“Then let’s get started.”
Duke Grenhal stepped forward while loosening his neck. At this moment, he wasn’t a noble duke. With a provocative expression and large muscular body, he was like a soldier who came to the arena, throwing off his mask and revealing his true nature. His two eyes were coveting violence.
“This uncle will play for a bit.”
Peak Sword gulped as he stared at Grenhal’s fighting spirit and killing intent. Duke Grenhal leaped forward. He plunged into the followers like he couldn’t bear it anymore. Duke Grenhal’s sword aimed at three followers. The three followers immediately fought back, hitting toward Duke Grenhal’s chin and feet.
Duke Grenhal naturally didn’t fall down. The basic characteristic of a warrior was lower body training. He stepped firmly, grabbed the ankle of a follower aiming at his face, and swung it like a hammer. The heads of the followers hit each other. There was a shock to their skulls as Duke Grenhal pushed at them with his shoulders and struck them with a sword surrounded by a red aura.
The 30 followers, that were blocking the Overgeared members like a barrier, split apart like the Red Sea. Duke Grenhal’s aura was reminiscent of planets orbiting due to the gravitational force of the sun. It swirled around in the form of spheres and damaged the followers’ bodies.
However, most of the red blood that was scattered in the desolate canyon belonged to Duke Grenhal. The injured followers immediately counterattacked, turning Duke Grenhal into rags. Duke Grenhal, who abandoned his armor, quickly lost health and was unable to cope with the followers’ attack power. Under normal circumstances, Duke Grenhal would seem like he was at risk, but he was a berserker.
「 They become stronger as they get hurt. 」
This was the backbone of a berserker.
“...!” The eyes of the Overgeared members widened. One of the followers was hit by Duke Grenhal and burst like a watermelon. Once Duke Grenhal’s health fell below 30%, his attack power would reach its limit. It was a tremendous combat power that was appalling even for Grid, who was confident that he boasted the best attack power among the players.
‘I would die in one blow.’
Of course, Grid would survive using the power of immortality, but he wouldn’t be able to withstand the damage to his armor or parts of his body. Grenhal certainly was strong. If the duke who invaded had been Grenhal instead of Rigal...
‘I wouldn’t have been able to protect anyone.’
Grenhal’s rampage intensified. Once his health fell below 20%, a follower died every time he threw out aura and wielded his fist and sword.
‘Is it dangerous?’ Grid watched the battle for a while and was in a state of anxiety. The berserker’s characteristic of becoming stronger the more they were hurt was both a strength and a weakness. The berserker, which had various ‘conditions’ and ‘constraints’, was a job that could never be valued. The more they threatened the enemy, the more threatened they were.
“Stop! Wake up!”
Duke Grenhal’s health fell below 10%. At this rate, he would die. A berserker was the symbol of someone who got lost in their minds. They were trapped in the battle and risked their own limbs.
Just a bit more... Just a few more wounds could make them stronger and allow them to eliminate the enemies in front of them. The berserker was easily occupied by such thoughts and was the most frequently killed class in combat.
“Shit!” Grid didn’t want the strong helper who showed trust in him and his colleagues to die in such a manner. He stepped forward to help Grenhal, only to stop in place. Would this person remain his help forever? Would he remain by Grid’s side when the exploration of the ruins was over and they returned to their daily life?
Grid couldn’t be sure. Grenhal was a duke of the empire. As long as the empire regarded the Overgeared Kingdom as an enemy, the tip of Grenhal’s sword would point at Grid and his colleagues. Maybe he should let Grenhal die...
‘No, that isn’t it!’
The later work was for a later day. In order to safely explore this historical site, Duke Grenhal couldn’t die. Aside from these calculations, he liked Grenhal. Grenhal was a true noble who knew how to respect and care for others despite his strong power. Grid liked his elegant style. He couldn’t let this person die.
Grid made up his mind and started collecting the resource of the Hero King, fighting energy. A spear wielded by one of the followers penetrated Grenhal’s chest. Grenhal's health fell below 10%. Simultaneously, Grenhal’s aura became redder. Grenhal cut down the follower with the spear and absorbed almost 5% of health back.
“What?” Grid stopped using 100,000 Army Swordsmanship and the Overgeared members, who followed Grid to help Grenhal, froze like stone statues. Grenhal regained health every time he attacked the follower. The ultimate attack power was still maintained, and the blood-sucking ability reminiscent of a direct descendant vampire was expressed.
Duke Grenhal’s body—so ragged it would be easier to pick out the few areas where he wasn’t injured—was quickly restored. It was a sight contrary to common sense. The characteristic of blood-sucking—it was common to all berserkers, but the effect was minimal. Not even the prominent high ranker berserker Asuka showed such great blood-sucking ability. As a third generation chaebol, she maximized her resources using items and was assisted by Black Teddy during battle. Nevertheless, the limit to her ability was ‘barely regaining enough health to survive infrequently.’
However, Duke Grenhal’s blood-sucking ability was of a different dimension. He was a berserker, but he was different. His blood-sucking ability was beyond the level of the class characteristic.
The final blow killed the remaining four followers. As the bones of the followers were crushed and brain matter poured from their heads, Grenhal seemed as intact as he looked originally. The new wounds obtained during the battle disappeared without a trace, and only the old scars remained. It seemed like time was reverting.
The silence continued. Grid and the Overgeared members, who felt more frightened than in awe of Grenhal, were close-mouthed. One man broke the silence.
It was Grenhal who was bleeding. He groaned as the wounds that had been erased were once again etched on his hard body.
Why all of a sudden...? Grid made a worried expression as he belatedly came to his senses.
Morse, who tore apart the new followers that arrived while Grenhal was fighting, explained, “The reason why Duke Grenhal doesn’t use his abilities is due to the aftereffects.”
Ever since he saw the power of the assimilated Grid and Braham, Morse was deeply respectful and courteous to Grid. Yet he spoke a bit crudely at this moment, perhaps due to his wild state after turning into a beast. Still, Grid didn’t dwell on Morse’s tone. He thought of Morse like a puppy scratching his ears.
“Grenhal recovers from the damage during the battle, but he will suffer them again after the battle ends. Additionally, those wounds will never heal. They can’t be healed through any means.”
“The scars on his body...”
“They are signs of the aftereffects. Well, Duke Grenhal fights for the nation and its people. In his position, the scars are like decorations. He must feel that he got a new medal today.”
Grenhal fought for Grid and his colleagues. After these words, Morse ended his beast transformation. He took off his fur and returned to human form, once again acting politely to Grid. “I think Duke Grenhal will need time to rest.”
“I will help.” Grid moved ahead of Morse and approached the fallen Grenhal. He lent his shoulder to the still bleeding Grenhal. Looking closer, there was a deep cut on Grenhal’s chest that had never been there before. It was a mark from being penetrated by the spear.
Grid opened his mouth, “...You have worked hard, my friend.”
Maybe someday they would become enemies again. Grenhal couldn’t play a role in political matters as long as the emperor and grandmaster existed. It was a fact that both Grid and Grenhal knew. However, Grid accepted Grenhal as a friend. What else could he call a person who fought for them while taking the risk of disclosing his weakness? It was Grid’s way of repaying the same goodwill, friendship, trust, and favor.
“...Your Majesty.” Duke Grenhal was thrilled. Those who witnessed his insanity and violence so far had avoided or feared him. Yet Grid was different. His own interests didn’t obscure his essence. He didn’t forget the reason for Grenhal’s insanity and violence and completely accepted Grenhal’s heart. Duke Grenhal was glad and grateful for it.
In addition, Grid’s favor didn’t end with these words.
“Do you know?"
“My sister is a Saintess.”
“My dear little sister.”
Grid’s gaze was focused on the duke’s left shoulder as he boasted about his little sister. It was an unusually deep wound—to the point of permanent disability. This couldn’t be considered a medal even for Duke Grenhal. He would feel resentment toward the scar whenever his right arm moved better than his left arm. Grid thought that it was the reason Duke Grenhal’s level was lower than that of Spear Saint Rachel and Sword Duke Limit.
“You can meet with my sister at any time. Her healing power can be of great help to you.”
“Thank... Thank you, Your Majesty.” Grenhal’s body trembled. He straightened himself using Grid’s shoulder and expressed deep gratitude. At this moment...
A terrible smell drifted from somewhere.
“I finally found you!”
Along with a gale, Drunk Duke Diworth appeared.
Diworth glimpsed the scene and smiled significantly. He noted that Grenhal facing Grid had taken off his armor.
“It is just before death.”
Grenhal was in a temporarily invincible state after opening the power of a berserker. The usual Grenhal might be different, but even Rachel and Limit didn’t dare say they could defeat ‘Immortal King Grenhal.’ Diworth imagined that Grid would die from Grenhal’s violence. By the way, why was the progress so slow?
‘What? Don’t tell me?’
Diworth sensed that something had gone wrong and stared at Grid and the other dukes.
“This wicked guy! You sold Piaro’s name!!”
Why did that name come out here? Grenhal, Morse, and Basara doubted their ears. Huge questions swirled in their minds. Still, there was a problem to be addressed before resolving the questions.
“Duke Diworth, remove your gaze.”
“Huh? Duke Grenhal? Did I hear that correctly?”
“Don’t look at the Overgeared King with your glaring eyes.”
As stated earlier, Diworth was the one with the weakest authority among the Seven Dukes. On the other hand, Grenhal was a powerful man among the Seven Dukes. The confused Diworth lowered his eyes for now.