[Affinity with Duke ‘Grenhal’ of the Saharan Empire has reached 50. Grenhal is willing to dine with you at any time.]
[Affinity with Duke ‘Morse’ of the Saharan Empire has reached 30. Morse will respond to your light jokes with a smile.]
[Affinity with Duke ‘Basara’ of the Saharan Empire has reached 62. Basara will positively review whatever you ask for.]
“...” Grid felt refreshed as he was surrounded by the dukes and knights of the empire. Those who didn’t even look at him a few years ago were now giving him goodwill and praise. This was an unreal situation for Grid. It was a rewarding feeling that was hard to describe in words.
He trembled with happiness. Then he suddenly felt doubts. ‘Why does Basara have the highest affinity?’
Grid talked a lot with Grenhal, head of the Seven Dukes. There was even the dexterity effect that he couldn’t suppress during the handshake. Additionally, affinity with Grenhal had increased exponentially after saving his life. However, Grid didn’t understand why Basara’s affinity was so elevated. She seemed to maintain a clear distinction between public and private matters and was somewhat indifferent, so he hadn’t shared many words with her.
‘I don’t understand...’
Then Grid turned his head to the waterfall. The 52 waterfalls lost their momentum and fell like streams in the aftermath of their mana being taken away by Braham. Beneath them was the war god follower. A follower who had mastered 10 secret techniques—he was a little weaker than the yangban, Garam.
Still, an enemy who could be described as powerful was now half-dead. His trembling legs were torn, just hanging by the skin, while his left arm and ears were cut off altogether. Blood was flowing down from his neck. He looked shabby compared to the dignified appearance he’d had when he overwhelmed the dukes and the 10 meritorious retainers just a short moment ago.
‘I better finish it quickly.’
The remaining health of the war god follower was less than 10%. There was very little chance of him exerting his original ability because his physical condition was unstable.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Grid ordered the knights and started to take steps. He wanted to deal a final blow to the followers as he was afraid the war god might descend again while Braham was asleep. More than anything else...
‘He is mine!’
He had to worry that the dukes might kill the follower.
Grid’s eyes were blazing with greed as he gradually narrowed the distance to the follower. He dreamed of a ‘perfect secret technique’ while looking forward to how much experience killing the follower would give him. The followers occasionally dropped fragments of the secret techniques that were damaged and had no value as skillbooks. Grid narrowed the distance to the follower and performed a sword dance. “Pagma’s Swordsmanship.”
He felt the sword energy and mana exit his body at almost the same time. Blue energy formed around the Sword Aiming at the Gods, and four types of spells appeared simultaneously. It was the precursor of Linked Kill Flower Pinnacle.
[Swordsmanship and magic have achieved unity!]
A notification window appeared in Grid’s field of view as he aimed at the follower taking a defensive posture with only one arm.
[The world calls you a magic swordsman.]
[A new class will be given to you to define you.]
[The third class ‘Magic Swordsman of the Epics’ has been acquired.] (TL: Epics = epic poetry)
[Magic Swordsman of the Epics]
[Rating: Legendary (Growth)
A magic swordsman who was born after inheriting Pagma’s power and Braham’s blessing—his epic will begin with a legend and end with a myth.]
[The class effect of Magic Swordsman of the Epics has permanently increased sword energy and mana by 20%.]
[The class effect of Magic Swordsman of the Epics has integrated magic and swordsmanship and permanently reduced the cooldown of all skills by 10%.]
[The class effect of Magic Swordsman of the Epics has permanently increased the strength and intelligence stat by 100 points.]
[The class effect of Magic Swordsman of the Epics means you will gain two additional stat points with every future level up. The additional stat points will be automatically invested in strength.]
[There will be more beneficial effects if the Magic Swordsman of the Epics class grows to the myth rating.]
[Your status has risen sharply. You are a special being. The special passive ‘Origin True Energy’ has been created due to the status increase.]
[★Origin True Energy ★
You can consume one Origin True Energy to double a specific stat. The duration is one minute.
If you consume all the Origin True Energy, all your stats will be permanently reduced by two times.
* The consumed Origin True Energy is impossible to be recovered.]
Origin True Energy—Grid knew about this concept a long time ago. It was the reason why Mercedes’s hair turned white. In order to deal with the cave cricket, she had pulled out the Origin True Energy. She had been unable to cope with the aftermath and aged partially, losing her beautiful blue hair. Grid was filled with guilt when he was reminded of Mercedes. He bit his lips and shook off his thoughts.
‘I won’t use this even if I’m dying.’
This energy could only be used three times. If he used it three times, all his stats would be permanently halved. It was a nuisance. He was afraid to touch it.
Enchant Weapon, Detect Force, Lightning, and Wind Cutter... Linked Kill Flower Pinnacle combined with magic started to hit the follower. The follower resisted Grid by using a counterattack martial arts, but it was an unreasonable feat with only one arm. Grid continued to use the sword dances like Transcended Link Flower and Pinnacle Kill.
“Kuek...! Cough!” The follower lost all his health. Then he said something as he collapsed in a pile of blood, “Thank... you.”
“...!” It was so unexpected that Grid unconsciously backed away. Thinking about it, all the followers he’d met so far had been monsters who respawned in the same spot.
“My name is Merlin... I abandoned everything and trained for 50 years while pursuing the path the war god showed me...” The follower who had mastered 10 secret techniques was able to talk. “...I couldn’t see the end and was blinded by despair. Now it is finally over. I... welcome... the rest.”
He wasn’t a monster and was instead closer to an NPC. The follower called Merlin started to turn to gray ash. Grid gritted his teeth. Rather than rejoice in getting a new class, he felt great anger at War God Zeratul. He was raging because he saw Pagma’s image in Merlin.
‘How many people has he destroyed?’
Countless people must have suffered like Pagma and Braham. It was terrible. The moment Grid thought this...
[War God Zeratul is looking at you.]
-Are you baring your teeth at me?
The voice in Grid’s mind seemed emotionless. It didn’t show any displeasure or bitterness toward Grid. This was natural as War God Zeratul was an arrogant existence. He didn’t react seriously just because a mere mortal showed hostility toward him. Grid’s expression became even more terribly distorted. The war god’s leisurely behavior was hateful. A curse was already eating at Grid. It was a curse resulting from the killing of the war god follower.
[You feel an uncontrollable anger!]
[You want to release your anger!]
[It is impossible to distinguish between enemies and allies!]
“Kuek...!” Grid’s vision turned red, and he spun around heavily. Grid was confused by the changes in the position of the sky and the ground, and he floundered. By the time he barely managed to regain his mind, the area around Grid was crawling with followers. There were more than 300 of them. The dukes, the knights, and his precious companions were gone without a trace.
They dared to hurt his colleagues...? Then it happened when the bloody Grid was about to start a sword dance.
[The blacksmith god Hexetia is keeping you in control.]
“Grid...! Grid! Wake up!”
“Ah...” Grid’s red and spinning vision was restored to normal. The hundreds of followers surrounding Grid were gone, and there were his companions, the dukes, and the knights.
‘Don’t tell me...’
...The followers he just saw were actually them? He was about to hurt them with his own hands...? The god’s curse—a chill went down Grid’s spine as he grasped how terrifying the weight of this punishment was. His shoulders shook with fright.
“What is it? Did you see a ghost?”
Yura, Jishuka, and his other colleagues supported him. They didn’t say many words and just watched Grid with warm eyes. This alone was a great strength for Grid.
“It wasn’t a ghost. I saw a monster.” Grid smiled and checked his condition. He calmly controlled the emotions that had run wild because of the unknown curse. Grid had gained a huge 20% increase in experience in exchange for killing the follower who had mastered 10 secret techniques. However, he still didn’t get a perfect secret technique. Only a damaged version entered his inventory.
‘Is this the right reward?’
Without hesitation, Grid left the place where the follower had died and headed to the back of the waterfall. It was the place the follower had been guarding. Skunk guessed that treasure was likely to be hidden in this place. Once they entered, they found it was covered with murals. The mysterious and dreamlike murals, similar to those in Buddhism, covered the walls and simultaneously stimulated primitive fears.
“I need a long time to interpret it,” Skunk muttered when he saw the scale of the murals. He didn’t seem to expect an answer, but based on his sparkling eyes, he was obviously very pleased with what he saw. Skunk was looking forward to the story that would be told every time he unraveled a mural. Grid thought about it and used his insight stat to look around carefully. Then he found the entrance to a small cave.
“I will enter first.” Faker stopped Grid who was about to enter the cave and moved forward carefully. He used the assassin’s ability to detect traps. Then he signaled to the party once he determined it was safe. The cave was around 100 meters deep and wasn’t too big.
They reached the end of the cave and saw a large mural. Humans as small as ants were bowing toward the sky. It wasn’t clear what existence they were worshipping. There was only a red radiance in the sky. It wasn’t the sun. The radiance was more brilliant and larger than the sun.
“Due to the nature of this place, it must be the symbol of the warriors.” Skunk approached the mural. He took a closer look and cocked his head. “Still, the image of worshipping the god is a bit strange. Normally the humans depicted in these sorts of paintings would have longing or joyous expressions, but the humans in this painting are screaming.”
At this moment, the cave started to shake and the ground surged. The bulging ground took the form of an altar with an old box on it.
[Secret Technique Box]
“It is also locked...” Skunk didn’t finish saying that they had to find a key. It was because Grid pulled out the master key and opened the lock.
‘A scam.’ Skunk clicked his tongue.
Simultaneously, at the waterfront of the ruins...
“We’ve finally arrived.”
An imperial ship anchored itself. It had taken two times as long than expected to get here, but the reinforcements finally arrived.
“This...?” Drunk Duke Diworth jumped from the ship and laughed when he saw the ship flying the flag of the Overgeared Kingdom. “The war will continue here.”
Diworth had the previous track record of missing the enemy king right in front of his nose. It was the shame of his long life and a mistake he had to make up for.
“Just wait, Overgeared King. This time I’ll cut off your head.”
Please note that Diworth’s power was one level inferior to that of Grenhal, Morse, and Basara.