Clute looked up, staring at the faint crack in the sky . Frowning, he shifted his gaze to the Black Werewolf King, his eyes filled with pity .
His match had ended even before it could properly start . Except for the first blow that sent him away, the rest of Fenrir’s attacks had been countered by the power of “Gebo (Gift)”, one of the runes he was best at using since it was one of his original letters .
Gebo symbolized giving and taking . With it, Clute could create a clone to take damage for him . Still, the copy has a few limitations, such as not being able to move too far away from the caster and it dissolves once the opponent realizes that it is just a copy . Those were the reasons why Clute had to hide his presence and observe Fenrir from nearby .
Every time Fenrir inflicted damages to Clute’s copy, the Black Werewolf King would receive the same amount of damage .
Berserk monsters were easy to cope with, as long as one possessed suitable countermeasures . Their attacks were often simple and predictable . The more Fenrir attacked, the more injured he became . And as his pain increased, so did his rage, causing him to attack even faster . His craziness was cornering himself .
If Fenrir were to trade places with any monster living in the Monster Realm, any single monster, not even one of them would be doing as poorly as him . The Monster Realm was a cruel place, making every monster become more shrewd and vigilant than usual . No one would fall for such a childish trick .
Fenrir was badly battered, his qi dispersed . His body shrunk and became a small black puppy, panting heavily, though his eyes still expressed the previous madness . He continued to plunge at Clute’s copy .
“Enough . If you die on your own, it won’t count as dying to a wild monster like me . You’ll be able to return to your brethren . ” Clute deactivated the rune, dissolving his copy . The boy put the puppy down on the floor . It didn’t get up, or rather, it couldn’t . It twitched and eventually lost consciousness .
Clute was more worried about the other matches . The sky had suddenly turned dark and an unfathomable golden light had burned all of the mana and air . The Black Werewolf King had formerly clad his entire body with qi, so he was unaffected . Meanwhile, Clute was a golem . He was a magical being that didn’t require oxygen for surviving . He didn’t even need to borrow ambient mana, since Rune Magic forced the users to rely only on their own magic reserve .
Then, the sky was ripped apart and ambient mana from another dimension was sucked into the governor’s residence . From there, a massive amount of qi exploded . The shockwave reached from afar to where Clute was standing, prompting the boy to manifest a domain around the puppy, as it would die if he did nothing .
Clute’s frown deepened . He quickly soared back to the governor’s residence .
Burapha dragged his limping body away, using his lance as a walking stick . The regeneration of his left ankle was a lost cause . Even qi types, who were known for their high recovery power, still required special qi to heal missing organs, especially for body parts bigger than a finger . It was even more troublesome when it came to healing others since that meant they had to possess Qi Transmission of a very high level as well . It was worse that the missing organ was not only cut away, since reconnecting limbs were easier than regrowing them . His ankle was completely pulverized .
Another option was a healing spell . However, powerful healing spells were insanely rare .
In the entire game, Burapha could only think of two people who had a shot at healing him and were willing to do so . They were White Swan and Anawin, the Medical Saint .
The Lamentable Dragon descended . His feet silently tapped on the floor . He whistled, firing a qi blade from his mouth . The blade shot through the air as if it were fired using a powerful yizichan art . Both its travel speed and sharpness were top-notch, leaving no chance for Burapha to dodge .
Fortunately, his main weapon was the Eastern Sea Evil Lance . It acted as an invisible barrier so long as Burapha reinforced it with psychic power . As a result, the qi blade didn’t penetrate his head as its attack power was reduced . Still, the remaining power blasted him away, his health points all but gone .
Burapha felt pain all over his head as if he had been hit by a sledgehammer . To think that a mere qi blade was this powerful . . . If the Lamentable Dragon was more serious, he would have died before he blinked .
Myth-Splitting Dragonic Qi — Cathedral of the Dead .
The Lamentable Dragon turned his face upward and let out a cry . The entire land trembled in response . Cracks started to form on Burapha’s skin, his ears bleeding . He immediately clad his body with psychic power reinforcement and soon found that it didn’t help . The Lamentable Dragon’s qi was incomprehensible . When becoming a form of attack such as an energy blade, qi was supposed to be tangible . With enough mastery at energy handling, one could normally drive it out from their body with an equal amount of power . However, the qi that attacked him at the moment came with the sound, seeping into his body . His tears flowed for no reason while his organs were attacked from within . Even the invisible armor formed by the lance was unhelpful .
Racial Skill — Slime’s Roar .
Arriving at the scene, Sila let out a roar that was louder than the Lamentable Dragon’s cry . The target of the roar was Burapha . The result of the skill made Burapha’s ears buzz, hearing only a ringing sound . However, in exchange for this, the pain from before subsided significantly .
Sila knew from experience that Burapha wouldn’t be able to hear in his current state, so he used yizichan to write “Retreat!” on the floor .
Soon, Clute caught up to Sila . The boy looked at the word before he grabbed Burapha, jumped into the sky, and disappeared into Zhongsuyuan City without saying anything .
Sila guessed that the boy planned to bring Burapha to the Summer Forest, which was the Mountain Thieves League’s hiding place .
More cracks appeared in the sky as the upside-down Zhongsuyuan City moved closer to him, or rather to the entire Inverse Zhongsuyuan City . The two cities were about to overlap .
Taking a look at the red man in front of him, Sila was unsure as to who he was . The system informed him of neither his level nor his name .
“Be careful . It’s a Demonic Armament like me,” Zarnak warned after sensing the energy signature of the enemy .
Sila recalled the previous system announcement . Could it be that this red man was the aforementioned Lamentable Dragon, the newly born Demonic Armament? He was totally clueless about how such a development happened in this place and at this time .
The Lamentable Dragon let Burapha go easily because his true nemesis was right before him . The conditions for his birth were easy but tricky to be fulfilled . In a sense, Sila played a major role in making him come to life .
Solaria had a few titles aside from the Hellfire Dragon . Sometimes it was regarded as the Dragon of Swords since its flesh, bones, scales, and horns were ingredients for producing elite swords .
One of the conditions for the Lamentable Dragon’s birth was that Solaria had to be killed by the user of another Demonic Armament .
One of the other conditions was for Solaria to be killed while holding an extremely deep resentment . In this case, Revin was technically defeated by Sila’s Nirvana Flame then finished off by Burapha . It wasn’t fair . Of course he would resent such a manner of defeat .
Normally, the sword’s final skill, the Last Blade of the Perished, would transform its master’s soul into flying sword energy, hunting its master’s killer for thirty days straight .
However, since all of the conditions had been met, what came out of Revin’s soul wasn’t mere flying sword energy, but the Demonic Armament .
Like how it did to Burapha, the Lamentable Dragon’s qi affected Sila . However, he was more experienced . Instead of trying to drive it out directly, he relied on his qi to circulate it through his body before letting it out through his ears, in a similar manner to how it got in .
He noticed that the harmful qi was similar to his Dark Psychic Corrosion . While Dark Psychic Corrosion corroded from outside to within and spread, Myth-Splitting Dragonic Qi corroded from within to outside, destroying its host in its wake . For this kind of power, it was best to avoid a direct clash . Using a high-level energy circulation technique was the proper countermeasure .
“Wait a minute . ” Sila kept his distance and studied his opponent . “If he’s a Demonic Armament, where does his qi come from?”
If what Zarnak said was the truth, that meant the Lamentable Dragon’s existence was something similar to Julia, which was an item . Even if he could move, he was supposed to have neither health points nor special points .
“To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure . Maybe it has something to do with it being a combat type,” Zarnak replied, its voice monotonous .
All battle gears in Monster Soul were divided into three categories—qi, magic, and psychic power—depending on their energy types, obviously . Each category had different distinctive features . Qi-type battle gears were often simple, possessing high attack or defense power and enhancing stats . Magic-type battle gears often came with unique options or item skills . Lastly, psychic-type battle gears varied in abilities, most of them tricky to use but potentially fraudulent . It was to be expected since item utilization was a strong point of psychic types .
Demonic Armaments were categorized like so as well . Still, they could also be categorized by their main utilization—combat, and assist .
Combat-type Demonic Armaments directly enhanced their user’s fighting abilities while assist-type supported users in other manners . For the record, both Sila’s Blade-Sharpening Dragon and Sebastian’s Manifesting Soul Lantern were assist-type Demonic Armaments .
Ambient mana continued to flow into the Lamentable Dragon’s body . Apparently, he had the ability to convert mana to qi . Furthermore, similar to Zarnak, he could pull some memories from his past masters for his own use, albeit in a different manner . Zarnak obtained the memories and experiences while the Lamentable Dragon obtained fighting techniques .
The Lamentable Dragon’s legs blurred as he flashed left and right, approaching Sila . He was using Revin’s Flame-Dancing Dragon Steps . His footwork was confusing, making his body sway as if he were a flame flickering in the wind . It was a movement art very different from Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps . Witnessing it, Sila couldn’t help but be amazed .
Twelve Celestial-Traveling-Steps was, sadly, an art that could only be fully utilised by others . When using it, Sila might be able to generate twelve afterimages, yet all of them would eventually disperse when he delivered an attack . Thus, he mostly used it for temporary camouflages in order to get up close to his opponents .
On the other hand, Flame-Dancing Dragon Steps was an art developed from Coiling Dragon Steps, which was one of the Sky Dragon Dojo’s main arts . The dojo emphasized the importance of meaning behind the shape of “circle” . The continuity and smoothness of the red man’s footwork broadened Sila’s view . Even while approaching, the Lamentable Dragon could maintain his battle stance, ready to attack at any opportunity .
Unsure of how to cope with the man’s incoming attacks, Sila eventually chose to step back . It was the reason why Revin liked Flame-Dancing Dragon Steps . Even though it wasn’t excellent in terms of traveling a long distance like most qinggong, its offensive capability was high .
‘I see . He converted mana to qi . Should I use Nirvana Flame again to get rid of ambient mana?’
Sila’s overall speed was, fortunately, a bit faster than the Lamentable Dragon’s, so he could keep his distance . However, it was as if the Lamentable Dragon held an irreconcilable grudge against him . No matter how Sila tried to withdraw, he would stubbornly follow .
“It’s useless, my short-sighted master . Firstly, you shouldn’t attempt to use Nirvana Flame when you are incapable of controlling it . More importantly, you could previously burn away all mana just because you did it in an enclosed dimension . Now that this dimension connects to the outside world, you can’t . Ambient mana is like the air . Even if you suck it away from a spot, mana from other areas will simply flow into it . You can’t possibly burn it all away . ”
Far away from the scene, both his parents were quietly watching Sila without any intention of helping . They had formerly informed him that they, as Independent NPCs, could do nothing about the situation, since that was the basic rule .
‘It’s one on one . . . How about Heaven’s Decree Sword Art?’
Sila attempted to gather the power from the Great Flow . However, the result was disappointing . Ambient mana refused to come his way . This meant the Demonic Armament in front of him, despite not being a monster, had a higher Unison Percentage than him .
“He is an item, so I guess he has no vital spots, yes? How can I defeat him, then? Will splashing my blood on him be enough?” Sila mused out loud .
“I’m afraid not, my shallow master . Demonic Armaments are prideful items . They, or rather we, have the right to select their masters out of the quality they are looking forward to . For me, it’s the determination that won’t yield even against death . For him, however, it can be anything . Even if you break him by brute force, it is still uncertain that it’s the right way to defeat him . ”
Sila disagreed though . “I don’t think so . You said it yourself that he’s the combat-type, so the condition for his defeat must be more direct than yours . He is also wearing wuxia clothing . See? For us martial artists, we communicate through strength . I believe I must defeat him in a fight . ”
Sila began to notice something else: The Lamentable Dragon’s attacks were becoming increasingly sharper . The blade, that used to miss Sila by a palm span, started to miss him by an inch . The fact that he was a combat-type Demonic Armament seemed to make him learn how to fight at a drastic rate . If Sila didn’t change his approach, he would be in a tough spot .
Myth-Splitting Dragonic Qi — Abysmal Breeze .
The qi blade suddenly extended . It slashed at Sila’s chest, cutting his flesh . There was no visible scratch on the Twin Souls Weaponized Protection, yet his blood soaked it from within .
“His attack penetrated armor!” Sila exclaimed in shock . He was injured despite having properly maintained his qi reinforcement and Formless Soldier .
Through his qi, Sila closed his wound . He became stressed . He didn’t think the swords in his arsenal could take on the Demonic Armament, but he was reluctant to engage a fight bare-handedly .
So far, he had been fine fighting bare-handed against weapons, but that was because he was confident his powerful qi could protect his body . However, the Lamentable Dragon’s attacks made him lose that confidence . The red man’s speed had already caught up to Sila’s level and his attacks cut through his flesh as easily as cutting tofu .
“Are you scared, Sila?” Dark Self raised his voice . “Are you scared at the possibility of a quick death?”
Without a hint of shame, Sila readily admitted, “Yes, I am . We will die if we make even the slightest mistake . ”
“Such is a true battle, Sila . Lately, even when you were up against a superior opponent like Anubis, you were still unafraid of being killed in one swift attack . You’ve become so strong that you’ve forgotten the old feelings . The feeling of being constantly one step away from death . The feeling that you had to struggle for survival with all the effort you can muster . The feeling that you had to risk your life in order to deliver a single attack . . . ”
“ . . . The feeling of wanting to achieve new heights,” Sila finished .
“Don’t be content with your current level of power . Nirvana Flame, so what? There is no absolute limit . It’s not that our power has to stop at this level . Always remind ourselves that we’re weak . Always seek to become stronger . Recall our old feelings . Evoke our true potential!”
Dark Self’s mental speech became louder, turning into a shout . Sila’s eyes gleamed with Flaming Cloud Qi . He was using the Cloud Part to recall his old experiences .
The desperate fight against Shueria at the harbor on the Island of Beginnings, the intense battle against the Water Dragon amid the vast ocean, the struggling duel against Sebastian in the Mansion of the Seven Deadly Sins, the exchanges of blows with Fargo in Colossia City, and the continuous deathmatches with Montra in the Town of Beginnings—all of these experiences were fierce, brutal and tough, since they happened in his early moments when he was still weak . Each of his opponents could kill him in one attack .
“Unleash our inner beast—the one who fights for survival!” Sila’s voice synchronized with Dark Self’s . They were recalling a particular forgotten art .
A long time ago, Sila had invented a certain barehanded art to cope with weapon users, though he later dismissed it as he had come up with a new art . Admittedly, he, at that time, was unable to unleash the art’s full potential .
The power in his body divided into two parts . One flowed normally while the other flowed in reverse, both supporting each other . Together, they represented the duality . Sila used to call this display of power Yin Yang Energy .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Lesser Styles — Armament Trampling .
Sila bravely entered the Lamentable Dragon’s attack range . Once the arm blades drew toward him, he countered them with continuous kicks, subduing the weapons under his feet .
It was an old move, but the current display of power was different . Unlike before, he could now exert the move’s full capability .
Sila moved closer . He uppercut the Lamentable Dragon’s chest, his fist exploding with power in an instant .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Middle Styles — One Above All .
The heavy fist slammed into the Lamentable Dragon, sending the living weapon into the sky . The red figure crashed against the forming dimension, breaking it apart and creating a giant hole . He reappeared on the upside-down ground of Zhongsuyuan City .
Without waiting for the Lamentable Dragon to recuperate, and with no fear of dying to the Demonic Armament’s counterattack, Sila bent his knees and circulated qi throughout his body . His eyes gleamed with malice, ready to take off after his prey and continue his attacks .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Greater Styles — Lone Soul .