An hour and a half had passed since the start of the raid in Zhongsuyuan City . Considering the overall process and the end result, it was satisfying . The Wicked Union successfully brought chaos to the city, utilized teleport-jamming devices, and defeated the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members in the city . Most importantly, they victoriously sneaked into Inverse Zhongsuyuan City and killed Revin, the deputy city ruler .
The raid was far from over though, so it was hard to say that it was perfect . There was a Chinese proverb saying “A longer night creates more dreams”, which emphasised the importance of the passage of time . The longer an operation drags on, the riskier it becomes for the participants . Even a good dream can become a nightmare without warning .
In this particular case, the proverb was spot on .
Sila’s plan failed to take the potentially long duration of the raid into account . The teleport-jamming devices could only run continuously for an hour straight, meaning the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members could send their reinforcement during the devices’ downtime . Furthermore, the Victorious Wolves Sect’s headquarters was located near Zhongsuyuan City . Without Lone Wolf’s lead, the members might take advantage of the chaos and march an army to the city . They could justify their actions as an act to solve chaos while their real aim might be to conquer the city temporarily, though ‘temporarily’ in this case could either be for a day or ten years .
At the time when the Lamentable Dragon fell from the sky and slammed into the fountain in the city’s square, Sila’s teammates had already withdrawn from the city . Only Himeko remained out of concern for Sila’s safety . Unsurprisingly, Asava and Vlad chose to stay with her .
The three Kimon members stood on pine trees somewhere in the city . They didn’t hide their presence, though the situation was too confusing for someone to notice them .
The army belonging to the Victorious Wolves Sect had marched into the city thirty minutes ago . They could easily handle and subdue the situation at first, but the situation changed once Revin died . The transportation device near the center of the city flashed several times . The Heavenly Dragon Guild’s army, consisting of a thousand players and led by Trick Master and Shuran, rushed out .
Eventually, both armies collided . The number of the Victorious Wolves Sect’s members was lower, but they were exceptional at qi . Most of them had obtained Qi of Little Divine Beings during their stay in Sila’s Mansion of Secrets . Also, they knew the city like the back of their hands, so they could make use of the terrain to perform ambushes . As a matter of fact, all of their elite members, including all vice-leaders, had been deployed .
Still, the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members were all at Marquis Rank . In addition, they got a powerful buff from Montra’s Emperorship . Behind the lead of the two Dragon Warlords, the fight raged on .
The Heavenly Dragon Guild had a difficult time inflicting fatal wounds on the other side . The Victorious Wolves Sect’s elite members were experienced, allowing them to avoid serious blows . They fought while using Qi of Little Turtle to recover and making use of the city’s many alleys to their advantage .
Unfortunately, while they were fundamentally stronger, they had inferior battle gear . Their attacks weren’t as effective as they had hoped . Furthermore, the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s members had superior teamwork . They relied on their higher numbers to slowly corner their opponents . The battles had no signs that they would end soon . In fact, it was possible that they might have dragged on for days .
What changed the stalemate of the situation was the abrupt crashing sound as if a meteor had hit the ground . In the center of the city, a red silhouette of a long-haired man in wuxia clothing appeared in the midst of smoke . He looked up to the sky while unleashing powerful qi .
Myth-Splitting Dragonic Qi — Flame of Doom .
The man’s pale skin began to darken . Shining cracks appeared on his body as if he had become overheated molten rock . Orange flames erupted from those cracks . The man directed his arm blade to the sky, ready to cope with the incoming attack that was about to descend .
“Isn’t that . . . Sir Flame Monarch?” One of the players asked, confused . “What is he doing?”
The Lamentable Dragon’s outward appearance was quite similar to Revin’s, especially his long red hair and the outfit . The difference was more so difficult to spot now that his entire body was covered in molten flames . It was understandable that some players might have mistaken him for Revin .
Players followed the Lamentable Dragon’s line of sight, looking up . On the empty dark sky, suddenly there appeared a light-blue flash descending at incredible speed . While the people in Inverse Zhongsuyuan City side could see Zhongsuyuan City, it seemed the reverse wasn’t the same, and the players on the mortal side could only see the sky .
If not for the complete darkness, people would have overlooked Sila, whose entire body was cloaked in qi aura and descending rapidly .
The Lamentable Dragon raised his arms, covered in flames, to block . Meanwhile, Sila stopped his descent at the last possible moment . He rolled his body in mid-air and delivered a powerful kick .
The kick, greatly enhanced by his qi in his Lone Soul state, was countered by the Lamentable Dragon’s quick counter . Sila felt his ankle hurt .
The Lamentable Dragon’s other arm blade shone with qi aura . He mercilessly swung it at Sila, who was still in mid-air .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Middle Styles — Stellar Wheel .
Stellar Wheel was a defensive move that could simultaneously perform a counterattack . A cyclone of qi circulated around Sila’s left hand as he parried the incoming attack upward . Concurrently, his foot, wrapped with cycling qi that acted like a drill, landed on the opponent’s chest .
The hit fractured the Lamentable Dragon’s chest, albeit just a small crack . Still, it eased Sila’s mind as he discovered that his opponent wasn’t unbreakable . He accelerated his speed, focusing more power and adding more spin into the tip of his foot . This time he wanted to pierce through the dragon’s human body .
As he had expected, his sharp kick drilled a small hole through the Lamentable Dragon’s chest . He had no time to celebrate this though . Sensing an incoming attack toward his head, Sila swiftly circulated his qi to increase his defense .
The arrow clad with qi collided with his temple, making Sila feel dizzy . Sila relaxed his body, utilizing the weaken technique of Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws to let himself go along with the momentum . He was sent flying, spinning away from the Lamentable Dragon and violently smashing into a building . The wall collapsed . He took a quick moment to circulate qi to dismiss his dizziness . Sila didn’t even have to look for the shooter to know their identity . There was only one player who could shoot powerful qi arrows with such accuracy . The Sun-Extinguishing Warlord, Shuran .
Being a qi user himself, Sila deeply respected other qi-type players, be it Zero, Lone Wolf, Beluga, Fargo, or even enemies such as Zazae and Shuran . Although some of them possessed a fewer number of qi techniques than him or were even outright weaker than him, they could rely on their limited number of qi techniques to develop unique play styles that even he had a hard time fighting against . This must be what Kiryu meant by “proficiency is key” .
Sila silently recovered himself, his pair of eyes locking onto the main foe—the Lamentable Dragon . He considered whether he should flee now that the raid had succeeded . However, on second thought, he didn’t believe he could get away from it considering the Lamentable Dragon’s strength and speed .
Myth-Splitting Dragonic Qi — Bloody Aqua .
The hole on the Lamentable Dragon’s chest started to heal at a moderate speed . From Sila’s observation so far, he noticed that the Demonic Armament had been utilizing various qi techniques in his unique way . The attack that harmed Burapha was similar to God’s Cathedral . The extended-range attack that ignores defense, which previously cut Sila’s flesh, was Cruise Breeze . The molten flames that were enveloping him were Flame of Torturing . Lastly, the healing power just now was Unblemished Aqua .
Monsters could learn skills on the fly using their instincts . It seemed the same applied to Demonic Armaments as well, though the latter’s learning speed was alarmingly fast . The Lamentable Dragon’s abilities were simple but versatile . None of his skills were fanciful . As a matter of fact, he could use Eight Inverse Qi Techniques, which were the upgraded versions of the traditional Eight Qi Techniques . Fortunately for Sila, the dragon was still very young, so his experience was still lacking . Still, it wasn’t like Sila could rest easy . The Lamentable Dragon was learning quickly from the actual fight against him .
The Victorious Wolves Sect’s players began to notice Sila . “Isn’t that Sila? He is injured . What should we do?”
Ratri approached the main team . Spotting Sila, she issued an order, “He was the one who killed Lone Wolf! Our leader considered him a friend, but that fiend Sila betrayed his kindness! We should punish him! For our leader!!”
The Victorious Wolves Sect’s players had assembled with Lone Wolf as the center of their admiration, so the matter regarding Lone Wolf could easily infuriate them . Lone Wolf was their guild leader, a grand figure they always looked up to . He had been hailed as the Qi Emperor even before Sila entered the game . It was obvious that the only possible reason for Sila to be able to take down such a man was by playing dirty, attacking Lone Wolf behind his back . With their pride as martial artists, they refused to let this matter go . Sila shall be hunted .
Likewise, for the Heavenly Dragon Guild, Sila was their main target . Shuran and Trick Master were aware that the red-haired man wasn’t Revin, but they made eye contact and decided to ignore that fact for now . They decided that using Revin’s name would be useful for incitement .
“The Flame Monarch shall reign supreme! Sila is a cornered rat that refuses to admit defeat . Let’s join Sir Revin and kill him!”
In the eyes of other players, the current Sila was no different than a cornered, exhausted dog . He was a subject waiting to be killed . Whoever kills him would make a name for themselves . Thus, the two armies came to an unspoken agreement: they wouldn’t attack each other until Sila had died . Their combined killing intent, bloodlust, and mental oppression were directed at Sila, greatly pressuring him .
War indeed emitted a strange atmosphere . All these people, individually they might not stand a chance against Sila, but their combined might under the same objective generated pressure not inferior to an Emperor Rank monster . Sila took a deep breath . The merciless nature of the situation forced him to understand what war truly meant . There was no room for kindness .
The Lamentable Dragon completely ignored others . The world in his perception consisted of only him and Sila . All his vengeance was directed toward Sila, not minding the surrounding players . Just his intense gaze and his qi that locked onto Sila were enough to considerably intimidate him .
Sila’s heart was beating louder and faster under the pressure and excitement from being on the border between life and death, pumping blood all over and making his body feel hot . In fact, it beat so fast that his chest hurt . Still maintaining the state of qi circulation, Sila slowly got up . His face cast downward, yet a small smirk on it was visible to some players, dreading them .
Sure enough, more so than ever, he was on the border between life and death .
Sila’s power was a mixture of the three energies, mainly qi and psychic power, with magic power acting as a bridge that connected the two . As a life-threatening danger approached, Dark Psychic Corrosion let itself loose, blanketing his skin . Meanwhile, his qi tried to keep up with it by speeding up the qi circulation . The magic power began to fail to undertake the burden . As a result, the residual traces of power finally leaked out and injured him . Even though his stats were increasing, his health points were declining gradually .
Without further ado, Sila took out Royal Blood and consumed it . His power relied on all three energies as its foundation . It seemed the magic power counterpart couldn’t keep up with the other two anymore . He would have to consult Zarnak on how to fix this problem later .
Hundreds of magic arrows flew toward Sila as the opening bombardment . Still, he didn’t spare them a glance . The brown parts of his eyes slowly turned pitch black, his hair lengthening . He was going to the dark side since the atmosphere during wartime greatly stimulated Dark Self .
Sila poured his power toward his feet . He stomped heavily and loudly, using Orbiting Cosmos of the earth element to pull up a row of giant stone walls to block the arrows .
The sound of arrows slamming into stone rang out continuously . The stone walls could only maintain their form for a brief moment before they collapsed . However, Sila, who should have been behind them, had already disappeared by then .
“Where did he go?!”
The people swept their eyes over the battlefield, searching for Sila . Only Shuran immediately shot an arrow to the right side . The Lamentable Dragon, too, shifted his hateful gaze to the right . However, that spot was empty, confusing them both . Shuran was shocked . He swore his God’s Cathedral sensed Sila’s power there .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Lesser Styles — Martial Formless .
His power ran to the right while his real body evaded to the left . Sila silently made his move by firing the Seven Luminaries Arrow at Shuran during the moment when the shooter was bewildered .
Shuran managed to jerk away at the last moment, making the arrow miss his head, though still hitting his shoulder . Seven waves of magic power exploded, sending him further away and inflicting severe injuries . He quickly went into hiding to recover himself .
Meanwhile, Trick Master exerted a domain to lock Sila in a small area . Several players lunged at him .
Sila relied on Armament Trampling to walk in the dead zone . His feet moved non-stop while his hands flipped with different arts simultaneously . The Lesser Styles of Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art consumed an insignificant amount of power as they mostly focused on martial movements . He could use them in quick succession . They were suitable for chaotic battlefields, where he had almost no time to concentrate his power .
Nine-Styles Weapon Subduing Art — Lesser Styles — Bone Claws .
Bone Claws had a low power consumption rate . The art relied on knowledge of human anatomy to effectively twist, snap, press, and crush bones and joints . It saved Sila a lot of power while his opponents fell like leaves from a tree in the fall . Similar to how he suffered during Divine’s training, energy reinforcement was mostly useless to cope with this art, because the logic of the art was to redirect the opponent’s power and momentum to injure themselves . If Sila had to make an analogy, he would say using and defending against Bone Claws were similar to playing a puzzle game rather than engaging in a battle . If one wanted to survive against his moves, they had to use their wit to correctly loosen the parts of their bodies, otherwise, their bones would interlock and harm themselves .
Sila conserved his strength since his real enemy was still the Lamentable Dragon, who had jumped in and joined the fray . The man wasn’t a genuine human, so Bone Claws didn’t work on him . Just a touch allowed Sila to know that the human-shape skin was merely a shell . There were no veins for blood to run through or bones and muscles to hold the body together . The Demonic Armament was a mass of metal, which could move thanks to powerful qi .
Now that the Lamentable Dragon had joined the battle, Sila could no longer afford to go soft on it . Dark Psychic Corrosion unleashed from his feet, kicking the man to put a stop to the incoming strike .
Witnessing Sila’s battle, Kimon’s members wondered why Sila didn’t retreat like they had planned . Seeing Himeko insist on going to help Sila, Asava sighed in resignation .
“Hime, your art is not suitable for this kind of situation . You’ll just become a burden . ”
“But Sila is fighting by himself . Will we do nothing but watch?” Himeko pressed .
“Exactly because Sila is fighting alone that he can control the flow of the battle . It may look like he is having a hard time, but if any of his comrades join the fray, his opponents will immediately exploit it . ” Asava analyzed the situation by using his dark art . “Anyway, I don’t think Sila’s situation is desperate . All ordinary players can do is put some pressure on him and cause light injuries . The real danger is the red man who Sila is focusing on . Sila himself is aware though . That is why he allowed some attacks from players to land on him in order to conserve his power to cope with the man’s attacks . ”
Sila suffered some light injuries from surrounding spells, qi, and psychic power . Still, he couldn’t mind them too much since he had to direct most of his focus at the Lamentable Dragon .
Looking at the Lamentable Dragon, a worried expression was seen on Himeko’s face . “It’s very odd . My art has no effect on that man . ”
“Maybe he has some kind of protection skills, or he is a member of some strange race . Else, he may not be human . Your art is a bit too specific . It is mostly effective on humans, so it loses some merit in the game,” Vlad guessed nonchalantly .
Asava nodded . “That man is tough, but Sila can handle him . A more important issue is that Sila focuses on the current battlefield too much . He can see only what is ahead of him but fails to see the future . Well, I guess I can’t blame him . Considering the state of the battle, he can’t really spare his concentration to think things through . He is unaware that there is another enemy about to bite him . ”
“Who is it?” Himeko asked with anxiety .
Asava took a moment before revealing the answer, “Trick Master has disappeared . He is hiding himself to cast a spell . Based on the look of his expression, he must be pretty confident that the spell can surely take care of the situation . ”
The other two Kimon members tried to search for Trick Master . However, they failed, even when Himeko used her art .
“He is in a magical domain . He must be very careful . You won’t be able to pinpoint him . I guess he will show up only when he has finished casting the spell . Mm . Magic type is indeed troublesome . Some spells are so unique that even profound practitioners like us can’t keep up with them,” Asava commented .
“Sila must really be unaware of the danger, then . . . ”
Asava gritted his teeth, trying to hide his displeasure . “Don’t tell him, or he will simply lose his concentration . ” He fell into silence and made a decision . “Let me handle this . Vlad, you look after Himeko . ”
Himeko showed a bright smile . Under his usual expression, Asava sighed inwardly . ‘It’s not fair making a face like you’re about to cry . Good grief . ’
Vlad called out, “Are you sure you don’t need our help? The battle below is quite hectic . ”
Asava donned a white mask . “I’m more suited to this kind of job . Trick Master is at most a street magician . I will show him the difference between sage arts and combat arts . ”
Asava descended to the ground . His body vanished along the way in mid-air as if he were a profound sage using the art of invisibility .