Most incidents in Satisfy had witnesses. The operators? No, they were players. There were more than two billion players, and they existed everywhere in Satisfy. They were connected to Satisfy’s vast worldview by directly or indirectly experiencing various stories that unfolded throughout the continent.
This time was the same as well. The emperor’s palace was regarded as one of the largest buildings on the West Continent. There were players among the thousands of workers. Among them were a few with the skills to deceive the royal guards. Some of them were interested in the imperial upheaval and wandered around the audience hall.
Then they witnessed it. It was the emergence of 4th Prince Edan. The traitor, the source of the current chaos, wandered the palace and indiscriminately slaughtered the royal guards. He opened the door of the audience hall while covered with red blood.
An uproar followed. The players approached the audience hall with great curiosity while holding their breaths. The probability of being expelled from the imperial palace or killed was close to 99.9%, but they couldn’t retreat from the ‘jackpot scandal.’ They had to be the best in each field to work in the palace. As so-called rankers, they knew how powerful information was. They wanted to listen to the emperor’s conversation even at the risk of their lives.
‘The imperial concubine was the one who killed the empress?’
‘This happened because Edan tried to kill the dukes who learned about it.’
‘It is a household drama...’
It was pretty good information. Selling this to gossip media would be a good source of income, and they could build up good relationships by notifying the players who were still the empress’ knights without knowing the situation. Someone cut open a potted plant. Someone else wiped the dust on a window frame. Then someone’s footsteps were heard in the ears of the players who were trying to listen in on the audience hall.
Step. Step. Step.
They were creepy footsteps. Was it possible to walk slowly in the bloody corridor? They were even approaching the turbulent audience hall. The players felt a sense of alienation and became alert. They felt the owner of the footsteps wasn’t a normal person and tried to hide as much as possible.
However, it was useless. This was Grandmaster Zikfrector. Some people heard it, and others accidentally witnessed it. The moment the super-named NPC whose exact identity was unknown appeared, the players who used their skills were amazed.
[You can’t deceive the senses of the target!]
[The ‘Stealth’ skill has been turned off.]
[The target has grasped your intentions!]
[The ‘Irrelevant Person’ skill has been turned off.]
[The target has noticed your magic power!]
[The unique magic ‘Chameleon’ has been released.]
The players... The skills and magic that the rankers were so proud of were easily neutralized just by the presence of the grandmaster.
“Uh... Uwahh...” The unexpectedly exposed players stepped back with fright. Like ants on the roadside, they felt an endless feeling of helplessness in front of the grandmaster who didn’t give them a single glance. Then...
However, the grandmaster had no interest in them. He ignored them as he entered the audience hall.
“What... A great demon?”
In any case, they survived. The players touched their chest with relief and sank down. How would the grandmaster intervene in the epic family fight? It happened with the players, whose curiosity increased, listened to the inside of the audience hall.
“Run away now!” Someone’s sudden cry rang out from a distant hallway. The surprised players shifted their gaze, and they saw a familiar face. It was Zibal—one of the strongest players and Edan’s subordinate. Behind him were dozens of knights in red armor.
“The Red Knights!”
The surprised players jumped up. They didn’t know what disaster they had encountered and used all types of skills to escape. Still, they were too slow. The single digit knights stepped out to stop them, binding them.
“Shit!” Zibal cursed and pulled out his sword. Amazingly, he was trying to kill the players. One of the knights pulled out a sword later than Zibal yet managed to block his sword. Her name was Susan. She was the cousin of the legendary knight Mercedes and a member of the Neo Red Knights, who had been created by the emperor and trained by the grandmaster himself.
“They will resurrect if you kill them. It is better to put them in prison. It will be hard if the things they saw and heard here get out.”
Susan had a beautiful face that resembled Mercedes’, but her expression and tone were ice cold. Her transparent eyes glanced at Zibal. “Sir Zibal. Did you know that and intentionally tried to kill them?”
Her cold eyes were like ice. His heart would become cold when facing those eyes. Zibal gulped and smiled awkwardly. “No way. I was just short-sighted.”
His gaze was directed at the players. The people kneeling on the icy marble floor might be imprisoned for longer than they imagined. They would waste time and fall behind others. Some might have to put down the business card called a ‘ranker.’
When did he become someone who was worried about others? Anxiety grew in Zibal’s heart as he clicked his tongue. ‘This ruined everything.’
Edan was declared a traitor and was in danger of losing everything. Zibal had plenty of opportunities to leave his side. Yet Zibal didn’t leave. He faced a great crisis by choosing to remain with the traitor. Why? It wasn’t just out of the expectation that the ownership of Raiders would be transferred to him if he maximized his affinity with Edan.
Zibal had served Edan for a few years and received a lot of favors. As a Blue Sky Rider to an ancient rider, Zibal was a special presence for Edan. When Zibal fled to help the Haken Kingdom, Edan had told him, “Thank you for telling the world about the power of the magic machine.”
Zibal wasn’t punished. He also had many memories together with the members of the magic machines unit. For him to abandon them and run away alone...? It was impossible for the current Zibal. He had once lost everything and become alone, so he desperately knew the preciousness of colleagues.
‘Tsk. I hope this will go well.’ Ziball looked anxiously at Edan’s back through the half open audience hall. Edan had the support of the grandmaster, but that was precisely the problem. The grandmaster was a man who couldn’t be trusted. He couldn’t be trusted after betraying the emperor right now.
‘What is he trying to do by placing Edan as emperor?’
Edan and the grandmaster were in a relationship of necessity. Edan wanted to become emperor, and the grandmaster decided to help Edan because he could get something. There was no guarantee the grandmaster would be on Edan’s side after the grandmaster got what he wanted.
‘Sigh, I have to be involved with that bastard.’
In fact, Zibal knew that there was only one end waiting for Edan. It was an unfortunate one. This was natural. Edan lost sight of himself a long time ago. The reason he decided to become emperor a long time ago might’ve been for his mother, but now he had become a scoundrel who insulted his mother in front of others and pointed his sword at his father. His evil deeds had brought suffering upon many people, and he eventually became someone who couldn’t be saved.
‘No, I still don’t know. Things can work out,’ Zibal prayed. He hoped that Edan got what he wanted. From then on, he would live and atone for his sins.
‘Don’t forget my grace and give me the magic machine. Make me a duke as well.’
While the outside of the audience hall was in turmoil...
“I will now install 4th Prince Edan as the new emperor. The proof of qualification for the replacement is the sword of the founding emperor, Saharan.”
There was silence inside the audience hall. Everyone was stunned by the grandmaster’s absurd declaration. Suddenly, Duke Grenhal came to his senses and shouted with a red face, “Zikfrector! It is up to the emperor to decide who will be the next emperor! How dare you try and place a new emperor?”
“You don’t have enough understanding. I presented the founding emperor’s sword as proof of qualification. Don’t you know that this qualification is enough to establish a new emperor?” It was still a careless expression. The grandmaster looked like he was going to yawn.
Morse’s anger soared, and he interjected, “How can we believe that? I have never heard of the founding emperor’s sword having such authority?! How can you prove it is the founding emperor’s sword in the first place?”
“You don’t know it but one person knows.” The grandmaster’s gaze was on the emperor. “Have you heard the meaning of Saharan’s sword?”
The emperor was silent, and the dukes’ expressions became complicated. The silence was agreement.
“If my descendants don’t keep the promise, you can take away the throne at any time.”
“Those are the words that Saharan left behind before he died. It was conveyed to all the emperors after Saharan.”
“Why... Why is that?”
The dukes were shocked, and Bain closed his mouth in amazement. They were confused. Why did the founding emperor leave such words? What was the promise? Since when did the grandmaster exist? Grandmaster Zikfrector didn’t care about their confusion. He just looked at the emperor and said, “Juander, you have forgotten.”
“You ignored my warnings several times and turned away from the Abyss.”
At this moment...
“I’m sorry,” the silent emperor finally opened his mouth. “You didn’t explain anything to me. You didn’t give a proper warning either. You only recommended exploring the Abyss and were idle every time I put it off. Wouldn’t it have been nice if you urged me to notice it was a warning? I didn’t know the promise between you and my ancestor was intertwined with the Abyss. Many things have been lost and forgotten over the years!”
“You are certainly an ignorant dreamer.” The grandmaster’s gaze changed for the first time. It was now a sympathetic gaze like he was looking at a pathetic creature. “The moment you became emperor, you turned away from the space you should be responsible for.”
The grandmaster took a step forward.
“You didn’t even try to figure out what the promise was.”
“Instead of blaming yourself for turning away from my voice, you’re transferring the responsibility to others.”
Three steps. Yes, the grandmaster only took three steps, but he ended up right in front of the emperor. The space itself had folded. Bain felt that way.
“You are the most incompetent and selfish of all the emperors. You used the excuse of losing your beloved woman, but you have been incompetent and dull from the beginning. On the other hand...” The grandmaster finished his ruthless assessment of the emperor and turned his attention to Edan. “Your son has a very good side. He noticed what I wanted after visiting the Abyss once and suggested a deal. It was like the second coming of Saharan. I even felt joy.”
The grandmaster tapped Saharan’s sword with his finger. Then a large amount of red energy emerged from the sword, and the audience hall was dyed red. It was a light powerful enough to be seen by Grid’s group that had just arrived at the outskirts of Titan.