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Chapter 41: Poluk's Trial

"Isn't it too hard, sir?" asked Sila.

"How is it hard?" suspected Poluk.

"At first, I need to fight one troll, but now I have to fight against the one who defeated tens of trolls within ten seconds. Isn't this obviously harder, sir?" objected Sila.

Poluk still pondered. "How? It doesn't matter how many trolls there are, does it?"

"Sir, don't use your standard to measure others, please. I just started coming into this world, you know?"

"Wait, didn't you kill the Earth Dragon?" Poluk said with a confused expression.

Sila sighed. He started telling Poluk how he had won against the Earth Dragon.

Poluk finally nodded in understanding, "You are indeed just lucky."

"That's right, sir. So, please think of a trial that I might be able to pass. Even just a slim chance is fine."

"Okay. Then, how about making me acknowledge you?" asked Poluk.

"Acknowledge?" pondered Sila.

"Yeah. Fight against me. But you don't need to win. If I acknowledge that you have understood "Form…," pu! what is it called again? Oh, "Fluffy Slime", I will give you a passing grade. On the other hand, even if you win against me, if I decide that your understanding of this skill is lacking, you will fail," proposed Poluk.

Sila thought for a while. Compared to winning against Poluk, this trial's difficulty level is significantly lower. Thus, he accepted the condition.

"Well, let me be blunt. I'm stronger than you so I will only use this skill, while it's fine for you to empower yourself with qi," said Poluk.

Sila replied spiritlessly, "the thing is… I can't use qi now."

"When you were still unconscious, I inspected your body. It's not that you can't use qi. You just haven't learned how to execute it properly."

"Haven't learned how to execute it?" wondered Sila. He had used qi since the beginning. Why was Poluk saying this to him?

"Yes. What level were you when you obtained qi?" asked Poluk.

"Level 3, sir," answered Sila.

"Now I see what you are lacking," said Poluk.

Sila's confusion grew. Why did obtaining qi at level 3 cause him to not be able to use it well? How is that related?

Poluk could see that Sila was confused, so he explained, "Do you know which level normal people obtain "Basic Qi"?"

"Level 50, isn't it?" answered Sila.

"Yes. Now think about it. If you are a normal qi-type player, but your level still hasn't reached 50, what would you do?" asked Poluk.

Sila now started to give it a thought. What would he do? Ignoring qi and hunting monster with the basic attack? That didn't sound right.

He couldn't come up with an answer, "what would I do, sir?"

Poluk sighed, "I guess you must be a direct-confrontation-type of fighter. You usually win against a weaker opponent or an opponent that rushes at you. But you always lose to calm and collected opponents, am I right?"

Sila recalled all his battles. Although he didn't know why, but it was exactly as Poluk had said. Therefore, he nodded in acknowledgment.

"That's because you couldn't use qi directly," said Poluk.

"Use qi directly?"

"Listen, all energy resources like qi point, psychic point and magic point. They are just pure energy before being spent performing the skill. The basic of the basics is to use them without relying on an active skill. It is used to strengthen your body directly. For instance…" Poluk walked toward a rock. He bumped into that rock, causing it to shake slightly.

"Just now, I normally slammed my body at it. Next, I will strengthen my body with qi."

At the end of his sentence, Poluk bumped at the rock again with the exact same speed. This time, however, the rock shattered into pieces.

Sila's eyes were wide open. Based on Poluk's jumping speed, his bump seemed very weak, yet the result was this destructive.

"That's it. You can also use it to strengthen your ankle to jump further. It's easy to do. You just haven't tried thinking about it. Given your ability, I think you can do it within a few tries," said Poluk.

Sila closed his eyes and concentrated on thinking, "qi, come, come, come, come, come."

Ten minutes had passed when, finally, qi power was surging around his body. The system alarm went off.

Player Sila has unlocked a skill - Qi Reinforcement Level 1.

"I get it!" Sila felt glad.

"You are happy over this trivial thing? "Qi Reinforcement" is normally obtained before "Basic Qi" so, of course, it's easy to obtain," said Poluk, "looking at you, it seems that you don't possess many basic skills, movement skills, or martial art skills, do you?"

Obtaining good skills from Lone Wolf's transmission and the Right Arm of the Seal One was a double-edged sword. Powerful skills might cause Sila to easily beat weaklings, but against strong opponents, his weakness would be shown. Sila was like a person who could run but could not walk. If he couldn't finish a fight quickly, he would eventually lose.

For other qi-type players, "Qi Reinforcement" is the very first qi-type skill they would obtain. Later, they would train themselves by getting either martial art skills or movement skills based on their preference. Meanwhile, Sila had arrogantly obtained high-tier qi-type skills at the beginning. Given the superior speed and offensive attack power, he could finish opponents quickly. However, upon facing a true expert, the result wouldn't be the same. For instance, when Montra smashed Lookhin using his mage staff, Montra didn't use any skill except "Magic Reinforcement."

"Qi Reinforcement," "Magic Reinforcement," and "Psychic Reinforcement," are F-grade skills that have limitless potential. Players can strengthen their body or a part of their body without limit. Though, they need to be careful, as using it incorrectly can cause the power to dissolve into thin air. Worse off, there can be a backlash which will inflict damage onto the user himself.

"One more thing, you are using "Qi Reinforcement" incorrectly," added Poluk.

Sila who was still happy with his newfound power asked back, "how?"

"You are really stupid. After seeing you use your "Qi Reinforcement" for that long, what opponents would be foolish enough to wait for you to throw a punch at them? By the way… aren't you tired?"

"Yes, I am, sir. Qi reinforcement is easy to use but so tiring to maintain," answered Sila. He felt like he had run for ten kilometers despite how it had barely been a minute since he had successfully used the skill.

"You are wasting your qi. Actually, you need to release your "Qi Reinforcement" the moment your attack connects with the target," said Poluk.

Sila stopped and tried again. This time, He quickly released his "Qi Reinforcement". But the power that strengthened his body was low.

"Ah? Then it's not powerful, is it, sir?"

"That's the difference between normal people and an expert. "Qi Reinforcement" is a simple skill that anybody can use. But for you to use it well, you need to quickly release it while using the most appropriate degree of power," Poluk said while releasing "Qi Reinforcement" ten times in one second. The power surging each time was very powerful.

"I can do it faster than this, but the power I get will be weaker. Ten times within a second is my current limit to use it in actual combat," said Poluk, "do you know why I am teaching this to you?"

"Is it because I'm weak, sir?"

"You're a weakling, I know that much myself without having you to tell me. The actual reason I teach you this is because "Qi Reinforcement" has a similar concept to "Formless…" oops! Again! I meant, "Fluffy Slime" skill," said Poluk, "so, try practicing "Qi Reinforcement" first, then use it as a model for practicing "Fluffy Slime" later."

Sila nodded.

"There's one last piece of advice from the kind me. Do you want to hear it?" Poluk started a conservation again.

"Of course, sir, what is it?"

"Our slime-race skills always have more than one way that they can be used. The characteristic of our slime race is formless, so our skills aren't limited to what they appear to be. Well, I have given you too many hints. I'm going now and will come back tomorrow. Your food is lying there," said Poluk before walking away.

Sila said his goodbye then focused his concentration on practicing "Qi Reinforcement". Once he felt tired, he would stop, and then start anew. He was focusing on the speed of releasing qi reinforcement prior to the power obtained from it. He would increase the power later, bit by bit.

Once he became quite accustomed to "Qi Reinforcement", he decided to switch to practice "Fluffy Slime". This time, his body became soft very quickly, unlike his first try before he had practiced "Qi Reinforcement". Sila was glad by such result. Therefore, he tried harder in practicing "Qi Reinforcement".

He didn't know how much time had passed. This place was under the cliff but it was always so bright even though there was no sunlight. Sila guessed that it must be due to some kind of artificial sun.

Currently, Sila was quite proficient in "Fluffy Slime". However, no matter how many times he tried, he had never once succeeded in changing his body color to black.

'Mister Poluk said that all slime skills always have more than one method to use for. I have to try recalling the time he used this skill.'

Waiting for his qi to regenerate, Sila was recalling the fight between Poluk and the trolls. He tried to remember which time Poluk's color had become black.

'This skill is similar to "Qi Reinforcement". So far, he only used it for the brief moment that his body connected with a troll,' thought Sila.

"Wait," Sila was talking to himself, "there's one time he used it outside the combat, isn't there?"

Once Poluk had finished defeating the trolls, he was floating in the air. Then, his whole body turned black and dived downward at high speed, before changing to white before softly landing on the ground.

"Usually, diving down at such speed should result in high impact, causing a loud noise. But when his body turned white, there isn't even a slight crack on the ground."

Sila gave it some thought. He was racking his brain to come up with an idea. Finally, he got his answer.

"I understand now. Hahaha. I'm quite smart, yes?" Sila was shamelessly complimenting himself.

"Understand what?"

A voice came from behind him. Sila turned his body to look and found that Poluk was standing there.

"Oh, sir, have you been there all the time? I couldn't feel your presence at all."

"I haven't. One day has passed so I returned. Well, if I'm really waiting for you, you wouldn't feel my presence either way. Now, tell me, what do you understand?" asked Poluk.

Sila smiled and started to explain:

""Fluffy Slime" skill isn't only able to make our body softer. It can be used to make us heavier, lighter, harder, and softer, totaling in four characteristics. Being heavier is used for attacking, being lighter is used for dashing, being harder is used to increase impact, and lastly, being softer is used to increase speed." Sila made a big smile.

"It isn't 100% correct. But your understanding passes the mark. Very Good."

At the end of Poluk's sentence, Sila's slime body was glowing.

A system sound could be heard.

Player Sila has overcome the trial Way of Slime (Qi Part).
Skill (F) Fluffy Slime has been promoted to skill (A) Formless Soldier.

Sila was surprised and opened his skill window to check the new skill's description.

Racial skill: (A) Formless Soldier
Qi-type skill. An art of the qi manipulation. Can be used to change a part of the body or its junction to become harder, softer, heavier, or lighter.
The power of its effect is depended on "Qi Reinforcement" skill.
Decrease opponent's qi-based attack power by 20%.

"Why are you letting me pass, sir? We still haven't fought yet," asked Sila.

"I told you. If I acknowledge you, you pass. This trial's objective is for you to understand this skill. Given that you have understood it to a certain extent, there's no need for us to fight," replied Poluk, "Viola will come here in a minute. Before we part, let me tell you something. The highest level of Formless Soldier is to become harder, softer, heavier, and lighter simultaneously. If you achieve this level, you can say with confidence that you're an expert."

Once Poluk had finished, he dashed toward the wall. He hopped over it and descended down at high speed. This time, though, his body didn't have any change in color.

Sila realized something at that time. Poluk was very proficient in this skill to the extent that there was no need for him to change his body's color. Poluk had been deliberately changing his color to give Sila a hint. Moreover, he even taught Sila "Qi Reinforcement"  and gave him a clue about slime skills having more than one way that they can be used.

"Mister Poluk is indeed a very kind person," muttered Sila.

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