Published at 3rd of January 2021 10:29:04 AM
Chapter 359: Dichotomous Crucifix (Unedited)
The color of the world is neither white nor black .
The light normally represents goodness while the darkness always represents malignance .
Which is more powerful? There is probably no answer to that question, and never will . The two polar opposite powers are mutually exclusive . They complete each other and maintain the universal balance . If there is one day where one power has an overwhelming advantage over one another, it will be the ending day of everything .
While the two are each other’s greatest rivals, they ultimately can’t live without the other .
Sila’s mind didn’t become empty but was filled with countless thoughts that couldn’t possibly be conveyed into words . He felt the dampness in the air, the ambient mana, the wind generating from movements, the heat from his body, the coldness of swords, and the sound of his breathing . It was as if his mind had become a black hole, swallowing various information into his head . It was a mental concept that was the polar opposite of Moon Reflecting Mirror .
Strangely, he felt neither burden nor headache by it like he thought it should have been . Every information flowed through his mind like a river gently went past a rock underwater . Not only the process sharpened his focus, but it also gradually scrubbed off his useless thoughts, purifying his mind .
If cleansing one’s mind and attaining the state where the mind became like an undisturbed clear lake was the best way for him to display his full potential, the current state of Sila’s mind was like a borderless galaxy devoid of light where nothing could contaminate it .
The paths might be different, but the end of the road was the same answer: the perfect clarity of mind, without a single adulterated thing .
The color holds no meaning at all .
Sila’s energy reserve was constantly leaking, bending its shape into a thin layer of black mucus, covering his skin . It protected him from outside threats, acting like metal armor . Meanwhile, Sila, who was inside, felt extremely comfortable as if he was living in a dark paradise .
He sensed and felt various information, yet everything outside seemed insignificant to him .
The pressure, the heat, his thoughts, his life, and his morals were left behind as they were mere shells . His mind, while vast, contained only one thing and one thing alone .
It was his real self—the black creature wearing the armor of darkness .
The sword in his hand moved . It was an action out of his pure instinct without any second thought . Its speed was transcended . Sila still stood on the same spot, but the blade of his sword extended into various segments .
People probably have different opinions when it comes to the term ‘sword’ . Still, as long as an object has a sharp blade, without a shallow mindset, it isn’t entirely incorrect to call the object a sword whether it’s short or long, thin or thick, soft or hard, designed for stabbing or swinging, or has single or double edges .
His sword became like an amalgamation of a whip and a sword, yet he didn’t think it was difficult to control . A part of him told him that how to use it was no different from using Sealing Chain or Weapon Subduing Hands where he shot qi energy as projectiles .
Isabel lifted up her white longsword to block the attack once it reached her neck . Sila’s black segmented blades shattered upon impact . The segments broke apart into debris, which later imbued with black magic power . They turned into black magical energy blades flying at Isabel . Though she could calmly parry them away effortlessly .
Sila’s swordsmanship was truly a few levels below her . Each of Blade Daughters was the master of her type of sword . Every of her swordplay could bring forth the most of her power .
Sila’s vision from his other eye gradually became clearer . The Weapon Enlightenment skill didn’t inform him about either the name of the sword he was using or its abilities, yet he was somehow fully aware of what he should do next . This realization came directly to his mind from the white-haired girl who let him borrow her strength .
More of his special points were consumed, converting into black magic power that crept toward the tip of the broken sword and immediately repaired it .
Sila shifted his gaze to observe the other Blade Daughters and found that no one aside from Isabel moved from their usual spots . He wondered why . He was collaborating with their prisoner . He wouldn’t think it was strange even if they all came to attack him .
“These girls are not that stupid,” the white-haired girl said . “The eight of us are the Dichotomous Crucifix Sword . Seven to one . Light to darkness . The balance will always be equal . That’s my ability . With only one of them stepping out of the seal, I can only exert only a seventh of my power . They prefer this way since it will be easier to control the scale of the battle . ”
Sila’s mind sunk into the white-haired girl’s past sentiment . War . Bloodshed . Seven Blade Daughters were forced to assault each other against their wills . Their negative emotions spiked with sadness, regret, and anger . Everything molded the seven of them into a Demonic Armament .
However, they were weapons created by the Goddess . Their existences were too pure to be tainted by negative energy . With their frustration building up with no way to exit, it eventually manifested as the eight sword that helped them escape from the dark, evil thoughts . The new sword was the representative of the impurity that the Seven Blade Daughters themselves couldn’t display .
Nerissa—the Guardian of the End, the dark side of the Dichotomous Crucifix Sword .
She was the untainted blackness, representing the purest form of darkness .
Her birth was the answer to the Blade Daughters’ unsolvable problem . Fights, war, competition, and all conflicts can easily be solved with a simple word .
“Annihilation . ”
Without living creatures, conflicts will naturally cease to exist .
Her ambition transferred to Sila’s . He felt a spreading warmth of determination through his extremities . The sword in his hand heated up like it was melting into his flesh .
A single exchange of swords between Nerissa and Isabel was enough for Sila to acquire more information .
Like how a river flows to the sea, the path of victory appeared in his mind .
“Watch it with your eyes . Listen to it with your ears . Taste it with your tongue . Smell it with your nose . Feel it with your skin . Understand it with your conscious mind, and sense it with your heart . We’re the origin of all things, yet we are also the end,” said Nerissa .
Omniscient Evil God Qi .
The golden qi flowed through his veins and entered the black sword while Dark Psychic Corrosion enveloped it . The curvy segmented blades shrunk back before extending into a straight line, reshaping itself to become a longsword similar to Isabel’s .
His left hand behind his back, Sila wielded the longsword with only one hand, calmly and gently swung it to clash against Isabel .
Their swords looked similar, but their swordplays didn’t .
Several clashes were exchanged in an instant, yet that instant felt like an eternity in the pure darkness devoid of time .
Exactly like what Zarnak had claimed . The Dichotomous Crucifix Sword was the weapon several tiers beyond others .
A longsword against a longsword . Light against darkness . Isabel could still maintain her composure and perfect forms, making no mistakes .
Nerissa was a strange sword . She would be an ordinary sword in the hands of normal people, but she would unleash her brilliance when in the hands of a skilled individual .
Compared to Isabel, Sila was weaker, his swordsmanship was inferior, and his power was limited . There were various reasons blocking Sila from seizing the victory over her . He was fully aware . He might spot a path to victory, but that didn’t mean he could easily pull it off .
This was the battle that even a single mistake could cost him his life . Although it seemed like he was on the offensive, it was actually the offense for the sake of defense . His energy reserve was limited, so he couldn’t maintain the use of Nerissa forever . As long as Isabel was firm in her defense, dragging the battle on, victory would eventually fall into her lap .
The battle would end once he ran out of his power . His defeat was inevitable .
Unbeknownst to anyone, Sila was using his brain more than they thought . In addition to Omniscient Evil God Qi and Dark Psychic Corrosion, the reason why he didn’t move from his position was that he was using yet another skill through his left palm . Vast Sky Qi continued to absorb surplus power in the air to regenerate his special points .
Vast Sky Qi has the ability to permanently increase maximum health points or special points when the user’s reserves are full . However, when the reserves aren’t full, the qi will simply regenerate them .
If this was a normal battle, the Vast Sky Qi that he only recently practiced would give him a negligible recovery rate of energy . However, this was a high-level battle . The residual of Isabel’s power that chipped out from the spark of each clash was both pure and valuable .
Seeing that Sila didn’t use magic abilities, Isabel didn’t mind to seize control of ambient mana . For Sila, this was like there were high-grade recovery potions floating in the air, waiting for him to consume .
The longer the fight continued, the sharper Sila’s swordsmanship became . Every time Isabel changed her approach to finding his openings, Sila would learn how to use a longsword better . Still, for a master swordswoman like Isabel, Sila’s improvement was by no means significant . Even though his swordsmanship was improving, hers was already beyond the level he was going to reach since the day she was born .
She didn’t have to learn the way of swords since she herself was a sword . The sword she wielded and the sword art she used were always the perfect ones for her .
Her swordplay would always be flawless . Sila couldn’t afford to wait for her to make mistakes . He was proceeding to the path of defeat . He must do something to break the stalemate . However, he also had to be careful, not making a mistake himself .
‘I can’t catch a cub without going into the tiger’s den . My energy resource is limited while she isn’t . This battle is like when I was up against the Lamentable Dragon . I have to defeat her in one hit, ending it in an instant!’
With a firm resolve, Sila’s swordplays began to change for a more offensive approach . He already got the hang of Isabel’s swordsmanship . Her swordplays might be flexible, but they still focused on a particular concept . That made him be able to roughly predict her actions .
The black blades extended like a whip, encircling Isabel . Its maximum length could whirl two laps around her . Sila used Weapon Subduing Hands through the irregular sword . One couldn’t easily tell his attack was a stab, a swipe, a strike, or a squeeze .
It was the attack on the principle of ‘Martial Formless’ which Sila was most excellent at .
True is False and False is True . The segmented blades swirled around, seemingly randomly yet each segment harmoniously performed its own attack . Isabel knitted her brows for a second time .
At long last, Sila had come to the point where she took him seriously .
The sky-blue crystal on the white longsword was shrouded in arcane mana . The radiant mana was tender like a cloud and gentle like the breezing wind . It spread over, manifesting into seventeen magical floating light-blue swords that systematically flew to block all segmented blades . As for the genuine longsword, its tip flew toward Sila’s chest, aiming at the opening that appeared because he made a big move .
. . . The opening that Sila showed it deliberately .
Million Clouds Qi Technique — Solar Crushing Bolt .
It was the move that combined the power of Attributes of Fire and Metal, being direct, intense, and fierce in contrast to the previous gentle exchanges of swords . Isabel’s swordsmanship inclined to the wood element . Burning it with fire and cutting it with metal were his way to break the stalemate of the battle . It was his attempt to pull the flow of the fight to his favor .
His savage kick sprang up, stomping the inside part of Isabel’s arm, which she had extended in order to stab him . From the outsider’s perspective, her arm was slender, white, and tender . It couldn’t possibly endure the kick, meaning Sila’s action was brutal and cruel . However, what appeared outside could be deceptive . With her magic power reinforcement, her body was extremely adamant . In usual cases, Sila’s kick would be no different from an egg hitting a rock .
Isabel’s power might be near bottomless, but migrating energy reinforcement was a complicated procedure . Sila had forced her to waste seventeen parts of her power to defend against his powerless attacks and another part to counterattack him . Metaphorically, she was in the middle of exhaling . At the moment before she could inhale and adjust her breathing was a vital opening .
Sila was betting on whether the remaining power in her body was enough to protect her against his all-out kick .
Sila’s kick heavily hit her arm, knocking her white longsword from her hand, flying upward . He could feel his attack connected, meaning Isabel’s remaining energy wasn’t enough to completely negate it . The impact split into two layers . The first ran through her arm and reached her fingers while the second left an intense burning sensation on them . That was the reason why she involuntarily released her grip .
Isabel jumped back to secure some distance . She quickly absorbed the surrounding ambient mana to perfectly heal herself in a blink of an eye .
The decisive moment for Sila had ended . Isabel was aware that, given his limited energy reserve, the man hoped to defeat her in an all-out one move . Unfortunately for him, the attack only managed to injure her arm . It wasn’t lethal .
“It’s regretful,” Isabel expressed her pity . She regretted for Sila’s defeat . Now that the man had spent his entire power to attack her, although he could recover his power through qi circulation, his energy recovery speed couldn’t hope to rival hers . His remaining energy was no longer enough for him to fend off even one of her attacks .
Sila smiled weakly . “You regretted too soon . It’s actually a draw . ”
Isabel’s body shuddered as she coughed out blood . She collapsed, kneeling on the ground, while Sila sat down to circulate qi .
Nerissa removed herself from his body, which caused the grave wound to return on his neck . Thankfully, Isabel’s magic power was no longer running in his system, so he could heal it normally .
On the contrary, some parts of Isabel’s skin turned darker . Her health points continued to decline with no sign of stopping .
“You paid the kick too much attention and neglected his sword . You were too careless, Sister Isabel,” another Blade Daughter said to Isabel before turning her head to Sila . “You did a pretty good job . Your utilization of power was similar to mine . ”
Isabel tried to heal herself, but her attempt was futile . “ . . . Similar to Charlotte’s?”
Hearing the name, Sila gave Charlotte a look . When he was training under Fowl, she had mentioned having Charlotte in his possession would help him counter Isabel and Rosetta . Still, he was clueless about her ability . The only thing he knew about her was her title: Charlotte—the King Killer .
Charlotte was a young woman in a black suit . Her black hair was short . Her eyes were onyx black . Hanging on her waist was a katana . The color of its blade was matte black . The guard of the katana had a four-leaf sakura shape while the hilt was wrapped under light-pink-colored cotton fibers . She and her katana gave off an impression of a strong-willed, yet sweet woman .
As he had recovered a bit, Sila stood up . “Thank you for your compliment . ”
Charlotte was the one with the most understanding of Sila’s last technique since she shared a similar ability . However, the gap between their levels was world-apart . It was rumored that there were no kings that she couldn’t defeat . Her ability was a hard counter against wielders of tricky or bottomless power . She could kill even immortal beings .
She explained to the confused Isabel, “It’s true that those segmented blades were diversions, but the psychic power coating on them was a real deal . When the blades shattered, they left behind golden qi, corroding black psychic power, and Nerissa’s magic power . The three powers synchronized into the special energy with a contamination trait . When you were injured, you absorbed ambient mana to heal yourself, and that allowed the said power to directly invade your defenseless body . ”
Sila nodded as he explained more, “Isabel’s magic power is like an impenetrable armor . However, exactly because of it, when I managed to trick her into accepting my power—bypassing her defense—the armor itself became a cage that locked my power inside . It was the same technique that Isabel previously hit me with . ” He rubbed at his throat . “Well, unlike you who could do it directly, I had to resort to petty tricks to get it done . ”
“It’s my loss . ” Isabel sighed . “Even though you got the help from Nerissa, you managed to subdue me with your ability . I have no excuses . ”
She knew that Sila had mentioned ‘a draw’ to save her dignity . The fact that the man could recover sooner than her meant he won .
The shortest girl among the Blade Daughters walked toward Isabel . She wore a lady-like yellow tent dress . Her creamy pigtails danced with each step she took . She drew her sword—a cutlass—out and tapped it on Isabel’s shoulder, then Sila’s power inside her vanished without leaving a trace .
Isabel patted the girl’s head . “Thank you, Rosetta . ”
The girl said nothing . She simply smiled and nodded .
Charlotte spared another glance at Sila . “Yours is still sloppy . If it were my power, even Rosetta wouldn’t be able to dispel it . ”
Sila started to realize that the scales of power between the New World and the Monster Realm were very far apart . Even a lovely small girl seemed to be stronger than him . He stared at Rosetta before observing her weapon . It was a short, broad saber with a straight blade sharpened on the cutting edge, and a hilt featuring a solid wreath-shaped guard . The entire cutlass came in creamy color, making it seem like a toy or an ornamental object rather than a weapon .
Isabel approached Sila . She bowed her head, pulled his left hand toward her, and kissed it on the back .
“I look forward to your guidance . ”
A white knight armguard with silver metal joints appeared on his left arm . Turning it around, Sila spotted a picture of the cross, with one black and one white line intersecting, engraved on the wrist area . On the forearm area was another picture of a sword’s hilt . When sliding the joint away, the hilt of the white longsword—Isabel—would stick out .
You have obtained (S) Demonic Armament — Dichotomous Crucifix Sword . The Demonic Armament comes with extreme side effects . Please study it before using it .
“You will be purged every seven times you use us . Additionally, you can only attempt another Sword-Crowning Ceremony after seven weeks have passed . ”
The term ‘purge’ means the wielder of the Dichotomous Crucifix Sword will have all of their stats and skills reset . The reset happens every seven times they use any of the Blade Daughters . Also, it happens every time they overcome the Sword-Crowning Ceremony and claim a new sword .
This marked the first time he overcame the Sword-Crowning Ceremony . Without the Blade-Sharpening Dragon, Sila would already have his stats and skills reset .
“I will always be beside you, Young Master . Call me anytime you need me . ”
A white light enveloped Sila’s body, returning him to the grassland . Everything that had happened felt like a dream, but the silver-white armguard on his left arm reminded him that he had actually gone through the trial .
At long last, he had managed to overcome the first trial . He now finally obtained the weapon that could handle Montra’s Sky-Splitting Dragon Magical Spear