The Sword Grave was an open plains area with 4,179 swords stabbed into the ground. Of these swords, 3,580 were insignificant while 599 were significant. The 599 swords rotated to the left or right, changing the orientation and slope of the plains depending on how they were turned. Think of it as a lock with tens of thousands of patterns. As the puzzle progressed, the plains turned into a hill which was the appropriate form for a so-called ‘grave.’
“Dammit. The pattern has changed again.”
They turned the 423rd sword to the left, and the positions of the 1st–422nd swords were reset. The hill, which had emerged, sank again and became a plains. Skunk clapped and tried to reassure his colleagues, “Let’s take a break before trying again. Don’t be nervous because there are only a few more left.”
“Okay~ Let’s log out and eat.”
The Skunk Expedition Group had been investigating the Sword Grave for one year and four months. They had been trying to find the location of the Sword Grave for a year, then they spent four months figuring out the pattern of opening the grave. Despite having repeated the same thing thousands of times, made mistakes, and failed, the Skunk Expedition Group was still full of motivation.
Digging up hidden histories and mysteries was the ultimate fun that they pursued. Yes, concepts such as level and rankings were stories they had no interest in.
“Isn’t it a bit strange?” Someone questioned Skunk as he sat in the barracks and looked at the pattern of the swords. She was the second person in charge of the Skunk Expedition Group and 9th ranked explorer, Dog Woman. “This place is associated with Pagma. It is a place that Pagma's Descendant should’ve visited.”
There was no one in the world who didn’t know who Pagma's Descendant was. It was Grid.
“Can Grid solve this complex pattern? It took us a few months with 80 experts like us. It is strange no matter how I think about it. The Sword Grave was originally a trial for an individual, but the difficulty is too high.”
Grid didn’t have any skills related to exploration. Could he alone grasp the tens of thousands of patterns and reveal the secret of the grave? It was physically impossible.
“Of course, Grid is a king and can mobilize many people... But what if Pagma’s Descendant were someone other than Grid? What if they weren’t a king? Does it make sense that Pagma’s Descendant would have to solve this problem alone?”
“What do you want to say?” The curious Skunk turned his gaze toward Dog Woman.
Dog Woman looked anxious. “There must be an easier way to open the grave. We are currently using the hardest way.”
“Hrmm.” It was a plausible argument. In fact, Skunk had the same thought as Dog Woman, but he had realized it too late. Skunk shook his head. “It is too late even if your thoughts are true. We have already figured out some rules of the pattern and the key up to the 422nd sword. We can’t waste time and manpower searching for a new method.”
There wasn’t long to go. The Skunk Expedition Group was expected to open the grave within the next two months. It was extremely inefficient to find a new method and study it. Additionally, it would adversely affect the morale of the members. Dog Woman nodded. “I know. I’m not telling you to come up with a new way. I’m just saying that it would be better to explore in more diverse ways when exploring new places in the future.”
“I’ll do that. We will think of this exploration as a study.”
“Yes. By the way, I’m really looking forward to seeing what is hidden inside the grave. If there are any items or quests related to Pagma's Descendant, we may be able to sell them to Grid at a high price...”
“The negotiations should be leisurely. After all, Grid is the one in a disadvantageous position.”
A few months or a few years later, Grid would also find this place. Then he would be nervous when he saw the empty tomb. Once his nervousness reached the peak, it would be the most appropriate timing for trading. Skunk believed that the treasures inside the Sword Grave already belonged to him.
A white horse ran through the labyrinth, and the man on the horse looked behind him. A zombie wearing rotten clothes was chasing the horse.
“Dammit. Why did this bastard come out here?” The man on the horse, Pon, trembled. It was the ‘war god follower who escaped from the grave’—the worst monster for a party without tankers or magicians to deal with. Pon had never dealt with them one-on-one. He had been hunting in places away from the stairs so that he wouldn’t meet the followers. However, the range of the followers’ activities expanded, and Pon became a chased rat.
‘That Regas bastard, did he do something?’
Pon remembered his colleagues who were hunting in the Galgunos Temple and was forced to suspect Regas. Based on Regas’ nature of pursuing a difficult fight rather than a winning one, it was highly likely that he had provoked the war god’s followers.
‘He is the enemy!’
Almost at the end of the straight passage, Pon realized he could no longer escape. The moment the horse changed its direction, Pon judged that the war god follower would catch up.
‘Push through them with a charging skill.’
Confronting the followers head-on was foolish. Fighting monsters that counterattacked with 100% of the melee damage would just be a loss. Was Pon stupid enough to dig his own grave? As the white horse reached the end of the passage, it faced the wall and turned to the passage to the left.
The war god follower didn’t miss this gap. It crossed the distance and stabbed its sword. However, Pon had predicted this situation and responded calmly. He twisted his waist to avoid the blade and wielded his spear. The body of the war god follower was hit hard in the chest, and it flew through the air.
The white horse turned to the left, Pon swung the spear, and the follower flew through the air—these three scenes unfolded at the same time, giving the illusion that time had stopped. Then the war god follower rolled along the ground. The white horse entered the passage to the left and started to run at full speed again.
“Phew.” Pon managed to slip away. At this point, he just needed to open the distance as much as possible and he could escape safely. Yet the moment Pon thought this...
He heard a scream from the other side of the dark passage, and a new war god follower appeared. Pon frowned. “It came...”
The new war god follower was chasing Regas, who was running toward Pon.
“Hey, hey! Shit! Don’t come my way!” Pon freaked out and shouted curses. However, it didn’t discourage Regas. After all, his head would fly away if he stopped now.
“S-Save me...! Uwah!” In fact, Regas felt like he had found a line of rescue. He felt hopeful that after combining strength with Pon, they could fight against the war god followers. Then he noticed the war god follower behind Pon. Regas’ vision became blurry when he learned that, just like him, Pon was being chased. Tears blurred Regas’ eyes.
“Aren’t you going to pull yourself together?” Pon’s voice entered his ears and woke up Regas’ spirit. Pon’s spear stabbed the face of the war god follower chasing Regas.
“Cough!” Pon coughed up blood from the counterattack. Meanwhile, Regas was hitting the chest of the follower chasing Pon. The war god follower was kicked far away due to the feature of the kick. Regas didn’t keep fighting. Instead, he climbed behind Pon on the white horse and shouted, “Pon, what are you doing? You should’ve used a pushing skill like me! Don’t you know you will be hit back?”
“Shut up if you don’t want to be hit.” Pon found it troublesome to explain that his pushing skill was on cooldown. He barely contained his boiling killing intent and planned to escape this labyrinth. At this time...
Another new war god follower appeared in front of them, blocking the way. The startled white horse suddenly stopped, and Regas fell down.
[Your left arm has been fractured.]
It was a severe fracture, which would last for maybe 20 seconds. Regas grabbed his left arm and looked around. He was surrounded by three war god followers. “What a surprise...”
Pon responded to Regas with a shocked expression, “It wasn't your work? I thought this was due to you.”
“That's impossible. I couldn’t beat them, so I stayed away from the stairs...”
“Then who did this? Is this Chris’ work?”
What damn bastard angered the war god’s followers? Pon wanted to know the truth. It was too unfair to die without knowing why. It would seem less unfair if there was someone to curse. The war god followers no longer ran. They weren’t in a hurry because their prey was surrounded in a one-way passage. Now, they just had to eat.
“Battle gear... mountain... where...”
“...Battle gear... mountain... where...”
The followers around Pon and Regas raised their knives.
“No. If you have a question, you should wait for an answer before attacking.”
“That’s right! Followers of the war god! Put down your blades until we hear the answer!”
It didn’t work. The followers of the war god moved their swords. Then it was at this moment that...
“Way of the Tyrant.”
The whole labyrinth shook with a sound so loud it gave the illusion of water buffalos charging forth. Pon, Regas, and the followers turned their heads in the direction of the sound and witnessed a person holding a greatsword. It was the emergence of the 1st place ranker, Chris.
“1,000 Ton Sword!”
This was pure physical force. The heavy greatsword slammed into the skull of a follower, and the follower was deeply embedded into the ground. The follower of the war god was crushed by the strong weight and screamed without showing the ‘counterattack’ characteristic. Chris used the buff of a tyrant and didn’t allow the enemy to resist.
Pon and Regas were captivated as the follower of the war god lost half its health from one blow. Not many people in the world could bear Chris’ incredible power. Chris shouted at them, “What are you doing? Run away!”
“Run? Aren’t we going to fight?”
“What fighting? They are monsters who counterattack up to the 10 Ton Sword! There is no dealing with them while 100 Ton Sword and 1,000 Ton Sword are on cooldown!”
New colleagues continued to join, but the situation wasn’t getting better. Then it happened while Pon and Regas were running through the opening that Chris had created.
“Give me a map,” a new voice rang out from behind them. The voice was scarier than the cracked voices of the war god followers. Dozens of white lights bombarded the followers of the war god. It was a powerful magic bombardment that made the war god followers feel distressed, despite them being known for their physical and magic resistance.
Had an army of magicians appeared? The surprised Chris, Pon, and Regas turned their eyes in the direction of the magic. At that place...
“Spit out the map.”
There was only one person. It was Grid who was surrounded by flames. He held a staff instead of a sword in his hands.
“Queen’s Flames of Hell.”
The ultimate magic of Belial’s Power was opened. It consumed 90% of the maximum mana and dealt catastrophic damage to the targets. The damage was determined in proportion to the user’s magic power and the maximum health of the target. Grid made the war god followers unable to fight with a single blow. A war god follower rolled across the ground as his legs and arms started to melt.
Had he become stronger? The absent-minded Chris and Pon came to their senses when they heard Regas’ voice ring out, “What are you doing? Let’s help Grid!”
“Eh. Uh, huh...?”
Chris, Pon, and Regas stopped in place. Noe, Randy, the Overgeared Skeletons, the light elemental, and summoned vampires were forcing the war god followers onto the defensive. The followers of the war god couldn’t easily break through the defenses of the vampires and pets due to the interference of the light sword. Grid also constantly summoned magic by utilizing the effects of Belial’s Staff.
“...That is a blacksmith, you know.”
Grid destroyed the war god followers without wielding a sword... At this point, it was believable to call him a necromancer+magician. The three of them wondered what the necromancer rankers who claimed to be a ‘one-man army’ would say if they saw the current Grid.
Grid shouted at the three people who lost their souls, “Hiik! Hey! What are you doing? Aren’t you going to help me? Uwaahh!”
Belial’s Power was a fraudulent skill, but it only lasted for two minutes. Grid lost his flames and ran away with Noe. His other swordsmanship skills were on cooldown because he had just dealt with other followers of the war god.