Sila’s room was ablaze with white light so bright that Sila couldn’t see even the tip of his own nose . He didn’t put up any energy reinforcement as he acknowledged that the light was harmless to him . Once the light started to fade, he could see pieces of broken eggshell on the floor . The object, which must have previously been inside the egg, was floating in midair .
It was a white egg .
Sila scratched his head . “In the egg is another egg . Is this supposed to be a prank?”
Zarnak lowered its head to stare at Sila up close . “I don’t like pranks, my impetuous master . The Twin Souls Weaponized Protection is still missing one key ingredient, which is me . ”
Zarnak’s body slowly transformed into a cloud of smoke before submerging into the egg . The egg’s pure white color looked like it was tainted with a drop of ink, spreading from one point to another . Looking closely, Sila noticed that it wasn’t an egg like he had thought previously . Rather, it was a ball of thread rolled in the shape of an egg .
The ball of thread spun at incredible speed while releasing itself from the core, becoming a cyclone that was half black and half white . The thread swirled around Sila and weaved itself, eventually becoming armor mainly made of elastic fabric .
Sila felt his power reduced noticeably . It must be the negative effect of wearing the Blade-Sharpening Dragon . On the other hand, his body felt the warmth generated from the tremendous strength imbued in the armor .
Not long after, Sila’s armor finally finished weaving itself . For the record, Sila didn’t feel like he was wearing armor at all . The Twin Souls Weaponized Protection gave him a sense of it being a weapon rather than armor . It could be said that his body itself had transformed into a powerful weapon .
The armor was a combination of white magical metals and a lustrous black fabric, which greatly sublimated the metals’ beauty . The outstanding part of the armor was truly distinguished while the supplemental parts eminently added a striking elegance . Even Sila, the wearer, felt he wasn’t worthy of the armor .
You have successfully created (S) Twin Souls Weaponized Protection .
You have acquired item skill: (A) Artifact Manifestation .
The Twin Souls Weaponized Protection was created out of the souls of Eleanor and Zarnak—one transcendent raiment and one cursed fang . Apparently, it required both the main weapon slot and armor slot to wear it .
(S) Twin Souls Weaponized Protection .
The armor’s attack and defense are always equal to the difference between the wearer’s current health points and their maximum value .
*One percent of the wearer’s health and special points will be consumed every minute .
The Twin Souls Weaponized Protection was born from the fusion of the souls of Eleanor, the Raiment Dragon, and Zarnak, the Cursed Dragon . As it was combined with the souls of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the wearer shall acquire the exclusive skill that belonged to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse .
Item Skill: (A) Artifact Manifestation .
An exclusive magic belonging to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, granting the ability to temper souls or magic power under the user’s control into four forms of magic artifacts .
The magic artifacts produced by Artifact Manifestation are considered items, so you can carry them with you .
First Form: Magical Arrow
The efficiency of magical arrows produced by Artifact Manifestation depends on the distance between the user and a target . The artifact will stay in this form until the spell is deactivated . Upon deactivation, the artifact will return to its original form before it was manifested .
Second Form: Magical Weapon
The attributes and characteristics of magical weapons produced by Artifact Manifestation are determined by their magical sources . The artifact will stay in this form until the spell is deactivated . Upon deactivation, the artifact will return to its original form before it was manifested .
Third Form: Magical Beast
The physical appearances of magical beasts produced by Artifact Manifestation depends on their magical sources . The artifact will stay in this form until the spell is deactivated . Upon deactivation, the artifact will return to its original form before it was manifested .
Fourth Form: Magical Box
The magical boxes contain magic power according to their magical sources . The artifact will stay in this form until the spell is deactivated . Upon deactivation, the artifact will return to its original form before it was manifested .
Sila didn’t find it surprising that his health and special points didn’t decrease despite a minute had passed . It must be the result of him wearing the Blade-Sharpening Dragon . All negative effects from equipment would be ignored under Zarnak’s influence . In any case, he bet he had to spend some time to understand his newly acquired skill . Deep down, he had a feeling that the skill must be difficult to use .
“What are you unsatisfied with, my insatiable master?” Zarnak’s voice rang out in Sila’s head .
“Hmm? It’s not that . I just got a new skill . Is it any good?”
Zarnak released a long sigh that contained a hint of boredom . “My clueless master . . . This skill can easily push you to the pinnacle of Monster Soul . Artifact Manifestation is a magic-type skill, which is the energy type you have the least skills for . You may not know this, but magic is considered the best when it comes to skills . The skill that belonged to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is exceptionally powerful . Each of them could use only one form of Artifact Manifestation, yet that was enough for them to become the Keepers of Inner Hell . You, who can use all four forms, are naturally matchless . . . if only you know how to use them properly . ”
The door was violently swung open . Cross, Beluga, Fargo, and Elso stood on the other side of the door . Looking inside, they found the room appliances scattered all over the floor and Sila standing alone .
Beluga entered the room, asking, “What happened, Sila? We heard an explosion . ”
“It’s nothing, everyone . I just mastered a new power,” Sila replied honestly .
“That’s good . . . But, umm, how should I put it?” Beluga was hesitant, prompting Cross to speak out .
“What Beluga is trying to say is that you should never do this kind of foolish thing again . The war event starts tomorrow, you imbecile!”
Beluga turned his head . “I didn’t mean it like that . . . umm, but what Cross said was reasonable . ”
Sila still failed to understand . “Why not?”
Noticing that the previous two failed to deliver the message, Fargo decided to explain, “The thing is, Sila, it’s widely known that you shouldn’t do something risky right before the war event, especially on the last day . If something went wrong, you might not revive in time . Both of them are simply concerned for your safety . ”
Cross argued, “I’m not . What I really meant was for him to not die pointlessly like a fool . ”
Beluga nodded . “Exactly like Fargo said . Sometimes we are our own worst enemies . Pushing ourselves too hard may result in a negative outcome rather than a positive one . You have comrades, so you should learn to put down some of your burden and start relying on them . ”
Sila understood the two more . Although they phrased it differently, their intentions were the same . He wasn’t alone anymore, so he shouldn’t attempt to do everything as he pleased . He now had friends who shared the same goals and preferred to solve problems together .
“I’m not your comrade,” argued Cross .
“Don’t mind Cross . We have a big problem, Sila . Follow us downstairs and we’ll tell you about it . ”
Everyone, with the addition of Sila, returned to the meeting room . Beluga then informed Sila about the matter regarding Lone Wolf and their plan to tackle the problem .
“Cross and I have an opinion that we should target Lone Wolf first in order to reduce the risk to the overall plan . What do you think, Sila?”
It could be said that the core leaders of the Wicked Union were reduced to three . The latest news brought by Beluga informed them that the Merchants Association had come into contact with the Heavenly Dragon Guild . Their conflict about the Heavenly Dragon Guild setting the price too low was about to be solved by Montra’s promise that he would transfer all trading rights to the Merchants Association after the war event in case he came out as the victor . On the contrary, if the Wicked Union happened to turn the tables and come out victorious, Monster Soul would enter an era that destroys the previous balance . The Merchants Association could take advantage of such a chaotic economic state to profit as much as they’re capable of doing .
No matter who won the war, the Merchants Association would end up benefiting from it . Hence, they decided to use the wait-and-see approach, not lending their help to either major side .
“I agree with the direction, but I don’t agree with the plan . Can you let me handle this problem my way?”
Beluga frowned . “It’s not that I don’t trust you . However, can you tell us first what your plan is?”
“As for me, I definitely don’t trust you . You have never come up with a plan . No way in hell did you suddenly become smart overnight,” Cross said without any reservation .
“I want the number of people to know the plan to be as few as possible . It’s not that I don’t trust everyone here, but the more people who know, the more we have to be watchful . If you want me to explain the plan, I ask that only we three know it,” Sila requested sincerely .
Beluga nodded . “Elso, please go out for a minute . ”
Meanwhile, Fargo exited the room without Cross having to say anything . Silence then filled the room . After Sila had ensured that no one was eavesdropping, he took out a map of Monster Soul and looked around .
“What are you looking for?” asked Cross .
“This is weird . Where is the table?” Sila intended to place the map on the table .
Beluga showed a mild smile while Cross coughed . “Forget the damn table! Just put it on the floor!”
Sila did as Cross said . The three ended up having to squat while having a conversation . By no means did they look like the Wicked Union’s key leaders discussing important topics regarding the world of Monster Soul . If someone were to find them meeting like this, their images and reliability would be damaged .
Sila took out white and black Go pieces from his system window . Like Pumin, he liked to use them to represent the positions of their armies .
“Oh? We are blacks?” Beluga teased .
Sila smiled . “Yes . To be honest, after thinking about it many times, while the Heavenly Dragon Guild has three main cities as strong bases, we only have two new territories—the Island of Beginnings and Belacia City . Worse off, the two are located very far from each other . We can’t possibly run from one place to another to reinforce our army, unlike the three main cities located in a triangular manner . ”
“It’s not certain yet . We can use dimension-crossing devices,” informed Cross .
“But that kind of item is hard to obtain . In fact, it’s safe to assume that only Siaferia City can produce it . We have to make an assumption that the Heavenly Dragon Guild can mobilize their forces between their cities in an instant,” guessed Beluga .
“It’s a perfect tool for mobilizing an army . If they really have this kind of tool, they can send a small detachment to reach one of our bases, then guide their main army to us in an instant without having to go out of their way . Not only can their main army fully rest prior to battle, but they can also easily perform a surprise attack . ”
“Montra has a larger army and can freely mobilize it . He is in a rush to end the war, so he will have to handle many duties simultaneously—attacking Belacia City in the north, raiding the Island of Beginnings in the south, and protecting his own cities . . . ”
Cross interrupted, “If I’m in his shoes, I won’t be hurried to go on the offensive . I will gradually expand my army and corner the enemy . It might take longer, but it’s a lot safer . ”
Sila shook his head . “Please trust me . Montra has his reasons for ending the war quickly . If he didn’t, he wouldn’t try sending Revin and Kawin to negotiate with both of you . I can’t tell you the details, but I can tell you that Montra has around two weeks in real life to end the war . Converting that into in-game time, I’d say he has around two months . ”
Beluga decided to trust Sila regarding this point . “We can make use of this knowledge . How about we focus on defense and wait until two months have passed?”
“No can do . Our army is lacking . If we use that method, Montra will combine his army from the three cities to raid our territories, one by one . We have to stay on the offensive to prevent that . We’ll keep attacking to gradually reduce the number of Montra’s troops, before ending the war with a surprise factor . ”
“What factor?” asked Cross .
“Red Pieces . ”
“Red Pieces?” Cross and Beluga looked at each other .
Sila nodded . “I have been thinking what we might overlook . What is it that no one has spotted on this board? And the answer for that question is Red Pieces . ”
“The heck? Only your house would play Go with Red Pieces,” Cross scorned .
“It’ll make a great strategy exactly because it’s unheard of . ” Instead of feeling angry, Sila felt he was getting closer to Cross .
“Excuse me, Sila . I don’t understand,” Beluga interjected .
Sila nodded and started to explain . “Someone told me that war is like Go . The black pieces are us, and the white pieces are the Heavenly Dragon Guild . ”
“What do red pieces represent, then?”
“That’s the important point . Go is a game where only two players are competing against each other, like how the Wicked Union is battling the Heavenly Dragon Guild . The two of us are the only sides with a chance of victory . Players have to either support us or support Montra, becoming either black or white . However, what if a third force appears? Another force with a shot at victory—the red . ”
“That will only make it another target . In the previous war event there were many sides as well, but that fact amounted to nothing . For Montra, the white, he just has to handle the red like it is the black . ”
“The main point is . . . the red never existed . I just made it up . ” Sila grinned as he explained his plan to the two . After some discussion, Beluga let out a laugh, and even Cross agreed with the plan .
“Awesome! With this, Montra won’t know what he is up against,” Beluga continued laughing .
Cross fell silent . “I’d rather not say it, but I agree with this plan . ”
Sila noticed Cross’ faint smile . However, aware that he was being looked at, Cross abruptly changed his expression to a grumpy one .
“When will we start this plan, then?” asked Beluga .
Sila smiled and confidently said to the other two, “Actually, I already started it a week ago . ”