Chapter 266: The Master of Swords
Revin was sitting under the same tree, similar to the first duel he made with Kraizer that was accidentally prevented by Burapha . He was the type who liked to wait before the match took place . He liked to take his time doing image training and forming a strategy in advance .
Kraizer was late last time . However, he was the one who issued the challenge this time, so Revin believed it would be different . He was excited . In just a few minutes, he would be duelling the player holding the title Master of Swords .
His opponent soon arrived . The only clothing that could be seen on Kraizer’s slowly approaching form were his shoulder guard and his pants . His signature giant katana was on his back . Each of his steps were firm and resolute, as one would expect from a true expert .
Revin jumped to his feet as his magic power quickly evaporated the snow covering his clothing . The two swordsmen walked up to each other and stopped when the distance between them was two meters .
Just a millimeter more and it would be Kraizer’s attack range . The two of them were both specialists . Not only were they well aware of their range, but they could also read their opponent’s reach .
“You’re right on time today . How should we decide this?” Revin was the one starting the conversation .
“Three moves,” Kraizer swiftly replied, “We will take turns attacking each other . After the three strikes, it will count as my loss if you are still standing . You are free to have the title Master of Swords then . ”
At first glance, this proposal seemed to be unfair for Kraizer . However, the one receiving the short end of the stick was actually Revin . Kraizer rarely had to attack more than three times against the same opponent in a duel . On the other hand, Revin’s Flame Phoenix Sword Art focused on fluidity—how each move connected to one another . If he was forced to stop between performing each move, his overall fighting ability would drop .
“Deal,” Revin instantly agreed to the terms, “Even so, the title Master of Swords will be pointless if I can’t kill you in three moves . ”
Revin kept the Explosia Sword away and took a new sword out . It was a longsword with its blade so thin to the point of being almost transparent, resembling a dragonfly’s wing . Its sharpness wasn’t questionable but its durability seemed worrisome . It looked like it might just break once it clashed against Kraizer’s Heaven’s Sword of Punishment .
“Won’t you use your signature sword? I heard you are good with the Black Dragon Sword, though you didn’t use it last time . This time you have a new one yet again,” Kraizer asked as he unsheathed his katana that was as long as he was tall and held it with both hands .
“I’ve been trying many swords, and this one feels the most comfortable in my hands . Although it looks like this, it’s an grade sword, you know?”
Kraizer shifted his gaze to the pendant on Revin’s neck—the fraudulent item that Sila had warned him about . Witnessing Kraizer’s gaze, Revin removed it and tossed it inside his system window .
“I won’t use it even if I’m dying . Montra forbade me from using it against a player . ”
Revin’s pendant would give him an overwhelming advantage . Kraizer wondered why he chose to abandon it .
“You probably wonder why . My answer is that it won’t be fun . Montra would say it’s related to the plan though . ” Revin shrugged . “Oh, right . Who will make the first move?”
“You can start . ” Kraizer took his battle stance by holding his katana tightly, directly pointing the tip toward the sky .
“In that case, I won’t hold back,” Revin replied as he slowly unleashed Triple Sky Energy . Flames gradually engulfed him and dyed his sword crystal orange . He then took action in an instant . Triple Sky Energy exploded and bestowed him with an abrupt boost in power . Orange sword energy scattered throughout the sky and covered Kraizer’s vision .
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Baby Phoenix Leaves Home .
The Master of Swords circulated qi through his veins, causing his skin to glow white . His expression was that of an undisturbed monk, not panicking at all as the attack approached . He calmly waited for Revin’s move to reach its target while focusing on his reach . Soon, he flicked his wrist and hit Revin’s sword that came from a low altitude . The sword energy soon vanished as the exchange had ended .
Revin showed a smile on his face . “The baby phoenix just left its nest for the first time, so it can’t fly too high . I didn’t expect you to see through my feint . You are really great . ”
Regarding Revin’s previous move, all of the sword energy he emitted was fake . The actual move was hidden under the snow but above the ground . Kraizer’s ankle would have already been severed had he failed to block it .
“Then, it’s my turn . ” Kraizer raised his katana above his head . Qi, magic, and psychic power resonated and fused together in the blade, materializing a white giant blade that reached the clouds . He was among the very first players to attain the essence of qi . This ordinary-looking battle stance had been the foundation of his current reputation .
“Heaven-Splitting Sword . ”
Kraizer swung his katana down in the simplest manner, yet Revin was aware that this simple strike had taken his evasive movements into account .
Revin drew his sword upward, sending sword waves to block Kraizer’s move while shifting his standing position . He barely avoided death as Kraizer’s katana struck the ground, cleaving it into two . Meanwhile, Revin’s sword energy had yet to stop flaring up . They left several small cuts on Kraizer’s arms .
“My bad, my bad . Count that as my second move . My body moved on instinct . ”
“Dismissing every thought once wielding a sword . That’s a trait of a great swordsman . Well, back when I received your first move, the qi imbued in my katana also injured your ankle . Let’s call this my second move as well . ”
Revin got to re-evaluate Kraizer’s character . It was as the Master of Swords said . When his first attack was blocked by Kraizer, the destructive force within the other man’s katana flared through the earth and injured his ankle . Revin didn’t know whether it was done deliberately or not, but he decided not to raise the point . In fact, it was the main reason why he had to block Kraizer’s attack . His swollen ankle would hinder any attempts he made to evade .
“In that case, that means each of us only has one move left . Since the two of us are damage dealers, let’s throw everything we’ve got at the same time . No more alternating between offense and defense . ”
Kraizer didn’t reject Revin’s condition . Both Revin and he were indeed attackers . Even their defensive moves had dealt some damage to each other . Their wounds seemed negligible but they were, in fact, quite problematic .
Revin’s Flame Phoenix Sword Art specialized in high-speed movement, thus his footwork was extremely important . On the other hand, Kraizer’s swordsmanship required inhumane arm strength . Even though the injuries seemed small, they would lacerate if he exerted his power, and that would negatively affect the performance of his attack .
Both of them stood completely still, waiting for the perfect moment to strike .
Revin unleashed the full extent of Triple Sky Energy . The snow around him soon evaporated into vapor as his sword shone ever beautifully with clear orange particles surrounding it .
Kraizer wielded his katana with both hands while his qi circulation speed gradually increased . With his mastery regarding the essence of qi and the characteristic of his exclusive qi, his sword absorbed the power of the environment—be it grains of sand, air, ice shards, or water droplets—and fused with them . It was like his katana was the center of the elements, creating a surreal phenomenal of nature swirling and coiling around the blade .
Heaven’s Punishment — Nature’s Embrace .
It was Kraizer who took the initiative . It was rare for him to use this move—an invincible move that no player had ever survived . It was the reason why the title, Master of Swords, had never been held by anyone else .
Revin felt like he was surrounded by hostility in that instant . The environment suddenly became harmful to him . Snow winds were as sharp as qi waves . Water droplets became needles . Dust transformed into hidden weapons . Pebbles were flying around like metal objects . The earth shook as it refused to let him stand on it . Still, the power of nature wasn’t as terrifying as a certain katana .
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Mournful Red Phoenix .
A gloomy light flashed in the depths of Revin’s eyes . His swordplay, which always moved so swiftly, became so slow . The same applied to his quick footwork that was glued to the ground as if he were chained . He moved only the upper part of his body to evade subtle harmful attacks caused by nature, barely dodging each time .
The blade that was as thin as a dragonfly’s wing intervened in Kraizer’s sword path . The two swordsmen’s faces were so close to each other . The aura emitting from Kraizer’s sword inflicted injuries on Revin, making him bleed and cough up blood . On the other hand, Revin’s sword heavily shook then broke apart .
In fact, Revin was aware that this was bound to happen . He took a step back while putting his arms up to cover his vital spots . His last attack was exactly the remnants of his broken sword . Each fragment was imbued with sharp aura, like a fierce storm made of blades . It was a close distance explosion .
Kraizer was going purely offensive so he couldn’t put his guard up in time . All he could do was clad his body with qi reinforcement .
The two bodies were pierced all over by the sword’s debris, with Kraizer having received more shards . Revin pulled a piece of shrapnel out of his hand and stared at his opponent with mixed feelings .
“The sword broke, meaning the holder lost . Nothing is more regretful than having to sacrifice a good sword . The title remains with you, Kraizer . The Master of Swords has to know how to take good care of their swords . It seems I’m only a common swordsman unworthy of this title . ”
Kraizer pulled one of the debris out of his neck and pressed his hand on the wound . He then circulated qi to heal it . Still, the damage to his neck made him unable to say anything, at least for now .
Revin softly circulated Triple Sky Energy and waved his hands, collecting as many of remnants of his sword as he could . He held them with care before putting them back in his system window .
Some wounds on Kraizer were near his vital spots, so he had to focus on tending to his injuries . He was unable to stop Revin from walking away weakly .
Revin left the place, feeling disappointed that he had lost . He was one of the people who was crazy about swords . He even had a few dozen rare swords in real life and hundreds in the game .
Revin thought swords were like women; each of them had their own appeal and beauty . It was up to their partner to show off their charm to the public .
On the surface, one might say Revin was just a flirty guy with shallow thoughts . However, the truth was that his concept of beauty was rather deep . He could find every woman attractive because he always saw their good and beautiful side . He believed every woman had their own stunning side, like how every sword had their own uniqueness .
Revin opened his system window absentmindedly . He re-selected the Explosia Sword as his main weapon then sent a message to Montra . Based on the time, he was sure that their main plan should have been finished, assuming no errors had occurred .
“How about it? Is everything okay on your side?” Revin asked as Montra’s face appeared on his system window .
“There are some problems on Zazae’s side, but everything is going well . You should come back immediately,” Montra replied .
“Sure . I will go— Eh—?” Revin stuttered as his body collapsed, his face pointing to the sky . Every part of his body went numb, and even his magic power became chaotic .
With Revin’s system window being left open, Montra could see everything that was happening .
“Revin? What happened?” Montra frowned . It seemed Revin wanted to respond to his call, but he could hardly open his lips .
“It’s my art, Mister Montra . No need to worry . I will take good care of him in your place . ” Asava appeared out of thin air and stood behind Revin, who was lying on the snowfield .
Revin tried to resist the paralysis, but his attempt was futile when Asava tapped on his shoulder and the electric current seemed to jolt him with that touch .
“Arghh!!!” Revin screamed in great agony . The pain he experienced in the game was supposed to be only a tenth . Even the pain he felt when his arm was cut off in the past paled in comparison to this shock .
Montra quickly calmed down and gave Revin instructions . “Revin, don’t put up a resistance . It’s poison . Use your flame power to detoxify it . ”
Asava raised one brow and lowered the other . “You talk like you know my dark art, Mister Montra . I guess the Demon God really did betray us . Otherwise, even the people in the association shouldn’t know about our arts . ”
The previous generation Wulin Lord, Mora’s teacher—who denounced Kimon and shut down their businesses—was wary of Kimon’s wrath and decided to write down all of what he knew about their dark arts . He then stored his notes within the Profound Library for future generations to know countermeasures against inheritors of the arts .
Montra had read the notes that the previous Wulin Lord left behind, so he knew parts of the abilities possessed by Kimon’s members . Even so, it wasn’t like he knew their full capabilities . There were some secrets that each Island Master only imparted to their successor .
Montra needed Revin to know what he was up against for his friend to have a higher chance of surviving . “Sage of the Six Disasters is a dark art that is a combination of six assassination techniques—poisons, hallucinations, infiltration, manipulation, killing, and underhanded arts . The Eminent Immortal is the most skilled hitman in the world since he is armed with various killing methods . I guess what he did to you is Blossoming Disaster, his poison art . The poison that he used seems to be the kind that amplifies your sense of pain . ”
“Excellent, Mister Montra . You’re very knowledgeable,” Asava complimented Montra . There was not even a slight hint of sarcasm in his voice . “My proposal today will be direct and clear as the last one we gave you . Withdraw or die . ”
“Don’t . . . submit to him, Montra . . . Your dream is . . . Argh!” Revin’s body twitched as blood trickled down from the corners of his eyes . He clenched his teeth, refusing to let out any sounds, despite the pain being the most intense he had ever felt .
“Please take your time to make a decision . I can wait . I’m not sure I can say the same about Revin though . Herbs and plants in this game are quite different from the real world . I tried to mix them well, but I have to admit that the recipe is off . It’s possible that he will die in just ten seconds or feel tortured like this for an entire day . ”
Revin’s system window was still left open . He extended his hand and grabbed the Moon Amethyst, planning to use it to instantly reverse the situation, yet the gem ended up on Asava’s palm before he realized it .
“Snatching an item is one of my infiltration techniques . My hands are nimble and soundless . What did you expect would happen if you showed me such a valuable item?”
Asava rolled the gem around on his hand . “We assassins don’t rely on toys like this . We only rely on our skills . ” He tossed it away as if the gem was a worthless rock . It rolled along the ground and was soon covered by the falling snow .
Asava continued, “To be honest, I’d prefer to talk face-to-face in real life, not in the game like this . May I know your address, Mister Montra? Could you please tell me?”
“For you to use this kind of method . . . the Three Elders won’t just stay still doing nothing,” said Montra .
“The Three Elders banned us from harming Sila and the ones closest to him . You are not included . Please don’t be so sure of yourself . In fact, even if they forbade harming you, I will not care whatsoever . They abandoned us at the time we needed them the most . Why should we obey their orders?”
Montra fell into thought . The fact that Asava showed up alone didn’t mean the rest weren’t hiding nearby . Kimon deliberately took Revin as a hostage to lure him out and track him in the real world . They must plan to assassinate him so they can make Sila the next Wulin Lord .
The best course of action that he should follow right now was abandon Revin, log out, and change his address as soon as possible .
The connection was cut off from Montra’s side . Seeing so, Revin released a sigh of relief . However, a friendly smile could still be seen on Asava’s face .
“It seems you have been abandoned . I can help you get your revenge . We Kimon don’t kill unless it is necessary . Our only target is Montra . Just tell me his address, and I will guarantee your safety . I swear on my life . ”
The Hell’s Gate Islands’ code of conduct taught them to value their own life as the most important thing . Swearing on their life was an absolute oath that they would not betray .
“I can die for the sake of our dream . Montra did the right thing,” Revin replied, his voice steady .
“By letting his friend die?”
“We are prepared to make some sacrifices for the sake of attaining our goal . Montra is going to create our ideal Wulin Masters Association . I’m willing to die for that . No matter what you do to me, I won’t say a word . ”
Asava showed a gentle smile . “This will be interesting . I have yet to encounter someone who hasn’t broken and answered my questions . It’s not a matter of if they’ll speak, but when . The only people who don’t answer my questions are those who have already died . Do you know why? It’s because everyone has a weakness that I can exploit, including you and Montra . ”
“Montra has no weaknesses!” Revin argued .
“Sure he does . With his feeling of powerlessness in his childhood that he could do nothing but to let his mother die, he has developed a certain personality, making him unable to abandon the people he holds dear . My teacher reminded me all the time that every human always has at least one weakness . As long as we continue to search for it, we will eventually find it and be able to kill them . He also taught me that every single person has committed a sin . No one is undeserving of death’s embrace . ”
With Himeko acting as a spy, it was natural that Asava was well aware of both Sila and Montra’s backgrounds . He even knew about Montra’s deep secret which only a handful of people close to him knew .
Asava was like the strategist of the Hell’s Gate Islands, always arming himself with plans and intel .
Sila planned to capture Revin with the help of Kimon . However, that was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut . If Asava and Vlad joined forces, even Montra wouldn’t be their match .
A flash of light appeared and Montra, in a white magician robe with golden embroidery, stepped out of it . He glared at Asava with a pair of eyes that could burn even a chilling wind .
It seemed he had teleported himself to this place with a Crystal of Connecting .
“Why . . . ?” Revin couldn’t understand .
Based on what they had discussed beforehand, in the case that this kind of situation was to unfold, Montra would have to run away . In fact, Montra was always the best when it came to adhering to the plan . He always repeatedly told Kawin and Revin to stick to the plan, since the plan was the result of careful and meticulous preparation in order for them to reach the best possible outcome .
Even so, the best course of action to take doesn’t necessarily mean the most sensible one . Montra had realized this fact six years ago . The events of that day inspired him to bring a change to the association .
“As expected, you came,” Asava said before he tilted his head to dodge Montra’s spear that flew toward him .
Montra pulled Revin toward him with magic power . As for the spear, it abruptly stopped in mid-air .
Witnessing it from up-close, Asava noticed that the spear had changed its appearance . The spear was golden and had a majestic dragon engraving running along the shaft . The spear tip was a red crystal with a sharp edge . It resembled a mage staff yet was still reminiscent of a spear .
“It’s time for us to show what we’re truly capable of . Otherwise, we will always be looked down upon . We will do whatever we want from now on,” Montra said as he helped Revin to his feet .
“Do you mean . . . the main plan has already succeeded?” asked Revin .
Montra nodded . “It’s time for them to realize who the true monster is in this world . ”
Intense white aura enveloped Montra’s body, showing an imposing radiance . The true monster had finally awakened from its false slumber . His master plan had been completed without a hitch . There was no need for him to stick to trivial backup plans anymore .
“If Sila wants an all-out war, that’s what we will be giving him . He will soon regret his choice . ”
If Sila was a fearful, hideous black monster who brought terror to those who he met, Montra would be a dignified, noble white monster whose presence alone evoked respect in others .