“What about five each?”
“Then four each?”
“Three is too few.”
“...I’ll think about it. Come back tomorrow.”
“I told you to come back tomorrow!”
Surprisingly, Nefelina was very careful. During the negotiations, Nefelina didn’t use the power of a transcendent species nor did she threaten him by referring to it. Instead, she tried to find a line that would satisfy both parties involved.
“I heard that dragons consider all things in this world as insignificant. They are supposed to be cruel, selfish, and capricious from a human’s viewpoint, yet she is different from the story. Is she perhaps in a disadvantageous position? That she can’t grow without being beholden to us...?” This was Lauel’s guess.
However, Sticks stubbornly shook his head. “A dragon awakens most of their magic at the moment of birth. In fact, the space reconstruction magic that Nefelina maintains is something that ordinary human magicians can’t imitate. Additionally, to use it alone with polymorph... She is an existence that can live well enough without human help. 100 cows and pigs? She can slaughter them in a matter of minutes if she wanted. She can also kill all the humans protecting the livestock.”
“Then why is Nefelina trying to negotiate?”
“She is crazy.”
“She is out of her mind. That hatchling is crazy.”
Dragons weren’t social animals. They were arrogant and selfish because they were the most outstanding race in the world. Just as humans didn’t care about knocking down an ant nest when building a house, the dragon didn’t care about other people. They acted as they wanted and made their own way. From the viewpoint of a human, Nefelina was completely different from ordinary dragons.
“No, how is this crazy...? Isn’t it common sense?”
“It is crazy when considering a dragon’s common sense. Originally, dragons can’t be evaluated with our common sense. From our point of view, they are always selfish and and erratic.”
“Is it because she is still a hatchling?”
“It is meaningless to argue about age because the dragon’s thoughts are formed the moment they are born.”
“Hrmm... Then what should I do?”
“What should you do? A crazy dragon isn’t easily seen, so we should study it.”
The feelings of resentment and fear that Sticks had against the dragon species were tremendous. The curse had merely been a moment of fun for the gourmet dragon. Yet this curse caused Sticks to be afraid of dragons as he fought death for the rest of his life. Now, his curiosity toward Nefelina made him shake off his fear.
“Umm... Still, it isn’t easy to dedicate three pigs and cows every day.”
According to Grid, the current price of one pig was two gold and the price of one cow was four gold. This meant that 18 gold was consumed every day. It would be 180 gold for 10 days and 1,800 gold for 100 days. What was 1,800 gold worth? It was worth a huge amount of 2.6 million won.
Lauel glanced at the hesitating Grid with dull eyes. “I think it is cheap to buy the favor of a hatchling. To put it plainly, how much money can you earn from making an item? Why are you dwelling on 18 gold a day?”
“If you think about the value of a hatchling, it is nothing to lose 700,000 won a month.”
“That’s right. It is a lot less money than the minimum wage. You aren’t being a pushover. Isn’t she even giving you a blessing? It isn’t a business where you will lose money. However, if you want to save money, then why don’t you use the kingdom’s money?”
“The kingdom’s money?”
“Yes. Settle the price of the hatchling’s food with the nation’s finances.”
“How can I use the kingdom’s finances for a personal quest?”
“What about it? You are the ruler of this kingdom. Haven’t you forgotten whose money was used to form this kingdom? Why is the king still acting poor? You forgot that you spent your money making the kingdom. You even made up for the loss every time a national business lost money.”
Of course, it was a tremendous leap to call Grid poor. It was because Grid had assets worth hundreds of billions of won. Despite this, he was still far from being a chaebol. If Grid were really rich, he would’ve bought a private jet without worrying.
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
As Sticks had said, Nefelina was already a ridiculously powerful entity. It was hard to get rid of her, so he had to negotiate. If he was going to negotiate as the king, then it was better to do it at the kingdom’s expense.
‘Let’s use the nation’s finances!’ Feeling determined, Grid rose from his spot. ‘I wonder what blessing I will receive.’
He was very excited. Grid looked for Irene and Lord while quickly hoping for tomorrow to come. Then he was caught by Lauel who pulled out a different topic. “Your Majesty, it is about the chef you brought from the East Continent. The Poison Master.”
“Yes. His cooking skill has been stagnant for more than a year.”
“No one will eat even if he cooks dishes. The skill level is increasing, but there seems to be a limit to the experience rise if no one eats it.”
“Why isn’t anyone eating?”
“So far, the Overgeared members have eaten Idan’s dishes while being prepared to die for the poison resistance...”
“Now their poison resistance is so high they don’t need to eat?”
“Yes. However, there is a limit to the level of poison resistance that can be increased by Idan’s cooking.”
“What if we feed the dishes to the soldiers?”
“They will die.”
“...He still can’t make normal dishes?”
“The higher his cooking skill level, the better. However, there is still a long way to go. So I’m saying...” Lauel explained how he planned to use Idan.
Then Grid nodded with delight. “Lauel is truly a genius.”
“Hut... I am lonely but I enjoy this solitude.”
“Uh, yes. Enjoy your loneliness. I’m going.”
“W-What is that?”
Today, at an intermediate hunting ground near Reinhardt, the players who were hunting hard and collecting items stopped their actions and watched one spot.
At the spot, there were 500 soldiers. They were armed with the mass-produced set and were evidently elite soldiers of Overgeared. Mercedes, the beautiful woman with her name in gold, was at the forefront.
“Where’s the war?”
Why were such elite forces visiting an intermediate hunting ground? The players were bewildered.
“This should be good.”
The procession of soldiers stopped, and a couple and a little boy appeared. It was Overgeared King Grid, Overgeared Queen Irene, and Prince Lord. The legendary knight Mercedes spread out a mat in the middle of the hunting ground.
“Now Irene, let’s sit.”
Grid and Irene sat on the mat and pulled out tea and sweets. On the other hand, Lord held a sword and started to hunt monsters with Overgeared Skeletons One and Two.
“Hahaha! Our son’s swordsmanship is excellent.”
“He is similar to Your Majesty.”
No, it was a noisy picnic... The Grid couple gazed lovingly at Lord who was fighting.
The players watched the unreal scene unfolding in the middle of the hunting grounds and suddenly realized that their surroundings had become very quiet. There were no monsters when they looked around. It was because the Overgeared soldiers threw stones at any monsters that were visible and lured them toward Lord. The 500 elite soldiers were acting as a mob mall for a single prince!
“That is the diamond spoon I’ve heard about.”
They wanted to be Grid’s son! The players could only watch from the side, but they didn’t resent Grid. No, they felt grateful to him. It was because Grid showed them full consideration.
“Follow me.” There was a beautiful woman with a golden name. Nobody knew it, but a legendary knight gave these players a bus ride. She went to every place where a boss monster appeared and attacked it before letting the players finish the boss off. Of course, the items were also transferred. The players experienced an unexpected windfall thanks to the Grid family picnic.
“Hooray for the Overgeared Kingdom!”
“Long live the Overgeared King!”
The excited cries of the players echoed through the hunting ground. The more favorable they were toward Grid, the stronger the kingdom would become.
‘Using family gatherings like this...’
Grid made Irene happy while raising Lord and the Overgeared Skeletons, as well as gaining the favor of the people. This was a plan that had come from Lauel’s mind.
“Your Majesty, I’ve cleared all the boss monsters around here.”
“Um, yes.” Grid received the report from Mercedes and rose from his seat. “Irene. The next hunting ground... No, let’s go to the next picnic spot.”
The next day, Grid went to find Nefelina with the evil eyes king. Nefelina was in the form of a small dragon. Her body was around two feet long, and her scales were blue. She had a wriggling tail and large, round eyes that were adorable.
“I will accept four each.”
“Three... Um,” Grid was about to shout ‘three’ when he shut up and asked, “Is that the best concession you can make?”
“That’s right. I must eat four each if I don’t want a sound to come from my stomach.”
“Okay.” He felt that he couldn’t be more stubborn. It was a type of intuition. The experience that Grid had stacked up over the last few years told him that acting more greedy here could ruin their future days. As such, Grid complied with Nefelina’s request. It would be better to show a good image if he was going to establish a deal anyway.
“Since the great destroyer of the future is caring for me, I am willing to accept it. I will give you four cows and four pigs every day.”
“I’m glad you understand. I would’ve gotten upset if you kept arguing.”
What would happen if a hatchling became angry? Grid thought he did well of letting go of his greed and clapped. Then the door opened, and a person with a pale face entered. Nefelina cocked her round head. “Who is this human?”
“Your exclusive chef.”
“Exclusive chef? Is it a human who will only make my food?”
“Yes, that's right. It is the minimum of sincerity I should show to a great hatchling.”
“Hum hum. I like it.” Nefelina’s tail moved side to side and hit the floor. She seemed quite pleased. However, this act seemed like a death notice to Chef Idan. “D-Dragon...”
Was it easy to make food for a dragon? Was there a crazy case like this? Grid whispered to Idan who had lost his soul, “I don’t know what the dragons on the East Continent are like, but the dragons on the West Continent are a very evil existence. You should try to make delicious dishes so you don’t get eaten.”
A hatchling was fully resistant to poison. She wouldn’t be poisoned no matter how many of Idan’s dishes she ate. The evil eyes were also a group whose cooking culture hadn’t developed. The hatchling who lived in the evil eyes village wouldn’t have tasted proper cooking and wouldn’t feel that Idan’s dishes were tasteless.
This was Lauel’s plan. He had made a plan to buy Nefelina’s favor while increasing Idan’s cooking skill. In fact, this method was very effective.
“Grid, your attitude is outstanding. I’ll give you an excellent blessing.”
[The quest ‘Hatchling’s Request’ will proceed.]
[You need to give Nefelina four cows and four pigs every day.]
[You have received the dragon’s blessing for accepting the quest!]
A golden magic power appeared around Grid’s body. It was the first time for a player. No, maybe Grid was the first human to receive the blessing of a dragon. His heart thumped at the thought.