Chapter 247: Accidental Encounter
Sila brought his wounded body to an isolated path, near Belacia City’s wall. His qi was still in disorder due to Kawin’s new profound art, so he would have to suppress it soon.
‘Kawin and Revin’s profound arts resemble Montra’s Martial Radiance Art. Strangely, the softness in their powers resembled Tiger Dragon Qi instead. I had to study several profound arts and use them as foundations before being able to come up with my own arts, yet Montra and his friends could rely on themselves to come up with ones. The world is truly a big place.’
Sila didn’t know that Montra had invented Triple Sky Energy after studying Sila’s Tiger Dragon Qi by combining it with Martial Radiance Art and using them to temper his body. He depended on his indomitable willpower and endurance to bear the severe pain, forcefully and randomly circulating the combined power through his veins until he discovered a new circulation path that led to the new qi art.
Sila leaned against the wall and sat down. Taking out a health potion, he drank it to heal his external wounds and regained some strength. He closed his eyes and slowed down his breathing. Using Profound Qi Circulation Art, he inspected the qi running through his veins.
‘Kawin’s art is of the wood element. It is quite similar to the original version of my Weapon Subduing Fist. Mine focused on transmitting qi into an opponent to damage their muscles and obstruct their flow of inner force. On the other hand, Kawin’s seems to focus on permeating his power into his opponent’s body to make their power become chaotic. His method works faster, but the opponent will still be able to use their power. Still, the control over their power significantly drops. For qi-types like me, I may even experience qi deviation.’
Just normally circulating qi as he had always done proved to be several times more difficult for Sila in his current state. If he didn’t concentrate enough, his qi would go left when he wanted it to go right, or go up instead of going down. Sila had no choice but to fully concentrate. He borrowed power from nature to stimulate the qi circulation in his body, slowly and steadily restoring his qi to its normal state.
Snow soon fell on Sila and completely buried him underneath, yet he continued to use the Great Flow to assimilate himself with nature. His body became no different from a mass of snow next to the city wall in the span of a few minutes.
The sound of footsteps belonging to three different people came from the town’s exit. Nevertheless, Sila was currently in the middle of a critical procedure. If he stopped now, he would have to start over. Thus, instead of changing his location, he decided to risk it by sitting still and hoped for the three to simply walk past without noticing him.
Similar to his father, Sila was an internal-utilizing type. Theoretically, as long as he didn’t move and did nothing but circulate qi, people shouldn’t be able to discover his presence. In addition, to be on the safe side, Sila stopped circulating Five-Attributed Cloud Qi and circulated Shapeless Qi instead. Although the recovery speed would be reduced, it would be harder to detect him.
The sounds stopped less than ten steps from where Sila was sitting. Startled, Sila groaned in his mind, asking why they didn’t just walk away.
“He should have been around here. Not too far from this spot.”
A man’s voice rang out. Sila was quite sure that he had never heard someone with this voice before, so he judged this person might be someone in Belacia City who he hadn’t met yet.
In any case, Sila didn’t dare expand his senses to inspect the three.
“Are you sure? I see no one.” Another voice rang out. It sounded somewhat strange. Sila guessed it belonged to a young teenager.
“Haha. Please don’t underestimate me, Vlad. There is no way my art failed. I have already familiarized myself with Sila’s power. He arrived here then suddenly disappeared. Well, he might have used a Return Scroll or an Invitation Card. Travelling is too convenient in this game.”
The male teenager referred to as Vlad scoffed. “I doubt it. Who told you to test his strength? What if he died? Don’t forget that we still have to make him win the war event.”
“Nothing would have changed even if he died. With our capabilities, we can support even a stray cat to become a king of tigers. I was just curious to know the current strength of the potential Wulin Lord. What a disappointment, he was nothing. Montra was far more formidable. Even when facing against my dark art, he didn’t even furrow his brows.”
Sila was surprised by their conversation since it was about him. Feeling curious, he slowly opened his eyes and carefully gazed through the snow to see the three before him.
Once the appearances of the three entered his view, Sila was stunned. He had seen them before with his own—no, with Asura’s eyes. These three were the ones known as Kimon who had challenged Montra in the Magic Kingdom.
The man who always spoke politely was a man with light brown hair wearing faint golden clothing. On the other hand, the boy-ish sound came from a large man carrying a coffin on his back. Aside from them, there was still a young woman with red hair. She was showing her back to Sila, so he couldn’t see her face, yet he felt her back was strangely familiar.
“What about you, Himeko? Do you hear anything?”
The woman stood there motionlessly. She didn’t turn her head as if she intentionally didn’t want Sila to see her face. Regardless, Sila was in the state of deep qi circulation. No matter how much he wanted to discover her identity, he decided not to move.
“No... He is not around here,” she replied, “By the way, Revin and Kawin are over there. Moreover, one giant-sized monster is coming this way.”
Sila secretly felt relieved that she indeed couldn’t sense him.
“If even you can’t hear him, that means he is really not around here. Well, I think we should go and pay those two a visit. Kawin and Revin are like Montra’s right and left hands, maybe we will be able to shake Montra’s resolve if we torture them. Even better, if we are lucky, we may get to know Montra’s whereabouts in real life. If Montra dies, Sila will be guaranteed to be selected as the next Wulin Lord.”
The conversation involved murder, yet the one saying didn’t seem to be bothered by it at all as if he was long used to it. This fact made Sila even more panicked.
The system notification suddenly rang out. A monster had come to this place exactly as Himeko had predicted.
[Monster Behemoth, Level 1000 Marquis Rank, has appeared.]
Amidst the snowstorm, a monster that looked like a cross between an elephant and a hippopotamus smashed through the snowfield. Its body was so large that the sunlight shining from behind it projected a shadow massive enough to cover the three.
Seeing a chance, Sila decided to flee when the three were busy fighting the monster.
“Who will take care of it? Please make it quick though. We will lose track of those two otherwise,” asked the man with light brown hair, who seemed to be their leader.
“Let me.” Vlad strode forward. Meanwhile, Sila held his breath, trying to witness how the mysterious Kimon fought.
Spotting humans, Behemoth made a grunt as it clad its body with a ridiculously insane amount of qi reinforcement. Its body became larger and it launched its massive punch downward to crush Vlad, who was standing below.
Vlad didn’t even move a millimeter from where he stood. The sight was like an elephant about to crush an ant. Sila secretly swallowed his saliva.
“ROARRR!!” Behemoth let out a painful cry as it raised its palm with a bloody hole in it, feeling dumbfounded. Apparently, not only did Vlad not dodge, he also didn’t even prepare for the incoming attack. Despite this, the Behemoth’s palm, which struck his head, came out severely injured while there was no scratch on Vlad. It was like his entire body had become a metal wedge. Attacking him was equal to self-harming.
“Vlad, please don’t play around. I told you we have to hurry,” the man urged, “Or do you need my help?”
“No need. I will kill it now.” Vlad’s body became as light as a feather. He leaped through the sky and reappeared behind the back of the neck of the misfortunate monster. After that, its gigantic size heavily collapsed on the ground before the two remaining members of Kimon group. In plain sight, a hole appeared on the back of its head, showing its skull full of cracks.
Behemoth didn’t even know how it had lost. Everything happened way too fast. Nevertheless, it still held on to its life, though very barely. Seeing the two humans before its eyes, it became enraged. It then bared its claws at the two tiny humans. These claws were clad with every ounce of its remaining life force. At this level, the attack could even threaten the top players.
“Sigh. You chose the wrong opponent, monster.”
The light-brown-haired man stared at the giant Behemoth without any intention of dodging its claws. His eyes suddenly flashed a mysterious gleam. Seeing the man’s eyes, Behemoth’s movement came to a halt. Its gigantic body seemed to shrink and tremble in fear. After it stayed in that unexplainable state for a few seconds, it started to spit out its internal organs, one by one. Soon, the white snowfield had turned bloody red as Behemoth ceased its movements. Its vicious eyes became vacant as if it was dragged into the bottom of an abyss during its last moments of life.
“Vlad, aren’t you a little rusty? It didn’t die on the spot,” said the man.
“I just held back, Asava. I was concerned that its blood would stain my clothes if I hit it too hard,” replied Vlad.
Asava didn’t show any particular interest in his response. He looked at the corpse of the monster, which was about to disappear, with a frown. “Strange.” He let out a single word.
“What do you mean?”
“Normally, I should get some items, especially from a Marquis Rank monster like this one. It should drop at least one or two items, but I didn’t get anything. Why?”
Indeed, a system notification rang out in Sila’s head, listing the items he acquired from the defeated monster. With King’s Treasury, all dropped items within a twenty-meter radius would belong to him. The skill that didn’t seem to have any downsides turned out to be harmful in a moment of crisis. If someone became curious and unleashed their energy to inspect, the pile of snow that was covering him would surely be wiped away.
“Revin and Kawin are taking a detour to the west. It seems they don’t want to enter the city from this side,” Himeko informed the other two when things were about to go bad for Sila. With her statement, Asava quit paying attention to the items that he never wanted to begin with.
“In that case, let’s go and pay them a visit. Whose turn is it this time?” asked Asava.
“Himeko,” replied Vlad.
“I’m fine. You two can take care of them,” said Himeko.
“Those two are merely small fry. Let’s say you can have them both, Vlad. I will just be a bystander. Well, let me handle the torture. I am confident I can make them spill the beans.” Asava’s tone of voice expressed his pleasant mood.
Vlad asked, “You have met both Sila and Montra. What do you think about them in comparison?”
“Mn. Montra is quite scary. I don’t want to fight him if possible. Well, if it’s bare-handed combat, I’m sure I can kill him within three hundred moves. Still, I won’t say the same if he wields a spear. One of us will die as soon as I or he makes the first mistake. About Sila? With such a sloppy martial art, he won’t even survive more than five of my moves.”
‘Just five moves?’ Sila was worried. His disturbed state of mind affected his power and a part of his power leaked out of the snow covering him.
“Anyway, Sila is still growing stronger. He may surpass Montra in the near future,” Himeko said. Her voice was strangely loud.
“True, but in the martial world, the future is not that reliable. If you aren’t strong enough, you will simply die. No second chances,” Vlad replied. “By the way, why did you have to speak so loudly?”
“Sorry. I’m excited. Those two are getting further away. We may lose them if we don’t hurry.”
“Mn. Let’s go.” Asava jumped ahead, followed closely by Vlad. On the other hand, Himeko remained there for a few moments. She tossed a certain item on the ground.
“See you later, Sila.” She briefly took a side glance at the pile of snow before following the two who went before her.
Hearing her voice and seeing her face, Sila abruptly darted out from the snow. He blankly stared at the woman who didn’t even leave footprints behind on the snowfield. He picked up the item she left on the ground.
“Crystal of Connecting...” Sila gently muttered to himself.
Sila was oblivious of Kimon’s identity and objective. He could only sense the feeling of danger from them. In any case, he was positive that Asava was the one who had caused him to be stabbed in the abdomen. Even though Sila didn’t know what kind of profound art Asava was using, he was certain that the man was a psychic-type player. Asava’s abilities were frightening and inexplicable. His power was like an iceberg with only the tip visible above surface. Sila couldn’t gauge the bottom of Asava’s strength at all.
This man, Asava, was confident that he could kill Sila within five moves.
As for the man named Vlad, even though his voice sounded childish, his strength was the opposite. Undoubtedly, the man must be a qi-type player. He used some kind of qi art which focused on heavy and hard attributes similar to Formless Soldier, yet felt far more ominous and sinister. Based on what Sila had seen, this man’s strength rivaled Independent NPCs. He might even be on the same level as Poluk. Just his basic moves possessed a might that could shake the sky.
What made Sila panic more was that Vlad exerted his inner force both externally and internally—which should be impossible in theory. Sila guessed that it was only possible due to some special dark art. He doubted he could take even a single punch from Vlad if they were to fight.
The last one, Himeko, greatly confused Sila. Her last sentence was said with a different voice, yet it was the voice that Sila was most familiar with. Her face also belonged to someone he knew in the past. Even though her hair had changed to red and was shortened to only reach her neck, Sila wouldn’t ever forget her face.
“Why...? Nunthima? Why are you related to Kimon?”
Sila stared at the Crystal of Connecting in his right hand. Unable to toss it away, Sila decided to keep it in his system window. At the very least, he still wanted information from her.
“Didn’t she return to Montra’s side after that day? Why has she appeared in Monster Soul?”
The day before the match against Montra, Nunthima came to him and confessed that she was a spy and could no longer lie to him. She also couldn’t bear staying with him because of her guilt. In the end, she decided to return to the Sky Dragon Dojo where she belonged. At that time, Sila neither stopped nor held her back—he only stood there, silently.
Yet, if she was originally with Montra, why was Montra surprised when he saw her in Monster Soul?
Sila was unable to solve the puzzle. He had no choice but to add to the list of questions he prepared for his meeting with Mora. So far, his teacher had been able to provide an answer for any kind of question. Sila hoped that it wouldn’t be too much if the number of questions was a bit excessive this time.
Smuggling himself into the city was easier than Sila had thought. It was done by him altering the Mechanical Evil God’s Protection to become a big coat then leisurely walking through the city. Once he arrived at a hotel, Sila entered and could finally log out without any obstacles.
Still, he couldn’t help but worry that the real obstacle was simply waiting for him to return so that it might jump out and cut him down.