[The North Gate Guardian has fallen.]
[The scattered gray soul is saying sorry to you.]
[The North Gate has been breached! The momentum of the invaders is soaring into the sky!]
“...This is unexpected.” Grid was surprised as he purchased the necessary materials from the Reputation Store. He wasn’t surprised that the first gate was breached in 37 minutes. This timing was similar to Grid’s expectations. Rather, he was surprised that the North Gate, which was protected by Noll, was the first to be broken.
‘I didn’t know Noll would be the first to lose.’
Prior to the National Competition, Grid had made the Valhalla of Strong Trust for Noll. The myth rated armor based on Valhalla of Infinite Affection had the effect of increasing health recovery, reducing the damage received and acquiring additional defense (maximum of 100) when facing multiple opponents. He could be called the strongest tanker among the four heavenly kings, yet he was the first to fall.
‘This is despite the title effect...’
Noll would unconditionally try to escape if health fell below 10%. Even Noll’s powerful survival instinct wasn’t enough. Honestly shocked that Noll was the first to be defeated, Grid was forced to think about a variety of cases.
“Magic Missile.” Once the cooldown of Alarm ended, Grid took out Belial’s wand and set the time of the spell.
“...Immobile Fortress became a poison.”
The passive skill attached to Valhalla of Strong Trust, Immobile Fortress. It reflected damage every time the armor durability fell by a certain amount and was a more useful skill than Moving Fortress in certain circumstances. That said, it did have a fatal weakness that made it impossible for the wearer to move when it was used. This was likely the part that caught Noll’s ankle.
‘Additionally, Jishuka and Damian are in the group that attacked the North Gate.’
Based on what Grid knew, there were few players who had an attack power high enough to pose a deadly threat to Noll. Among them, Jishuka was the only one capable of dealing ‘continuous’ high damage. If Damian had given her wings, Noll wouldn’t have been able to hold on for long.
“Alarm. Magic Missile,” Grid once again set up the spells and then looked at an item from the Reputation Store. His heart wasn’t affected by Noll’s death. He didn’t feel any interest in the words, ‘I’m sorry.’
This was conclusive proof that this Noll was a fake.
‘I’m sorry... The operating team doesn’t know Noll’s nature.’
Noll was still young and dependent. The real Noll would’ve felt resentment at the moment of death. Why hadn’t Grid come to help while he was suffering such shame and humiliation? Yes, the four heavenly kings only inherited the powers of their bodies and not their appearances or personalities. It would be a waste of his emotions to think about their pain and humiliation.
Grid kept thinking this as he controlled his heart.
Still, it didn’t work. The unbearable anger was boiling up. Like a sticky liquid, it was hard to remove. It was anger toward himself. Noll’s death had arrived faster than expected. Grid got distracted when he thought that the cause of Noll’s death was the item he had made.
Unlike the players, a NPC’s life was finite. Grid respected them and cared for them. He vowed to give more than 10 of his lives for them.
‘I can’t make only one item.’
The Noll he was worried about was currently guarding the vampire city. What if someone invaded the city? What if Noll trusted and relied on the armor that Grid made? If this was the poison that ended up hurting Noll...
“I also...” Grid trembled as he was reminded of Khan. His right hand, which was swinging the hammer, was white. Then a new notification window emerged.
[The South Gate Guardian has fallen into the moat.]
[The scattered gray soul melting in the water is saying sorry to you.]
[The South Gate has been breached! The roar of the invaders has penetrated the battlefield!]
It was exactly nine minutes after the North Gate was broken. The second victim was Asmophel’s clone, Vin. Grid wasn’t shaken. This was a sin committed by the desire to be first. Asmophel’s mind and body were tempered from confronting the sin he couldn’t escape. These days, he practiced a swordsmanship that transcended the concept of time.
‘It would be hard for him to deal with a large number of enemies alone.’
Compared to the other heavenly kings, Asmophel was incomplete. Unlike Piaro and Mercedes, he wasn’t a legend. Nor had he been born with the highest pedigree like Noll. Asmophel’s flames of his swordsmanship were a double-edged sword that melted even his own body. He had yet to reach the threshold of transcendence, and it would be difficult for him to cope with 100 rankers when his stats had fallen by 30%.
[The price of the selected item is 999 reputation points. Do you want to buy it?]
The time between when he accepted the Demon King project and when the National Competition started—Grid had worked diligently in the three months given to him. He had spent time thinking around the clock as he worked hard to improve the odds. Not only had he carried out various quests and adventures while strengthening the equipment of the four heavenly kings, he had also studied how he could use his cards more efficiently.
One of them was the use of the Reputation Store. There were various types of products in the Reputation Store such as food, elixirs, skill reinforcements, magic scrolls, boxes containing various items, boxes containing pets, minerals, jewelry, ingredient boxes, and so on. Expectations were very high. They were products that guaranteed a minimum of performance or ratings in exchange for high prices.
First of all, Grid naturally planned to purchase the Sweet Candy, which raised all stats by 30%. The Sweet Candy only lasted five minutes, but he could buy up to five. Thus, he would be able to maintain this top condition for 25 minutes. However, after thinking about it a bit more, he felt that this wasn’t the best way.
The new product that Grid focused on was the cheapest item in the Reputation Store. It was the 999 reputation point random machine.
[Draw! Draw! Draw it!]
[The random drawing machine!
If you spend 999 reputation points here, you can get a variety of items from the store at a random cheap price!
* Limited edition items aren’t included.
* There is a certain probability of acquiring experience increase potions.
Price: 999 reputation points.]
The explanation that they could get various items sold at a random price was a trick. Grid was reminded of old memories. He had used the random machine to gain an experience buff potion, only to get the Pretty Hairpin and Most Delicious Skewers in the World.
Of the two items, the skewers couldn’t be found in the sales list on the Reputation Store. It had come from the random machine. The past Grid hadn’t questioned it. He had only felt angry that he had gotten a useless item.
‘Things are different now that I think about it again.’
Grid came to a conclusion after thinking about it. He concluded that the magical random machine could draw items sold in every shop in every corner of the world. Otherwise, the appearance of the skewers was nothing more than a bug, and there were no bugs in Satisfy. Only unkind tricks existed.
Even if his judgment was correct, wasn’t the probability of drawing a good product extremely low? He thought it might be more stable to go with the candy and magic scrolls, but what was an adventure without risk? Grid didn’t hesitate. He had a high good luck stat now. His good luck stat was a huge 631 points. It would be nice if he were renamed the King of Luck.
‘The Challenger Store on Fog Island sold a variety of elixirs, skills, and scrolls.’
Grid was convinced. There were many secret stores around the world that he didn’t know about yet, and these stores might sell items beyond imagination.
‘It will be a super jackpot even if I only gain a few of them.’
First, Grid needed confirmation. In the real game, reputation points weren’t something that could be easily used. This was an opportunity to invest only in the random drawing machine. It would be a good experience. Even if the result of the drawing was ruined, all his other preparations were complete, so he could perform the role of the Demon King sufficiently.
Grid made up his mind and pressed the button.
[999 reputation points have been consumed to buy the ‘Draw! Draw! Draw it!’ item. You have 219,540 reputation points remaining.]
[Your high good luck stat has brought about a positive result!]
[The Immediate Item Completion Scroll has been acquired!]
Um, what was this? Did he see wrong? Grid was absent-minded for a moment and doubled checked the result again.
It might be better to stop the drawing and buy the candy and other items. Grid ignored his earlier decision and thought this sincerely.
『 After a long struggle...! It was a really fierce struggle. Finally...!! 』
『 The 400 players have breached all four gates! 』
『 The cooperation between players that transcended nationality was very beautiful and inspiring. 』
『 Thanks to Satisfy, humanity is one! So cool! 』
The commentators of each country were excited, and people all over the world cheered. The 400 players’ first and second challenges which took a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete had been fierce and beautiful. Their journey was an unforgettable sight that settled deep within the hearts of the world.
『 Now, only the Demon King is left! 』
『 Demon King... He is really strong. I couldn’t imagine the Demon King falling after seeing him in his surprise appearance event. 』
『 Same here. However, it is different now. 』
『 Yes, our heroes now know how to work together. They are no longer rivals but companions who trust and rely on each other. 』
『 That’s right! The 400 heroes can defeat the mighty Demon King! 』
The commentators couldn’t suppress their excitement. In their eyes, the 400 players on stage were real heroes. The crowd present and the audience watching in front of the screen were the same. The rankers—they were the handful of geniuses among the two billion players who many people envied and aspired to become.
People believed in the propaganda about the players and prayed that they would win. The Demon King was a being of artificial intelligence. The people didn’t want to see the players representing their country get defeated, and they got frustrated by the mere sight of monsters.
[Breaking through all the gates has opened the way to the Demon King’s castle.]
Kraugel, Chris, Jishuka, Damian, Zibal, Haster, Peak Sword, and so on—the 400 players followed the most active representatives of their group and moved along the passage. There was a wide open door at the end of the passage. They passed the door and entered a great hall.
No one was able to rush into the great hall. A music box was being played from deep inside the dark great hall. It was an instrumental song that greatly heightened the tension and anxiety.
“Everyone please cooperate. Maintain a close, compact formation. The tankers will place shields in front of them and take the outskirts. The magicians will be inside and cast defense spells.”
This was Chris’ order. After recognizing the identity of the Demon King, he knew how important it was to be thoroughly prepared. He was one of the 10 meritorious retainers and well aware of Grid’s large-scale bombardment attack using the spell ‘Alarm’.
“Let’s do as Chris says.”
Close, compact formation...? Someone complained, saying it wasn’t a real war. However, most players followed Chris’ words. It was because they had gotten good results fighting the heavenly kings once they listened to his orders. Yes, now was the time for cooperation. They wouldn’t be able to fight the Demon King by playing solo. The Demon King would naturally be stronger than the four heavenly kings.
The magician Goshar encouraged them, “He is an opponent that magic doesn’t work against. Like Chris said, concentrate on defensive spells and build up your contribution. Don’t you know? If you stay alive and protect people, you can win a gold medal.”
“Isn’t it unconscionable to forgo the shield while aiming for a gold medal?”
The atmosphere gradually relaxed, and the players were no longer influenced by the disturbing music. Everyone had a determined expression. They took a deep breath and slowly entered the hall while maintaining their ranks. The magicians cast light spells, and the darkness retreated.
They saw a huge organ with the Demon King standing beside it. Simultaneously, a notification window rose.
[The Demon King has appeared.]
The contents were short, but there was a sense of weight.
“Shields!” Chris reminded the tankers that there was likely to be an early offensive, and they instantly set up their shields. Then a deafening sound entered their ears. Shells flew, penetrating through the magicians’ shield and crushing the tankers’ shields.
“Kuoock...! Keep the formations!”
“Hey! Get up quickly! Raise the shields!!”
It was an unexpected form of attack, and it was too strong and heavy. Dust rose while the players became dizzy. This only lasted for 2–3 seconds. However, this was enough time for the Demon King. The Demon King rushed through the attacks of the ranged damage dealers and reached Seuron of Argentina. Seuron—he was the person who said that ‘Grid has hemorrhoids’ in an interview.
He was smiling? Seuron read the expression of the Demon King and felt a chill.
“Death Penalty,” the Demon King’s dismal voice rang out.
Seuron couldn’t even tell if it was a sword or a spear that pierced his chest. “...”
Beyond the great pillar of gray light, the red light around the Demon King shone. The players didn’t dare look at it.