“What was the reason for Montra’s dismissal from the successor position?”
As soon as the question came out of Sila’s mouth, Sanon was surprised, while the others didn’t react at all as if they had long anticipated that Sila would ask this question.
“Why do you ask, Sila?” Sanon asked back.
“Because I want to know whether Montra is being judged fairly by you seniors, or if he is just a mere pawn for the Wulin Masters Association.” Sila almost said ‘a mere pawn like me’ but he stopped as he was considerate of Mora's dignity.
Sanon stayed quiet for a while. He had dealt with Sila the least out of the people present, so he still didn’t know Sila’s personality.
“Isn’t Montra your enemy? Why do you care about him?”
“Even though there is enmity between us, there are still some things that shouldn’t be done even to the enemy.”
No one was surprised to hear his reply. Meanwhile, Sanon stayed silent again to reevaluate Sila.
Since Sila had been biased and decided not to learn a martial art from him or accept the Six Moon-Grabbing-Claws book, Sanon had been viewing Sila in a slightly negative light. Now, his attitude toward Sila changed for the better.
“I don’t see any reason not to tell him. Instead, it will be better for the association as the successor wouldn’t make the same mistake,” said Wu Ming.
Sanon argued, “But, the laws clearly state that we are not allowed to inform the successor about this.”
“The laws are written by humans. If they do not suit the situation, we can choose to rewrite them, especially for the laws that were written hundreds of years ago,” commented Mora.
“Haha, two out of three. Majority rules. You have to admit it, Sanon.” Wu Ming laughed.
After thinking about it for a moment, Sanon nodded. “Fine.”
He turned his head to Sila and looked into Sila’s eyes as if he wanted to discern Sila’s true character.
“The reason is that Montra is going to make the Wulin Masters Association flourish, which clearly conflicts with the objective of the association. The aim of our association is only to pass on the profound arts, preventing them from being lost in history. It shouldn’t be more and shouldn’t be less.”
Sila was agape. “What do you mean by making the Wulin Masters Association flourish? Montra still hasn’t done anything, right? How can you tell what will happen in the future?”
Sanon shook his head. “We can’t take the risk. The Wulin Masters Association is too important. It will be too late if we fix the problem when Montra has already succeeded the position.”
Sila stood up from his seat. “You are accusing Montra of actions that he has not done yet!! Montra still hasn’t done anything wrong!”
Sanon sat still and continued. “Sit down. Please trust us that we have made a thorough decision. In addition to being Montra’s teacher, I’m Montra’s father. You can be certain that this decision of us isn’t biased.”
“Sit down, Sila,” lightly said Mora, to which Sila obediently complied.
Sanon continued, “The mission that we assigned to the successor has a hidden rule known only by a handful of people; we are to evaluate both him and his actions, and, if we decide he is not appropriate for the position of Wulin Lord, we can revoke his right to it. Ironically, because so few people know about it, Montra can easily refute the dismissal order and no one will question it.”
Sila was starting to get it. It made sense that there would be an evaluation done in secret.
“In that case, I’m to be evaluated as well, right?”
“Correct. We have already initially evaluated you though.”
Sila couldn’t help but believe that the initial evaluation was related to Sangdao.
During the time that they traveled together, Sangdao had asked him many questions. At that time, he was delighted that Sangdao was interested in what he had been experiencing. However, it turned out to be that way.
He felt sad. That’s why he deliberately didn’t look her way. Meanwhile, Sangdao lowered her head without anyone noticing.
The conversation returned to what Sila had asked.
“In the end, what's your problem with Montra?”
Sanon said indifferently, “Monster Soul is a virtual world that replicates our world. The thing that Montra is doing naturally connects to what he plans to do in the future. Sila, what do you think about the Heavenly Dragon Guild?”
Sila didn’t reply and continued to listen quietly.
“The Heavenly Dragon Guild is the reflection of the future Wulin Masters Association that has Montra as the head.”
Sila began to understand what the Elders were trying to imply. The structure of the Heavenly Dragon Guild was grand. Its influence and power was at the top of Monster Soul. Montra was both the strength and weakness of the guild. If one day Montra fell, the entire guild would collapse with him.
“But, Monster Soul is a world without rules, isn’t it? It doesn’t guarantee that Montra would do the same in the real world, sirs. This is just a game.”
“Precisely because it is a world without rules that we are able to see the true nature of the person. Let me ask you, Sila. If it was you who founded the Heavenly Dragon Guild, do you think the guild that you founded would share the same characteristics with the current Heavenly Dragon Guild?”
Sila gave it a thought then replied, “No, sir. Even though it is in a game, I wouldn’t manage my guild that way.”
“If we are done with it, let’s depart. I’m so bored with this meeting,” said Wu Ming.
“My business in Monster Soul is all finished as well. This should be my last time connecting to it,” said Mora.
Sila quickly asked, “Teacher, where are you connecting to the game from?”
“All of us NPCs have to log in at the headquarters of the Monster Soul developers. There are special brain scanners that allow us to stay connected to the game for the longest time and there are also medical teams supporting our bodies all the time. Anyway, you should continue staying with Rashane for the time being. I will reclaim our dojo later. For now, just focus on doing your mission.”
“In that case, teacher, you can return to our dojo anytime you want. I have already purchased it from the bank.”
Mora and Sanon were surprised to hear that Sila could accumulate that much wealth in such a short amount of time. Based on his personality, they thought Sila shouldn’t be good at making money, especially Mora who knew that Sila was quite bad at socialization.
The corners of Mora’s lips curled into a smile. “It's been quite a while since we last met. It seems I need to view you in a new light.”
“I’m just a little bit luckier than others, sir.” Sila replied humbly. It was true. There was no way he could collect that wealth by himself.
“If we have the dojo, things will become easier. Well, no one has visited for a long time so maintenance is needed. I will take care of it. Do not worry, Sila.”
Hearing Sila’s reply, Mora stood up. As his body was being enveloped in the light from teleportation, he didn’t forget to say something to Sila.
“Sila, remember this well. As shapeless as the cloud and as intense as the flame. These are the two essences of our Flaming Cloud dojo.”
Sila nodded and engraved this teaching into his mind.
Meanwhile, Wu Ming also stood up.
“I should go as well. You should visit me if you have time, oh, but don’t come too often.” As he finished his sentence, Wu Ming disappeared.
Sangdao stood up as well and bowed her head to Sanon to give her respect, before walking away.
In the end, only Sila and Sanon remained.
“Then, Sila, where do you plan to go next?” asked Sanon.
“I will wait for Mister Crow to come back and bid my farewell to him, sir. Then, I will revisit the Single-Horned Dragon Forest and go to Grea City later. I still have something to do there.”
Sanon nodded. “The Single-Horned Dragon Forest is a dangerous place so don’t hang out for too long. As for Grea City, it’s currently ownerless and has become like a lawless area. Please be careful.”
“Yes, Mister Sanon.”
Sanon stood there without going anywhere, causing Sila to feel a bit at loss of what to do, so he kept quiet.
Finally, Sanon spoke his mind.
“In the future, your fight against Montra is inevitable. So, I want to warn you about something.”
“Thank you, Mister Sanon.”
“I have many disciples, but the most outstanding ones are Montra, Kawin, and Revin. Sila, you have met Kawin already, right?”
Among the three, there was only Revin that Sila still hadn’t had met. And since he didn’t come into contact with anyone, he was unaware that Burapha had already met Revin in Zhongsuyuan City.
“Yes, I have met him.” Sila didn’t know whether Sanon was aware that Kawin had aimed for his life, but he decided not to tell Sanon about this.
“Among three of them, I would say that Montra is the strongest. As for Kawin and Revin, they have their unique fighting styles so I would say that their ability is on par.”
Sila memorized the name Revin. It seemed to him that there was one more formidable enemy on his opponent’s team.
“The three of them have been friends since childhood. The trust between them is exceptional. Kawin and Revin are like Montra’s left and right arms. If you plan to shatter Montra’s plan, you will have to first get rid of them.”
Sila was restless. If he had to fight against Kawin and someone who was just as strong, how would he have the energy left to fight Montra?
“The next thing is, Montra is relying on his successor position to assemble many groups of martial artists to fight for him. That means Montra has a lot of secret forces. Please be wary.”
Sila scratched his head as he was skeptical. “I thought he shouldn’t be able to issue any command since he hasn’t become the Wulin Lord yet, yes?”
“Some people choose to go with the flow, Sila. Some groups believe that Montra will eventually become the Wulin Lord so they are eager to lend Montra their help in order to curry favor for the future. Of course, they are many groups who don’t care about Montra’s order.”
Sanon stopped speaking for a while, letting Sila absorb what he had said, before continuing.
“These groups should’ve joined the game around about the same time as you. They tend to lack the ability to utilize in-game skills but they are still a force to be reckoned with as they have practiced martial arts in real life and are getting financial support from the Heavenly Dragon Guild. All in all, it should be correct for me to say that their abilities surpass those of ordinary players.”
Sanon’s words reminded Sila of Paiyuan. Indeed, that man seemed to be lacking when it came to utilizing in-game skills. However, his swordsmanship was terrifying. If there were many people like this working with Montra, Sila believed that his chances for winning were too slim.
“Lastly, be wary of three of Montra’s magic abilities.”
“Magic?” Sila frowned.
Obviously, Montra was a magic-type player. Why would Sanon want to warn him to be wary of Montra’s spells?
“I know that you’re wondering why I have to warn you. Listen well. I’m not referring to the magic spells in this game. What I mean is Montra's real magic. The magic that enabled him to be called a genius.”
“Real magic?” Sila was more confused. Real magic was supposed to exist only in fantasy, wasn’t it?
“Most independent NPCs are qi type and psychic type users. Almost none of us are magic types. Do you know why?”
Sila shook his head. it came to him that what Sanon said was quite true. Aside from Master Viola, he had never encountered any magic-type NPCs.
“In the beginning, the concepts of skills and types didn’t exist in Monster Soul. Be it qi, psychic, or magic, all of them originated from the same thing. The difference between them was only how they were used. Once the beta test came to an end, the concepts of skills and types were implemented based on the profound arts that people used. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I kind of understand, sir. But... magic..?”
“Magic type means the art that can’t be categorized as qi or psychic. It could be said that the arts of this type are very unique. When Montra entered this game, he used his personal profound arts and they were categorized as magic type skills. It was the reason Montra selected magic as his energy type.”
“Montra’s personal profound arts?” Sila never knew that Montra had his own personal arts.
“His first magical ability is his two arts, Heavenly Destiny Fist and Martial Radiance Art. Heavenly Destiny Fist is an art of martial moves that Montra came up on his own by combining his knowledge about several profound arts that could be found in the Wulin Masters Association’s library. He used Sky-Rending Dragon Fist, a martial art from my dojo, as the base and developed it further.
“As for Martial Radiance Art, it is an art about inner force. Even I don’t understand this power myself. Montra most certainly deserves to be called a genius. He was only nineteen when he came up with two profound arts on his own. He has spent a year in Monster Soul so I believe that his attainment over these arts should already be perfect.”
Just his first magical ability caused Sila to feel so shocked. At the same time, it made him mad. If what Sanon said was the truth, that meant Montra wasn’t on par with him in that match. Montra was holding back in a fight.
You have to show you all when you’re in a match. It was a basic courtesy in any official match that every participant needs to respect.
It could be said that Montra had looked down on their fight.
“If Montra uses in-game magic spells, that means he is still playing the game. But, if he starts to rely on these arts, that will mean he has quit playing and will come at you seriously. Please be wary of this.”
Sanon’s words were barely entering Sila’s ears.
“The second magical ability of Montra is that he will always be planning ahead. It will be the same during the war event. I’m sure that, even now, Montra is planning something that we can’t possibly imagine. The only ones who know about his plan would be Revin and Kawin. When we start counting one, Montra will already be counting three. You should be wary of this as well.”
“Is there another? Ah, the last magical ability, right?” said Sila indifferently as he no longer felt surprised. From the start, Montra had always been superior to him, so it shouldn’t make a difference if there were three more aspects in which he was superior.
“His last magical ability is something that only Montra and I know about. Even Kawin and Revin shouldn’t know about it.”
Now that piqued Sila’s interest. What was it that was so secret that even Kawin and Revin, Montra’s best friends, were unaware of?
Sanon fell into silence for a long time as if he was debating in his mind whether he should tell Sila about this. Nevertheless, he said it in the end.
“There was an accident twelve years ago. From that time on, Montra has been incapable of feeling pain.”
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