Chapter 218: A Fast Learner
Since he didn't want to be called a crazy person for talking to himself, Sila deactivated Moon Reflecting Mirror before exiting the cave. Despite the the mirror not being activated, he could still feel Dark Self's existence. It was a surreal sensation unlike anything he had ever experienced. He suspected it was due to the fact that they both acknowledged each other.
The sensation was just a feeling, however. They still couldn't converse without the help of the mirror. However, Sila could feel what Dark Self would do or say in certain situations. Nevertheless, the one who makes the final decision would still be Sila.
With the same bottle of sake on a table, Crow was waiting for Sila's return. On the table, in addition to the bottle of sake, was a small golden box. Its size was similar to all the random boxes in Monster Soul Sila had opened before.
"You have finished your business, right? Sit down first. I have something to tell you."
Crow said while pointing at an empty chair next to him. Sila approached the table and sat down.
Crow stared at him. "Whatever you wanted to do in the Cave of Immortals, did you succeed?"
"Yes, sir. I—"
Crow lifted his hand to stop Sila from talking and pushed the golden box toward him.
"It's better if I don't know... Take it."
"What is this, sir?" Sila asked while flipping the box. Except for its eye-catching color, there was nothing special about it.
"The reward of the quest. It's yours."
"Is it about our previous spar? You don't have to do this, sir. I honestly don't want anything."
"No, that's not it. Actually, you should have obtained this prize the first time you were here. As the NPC stationed in the Valley of Immortals, I have the right to choose who receives the reward out of those who can reach this valley by themselves. However, I didn't give it to you last time because Sanon and Vichien asked me not to."
"Is that so?" replied Sila. He put the box in front of him. In his mind, Dark Self clearly displayed dissatisfaction when he heard the names of the two Elders.
Crow poured sake into his mouth. "Don't misunderstand. It's me who had the final say in the decision. To give it to you or not, it ultimately depended on me. By the way, those two didn't do it with malice. In fact, they wished you well."
"Wished me well? How?"
"Once you open this box, it will give you a suitable weapon. It sounds like a good thing, however, we all know that the Flaming Cloud Dojo doesn't have a weapon art. No matter how great a weapon you obtain from the box, your ability to grow stronger will decline and you will only end up being a stepping stone for Montra. Sanon and Vichien were worried that you might lose, so they told me to keep it at least until after the war event."
Crow continued. "If I didn't know about your mission beforehand, I would have already given this box to you. Having a weapon is beneficial for you in the long run. I considered it would be harmful to you in the short term so I kept it with me. However, seeing you this time, I know that you are not a stepping stone, but a giant stone mountain. This trivial matter won't be able to make you waver."
Sila sat still. "What have the Elders been doing? Could you please tell me?"
"As far as I know, they are trying to reduce Montra's army in order to indirectly help you. Sanon announced a strict order prohibiting all his disciples from joining Montra; only Kawin and Revin are disobeying the order. As for Vichien, he exited the game and visited several dojo's masters he knew to persuade them to withdraw from joining Montra. Only Mora, your teacher, kept his silence and hasn't done anything."
"That's because Teacher believes in me! The other two Elders don't think I have what it takes to accomplish the mission at all! If Mister Crow gets a chance to meet them, please tell them stop trying to help!" Sila stood up and raised his voice.
Sila had been thinking that he had been cheated by Montra. However, it turned out that Montra was the one being cheated. Even though it was just a small feeling, Sila felt he could sympathize with Montra's emotions more so than before. He couldn't imagine his own rage if Mora, his own teacher, was supporting his opponent instead of him.
If that were to happen, undoubtedly, he would extremely loath his opponent. Strangely enough, he had never considered this point of view before. Was this Dark Self's perspective when he looked at Montra?
"If you were an ordinary player, I would have already given you this box without caring for the consequences. Therefore, take it."
Sila promptly took the box. Since the Elders didn't want him to open it, he would open it. As his fingertips touched the box's cover, Crow fired bullet energy at him through his finger, causing Sila to hastily evade.
"What was that for, sir?"
"Drink this cup of sake and open it elsewhere. I don't want to know what you get," Crow replied while pushing a cup of sake toward Sila.
Under normal circ.u.mstances, Sila wouldn't drink alcohol. However, he wasn't in the mood to decline today. He swallowed all the sake in his cup in one gulp. A sweet fragrance and hot flavor flowed from his neck to his stomach.
"I don't think I will come to visit this place again until after the war event ends. I beg your pardon. Farewell, sir."
Crow nodded, and Sila leaped toward the exit, heading for the forest. As he left, Crow muttered some words behind without caring if Sila heard.
"You shall come back for sure, Sila, and there will be no handicap next time."
Crow silently emptied the bottle.
Sila firmly held the golden box in his hand. His body soared through the Single-Horned Dragon Forest like he was a forest spirit. The time was only three o'clock in the morning, but Sila felt like a long time had pa.s.sed since midnight. As he entered the inner forest, he stopped his feet and stared at the box in his hand.
"I won't let anyone else decide things for us. Since I already have the Crystal Divine Sword, this one is yours."
All alone, Sila talked to himself in the forest. Yet he knew that there was someone listening to his words. That person responded to his words by emanating Dark Psychic Corrosion from his hand to envelop the box.
The golden box was opened, and a golden crystal flew out before absorbing Dark Psychic Corrosion and dyeing itself jet black. Even natural light from the moon and stars were absorbed into it. Finally, pure darkness reigned over the area, and in front of Sila was a thick sword, both its dangerously jagged blade and its handle the darkest black Sila had ever seen. It seemed to be made from a black crystal that shone even in a world covered in darkness.
Sila extended his hand to grab it. He gave the sword a name as soon as the system asked him. It was the name that suddenly came to his mind. He guessed that Dark Self came up with it.
"Crystal Demonic Sword."
You have successfully produced (S) Crystal Demonic Sword.
"Seal the Crystal Demonic Sword," Sila said, and the black sword flew into the Mechanical Evil G.o.d's Protection.
Reminded of the time when Dark Self fused his sword with Illuminus into his claws, Sila was inspired to do the same.
A third, mechanical arm appeared over Sila's right shoulder. It seemed Way of Slime didn't cause a permanent change to items.
A faint gold light glowed from Illuminus, and Ramiel's brooch flew from his system window even though Sila didn't have any intention to draw it out.
Illuminus emitted a bright light, and made it appear as if night turned to day in an instant. The third arm broke into fine dust and was absorbed into Sila's right arm. Then, his right arm transformed into a work of art—a mechanical arm with a beauty that transcended common sense. The small brooch embedded itself into his right shoulder and transformed into a shoulder guard with a white wing symbol.
You have successfully completed Illuminus' side quest. Illuminus has obtained an additional ability: The Power of Rebirth.
You have acquired the special skill: (A) Domain of Light.
Illuminus has become complete and purged a contaminant from the arm. You have obtained Orichalc.u.m.
For the record, Illuminus' Power of Rebirth can only be used once. Illuminus shall be the one responsible for activating this ability at the moment it deems suitable.
The mineral which was once used to repair Illuminus was ejected and flew into Sila's system window. The current appearance of Illuminus was supposed to be its original form if Sila didn't select an energy type incompatible with it.
Sila looked at his new right arm. He had lost the Seal skill, so he had no way to disable his right arm's ability. As Illuminus had fused with his original right arm, it made him incapable of inflicting damage using it. This wasn't the result he desired. Thus, he mimicked Dark Self and proceeded with what he previously planned.
"Way of Slime."
Sila activated the skill and recalled the scene when Dark Self fused the Crystal Divine Sword with Illuminus so it could deal damage. Similarly, Sila would change the Crystal Demonic Sword to achieve the same effect.
The black sword distorted and became a slime-like substance shrouded around Illuminus. Then, it shrunk and ultimately split into two long, black gloves which shone like diamonds. Their beauty was comparable to the crystal shards that were Dark Self's claws.
"See? I'm a fast learner. You used my sword to produce claws, so I will be using your sword as my gloves," Sila talked to himself, though he knew that Dark Self would always hear his words.
The reason why Sila changed the Crystal Demonic Sword into gloves was that he felt uncomfortable with claws, unlike Dark Self who showed his aggressive side through the claws.
Although they both used the same skill, the results were different. It represented the different approaches between Sila and Dark Self.
Sila hastened his speed and finally met up with Mamon and Rex. The two of them seemed surprised that Sila came back sooner than they had expected.
Sila didn't want to waste time. He quickly opened his system window and continued his conversation with Julia.
"Julia, the symbol that I must leave behind can be anything, right?"
Julia replied, "Yes, Master. However, you can't hide it. It must be something that is clear and unique; it should be obvious upon first glance that it's a symbolic object. Its size also can't be too small. For the record, its durability doesn't matter, though I recommend you use an object that is hard to break, because the pact will end when the symbol is destroyed."
"What about that big boulder?" Sila pointed his finger at a certain boulder nearby. Everyone moved their gazes to see it and discovered a boulder that was ten meters tall.
"The boulder is too common, Master. At the very least, you need to engrave some symbol on it to make it stand out."
Sile jumped to the boulder. With Dark Self's acknowledgment in himself, Sila was more at ease controlling Dark Psychic Corrosion. Psychic power was different from qi. To utilize psychic power, one needed a firm image in their head rather than qi's steadfast circulation. Both powers had their own strengths, weaknesses, and usage difficulties. For psychic power, Sila needed to imagine a clear picture in his mind and let the black mist corrode the boulder, shaping it with his imagination.
"Is this fine?" asked Sila.
Once the black mist dispersed, everyone witnessed a slime-shaped boulder. If someone who had seen the slime rock in the Town of Beginnings were to see it, they would think that the rock had returned. That was because Sila copied the boulder's appearance from the Town of Beginnings.
"It's fine, Master. However, I personally think that the boulder will be too easy to break."
Sila sat on the slime-shaped boulder and closed his eyes, focusing. He covered himself with Divine Raiment before extending the aura to envelop the boulder as well. Once it was done, he jumped down and observed the slime rock which was covered with a defensive aura.
"Phew... It won't be as good as Miss Viola's, but if its power is about to run out, Rex can call me to strengthen its defense again. How about it?"
Sila's expression showed some exhaustion. Divine Raiment was a magic-type skill, which was the energy type Sila was the least proficient at using. Therefore, he felt more tired than using qi or psychic type skills.
Julia replied, "It's fine, Master. Now, you need to recite these words to initiate the pact and let the monster accept your words."
Sila's system window displayed the instructions to initialize the Monster Follower pact. The sentences he had to say aloud even included his newly acquired t.i.tle-one which he just noticed. Sila called Rex to stand in front of the slime rock. Both of them placed their hands on it.
"I Sila, the Monster Emperor, shall form a Monster Follower pact with you, Rex, the King of the Single-Horned Dragon Forest. The two of us shall be equal. Will you accept?"
Rex immediately replied, "I accept."
You have successfully formed a Monster Follower Pact with Rex, Level 6 Lord Rank.
Sila didn't notice any change, and it seemed Rex didn't either. Nevertheless, Julia informed them that the pact was properly completed.
Sila told Rex, "About qi, I will put it on hold for now. Please let me take care of a problem in Grea City first. If I still haven't called you to me in the next three days, you can try calling me instead, Rex."
Rex agreed to wait. Then, Sila sealed Mamon in his armor as Mamon said he was too lazy to walk. Finally, he ran back to the Royal Armament Guild's temporary camp.
Sila had an easy time running through the forest at dawn because his eyes could see things clearly. As he was running, he also constantly recovered his strength. Although the recovery rate was slow, it was steady.
Sila arrived at the camp at four in the morning. He didn't want to encounter people so he sneakily entered his own tent without letting others know about his return. Since his strength was superior to the guards in the temporary camp, it was an easy task for him to slip in.
Sila's current strength was far from fully recovered. It wouldn't be enough for a big fight waiting for him, so he calmly sat down on a mat and carefully recovered his strength. In a place where he could be interrupted anytime, instead of using Forest G.o.d's Body, Sila chose to normally circulate qi.
As he cultivated, Sila also imagined how he should use his psychic power. It might play a big role in the fight against the materialized Infernee.
Five-Attributed Cloud Qi circulated throughout his body. Sila's breathing was calm and harmonious. His mind was clear as two black orbs made of psychic power freely hovered around his hands.
Sila wasn't in a hurry; he knew being too hasty could lead to disaster, especially for psychic power which relied more on emotion rather than the body.
Everything was almost ready. Tomorrow at noon, Bluebird and he would end the problem in Grea City before his comrades caused trouble in the Single-Horned Dragon Forest.
Even though an important battle awaited him, as Sila was alone, he was surprisingly calm. The matters about the a.s.sociation, Infernee's power, or even Bluebird's grumbles from a faraway tent couldn't affect his confidence at all.
Tomorrow, he would take Grea City back.
(S) Crystal Demonic Sword [Sila]
The sword produced by Player Sila with help from the reward from the Valley of Immortals. It represents the wielder's mind. It possesses the ability to devour dark energies such as poisons, curses, illusions, or negative emotions. Once the wielder clads it with energy reinforcement, it will absorb light and generate darkness. Increases the damage done by wielder's psychic power.
When being wielded, the Crystal Demonic Sword will constantly consume the wielder's health points.
Special Skill: (A) Domain of Light
A psychic-type skill. Creates a powerful defensive domain using psychic power. The domain will consume the user's magic points in order to maintain it. The domain's size, durability, and duration are dependent on the user's state of mind.