Chapter 35: Trump Card
Sila opened his eyes just in time to see a confrontation between Four Emperors. The fight was likely to occur at any moment.
"Zero, are you going to start a war?" shouted Cross.
"Another five months or now makes no different to me. Nah, the sooner, the better for me. I'm too lazy to wait that long." Zero increased his power again.
Cross could hardly swallow his salvia. Today, he had prepared an army just for capturing and public executing Sila. Thus, his army only consisted of newly-recruit guildmembers around here. Meanwhile, he had left all of his vice-leaders to protect guild's branches from Montra's possible sneak attack just in case. With his current troops, he was aware that they couldn't take down neither Lone Wolf nor Zero.
The reason he had to prepare his guild to protect itself from Montra was because both he and Montra were just working together for mutual benefit. There was no evidence that Montra wouldn't use this opportunity to backstab him.
Of course, Montra also thought the same way. So the army of Heaven Dragon guild today wasn't that high, both in quantity and quality.
They were only working together on the surface. In fact, the two of them were still looking for an opportunity to take on each other in order to reduce other's war potential before the war event starts.
"We challenge you guys to a duel, one on one." Cross suggested.
"One on one? And why should I listen to you? Since you guys called us an unjust side, how about Lone Wolf and me gang up on you together, Cross?" said Zero.
"What did you just say?" Cross's face turned pale. If he really was ganged up by both Lone Wolf and Zero, he would surely lose. "Anyway, I still have Montra by my side. It's going to be two-on-two battle."
"Kuhuhu, Cross, are you able to trust Montra that much? Let me tell you something. Montra is like a viper. If there's a chance, he'll kill you by his own hand, or at least he won't hesitate to let you die by yourself."
"By the way, if we are to die here, there'll be no problem for us, unlike you guys." Lone Wolf added a comment.
Cross turned his head to Montra whom still stood still expressionlessly. Cross was showing a worry expression. It was absolutely like Zero had said. He and Montra didn't trust each other that much. If he dies, Montra would only be glad.
Moreover, before a war event like this, they couldn't be afforded to die. Otherwise the morale of their guildmates would drop.
Their guild's structures were supported by influence and benefit. For Cross, if he couldn't show that he still had a power to provide benefit to his subordinates, his guild would began to breakdown by itself without anyone having to interrupt. Meanwhile, for Montra, he had declared himself as the strongest player in Monster Soul. With his influence, Heaven Dragon guild's deeds would always be deemed as righteous. No one would dare to interfere, and no one would dare to say that Heaven Dragon guild is evil. Thus, if Montra were to be defeated here, this structure would collapse instantly. His guild's members would be in a state of chaos.
In the other hand, Lone Wolf and Zero were different. Although Lone Wolf is the leader of Victorious Wolves Foundation, a much smaller guild than other two, his guild had its own strong point. His guildmates are players whom gathered just by bravery and kindness of Lone Wolf. They didn't get much benefit or whatsoever. It could even be said that they are just a group of people admiring Lone Wolf. Thus, even if Lone Wolf were to die one or ten times, the number of his guild's member wouldn't decrease even by half. Needless to say, for Zero, as he is an individual player, he is freed to die without caring about the people behind him.
"But I agree with Cross, we should fight one on one," said Montra. His word drew the attention of all people toward him.
"You don't have any right to propose how we should fight, Montra," said Zero.
"Normally I wouldn't have. But today I have one." Montra said while gesturing to Sila who was sitting on the ground. "That's it"
Montra had the same idea as Cross. He mustn't die here. But Montra could see through this situation better than Cross. He's using Sila as his pawn. The pawn that he could get rid of whenever he wanted.
"If you guys attack us together, all the troops here will slaughter Sila and I'll order Five Warlords and Heaven Dragon's troops to wait for Sila at resurrection point to keep killing him. How about it? Do you want to reconsider your action?" Montra said coldly.
The expression on Lone Wolf changed for the first time. As Sila was still injured, if Montra and Cross just kept him and Zero busy, the remaining troops would easily baptize on Sila.
The reason for him to come here in the first place was to rescue Sila, not to battle.
It seemed like Zero had this exact same thought so he replied back immediately.
"Okay, start with me then." Zero said while stepping forward.
Montra and Cross made an eye contact. Both of them didn't step forward though. They were clearly worried that going out to fight now was putting themselves at risk of getting stabbed from behind.
Zero also grasped this thought of them.
"You guys offer us to duel but now you are hesitating yourselves. What a shame." Zero increased his power output, "let me choose it for you, then."
The surrounding atmosphere turned cold and gloomy. Zero accelerated his unique qi power. Fighting with the strongest Montra would take time so he soared toward Cross without waiting for the other side to be prepared.
Sila looked at the scene without blinking. Zero's speed far surpassed his maximum speed when using "Qi of Little Bird" several times. In a flash, a streak of black shadow was approaching Cross.
"Look closely, little brother. I guarantee that it'll be beneficial to you," said Lone Wolf.
Cross who wasn't prepared was immediately forced to be on the defensive. He was gritting his teeth. A sword appeared in his hand and was using to brandish by him.
Waves of psychic sword were directed at Zero. Zero then performed an impossible feat. He dodged to the left and the right simultaneously. No, to be precise, what he did should be called splitting into two bodies, left and right. Both bodies continuously stroke their palm to attack Cross. The left body aimed at Cross's head, while the right one aimed at Cross's heart.
With two of his vital points being attack simultaneously, Cross summoned another sword in his left hand and used his psychic power. His sword then shattered and become small particles. All of them were fusing with concentrated psychic power. The sword's debris scattered throughout the area. Montra had to jump back, while most of the debris plunged into both of Zero's bodies. However, all of them went through the bodies.
Sila stared at the scenes and was stunned. Zero was actually standing next to Lone Wolf like he had yet to attack Cross at all.
"What happened just now was due to highest level of "Qi of Little Fish" and "Qi of Little Bird." Even I still don't reach this level yet," Lone Wolf said to Sila.
"Huh? I have heard that you are the only one who possesses "Qi of Little Divine Beings," aren't you?" asked Sila.
"I am indeed the only one who possesses a complete set of "Qi of Little Divine Beings." Meanwhile, Zero has "Qi of Little Fish" and "Qi of Little Bird,"" replied Lone Wolf.
Sila was captivated by Zero's ability to use "Qi of Little Divine Beings." Zero's usage of "Qi of Little Fish" and "Qi of Little Bird" seemed to transcend human limit. Sila now truly realized that there were many people stronger than him in this world. Even the same qi could result in completely different outcome when utilizing by different people.
'I'm too weak," thought Sila.
Cross stepped forward. Both of his hands were holding swords that looked the same as previous ones except that they were semi-transparent. They were shaking violently with psychic power. Both swords looked scarier than any skills Sila had encountered.
This is "Killing Psychic Sword," a high-tier skill of psychic-type, one of trump cards of Sword Emperor. By destroying his own weapon, Cross would obtain "Killing Psychic Sword" that has higher grade than the one being destroyed by two whole grades. However, it can be used only for five minutes. This skill is powerful yet expensive to use.
Cross emitted his psychic power out from his entire body. Even with Lone Wolf's protection, Sila still felt uncomfortable. Sila began to feel worried for Zero whom was directly targeted by this kind of power. So, he looked at Zero's direction and witnessed a black qi lightly spread out of Zero's body. Under the skull mask, Sila felt like Zero was smiling.
Both figures suddenly leaped forward to clash against each other without any signal. The atmosphere around seemed to be colder and colder like an ice field. A chakram was appeared in Zero's hand to fight with Cross's dual swords.
Each of their strikes come along with deep exploding sound. The clashes between them resulted in the area becoming more like a wasteland.
As Zero used chakram to parry both swords, he immediately counterattacked by kicking at Cross's abdomen.
Sila couldn't tell whether this kick was fusing with qi or not. But he knew for sure that at Lone Wolf and Zero's level, they would surely possess "Qi Concealment" skill. Although he couldn't tell whether there was qi concealed in this kick or not, if he was Cross, he would choose to dodge it. However, if he was really in Cross's current position that was floating in the air by an impact, he would be at wit's end of how to dodge it.
Cross was also fully aware that he shouldn't receive this kick directly. Thus, he slammed his foot on the air, jumping backward. This must be due to "Slamming Psychic" skill at higher level that Varee once told Sila about.
Once Cross stepped back, a chakram in Zero's hand was thrown out immediately. As it was in the air, it split into two, and curved to attack Cross in two different positions that Cross would have a hard time to cope with.
Sila was a throwing weapon user himself. He felt like he had learnt something. Zero was fusing "Qi of Little Fish" into chakram. It was an action that Sila had never done before.
Even with only one chakram, Cross would still be not sure of how to deal with it. This time, there were two. Even worse, they were targeted at position that Cross would need to step on. It could be said that Zero was forestalling him.
Cross threw a sword in his hand to one of chakrams. Upon contact, his sword exploded, causing a chakram to sway off its path. He also lifted other sword in his hand to block against the next chakram.
However, upon contact, no impact was occurred. A chakram was vanished mysteriously. Cross panicked. He found out at that time that Zero had gone from his sight. Even Zero's qi was no trace to be sensed.
"Behind you," said Montra.
Cross didn't have time to think twice. He slashed backward while turning back. Unfortunately, there was still no impact. He instead could hear a voice from behind.
"Yes, Cross, behind you," this time it's Zero's voice.
Cross panicked. Zero's speed had far surpassed his estimation. Lone Wolf's speed was already fast enough to a terrifying degree, but Zero's speed was even doubled from that. Cross now knew that he had no way to dodge. His only choice now was to put up psychic reinforcement into his back to block Zero's attack.
A palm that touch on Cross's back was cold as if it's belong to a dead man. There was no powerful impact. Instead, a power penetrated into Cross's body like a water seeping into the sand. This is a qi technique that attack slow but able to penetrate defense.
Cross jumped forward. He turned around and witness Zero whom stood idlily.
A painful and cold sensation penetrated into Cross's body. Back then, he had decided to put up psychic reinforcement to defense himself against powerful blow. But Zero had instead used tranquil attack so Cross's defense wasn't effective.
Cross had to concentrated his psychic to quickly drove away Zero's qi out of his body. He had lost so many psychic power to do so. His body even still felt cold and couldn't move well as before.
Zero still stood idlily. Under the mask that cover his face, everybody could sense that this man was now smiling.
This was an eye-opener for Sila. So far, he used to think that tranquil qi was useless. In a fight, speed is an important factor, Sila hadn't thought about giving a tranquil qi a try before.
But just now, Zero made Sila realized. While it's true that speed has its own benefit, slow also has its own benefit as well. The deciding factor is user. Under some circumstance, slow yet penetrable qi is more terrifying than high speed powerful blow.
"Surprised? That's a given. Sometimes, I even feel I am not deserve of my own title, the Qi Emperor, myself," said Lone Wolf.
There is a difference in fighting style between Lone Wolf and Zero.
Zero's qi is cold and mysterious, while speedy and unpredictable. His opponents often unaware of what they had been attack with. They mostly die glimpsing only a flash of shadow. Thus, Zero was titled as Shadow Emperor. Shadow also refer to formless nature of Zero whom is an individual player.
On the other hand, Lone Wolf's qi is what Sila's teacher would regard as righteous qi. His qi was hot and active than flame. Simple yet powerful. His fighting style is confronting directly against enemy, reflecting his righteous nature. Given how mighty and brilliance his character and his qi are, title of Qi Emperor was then belonged to Lone Wolf by the mass.
Cross gritted his teeth. Since the fight start, he was still unable to successfully land an attack on Zero. It's Zero who dominated the fight. If he is in a large-scale battle, he maybe able to use strategy, environment and terrain to cope against Zero. But fighting one on one was now proven to be a very bad choice. Qi-type player is favored in a duel.
"I have never dreamed that I have to use it before a war event," said Cross. He couldn't effort to lose here. It was time for him to show his trump card.
"Use whatever you can, before you won't be able to do so," said Zero.
Cross's face was distorted with rage. His opponent even waited for him to show his hand instead of interrupting.
"You will regret soon. This skill is what I developed from last year event. With it, I am certain of victory in this year's war event."
At the end of Cross's sentence, his intense psychic power was release from his body, effecting area around him. Everybody had to stepped backward as they couldn't cope with this much psychic power.
"Infinite Sword Tomb"
Hundreds of swords appeared around Cross. All swords were floating freely as if Cross could control all of them easily. They resonated against each other and then scattered into dust. What was left were hundreds of floating "Killing Psychic Swords."
Cross grinned. With this skill, every of his swords will turn into S-grade swords with an option of self-explode into psychic power. Sure, Zero could dodge one or two of them. But with hundreds of them, Cross was certain that Zero couldn't cope with them even if he was faster than he was. Just one of the explosion was enough to end Zero's life.
By the way, Cross used B-grade swords as base since two grade increments resulting in maximum S-grade swords. Using grade sword or above would only be a waste. This skill was considered high cost to use already.
Zero stood still as if he wasn't threatened by them at all. Sila instead imagined that if it's not Zero but him in that position, what he could do to avoid predicament? He couldn't think of a way though.
"Kukuku. Cross. You are funny," said Zero, causing Cross to stopped grinning.
"Are you out of your mind? You won't be able to survive this trump card of mine," replied Cross.
"Kuku. Poor Cross. Even you who is the most foolish person among us can develop a trump card, don't you think that we also come up with our own trump card?"
Cross stunned. He was looking at Lone Wolf and Montra. Lone Wolf was smiling, while Montra was expressionless. Not accept nor denial. They seemed to agree with Zero's statement.
Cross felt furious that he was called foolish. At that time, there was a change in Zero's body.
A black aura was radiating around Zero. It was drifting slowly to surroundings, making normal players to feel suffocated.
"How can you do that?" frowned Montra. He was familiar with Zero's aura more than anyone.
"Kuku. Do you really expect me to answer that question?" replied Zero.
Now everyone except Montra would like to know the identity of black aura. Cross glanced at Montra, wanting Montra to tell him what it was. Montra was still looking at black aura without blinking. One sentence was said from his mouth, causing everyone to startle. Even Lone Wolf's expression changed.
"It's magic power," revealed Montra.
"I would call it "magical qi,"" replied Zero.
Sila was very surprised as well. He was sure that this game only allow player to choose one energy type. But now Zero was using both qi and magic. How could that be?
Qi, magic, psychic is like hammer, scissors, paper. Normally, qi is favored against psychic, psychic is favored against magic, and magic is favored against qi. With Zero being able to use both energy types, it was like he can use both hammer and scissors together in janken.
There will be only win or draw as a result. Unable to defeat.
Zero's trump card is much more mysterious and terrifying than Cross's.