In the Mansion of Secrets .
Sila carried Hermit and Lone Wolf to the garden in front of the mansion . Both of them had severe injuries, but of differing types . Hermit had bone fractures and cuts all over, but through qi transmission from Sila, his external injuries were completely healed . However, Sila’s efforts to tend to the fractures were hopeless . Sila could heal himself well, but he didn’t excel at healing others . The level of his Qi Transmission skill was 55, which was one of the lowest among his qi-type skills . At this level, the efficiency of qi would drop to one-fourth in the procedure of qi transmission . As such, Sila was unable to perform complex healing like tending to internal organs .
In any case, it was Lone Wolf who caused more concern . His body had stopped moving ever since he was stabbed . Upon inspection, Sila found that Lone Wolf’s qi was trying to fix his wounds even though the man was unconscious . However, once it flew to any of the injuries, the aura coming from the Skeleton Dragon’s Scales would significantly weaken it, rendering it practically useless . Fortunately, Lone Wolf was at Level 1,000 Lord Rank and he was a qi-type player, so he had a tremendous pool of health points . He could hang onto his life for a long period of time .
Sensing Sila’s return, everyone exited the mansion and came to him . Among them were Beluga, Cross, Elso, Tsunji, and Asava . They were surprised to see Lone Wolf and Hermit .
“What happened? How come the assassination turned out to be such a mess?” asked Beluga . He had heard about the situation almost immediately from the spies he placed in Zhongsuyuan City .
“Why did you bring this guy back?” Cross pointed at Lone Wolf .
Sila briefly explained to everyone about what happened, making sure to include the intel he heard accidentally . With the exception of Asava and Tsunji, who seemed to be clueless about the function of a Dimension-Rending Bomb, everyone showed stern expressions .
“You made the right decision, Sila . This matter is far more important than killing Lone Wolf . ” Beluga turned to order Elso, “Assemble everyone in the mansion . Find the bomb right now!”
Elso nodded, while Crossed interrupted, “Don’t waste time . The dojo . . . Under the dojo’s floor . ”
Elso turned to Beluga, who nodded and added, “It’s highly likely that the bomb is there . ”
After Elso left running to the dojo, Sila asked, “Why are you so confident?”
Beluga explained, “The Dimension-Rending Bomb has a size of at least a hundred cubic meters . There are only a few places you can hide such a large item . ”
Cross gritted his teeth as he clad his foot with psychic power reinforcement . Out of rage, he was about to kick Lone Wolf in the face, but Beluga took immediate action by materializing a qi wall to block it .
“Why did you stop me?” Cross glared at Beluga .
“I understand why you’re angry, but I’m sure Lone Wolf is unaware of it . ”
“So you’re saying it’s not his fault? You’re dead wrong . He is to blame . His crime is his inability to control his people . He is the leader, so of course, it’s his fault . ”
Beluga couldn’t argue with that . “Anyway, look at the state he is in . . . I don’t think he’ll last much longer . ”
After secretly chatting with Zarnak through mental communication, Sila said, “There are only a handful of people who can heal this kind of injury caused by such a peculiar skill . As far as I know, there are only five people in the game who can do it . ”
“Who are they?” Beluga asked .
“The first is Zazae himself . If he deactivates the skill, Lone Wolf will recover . The second is Montra . Infernee’s healing spell can easily heal him . The third is Anawin, the Medical Saint of the Borderless City . The fourth is White Swan of the Blue Pigeon Guild . I heard that her qi excels in healing power . She once healed Burapha after he was burned by Revin’s flames . ”
Beluga agreed, “Her healing qi is indeed splendid . I have witnessed it . Who is the last person, by the way?”
Sila continued expressionlessly, “The last one is me . I have a certain skill that can cancel out Dragon Scales . ”
Everyone seemed surprised . However, Beluga and Cross realized the hidden meaning in no time . “I see . . . You intend to keep this trump card against Montra’s Reversed Holy Scale, don’t you?”
Sila nodded . “Lone Wolf’s fate now lies in our hands . I want to know your opinions . ”
“If we’re going to vote, I’ll vote for killing him . It’s pointless to keep him alive,” Cross immediately replied .
“I think it’s more beneficial for us to keep him alive though . It’s possible that we can recruit more people if we talk things out with him . ”
Cross frowned . “Why bother recruiting those guys? Don’t tell me you were not aware of the reason why I was angry just now, Beluga . ”
“I know . The Dimension-Rending Bomb requires time to set up . It’s not something that could be implemented without thinking things through . This means Ratri must have planned it a long time ago . She must have exploited the time when the dojo was closed for the Victorious Wolves Sect’s exclusive use . While they used the dojo’s benefit to transmit Qi of Little Divine Beings to their comrades, they must have realized that as long as this kind of place exists, their guild’s influence would diminish in the future since anyone could learn Qi of Little Divine Beings from here . Moreover, seeing Sila is virtually outmatched in strength, skills, wealth, and power, they intended to eliminate such a powerful threat in its entirety . ”
Cross snorted . “You know this, yet you still intend to release him back to them? It’s them who asked for our cooperation in order to create an alliance, and it’s them again who tried to screw us over . Lone Wolf probably believes from the bottom of his heart that his guild is a virtuous organization preserving justice . However, the rest of them are beyond redemption . They tricked us to share resources, seized everything they could, and mercilessly planned to uproot us . ”
Everyone silently listened to the conversation . Even Sila seriously considered the matter . As things stood, he had a final say in the decision .
“I’ve decided . ” Sila broke the silence . “Lone Wolf must die . ”
Sila had been on really friendly terms with Lone Wolf for quite a while, so everyone was surprised hearing such a declaration . Sila lightly swung Lone Wolf’s body up in the air using his foot, before powerfully slamming his hand into the man .
“Still, it has to be a kind of ‘death’ defined by me . ”
Lone Wolf felt dizzy, along with a pounding sensation in his head . His body felt incredibly weak as if something was binding it . No strength in his arms and legs could be mustered . As he opened his eyes, he discovered his vision was blurry . His ears started to pick up familiar noises .
“This pathetic little bomb is nothing . I can take care of it in no time . Kiekkiekkiek! In any case, your other request is far more interesting . You’re quite sadistic, you know? Although I like torturing my enemies, I have never done so against my underlings . You have such a wicked soul . Kiekkiekkiek!”
Sila asked, “Can you do it?”
“Certainly . There is nothing I’ll lose anyway . Well, my services aren’t free . I want—”
Sila suddenly cut short, “I’ll overlook the fact that you seized my items in the treasure room to use in your creations, then . ”
“Oi!! You can’t do that! You allowed me to use whatever I wanted, didn’t you?!”
“I didn’t say it was free though, right?” Sila squinted his eyes .
Strangely enough, Mamon didn’t start an argument . Instead, the boy stared back at Sila as if he just found a respectable rival . Grinning, he muttered, “Well, well . How interesting . ”
“Lone Wolf, are you okay?” Hermit’s voice rang out from nearby . Lone Wolf turned his head to the left .
“Hermit? Why are you here? What happened?” Seeing Hermit bound by rope, Lone Wolf was confused . In fact, he himself was bound the same way .
Looking around, Lone Wolf found that he was in front of Sila’s dojo . The door was left open . Inside, the entire floor had been removed, revealing a gigantic red metal plate underneath . Aside from Sila and Hermit, next to him were Mamon, Clute, Cross, Beluga, and Elso . Everyone locked their eyes onto him .
“Glad you finally woke up . We have been waiting for you,” said Sila .
“Sila? What is happening?” asked Lone Wolf, as he tried to restore his body by circulating qi . However, he found that it wasn’t as effective as it should be .
“Just listen for now . Don’t bother trying to circulate qi . You two are now under the effect of Rune Magic . Look at your arm . ”
There was a small letter written on each of the two’s arms . The letter was “Nauthiz (Resistance)”, representing constraint and the obstacles one had to overcome . It rendered the target to a weakened state, incapable of exerting their full strength . Rune Magic was noble and powerful . However, its weakness was the fact that the effect would instantly wear off if someone simply scratched part of the letter off .
Lone Wolf and Hermit were unaware of such a weakness . In any case, Lone Wolf didn’t try to put up any resistance while Hermit was aware that he would be powerless even if he managed to break free .
“Sure . Let’s hear what you want to say . ”
Sila nodded and turned to Elso, who walked to cut the rope binding the two . Elso then stood behind them .
“I’ll start with this . ” Sila pointed his finger to the red metal plate under the dojo . “This thing is a Dimension-Rending Bomb . . . ”
Sila continued the story with all honesty, including the Dimension-Rending Bomb’s characteristics and the reason why he went to the Victorious Wolves Sect—to assassinate Lone Wolf . He also confessed that he had slain several sect members during his escape, and informed him of Cross and Beluga’s speculation regarding Ratri’s vicious plan . He didn’t choose to lie even though he could have done so easily . He wanted Lone Wolf to trust his words, and telling someone the truth holds some kind of profound power that is never present in lies .
Hermit was as shocked as Lone Wolf upon hearing the whole story . Based on his reaction, Sila could discern that the Medicine Master must also be another one who was unaware of the Victorious Wolves Sect’s dark side .
“I understand, so you guys want me to take responsibility as a leader, right?” asked Lone Wolf, “If my death will—”
Sila interrupted, his tone serious, “You understand nothing . You don’t even understand what the problem is . ”
“What is the problem, then? We’re guilty, so it’s natural that I must receive punishment . ”
“The problem didn’t come from Lone Wolf, leader of the Victorious Wolves Sect, it came from Lone Wolf the person . I believe that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened . The Victorious Wolves Sect is a place where people who admire you gather willingly, so there are no concepts of reward or punishment . Every time someone steps out of line, you shoulder the responsibility, thinking that it is the duty of the leader . If you don’t change this mindset of yours, your guildmates will never change . ”
Beluga added, “Hence, Sila is offering you a chance to change yourself . However, if you don’t want it, we will give you a painless death . ”
Sila continued, “Guilds are places where people with the same goals connect to each other . The goals can be either wealth, power, honor, or whatever . In any case, you have been looked up to as Lone Wolf for so long that you have forgotten your roots as a lone player . If missing only you will cause the Victorious Wolves Sect to crumble, I’d say it should’ve crumbled a long time ago . ”
“Wolves don’t hunt alone, you know? Shouldering everything by yourself is not always the best course of action . People look up to you as Monster Soul’s light . However, that light is artificial—bright and useful . People admire you, but no one wants to be like you . That’s because they can’t relate to you . Even though you are wolves living in a pack, you’re still alone,” Beluga explained .
“I will give you a chance to become an ordinary player . Travel on foot at an average speed from Zhongsuyuan City to Colossia City . I forbid you from acting as Lone Wolf during your journey . You have to see other players’ lives, problems, and how they handle them with your own eyes . Everyone struggles to survive . You alone can’t help every person in Monster Soul . ”
“You want me to walk from Zhongsuyuan City to Colossia City? That’s all?”
“Hermit will go with you . In addition, don’t contact the Victorious Wolves Sect at all . ”
Hermit couldn’t help but interrupt, “Lone Wolf’s face is well known though . ”
Sila wrapped it up . “I have a way as long as you agree to do this . How about it?”
Lone Wolf considered it . What Sila said made sense . The Ratri he knew in real life and the one he knew in Monster Soul were like totally different people . Did her personality change, or is this her true personality behind a mask? Could it be that the lawless nature of Monster Soul reveals a human’s true self? Whatever it was, everything would stay the same if he didn’t change himself . History would simply repeat itself over and over .
“Let’s hurry, then . Without qinggong, traveling to Colossia City will take weeks,” Lone Wolf decided .
Sila and Beluga showed happy expressions . If everything went well, Lone Wolf would return to be their comrade . In any case, Cross personally didn’t agree with them . Killing Lone Wolf right here and now would instantly conclude things, instead of dragging it on and unnecessarily complicating the situation .
Sila gave Lone Wolf a red Go piece . “When you are near Colossia City, please visit the Skull Mountain Pass . Show this to the people guarding that place, and they will let you in . Give it to Sebastian, and he will tell you what to do next . ”
“Elso, do it,” Beluga ordered .
Elso placed his hands on Lone Wolf and Hermit’s backs, then muttered a skill's name, “Disguise . ”
Sila nodded . “Now your statuses will say that you are dead, even if your guildmates check . It should be able to trick most players unless someone with a powerful inspection skill stumbles upon you . Please keep in mind that the player Lone Wolf has died . Mamon, you’re up . ”
Mamon grinned and extended his hand to touch Lone Wolf . As soon as the small hand pressed against his body, Lone Wolf felt sick and dizzy .
“It’s done . With the undead race’s Hidden Gift, your appearance will become uglier . No one will recognize you . ”
Lone Wolf’s face became haggard and pallid, yet his facial features seemed mostly unchanged . Noticing this, Mamon didn’t approve of his own work .
“Wait a second . ” Mamon approached Cross . “Let me take yours . ”
Cross felt something inexplicable being pulled out from his body . He felt his body become lighter even though his weight was obviously the same . Apparently, his facial features returned to what they were before he changed his race to the undead . He lightly tapped his face, then unsheathed his sword to use the blade as a mirror before smiling at his own reflection . However, noticing Beluga’s smirk, he stopped it immediately and coughed once before returning his sword to his waist .
Mamon touched Lone Wolf a second time . This time Lone Wolf’s face changed so much that even the man wouldn’t recognize himself .
Clute approached Lone Wolf and gave the man a mirror attached to a pendant he made himself . The boy asked out of sympathy, “Are you okay?”
Lone Wolf was touched . He showed a weak smile after he looked at his reflection in the mirror .
“This can be undone, right?”
Mamon showed the most friendly-looking grin he could, though it still looked unsafe and wicked . Such a grin could only belong to a money-sucking merchant .
“Certainly . This time I did it for free, but the next one will cost you . ”