[You are the first player to discover the ‘Imperial Palace’s Secret Passage’!]
[Your achievement of discovering the last retreat of the emperor is truly remarkable!]
[You have received the ‘Imperial Palace’s Blueprint’ as a first discovery reward!]
[The Great Robber of the Red Night is interested in you. Watch out for red nights.]
[Imperial Palace’s Blueprint (Central Section)]
The imperial palace of the Saharan Empire is one of the finest buildings in history, designed by the best architects and dwarves.
There are a total of 19 blueprints of the imperial palace, among which the highest technical strength is concentrated in the central blueprint.
These are also the basics for imparting the best architectural skills.
Acquisition Effect: Open the craftsman great Architecture skill. Understanding of the imperial palace’s structure will rise by 10%. The probability of making a historic building will permanently increase.
Learning Conditions: Architect.
The seven malignant saints...
The expelled gods...
After learning about the grandmaster’s identity and desires, Grid was confused and couldn’t handle the amount of information flooding in. The interior of the huge passage, where night stones were installed in one-meter intervals and scattering a soft light, caught his eyes. Yes, this was a place that only the emperors should know. It was the most secret place in the world.
The emperor brought him here... It was very meaningful.
It wasn’t a level of trust that could be built up just by saving a single life. The emperor, who had known for a long time that Piaro was alive, probably treated Grid as a benefactor and had been deeply grateful to him from then on. It was a gratitude for slightly easing some of the emperor’s sins. If Piaro hadn’t met Grid, he would still be wandering around or perhaps be dead. The emperor thought Piaro had died or that he had gotten crippled in the first place.
‘...I’ve also received help from Piaro.’ Grid became bitter after reading the emperor’s heart. Just as Piaro wouldn’t be human if he hadn’t met Grid, Grid wouldn’t be a human either if he hadn’t met Piaro. He would still dismiss control and wouldn’t be able to overcome all types of crises. Yes, he wasn’t a one-sided benefactor of Piaro.
Piaro was also his benefactor. They were greatly encouraged and inspired by each other. They were friends who were together naturally. This was the reason why.
‘Piaro, you followed my unjust command without a single protest.’
The emperor’s heart toward Piaro didn’t matter. From Piaro’s perspective, the emperor was a firm enemy who couldn’t be forgiven even if he were killed a hundred times. It was the emperor who harmed Piaro’s family and associates, taking away Piaro’s life.
Yet Piaro had swallowed his anger. He had wanted to run and hurt the emperor, but he saved the emperor at Grid’s command. How pained and bitter would he feel despite not expressing it? Grid weighed Piaro’s feelings and felt great sorrow and guilt.
‘I’m sorry to Kasim.’
A disciple of Lantier, a friend of Doran and the teacher of Faker and Lord... Kasim, the last survivor of the Nero people, was also deprived of everything because of the empire. The empire had wiped out his family, friends, and colleagues, as well as his nation and culture.
Piaro’s grudge was limited to the foolish emperor and evil empress while Asmophel resented the empress and the Yatan Church, but Kasim hated the empire itself. In the past, Grid had taken advantage of Kasim’s position and vowed to take revenge on the empire in order to fully utilize Kasim.
However, things changed. The current Grid was aiming for unity, rather than hostility with the empire. Right now, Kasim understood Grid’s position and was persevering, but it wouldn’t be strange if his patience ran out. Maybe...
The biggest obstacle to harmony with the empire might be Kasim.
‘This problem won’t be solved just because the emperor apologizes.’
If the empire itself didn’t change, Kasim would never forgive the empire. If the empire doesn't change...
If Kasim’s hatred was maintained...
What choice would Grid make then?
The moment Grid was feeling depressed by his thoughts...
Saharan’s sword absorbed power from all the materials that made up the capital. Piaro, who had been stunned after experiencing Edan wielding this explosive power, finally came to his senses.
Grid and the dukes supported Piaro. On the other hand, the emperor was still. He didn’t have the qualifications or courage to help Piaro.
“Your Majesty... Are you safe...”
The moment he regained his spirit, Piaro looked at Grid. This image choked the emperor’s heart. Those eyes, filled with loyalty and infinite affection, were originally directed at him. Now they had become directed at someone else entirely. Although he was thankful that Piaro lived, he now felt sad and really shameless. He wondered how selfish he had become since he sat on the throne and enjoyed everything. The emperor was disillusioned with himself and turned away from Piaro.
The man who lost everything because of his ignorance...
The emperor couldn’t look at him. He didn’t want to see Piaro become someone else’s. The emperor dropped his head without any strength.
“Your Majesty, this subordinate dares risk his life to make a request,” Chensler’s voice rang out suddenly. The wounds he had received from the grandmaster were quite large, but he knelt down on the cold floor anyway. “Apologize to Sir Piaro.”
Chensler was the last loyalist. Even if Juander wasn’t the emperor, Chensler would sacrifice everything for him. Therefore, he could dare to advise Juander, “Your Majesty is supreme. No one dares to punish Your Majesty so your Majesty must be strict on yourself. Take responsibility for the sins you have committed. Ask Sir Piaro for forgiveness.”
How shocked had the emperor been when he heard of Piaro’s betrayal? How many nights had the emperor spent awake before ordering Piaro’s family to be killed? How had the emperor felt when he found out the truth? Chensler had always been watching. As a result, he pushed the emperor even more. He knew the emperor could only move forward if he asked Piaro for forgiveness.
“...” The emperor hesitated. His heart naturally wanted to run immediately to Piaro and fall to his knees. However, could he obtain Piaro’s forgiveness with just a few words of apology? Piaro wouldn’t forgive him. He wouldn’t forgive himself if he were Piaro.
The shock of losing Empress Aria... In the end, it was just an excuse like the grandmaster said. No excuse could be given for betraying a trusted friend.
Since he wouldn’t be forgiven, the act of apologizing meant his relationship with Piaro would be severed. The emperor thought too much and didn’t move toward Piaro in the end. He realized this terrible reality and wanted to ignore his irreversible sins.
“Your Majesty...” Chensler sighed. He had been hoping...
The emperor might not be forgiven by Piaro, but Chensler hoped the emperor would show the courage to stand up to his mistakes, even if he would be cursed at. It was only then that the emperor could be a better ruler, which was a shortcut to ending the confusion that the royal family faced. Yet the emperor didn’t have the courage to do so.
Chensler was sad. Of course, he didn’t blame or criticize the emperor despite that. The greater the size of the sins committed, the harder it was to face the person. Chensler fully understood the emperor’s position.
Meanwhile, Piaro also turned away from the emperor. The familiar appearance of the emperor who was a bit further away and holding his breath...
Piaro turned a blind eye to the betrayer he hated every moment since that day’s incident. He thought he would burst into tears when he saw the emperor’s eyes. In order to get revenge, he must not even exchange looks...
Piaro thought hard and only stared at Grid. Piaro’s shaky gaze broke Grid's heart. However, Grid wasn’t in a position to say any words of consolation.
The heavy silence caused everyone’s breath to tighten. They waited for the noises still coming from the audience hall above the secret passage to stop. Suddenly, Grid yelled, “Ah...! Duke Basara!”
“...?” Everyone looked bewildered.
Then Grid hurriedly explained, “Duke Basara is leading soldiers to the imperial palace!”
“Basara?” The first person to react was the emperor. He noticed something. In order to save him, Basara was now advancing to the imperial palace without waiting.
‘She is better than my children...’
Basara was truly very talented. Her red energy had a weaker influence on matter, but it gave vitality to life. There was no fear in the troops she led, and the other nobles became gentle sheep in front of her. Her red energy, which saw the essence and condition of matter and guided it in a beneficial direction, was similar to Mercedes’s insight.
Her father had surrendered the throne to Juander’s father who was prepared to purge all of his blood relatives, allowing Juander to inherit the throne. If she had been the one to inherit the throne instead of him...
‘Aria and Piaro wouldn’t have experienced the misfortune, and the empire would’ve enjoyed a peaceful reign.’ The enlightened emperor’s gaze shifted toward Grid. Grid was going crazy, and the dukes and Piaro were trying to stop him.
“Let me go! I have to go and save Duke Basara!”
“That’s enough, Your Majesty! That place is dangerous!”
“Duke Basara doesn’t know what is going on at the imperial palace right now! She will surely die if she is caught up in the grandmaster and Edan’s fight!
“Duke Basara is a wise person. She won’t get hit easily and will be fine on her own!”
“Your Majesty, don’t you know that you might die if you go out?”
“Oh, these guys! I will revive even if I die!!”
Grid struck the dukes’ hands. However, he couldn’t remove Piaro’s hand. The power and will in Piaro’s hands wasn’t something that could be overcome by Grid’s power and will.
“Your Majesty.” Piaro’s deep eyes stared straight at Grid. “I know that Your Majesty is an immortal blessed by the gods. Even if you lose your life, you will smile and live again.”
“Yes, so this hand...”
“My heart is torn.”
“Do you think I don’t know that Your Majesty receives great damage in return for the resurrection? Additionally, the pain...? Aren’t you a human who feels the same pain as me? Don’t get used to dying.”
“As long as my eyes are still open, Your Majesty can’t die. I would rather die. I will save Duke Basara.”
No, this was a troll. Grid barely grabbed Piaro, who was trying to leave on his behalf. Then a completely unexpected figure stepped forward.
“I will go.”
It was Emperor Juander. For the first time, he looked at Piaro. The emperor’s eyes met Piaro’s, and the emperor calmly accepted the gaze that was full of hatred.
“A knight who met the wrong master and lost everything.”
“A friend betrayed by a friend you shouldn’t have believed in.”
“I deeply apologize.”
Piaro seemed feverish as he blocked his eyes and shouted. Tears poured from his red eyes, and his hand that held the hand plow trembled. The emperor bowed deeply to him before glancing at Chensler and Bain. “Don’t follow.”
“My place is by Your Majesty’s side.”
“...I can’t let Your Majesty the Emperor die.”
Chensler and Bain violated the imperial order. It was a very disrespectful attitude, but the emperor laughed.
The emperor passed by Piaro, who couldn’t wield the hand plow, and stood before the dukes. “I name Basara as my successor. You must survive and be the witnesses. Help her well.”
The emperor said no more. He passed by the dukes and stood in front of Grid. “Overgeared King. I know it now. The epitome of all of this is me. I am the one who made everyone unhappy.”
“I have four children. Like his parents, the youngest Edan has made an irreversible mistake. I will take him with me, but the other three can’t be held responsible.”
“The first is like his mother, weak but clever. The second resembles his father, incompetent and greedy. The third is trying to walk the wrong path in rebellion against his father.”
“Please, Overgeared King. Please guide my children correctly. If the new emperor tries to purge them... I hope you can help a little bit.”
The emperor believed that he had the right to ask this. Grid naturally agreed to it. He hadn’t forgotten the emperor’s grace in sending him Mercedes.
“...I understand,” Grid answered.
Then the emperor left the secret passage in a peaceful mood. There was no more emperor in the space made for the emperor.
Then the world message emerged.
[An unknown person is writing the second epic.]
[The beginning of the epic comes from the underground passage that is dyed with the light of the night stones.]
Grid felt a rush of intense emotions.
[He silently watched the back of the Absolute for the last time.]