The red light from the imperial palace covered the entire capital, Titan. This meant that Grid could witness the sight from the outskirts.
“A very large butcher’s store...!” This was Grid’s impression.
Grid shouted it unknowingly, but fortunately, Basara’s group didn’t hear it. No, they heard it, but they couldn’t afford to worry about it. It was because they were busy worrying about the change in the capital that was now unfolding in front of them.
“The sky and the earth are red... Why is this...?”
“A fearful omen. The 4th imperial prince is crazy, and the empire will be destroyed.”
Basara’s retainers lamented. They felt a great ominous feeling from this incomprehensible supernatural phenomena. This was when Basara’s clear voice awakened everyone’s spirit, “That is red energy.”
Anxiety was washed away from the faces of those who learnt the identity of the red light shrouding the capital. The red energy was a symbol of the imperial family. From the standpoint of those who served the royal Basara, the red energy was an auspicious power.
“The red energy could be this widespread? His Majesty’s power is much greater than I thought.”
People believed that the owner of this red energy was naturally the emperor. The emperor’s red energy was the strongest in this era. However, Basara knew...
The emperor’s red energy wasn’t this great. This was at a level that broke even the common sense of the imperial family.
‘Who is it?’
The main characteristic of red energy was the ‘influence on matter.’ In normal cases, the royalty raised their power by infusing red energy into certain substances and distributing it to their subordinates. The emperor’s power was also unique due to his monopoly of red energy and the black mithril.
Yet there was a fact that couldn’t be overlooked. The red energy could strengthen the material it was injected into, but it could also absorb the strength of the material. It was very inefficient to absorb the strength of the material while consuming red energy, so the existing royalty didn’t operate the red energy this way.
‘A person with so much red energy can absorb the strength of all things and exert transcendental power.’
Basara’s expression turned cold. She sensed that the emperor was in a great crisis. Her retainers were also agitated.
“Why is His Majesty personally using the red energy? Don’t tell me...?”
“Is the 4th imperial prince attacking His Majesty?”
The speculation of the retainers shocked the 10,000 cavalrymen. Everyone looked at Basara nervously. Basara was forced to make a bold decision, “Enter the capital in an armed state. We must immediately march to the imperial palace to help His Majesty.”
Some of her retainers made objections once Basara gave the order. They were all opinions that came from their loyalty.
“The soldiers of the imperial family will block the gates. No matter our intentions, we can be regarded as traitors the moment there is an armed conflict. We can save His Majesty and lose everything.”
“Your Highness, this is now an opportunity from Heaven. You can’t help His Majesty.”
“That’s right! First, contact the estate and ask for the army! The moment we hear that His Majesty is in trouble, we can march and occupy the capital!”
Basara was fifth in the line of succession. She was ranked second highest after the princes, and as long as she maintained her duke rank and territory, her actual force went beyond the princes’. Basara was the right person to be next to the throne. Of course, Basara herself didn’t intend to refuse the throne. However, she judged that it was too premature.
‘It is too dangerous until I know what the grandmaster is doing.’
Unlike the other emperors through the ages, Basara had no intention of ruling by force. It wasn’t because she was a nonviolent person or that she was weak. She was just an extremely reasonable person. By coexisting with non-imperial countries and ethnic minorities, it would enrich them, and she would receive more tributes that would help the empire’s future. Her ancestors had already demonstrated how inefficient it was to trample and dominate with unconditional force. It was doubtful if the grandmaster, who had been with the emperors of the past, would agree with Basara’s ideas.
‘The grandmaster is also a person who pursues hegemony, which is why he is on the empire’s side.’
It was clear that her position would be troubling if she opposed the grandmaster. The power of the grandmaster, who had been with the imperial family for a long time, would easily surpass the new emperor. Unless she wanted to live as the grandmaster’s puppet, Basara believed it would be better not to aim at the throne until she read his intentions. Therefore...
“No. We have to help His Majesty. His Majesty still needs to be in place.”
Basara ignored the opinions of her loyalists, and the 10,000 horsemen started their march. The land became turbulent when 10,000 horses started running at once. The birds staying in the small mountains all over the place were startled and flew into the sky.
During the raucous march, Basara called out to Grid, “Overgeared King!”
Having witnessed the white-haired Grid at the Ruins of the War God, she interpreted that Grid was a master comparable to the grandmaster and made a request.
“It will take a while for our army to reach the imperial palace. Can you help His Majesty by going to the imperial palace first?” Basara’s request had sufficient grounds.
Grid’s wish was the unity of the Overgeared Kingdom and the empire. Grid running over first and helping the emperor was a shortcut to achieve Grid’s wish. It was as expected.
“Okay,” Grid happily accepted Basara’s request. It seemed as if he had been waiting for it.
A somewhat bitter smile spread on Basara’s face. “You have to go alone to a place where the enemies are unknown... Yet you don’t even hesitate.”
Basara’s affinity with Grid was already reaching the peak. The moment she received a proposal from Grid, she had enough affinity to plan their honeymoon.
She gave genuine advice to Grid, who started to manipulate something, “I am well aware of your strength. Still, be careful. There are many strong people in the imperial palace who can threaten you. When you arrive, read the situation first and only act when you can ensure your safety, rather than unconditionally help His Majesty.”
“Of course,” Grid answered while putting on a skin mask.
[Berith’s Skin Mask]
[Rating: Legendary (Transcendent)
Durability: 10/10 (can’t be repaired)
A mask made by Berith processing human skin.
It boasts a perfect degree of completion because it contains Berith’s magic of lies and distortion. It isn’t only the face that is disguised but the body shape and voice as well. Thus, it transcends a simple mask.
* You can disguise yourself as anyone you have a reasonable understanding of.
* You must’ve communicated at least 100 words with the target in order to gain the understanding needed for the disguise.
* The higher the affinity of the target, the better the understanding.
* The duration of the disguise depends on your understanding of the target.
★ You can only copy the appearance and voice of the target. Be extra careful about your words and actions after the disguise.
Cooldown Time: 12 hours.
User Restriction: Level 380 or higher.
“I’ll be going,” Grid said through the skin mask. His tone was exactly like Basara’s. That’s right. In order to freely move through the imperial palace, he disguised himself as Basara, a member of the imperial family and a duke.
Basara’s face reddened. “This...”
“M-My chest has swelled. Did you put cotton in? Surely the magic of a great demon isn’t omnipotent enough to replicate all parts of the human body?”
The embarrassed Grid forgot to act as he replied, “O-Of course.”
He couldn’t answer honestly.
The capital Titan was the heart of the empire. It was a magnificent and splendid city that gave a glimpse into the wealth and power of the empire. However, the red-colored Titan was a completely different city from what Grid had seen before. Knights riding horses raced down the roads, and soldiers with swords were seen in every alley. Signs of battle were found, and some aristocratic mansions were burning. The people, who lost their place in this turmoil, crouched in a corner and cried.
It was simply pandemonium.
‘It’s like a war.’
As Basara feared, this was an unusual situation. Grid had to hurry. This was a great opportunity to help the emperor and raise affinity. He was also worried about the dukes who had left to meet the emperor first.
“Isn’t that Duke Basara?” The knights carefully searching the area found Grid disguised as Basara and got off their horses.
Grid asked them, “Are you searching for the rebel Edan?”
“Yes, that’s right!”
“Don’t you know what is going on right now in the imperial palace?”
“I’m sorry. We don't know what's going on in the imperial palace. We are worried because a red light suddenly burst out but two duke and the Five Pillars are there. We dare not question or worry about it.”
“I see. Continue with what you were doing.”
The knights hurriedly opened the way and Grid ran past them to the imperial palace. Grid thought about it, ‘No matter how I look, that son of a bitch Edan is fooling around.’
Edan shook off the soldiers’ search and infiltrated the imperial palace to attack the emperor. The emperor exploded his red energy during the confrontation, and this influence turned the capital red. Grid could guess up to here.
The one question was if Edan could do any harm to the emperor. As the knights said a while ago, the emperor was protected by the Five Pillars while Grenhal and Morse were visiting the emperor. Above all, the emperor himself was the strongest. Even if Edan was buffed by the obvious cliche in his role as a villain, it seemed impossible for him to break through these forces and harm the emperor.
‘Thus, I need to hurry up.’
He didn’t think the situation would already be finished, but he had to go quickly or he wouldn’t be able to get the emperor’s favor. Grid increased his speed. Unfortunately, this female body was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. His limbs were long, but his hips were too big and his chest shook when he ran. He couldn’t maintain his balance. Grid could grab them every time he jumped, but he was worried about eyes and felt guilty toward Basara.
Should he care about these small problems in such a desperate situation? Grid just grabbed his chest and started to run. The texture that was conveyed was... Omitted.
The scenery of the imperial palace was more serious than the capital’s. Every corridor and pillar was sprayed with red blood, and the groans of the dying soldiers echoed like a long song.
“The Red Knights... The Red Knights betrayed...”
“His Majesty is in danger...”
The soldiers who discovered Grid coughed up blood. Grid, who learned of the situation, equipped the Ideal Dagger and used Quick Movements.
‘The emperor failed to kill the Red Knights and was hit.’
The skills of the Red Knights weren’t ordinary. Once the single digit knights joined forces, they could compete with the dukes. Additionally, the Red Knights themselves had many people. Edan also had the magic machines unit, so the Five Pillars and the dukes couldn’t easily stop his momentum.
This was an opportunity for Grid. Grid accelerated through the corridors. His transcendent senses were guiding him. As he got closer to the audience hall, he could hear the sound of friction, explosions, and metal colliding. Grid checked his condition after confirming that the duration of Quick Movements had ended.
‘It is perfect.’
The only skill on cooldown was Quick Movements. All skills were available, his health and mana were maintained at the maximum, and only a small amount of stamina was consumed.
‘Before the Five Pillars wipe out the Red Knights, I will break through the Red Knights and give the emperor a vivid impression.’
Grid made a plan and took off the skin mask. There was no need to expose the skin mask to the emperor or the Five Pillars. Moreover, it was necessary to reveal his identity. If they asked how he came to the imperial palace, he would have to speak with the dukes and answer in the most positive way possible. He finally got closer to the scene of combat.
At the end of the long corridor, knights in red armor could be seen. So far, it was as Grid had expected. Then he saw Grandmaster Zikfrector and Chensler fighting each other. The members of the Five Pillars that Grid were familiar with were fighting each other.
One of them was on Edan’s side? Or was there some type of disagreement and they were just fighting for a moment? Grid’s confused gaze turned reflexively into the audience hall. Then he saw it. It was the sight of Edan’s sword being pointed at the emperor. Grenhal and Morse were on the ground in a mess while Bain, another of the Five Pillars, was wounded.
‘Did Edan do this?’
What mattered now wasn’t grasping the situation. He had to save the emperor as soon as possible. In order to achieve harmony with the empire, the emperor who favored the dukes had to survive. How should he do this? Grid was daunted by the battle between the grandmaster and Chensler. The two monsters, who he didn’t think he could win against even if he used Blackening, were fighting in the middle of the corridor. Grid couldn’t break through them to reach the audience hall.
‘Braham, do you intend to wake up?’ He anxiously called out to Braham, but there was no answer. Braham, who had fallen asleep, seemed like he wouldn’t wake up for a long time.
-Grid! Don't interfere! A whisper flew toward Grid.
The sender was Zibal. Grid turned his gaze and saw Zibal standing with the riders. Then Grid’s face filled with frustration. He felt desperate because even if he broke through the Five Pillars and the Red Knights, there were still the magic machines.
That’s why he summoned Piaro. He was convinced that he had to pull out the strongest hand. He also remembered that Piaro was one of the people related to the empire.
[Your knight ‘Piaro’ has arrived by your side.]
It was a notification that came up without a pause. Grid affirmed it as he stared at the back of Piaro, who responded immediately to his call.
‘Piaro won’t die.’
He would make sure of it. The determined Grid gave an order in front of everyone. “Piaro, I’m sorry but let’s save the emperor.”
He surely wouldn’t be willing. He would surely be hesitant. This was what Grid thought.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
To Grid’s surprise, Piaro immediately agreed to the order. He pulled out a hand plow from among various farming equipment hanging from his waist and broke through the corridor.
“Piaro...!” The Red Knights cried out. None of them dared to block the path ahead of Piaro. Only one person was different.
“Damn! Don't interfere!” Only the player Zibal summoned his magic machine and stood in front of the entrance to the audience hall. A giant and majestic magic machine came in contact with the high ceiling of the imperial palace as it stabbed at Piaro with a pillar-like spear.
“Free Farming 2nd Style. Super Growth.”
A soybean tree grew through the ground in an instant and blocked it. Not only did it block Raiders’ spear, but it also grew vines that bound Raiders’ arms and legs. Zibal became contemplative at the sight of Raiders who stopped moving for a while.
“This is crazy!”
In the past, Zibal had already been beaten by Piaro. For Zibal, ‘Reidan’s crazy farmer’ was imprinted in him as the strongest. However, he had forgotten. It was caused by witnessing the battle between the grandmaster and Chensler. Shortly after witnessing their battle, Zibal became relatively relaxed and fearless as he faced Piaro for their long reunion.
This was the result. The operating time was so short that even one second was precious. Raiders was tied up for three seconds, and this allowed Piaro to break through. Moreover, Piaro had already entered the audience hall and stopped Edan from killing the emperor.
Saharan’s sword and a sickle collided. Piaro’s appearance, which hadn’t changed since he left the empire, shocked Edan and the dukes.
“You have become a legend and broken the shackles...” A bitter voice filled with complex emotions—Emperor Juander’s voice echoed in the hall.
On the other hand, Grid...
“Amazing. You infiltrated here so easily with your skills?”
He was confronted by the grandmaster. Unlike the tense Grid, the grandmaster was smiling. “There is a lot of talent. I’m becoming more and more excited.”
“What do you expect from me?” Grid was in a position where he couldn’t act.
Asmophel, Mercedes, Noll, Jude, and the 10 meritorious retainers were available, but he had to be cautious because he wasn’t in a position to bring them all out. First of all, Asmophel and Mercedes were escorting the previous generation of Red Knights and weren’t suitable to be called. Noll was another species, and Grid was afraid this would antagonize the emperor. Meanwhile, Jude was too weak. Most of all, Grid could only guarantee the life of one person. He only had one White Peach.
Grid decided to talk to the grandmaster, who was interested in him, and further explore the situation.
“Tell me. What are you expecting from me?” Grid asked again.
“Won’t you be the emperor?” The grandmaster returned with a question.
Grid suddenly knew that all of today’s events were caused by the grandmaster.