Prince Benoit—one of the three sons of Empress Aria—had been different since his birth. He explored knowledge instead of harboring ambition, enjoyed mingling rather than exerting his status, and was more interested in talent than pedigree.
The words he had spoken during his youth were famous. For him, politics wasn’t something he had to do but something he had to watch, listen to, lament about, or clap for. It was an irresponsible remark that abandoned his duty as an imperial prince. It stated he wasn’t interested in the emperor’s politics or the throne.
Certainly, 3rd Imperial Prince Benoit didn’t have the qualities of an emperor. He was closer to a scholar or revolutionary. Emperor Juander was displeased with Benoit. However, Empress Aria loved Benoit.
Prince Benoit loved and respected his mother. She was benevolent and wise, and Benoit tried to emulate her. Thus, he received the greatest shock from his mother’s death. Benoit had been suspicious since his healthy mother became sick, and he paid attention to Empress Marie. In the end, he realized the person who assassinated his mother was the empress.
However, he couldn’t find any physical evidence. It was the first time Imperial Prince Benoit was filled with the desire to kill. He felt fury for the first time since he was born. He hated his father, who depended on the wicked woman who killed his wife. He also resented his siblings who were worried about their positions more than his mother’s death.
Prince Benoit dreamed of revenge. He desperately trained his swordsmanship. He stayed up all night learning magic. He became adept at controlling the ‘red energy’ talent of the royal family. Then he realized that trampling them with strength wouldn’t be true vengeance. He hoped that his father would feel hatred and regret while his siblings would mourn.
So, he started earnestly learning the fields of magic and rituals that he had originally been interested in. Rather than praise Goddess Rebecca, he explored the reasons behind the Seven Malignant Saints’ betrayal and decided to use the great demons. He peeked at the truth of the world and didn’t reject the existence of the great demons. Instead, he attempted to summon a great demon.
It was the 4th Great Demon Gamigin, who could summon ghosts of the dead. He hoped that the truth flowing from his mother’s lips would make his father and siblings cry.
This was the story that the 1st ranked black magician, Rose, knew well. It was the Yatan Church who used the ambition of the empress to confuse the imperial family and the Yatan Church who cooperated with the summoning of the great demons by using Prince Benoit’s desire. As one of Yatan’s Servants, she couldn’t help knowing Benoit’s position.
“...” Rose watched Benoit who was standing in front of the altar. He had offered the necessary tools and human sacrifices. Now he was chanting an unknown spell. He looked more desperate than anyone else in the world. He felt like a living human being, despite only being an NPC.
“...I understand Grid’s mind a bit.”
Rose’s mouth twisted. However, understanding and empathy were different.
It was pathetic. If she were Grid, she would’ve fulfilled more desires and lived well. Why did he cling to fleeting relationships?
“Is he a pushover?”
As she cocked her head and touched her lips, Rose’s image was beautiful. However, those who could see her empty eyes would feel creeped out. The ritual was in full swing on the cliff above the battlefield.
“I found you.”
Then someone entered suddenly. It was Luck of Valhalla. He was one of the most influential members of Ares’ army. Even Kraugel acknowledged Luck’s skills and had been wary of Luck during his sky above the sky days.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but forget it.” Luck clenched his fists as he saw the unidentified NPC immersed in a ritual and his escort, Rose.
Rose cried out desperately, “Don’t disturb me! My sibling’s life depends on it!”
“Do you know why I am active in the Yatan Church despite the criticisms of people? It is because the big rewards are worth the criticism! I need money! I’m only playing Satisfy for money! I need to pay for my sick sibling’s medical expenses! My sibling will die if I don’t pay the medical fees!”
“..No, what is this?” Luck’s eyes were shaken.
Was there anybody in the world without a story? Rose might be an enemy, but she was arguing for the sake of a human’s life. Luck revealed a gap when there was a blast of magic. He staggered at the great power and looked up.
“Are you going to let me go?” Rose was pointing her staff at him. She had no sibling, but Luck had no way of knowing the truth.
“Why should I let you go? Tsk, just because I know about your circumstances?” Luck gave up his hesitation and punched Rose.
In the midst of the loud explosions, Benoit just focused on the ritual.
『 This is the end of the opening ceremony of Overgeared Four. .』
『 It was a very grand opening. Tens of thousands of gold must’ve been spent on the firecrackers alone. Huhu...』
The world’s best streamers, including Bunny Bunny, and the news reporters from all over the world were broadcasting live reports about Reidan. Honestly, they had found it ridiculous when they received the proposal from the Overgeared Guild a few days ago. They wanted to make an exhibition of a new guild creation while they were in the worst crisis...?
Moreover, Reidan was the main stage of the war. How could a guild opening ceremony be held in the middle of the battlefield? The most incomprehensible part was that the new guild consisted of artillerymen. Why organize a large artillerymen unit in Satisfy where cannons didn’t play a big role? People couldn’t understand Grid’s actions. Some people even guessed that Grid had gone crazy from fright.
Surprisingly, the Overgeared Guild finished the opening ceremony safely. They set off all types of colorful fireworks and expanded their power. The result was surprising. The imperial army shrank back rather than attacking, and their morale deteriorated.
『I seem to feel a great strength from seeing the Overgeared Kingdom expand its power in the war. It is often called bluffing. It is a basic maneuver and the risk is high, but the effect was a success. 』
People belatedly realized that this was why Grid had created the new guild in Reidan despite the circumstances. Of course, it was Lauel’s plan and one that could only be designed because of Noll’s performance. However, the Overgeared Kingdom’s king was Grid. Everything became Grid’s intentions and achievements.
-I am an artilleryman and should join the Overgeared Guild...
Interest in the Overgeared Guild heated up. The artilleryman players, in particular, expressed an active interest in the Overgeared Guild. However, people regarded it as a poison.
-Does the Overgeared Kingdom really need artillerymen? The establishment of the artilleryman guild is mere propaganda.
-That's right. The only reason to make an artilleryman unit is that are cannons which can threaten the empire.
-In fact, there are no cannons that can threaten the empire. Cannons have a low hit rate and slow firing rate. They are powerful against buildings, but it is hard for them to be a threat against moving objects. They are generally worse than magic.
-Why do artillerymen exist?
-They are useless.
-Stop it. The artillerymen will be hurt.
Cannons were a weapon with few advantages. They had been used actively in the Demon King Subjugation, but that was a unique case. There was no practicality in establishing the artillerymen unit of the Overgeared Guild. This was a natural assessment made by people.
“Artillerymen, on the wall.”
Now, Grid was preparing to break common sense like always. There were unique rated Overgeared Cannons made by him. Additionally, eight rare to epic rated cannons which had been made by the craftsmen were placed on the walls. He gave the order, and Lost Justice and the other artillerymen moved to the walls.
Then they saw it. The imperial army was gathered under the wall. Numerous people were filling up the desert. The hundreds of thousands of troops gave a different sense of pressure. There were lieutenants bearing the empire’s flags, hundreds of cannons, 20 catapults, and thousands of shield soldiers.
“Hiik...” The faces of the artillerymen paled. They had been stuck in the closet for all their lives, and now that they finally got a chance to fight, it was against tens of thousands of enemies. They were feeling terrified when Toban shouted at them, “Hurry! Load the shells and aim at the enemy’s catapult!”
Even now, thousands of soldiers were loading rocks on the catapults. The rocks were so large that it took a long time. The moment they fired, the walls of Reidan would collapse. Death would come the moment they allowed the enemies to enter.
Lost Justice regained her senses first and loaded the cannon with shells. Then she was surprised. The structure meant the shells were loaded in the back of the barrel rather than the front.
‘The loading speed is really fast!’
The artillerymen didn’t have time to check the details of the Overgeared Cannon. In this harsh and urgent situation, they simply acted upon orders.
“Aim!” Toban cried out.
30 artillerymen—the artillerymen rankers now called the Overgeared Artillerymen—started to readjust their positions. It was an indirect aiming. They took advantage of the flexibility to direct the barrel toward the sky. The initial velocity of the shells was slow, but the impact was greater. It was because shells that fell from a higher altitude had more destructive power. They could inflict greater damage on targets.
‘I have to do well.’
‘I have to unconditionally hit the target!’
The players ranked 1–30 on the artilleryman rankings. In the past few years, they didn’t have a chance to be active. No one used them, but this didn’t mean they wasted those years. They joined armies and didn’t neglect a single day of training. In order to not forget they were artillerymen, they trained enthusiastically and didn’t miss an opportunity to fire the cannons. Their skill level might be low and they were lacking experience, but they were full of enthusiasm and knew the theory.
“Launch!” Toban yelled as he raised a flag.
The artillerymen fired the Overgeared Cannons in unison. 10 cannons emitted black smoke as they fired simultaneously, and a thunderous sound filled the battlefield.
-It only sounds loud.
-It is as you say. The power is nothing.
The viewers scoffed at the weapon called a cannon. No, they weren’t scoffing. They just told the truth they knew. Then at this moment, the truth changed.
The shells fired from the Overgeared Cannons curved and fell down, piercing through the magicians’ shields and hitting five catapults. It was ridiculous. The mountain-like catapults collapsed due to just 10 shells. It was a spectacle that couldn’t be explained theoretically.
“Uwaaaack!” Thousands of soldiers who were loading rocks on the catapults screamed. The wreckage of the catapults fell and crashed into the soldiers and cannons. Casualties occurred in the formation of the imperial army. Yet only 10 cannons triggered this disaster...? The viewers, broadcasters, and artillerymen who fired the Overgeared Cannons couldn’t close their mouths.
Notification windows appeared in front of the Overgeared artillerymen.
[You have succeeded in destroying the imperial army’s 2nd catapult.]
[You have defeated an imperial soldier.]
[You have defeated an imperial...]
[Your level has risen.]
[Your level has risen.]
[Your level has...]
[The Firearms Mastery skill level has risen from beginner master to intermediate level 2.]
The notification windows conveyed good news that couldn’t be imagined. The artillerymen were stunned, but they couldn’t feel joy at the news. It was because Toban’s roar entered their ears, “Reload!”
“R-Reloading!” The artillerymen barely maintained a hold on their senses and moved. The secondary loading speed was also fast. It was several times faster than loading an existing cannon.
“Aim!” Toban raised his flag.
The artillerymen focused on four of the 15 catapults left in the imperial army. They were catapults already filled with large rocks. The imperial soldiers, who had fallen, scrambled up to pull the ropes. They were preparing to fire, but the catapults were too big and the rocks were so heavy that it was slow.
In that gap, the 10 Overgeared Cannons fired again. The power of this bombardment was greater than the previous one. It was a natural phenomenon since the artillerymen’s stats and skill levels had increased.
-T-This is ridiculous.
The viewers found it hard to distinguish between a dream and reality as they saw the big catapults crashing down. The Overgeared Cannon was an innovative and powerful weapon.
“Oh, very strong.” The Overgeared members were also surprised.
Grid explained to them, “It is stronger because the target is still. It won’t have as much power against people.”
It was a calm tone. The man who made such a monstrous cannon didn’t seem fazed at all. The Overgeared members intuitively felt that the Overgeared Cannons placed on the walls weren’t in their ultimate form.
‘Can he make it with a higher rating?’
‘If I think about a legendary cannon...’
“...!” On the walls, Grid had been staring down at the battlefield only to have his eyes widen. The smell of alcohol permeated his nose as someone emerged from the imperial army. Grid recognized him immediately. “The Drunk Duke!”
The Drunk Duke flew up. He reached the top of the wall in an instant and stretched out his hand toward an Overgeared Cannon. The Drunk Duke attacked, but Toban pulled out a shield and blocked it.
“Keook!” Toban’s shield and skills were meaningless as he was injured severely and fell to his knees. Then it happened when the Drunk Duke was going to aim at the Overgeared Cannons again. Two flashes of light flew toward him. The Drunk Duke perceived the danger and lowered his posture as a sword and hand plow grazed the top of his head.
“...What?” The Drunk Duke looked like he had seen a ghost as he made eye contact with the farmer holding a hand plow. He was so shocked that his drunkenness disappeared.