Montra’s presence, as well as his killing intent and the very traces of his power, suddenly vanished . Asava frowned as he had never seen anything like this before . As an assassin, he was taught to anticipate the worst-case scenario when something bizarre happened . Thus, he raised his hand to give a signal to Vlad, ordering him to cease attacking and maintain his distance .
Montra slowly stood up . He tightened his grip on the magical spear and took a battle stance . He was standing right in front of Asava and Vlad, yet the two couldn’t sense Montra’s presence or even his vitality at all . It was as if Montra’s existence had turned transparent .
Asava’s eyes gleamed golden . He was using Gambled Disaster, the underhanded art regarding calculating a probability . The art enhanced his senses and thinking processes within a short timeframe . It was useful when used together with the other sub-arts of Sage of the Six Disasters . With it, Asava could predict numerous possibilities and choose the action that would lead to the best possible outcome .
Montra showed no signs of using inner force, though it was possible that Asava just couldn’t sense it . Asava’s gaze inspected Montra’s injuries, which didn’t seem to be as lethal as he initially thought . Even so, it was certain that at least two of Montra’s ribs had broken .
The silence was suffocating .
Montra was the first to take action . He took the first step toward Asava .
Asava felt an ominous chill for no reason . Against an enemy with immeasurable strength and tactics, the countermeasure was to force them to make a move . He flicked his fingers, sending a signal for Vlad to attack . Meanwhile, he shifted his position to perform a pincer attack against Montra .
Vlad swiftly moved as if he was a little fish swimming through clean water . He raised his hand and struck down at the back of Montra’s head . In response, Montra took several short steps, dragging his feet and drawing an infinity symbol on the snowfield . It was Coiling Dragon Steps, the basic movement art belonging to the Sky Dragon Dojo . It was mainly an art for taking evasive actions at close range while attempting to counterattack .
Every disciple in the Sky Dragon Dojo was aware of this art as all of them practised it . Nevertheless, their level of mastery depended on their adaptation .
The Sky Dragon Dojo had tens of thousands of disciples . Among them, Sanon would provide direct guidance to a few who showed promising dedication or talent . The ones he picked would always become great martial artists in the future . Sanon’s teaching style heavily relied on his disciple’s desire and compatibility . He taught each of his disciples differently . He even sometimes taught them some traditional martial arts that didn’t belong to his dojo . He didn’t care about face and only focused on pushing his disciples further .
Sanon might be labeled as the weakest among the Three Elders, but he received more respect and honor than anyone else .
Foundations are the most important . Montra had been constantly practicing two basic martial arts—Coiling Dragon Steps and Sky-Rending Dragon Fist—every single day since childhood . He honed and adapted Sky-Rending Dragon Fist into his own art, Heavenly Destiny Fist, while maintaining Coiling Dragon Steps’ originality . In fact, he rarely used this movement art due to its incompatibility with his spear art .
Montra shifted his center of gravity to the left while locking Vlad’s ankle with his own, breaking his balance . The distance between them was too close, so Montra couldn’t properly wield his spear . He removed his right hand on his weapon and ruthlessly thrust it at Vlad’s temple .
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spearless Longinus .
Montra’s hand connected with Vlad’s temple . Vlad’s head slightly tilted from the impact while Montra’s nails were broken . It seemed bare-handed attacks would never work against this member of Kimon .
Vlad swiftly swung his arm toward Montra, which the latter jumped up and blocked it using a kick . Montra bent his knees and borrowed Vlad’s strength to soar toward Asava . He slowly drew his magical spear despite his movement speed being fast .
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Spinning Rhongomyniad .
Asava was in a bad position to perform an attack, but he was calm like always . He put his hands in front of his face before tearing the air apart . A mirror made of psychic power soon materialized and sent Montra’s attack right back at him . It was Reflecting Disaster, Asava’s art that redirected an opponent’s attack .
Furthermore, as the attack was being reflected back, Asava mercilessly used Death Disaster, his killing art, to fracture Montra’s wrists .
Montra released his hands from the spear, did a backflip, and kicked it to the sky to invalidate the reflected attack power . He then landed at the same location, still surrounded by the two assassins . He shifted his gaze to his fractured wrists and quickly cast a healing spell .
“You used the same art as Sila,” Montra commented .
Asava was still observing Montra . “Do you mean Reflecting Disaster or Death Disaster, Mister Montra? Nevertheless, both of them belong to Sage of the Six Disasters . I guess you are mistaken . ”
‘I heard that the user has to destroy his own dantian to learn Sage of the Six Disasters . I guess he really didn’t impart the art to Sila . However, his reflecting move just now was very similar to the move Sila used against Ramiel . What does this mean?’ Montra started pondering this in the middle of combat .
Meanwhile, Asava couldn’t grasp the entire situation . Some bizarre changes suddenly occurred in Montra’s body . His killing intent and power were gone, but they didn’t really vanish . The proof was the previous spear strike that was so powerful to the point where his Reflecting Disaster could hardly handle it .
There was no leakage of power . No killing intent . No inner force in Montra’s veins . There was even no breathing . Asava found it hard to believe even though he saw it with his own eyes . It was absurd to think that there existed an art that was even stranger than the four dark arts of the Hell’s Gate Islands .
The art Montra was using could hardly be called a combat art . The activation process of Grand Deity’s Breathing’s final stage was irreversible after the first use . The practitioner would lose everything and transcend the limits of humanity by achieving semi-godhood as compensation . In this state, all of the inner force in the user’s body would become fuel for the dark art . The practitioner’s body would become like an empty vessel that could hold an unlimited amount of power from nature . The profound state that the user acquired through the previous four stages would be infused in the user’s body and it would continue to stay active without need for management or control by the user .
The price for that was the user’s breathing, meaning the practitioner would become unable to breathe . This forces them to rely on inner-breathing, which would gradually use up their life force until they died . The moment the user activates the final stage of the art is the start of the countdown to their inevitable demise .
When the Chaos Emperor Dragon reached this state, his quality and quantity of inner force were both unmatched by all but two others in the entire world . Even with that, he still only had one year to live .
Montra was inferior in both regards, so he wouldn’t last longer than a day if he used the art in real life . Fortunately, he activated the art in the game, so the aftereffect was less intense . Still, he wouldn’t survive longer than approximately two real-life weeks .
Grand Deity’s Breathing had a nickname given by the art’s original owner . It was ‘the dead man’s profound art . ’
Montra felt the remains of his lifespan within his body . To be honest, he had never asked himself what was worth trading his life for . Two weeks’ worth of time was more than enough for him to handle all of his problems . The second war event would start in seven days in-game time, and that was equivalent to one and a half days in real life .
He would become the Wulin Lord when he won . After that, he would use his remaining time to assign duties to his trusted allies . He would appoint Revin and Kawin as two of the Three Elders for them to inherit his will and legacy . He would also exert his authority as the Wulin Lord to assemble people and purge Kimon .
Then, he would die . With the Wulin Lord missing, the ones responsible for leading the association would be the Elders . Even after he died, his ideology would still be passed on to the later generations .
Everything he had done was for the sake of a better future for the Wulin Masters Association . Montra was willing to sacrifice even his insignificant life for it . The association was his everything . To make it a better place had been his ultimate lifetime goal ever since he was eleven . He sought nothing more so long as that goal could be attained .
His way of life was similar to a throwing spear . It flew at full force and never came back . If it missed the target, the spear would be meaningless . Without the Wulin Masters Association, Montra would not have grown into who he was . He would not have met Kawin or Revin, learned how to wield a spear, or found his purpose in life .
“I previously didn’t have enough inner force to exert God’s Realm Spear Art’s last move . I thought I’d be able to use it in ten years if I didn't slack off . It seems I won’t have to wait . Today, you guys will witness the martial move that I have obtained by sacrificing my life . ”
Once the word spear was mentioned, Asava realized the spear in the sky had teleported and appeared in Montra’s hand once more, just like magic . Despite the fact that he couldn’t sense anything, he still felt danger . He quickly sent a hand signal for Vlad to back off .
The red crystal on the spear tip flashed once, absorbing a tremendous amount of power from Montra’s body . It unleashed his inner force and materialized hundreds of illuminating spears of different sizes, all of them floating in the sky .
Even when Montra was exerting this level of power, Asava still couldn’t sense Montra’s presence at all . He tried using Drunken Disaster to disturb Montra’s flow of power, yet it didn’t work . Montra had become a being that transcended both light and darkness . The only reflection from Montra’s pair of eyes was the void .
Nothingness is the genuine polar opposite of everything in the world .
If his enemy didn’t have power, how could Asava borrow their power? Yet, how could such a big move show no power at all?
Many questions popped up in Asava’s head . He had never encountered an opponent who was unreadable to this degree .
God’s Realm Spear Art — Spear Borrowing Izanagi .
Montra turned to face off against Vlad the invincible . He thrust his magical spear with no hesitation, then hundreds of spears rained down on Vlad . More importantly, each spear was imbued with the power of one or another martial move of God’s Realm Spear Art .
Vlad’s physique might be the best, but he wasn’t an immortal . The spears continued to create holes in his body .
As his body was wasted, the coffin on his back was opened and a small silhouette rushed out of it . Montra didn’t miss that and commanded the remaining spears to follow it .
“Unexpectedly, that peerless body is just a weapon . Now I understand why my attacks never worked . ”
Vlad clenched his teeth . His real body was a boy seemingly younger than twelve . Despite this, within his small body was a monstrous amount of inner force . In fact, his power was too great to the point where his small body became a burden . In the real world, he would control a doll or a corpse through his qi to lessen the burden on his body . In the game, he relied on a mechanical doll produced by Zeref instead .
For the record, if Vlad were to directly use his qi through his flesh, he wouldn’t be injured by an opponent because he would die by his own inner force before being able to do anything .
Vlad slapped his hands on the ground, pushing a stone wall up using his qi . He then punched the wall and generated a shockwave, creating a tornado of dirt and snow .
Listening to Asava’s whistle, Vlad clad each grain of sand with his inner force before waving the tornado toward Montra . Each grain of sand had power rivalling a meteor . All of them flew toward Montra at high speed .
Montra placed his magical spear vertically, then the remaining materialized spears flew back and lined up in front of him, acting as a barrier .
Some attacks passed through the defense, but Montra didn’t care . His mind was completely focusing on casting a high-tier spell with no regard to his injuries .
“O Lord of Stars who glistens over the universe . Daytime has yet to end thanks to thy sunlight while nighttime is never lonely thanks to thy moonshine . Darkness will eternally be beautiful with thy starlight and the sky will radiate with twinkling stars . Please heed my request and descend to the mortal world . Dance of the Star God!”
Montra was a spell caster who excelled in seizing the best timing through his mastery of Magic Delay . He usually cast a high-tier spell before the battle and accelerated the last part of the incantation when he wanted to use it . It sounded easy to perform but it was actually extremely difficult . Using Magic Delay on high-tier spells was troublesome and prone to failure . The spell would fail as soon as the user stopped concentrating on it .
Right now, there were only three players in Monster Soul who could use high-tier spells in a solo fight, and Montra was the best of them all . For the record, the second rank belonged to Ginny—who relied on the dual swords to shorten the incantation—and the third one was Bluebird, who learned only short-incantation spells . He disregarded the spell’s power, relying only on their attributes .
The sky became brighter as the stars above shone brighter than usual despite it being daytime . They were shaking and rotating like they were dancing, dropping from the above like rain .
The stars stopped in mid-air before exploding into numerous illuminating needles that scattered everywhere .
Asava darted to Vlad—who had just used a large attack and was full of openings—and used his infiltration art to escape, leaving only a trail of blood behind .
Montra stored his spear in his system window and investigated their trail . He found a previously-prepared hole there and speculated that the two assassins must have prepared an escape route in advance .
Montra didn’t know that Asava had snatched the Gem of Catastrophe from Revin . The gem was buried under a thin layer of snow at first . However, with intense clashes and explosions between both sides, the Moon Amethyst was lost and remained somewhere under the land of snow, waiting for someone to pick it up .
Montra teleported himself back to the guild headquarters . He healed his body with Infernee’s spell and rushed to his private room located underground .
He had no time to waste . Every second from now on must be spent effectively .
Opening the door, Montra saw Revin and Kawin waiting inside with worried expressions . The two of them jumped at him as soon as he entered .
“Montra! Are you safe?! How are you?” Revin was anxious .
“Kimon won’t be messing with us for the time being . Time is precious . Let’s split up and do our work . ”
“You won against them? Against Kimon?” Kawin asked, finding Montra’s response unreal . Kimon’s existence was like a horror story for members of the association .
“I relied on items and in-game skills, so I was able to hold my own against them . They escaped before I could kill them though . ” Montra didn’t want his two friends to know about Grand Deity’s Breathing, including the fact that he was going to die . He planned to tell them when everything settled .
“Wow . So cool, pal . Even Kimon had to flee with their tails between their legs . ” Revin showed a cheeky expression .
“Stop it, Revin . This is serious . The final week is important . Do you remember your duty?”
“I know . I’m going to Zhongsuyuan City, right? Having a nice chat with Lone Wolf . You can rely on my eloquence, friend . ”
“Mine is Siaferia City, handling Cross . I don’t think he will listen to me though,” Kawin added, showing that he also remembered his assigned task .
“Correct . I will be staying here . All three main cities belong to me, but I will set it up so you are both acknowledged as the city rulers . As long as you don’t leave the cities, my Lordship will be beneficial to you . ”
Montra’s Lordship was the Lordship of Protection . His comrades, excluding himself, would get a 30% increase in overall stats as long as they were within the city he conquered . This buff was decisive, especially for powerhouses like Kawin, Revin, and the Warlords .
The reason Montra selected this Lordship was that he had anticipated the importance of having a city . The world of Monster Soul was soon going to become more dangerous . Without territory, just surviving would be harsh . On the other hand, with him having the three main cities, he would only have to defend them and the number of his opponents would gradually decline .
“You two should go immediately . As for me, I will go to meet the Goddess as soon as I have finished my meeting with Zazae . ”
“Eh? Do we have to be so hurried?” Revin tilted his head . The original schedule was for Montra to meet the Goddess in the next three days .
“The sooner, the better,” replied Montra .
“Okay, then . Let’s split up . See you again when the war ends, friends . ” Revin nodded .
In order to minimize the risk that their cities would be raided behind their backs, the three of them had discussed and agreed to always remain inside their cities no matter what . Protecting the city was their first priority .
“See you again,” Montra replied while he stared at his friends’ faces as they teleported away . He tried to engrave their smiling faces into his memory as he wasn’t sure he would get a chance to see them again once he told them he was going to die .
There is a saying that death is just like a long sleep . Montra didn’t know whether that would be the case for him . Could death simply be his long break? In any case, knowing the time to die somehow made things easier for Montra . From now on, he would focus only on important tasks and handle them to the best of his abilities . When his end eventually arrives, he could calmly embrace it without any lingering regrets, because he would have done everything he had wanted to do .
Montra opened his system window and found that there was a new message from ‘Game Master Joshua . ’ He deleted it immediately without even reading the subject of the mail . Nothing was more important than the new association that he would create with his blood, flesh, and life .
“Come in, Zazae,” declared Montra . The door then opened as the strongest Dragon Warlord stepped into the room .