After sunset was when the souls became active . Players were well aware of this fact, so they were especially careful not to cause problems . As a result, Zhongsuyuan City was a strange place where it was safer to walk around at night than it was during the day . Warrior Souls were hiding in every corner of the city, watching over it .
The time when people avoided causing trouble turned out to be the time Sila decided to act .
Zhongsuyuan City was a city of qi, and none of the buildings were particularly tall . As such, it was a common sight to see people jumping from rooftop to rooftop, and right now Sila was among the people traveling this way .
Sila wasn’t wearing his disguise . He judged that it wouldn’t be a problem even if someone managed to identify him as long as they didn’t capture and interrogate him, revealing his connection to Children of the Sea . Given his strength, that task would prove to be quite a challenge . If he set his mind on escaping, only a few players would be able to catch a glimpse of his figure .
A certain Warrior Soul flew in Sila’s direction . It looked at him shortly before removing its gaze, flying past him without paying him any mind .
For the record, these souls were always showing up and disappearing during the night .
Sila gained more confidence . He had risked exposing himself to a soul in order to confirm something, and the result was as he had expected it to be; these souls couldn’t recognize him .
Sila had a hypothesis that these souls were qi-type monsters while he was a superior qi-type being, so anything that he couldn’t achieve through qi must be out of their capability as well—unless it was a racial ability, of course . If these Warrior Souls were to swap places with Androids—which were psychic-type monsters—he was certain that there would be the information-sharing network between them; his face, appearance, habits, and even the skills he had used must have already been registered in their database . If that was the case, he would already be surrounded by them .
Sila asked himself how he would identify an enemy if he could use only qi, and the answer he came up with was through qi perception, detecting the energy imprint emitting from the target’s body .
If he combined Qi Concealment with the fact that he was an internal utilizer, Sila’s presence was practically plain and ordinary in the Warrior Soul’s perception .
On the other hand, going by the same logic, he could sense them relatively fine even when they were invisible . This discovery implied that their ability to turn invisible was a result of one of their qi-type racial skills .
Since their abilities focused on secrecy, their fighting power was likely to be subpar . That was Sila’s belief . He thought the soul race’s terrifying aspect was their ability to perform ambush and sneak attacks . Thus, there should be nothing to fear if he remained vigilant .
Beluga had already informed Sila of both the location where he had met Revin and the destination Zazae had traveled to while being tailed . However, from Sila’s observations, he found that there was nothing out of ordinary at both spots . He speculated that Revin, as the city ruler, had already changed the location of the governor’s residence .
If there was one thing that Sila had learned from staying with Beluga, he would say it was the ability to stay patient and calmly observe the situation . Beluga had a strong belief that a solution to any problem could always be found as long as one took enough time to look for it .
While observing the Warrior Souls’ movements, one question after another began to appear in his mind . Was the hidden gate the only way the souls could enter and exit the city? Are there any restrictions for the gate? How many can pass through the gate at the same time? Do other members of the Heavenly Dragon Guild know about the existence of the gate connecting to a hidden city? Can Revin change the location of the gate any time he wants?
However, as nothing had changed so far, leaving his questions unanswered, Sila’s decision was to personally make some changes to the board then continue his observation .
Sila jumped to the highest pine tree in his area and swept his gaze around to ensure that no souls were in sight . Then, he started .
Firstly, Sila activated Domain of Light around himself, preventing beings outside from detecting his aura . He subsequently activated Orbiting Cosmos, summoning black flames in his hand . Finally, he finished the deal by casting Artifact Manifestation, converting the magical flames into a weapon .
An orange dagger then appeared in his hand . Noticing the result, Sila repeated the process and summoned a few dozen more . He collected them all in his system window, deactivated the domain, and gently descended to the ground without anyone noticing .
Sila stabbed one of the daggers into the body of a pine tree . He then took out the Beggar’s Cloak to wrap around his armor, before walking by the main road .
From his previous surveillance, Sila had noticed several locations where the Heavenly Dragon Guild members were stationed at and patrolled regularly . He went to one of said spots while blending in with the crowd .
As Sila strolled along at a normal speed, he found a two-man patrol . Keeping some distance, he simply walked past them . Yet, he seized the timing right after that to take action .
Sila deactivated the artifact from a remote distance, converting a specific dagger back to its original form . The pine tree from earlier was soon covered in flames . As it turned out, the power was more serious than he had anticipated . He originally wanted it to attract some attention . However, it seemed the fire would soon spread out if left unchecked .
“What is happening?!”
Everyone shifted their gazes to the source of the flames . It was at that exact moment when two more daggers flew from Sila’s hand, from right under his cloak . Not only did he fire them backward, but his arm also didn’t even twitch .
The two daggers hit the two aforementioned patrol guards in the backs . Again, Sila deactivated the artifacts, changing the two people into flame pillars in the middle of the city .
The surrounding pedestrians became panic-stricken, evacuating frighteningly . Sila pretended to be shoved away while, in fact, observing the overall situation .
The two guards were pitiful . They had no chance of surviving at all . Not only did Sila’s strength far outclass theirs, but he also attacked while they were distracted . They must have been stationed in the city for too long to have forgotten that the war event was active, or they were overconfident that no one would dare to cause trouble in Zhongsuyuan City .
At the first crime scene where the pine tree was burnt to crisp, there appeared four Warrior Souls . They extended their palms forward and Sila’s magical flames finally died down . This action alone made Sila realize that these souls possessed Cruise Breeze qi technique and their exclusive qi was of the cold element .
“Step aside! Out of the way!”
A commotion rang out from afar . Players stepped aside and allowed another two-man patrol to investigate the situation . The two stared at the scorch marks where their comrades had passed away .
It seemed that all patrols were split into groups, with each group containing two people . The reason why each group only had such a small number of people must be due to the fact that there were soul patrols as additional guards during the night .
“What happened? Anyone will do . Explain it to us . ”
Three nearby players tried to explain the series of events that had unfolded . They pointed at the burnt pine tree before pointing at the spot where the two guards had been burnt to death . Sila tried to observe everyone’s reactions, no matter how subtle they were .
“It must be the work of some of our enemies . ”
“Sir Revin is in seclusion . That place forbids communication through the system . We will have to personally inform him . ”
Sila’s interest was piqued . Wartime is the period where manpower is greatly required . Despite that, Revin chose to seclude himself . It was unnatural .
“Well, let’s follow protocol,” One of the two said . Then, the two of them split up and went different ways .
Based on their actions, Sila thought they must have split up to inform others about the incident . However, such a simple task could have been done by using the system window . He didn’t understand why they were doing this . In any case, this must be a part of the ‘protocol’ they had mentioned .
Something unexpected had occurred but the Heavenly Dragon Guild members were relatively calm about it . Just this fact alone implied that Revin indeed had prepared some countermeasures .
Sila couldn’t make a decision regarding who he should follow . One of them walked his way while the other headed in another direction .
The clock was ticking, forcing Sila to decide . He took out another dagger made of Artifact Manifestation .
“Oops, sorry, sir . ” Sila lightly bumped against the guard who went his way . Although people were stepping aside, making a path for the man, there were some people who couldn’t get out of the way fast enough . Thus, his action didn’t look too suspicious .
Furthermore, the patrol was deeply thinking about his duty, having no time to mind such a trivial matter .
“It’s alright . Just step aside . ” The patrol pushed Sila away, totally unaware that the latter had secretly inserted the dagger into one of the belt loops on his pants .
Sila stepped aside, making way for the patrol to pass by . He then quit paying his attention to this patrol and started following the other one . Relying on Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps, he could follow the man with ease .
Artifact Manifestation was a magic-type skill . Among the three energy types, magic was the one Sila understood the least . However, it was an undeniable fact that magic had the largest pool of skills for players to learn . Magic skills were also usually better than those of other types .
One feature of Artifact Manifestation that Sila had discovered by chance during his use of it in the Summer Forest was the fact that he always knew the location of each artifact he materialized .
Of course, unlike psychic-type abilities, he didn’t know their precise location or what was around them . However, he could somehow tell which direction they were in and the distance between him and the artifact . The knowledge didn’t come in a form of numerical values, but feelings . To be honest, Sila believed that this feature must be a little supplemental ability of Artifact Manifestation . Otherwise, the user would have a difficult time choosing which artifact they wanted to deactivate .
It was only recently that Sila was made aware of the brilliance of magic . In fact, what he was experiencing was a form of Essence of Magic: Unison .
The patrol led Sila to encounter another two-man patrol . They exchanged a few words and hand signals before all three of them headed different ways, similar to the previous time .
‘Umm . . . It seems they relay a message from one to another when an unexpected situation occurs . They might have come to an agreement beforehand about how many people had to be reached before one of them goes to Revin . Still . . . I wonder why they don’t just use the system window . ’
As a matter of fact, this procedure was something Montra and Revin had come up with to counter Beluga . The two thought that the one responsible for attacking Zhongsuyuan City must be Beluga since the Mountain Thieves League knew a lot about the city . Unexpectedly, the one responsible for the raid turned out to be Sila .
During last year’s war event, Beluga had utilized psychic-type players who had the ability to intercept messages sent through system windows, eavesdropping on the opponents’ conversations . As a result, the Mountain Thieves League’s movements were always a step ahead of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s .
Hence, for this year’s war event, Montra chose to rely on a traditional method, relaying messages through an unknown number of players . Beluga’s weakness was his lack of manpower . The Mountain Thieves League couldn’t possibly follow all of the messengers . Among the messengers, some were there to relay a message while many were simply decoys .
One of the three guards went back the same way while the other two split up .
Sila relied on the same tactic . This time, however, he was more prepared . He materialized magic power under his cloak, using Artifact Manifestation to summon much smaller daggers . As he passed the patrol walking his way, he fired one of the tiny daggers to stab deep into the heel of the guard’s shoe .
As for the other two who went different ways, Sila shifted his gaze between them . He was alone, so it was close to impossible to follow everyone .
At that moment, Sila was reminded of how Asava explained that the Demon God was responsible for the impossible missions that they received .
He decided to emulate the Demon God, attempting to do the impossible; simultaneously following everyone by himself through Artifact Manifestation . Although he was still clueless as to which one of them would go to meet Revin, he deemed that he must know all of their locations at the very least .
Sila internally circulated his power to the best of his ability without allowing any of it to leak out . He was extremely careful not to let the soul patrols notice his power .
Dual Overwhelming Attributes — Metal splits Wood, Surging Strike .
Sila’s qi exited from his heel and submerged into the ground . It dived six meters underground before splitting itself into two waves, each with different strengths . The smaller wave crashed into the ankle of a bystander, making them stumble and bump into one of the patrols . As for the bigger wave, it subtly hit the aforementioned patrol’s right ankle, making him feel pain . However, the man himself must think that his ankle was sprained due to the bump .
As the patrol’s attention was on the sprained ankle, Sila quickly fired the tiny dagger into the man’s left boot before leaving the scene without looking back .
Sila went to the third patrol and repeated the same action . Then, he took a quick detour to visit the first patrol who had his dagger hanging from a belt loop . He came just in time when the patrol was exchanging words with another two guards .
The same situations repeated again and again . Sila would tail one of the patrols and leave an artifact on all of the others . True, for him to revisit the patrols who branched off from the one he tailed, a lot of work was required . He admitted it was possible that he might have missed some while switching between targets . However, this was already the best he could manage . If today’s plan ended in failure, he would have to consult Asava and come up with other strategies .
As Sila reached the fifth split in patrols, who also went their separate ways after a few words and hand gestures, he sensed that his artifacts were scattered throughout the city, implying that there must be some pattern to their movements . He just didn’t know it yet .
When Sila was about to follow the next group, suddenly, he felt that a certain artifact had vanished without a trace . Thus, he stopped tailing the patrols and headed in the direction that the artifact went missing . It was five hundred meters north of his current location .
‘The reason why the artifact went missing must be because someone went into another dimension . ’
Arriving at the destination, Sila memorized the spot where the artifact had vanished . It was a small alley next to the main street, its entrance so narrow that only one or two people could pass through at a time .
Sila decided not to get any closer for now . He was still clueless about whether Revin could change the location of the mysterious gate or whether the man could realize when people go through it . If only one of the two turned out to be positive, there was a high probability that Revin would change the location of the gate as soon as Sila went through . Everything he had done tonight would be for naught and he would put himself at too much risk .
Simply striding past the questionable alley, Sila took a quick side glance at it and found that the entrance was quite blurry, implying that some illusionary power was being used to conceal the existence of the gate .
Sila walked away, gaining more distance from it . He toured the city twice, ensuring that no one was tailing him, before returning to the hideout .