The match ended unexpectedly fast . Sila handed Crow the Aegis Armor and the golden potion which he had taken from Shueria .
“Please give them back to Shueria, sir . ”
Crow took them without saying anything . It was already fortunate enough that Sila was willing to return them . The value of these items was so great that normal players wouldn’t be able to imagine .
Sila used his Lordship on himself, so he didn’t get the chance to use it on Shueria . As a result, they would have to wait two hours before the man revived . The reviving spot for Shueria must be none other than the Valley of Immortals . Nevertheless, Kiryu refused to wait . He was quick to claim the right of the victor .
“Since that was a proxy war, it means this is our win . Am I right?” Kiryu turned to speak with Sanon, the middleman .
Sanon nodded . “You’re right . Exactly as we have agreed on, your side won the match . May I ask what you want from Crow?”
“I want Crow to not involve himself with the Single-Horned Dragons anymore . I want his promise . ”
Crow’s eyes were wide open . “Is that all you want? Why did you have to make things this complicated, then?”
“Revenge won’t bring the dead back to life . I believe that you won’t go back on your words . We’re not on friendly terms, but we won’t interfere with each other . As long as you don’t disturb our lives, I won’t disturb yours . ”
Crow had thought that Kiryu’s demands would be more unreasonable than this . He was ashamed once he realized that his past actions were rather rude . “I understand . In that case, I’ll no longer bother the Single-Horned Dragons . ”
“That’s good . Handling whoever passing through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest to the Valley of Immortals will be our responsibility . You have no right to help them or interfere even in the slightest . However, if they manage to enter the entrance, even with just a single step, we’ll let them go . ”
Since both sides came to an agreement, everything was finally settled in a peaceful manner . As Sila also had his own demand, he opened his mouth .
“As for me, I want you to return the item you took from the Slime Kingdom, sir . ”
Crow nodded . “Sure, no problem . What do you plan to do with it though?”
Sila asked back with a hint of confusion . “The Blade-Sharpening Dragon is a weapon, so it’s obvious that I plan to use it, isn’t it, sir? It’s the only weapon within my current knowledge that can oppose Montra’s Sky-Splitting Dragon Magical Spear . ”
The atmosphere became noticeably heavier . Crow showed troubled expression for a long time before he finally inserted his hand into his clothing . He then took a small black metal box out . Its appearance was exactly the same as the one that was supposed to hold the reward for completing the quest .
“To be honest, I don’t want to give it to you at all . However, a promise is a promise . Since you want to use it, I won’t stop you . ”
Sila received the box and gently held it in his hand . “Why don’t you want me to use it, sir?”
It was Sanon who answered Sila’s question, “The Chaos Emperor Dragon was the strongest player during the test beta period . What I want to say is . . . even though most current players don’t know him, his weapon is well-known among all Independent NPCs . It’s something more than a weapon . Aside from the Tiger God, I don’t think anyone else can handle it . The Blade-Sharpening Dragon is a weapon that is more special than others . ”
“Is it because it’s a Demonic Armament, sir?”
“That’s only a part of the reason . In the New World, weapons made of Orichalcum are considered the ultimate tier . However, in the Monster Realm, although they are indeed of high quality, the tier is still not the highest . The greatest tier for weapons in Monster Soul is Demonic Armaments . While Orichalcum grows with the user, Demonic Armaments test the qualification of their own wielders . For your information, the Tiger God was the sole player in that era who managed to conquer a Demonic Armament . This fact stays the same even to today,” Sanon explained .
Crow added, “Demonic Armaments are distinctive weapons . They are loyal to their masters . Unless their masters personally hand them over to others, they will resist the commands of anyone else . Even for me, although I’ve had it for a while, it still refuses to acknowledge me . That’s why I can only keep it . ”
Sila looked at the metal box containing one of said Demonic Armaments . “How can we make them acknowledge us, then?”
“The Blade-Sharpening Dragon is a Demonic Armament with a wild nature . It’s rumored that the Tiger God was and would be the only one who could conquer it . I guess you have to show it that you’re superior to the Tiger God at the time he subdued it . Though I want to tell you that the Tiger God was unimaginably strong . He was undefeated under the entire martial world . Even until today, I still haven’t seen a single person who possesses more strength than him . ”
Sila became stressed, his head filled with questions . While the Tiger God had personally granted it to him, he doubted the Blade-Sharpening Dragon would know about that . He wondered what the difference in strength was between the strongest man, who was said to be unmatched by all, and the current him? Also, he wondered what kind of weapon was the Blade-Sharpening Dragon . What does it look like?
Sila slowly opened the box . Inside it was a shiny pitch-black scale the size of his palm . Looking closely, he noticed that it consisted of several layers of smaller scales . It didn’t look like a weapon at all . If this kind of thing could be called an armament, it seemed Sila had to change the definition of the word .
“Erm . . . Its appearance is quite weird, I’d say,” he commented .
Crow was surprised at Sila’s words . “Hm? Don’t you know that it’s in a dormant state? When active and equipped, the Blade-Sharpening Dragon will suppress twenty percent of each of your resources—be it health points and special points . It’s an S-grade item . ”
“Twenty percent? That’s quite huge . ”
“Still too low in my opinion,” Crow remarked mysteriously, “You will know the reason why yourself . . . if you can really use it, that is . ”
“How can I use it though?”
Crow scratched his head two times . “Erm . . . start from picking it up, I guess . Then, I heard that every Demonic Armament requires a user to claim ownership by dropping their blood on it . ”
Amidst everyone’s attention, Sila picked it up . “I’m in quite a hurry . Can I start right away?”
“That’s up to you . Well, this is great . I want to witness it too . I have never seen anyone claiming ownership of a Demonic Armament before . ”
“Eh? You had it with you for so long . Why didn’t you attempt it, Mister Crow?”
“Ah . . . I’m aware that I’m not qualified . It would be useless even if I tried . But you think you can do it, right?”
Even someone at Crow’s level still didn’t have the confidence . This greatly made Sila hesitate . Nevertheless, the feelings faded away almost instantly . The Blade-Sharpening Dragon was a crucial factor for opposing Montra . He had come so far . There was no way he would simply turn back due to a spur of hesitation .
Sila nicked his thumb with his nail, creating a small cut . He moved his finger above the black dragon scale . A drop of blood at the tip of his finger fell with the force of gravity . With the high tension, time seemed to stop when it landed on the scale . Everyone, with Lookhin as the sole exception, held their breaths as they anticipated a historical moment .
However, only silence followed .
Crow let out a sigh of disappointment . “Geez, what? Nothing happened . ”
Sanon showed a mild smile . “Maybe we’re expecting too much . ”
Kiryu also commented, “ . . . Right, to be honest, even I expected something to happen . It was the same for you, right, Sila?”
Strangely enough, Sila didn’t reply . Noticing that something was odd, Sanon called for Sila’s attention, “Sila? Sila? What’s wrong?”
Lookhin suddenly turned into a ball of light and was forced to enter the armor’s slot . Three seconds later, everyone realized what happened as Sila became a faint white light and disappeared .
You have died . Your level has decreased by 10 . You have lost all the money currently on you . No items were lost . You will be revived in the Valley of Immortals after two hours .
The system notification rang out in Sila’s head when his vision turned dark . Sila stood with a confused expression for a while before he noticed that he was in a place he had visited before—an empty room with nothing but a clock as its sole decoration . It was the waiting room designed for players waiting to be revived .
“Eh?! What happened?! How did I die?”
Sila had died once . This was the second time . The revival-waiting room was a place where he couldn’t utilize his power or any of his skills . It was a vast room with a monitor screen on one side of the wall . The screen showed him the cause of death, the revive location, and the countdown until he would be revived—which was separated into in-game time and real-life time . Players were free to log out if they didn’t feel like waiting . They could also connect to the internet or visit the game forum while waiting .
The last time he was in this place, the screen showed that he died due to ‘an accident . ’ Recalling it, he remembered he died in a shameful manner . He got hit by his own armor when his health points were at the lowest amount possible . He wondered what was the cause of his death this time .
“What? An accident again? What does this mean? Is the system playing a prank on me?”
Sila tried to recall the last thing that happened before he got here . He remembered he let his blood drop on the dragon scale right before he found himself in this place . Could it be that someone assassinated him?
Nevertheless, at the time he was surrounded by Kiryu, Sanon, and Crow . The possibility that someone sneaked in and killed him without any of them knowing should have been non-existent .
“You’re not sharp enough . . . ” A cold, emotionless voice came from behind Sila .
Sila was startled . He was supposed to be the only person in his waiting room . He turned his head, wondering who the other person was .
The being that was projected in Sila’s retina was a creature that he would define as a dragon . It had an elongated, black serpentine body with layers of scales . It had no legs nor wings, resembling a large serpent who could levitate above the floor . Its teeth were embedded in the gums, having several rows of serrated edges . Looking inside of its mouth, there was nothing but pure darkness . Its irises were red, contrasting its black body . If Sila didn’t pay attention, he would think that it was a large floating whip with blades attached rather than a dragon .
“W-What is this thing?” Sila motionlessly stared at it . He looked around and found that there was nothing in this room except for this weird creature . Now he really started to wonder whether the system had malfunctioned .
The black dragon slithered through the air and stuck its head close to Sila . Its red eyes scanned him from his head to his toes .
“I’m the dragon who lives on the border between life and death, between dreams and reality . Is it you who wants to become my new master?”
Sila was agape . “Blade-Sharpening Dragon?!!”
“Indeed . I’m the Demonic Armament born from the wisps of resentful souls of the dragons dying under the mighty Chaos Emperor Dragon . Only those who have overcome the border of life and death are worthy of wielding me . Only the Chaos Emperor Dragon has proved himself so far . ”
“You’re a weapon, a dragon, and also an accumulation of souls? What exactly are you?”
“I’m everything, and I’m nothing . Is it important? Everything in the world was originally one and the same—including weapons, dragons, and souls . Would you say otherwise?”
Sila declared with confidence, “What if I want you to become my weapon?”
The dragon widened its eyes . “You’re not sharp enough!!”
Suddenly, Sila’s left arm was severed . It flew to a corner of the room while his body was blown away and crashed against the wall . Red blood scattered, slowly dyeing the floor . At first, Sila felt numb, not understanding what had just happened . However, the pain soon arrived, flowing from his upper arm and reaching his brain . The pain was the greatest he had ever experienced . It hurt so much that tears slid down his face . He squirmed on the floor while gritting his teeth and pressing the wound .
The level of pain Sila set for his avatar was equal to that of reality . However, he acquired Recovering Qi and Basic Qi early on and always used them to dull the pain . Thus, he totally forgot the whole matter about pain adjustment . Now that he couldn’t even use a little bit of his power, it felt like he was forced to wake up from his dream and have to experience the cruel reality . He quickly stopped the bleeding by wrapping the injury with his clothing .
“You must overcome me . This is my trial for you . You have to stay cold, sharp, and strong—like a first-class blade that has undergone being hit by a hammer, smelting in flames, and sharpening with a stone . ”
Sila tried to suppress his pain as he replied, “This is not fair . . . I can’t use my power . . . How can I fight you . . . ?”
“Even if you could use your power, you would still be no match against me . I’m stronger than power . The Chaos Emperor Dragon overcame this trial . He bestowed me to you, but I have the right to test whether you’re worthy of wielding me . . . to test whether you have the quality I seek . ”
It turned out that the Blade-Sharpening Dragon was aware that the Tiger God had given it to him . However, this problematic weapon seemed to want to test him . Sila was angry . He wondered what it wanted from him . In the state where he couldn’t even use genuine inner force, telling him to fight the sadistic dragon with an unknown rank was no different than telling a naked man to fight a tank .
It was a fight with literally no chance of victory .
Sila slowly lifted himself up from the floor . The irises of the Demonic Dragon enlarged, observing him from up close .
“Come . Show me how sharp you are . Will it be sufficient to cause me harm?”
The dragon moved at a speed that Sila couldn’t follow . He could only hear the sound of his bones breaking before he was sent flying for the second time . He was still fully conscious, but that was the cruel part . The pain remained at full even when he was in a state where people should normally have died .
“Rejoice . You have two hours . Dying is not scary . It’s living that is scarier . Everything can be cruel to you . Without power and without helping hands, you have to become a strong blade in order to survive . ”
Sila’s pain was too intense to be measured . He looked at the dragon with blurry vision due to blood in his eyes . He panted heavily without being able to move a single muscle . All he could do was wait tortuously for two whole hours .
The Blade-Sharpening Dragon’s voice was the last thing Sila heard when the waiting time ended .
“You already know how you can find me . Come again when you are sharp enough . I’ll be waiting for you in this place . . . forever . ”