Chapter 264: Flames
Sounds are vibrations that typically propagate as audible waves of pressure . Some sounds are meaningful, while some are not . In any case, they can directly or indirectly affect people’s emotions . Some sounds can make people feel lively while others can make people feel depressed, both depending on the listeners and the timing .
Goddess’ Resonance was the most mysterious dark art among the ones taught on Hell’s Gate’s Islands . This dark art was divided into two parts—the Receiving Part and the Sending Part .
Regarding the Receiving Part, the practitioner of this art would have a heightened sense of hearing, allowing them to detect danger from even the faintest of sounds . The user could even hear sounds that no ordinary human could pick up, such as breathing, blood flowing through veins, injuries, and qi circulation . Thus, even though Heaven’s Heiress didn’t have exclusive martial arts like the other three Island Masters, each generation of Heaven’s Heiress could learn different kinds of martial arts through the Receiving Part . In fact, Himeko had learned several martial arts during her life as a spy, including from the Sky Dragon Dojo and the Flaming Cloud Dojo .
As for the Sending Part, the practitioner could let out sounds in various forms . The sound sent by the user has the power to manipulate the target’s emotions without them realizing . At the highest level, Heaven’s Heiress could even manipulate people’s inner thoughts, confusing or distracting the opponent . This dark art worked especially well against an art which required great concentration or a calm state of mind, since Heaven’s Heiress could cause the target to experience qi deviation without even touching them .
A prerequisite for learning was that the practitioner must be female . In addition, a grave downside of the art was that the user mustn’t have an attachment to a target . Whenever Heaven’s Heiress developed feelings for her target, the effectiveness of the art would be reduced by more than eighty percent . This was a secret known only to the various holders of the Heaven’s Heiress position .
Sila’s sound had been lost for longer than twenty minutes . Himeko looked in the direction which Sila went in, a hint of concern shown in her eyes .
Even so, her duty right now was to secretly provide support to other players . Himeko exerted the Sending Part, sending a sound—which human ears could pick up but couldn’t hear—in a wide area .
Listening to the silent noise, people mysteriously began to calm down despite facing down several high-ranking dragons . Their fear and anxiety vanished mysteriously, making them be able to hold their ground in a battle to the death without hesitation .
As Lomyok was stalling the Lord Rank dragon, the rest of the players had an easier time fighting . Even a dozen Marquis Rank dragons would have a hard time overwhelming the combined forces of citizens from Belacia City and Lord Rank monsters, especially when their teamwork was in top condition . The players disregarded pride as they fought together, ganging up on one dragon at a time .
Only Mamon stood alone doing nothing . Clute, like Himeko, was supporting the players, blocking lethal attacks that would kill the intended targets if he didn’t step in .
Amidst an intense battlefield, each player was like a candle burning faintly in a storm . They were weak if they were alone . However, as the number of players wasn’t just one but a hundred, a mere candle could become a firestorm .
In the appropriate conditions, the Belacia Army—which was hardly different from a suicide squad at the beginning—could become a firestorm that gradually spread and reduced the mighty dragon race to ashes .
A wind could extinguish a fire, yet it could also cause a fire to burn hotter and faster .T/N: A friendly reminder: ‘Vata’ in Thai means ‘Wind . ’
Under the secret guidance of Heaven’s Heiress, each player could exert the most of their potential and put it into the fight .
Still, even if her body was there, Himeko tried to send her voice to reach Sila . Her voice might as well be just a weak breeze, but it carried her will to encourage a certain flame fighting against the light and darkness .
While the flames of battle were shining ever brighter in the canyon, Sila’s flames were literally burning . However, they weren’t burning his opponents, but himself .
Since the two dragons would immediately revive even if he killed one of them, Sila decided not to attack until he figured out how to kill them simultaneously . Luckily for him, this room was spacious enough for him to roam free with his profound movement techniques . Among the ten attacks coming from the two dragons, there were only three that he needed to block .
This hopeless battle was the best firewood for practicing Flaming Cloud Qi . Mora had recommended that Sila master the Cloud Part first before attempting the Flame Part . However, by experiencing the Flame Part with his own body, rather than considering the above learning sequence an effective method, he would say it was absolutely necessary to master the Cloud Part prior to attempting the Flame Part .
It was simple to say ‘maintaining the balance of power,’ but it was a hundred times more difficult to do so in practice . Sila’s body was now like a human furnace . The flame must be hot enough to melt his inner force while pushing him to his limits yet not too hot so it doesn’t reduce its user to ashes .
To master the Flame Part, not only does one need to melt and purify their inner force with their own flames, but they also have to supplement the flames with external force from enemy attacks . The user must maintain the balance of power, defend against enemy attacks, and also find a way to win the fight .
After Sila had evaded and blocked their attacks for ten minutes, he finally got the hang of Tiamat and Aurora’s fighting styles and the characteristics of their magic .
Based on his observation, Aurora’s magic was about illusions . She could create all kinds of illusions—disregarding shapes, sizes, or even attributes . In terms of numbers, she could maintain a maximum of seven at any time .
On their own, illusions are incapable of dealing damage . Thus, Sila was confident that Aurora must possess at least one more kind of power . He noticed that every time her body faintly glowed with her Light-Bending Dragon Scales, her illusions would temporarily materialize and become tangible . Based on what he had seen so far, Sila could tell that her illusions could only become tangible for three seconds, though he wasn’t sure if that was actually her limit, or if she was just baiting him .
Tiamat’s magic resembled Aurora’s, though they were polar opposites . She possessed the power to summon real dragon eggs . Through her Chaos-Creating Dragon Scales, she could deceptively accelerate the growth of the eggs . The dragons that hatched from the eggs would be smaller than the original dragon due to their unnatural growth .
Unfortunately, their attack power wasn’t inferior in any way . Sila had blocked Python’s Earth Spear with his hand and his wrist was temporarily numb as a result . The Python Sila had fought wasn’t this strong, but it had only been Knight Rank . If its rank was Marquis instead, its attack power would have been around this level .
The only reassuring facts about these mini dragons were that their defense was rather weak and their intelligence was quite low . Sila had successfully killed some of them with suntetsu and they had died in just a few hits without trying to dodge .
For the record, these dragons were bestowed fake lives by Tiamat’s black magic . Therefore, it was inevitable that they only possessed low health points and an incomplete thinking process . They were merely miniature creatures that would follow a few of their master’s simple instructions before dying . They were different from Entomomageia, which was living magic . Not only could the summoned insects follow complex commands, but they could also survive on their own without instructions .
Three sources of power within Sila’s body was competing against each other without restraints . The first one was Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, which continued to change elements on its own . The second one was Flaming Cloud Qi, a power so hot and intense that Sila felt like he was bathing in a volcano . As for the last one, it was the most mysterious and unpredictable power . When the former powers were about to melt and merge together, this abnormal power would always act up and intervene in the process . When the two aforementioned powers became weakened, this third power would vanish without a trace . Despite the annoying mystery surrounding it, it was because of this power that Sila was still alive .
Formerly, when Mora pointed out that this mysterious power was hiding while dormant in his body, Sila had believed that it was Tiger Dragon Qi—the first genuine qi art he had practiced . However, its bizarre movements told him that he was mistaken . This third power was too eccentric . Sometimes it brought him pain, sometimes it helped him, sometimes its circulation became fast, sometimes it was slow . All in all, it was too random and there appeared to be no pattern to its circulation method . It freely ran through Sila’s veins without him being able to control it .
Based on the distance the two dragons maintained against him, Sila could discern that these two dragons were not combat types but tactical fighters . Still, their strength was fearsome thanks to their fused Dragon Domains—Absolute World of Light and Darkness . Under their Dragon Domains, every hit Sila took was heavy as if it belonged to a combat-type dragon .
The fact that he could stay alive this long could be attributed to his large pool of health points, the high-speed healing of qi-types, the three slime skills which he had been using in a defensive manner, and Heaven’s Dismissal Sword Art—which he was using to weaken the strength of their attacks . Without any of these components, Sila would have died within the first few minutes .
Still, he could hardly maintain his best form . Both internal and external damage caused him to suffer in both mind and body . It was at this time that his concentration broke and he was half a second too slow to take action . It was the opening that the two dragons had been looking for .
“Dorolia, Hammer of Absolute Zero!!”
“Seven orbs, one truth! Fist of the Dragon King!!”
The two Lord Rank dragons’ voices rang out harmoniously . Anyone who heard how synchronized the voices were would think that no one could ever hope to achieve the same result .
The mini Snow Dragon flying near Sila’s feet sent a small block of ice at Sila’s breastbone . The ice cube was small yet the power contained inside was enough to destroy Divine Raiment in one hit . The remaining impact also sent Sila flying upward while he was coughing out blood .
The momentum of the impact hadn’t run out when a giant dragon’s palm appeared above Sila, its shadow covering his whole body . The seven orbs shone together as the dragon’s palm struck down, swatting Sila like a fly and sending him crashing into the pool .
The impact was so powerful that the pool’s floor cracked and tidal waves were formed . Blood gushing out from Sila’s body dyed the pool pink .
Sila’s power was moving ever so slowly to heal his wounds, its usual speed nowhere to be seen . His muscles and veins were in a tattered state . Even worse, the internal problem was more problematic than the external one . Even if he didn’t die under the dragons’ hands, he would eventually die from Flaming Cloud Qi, as he was slowly losing control over it .
His vision underwater was blurry, but Sila could clearly hear the sound of objects sinking . Taking a side glance, he noticed six or seven mini Leviathans swimming his way .
“Shield . . . of . . . Illuminus,” Sila activated the skill to desperately prolong his life .
A sturdy golden barrier was formed around him, blocking the Leviathans’ powerful attacks . They would only swim around him for a few more seconds before disappearing . Still, another batch of them soon followed .
As Sila was thinking he was safe, at least for a short time, an illusory sword soon appeared and passed through both Shield of Illuminus and Sila’s body before changing from intangible to tangible, adding one more wound to Sila’s stomach . He punched at the sword, which then shattered and disappeared .
Apparently, Aurora was using high-level techniques against Sila . She utilized her illusion that could pass through any object to penetrate Sila’s defense before changing false to true .
‘How the heck can I win this? Even Illuminus can’t completely block the attack . . . they are too fraudulent . ’
Sila was exhausted as he could hardly hold his breath underwater . He decided to bet everything on his defense by activating Light of Illuminus on himself within the Shield, blocking Aurora’s illusionary attacks .
“Don’t give up . ” A quiet whisper entered his ears . It was Himeko’s voice .
At first, Sila thought he was imagining things . However, the sound became louder each time he tried to listen to it . These words repeated with no signs of stopping . ‘Don’t give up’ echoed throughout his head as if Himeko was right next to him, cheering him on .
“Don’t give up, Sila . ”
Sila quickly became cool-headed . He shouldn’t be impatient . He would waste more time if he acted too rashly .
Sila took Franz’s pellets out and threw them into his mouth, swallowing them together with pool water . The three of them were Royal Blood—which quickly restored health points but came with the risk of too much blood gushing out of the consumer’s body—King’s Core, which temporarily amplified power but came with the risk of causing the consumer to explode due to the surge of power, and Queen’s Tear, which explosively regenerated special points while risking a lethal outburst of power . These three pellets were suitable for a monster like Franz but incompatible with a human’s body . The risk of dying was rather high if the undiluted forms were consumed .
Sila’s body started to recover at an unbelievably fast pace . Against the risk, the mysterious power took the first action, trying its best to weaken the surplus recovery power . Still, its power alone couldn’t stand a chance against the three pellets combined .
With the third power showing itself, Sila finally got a chance to carefully observe it .
‘Ah! It’s Yin Yang Energy!’
Sila could recognize it in an instant . It was Yin Yang Energy, the qi that he deleted prior to developing Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . It was his first original qi art born from merging Tiger Dragon Qi and Dark Psychic Corrosion together .
‘I see . It couldn’t be deleted completely . The system couldn’t delete an inner force that is genuine in real life . ’
As he came to know its identity, Sila finally understood why he had failed to melt these three powers together . That was precisely due to the nature of Yin Yang Energy . He wasn’t trying to merge three power together, but four . Yin Yang Energy was a contradictory power on its own, so it didn’t cooperate when he attempted to merge it with more power .
Light of Illuminus had already negated most of the damage it had absorbed in preparation . It wouldn’t be long until the skill was forcibly cancelled .
Sila hurriedly and calmly took actions . He started by stopping all of his qi to turn his body into an empty vessel ready to contain an incoming power . With no qi protecting him, Yin Yang Energy surged and spread throughout his body . Sila seized this chance to maintain the balance between qi and psychic power . The qi part flowed through his veins while the psychic power part flowed in reverse . Since Sila had fused them in the past and his mastery of inner force circulation had improved a lot ever since, he could take full control of them in a short period of time .
Once Yin Yang Energy had stabilized, Sila did the same thing with Flaming Cloud Qi and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi . One flowed through veins and the other flowed in reverse . All of them connected in his heart according to Flaming Cloud Qi’s circulation method .
The three powers could stay together peacefully in his body, yet they refused to merge and become one . Instead, it was as if they were dividing the space in his body into three and living on their own .
‘I need an external oppressive force . . . it will be the last process to master the Flame Part . ’
Sila deactivated Illuminus’ skills, which immediately prompted four Leviathans to shoot waves at him from different directions . The impact crushed him as he was in the center, sending the water in the pool into the sky while Sila sank into the floor underneath .
Sensing external harm, the three powers melted down and merged together with the initiative of Flaming Cloud Qi . An uncomfortable feeling of blockage finally left Sila as if he had been holding his breath and finally got to inhale fresh air . He felt a blissful moment and his brain was free from shackles .
Sila kicked the floor and went flying above the pool, stopping himself in mid-air .
Sila’s whole body emitted the fearsome might of his qi . He could stay in the sky with qi’s pushing and pulling techniques in a way that he couldn’t do so before . Black flames were swaying around him as his hair became completely black while his eyes beautifully shone ruby red .
The change of atmosphere around Sila caused the two dragons to stop and re-evaluate him . Right now, Sila felt he had become stronger than ever before . He tried using the Great Flow to borrow the power of nature and found that what materialized on his palm were flames of qi instead of the usual faint vapor .
The Crystal Divine Sword was currently in the pool, so Sila summoned the Crystal Demonic Sword into his hand .
Heaven’s Dismissal — Second Sword Style, Crushing Mountain .
Sila struck his sword at the pool and evaporated the water inside the Sacred Pool in an instant . He pulled the Crystal Divine Sword into his other hand before closing his eyes and activating a certain skill that he was sure would help him defeat these two dragons .
Evil God’s Essence — Transcendent Moon Reflecting Mirror .
The other Sila materialized next to him . Both of them were absolutely identical . The only difference was one of them wielded a thick light-blue sword while the other was holding a black sword with a jagged blade .
With the qi and psychic power in Sila’s body perfectly melted down and fused thanks to the Flame Part, Sila could finally use psychic power as skillfully as Dark Self did while the same applied to Dark Self’s mastery over qi . Only their personalities were different . They had taken one step further to the state of absolute duality .
“Finally, we meet . ”
“No words are necessary . The Dragon of Darkness is mine,” Dark Self replied curtly .
“Sure,” Sila nodded as he took a look at the two dragons, who both looked confused since Sila and Dark Self were identical like twins . “Let’s find out which one will make a better pair . Yours or mine . ”
“Split and destroy . ” Dark Self’s short sentence explained everything Sila needed to know . Dark Self leaped toward Tiamat while Sila closed the distance between him and Aurora at the same time . Even their movements were alike .