Flying up proved to be several times more difficult than descending . Sila, Midnight, and Alpha eventually had to struggle with pulling Miki and Isaac up . Arriving at the destination, Isaac collapsed, panting heavily . His magic power was completely expended .
In Monster Soul, the feeling of fatigue would overcome them when their main energy resource hit zero . Isaac, Miki, and Alpha hurriedly drank magic recovery potions .
High energy consumption was a common weakness of the magic type . Skills that assisted in magic recovery were also hard to come by . Fortunately, one can recover their magic points quite easily by drinking magic recovery potions, which are available for sales in most places .
Sila had the Essence of Qi, resulting in all three energy bars sharing the same resource: Special Points . He could recover his overall power by simply circulating qi, eliminating the need for potions . It was one of the benefits of being qi-type .
“You did a good job . As promised, they’re yours . ” Fowl handed each of them a red card with gold edges . “They’re Colossia Club Membership Cards . With it, you can use any service in this place free of charge . ”
The five of them accepted the rewards with open arms . Fowl took a glance at the goddess statue and continued her speech .
“It seems Lady Nyx is fond of you and has granted you the right to have all the gold you obtained from the bottom of the well . Since that is the case, I suggest you throw some of it back to express your gratitude . ”
They shifted their gaze to the statue . The eyes of the Goddess of the Night really looked gentle and kind . It seemed all goddesses were genuinely compassionate when it came to humanity .
Fowl explained, “It’s a traditional method of worshipping Lady Nyx . Actually, throwing one silver is enough . Please note that it has to be done during the night . If you do it right, the coin you threw will vanish upon landing, and you will get her divine protection for one night . Alternatively, you can throw five hundred thousand gold or more, and you will get a permanent blessing from her instead . ”
“Five hundred thousand? That’s a lot!” Miki exclaimed . True, she and the team had gotten some gold when Arden had used a skill to force gold onto them . The amount was around one or two thousand at most, however .
“The choice is yours . It’s not related to me anyway . I just told you as a token of thanks,” Fowl said, though her thoughts were quite different .
‘Hehe . Ten thousand is actually enough . Why should I tell them the truth though?’
“This kind of opportunity doesn’t come often . Let’s do it . You can use my money . ” Sila offered the gold he got from the bottom of the well to the squad . It wasn’t his to begin with and had brought his team a lot of problems, so it would be nice to see some good come of it as well .
A total of two and a half million gold was thrown back into the well . Alpha, Isaac, and Miki clearly expressed regret through their eyes .
What followed was a system notification, informing each of them that they had been blessed by a goddess .
“Lady Nyx’s blessing will make your concealment even more difficult to detect at night . All skills related to chance will get their success rate doubled . Also, you will obtain more money from killing a monster . ”
Sila would say getting permanent benefits from a one-time payment was worth the price, especially when he speculated that the goddess’s blessing was unlikely to be affected by other skills . Mamon had complained about it to him many times .
“That should conclude our squad activities today . We got some profits . We can finally pay off Miki’s debt . ” Alpha checked the time . “It’s just past midnight . Miss Fowl, how long does it take for us to go back?”
Fowl led the squad back to the Skills Training Ground and pointed around at several tunnels . “These tunnels all connect to locations near Colossia City . You can see the map on the ceiling . ”
Looking at the ceiling, they finally noticed that the structure of Colossia City was engraved on it . There were at least a hundred routes connected to this place, though most of them were red . Only a couple of them were green .
“Most tunnels are locked and can only be opened from the inside . Only a few ones are unlocked . The hole you came from is one of them . ” Fowl pointed at one of the green routes .
“Ah! There is a short route connecting to the Colosseum . ” Issac pointed at one of the red routes .
“Even if we go back, we only have sleeping bags to sleep on . Does this place have any accommodations?”
Fowl pointed at one of the doors . “That way . It leads to a special dimension . There are many rooms . They may not be luxurious, but I guarantee you that they’re comfortable to rest in . You can use this service for free as well . ”
“Let’s go and get some sleep, then . I’m dead tired . Go, go! Leader, you can be the first to choose a room,” Miki said as she stretched her arms .
Sila bluntly declined, “I think I want to spend more time in this Skills Training Ground . You can go to sleep without me . I will go later . ” He was short on time and his body didn’t need sleep, so he wanted to make the most out of his time .
“Me too,” Midnight added .
Alpha scratched his head . “How about we train a little bit before going to bed? Actually, I feel like I got some ideas from the previous battle that I would like to try . Let’s just say it’s up to each of us . Anyone can sleep if they want to . ”
Miki tightened her fist . “That’s no fun . Let’s gamble . The first to sleep loses and has to treat everyone else to a meal . ”
“Ehh? We shouldn’t overexert ourselves though . Tomorrow is the day of the tournament . We should rest properly,” Isaac argued .
“So you lose . Shoo, shoo . Go to your nap room . Don’t forget to prepare the money . ”
Eventually, they all agreed to polish their skills further, agreeing that the first to come out of the Skills Training Ground loses . Sila entered one of the teleportation circles, followed by one of Fowl’s Psychic Bodies .
“I saw you using magic arrows . Quite decent . With that level of mastery, I’m sure you can cope with common monsters . However, I bet you already know that you can’t hope to win against high-level monsters with your magic . ”
There was no need for him to keep his identity a secret in front of Fowl . He knew that she could easily see through his disguise . Sila removed his mask .
“Magic was exciting the first time I used it, but I eventually had to end the fight using qi . ”
“Well, a part of it is because qi is favorable against psychic power . Still, it’s regretful that you have attained all three essences of energy types like me . You are supposed to be great at using any of the three . ”
Fowl extended her hand and shot a magic arrow to Sila . He neatly dodged it, but the arrow followed him . It stopped right at his forehead .
“Look at your back,” said Fowl . Turning his head, Sila noticed three more magic arrows hovering around his back, ready to be fired .
“How can you do that?”
“Creativity, that’s all . The essence of psychic . ” Fowl dissolved the magic arrows . “Flexibility and adaptability are always the psychic type’s prominent traits . If you have the essence of psychic, however, these traits will cover all of your skills, not just psychic abilities . You may freely manipulate the shape, distance, speed, or form of all three energies . ”
Fowl later displayed various ways to utilize a magic arrow with the help of the essence of psychic . She could control the arrow’s trajectory, conceal its presence, manifest it somewhere other than right in front of her, increase or decrease its speed, and even adjust its size .
“Do note that the power within the arrow is unchanged . Creativity doesn’t help with regards to destructive power . Still, you can easily fix this problem with Unison, the essence of magic . ”
The arrow consumed the ambient mana around it, receiving a boost in attack power .
“By the way, you’re qi-type, so I guess you’re clueless about the art of Magic Delay, right?”
Sila replied, “No, I think I know . It’s a skill to delay the result of a spell that the user has finished casting so they can unleash it whenever they want . ”
“You’re half correct . It’s understandable since its principle is the opposite of qi reinforcement . ” Fowl summoned another batch of magic arrows . “Magic is about timing . I have taught you some of the basics . Magic Arrow is the lowest-tier of magic, suitable for learning about timing . The arrows will be most effective when you capture the right moment and hit a target in the right spot . ”
A wooden doll sprang up from the ground . Fowl shot the magic arrows at its joints, breaking it completely . She clapped once, and this time a metal doll sprang up .
“However, mastering timing is sometimes not enough, like what you have experienced yourself today . Your simple magic arrows didn’t inflict any real damage on Arden, right?” Fowl bombarded magic arrows on the metal doll, but they only left a few scratches on it .
“Yes, their attack power was too low . ”
“That’s why Magic Delay is important . It’s not normally this obvious, but I will show it to you . ”
Fowl summoned one magic arrow, locking it on her palm without firing . Three seconds passed, and its appearance started to change . Another thirty seconds passed, and it became a beautiful artistic arrow . Released, the arrow collided with the metal doll and tore it apart as if the doll was made of paper .
“Just now . . . that was Magic Delay?” asked Sila .
“Correct . Magic Shield is the lowest-tier spell that will teach you about Magic Delay . I told you these two spells are the key to developing the user’s foundation as a spellcaster . There are ten hidden tiers within each spell . When you display a spell and delay it for a specific period, its rank will go up . The period varies from spell to spell . Magic Arrow will rank up every three seconds . What you saw just a moment ago was a tier 10 magic arrow . ”
Sila had never known until now that there was another layer of complexity behind magic skills . In fact, it was safe to say that not even one player knew about it . Even in the Monster Realm, only gods and their apostles were aware of this piece of knowledge, though some monsters could make use of it instinctually despite not knowing the hidden application of magic delay . Fowl dared to say that, in the New World, except for her and the others who came from the other realm, Sila was the first person to discover this particular knowledge . Even Montra and Kritsana were unaware of it since this was a well-kept secret . Actually, Montra would have learned about it from Altia if he had stepped into the Hall of Omniscience .
“I can’t delay spells though . ”
“Sure, Magic Delay is a skill exclusive to magic-type beings . In fact, you shouldn’t do it even if you have the skill since your power is a mix of three energies . Unlike magic power, qi will harm you if you maintain its reinforcement for too long . You do have something else though . I wouldn’t have mentioned it if it isn’t something you can do . Magic Delay is the art of extending the time for either greater power, better timing, or both . The keyword is “Time” . The hint is there is always more than one way to achieve the same result . ”
It took Sila a moment of thought before he came up with an answer . “Ah! My Lordship!”
Lordship of Time was the power Sila acquired from Dan . Using it, he managed to eliminate Ginny from participating in the second war event, but that was all it had done so far . He had almost believed that the power was pointless until he was guided by Kiryu’s experience and learned how to activate the Lordship in another manner . When used on himself, the Lordship would allow him to ignore aspects of skills related to time . Nevertheless, its energy resource was valuable, so he planned to keep it as his trump card, only using it in important battles . He explained this approach to Fowl, who immediately argued against it .
“So shallow . It’s precisely because it’s valuable that you should use it frequently . If you save it, you may have a lot of accumulated time, but ask yourself, can you make full use of it all when the time comes? What you’re doing is like burying money underground and hoping to become a millionaire one day . Instead, what you should do is constantly invest it, using money to make more money and to learn how to spend money efficiently . You know what? A fool may have a million, but they can still go bankrupt if they don’t know what to do with it . ”
Apparently, Fowl seemed to like using money in her metaphors . Nevertheless, the meaning of her messages got across to Sila . Instead of saving it to use it all in one go, he should keep spending it to train, especially when his Lordship would gain more resources if he made more kills . This way, even if the accumulated time was low in the future, at least he would be better at using the ability . Who knows? Maybe he might discover more to his Lordship .
“Magic Arrow is a low-tier spell, easily affected by other skills . You don’t need to spend thirty seconds to upgrade it, just a second is enough . If you’re as good as me, you can spend even a tenth of a second . Remember that what you’re going to do is not Magic Delay, but manipulating the time of your magic arrow . If you get the timing right, your magic arrow will glitch for a split second . It happens only for an instant, but it will make the spell itself think that it has been delayed for a long time . ”
Sila frowned . He didn’t know that he could split his resource into a fraction of a second . “Is that really doable?”
“Don’t believe me, huh? Let me tell you that you may be the only one in this world capable of doing this, but those Gods of Time in the Monster Realm are all familiar with this concept and always use it on a whim . The highest rank in Monster Soul is Emperor Rank, which is commonly found in the Monster Realm . The truly powerful ones make differences with skills, not the gap between ranks . ”
Sila started to see the goal of his training . At the same time, he started to get a glimpse of the power levels in the Monster Realm . He finally understood why becoming Emperor Rank was a prerequisite for entering the place .
“What about the essence of qi, Miss Fowl?”
“What do you want me to tell you?”
“Ah . . . I don’t know . It’s just that you provided me examples of how to use Unison and Creativity, but you haven’t mentioned Fusion yet . ”
“Well, it will make no difference even if I tell you . Fusion is unlike the other essences since its ability is quite passive . I guess you have already made use of it a lot of the time, but you just haven’t noticed . Let me ask you this, then . Have you ever lost your skills? Or have you ever used a skill that you shouldn’t be capable of using?”
“You mean . . . using a skill that doesn’t show up in the system window?”
“Kind of . Do you know that these kinds of things aren’t normal? Only those with the essence of qi can do it . Your body will memorize the skills, making you learn them faster . Also, your tolerance level against skills, especially straight-forward skills with no tricky abilities, is high . You can even sometimes learn other people’s skills upon being hit by them . ”
Sila had gotten rid of his qi foundation once, but he was still able to use all the skills he had learned . Even when Lucifer destroyed many of his skills, the skill Dark Psychic Corrosion was still with him .
“How does it help me learn the skills of other people?”
“Your body has to have all the prerequisites required for learning the skill when you are hit by it . That’s it . A qi-type being who has the essence of qi will become stronger the more they experience battles . ” Fowl closed one of her eyes and stared at Sila while activating one of her inspection skills . “You’re actually ready to learn some skills as soon as you’re attacked by them . This amount is ordinary . I have seen people with more skills ready to be learned . ”
“What should I practice first?”
“Keep in mind that there is no end to training . Anyway, my suggestion is you should start by building a solid foundation . With a good foundation, your overall strength will improve . First things first, I will demote your rank to Squire and help you learn some important skills . I will gradually recover your ranks after that . One of the slime race’s good traits is their ability to learn skills faster, so this shouldn’t take a long time . ”
“The slime race has that kind of good trait, really?”
“You didn’t know?”
Sila shook his head . Fowl shrugged while thinking that he was a weird case . Supposedly, when selecting the slime race, one should spend as much time as possible at Squire Rank and farm a lot of skills . However, the length of time Sila spent at Squire Rank was shorter than average .
“I heard that you’re looking for Lady Igsia’s sword, right?”
“Did I ever mention that?”
“Zarnak was asking me about it . ”
It was news to Sila that Zarnak could talk to people other than him . It was also thanks to Fowl having a high-level command-type psychic ability that made the feat possible .
Fowl continued, “You have the Blade-Sharpening Dragon . I suppose it isn’t strange for you to desire Lady Igsia’s sword . Barring its downsides, that sword is really powerful . ”
Later on, Sila would learn from Fowl that the “reset” caused by acquiring the Dichotomous Crucifix Sword was merely a beginning . To be more accurate, the user’s stats and skills would be reset once they passed the sword’s first trial and got their hands on the sword, unlocking one of the seven sword abilities . Then, after using it for a while, the sword would force the user to face another trial . If the user overcame the trial, their power would be reset again while the second sword ability would be unlocked . The process would repeat until the user overcame all seven trials, obtaining the complete sword .
“You’re lucky that Zarnak decided to consult me . That sword is Lady Igsia’s beloved masterpiece . The current you can’t possibly win against any of the seven Blade Daughters . Each of the trials is for you to challenge and win against one of them . If you truly desire the sword, you should focus on one particular daughter, solely practicing the set of skills that will help you defeat her . Let me warn you that some of the Blade Daughters are unbeatable unless you have a specific sword ability from another daughter . You shouldn’t pick them as your first choice under any circumstances . ”
“My master is seeking the source of bottomless magic power . ” Zarnak slid away from the armor . It was the first time Sila saw it make an appearance in front of someone else . Maybe it started to admit that its knowledge was limited, so it wanted Fowl’s advice in order to make its master’s wish come true .
“You’re trying to fix the problem of your low Unison Percentage, I take it . I guess you fought someone with a higher Unison Percentage recently . ”
Fowl’s guess was right on the mark . In the world of magic, a lower rank indicated weakness . In front of a stronger magic user, Sila’s magic ability would be greatly suppressed .
“Fortunately, she is among the three people you can choose as the first choice . In that case, your opponent will be Isabel—the Spell Breaker . I will teach you how to fight against her . That will be your goal . ”
Sila had yet to realize how fortunate he was that Zarnak decided to mention the Dichotomous Crucifix Sword to Fowl . Otherwise, if he hadn’t known beforehand who he must choose and randomly picked one as his first opponent, he would have hit the ground as a corpse right after the trial—the Sword-Crowning Ceremony—started .