After the battle between Grid and the clone was over, former Red Knight Singuled talked to the Murray King. "Thank you for your help in the meantime. I won’t forget the grace that Your Majesty has shown me until the day I die.”
The young king was sorry that Singuled was leaving now. Singuled was a guest of more than 10 years; someone the king didn’t want to leave. He wanted Singuled to stay in the kingdom to fight for him and his people.
The Murray King didn’t speak his thoughts. He recalled the day when he first met Singuled, who was injured at the time, and tried to smile as gently as possible. As the king of a small nation, he knew he wasn’t qualified to keep Singuled forever.
Singuled’s heart warmed as he looked at the king. He was abandoned by the nation that he devoted his life to. He suffered damage to his mind and body and wandered the continent until the Murray King rescued him. The king was a virtuous man. Once he learned that Singuled was one of the Red Knights that had persecuted the Murray Kingdom, the king didn’t blame him and claimed that, “it was in the past.”
Singuled vividly remembered a conversation he had with the king,
"Your Majesty, I will leave once my wounds recover.”
“The fact that I am staying here will be known to the empire and you and your people will suffer.”
“There isn’t anything to be discovered. All we have to do is keep our mouths shut.”
"The empire has bribed nobles from nations all over with their tremendous power and vast resources in the past. The empire will surely find me in the Murray Kingdom...”
“No. My subordinates don’t cling to money and power. We are united in trust.”
Singuled thought this person was a young king who wasn’t familiar with the cruel world. How could hundreds of nobles, each with different ideals and ambitions, come together in trust? Singuled thought that the empire would soon discover his location, and thought it would be better to leave before the Murray Kingdom was damaged. However, 11 years passed, and the empire was still unable to discover his location. Surprisingly, no one came forward with information on Singuled.
The Murray Kingdom was truly united. No matter their status, the people were loyal to the king and loved their country. This truly was a wonderful country. It was entirely unlike the empire, where treachery was familiar and conspiracies frequent.
“...Your Majesty.” Before he left, Singuled made a promise to the king, "If I am alive after finishing my matters, I will return again. The Murray Kingdom is now my home.”
He needed to understand the process behind his abandonment and seek retribution. It was either the fall of the empire or Singuled’s death. These were the only possible endings. Nevertheless, the decline of the empire that had dominated the continent for hundreds of years was impossible to imagine.
The king wanted to hold onto Singuled, but he knew Singuled’s wishes and had to cheer for him. He recalled the black-haired king he watched from the palace walls and prayed.
‘Overgeared King. Please protect Singuled with your valor.’
In fact, the Murray King hadn’t been happy about the birth of the new Overgeared Kingdom. The existence of the Overgeared Kingdom would overturn the existing power structure and provide the empire with an excuse for war. The continent would be swept up in a wave of war because of the Overgeared Kingdom.
Yet what was the reality? The Overgeared Kingdom was stronger than everyone expected and built a more robust power structure. The momentum of the empire decreased and the continent welcomed the Overgeared Kingdom. The small countries who suffocated under the tyranny of the empire were given room to breathe.
“Send an envoy to the Overgeared Kingdom.”
"Do you plan to claim losses caused by this battle?”
“No.” The king conveyed his thoughts to his subordinates after Singuled left. “The Murray Kingdom will stop being a tributary of the empire and become a friend of the Overgeared Kingdom.”
Baron Cudan, who went to the Overgeared Kingdom’s founding ceremony in the past, had made this argument:
A single soldier of the Overgeared Kingdom was stronger than the many knights of other kingdoms. Their strength was simply unimaginable. The Overgeared Kingdom would surely grow into a great power and they should thus consider maintaining a good relationship with the Overgeared Kingdom.
However, Baron Cudan’s claims were so absurd that the king and nobles couldn’t make a decision at the time. Now the story was different. This time, the Murray king heard about the Overgeared soldier, who fought with Singuled, and personally witnessed the fighting power of the Overgeared King and nobles who turned the capital into a mess.
The Overgeared Kingdom was a new hope.
‘The atmosphere is worse than expected.’
Haster was accompanying Asmophel. He followed Asmophel and was informed of the locations of the former Red Knights. This was a task Asmophel was doing for Grid and the Overgeared Kingdom, but Haster wasn’t a volunteer. There was no reason for Haster to help the Overgeared Kingdom. He didn’t feel any obligation. Haster was helping Asmophel for his own reasons.
He had to meet a former Red Knight and win in order to clear his class quest. Haster had to clear this quest to open all the skills of a Red Sage. The difficulty was grasping the talents of the former Red Knights since there were so many variables. That’s why he used Asmophel. He would induce Asmophel and the former Red Knight to face each other first, allowing him to identify the opponent’s skills. Eventually, he would challenge Asmophel.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t easy to face a former Red Knight.
Asmophel, Haster, and Singuled. The atmosphere of the three people walking along the road was awkward. Asmophel walked facing forward while Singuled looked at Asmophel like he was dirt. The atmosphere was so gloomy and forbidding that Haster would be rejected if he asked for a duel with Singuled.
‘We can fight if I just attack him, but... I don’t want to force Master’s colleagues to hate me. I will take it slowly. By the way, the Overgeared Kingdom...’
Asmophel said he would take Singuled to the Overgeared Kingdom and then look for the rest of the knights. This forced Haster to comply with him.
The Overgeared Kingdom. What did the first kingdom built by a player look like? Was it as vibrant as he saw in the media? Or had the press been exaggerating? Haster had spent seven years in Satisfy in the mountains, so he was curious. He felt excited like a child. It was natural.
Haster was going on his ‘first adventure’ with Asmophel. Yes, Haster had only been training for the past few years. He never experienced different things unlike the other Five Miracles such as Grid, Kraugel, and Agnus.
Thus, it was painful. Think about it. It was a terrible hell to repeat the same thing every day, 365 days a year for seven years. The other Five Miracles were exposed to all types of stimuli and excitement while Haster endured training every day. He repeated the same routine every day without any stimulation.
The pleasure of playing the game... He didn’t feel it. In fact, the past few years were so hard that he wanted to give up a few times. Nevertheless, Haster was patient and could become a Red Sage.
‘I don’t think my efforts were particularly difficult compared to Grid and Kraugel. They just wouldn’t have been as happy. Hardships accompany effort and everyone had their own difficulties.’
Haster didn’t belittle others to build himself up, despite his pride. In fact, he was impressed with Grid’s skills. He watched Grid fighting against the clone and acknowledged him as a top player.
‘Grid is completely different from last year’s National Competition. His growth rate is unmatched.’
30%, no, 20%.
‘That isn’t it either. It is 10%.’
This was the probability of Haster winning if he fought Grid. Haster judged that it was difficult for him to beat the current Grid.
'Of course, this is if he showed everything he was capable of during the fight against the clone.’
Haster got a sneak peek and knew that Grid hadn’t used all his power against the clone. Yes, it was like the PvP finals of the 3rd National Competition...
Haster, who was walking thoughtfully, immediately replied. Singuled was looking suspiciously at him. “What are you laughing about alone?”
“...Ah, was I laughing?” He had become too excited from the long-awaited stimulus. Haster calmed down and replied, "I think I’ve found a new rival.”
There were numerous pro gamers in history and those with great achievements became legends. The old Korean pro gamer who was one of the greatest legends was admired by the Overgeared Kingdom’s god of killing. However, there was no eternal winner among the legends. The respected and loved legends had tasted frustration and defeat.
Haster was different. During his career, Haster never experienced defeat, hardships or frustration. His reign was only victorious. In FPS games, he was a myth beyond the legends.
The presence of Kraugel, who was situated on one side of Haster’s mind, gradually faded before being replaced with Grid.
‘I will continue the myth in Satisfy.’
Haster vowed to become stronger and, one day, surpass Grid. His purpose wasn’t to disrupt Grid’s authority. He just wanted to challenge his record. He didn’t realize after defeating Kraugel relatively easily. Contrary to popular belief, Kraugel was a person familiar with defeat and he knew that defeat was a nutrient for growth.
Why? Haster misunderstood Kraugel as a genius of the same type as himself.
The grave of the three-eyed monsters. Kraugel wiped out hundreds of monsters and opened his eyes after a short moment of meditation.
Red Sage Haster. The giant barrier that had blocked Kraugel for the past few months had been completely broken. The respawned three-eyed monsters couldn’t handle the stone blades that rose from the ground and died. It was an instant annihilation.
The fallen sky was slowly but surely recovering.