Chapter 246: The Martial World
The distance between Sila and Kawin was exactly ten meters. Both of them stood still, watching each other. Sila locked his gaze onto the two armguards, trying to gauge Kawin’s reach and the most effective range for using Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws.
Revin dragged his heavy sword along the ground and circled around Sila, coming at him from behind. As such, Sila had to divide his attention between the two directions.
“Aren’t you curious as to why we chose this exact moment to take action?” asked Revin.
Sila didn’t answer. He circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi throughout his body. His muscles were strengthened through Formless Soldier while his skin was covered by Divine Raiment. He was preparing to fight with all of his techniques. For the record, a month ago he wasn’t be able to simultaneously exert three supreme profound arts like this. It was thanks to Dark Self that his mind had grown stronger and eventually possessed a higher level of concentration.
Revin continued, “You are injured due to the fight against Zero. Although you look fine, I’m sure you can’t fully use your maximum power for the time being. Also, you are a public enemy of this city. Killing you once will make the citizens our supporters. Or, even if we can’t kill you, we can just relay that you are returning, and they will surely wait to ambush you.”
Sila couldn’t afford to spare his concentration on replying. His brain was constantly searching for a way to survive. Just one of them was superior to him, so it wasn’t plausible for him to take on the two of them at the same time. In order to break through their defense line, he had to make a choice. Should he focus on Revin or Kawin? Who was the correct answer?
Kawin specialized in defense. He was like a metal fortress that stood firm on the land—the type of opponent that Sila didn’t like to fight against the most. Regardless, his advantage over Kawin was that he had studied Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws before, so he could guess Kawin’s martial moves and range.
As for Revin, he seemed to excel in attacking. Given his speed, Sila wouldn’t be able to get very far if he managed to break through their defense. Even though Revin’s movements seemed to be full of openings, Sila was aware that he was more terrifying than his outward appearance suggested. His blade was concealed behind his smile.
Sila had to make a quick decision. As soon as Revin took action, Kawin would do the same, and he would end up being in the middle of a pincer attack. His only choice was to make a preemptive strike.
Dual Generating Attributes — Wood Feeds Fire, Shapeless Flame.
A red cloud emanated from Sila’s body. He didn’t dare to underestimate the two, so he decided to unleash the power of Dual Attributes from the start.
Sila tapped on the ground and dashed at Revin, forcing him to be defensive rather than offensive. Following him, the red cloud spread over. It was as hot as Revin’s Dragon Domain, so both Revin and Kawin strengthened their bodies using Dragon Scales. Revin’s skin was engulfed in an orange cluster of flames while Kawin’s became as sturdy as a mountain. Still, Shapeless Flame managed to strip off some of their magic power.
Revin’s blade extended in length, becoming a three-meter-long heavy sword. He swung it around to drive the red cloud near him away. In addition, the blade flew in a curve toward Sila’s right side.
Possessing Illuminus which could nullify any kind of attack, Sila extended his right hand toward the blade, intending to catch it. In the meantime, using Death Bridge his left hand curled into a claw shape and mercilessly aimed for Revin’s eyes.
Revin raised his brow. He flicked his wrist to change the angle of his sword. Sila’s right hand failed to catch it as it connected his wrist instead. Triple Sky Energy exploded, but no damage was done to Sila.
Feeling surprised, Revin continued to swing his heavy sword and created beautiful red curves, cutting through the air.
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Empyrean Flame Dance.
Sila had to stop his left hand to avoid the red sword waves. He did a backflip while using Metal Stomp, which Revin blocked using his heavy sword. The latter took three steps back before relying on the impact to swing his arm, shooting a grenade at Sila.
The main reason Sila chose to engage in combat against Revin rather than Kawin was that he thought Revin would be inferior at defending compared to Kawin. Moreover, Revin still had an internal injury from his previous exchange with Burapha’s Eastern Sea Sailing Lance Art.
Little did he know that Revin had spent a week practicing the use of Triple Sky Energy together with Kawin. Thus, he learned from Kawin the art of counterattacking. Combined with Triple Sky Energy, which increased his overall stats, and the Explosia Sword that could accumulate damage and turned it into bombs, Revin was as scary as Montra.
Attribute of Wood — Illusory Stomp.
Sila kicked the grenade. Through the power of the wood element, instead of a normal kick, the kick created a barrier made of qi to reduce the blast. Still, the remaining impact from the explosion was enough to send him flying toward Kawin.
Similarly, as Revin’s sparring partner, Kawin was no longer a martial artist who simply waited for his opponent to show an opening. His Triple Sky Energy could continue to endlessly cycle throughout his body, changing from defense to offense and vice versa in an instant.
Once Sila had rotated his body in mid-air and was about to bare his fangs against Kawin, the latter’s simplest and inescapable punch—imbued with a mysterious pulling power—was launched.
Kawin’s Personal Art — Sun-Freezing Fist.
Sun-Freezing Fist was a punch of the wood element. Even before coming into contact with it, the slowing power imbued in the punch would negate the opponent’s defensive power. Even though the punch seemed rather weak, it wasn’t a move to be taken lightly.
Sila belatedly realized that Kawin’s punch had negated most of his qi reinforcement. His defense sharply fell and his qi became slightly disordered.
Kawin’s fist had yet to touch Sila but it continued to negate his power. Since his qi became turbulent, Sila temporarily couldn’t recover his qi through circulation. He hurriedly gathered the rest of his power in his body into his right index and middle fingers, using it through Nine Sun-Melting-Fists since it was the profound art which required the least amount of inner force to show a visible result.
Sila’s thrust his fingers forward fiercely, digging a hole in the armguard and transmitting hostile qi to damage Kawin’s acupoints. It briefly froze Kawin’s movements, which prompted him to withdraw and circulate Triple Sky Energy to heal the damage done to his acupoints. His wrist went numb. He looked at the finger-sized holes on his armguard.
Sila retreated three steps back as he spewed out blood to lessen the pressure he felt in his body. The spilled blood even spun around on the snow four times before stopping, indicating that Kawin’s power had infiltrated the inside of his body. For a short period of time, Sila wouldn’t be able to exert Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.
After exchanging moves for the first time in the battle, the three of them began to know each other’s strengths.
“Normally, your wrist should have been cut off. So that’s the Right Arm of the Sealed One. I will have to attack somewhere else,” analyzed Revin.
“It’s Flaming Cloud Dojo’s Nine Sun-Melting-Fists, concentrating power into a finger then using it to damage an acupoint. Be careful of his Yizichan, Revin,” warned Kawin.
Sila had miscalculated. The two of them were far stronger than he anticipated, especially Kawin. This meant he wasn’t the only one who had grown stronger. His opponents were the same. It was questionable when he would be able to surpass Montra.
There was a time when he trained so hard that he couldn’t take it and protested to his teacher. Mora’s reply at that time was, “Training your body and practicing martial arts are both like upstream paddling. If you stop, your progress starts to come undone.”
He only understood Mora’s words half-heartedly that day. However, he now finally understood the full meaning of them. In the martial world, you have to be constantly growing in order to stand with pride.
‘Even though my psychic power is more powerful, it’s detrimental for recovering myself from abnormal conditions. I will have to rely on qi to recover myself, so what I have left is magic. How about Orbiting Cosmos? Wait... I still have magical qi left.’
Sila saw a glimmer of hope in a crisis. Although he hadn’t tried using it in an actual fight, magic power was logically easier to control compared to qi and psychic power. As long as he could maintain the concept of Formless Martial God and strengthen it through magical qi, the result should be satisfying.
‘The skills and profound arts I know that are related to magic are Element-Changing Nightmare Magical Qi, Orbiting Cosmos, Divine Raiment, Great Flow, and Heaven’s Decree. Maybe I can win this if I use them well. If I die here, my rank will be demoted and there will be no way I can catch up to Montra. I can’t die no matter what.’
The two young dragons slowly approached Sila with caution, surrounding him and leaving no routes for escape.
Sila calmly took deep breaths according to Profound Qi Circulation Art. His body faintly emitted an aura of the Great Flow. He borrowed power from nature to strengthen Divine Raiment.
Still, Divine Raiment was, ultimately, a defensive art. It was unsuitable for what Sila was about to do, which was to go on the offensive.
Thus, today marked the first day Sila applied Viola’s profound art in a totally different manner that it was even beyond the original inventor’s imagination.
New waves will eventually catch up to old ones. The kids of the new generation—Montra, Sila, Kawin, and Revin—never cease to grow as they continue to polish their skills. The martial world was going to be overturned as the old profound arts were replaced by newer and more amazing ones. It was the world Kiryu wished to witness but died before he could.
Monster Soul, the virtual reality world, was affecting the martial world. The profound arts that were once seen as supreme generations ago were going to be surpassed by arts invented by the new generation.
Element-Changing Nightmare — Demonic Raiment.
The aura of the Great Flow was being dyed black, changing the previously pure white snowfield to become a dazzling sight. Sila wielded the Crystal Demonic Sword in his left hand and the Crystal Divine Sword in his right. He transmitted his magical qi through both swords and pointed one of them at Kawin and the other at Revin.
“Kawin... be careful,” Revin showed a serious expression for the first time after sensing the majestic oppressing might coming from the swords. He tightened his grip on his heavy sword while Kawin nodded and unleashed more magic power.
Kawin knocked his armguards together, signaling something to Revin and getting a nod in response. Sila was clueless about their strategy. Regardless, he only had to focus on his attack. Since his opponents were being especially careful, Sila decided to start with the first sword style of Heaven’s Decree Sword Art.
Heaven’s Decree — First Sword Style, Inverted Ground.
In Revin and Kawin’s perspectives, the atmosphere around Sila seemed to be changing non-stop. The world seemed to be upside down and the ground they stood on was greatly shaken.
Their instincts kicked in. It told them that they would lose if they didn’t attack now. Despite Sila not taking even a single step, the feeling was so great that they couldn’t stop their actions.
Flame Phoenix Sword Art — Widespread Phoenix Wings.
Kawin’s Personal Art — Twin Sun-Freezing Fists.
The two didn’t hesitate to unleash their most powerful moves. Revin jumped into the air as he constantly slashed his sword and sent dozens of crimson sword waves forward. The sword waves lit on fire, causing them to look like phoenix’s wings, captivating yet dangerous.
Kawin didn’t only attack using both of his fists, he also invoked a magic spell through the Earth Dragon’s special trait which enabled him to activate some spells with no incantation as long as his feet were touching the earth.
The spell instantly showed its power. The earth shook and waves of stone slid toward Sila. As the danger approached, Sila became calmer. He activated Orbiting Cosmos using magic qi as the foundation of his magic power, cladding the elements which were superior to fire and earth into his swords.
Element-Changing Nightmare — Left: Dark Wind, Right: Dark Water.
“A circle,” Sila muttered. It hadn’t been directed at anyone, but Kawin and Revin lost some of their focus the instant they heard it. At that moment, Sila activated Moon Reflecting Mirror from within his body. All things around him became clear in his mind. Winning, losing, pressure, the flame sword waves, and the twin fists—everything had become insignificant. He was so calm that he could see through the Sky Dragon Dojo’s tenet.
Sila had studied Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws, Sanon’s personal profound art, once. At that time, he wondered why Sanon referred to the circle as the perfect shape. Then, when he was fighting Montra, he noticed that Montra’s series of martial moves chained with one another like a circle. Nevertheless, everything became clear once he saw Revin always drawing his sword in a beautiful curve.
Even though they were different arts, the core teaching of every art that the profound practitioner of the Sky Dragon Dojo was using was one and the same—the circle.
The circle was the perfect shape, representing the endless cycle. In fact, most martial arts in the world rarely go against this perfect form.
However, perfect means stagnant. On the other hand, the cloud is shapeless, and the flame never ceases to burn. The core teaching of the Flaming Cloud Dojo is to think outside the box.
No matter how great the martial arts a practitioner has learned are, they should only be considered the foundations—the stepping stones.
Even Pumin’s peerless sword art, Heaven’s Decree, could be improved further and reach new heights.
The arts are unchanging while humans are living.
Sila’s Personal Sword Art — Redirect Stream (Originally Swirling Vortex).
The sword wrapped in fierce black winds crossed with the sword enveloped by a black vortex. Sila’s dual swords acted like an enraged flash flood. The fierce vortex cycled in the opposite direction of both Revin and Kawin’s powers, reducing their strengths. Meanwhile, Sila slashed the black wind several times at some strange places in the empty air, yet all of them were the spots where Revin and Kawin’s powers would cycle to and connect. As a result, their moves inevitably came to an abrupt stop.
Their power shattered even before the point of contact. Revin and Kawin were aware that the situation had become disadvantageous for them. The two did their best to clad their bodies with magic power reinforcement. Their Dragon Scales responded to their magic power—Revin was totally engulfed in flames while the entirety of Kawin’s skin was covered by rocks.
Sila unleashed more magical qi into his swords. The strength of the magic qi he inherited from Zero was speed. Instantly, the blades of his swords flashed with black lightning.
Sila’s way to survive wasn’t simply escaping. He had to leave both of his opponents in a state that would hinder their ability to follow him. At the very least, he had to injure them.
Heaven’s Decree — Fifth Sword Style, Triple Lightning Bolts.
Through the swords, six bolts of lightning struck Revin and Kawin along with the sound of thunder. The remaining electricity shot up to the sky, returning the power to nature.
Revin was injured from the start, so he couldn’t take the damage and was sent flying while coughing up blood.
On the other hand, Kawin had used earth-element magic power to protect himself. Earth wins against lightning, so he was relatively fine, just suffering from the dark element magical qi that came with the strikes.
He had also migrated the rest of the damage using Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws. With his high mastery over the profound defensive art, it would be a difficult task for anyone to injure him.
Sila returned the swords into the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection. He relied on the Great Flow to use Sky Step, cutting this distance between him and Kawin. However, Kawin calmly waited for him to come. He precisely and easily grabbed onto Sila’s wrist.
“Do you think it will work a second time? As long as I watch out for your fingers—” Kawin hadn’t finished his sentence yet when Sila interrupted him.
“As expected. I knew you would be able to catch me. Fortunately, you are as skilled as I thought.”
Element-Changing Nightmare — Dark Ice.
Using Kawin’s armguards as a medium, Sila exerted his magic qi through them and froze both of his arms with ice which was materialized at insane speed thanks to the dark element enhancing offensive power.
Kawin quickly channeled his magic power to break the ice, yet Sila was quicker. His fingers seemed to grow in length as suntetsu made of magical qi appeared.
Formless Martial God — Star-Shatter.
Sila adapted Yizichan, using it through hidden weapons instead of his actual fingers. The two suntetsu made of magical qi of the earth element were both hard and heavy. They were small, yet they accurately stabbed into the acupoints in Kawin’s shoulder, which prompted him to release his grip on Sila’s wrist.
Sila rotated his body and pushed Kawin toward Revin. He circulated Five-Attributed Cloud Qi, which he kept accumulating during the previous exchanges, into his feet before jumping and drop-kicking Kawin.
Attribute of Metal — Metal Stomp.
The Earth Dragon Scales cracked as Kawin flew to crash against Revin and collapse together with him. In the meantime, Sila relied on the impact to send him flying in the opposite direction before running away to the city. At the last moment, he also kicked a boulder on the snowfield and enhanced it with ice-element Orbiting Cosmos. The boulder exploded in mid-air, creating a smokescreen and an ice barrier before he left.
Revin stood up and wiped blood from the corner of his mouth. He then sighed. “Whew... he has become a helluva lot stronger.”
Kawin removed the suntetsu out of his shoulder. He didn’t seem significantly injured. Apparently, Sila’s Metal Stomp couldn’t harm him like it should have.
“That last kick proved that Montra’s theory is right. Sila’s bizarre qi art indeed has a weakness that we can exploit. Better yet, Sila seems to be unaware of it.”
Revin swung his heavy sword once, and the ice barrier shattered in one hit. “Let me fight him one on one next time. I want to have a sword duel with him. It’s rare to see someone good at using dual swords.”
Kawin didn’t answer. He simply sent a message to inform the people in Belacia City that the wounded Sila, who knew the Blue-Colored Catastrophe’s whereabouts, was heading into the city.