What was this? It was an unbelievable sight! Mercedes looked at the sky with a devastated expression. Then Kir urged her, “Your Majesty? Are you referring to Grid? Then you should hurry. Isn’t it dangerous to be alone this deep in the forest?”
“Kuk!” There was nothing more important than her master’s safety. Mercedes looked at the elves and then at the ugly Kir before leaving without hesitation. She ran in the direction that Grid had flown to. It was only after she had left completely that Kir revealed his desperate situation. “Another unexpected expenditure...”
[-Hits the target and blows them away. It applies to everyone that can’t resist the smell of money, except a certain species.
It inflicts 1 damage to the target and blows the target 3 kilometers away.
Skill Resource Consumption: Gold in proportion to the target’s level and attack power will be consumed. The skill won’t activate if there isn’t enough gold.
Skill Cooldown Time: None.]
Flying Money was a survival skill that only a third advancement merchant could acquire. Since there were only two merchants who had acquired their third advancement class, there were only a few people who knew the identity of this skill. This meant people didn’t know much about the skill, and even Kir couldn’t grasp it accurately.
Why? That was because he’d never used it before! As a result, he confirmed that it was a very powerful skill that guaranteed a high survival rate.
“...430,000 gold was blown away.”
An absurd amount of money was consumed. Kir expected the spending to be great considering the effect of the skill, but he hadn’t expected it to be so big. When he saw that his number of gold had sharply decreased, Kir trembled. The operation to capture the elves had failed because of Grid, and Kir was forced to give up ownership of the world tree. This resulted in a total loss of 40.43 million gold, which was worth more than 48.5 billion won. The loss was so large that it was hard for Kir to bear.
The merchant’s ranking wasn’t simply calculated based on level. It was also based on completed transactions and the total number of assets. Due to this incident, Kir would lose the title of 1st in the merchant rankings as well as many things he had enjoyed in the meantime. The expression in his eyes turned dark, and he felt suffocated as his body trembled.
“Hrmm, this is great.” Beniyaru laughed at the angry Kir.
It was natural for Kir’s anger to turn to her. “You! It is because you cried out for help!” Kir kicked Beniyaru’s face many times. He spat on her and then forced her onto his horse. “I will sell you for an expensive price.”
The elves tried to stop Kir, but it was impossible. Having been poisoned by the Yatan Essence, they couldn’t even move their fingertips. Kir was about to leave with Beniyaru when he shouted, “Knight Summoning!”
Three knights were summoned. They were named NPCs that Kir was proud of. Kir gave an order to the best knights that ordinary players couldn’t go against. “One minute. Kill as many elves as you can in one minute. Then take a few back to the city.”
A deep grudge settled in Kir’s heart as he sat behind Beniyaru and rode in the opposite direction of Grid’s flight.
‘Grid! I will make you regret your actions today for the rest of your life!’
The screams of the elves rang through the forest behind him.
“...” Darkness filled Beniyaru’s empty eyes.
“...” Grid didn’t know where this place was. After being hit by a bag of money and flying a few kilometers away, he laid on the ground for a while. However, he recovered within a short span of time and got up.
“Wow, isn’t this absurd?”
The power of gold that couldn’t be resisted...? He never imagined that there would be this type of skill. If he had known that a merchant had such a dangerous skill, Grid wouldn’t have spared Kir.
‘I didn’t think it would be so annoying.’
Grid was aware that Kir had left the battlefield at the beginning of the battle, but Grid hadn’t gone after him. It had been a conscious decision to not place Kir into the range of 100,000 Army Massacre Sword. Why? It was because Grid had been confident that he could easily deal with a merchant who didn’t have a separate escape route. However...
Having too much confidence was terrible. Grid felt the need to study.
‘I should collect as much information as possible about relatively unfamiliar classes and be aware of their characteristics.’
Would there ever be an end to this studying? Grid’s pledge might be useless considering the countless classes available in Satisfy. However, Grid was confident that he wouldn’t regret it. He believed that he could do it without giving up. At the same time, he reflected on himself.
‘I should’ve used Mercedes more aggressively.’
He should’ve ordered Mercedes to watch Kir in order to grasp some of his skills and abilities. There was a low probability that she could’ve detected the Flying Money skill and then allowed him to avoid it.
‘I’ve obtained a legendary knight, but I haven’t been using her properly. Tsk.’
The problem wasn’t a dumb brain. This incident was caused by excessive confidence. Grid had believed himself to be a top player while Kir was an insignificant enemy. Therefore, he had been careless. Grid had failed to maintain his concentration and ended up missing things.
‘Well, everything is an experience.’
He put on Braham’s Boots and started flying. There was no nervousness about the fact that Mercedes and the elves were left alone as he believed in Mercedes. Grid flew back to his original location. He smiled as he overcame all the obstacles in the forest using the advantage of flying.
‘Kir, you stupid bastard.’
What did he intend by blowing Grid away? Mercedes still remained behind. She would take care of the remaining members of Kir’s Company and rescue the elves.
‘I hope that Kir is still alive.’
Then Grid could take his money. It hadn’t been out of ‘general consideration’ that Grid had listened to Kir’s uncomfortable nonsense from beginning to end. He’d done so out of patience to gain the maximum advantages. Grid intended to gain money by bargaining with a ‘merchant’ who was afraid for his life, giving Kir hope for his future. What if Grid didn’t get as much wealth as he wanted? Then he would just go ahead and kill Kir. From Kir’s point of view, he would be forced to feel desperate.
‘There is still hope. Mercedes might’ve saved his life. Um...?’ Grid became confused and stood in place.
It was because he saw Mercedes running toward him from a distance. “Your Majesty! Are you okay?”
This was an unexpected encounter! Grid was confused for a bit and then smacked his lips together with regret. “Did you already kill Kir?”
“Huh...? No, I was worried about your safety and immediately followed.”
“What?” Grid narrowed the distance towards her. Mercedes was surprised since Grid had only shown her a gentle appearance after acquiring her. Grid asked, “Are you that bad? You let go of the enemies that needed to be kept and the targets to be protected?”
“...I’m sorry.” Mercedes wanted to refute it. However, a knight couldn’t give excuses to their master.
Grid flew up again while speaking to the silently bowing Mercedes, “Well? Return to the front line immediately!”
Grid no longer rebuked Mercedes. If he looked at it from the perspective of a knight that should consider the safety of their master as the top priority, he understood why she had run while leaving Kir and the elves alone. Mercedes’ master had been attacked by the enemy and had disappeared before her eyes. Had there been room to think about anything else? It was natural that she would chase after Grid, disregarding Kir and the elves. After all, her duty was to protect Grid, not the elves.
However, it was regrettable. What if Mercedes were a player? They would be able to respond flexibly to the situation by sending a whisper to Grid or by checking the health gauge in the party window.
‘It is a limitation of an NPC.’ Grid felt strange whenever he remembered that players and NPCs were different from each other. In particular, his heart throbbed when he thought about Irene. Trying to shake off his thoughts, Grid’s shout was louder than usual, “Knight Summoning!”
‘I don’t need to summon Piaro or Asmophel.’
It was a burden to summon Asmophel, who was traveling all over the continent to find the Red Knights. Meanwhile, Piaro would have to return to the vampire city all over again. In the first place, Grid wanted the knights with high mobility since it was to track down Kir who had already run away!
[The summoning command has been sent. The response is pending.]
[The targets have accepted the summons.]
[The knights Huroi and Faker have been summoned.]
“This is Huroi! I have come in response to Your Majesty’s call!”
“What's going on?”
Huroi and Faker immediately appeared in response to Grid’s call.
“Merchant King Kir is somewhere in this forest. He couldn’t have gone too far. Find him now and bring him before me.”
Orator Huroi had a wyvern, so he was able to see the entire forest from the sky and demonstrate an excellent maneuverability. Meanwhile, Faker was an assassin who had excellent tracking abilities.
Both of them replied confidently. They had no idea what was going on, but they noticed the urgency of the situation and immediately took action.
A few minutes after they left.
Grid and Mercedes arrived at the place where the elves had been. The number of elves making frightened expressions had obviously been reduced. More than 100 elves had disappeared in the short time they had been gone. Beniyaru couldn’t be seen either. Grid had an ominous feeling. He took several deep breaths to empty his mind of the terrible sight and approached a young elf.
Then he released her bound wrists and ankles and asked, “What happened?”
“Sob.” The elf couldn’t speak and just shook her head with a frightened expression. She was obviously afraid of Grid and humans.
“I’m sorry... I’m sorry, Your Majesty.” Mercedes bowed deeply, believing the terrible events of this day had been caused by her. She felt sad because the trust Grid had built up with the elves collapsed due to her not being able to cope flexibly.
Grid’s voice entered her ears, “No. It isn’t your fault. Kir is the one in the wrong."
"In the end, I crossed a river, and that can’t be reversed.”
Grid felt a strong hostility and disgust toward Kir who had tried to enslave the elves using the excuse that they were just NPCs with an artificial intelligence. However, he knew that most people, not just Kir, perceived NPCs as bits of artificial intelligences or chunks of graphics. Just looking at the Overgeared members, weren’t there also players who didn’t recognize NPCs as people?
There was no reason to waste energy by imposing notions of respect and affection on Kir. He was just a bastard that money could be obtained from. Of course, that was until a few minutes ago. Now, the situation had changed. Grid took several deep breaths in an effort to calm his mind.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t calm down. He had witnessed countless terrible and miserable things in the past, but why was it that he couldn’t adapt every time? Grid’s eyes were cold, and his hands trembled as he released some of the frightened elves while sending a whisper to Lauel.
-Grid: The city of Merchant King Kir. What kingdom is it in?
-Lauel: The Gauss Kingdom
-Grid: If we invade the city, does it count as invading the Gauss Kingdom?
-Lauel: Of course. There is a high probability that a diplomatic problem could lead to war.
Lauel didn’t ask what happened. He had sent a whisper to Huroi after the summoning and gotten a glimpse of Grid’s current situation.
-Lauel: My role in this life is to realize Your Majesty’s will. Don’t worry about anything.
-Lauel: Since Mercedes’ arrival, the power of the Overgeared Kingdom has clearly exceeded the Gauss Kingdom. They can’t defeat us even if a war takes place. Of course, there is room for other countries to intervene.
There were no small countries that wanted the Overgeared Kingdom to expand its power. It was likely that an alliance of small countries would form, and the Overgeared Kingdom would suffer a great crisis. However, Lauel didn’t say this. After all, Grid was the strongest player. Lauel couldn’t possibly constrain him under the reins of ‘responsibility’ when he was spreading his wings.
Lauel was thinking from Grid’s position. How frustrated would he feel if he were suppressed by the guild and kingdom that he had built up with his own efforts? He wouldn’t feel strong but doubtful of himself instead. This was the time to release Grid’s desires.
-Lauel: Please give the command. I will summon an army to trample on Kir’s city and burn it.
-Grid: Is there a need to move the army?
Lauel didn’t know about the Divinity and Astaroth’s Power which Grid had acquired recently. A wicked smile appeared on Grid’s face.
-Grid: Leave the army. I will go alone.
However, he had work to do before that. He had to chase Kir down and save the kidnapped elves.
“Release the elves here and protect them.”
“I understand.” Mercedes was given an order, so she couldn’t tell him that she didn’t want him to go alone. She wasn’t stupid enough to make the same mistakes. Instead, Mercedes believed in the power of her master because this was what he wanted.
Grid received a new whisper.
-Faker: I’ve found a party moving with dozens of kidnapped elves. However, Kir isn’t here.
-Grid: There was another party left? Yes, it would be impossible for Kir to kidnap or harm over a hundred elves in such a short time alone.
Grid realized that Kir had likely summoned his knights. This was natural since Kir was a baron.
This was fine. He would handle all of Kir’s knights. A dark smile appeared on Grid’s face. It was evil enough to surprise Mercedes.
-Grid: Let me know their locations. Additionally, keep track of Kir.
Faker’s biggest advantage was that he didn’t talk a lot. He accepted his role without expressing any opinions. However, it wasn’t the case this time.
Faker: I am two kilometers northwest of the point where I was summoned. Be careful. There are three people, and they are all named-grade NPCs. Depending on the situation, I will stop tracking Kir and join you.
-Grid: Needing to join me... That won’t happen.
‘Won’t he be blind right now?’ Kir laughed. He felt great pleasure at the anger Grid would feel when he witnessed the deaths of the elves.
Of course, this was only for a moment. Kir remembered that he had lost close to 50 billion won in one day and soon forgot about this slight joy.
“You dog bastard!” Kir let out a curse. From his perspective, Grid was the scum of the earth. This was natural as Grid was the person who had ruined Kir’s business company just for the sake of helping NPCs. Grid was a disruptive character that was difficult to understand.
‘He is almost at the level of a psychopath.’
Kir thought about it and recalled his past. How many weak people had he trampled on? He had directly and indirectly taken advantage of many people as he climbed to 1st on the merchant rankings. However, he had justified his evil deeds under the guise of getting revenge on his father.
‘...In the end, I am the same.’ He regained his sense of reason. Looking over at the wounded Beniyaru, Kir belatedly realized something. As he saw the poison in her heart again, Kir warned Beniyaru, “There is no hope. You can’t go back anymore. Just accept reality.”
It was also a warning to himself. Kir controlled the poison in his heart. Then he heard a great noise from above. It was a loud roar.
‘A wyvern?’ Was there a wyvern habitat here?
Kir looked up and saw a red wyvern in the sky above the forest. The wyvern descended with a terrifying momentum and landed on the ground. It blocked Kir’s way and he was forced to stop his horse.
Why had a wyvern suddenly appeared and blocked his path? Kir was as stiff as a stone statue when he finally noticed that a person was riding on the back of the wyvern. The person’s identity was Huroi. Huroi came down from the wyvern and asked Kir a question, “Did your parents die recently?”
“How did you know?”
Kir and Huroi were both upset by this, but the one who first recovered his spirit was Huroi. Huroi coughed and made a serious expression, as if his previous words had never been said. “Hoh! You are very bad! You are a terrible person who has gone astray and caused your wonderful and precious parents to feel shocked and sorrowful!”
Why was this person suddenly talking about a stranger’s dead parents? From Kir’s perspective, Grid, Huroi, and the Overgeared members were all terrible villains.