It was after the end of the 4th National Competition that Kraugel placed the constraint of ‘not being able to leave Kirinus’ side for three years’ on himself. This drastically reduced the range of his activities.It was an unimaginable penalty that placed shackles on Kraugel. Even if the weather was clear or cloudy, even if it was snowing or raining… Kraugel merely continued guarding by Kirinus’ side.
A small mountain with a shabby hut became his world. During the time when other players were exploring hunting grounds across the continent and growing with all sorts of achievements, Kraugel stayed in the mountain and his level remained unchanged.
Still, this didn’t mean he stayed stagnant. The entire process of studying with Kirinus were nutrients that developed Kraugel. He completed a quest and his class of Sword Saint blossomed. Kraugel obtained Heart Sword. Heart Sword wasn’t as flashy as Space Sword. However, it was the ultimate sword technique that proved why a Sword Saint was the strongest.
[Heart Sword - First Entrance]
[Strike the target with the sword of will.
Deals damage equivalent to 10% of the target’s current health and causes critical damage.
*It isn’t affected by the user’s attack power or the target’s defense.
Skill Resource Consumption: Half of the maximum sword energy.
Skill Cooldown Time: 24 hours.
Skill Health Consumption: 10% is consumed.]
This was an absurdly low amount of damage considering the cost and cooldown. No class’ ultimate attack was this weak. Kraugel had been very upset when he first got Heart Sword. He had been disappointed with the performance of Heart Sword and wondered if it was a bug.
Then he peeked at the potential of Heart Sword. He learned why Muller became able to fight the great demons alone by confirming a few facts in the testing process.
First of all, it was a must-hit. The moment Kraugel decided to ‘cut’ the target, the target was cut. There were no precursors to Heart Sword, giving the target no chance of avoiding or defending against it. This effect was also applied to Kirinus, a transcendent named NPC. This was clear evidence, proof that the power of Heart Sword could also be used against boss monsters. The power of Heart Sword would someday surpass the initial stage and compete for first place among all skills in Satisfy.
‘Since you showed off your power, it is my turn to show it.’
The power was originally hidden for the eventual re-confrontation with Grid or the moment when danger struck.
“Heart Sword,” Kraugel revealed it when the attention of everyone around the world was focused on him. This was Kraugel’s law. First, it was a courtesy toward Grid who had exposed his power.
[The sword of will is aiming at the target.]
[The target has received 290,654,000 damage.]
[The damage from a percentage skill doesn’t affect the achievements.]
Berith’s shoulder flew away. Berith was filled with an indescribable shock and stared blankly without any response.
The eyes of Grid and the dukes widened. In particular, Grid looked at Kraugel like he was a ghost. Grid couldn’t believe that the damage Kraugel inflicted in one strike was similar to the damage he had dealt in a few minutes. The viewers were also shocked.
Cutting the target with just a few words...? He inflicted hundreds of millions of damage on Great Demon Berith who destroyed tens of thousands of rankers! It was a chaotic atmosphere.
“I only had a good opponent. It is far less than the power of your sword dances,” Kraugel spoke bullshit with a casual expression.
What was he saying? Grid clicked his tongue. Wasn’t this humility almost a tease at this point? Grid thought about it and laughed unknowingly. His fingers were trembling. A tremendous joy was overwhelming him. His rival was healthy. Kraugel was returning to the days when he was at the top...
These thoughts filled Grid’s mind and he was happy. He could relax and get stronger.
‘Let’s keep becoming stronger.’
There was the pride of reaching the peak and the roar of pure aspiration.
“...I like that reaction.” Kraugel smiled as he read the emotions in Grid’s gaze. At this moment, the two people shared the fact that they needed each other. The moment one of them disappeared, the remaining one would suffer from a terrible solitude.
‘You are my guide.’
‘You are my goal.’
Super Sensitivity was overflowing. Grid’s transcendent power could be called a ‘process’ that gave Kraugel speed. Kraugel appeared right before Berith. “Crying Tiger.”
The technique of a Sword Saint penetrated through the walls of metal that extended reflexively.
““...”” Berith’s torso was crushed, but he didn’t vomit blood. The health gauge didn’t even decrease noticeably. Kraugel’s damage was in the category of common sense, unlike Grid’s. A normal skill couldn’t deal a blow to Berith. Still, it was enough to break Berith’s posture. Kraugel was strong in a different way from Grid. His power came not from his stats but his insight and control.
“Earth Dragon’s Ascension.”
Berith’s posture collapsed as the sword struck his chin, causing him to be slightly detached from the metal barrier. Berith was stabbed by the attack that entered through a one centimeter gap, but he didn’t suffer much damage. Rather, his claws dragged against Kraugel’s chest in a counterattack.
[You have suffered 31,500 damage.]
Kraugel’s and Berith’s offense and defense continued fiercely. Berith was weakened in exchange for escaping from hell. The reason why he failed to respond to Grid’s movements was because Grid overlapped Blackening with his transcendent senses. He might be weakened, but he wasn’t incompetent enough not to react to Kraugel’s Super Sensitivity.
The White Tiger Sword interlocked with Berith’s claws, causing sparks. He seemed to lose momentum, but it was actually the opposite.
The weight of the White Tiger Sword increased rapidly, causing Berith’s posture to collapse. Simultaneously, a chain and cloth flew out, binding Berith’s only remaining arm. It was the intervention of the Hao siblings. The ultimate techniques of the Russian rankers bombarded Berith.
““These little pieces of garbage!”” Berith snorted and swung his arm as hard as possible, causing the bodies of the siblings to fly through the air. The Hao siblings responded calmly. Mei Xiao discarded the cloth and swung her whip while Hao transformed into a half draconian and shot out a breath.
Kraugel didn’t miss this precious time that his teammates had bought. In this short period of time, he captured Berith’s gap and used his skill. Among them was a sword technique that caused the enemy to lose defense. Kraugel had done enough for his role, which was to lay the groundwork for the strong.
“Free Farming Peak Style!” A huge shadow appeared above the head of Berith, who was distracted by Kraugel’s party.
“True Clouds!” Kraugel fell off Berith and summoned blue clouds in the area. The clouds spread out like dense fog, interfering with Berith’s vision and senses.
““...This!”” Berith, who was starting to feel annoyed by Kraugel’s unseemly tricks, looked up. The veins on the horse’s head bulged. One of the strongest weapons of the present human race was falling from the sky. It was a power that even a great demon couldn’t endure easily.
““Don’t take me lightly anymore!”” Berith declared. The blue clouds in the area instantly hardened into metal. Kraugel’s technique, which should’ve weakened Berith, was instantly transformed into a metal umbrella that protected Berith.
The huge metal umbrella stretching into the sky made Piaro’s face freeze. He instantly noticed that the power of this defense would greatly weaken Pounding Mortar. However, Piaro currently wasn’t alone. During the Belial raid, Piaro had to protect the weaker Grid and Overgeared members alone, but things were different now. There were people he could rely on. Grid had reunited him with his old colleagues.
“Sir Piaro! We will help!”
“I’m not the novice of the past either!”
Grenhal and Morse joined the battle. They didn’t bring out the power of the berserker and the beast because of their personal circumstances, but even if they didn’t do their best, they could still destroy Berith’s alchemy. The giant umbrella casting a shadow on the ground was separated by Grenhal’s flying sword and Morse’s phantom. The sun once again shone in the world of darkness.
‘“I said, don’t take me lightly!”” Berith turned toward ‘her’. He rebuilt the fragments of shattered metal in real time. The world quickly became dark again, but there was a variable.
“I’ll break it.” Basara opened her eyes.
Her eyes were glowing with a mysterious red light. It was the red energy that symbolized the lineage of the imperial royal family. The power of Haicyen Saharan, the strongest emperor in history. It had the property of penetrating into matter. This was why the armor of the Red Knights was red. The red energy strengthened or weakened the target material. As if thousands of years had passed, the large metal umbrella quickly rusted and weathered.
Something fell over Berith’s head. It was clear that this was precisely timed. After this, Berith opened the umbrella again but it was too late. The umbrella unfolded only after a large mortar crushed Berith’s torso. On the shaded ground under the umbrella, Berith’s body was crushed by the blow and crumpled into a strange angle.
White blood flowed like a river. Then large metal vines sprang up, tying up the bodies of Piaro, Kraugel, and the dukes.
The damage was weak, but the problem was that it had the property of physical bondage.
‘The more I know, the stronger he seems?’
The center of the world was the Saharan Empire. The great demon might destroy all of humanity, but the empire was the exception. Just as Astaroth was defeated in the imperial palace, the great demon wasn’t the empire’s opponent. However, Morse’s conviction changed. He got nervous when he felt the magic of the metal vines that were constraining his limbs.
‘It will be hard to get rid of this unless I transform...’
Suddenly, Morse imagined Berith invading Titan. If all the substances in the capital turned into metal and attacked the people and soldiers... Could the empire really withstand this? The grandmaster, whose thinking was unknown, would turn his back and ignore the dying people. He was only looking for interesting experimental tools. It was the same for Magician King Goldhit.
‘Bain will only protect the emperor’s side. At most, only Kyle and Chensler will go out.’
Was it possible if they both fought? It was possible. Kyle, who they recently met at the ruins, was stronger than ever and Chensler ‘never died.’ If they joined forces, they would be able to defeat Berith after a few days of fighting. Then once the fighting was over, the people of the capital would be dead. Unless the remaining five dukes all protected the capital, the damage that would occur if Berith invaded the capital would be beyond imagination.
‘Shit!’ Morse finally realized how foolish he had been in the past when he heard of the emergence of the great demon and ignored it. The great demon must be killed here.
‘King Grid, it is thanks to you!’
Morse planned to transform. It wasn’t a situation where he should be concerned that disclosing his strength could expose a weakness and weaken the position of the empire’s dukes. Morse turned and turned his gaze to Grid—the hero who wasn’t bound by the concept of a nation but who fought for the sake of all humanity. Thanks to Grid, they could preemptively get rid of the demon who could be a disaster for the empire.
Morse’s muscles started to swell as he grabbed the metal vines around his neck with both hands. It was the moment when silvery hairs started to rise. Yellow flames rushed like waves and melted the metal binding Morse. Everyone, including Morse, escaped from the bondage and regained their freedom.
“Duke Basara, you must guard the rear during the battle. Only then can the red energy deal with these sudden situations. What will you do if you are swept up in it?” It was Spear Saint Rachel—one of the strongest among the dukes who retained the same power as the beast form Morse. The person who had remained silent so far finally came forward and saved everyone from the crisis.
“It is a mistake that isn’t like you. What excited you so much that you would hurt yourself?” She pointed out Basara’s mistake and then chastised Morse. “Additionally, Duke Morse, what were you thinking when you were about to use that power?”
“Do you want to spread the weakness that you are less intelligent than a dog?”
“I’m a wolf, not a dog.”
Rachel’s gaze turned toward Piaro. After being dull since Grid’s appearance, she finally returned to the public’s attention. She spoke while unaware that billions of eyes were watching her, “The former captain of the Red Knights, Piaro. I didn’t know you were serving the Overgeared King.”
『 ...! 』
“Well... I knew you were alive. Who would’ve been able to harm you, my hero and the greatest of the empire?”
Grid’s knight, the crazy farmer of the Overgeared Kingdom, was actually the greatest in the empire? He was so great that Spear Saint Rachel called him her hero...? The viewers around the world were shocked to find out the amazing truth and spat out the beer or coke they were drinking. A Korean viewer eating chicken was in tears. Indeed, eating chicken with kimchi was dangerous...
『 Grid, who had been at war with the empire not long ago, arrived with the empire’s dukes... The mystery seems to have finally been solved... 』
The audience got goosebumps. Grid’s subordinate was formerly the greatest person of the empire. When did he use Piaro to improve his relationship with the empire? Maybe this was something that Grid had intentionally planned when the emperor invited Grid a few years ago? It wasn’t at the level of looking ahead by one or two things. Grid’s insight had already reached the point of observing the future.
The sound of the commentators swallowing their saliva permeated the audience’s ears through the speakers and headsets. People couldn’t keep their eyes off Grid, who was just sitting still and resting. Meanwhile, Grid was inwardly crying out with delight.
[The duration of the truth distortion is over.]
[The lost classes, titles, and skills have been restored.]
[However, since the status of Magic Swordsman of the Epics is higher than Pagma's Descendant, Grid’s Swordsmanship is kept active.]