Chapter 44: A Calm Mind is the Strongest Psychic
After Master Viola had left, Divine moved closer to Sila.
Sila could take a good look at Divine now. Divine was a white-haired handsome man. His common clothes seemed ordinary but it still emphasized Divine's elegant demeanor.
The last trial should be the psychic part. However, Divine didn't look like a psychic-type player who usually wore all sorts of armor. In fact, he didn't even look like a slime.
"Sila, isn't it?" greeted Divine.
"Hello, Mister Divine."
"Sila has already spent too much time in Viola's trial so please pardon me to conduct my trial immediately," Divine said.
"But I'm still not ready." Sila felt rejected. He perceived that the trial's difficulty must become higher in each stage. He believed that Divine's trial must be harder than Viola's.
"That's okay. The first half of my trial is not hard. You can even do it while listening to my explanation. Once you overcome the first half, I will give you one task. If you complete it, you pass. There will not be hidden rounds like Viola's trial, I guarantee it."
"Is it… hard? This psychic-part trial." Sila asked.
"That's a difficult question to answer. I can only tell you that, be it easy or hard, that depends on Sila yourself. It could be unimaginably difficult to the point that it's impossible to overcome, or so easy that you can complete it within ten seconds." Divine answered.
Sila somehow had a sense of relief. It was a good thing that the trial's difficulty depended on him. He liked it more when something depended on his own ability instead of depending on others.
"Firstly, please try executing Transparent Slime now," Divined ordered.
Sila nodded and closed his eyes. He focused his thoughts on activating the skill. His body became more semi-transparent than usual.
"Okay. Then…" Divine's body flashed once. Afterward, the handsome man disappeared and was replaced by a silver slime whose body size was comparable to Poluk and Viola. This must be Divine in slime form.
"Become as transparent as me. That's your first assignment," Divine said.
Sila blinked. He was skeptical about this trial. "That's all? There is no fighting to the death, solving complicated puzzles, or training for several days?"
"No, there will not. That's all for the first half of the trial," Divined replied plainly.
Sila nodded. Based on the previous two slime trials, he knew that slime-race skills had the same concept for execution. He then tried his best to focus his mind to make himself become transparent.
"Transparent, transparent, transparent," Sila muttered to himself.
However, Sila's body didn't become more transparent at all. Instead, it even seemed like his body had become dimmer.
Divine who watched nearby didn't give any comment until time had passed for ten minutes.
"Do you want some rest? We will have a talk while you are resting." Divine asked.
"Rest?" Sila confused. He just started practicing for only ten minutes and there was still no progress.
"Or we can talk while you are practicing, that's fine. Could you please tell me a story about yourself?" Divine started a conversation.
Then, Sila told Divine about his story since he entered the game. Divine was a good listener who smiled and listened attentively. Sila continued his story until he quit practicing unconsciously.
"Oh, my teacher asked me to greet Mister Divine in his stead. His name is Wu Ming," Sila said.
"I remember him. We fought against each other for three days and three nights. As the result of the fight ending up as a draw, we became friends."
"By the way, Mister Divine, are you really a slime?" Sila asked as he felt curious by the fact that Divine had been in human form before.
"Do I not look like a slime?" Divine said smilingly.
"Um… If based on other slimes I have met, then yes, sir."
Divine smiled. "My previous form is a result of the Psychic Body skill. It allows the user to project a body using psychic power. Usually, the projection reflects a user's inner self. You could say it's a kind of shape transformation skill."
"So, every psychic monster can change into human form, can't it?" asked Sila.
"Based on your question, I could tell that you have yet to research in-game general information, haven't you? Before I will answer this question, let me ask you something first, Does Sila know whether I'm a real human or AI?" Divine asked back.
Sila didn't even need to give it a thought. He had already come up with an answer. "You're a real person, sir. Your responses toward my action are too flawless. I could tell because I have already met with NPC controlled by AI."
Divine nodded. "That's correct. For important roles, NPCs will always be controlled by actual people. Now it's my turn to answer your previous question. My answer is: I don't know."
"Eh? Why don't you know, sir?" Sila wondered. Divine seemed to be the expert regarding psychic-type topics among the people Sila had encountered.
"Psychic Body is a skill that projects people's inner self outward. Well, you should know first that the world of Monster Soul is lawless. The system only provides the basic services for the player's convenience. You can loot, kill, or do any evil deeds without being punished by the system. This world will project your true self that you might possibly suppress in the real world.
"Without laws, humans are no different from a monster. The concept of this game reflects that fact. In this world where moral is peeled away, we are just a monster's soul in a human's body. Therefore, the inner self that is projected using the Psychic Body skill could be a human or nonhuman. It depends on each person," Divine explained.
Sila listened with a peculiar feeling inside him. Indeed, he felt that this world has allowed players to show their true selves without restriction. Even good people in the real world could be villains in this game.
At least, Sila now somehow believed that Divine is a good person, as Divine's inner self is the elegant handsome man who caused people to feel warm and like they can rely on him.
"Psychic-type skills are very amazing. If I had known this beforehand, I might've chosen to become a psychic-type player," Sila expressed his thought.
"In my opinion, Sila is suited to both qi-type and psychic-type. You don't have to regret it at all."
Sila finally got a chance to ask this question that had always been bothering him to someone who was a psychic-type expert. "Can I ask whether a psychic-type player can read minds?"
Divine smiled. "Have you encountered people who can read your mind?"
"Please rest assured. There is no skill for psychic-type players to read the minds of others. There are only the Mind Connection and Emotion Reading skills."
"What can these skills do, sir?"
"Mind Connection can link the mind between several people or monsters. People will synchronize easier in this state. It's commonly used for the command chain.
As for Emotion Reading, as the name states, it allows the user to read other's emotions and feelings. It cannot read the actual thoughts of others."
Sila nodded. He had known a little about Mind Connection from experiencing it with Lookhin. As for why Varee seemed to always know what he was thinking about, it must be due to her own talent coupled with the Emotion Reading skill.
"Mister Divine, can I ask, in your opinion, which psychic-type skill is the strongest one, sir?"
Sila had encountered many psychic-type experts: Varee, Shueria, and Cross. Each person seems to have a different way to use psychic energy. Varee's psychic energy was usually motionless like clear water but able to change into attack instantly. Shueria's was like a hidden sharp blade that could inflict damage to the opponent even when the user was defending. As for Cross's psychic energy, it caused the surrounding people to feel pressure and also made itself visible to the naked eye.
"For me to answer this question, I must ask Sila back first: what does the word strong mean for Sila?" Divine asked.
Sila furrowed his brows. This simple question is unexpectedly harder than he thought. He used to believe that being strong means being able to defeat the enemy with an overwhelming victory. However, after thinking about it, Montra had played dirty and won against him. Did this mean Montra was strong?
He also thought about Lone Wolf and Zero. Although these two were unable to win against Montra, Sila believed that they would become stronger and stronger as time went on.
Does that mean being strong isn't related to victory or defeat?
"I don't know, sir," Sila honestly replied.
"Based on that answer, I believe that Sila has now taken one step closer to understanding the true meaning of being strong," Divine replied.
Sila was confused. But Divine continued without letting him asking further.
"Sila might have experienced an oppressive psychic-type user that can defeat the enemy without having to fight. This kind of psychic can even materialize the energy if it is powerful enough. But if you ask me, this kind of psychic isn't the strongest type at all."
"What kind of psychic is considered the strongest in Mister Divine's opinion, sir?"
"A calm mind that is as motionless and transparent as a mirror which reflects everything. That's the strongest kind of psychic in my eyes."
Sila frowned. "What is the use of that against an opponent, sir?"
"We don't have to fight against anyone, do we? We fight against ourselves and opponents fight against themselves. A calm mind like a mirror will reflect everything," Divine smiled.
"What does that mean, sir?" Sila asked.
Divine still smiled but did not answer Sila's question. "That's all of the hints I can say. The rest depends only on Sila."
"We are still in the middle of a trial, remember?" Divine smiled.
Sila just realized. The conversation with Divine gave him many pieces of knowledge and ideas. It was also enjoyable, causing him to temporarily forget that he was still in the middle of a trial.
Sila tried to activate the skill again. His color was slightly fader than before. However, once his concentration rose, his body become darker again.
'Why?' Sila thought. His body continued to turn darker.
Sila furrowed his brows. The more he practiced, the darker he became.
'Calm down. I need to recall Mister Divine's hint. A calm mind like a mirror will reflect everything.'
Sila was interested in this hint. His body became more transparent at that moment.
Nevertheless, once he focused on becoming more transparent, his body instead turned darker again.
'What the? Why does the result become worse when I concentrate on it? Hmm, wait… a calm mind like a mirror will reflect everything…'
Sila closed his eyes and started emptying his mind. This was a basic technique that his teacher Mora had taught him when he was very young - "Do not think too much when fighting". Sila was still incompetent in this aspect. He always pictured the result of a fight before a battle even began. His teacher had warned him many times that this would be the cause of his defeat once he fights against a skilled opponent.
Moments later, each thought in Sila's mind had faded off one by one. Sila's mind was now totally calm. Nothing was able to disrupt his mind. It was as calm and peaceful as the still water where no wave surfaced.
"You pass," Divine said.
Sila opened his eyes slowly. He found that his body was very transparent like Divine's.
Transparent Slime is a skill that has a different concept than Fluffy Slime and Colorful Slime. While the two latter skills require intense concentration, Transparent Slime instead requires the user to calm oneself. The more the user puts his focus onto the skill, the more likely it is to fail. For Sila, this skill was several times harder than the other two skills.
"Now, the time for the last half of the trial has come," Divine said, to which Sila nodded. "By the way, does Sila want to rest? In this latter part, I will let you fight against one thing. If you win, you will pass."
Sila examined his own body. He found that he was at his best. All energy resources were filled while he was talking with Divine.
"There's no need, sir. In my current state, I think I can even beat a dragon," Sila exaggerated to show Divine how ready he was.
"That's good. Then, as soon as this thing comes out, your trial shall begin," Divine said.
Sila nodded. He stretched his body. As days had passed, he had already become very accustomed to moving in slime form.
"By the way, what is the identity of this one thing you mentioned?" Sila asked.
"I don't know. But I think Sila knows," Divine replied.
"Why?" Sila asked with confusion in his voice. This is the trial Divine had prepared. How could he know the content beforehand?
Divine didn't answer and hopped backward from Sila around ten meters. Next, his body flashed an intense light. It caused Sila to temporarily close his eyes.
Once Sila reopened his eyes, he was shocked. Divine was still standing in the same spot. But there was one more thing stood beside Divine.
Divine referring to it as 'one thing' was understandable. This creature in front of Sila didn't look close to anything in this world. It was just a lump of black ooze without proper form. Its killing intent was spreading out like a virus.
This lump of black ooze soon shrunk and twisted. It turned itself into some form similar to a human.
Currently, it was a three-meter tall human with three arms. Its body was distorting. Its face revealed strong resentment.
Even though its face and body were pitch dark like black ink, Sila was able to recognize the identity of this thing.
Divine said softly as if he could read Sila's mind. "It is your own inner self."
Sila panicked as his dark-self dashed at him using Qi of Little Bird. Its body was also glowing red with Qi of Little Tiger as it rushed at him at terrifying speed.
Sila had a hard time swallowing his saliva.
He was currently a slime as small as an orange.