Chapter 345: Magic Arrows
Now that he was here and got to see the place up close, Sila discovered that the well of gold had a structure similar to a bottle with a narrow neck and a wide body . Gold coins were like a golden carpet under their feet . Even though the 99th squad’s members were incompetent, they were fully aware that the situation was serious . They clearly felt the domineering Psychic Oppression coming from the resident of the well .
Theoretically, psychic power is less outstanding compared to qi and magic power in terms of destructive power . It focuses more on synergistic effects and tricky abilities that allow the user to manipulate the system, monsters, and items . Thus, when it comes to pure pressure, the oppression that emits from a psychic-type being is more powerful than the other two energy types . Some psychic-type creatures even have special Psychic Oppression that deliver several debuffs to their opponents before the fight actually starts .
Fortunately, the King of Gold Coins didn’t have that kind of Psychic Oppression . Still, it was a Lord Rank monster . Even its normal Psychic Oppression was fatal when used against a lower-rank opponent, instilling fear into their minds . The bottom of the well was lonesome and quiet, making the sound of clattering gold coins the loudest .
The actual Devourer was at least five times larger than what Fowl had shown them . It looked like a giant fluffy ball . Its eyes were fierce and glowing yellow . Its arms and legs were thin and long, which didn’t match the creature’s body size in the slightest .
“Retreat!” Sila issued his first order . It was the most correct decision . He might be fine, but he wasn’t confident that he could protect his teammates .
They hurriedly flew back to the top of the well . However, the King of Gold Coins refused to let its prey escape . Four more arms protruded from its left shoulder . Out of a total of six arms, the Devourer pointed five of them to its opponents . On each of its arms, there was a golden chain wrapped around its wrist . The chains flew toward the five players at a speed that they couldn’t possibly outrun .
An identical chain appeared on each of the five’s wrists . Miki’s movements became significantly faster while the rest were forced to stop .
Realizing that the others didn’t come with her, Miki turned back . “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t move!” Alpha shouted .
Millionaire’s Shackle—one of Arden’s skills—forced its opponents into a ‘slow’ state . It was a skill that could only be activated when its enemies collectively carried more than a million gold on them .
Even the flow of their power became slower, so they couldn’t properly levitate .
Sila circulated qi and found that the speed of his qi circulation was affected by Arden’s skill as well, albeit only to a small degree . He assumed that it was due to the nature of power . Psychic power was disadvantaged against qi .
“Let’s at least put some distance between us and it . Try attacking it with long-distance spells while learning its fighting pattern!” Sila shouted instructions to his teammates .
Miki and Alpha were in an awkward position since they were close-combat fighters . On the other hand, Isaac and Midnight began casting spells .
‘I only practiced magic a little in the Skills Training Ground . Hopefully it works . ’
Sila clad his body with energy reinforcement . His power was a mix of three energy types, so he could make it appear as any of the three . Every player had all three energy reserves, but only a few would rely on the two non-primary energies .
An hour ago, Fowl had taught Sila how to support his body in the air using magic power . To do so, traditionally, people would shape their magic power, resonating with ambient mana, to form an invisible hand and use it to drag them around .
For those who had already attained the essence of magic, however, they could connect their magic power into ambient mana, which was the same method Montra and Quasar always used . This utilization granted the user more freedom when moving around . Instead of being carried by magic power, they became a part of mana, able to swim freely in a pool of ambient mana .
As a side note, for a psychic-type player to fight in mid-air, they would have to form a foothold out of their psychic power . Still, the magical feeling of being able to float freely in the sky, albeit a bit unstably, was addicting in a way that Sila found it difficult to describe .
Whenever Sila formed thoughts about where he wanted to be, mana would bring him there . It was something to be expected from the easiest energy type . Magic abilities were difficult at first but became easy once the user got the hang of it like children learning how to ride bicycles . All creatures who had attained the essence of magic could do this, but being good at it or not depended on their aptitude . Magic wasn’t about practicing, so putting in a lot of effort might not be helpful . To become great at using magic meant being thoughtful, capturing the right timing to unleash spells .
“Out of all spells in existence, there are two particular spells that are both beginning and finishing points . They are Magic Arrow and Magic Shield . The former is for attacking while the other is for defending . Only when you have mastered the timing of these two spells can you completely comprehend the complexity of other spells . ” That was what Fowl had said to Sila during his stay in the Skills Training Ground .
The two spells were of the lowest tier that everyone, regardless of their energy type, could learn . Magic Arrow was the first skill players tended to have . As for Magic Shield, it was a spell that generated a small shield with weak defense, which proved to be difficult to make use of . It was even inferior to energy reinforcement, so the skill wasn’t popular among players .
Just the beginning of the lesson already tapped into Sila’s grave problem . Due to the racial limitation, Sila couldn’t use other kinds of magic except for Orbiting Cosmos . The other magic skills he had were item skills and Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi .
“You still don’t understand . Magic power is unlike qi or psychic power . Magic is nature . The greatest is no different from the lowest . All spells started as one tiny root before branching out and expanding endlessly . However, they all share the same beginning, and they all exist under the same sky . . ”
Firstly, Fowl taught Sila how to read ambient mana . It was an advanced technique only available to those with the essence of magic . Mastering this technique meant having a great start . In the world of Monster Soul, aside from high-level monsters, there were only a handful of players able to sense ambient mana .
Ambient mana was a treasure that nature gave away for free . Those with the higher Unison Percentage had the right to take it first .
You practiced qi to develop qi and acknowledged yourself to strengthen psychic power . However, for magic power, you became one with it .
Fowl didn’t explain further than this, though she did tell him that there were still many ways in which he could grow . Not only did Sila fail to understand the importance of the essence of magic, but he also had a half-baked understanding of the essence of qi and the essence of psychic .
The complexity of “Fusion”, “Unison”, and “Creativity” was far deeper than what Sila believed them to be . Nevertheless, Fowl refused to tell him more since their lesson was supposed to be about levitation .
It took Sila half an hour to learn how to levitate and another half to learn Magic Arrow . There is a saying about Magic Arrow, that it is a skill that even a dumb monkey can use as long as it possesses the skill and enough magic power reserves .
“Anyone can ‘use’ it, but being able to make full use of it is a totally different matter,” Fowl said to Sila .
Using Magic Arrow efficiently is like shooting a gun efficiently . Anyone with enough finger strength can fire a bullet from the gun, but the hard part is hitting your target accurately and neutralising them with the least amount of bullets .
Being able to read ambient mana was just the start of how to become one with magic . Every molecule of mana would change itself to match the kind of magic skills that someone around them was about to trigger . Still, a lot of experience was required to comprehend what the mana is doing .
Sila hardly spotted a difference when Fowl demonstrated various kinds of Magic Arrow . In fact, he never really ‘saw’ ambient mana . Fowl said to Sila that Magic’s Unison meant becoming one with magic . She said he had to give some part of his power to nature, and nature will respond in kind, giving him a part of it back . The cycle of magic was give and take . Trying to selfishly extract mana from nature was, by itself, an incomplete cycle .
Magic power poured out from Sila’s body, densely . With regards to the display of power, magic power was very different from psychic power or qi . It always alerted the surroundings as soon as the user tried to activate it . For Sila, who was rather keen on concealment, it made him feel awkward every time he used it .
Fowl added that, at an advanced level, although a magic user still couldn’t conceal their power, there existed a method to blend their power with their surroundings . There was also an option of using a specific spell that focused on concealment . Nevertheless, she noted that Sila shouldn’t try to run before he could walk .
Borrowing mana was a part of Heaven's Decree Sword Art, so Sila got a hang of how to do it relatively easily . The difficult part was he usually borrowed the power to deliver an attack . Never once did he borrow the mana in order to unite himself with it .
Back to the fight against Arden, the King of Gold Coins, Sila’s magic power that he had sent out slowly resonated with ambient mana and returned to him . Suddenly, his vision became brighter as if he had broken through a bottleneck and received profound enlightenment . The ambient mana seemed like it was alive . An incomprehensible feeling rushed into his mind .
He extended his hand, firing four magic arrows toward Arden .
Sila’s magic arrows weren’t ordinary . They came from the item skill: Artifact Manifestation . Fowl had taught Sila how to unleash the spell without chanting, simply making use of the property of the power instead of the completed spell .
Some magic users weren’t good at chants, such as Revin . They would extract a part of their spells to directly use it without chanting . This method was faster, but the output of the spell would naturally become weaker . The spell would also lose most of its special attributes .
The decrease of output was supposed to be severe, though there was an exception . “Magic” held ranks in high regard and was stable, unlike psychic power . Sila had the essence of magic, so he was considered elite in the world of magic . The output of his Artifact Manifestation only fell by twenty percent when he omitted the chant . They might lose their special options, but the spell itself was already powerful .
This meant if he properly chanted “Artifact Manifestation”, the spell would generate a magical object, which could be stored in his system window . The object would sometimes come with special options, such as the Seven Luminaries Arrow or the Thousand Ruptures Axe . However, if he omitted the chant, the spell would only generate an elemental magic arrow . It was still more powerful than an ordinary magic arrow though .
All four magic arrows flew slowly as they approached their target . Sila discovered that since the arrows weren’t classified as objects, his passive skill—Hidden Weapon Mastery—wouldn’t affect them, resulting in poorer accuracy and speed .
There was also the effect of Millionaire’s Shackle, which made Sila’s arrows become significantly slower . Arden shifted their trajectories with ease using Psychic Manipulation, making them miss their target completely . It curled up and rolled its body toward Sila’s team in the same manner as a steamroller .
Sila glanced at his teammates to see Miki and Alpha protecting Midnight and Isaac, who were still casting their spells . He realized that Arden’s shackles also slowed casting times . Sila was the only one who could move relatively fine, chantlessly firing magic arrows .
The previous first batch of magic arrows was for gauging the distance . Sila had never used magic arrows on a moving target before . In fact, he had just learned how to fire magic arrows an hour ago . He was curious about the difference between magic arrows, moving objects through psychic power, and firing qi-strengthened hidden weapons .
Thanks to Flaming Cloud Qi’s Cloud Part, Sila could spot the differences in no time .
Firing a hidden weapon through qi was like shooting an object with a mini launcher . The object could be anything . The destructive force depended on how well the user flicked the object away . Cladding the object with qi reinforcement would also increase the power .
As for moving an object with psychic power, Sila had experienced it by executing Lookhin’s Oceanic Mind . He still clearly remembered the feeling of that time . With this method, the user could finely control an object similar to moving their arms . The object could fly in a straight line, zigzag, stay still, and more . However, it lacked the destructive power . That was the reason why psychic type players tended to use bombs as their projectiles .
Lastly, a magic arrow was like a rocket with pre-determined capabilities . The spellcaster had to define the target and the amount of power, then the magic arrow would manifest according to them . Thus, the casting process was the most important . Once fired, the user could no longer control it . Though that meant they could shift their focus to their next spells without caring about the arrow anymore .
Because of this, magic arrows excel at one particular aspect, which the other two energy types can’t replicate: overwhelming the enemy with numbers .
There was no need to be wary of qi deviation or psychic power going out of control .
Easy and safe . These were good qualities of magic power .
Now that Sila had realized the excellence of magic, he no longer tried to control the arrows’ trajectories . He manifested fifty wind magic arrows . Think, define, and release . That was all it took . The magic arrows would do their jobs themselves . He didn’t even need them to achieve something complex . Just flying forward was enough .
The wind arrows got their energy from Orbiting Cosmos . Together, they completely covered Sila, presenting themselves as a spiky wall . They flew in a straight line toward Arden, bombarding it .
For a healthy Lord Rank psychic-type monster, each of these arrows was nothing more than a tiny needle . Nevertheless, now that there were so many of them, they weren’t something Arden could scoff at .
Alpha and Miki were stunned . They had been playing the game for a long time, but had never witnessed anyone capable of firing so many magic arrows simultaneously . They, too, were capable of firing magic arrows . However, the most they could fire at the same time was three . The most they had seen someone else did was around ten .
Magic Arrow was among the first few spells players acquired . As they progressed through the game, there were many offensive long-distance skills for them to choose from such as Fireball, Earth Spike, or Ice Lance, so Magic Arrow soon became isolated as it lacked power and complexity . It was only popular among new players, using it as a diversion . No one at a high level would bother to execute it .
Unbeknownst to them, Sila was capable of casting many more . However, the well had a narrow space and the amount of ambient mana was low, so he couldn’t manifest more than he did . If it was an open area, he believed he could muster at least ten thousand arrows at the same time .
A part of the reason he could do that many was due to the fact that he could freely borrow mana from nature . He was the sole being with the essence of magic in this place . If there were other beings with higher Unison Percentage than him, however, he would have to rely on his own magic power . In that case, the most he could muster would be around a hundred magic arrows at the same time .
“Midnight, attack it with offensive spells . Isaac, try to disturb its actions . Miki and Alpha, you two are our defense line . Don’t engage in the battle unless I give you a signal,” Sila ordered as such because he knew dark element magic was potent in its offensive capability while Isaac’s plant summoning magic seemed to be useful as diversion .
“Roger, Leader,” Alpha replied to assure Sila that they understood the command .
Sila’s assault would have been more versatile if he had supporting skills such as Magic Delay . For now, however, he opted to fire another batch of fifty magic arrows to stall for time and observe Arden’s reactions . Wind magic arrows were normally fast, but they were affected by Arden’s Millionaire’s Shackle, resulting in mediocre speed .
Arden resisted the magic arrow’s bombardment while opening its palm, striking at Sila from a long distance . Its Psychic Impact had an incredibly long reach . It hit Sila and sent him flying backward, crashing into the wall behind him .
Sila’s body got buried underneath the stone rubble . Witnessing the scene, Miki was shocked . “Leader!!”
Attacks from Lord Rank monsters are naturally deadly . The impact seemed so powerful that Alpha almost abandoned his post and went to help Sila . Still, he was fully aware that he couldn’t do much . Arden’s Psychic Impact could have killed him in one hit .
There was a certain fact that the 99th squad members were unaware of, however . While Sila’s magic wasn’t effective against Arden, Arden’s psychic power also had little effect on Sila .
The first reason was that Sila was Lord Rank, similar to Arden . Their ranks were the same, so Sila wasn’t bothered by the domineering pressure of Arden’s Psychic Oppression .
The other reason was that Sila was qi-type . Magic power was weak against psychic power, so his spells were ineffective . On the other hand, his body was clad with qi reinforcement, so Arden’s attack hardly worked on him .
‘Magic’s levitation is so slow . It can’t keep up with my thoughts . If I had been relying on qi, dodging that would’ve been much easier . Still, Revin’s speed was very fast . This means there are some tricks behind it that I don’t know yet,’ Sila thought as he pulled himself out of the wall . Movements through magic power required him to form a thought beforehand, unlike qi which mostly relied on intuition, so he felt rather uncomfortable .
Through psychic perception, Arden realized that its previous attack didn’t work on Sila . Three more arms protruded from its body, creating yet another three golden shackles . The same shackles also formed around Sila’s right arm and both legs, meaning now he had a total of four of them on .
‘It can even use the same skill on the same target, huh?’
Sila clearly felt the slowness of his body . His movements became so sluggish that they were like slow motion . The Arden in his vision wasn’t as slow as him, however . It seemed it had realized who was the real threat that must be eliminated first . It rolled toward Sila at a speed that was like teleportation, baring its nine claws against its opponent .