“Fourth Prince Edan captured Dukes Grenhal, Morse, and Basara and imprisoned them in the Abyss. The soldiers of the three dukes ignored the warnings and advanced to the capital, but they disappeared immediately upon arrival. The Tower of Eternity reported sensing a large-scale Mass Teleport.”
In the imperial capital, Titan...
Emperor Juander returned only to receive ridiculous news. When he found out the situation, he immediately ordered, “Release the dukes and deem Edan a traitor.”
Long sentences weren’t necessary. The moment he was proclaimed a traitor, Edan was deprived of all rights. All the troops in Titan moved in unison. Thousands of soldiers entered Edan’s palace and confiscated all of his property. The property naturally included his army. All of his forces, including the magic machines unit, was under the emperor’s control. However, the four operable magic machines had already disappeared.
“Damn bastard! Get out of here! I am the empress of the empire! I am the mother of the future emperor! How dare you, soldiers of the empire, block my way?”
The palace of Empress Marie was also besieged by thousands of soldiers. The empress had immediately rushed to find the emperor when she heard her son had been declared a traitor, but the knights stopped her.
“Are you saying a traitor will become the emperor? He committed treason. Treason. Please be careful with your words.”
“W-What? A mere guard dares to...!”
“The empress seems to be very agitated. Please take her inside.”
“Let go! Let go of me!”
The knights didn’t blink no matter how loudly the empress raised her voice. Did they know she was the real murderer of Empress Aria? No, they didn’t know. The emperor had yet to announce the truth. Nevertheless, the attitude of the knights was apathetic because they were imperial knights. The imperial knights were the emperor’s knights. The other person wasn’t important when carrying out the emperor’s orders. No matter who it was, they only carried out the emperor’s will.
“There is news that he immediately left the capital after Edan was declared a traitor. We’ve already dispatched 5,000 people to chase him.”
“5,000 aren’t enough. Send an additional 10,000 troops and contact the generals of each army to march to Marquis Aileen’s territory.”
Armored Cavalryman Chensler was the only imperial knight among the Five Pillars, and he actively started eradicating the traitors. He thoroughly used the military power entrusted to him by the emperor to pressure the faction of Edan and the empress. It was his judgment that the forces who helped Edan had to be thoroughly trampled in advance. The handling of the Red Knights was in the same vein. There were doubts about them because Sword Duke Limit was part of the empress’ faction.
“What about the Sword Duke and the Red Knights?”
“The whereabouts of the Sword Duke are unknown. However, the rest of the knights are gathered in the barracks. I have sent an official letter to the Neo Red Knights to punish them, and news should be forthcoming.”
Obviously, the Red Knights were also loyal to the empire and the imperial family. The problem was that Limit, the leader of the Red Knights, was a traitor. Since Limit had contaminated the Red Knights’ thoughts, it was better to handle all of them so they didn’t become a variable later on. The Red Knights’ skills were outstanding, but they weren’t a match for the Neo Red Knights that the grandmaster had been involved in training.
“Did the Sword Duke escape with Edan?”
In fact, the empress’s palace and the Red Knights were all additional factors. The greatest sinners were Empress Marie, Edan, and Sword Duke Limit. Additionally, the magic machines had to be obtained unconditionally. They couldn’t be missed.
“Hurry,” Chensler urged the soldiers.
Bain, the emperor’s shadow and one of the Five Pillars, had come to visit the Abyss. It was to carry out the order to release the dukes. Yet there were no dukes in the Abyss. Remnants of sword energy floated in the darkness like stars. It was the Sword Duke’s sword energy.
“Limit is dead?”
“Yes, he ran over after noticing the intruder wanted to escape with the dukes and died.”
This was the answer from the chief guard, Biplonz—a mysterious demonkin whose identity was unknown even to Bain. Only the emperor and the grandmaster knew Biplonz’s identity. Even Biplonz himself didn’t know, but Bain wasn’t interested.
“Who was the intruder?”
Only the Five Pillars in the empire could break through the Abyss and kill Limit. However, none of the Five Pillars would do such a thing. First, Kyle and Chensler were dogs who only moved according to the emperor’s orders. They couldn’t have recognized and resolved a problem the emperor didn’t know about. Magician King Goldhit was stuck in the Tower of Eternity, and Grandmaster Zikfrector wasn’t someone who would engage in this trivial matter.
Bain guessed easily, “The continent’s best spearman, the descendant of the Undefeated King, the recluse of Grenier, the childless specter, Mercedes…”
He listed the strong people outside the empire one by one, and there were 13 people. Surprisingly, among them was...
“The Overgeared King.”
Grid was also included. In Satisfy’s world view, Grid was now perceived as a ‘powerhouse of the continent.’
Biplonz shrugged. “Who knows? He never told me his name. I didn’t share personal information with the intruder, so how should I know his identity? In the first place, I fell down as soon as I started fighting to protect the keys. Limit was dead when I got up.”
“You have a long tongue because you keep lying. Well, it doesn’t matter if you answer or not. Someone already knows the answer.” Bain turned his attention to various parts of the Abyss covered in darkness. He glanced at exactly 14 places. They were the locations of the surveillance spells that the grandmaster had secretly installed.
Bain sniffed. ‘Smelly guy.’
From the very first day Bain saw the grandmaster, he had smelled a terrible stench. Well, it didn’t matter to him what the grandmaster was up to. He just had to protect the emperor’s back until he got what he wanted. He would always protect the emperor in order to achieve his will, even if the grandmaster suddenly revealed his true colors and threatened the emperor.
It was a leap. Bain disappeared from Biplonz’ vision in an instant and left the tunnel. Biplonz was left behind and clicked his tongue. “I couldn’t see it. Humans are truly scary...”
Then... Bain escaped from the Abyss and gave an order to empty air, “Look for traces of the dukes.”
‘Eclipse’ started moving.
It happened when Bain was going to report to the emperor what happened in the Abyss.
“I’m glad you’re safe.”
Two of the missing dukes returned. They were Grenhal and Morse, who looked well. The emperor stood up and greeted them, only to feel a sense of alienation. The wounds that could be seen on Grenhal’s body were gone. Was this someone else disguised as Grenhal? No, it truly was Grenhal.
The emperor operated his red energy and was able to gain some insight.
“I think many things have happened.”
The wounds on Grenhal’s body weren’t simply scars. They were badges of loyalty to the emperor and the empire. The way that they were erased wasn’t important. However, the fact that they were erased was important. It was proof that Grenhal’s loyalty to the empire had weakened.
“Who helped you?”
“The Overgeared King.”
“There is a truth I have to tell you before explaining our relationship with the Overgeared King.”
“If it is about Marie, I now know that she worked with the Yatan Church to murder the empress.”
“Some time ago, Benoit told me.”
“I’m ashamed. Without knowing her true identity, I hid in the empress’ skirt as she made the country sick and eventually endangered the nobles.”
The emperor didn’t bother with the matter of the dukes’ soldiers marching to the capital. It was natural. The emperor didn’t want to lose the few remaining dukes. Now that the imperial family was in great turmoil, he needed the power of the dukes to rally the wandering nobles. Grenhal and Morse knew this as well.
‘Your hair has become completely white...’
The emperor, who he hadn’t met for a long time, now had completely white hair. The blood of the founding emperor, Saharan, ran deep in him. Yet the only ‘natural born transcendent’ was becoming helpless before time like ordinary humans. Grenhal’s heart was heavy when he saw how great a mental pain the emperor must’ve suffered after learning the truth.
‘I have to support His Majesty. I can’t let the country that my ancestors built—that my father and previous family generations guarded—to collapse.’
In fact, Grenhal had been feeling troubled whilst on the way here. Maybe it would be right to leave the empire. This was the aftermath of being captivated by Grid.
However, he changed his mind at this moment. As Grenhal faced the cold reality, his shaking heart stabilized. He stared at the emperor and knelt down. “Your Majesty, please reveal Marie’s sins and impose the greatest penalty on both Marie and Edan. Only then will the nobles feel reassured that the imperial family’s discipline is sufficient.”
The biggest penalty was not to kill them. The greatest punishment of the Saharan Empire was to place sinners in the Abyss and make them die after a long time in despair. Moreover, in the present era, Emperor Juander hadn’t locked a single prisoner in the Abyss. He didn’t think of it even when Piaro betrayed him, and he ended up executing all of Piaro’s family members.
The Abyss wasn’t that easy to approach. That’s why Edan was immediately declared a traitor. Edan’s action of locking the dukes in the Abyss was unforgivable to any noble, and the emperor abandoned his son without hesitation. If he showed a bit of hesitation, then he would’ve brought the distrust and resistance of the nobles on him.
The current situation was the same. It was time to show his courage. The woman he loved, who was the mother of his child, and his child...
“Justice is right. I will reveal the sins of both people and then lock them up in the Abyss.”
Emperor Juander would send them to the place his father had proclaimed as the ‘hell of another world’ before Juander actually became emperor. This way the nobles, including the dukes, would support the emperor, and the broken reign of the royal family would rise again. This was the moment when the emperor controlled his bitterness.
“Your Majesty! There is news that the armies advancing to Aileen are being defeated in various places!” Chancellor Velmont rushed in to report.
The dukes’ eyes widened. The imperial family was currently operating the troops at a very rapid pace. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the moment the emperor returned, troops from all over the country marched to Marquis Aileen. Yet Marquis Aileen, who was being chased, read their movements and destroyed the army before even arriving at home...?
Vermont told the shocked emperor and dukes a shocking fact, “It is the work of the Valhalla Kingdom.”
That’s right. For Sima Qian of the East Continent whom even the grandmaster was interested in, the chaos of the empire was a great opportunity. As such, he didn’t miss this great opportunity. He planned to shatter the empire and take some of the land for Valhalla.
A truce between the empire and Valhalla...? Valhalla's agreement was with the grandmaster, not the empire. In the past, the grandmaster met Ares and Sima Qian in the Celestial Palace and told them, “We will be good partners.”
[You have detected the evil aura eating away at the spirit of the target!]
[Your power has succeeded in denying the gods!]
[The spirit of the target has been fully restored!]
[You have healed a legitimate bloodline of the great empire. Your reputation will rise greatly every time the healing target ‘Basara’ makes a great achievement in the future.]
[There is a close bond between you and the Saharan imperial family. Some of the imperial family will show a great liking toward you while others might hate you.]
[Affinity with Duke ‘Basara’ of the Saharan Empire has reached the maximum.]
In the capital of the Overgeared Kingdom, Reinhardt...
Duke Basara opened her eyes. It was thanks to Lady Ruby who spent all day by her side treating her.
“Worse than dogs,” Grid swore when Ruby confirmed that God Yatan’s energy was eating at Basara’s spirit.
The empress had already poisoned Asmophel with the Yatan Essence and made many people, including Piaro, unhappy. Edan had known this and tried to do the same thing again. Thus, he didn’t seem to be human at all.
‘I have to start.’
Grid hadn’t been able to focus on anything because he had been worried about the dukes. Now that the last remaining duke—Basara—was healed, Grid could feel relieved and finally decided to do what he had been putting off.
‘Create a new mineral.’
Pavranium—it was the symbol of Pagma and a class-only item. Now it was time for Grid’s symbol.
“Sigh,” Grid breathed deeply and focused as he pulled out all his materials and equipment from the inventory and placed them on the table. What would be the best four minerals to combine with pavranium? For the best result, Grid needed to think carefully.
‘First of all, there must be the insane dragon iron.’
This was a mineral that naturally occurred in the nest of the insane dragon Nevartan. It had the nature of proliferating once every ten days. Currently, the total amount of pavranium was only enough to make one sword, but the total amount of the new mineral that Grid would create would grow over time. While most hidden classes only had a single item, Grid could theoretically have dozens or hundreds of exclusive items.