Chris saw the odds of this mission succeeding as over 90%. There were four months remaining in the truce agreement with the empire. The agreement between nations was protected by the system, so the empire and Overgeared Kingdom were unable to attack each other. The Overgeared members were guarding the evil eyes' village, and the empire couldn’t attack wildly. Even if the empire invaded the village, the Overgeared members just needed to guard the gates, and they would be able to protect the evil eyes' king until Grid arrived.
However, the empire took actions that were different from what they had expected. The empire invaded the village indirectly by using external forces. Chris’ expression instantly darkened. ‘Those empire bastards intend to thoroughly consume our strength!’
He swung Grid’s greatsword quickly. The cross-shaped trajectory of the sword struck the upper bodies of the two assassins moving through the darkness and killed them. The assassins with low defense were easily killed by Chris, who had the most powerful attack power.
‘Dammit, it is a mess.’
Chris jumped to the nearby roof of the mansion and shook as he watched the whole city. There were battles taking place all over the village, and the assassins who appeared in pairs were powerful enough to dominate two elite military units.
‘They are coping easily with two elite units containing 100 high-level players...’
Were these truly rabble hired by the empire? Chris raised the power of the Tyrant and flew forward. The further he moved, the more his attack power increased.
The expressions of the Overgeared soldiers still looked threatened despite trying to capture the assassins. Then Chris appeared like the raging wind and saved them from the assassins. He ordered the unit leaders, “Assemble your troops at the castle of the evil eyes' king. It should never be breached.”
Among the 10 meritorious retainers, Chris was one of the twin leaders along with Jishuka. It wasn’t a problem for him to operate the troops using his own judgment. The soldiers replied vigorously and saved another unit as they marched in the same direction. In the meantime, Chris moved along the roofs toward the village center while killing assassins.
The heart of the village was a small library. It was a place where Lauel, Jishuka, Pon, and Regas were guarding. The top rankers were gathered there because it was one of the most important bases in the village.
“I have come to help.” Chris broke through the assassins surrounding the library and stood by Lauel. Jishuka was covering him by firing arrows while Lauel looked like he had aged 10 years.
"As expected, the empire seems to covet the knowledge and information stored here.”
In other places, the assassins appeared in pairs, while there were dozens of assassins here. Chris faced more than 100 assassins and wondered, “What the hell are these guys? How are they appearing out of thin air without going through the door? This is something that even Faker can’t do.”
“They are borrowing the power of magic.”
“Yes. An excellent magician can make the space itself weak, allowing people to warp in.”
“It doesn’t feel like Mass Teleport since they are scattered all over the place... Is it easy for a great magician to use this type of magic?”
“I don’t know about ordinary magicians, but it is easy for the magician king.
He was one of the five pillars of the empire and the head of the Tower of Eternity. Chris recalled the infamous Goldhit and was convinced of it.
“It is a fraudulent magic... How long can we last if troops keep being sent this way? There is a limit to our stamina. We will run out of supplies and become exhausted,” Chris confided the anxiety in his heart. He didn’t feel suspicious about why Lauel hadn’t anticipated the current situation.
Although it was true that Lauel was intelligent enough to be called a genius, he wasn’t always successful. It wasn’t possible for Lauel to cope with all the variables. He often failed and made mistakes. However, this time was different. Lauel didn’t think this situation was serious.
“There is a limit to the magician king’s magic power, just as we have a limit to our stamina.”
“It is the same whether they are making a frontal charge or moving with magic. We can’t stop it if troops pour in all at once.”
“There is no need to worry about a volume offensive. Haven’t I already explained this part?”
“The empire doesn’t have infinite money. They will have to give compensation, so they won’t be able to easily pour in a lot of troops.”
“The empire will have to pay to move them? Can’t the empire move them for free?”
Nearly every kingdom or group on this continent had been offering tributes to the empire for hundreds of years. They were complete slaves of the empire. Chris wasn’t convinced that the empire would pay compensation for moving them. Lauel explained, “Do you know why existing groups have lived like dead mice without resisting the empire?”
“It is because they think the empire’s power is infinite. The empire isn’t in a position to show weakness. The moment the empire offers no money, other countries will question the empire’s power and the dominance will weaken.”
“That’s why they have to offer a reward every time they move outside forces?”
“It’s a commonly used bluffing system.”
“There is something I can’t understand. Lauel, why do you keep saying that the empire is poor?”
It was strange.
This was the empire that dominated the continent for hundreds of years. The empire monopolized all sorts of resources and invaded other kingdoms. Yet they were so poor that they couldn’t move some outside forces...? Creating quests for 500 million players might be too much but the assumption that it was hard to move subordinate forces didn’t make sense. It just didn’t make sense that the empire was poor.
Lauel was quietly using magic while listening to Chris’ questions. He changed the wind direction to maximize the power of Jishuka’s arrows while also neutralizing the assassins’ throwing techniques. Additionally, he created an earthquake every time they approached, leading them directly to Chris. Lauel was fighting effectively despite having few combat skills. It was a combat method that made people realize why the saying of ‘fight cleverly’ existed when athletes and martial artists were praised.
Lauel’s brilliant brain was creating a disaster for the enemies. ”I thought of something while watching the magic machine in the National Competition. How much manpower and money did the empire invest in unearthing the ancient artifacts? How much techniques and money were poured in to restore and operate the ancient relics?”
“Do you mean that the empire is poor because of the magic machines?”
“No. The magic machines are just one of the causes. I just came to a more fundamental question.”
“If the empire is truly as wealthy as people widely think, it wouldn’t be normal for them to struggle to suppress the Overgeared Kingdom and Valhalla.”
“Can’t they step on the Overgeared Kingdom by constantly producing and dispatching infinite troops, just as you claim now?”
“Ah...!” Chris felt like he had been struck by lightning as he gained enlightenment. Lauel was a person who was concerned about the empire’s tactics, and he was also the first person to realize the limits of the empire’s tactics.
“You... You really are clever...”
Lauel laughed at Chris’ heartfelt admiration. “Time is fair to anyone.”
As Grid grew, Lauel was also growing. He studied, thought, accumulated knowledge, and developed his vision.
“I don’t know what type of genius that God of War Ares recruited...” Lauel activated a pre-set trap to lure out the hiding assassins. Then he laughed while covering half his face with his hand. “But that person needs to be ready to deal with me now.”
Lauel was convinced of something. Grid and Kraugel had grown rapidly over the years. They had an absolute force that made strategy and tactics obsolete, and no one could be their opponent. At this moment, gray pillars rose continuously in the evil eyes’ village. They were the pillars that symbolized the death of the invaders.
‘That is...’ Chris and Lauel turned toward the south without speaking. It was the direction of the city entrance where the gray pillars were occurring the fastest. That was the zone Yura was protecting.
Chris clicked his tongue. “Lauel, even if your expectations are wrong, I don’t think the empire can break through if they come.”
“...I agree. Let’s go inside the building. It is time to change shifts with the evil eyes.”
Just like how a human’s stamina wasn’t infinite, the magic power of the evil eyes wasn’t infinite. Unlike their king, ordinary evil eyes could only free the power of their eyes for two hours a day. Still, two hours were enough.
The power of the evil eyes made even the coldest assassins kneel down and beg. The evil eyes took care of most of the assassin remnants in just half an hour and then switched back to the Overgeared members, who had enough rest. The empire’s advance team was practically unable to do anything and collapsed just like that.
“Kukukuk... You are decent. It is a power that is hard to be confined to the ‘framework’ of humans.”
“Hahaha... You didn’t buy people who are all talk.”
It was the 19th day since the 10 meritorious retainers left for the evil eyes' village.
[Your understanding of the Ether Glasses is now at 100%!]
[The ‘Ether Glasses’ production method has been acquired.]
“Wow, it’s finally over.”
Grid, who had been stuck in the smithy and had wrestled with the glasses for 19 days, finally achieved his first task. He had obtained the production method and could now convert the glasses into the form of armor such as a helmet or face shield.
‘Given that I can use it myself...’
A helmet would be better than a face shield. It was because a face shield and mask couldn’t be used together. Grid had no intention of throwing away his best treasure, the Slaughterer's Mask which had been a great help during the Demon King Subjugation.
‘I need a helmet that is at least worth the value of Triple Layers. Okay, let’s combine the glasses and helmet.’
Grid decided to set the value to at least Triple Layers and used the Legendary Blacksmith’s Reconstruction skill to change the Ether Glasses. Then he suddenly remembered the White Tiger’s Breath.
‘The White Tiger Sword summons stone pillars. Then can I make a helmet that is as hard as a rock if I use the White Tiger’s Breath?’
There wasn’t the saying as dumb as a rock for nothing. It was a great opportunity to increase his defense if he made a helmet that was as hard as a rock.
‘...Um. Later, I’ll get one more Ether Diamond and insert the White Tiger’s Breath when making my own helmet.’
Four of the eight rewards that Grid had obtained from the National Competition were the breaths of the sacred creatures. Thanks to this, he had a total of one Red Phoenix’s Breath, one Blue Dragon’s Breath, one White Tiger’s Breath, and two Black Tortoise’s Breath. It wouldn’t be long until his weapons and armor contained the power of these sacred creatures.
‘Once I obtain pure ether, I will be the ultimate overgeared.’
Wouldn’t it be enough to fight against the empire?
“...?” Grid felt a bit strange as he started modifying the item. It felt like just yesterday when he was shaken by the ‘strong people of the era’ he encountered while visiting the empire, yet he didn’t feel afraid right now. Was he too puffed up? No. His impression of himself had risen thanks to that bastard, Garam. Grid had also become confident after his experience as the Demon King.
“Hrmm...” Grid thought about the power of the empire and checked the date.
It seemed the empire hadn’t invaded yet since there was no special communication from his colleagues in the evil eyes' village. Thanks to this, Grid could focus on modifying the item.