The Saharan Empire had a history of thousands of years and couldn’t have produced only seven heroes. There were numerous heroes in the history of the empire, 12 of whom were awarded dukeships. It meant the original empire had 12 ducal families, but time was a scary law.
Families were corrupted or weakened as generations passed while others experienced misfortune. Five of the ducal families naturally disappeared or became traitors. It was the reason why only two of the seven ducal families currently in the empire contained the lineage of the founding dukes.
He was the pillar of the empire a few decades ago, the only great swordsman at the time, one of the most prestigious names, the emperor’s ally… and finally, the traitor.
“I must be hallucinating.” Diworth loosened his clothing as he stared at the farmer in front of him. The farmer’s eyes, nose, and mouth—they were all like they had been in the old days. His strong physique was the same. Only the wrinkles around his eyes were different. Additionally, the huge pressure that was like a great mountain had disappeared.
Diworth was able to glimpse the winds of time but not the energy. The farmer’s aging aura was no different from the wind, sand, and trees. He looked different yet the same. Diworth, who was trying to distinguish the difference between Piaro in his memories and the farmer in front of him, soon accepted reality.
It was the same person. The farmer was Piaro.
“I see. You’re not dead.”
In the days when Piaro led the Red Knights, the Red Knights were the symbol of imperial power and all the people raised them up. Diworth was the same. He hated Piaro but was forced to acknowledge him. When the empire sent a team to capture Piaro, stating Piaro would be punished for betraying the empire, Diworth was one of the people who failed to catch him.
“I thought you had left this world because I hadn’t heard about you for so long. I didn’t know you would be in the Overgeared Kingdom.”
Diworth thought the emperor might be pleased to know that Piaro was alive. His Majesty the Emperor still hated yet missed Piaro. Then there was a question.
‘Does His Majesty the Emperor know about this?’
The emperor had always been submerged in darkness after the death of the empress and Piaro’s betrayal. However, he had become bright again one day. He regained his energy. It had been around the time when Legendary Knight Mercedes was exiled.
‘Why did he banish Mercedes who became a legend?’
Did he know that Piaro was alive, and so he gave Mercedes a separate command to protect him?
‘It is possible.’
The emperor probably knew that Mercedes had gone to serve the Overgeared King. The emperor was more informed than the Seven Dukes. Despite this, the emperor hadn’t placed any restraints on Mercedes and wasn’t active in conquering the Overgeared Kingdom. He had only belatedly declared war to quell the complaints of the angry nobles after the Overgeared King accepted the evil eyes. The emperor didn’t force the Seven Dukes to participate in the war. It was why Rachel didn’t participate in the war.
‘Yes, he already knows.’
Piaro was alive.
‘Additionally, he has forgiven Piaro’s betrayal.’
Or perhaps as Rachel, Grenhal, and Morse claimed, Piaro’s betrayal might’ve been a falsehood. If this was assumed, then all circumstances were correct.
“Hrmm...” Diworth glanced down from the wall. Hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers in the desert were looking up here. Thousands of artillerymen units were still struggling to reload the cannons and catapults.
‘If they know about Piaro’s survival...’
They would be greatly agitated. The confusion would weaken the army.
‘Is it possible that the relationship between the empire and the Overgeared Kingdom will improve because of Piaro?’
Of course not. It was an unrealistic story. In the first place, Piaro would never forgive the empire. It was the empire that had killed his family.
‘Additionally, if we leave the Overgeared Kingdom that doesn’t recognize the empire as the master of the continent, it will harm the empire.’
Thus, Diworth made a decision. He should kill Piaro right now. It was the only way to thwart the chaos, win the war, and allow the empire to rise again as the master of the continent.
“Piaro, do you know? I hated you for a long time. Every time I saw you clearly being better than me, my self-esteem was damaged. Now they are all old memories. I have no evil feelings for you.” Diworth was serious. “I will consider the old days and kill you without any pain.”
He would cut with a single move. Diworth made up his mind and drank from a bottle. He was in a hurry. Aside from Basara, the other dukes had tried to stop the execution of Piaro’s family. They were clear on the fact that Piaro had been framed, and they petitioned to stop the execution. If Diworth didn’t kill Piaro before they arrived, there would be plenty of room for complications.
‘I am glad that the other dukes are chasing Skunk who is doing something crazy.’
Skunk was an explorer they had met accidentally in Galest. He was a talent who was being watched by the empire. The dukes’ eyes had shone when they heard Skunk say he would cross the Red Sea. It didn’t mean they had forgotten they were in the middle of a war. They just looked down on the Overgeared Kingdom.
Diworth’s magic power boiled, and the alcohol scent vibrated. Diworth was prepared to eliminate Piaro in an instant.
‘Please die without pain and be freed from the sufferings of life.’
Diworth would be merciful to the old hero—a hated but respected man. He pulled out a bright and glowing weapon that didn’t fit with his appearance and swung it at Piaro. Then Diworth was surprised. Piaro didn’t give off the same strong atmosphere that he did in the past. So, he thought Piaro was weak. Yet the hand plow easily stopped his strike.
“You still have a personality where you judge and act one-sidedly. Do you still hurt the soldiers when you get drunk?” Piaro clicked his tongue as the air surrounding him started to disappear.
The wind, the air, the ground, the sand, and the weeds—all the surrounding nature lost their energy. The cause of that was Piaro. Nature gave him their energy.
“No way, this...” Diworth’s fingers trembled as he hurriedly pulled back his sword. He had heard of Natural State before. “It is a transcendent Natural State!”
The weakened Piaro was actually stronger than before. The form of swordsmanship had transformed into farming, but it had evolved instead of degenerating.
The moment nature lost all its energy, the space became weightless and the floating Piaro raised the hand plow over his head.
“Wait.” Grid appeared and stopped Piaro. “Piaro and Mercedes, destroy the catapults.”
In Satisfy, there were often scenes where weapons and weapons or magic and skills collided and offset each other’s power. It could be called the singularity of the virtual reality game. All weapons, skills, and magic had a shape, establishing a formula they could respond to and counterattack. Of course, if one of the two forces colliding with each other were unilaterally strong, it couldn’t be offset. In any case, a person could try defending by colliding with an incoming attack. This was why in a fight between masters, they kept striking each other with their weapons.
However, there were some exceptions. One was the attack of a super large weapon. The size and dimension of the attack were different because it carried a heavy weight. It couldn’t be offset by ordinary weapons, skills, or magic. The system judged an attack with a ‘much larger weight and area of attack’ as a one-sidedly strong attack.
That’s right. The moment the catapults of the empire fired, Reidan would be in danger. The Overgeared Kingdom had no way to stop the flying rocks, and the walls had to be preserved. The most rational thing was to break the catapult itself like the Overgeared Cannons had attempted to do.
However, Grid didn’t have the ability to break the catapults placed in hundreds of thousands of troops. Long-ranged skills such as 100,000 Army Swordsmanship or Fly Up were virtually impossible. A general weapon exerted weaker strength to siege weapons, buildings, and facilities.
“Thus, I will leave it to the two of you.” Grid approached Piaro and Mercedes and gave them confidence. “Don’t die.”
If he hadn’t met Chreshler, Grid would’ve never risked his knights dying. Now Grid had a sense of transcendence. He realized that wrapping the knights in his arms was detrimental to their growth.
“I believe that you will complete the mission and come back safely.”
He would believe in and rely on them.
“I will keep that in mind.”
His Majesty’s trust in them deepened. Piaro and Mercedes were thrilled and jumped straight toward the enemy. Before that...
“Take this.” Grid handed the Enlightenment Sword to Mercedes and Lantier’s Cloak to Piaro.
“I can’t accept this!”
“I can't take it either.”
Piaro was panicked, and Mercedes was also reluctant. They couldn’t receive Grid’s favorite sword and the cloak that protected him. There were Jude, Noll, Kasim, and the Overgeared members by Grid’s side, but Duke Diworth was a tough opponent. Consequently, they couldn’t help worrying.
Grid smiled while attaching the Blade Aiming at the Gods to a sword using the Pulling Device. Then he patted Valhalla of Infinite Affection and declared, “I have plenty of good weapons left.”
Grid favored the Enlightenment Sword over the Sword Aiming at the Gods because of the explosions of the black flames. He was able to accumulate damage to the enemies without interruption, causing the damage to be higher than that of the Sword Aiming at the Gods. It wasn’t weaker than the Sword Aiming at the Gods because it had been successfully enhanced to +4.
That’s right. At the present time, the Enlightenment Sword was better than the Sword Aiming at the Gods. The reason why Grid gave the Enlightenment Sword to Mercedes at this time was that the Enlightenment Sword was specialized for ‘slaughter.’ The sight of Mercedes wielding the Enlightenment Sword against hundreds of thousands of troops... It was scary just imagining it.
‘The Sword Aiming at the Gods is better when dealing with the duke.’
Additionally, Grid was looking forward to the options of the Sword Aiming at the Gods.
[* 50% bonus damage to transcendent beings such as gods, angels, great demons, boss monsters, and named NPCs.]
As noted, the system recognized boss monsters and named NPCs as transcendents. So, as long as it was a named NPC like Drunk Duke Diworth, the Sword Aiming at the Gods would be stronger than the Enlightenment Sword. This was despite the fact that the skill Contempt of the Weak, which reduced a non-transcendent’s health by 80%, wasn’t activated. As Grid and his knights were talking, Drunk Duke Diworth gritted his teeth.
“Overgeared King. The king of a small country dares to deal with a duke of the empire? Stop talking bullshit and get lost!” Diworth drank more alcohol. He could no longer control his body and staggered. “Piaro! Mercedes! I can’t let you go!”
One was the hero of the former age, and the other was the hero of the new age. The moment Piaro and Mercedes appeared in the imperial camp, the imperial soldiers would feel great confusion. They wouldn’t be able to fight properly. However, the moment Diworth flew toward Piaro, the orange flags signaling retreat rose from the imperial camp.
Calling a retreat...? When they just arrived in front of the enemy? Without even saying anything to him? The bewildered Diworth focused his eyes and heard Marquis Fulbas crying out with his magic power, “Duke Diworth! I received an imperial order to retreat completely!”
“An imperial order?!”
“An imperial order?”
Drunk Duke Diworth, Grid, and the Overgeared members were all shocked. Why were they retreating now? Of course, everyone soon knew the reason. It was due to the world message that appeared.
[A great explorer has found a new island in the Red Sea.]
[The name of the new island is ‘Ruins of the War God.’]
“...!!” Diworth’s eyes widened. He could understand the reason for the emperor’s retreat order.
“A ruins exploration...!”
Moreover, those were the ruins of a god. They had to occupy it and collect the relics first. Diworth leaped down from the walls. Piaro and Mercedes tried to grab him, but Diworth’s movements were too irregular and they missed him. Meanwhile, Grid didn’t care about Diworth.
It was due to Lauel’s whisper, -The ruins are valuable. The value of the relics no one has obtained yet will exceed our imagination. We must immediately dispatch an expedition force.
They couldn’t just suck their fingers and let the emperor obtain them. Lauel’s judgment was the same as Grid’s.