‘It would be good to make items with their bones.’
Grid tapped the Overgeared Skeletons’ golden bones. They were dense and hard enough to make no sound.
‘Bones are crafting materials that can pursue extreme sharpness, but they are weak in durability. However, the bones of the Overgeared Skeletons aren’t weak at all. It is fine to classify them as a blue orichalcum class material.’
The Overgeared Skeletons themselves were a special existence, and they were strengthened by absorbing the bones of skeletons that were over level 350. Moreover, there was room for further strengthening in the future. There were the bones of undead stronger than Galgunos’ skeleton soldiers. This was under the premise that Grid should save the bones of humanoid undead.
‘It is a problem that time will solve.’
In the end, the bones of the Overgeared Skeletons were a crafting material that would rise in grade over time and the supplies were easily obtainable. The Overgeared Skeletons could pull out their own bones whenever they made an item. The reason for this improbable idea was Overgeared Skeleton Two’s restoration ability.
That’s right. Grid was dreaming of infinite power with advanced items. Theoretically, it was a perfect idea. There was one fatal problem though.
‘I have to consume one of the Legendary Blacksmith’s Creation slots.’
The premise of this item used the bones of the Overgeared Skeletons as a material. Such an item didn’t exist, so Grid had to create it himself. Moreover, the use of the Legendary Blacksmith’s Creation skill was limited, so he had to be careful.
‘This is a good investment if I consider that the bones of the Overgeared Skeletons can be strengthened...’
It was important to think carefully. He rubbed the round skulls of the Overgeared Skeletons, who were making uneasy expressions. Then a notification window popped up in Grid’s field of view.
[There are five minutes left in your daily access time.]
Over the past month, Grid had been raising his level at a speed different from others. It was possible because Grid’s ability to hunt was exceptional, but it was also because of his efforts. Grid focused on hunting 16 hours a day. He reduced his sleeping time to focus on the game and thoroughly managed his eating and exercise schedule. Well, it wasn’t just something he was doing now. He had been maintaining this schedule for the last few years.
Grid logged out and returned to Shin Youngwoo. His expression was exhausted as he got out of the capsule. He lay in bed and wanted to sleep until tomorrow morning. His mind was tired enough to rest for a day. The psychological factor had a huge impact on him.
After the big event that was the demon king subjugation, a strange sense of inertia dominated him. Grid tried not to show it to others, but his mind and body were exhausted. He wanted to have a good rest as psychological compensation for the big event. Then he was reminded of his past and corrected his heart.
‘I can’t go back to the old days...’
He couldn’t be careless. The other competitors were trying as hard as he was. He might be ahead right now, but there was a chance for them to catch up and for him to fall into hell.
Youngwoo slapped his cheeks, washed his face with cold water, and did simple exercises. Then he took a shower and put on a coat. Today was the 1st anniversary of Khan’s death. It was already the third cycle in Satisfy, and he had always visited Khan’s grave to maintain it. However, there was only one way to commemorate it in reality. It might be a way to appease Youngwoo’s heart.
He got into the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor, but it stopped downstairs. Having received the signal that Youngwoo had activated the elevator, Toon immediately reacted to it. “Are you going somewhere?”
“I’m going to have a drink.”
“Yes, let’s go.”
Youngwoo waved his hand at Toon who was grabbing a coat. “I’ll go alone.”
“No.” Toon was determined. Youngwoo might’ve accumulated many relationships in Satisfy, but he was still a lonely person.
“If you want to drink alone, I’ll sit at another table and wait.” Toon had become quite skillful in Korean.
Youngwoo smiled bitterly. “Thank you, but today, I want to feel alone. Don't worry. Don’t you know? I am very popular these days.”
At the very least, he was safe in South Korea. To the people of South Korea, Youngwoo was a hero.
‘Today is Khan’s first death anniversary, and he’s determined...’
It was as expected. Toon looked at the stubborn Youngwoo and nodded. “Then let’s ride separate cars. I will stay at a distance so you can feel alone.”
“This is the maximum I can concede.”
“...Yes, I understand.”
Youngwoo went down to the underground parking lot with Toon. Then Youngwoo got in the car he had been driving for five years while Toon climbed into a separate one.
Two rare and high-value vehicles appeared on the road, catching the eyes of the people.
Rose’s response was quick. She was the 1st ranked black magician and an official of the Yatan Church. Moreover, she had a pretty good visual. Her ability, presence, and beauty meant she was quite popular among the rankers. Rose knew how to take advantage of this popularity. She made headlines when she appeared on a popular TV program and revealed that the Overgeared Guild had set a kill order on her.
“A group is suppressing an individual. One of the best guilds in the world, which should be an example for all, is driving one person to the brink. What should I do? Do I have to abandon my efforts over the past few years and quit Satisfy? Won’t this indiscriminate violence of the Overgeared Guild continue in the future? People who are powerless individuals like me—won’t you also become a victim in the future?”
The world was overturned. Countless people blamed Grid and the Overgeared Guild. This was different from what had happened with Immortal. The effect was greater because Rose emphasized the ‘group’ going against the ‘individual.’
In any case, the act of a group suppressing one person was bound to be seen as cruel and cowardly. The masses, who were mostly powerless individuals, didn’t condone the actions of the Overgeared Guild. In the words of Rose, it made them feel like they could be victims as well. As such, they felt the need to hold the reins so the Overgeared Guild couldn’t run wild.
The Overgeared Guild responded immediately.
The mouth of the Overgeared Guild—no, the spokesman Huroi made an official statement, “As one of Yatan’s Servants, Rose has slaughtered numerous players and NPCs. Of course, it is her role in the game and her right to do so. Thus, I wouldn’t usually blame her for her actions. But the story is different when the Overgeared members and the Overgeared people are directly affected. Just as she has the right to act, we have the right as well. It is natural to assume responsibility if she has done something wrong. This isn’t indiscriminate violence but revenge. The Overgeared Guild will get revenge on Rose. She will be held accountable for the sins she has committed against us.”
It wasn’t a group oppressing a powerless individual. Huroi emphasized this, and there was a sufficient effect. In particular, many people hated Rose because of all the killings she committed as one of Yatan’s Servants. Groups advocating for the Overgeared Guild were formed. However, not everyone defended the Overgeared Guild.
-Dogsㅋㅋ The Overgeared ones are running around as usual.
-Look at how they’re controlling the vampire cities.
-XX guys. It is really disgusting that their country is earning money by monopolizing the hunting grounds.
-Even the National Competition rewards were almost all swept up by the Overgeared members. They’re having a full meal.
-What bullshit are you talking about? The Overgeared Guild got the rewards in the National Competition because they’re strong. The hunting grounds are also in their territory, so they can exercise their rights. The dungeon size is limited. Why would you want to share it with everyone else? Even Overgeared Guild One is in a saturated condition.
-It is funny to see the dogs insulting the Overgeared Guild. The Overgeared Guild is having a full meal? Why are you cursing at them when they’re enjoying their own efforts?
-The struggles of the Overgeared Guild are things we should enjoy together. ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
-By the way, the Overgeared Guild is too harsh. Don’t you remember how Katz used to act before joining the Overgeared Guild? Let’s say someone wants to get revenge on Katz now. Won’t they be hit by the Overgeared Guild’s kill order?
-Peak Sword overreacts every time to racial discrimination. Human garbage.
-My group asked Pon to stop teasing Vantner about being bald and was ignored...
-The National Baldness Association.
-The Overgeared Guild can’t be allowed to continue like this. One day, the Overgeared Guild might dominate everything.
Surprisingly, many people were anxious about this. It was a more primitive fear that came before envy or jealousy. It was an inevitable phenomenon, no matter how well the Overgeared Guild managed their image. However, the Overgeared Guild wasn’t shaken. This was something they had experienced every time, and they were already prepared for it.
Lauel advised Huroi, “You don't have to respond to public opinion. Just strongly express our opinion to punish Rose, no matter what the public says.”
Their intention was simple—place psychological pressure on Rose. Rose noticed the Overgeared Guild’s hard heart and immediately tried to negotiate. She sent a friend request to Lauel in the Overgeared Guild. Then as soon as he accepted it, she sent a whisper, -Why are you doing this? Is it because of the Vatican invasion?
-Yes. Our queen and prince were in danger at the time because of you. It is something we can’t let you get away with.
-...No, what is this? I never expected the prince and queen of the Overgeared Kingdom to be there! In the first place, I was just performing a quest! I didn’t lead the attack on the Vatican. Why are you holding me responsible?
-You didn’t know the royal family of the Overgeared Kingdom would attend the pope’s reelection ceremony? Don’t you know about the relationship between the pope and the Overgeared Kingdom?
Lauel interrupted Rose’s excuses and gave her a choice, -Be hunted by us for the rest of your life or testify about how is Agnus being framed and neatly clear up the relationship between us. Choose one or the other.
-Agnus? Did Agnus join the Overgeared Guild? No, that is impossible. Are you paying off the debt for him helping the queen and the prince?
-You just have to give an answer.
Rose wasn’t an easy opponent. She was a person who could see through even the smallest gap. Moreover, she was one of Yatan’s Servants. It wouldn’t be good to reveal a gap to a powerful enemy that could become ‘named’ if certain conditions were met. Rose refused, -I don’t want to.
What would happen if she betrayed the Yatan Church? She couldn’t flee to hell like Yura had done.
-You will regret it.
-Hrmm, we’ll see. How will public opinion change if I post a video every time you commit violence against me? Just watch. Be ready for the Overgeared Guild to get isolated if you touch me.
It was a tough response, but Lauel just laughed.
Youngwoo found a stall in a remote location. It had been a long time since he started avoiding crowded places.
“Oh, my! A famous person is here.”
When Youngwoo entered the stall, the owner immediately recognized his face and started flattering him. The world’s top star was in such a humble place. It was unknown if the food and drinks here would suit a special person like Youngwoo. Yet Youngwoo just sat down and smiled. “Well, five years ago I didn’t even have enough money to buy ramyun. Please give me a bottle of soju and a plate of chicken feet.”
“Omo, really? Ah! That's right! I heard rumors that you are a self-made man. It is amazing for your young age.”
“I was lucky.”
“How could it only be luck? It is your ability and talent to grab onto the luck.”
Youngwoo’s heart eased as the stall owner comforted him. Shortly afterward, the soju came out, and Youngwoo filled up a cup. The smell of alcohol hit his nose, and he was reminded of the first day he met Khan. The man had lost his wife and son and lived in a drunken state. The smell of alcohol had been terrible just from standing beside him.
‘How much pain was he in?’
Khan had been alone in the world. The weight of the solitude and despair that he had felt couldn’t even be imagined. Nevertheless, Khan had endured the solitude and despair, even making up his mind and stopping his drinking. Thinking about that time, Youngwoo found it funny.
‘His hands shook from the alcohol, and he couldn’t even hold a hammer.’
How absurd was his laugh when he saw that a blacksmith couldn’t even hold a hammer? Then Khan stopped drinking and managed to hold a hammer. He taught many things to Youngwoo, who had been severely lacking.
‘Please be happy.’
Khan had been alone the first day they met, but he wasn’t alone now. He must be laughing every day after being reunited with his family in heaven. Youngwoo believed it. Every time he emptied his glass of alcohol, he prayed to God that his belief was real.
How much time passed by...? The uneaten chicken feet and udon soup became cold. The surface of the raw cucumber that had come out as a basic snack had also dried up. Only the three bottles of soju were empty.
‘It is already time...’
Youngwoo wanted to recall more memories of Khan, but he couldn’t afford it. He had to go back to keep his schedule for tomorrow. After checking the time, the sad Youngwoo raised his last cup of alcohol to the sky.
‘I’ll have another drink next year.’
Did humans have souls? There was no definite answer. Even so, people reminisced and mourned the dead again and again. Youngwoo did the same thing for Kham. The last cup was emptied, and Youngwoo got up from his seat.
“Scumbag,” a voice suddenly entered his ears. He turned and saw four men in their mid-20s watching him with drunk expressions.
“Setting a kill order on people and giving them a hard time... You just want to wield your strength because you have it, right? Scumbag, a real scumbag.”
Youngwoo ignored them. He took out cash and politely handed it to the stall auntie. “I’m sorry, please pack up the leftovers.”
“Omo, of course. I’ll pack them quickly.” Wanting to avoid a fight, the anxious auntie started to place the remaining chicken feet into a takeaway container.
New guests entered. Simultaneously, the four men got up and surrounded Youngwoo. “This is a real tough guy. You are packing up leftovers when you make so much money? If it were me, I would give it to a passing dog as a gift. However, you’re pretending to be such a great guy.”
“What’s going on over there?”
“Ah! It’s Grid!”
The new guests glanced over and were surprised to recognize Grid. Then they pulled out their phones without anyone saying anything. They pretended to be taking photos, but they were actually shooting a video. Satisfy’s supreme person was arguing at a street stall! This was naturally a big issue.
“Hey. Are you ignoring me? If a person speaks, you ought to say something. Just once.”
“This jerk must be scared. If this were in the game, you would set a kill order on me, right? Huh?”
“Let’s try it once. Pagma’s Swordsmanship! Yap! Yap! Like this!”
“Puhahaha! Crazy! How funny!”
Youngwoo would be seen as a coward if he stayed still. The quarrel got more intense. The four men surrounding Youngwoo imitated Pagma’s Swordsmanship, mocking and threatening him. Then one person was swept up by the atmosphere and crossed the line. He pretended to hit Youngwoo with a bottle of alcohol.
“Oh, my. Young man!” The stall owner, who was trying to stop the four men, was stunned. Meanwhile, the guests who were filming screamed.
Youngwoo grabbed the bottle of alcohol that was threatening him and quietly placed it on the table. Then he raised his hand toward the men surrounding him. His actions were natural and lightning fast, shocking the men. Yet Youngwoo didn’t hit them. His raised hand slowly lowered and tapped their cheeks once. The result was amazing.
“Huung...” The sturdy bodies of the men flopped down.
“Eh?” The people filming and the owner trying to stop them had wide eyes, and they looked like they had seen a ghost. It wasn’t a slap. That was just a hand on their cheek yet their legs lost strength. This was something that people couldn’t understand.
“Thank you. Be prosperous.”
In the silence, Youngwoo picked up the packed chicken feet and left the place after saying goodbye to the auntie. He turned his gaze toward Toon who was waiting in front of the stall.
“Is this Lauel’s doing?”
It was easy to guess. The men who had been waiting in the background until Youngwoo finished and the onlookers who had appeared suddenly and started filming... In the first place, those who started the argument emphasized the Rose incident. They also mocked his correct action of packing up the leftovers.
“It is an image-making plan.”
Three hours later, the video titled ‘Grid Makes 4 Men Give Up in Reality’ was ranked number one around the world. People praised Grid’s character after suffering a one-sided insult. They questioned what Rose must’ve done to make Grid set a kill order on her.
-In the first place, the Immortal Guild received the kill order because they killed the Overgeared blacksmiths. Has there been another case where the Overgeared Guild issued a kill order? No. Rose is the first since then.
-In the end, it means Rose made a terrible mistake.
-Right. She must’ve done something very dirty.
-Look at Grid bowing 90 degrees to the stall aunty.
-God Grid packed up the chicken feet...
The staff of the Patriotic Society—the elite members who had mastered four basic languages—used the keyboard to manipulate public opinion on the Internet around the world. Public opinion started to shift one-sidedly. Now there were few people defending Rose. Rose had good judgment skills and soon raised a white flag.
-...I’ll try to clear Agnus’ name. However, it must be done secretly so the Yatan Church doesn’t know I have betrayed them. I believe that you will give me some reprieve.
-Three days. No more than that.
-That is too short...
-Don’t speak long words.
-...Yes. I’ll do my best. So please get rid of the kill order on me.
It was true that there was nothing more foolish than being hostile to the Overgeared Guild right now. She was keenly aware of this, but after a long period as a high ranker, her pride had risen sharply. Inwardly, Rose sharpened her knife. Sooner or later, she would summon a new great demon with Prince Benoit and would get revenge on the Overgeared Kingdom.