After Grid’s party left for the Ruins of the War God, Piaro never slept comfortably. Being a farmer and warrior, he knew too many of the stories about the War God and his followers. Piaro estimated that the Ruins of the War God was a very dangerous place and was worried about Grid.
He didn’t dare blame Grid for not bringing him as he took off his clothes and put on his armor. That way, he could run at any time when Grid needed him. Yet he hoped that Grid wouldn’t need to call him. During the last month, Piaro wasn’t a farmer or a legend. He was just an ordinary knight waiting for news of his master. Finally, he was called by his master and arrived at the historical site.
“...You.” Piaro gazed at Drunk Duke Diworth who was confronting Grid. He immediately noticed that Diworth had chased Grid from Reidan to this location, placing Grid in danger.
“A person who dares to go against my king doesn’t deserve to even be used as manure.”
When Piaro became a legendary farmer, he was liberated from his obsession with becoming a Sword Saint. The misunderstanding with Asmophel was lifted, and the pains of the past were relieved. Since then, Piaro had a relaxed mind. He delayed his anger, and his peace of mind was slowly recovered.
However, at this moment, he was a vicious demon. He wondered if he would look like this when he met Empress Marie. The anger he had been suppressing caused him to have a terrifying expression that was completely unbearable. No, it channeled his anger.
Dozens of sparks flew up into the sky that was red from the setting sun. The nature in the atmosphere was reacting to Piaro’s life and anger. It was the manifestation of Natural State.
“I never dreamed about reliving the old days.”
Air currents swept over Piaro, causing the hand plow, sickle, and hoe hanging from his waist to rub against his armor. The weight of the weapons (?) was so light that a loud and clear sound echoed like notes played by a musical instrument. Piaro swung his hand once, throwing out something as small as a seed and hard to identify with the naked eye. Dozens or hundreds of the small seed-sized things were scattered across the empty space.
The flustered Diworth moved back. He used his eyes and senses that transcended the human reality and immediately grasped the identity of the small things pouring toward him. They were fragments of a strong energy. It was in the form of fine particles, but the destructive power contained in each one was enough to stir up the heavens and the earth.
No, was it really that? Something felt different. Strong energy... This power was often known as the upper echelons of sword energy and was thrilling to face, but Piaro’s strong energy was very gentle. No destructive power was felt. It was as expected. The strong energy fragments, that failed to hit Diworth and fell to the ground, didn’t exert any power. They melted like snow and were absorbed into the ground.
It forced Diworth to evade. Would he encounter some type of storm after this? Diworth was prepared for the shock. Unable to easily guess how Piaro would link an attack, Diworth retreated. He wasn’t confident about beating Piaro in a fight. Still, he wanted to believe in his wits. He would boost his alcohol intake and respond in real time to what was happening. Unfortunately, his determination was useless.
Piaro was still standing in place. Unlike Diworth’s expectations, Piaro didn’t link to the next attack. Diworth was engulfed in doubts.
“Free Farming 2nd Style,” Piaro then recited quietly while pulling out his hand plow, “Super Growth.”
“...?!” Diworth’s eyes widened.
Immense chaos surged like a wave, making him dizzy. They were in a desolate canyon. Somehow, all types of grains and trees started to grow from this impoverished land that was only sand and dust. It didn’t take long for the barren land to turn into an abundant field. In fact, it happened in the blink of an eye.
Diworth felt like he was dreaming.
No, it wasn’t. The sight of the fields and the sweet scent coming from the hanging grapes could never be a fantasy. In the first place, an illusion master wouldn’t allow him to distinguish between fantasy and illusion.
“You’ve learned a weird thing!”
The fragments of energy that Piaro sowed contained life, and Piaro created the environment using techniques that promoted life. When Diworth quickly grasped this fact, he took a sip of alcohol and spat it out. The stream of alcohol emitted from his mouth contained powerful magic power. The lush plants and trees were unable to cope with the terrible alcohol and withered. At the end of the stream of magic power was Piaro.
Diworth ran across the withered fields and reached out a hand. Piaro’s hand plow and Diworth’s attack collided, causing an explosion. Since the opponent was strong, Diworth didn’t intend to contend with unnecessary skills. He took out the hidden weapon in his other hand and shot it. It was covered with an extremely poisonous substance made by an aging white bamboo spider. The needle, which was filled with a terrible poison that boasted no color or odor, flew silently and struck Piaro’s thigh.
‘He wasn’t alert!’ A smile spread across Diworth’s face.
The Tiphon dukedom was famous for poison. Even those who had reached the top would become vulnerable in front of Duke Diworth’s poison. At this moment, Diworth was convinced of his triumph. He was proud that Piaro, a former pillar of the empire, failed to respond to his hidden weapon.
However, Piaro was fine. “It is insignificant.”
Piaro didn’t respond to Diworth’s poison. Natural State combined with the body of a legend made him unaffected by the poison needle. Piaro knew it as well. He let himself be hit to thoroughly shatter Diworth’s self-esteem. It was to sentence him to the worst death.
Piaro’s hand plow flew toward Diworth’s heart. However, Drunk Duke Diworth wasn’t easily hit because he boasted unpredictable movement paths. Diworth’s clothes were loosened as he used gentle movements to avoid the hand plow.
Piaro was fine after being poisoned with the hidden weapon…? Diworth was baffled by the appearance of Piaro, who didn’t seem poisoned. He suffered greater confusion and shock from this than when he saw the fields. Even so, he didn’t lose his concentration. He drank more alcohol and drove out the confusion and fear.
“You built up a bigger status...” Watching the confrontation, Duke Grenhal was thrilled. Piaro had lost everything apart from his life and lived as a hermit. Did he live in pain and anxiety every day? Honestly, Grenhal had been dubious about that. He had expected Piaro to be weaker, even if he was alive.
Yet what was this? Piaro boasted an excellent shape after being called by Grid. It was a bit ambiguous to say he was stronger, but based on his resistance to poison, he had definitely built up a stronger status.
‘Why is he sealing the sword?’
Grenhal and Morse became more doubtful. The Piaro they knew was a great swordsman aiming to be a Sword Saint. Yet the current Piaro didn’t use a sword at all and was holding farming equipment. He had a knight’s spirit and armor, but the things he showed throughout the battle were no different from those of a farmer. Why was he putting constraints on himself? At this rate, he might not be able to win against Diworth.
Then it happened when Grenhal’s and Morse's suspicions became stronger.
“Free Farming 4th Style.”
The hand plow missed Diworth who dodged like a fish, then Piaro pulled out a trident attached to his back. No, he pulled out a rake.
“Plow the Field!”
The soil in the field was turned over.
The ground suddenly turned upside down, and soil rose, causing Diworth’s stance to collapse. Somehow, seeds flew in his vision as he tried to keep his body upright. It was the effect of Free Farming 5th style, Harvest. Hundreds of thousands of seeds flooded toward Diworth.
The retreat was blocked. Diworth became extremely tense as he was surrounded by seeds.
‘They are just seeds,’ he calmed his mind.
Yes, he was only surrounded by seeds. There was no problem. A person couldn’t die because of seeds. Diworth judged and bent his waist. He planned to fight back and deal a blow while Piaro was harvesting, but that was a huge mistake.
“Free Farming 8th Style, Polishing Rice.”
There was a huge explosion that shook the entire canyon. The thousands of seeds harvested by Piaro exploded at once, swallowing up Diworth.
“Kuaaaack!” Diworth's scream echoed.
He failed to respond to the unexpected attack and was seriously wounded. His body became dull as the alcohol flew away. Piaro took action without hesitation. He took out his sickle without delay and aimed at Diworth’s heart. There was no time to avoid it.
[The Saharan Empire’s duke ‘Drunk Duke Diworth’ has been defeated.]
[It is a great accomplishment that no one has achieved.]
[Your reputation throughout the continent has increased. You have acquired 2,000 reputation points.]
[Your level has risen.]
[The Duke Tiphon Family’s Magic Gourd has been acquired.]
[The Duke Tiphon Family’s White Dragon Wine has been acquired.]
[Your knight ‘Piaro’ has accomplished the achievement of ‘Overwhelming the Seven Dukes’.]
[Your knight, ‘Piaro’, is progressing!]
It was an unprecedented and vain end for a duke of the empire. There were complicated emotions in Grenhal, Morse, and Basara’s eyes as they watched Diworth turn to ash.
“No one helped,” Piaro then blamed them, “You haven’t changed at all.”
That’s right. Piaro had been aware of the three people's existence from the very beginning. However, only Diworth was threatening Grid at that moment, so Piaro had to kill Diworth first. He calculated that the dukes wouldn’t help Diworth. The dukes had already turned away from Piaro and his family in the past.
Piaro gritted his teeth. They were people who he had believed to be his friends. He couldn’t blame Basara because he had not had many moments of contact with her, but Grenhal and Morse were different. During his time as chief of the Red Knights, Piaro had a profound connection with the warriors, Grenhal and Morse. He had respected and trusted the people who served the same imperial family and fought for the same people.
However, it had been a one-sided trust. They had turned away from him easily.
“Sir Piaro...” Grenhal and Morse felt Piaro’s anger and sadness toward them and lowered their heads. They didn’t have the courage to face him. This was despite them having fought for Piaro’s family and prayed for Piaro’s peace of mind. They had failed help Piaro’s family in the end and hadn't expected to have a reunion with Piaro.
Yet this situation was now suddenly occurring before them. They understood Piaro’s pain and sorrow, so they couldn’t say anything. Grenhal and Morse could only let out a sinner’s sigh.
Piaro tried to control his resentment. “...Now, I won’t blame you anymore.”
He turned away from Grenhal’s broad shoulders that didn’t save his younger brother. “The destruction of me and my family was the result of my carelessness. I don’t deserve to blame you.”
He also turned away from Morse, who usually wasn’t as proud in front of his parents. “Now I am fighting to protect my king.”
Piaro wiped his eyes and grabbed his farming equipment. Thinking that Grenhal, Morse, and Basara were naturally with Diworth, Piaro interpreted them as a threat to Grid. It was natural. The Saharan Empire was the enemy of the Overgeared Kingdom.
‘I can’t drag out the fight for too long.’
Piaro’s Natural State was incomplete. It couldn’t exert infinite power. Piaro couldn’t afford a long fight as he had gone all out in his battle with Diworth. Coldly analyzing the situation, he judged that he had to aim for a swift attack in order to protect Grid from them. He would use all his secret techniques from the beginning, including Origin True Energy.
‘I must protect him.’
Piaro’s life wasn’t important. The life saved by Grid would be used for Grid. Piaro had just vowed this when a reversal occurred. Grid suddenly made an absurd proclamation, “Piaro, put away your hand plow.”
“They are my friends.”
“...Your Majesty?” Piaro doubted his ears.
“Additionally, these two people struggled to protect your family, although they didn’t succeed in protecting anyone. They have been in pain for almost 20 years,” Basara, who was famous for being wise and impartial, spoke up.
“Shit, I’m sorry. Really... I’m really sorry.”
Grenhal and Morse apologized to Piaro who was standing like a stone statue. Piaro flopped to the ground and felt something slip out of his body. He was dizzy and seemed to hear the humming of bees in his ears.