[Benz (Mercedes), the foolish and loyal knight, has defeated all invaders. The compensation will be paid after the competition.]
[Vin (Asmophel), the always-second villain who betrayed his companions and gained a heart demon, has defeated all invaders. The compensation will be paid after the competition.]
[Kobold (Noll), the vampire earl who craves praise and affection, has repelled all invaders. The compensation will be paid after the competition.]
The features of the four heavenly kings described by the system made Grid laugh. It was both interesting and bitter that their individual tendencies were expressed realistically.
‘If I think about Asmophel, I need to resolve the matter with the empress soon...’
Thus, Grid needed to be stronger. He had gotten revenge previously by using Muto and the insane dragon iron, but that was only on the level of child’s play. In order to completely get rid of past debts, he needed force. Grid hit the iron on the anvil with Item Auto Production while waiting for the last notification window.
Although Grid couldn’t say that Piaro was the strongest among the four heavenly kings, Piaro was the person he trusted the most. Piaro was the last remaining heavenly king. Perhaps the last remaining group that Grid was waiting to be destroyed was Kraugel’s group.
Did Grid hope that the players wouldn’t reach the Demon King? No, he didn’t have that type of mindset. In fact, Grid was hoping for players to break through the four heavenly kings. If he fought with them directly and defeated them, he could get more rewards and create the flow that the chairman of the Daejin Group wanted.
‘The players must suffer before breaking through the four heavenly kings.’
Grid was the only player who knew all the hidden rules of the Demon King subjugation event. He knew that once every group was wiped out in the four heavenly kings stage, they would have the opportunity to resurrect and re-challenge. That’s why he was calm.
‘In the end, they will come all the way here.’
The Demon King subjugation event was this type of game from the beginning. There were legendary NPCs with an average level of 450. It was realistically difficult for players to raid them at the current time. No, it might’ve been easy originally, but it became difficult once Grid armed them.
Grid made this happen. He didn’t want to see his knights collapse in front of so many people. He wanted to let people know that his knights were strong.
The cannon’s barrel was completed. It was 40 minutes after the start of the event.
[The Demon King’s perk has increased maximum health by 200,000. As of now, the total amount of health added is 800,000.]
[Cardin (Piaro), the explorer who was enlightened after glimpsing the universe in a small seed, has defeated all the invaders. The compensation will be paid after the competition.]
“Summoning the Reputation Store.”
[A special service for only the best celebrities!]
A golden carriage fell in front of Grid.
The seawater, mud, all types of fish, and shellfish flew up from the mudflat and formed a giant vortex. It twisted like a rising dragon’s waist and looked threatening. Containing an intensive hardness, the vortex was a purely man-made disaster. The moment he realized this, Kraugel was reminded of a nightmare of being crushed to death. It was from the farmer who had blown away one of Great Demon Belial’s arms. The waterspout in front of him had a different shape, but it contained a similar energy.
“This waterspout...!” The players screamed as the waterspout rose into the sky and then fell. No, they swore. They were going crazy because they were harassed by bizarre skills such as Flying Pebbles, Clam Digging, Crab Fishing, Drawing Octopus, Calling Seagulls, and Water Sediment. Now they were going to be crushed by a vortex of mud and seafood?
It was more dirty than frightening. As the world watched, they removed the octopus clinging to their faces. They were also pulled down into the mudflat, scratched by scallops and crabs, and bitten by the beaks of the flying seagulls. It wasn’t a glorious fight.
“This XX fisherman...! Uwaah!”
The players were so caught up in their rage that they forgot about the watching crowd as they released their defensive skills. The vortex that fell from the sky crushed the players’ bodies. The heavy weight of the vortex made all their defensive skills meaningless.
There were only two people who survived on the silent mudflat—Kraugel and Chris.
“...He is the person I know, right?”
The heavenly king called Cardin...
It happened when he used Plankton Sprinkling to make all the shellfish in the area grow rapidly. Chris got a vague idea of Cardin’s identity. Of course, he didn’t admit it until the waterspout was used. Kraugel didn’t deny it. “You are right.”
“...Then the Demon King?”
“Can’t you guess?”
“...How can we win?” Chris became frustrated once he realized the identities of the four heavenly kings and the Demon King. It was an incredible attitude. He was more afraid of Grid than the fisherman in front of him.
“Retrieve Fishing Nets. Shoot Ink.”
The fisherman grabbed two squids from the fishing nets flying through the mudflat and shot them like guns. It was precisely aimed at the eyes, so Kraugel and Chris lost their vision.
The fisherman flew like a ray of light, caught Chris, and pulled. Then he used the rebound to fly to Kraugel and stab him with a spade.
“Breaking the Shell.”
Originally, it was a fraudulent skill with the name Fated to Perish. Kraugel was troubled during this 0.1-second gap. Should he pull out Quick Command?
‘No, give up.’
This wasn’t an opponent he could win against even when mobilizing all the numbers. Group A was already wiped out. Kraugel looked at the circumstances and was convinced.
‘We will be given a chance to re-challenge.’
After five seconds of immortality where he didn’t resist, he died and soon realized that he was correct.
[Group A, that was in charge of attacking the east gate, has been wiped out.]
[The East Gate Guardian has received a great deal of damage. It is recommended to attack him before he completely recovers.]
[All challengers are tasting frustration before the mighty power of the four heavenly kings!]
[The first challenge has failed.]
[The second challenge will begin. All challengers are resurrected.]
[The health of the four heavenly kings is completely restored. However, their skill cooldown isn’t restored, and their stats will drop by 30%.]
[If the second challenge fails, the bronze medal rewards will be removed from the gold, silver, and bronze medal rewards.]
7. If the participants fail to break through the gates, the S.A Group might give the right to challenge again to the participants. The method should be discussed with Shin Youngwoo.
This was the 7th clause of the agreement signed between the S.A Group and Grid. The clause had been created due to insecurity and fear about the strength of the four heavenly kings.
“This is what ended up happening.” Chairman Lim Cheolho laughed after confirming that the rankers failed the first challenge. In fact, it was an unexpected result during the early planning stages of the Demon King project. The named NPCs that Grid had been collecting in the last few years were strong, but it wasn’t possible for them to face 100 rankers alone. However, there were variables—the growth of the NPCs and Grid’s ability to make items.
Grid was truly unusual. Other players would bind the named NPCs closer to them and treat them as pets. Meanwhile, Grid gave them freedom. The current situation was the result.
Piaro could do as much field work as he wanted. Asmophel went looking for the remaining Red Knights to take responsibility for his sins. Mercedes was working individually and gaining insights every time Grid was gone. Noll managed the vampire city while controlling his hunger with Piaro’s help.
All of them had grown beyond their predicted ranges. Additionally, Grid had improved his blacksmithing skills, so his legendary and myth rated items turned the four heavenly kings into monsters in just a few months. Wasn’t it unbelievable that 400 rankers couldn’t break through one of the four heavenly kings?
“Was it intentional?” Director Yoon Sangmin asked because he was baffled by the unexpected results. He had a very cautious attitude. “Did Grid thoroughly analyze their tendencies and past, raising them as efficiently as possible in order to bring out the potential of the NPCs to the extreme?”
If so, Grid absolutely wasn’t a fool. He was a genius whose previous actions were all an act. Lim Cheolho shook his head. “It isn’t what he intended.”
“...” Yoon Sangmin also watched the Five Miracles like Chairman Lim Cheolho. The initial animosity toward Grid faded as he watched Grid. That’s why he was well aware. Grid was a man who didn’t calculate things. No, he only calculated after doing things. At least, until last year.
“Grid’s intellectual development is rising, but the way he fostered the four heavenly kings isn’t something obtained from knowledge. It is possible because of his pure heart.”
“Heart...” It was a word that didn’t seem to fit when talking about Grid. Yoon Sangmin leaned back in his chair and laughed pleasantly. “I think I know why you and the development team like Grid so much.”
“I can’t dislike him. Grid is a person who respected our children (NPCs) from the beginning.”
“You must feel sorry.”
“What do you mean?”
“Grid (Demon King) will be defeated.”
The first challenge ended in 40 minutes. The second challenge against the weakened four heavenly kings was likely to end much sooner. The maximum amount of time given to Grid was one and a half hours, which meant his health couldn’t exceed two million. Realistically, it would be difficult to make items.
Chairman Lim Cheolho laughed at Yoon Sangmin’s concern. “You were the one who wrote the contract with Grid, but you haven’t really felt his change. An hour and a half? That is enough time for the current Grid.”
Then he asserted, “A thoroughly prepared Grid is no weaker than the four heavenly kings. He won’t be easily defeated.”
Today, Grid would become the ideal of players and a source of passion.