“Kuk! Kuaaaah! Gridddd!”
Veradin thought it was a dream until he opened his eyes in the capsule. It wasn’t a dream but reality. He had died two times in a row and was forcefully logged out from Satisfy. Additionally, he permanently missed the chance to become a resident of the Hwan Kingdom.
Veradin raised himself from the capsule and couldn’t help questioning it, ‘How could he have that much power remaining?’
Penan had 3,000 troops. Thanks to the power of Merchant King Kir, there had been many rankers and soldiers armed with items, including the necromancers of Immortal. As such, Veradin had predicted that Grid would’ve consumed most of his skills and stamina in order to break through the elite troops and reach him.
No, the word ‘predicted’ was too modest. Veradin had been convinced. Grid should have been exhausted before chasing after Veradin. Even if he managed to chase Veradin, Grid shouldn’t have had the stamina to swing his sword once.
It was due to the special nature of the resource called ‘stamina.’ Stamina was different from ordinary resources such as health and mana. It wasn’t something that could be recovered with artificial methods such as taking a potion. A person had to unconditionally rest in order to recover stamina.
Logically, it was impossible for him not to be tired, even if Grid’s stamina stat was over 3,000 points.
‘Yet he was fine.’
How was this possible?
‘Did the Immortal members on the front lines surrender to Grid?’
Was that why Grid had stamina remaining? It was possible but...
‘It isn’t enough.’
Veradin wasn’t convinced by his guesses. He was frustrated because he couldn’t understand what had gone wrong with his calculations. In actuality, Merchant King Kir was to blame. When he spoke to Veradin, Kir had ‘reduced’ the amount of damage he’d suffered in order to maintain his pride. He hadn’t told Veradin that he had lost his unicorn to Grid! So, in the end, Veradin had been forced to make a false guess.
“...Surely, Grid doesn’t have over 4,000 points in stamina?”
If Grid’s stamina was this high, then his defense also made sense. Then new questions arose. What was the secret behind Grid’s extremely high attack power when most of his points were invested in stamina? How many intelligence points did he have that he could use magic? What was with his agility?
“...Is it due to him being overgeared after all?”
Veradin’s fist slammed down onto the capsule. However, he couldn’t exert a high strength with his lean body which didn’t have muscles. So, the expensive capsule was fine. Veradin was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness, feeling that he was a small and shabby person. He had always been a victor in reality and in Satisfy, so his consecutive losses to Grid were shocking.
Veradin had wanted to become a yangban. He wanted to show there was a difference between himself and the two billion players. Someday, he wanted to put Agnus under his feet and feel an unrivaled sense of superiority.
His grudge toward Grid soared into the sky.
However, he wasn't filled with fighting spirit. How much had Immortal lost because of Grid? Veradin hesitated for a long time. He shouldn’t have touched the nose of a sleeping lion...
If he had known that the identity of the lion was actually a monster...
Then Veradin lost his motivation and became filled with frustration and regret. He would’ve been a star that shone for a long time if he hadn’t stepped on a monster.
The 3rd ranked merchant, Muto—he had cooperated with Grid to sell the chandelier to the imperial palace and was on the track of unprecedented success.
He hadn’t missed out on the commerce rights secured with the support of the Overgeared Kingdom and made a pricing policy that satisfied the consumers rather than being greedy for profit. Now, hundreds and thousands of players came to the Overgeared Kingdom to visit the Muto Company, which was fully embedded in the kingdom.
Due to the rapid development of commerce in the Overgeared Kingdom which had been lacking compared to agriculture, Muto was competing for the second rank. Muto predicted that he would reach the second rank in the merchant rankings within the next four months.
The higher the ranking of the merchant, the higher the number of stores that could be held. Therefore, the value of the ranking was very high. The gap between the second and third ranks was great. Muto was overflowing with happiness.
In the past, he happened to meet Grid on the East Continent and ate the poisonous food of some crazy chef. Muto wanted to praise himself for having gained Grid’s favor even if it meant going against the empire. He was proud of his own acumen for having chosen the person named Grid.
As such, he was very satisfied with the current situation. Then one day...
“Why are you here?” Muto had a strong feeling of anxiety. The 1st ranked merchant Kir, who was praised as the Merchant King, was visiting the Overgeared Kingdom. Muto was chagrined to see Kir sitting with Lauel.
Many of Muto’s things had been taken from him by Kir. Kir expanded his business by using any means and methods, making him a natural enemy for Muto. Muto believed that Kir was doing some political maneuvering behind the scenes and realized that the position he had built up in the Overgeared Kingdom was about to be taken away.
‘He managed to make a situation like this while his city was being invaded by Grid... He turned a crisis into an opportunity in such unfavorable conditions?’
Kir laughed at Muto who was staring at him with eyes filled with hostility. “Don’t look at me like I’m a villain. From my point of view, you are the villain. Now, take this.”
“...?” Muto was confused. It was because Kir handed over the ‘account balance’ book.
‘What is this joke?’
Lauel smiled at the extremely confused Muto. “Accept it. This is a book that provides a comprehensive view of the Merchant King’s accounts and business status.”
“That... What is this situation?”
Kir was the one who replied sarcastically to Muto’s careful question, “This evil bastard is pretending not to know anything until the end. You don’t know the plan that involves taking everything away from me and handing it over to you? Does this make sense?”
They were taking everything away from Merchant King Kir and giving it to him? Muto’s brain couldn’t keep up with the discussion. Lauel patted his shoulders. “It is time for you to take away everything that Kir has built up.”
“Become the new Merchant King. This is an order from King Grid.”
Duguen! Duguen! Duguen!
Muto’s face turned red as he finally found out the situation. All sorts of emotions bubbled up in his heart and tears formed in his eyes. “Grid did this for me... He believes in me.”
It wasn’t a matter of believing. There was no option from Grid’s position. The Overgeared Guild didn’t have a merchant, so Grid could only use Muto. Additionally, Muto had shown to be wonderfully resourceful in this short time and proved why he was third in the merchant rankings.
Despite this, Lauel remained silent. He thought it would be better to let Muto maintain his thoughts. Muto’s response showed that a new Grid fanatic was born. Lauel was pleased but he clearly distinguished between public and private matters. “Muto, in the future, you will gain an astronomical amount of money using Kir’s rights and the commerce of the Overgeared Kingdom. Do you admit it?”
“Then give 70% of your profits to Grid.”
70% was a reasonable request. The revenue shared between a kingdom and a merchant company would typically be between 40~60% if it was an exclusive deal. After all, Grid had secured the Overgeared Kingdom’s commerce rights as well as Kir’s commerce rights for Muto. It would be difficult for him to refuse a profit distribution of 80%, let alone 70%.
However, Kir thought that Muto would refuse.
‘What is 70%?’
Kir knew that in the player base, there were only two merchant players who could manage his commerce rights—the 3rd ranked Muto and the 2nd ranked Cecilia. This meant it was inevitable for Grid to rely on Muto. Muto was aware of this fact, so would he be satisfied with only 30% of the profits? 40% to 60% was more realistic.
It was as Kir expected.
“70%...? I don’t like that,” Muto declined it firmly.
‘Look at this.’
Kir tilted his nose upward into the air conceitedly as he was hoping for a rift between Grid and Muto. He didn’t want to see them embracing each other. Lauel sighed. He didn’t show any signs of being upset at all. It was because Lauel had already anticipated Muto’s rejection.
“I understand. Then we will discuss this a bit more.” Lauel thought that 60% was a realistic amount.
“I will give you 90%.”
Lauel and Kir were confused by Muto’s shocking remark. Muto smiled brightly. “I will repay Grid’s grace for the rest of my life. In return, I want Grid to defend the Muto Company to the end.”
Muto was certain that Grid wouldn’t end as the king of a small country.
‘Considering Grid’s brute force, blacksmithing skills, and unstoppable momentum, as well as the many talents under him...’
In the future, Grid was likely to become the leader of a great nation that could compete with the Saharan Empire. Muto believed it would be worth the investment, even if it might only be returned in 10 years. That’s right. This was an investment. Muto dreamed of a larger future.
Kir read his thoughts and found it absurd. “Can’t you read the situation? Grid is an extreme person. He is dangerous. He is always creating new enemies and will one day collapse. Yet you are dreaming of a future with him? Muto, this foolishness is why you are currently third,” Kir made fun of Muto.
“Third? Aren’t I first right now?”
“Do you think I am stupid? Aren’t you the one who lost everything?”
Kir was forced to shut his mouth at Muto’s words.
[1st place - Muto (Affiliation: Overgeared Guild)]
The newly updated rankings had a large impact on the world. Kir’s name was nowhere to be found in the rankings, and the one with the title of Merchant King was now Muto. The recognition of him belonging to the Overgeared Kingdom rose sharply, and it was natural to expand the forces of the Overgeared Kingdom.
“We can’t take it easy right now.”
Something massive was taking place in the second player-built kingdom—Valhalla. The famous general, God of War Ares, was leading an army filled with tens of thousands of elite soldiers. His destination was the Ultina Kingdom. Ultina was a small kingdom which was chosen as Valhalla’s first invasion target.
‘I must also do my best!’
The player, Oasis, who once overturned the world with the title of Undefeated King’s Descendant, was right beside Ares.
Simultaneously, deep in the mountains of the Ultina Kingdom.
“Master’s old friend?”
One player was facing an NPC called Asmophel. Haster, the player, was very wary of the sudden visitor. Asmophel was tired from his long journey and explained with a dark expression, “We belonged to the same knights division... Tell him that I am a traitor and he will know.”
“Ah, it is you. I have been waiting for a really long time.”
He was one of the Five Miracles. The hermit Haster, who even Kraugel feared, started to move.