The crowd and viewers cheered after seeing Raiders descend. Yura and Chris were the strong rankers who hadn’t been able to cope against this white giant, and everyone believed that it would rise and smash the Demon King. It was the same with the other players. The players, who started to doubt victory after seeing a stronger than expected Demon King, once again felt hopeful.
This was due to the presence of the magic machine, Raiders. It was a great presence that could dispel the frustration and despair of its allies.
“Zibal! Please win!”
Humanity united with one heart as they chanted one person’s name. At this moment, Zibal achieved his dream of becoming the protagonist of the world. Raiders knelt like a knight making a pledge. Zibal stepped on its feet and knees, jumping toward the boarding seat in the middle of its chest and roared, “Believe in me!!”
21 seconds—this was the maximum amount of time that Zibal could activate Raiders. Nevertheless, Raiders' attack power was in the ten thousands. Its agility might be low, but its body and weapon were so large that the attack accuracy was high. Furthermore, Zibal’s class was ‘Ancient Rider.’ He had the unique ability to amplify the performance of his mounts.
Zibal didn’t doubt the damage he could inflict on the Demon King if he operated Raiders to the limit. It wasn’t false confidence. This was a confidence he had gained after directly defeating Yura and Chris. It wouldn’t be polite to them if he didn’t trust Raiders’ abilities after defeating the representatives of other countries. Zibal was determined to play well for Yura’s and Chris’ honor.
‘I must win the gold medal!’
Then it happened when he was going to synchronize with Raiders.
“Baal’s Eyes.” Was he bored? The languid voice of the Demon King rang out through the battlefield, and a mystery unfolded.
The black armor that rose in front of the Demon King was transforming. Hundreds of thousands of fragments scattered all over the place and then rejoined. The armor repeatedly shortened, lengthened, and then increased in volume.
It happened in just a few seconds. The object that was an armor a short time ago changed into a giant. Light dragon scales were wrapped around it. It was a new magic machine, and it boasted a sleek black armor.
“What is this...?”
The Demon King also had a magic machine? The astonished players stepped back. The commentators were silent, the crowd screamed, and the viewers dropped the snacks they were holding.
All the Korean viewers trying to order chicken fell silent, and the owners of the chicken stores were puzzled when the phone suddenly stopped working. In a nutshell, the phenomenon caused them to even forget about the chicken...
The Demon King drove the world into chaos.
“Isn’t that just like Zibal’s magic machine?”
“It is the magic machine summoned by the Demon King. It won’t be weak.”
The quick high rankers tried to analyze the magic machine. On the other hand, all the Overgeared members were dumbfounded. It was hard to believe they were the ones who had been leading their colleagues so far during the Demon King event.
‘Grid isn’t the Demon King?’
That’s right. The ones who felt the most confusion right now were the Overgeared members. They knew the Demon King was Grid, yet he had summoned a magic machine?
‘But Grid doesn’t have a magic machine...?’
Yet the Demon King had summoned a magic machine. This meant that the Demon King wasn’t Grid.
“...How embarrassing.” Pon covered his hot face with his hands. He was embarrassed at the memory of how he had shouted at the Demon King because he thought the Demon King was his close friend, Grid.
‘Indeed, how can Grid fight as 1 against 400? It was a really ridiculous mistake thanks to the four heavenly kings. Huh?’
Pon was Grid’s friend and colleague, not Grid himself. He didn’t know all of Grid’s abilities and naturally didn’t know about Eyes of Pagma-Baal’s Contractor Version. As such, he had never dreamt that Grid had copied the magic machine. Pon looked up when he detected the energy around him.
Zibal’s voice rang out from where he boarded Raiders, “What? You, what is this? How does this person have Raiders...?”
It was a shout toward the Demon King. He had two golden horns and eyes filled with emerald light, a five-meter-tall height, and a body structure reminiscent of a human’s. Unlike the pure white Raiders summoned by Zibal, the Demon King’s magic machine was black. Otherwise, the appearance was completely in line with Raiders. Starting from the magic power booster in the back to the tip of the head and down to the toes. Every structure was exactly the same as Raiders.
Other people didn’t notice it easily, but Zibal recognized it at first glance. He had no choice but to recognize it. It had been over a year since Zibal had been with Raiders, and every day started with cleaning Raiders. Thus, he couldn’t understand. “How do you have Raiders?!!”
Over the past few years, the empire had excavated a total of four magic machines. The magic machines had different appearances and characteristics, just like people. Corlei, a scholar and archaeologist of Fourth Prince Edan, had said that he had looked at ancient literature and found there were no identical artifacts. Yet a magic machine that was exactly the same as Raiders had been summoned.
Zibal was confused. Then he became offended. For Zibal, Raiders was his soul companion. This thing dared to look exactly like his partner. Zibal flew into a rage just seeing it stand beside an AI. They dared to grant this ability to the Demon King...? Zibal thought the S.A Group didn’t respect him. However...
“Hoo... Hoo...” Zibal tried to suppress his anger. He knew how dangerous it was to lose his composure in a battle.
‘If I become agitated and take the lead, it will only open up a meaningless consumption war.’
It wouldn’t be easy to reach a conclusion if the black magic machine had the same appearance and stats as Raiders. Moreover, the magic power of the Demon King was higher than Zibal’s, so the operation time was likely to be longer.
‘I shouldn’t have taken it out at the beginning.’
Zibal made a decision. In order to overcome the S.A Group who doomed him and Raiders, Zibal was filled with a sense of duty to defeat the Demon King.
“Everybody should’ve already noticed, but the magic machine is a mount!”
While listening to Zibal’s shout, the players felt wary toward the black giant. They had noticed that Zibal wanted to share the strategy to defeat the magic machine, but how could he reveal to the world the method to attack his absolute weapon? A player should never do this. In a sense, Zibal was making a noble sacrifice.
He conveyed his willingness to defeat the Demon King to his colleagues. The morale of the players rose after reading Zibal’s heart. Additionally, some high rankers and the Overgeared members were impressed with Zibal. The reason why Zibal could reveal the attack strategy was because he was confident. He was confident that the world wouldn’t be able to harm him and Raiders even if they knew how to attack it.
‘It isn’t a mere bluff. The magic machine still has hidden potential.’
‘Or he is confident that he can grow it even further.’
‘Zibal... He appeared after two years and has amazed people many times. He has changed a lot.’
It wasn’t an overestimation. Zibal actually was confident. In fact, he was certain that the magic machine wouldn’t be defeated, even if he revealed the strategy to the world. He was confident because there was still a lot of potential, and he also believed in the class characteristics of the Ancient Rider.
“The magic machine can’t operate unless the person boards it directly. Additionally, mana is rapidly consumed because it is a magic machine that runs on mana. Even the 10 great magicians on the continent can only run the magic machine for three minutes. Increasing the operating time with Mana Drain? It is possible. However, the passenger can’t use any skills or magic when boarding the magic machine.”
There was a flood of information. It was information that would be helpful someday, not just in the current situation. The players focused as Zibal continued to explain. They didn’t know when the Demon King would move. It was just a feeling, but it felt like the Demon King was listening to Zibal’s explanation with an interested expression.
“In the end, the best way to defeat the magic machine is to buy time. All of you are good enough to buy time. The magic machine basically doesn’t have ranged attacks. Do you remember when I fought Yura and Chris? It swung the spear. The length of the spear is four meters, so it might feel like a ranged attack.”
Now was the key. Zibal decided to reveal only one of the magic machine’s physical weaknesses to the world. “Keep your distance as much as possible and attack the boosters in the back. You can’t break it because of its high durability, but whenever a booster is attacked, the mana’s trajectory will shift and the movements will be constrained. Relentlessly target the booster.”
Hah... He would have to quickly get rid of the booster weakness by strengthening Raiders. At the end of the explanation, the 350 surviving players had determined expressions.
‘I praise you for revealing your weaknesses to everyone.’
‘We won’t let your choice be stupid and will do our best to stop the Demon King.’
Every player respected Zibal in their heart. Of course, this respect couldn’t last long. They didn’t know when they would compete with Zibal once the National Competition ended. Thus, they had to hold onto the weaknesses of the magic machine that they learned today. Then they would go and mock Zibal. He was a stupid fool.
Zibal just grinned and shrugged. ‘I will be stronger by then.’
The magic machine was classified as an item and could be enhanced. Of course, it had an artifact rating. It was probably as hard to enhance as myth rated items, but the options that occurred with every enhancement were surprisingly great. The booster weakness revealed by Zibal today was something that could be overcome with just one enhancement level.
‘The problem is that at least 20 enhancement stones are required to try enhancing it once…’
The success rate was also in the decimals. However, Zibal believed that as long as he secured a large number of blessed enhancement scrolls from this year’s rewards, his dream of enhancing Raiders could be achieved. After confirming the signals that would be used on the battlefield, Zibal descended from Raiders and recalled it. “Recall, Raiders.”
‘The moment I take Raiders out again is the moment I will inflict a fatal wound on him.’
Zibal summoned the two headed hippopotamus that raised his and his party members’ defense. Then he glared at the Demon King. At some point, the Demon King stopped using Fly and was standing on the magic machine’s head.
The players’ cries were heard all over the battlefield:
“The ranged damage dealers will attack once the Demon King sits on the boarding seat! Accumulate as much damage as possible!”
“It’s finally time for the magicians to be active! Attack the booster the moment the magic machine moves!”
“We will aim for the cannon in this interval. The swords and spears won’t be able to reach the magic machine anyway.”
“A great magician can operate the magic machine for three minutes. Okay, please hold out that long.”
‘Move, Demon King.’
The players were extremely focused as they imagined all sorts of scenarios. The arrows would rush out the moment the Demon King entered the boarding seat. The Demon King would be embarrassed after leaving behind his threatening field magic and swordsmanship for the magic machine. The moment the Demon King abandoned the magic machine and revealed himself again, the spear of Raiders would pierce his chest. The players would definitely win. At this time...
“...What is this?”
It was different from what they imagined? The Demon King didn’t board the magic machine. He stood on the head of the magic machine and crossed his arms arrogantly. Then why? Why was the magic machine moving? An unexpected variable appeared from the beginning, and the confused players turned toward Zibal.
“...What the f**k?” Zibal wasn’t in any state to give advice. He sat stiffly on the hippo with his mouth wide open.
“How is it? Have you adapted to it slightly now?” The Demon King whispered to the magic machine.
He received an answer in his mind, -I was late because I had to fix some messy procedures.
“Can you use magic?”
-It is theoretically possible if I modify it, but my soul is too weak. As it is, I can only use a few basic spells.
It was the legendary great magician Braham—a genius who made a massive golem army that forced the Eternal Kingdom to the brink of destruction.
The mana wandering in the atmosphere and permeating the earth was absorbed by the dark magic machine. It was an output that far surpassed Raiders’. The amount of magic power in the boosters was three times that of Raiders. The result this produced was that the boosters became three times faster.
A giant spear swept over the battlefield like it was a pillar of Parthenon. It was like an eraser that was going to rub out the players on the battlefield. However, it only had enthusiasm.
“Why aren’t you hitting anyone?”
-I have no experience in fighting physically with my own body.
“...Geez, this is great.”
Well, Grid didn’t need to worry since Braham could use ‘basic magic.’ Grid laughed as a skill was triggered.
“Divinity. Baal’s Eyes.”
[Checking the target item’s stats, options, and production method.]
[The Item Replication skill is activated!]
[The legendary rated item ‘Failure’ will be used as the material for the myth rated ‘Red Phoenix Bow.’]
He had to slay as many enemies as possible while the magic machine was being maintained. It was a must for Grid. The magic machine kept moving. Without losing his balance, Grid pulled back a bowstring, and a red phoenix appeared in the sky.
“No XX, what is this?”
“That jerk has no conscience!”
Curses were spat out everywhere. Yes, even Zibal had a conscience. It meant he wasn’t qualified to be the protagonist yet. Originally, the protagonist acted alone. The protagonist had no conscience.