Chapter 61: Ten Supreme Qi
The artificial sun within the dimension of the Mansion of Secret showed its radiance in the morning. Sila regained his consciousness after twelve hours had passed. He started cultivating in the evening and felt like he had cultivated for only a brief period of time. That was why he was currently surprised at the sight of the morning light.
Sila opened his system window to check the time. It told him that it was 7.00 a.m. of the next day.
"Big Brother Sila. You're finally awake." Bow jumped onto Sila's lap. There was Lookhin sleeping next to her.
"Bow, I, umm, how long have I slept?" Actually, he was cultivating. But he was too lazy to explain. It was fine if Bow thought that he was sleeping.
"Since yesterday evening, Big Brother. Big Sister Julia told me not to disturb you, so I didn't. By the way, Big Sister Julia is very kind. She made a lot of food for us to eat."
'Us' must refer to Bow and Lookhin.
Julia was an AI maid of the mansion. It was her duty to take care of all the guests in this place.
Sila stroked Bow's head gently. "Then, please play with Lookhin and Julia for the time being, okay? I'll be back soon."
"Where is Big Brother Sila going?"
"I'm going to meet with my teacher to ask him some questions. This area prevents me from communication so I have to go there personally."
"What should I do while Big Brother is gone?"
"How about practicing by yourself? You can't just play around all the time. His Majesty Slime King has told me to look after your skill proficiencies too."
Bow scowled, "But I don't have to fight, do I? I already have Big Brother Sila protecting me."
Sila thought to himself that Bow was truly like a child. This game's AI was certainly realistic.
"I may not be with you all the time, though. Bow, you should at least be able to take care of yourself to a certain degree."
"But I don't like practicing." Bow pouted. "In the Slime Kingdom, papa also forced me practice. He wants me to be strong and healthy. I don't see why I should become stronger, though."
The thing was, the Slime King forced Bow to practice in hope that if Bow's in-game body got stronger, it might affect her actual body. Although it was a baseless hope, he was willing to do his best to make it happen. However, Bow was unaware of this fact.
"Let's do this, then. If Bow becomes stronger, I will give you something you want."
"Really!? I want new ribbons. Many of them."
"Of course, you can have them. So, you have to try your best to become stronger, okay?"
"Okay~ But how much stronger should I become?"
"Umm, I'm not sure myself. Oh, let's do this. How about you become stronger than Lookhin?"
Bow looked at Lookhin who was sleeping. "But Lookhin is only a sparrow, no?"
"Yeah, that's it. Just become stronger than a sparrow. You're fine with that, right?"
"Okay~ Big Brother Sila better prepare yourself to buy me a lot of ribbons." Bow smiled, full of confidence.
"Fine, fine. I'll prepare money for them. Bow, could you please go to the next room first? I will ask Lookhin to go after you soon."
Bow nodded and jumped off from his lap. She hopped to another room of the dojo.
Sila whispered to Lookhin, "Lookhin, please hold back, okay? Don't hurt her, but don't lose too. Do your best to make her try her best. Try to use qi, psychic, and magic equally. This way, Bow can train all three slime skills."
Lookhin looked back at its owner with its sharp eyes. It nodded once before flying after Bow.
Sila was the assistant to his teacher who owned a martial arts dojo before. He knew that Bow was the type that disliked practicing. For her, he needed to make her feel like it was a game instead of practice. Motivating her with a promised reward should work.
"Julia," Sila called for the female maid.
"How can I serve you, Master?" Just a sound could be heard. After a moment, her body slowly appeared in front of Sila.
Sila got goosebumps again. The slowly-appearing Julia was as scary as Julia who appeared from behind.
"I would like to ask. When I'm offline, what happens to Bow and Lookhin?"
"If Master seals them, they would be in a semi-hibernation state until Master comes back. But if Master releases them, they would have to take care of themselves. For Master's reference, most players don't like doing so."
Sila nodded. "Can I ask you to take good care of them here?"
"Yes, Master. It's my duty anyway."
Hearing that, Sila felt relieved. Bow had been sealed inside the Slime Kingdom for a very long time. If possible, he wouldn't like to seal her inside the ring.
"Go to Bamboo Hut." Sila's body instantly disappeared.
The bamboo hut in the morning was a very peaceful place. The sound of bamboo leaves carried by the wind was like a natural music to the ears. The nameless elder was currently cooking his breakfast. The brown soup was boiling in the pot.
Sila's body appeared in front of his teacher. The teacher took a side glance at him briefly.
"So you have gotten Qi of Little Turtle," muttered the nameless elder.
Sila looked at his own body while wondering which part of him showed that he had gotten the qi.
"I can feel the qi from your body. You have been heavily reliant on your Qi of Little Divine Beings. The Qi Concealment technique you inherited from me has not had much progress."
Sila felt guilty. He really didn't practice Qi Concealment and the Soundless skill as his teacher had advised. Although they were skills that he had directly inherited from his teacher, he had neglected them and always relied on qi he obtained from other sources.
"I'm sorry, sir," Sila said in an apologetic manner.
"You might see them as unimportant, but let me tell you again. The basics are the most important. Don't you dare neglect your training. No matter how superior those advanced qi are, they are just an extension of the basics. No matter how high a tree grows, it will die if its roots are rotten. Remember my words well."
"I'll keep your words in mind and I'll practice harder."
"Good. So, what business do you have with me today?"
"I have two questions about qi and one personal question to seek your guidance, teacher."
"This seems like it will take a long time. You don't look like you have eaten breakfast yet. We will talk while eating, then."
Witnessing the breakfast in the pot, Sila was about to deny his teacher's suggestion, but his teacher was quicker. A bowl of brown soup was put in front of Sila. Its odor caused Sila to endure it without showing a disgusted expression on his face.
"You may begin asking." The old man fed himself a spoonful of soup and exclaimed that it was delicious.
Sila ignored his teacher's exclamation. He also wasn't interested in tasting the soup. He soon began to ask.
"The thing is, once I got Qi of Little Turtle, it was immediately changed into Shapeless Qi. I want to know why. I also want to know how to use it. Do you happen to know, teacher?"
"Fufu. Qi of Little Turtle immediately changed into Shapeless Qi, you said? Are you sure you didn't eat baby manta ray?"
"Oh, yes… I forgot. I was hurried to use qi at that time so I came up with a shortcut."
"That's it. Did you know that there are ten advanced qi in this game? They're called the Ten Supreme Qi. Every person can possess only one of them."
"What about Qi of Little Tiger, Little Turtle, Little Fish and Little Bird, Teacher? Are they included in Ten Supreme Qi?"
"No, they aren't. The meaning behind the word 'Little' in their name is referring to the fact that they can be further developed into more advanced qi. Qi of Little Divine Beings are merely a part of Ten Supreme Qi."
"They are merely a part?" Sila was shocked. He had regarded Qi of Little Divine Beings as very powerful qi. He couldn't imagine they were just a part of more superior qi.
"Correct. The principle of qi type is fusion. The more you practice, the smaller your skill pool becomes. When Qi of Little Divine Beings reaches an advance state, they fuse together and become one of the Ten Supreme Qi. By the way, the Ten Supreme Qi consists of Water Dragon Qi (Tiger + Fish), Cloudy Tiger Qi (Tiger + Bird), Sun God Qi (Tiger + Turtle), Shadowless Soul Qi (Fish + Bird), Mystic Armor Qi (Fish + Turtle), Immortal Bird Qi (Bird + Turtle), God Avatar Qi (Tiger + Fish + Bird), Queering Metal Qi (Tiger + Fish + Turtle), Frost Demon Qi (Tiger + Bird + Turtle) and Deploring Fairy Qi (Fish + Bird + Turtle)."
"There is no Shapeless Qi?" wondered Sila.
"For some reason, Shapeless Qi is not included in Ten Supreme Qi. It is still regarded as an advanced qi though, as it originated from all four Qi of Little Divine Beings."
"So, Shapeless Qi is the best, right? It originates from all four qi."
"Your thought is too shallow. Although it's true that Shapeless Qi possess all the abilities of four Qi of Little Divine Beings, its ability is too bland compared to other Ten Supreme Qi. Its prominent point is its shapelessness. It's harder to be discovered, but it's also harder to use. Shapeless Qi is at the realm of regaining the natural state of qi. With your current ability, I dare say that you're not yet qualified to use this skill."
Sila was glad for nothing. Shapeless Qi was as shapeless as its name. Even he himself still found it hard to detect his own qi.
"All qi experts are using qi that suits their personality and battle style. None of them possess a duck-like qi like you."
"A Duck-like qi?" Sila's qi was being compared to a duck.
"Yes, a duck. It can fly but not as well as a bird can. It can swim but not as well as a fish can. It also can crow but not as well as a rooster can. To be concluded, it can do everything but it's not good at anything."
"Is there a way to fix it, Teacher?"
"There's a way. Not a way to fix qi, though. It is you who needs to be fixed. Everything in the world always has its own usage. However, I won't tell you. Try to come up with a way yourself. How can you always depend on asking others? If you keep going like this, just when will you have the ability to think for yourself?"
"Thank you for your guidance, Teacher."
"No need. Guiding a disciple is a teacher's duty."
"Yes. My next question is, yesterday, I cultivated as usual but it took me as many as twelve hours to finish. Do you know why?"
"Oh, dear. That is a normal occurrence. Your qi has become too advanced for your body to keep up, so both of them are trying to close the gap disregarding your awareness. The gap is wide so they need a long time. This problem is not hard to solve. You just have to train your body so that it can keep up with your qi. Or else, just keep circulating your qi. The time it takes for circulation will become shorter over time."
"But I'm always using my body in battles. Doesn't it count as training the body?"
"It isn't the same. You must be relying a lot on in-game skills, correct? If you want my advice, I suggest you to try fighting without skills or qi. This is what it means to train the body. You can just fight against the same opponents that you have defeated. You'll know how hard it is to do that. You're always relying on shortcuts. However, do you know that there's no shortcut to becoming a true expert?"
Sila felt like he was heavily slammed by the last part. 'There is no shortcut to becoming a true expert.' He had always been reminded of this sentence by his real teacher.
However, once he had entered the game and acquired many powerful skills, he had become such an arrogant character. He had neglected the teachings of his own dojo, always depending on qi and skills even though he had practiced martial arts in real life.
He always thought that he was different from other players. He had a goal in his mind. To win against Montra. To find his teacher. To become stronger. However, in the end, he was no different than the players who just came to enjoy the game day by day.
Looking at what he had been doing, his resolve meant nothing. It was just a weightless sentence.
"What about the last question, the personal one? I'm not available all day, you know?"
Despite Sila felt like his teacher seemed to be free all day, he was too depressed to argue. He started telling the story of Montra that he heard from Bluebird. About Montra's genius in possessing several powerful skills, mastering thirty different kinds of martial arts, and could not be killed.
The elder listened to Sila with an expressionless face.
"And? What are you planning to do?"
"I don't know, Teacher. I really don't know." Sila was dejected.
"You have heard about it from others. However, have you seen it with your own eyes?" said the old man.
"Teacher, do you mean that this information might not be true?" Sila's expression slightly brightened. If it wasn't true, there would still be hope for him.
"True, then what? False, then what? He can possess 1,000 skills. He can master thirty martial arts. He can have three heads or six hands. And then what? Do you need to possess more skills than Montra? Master more martial arts than Montra? Or have more arms and legs than Montra to win against him?"
"No, Teacher. I don't think I'm capable of doing all those things."
"Then, what are you capable of?" His teacher asked.
"What am I capable of?" Being suddenly asked like this, Sila couldn't come up with an answer.
"Correct. Sun Tzu has said that, if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be put at risk even in a hundred battles. You don't know what Montra is able to do. In addition, you also don't know what you're capable of. I think you don't need to fight him at all. You are sure to lose. Better quit this game and escape to the real life world. Based on what you have said, winning against Montra is only your baseless imagination. You're not trying anything at all."
Sila opened his mouth, wanting to refute. However, he couldn't. The words of the nameless elder were fierce yet true.
"Good grief, I'm still your teacher. Hence, the next time you come to me, if you can come up with an answer about how you can win against Montra, I will gladly guide you. However, you have to come up with the answer by yourself. Don't ask anybody." The tone in the old man's voice was gentler.
"How I can win against Montra? By myself?"
"Yes. Don't tell me it is impossible, though. The one that thinks oneself is going to lose from the start has lost half of the battle already."
Sila pondered it, but he still couldn't come up with an answer.
"I didn't tell you to answer me right now. Take your time. Of course, the quicker, the better. For now, I will give you a clue."
"Is there a clue?" Sila wondered. Didn't his teacher just tell him to find an answer by himself?
"It's not quite a clue, though. Try eating the food that I made first."
"Food? You mean this brown liquid, right?" Sila lifted the bowl up. Its odor entered his nose.
"Yes. Eat it in one go and tell me honestly about its taste."
The desire to acquire the answer was more intense than his dislike toward the food. Sila was currently seeking a way to make himself stronger. He would endure any hardship to achieve that goal. Sila swallowed it in one gulp.
Honestly, Sila still hoped that its taste might be good despite its appearance. However, there was no miracle. Its taste was exactly like its appearance. He was experiencing an indescribable disgusting taste as soon as it entered his tongue. He tried his hardest to not show his thought on his face.
"D-Delicious," Sila muttered.
"I want an honest answer. Not an answer to appease me. Do you think I don't know how it tastes? I'm the one who cooked it myself," The old man said with obvious chilliness in his voice.
As his teacher wanted an honest answer, Sila no longer tried to be thoughtful. "It's not delicious at all, Teacher. It tastes terrible."
"But I think it's delicious," The old man said, "That's the clue. Now go. I hope you will have your answer the next time we meet."
Sila couldn't comprehend the clue at all. How was the deliciousness of a soup related to winning against Montra? However, there was no way for him to probe for the answer. His teacher's action was clearly telling Sila to go away.
Sila prostrated himself and said goodbye to his teacher before he left the bamboo hut. His mind was preoccupied with a question from the nameless elder. The answer that he gives his teacher next time would clearly indicate whether he was just a common person or an expert.