-Huroi: Your Majesty! I’ve found that damn bastard!
-Grid: That damn bastard? Do you mean Kir?
-Grid: Good. Faker, join Huroi right now. I will follow after rescuing the elves.
-Faker: I understand. But as I said, be careful.
Players like Grid who didn’t have a lot of dependence on pets were rare. Pets boasted different characteristics depending on their species, attribute, sex, level, and so on. Most ordinary players felt the limits of their individual strength and were forced to rely on pets.
As a result, the levels of their pets were naturally high. The flames emitted from the level 300 Lord of the Skies above the Grasslands, which had been active since Huroi’s early days, was enough to threaten Kir.
[You have suffered 9,700 damage!]
[You have been burned! You will receive 1,330 burn damage per second.]
“Kuuack!” Kir was swept up by the flames and struggled with the pain.
His legendary armor, jewelry, and items received terrible damage. Additionally, his defense and resistance were lower after being affected by Huroi’s Spiteful Tongue. Kir couldn’t escape receiving serious injuries despite having proudly declared that he was the most overgeared person after Grid.
‘I have no chance!’ Kir’s judgment was quick. Who was Huroi? He wasn’t a simple orator. As the first player to obtain a second class, Huroi was also a swordsman. When combined with the strength of a wyvern, he was as strong as a high ranker. It was natural for Kir to consider retreating when he was a merchant with no combat power apart from Flying Money. However, it was difficult for him to escape.
“You are a bastard that your parents would be ashamed of!”
[You have been provoked!]
Kir was thinking about running away only to stop in place. Huroi’s taunt skill was stronger than his sense of reason and instincts. It was impossible for an NPC or player to stand up to the system. Grid’s Longsword, which was completely different from the mass-produced longsword, stabbed deeply into Kir’s side.
However, Kir had a legendary-rated armor and wasn’t damaged by Huroi’s attack. As soon as the duration of the taunt was over, Kir drank a potion and cried out bluntly, “I am Merchant King Kir! I can’t be easily hurt by rabble like you!”
Huroi might be a high ranker, but he wasn’t tough in comparison to Overgeared King Grid! Kir had used a large number of gold coins to blow Grid away, but he didn’t feel the necessity of using Flying Money on Huroi. In fact, he thought it would be a waste to use money on Huroi.
The wyvern’s strong flames were his only source of worry. The wyvern seemed to cry out, ‘If you want to live, give me money!’
‘No! I can’t afford any more spending!’
Shit, how good would it be if he could summon his knights at this time? Kir only owned three knights, but he had already summoned all of them a few minutes ago. The cooldown time meant it was impossible to summon them again right away. Feelings of regret surged inside him about how he had summoned the knights to slaughter the elves just to get petty revenge on Grid!
The wyvern's breath turned the forest into a sea of fire, and Kir barely evaded it on his horse. The bushes and thorns obstructed Kir’s vision as his white horse broke through trees and rocks. Huroi’s eyes widened, finally noticing a small white horn on the horse’s forehead. “A unicorn?”
The size of the horn was small enough for the unicorn to be mistaken as a horse. Based on the size of the horn, it wasn’t an adult yet. However, even a baby unicorn had astronomical value. As far as Huroi knew, only a few NPCs who were royalty possessed unicorns.
“The rich are truly different!” Huroi got back on his wyvern and hurriedly chased after Kir, with Faker joining him after a moment.
Kir felt a great threat as there were people chasing him on the ground and in the sky.
‘Why... Why do I have to suffer like this?’ Revealed between the gaps in his matted hair, Kir’s eyes were filled with anger and fear. It was a shabby appearance. The majesty of the Merchant King—who boasted the highest reputation after Grid, Kraugel, Agnus, Ares, and so on—was long gone.
“This is a really unpleasant mission.” Banus, one of Kir’s knights, was complaining.
Beside him were 20 elves tied together. His mission was to massacre and kidnap women who couldn’t resist. Even if they were a different species, the mission from Master Kir upset Banus. To be honest, Banus’ pride was pricked. It felt disgusting that a big person like him would have to perform the same duty as a third-rate bandit.
‘I picked the wrong master.’
His master, Kir, had promised him enormous wealth and honor. What was the biggest honor for a warrior? It was to win a fight against famous and strong people. Yes, this was what Kir had promised. According to Kir, Banus would get to fight countless giants. Every day would be fun. However, this was the reality.
“Tch.” Banus walked while swinging the whip that he held. It was to rush the elves who were walking slowly because they didn’t want to leave the forest.
“Ouch!” The elves moaned as their health decreased noticeably. It was completely different from when the members of Kir’s Company had hit the elves. This was an indirect glimpse of Banus’ strength. Banus warned the elves, “Don’t act silly and I won’t touch you. This is good for both of us.”
“Where are the other knights and elves?” At this time, a black-haired man fell from the sky and blocked Banus’ path.
Banus saw the man’s eyes that were as sharp as a bird and asked, “Overgeared King?”
As a mercenary, Banus longed for money and sought battlefields throughout the continent. He had been employed by the former Eternal Kingdom before serving Kir. The opponent in that war had been the Overgeared Guild. Banus couldn’t forget the exhilarating experience from that time. Was Toban the name of the dark-skinned paladin? Banus was still thrilled when he recalled the battle with whom he believed was the strongest warrior in the Overgeared Guild. He didn’t forget falling down after a one-hour-long battle, but Banus was confident. If he hadn’t caught the ankle of the Overgeared warrior, the former Eternal Kingdom would’ve been occupied by the Overgeared Guild much faster.
“Kuk! Kukukuk! That’s right! So, my master was running away from you?” Banus’ huge muscles started to swell. The force that could crush a man’s head burned heartily.
“I took a peek at your performance in the war from the distance. You swept through thousands of soldiers. Huhut, okay... This is very exciting! Thank you! Thank you for showing up in front of me!” Banus roared and rushed toward Grid without hesitation.
His muscles, which were trained to not be cut by a spear and had blocked a sword from the strongest warrior Toban, were combined with the defense of the legendary armor Kir had given him. With these, Banus dealt a vigorous blow to Grid.
“Ugh?” However, Banus suffered pain for the first time in decades. He was bewildered, but he endured with his physical strength, pushing his fist deeper into Grid’s chest. His swollen fist contained an ogre’s strength and had even dealt significant damage to Toban, the strongest of Overgeared warriors. Combined with his legendary-rated knuckles, Banus delivered an impact to Grid’s armor.
"W-What?” Banus felt like he was dreaming. His fist couldn’t even scratch the armor? No, the armor wasn’t the problem. In the first place, armor was designed to defend against attacks. Banus found it hard to believe that Grid could maintain his posture and not fly away from the weight behind the first.
“Is this the strength of a legend? I knew you would be stronger than Toban but I didn’t realize it was by this much...” Banus was amazed and excited at the same time. “This is the first time since a solo number knight that I am actually forced to use this power!” Banus screamed, and the mana around him stirred.
As the injury on Grid healed, Banus’ already swollen muscles swelled up even further. In particular, his right forearm was now thicker than an ogre’s forearm.
“From now on, it is the real battle!” Banus roared with extreme excitement. Confidence overflowed on his face as he used his ultimate technique which had inflicted serious damage onto the Ninth Red Knight. That’s right. The people who believed themselves to be the strongest were always filled with confidence… until they were hit by Grid!
He was hit by his own fist...? This was an unfamiliar experience for Banus, who fell down while coughing up blood. Then Grid’s sword arrived at Banus’ neck.
“Where did the other two knights and the elves go?” Grid asked without expecting an answer. He honestly admired Banus’ high defense and high attack power, which had penetrated Grid’s defense. However, a named NPC with such high loyalty would rather choose to die than to answer. In fact, didn’t all the NPCs that served Grid boast high loyalty? Well, apart from Minor.
Unexpectedly, Banus answered in a hearty manner, “You will be able to meet them if you just go straight ahead. I just slowed down the march because I dislike being with them.”
“...” Grid was confused as he hadn’t expected Banus would answer so earnestly.
He was hesitating when Banus revealed his throat. “Well? Kill me.”
“Um? What are you waiting for? Didn’t you kill tens of thousands of people during the Eternal War? Go on and kill me. For a warrior, being defeated is no different than death. There is no point in living anymore.”
“...Yes.” Grid originally intended to get rid of all of Kir’s knights. He planned to take everything away from Kir. It was funny that he was hesitating now because he felt a slight affinity after seeing Banus’ skills and attitude. In the end, Banus advised Grid who was raising his sword, “The strongest warrior who defeated me. The other two knights you are chasing are completely different types of monsters. You should be vigilant. Kukuk.”
Banus turned to gray, leaving behind his knuckles. They were legendary-rated knuckles. Their performance was greatly inferior compared to the items Grid made, but they could be melted down and used as a material. Grid grabbed the knuckles and released the elves. “Go back to the previous place. Your family and friends will be waiting.”
“That...” One scared elf opened her mouth. Her name was Deruyaru. She was a beautiful girl reminiscent of a rabbit due to her round cheeks and big eyes. “I am one of the 12 Te. The Deru family... I want to thank you on behalf of my people.”
“You can say it later.”
He hadn’t saved everyone yet. Grid left Deruyaru and the elves behind him as he ran in the direction that Banus had indicated.
“Noe, Randy. Can you Become the King of the Dead?”
Respecting the various warnings, Grid fully prepared for the worst.