Chapter 268: Grand Deity’s Breathing
“Wait a moment,” Montra spoke to Altia, who nodded in response .
Montra opened his system window and read the information regarding Siaferia City, which he obtained after conquering it . There was a record about the city’s military status, including a list of weapons . After a few minutes, Montra finally came across the information he sought .
“Life and Evolve . . . ” Montra’s gaze fell on Orpheus’ log of creations . He finally discovered the last two conceptual abilities of the eleven Gems of Catastrophe .
His thumb was under his chin while his index finger was on his nose . It was his habitual posture when he was deeply thinking about something important .
“Awaken, Recovery, Presence, Life, Monster, Expansion, Link, Truth, Sleep, Ruin, and Evolve . ” Montra slowly repeated all of the conceptual abilities of the Gems of Catastrophe . His confidence rose from seven to nine out of ten after reading Orpheus’ log .
“The last one must be ‘Humanity,’ then . The final catastrophe that the goddess never created since it was brought directly into the game—the players . Humans possess abilities and privileges that monsters do not . In a way, we can say that they’re humanity’s conceptual ability as the last gem . ”
Montra finally got the answer he wanted . It was at that time that Zazae, who he had sent to perform a certain task in Zhongsuyuan City, contacted him .
“How was your mission, Zazae?” asked Montra .
Zazae’s face showed up on the other side of the screen . His tone of voice held a hint of regret, as he couldn’t complete his mission flawlessly as it was supposed to be . “The mission was successful, sir . However, there were some complications . The mission was anticipated and I was ambushed . I lost the Gem of Catastrophe in my possession as a result . ”
Montra fell silent for a brief moment . “It’s fine . It’s normal for plans to have errors . It’s good that you’re safe . Tell me what happened later when I return . ”
“Yes, sir . ” Zazae cut off the communication .
Montra wondered how his plan was anticipated . One more gem in his enemy’s possession meant they posed a greater threat to him . Still, Zazae’s loyalty toward him was unquestionable . It would be pointless if he scolded or punished Zazae . At the same time, if he didn’t blame Zazae, the man would be more eager to work for him so he could compensate for his mistake .
Altia gestured his hand toward the dimensional door . “Welcome, Mister Montra . This door will lead you to the Hall of Omniscience . ”
Montra approached the door and was about to enter . However, seeing that Altia didn’t say anything else, he stopped his feet one step in front of the door .
“Is there something wrong, sir?” asked Altia .
Montra stared at him with coldness in his eyes . “You really don’t plan to warn me?”
“What do you mean, sir?”
“Once I’ve stepped into the Hall of Omniscience, it will take at least a week before I can come back to the New World . If I enter now, I will be late for the first day of the war event, disqualifying me from participating . ”
Despite being caught red-handed, there was no change in Altia’s expression . “As expected of you, Mister Montra . ”
“So the game creator belongs to the Wulin Masters Association as well, right? Furthermore, they don’t want me to become the Wulin Lord . For them to use this kind of trick against me . . . ”
The moment that victory is within their grasp is the moment that people lower their guard . The game creator must’ve wanted to exploit the moment when Montra was about to obtain greater power . If he had stepped across the door, it would have been his loss, without him being able to put up a fight .
Montra continued, “Actually, it’s not that hard to assume so . There are many members of the association playing this game . It’s natural that the game creator, or at least the game master or admin, is related to the association . Have the Three Elders become this desperate? They want me to lose by using this kind of underhanded tactic?”
Altia shook his head . “Master Joshua anticipated that this method wouldn’t work on you as you are so suspicious . He gave me a message to pass on to you . Please listen . ”
“Say whatever you want . ”
“Even though it’s exceptionally powerful, Grand Deity’s Breathing is not a profound art designed for combat . It is even extremely harmful to the user, as clearly stated on the very first page .
“Master thought you only wanted to study its outline, so he allowed you to bring it into the game . By the time he realized that you intended to practice it, it was too late . Now that you have memorised every word in the scroll, deleting it from the game won’t be helpful .
“You have mastered up to the fourth stage of the art . Up to this stage, it bestows you with benefits with no harm, so you are free to use it . However, the fifth stage isn’t what you are supposed to attempt . If you do, there will be irreversible consequences . The harm that the last stage will inflict on you will be far greater than all the benefits you have obtained . ”
Montra silently listened to the warning . It was normal that him bringing the profound scroll into the game could be detected by the game creator . As for the danger attached to Grand Deity’s Breathing, it was something that he had been warned of before by the first page of the scroll .
“Another point, sir . Mister Montra, you may think that Master is like all of the others who want you to lose this fight . However, Master is on your side more than you can possibly imagine . He wants you to withdraw for other reasons .
“If you give up the Wulin Lord position now, you will have more time to take care of other matters . The time will be too tight if you wait until this mess in the association has come to an end . The enemy of the association is making their move and the association will soon encounter a crisis . Master wants you to quit the association now . ”
“The Wulin Masters Association has no enemy . ” Montra had lived in the association since he was born . He would have known if the association had a notable competitor .
“You’re smart, Mister Montra . What organization doesn’t have an enemy? If there is no enemy, why do the Three Elders uncompromisingly disagree with you over bringing the association into the light? They are afraid you will make the association too open, becoming an easy target . If there is no enemy, why does the association have to stay hidden in the underground world? No, in fact, the association has a formidable enemy that they can’t possibly take down . That is why the Three Elders refuse your ideology and want Sila to take the position . However, Master has a different opinion . He believes only you have the power to stop the impending crisis that will inevitably occur . ”
Listening to Altia’s explanation, Montra couldn’t bring himself to deny the possibility that the association might have an enemy, but he wondered why only he had the power to stop the crisis . Even though he was called a genius, he was merely human . He was sure that there were many people who were stronger, smarter, and more exceptional than him out there in the world . Thus, this part of Altia’s story seemed baseless . Nothing could ensure him that what Altia said was the truth . The whole story could be a lie—a trick to persuade him to give up the Wulin Lord position .
“Master also told me that, as compensation for you giving up your dream, he will reveal to you your mother’s whereabouts . ”
“What did you say?!”
“You heard me correctly, Mister Montra . Your mother is still alive . You will know the whole truth once you’ve stepped through this door . ”
Montra’s resolve was somehow shaken . Despite this, he believed in himself more than others . A proposal that seemed too good often came with deadly poison .
“Tell this to your master . I will search for the truth myself . I, Montra, am not the kind of person that simply waits to be fed the answers . I will search far and wide with my own head and my own hands . In addition, if the enemy really exists, they will be my next target after I am done with Sila . ”
Altia showed a dry smile as he couldn’t accomplish the mission he was assigned . “I take it that you won’t enter the door, then . ” He took a certain item out and handed it to Montra . “This is the Monster Stamp, sir . Although I’m giving this to you now, it’s not usable without visiting the Hall of Omniscience, which won’t open for you again . As such, you will never be able to use it . ”
Montra didn’t care . He received the Monster Stamp and stored it in his system window . “I’m confident in my victory even if I haven’t visited the hall . ”
“One last thing . Master told me that you have been destined to lose in this war since the start . There exists a method that will guarantee Sila’s victory . If he finds what it is and exploits it, you will instantly lose without a way to make a comeback . You only have one method to counter that, but it may cost you your life . ” Altia bowed his head . “Please beg my pardon . I will leave . ”
The Supreme Sage vanished along with the door he came through, leaving Montra alone inside the throne room .
Is there really such a method to guarantee victory for Sila?
Montra believed his plan was close to perfection . Still, he was aware that there was no such thing as absolutely perfect . Man’s schemes are inferior to those made in heaven . All he had to do was persist through hardships to the best of his abilities .
Revin soon contacted him . Montra guessed Revin’s sword duel against Kraizer must have come to an end . He opened his system window to start the call, and he found out that his friend’s life was in grave danger .
In front of Montra was a member of Kimon, whom everybody in the association had been taught since childhood to avoid . Flee on sight, or commit suicide if already captured . Those were the countermeasures .
Becoming Kimon’s target meant half of their life had already entered Hell’s Gate .
The magical spear returned to his hand . Montra cast a healing spell to detoxify the poison in Revin’s body before knocking it against the ground once to send Revin to the guild’s headquarters .
“You’re not afraid of us? Your courage is commendable,” remarked Asava .
Montra’s senses soon picked up another presence . Apparently, Vlad quietly showed up behind him, ready to take action .
“We assassins can do anything for the sake of killing a target, so please pardon us for using the power of friendship—going two versus one . ” Asava slowly raised his hand .
Montra glared at Asava's slightest actions . Asava was a living killing machine . Taking his eyes away from the man even for the briefest moment could easily spell demise .
However, the oppressive aura coming from Vlad also wasn’t something Montra could ignore . Vlad’s qi spread over and could pressure even Montra, who had became Emperor Rank just recently . Montra didn’t understand how a man could possess such a bottomless amount of inner force .
Montra had to go against two dreadful dark arts from the Hell’s Gate Islands simultaneously . Sage of the Six Disasters was the most conceptual among the four arts . He couldn’t predict what kind of move Asava would take against him . All of the killing methods that the man possessed were equally capable of taking a person’s life .
As for the Vajra Qi, it was the physically strongest dark art among the four . It signified the simplicity of qi—as swift as the wind, as gentle as a forest, as fierce as a flame, as unshakable as a mountain, as powerful as a lightning bolt, and as secretive as a shadow . Such simplicity was extremely difficult for Vlad’s target to cope with .
It was time for Montra to rely on Grand Deity’s Breathing . As expected from a dark art, the art was insanely easy to practice . It required the user to focus on matching their movements with profound breathing techniques . Each stage could be mastered relatively easily if the user concentrated enough . This art consisted of five stages, though none of them affected the user’s core inner force and martial arts . It acted like a supplemental power that elevated the user’s strength to another level . It was the reason Montra picked this dark art to practice .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — First Stage, Stabilize Breathing and Return to Nihility . It was the stage where the user stabilized their breathing to enhance their focus . The user would be able to stay calm even when surrounded by dangerous foes .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — Second Stage, Hold Breathing and Borrow the Heavenly Eyes . It was the stage at which the user held their breath and looked at things around them thoroughly, enhancing their observation skills and insight . The user would be able to see even the slightest details that normally would’ve gone unnoticed .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — Third Stage, Regain Breathing and Forget the Past Lives . It was the stage which broke the user’s physical limits without harming their body . The user would be able to use 100% of their strength as they could constantly stay in their peak form .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — Fourth Stage, Lose Breathing and Step into the Void . It was the stage that completely concealed the user’s presence and killing intent .
As for the final, fifth stage, Montra had memorized the breathing method to reach this stage, but he had never attempted it before . It was the only stage that came with a downside and the only stage that even the art’s owner couldn’t master . Any practitioners granted access to the manual were banned from practicing the final stage, as they would surely regret it .
Using Grand Deity’s Breathing, the user must start from the first stage then gradually unlock the power of the next stages . Facing against Kimon’s Heirs, Montra had already used it to the fourth stage before coming to this place .
His anxiety and worry were gone from his sea of thoughts . His body and mind were like empty vessels, ready to cope with all kinds of problems using his heightened concentration .
Montra felt his body become extremely light . His eyes saw through things which he couldn’t have normally seen, like Vlad’s movements behind his back .
The vision he saw wasn’t real since he didn’t have a third eye on the back of his head . Even so, he really did see what was happening behind him . The sight he envisioned was too profound to be explained like he could predict Vlad’s movements with merely the change in the wind’s current .
Montra suddenly tilted his spear, and two metallic sounds rang out .
Asava furrowed his brows . He hadn’t moved a muscle when he fired two silver needles covered in snow wind . It was unexpected that Montra could sense and perfectly block them .
The spear is a weapon that excels at attacking what is in front of it . Montra realized he would be in a bad spot if he was surrounded, so he stepped forward to approach Asava . His best bet was to kill the leader . Montra violently thrust his magical spear without holding back .
The magical spear flew toward Asava . Both speed and power were top-notch . However, with only a gleam from Asava’s eyes, Montra felt his power drained from him and the strength in his wrists, holding the spear, weakened .
Meanwhile, a saber appeared in Asava’s hand . The Eminent Immortal’s Heir thrust his saber and the blade curved like an actual serpent, aiming for Montra’s wrist . The power imbued in this blade surprisingly belonged to Montra himself .
The blade left a large cut on Montra’s wrist . He tried to activate Reversed Holy Scale to shift the position of the injury, but found that his power was in the state of disorder .
It was Asava’s Reflecting Disaster, his manipulation art, that rendered his opponent incapable of controlling their inner force properly .
Montra’s wrist was bleeding . The wound from Asava’s saber was brown as if it had come into contact with poison . He forcefully circulated Triple Sky Energy to drive the poison from his system while it was still on his skin .
Montra jumped backward, stabilizing his breathing to regain his focus . He still stared at Asava while brandishing his magical spear backward at Vlad .
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Brandishing Sattaloha .
A simple yet powerful move combined with an Emperor Rank weapon . Its attack power was lethal . Even Kawin or Sila would have a hard time taking it head on .
However, it was different in Vlad’s case . He simply tilted his head and used his shoulder to block Montra’s attack . The Emperor Rank magical spear collided against Vlad’s shoulder, but the man’s body was anything but ordinary . The sound of metal striking metal was loud and thunderous . Vlad’s body remained intact while the impact from the clash was enough to tear apart Montra’s finger muscles . He almost lost his grip on the spear .
Vlad’s indifferent expression made it seem like it belonged to a walking corpse . He grabbed Montra’s magical spear with his left hand and tossed Montra to the sky using his herculean strength .
Montra’s body rotated in mid-air, ten meters above the ground . His vision was spinning, but he still caught an unbelievable sight .
With a single flick of his feet, Vlad sent himself into the sky, even higher than Montra . He used his qi to control his weight as he could step onto the air with ease . He slapped at the floating Montra, sending him back to the ground at high speed, like a comet .
Montra crashed against the ground, severely injured . At least two of his bones must have been broken .
“Do you know that Vlad possess a tremendous amount of inner force? He can comfortably carry his weight with qi . Also, his mastery over his qi allows him to step on a grain of dust in the sky . There are fewer than five people in the world who can do this . Don’t expect him to be slow just because of his physique,” Asava commented without moving .
Montra saw Vlad descend from the sky like he was walking on invisible stairs . Surprisingly, Vlad could achieve this without using any in-game skills . His marvelous ability was beyond imagination . Montra could hardly believe it even though it was unfolding right in front of his eyes .
These people were well-trained assassins . They were born to assassinate and their only expertise was assassination . Their killing skills were naturally second to none . Montra could hardly survive despite giving his all .
Even when he was in his peak condition, he was still no match for the two of them . Then what? Does that mean he has no choice but to lose his life here? Is this the place where his dream comes to an end? The place where even the snow wasn’t real but artificial .
The answer to both questions was no . It was forbidden to attempt it, but so what? No one had ever mastered the art, but so what?
The more they said he couldn’t do it, the more Montra would be eager to show them he could . The more dangerous they said it would be, the more willing he was to dive right into it .
Choices and ways of survival were things one had to create, not simply wait for . There were no things such as luck or fortune . Nothing is impossible for humans, especially for the human named Montra .
Even if he was fated to lose, he would win . Even if he was destined to die, he would live on .
Montra’s way of living was clear . He was the only one who got to write his tale . There was no destiny . There would be no regrets . In his life, the only regret he felt was the regret that he hadn’t chosen the path he wanted to take .
Grand Deity’s Breathing — Fifth Stage, Sacrifice Breathing and Abandon Humanity .