Chapter 262: The Value of Life
If he wasn’t already aware of the disguise, Sila knew it would be impossible for him to realize that Vata and Himeko were the same person . He tried to find the truth hidden behind her slender body, but the only thing he could see clearly was her shell, which was full of lies .
Vata, in light green magician clothing, was standing next to him . In her hand was a mage staff with a lantern hanging from its tip . Her magic power was weak as her rank was only Knight . Sila started to doubt her ability to finish the job he had assigned her .
“Can you survive?” asked Sila . “What will you do after you have pinpointed the location of the two dragons?”
Himeko replied, “Don’t worry . Did you forget that I am a member of the dragon race? If I don’t take any offensive actions, the dragons won’t easily target me . You should worry about yourself more . You are their nemesis after all . All of the dragons will set you as their primary target . Will you be able to complete your quest?”
Himeko had received Wind Dragon Cards from Sila on the Island of Beginnings . Even though she had yet to perform a Dragon Ritual and acquire Dragon Domain, she already possessed the Dragon Scales skill . The skill both increased her health and magic points as well as granted her the ability to manipulate a spell’s result .
Sila didn’t reply . He was seventy percent confident that he would be successful . The reason why the slime race became the dragon race’s nemesis in the first place was that the three slime skills were specially designed for slaying dragons . His level used to be lower than the dragons that he killed . If some low-leveled dragons were to meet him today, that would be their misfortune .
Sila had been evaluating his skills since yesterday . Dragons possessed thick scales, high health points, and large magic capacity . He would have to rely on the three racial skills or sword arts to deal significant damage . Meanwhile, Flaming Cloud Qi would descend in priority and end up as a supporting skill .
The assembled raid members grew quieter as the pillar glowed brighter, including Sila . When the countdown on the screen reached ten, he was deep in focus according to Moon Reflecting Mirror’s principles . Every breath and every subtle movement, he could perceive it all in his current state .
The image in front of them finally became clear . It seemed they had teleported to the edge of a certain canyon . They could see a massive forest on one side and a swamp on the other . Hundreds of dragons could be seen flying far away .
“This place is the Sacred Canyon,” Himeko explained to the raid members . She was of the dragon race . As a spy, it was obvious that she had been there before to investigate the area .
It was difficult to decide whether it was a stroke of luck or misfortune . The Dragon Kingdom was enormous in size . The center of the Sacred Canyon was often inhabited by the Dragon Empress, Infernee . Normally, using an invitation card would teleport the user to the Coiling Forest surrounding this place . The dragons were a race revered nobility . Because of this, no low-rank dragons were allowed to visit the home of the race .
The meaning of this meant they didn’t have to fight hundreds of lesser dragons in the forest anymore, since those dragons wouldn’t dare to invade the canyon . On the other hand, Marquis Rank dragons would be their opponents . In other words, they got to encounter fewer opponents, yet the ones they still had to face were far more dangerous .
They all felt the hostility in the air . Everyone subconsciously exerted more power to increase their defense .
Sila’s experience in fighting dragons was superior to the rest of the players . He quickly shouted to inform everyone, “Be careful! We are already within their Dragon Domains!!”
No dragons were within their sight, but Sila could sense them . He suspected there were less than ten nearby . Their domains were overlapping and exerting terrifying might .
“Eight . . . No, there are nine of them! The last one possesses more power than others . It is probably Lord Rank!!”
The moment they heard this, all of the raid members showed stern expressions . Their original plan was to start from the forest and slowly march forward, taking care of Knight Rank dragons along the way . With their numbers, they were confident that they could take down a few Marquis Rank dragons . However, fighting eight Marquis Rank dragons plus a Lord Rank one simultaneously was no different from a suicide mission .
Sila made a quick judgment . “Stick together, everyone! Don’t go wandering on your own . Be sure to constantly protect yourself against Dragon Domains by using energy reinforcement . All monsters, focus on defense! Players, join forces against them, and focus on killing them one by one . Remember that a dragon’s weakness is their heart under the scales on their chest . They may possess high health points, but we can kill them easily so long as we destroy their hearts . ”
They all listened to Sila’s instructions without questioning anything he said . The system recognized their arrival as a kingdom invasion, so it wouldn’t notify them of any incoming monsters . They still didn’t see even one dragon despite Sila stating there were nine nearby . Still, the hostile atmosphere and the density of mana around them clearly implied that they were indeed in a crisis .
“Arghh!” One player cried as his body was sliced into two without warning . At the same time, the earth suddenly shook and a mysterious explosion occurred on their left, sending a dozen players flying .
Even Sila wondered what was happening . He could clearly feel the dragons’ presence yet it seemed all of them were invisible . His anxiety continued to grow until Himeko’s voice entered his ears .
“It’s the Dragon Domain of Grimphast—the Night Dragon . It makes all dragons within the domain invisible . ” Himeko had read the Dragon’s Record, an item that dragon-race players could read to find information on existing dragons in order to select one of them for their Dragon Ritual, so she had memorized every ability listed .
“What about the others?” Sila asked while searching for Himeko . He couldn’t find her though . It seemed she was affected by Grimphast’s Dragon Domain as well .
“I can’t tell yet . Grimphast’s ability is very unique, so I could immediately identify it . However, the rest aren’t as obvious . ”
“Which one is the Night Dragon?” asked Sila . It was too dangerous for them to fight invisible enemies . At the very least, Grimphast had to be taken down quickly .
“I don’t know . It seems its domain also has a concealment property . ”
It was Sila who was more used to dragons . He quickly explained, “The shape of Dragon Domain is always a sphere, and the user is always in the center . Tell me which dragon is currently in the center of Grimphast’s Dragon Domain . ”
Given a direct clue, it was easy for Himeko to pinpoint an enemy using Goddess’ Resonance . As such, Sila received an answer almost immediately .
“The third one from the left . ”
Actually, gauging the size of the sphere was not a difficult task for Sila . However, it was too much for him to determine which dragon formed the center of the sphere when they were all so close together like this .
It was a race against time . Sila marked that dragon’s presence before cladding himself with Divine Raiment and darting at it as if he was an arrow being fired .
Not only was he the sole person separating from the group, but Sila was also a member of the slime race . The collected killing intent instantly concentrated on him as invisible attacks were simultaneously launching at him . In fact, just the combined pressure would have been enough to make him cough out blood if he hadn’t protected his body beforehand .
Sila sensed the incoming attacks with the keen perception he had sublimated after mastering the Cloud Part . He jumped around while summoning the Crystal Divine Sword in his hand . The power of the Great Flow was slowly accumulating within, making the sword glow blue .
Recently, Sila had been honing his own swordsmanship after he realized that the best sword art for him must be the one he invented personally .
Heaven’s Decree was the art Pumin invented for himself to use . No matter how much Sila practiced, there would be no way he could surpass his father .
Each profound art represented the will of the creator . Heaven’s Decree was a sword art that embraced a user with the flow of nature . The user focused on maintaining their best form while punishing opponents who resisted the Great Flow . It represented the Sword Prodigy’s principles .
On the other hand, Sila’s way of living was different . Even though Pumin and Sila were father and son, their ways of life were polar opposites . Sila refused to submit himself to the Great Flow . He had a desire to oppose heaven’s will and break the so-called destiny . Instead of embracing and riding the Great Flow as his father did, he decided he would use the power of nature as a tool and focus more on offense .
The more difficult the obstacle before him was or the stronger his opponent became, the more he would defy them with greater strength . The Great Flow was his tool . The power of nature existed for him to strengthen his sword with it .
The sword styles which became stronger in relation to the one he was fighting against . That was Sila’s sword art—Heaven’s Dismissal .
Heaven’s Dismissal — Third Sword Style, Redirect Stream .
The Great Flow was spinning around his blade, redirecting all the attacks to clash against each other . The remnants of magic power from the clash were later absorbed into the Crystal Divine Sword . Despite it only being temporary, Sila’s sword right now possessed peerless strength rivalling the dragons’ combined attacks .
Heaven’s Dismissal — Fourth Sword Style, Demonic Gales .
Sila’s eyes gleamed red as if he were an evil spirit . The people nearby felt like time was slowing down . Sila had successfully and flawlessly adapted Pumin’s sword art to become his own . The number of sword waves increased from one to a hundred in the blink of an eye . It was like Sila’s speed had transcended their perception .
Several dragon scales were scraped off and scattered around by the fierce gales . Blood splattered in the air while nearby trees and boulders started to crack .
Sila swiftly swung his sword, sending all of the dragons except one away from his path . He stomped his feet on the remaining dragon while cutting its limbs off .
“Grrrraaawr!!” Grimphast let out a painful cry . Its domain was forcefully canceled due to its extreme pain . As the domain faded away, the black slimy body of a certain dragon appeared . Its eyes were glowing yellow in a berserk state .
The Crystal Divine Sword immediately pierced through its chest, denying it the chance to show more of its skills .
No one could believe what they saw . Sila had killed a Marquis Rank dragon so quickly and effortlessly when, normally, tens or even hundreds of players were required to hunt one down .
Even those who had sparred with Sila found this situation too shocking . It seemed Sila’s true strength was immeasurable as it could continue to grow endlessly .
However, what Sila had done was not as easy as it appeared to be . He took the initiative when the dragons were just probing his strength, borrowing their powers to strengthen his sword then unleashing the sword’s power in an instant . Even his feet were clad with Formless Soldier in order to destroy Grimphast’s Dragon Scales and reveal its chest . His last stab was also strengthened by magical qi and Orbiting Cosmos .
Sila showed no change in his expression, yet the truth was he had lost a third of his special points .
“Miss Vata . Please start doing your job,” Sila issued a reminder when Himeko, along with the remaining dragons, also lost their invisibility . The dragons had various kinds of physiques and appearances, including sizes . One of them was about forty feet long from snout to tail-tip while some were as small as humans .
Among them stood a white-haired woman in a celestial robe . The players immediately realised her rank had to be Lord .
For the record, Lord Rank dragons couldn’t be encountered anywhere in the New World, except for two places—the Dragon Kingdom and the Single-Horned Dragon Forest . The second exception was only possible due to Sila helping Rex surpass his limits .
“I’m Eleanor . State your name, Slime . ”
Sila wasn’t interested in participating in the conversation, yet a certain someone shouted out from the group of players .
“Stop right there, Lady~! This handsome one is here, so why didn’t you ask for my name first? This is my first time seeing such a gorgeous dragon like you . ” Lomyok stepped forward, leaving the others behind . His attitude was casual as if he didn’t feel any tension .
Eleanor only shot a side glance at Lomyok . Her magic power silently surged . Sila wanted to give out a warning but it was too late . Her magic power, which was so sharp and so quiet, flew at Lomyok .
Lomyok playfully unfolded his fan and waved it once, generating an air pocket in front of him through the use of Vast Sky Qi . The pocket sucked Eleanor’s attack into it and silently disappeared .
“I still haven’t introduced myself, yet you already tried to kill me . Are all the beauties this hot-tempered?”
An imposing aura was exuded from Lomyok as soon as he took out the fan . His skin was subtly illuminated with God’s Grace Qi . No one, including Eleanor, could remove their gazes from him at that time .
Lomyok’s God’s Grace Qi possessed one unique attribute . Once activated, the user’s body would emit a charming aura that would make the user become the target of every non-targeted skill, especially offensive ones . No one would want this kind of qi, so the system easily recognized it as a new form of qi and Lomyok finally attained the essence of qi .
Some dragons had appearances similar to an alligator covered in flames . Some were like a moth while others were hardly different from a giant rock . Some had no wings and no legs, like a snake .
Himeko quickly and dutifully informed everyone of the characteristics of each dragon .
“The Raiment Dragon, Eleanor, the one who weaved clothing and built an elegant nest for the Dragon Empress,” Lomyok repeated what he heard from Himeko .
“You are a mere peasant . How could you . . . ?” Eleanor had her doubts . The weak qi she sensed from Lomyok implied that the man was only a Squire Rank human .
“Fine feathers make fine birds . I’m weak, so I have to rely on this and that . I hope you don’t mind,” Lomyok replied coyly .
He transmitted a small portion of his qi into his fan and waved it, sending sword energy at Eleanor .
Seeing his attack, Eleanor elegantly moved her fingers as if playing a musical instrument . A shield made of silk thread was beautifully created in front of her, and she was one hundred percent certain that it could easily block Lomyok’s attack . As if to mock her confidence, the sword energy effortlessly pierced through the shield like it was made of paper . The sword energy stopped one foot in front of her face before vanishing .
“I’ll tell you this only once, but you better not underestimate me . Even a weakling has a fighting style that can allow them to win . ”
Lomyok suddenly seemed impressive in everyone’s eyes . He had always been considered a well-known player with no strength to speak of . Nevertheless, it turned out that he could easily tease the Lord Rank dragon once he revealed his fangs .
Sila was no longer worried about Lomyok’s safety . Even though Lomyok’s health and special points were low, he had clothing that could resist magic power and a fan that could deal surreal damage and create an impenetrable defense . His speed was also inhuman due to Sky-Soaring White Horse Magic Qi . It seemed Lomyok could stand his ground even if he didn’t have any surprising or complicated skills . He was the prime example of qi-type’s principle—back to basics . The three basic stats—attack, defense, and speed—were all he needed to overwhelm an opponent .
Himeko seized the chance to whisper to Sila, “Eight kilometers to the north . There are two powerful beings . Based on their conversations, I’m sure the two must be Aurora and Tiamat in their human forms . ”
Sila finally knew the destination . “Everyone, listen! These dragons are weaker than they appear to be . This is the end of the era claiming that dragons are the strongest race! Show them our power! Kill them all!!”
To respond to Sila’s declaration, a warcry full of energy echoed throughout the canyon .
In any case, dragons weren’t weak like Sila claimed . He simply wanted to raise their morale . He was aware that more than half of the players present had a high chance of dying . Their deaths would contribute to his quest’s accomplishment .
For him to achieve his goal, Sila was prepared to step on his followers’ dead bodies . He needed strength—an unparalleled strength that would make him unbeatable, a strength that turned him into an unshakeable mountain instead of a mere rock .
Even though he possessed the ability to invite the slime army to help, Sila never considered this a viable option .
‘Slimes will permanently die if they are killed by these dragons, while players can revive no matter how many times they die . I won’t use monsters unless it is absolutely necessary . ’
From the players’ perspective, monsters were only masses of data that were created and killed every single day . Their lives were worthless and couldn’t be compared to the life of even the most ordinary player .
Sila had no idea that his unusual stance on the value of life would come back to bite him one day .
No human, no matter who they are, has the right to determine the value of life .