The guardian, Benz, leaped forward. The ground that she stepped on formed a big dent and produced a loud explosion. It was an exaggerated phenomenon caused by the weight of her armor and shield, but it was right to interpret it as a transcendental strength.
The nervous Group B players pulled out their weapons in unison. A sandy wind swirled around them as they watched the knight rise high into the sky. This was a wide-range protection spell used by the earth magician, Goshar. It seemed he wanted to make up for his failure at the beginning.
“I’ll stop her, so attack in that gap!” The German ranker, Weldon, came to the forefront. Benz’ red sword fell onto his shield. It was a stab. There were no problems up to here. Weldon was ranked 6th on the guardian knight rankings. He was like steel as he set up his shield. The problem was the stab that came immediately afterward had the power to turn the steel into tofu. There was a heavy sound, and Weldon’s shield was dented.
‘The weight increased?’
He wasn’t mistaken. The damage rose while the weight of the sword also increased rapidly. Weldon’s wrists were broken from the weight that he couldn’t manage.
A large number of people came forward. They released their skills, wielded swords and spears, fired arrows, or threw daggers. Half of them were blocked by Benz’ side shield. The other half were blocked by the line of Benz’ sword. Simultaneously, Benz’ sword released dozens of red crystals in all directions. It was reminiscent of how Kraugel’s sword released stone thorns.
[You have suffered 4,390 damage.]
[The crystals embedded in your body will interfere with the recovery effects.]
“What the hell...”
It wasn’t easy to block skills instead of general attacks with just high proficiency in swordsmanship and shieldsmanship. This was obviously a high level skill or an effect attached to the item. As the players were analyzing this, Benz moved quickly. She knocked down a player close to her with the shield, pushing the player behind him as well. Then she leaped forward and fell to Goshar’s side. Benz had noticed that the sandy wind reduced her attack power.
“Hiik...!” Goshar was casting the wide-range skill and couldn’t protect his own body. As the monster’s sword headed toward him, someone acted to protect the defenseless Goshar. It was Coke, the secret weapon raised by the Overgeared Guild’s 10 meritorious retainers. He threw an axe at Benz’ sword, interrupting her movements. Then he pulled out a spear and stabbed her.
Benz was wounded for the first time. The spear pierced her shoulder and created a gap as she flinched back, allowing a sword to slash at her neck. It was Peak Sword’s Draw Sword, executed from where he was standing next to Coke. Iyarugt was as ferocious as a beast after accumulating power in Iyarugt’s Sheath.
The neck protector that Benz wore shattered, and blood gushed out. The blood of the heavenly king was as red as a human’s. Peak Sword confirmed Benz’ health gauge after her neck was exposed and clicked his tongue. “Isn’t her defense terrifying?”
The tone was light, but his expression was dark. It was difficult to conceal his irritation because the charged Iyarugt didn’t deal much damage. It seemed that his irritation created a big gap.
“Avoid it!” Someone shouted, and Peak Sword reflexively moved back. However, it was too late to defend against the cut to his shoulders.
[You have suffered 15,900 damage.]
Peak Sword was a member of the Overgeared Kingdom’s 10 meritorious retainers, and he was armed with the best items. The armor and helmet that Grid had produced personally protected Peak Sword. He was greatly wounded despite the protection of the sandstorm. Benz tried to attack the confused Peak Sword again.
“Where are you going?”
The Dungeon Maker—Eat Spicy Jokbal who showed as much power as a legendary class in his dungeon—attracted Benz’ attention.
“...” Benz’ momentum stopped.
Coke, Peak Sword, and Eat Spicy Jokbal—the three Korean representatives—were leading Group B. Goshar and the other proud rankers had unknowingly started depending on them. They followed the instructions Peak Sword gave, assisted Coke whenever he went to the forefront, and protected Eat Spicy Jokbal when he made an advantageous change to the dungeon.
The blood of the Korean viewers boiled. The Korean rankers, who were ignored by the world a few years ago, were now the world’s leading stars... It was a new feeling. All Korean players burned with the desire to join the Overgeared Guild. The anticipation and excitement of what it would be like to join the Overgeared Guild and serve Grid filled them.
The guardian of the south gate didn’t have a distinctive feature. He was armed with light chain armor and a sword, while his name was plainly ‘Vin.’ He didn’t seem to have the particular strength to be one of the Demon King’s four heavenly kings.
“Well, he doesn’t need to be that strong.”
The four heavenly kings were a process. They needed to be defeated in order to reach the Demon King. Unless the S.A Group was crazy and wanted to throw away the Demon King subjugation event, the players needed to be able to reach the Demon King.
This meant the abilities of the four heavenly kings weren’t as absolute as the Demon King. The Group C players thought this and were as relaxed as possible. Their source of confidence were the high rankers. Zibal who got first in PvP, Zhang Jian and Liao Wei who were China’s rising stars, Bubat of Turkey, Seuron of Argentina, and other top ranked players were also in Group C.
The players judged that they wouldn’t be able to get a high score in the heavenly kings stage as long as these rankers were present. Of course, they were confident in their own abilities. In this relaxed atmosphere, someone said, “Using a one-handed sword without holding a shield means he is focused on swordsmanship. He will move quickly. Be careful.”
It was Mei Xiao of China. She used the strange moving whip and cloth that had tormented the Hero Grid for five minutes. Mei Xiao had spoken in a tense voice, and the mood dropped sharply. Liao Wei scoffed at Mei Xiao, “Aren’t you overestimating the opponent? Will you directly kneel and surrender instead of fighting? Just like your brother?”
Next was Zhang Jian. “Why are you bragging about common sense? Do you want to be an elitist or do you think everyone except for you are fools?”
The atmosphere calmed down even more. This was an event with three medals at stake. Instead of relying on each other, three players from the same country were arguing...?
“Scum.” Zibal blatantly laughed at them. Zhang Jian and Liao Wei were upset, but they couldn’t say anything. Zibal was a one-digit ranker. He had once been second place and was a monster who had been close to the peak. The highly anticipated Chinese stars were reluctant to clash with him. It was better to pretend not to hear anything.
Zibal said to Mei Xiao, “That guy, he is wearing armor like a knight but he has leather shoes. Maybe he will be so fast that it is hard to see. Binding him is the key. Got it?”
Mei Xiao’s whip and cloth had moved like living things to constrain the Hero’s behavior. They didn’t move on their own like Grid’s golden hands. Mei Xiao controlled them directly, but their movements were smooth and detailed. It wasn’t surprising that Zibal had decided to rely on Mei Xiao.
Feeling touched, Mei Xiao responded vigorously, “Yes! I’ll try my best to tie up his feet!”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
‘Tch!’ Zhang Jian and Liao Wei were unhappy with the situation. Now Mei Xiao was acknowledged by the person who would be the hero next year while billions of Chinese people were watching. Zhang Jian and Liao Wei collapsed when they realized that Mei Xiao’s ability was above them. There was a rush of jealousy at the sight of the glowing Mei Xiao. While they were feeling anxious, someone approached. “Are you going to keep whining like this or will you act as folding screens?”
“Folding screens! Ah!”
Who would dare say this to them? Zhang Jian and Liao Wei frowned and turned around, only to hurriedly suppress the curses that were about to emerge. The person who came and whispered to them was Seuron of Argentina. Seuron set fire to their hearts. “Do you know that the person who starts the fight will be praised for their bravery? Originally, I was going to do it, but I am willing to concede because I feel sorry for you. How about it?”
“...” Zhang Jian and Liao Wei then turned to look at Vin standing silently before the gate. He was a very cocky guy, who was folding his arms despite facing 100 enemies.
Seuron tempted the two men to attack the defenseless opponent. “The viewers will be contemptuous about that guy’s attitude. They will be enthusiastic about the person who hits him first.”
“Huh? Then are you giving up? Okay, then I...”
“No!” As Seuron stepped forward, the nervous Zhang Jian and Liao Wei pulled out their weapons. “Leave it to us!”
They didn’t wait for an answer. The two men were already flying forward. Zhang Jian’s spear and Liao Wei’s long sickle aimed at Vin. The attack range was so long that they struck from 2 meters away while Vin still had his arms folded. It was a successful start to the battle.
However, in less than one second, Zhang Jian and Liao Wei realized that they were mistaken. It was a swordsmanship that transcended Peak Sword’s speed. Just before Zhang Jian’s spear and Liao Wei’s sickle cut at Vin, his sword emerged from the sheath and cut their hearts and neck.
“Oh~ this is a bit greater than expected?”
Seuron’s whistle entered the ears of Zhang Jian and Liao Wei. They realized they had been taken advantage of and quickly decided to escape from this crisis. Yet before they could move, Vin’s sword cut at their body once again. There seemed to be cold flames burning at their wounds, worsening their injuries and killing them. Seuron smiled at the sight. It was an evil grin reminiscent of a great demon.
“I have received usable souls.”
“Oh, what the hell is this?”
“He isn’t a priest. Why does a Demon King’s servant have healing abilities?”
Group D was responsible for the north gate. Just a moment ago, Group D had been full of confidence. It was because Jishuka, Damian, Katz, and Haster belonged to Group D.
Jishuka had overwhelming physical attacks, long-range damage dealing skills, and wide-area healing. Damian combined his buffs and healing ability with the light attribute attacks and tanking power. Katz used blood to give powerful debuffs to the enemy while giving himself an endless blood-sucking ability. There was also Haster, who had once been considered as the emperor of the gaming world.
On the raid stage, they were probably stronger than Group A, which contained Kraugel, Chris, Pon, and Regas. Furthermore, the name of the north gate’s guardian was Kobold. It was a name reminiscent of the monsters classified as one of the weakest mobs, along with the orcs, gnolls, and goblins.
Thus, Group D thought they could easily break through the gate. However, once they opened the lid, they found that things were completely different. The masked ‘Kobold’ was very strong, unlike his name. Not only did he bombard Group D with all types of wide-range spells, but he also boasted a high level of defense that meant he didn’t receive much damage from Jishuka’s arrows or Damian’s attacks. The biggest problem was his healing ability. No matter how much damage Group D dealt with Damian’s buff magic, Kobold recovered quickly. He looked like a zombie to Katz.
“This is funny...”
How many times had he been stimulated during the process of clashing with Kobold? Katz’ madness, which had been sealed for a long time after joining the Overgeared Kingdom, started to wriggle.
The blood that the members of Group D shed... It had soaked the ground like rainwater, and now it soared into the sky.
“He is a great guy.” Chris could only laugh. It was a situation where players from all countries gathered together, including Canada, Korea, Britain, Japan, and China. Meanwhile, the three American rankers had split into separate groups. This was an expression of their confidence. They would move individually and secure three medals each, aiming for gold instead of silver and bronze medals. The participants of other countries chose to work in groups of three because they could cooperate in order to win one medal.
“Grid would’ve been like me,” Kraugel stated.
This caused Chris to shrug. “Well, there is no need to talk about him.”
If Grid were here, everybody apart from his group might pray that he failed to attack the gate. He would probably monopolize all four gates alone.
“Anyway, let’s do well.” Chris extended his hand for a handshake with Kraugel, while the other players comforted themselves.
How high was Kraugel’s status? He was a person who ignored hundreds of players asking for his autograph, let alone a handshake? It was impossible. Everyone thought this, but Kraugel unexpectedly responded to the handshake. Chris was Grid’s colleague and a great person who deserved respect for his achievements and talents.
“Yes. We might’ve chosen the worst enemy, so we should be nervous.”
“The worst enemy?”
Was there a difference in strength even in the four heavenly kings? If so, how could Kraugel distinguish it? Feeling confused, Chris turned his attention toward the gate. The guardian, who looked somewhat easy-going, was wearing a hat that covered his face. It was a hat that elders liked to wear.
“...Is he really the worst enemy? Are you sure?”
“Unfortunately, yes,” Kraugel confirmed as he looked at the environment spread around the gate. It was a mudflat, and it looked good for farming and harvesting seafood.
In the Demon King’s castle beyond the gates, Grid was still free from the cameras and he devoted himself to smelting. The golden mineral pavranium was flowing from the portable furnace. He had melted the myth-rated item, Blade Aiming at the Gods.
The National Competition’s server was separate from the game. Thus, it wouldn’t affect him if he destroyed an item here.
“This is enough.” Grid finished smelting the pavranium and used Legendary Blacksmith’s Creation.
[What item do you want to create?]
The basics of defending was wide area firepower. What if it was an automatic firing cannon? Every time the cooldown ended, Grid grinned viciously and used the Alarm spell. Even the evil smile Seuron wore as he sacrificed his group members couldn’t be compared to Grid’s smile.