“I want to obtain black mithril.”
“I understand,” Basara replied immediately with a slightly perplexed expression crossing her face.
It was only a moment, but Grid didn’t miss it. “Is it a tough request?”
“Please be honest. It will be hard for me if your position is risked by my request.”
“You don’t have to consider my position. Your Majesty only needs to tell me what you want.”
Was it because she just swore she would pay back three favors? Basara’s attitude was very strong.
As a result, Grid became frustrated. “You are the one responsible for the harmony between the Overgeared Kingdom and the empire. Until then, your position shouldn’t be weakened.”
Basara spoke honestly, “In fact, you have to take a big risk if you want to obtain black mithril. The black mithril mine is managed by His Majesty the Emperor.”
“It isn’t the empire but the emperor himself?”
“Yes, black mithril is an important resource for the imperial family. The black mithril mine has been managed by the emperor or the crown prince for generations. However, the crown prince hasn’t been decided yet, so His Majesty has to manage it himself.”
“Are they going so far just because black mithril can accept the red energy?”
“That one reason is enough. Red energy has the effect of strengthening, restoring, and awakening the body’s physical abilities. The ultimate goal of the Saharan Empire is to acquire as much black mithril as possible to equip as many soldiers as possible. The founding emperor was able to establish an empire due to the power of the Red Legion. It is no wonder that his descendants are obsessed with black mithril. Titan was chosen as the capital because it contains the only black mithril mine on the continent.”
It was a story that told of the emperor’s obsession with black mithril since he chose the location of the capital based on the mine. Grid realized that securing black mithril would be much more difficult than expected. “Yet it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to have black mithril outside.”
“Yes, it is very difficult to obtain. The only practical way is to subdue a Red Knight and rob them of their armor, but that would be hard now. The moment Edan was declared a traitor, the Red Knights would’ve been purged.”
“The Red Knights would be purged?”
Grid had witnessed firsthand the loyalty of the Red Knights to the emperor. Mercedes was a prime example. The emperor would purge them despite knowing their loyalty...? Even if the commander Limit was a member of the empress’ faction, why purge the knights under him? It wasn’t easy to understand. Grid was baffled.
Basara smiled. “It is an easy and sure way of governing. The vast majority of Red Knights would still be loyal to the royal family, but if a handful of them are tainted by Sword Duke Limit’s ideas, they would be a big risk in the future.”
“It is too harsh. Purging knights who have been devoted to the nation just because of the possibility that they could be dangerous...”
“It isn’t anything new. The Red Knights, including Sir Piaro, have been purged once already.”
“It is a problem if they aren’t purged. There would be a big backlash. There are no nobles who can accept an organization contaminated by traitors.”
“Then the nobles would recommend to the emperor new knights to replace the Red Knights. Their relatives,” Lauel interrupted. He spoke on Grid’s behalf because he thought there would be no progress in the conversation, “Is it impossible to infiltrate the mine and secretly mine black mithril? There is a great sage here capable of using Mass Teleport.”
“There are all sorts of enchantments in the mine, so teleportation and communication magic are impossible. Additionally, black mithril can only be mined once a year.”
“Once a year?”
“Yes. On that day, His Majesty leads the guards and heads to the mine. In order to mine black mithril, you have to visit the mine on the same day as His Majesty the Emperor. Even if you succeed in infiltrating the mine, you’ll have to face the guards. You will immediately become hostile to the imperial family, and the harmony between the Overgeared Kingdom and the empire will never be achieved.”
“Then there is no way after all?”
“There’s only one. Infiltrate the emperor’s royal treasure house where the black mithril mined for generations is kept. If you aim for the day when His Majesty goes to the mine, it is worth trying because many of the guards will be away.”
“The emperor’s treasure house...”
It was the treasure house of the emperors who dominated the West Continent. Many of the guards might be away, but it would almost certainly boast more guards than anywhere else. It might be much more difficult than approaching a dragon lair. Still, everything was relative. It was certainly better than heading for the black mithril mine and encountering the emperor.
‘In any case, the most superior materials are always a problem.’
Their whereabouts were unknown, and the difficulty of obtaining them was also high. Grid clicked his tongue and asked Basara, “What is the day that the emperor will leave for the mine?”
Would it be a few months later? Would his patience run out if he waited while sucking on his fingers? While Grid was worried, he received an unexpected answer.
“In the next eight days.”
“Yes. It is just a short time away. It might be easier than you think to infiltrate the emperor’s treasure house because of the confusion Edan caused. Even so, I can’t guarantee success.”
Edan running wild really helped in this situation. The moment that a smile appeared on Grid’s face...
“By the way, why aren’t you paying attention to the meteorite?” A familiar voice rang out. Grid looked back and saw a small shadow under the large table lined with wood. It was the dwarf Ke. The visitor had come without permission.
‘How did he get in?’
The entrance of the meeting room was naturally guarded by knights. Then the assassins of the Overgeared Shadows were waiting inside. Yet Dwarf Ke managed to come here without being stopped. The baffled Grid suddenly looked at Ke’s feet. A small yellow golem was sticking its head out of a tunnel. It seemed to resemble an elemental, but it was different. The light elemental didn’t respond at all.
Ke laughed. “It is an artificial elemental. The golem—made of earth and metal—was imbued with an ego by processing an earth elemental, but it is pretty useless. As you can see, its digging ability is excellent, and it can smell minerals and guide me there.”
“Then can’t you easily infiltrate the emperor’s castle?”
“Oh, that is a big deal. I did it over 100 years ago and got stuck in that cage. I’m not going to repeat the same mistake.”
Why was he trapped in the Abyss? It turned out he was a thief. Grid frowned as he stared at Ke. “You destroyed my castle at will and invaded this place illegally. Thus, you’ll have to go to jail again.”
“W-What... Do you need to do that? A broken castle can be fixed in a few days. Just fill the hole again. Additionally, I broke in, but... it wasn’t intentional. This artificial elemental smelled minerals and did it at will!”
“How will you take responsibility for the inconveniences that people will experience while a broken castle is repaired? Additionally, whether you did it intentionally or not, is it right to intrude without permission?”
Grid treated Ke as a guest. This was the first dwarf he’d met and he wanted to make a good connection, which was why he saved Ke. However, this concept was too much. Grid wanted to establish a good relationship, but he was going to explode. The first thing to teach such a person was courtesy. Manners must be established. The moment that Grid decided to place Ke in prison...
“I won’t just repair the castle, I’ll expand it! I was originally a castle-building craftsman! Even the King of Lubana once asked me to build him a fortress!”
“...King of Lubana?”
“It was Madra. He was a very old man and the king of a failed country, so he didn’t leave a proper name in history. You won’t know him.”
He had met someone who knew Madra. Grid’s mood became strange. Ke kept talking, “The reason why I broke into your castle was due to my desire to see your great works. It was never an act of malice. Please let me off just once! I’ll be careful not to do it again!”
“...It is hard if I want to set a standard of discipline.”
“I accidentally overheard your conversation. Are you planning to create a new mineral? Using blood stone and adamantium? I don’t know about blood stone, but you don’t have to remove the unique properties of adamantium. The fragment of the meteorite that fell from space and lost its light is adamantium. This sword is made of a meteorite.”
Dwarf Ke pointed at the Star Sword. It was an item left behind by Sword Duke Limit. The item information described it as a sword made from a ‘star fragment’, but Grid hadn’t known it meant a meteorite. He never imagined that a meteorite’s identity would be adamantium that had lost its properties.
‘Isn’t this good?’
Adamantium’s properties didn’t only consist of its powerful divine power. Adamantium also had the strength, hardness, and brittleness that producers wanted. Of course, there were limits, but it was a mineral that could be utilized actively. It was a pity that those properties had to be deleted, but Dwarf Ke provided him with a new solution.
Grid barely restrained the corners of his mouth from curving upward as he spoke with a bold expression, “Okay. If you rebuild the castle as promised and cooperate in the creation of this mineral, I will forget about putting you in prison.”
“Ohh! Thank you! Really, thank... you?”
Was this a situation where he should feel thankful? Ke suddenly felt doubtful, but he let it go. He was just relieved that he wouldn’t have to go to prison.
The Saharan imperial household’s army was strong. The level of the soldiers was high and comparable to the imperial army. They had many skills and excellent equipment. It was as if the Ares Army and Overgeared Army were combined. However, Valhalla’s players defeated the imperial household’s army relatively easily.
It was thanks to the active role of their military adviser, Sima Qian. Sima Qian noted that a civil war was currently occurring. He used the imperial household’s mentality to arrive at the marquis’ territory one step ahead of Marquis Aileen. He placed troops along the shortest route available to each army and ambushed the imperial household army, defeating them all over the capital. Only messages of victory could be heard.
“Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.” Ares burst out laughing as he received good news about the level of the guild members and soldiers soaring.
Sima Qian was humble. “It was possible due to the information from the grandmaster. Without his information, we wouldn't have been able to put the soldiers in the right place.”
“He just gave a small hint. It was purely your talent. Then are you now going to save Marquis Aileen?”
He would save Marquis Aileen and escort the marquis to safety, then they would stay in the marquis’ territory and wait for Edan’s arrival. Prince Edan would rally the Red Knights, allowing him to endure the offensive of the imperial army for the time being. It was for a maximum of 10 days. This was enough.
“Prince Edan is relatively young and has less exposure to outside forces than the other princes. If he raises the banner of independence from the imperial royal family to protect the rights of the minorities, he will win support from ethnic minorities all over the nation.”
“Many minorities will rally to Marquis Aileen and the empire’s civil war will be lengthened. At that time, we will move the main army to the border and conquer the outskirts of the empire.”
The Saharan Empire, which reigned over the West Continent, was treated as something insurmountable that players couldn’t surpass. He would be the first to break down the mighty empire that even Grid never crossed. Ares’ blood was boiling.