Grid was troubled as he walked through the jungle. The Ruins of the War God...
It had been six years since Satisfy was released and a new area opened. Wasn’t it normal for the difficulty level to be very high? To be honest, he had determined that the expedition itself wasn’t possible. Yet once he actually embarked on the expedition, it wasn’t a big deal. There was the universal key, and the work was too easy.
‘Rather, the Galgunos Temple is harder.’
The followers at the ruins were 50 levels higher than the temple followers and had more skills. However, they weren’t threats because they were normal monsters, and they appeared one by one. Rather, he perceived the difficulty of the undead-infested temple as higher.
‘...Indeed. I heard that Galgunos was also revered as a god.’
It was impossible to establish a hypothesis that this place was more difficult just because it was in the Red Sea. Before dividing the world into the West Continent, the Red Sea, and the East Continent, the settings were different from place to place. Dragons lived on the West Continent.
‘Let’s not jump to conclusions.’
The jungle was only one gateway in the ruins. After that, the difficulty might rise significantly.
In the private barracks, Grid was busy thinking as he patted Noe’s fur, which was gradually becoming darker. What item could the Overgeared Skeletons make using their bones? He thought about what to create. The system set up Overgeared Skeleton One to make a sword and Overgeared Skeleton Two to make a helmet, but it was purely Grid’s responsibility to decide the type of sword and helmet. Grid wanted to present the best items for them since the Overgeared Skeletons would use the items for the rest of their lives.
“Ah, it is hard.”
At present, the Overgeared Skeletons could only learn one production method each. This made it harder.
“Nyong.” Noe licked Grid’s hand.
He noticed that Grid’s expression was distorted with worry.
‘A cute guy.’
While Grid was smiling with a warm expression of affection, it happened.
“King Grid!” Lauel ran in and shouted, “Come out for a second!”
Their ears were ringing. At the valley that existed at the end of the jungle, there were 53 large and small waterfalls pouring down in the centre. In particular, there were two very big waterfalls. They were only 30 meters wide, and the water pressure was strong enough to drill a hole in the bottom of the valley.
Therefore, no one noticed the existence of a follower hiding behind the waterfall. It was purely a coincidence that Skunk found him. The two waterfalls collided, and a crack was formed. Finally, the falling moonlight illuminated the follower.
“A follower who mastered 10 secret techniques.”
Some of the 10 meritorious retainers couldn’t gulp. It was hard enough to deal with a follower who had mastered five secret techniques. No one knew how strong one with 10 secret techniques would be. In particular, Vantner had received a great deal of damage from the followers who had acquired the ‘Force Palm’ technique that penetrated through defense. He prayed that the follower who had learned 10 secret techniques hadn’t learned Force Palm.
Grid belatedly arrived at the scene. “How long has he been hiding in there? Is he planning to ambush us when we are off guard?”
To put it bluntly, the follower was an insidious person who was equipped with a named-grade level artificial intelligence. The color of the name couldn’t be seen because of the disturbance of the waterfall and the distance, but it was likely to be a boss monster.
“Since he is still there, he doesn’t know that he has been caught by us?”
“It seems so. From inside the waterfall, the sound of the waterfall will be louder, and he can’t see this side very well.”
The follower seemed to be in training. He stood as still as a statue with his eyes closed, as a waterfall cascaded over his body. Surely, he didn’t know the situation.
“We should get rid of him quickly. Assist me.”
Grid felt that the jungle was boring, but this was just an individual impression. He was hoping for some thrill, but he didn’t want a crisis. Consequently, he judged it was better to handle the risk factors quickly. The Pulling Device was used on Sword Ghost. Grid attached the Blade Aiming at the Gods to it and then used Fly. The distance to the waterfall was around three kilometers long. He planned to fly over as quickly as possible, use the four fused sword dances to critically damage the follower, and then kill the follower using the assistance of his colleagues.
However, Grenhal stopped him. “It is dangerous.”
Grid paused. “Dangerous? Isn’t it an opportunity to attack when he has yet to notice us?”
“He is watching us.”
“What are you talking about? Isn’t his eyes closed? In the first place, would he be so still if he has noticed us?”
“Your Majesty, do you know why he has detected us? It is because he has achieved Natural State. We can’t capture him with our senses because we haven’t unified with nature. Meanwhile, he shares the senses of nature and knows what we’re doing and what we look like.”
Natural State was something that Grid was familiar with. It was something Piaro had obtained a few years ago. Yet, so what?
“What should we do? Wait until he attacks first?” Grid asked with frustration.
Grenhal nodded. “We are far enough away from him that we can read his movements. Furthermore, we have the numerical advantage. It is better for us to prepare our battle lines to intercept him.”
Certainly, it was true. There was no need to run into the rough waterfall and fight. The convinced Grid nodded.
‘By the way, the dukes are surprisingly cautious.’
The Seven Dukes were some of the most powerful people on the West Continent. Grid knew they would be terribly arrogant. He expected them to be emotional people who acted fearlessly in the world, but that wasn’t the case. The dukes knew they had to hold hands with an enemy king to overcome the crisis and had a thorough plan when they fought the strong. They were stronger and more cautious than Grid, who often only believed in his own power.
‘I try to be careful every time, but it doesn’t work when I’m excited...’
They definitely seemed like they were a cut above him. He thought it was necessary to be as wise as them if he wanted to be in the same class as the dukes.
After that, morning came.
Another day passed.
Two days passed by, but the follower in the waterfall continued to stand still. At this point, the dukes also became irritated.
“Why is he staying still?”
Staying in place for two days? The knights had been on edge for two days because they weren’t sure when the follower would attack, and now they were exhausted. The Overgeared members couldn’t hide their tiredness either. Beast King Morse insisted that it couldn’t continue, “I can’t endure it anymore. We will attack first as the Overgeared King suggested.”
Skunk gave a boost to Morse’s argument, “There is treasure beyond the waterfall. The follower isn’t leaving the waterfall because he is protecting the treasure.”
“Umm...” Grenhal couldn’t hold back anymore and turned his gaze to Grid.
Grid nodded. “We can’t leave him like this. Who knows if he will come after us and hit our backs?”
His decision wasn’t due to being greedy for an uncertain treasure. They had to take down the follower in order to move forward. After Grid spoke, Grenhal finally nodded. “I understand, but I can’t send you alone.”
They crossed the jungle together, and Grenhal was able to fully peek at Grid’s skills. It was frankly hard to understand how Grid had beat Sky King Rigal, but it was clear that he was quite powerful.
...Grenhal also didn’t feel so bad when he shook Grid’s hand. He couldn’t let Grid fight alone. This was a result of the synergy between Grid’s charm stat and his ‘easily recognized’ class characteristic.
“Come with us.” Grenhal, Morse, and Basara stood side to side behind Grid. The Overgeared members were thrilled by the sight. The empire was an enemy, yet these people—who were like beings in the sky that rankers couldn’t meet—seemed to follow Grid. Grid felt pretty good. The people who were the worst threats just a few days ago were now supporting his back in a wonderful and reliable manner.
‘Garam is different.’
Still, maybe it was like what Lauel said—the empire could be reborn as an ally without needing to fight. If that’s the case, the Overgeared Kingdom would be safe. Grid wouldn’t have to worry about when the people who believed and followed him would die.
“Okay. Let’s go.” The motivated Grid used Fly while the dukes followed behind him. Jishuka and Yura were at the pre-arranged sniping spots while Euphemina and Lauel cast magic. Faker, Chris, Pon, Regas, Peak Sword, Vantner, Katz, and Hurent followed Grid and the dukes into the valley. Additionally...
“Transcended Link Flower!” Grid, in Blackening mode, reached the waterfall first and fired 40 waves of sword energy.
“...” Simultaneously, the follower behind the waterfall slowly opened his eyes. There was a huge explosion, and the water falling down on the follower scattered in every direction. The follower’s body was very strong as he used the power of nature.
[The target has received 3,500 damage.]
[The target has received 3,320 damage.]
[The target has received...]
The follower who had learned 10 secret techniques boasted a tremendous defense. Transcended Link Flower dealt 122% physical and 20% magic damage, yet the follower only received 3,000 damage. It was a shocking result for Grid who had confidently compared his attack power to that of the Seven Dukes.
Grid’s body crashed into the valley. He was thrown out by the waterfall.
Grid swam quickly and emerged from the water again. Combat was unfolding between the follower and the dukes. The colossal destruction was as spectacular as the four fused sword dances, and water columns rose in all directions. The attacks of the three dukes unfolded quickly, and the follower rushed to defend themselves. The follower might’ve learned 10 secret techniques, but it was too much to fight against three of the strongest people of the West Continent at the same time.
‘Why were they so worried about Natural State if they were going to win anyway?’
Why did the dukes shrink back? Grid clicked his tongue in a ridiculing manner and hurriedly started the sword dance for Linked Kill Flower Pinnacle. He was planning to use the marks left behind by Transcended Link Flower to deal a bigger blow to the follower. Contribution was important in order to get as many items and experience as possible.
At this moment, the 53 large and small waterfalls went against the laws of nature. The water falling down turned into living dragons and changed angles, pouring toward the dukes.
The dukes were hit by thousands of rays of water, and they lost their health and collapsed. They couldn’t cope with the water pressure concentrated on them and started bleeding. It was the power of Natural State. Piaro was only at the beginning stages of Natural State and was able to replace some of his strength with the natural mana of the world. Meanwhile, the follower could control nature according to his will. The follower turned his gaze to Grid and declared, “You aren’t qualified to challenge me.”
Then he pointed to the dukes. “Empty shells who have already consumed all their talents.”
The follower’s finger pointed somewhere else. It was to indicate the hiding Faker. “Child who just started training.”
Then the finger pointed to a distant place. It was toward where Yura was in sniper mode. “A half-grown person who has yet to fulfill her duty and whose strength has been suppressed.”
Finally, the follower pointed to Grid who was standing right in front of him. “A blacksmith who has already exceeded his limits.”
“All of you are weak. You don’t deserve to challenge me, a being who is walking on the path of true martial arts.”
This follower was capable of talking, unlike all other followers who had emerged so far. His words sparked anxiety deep in Grid’s heart. It was the anxiety created by the evaluation that he had already exceeded the limit. Grid noticed what the follower was saying and gritted his teeth to deny reality. “Exceeding my limits is bullshit. Do you think I’m an ordinary blacksmith? I am Pagma’s Descendant.”
In fact, Grid had been feeling uneasy since a while ago. The combat skills of a Demon Slayer blossomed over time.
“I can become stronger in the future.”
The Sword Saint was strong from the beginning.
“There is still a lot of potential left.”
Grid often felt that the class-specific combat power of Pagma's Descendant was really shabby. He had been through all types of incidents and gone beyond the limits. Perhaps it was impossible to become stronger. He often had this thought. The anxiety of whether he would eventually come down from his hard-earned seat filled him, but Grid tried hard to ignore it. He remained hopeful that he could develop further. He tried hard to keep his hard-won present reality and to not fall into the past.
Yet, right now, the follower was denying those efforts.
“A blacksmith has no qualifications. Didn’t Pagma eventually know his limits and sign a contract with the great demon?”
The furious Grid fired Linked Kill Flower Pinnacle. The follower had five marks on him thanks to Transcended Link Flower and received great damage from this fusion sword dance. However, the boss monster’s defense and health were transcendent. The follower’s health gauge remained intact.
“You will eventually abandon the sword.”
At this moment...
The name ‘war god follower with 10 secret techniques’ changed to a short word. It even resembled the name of the war god. The 53 waterfalls were in a frenzy. The screams of the dukes and the 10 meritorious retainers were heard as the confusion inside Grid soared to the extreme.
[Braham’s soul has woken up.]
Grid heard the nostalgic voice.
-Your tail is wagging all over the place. Since when did you receive attention from the war god? He is the one who isn’t worthy.
It was a terrible indifference. The gaze of the follower watching Grid blankly changed. Braham calmed Grid down, -Let the trashy words flow out one ear. Don’t think about going astray. You are strong. You can become stronger.
Grid was different from Pagma. Unlike Pagma who had abandoned his friend and joined hands with the great demons, Grid had people he could rely on.
-I am by your side.
[A hidden piece has occurred.]