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Published at 4th of September 2020 02:49:04 PM
Chapter 350

Chapter 350: A Quick Battle on the Dining Table


Sila couldn’t tell whether Undine was really financially unaffected or the man was simply good at maintaining his poker face . The man remained unfazed despite the amount of money being spent soaring through the roof . Rather, seeing the amount of food on the tables, it was the freeloaders whose expressions changed . The rate at which the food was consumed began to significantly slow down .

There was no need for Sila to break the silence since he was the one with the most marbles . It was the role of others to offer him a good deal .

Half of the squad leaders present in this place already owned the matching marbles . They could technically send two members to enter the maze . However, no one was willing to do that since the numeric marble was worth fifty points . This implication made Sila, who had many numeric marbles, the center of attention .

Most of the people here already knew each other . Many squad leaders took turns introducing themselves to Sila . Since there were many of them, however, Sila could barely memorize their faces and names .

He didn’t see leaders of the first, second, and third squads . Still, there was one particular squad that almost made Sila choke on the water he was drinking . It was the 6th squad .

The 6th squad was a female-only team . The leader was Aqua, a short-haired young woman wearing a pair of glasses that had no prescription, making them solely for fashion . She carried a barrel on her back which seemed to contain a liquid .

The squad was small in size, having only five members . All of them were ex-mercenaries stationed around Grea City who moved to Colossia City and joined the Shadow Army due to various circumstances .

In any case, the player who thoroughly shocked Sila wasn’t Aqua, but one of the members, Varee .

The squad had a nickname, ‘Team Aqua’, which came from the fact that all of the members were close friends in real life, playing the game together and giving their accounts water-themed names . The squad consisted of Aqua, Marina, Rain, Mizuki, and Varee .

It was the first time Sila encountered Varee’s friends . In fact, he was totally clueless regarding what Varee usually did while logged into Monster Soul .

The five young women sat in a corner of the restaurant . Only Aqua noticed his gaze . She winked at him, to which Sila didn’t respond . He was trying his best to appear calm, not wanting to do anything to raise Varee’s attention .

Varee seemed to be in a sour mood . Sila happened to overhear some of their exchanges and learned that she was upset because one of her acquaintances had died in the war event . Sila didn’t know who the person was, but could tell that the person must be very important to her . This made him feel a bit jealous .

“Mister Nero, are you listening?” Undine’s sound woke Sila from his daze .

“Pardon?” Sila didn’t catch that .

“Out of the goodness of my heart, I will warn you that the 6th squad is full of tough girls . Every one of them is . . . pitiless, barring only Marina, and I’m rather curious as to how she ended up in that group . These girls haven’t only broken many men’s hearts, but they also literally broke their bones, arms, ribs, and other assorted body parts . I don’t recommend you test your luck unless you’re brave enough . ”

“I’m not interested in any of them . ” Sila waved his hand . However, he was the center of attention right now . Many were listening to his words, including the aforementioned girls .

“Hey! That is clearly an insult!” Aqua slammed the table, got up, and pointed her finger at Sila . “We’re five girls, each with a different style . Are you saying none of us can catch your eyes?!”

Most squad leaders chuckled while some were expressionless . Sila silently observed the mana around Aqua and noticed that it was very calm, which he found unusual .

Having been enlightened to the essence of magic, Sila had unlocked the ability to sense, and even see, ambient mana . Mana was a part of everything, be it living or non-living . As a matter of fact, when a player was about to activate a skill or when their emotional state was unusual, the mana around them would subtly respond . Fowl had already taught Sila how to read ambient mana to understand the target’s emotions or predict the skills they were using . Sila was bad at it, however, so he cannot determine exactly what skill is being activated, only if it is offensive, defensive, or supportive in nature .

The ambient mana around Aqua was still, without any ripples . This meant she wasn’t really angry and was simply putting on an act . The whole situation was meant to test him, probing how he would react to an unexpected conflict . It might seem like a silly setup, but if Sila were to show his incompetence, they wouldn’t wait to strike at his weaknesses .

“I’m here to play the game, not to get a girl . I apologize if that offends you,” replied Sila, his voice stoic .

Aqua blinked twice before calmly sitting down as if she hadn’t just shouted across the room . This meant Sila’s theory was right . She wasn’t really mad at him . The restaurant had turned into a battlefield, a cold war with each squad trying to see through his character .

Sila started to see the differences between guildless players from Belacia City and mercenaries from the Shadow Army . The majority of Belacia’s citizens were individually stronger than the Shadow Army’s . Each person sought strength, so they polished their skills on their own, only cooperating when the situation called for it . On the other hand, the mercenaries sought money . Their individual strength might be inferior, but they armed themselves with strategies and tactics in order to accomplish the assigned jobs .

“What did you expect, girls? He was the leader of the number one bandit band . I wonder if you looked down on him too much,” said Undine .

“I hate bandits . They do nothing but rob others . Can’t they just play the game without bothering other people?” Varee, still in a bad mood, spoke up . Most of her playtime was spent hunting other players, and the majority of them were bandits with bounties on their heads .

Sila honestly didn’t like bandits either . However, he was currently in the role of Nero, the leader of the first bandit gang . Considering history, it could be said that Nero was the first player to ever direct his weapons against other players, which set a bad example to follow . He was the one who started the worst era of Monster Soul . Thus, the current Sila wasn’t in a position to say anything .

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“I thought the Shadow Army doesn’t bother with the past,” replied Sila .

“Are you trying to get by with the Shadow Army’s rules? We’re ultimately mercenaries . I can leave the army right now and kill you . ” Varee stared at Sila . Her psychic power was powerful, causing the table she was sitting at to vibrate .

‘That’s strange . Why is she in such a bad mood? Her psychic power is the scariest when it can abruptly accelerate from completely motionless to a quick strike . If she is in this emotional state, the path of her sword will be easily predicted . I can win even without using energy reinforcement . ’

It wasn’t an overstatement . Psychic power was unique in a way that the user’s emotions directly affected its performance . This unstable nature had allowed many to win against someone stronger while, on the other hand, it could make them lose against weaker opponents . Psychic power was the energy type with a lot of potential, though the user had to properly control it, staying focused and always showing their best side .

“Is that allowed?” Sila turned to ask Undine .

“Sure, that’s fine . As Miss Varee said, if she quits, she will no longer be a member of the Shadow Army and won’t be bound by our rules . However, if she chooses to do that while the war event is still ongoing, we will have to ask her to leave Colossia City . ”

“So you’re free to do whatever you want as long as you don’t break the Shadow Army’s rules, is that right?” asked Sila .

“Certainly . You can accept jobs from somewhere else, we won’t mind . We’re just groups of mercenaries who happened to assemble due to the conflict between the Heavenly Dragon and the Wicked Union, which led to a decline in our business . Honestly, if the war ends and the situation becomes better, some or most of us will likely leave the army . There is nothing binding us to the army . You just have to follow a simple set of rules . ”

“I see . ” After listening to it, Sila swept his gaze across everyone in the room . “I’m free, but I don’t want to waste my time anymore . State your terms, or leave me alone . Stop it with the tests as it’s only going to irritate me . Come at me directly if you really wanna see what I’m capable of . ”

His speech was arrogant, as expected from the Thief Monarch . Unlike the past Thief Monarch, however, Sila wasn’t all talk . He was following the instructions provided in the Story of A Hundred Swords, using a tactic that Pumin had written about—make the first move decisive, and people would think twice before they tried to offend him again . It was a method to reduce future problems .

“Aren’t you being too conceited, Thief Monarch?” Undine was genuinely doubtful . Sila’s words were like oil being poured onto a flame . Mercenaries tended to dislike thieves from the start . Although the squad leaders here hadn’t made any moves yet, their suppressed waves of anger were causing the ambient mana to take on the colour of dusk .

Sila said no more as he swept his hand, activating the Hidden Weapon Firing skill and putting a magical box on the table . It was a powerful artifact that emitted a faint aura . Sila had been clueless about how to use Artifact Manifestation before, but now the skill had become his favorite magic ability next to Orbiting Cosmos .

Among the Artifact Manifestation’s four patterns, Sila was best at the magical arrow form since it was the simplest and he had spent more time learning it . His next best would be the magic box form, then the magical weapon form . He was seriously inexperienced at utilising the magical beast form, which Fowl said was the most troublesome and difficult to learn .

Since he provided no explanations, the box’s presence exuded a sense of mystery . The surrounding players stared at the magical box with doubtful eyes, not understanding what a small box could do .

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The players had various opinions . Some thought Sila was arrogant while some believed he must have something up his sleeves for him to be so daring . Still, they were generally here to negotiate with Sila, so they didn’t want to do anything to harm their chances of success yet . There was one exception, however, who was in a very sour mood and fed up with Sila’s provocation .

“Since you are the one who started it, you better not regret it . ” Varee suddenly got up . With only a couple of steps, she cut the distance, placing Sila within her attack range .

“I won’t,” Sila said, this time gently unlike before . He had predicted that it would be Varee who was the first to come at him . Meanwhile, the surrounding players didn’t choose to stop Varee since they wanted to see how Sila would fare against her .


The lid of the magical box was unlocked . It opened and generated bright light . Unlike the previous time, Sila didn’t randomly create the box but instead predefined the result he desired beforehand .

For the usage of magic boxes, aside from deforming them into their sources of magic power, if opened, the box would generate a domain that affected everyone in its radius regardless of who they were . Even the user would be affected by the domain . For example, the time when Lomyok opened the box, what came out of it was a domain of darkness, so powerful that even Quasar inside Inner Hell could regain a part of her power, allowing her to escape to another realm .

Upon creation, the user could roughly specify the properties of the domain that the magical box would generate . Specifying the element was the first step, which Sila could achieve easily since he was used to Orbiting Cosmos . Nevertheless, the advanced stage was more troublesome since specifying a special property was more complicated and required extensive knowledge . Fowl suggested that, since he had the essence of qi, he should bring himself to be hit by various types of magic AOE attacks . His body would gradually memorize the sensations and he would automatically become better at using magical boxes .

While Varee was a psychic-type, her katana was a magic-type weapon of the water element .

An outburst of electricity exploded within a small area . Utilizing the essence of psychic, Sila had controlled the size of the domain to become smaller, and that greatly strengthened his magic abilities .

Varee’s body was transfixed in mid-air . The magical box didn’t inflict any damage, but the area full of an unusual amount of the lightning element severely affected the water-element user . On the other hand, Sila was using lightning-element Orbiting Cosmos, so he could move freely despite being in the same domain .

“Artifact Manifestation . ”

The Crouching Demon Arrow appeared on his palm . Sila didn’t shoot it but respectively pointed it at Varee’s head, neck, and heart . He then stabbed it into the table .

“You have died three times . Are you done? Blatantly jumping at me like this is no different from suicide . Is this the Goddess of Purified Water’s fighting style?”

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Sila canceled the domain and the arrow, then sat down on the same chair . Actually, many people had intended to interfere when he approached Varee, but Sila had summoned several magic arrows to block their paths . His movements were fast, so just a brief moment of distraction was enough for him to get the job done .

“Varee, are you okay?” One of Varee’s friends, Marina, came to support her . Seeing there were no injuries on Varee’s body, she was relieved .

“I’m fine,” replied Varee, before turning to Sila . “You . . . ”


“ . . . It’s nothing . I just feel like you’re similar to someone I know . Must be only my imagination though,” said Varee as she backed off . “The next time won’t be the same . ”

‘There will be another time, huh?’ Sila inwardly groaned .

With the brief conflict finished without any injuries, players began to file out without saying anything . Two thirds of all the players that had come had left, and Sila did nothing to make them stay . Undine was among the people who left .

“Seeing your strength, I don’t think we can cooperate . If your squad passes the next round, I hope we’ll get to see more of the Thief Monarch’s true strength . ”

“You make it sound like I will be eliminated in the next round . ”

Undine grinned . “You’re skilled, Mister Thief Monarch, I admit . If it’s you alone, I’m sure you can easily pass the round . I can’t say the same about your squad, however . ” The man turned his back and left . “Good luck . I know your squad will need a lot of it . ”

Only a few squad leaders still remained, including Lone Wolf . Strangely enough, Varee and her group were still there .

“Be careful of Undine . His fighting ability may not be high, but he wouldn’t have become the 4th squad leader if he had nothing up his sleeves,” Lone Wolf warned .

Sila muttered, “He must have expected this to happen . No, I bet he had prepared several options to pick from depending on my behavior . He evaluated me, discerning whether I can be of any use to him . If I showed him I was an easy target, he would make use of me . On the other hand, since I have shown him that I’m quite uncooperative, he used the moment to show everyone that I’m the public enemy that they have to eliminate from the tournament, fast . Just by treating everyone to a single meal, he managed to make my squad a target for a majority of the Shadow Army . He may be right . . . My squad may even lose in the very first round . ”

With only two arms and two legs, it was difficult to cope with a dozen of each, especially when Sila wasn’t the one participating in the maze . If more than half of the participants were to cooperate in suppressing Alpha and Midnight, there would be an extremely high chance that his squad would drop in the next round .

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