Monster Soul Online - LightNovelsOnl.com
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A human's emotions were truly strange. Even when he repeated the same actions in the same place, doing it at a later point in time gave off a different sense of achievement.
The open area surrounding the pond was still there, with the missing ceiling that revealed a s.h.i.+ning full moon. How many players got a chance to enter this place? There had only been a few. Being the only player to visit this place twice, Sila couldn't help but make a comparison.
He compared himself with the Sila who previously visited this cave.
Sila stopped his feet in front of the pond. He looked at the time in his system window indicating that midnight would arrive in less than five minutes. He s.h.i.+fted his gaze to the water surface and saw the reflection of himself and the moon.
He was about to dip his hand into the pond, yet he stopped mid-way.
“The last time I did this, time went by rather fast. What felt like a few minutes turned out to be three days. Maybe I will go back late if I dip my hand into it.”
Sila stared at the water surface without knowing what action he should take. His gaze lingered on it for a long time until the new day arrived. In an instant, the eyes of his reflection changed color and stared back into his.
“Dark Self, right?” asked Sila.
“Finally, we can talk face-to-face.”
Even though he had expected the reply beforehand, seeing his reflection actually talk made Sila s.h.i.+ver with excitement.
“Mn. When you seized control of my body, I witnessed everything but couldn't move. Is that what life is like for you all the time?”
“Yes. Are you going to complain? It's just a few minutes. I have never once complained, and I've been forced to just watch from the inside for more than twenty years.”
“Has it been that long? How come I've never noticed you before?”
“You've always known about me, but you just avoid the truth. I'm your loneliness. I was you when Nunthima left you. I was you when Teacher Mora scolded you for sneakily watching other disciples practice the dojo's martial arts. I was you when you had to hear all of the insults that the other disciples threw at you. I was you when you trained by yourself while other disciples got to learn martial arts. I was you when you felt alone even while you were surrounded by people. We have always been together. However, you only recently acknowledged my existence.”
“I always thought you would be... erm... more evil than this? Since your name is Dark Self.”
“We are both Sila and we are both Dark Self. Your enemy is similarly my enemy. It's just that we have different approaches regarding many things. You keep the negativity to yourself while I unleash it. You take the blame and say you are okay with it while I think it's not my fault and I won't tolerate it. That's all.”
“You also seem smarter than me even though you are me.”
“It's for the sake of survival. You have what I don't have, which is the body. In order to maintain my state of existence, I have to attentively absorb what we learn. We have learned the same things, practiced the same arts, read the same books, and seen the same world. However, you neglect some knowledge while I don't overlook it. That's the reason I am better than you. In a world where only the mind matters, I have to devour everything we learn in order to survive. In the end, I'm strong enough to make my appearance in your world.”
“What do you want?” asked Sila.
“You already know that. We are the same person. What you seek is what I seek. The question is, what method will we use? Your method or my method?”
“What is your method?”
“The opposite of yours. Since our mission is to obstruct Montra from winning, we will use the Wicked Union as our p.a.w.n. When the war starts, we will leave everything to them and head straight to a.s.sa.s.sinate Montra. That's all there is to it.”
“There are a bunch of flaws in that plan. If something goes wrong, we will lose instantly.” Sila started to use 'We' with his Dark Self in order to build up intimacy.
“No, you're wrong. You are thinking too hard. There is only one hole in my plan: Are we strong enough?—Are we strong enough to place the world beneath our feet?”
“The strength of a single person is limited. Humans will be weak if they are alone.”
“With me, you have all the support you need. If we join forces, we can trample on even Monster Soul. There will be no game, no war, and no victory for Montra,” replied Dark Self.
“If we do that, other players will suffer. Some of them are only playing this game to have fun.”
“It's not our fault. Since the Elders selected this place as a battlefield, it is the battlefield. The weak who can't even protect themselves should get out. In fact, it's an act of mercy to drive them away. Even if Monster Soul collapses, there are still other games out there. The decision is theirs, not ours.”
“Is that what you really think? I have never considered it that way.”
“That's because I look at things from a different perspective. For example, I know that you aren't here to ask me these questions. You are here because you want to know about Dark Psychic Corrosion. Keep in mind that I'm you. I always know what you're thinking. Don't beat about the bush or try to get along with me.”
Sila released a sigh of relief. He had tried to act friendly due to what Divine had told him—for a psychic power that focused on destroying, he needed to be gentle with it. However, that was his misperception. In fact, being gentle meant an act of acknowledgment, not an act of kindness.
“True. I came here for Dark Psychic Corrosion and Five-Attributed Cloud Qi.”
“Dark Psychic Corrosion is a part of us, so it can't be destroyed. Your guess is right—it has become a part of Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. The reason you can't put it into use is that, mind-wise, you are weaker than me. On the other hand, I can't use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi because body-wise, I am weaker than you—since I have never had a body.”
Qi was related to the balance between inner force and body, so the body was more relevant than the mind.
“Then, what should I do to be able to use psychic power the way you did?”
“The fact that you acknowledge your flaws strengthened my existence. However, for you to be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion, you will need me to acknowledge you first.”
“You are me, aren't you? Why don't you acknowledge me?” Sila asked with curiosity.
“Yes, I am you. Look at you. Why did it take you so long to admit you have a dark side? It annoyed me to see you make tons of stupid decisions. You always cared about others, even at the cost of your own gain.”
“How can I make you acknowledge me?”
“Just you trying your best to pay me a visit in the Cave of Immortals is enough to make me acknowledge you, at least to some degree. Even if, in fact, it displeases me to see you wasting time by coming here. Just using Moon Reflecting Mirror is enough. Such a wasteful trip.”
“Can I do that? This is the first I'm hearing of this.”
“A mirror doesn't only reflect an enemy, it can also reflect oneself. Divine told us this when we pa.s.sed the trial and got the skill. You listened and let it pa.s.s, while I pondered deeply over it.”
Sila opened his palm and activated Moon Reflecting Mirror. A mirror then materialized and floated in front of him. Sila had never observed his reflection in the mirror before. Now that he did, he noticed that the man inside the mirror was Dark Self, not him. With that, he sat down on the ground and continued to converse through the mirror.
“Even if you say that, I don't think it was a waste of time. At the very least, I got to help Rex and had a little sparring match against Mister Crow.”
“You are free to think that way. Let me say this first. Us acknowledging each other is just the very first step. From now on, you will be able to use Dark Psychic Corrosion while I can similarly use Five-Attributed Cloud Qi. The next step is for us to oppose each other.”
“Eh? Why do we have to acknowledge each other, then?”
Dark Self was aware that Sila would understand what he wanted to say better if he gave Sila room to think. Rather than giving Sila a direct answer, he changed the topic.
“When did you start becoming stronger? Do you remember?”
“Was it when I entered the game? In the beginning, I felt like there was no way I could lose.”
“No, that's just you enjoying the game. You started to become stronger when I made an appearance as a harmful psychic power, devouring you from within. For the sake of survival, you never stopped polis.h.i.+ng yourself or pus.h.i.+ng yourself past your limits. Likewise, for me, I started to become stronger when you subdued me. I needed to struggle to survive. In the end, I won over your qi and regained the state of my existence. Fighting each other doesn't make us weaker. Instead, it strengthens us both. Thus, your greatest opponent isn't Montra, but me.”
Sila immediately understood. “We are the duality of Yin and Yang—overwhelming each other yet supporting each other. When one of us grows stronger, the other one will also need to evolve to keep the opposing one in check. This process will continue until we reach an absolute balance.”
“When that time comes, there will be neither you nor me. We will completely become one.”
“Do I need to teach you how to use qi?”
“How are we opposing each other if you do that? I won't teach you anything. Similarly, you don't need to teach me. However, we can observe and study each other all the time. This is what we call overwhelming yet supporting each other.”
Sila nodded. Actually, he felt Dark Self possessed the same knowledge regarding qi that he did. Dark Self only lacked the proficiency to put qi into practical use. For example—Montra's last attack, Dark Self could use Formless Soldier to defend, correctly utilizing the metal element against Montra's wood-element attack, despite Genesis Punch being a move of the earth element.
In fact, although Genesis Punch was of the earth element, its power also slightly leaned toward the metal element—not pure earth. For the sake of comparison, Poluk's Genesis Punch was at the same level as Sila's Dual Attributes. It was highly likely that Poluk was attuned to the earth element like Sila. Therefore, he could exert the power of the metal element to enhance his move.
“Does that mean I can now use psychic power?” asked Sila.
“Why don't you find that out yourself?” replied Dark Self.
Sila opened his other palm and brought forth psychic power. Then, a loose ball of fine black dust floated above the hand. Sila felt glad that it no longer corroded his hand. It was the result of Dark Self acknowledging him.
He mimicked Dark Self by forming the black mist into a sword and crystalized it. However, the black mist distorted as it refused to combine, causing Sila to feel upset.
“Do you think it's an easy task because I made it look as such? Do not fret. There is plenty of time for you to learn. By the way, I need something from you. It's about our qi.”
Sila showed a mild smile. “I won't teach you. If you want to use it well, you will have to study it yourself.”
“That's not what I want. What I want is the right to name the moves. Since you already came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes, I want the right to name the five moves of the Dual Overwhelming Attributes. With this, we will be equal.”
“What? This is what you're concerned about? Actually, I don't mind the names. You should have known that our parents helped me come up with the names for all Single Attribute's moves. I only came up with the names for the five moves of the Dual Generating Attributes.”
“Be it Supernova, Genesis Beam Punch, Hundred Victories, Rippling Moon Block, or Shapeless Flame; not one of them suits my taste. Since psychic power is the core of Dual Overwhelming Attributes, I shall be responsible for giving their names.”
“Well, they're just names. It doesn't matter what you call them. Anyway, have you already come up with the names?”
Dark Self smirked. “Yeah, I have. You will know and be surprised when I use them. I guarantee that they sound cooler than yours.”
“Whatever. This should conclude everything I am here for. I should go back already.” Sila stood up and was about to deactivate the mirror.
“Hmph. Don't you still have one more topic to ask me about? The non-combat one.”
Sila swept dust off his clothing and asked Dark Self, pretending to act like he wasn't interested in the conversation, “Oh, right. About that. What do you think?”
“I think we don't have enough time to spend on this topic. Our hands are already full of problems. We shouldn't seek more.”
“Is that so?” Sila slowly walked to the cave's exit.
“Well, if you want the answer from the deepest part of your heart, I will simply tell you that you lacked people who gave you love and attention since your childhood. That's why you desire to obtain love from others even if it's just a small feeling. At the same time, you are afraid to adhere to it and experience the same sadness you felt when it was gone. In the end, you lack the ability to make a decisive choice and leave the problem as it is.”
“Then, what should I do?”
“She gives all her love to you, but you share your love with several people. How is it fair for her? Try to look at the situation from her perspective. If she also shares her love with someone else, can you accept it? A loss is natural and inevitable. You can't resist it, but you can treasure it in other forms.”
Sila listened and agreed. “You are a better person than I thought. I always thought that you must be quite evil since you are my Dark Self.”
As the words left Sila's mouth, he wondered if this was what they called 'self-praise'.
Hearing Sila, Dark Self replied, “I'm not evil. I'm the opposite of you. In situations where you're a piece of trash, I shall be a good person.”
As the words left Dark Self's mouth, Sila wondered if this was what they called 'self-blame'.
The Cave of Immortals had achieved its purpose. The one who went inside was a young man confused about himself with his mind full of questions, but the one who came out was the new generation profound pract.i.tioner, enlightened about his own existence and with a mind full of answers.