Zhongsuyuan City, the Land of Twilight, also went by the title of the Qi Kingdom .
Some leading figures of the Wicked Union—mainly Lone Wolf and Beluga—gathered as they were waiting for someone who had requested a meeting . In addition to the two aforementioned members, only Elso and Hong Tong accompanied them .
Elso was standing uptight, his gaze wandering around in search of danger . As for Hong Tong, although he looked like a weak scholar on the surface, his position in the Victorious Wolves Sect was one of the vice-leaders . He rarely appeared in public due to personal reasons such as being available at different times, out completing solo quests, or simply considering the public appearance too troublesome . In any case, his strength was highly commendable . In the Victorious Wolves Sect, each vice-leader specialized in different departments, and regarding strength, he came out on top . Even though he wasn’t as well-known, everyone in the guild knew that his ability was only slightly below Lone Wolf’s .
The four of them were waiting inside a sloppy house with a Chinese pattern located at the border of the city, next to the wasteland which led to the Desert of Death . The usual uncomfortable heat during the day turned into a chilling cold at night . The icy wind breezed past their skin as their breaths became visible .
No one said anything yet . They simply waited .
“He came,” Beluga suddenly spoke up, “He really did come alone . ”
The four originally stayed in complete darkness because no one needed a source of light to see in the dark . However, once the person they were waiting for approached, each of his steps left a cluster of flames on the ground shortly before disappearing . It was the sole source of light in the vast wasteland .
“Actually, it’s not in my nature to arrive late . ” The playful voice was tinged with the feeling of friendliness .
“The great city ruler said he had something to discuss with us lowly peasants, so we had to make haste when coming here, so as to not displease you, Venerable Flame Monarch . ” Beluga smiled .
Revin opened his system window, which prompted Elso to immediately stare daggers at him . Noticing the gaze, Revin slowed down his action . “Hey, calm down, man . I’m not doing anything suspicious . I’m just trying to take out a torch . Do you guys like staying in the dark or what? How weird . ”
Revin was searching for half a minute and eventually closed his system window . “I can’t seem to find it . I was sure I put it there though . ”
Lone Wolf placed his palm on a wooden table . Flames soon ignited on it and spread around, expanding into a ring of flames surrounding the entire house . The darkness was replaced by warm light . For the record, the control over these flames was top notch as the intensity of the flames was only at the level to brighten the room, neither damaging it nor spreading elsewhere .
“This should be enough, right?” asked Lone Wolf .
Revin approached the four without paying their doubtful eyes any mind . He sat down on a wooden bench, right between Lone Wolf and Beluga, as if they were intimate companions .
“By the way, I forgot to mention that I’m only the deputy ruler . The actual city ruler is still Montra . Well, I can issue one or two orders in this city though . ”
A smile was still hanging on Beluga’s face, but he became noticeably less talkative . “In that case, what do you want from us, sir deputy city ruler?”
“I’m here just to seek the answer of a single, short question . ” Revin held up one finger and spun it around in circular motion . “What is the Wicked Union?”
Lone Wolf declared, “The Wicked Union is a group of people who gathered with the intention to oppose the Heavenly Dragon Guild . We hold virtue in high regard and won’t yield under greater power being used for incorrect paths . If what the Heavenly Dragon Guild does is considered actions of the righteous side, we’ll gladly take on the role of the wicked villains . ”
Revin nodded . “Interesting . Truly interesting . And what exactly is the virtue you spoke of?”
Beluga smirked . “Didn’t you say you came here to ask a single question? That was the second one . ”
“Don’t misunderstand . I genuinely want the answer to that one question . However, the answer provided by Lone Wolf still has a part that I don’t understand . I need to ask further to clear the possible confusion . I heard that Lone Wolf gave people virtuous speeches during the gathering party in order to convince players to join your alliance . Regrettably, I didn’t attend that party, so I hope I can get to hear them once today . ”
Lone Wolf still sat with his back up straight . His eyes were determined as if they were two suns that wouldn’t ever lose their glow . “Being virtuous is acting with moral and personal beliefs, while not harming others . The Heavenly Dragon Guild threatens, kills, plunders, collects protection fees, and causes troubles to a majority of people . We can’t accept those kinds of actions . ”
Revin nodded . “Oh, I see, I see . Hm? But—?”
Beluga began to dislike the current atmosphere . Although Revin acted in a friendly manner and didn’t show any malice, something about him made Beluga feel restless . His intuition warned him to be watchful around this man named Revin .
“I just think that maybe there is some misunderstanding between us . The Heavenly Dragon Guild in my eyes doesn’t seem to match what you said . What we do is for the sake of the community at large . Actually, the guild’s goal is for creating Heaven on Earth, opening up the opportunity for players to fight and grow together . Even though we conquered the three main cities, we haven’t prevented entry or exit . Our products are reasonably cheap, even cheaper than what you can find elsewhere . About the protection fee, it’s like how its name suggests, it’s a fee for being under our protection . Compared to having to wander in the wild and risk encountering monsters, paying some small cash to support the army guarding the cities is quite logical . ”
Beluga argued, “Those are mere facades you’re putting on . The Heavenly Dragon Guild in the past is far from being virtuous . It’s still the same even now . You’re just becoming more brazen . ”
Lone Wolf smiled at the usual sharp-tongued Beluga . In any case, he was worried as Revin, too, was smiling . It was a smile that seemed like it belonged on a mask rather than someone’s face—a smile that made him feel a sense of discomfort .
“Is that bias I’m sensing? Our guild is large . We admit our backbone players sometimes failed to keep every guildmate in check . It’s possible that they might be off track and do bad deeds sometimes . However, as everyone knows, we’re always trying our best to punish those players and prevent others from following in their footsteps . ”
After keeping his silence for a long time, Elso spoke, “Are you saying that all those evil acts, performed by the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members, always went unnoticed by Montra, the guild master, and that they had nothing to do with him? Isn’t that too irresponsible?”
“That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to convey . Montra noticed some, but not all of them . That was why he had to spend time investigating the bad seeds, then focus on getting rid of them all in one go, which I must say was quite effective . You guys know that most if not all of the bandit gangs targeting new players have been taken care of by us, right?” Revin spun his finger around, his red eyes gleaming as if they were flickering candles .
Lone Wolf interrupted, “The guild leader must be held responsible for the actions done by their teammates . ”
Beluga let out a hearty laugh . “Hahaha! What a bullshit excuse! So you’re saying Montra is actually a good guy and we should go back to sleep, huh? We all should stop fighting . Easy peasy like that, huh?”
Revin also joined in the laughing . He opened his system window and took out two discs, before sliding them to Beluga and Lone Wolf .
“Four years ago, someone in the Victorious Wolves Sect used your name, Lone Wolf, to extort money from new players in the Town of Beginnings . As for the Mountain Thieves League, one group of players in your guild plundered a small trading caravan traveling from Zhongsuyuan City to Colossia City . More details can be found inside . You can keep it . No need to return them . ”
Lone Wolf and Beluga tried opening the files and found the details of the investigation, including the testimonies of victims and eyewitnesses . Upon coming to know this information, they were doubtful . They had never heard of this kind of thing before .
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” said Lone Wolf as he turned to Beluga, who was reading the information thoroughly with an expression saying that he, too, had never known about such a scandal before .
Revin continued, “I’m so jealous . The Victorious Wolves Sect and the Mountain Thieves League have such skilled vice-leaders like Miss Ratri and Miss Nednapha, who are capable enough to shove these kinds of things away behind their guildmasters’ backs . ”
Following that line of thought, Lone Wolf and Beluga realized those two women were indeed inclined to do whatever must be done in order to preserve the guild’s dignity and prevent them, the guild leaders, from feeling unnecessary worry .
Now Beluga was aware . Revin had long since unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the two’s necks . He was simply waiting for them to advance .
“I believe that the two of you were really clueless about these events . It’s not like you intended to overlook them to avoid taking responsibility . ” Revin paused for a moment, allowing everyone to follow his flow of speech . “It’s difficult to completely control a guild with a large number of people . It’s normal for some guildmates to lose sight of the guild’s vision and go out of control . What I’m saying is Montra has been trying his best to fix that . ”
Now the two realized that Montra was indeed superior to them . At the very least, Montra was aware of the problem and tried to fix it . Meanwhile, both of them were completely clueless about the bad seeds in their guilds . It could be said that they were even more irresponsible than Montra .
While speaking louder, Revin stood up . “Now I understand what virtue is for the Wicked Union . It’s discrimination . You are merciful toward your own side, overlooking your own mistakes while finding faults in others and totally ignoring the good actions that the Heavenly Dragon Guild performs . You used your convenient bias to judge that they were facades . How interesting . ”
“What are you trying to say?” Lone Wolf stood up, his brain still unable to completely process the new information .
Revin gazed into Lone Wolf’s eyes, which used to radiate calmly and steadily, and noticed the hint of uncertainty in them . His assignment was already half-finished . Switching his gaze to Beluga, he realized that the second half of the assignment would fail . Beluga didn’t show any signs of confusion . He simply absorbed the new information without swaying .
‘Uwah~ I can’t do it after all,’ thought Revin .
Revin divided people in the world into two categories: those seeing the world in black and white, and those seeing the world in gray . Lone Wolf was among the first category . They clung to the concepts of absolute right and wrong . For them, things must always be judged to be either just or wicked . There was a strong pillar separating goodness and malignance . If this pillar broke apart, their beliefs would crumble . These people were like a white sheet of paper, easily stained .
The second category meant the people who lived without such a fine line separating good and evil, such as him, Montra, or Beluga . They looked at the world in gray, knowing that everyone has their own reasons and beliefs . It was difficult to shake the resolve of this type of person . At the same time, they were often rather pessimistic .
Revin didn’t mean to judge which type was better than others . He just thought that people of the first category were more suited to a peaceful world . They were unsuited to the world where tons of people were striving for survival .
And especially unsuited to Monster Soul .
That was the reason why Montra wasn’t concerned about Lone Wolf as much as he was about Cross or Beluga . He judged Lone Wolf as someone being in the wrong place and at the wrong time . Given his personality, Lone Wolf didn’t belong to the black world like Monster Soul from the beginning .
“Ahem . ” Revin cleared his throat . “Sila brought harm to a lot of people just for the sake of obtaining power and skills . When Lost Grea City was under his management, he exploited his rights by selling items at an unreasonably high price, greedily pocketing the profits . The truth is right in front of you . As soon as Montra conquered the city, the price of every item sold in the city dropped immensely . Everyone can enjoy a happy life and live with all of the necessities . However, you guys disregarded our contributions and framed us as villains using your fake virtue . ”
Of course, Revin was bluffing . He didn’t know for certain whether Sila sought power, skills, money, or whatever . Nevertheless, that wasn’t important anymore . The main point was that he had successfully shaken the Wicked Union’s core, which was ‘Virtue’ and also what was binding the alliance together . As long as he could take it down, the alliance would fall apart without him having to wage war .
Revin believed that everyone in the world was considered half good and half bad, and that their actions were the result of their circumstances .
“What the hell do you really want?” Beluga kept the disc with him and asked . There was no longer a sense of playfulness in his eyes . He finally came to understand Revin’s goal . He got it once he looked into Lone Wolf’s eyes .
Doubt was clearly written on Lone Wolf’s face .
Revin spun his finger again . “I already said it though . I came here to ask . What is virtue?”
“My question must have been too indirect, then . What exactly do you want to obtain from the answer to that question?” asked Beluga .
“Cease the war . We don’t have to spill any more blood . Anything that the system will give to the winner, we will distribute them evenly to all guilds we don’t consider our enemies . This deal is present for every guild that is a part of the Wicked Union . In addition, if you are afraid that the Heavenly Dragon Guild would be too powerful if left unchecked . . . once the war event ends, Montra will dismiss the guild, hand over the three cities to suitable people, delete his avatar, and never return to the game . This is the most we can offer . ”
The proposal was extremely beneficial to them . Too beneficial, in fact, to the point where Beluga doubted its integrity .
“What will Montra get from all of that?”
Revin shook his head . “Montra won’t get anything, except for the long-lasting peaceful era of Monster Soul . . . Erm, I personally disagree with him in this regard though . I think the peace will last for only three or four years at most until a new tyrant steps up and everything goes back to how it was . Well, the point is that he is willing to sacrifice his self-interest for the well-being of everyone else . That is Montra’s virtue . ”
Virtue? What exactly is it? Beluga questioned it and was still in the middle of seeking the answer . Is it the act of being good or being kind to others? What if the receiving side doesn’t want said goodwill or kindness, then? Will the same action still be regarded as a virtuous act?
Beluga declared resolutely, “That sounds too naive for someone like Montra . War was never an act of virtue since the very beginning . I play this game, seeking excitement and thrilling moments, enjoying the experiences I can’t find in real life . If I truly wanted such a long-lasting peaceful era, I would have played dating simulators or farming games instead and wouldn’t be standing here in Monster Soul . ”
“Well, I already expected you, Beluga, to say something along this line . So the negotiation failed, I take it?”
“This was never a negotiation from the start . I heard that killing the deputy city ruler is equivalent to killing the city ruler themselves . This house is located within Zhongsuyuan City . How can a mountain bandit like me miss such a great opportunity, don’t you agree?”
Revin still showed the same playful expression despite being in the center of four powerhouses of the opposing side .
“What will you do, Lone Wolf? I won’t mind if you abandon virtue and stoop so low as to gang up on me . I would consider it an achievement if I can manage to drag a person like you into the mud . ”
“I have something to ask Ratri . Please excuse me . ” Lone Wolf leaped out . Meanwhile, Hong Tong showed a sign of hesitation for a brief moment but ultimately decided to stay .
Beluga’s gaze followed the departing figure of Lone Wolf, feeling disappointed in the man . Does it matter if what Revin said was true or false? No man can change the past .
Lone Wolf was too pure . He was a perfectly white sheet without stains, a good guy among good guys . However, the more white the sheet was, the easier it is to spot any dirt on it, and Lone Wolf wouldn’t stop until it was spotless .
What Beluga was trying to say was, for him, virtue was something judged by others . Even if you eternally lived your entire life as a good guy, you can still be considered a villain if people in the world said so, maybe out of jealousy, envy, or whatever . Hence, it was best to ignore others’ opinions . Just staying true to your beliefs is a virtue by itself .
“Three against one, then . Well, war is not about fairness . ”
Revin turned his back, showing openings . “Easy, men . I’m in a good mood today . Let’s fight for real in the real war—having only one life, dying means the end . It will be more fun that way . I won’t take advantage of you today . ”
“Take advantage of what?” Beluga asked, trying to pull Revin’s attention .
Even without orders, Elso and Hong Tong immediately took actions . Elso’s black saber jabbed forward, shooting a thin line . Meanwhile, Hong Tong fired a qi bullet using Yizichan . Both attacks flew to Revin’s back and neck .
Two metallic sounds simultaneously rang out . The black saber and the qi bullet were stopped one inch away from Revin .
Revin spun his finger again . His smile seemed dangerous and tempting . He was like a flame . It wasn’t strange that many women had fallen for his enticing charms .
“I spared your life three times already . This time makes four . . . Let’s part without trouble today and see each other again in the war event . My Zhongsuyuan City will always welcome you . ”
The silhouettes of more than ten ancient warriors in ethereal forms emerged inside and around the house . Among them, two were guarding Revin, blocking the previous attacks .
Revin walked away, leaving the system notification to inform the rest of consecutive and endless monster appearances .
“Like I said, it’s not in my nature to arrive late . That was why I sent these guys to welcome you before you arrived . ”
Beluga swallowed his saliva as the soul warriors gradually faded away . The soul race could become invisible at will . Every time that Revin spun his finger meant he could have killed the four once . Even though these monsters were weaker and lower in quantity compared to Siaferia’s Android Army, they were nonetheless fearsome invisible assassins staying active in Zhongsuyuan City .
“Why didn’t you—?” Elso was about to ask why Revin didn’t use this chance to kill them, but Revin’s reply came with the wind before he could finish the sentence .
“I’m like Beluga, entering this game to seek thrilling moments . It’ll be more exciting this way . However, the next time there will be no warnings . If you die, you will only have yourself to blame . ”