The emergence of Great Demon Berith stimulated many players. They believed it was an opportunity to gain great wealth, and the unsuspecting rankers and guilds challenged the Berith raid. It wasn’t just the existing powerhouses. The forces that had been secretly gathering power also appeared in the world.
Then all of them failed completely. Sometimes dozens, hundreds, or even thousands died before Berith’s lies and alchemy. Berith’s wrath didn’t stop there, and the land he stepped on turned to ruin. In particular, two kingdoms in the eastern part of the continent suffered irreparable damage.
[Sagaltina City in the Haken Kingdom has been destroyed.]
[Agarna City in the Haken Kingdom has been destroyed.]
[Germon City in the Rotemon Kingdom has been destroyed.]
[The Rotemon Kingdom...]
Dozens of towns and cities disappeared from the map. It meant that even the armies couldn’t block Berith. The players felt a sense of crisis. As more territories were destroyed by Berith, the number of facilities and hunting grounds available to them decreased.
The people shouted unanimously:
-We need to get rid of Berith as soon as possible.
-If this continues, we will disappear.
-This is when the rankers should work together.
Now, the Berith raid was promoted as an opportunity to win wealth and honor at the same time, not just wealth. More and more guilds challenged Berith to become heroes. The rankers forgot to compete and worked together to fight Berith. Then they were all defeated again. A large expedition, including the Ares Army who re-challenged the raid, managed to reduce Berith’s health by 30%. Then Berith entered a new phase after losing health and caused the expedition to collapse at an even greater speed.
After this, the situation became worse. Berith secured enough souls from the battles and used them as sacrifices to summon his first army. He became more powerful with the presence of the army, and the devastation of the continent accelerated.
The Haken Kingdom and Rotemon Kingdom were on the brink of destruction. The players who were active in these kingdoms almost lost their lives. The great demon’s rampage caused the existing rule and order to collapse, and numerous players suffered great inconveniences. The Berith raid became a common problem that had to be resolved for players as a whole, not for wealth or honor.
The nervous people started to make a lot of noise. Why wasn’t the Overgeared Guild coming forward? Why did they turn away from this calamity? They were criticized for being irresponsible. How funny. People had accused them of monopolizing the Belial raid, and now they condemned them for not participating. Of course, this wasn’t everyone. However, many people placed one-sided standards on the Overgeared Guild.
Lauel naturally didn’t care about their accusations. In the first place, the Overgeared Guild was a private organization. They had no obligation to respond to other people’s wishes while taking damage. Moreover, there was sufficient justification for it.
“We can’t afford to challenge Berith yet. Our top priority is to recover from the war and explore the ruins. There is a low probability that Berith will be raided while we’re away.”
Lauel logged out of the game due to the connection time limit. These were the contents of an email he sent to all guild members after confirming the news articles and public opinion. No one disputed the contents of the email.
In the imperial barracks, Grid, the 10 meritorious retainers, the dukes, and Skunk sat facing each other. Grenhal was seated in front of Grid, showing his authority as the highest among the dukes.
“Since we are now working together, we will be honest about our affairs and provide you with the information we have so far,” Grenhal said, shifting his gaze to Basara.
Then Basara started explaining, “There are 4,959 soldiers and 300 knights. We have a total of 5,259 people, but the soldiers are useless in front of the followers while the knights are helpless against the traps. The three of us were the only ones who actually fought in the meantime.”
The imperial army had suffered on this small island. It was hard to believe the noble dukes were struggling.
“However, things have now changed. Your Majesty has the key. In the future, we will be able to include the knights in our combat strength. The knights are skilled and will be a big help if they fight eight against one.”
The 10 meritorious retainers had experience fighting the followers who had learned two secret techniques. When they first met, two of the 10 meritorious retainers had to work together to knock down one follower. A long time had passed since then, and they should now be able to fight one-on-one.
Yet the duke was stating that eight knights were needed to fight one follower. Peak Sword shrugged and couldn’t stop his lips from curving up.
‘The dukes’ knights are worse than us.’
As expected, the 10 meritorious retainers were strong. Even if they were folding screens in front of the duke... That was because the dukes were too great. Peak Sword was trying to be confident when he doubted what he was hearing.
“Of course, this is only a story when dealing with a follower who had learned five secret techniques. However, most of the followers in the jungle have only learned five secret techniques. Based on our experience, we should be able to at least break through the jungle area.”
Five secret techniques... The classic short advertisements on the Internet flashed through Peak Sword’s mind. He clearly heard ‘five.’
‘Crazy. Five techniques?’
They could barely fight one-on-one against the followers who had learned two secret techniques. Now there were followers who had learned five? Peak Sword closed his eyes. He was worried because the difficulty of the ruins was higher than expected, and the dukes’ knights were also strong.
Meanwhile, the others were fine. The former Tzedakah Guild members—they had easily predicted that the followers in these ruins would be stronger since they had played all types of games before Satisfy. Yura, Chris, Euphemina, and Katz weren’t shaken because they were confident in their skills.
‘Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable?’ Peak Sword felt somewhat alienated.
Meanwhile, the conversation between Lauel and Basara continued.
“You might be wondering about what lies beyond the jungle, but we don’t know yet.”
Lauel asked her, “More than that, the question is about the uncertainty that we can somehow break through. You don’t have the confidence that we and 300 knights can break through the jungle easily?”
“Why? Wasn’t the problem about breaking through the jungle due to the traps? If King Grid resolves the trap, won’t the problem disappear and it will be easy?”
“The traps were the biggest problem, but there are other problems.”
“What is it?” Lauel asked urgently. This was the first time that a noble of a small country was so talkative in front of a duke of the empire. Yet Basara showed no signs of discomfort at all. It was natural to respect the other person once they had a temporary partnership, and they were going to discuss everything anyway.
“The followers learn different things, and they use different weapons. Some have a strong defense to neutralize attacks while others use deceptive means to distract the mind.”
The gist of the explanation was simple. The more followers that were gathered, the stronger their fighting power would be. Eight knights could defeat one follower, but this was a story when it was eight against one.
“If there are 10 followers and 80 knights, the knights would be defeated unconditionally. It will be hard for Duke Grenhal, Duke Morse, and I to deal with more than 10 followers at a time.”
It was too much to deal with five followers when there were traps, but that had improved. Lauel had a troubled expression. “This means we will be defeated if we encounter many followers during the march.”
“That’s right. The followers basically roam alone, but when a battle occurs, the nearby followers will arrive quickly. Thus, it is often necessary to retreat depending on the situation. Additionally, the followers are monsters and will respawn after a certain period of time.”
There was a high probability that the retreat would be repeated. That’s why it was unknown as to when they could break through the jungle.
‘I am worried about Berith if we drag out the time too much.’
Berith would summon new armies and raise his strength as time passed. After all, Lauel couldn’t let the enemy that they were going to raid become stronger.
“It isn’t good to drag out the time. Are there any reinforcements?”
“A total of five ships departed from Galest a fortnight ago.”
“There must’ve been an accident.”
Eventually, reinforcements would arrive. Even if the first reinforcements had experienced an accident, the empire would dispatch second and third groups of reinforcements. However, this meant a delay in time.
‘We might have to change the order of the historical site exploration and the Berith raid. Then the empire might monopolize the site rewards while we’re gone. It is the worst.’
The genius Lauel wasn’t able to make guesses easily. Why had the imperial troops failed to arrive?
Nobody knew that ‘he’ was working so hard. (TL= Huroi)
It was a problem because his activities could turn into trolling.
Two hours later, the meeting led by Lauel and Basara ended. Sufficient information was exchanged, and future plans and command systems were completed. Grid rose from his seat. “Let’s start right away.”
He had been bored to death during the meeting. As he couldn’t even make underwear in front of the dukes, he had to just sit there and listen. Skunk gulped when he saw Grid’s ambitious appearance. ‘Is now the time for the rebellion?’
Grid hadn’t collected any key pieces. Skunk didn’t know how the dukes were fooled, but Grid had no means of releasing the traps. Skunk became afraid as he imagined how Grid would attract them to the jungle and deal with them in some way. He wondered if he should help the dukes who treated him well. As Skunk hesitated, Grid’s party and the dukes finished their preparations to move.
Naturally, Skunk also went with them. It didn’t make sense for him to stay away from the exploration when he was the only person who could reveal the secrets of the ruins.
“...” Skunk’s expression was dark as they arrived in front of the jungle. This was a jungle where animals couldn’t live because of all types of traps. It was quiet and sinister.
Duguen. Duguen. Duguen. Skunk’s heart beat quickly.
He was worried about how Grid’s group would clash with the dukes and also felt pure curiosity. Grid reached out to the air. His hand sank into an invisible inventory in front of everyone.
‘I have to stop it now.... No, Grid and the Overgeared members will be the ones to die. Ahh... Dukes, it is dangerous!’
Skunk was in a dilemma and eventually closed his eyes. He chose to ignore it and just imagined Grid drawing a sword from the inventory. However, the item that Grid pulled out of the inventory was a key, not a weapon. His universal key unlocked the tree. There was the sound of a lock opening, and the startled Skunk opened his eyes, only to look blank. “...?”
Grid was approaching every visible tree and inserting a key. The traps of the jungle started to be released one by one under his hand.
In the previous conversation, Grid seemed completely unaware of the key pieces. He gave the absurd answer that he originally had the key. That’s right. Grid’s key was completely different from those available at the ruins.
Was it effective? What the hell was this?
“Wait a minute! W-What the hell is that key?”
“This? A universal key.”
“...?!” Skunk belatedly recalled something. Grid was the Overgeared King. It was the reason he became king, not because of other exceptional talents.
Yes, overgeared. Grid was the most overgeared person in the world.
“Hmm?” Grid was curious about Skunk’s reaction, only to suddenly pull out a sword.
Then he started a sword dance. “Pinnacle Kill.”
There was a follower who approached Grid while hiding in the vines. Grid’s high insight and Slaughterer’s Eye Patch meant he saw the follower before the attack. The two fused sword dances didn’t consume a lot of sword energy, and some of the sword energy was recovered by the subsequent basic attacks. It took only 10 seconds for the follower to turn to gray.
“Hey, you said they were basically wandering on their own? Don’t we just have to kill them as soon as we see them?”
The followers in the Galgunos Temple were classified as elite monsters while the followers at the ruins were classified as normal monsters. The followers might be stronger, but their health was low. Thus, it was easy to kill them in a few blows. This was Grid’s opinion.
“...” There was an awkward silence.