On the screen, the man left alone looked back at the battlefield. It was a battlefield without a ceiling. The place, which was filled with marble and ornate carpets, had turned into ruins. The hundreds of pillars supporting the sky had shattered into dust, and the grandiose organ had long become a pile of firewood.
Overgeared King Grid...
Emotions crossed his wounded face as he looked at every corner of the empty battlefield. It was a strange expression like he would laugh or cry right away. He felt the joy of winning the battle and regret over the contents of the battle, as well as a thrill. A wide variety of emotions crossed his black eyes. There was a depth in his sunken eyes that caused a sensation among the public.
There were exclamations from all over the stands. Grid was only 30 years old this year. He was a young man who hadn’t hidden his feelings when he first appeared in the world. In just four years, he stood alone after this show. The world held its breath.
“...Daejin Motors,” Grid finally declared.
The hot chests of the people watching him cooled down.
-What did he just say? Does he mean to promote a company?
-...The second Comet Group.
There was a reason why Grid was the ‘No. 1 model desired by advertisers’ for four years running despite closing down his advertising activities. It was because he could completely capture the advertising industry.
The meeting of the Daejin Group employees was turned upside down. Reports were pouring in. It was reported that Daejin Motors occupied the top of the real-time search terms on portal sites of the six continents of Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Australia. The entire world was showing interest in Daejin Motors and the Daejin Group.
Of course, it didn’t matter if it was overwhelmingly negative interest. The noise marketing wasn’t for nothing. It was meaningful that the brand was known all around the world.
“Yes!” The president of Daejin Motors got up and cheered while the presidents of other affiliated companies watched him with envy. The excited president of Daejin Motors shouted at Chairman Lee Jinmyung, “As expected of Grid! As your prospective grandson-in-law, it is normal for him to do extraordinary things. Still, how did he manage to promote it at such a perfect time...?!”
This was a state of excitement. It was a competition watched by billions of people, and their company was promoted at a time when the audience rating was the highest. They enjoyed a publicity effect that couldn’t be bought even if they paid a million dollars.
Unexpectedly, Chairman Lee Jinmyung was calm. After all, he knew that he had to be careful when a big opportunity arrived. He leaned back in the chair and thought intently before saying to the head of the group’s public relations team, “Don’t release the promotional articles.”
Right now, the world’s attention was focused on Grid, so it was a perfect opportunity to promote themselves. Grid had refused to be models of global companies. Once word spread that he chose Daejin Group, the effect would be an astronomical promotional effect.
Lee Jinmyung had also agreed only to suddenly change his mind. The head of the PR team was very confused, but he didn’t dare ask for the reason as he got on his phone. The Daejin Motors president asked on behalf of everyone, “It is difficult for me to understand your keen insight. Is it okay to ask what you are planning?”
“I’m going to trust Grid. The words from his mouth are worth more than one thousand articles.”
Chairman Lee Jinmyung realized that Grid wasn’t an inexperienced person. He was a talent who managed to ascend in a new society called Satisfy. The chairman thought Grid was a dragon who had been born in Kaechon under the god of luck, but that wasn’t it at all.
Grid had once described himself as stupid, but it was a terrible humility. Chairman Lee Jinmyung felt certain of it.
‘Grid is a genius.’
They could take advantage of this situation dramatically. Looking back, the timing of the proposed deal over Yura was very subtle.
‘Those deep eyes...’
This was a saying that couldn’t be used easily in reality. It was a phrase that would appear in novels. In fact, Chairman Lee Jinmyung had met countless people over the past 70 years, but he had never met anyone with deep eyes. However, the Grid on the screen had deep eyes at the age of 30. The ascension of the dragon wasn’t over yet. Chairman Lee Jinmyung noticed that Grid would reach a much higher level.
‘Maybe he is dreaming of an emperor...’
Chairman Lee Jinmyung’s old heart was beating quickly. He felt a desire to become Grid’s wings. It wasn’t just because Grid was his granddaughter’s (prospective) husband. He was also attracted to the great individual named Grid.
The atmosphere of the awards ceremony for the Demon King Subjugation was like a funeral. The Demon King Subjugation event had ended. The players had won five gold, silver, and bronze medals. They were rewards for the success of the four heavenly kings raid and their contribution in the battle against the Demon King. It was the ‘minimum’ reward guaranteed in the Demon King Subjugation. If they had succeeded in the event, three more medals would’ve been added and more players would’ve been on the podium. It was disappointing for the players.
Of course, not everyone felt that way. In the four heavenly kings and Demon King raid, Jishuka achieved the first contribution and won two gold medals. Thanks to her performance, Brazil was ranked ninth overall, so the Brazilians were in a festive mood.
Canada took second in the overall rankings thanks to Chris, who won one gold medal and one silver medal. The United States secured first in the overall rankings due to the activities of Kraugel and Zibal, and the atmosphere became heated up.
On the other hand, the people of China were overwhelmed with anger after losing their second place ranking and falling to fourth place. The Chinese participants hadn’t won a single medal, so their ranking result was the opposite of Korea’s, whose participants had won one gold medal. South Korea jumped from sixth to third place.
“We didn’t even get in the top three this year? The continent’s weather has plummeted.”
“Dammit... We were pushed by South Korea...”
“There is no need to blame anyone. The players were pushed by the S.A Group, not because of their abilities. In the first place, does it make sense for a South Korean player to play the role of the Demon King? The competition itself wasn’t fair. Our China is the true third.”
The doubts and anger of the Chinese were reasonable. Demon King Grid had killed China’s rising star, Mei Xiao, at the beginning of the battle.
A press conference was held amidst this turmoil. It was a press conference for Yoon Sangmin, the executive director of the S.A Group and a member of the National Competition’s committee. He sat facing nearly one thousand reporters alone and picked up the microphone without the slightest bit of tension.
A reporter from CMM, the largest US news channel, asked the first question, “Many people are feeling doubts and have complaints about giving special benefits to Grid, who played the role of the Demon King. There is a consensus that the S.A Group is favorable to Korean players because they are a Korean company. How is the S.A Group planning to put their complaints to rest?”
“We can’t accept the complaints. We didn’t give any preferential treatment to Grid."
“We have adopted the Demon King Subjugation as a regular event. It will be held every year in the future and the role of the Demon King will be assigned to a qualified top ranker, just like it was done with Grid this year. There is a clause that says a player who has been the Demon King once can’t do it again. Thus, this is a clarification of the misunderstanding that the Demon King Subjugation event was prepared only for Grid.”
“Do you mean next year’s Demon King can get the same rewards as Grid this year?”
“Of course. If they achieve the same results, they will get the same reward. We have determined that the Demon King Subjugation event is suitable for the purpose of ‘a competition that joins players together’ and will guarantee many rewards for both players and the Demon King. We hope that all players will enjoy it. The National Competition is a festival that promotes harmony in the world.”
“Will they receive the same stats correction?”
“The stats correction Grid received when he took on the role of the Demon King. In fact, most people’s doubts and complaints were about the stats, rather than the rewards. It is the unanimous reaction from people that an excessive stats correction was the cause of the 1-against-400 victory. Next year’s Demon King will have the same correction effect as Grid’s Demon King, and people will complain once again. The Demon King Subjugation will become a festival for the few people ‘lucky’ enough to become the Demon King.”
“Haha, that’s funny but you’re mistaken. The correction effect that we gave to the Demon King is the minimum qualification to be called a boss monster—health.”
“...?” The CMM reporter was confused because of the unimaginable answer. While he was trying to interpret the question correctly, other media reporters quickly spoke up. “Does that mean you didn’t give any benefits other than health?”
“That’s right. The Demon King gains 500,000 health every 10 minutes until the gates guarded by the four heavenly kings are broken through. That is the basic rule for a ‘raid’, and it is an inevitable benefit.”
“If it is 500,000 health per 10 minutes and the total progress of the raid on the four heavenly kings was one hour and 38 minutes, does that mean Grid had a total of 4.5 million health?”
“Oh, Grid only received 200,000 health per 10 minutes.”
“Huh? Didn’t you just say 500,000?”
“That’s the basic rule. Next year, the player who becomes the Demon King will get an additional 500,000 health every 10 minutes.”
“No, then why is Grid different with 200,000 health...?”
“Grid’s subordinates who acted as the four heavenly kings were too strong. We were forced to put constraints on Grid.”
He was so strong that constraints were placed on him...? If the Demon King Subjugation was to be adopted as a regular event and held steadily every year... It meant that Grid alone had fought in a disadvantageous manner compared to the players who would become Demon King in the future. They thought Grid had received preferential treatment, but it was reverse discrimination.
In this sizzling atmosphere, Yoon Sangmin released data related to the Demon King Subjugation. Grid had only received 200,000 health every 10 minutes. The surprising thing was that the Grid on the screen didn’t complain at all. He had been silent throughout the four heavenly kings raid and hadn’t shown any response to the penalty. It was a clear attitude.
He wouldn’t be the supreme player if he couldn’t tolerate this much. In fact, he would be ashamed if he didn’t sacrifice this much. Grid seemed to endure it with his spirit.
“...” The press conference was silent. The people around the world watching the press conference were also quiet. All of them were impressed by Grid’s attitude. The one who broke the silence was a Japanese reporter. As soon as he had Director Yoon Sangmin’s permission, he carefully asked a question, “You said that the identity of the four heavenly kings are Grid’s subordinates... Are you referring to NPCs owned by Grid?”
“Did they receive the S.A Group’s support?”
“Yes, it is stated in the application form for future ‘Demon Kings’ that the four heavenly kings must be the player’s NPCs or pets. They have to use their own power to truly be the Demon King.”
“What correction effect did you give to the four heavenly kings?”
“It is like the Demon King. We gave them extra health to make it a raid. However, the exact correction figure will vary according to the level of the four heavenly kings. Thus, I can’t tell you the exact amount.”
“The other stats?”
“There is nothing. For reference, the four heavenly kings this year didn’t receive any health correction.”
Grid and the four heavenly kings—the monsters that killed 100 rankers each had been in their genuine states...? It meant the NPCs owned by Grid were stronger than the 400 rankers. Moreover, wasn’t Grid a king? He wouldn’t only have four NPCs.
‘How much power does Grid have?’
‘Perhaps he can fight the empire?’
Yoon Sangmin’s press conference was meant to quell the confusion, but it ended up causing greater confusion. The reporters’ minds were filled with Grid. Yoon Sangmin’s press conference wasn’t over yet, but the reporters’ gazes kept shifting toward the clock. They were waiting for Grid to enter the venue after Director Yoon Sangmin.
However, time flowed too slowly. Not long after the reporters felt like this...
Yoon Sangmin rose from his seat. Then a handsome Asian man entered the conference. “I am Grid.”
The reporters’ anticipation was heightened because of his determined expression which made him seem like he had something important to say.