“Pant! Pant! Pant! Cough...!”
No matter how much Kir ran, he couldn’t see the end. The forest, which he had believed to be a treasure warehouse, was now more terrible than hell. The beautiful flowers and trees, the fresh air, and the sweet fragrance of fruit all seemed like a deceitful curse. There were constant questions in Kir’s head as he swallowed a potion and checked his stamina gauge.
How had this happened? Why had he met Grid? Why had Grid become hostile to him? Was it that big a deal that he had enslaved the elves? Why did he have to experience this pain? Maybe Grid had planned this entire situation?
‘Was I dancing on Grid’s palm?’
When on earth had he started planning this? Had it been since Kir started investigating the forest of the world tree?
“Ugh..!” The huge shadow on the ground made Kir’s heart throb. He felt an infinite pressure as Huroi’s wyvern flew above his head.
“Pero! Avoid it!”
The white horse—no, the unicorn jumped sideways like a crab at Kir’s command. These movements weren’t possible for a normal horse. The flames emitted by the wyvern moved straight ahead and would’ve completely burned the spot where they had been traveling.
Kir followed the path of fire to the left and gulped. ‘A wyvern doesn’t have infinite mana.’
The wyvern had a limit of one or two more flame breaths left. Meanwhile, the unicorn, which was classified as one of the highest-rated rides, could use its evasion skill dozens more times. The unicorn’s basic mana far exceeded that of the drake!
‘I will live!’
Kir didn’t have time to resent the past or worry about the future. The present was more important. He didn’t want to face the worst experience of losing a large amount of experience and items by dying.
‘Somehow! I have to somehow make it back to my city!’
He would pay back the loss and shame of today by several times! Kir made this promise because he had something to believe in—the presence of his three knights.
Form King Banus, Dark King Dias, and Eating God Phou were the strongest people Kir recruited as he wandered around the continent as a merchant. Named NPCs were stronger than the Overgeared members at the moment, especially Grid and Kraugel. Kir knew this right after seeing Piaro play an overwhelming role during the Belial raid.
As such, Kir was certain that if he invested another year and concentrated on raising these three knights, they would be reborn again as knights who were stronger than Piaro!
‘The possibilities are endless! They haven’t developed yet but they’re the ones with the nicknames of ‘king’ and ‘god’.
Just as Kir was praised as the Merchant King, Banus, Dias, and Phou were already called kings or gods by the local NPCs when Kir first met them. They were so powerful that they exceeded the category of a player and had the unlimited potential of named NPCs. It was no wonder that Kir had high expectations for them.
‘If I escape safely, it is very likely that the Overgeared Guild will invade the city. I will ask for support from the Gauss Kingdom, defend with my three knights, and then move to the empire...’
Kir started smiling as he planned it out. The Overgeared Guild’s invasion was likely to be very beneficial for him.
Firstly, it was possible to make the Gauss Kingdom and Overgeared Kingdom completely hostile to each other. Then he would be able to shift public opinion of the Overgeared Kingdom to a negative one for invading another country, and he would also be able to create an alliance with the other countries that were anxious. It was a bonus that he would be able to move into the empire without fearing the Overgeared Kingdom.
‘I don’t like that the First Knight is with Grid.’
However, it shouldn’t be a big factor considering the emperor’s ambition of unifying the continent. Kir made this judgment as his body moved upward. It was because the unicorn carrying him jumped randomly. Kir soon figured out the reason why. There was a sword energy at the unicorn’s feet. If the unicorn had jumped a bit later, its legs would have been cut off.
‘This is ridiculous!’
To think that Huroi had swooped down fast enough to catch up with the unicorn’s speed and wield his sword...! Even if he was a ranker, wasn’t he an orator? Kir wasn’t convinced of this, and he looked back. Then his trembling eyes saw the source of the attack.
That Grid had pulled out his strongest card! A chill went down Kir’s spine. While growing to become the Merchant King, Kir’s greatest strength had been his information network. In the ‘player rating’ table that he’d made using his extensive intelligence, Faker’s power was S-class. It was just behind players like Grid, Kraugel, Agnus, and Haster. He was comparable to the top players when it came to killing power alone. They were both high rankers but Faker had a completely different force in comparison to the B-class Huroi.
‘This can’t be!’
Kir knew he wouldn’t be able to hold out after becoming Faker’s target and urgently shouted, “Pero! Use Brilliant Sprint!”
The body of the unicorn was then covered with a pure white light, and it disappeared from its location. To be precise, the unicorn made an extremely quick movement. It was a major skill that consumed most of the unicorn’s mana.
Faker looked beyond the forest as he was left alone. “Do you think you can get away?” Then Faker also disappeared from his position.
Huroi watched the two people from above and stroked his jaw. The wyvern flew in the sky as Huroi gave a soliloquy, “A unicorn... It would suit Master.”
Black smoke rose up from the forest.
In the forest of the world tree, Dias frowned when Phou said like a fool, “Hungry...”
The elves being dragged behind them had terrified expressions. They trembled because they had already witnessed the terrible scene that occurred every time Phou said he was hungry, and fear poured in like the tide. Dias scolded Phou, “Didn’t you just eat? They aren’t your food. They are Master’s goods.”
“Hungry...” Phou lost his intelligence when he became hungry and only cared about his stomach. It would be pointless to say anything to Phou.
“Sigh, do whatever you want.” Dias raised his hands. He didn’t have any authority or power over Phou and was quick to give up.
“N-No...!” The elves turned deathly pale as Dias retreated. Tears filled their eyes, but Phou just stared at them with saliva dripping.
The fate of the elf Phou snatched up was terrible. She was swallowed by Phou and turned to grey.
Gulp! A man had just devoured a female elf that was 170 centimeters tall, yet there was no glimpse of satisfaction on his face as he burped. His meal wasn’t over yet.
It was a horrible disaster for the elves, of whom there were only 30 left. However, the elves no longer cried or begged. They had gone insane from witnessing the gruesome sight of their family and friends being eaten several times. Now, they couldn’t even feel fear.
One of the elves didn’t resist as Phou’s large hand caressed her body. Then it happened when Phou opened his mouth and tried to swallow her. Four golden hands flew forth and swung their hammers. The hammers struck Phou’s large neck and thick biceps in rapid succession.
Additionally, a furry cat moved his short and chubby legs and then shot out like a lightning bolt toward Phou. “Lightning Discharge~! Discharge, nyong!”
“What are you doing?” Grid showed up next. His cloak flapped as he danced. There was a killing intent in his eyes as he stared at Phou.
“Kill!” Grid screamed as he swung the Enlightenment Sword. He was convinced that his enemy would become stiff from being hit by Mjolnir four times in succession, as well as Noe’s lightning. Additionally, Grid thought Phou would stop eating the elf and that his unprotected flesh would be hit by Kill.
However, unlike what Grid had expected, Phou resisted the stiffness and electric shock. Instead, he swallowed the elf, who was making a hopeful expression, and then hit Grid’s Kill with his palm.
[The skill has been neutralized.]
Phou had a defense that neutralized a legendary skill? Moreover, it was just by using his bare hands? No, how did he resist the stiffness and electric shock in the first place? Grid was making a shocked expression when Phou headbutted him.
“I don’t know who you are, but I’m sorry.” Dias shook his head. He didn’t doubt that the black-haired man would be beaten by the three-meter-tall Phou. However, Dias was mistaken.
The black-haired man was fine. One of the golden hands flew up and blocked Phou’s strike. The golden hand shook and stiffened, while Grid’s burning eyes peered over the golden hand at Phou.
“You pig-like dog!”
A dog and a pig, what was this? Dias scratched his head with confusion.
“Wave!” Grid drew a dark red half-moon with his sword. Simultaneously, a wave of energy emerged and hit Phou.
[You have dealt 28,310 damage to the target!]
[Decreases all speeds of the target.]
[The target has resisted.]
Phou’s health was also high. There was no change in his health gauge despite receiving almost 30,000 damage.
‘His defense is relatively normal and his basic speed is slow...’
Grid wore the Slaughterer’s Eye Patch and was surprised when he looked at Phou. It was because Phou’s palm, which was three times bigger than Grid, was flying toward him. It would’ve been a disaster if the God Hands hadn’t responded right then as Phou was faster than suggested by his size. Additionally, after eating the two elves, Phou’s mild-looking eyes were now wild. He was baffled and angry by Grid’s iron-like defense.
“These hands... Phou’s attack... stop...” Phou firmly grasped a God Hand, placed it in his mouth, and tried to swallow it. However, he felt an instinctive rejection.
Dias led the elves away. “Since you used Pagma’s Swordsmanship, are you the famous Overgeared King? But are you Phou’s opponent? That guy is a monster born between a giant and a troll king. Even a transcendent human can’t hurt him.”
Phou’s abdominal wound, which had been caused by Wave, was already recovering. His recovery power was similar to that of a troll. Phou’s face reddened, and he roared angrily, “Phou! Monster! Nooooooooo!”
The dozens of elves, Randy, the Overgeared Skeletons who arrived late on the scene, and even Dias stumbled at the roar. The power of Giant’s Roar took away the strength in their legs.
“Divinity. Item Combination.” On the other hand, Grid was fine.
[Belial’s Staff and the Lightning Sword Born from Enlightenment and Strong Desires will be combined!]
Flash! The Enlightenment Sword and Belial’s Staff were engulfed in light and combined into one.
Grid soon swung a spear-like weapon. Thanks to the options produced by combining the items, the black flames and red lightning bolt were classified as magic. The magic damage was increased by 20% and the critical damage was increased by 150%. This was enough to threaten Phou’s high health.
Phou’s health gauge decreased noticeably as he struggled with the pain. Then what about Grid?
[A shield with 5,000 health has been created due to the effect of Belial’s Shield.]
[A shield with 5,000 health has been created due to the effect of Belial’s Shield.]
[A shield with 5,000 health has been created due to the effect...]
Many overlapping black shields started rotating around him. It was a contrast to the growing number of wounds on Phou.
“Hurts! It huuuuurts!” The expression in Phou’s eyes turned crazy, and his fists struck the shields surrounding Grid in succession. However, this was poison to Phou.
[You have suffered 9,700 damage!]
[The shield will absorb damage.]
[You have suffered 10,300 damage!]
[The shield will absorb damage.]
[The target who attacked you is in the ‘fear’ state. The ‘slowness’ has been resisted.]
Grid avoided a loss of health thanks to the shield while Phou lost his momentum.
“H-Hik! Phou... Phou is afraid...!”
That’s right. Phou was a strong person, who was comparable to Piaro during the time of the Belial raid. He could resist many types of status conditions, but he wasn’t a legend nor was he immune to all status conditions. Phou was vulnerable to feeling frightened. On the other hand, Grid was several times stronger than he had been during the Belial raid. Yes, he was currently much stronger than Piaro had been at that time!
“Blacksmith's Rage, Blackening.” Grid turned in a semicircle and pulled out his maximum force. He pierced Phou’s bloated stomach with an invincible spear. “Knight Summoning! Jishuka, Regas, Chris, Pon, and Jude!”
Why did he bother calling them in a situation where he was winning? It was to make sure the job was finished cleanly. He had no more room to feel relaxed. Grid cut Phou once again and commanded the five knights who appeared, “Kill that bastard! Save the elves!”
The ‘bastard’ he was referring to was Dias. All five knights seemed tough, so Dias was forced to shrink back in fear. Grid showed that he was far superior to Kir in every way!