The Saharan Empire is the supreme nation on the West Continent. With a large amount of resources, as many talents as there are stars, and advancing technology, it becomes stronger every day.
This was the introductory statement that appeared when creating a new character. It was why the majority of players chose the empire as their country. The emperor produced outstanding talents every era, fitting of their size. Coincidentally, those who saw the peak of the sword were always born outside the empire. This was the reason why Piaro, who rose to the rank of great swordsman at an early age, was highly anticipated in the empire.
“It has been a while, around four years.”
Sword Duke Limit… As he descended from the ceiling, his appearance was impressive. He had a strong gaze and rough and masculine eyebrows. His finely combed hair and shaved chin reflected his meticulous personality, and he seemed to be a person who controlled himself well.
Limit’s arrival cooled Grid’s wrath. Grid, who had lost his grip on the strings of reason after seeing the state of the three dukes, quickly tied the strings firmly together again. The Sword Duke was such a bigshot that Grid was forced to cool down. He was the same as Rachel, one of the strongest dukes.
During Piaro and Asmophel’s era, Limit had been obscured by their shadows but not anymore. Piaro and Asmophel had wasted years hiding from the world while Limit was steadily advancing in the emperor’s faction and then the empress’ faction as well. He was in a position to describe himself as the strongest person in the empire, and Grid was feeling it in real time.
[Your fighting energy is rising.]
[Your fighting energy is rising.]
The Hero King’s reaction was unusual. The rate at which the thick red aura of fighting energy surrounded Grid’s body was the fastest ever. Limit descended and stopped at a higher position than Grid.
“Overgeared King Grid. I often hear your stories these days. Why is the king of another country interfering in the affairs of the empire? Given that your country is currently at war with the empire, your actions seem to be intent on harming the empire. How can the representative of a nation be so frivolous and unscrupulous?”
The people of the empire had a habit of calling all countries other than the empire a small country. However, Limit was different. He referred to the Overgeared Kingdom in the polite way of ‘home country.’ This wasn’t something good. It meant that Limit didn’t look down on the Overgeared Kingdom.
Grid’s tension was heightened. ‘Damn. I’d rather he ignore me than be vigilant.’
His chest was still throbbing despite taking potions to restore his health. The damage that Grid suffered from Limit’s attack was a huge 32,000. Ever since Grid became Overgeared King, there had only been two cases when he suffered such a large amount of damage at once.
‘He is the real deal.’
Morse, in his beast form, exerted a strength similar to or slightly superior to Grid in a fully buffed state. Spear Saint Rachel’s peacetime state was at least equal to Morse’s beast state. Sword Duke Limit was at least an equal of Rachel. It was right to consider him as more difficult than Kyle, who was classified as the weakest of the Five Pillars.
‘Then what if he isn’t vigilant?’
What if he was careless like the Yangban Garam? Garam was superior in every way ,but he had the ‘careless’ attitude which had allowed Grid to find a gap. Grid observed Limit’s sword seriously as he waited for the cooldown time of the potion to end. Even in the darkness, the sword gave off a blue glow. It seemed to be a weapon with a minimum of the legendary rating, and there seemed to be many hidden options. Grid felt regretful.
‘Pagma’s Eyes are the problem.’
Pagma’s Eyes were the evolved version of the Legendary Blacksmith’s Eyes. The Legendary Blacksmith’s Eyes merely confirmed the information of the target item while Pagma’s Eyes had the function of enhancing understanding of the target item and copying it. It was overwhelmingly better but the resulting recoil was a cooldown of one hour.
‘I can’t use it because of the damn cooldown.’
In order to win a fight, he needed to know the enemy. Checking the item information of the equipment of a player or NPC in advance had a great impact on the winning percentage.
‘I have to use it properly.’
Grid was becoming a gamer. He was now clearly aware of the importance of having information in advance and didn’t overlook it. That’s why he felt even more regretful. It was very fast. Grid’s thoughts reduced the potion cooldown time by only one second. Thinking quickly, Grid focused on the conversation with Limit. “I can't say that I intended to harm the empire. I just wanted to finish the war with the empire. On the way, I noticed that the dukes were being treated unfairly and came to help them.”
“You wanted to end the war, so you killed Sky King Rigal, Drunk Duke Diworth, and tens of thousands of imperial soldiers?”
“Those were unavoidable acts of self-defense. How can I overlook those who invaded my territory and harmed my people?”
“The fact that the three dukes are trapped here is also a fair punishment. There was a situation where they colluded with you, the enemy king, and betrayed their country. They are like this because of you. You showing up here will make their position even worse.”
“My interaction with them was to improve the relationship between my home country and the empire, restoring peace. I have no intention of harming the empire!”
“How can I believe that? It is a crime itself to have colluded with the enemy king, no matter the intention.”
Limit’s argument was reasonable. Of course, this was a story for when hidden secrets didn’t exist.
“X...!” Grid’s patience quickly ran out. He realized there was no progress in the conversation and reflexively spat out swear words. “Speak less nonsense and be honest, you X! You are afraid the dukes will tell the emperor the truth after they figured out that Piaro was wronged, you XX!”
“Was it you? You and 4th Imperial Prince Edan made them this way?”
Grid lost the strings of reason that he had grabbed again in fear, but Limit wasn’t shaken. Despite this being the first scolding he had heard in his life, he remained polite as he said, “So crass. The higher a person’s status is elevated, the more careful they should be about their words and deeds. Yet you don’t even have dignity when saying something. Your birth status can’t be covered up.”
“Dignity is bullshit! I asked if you made them this way!”
“You have no right to know.”
Grid should’ve brought Huroi here. Only then could he deal a good beating with his mouth. Grid was deeply disappointed and suddenly recalled Knight Summoning.
‘Will it work?’
It was a life or death crisis. He couldn’t overcome this with skill alone. Let’s borrow strength.
“Knight Summoning!” Grid immediately used the skill. Still, it was as he had expected.
[There is a place where the number of people entering is restricted due to the quest.]
[Knight Summoning doesn’t work.]
The system rejected it. This was something that was already expected.
“Did you try to call Piaro? I’m sorry you couldn’t call him. It was a great opportunity to defeat him.” Limit twisted his waist slightly. “I have received intelligence that the knights of the three dukes are gathering in the capital. They have started to doubt the situation, so I have a lot of work to do.”
He was busy.
“I don’t want to waste more time on you.”
Bright particles of light started to gather on Limit’s sword like stars.
“I will punish you in the name of a duke of Saharan. First, there is the sin of killing the imperial nobles and armies.”
The distance between Grid and Limit was approximately 5 meters. However, Limit swung his sword without narrowing the distance, and the bright sword energy reached Grid.
‘Is it a skill?’
The attack motion was very short, but it was an attack in the form of light particles. It couldn’t be a normal attack. The effect of the skill itself wasn’t very glamorous, but it was clearly powerful.
“Noe, don’t come out rashly. Only assist me when you see a gap,” Grid judged quickly and chose to evade rather than confront Limit’s attack. He took two quick steps to the side, and Limit’s light attack slammed into the bars he had just been leaning against.
“...!” The moment the sound rang in his ears, Grid’s eyes widened. Limit was approaching right above his head.
“There is the sin of subverting the nobles of the empire in order to overthrow the empire.”
The steel boots around Limit’s feet kicked at Grid’s temple like a ball. It was so powerful that Grid’s head might’ve been crushed if he hadn’t been wearing the crown and helmet together.
[You have suffered 6,750 damage.]
“There is the sin of illegally breaking into the empire.”
His physical condition was abnormal. Grid’s brain was shaking, and he was temporarily unable to control his body, allowing himself to be mangled by Limit’s particles of light. Limit’s attack speed was six strikes per second, but it was difficult for Grid to cope with since each attack was complex.
“There is the sin of protecting Piaro who was charged with the major crime of treason.”
Limit’s sword cut Grid’s entire body and only stopped after piercing his heart.
“The death penalty.”
Grid’s chest was soaked in red blood. Blood flowed like a river from the gaps in Valhalla. Grid’s body slipped forward, and at the same time, Limit moved sideways to dodge.
“Hey, do you think I will die from that much?”
After being helplessly beaten, Grid barely stood up and fought back. The soaring golden blade contained speed that transcended Limit’s attack speed. The difference in speed filled in the difference in skill. Limit’s serene eyes which were without any panic and Grid’s bloodshot eyes stared at each other. The remnants of an orange shield spilled over the bloody Grid. It was the shield created by the First King title.
“Do you think you can beat anyone by holding a sword? I guess you’ve been using that?”
Limit’s high insight captured Grid’s hand, which wore a ring that hadn’t been seen since a while ago. It was red and transparent and contained the powerful aura of a vampire.
As his sword interlocked with Limit’s sword, Grid took a step forward. It was the first stride of a sword dance that contained anger and hatred. Grid pushed at Limit’s sword while moving forward again. Limit recovered his sword, and light particles started to gather again on the horizontally placed sword. Grid’s sword aimed at Limit contained a terrible killing intent.
Limit’s expression was calm as the two swords collided. He was convinced that his swordsmanship was far superior to Grid’s swordsmanship and that he wouldn’t lose when it came to technique. This wasn’t arrogance or carelessness. It was a conclusion that was reached after several collisions and could be called insight. However, Limit overlooked one part.
Grid’s Swordsmanship wasn’t Grid’s individual skill. The essence of two legendary skills and knowledge was contained in Grid’s sword dance. In the aftermath of the powerful clash, both Grid’s and Limit’s bodies were thrown away. Grid was pushed back into prison bars and stopped there while Limit barely stopped after flying thousands of meters into the center of the space.
Limit’s bloody eyes shook. His always calm face was filled with confusion and frustration. Grid felt refreshed and raised his hand. “Come on. Bring it on.”
Limit gritted his teeth and broke through the air. He narrowed the distance to Grid again and drew an arc with his sword. Coke and Resh ambushed him from behind while Grid was already completing a new sword dance. The fierce battle between the four people shook the space.