Sila, Burapha, and Clute followed Anubis, their hearts sinking . The worst-case scenario that Sila had anticipated turned out to be real . Not only did they fail the assassination attempt immediately, but Revin was also aware of their arrival . The man was even waiting for them .
While the layout of Inverse Zhongsuyuan City was the same as Zhongsuyuan City’s, the governor’s residence was a building that only existed in the former . As Sila was the raid leader, he remembered the city map like the palm of his hand . The governor’s residence in inverse city was in the same location that one would find the Information Building in the normal city .
Sila raised his head, looking at the moonless night sky . The positions of the stars seemed to be different than normal as if the city existed in a separate world . He had a hypothesis that Inverse Zhongsuyuan City was a special dimension where souls lived . It was likely that this place was experiencing an endless night . The sun was a foreign concept .
Burapha and Clute were extremely on guard . They didn’t dare to make any rash moves . Fortunately, Sila’s calm expression reassured them . No sign of panic could be seen on his face .
Anubis opened a door to a room with a throne . The size and layout of the room were similar to ones Sila had seen in the Android Kingdom . The differences were the decorations and construction materials . All in all, Inverse Zhongsuyuan City’s throne room looked like a majestic palace where Chinese emperors met their subjects .
A massive red dragon chair stood tall at the far end of the room . Sitting on it was Revin, giving off the imposing aura of a sovereign . A heavy sword leaned on one arm of the chair . It was red and black, similar to the man’s outfit . There was only one sharp edge, but it was serrated like a shark’s teeth . Its size was even bigger than the Black Dragon Sword he used to wield . If Revin put it in front of him, the heavy sword would totally block his view, as it was twice his size .
“I didn’t expect you to come, Sila . I thought Beluga would be the one to challenge me,” Revin said in greeting .
Revin seemed to be different than before, in a way that Sila couldn’t exactly pin down . His appearance, clothing, and the vibe he gave off were the same . In fact, even Revin’s power, which Sila secretly probed using his qi, didn’t change much from their previous encounters . Well, Sila’s uneasiness might come from the fact that they met in an uncommon situation . Or else, it might come from Revin’s tone that was confident and calm, contrasting the tense atmosphere .
“If the chaos in the town is part of a plan you came up with by yourself, I must say you have my respect, Sila . Maybe I should look at you in a new light . ”
The three visitors said nothing in response . Sila expanded his qi perception and found that, as far as he could tell, there was no one else in the governor’s residence except from Anubis and Revin . It was strange . For such an important place, it wouldn’t be weird if an army was gathered .
As if he could read Sila’s mind, Revin explained, “There is no one else . I don’t like crowded places . I prefer playing solo . ”
“The situation outside seems very dire though . Won’t you need to go out and help?” Sila asked .
“Nah~ some citizens die, but someone else will come . Players are everywhere . ” Revin shrugged . “Do I have to worry about other people’s lives and deaths?”
Being a city ruler was a task unsuited for Revin . He rarely cared about others as he believed that people’s lives were something they ought to treasure themselves . If one can’t protect one’s own life, that means they don’t qualify to expect help from others .
The people who were helpless and always expected help from others, hoping a hero would come to their aid, were the ones that Revin despised the most .
“Anyway, don’t worry . I don’t like taking credit for someone else’s achievements . Everyone in the game will surely know that this riot is your doing, Sila . ”
While Sila intended to slander Revin, Revin intended to return the favor to him . It seemed neither of them would like to be held responsible for the mass-slaughtering happening in the city .
“Come to think of it, the city ruler’s duty is boring as hell . I didn’t get to stretch my body at all . How about we have a spar?”
During wartime like this, it shouldn’t be the time to play around . Sila couldn’t predict Revin’s thinking process at all . He couldn’t tell whether Revin was either cunning, mischievous, or overconfident .
‘Be careful . He is wild, but isn’t a reckless person . Revin is smarter than he appears to be . He is doing this in order to stop us from fleeing,’ Dark Self warned .
True enough, Revin wasn’t stupid . Sila had personally experienced it firsthand . In Belacia City, Revin relied on just a single sentence to turn Sila into public enemy number two .
As he had heard the warning, Sila’s mind became clearer . He tried to find the reason behind Revin’s actions .
This was undoubtedly the time of war . It wasn’t the time and place to have a sparring match, especially a fair one .
Revin and Anubis’ combined strength were obviously superior to Sila, Burapha, and Clute’s combined . However, if the three of them focused on escaping, even Revin and Anubis wouldn’t have an easy time taking their lives .
Thus, Revin presented a ray of hope to Sila, knowing that Sila wouldn’t run away easily as long as the situation wasn’t desperate . If Revin and Anubis managed to kill either of the three, it would already be too late for them to flee at that point .
Sila had only two choices . Fleeing, ending his plan in failure, or fighting, risking their lives for a chance of victory .
Sila admitted that Revin was truly smarter than he appeared to be . His strategy that stirred the town into chaos wouldn’t work twice, so he had to grasp at the last straw even if he was fully aware that it was a trap . If he decided to leave despite there still being a chance ahead of him, it would negatively affect his self-confidence, slowing his speed of growth in the future .
It wasn’t that Revin didn’t have an army to utilize . However, he risked his life, reducing his manpower to the point where Sila thought he had a shot at winning . It might be a very risky move, but Revin loved excitement . He found dangerous situations enjoyable .
Furthermore, the higher the risk, the higher the potential reward . If he could end Sila’s life today, the victory of the war event would be no different than within his side’s grasp .
Sila risked his life to raid Zhongsuyuan City . Similarly, Revin risked his to seize the chance to kill Sila .
“If you’re bored, how about we have three one-on-one matches? The side with two victories wins . You just have to find one more contestant . I’ll be the one pairing up against you in the first match,” Sila proposed, trying to give his side the advantage and make it harder for Anubis to interfere .
If he really won and was successful at killing Revin, never mind the two victories, he and his team would flee right away .
Revin nodded . “Sure, having three duels sounds fun, I agree . Well, it’s still too straightforward . Since you have specified how we fight, surely you won’t mind if I add some conditions, right?”
As long as he could duel against Revin, given his current strength, Sila was positive that he would win . Thus, he didn’t mind some unfavorable conditions .
“Of course, but they have to be one-on-one duels,” Sila emphasized . The fight had to be one-on-one for him to be absolutely sure of his victory against Revin .
Sadly, Sila overlooked the fact that Revin was a quick-witted person . There was no way the man wouldn’t see through his intentions . It was too naive of him to accept the conditions without hearing about them .
Revin smirked . “Sure, let’s do three duels . However, to add some fun, all three duels will start at the same time . Such is my condition . ”
Sila was speechless . They might be able to escape if they stayed with each other . However, with this condition, his forces would be split . The only fate awaiting them would be death .
As Sila was about to refuse the condition, Burapha—who had been keeping his mouth shut—suddenly spoke up, “I agree to that . ”
Revin delightfully nodded as his smile brightened . “Good, good . As you are my guests, I will let you pick your opponents . ”
Sila shifted his gaze to Burapha, who didn’t look back at him . The man’s eyes were fixed at Revin, expressing neither anger nor anticipation for victory . It was a pair of eyes that were completely undisturbed like an ocean under the clear blue sky . Actually, they looked so calm that they were scary .
Since mood and emotions at any moment are fundamentally related to psychic power, Sila couldn’t risk retracting Burapha’s agreement . Now was the critical moment when Burapha shone the brightest . Psychic power relied on flexibility and creativity more than raw power . Maybe this was the only moment in which Burapha had a shot at winning against Revin . If Sila interfered, Burapha’s mental state might waver and weaken, affecting his psychic power .
In theory, there exists an easy way to win when it comes to tournament-style duels, given that both sides possess equal overall combat prowess . One only has to abandon the general-rank duel, matching one’s weakest team member against the opposing side’s strongest . The rest of the duels will be easy, matching one’s strongest against the opponent’s number two and matching the second strongest against the opponent’s weakest .
However, Sila didn’t know who the ‘third member’ in Revin’s team was .
“Who is your third contestant?”
“It’s a secret for now . Well, he is weaker than me and Anubis, that’s for sure . ”
“In that case, Burapha will fight you, I will fight Anubis, and Clute will fight your last contestant,” Sila decided .
As he didn’t know who Revin’s last member was, he appointed Clute to be their match . Clute was powerful and versatile . Among all of the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members he knew about, only Zazae, Kawin, or Montra would stand a chance against the boy . In any case, Sila was aware that neither of the three aforementioned people were in Zhongsuyuan City, so he didn’t have any concerns .
Revin’s smile remained intact, making Sila feel restless, wondering whether he was being pulled into Revin’s game .
Sila’s expressions turned grim once Revin brought out his third member and started the introduction .
“My third member is someone you have met, Sila . ” Revin took out a metal plate . “Pochi, do you remember this guy?”
The tall, black body of a werewolf was released from the metal plate . Its neck, wrists, and ankles were chained . Its crazy red eyes were bloodshot . It was none other than Fenrir, the Black Werewolf King, from the Town of Beginnings .
“This king is not . . . Pochi . . . RELEASE ME!!” The Werewolf King let out a deafening roar . It swept its fervent eyes, scanning everyone in the room with malice .
Revin summoned a Flame Blade of Underworld using his magic power and stabbed the Werewolf King’s back with it . Fenrir screamed due to the scorching pain . Its qi was abundant though, constantly healing its body .
“I’m embarrassed . This wolf is so damn stubborn . Believe it or not, he still refuses to become my pet after all this time . Shockingly, he became able to talk recently . Well, it’s good that he is tough, making him a great punching bag . Sadly, I can’t tame him no matter what I do . ”
The Black Werewolf King had undergone a bizarre evolution thanks to Sila’s Eternal Onyx . Back then, his body wasn’t in sync with its abrupt increase in qi, so he was easily defeated by Sila despite its high rank .
Now that time had progressed, with the monster’s learning instinct, he grew stronger and learned how to make use of its racial skills . The qi exclusive for its race was Blood Wolf Qi, which allowed the user to maintain qi reinforcement for a long time without any side effects .
Lord Rank qi-type monsters were fearsome in a sense that they had terrifying stats, notably an insanely high amount of health points . With the racial skill, Blood Conversion, members of the werewolf race could always convert their qi points to health points and vice versa without the help of qi circulation . Even though they didn’t possess any fancy moves, their vitality was something that shouldn’t be underestimated . There was a record that, under a full moon, the Black Werewolf King would be a creature close to being immortal .
It could be said that Fenrir was a werewolf version of Infernee . That wasn’t a perfect analogy though . Infernee was magic-type while Fenrir was qi-type . Also, Infernee mainly focused on defense while Fenrir was more or less a berserker .
“If you kill that boy right there, freedom is yours . I promise . ”
The Black Werewolf King swept his gaze to Clute, his eyes gleaming with malevolence . He had been imprisoned for so long, missing both sunlight and starlight . His chance at obtaining freedom was right in front of him . He would never hesitate to seize it .
Revin turned to Anubis and nodded once, pointing at the Werewolf King .
Anubis’s shadow extended in length as he muttered a spell .
“Under the influence of the great me, the Guide of Souls, I shall grant you, poor souls, the way to reincarnate through this vessel . ”
Thousands of tiny souls emerged from Anubis’ shadow and flew into the Black Werewolf King, competing against each other to dwell inside a target . Many parts of the werewolf’s body enlarged, swelling in an ugly manner . His qi was surging non-stop .
Just by cladding his body with qi reinforcement, cracks appeared throughout the governor’s residence . His muscles tore themselves apart, soaking his black fur with blood .
His health points and qi points shot through the roof, several times higher than his usual limits . As soon as Revin snapped the chains binding him, he dropped to all fours and roared . His voice directed at Clute .
His roar was strengthened by Ray Assemble and Cruise Breeze, heavily blowing Clute away as if the boy had been hit by an invisible sledgehammer . The blow sent Clute crashing into a wall, shattering it in an instant, and flying further with no loss in momentum .
Using Ray Assemble a second time, the Werewolf King’s calves bulged . With a single leap, he chased after Clute to the outside at a speed that even Sila’s eyes couldn’t follow . It was a transcendent speed, superior to even Zero’s .
It was already too late to change decisions . Sila was worried . Clute had become his pet only temporarily when he raided the Heavenly Dragon Guild . Now that Sila’s armor couldn’t register and seal objects or pets inside anymore, coupled with the fact that he didn’t like forcing someone to do something they’re unwilling to do, Clute was no longer his pet . The boy was just his Monster Follower .
When monsters in the wild fought each other to the death, the loser would permanently cease to exist .
Revin was aware that Clute was only a Monster Follower . Thanks to his role as the city ruler, the system had notified him about two players and one monster—not a pet—as soon as Sila and his gang stepped into Inverse Zhongsuyuan City .
Their situation immediately turned grim now that one of their members was missing . Sila and Burapha were tense . They had to try harder to keep their calm .
“Follow me . For our duels not to disrupt one another, we shall fight elsewhere . ”
Anubis jumped outside as he finished speaking . Sila didn’t want to waste time, so he quickly followed the Guide of Souls without even sparing a glance to consult Burapha . Similarly, Burapha didn’t remove his gaze from Revin .
For now, all they could do was have faith in each other . There was no room for words of encouragement or anything .
Sila relied on his speed to follow Anubis to a square with a fountain located in the center of the city . The sound of buildings collapsing and an intense battle could be heard from the south, informing him that at least Clute was still alive and in the middle of a battle .
Anubis removed his mask . “Since it’s an order, we’ll have no choice but to do it . Come, Sila . Show us how much you have grown . ”
“ . . . Us?”
Anubis placed his palm on his chest and activated his exclusive skill . “Spirit Vessel . ”
A beautiful white cat appeared . Sila’s system window then informed him that Anubis’ rank had fallen from Level 1,000 Emperor Rank to Level 1,000 Lord Rank while a new monster, White Cat Queen, Level 1,000 Lord Rank, had appeared .
The noble white cat soon transformed itself into a blonde woman in a white suit .
It was none other than Irene, his biological mother .
“Too bad, Sila,” said Irene .
Sila was confused . His mother was supposed to be a scientist, not a profound practitioner . He couldn’t imagine a scene where his mother, who looked reserved and well-mannered, was involved in a fight .
“Mom, you can fight?”
“You better not underestimate me, my son . Your father, who has never accepted a disciple, personally taught me . ”
Sila became more stressed . Having his father, the renowned Sword Prodigy, as a personal mentor and living in a game world where in-game energy was available, he didn’t doubt that even a weak person could become strong if they put in a sufficient amount of effort . In fact, those who had reached Lord Rank couldn't be weak .
“You’re in a hurry, aren’t you, Sila? Let’s not waste time,” warned Pumin .
Sila exhaled and stayed focused, circulating Flaming Cloud Qi . The light in his eyes became calm and stable .
“Excellent . As expected of Mora’s main disciple,” Pumin complimented .
Pumin and Irene’s breathings were in perfect sync . Sila realized it immediately that the foundation of their power must be Profound Qi Circulation Art .
Grains of sand swirled and crystalized in Pumin’s hand, becoming a sword with the exact same design as the Sila Sword . Concurrently, a vortex of wind was constantly whirling around Irene’s wrist, resembling a ring orbiting around a planet .
Sila materialized tiny blades made of qi, extending from all his fingers . Using swords in front of the Sword Prodigy sounded like a foolish idea . Even a hundred famous sword dojo weren’t Pumin’s opponents . Thus, Sila abandoned his sword arts and relied on what he best excelled at—barehanded combat and yizichan—ones which he invented himself under the guidance of his teacher, Mora .
Formless Martial God and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi .
As Sila was ready to battle, a mysterious silhouette seemed to waver, overlapping him . The light in his eyes subtly flared up .
Sila hadn’t made any moves yet, but Pumin could sense deep pressure emitting from his son .
‘So he has entered the realm of Nirvana Part . . . Dark Self’s existence is starting to resonate with the original’s . ’
Pumin pointed the tip of his blade forward . He didn’t make any preemptive strike either . However, it could also be debated that he had already done so . Even without further movements, his sword art was showing its invisible and profound effect, changing the atmosphere around Sila .
Heaven’s Decree — First Sword Style, Inverted Ground .
Irene utilized Profound Qi Circulation Art, absorbing power from the Great Flow . The number of orbiting rings increased from two to eight, sliding away from her wrists and hovering around her body . They spun and swirled with different speeds and orbits, never once colliding with each other .
Gentle Moonbelt — Flowing Destiny .