Grid touched the red-eyed Irene gently. It was an attitude like he was handling the most precious treasure in the world.
“I was praying that you were safe the entire time I headed here. Thank you. I’m really thankful that you’re safe.”
Grid’s eyes, hand gestures, and warm words gave Irene great happiness. Irene’s affection for Grid was now close to infinitely deep.
“You don’t know how happy I am to be here...”
If Irene had been alone in the crisis, she would’ve felt more sorry than joyful. She would’ve felt guilty that she had forced the king to come all the way here while he was busy taking care of the country and its people. However, Irene wasn’t alone in today’s crisis. Her son Lord, the loyal Kasim and Chucksley, and the young knights who were the future of the country were all in danger. Irene felt a deep gratitude and respect to Grid who had saved all of them.
“On the first day we met, you were fighting to save someone,” Irene recalled. Those had been the days when she was just the eldest daughter of an earl. Back then, Doran was still alive, and Grid had helped rescue her when she was kidnapped by the Yatan Church. “I first heard about you when I was made the ruler of Winston.”
She had heard there was a hero who saved the powerless people from an evil lord, including an old blacksmith called Khan. That hero was Grid. After that, Grid saved Irene who had once again been kidnapped by the Yatan Church, rescued Reinhardt which had been invaded by golems, and saved the 250,000 residents of Pangea on the East Continent. Grid was a person who only lived for others. This was his life.
“I sincerely admire you.” Irene blushed.
“Hum. Hum hum.” Grid sweated and coughed with embarrassment. He felt somewhat uncomfortable every time he saw Irene misunderstanding himself. It made him worry that Irene would one day be disappointed if she knew his real self. Irene buried herself in his chest and whispered, “Please know... I would love you even if you weren’t a hero.”
She realized it when she saw the brilliantly shining sword being eaten by the darkness Grid emitted. Irene would’ve cheered Grid on even if he abandoned herself and Lord to walk down the corrupted path.
“You are the most precious person in the world,” she said in a voice full of conviction.
Grid was filled with joy. “Irene...”
Just like Irene, Grid felt infinite affection when he looked at her. No more long words were necessary. The two of them shared a hot kiss without caring about the gazes of other people. At this moment, the emotions they felt were completely mutual. Of course, they didn’t forget about Lord. The two people both had one hand wrapped around one of Lord’s small hands. This ‘family’ gave the child peace of mind.
The parents, who loved each other more than anyone else, had a positive impact on Lord. Today, the child had seen and learned many things—the patience to swallow a grudge for the sake of the cause, the loyalty of a retainer and the duty of a ruler, the wisdom of a woman and the love of a mother, the pope’s righteousness and power, his helplessness, and...
‘Father’s strength and...’
Then Lord’s gaze moved to the skeleton standing silently nearby. Several of its ribs were broken, and there was a large crack in its skull. It was Lich Mumud.
Was it because Lord was young that he could see the sadness, regret, and hatred in Agnus’ eyes as he looked at Lord and his mother? Additionally, Lord felt that Mumud was lonelier than anyone else. Lord knew that everyone had emotional wounds, just like how his teacher Kasim resented the empire and how his mother feared the Yatan Church.
‘I need to be someone who can help with the wounds.’
This was his path. Lord’s way of thinking was established through this incident. If his father set up a kingdom and was walking the path of a guardian, then Lord’s role would be to assist his father and take care of the missing parts.
‘I will make more people stand by Father in the future.’
Lord believed it. King of Shadows Kasim, Pope Damian, Sword Saint Kraugel, and Farmer Piaro—he believed that with these great teachers, he would become much stronger later on. Lord didn’t doubt that he would overcome today’s helplessness.
‘Stronger, I will also become stronger.’ Someday, he would stand side by side with his father. ‘I have to work harder for Father.’
Normally, the prince watched for an opportunity to weaken the king while the king kept an eye on the prince. It was a sad reality. As history already proved, the relationship between a king and a prince was very different from the relationship between commoner parents and their children. It was like the cruel relationship between an old lion and a young lion. That’s right. The young prince’s pledge to be loyal to the king was a very important event in history.
Grid’s kiss with Irene had finished. Then Grid followed his son’s gaze and his expression distorted like a demon.
‘That bastard is still...!’
He belatedly noticed Lich Mumud standing motionless while gazing at his body. Grid didn’t know about the living Mumud, but Lich Mumud had become Agnus’ limb. Agnus was a clear enemy, so Lich Mumud was a dangerous enemy that Grid had to watch out for.
“Agnus! Come out!” Grid’s shout rang out in the sky of early dawn. He pulled out the Enlightenment Sword and rushed toward Lich Mumud.
“Father! That skeleton isn’t the enemy!”
“Your Majesty! That lich helped us!”
Irene and Lord cried out urgently, but Grid was already close to Mumud. Moreover, he also couldn’t accept Irene and Lord’s claims so easily. Mumud had helped Irene and Lord? It was something that Grid couldn’t understand. He thought that Lord and Irene were mistaken. The Enlightenment Sword clashed against the magic shield that Lich Mumud had created. The already damaged walls nearby crumbled from the black flames, but Lich Mumud’s shield was complete.
“Where is your master?” Grid gritted his teeth at the thought of Agnus. This person was hiding his body somewhere and laughing at Grid’s suffering wife and son!
“...” Lich Mumud didn’t respond and stared at Grid with deep eyes. There was no counterattack. It felt like he was ridiculing Grid.
Agnus was a crazy person, making this situation dangerous. Despite this, Grid was appalled and upset at the thought that Agnus enjoyed Irene and Lord’s suffering. So, Grid’s offensive became more powerful. He didn’t care about the small amount of stamina he had recovered and continued attacking Mumud. In the meantime, he kept the God Hands, the light elemental, and his pets beside Lord and Irene, showing how worried he was about them.
“...” As Lich Mumud stood among the storm of sword attacks and explosions, he recalled his life. What had he been doing back when he was the same age as the young prince? He had been an orphan who didn’t know his parents’ faces and had to beg for food. Had he ever tried protecting anyone like the young prince before him had done?
There was one person—his wife whom he’d met in Siren. She had been his only love whom he’d promised to make happy forever.
Clack... Clack clack… Mumud’s jaw moved, and his large cracked skull shook. The sad memories were to blame. There was a teacher who had raised him. Mumud had followed him like a father but was then betrayed. He’d left the wound of betrayal behind him when he met his love, but he became sick with an incurable illness after that.
Clack! Clack clack!
Ahh, yes. Mumud had lived in pain and died. There were people he loved, but it was different from an immediate family. He had found no peace in his life. Death was his rest, and he had hoped the death would last forever.
Yet a voice had pulled him out of death. As if he wasn’t worthy of rest, Mumud had been given a new pain like he was born to suffer. Clack clack! Clack! Mumud’s jaw moved more rapidly.
“Agnus!” Grid’s eyes turned toward Agnus while attacking Mumud. Agnus was a half skeleton, which was the sign of turning into a lich.
Who was he fighting with?
Grid had this question but didn’t think further about it.
“You!” Grid had clearly seen Lich Mumud cast magic in Irene and Lord’s direction. If he hadn’t used Skill Dispel, Irene and Lord might not be in the world right now. “Die!” Grid’s extreme killing intent was directed to Agnus. It happened before Irene and Lord could shout anything.
“Mumud! Why aren’t you killing that bastard? Eh? Kik! Kikikik! Kihahahahat!” Agnus crossed the line first. The silently defending Mumud immediately responded. He hated Agnus but was forced to follow his orders.
“Kuk...!” Grid was about to fly to Agnus only to be struck by magic in his side. It was a sphere of mana that decreased Grid’s health by thousands.
The chaos reached the peak. Grid had comforted his family, but then another enemy had appeared. So, he had been unable to confirm his quest rewards. He didn’t even know what he had gotten from killing Aliburn. Agnus was the same. He had succeeded in raiding Silvenas, but he had run to the banquet hall without checking what he had gained. It was because he wanted to make sure the powerless woman was okay.
The shockwave generated by the conflict was incomparable to before. It wasn’t just the already collapsed banquet hall. Even the Vatican was shaken. The residents of the village below the mountain were worried that a landslide could occur.