The followers who protected the Ruins of the War God had a completely different way of fighting depending on what they learned, but there was something they had in common. They were strong enough to escape the common sense of the imperial soldiers, no matter what secret techniques were learned.
However, their range of activities was very narrow. They only focused on patrolling the inside of the jungle and didn’t come out to the outskirts or approach the coast. Thanks to this, the imperial soldiers were able to operate relatively freely. Then one day, a problem arose.
“I think we’ll run out of drinking water in three days...”
The drinking water, which had been loaded on the warship, was starting to run out. This was natural since it was difficult to find drinking water on the coast. They had to go through the jungle to find lakes or valleys.
Grenhal, Morse, and Basara fell into distress for a moment. They might be able to get sufficient drinking water from the reinforcements, but their arrival was delayed. Given the dangers of the Red Sea, there was no guarantee the troops would arrive within three days. It was impossible to confirm since communication wasn’t allowed.
“We’ll have to go and get drinking water directly.”
They had to enter the jungle. It was a considerable burden on the dukes. If there were six followers who learned five secret techniques coming at them simultaneously, wouldn’t they be able to pressure the dukes? It was naturally a big threat. The dukes would be eliminated if they were surrounded by dozens of followers.
There was an even greater risk. It was the traps. There were all sorts of traps that the dukes couldn’t bear. It would be hard to deal with the followers while paying attention to things that couldn’t be bypassed without the keys. However—
They were responsible for 5,000 soldiers, the private soldiers brought from their respective families. They couldn’t let the people who contributed to the revival of their families die of thirst. It was a duty and pride they felt as the noble and lord of an estate.
“M-My Lord.” The soldiers’ eyes reddened. After all, they had eyes and brains. They knew the dukes were acting unreasonably because of them.
Morse clicked his tongue as he watched the soldiers who felt guilty and anxious simultaneously. “Have we fallen to the point where you are worried about us? I’ve demonstrated a few times that the followers aren’t that strong, but you didn’t show such a response.”
“We will correct it!” The soldiers’ eyes shone brightly. Morse’s confidence gave them an optimistic view of the situation. The dukes could still afford to act.
“...” Nevertheless, the expressions of the knights were dark. The knights had been trained by the dukes and were aware that the dukes were tense.
It was a conflicted atmosphere.
“I’m going. Protect Sir Skunk and the barracks well while we are absent.”
The knights and soldiers responded mightily.
[You have entered the Ruins of the War God.]
[You can find traces of the war god.]
[Warning! There is no resurrection spot in the Red Sea. If you get killed, you will be banished to outside the Red Sea.]
The shiny gold caught their eyes. The sandy golden-white beach shone under the sunlight, blending beautifully with the crystal clear emerald-like sea. Grid and the 10 meritorious retainers jumped off the warship, which was 10 floors high, and appreciated the scenery in front of them.
They felt all types of emotions from the beauty of nature that was hard to see in reality. This did not include Hurent though.
‘I have butterflies in my stomach.’
The people he was with were too splendid. He still didn’t understand. Why was he with them when he wasn’t qualified?
‘Am I supposed to learn from watching them?’
During the 10-day voyage, the Overgeared members had shown amazing images.
Katz had defeated a sea monster with a normal rated weapon while Regas had made crazy noises to maintain his fighting spirits and asked to PK with his colleagues as he fought the sea monster. Hurent didn’t know how many times he had clicked his tongue at the sight of Regas avoiding the attacks of his teammates while he damaged the sea monster.
Lauel had created a few waves to disperse the swarms of fish while Chris had struck the octopus and other sea monsters with force. Grid had even made his cute cat and skeleton soldiers fight the sea monsters, saying they should level-up. Hurent seemed to have been watching the great demons train until they became half-dead. Euphemina had done nothing but suck her fingers, yet her colleagues had shared their experience with her.
Looking back, it appeared even more absurd. Hurent didn’t know what the hell he had seen. It was clear that no one would believe him if he told them about everything he witnessed during the voyage.
‘I’m certain. I have to watch them and learn.’
The world-class players of the new era—he would learn by watching them. Grid’s intentions were clear. He was looking forward to Hurent’s potential as someone from the old era.
‘He wants me to grow up and become his strength.’
However, Hurent felt sorry. He had just been playing and eating and wasn’t in the right shape.
‘...I have already done my best.’
He had achieved unprecedented growth through his meeting with Piaro yet he was still just like this. Hurent was evenly matched with Haster, who had been devastated by Grid in the 4th National Competition. Despite his efforts, Hurent hadn’t improved at all since the old days.
‘It is a mistake to expect anything from me.’
Just as Hurent was smiling bitterly, Lauel’s voice entered his ears, “The inside of the jungle is suspicious, but at least it is quiet around the coast. The followers of the war god use martial arts and care about footwork. They will be reluctant to fight on the sandy beach where their feet will sink. This place is safe.”
Lauel’s primary class was a qigong master. His senses were developed, and he was extremely talented at reading the monsters. He wouldn’t be wrong if he declared the coast as a safe area.
“First, let’s not enter the jungle and explore the coast. We need to find the right place to build our camp. The empire’s camp should be somewhere here, right? Let’s scatter and scout the area. We’ll meet here again in two hours.”
“Yes.” Grid nodded obediently. As expected from the bold ruler, he seemed to entrust this trivial matter to Lauel.
“Should we kill if we meet people from the empire?” Katz wondered.
Lauel shook his head. “Please hide and try to avoid as much friction with the empire as possible. Our numbers are few, and it isn’t good to be spotted by the empire.”
“Hmm, I understand. We have to move stealthily.” Katz nodded passively. Grid and the 10 meritorious retainers scattered everywhere. Some people moved alone and others in pairs. It was extremely unlikely that monsters would appear on the beach. Their purpose was to search the area. It was inefficient to go around as a group.
“Would you like to go with me?” Lauel approached the lonely Hurent. The two people had been paired together in the 1st National Competition, so they were familiar with each other.
Hurent shook his head. “Don’t worry about me. Go alone.”
“Yes. I’ll see you back here at the promised time.”
“Yes…” Hurent started walking.
How far did he walk? Hurent was moving along the waterfront and admiring the calm waves when he suddenly stopped. He saw something in the distance.
“W-Why is a follower here?”
There was a group making a fuss. There were around 10 people who were players. Based on their armed status, they were non-combat classes.
‘It isn’t the empire. They are a small expedition who sailed after seeing the world message like us.’
There were no signs of hostility, so the relieved Hurent hid and watched the situation. A woman with the funny ID of Dog Woman was leading her colleagues.
“Jaguar and I will buy time while you run away. You must tell the captain that the range of the followers’ activities seems to have expanded.”
‘There is a war god follower.’
It was a muscular man wearing old clothes. The name ‘war god follower who has learned five secret techniques’ was floating over the man’s head. The name was white. This meant it was a normal monster.
‘I heard the followers were elite monsters yet this is normal grade?’
A lot of information was shared with Hurent. There were very strong humanoid monsters called war god followers at the Galgunos Temple. Two of the 10 meritorious retainers had to work together to knock them down. They were really scary.
‘By the way, this one is a normal monster. It will be different from the followers that Pon and Regas talked about.’
In the first place, Lauel said the coast was safe. It meant this follower with five secret techniques wasn’t a dangerous opponent.
‘Hmm...’ Hurent was silent for now. He had no intention of coming forward because Lauel told him to act as stealthily as possible. It wasn’t his business if this group was in danger or not.
“Fools, I told you to run away!”
It was great to see people wield wooden shields and sacrifice themselves to save their colleagues. They were in a critical condition from one kick. These people were really terribly weak.
‘...Is it okay if I help out a bit?’ Hurent was also weak, so he now understood the feelings of the weak. He felt uncomfortable looking away when weak people like him were in pain. In the end, he made a decision after much struggling.
“It doesn’t matter if they don’t find out who I am.” He pressed the straw hat he had received from Piaro deep over his head. Then he entered the battlefield. “Hey.”
Both the war god follower and Dog Woman cocked their heads. A mysterious figure wearing a straw hat who didn’t show any tension had appeared. It was enough to attract everyone’s attention.
“W-Who are you?”
Have the empire’s reinforcements already arrived at the Ruins of the War God? It was much faster than expected. Dog Woman was vigilant and asked for the man’s identity.
“A farmer,” Hurent gave a short reply before pulling out the sword at his waist. The follower of the war god responded immediately. He kicked off the ground and rushed to Hurent. Hurent barely managed to raise a shield and was stunned.
‘Isn’t this stronger than I thought?’
He could only sigh. Now he was in a crisis from a normal mob.
‘I heard that the level here would be high.’
Still, even normal grade monsters weren’t easy?
‘My pride is hurt.’
The follower’s kicks and punches bombarded Hurent. It was a destructive power that the aura shield’s damage absorption couldn’t handle. Hurent operated aura around his body to amplify his movement speed, and he immediately left his position.
“...Wow.” Dog Woman and her companions were impressed. Maybe it was the sandy beach that made the follower slightly weaker than the ones in the jungle, but it was literally only a little bit weaker.
The followers of the war god were monsters. Even the Seven Dukes were helpless against their martial arts. Now, an unidentified man had appeared and was fighting convincingly well against the follower. It was particularly impressive to see the man move at a speed comparable to the dukes’. It was a tremendously fast speed. He was surely one of the highest ranked players.
Dog Woman’s group gulped. The war god follower, who belatedly caught up with Hurent, rotated and kicked at him. Hurent was hit in the chin and almost entered the ‘stunned’ state, but he was able to regain his mind due to his high resistance. Then he used his ultimate technique.
[Aura Impact is being used.]
[Accurately imagine the shape of the aura within 2 seconds. If there is even a small error in the image, the skill will fail.]
A gap of two seconds—it was too long against a war god follower. The follower’s elbow struck Hurent’s heart. Hurent coughed up blood. It was great that he maintained his concentration to the end.
“Rain.”Then a miraculous scene unfolded. Rain started to pour down over the head of the follower. The follower struggled with the pain. This was the limitation of a humanoid monster. The deadly limit of low health was the target of Hurent—one of the Five Miracles, a Sword Saint candidate, and Aura Master.