“...!?” Grid got chills down his spine shortly after jumping off the magic machine. Jishuka’s arrows, which appeared without leaving a trace, flooded toward his heart.
‘Dammit.’ The arrows were the only things he hadn’t blocked throughout the battle. He couldn’t afford to concentrate on the arrows that arrived without any sound. Around two months ago, Jishuka had made the same expression after clearing a hidden quest and learning a new archery skill.
‘I should’ve noticed that she is a beast.’
Grid was certain. On this favorable terrain, Jishuka was strong enough to be the most revered person. She had been maintaining the best form for many years and had finally reached the realm of the sky above the sky. Jishuka was truly an amazing person. It was encouraging that she was his friend and colleague. On the other hand—
Yura—who only experienced a series of frustrations after becoming a legend—came to his mind, and his heart grew heavy. Despite her talent and hard work, she had failed... Grid could only think that she had no luck. She had gone through a period of misfortune, and Grid could tell how much she had been suffering. He wanted to help her. He didn’t want her to give up.
In this moment, Grid was struck by the arrows in a defenseless state and was thrown from the magic machine. The magic machine exploded. Grid’s field of view spun around and around as he was swept up by the blast. The durability of his items dropped greatly. It might be confusing, but Grid coped with the situation calmly. He overcame his dizzy vision and got up while adjusting the posture of his sword.
His insight stat and the Slaughterer’s Eye Patch gave him a warning. However, he couldn’t prevent Chris’ attack. It wasn’t enough to cope with the attack of the 1st ranked player and one of the 10 meritorious retainers of the Overgeared Kingdom. Grid was thrown by Regas, stabbed by Pon, and cut by Damian and Peak Sword...
The bombardment of skills from 300 players quickly reduced Grid’s health. He was trampled on the ground, and Grid realized the greatness of the power of numbers. He fell to his knees and cursed as he thought of the people who coined the saying, ‘There is no shame in a collective beating.’
From the moment he crashed onto the ground, Grid didn’t have any time to raise his fingers. The attacks came from all directions without delay and completely blocked his movements. Even a weak attack became a huge threat. Hundreds of thousands of health flowed out per second, and it seemed that he would die right away.
‘I was too prideful.’
In fact, Grid had been filled with confidence ahead of this battle. He alone understood the system of the Demon King subjugation and was able to make all types of precautions according to it. He could also use all his blacksmithing skills without any burden because the National Competition’s server was completely separated from the main server.
Grid was forced to judge that he was in a favorable position. Then he took one step further. He saw the players as easy targets. With the exception of the Overgeared members and a few high-ranked players, the rest could be dealt with using one skill or a few basic attacks.
He thought it would be a 1-against-30 fight, instead of a 1-against-400 fight. It was a misjudgment. First, it was difficult to hit them itself. The participants thoroughly used their numbers advantage to completely neutralize Grid’s attack power. Their defense was also excellent. The formula of death wasn’t easily established for the players who were representatives of their countries.
The biggest problem was the ‘information’ that the Overgeared members provided to the players. After knowing that the Demon King was Grid, Jishuka and Chris were now in full command of the players and most of Grid’s wide-area skills were no longer effective. Grid didn’t show it, but he was unbelievably embarrassed when he cloned the Red Phoenix Bow and used ‘Fly Up!’, only to find the number of enemies in his field of view to be unreasonably small.
[You have suffered 3,900 damage!]
[You have suffered 10,040 damage!]
[The durability of Valhalla of Infinite Affection has decreased by 19.]
[You have received the abnormal condition ‘bleeding.’]
[You have resisted.]
[Due to the title effect of First King, the Great King’s Dignity has been activated.]
[You have counterattacked and reflected the status condition.]
[You have suffered 2,730 damage!]
[You have suffered 5,800 damage!]
[The durability of Valhalla of Infinite Affection has decreased by...]
It felt like an eternity. Grid was beaten one-sidedly and recalled the school days when he was helpless. The difference from the past was that he wasn’t shaken at the reminder of his trauma. It was a trauma he had already overcome. He had yet to overcome his relationship trauma, but it wasn’t an important issue now.
[The effect of the ‘First King’ title has been activated!]
[A shield that will block as much damage as the health lost in the last minute will be created. All terrain adaptation will increase by 100%, while movement speed and defense will increase by 10%.]
He lost 70% of his health in just a few seconds. Grid gained some distance thanks to the shield and became aware of the passage of time. He remained calm as the players entered his vision. Some people were gasping due to the poison from Valhalla while others were confused by Great King’s Dignity. There were many people who seemed to be in a dangerous state, but all of them were absorbed in attacking without backing down. The desire to hit the Demon King a bit more and gain medals controlled them completely.
The shield had bought Grid some time. Grid calmly checked his condition while taking into account Tiramet’s power. He had enough mana to use Transcended Link after linking up Freely Move and Fly. The combo of these three skills could save Grid from the immediate crisis and slaughter dozens of players.
It was afterward that was the problem. His mana would fall to the bottom. He wouldn’t be able to maintain Fly for long and would eventually crash to the ground. Then the same thing would happen again, and it would become really dangerous. At best, he would kill dozens of players but have no way to win.
‘Belial’s power of fire can make a path of flames, but the result is the same.’
In the end, mana was a problem.
‘Alarm isn’t ready yet.’
Grid had roughly predicted when the four heavenly kings would be broken through, but he hadn’t been able to grasp it perfectly. Thus, he had set the linked Alarm and Magic Missile as late as possible. He couldn’t depend on them yet.
Thoughts of Noe, Randy, the Overgeared Skeletons, the light elemental, and Tiramet passed through Grid’s brain. Should he summon them for this immediate crisis?
‘It is too premature.’
Noe’s defense skill and his skill to take away stats would be a big help, but this wouldn’t guarantee victory. The pets and pet owner wouldn’t be able to last for a long time against the nearly 300 players. Grid’s pets would be quickly recalled, and he would soon be alone again. Furthermore, the light elemental had a separate use.
[You have suffered 23,000 damage!]
[The durability of Valhalla of Infinite Affection has decreased by 37.]
His distinct half-mask that was covered in red—the mask originally named Bizarre Mask was gaining more and more cracks in it. The blood leaked through the cracks and cooled Grid’s face.
‘This...’ Grid’s heart started to thump.
He fully realized that he was experiencing a great crisis. Defeat, failure—he was unaccustomed to them despite having experienced them countless times. Words that he didn’t want to become familiar with ran through Grid’s mind. There was something strange. He felt excited instead of frustrated and desperate.
Grid sensed it intuitively. There was a solution that he hadn’t thought about yet. This was the birth of the ‘wisdom’ created by his experiences and efforts which had accumulated over the years.
‘The power of lies?’
Grid was reminded of a power he had been ignoring. The battle between Kraugel and the Hero spread like a panorama in Grid’s mind, inspiring him deeply. The Hero had taken advantage of the power of lies and shown how to utilize a skill using multiple clones.
‘However, I won’t use it that way.’
He lacked the Hero’s ability to react quickly to changing situations.
‘Nevertheless, I have something better than the Hero.’
Overgeared. Right, it was being overgeared. The Hero didn’t have Khan’s legacy. Valhalla of Infinite Affection had a skill called Moving Fortress.
[It can be activated if the wearer’s health drops by more than one tenth (Enable/Disable can be selected).
-Converts the durability of Valhalla of Infinite Affection to defense (one durability = two defense).
-Immune to all conditions (including physical statuses).
-It will last for one minute, and the current durability of Valhalla of Infinite Affection will be set to 30 points (at the end of Moving Fortress, the current durability will be restored by a third of the maximum durability).
* Please note that if the durability falls to zero, the item will be permanently destroyed.
The wide range skill ‘Impregnable’, which deals half of all damage received in the last five minutes in a 50-meter radius, can be activated.
Skill Resources Consumption: Valhalla of Infinite Affection’s maximum endurance will drop permanently by 200.
Skill cooldown time: 10 minutes.]
‘I can do it.’
The puzzle pieces aligned in Grid’s head. This was the moment wisdom blossomed. It was an ordinary level of wisdom, but it was a special power for Grid.
‘Blackening. Belial’s Power.’
[The power of the great demon Belial summoned in the Rune of Darkness has been opened!]
[It is impossible for a human to digest all three of Belial’s powers.]
[You are in a half-demon state. Your body has endured the pressure of immense power. However, it is still impossible for a human to digest all three of Belial’s powers at the same time.]
[You can use one of Belial’s three powers of: Darkness, fire, or illusion.]
[You have chosen the power of illusion!]
Grid started quickly producing clones as his health was consumed. His field of view split and widened. The faces of the enemies surrounded him, the backs of the enemies surrounded him, and the feet and crowns of the enemies surrounded him. They entered Grid’s vision at once.
“This?” The players’ face paled with terror. They could see the Hero’s appearance in the Demon King.
“Spread out! Hurry!” Chris hurriedly shouted toward the players.
『 I-Isn’t that the Hero’s clones...? 』
『 W-Why does the Demon King have the Hero’s power...? 』
The international commentators stuttered.
-What? What is this?
-Don’t tell me...
The crowd and viewers were in shock like hammers had slammed into their heads.
“Moving... Fortress,” the Demon King chanted while coughing up blood. He resisted all the physical and abnormal conditions caused by Jishuka’s arrows.
“Huup!” Grid focused on controlling himself. The players who had just been beating the Demon King up were now surrounded by clones. Grid narrowed the distance to Chris and grabbed him.
“Heok! Hey, let me go!”
‘What if I don’t want to?’ Grid grinned as he whispered into Chris’ ears in a frightening manner, “Impregnable.”
This was a wide-area skill that released half of all damage he suffered in the last five minutes in a radius of 50 meters. The stronger the opponent, the more powerful the explosion that swept over the battlefield would be. Hundreds of gray pillars soared into the sky, and a green light shone from beyond the soaring dust.
Then a white giant that was shining came rushing over. It was Zibal’s Raiders.
Unlike the others who were still doubting the Demon King’s identity, Zibal was certain of it. It meant he acknowledged Grid’s power. Other people thought that Grid couldn’t fight in a 400-against-1 fight and were trying to ignore reality. However, Zibal was different. It was possible if it was Grid. Zibal thought simply and guessed the identity of the Demon King. A huge spear flew toward the ragged Grid.
“...Flash.” Grid barely summoned the light elemental, and it let out a strong burst of light, blinding Zibal who was on the magic machine. Thanks to this, the spear hit empty air.
“I won’t fight if you don’t get off from there.” Grid laughed evilly like a natural villain. Behind his broken mask, his dark eyes focused on Jishuka.
Jishuka shivered. It wasn’t out of fear though. She had an ecstatic expression on her face as she watched the Demon King. It was a reaction she had shown multiple times to one man.