miss Head Maid . May I ask how long after the territory feature had been unlocked was the Magic Kingdom unsealed?”
Julia replied instantly, “About two to three hours . ”
“How is that strange, Sebastian?” asked Sila .
“If there were no clues regarding how to unseal the city, how could Mister Montra unseal the Magic Kingdom so quickly? Could it be possible that he knew about it beforehand? He probably had everything ready for unsealing the city even before territory feature was unlocked, and immediately proceeded as soon as he could . It’s safe to assume that he possesses the knowledge of how to unseal all three cities . ”
“Is that possible?” Sila asked, feeling shocked .
Sebastian nodded . “Alkedia City is also the city of knowledge . It is home to a giant library containing hundreds of thousands of books . It’s possible that he got the intel from there, though I’d say it’s hardly believable . The books in that place vary from random literary to important ones . Some books are about ancient history while some are rather useless . For him to obtain useful information from all those books, an unbelievable amount of effort would be required . I doubt a single human could achieve that kind of task . ”
Sila gave it a thought . He couldn’t imagine the sight of the perfect Montra putting all his effort into achieving a task . There was a rumor that Montra rarely practiced . However, his spear art implied that he had honed and developed it through hard work .
“He might have assigned many people to help . The Heavenly Dragon Guild has many members . It is possible if they divided the books and cooperated in reading,” Sebastian voiced his opinion .
Sila was no longer interested in this topic . He asked Julia, “Is there anything else?”
“The rest is less important, Master . For example, monsters showing signs of being able to move out of their territories, increases in drop rates, and the speculation of who was the first to step into the Hall of Omniscience . ”
“Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Lomyok at all . He said he would come back in just a day . ”
“We don’t know, sir . Why don’t you try to contact him?”
Opening his system window, Sila tried to contact Lomyok, but it was in vain . The system informed him that Lomyok was in an area which prohibited communication with people outside .
Lomyok was one of the key players as his strength couldn’t be overlooked . Sila held an advantage as he knew Lomyok was the one who stepped into the Hall of Omniscience . He had to persuade Lomyok to join his side if possible .
‘Otherwise, I will have to get rid of him . ’
A dark thought surfaced in Sila’s mind for a split second, as his eyes gleamed with killing intent . This exact thought froze his body .
‘Was that my idea? How could I possibly think like that?’
“Mister Sila, are you feeling okay?” Seeing his master acting weird, Sebastian called out to Sila .
“It’s nothing . . . ” Sila tried to behave normally . “By the way, how are you, Sebastian? Did you obtain the spells?”
Sebastian showed a mild smile . “I did, sir . It’s only Blood Magic, but it’s better than nothing . Still, I had to use the Manifesting Soul Lantern . ”
“I still don’t know what the lantern can do . May I ask?”
“It’s one of the Demonic Armaments, sir . The Manifesting Soul Lantern will summon the soul of the strongest being of the user’s race to temporarily dwell within the user’s body . Actually, soul-summoning magic is bound to have heavy restrictions—be it a short duration, an enormous amount of sacrifices, compatibility between body and soul, or even the location . However, the Manifesting Soul Lantern disregards all restrictions . That means the user can call forth the great being to fight in place of themselves whenever they want . The only drawbacks of the lantern are that the summoned being can do whatever they please—though their actions are heavily bound by the user’s desires—and that the lantern needs to recharge before it can be used again . ”
“How long until it can be used again?”
Sebastian shook his head . “It was my first time using it, so I’m not sure, sir . ”
“That’s too bad . ”
“It’s fine, sir . Its performance last time was even better than I anticipated,” Sebastian said with a smile on his face .
“The reason I called you, Sebastian, is that I want your help . I’m not good at planning things, but I want to make this place my base . . . ”
“I see, sir . Having your own territory will be useful in wartime . ” Sebastian swept his gaze across the city . “This city is indeed suitable for defense . What do you want me to do, sir? Punish the citizens who are still hostile?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem anymore . As things go, I believe I’m already on friendly terms with most people in the city . The problems at hand are rebuilding the city, reorganizing it, and an excuse to drive the hostile forces out . ” Sila’s last words meant Revin and Kawin who might still be in this city . He only won a wager against the citizens, and that didn’t mean he had become the true conqueror of the city . He had no right to banish those two, as they had technically done nothing wrong .
“A large sum of money is required to build a city, sir, so it’s not something you can do with your private funds unless we find the materials ourselves and put our own labor into rebuilding . Fortunately, natural resources found around Belacia City seem to be decent . With this method, not only will it save us money, but those who help us will also have a sense of unity as the city will be built by their own hands . It’s one way to develop loyalty and trust, sir . ”
“I have thought of that method, but the resources you mentioned are within the territories of monsters . Should we gather people to hunt them? The citizens in Belacia City are not at the stage where they’ll cooperate though . Or do we have to hunt them ourselves? With our numbers, will we be enough?”
“Actually, you don’t have to go that far, sir . There is no need to gather people or to do the hard labor yourself . You just need to use this . ”
Sebastian took something out and put it on his palm . Sila had to stare at it for a while before he could recognize that it was the butler brooch . The brooch was drenched in dry blood . It was surprising to see Sebastian’s prized possession in this state, as he was someone who always kept himself clean .
“The butler brooch? This will be enough?”
Sebastian nodded as he revealed his signature smirk . “This will be far more than enough, sir . ”