[Nefelina is checking your condition.]
[Nefelina believes that your stats are insufficient.]
‘Heok. Don’t tell me?’
What was the dragon’s blessing? Grid’s expectations swelled even more. The dragon was observing him seriously, and Grid thought she would make up for what he was lacking.
‘Will she increase my agility or intelligence?’
In fact, it was wrong to say that Grid was lacking power, especially among players of the same class. No, Grid’s average stats were so high that there was almost no one among the two billion players who had higher stats than him. Nevertheless, humans were animals who didn’t know how to be satisfied. Grid coveted more for his relatively scarce stats and hoped Nefelina would know his earnest heart. He had faith it would be possible with a great dragon.
However, the result was different from what he expected. Nefelina didn’t raise Grid’s stats.
[Nefelina has given you a blessing so you can overcome your deficiencies!]
[10% more experience will be gained when hunting monsters in the future!]
[20% more experience will be gained when hunting boss monsters in the future!]
That’s right. The blessing that Nefelina gave didn’t mean immediate results, but it was a driving force to achieve better results. Grid’s excitement was popped like a balloon.
“This is the blessing...?”
He wanted to deny it but it was true. The effect of the dragon’s blessing was already shown in Grid’s status window, and it could be described as an experience buff. Nefelina looked at him with a grumpy expression. “Is it a curse?”
Maybe it was because his expectations were too high. Grid had wanted a dramatic effect like the goddess’ blessing that strengthened a skill. Thus, he felt greatly disappointed at the unexpected experience buff effect.
‘Ha, I can’t believe that a dragon’s blessing only gave me an experience buff. Once the buff duration ends... Eh?’
Grid once again confirmed the effect of the blessing and looked like he had been hit in the back of the head with a hammer. He was really shocked.
[★ Growth Blessing ★
Additional 10% experience gain when hunting monsters.
Additional 20% experience gain when hunting boss monsters.]
No. There was no ‘duration period’ mentioned anywhere. Perhaps?
‘Is it a buff that lasts indefinitely?’
Experience buffs were very rare and efficient. The general public had few chances to receive an experience buff apart from the reward of the National Competition. However, Grid had a huge amount of reputation points. He could obtained experience buff potions by using the drawing machine of the Reputation Store. This experience buff potion gave an extra 20% experience.
Therefore, he saw the dragon’s blessing and thought it was worthless. Now he realized it was different. The experience buff potion had a duration of three days while the dragon’s blessing was a permanent buff. It meant Grid would always get more experience than others.
‘It is even 20% against boss monsters!’
What if he hunted after taking experience buff potions in this state? He would be able to enjoy a buff effect similar to the first place buff of the National Competition.
“...Gulp!” Grid gulped excitedly after realizing the value of the blessing. Nefelina’s tail moved as she said, “You finally realized that I have given you a great blessing.”
He had to admit it. Grid was reminded of the structure of named NPCs. It was practically impossible for a player to catch up with them since there was the player’s average level +2 correction effect, as well as their steady increase in level over time. At this moment, a possibility opened up before Grid. It was the possibility of catching up with the leveling speed of named NPCs.
The dukes of the empire, the Five Pillars, the grandmaster... And finally, the yangban Garam...
Their backs, which seemed like they would always be ahead of him, were now right in front of his eyes. Grid was filled with joy and embraced Nefelina. Nefelina was currently in the form of a cute little dragon, so there was no reluctance for him to express his affection.
“Hiccup...!” Nefelina’s wings soared up as she was suddenly hugged by the man. “Y-You. This majestic body...! What are you doing?”
“Ah, s-sorry. You are so cute that I made a mistake...”
“C-Cute? I-I am an existence you will always look up to!”
Nefelina flapped her wings, and her body eventually rose into the air. The space reconstruction magic couldn’t cope with the currents of magic power and became unstable. The surrounding landscape was distorting.
“Hiiik!” The chef Idan was terrified and fainted.
The evil eyes king instantly knelt down and shouted, “Destroyer of the future! Please fix it using any means!”
However, Nefelina couldn’t hear the voice of the evil eyes king. She just growled as she glared at Grid, “You were only able to touch me in the past because I was in the egg! However, it is different now! You can’t do it anymore! I’m no longer a baby, so be careful in the future!”
Did she have memories of when she was in the egg? Now he knew why Nefelina was so good to him. Grid learned a new fact and vowed not to touch her again in the future.
“Thus, I plan to focus on hunting for the time being.”
This was after he gained the dragon’s blessing. Grid visited Panmir, not Lauel. There was something he wanted to ask Panmir.
“What is the safest area in the volcanic zone near Talima?”
Talima, the dwarf city—it was surrounded by a volcanic area that contained the nest of the dragon Trauka and was a place where players and the empire couldn’t access.
Panmir’s expression hardened. “Are you going to hunt there?”
Once again, there was the nest of the dragon Trauka in the volcanic zone of Talima. One of the legends of the Legendary Great Magician Braham was that he ‘survived the dragon Trauka’, so it wasn’t necessary to explain how strong and ferocious Trauka was.
“If you happen to meet Trauka...”
“I will die. That’s why I’m asking you for the safest area.”
The 1st ranked blacksmith, Panmir—he was superior to Grid in some ways. It was because he learned the dwarves’ techniques. Grid knew that Panmir had visited Talima. He thought that Panmir would know a safe place in the volcanic area. However, the response was terrible.
“Um...” Panmir’s brow furrowed as he thought about it for a long time.
Grid noticed his mistake. “Oh, excuse me. I’m sorry.”
In Satisfy, the value of information was higher than 1,000 gold. They might be colleagues but few people were willing to freely hand over the information they worked hard to collect. In that sense, it was great that Kraugel had provided information about the Behen Archipelago and the Ether Diamond despite not being part of the same guild. Panmir waved his hand. “No, it isn’t that. The reason I thought for a while isn’t that I am uncomfortable but because I truly don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“Yes. I was able to visit the dwarves and Talima thanks to the help of another force.”
“Is that a guild name?”
“It is the name of a guild and a real family name.”
“Rothschild is that Rothschild?”
“Right. Just as in reality, they have accumulated wealth and influence in Satisfy. They probably realized the value of Satisfy from the moment it launched and made a big investment. In any case, only the Rothschild Guild knows about the current Talima. I don’t know which part of the volcanic zone is relatively safe.”
Grid’s interest wasn’t just the volcanic zone.
“They have great influence...? But I’ve never heard their name in all these years.”
“Rather than move directly, they act in a way that creates lower forces or supports other forces. It was an agent who first made contact with me.”
“Why do they bother moving in secret?”
“That family is originally like that. Well, I guess it is bothersome to deal with everyone.”
“Did they introduce you to the dwarves?"
“Right. At that time, the Rothschild family directly raised their power by dealing with the dwarves, and there were occasional disagreements during the process. They figured it would be better for an easy-to-handle player to obtain the dwarves’ techniques.”
“What was the result?”
“As you can see, I was a free agent and moved to the Overgeared Kingdom. I didn’t meet Rothschild’s expectations.”
“Are you saying a blacksmith like you was abandoned?”
“Haha...” Panmir scratched his head and laughed bitterly. He was ranked first on the blacksmith rankings. Unless there was someone great among the unofficial rankers... After Grid, he was the next best player among the existing blacksmith players. The reason why the Rothschild family could easily discard him meant that the skills of the dwarf craftsmen were beyond imagination.
“Hrmm... Are they a threat to us?” Grid asked after a moment of thought.
Panmir shook his head. “No, that won’t happen. They are aiming to quietly build up wealth. There is no reason for them to be hostile, and they might even be dreaming of a symbiotic relationship with the Overgeared Kingdom.”
“Indeed... If they were dangerous, Lauel would’ve already warned me about them.”
Feeling convinced, Grid nodded and opened the Reputation Store. He used the drawing machine and secured a total of five experience potions. Grid was planning to hunt for at least one month.
‘Let’s go to the Galgunos Temple.’
The volcanic zone was the most ideal hunting ground, but he would die if he didn’t reduce his chances of meeting Trauka. He could afford to die one or twice due to the experience buff, but more than three times would be too much. In the worst case, he could drop an item.
[(Breaking News) Grid’s level-climbing speed.]
20 days had passed since Grid left for the hunting grounds. The royal palace was quiet because most of the Overgeared members were at the hunting grounds. Still, it was hard to say that it was peaceful. There were three months remaining in the truce agreement with the empire.
The movements of the Overgeared Kingdom that wanted harmony with the different species was at odds with the empire’s ideology. This was the calm before the storm, and it was an uncomfortable calm.
The cries of the soldiers rang out around the clock. Lauel was trying to find peace of mind watching Piaro, Mercedes, and Singuled train the soldiers only to become astonished. It was due to Faker’s report.
“Agnus visited this place?”
“Yes. It seems he came to meet Elizabeth.”
Agnus was the most wanted man in seven kingdoms. It was alleged that he had murdered several accessory makers. However, Lauel knew it was a lie.
“He is a dangerous guy. Shall I kick him out?”
“Umm... No. Let’s just watch a bit.”
At one time, Agnus was known as a madman and a purely evil person. Now, it was hard to see him as unconditionally evil after calmly analyzing his movements. He had actually protected Irene and Lord.
‘He is more powerful than Grid in a massive war. It would be good to build up a connection with him.’
Lauel touched his chin and ran to the location of Prince Lord. Lord was in the middle of learning from Sticks.
“Lauel, what are you doing here?” Coke ran over and asked after discovering Lauel.
Lauel chuckled. “I want to take a walk with the prince.”
“...? I understand.”
It wasn’t going to be an ordinary walk. Coke felt very tense when he saw Lauel and Faker standing side by side.