The 300 knights were stunned. They were truly amazed by Grid killing the follower in a matter of seconds.
‘There is a reason Lord Grenhal respected him.’
The knights had been thinking that Grenhal’s attitude was too much. They might need his key, but Grid was the enemy king. He was a rebel who had killed Duke Rigal. However, Grenhal expressed a subtle liking toward Grid. Why did he do this? In the end, there was a reason. Overgeared King Grid was better than the rumors said. Grenhal might’ve been fighting many followers, but Grid hunted a follower in a matter of seconds. He was faster than the dukes!
The knights felt fearful of Grid and were unable to believe there was such a strong man outside the empire. They were already worried that he would be the second coming of the Undefeated King.
The 10 meritorious retainers were also surprised. A humanoid normal monster might have the weakness of ‘less health’, but the follower was still level 400. Grid’s fighting power, which knocked down such a monster with a skill and a few basic attacks, had risen significantly compared to just a few months ago. The 10 meritorious retainers respected Grid’s constant development. The impact on Hurent was particularly large.
‘I used all my skills just to catch one...’
Hurent hadn’t participated in the meeting. Unlike the 10 meritorious retainers, he wasn’t a noble and it was somewhat uncomfortable to take part in the meeting with the dukes.
Thus, he had taken the time to look around the coast. Piaro, who had farmed in the underwater city of the water clan, had said he’d created a crop that grew in sand and ate seawater. After sufficient verification, Piaro had given some seeds to Hurent. How pleasant would it be to farm in such a beautiful coastal area…?
Hurent looked around the coast with sentimental feelings. However, being sentimental was a luxury. He should’ve used that time to train. Now, he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to reach Grid’s toes in his lifetime.
“...” On the other hand, the dukes showed no reaction. They didn’t feel admiration at all despite seeing Grid easily taking care of the followers.
Grid was also feeling a bit suspicious. ‘Isn’t the experience too little?’
The amount of experience given was the same as the amount of experience received from killing a level 300 monster. The follower only gave this much experience and left. It was a strange thing.
“...!” Grid was cocking his head only to quickly raise his sword. A fist flew out and collided with the Sword Aiming at the Gods. There was an intense explosion. Grid’s two feet left the ground. It was evident that the strength contained in the fist was superior to Grid’s strength.
Grid was pushed his sword against the punch and kicked out. The war god follower, that was attacking Grid, lowered his elbow. The follower’s elbow headed toward Grid’s knees. Thanks to this, Grid’s leg couldn’t go up and his kick was rendered useless.
“You...?” Grid identified the face of the follower and was astounded. The facial features of this follower were completely in line with the follower he had just eliminated. The moment Grid felt some doubts, the follower split into two, three, four, or five followers. They were clones. The initial follower Grid killed was just this guy’s clone.
“When they first emerge, the followers who mastered cloning will throw out their clones as bait to distract the opponent,” Grenhal murmured.
The followers of the war god were the strongest enemies who threatened even the dukes. There was no need to mention those who had learned dozens of secret techniques, but even the followers who had learned five secret techniques weren’t easy opponents. It was difficult to eliminate them in just a few seconds. That was impossible for the dukes unless they used their ultimate techniques.
Grenhal remained alert as he silently watched how Grid would cope. Grid had become the Hero King through certain achievements. Grenhal had a pure curiosity about whether Grid desired to be called the hero among heroes.
‘He will naturally have a hard time in the beginning.’
The cloning technique that the followers used was different from traditional cloning. The original cloning reproduced 30% of the user’s abilities, showing a weaker presence. Meanwhile, the cloned followers boasted a powerful destructive power. It was due to the characteristic of ‘momentarily exchanging stats with the main body’.
Of course, since it was an exchange, the power of the clone became stronger while the main body weakened. This weakness exposed them to danger, and the key was to capture the weakness. However, there was no difference between the appearance of the clones and the main body. It was impossible to find the main body and kill it.
Grenhal wondered how Grid surrounded by five followers would break through the crisis. For reference, the first time they fought a follower with the cloning technique, Grenhal took four minutes while Morse took five minutes.
“Um?” Grenhal’s eyes grew slightly wider. It was due to the blue sparks that appeared around Grid’s left eye hidden by the eyepatch.
At the same time, all the clones surrounding Grid exploded and disappeared.
“W-What? What is this ability?” The cries came from Morse, who had been repeatedly yawning out of boredom. He regarded Grid as weak and showed little interest in his battle. The follower who lost his clones was also baffled. The followers of the war god were truthseekers. In order to achieve ultimate nothingness, they detached themselves from their emotions even before death. Their confusion was an unfamiliar and surprising sight for the dukes.
Basara exclaimed, “Evil eye...!”
“What? An evil eye?”
An eye that exercised power—it was a privilege only for the evil eyes species. It didn’t make sense that the human Grid was using an evil eye, but Grenhal and Morse couldn’t deny Basara’s interpretation. There was no error in her vast knowledge.
Grid’s struck the follower, who only had the main body left. However, the follower’s skin hardened like steel and crossed his arms to block Grid’s attack. The follower’s defense was so strong that normal attacks couldn’t hurt him.
“...?!” The follower’s arm was cut off by Grid’s sword, and blood spurted out. The face of the follower distorted with pain.
[Contempt of the Weak]
[Inflicts a fatal blow to a target who isn’t in the realm of transcendence.
Deals a blow that consumes 80% of the target’s current health.
Skill Mana Cost: 5,000
Skill Cooldown Time: 1 hour.]
This was the skill attached to the Blade Aiming at the Gods. It was a skill that didn’t apply when the opponent was named, but it was like a nuclear warhead against an ordinary monster. Grid dealt eight more basic attacks to the follower who was stunned from suffering great damage. Then the follower of the war god turned to ash.
Grid was able to gain a large amount of experience, unlike when he killed the first clone. His experience gauge increased by 0.01% despite being level 398.
This time, the dukes were astonished and closed their mouths. This was the first time Grid fought a follower that possessed the cloning technique, yet he managed to easily eliminate the follower...? Honest admiration sprang up at the sight of Grid’s skills.
‘He didn’t manage to kill Rigal because he was lucky.’
In the minds of the dukes, Grid’s presence started to grow. Grid succeeded in dominating the atmosphere. It was worth using Contempt of the Weak.
[The Castration Eye is triggered. Mana is being constantly consumed.]
[The Castration Eye has been closed.]
Grid closed his left eye and approached his companions. “The followers seem stronger than I thought. Everyone, be careful.”
The 10 meritorious retainers were heartbroken. They had to be careful of monsters that Grid hunted in seconds... They realized how big the difference between them was and felt a far bigger gap than the one they used to feel with the sky above the sky—Kraugel.
‘This can't continue.'
‘We will end up being a burden if the gap keeps widening.’
The 10 meritorious retainers were burning with motivation. They would fight when they were afraid and become stronger by overcoming it. They looked around with determination. They had the eyes of predators.
The jungle wasn’t large. Thanks to Grid releasing all the traps, the struggle of the 10 meritorious retainers who longed for growth, and the overwhelming combat power of the dukes, the party reached the end of the jungle easily. A valley emerged before them, and the sound of the pouring waterfall entered their ears.
“How about camping here?”
Lauel confirmed the topography of the valley and nodded. “This would be good.”
They had started at dawn, and it was currently nighttime. It had taken them 14 hours to break through the jungle. Lauel, who set up the camp with his colleagues, approached Skunk and asked, “There was nothing unusual on the way?”
“Yes. Unfortunately, no clues or treasures could be found. There were only a few murals telling me how to release the jungle traps.”
The jungle was just the first gateway of the ruins. The jungle itself was low in importance. Lauel nodded and handed Skunk a piece of jerky. “Aren’t there many troublesome things running a guild by yourself?”
“It is a bit troublesome if there are more than 100 people. However, there are no big problems. In the first place, our guild runs according to the concept of conducting an expedition. We don’t settle in one place, and there isn’t any political fighting. Of course, the difficulty means that many guild members often desert...”
“It seems time to settle down. You’ve explored almost all the West Continent and crossed the Red Sea.”
“Um... That’s true.”
“Come to the Overgeared Kingdom. We will provide you with many conveniences. If you want to explore the Red Sea, you can borrow the warship at any time. If you want to explore the East Continent, we will help you cross the continent at any time.”
“Haha, I can cross to the East Continent at any time? That is an irresistible proposal,” Skunk laughed.
The remark about being able to go to the East Continent at will was absurd.
Lauel spoke with a serious expression, “You might not know this, but Sage Sticks is serving Grid.”
“We can create magic scrolls that enables intercontinental movement.”
“Huh? What?” Skunk’s eyes widened.
“Is that really...?” Skunk was about to ask for confirmation, only to close his mouth. It was due to the waterfall behind where Lauel was sitting. He glimpsed the human lurking behind the massive waterfall falling in the distance. The person had his eyes closed like he was training, and he wasn’t paying any attention to this side.
However, the party was forced to feel worried. The name of the person seen through the waterfall was ‘war god follower who has learned 10 secret techniques.’
Skunk sensed it. This was the guardian. It obviously existed to protect some treasures.