Chapter 51: Bluebird's Hidden Race
Sila was waiting for Burapha at the beach for an entire night. Based on the last conversation, Burapha would arrive at their meeting spot some time in the next hour.
Burapha had asked if he could shop for items prior to meeting with Sila in the evening. He suggested that they discuss tactics for the night before departing on their adventure into the sea the next morning. His reason for holding off on departing was that fighting against the Great Millennium Turtle underwater and at night was suicidal.
Sila couldn't deny such reasoning. Thus, the Underwater Palace invasion was postponed by a day.
Sila spent his day playing with Bow at the beach. His journey there was very smooth without any trouble. Since this beach didn't lead to anywhere, it was deserted and there were no players in sight. The monsters here were also low both in level and in quantity. In conclusion, this beach was only suitable for resting.
Sila left Bow to run around the beach and let Lookhin look after her just in case something happened. He himself was sitting cross-legged in front of a tent and practicing all three of the slime-race skills. One additional good point about the slime-race skills that Sila had just discovered was the fact that they required no movement for practicing. He could practice them anywhere.
Among all three racial skills, Sila was more proficient in Formless Soldier compared to the rest. It might be due to the fact that it was a qi-type skill. The skill after that was Moon Reflecting Mirror. Sila could empty his mind at will now. Although it was indeed a very hard skill to activate, Sila thought that it was still far easier than Orbiting Cosmos. As for Orbiting Cosmos, except for the increase in speed in the first activation, there was no progress in other areas. Sila still couldn't become faster at changing element.
The Slime King had told Sila that there were only two principles behind Orbiting Cosmos. They were 'changing' and 'holding'. Changing means to shift his element from one to another. The faster he can change, the more he will confuse the enemy. It would even cause the enemy to take multiple elemental attacks from a single punch. As for holding, it means to hold the current elemental form as long as he could. The longer he holds the element, the more power he could exert from that element.
Lastly, the Slime King had mentioned that the final state of this skill was when one can change and hold elements at the same time. Sila could only furrow his brows upon hearing this sentence. It was like telling him to look left and right at the same time.
Currently, Sila was practicing the skill that he was the least proficient in, Orbiting Cosmos.
Although he couldn't change the elements any faster than before, he could now hold an element for up to 15 minutes. The reason he focused on practicing this skill instead of others was because, in order to fight against the Great Millennium Turtle underwater, he believed that the thing he would be relying on the most was magic.
"Ouch, ouch, ouch."
There were sounds entering his ears. It came from in front of him. So, Sila opened his eyes.
Sila was surprised by the scene folding in front of him. It was a scene of Lookhin pecking on a blue-colored bird. What surprised Sila was that the "Ouch" sound was coming from the beak of that blue tailorbird.
"Enough. Enough. It hurts," The blue tailorbird said.
The blue bird's body flashed one time before it was replaced by one particular man sitting on the ground.
"Oh? Aren't you Mister Bartender?" Sila said and moved closer to the bartender who sold the information to him yesterday.
Lookhin flew back to stand beside Bow. Meanwhile, Sila helped the bartender to stand up.
"Thanks, thanks," He said while pouting at Lookhin. But the sparrow completely ignored him. It was busy pecking at its own feathers.
"Why are you here?" Sila asked.
"I followed you here."
"Hm? Why are you following me then?" Sila wondered.
"That's because you have completely shattered my self-confidence in my information gathering ability. I decided to take a break from my job to discover myself. Then, I heard the news about player Sila fighting against a group of bandits. So, I followed the bandit gang to their hideout and later found out that the news was true. Finally, I realized that you are Sila, and that's why I'm following you."
"I still can't see why you're following me."
"Two reasons. One, why didn't you tell me before that you're Sila!? No wonder you know everything. Second, I have some urgent news for you."
"That's because you didn't ask for my name… Whatever, what is the news you want to tell me?" Sila asked.
The bartender frowned. 'That's true. It was my fault to not ask for his name.'
But when he was about to tell Sila the news, there was a man and a woman walking toward them. Sila was quick to greet the two approaching.
"Oh, Burapha. You are here earlier than I thought."
"Yes. Lala can help with shopping so it was quicker than I expected. Partners are really useful," Burapha said.
Burapha then realized that there was another person currently with Sila. "And who is he? Is he a friend of you, Big Brother Sila?"
"Oh. This man is um… I beg your pardon, but what is your name?" Sila turned to ask the bartender.
"I'm Bluebird, the number one expert in information gathering. You can just call me Blue, though. It's shorter." Bluebird introduced himself.
Hence, Sila introduced Bluebird to Burapha. He then invited everyone to sit around the unlit bonfire he had prepared. It was getting dark now.
Sila picked up some firewood and activated Orbiting Cosmos to light a fire on it. He quickly threw it toward the unlit bonfire before it turned to dust. He had wasted more than ten pieces of firewood yesterday. It seemed that practicing with the Slime King had caused him to almost be incapable of holding back his power.
Sila tried to remind himself that he should practice in controlling his power when he has some free time.
On the other hand, Burapha and Bluebird were looking at what Sila had done with their eyes wide open. They hadn't heard Sila shout any skill name to do so.
"What were we talking about just now?" Sila asked.
"First things first, Burapha, you're playing as a merperson, right?" Bluebird asked.
Burapha turned his head toward Sila to ask for advice, but Sila shrugged his shoulders to tell him that he should do what he wants.
"Yes, I'm playing as a merperson," Burapha answered.
"Little Brother, are you interested in becoming famous? I can spread the news about you being a merperson to every corner of Monster Soul. You can get rich by crafting jewelry next."
"I would like to decline. I don't have the ability to do so," Burapha plainly rejected.
"Don't have the ability? That shouldn't be the case. The merpeople's jewelry craftsmanship is the best of the best. Even if you craft low quality accessories, they would still be better than the others in the current market."
"I didn't mean quality. What I meant is crafting capability. If I were a factory, this method would indeed make me rich. But I'm the sole player in the merpeople race. Although the number of people playing Monster Soul Online is smaller compared to other virtual reality games, its player count still exceeds 100,000. If there were 1,000 purchase orders for me to complete, I would have no chance to handle all of them. Moreover, if I'm always crafting jewelry, then I wouldn't have any time left for me to enjoy playing the game," Burapha explained his thought to Bluebird.
Sila and Bluebird nodded. Burapha's reasoning was right on the mark.
By the way, the reason Monster Soul Online wasn't the most popular virtual reality game was because its harshness. There were no policies to protect the player from being taken advantage of. Thus, kids who are the target audience of online gaming turned their interests to play other easier virtual reality games. Most players in this game were in their late teens or were young adults who wanted to experience the cruel reality before stepping into the business world.
There was even a saying that, if you can survive in the world of Monster Soul, you are certain to survive in actual society. That's because this game is far harsher than reality.
"What I'm planning to do is to be famous without revealing my identity. For example, you have heard about medical masters in Chinese novels, right? They always live on a faraway mountain and rarely visit towns. This is the law of supply and demand in an economy. Rarer items are higher in both demand and price. I would only have to craft 2-3 pieces of jewelry a month to release to the market. My products would get a high price without me having to craft a large quantity. It would save me both the resources and the time," Burapha further explained.
"Wow. Burapha, you're so smart. I can't believe you look that further ahead." Sila complimented.
Burapha scratched his head as he was embarrassed to be praised at. "That's nothing much. I was planning to be a merchant from the start. If things go well, playing this game might be my main job."
"Hm? How do you gain money by doing that?" Sila asked.
"From in-game currency, obviously. Don't you know, Big Brother Sila? Real cash and the currencies in this game are convertible. Didn't we all have to register bank accounts prior to registering in this game?" Burapha replied.
Sila pondered. Uncle Rashane was the one who set up the brain scanner for him. Does this mean he is currently using Rashane's bank account? If so, that would be a problem. He was currently 10,000 gold coins in debt. It seemed he would have to hurry to pay off his debt.
'I'm causing a problem again. Uncle even paid for my medical fees.'
"Okay. I understand your reason, Burapha. Now, let's talk about Sila again," Bluebird continued.
Sila was surprised that Bluebird didn't importune like he anticipated. This fact alone caused Sila to look at Bluebird in a more positive manner.
"Are you talking about what you told me before? You have some urgent news for me?" Sila asked.
"Yes. You're a slime-race player so this news is directly related to you. The thing is, the group of bandits that you defeated yesterday is currently planning to invade the Slime Kingdom."
"Invade the Slime Kingdom? How?" Sila wondered.
Bluebird then explained what he knew. Sila nodded in understanding during the explanation. Nevertheless, Sila let out a dry laugh when he heard the word 'harmless slimes'.
Bluebird frowned. "This is not the right time to laugh, you know? I can't believe you're this heartless. Although they are mostly AI, they are the same species as you. I suggest you halt your plan to go to Underwater Palace and return to help your Slime Kingdom first."
"Hey Blue… Do I look like a weakling?" Sila asked.
"I have never seen you fight, but based on the information I have gathered, it seems you're an expert to a certain extent," Bluebird replied.
"Yeah. That's why you don't need to worry about the slimes anymore. You would be better off worrying about the thieves. In that Kingdom, even common villagers are as strong as me," Sila said.
Burapha and Bluebird had their mouth opened. If this was true, it would be big news.
"That's right~ Not to mention my Royal Father and three Slime Guardians, for those people, just normal residents can beat them easily," Bow added.
"So, that's all?" Sila asked.
"No, there's one more thing," replied Bluebird.
"Hm? Didn't you say there are only two matters? Where is the next one come from?"
"Well, well, don't sweat the small stuff. The other thing is, wherever you go, I'm going too," Bluebird blatantly said.
Sila frowned as he was suspicious. "Why?"
"Because the big news always circles around you. If I'm with you, I definitely won't miss the many upcoming big scoops. I'll even be the first one to know about them."
"But we are going to Underwater Palace tomorrow. Umm… I don't know whether Big Bro Bluebird can survive there. What if you die?" Burapha was hesitating.
"Yeah. I can take care of myself and Burapha is a merperson so he should be fine underwater, but I'm not sure I can look after Mister Blue," Sila said.
"Die? Look after me? Let me tell you two something. I haven't died even once since I started playing this game. I might be not as mighty as Cross, nor as strong as Montra, or as great as Lone Wolf, and I'm not as fast as Zero. However, there is something in myself that is superior to the Four Emperors." Bluebird stood up. He took pride in every word he just said.
"Oho. Comparing yourself with the Four Emperors? What is it that you are so proud of about yourself?" Burapha asked.
"Fleeing!!... You might think I'm bragging. But I have once fled through hundreds of Single-Horned Dragons to gather information in Madmen's Valley. I have also gotten a hidden race," Bluebird said.
"A hidden race? You?" Burapha exclaimed with great doubt. He looked at Bluebird from top to toes.
Bluebird was currently wearing plain black silk clothes. Based on his appearance, people would perceive that Bluebird is a qi-type player. However, Burapha noticed a ring on the finger of Bluebird's right hand. It was a ring that could be used to amplify magic power in place of a wand. It was very rare and popular among magic-type fighters. Although its options weren't as good as the options on a wand, it was more convenient to use. It granted the wearer an increase in casting speed to compensate for losing the usual increase in spell power from the wand.
However, based on Sila's story, didn't Bluebird just undo his transformation from bird form? That was surely a psychic-type ability.
"Yes. Hidden race. It's a tailorbird race…" Bluebird revealed the answer.
"Tailorbird?" Sila and Burapha exclaimed at the same time.
"Do you mean the tailorbirds that are being sold in Pet Shop and fly around the game as props?" Burapha asked.
"Is there another tailorbird?"
"Wait a second. I have always believed that player can't harm tailorbirds. No… before that, are you crazy? Did you hunt tailorbirds to collect cards? Even new players don't do that. Moreover, aren't you magic-type? Tailorbirds seem to be the psychic-type creatures. Selecting a race with a different energy type than yourself makes it very hard to become strong, don't you know that?"
"Who said I hunted tailorbirds to collect cards? I didn't do that," Bluebird declined.
"Ah? Then, what have you done?"
"I must refer to when I had just started playing the game, dreaming of becoming a newshawk. At that time, I had come up with a brilliant idea: Tailorbirds are everywhere in the game, so how cool would it be if I could tame them to gather information in my stead? Thus, I bought 10,000 tailorbirds. I planned to tame them to the point that I could communicate with them."
Burapha furrowed his brows. What kind of insane person would purchase 10,000 of tailorbirds? Although this game doesn't have a limit of how many pets a player can possess, having too many of them would absorb experience points from the owner. In the tailorbird's case, it might not absorb experience points from the owner, but there wouldn't be any sane person who wants 10,000 of them as pets. Just the food cost to keep them alive was enough to cause anyone to go bankrupt.
"Then, I got myself a tailorbird race. It's even a hidden race. The end."
"That's it!? Anyway, is this race strong?" Burapha asked.
"Bah. It isn't strong. However, talking about survivability, fufu, even if the Four Emperors gang up on me, I would still be able to flee," Bluebird reiterated.
"Ho? You are that good? What kind of skills do they have?"
"Fufu. That's a secret. It's my ace in the hole. Nevertheless, I can ensure you two that I definitely won't die tomorrow."
"If you're that confident, then it's fine. I'm playing as a slime myself so I am well aware that there is no race in this game that is actually weak. It's good if a tailorbird race suits Blue," Sila said.
Since Sila didn't object, Burapha also didn't oppose the idea of Bluebird joining the team. Afterward, the three of them discussed how to fight against the Great Millennium Turtle until night.