‘How do I cleanse it?’
Grid felt troubled as he held the holy sword, but he showed no signs of great anxiety. He believed he would naturally figure out the method to cleanse it during the process of doing the quest.
‘It is likely done by using the Goddess’ Tears.’
Just like the Yatan Church had the Yatan Essence, the Rebecca Church had the Goddess’ Tears. If the Yatan Essence was a universal poison, then the Goddess’ Tears was a powerful remedy. Grid had experience with the Goddess’ Tears and was confident that he could use them properly. The difficulty of this quest wouldn’t be high.
‘It isn’t arrogance.’
The class quests of Pagma’s Descendant had something in common every time. The process of acquiring a class quest was very difficult, but the difficulty of the class quest itself wasn’t very high. Grid had on a bright expression as he was reminded of the previous class quests.
“Okay. I’ll start right now.”
He would surely cleanse the holy sword. The new sword dance and goddess’ blessing alleviated some of his regret about missing out on being a half-god. Despite this, Damian poured cold water on the motivated Grid. No, he calmed Grid down. He said, “Not today.”
“The royal families of different countries are still staying in the Vatican. They will leave tomorrow afternoon, so you can start then.”
It was a good suggestion. Grid’s main job was to be a blacksmith, so he would naturally proceed with the cleansing in a smithy. What if the sound of hammering started coming from the Vatican’s smithy? Someone would certainly be interested, and rumors that the Overgeared King was working there would spread to all parties present.
‘I can’t show future enemies what I’m working on...’
After all, Grid wouldn’t be paying attention to his surroundings and might expose something. It would be troublesome in many ways.
“That would be good.” Grid nodded and checked how long he had been connected. He received the notification that he had been logged in for 14 hours today.
‘It is better to rest.’
It was the right time to control his daily connection limit and take care of various physiological needs. Grid decided to log out until Irene and Lord woke up. Then he shifted his gaze to the moonlight, and someone was revealed to be present in an area where the moonlight didn’t illuminate. It was Mercedes. She had only been able to run toward Grid once Aliburn died and the barrier was lifted. Since then, Mercedes had been guarding Grid for several hours already.
“I will be taking a break. Look after the queen and prince while I am gone.”
“Yes,” Mercedes responded with no unnecessary remarks.
Pope Damian was enraptured by the sight of Mercedes. Her white hair and pale skin in the moonlight were enough to make her seem like a translucent beauty. She was reminiscent of a ‘yukionna’ who appeared in Japanese legends. Mercedes had a cool and unrealistic type of beauty.
“She is a person, right?” Damian asked with a bemused face.
“Don’t get distracted. Don’t you have Isabel?” Grid scolded him.
Damian waved his hand. “Of course. I am purely impressed by her beauty. I’ve got no dark thoughts. It’s just...”
“...I am worried that you will get more anti-fans.”
“No, it is just all the women around you...”
There were Yura and Jishuka in real life, his wife Irene, and now Mercedes. Why were there only beautiful women beside Grid? Even Damian, an ardent fan of Grid, was a bit jealous. For those who disliked or felt antipathy toward Grid, they might feel an anger beyond jealousy.
Grid understood the meaning and sighed. ‘Why would they be jealous of me?’
In any case, he was single in real life. Grid didn’t want to talk about it. He was ashamed about never having been in a relationship despite being almost 30.
It was noon. Pope Damian arranged a meal for all the VIPs who would’ve been tired last night.
Mercedes accompanied Queen Irene and Prince Lord to the dining room.
“I heard that you were deprived of your knight’s qualification by His Majesty the Emperor, but I didn’t realize we would be reunited in this form.” The 2nd imperial prince Dulandal appeared and blocked the Overgeared party. He was very interested in Mercedes.
“It is good to see you, Your Highness.”
“You are more beautiful than yesterday,” Dulandal responded to Irene’s greeting before turning back to Mercedes again. “The strength that you practiced to defend the imperial family... The strength that you gained from being loyal to the imperial family, it’s now being used for the sake of another royal family? It is a contradictory result. This is absurd.”
“...” Mercedes didn’t refute any of Dulandal’s sarcastic words. She understood Dulandal’s anger. The reason why she was strong was due to the support of the imperial family, not just her innate talents. Despite her having already paid them back with her merits, Mercedes was obviously a traitor from Dulandal’s point of view. The dog they’d raised with great care was now guarding another house.
“His Majesty mercifully gave you freedom. Still, if you have any loyalty or conscience left, shouldn’t you have stayed deep in the mountains? A woman who immediately wags her tail for another owner has no principles.”
The atmosphere was getting worse. Dulandal was clearly showing an example. This mocking in front of Queen Irene and Prince Lord was nothing less than mocking the Overgeared Kingdom itself. In the end, Chucksley couldn’t stand it and stepped forward. Yet before Chucksley could speak, a red knight came forward. “It is a luxury to even pay attention to an ungrateful person who has forgotten the virtues of the imperial family.”
The 9th knight, Susan, was newly appointed by the emperor, who lost his prejudices against the Red Knights after so many knights died and Mercedes left the empire. Her appearance startled Mercedes because Susan was Mercedes’ cousin. It was rumored that she was a genius, but she had only just come of age. So how did she end up guarding the imperial prince?
‘What happened in just a few months?’
As he read the questions in Mercedes’ eyes, Prince Dulandal smiled coldly. “His Majesty, who couldn’t believe in the Red Knights after Piaro’s betrayal, has started to use the Red Knights again.”
The imperial prince knew that Piaro hadn’t betrayed them and that it had actually been the plot of Great Demon Astaroth. The emperor had shed tears of remorse after finding out the truth.
‘...Prince Dulandal still hasn’t received the emperor’s confidence.’
He was lacking in every aspect compared to the 1st prince and 4th prince. It was rumored that the emperor’s evaluation of 2nd Prince Dulandal was ruthless and cold. Yet Dulandal was now talking proudly. “His Majesty has decided to reorganize the Red Knights into the strongest knights division on the continent, and the grandmaster is actively cooperating. It is completely different from the previous generation of Red Knights and your generation. Their loyalty and force will be better.”
‘Grandmaster...!’ Mercedes’ eyes widened.
Grandmaster Zikfrector—according to one theory, he was a strange character that existed in the history of the empire 100 years ago. He was a mysterious person who mastered swordsmanship, magic, and summoning, and he was an opponent that Juander feared. It was rumored that even the emperor couldn’t control him...
‘He will cooperate directly with training the Red Knights?’ A chill went down Mercedes’ spine. She thought of Zikfrector’s eyes which always seemed to dissect her.
“...” Mercedes’ trembling eyes looked at her cousin Susan. Was Susan able to become a Red Knight at this age because she had some relationship with the grandmaster? Mercedes was concerned. In spite of this, Susan, a beautiful woman who resembled Mercedes, smiled. “The grandmaster told me something.”
“I will receive a mission as soon as the truce with the Overgeared Kingdom ends. It is to seize the loot from the Astaroth raid from you. I’m looking forward to going against the genius.”
“...!!” Mercedes and the members of the Overgeared Kingdom were shocked. They didn’t know exactly what was meant by Astaroth’s loot, but Susan’s statement was clear. The empire would become hostile to the Overgeared Kingdom as soon as the truce was over. Of course, they had been prepared, but...
‘Daring to say this in front of the queen and the prince!’
Chucksley and the young knights of the Overgeared Kingdom could no longer overlook the behavior of the imperial prince and the Red Knights. In particular, Coke was furious. He couldn’t forgive their behavior of despising the kingdom that Grid had built. Susan read Coke’s killing intent and scoffed, “A nobody.”
Coke’s face turned red.
“It is up to here.” A black-haired man with fierce eyes appeared. It was Grid. He came toward the group and first kissed Irene and Lord on the cheek, without giving even a nod toward Prince Dulandal. Grid was clearly ignoring Dulandal and the Red Knights, causing them to frown. Then Grid bared his white teeth. “I am looking forward to the expression you will show me when the truce is over.”
“Who are you? Talking like this to the great bloodline that has reigned for hundreds of years!”
The Red Knights immediately became furious while Dulandal remained silent. The imperial prince was interested. He wanted to see how high the great Hero King evaluated himself.
‘I can’t deny that he was great when fighting against the Yatan Servants. He is no less than Mercedes. As expected from someone who set up a new kingdom through force alone.’
However, what could he do alone? If the prince compared the power of the Overgeared Kingdom and the empire, only a few people in the Overgeared Kingdom had a strength great enough to resist the empire. The empire’s overall power was completely dominating. How could the Overgeared King go against the empire that dominated the continent? Didn’t he have the power of an individual at best? If so...
‘He is a flying bird who can’t grasp his enemy. Unlike His Majesty’s concern, the Overgeared King isn’t someone to be wary of.’
He was an inconsequential opponent who could be easily trampled on.
Then Grid said ridiculous words to Prince Dulandal, “The new Red Knights? This young knight will shatter all of them alone.”
“...?” The prince and Red Knights were stunned. Grid was pointing to Coke who had just been called a nobody by Susan.
“Hah?” Susan was dumbfounded by the absurd words. Her reaction was natural. After all, Coke’s level was lower than everyone else, and it was impossible for the NPCs not to know this. During the Yatan fight, Coke had been weaker than the young prince, yet he was going to beat all the Red Knights?
‘Why is he saying nonsense like this?’
Dulandal and the Red Knights had serious doubts.
“I’m looking forward to it. On the day that the truce ends and the empire aims a sword at us, my words will become reality.”
Making the weak stronger—that was the power of items. Grid, who intended to use the goddess’ blessing to enhance the Legendary Blacksmith’s Craftsmanship Skill, whispered to Coke, “Don’t be scared. There is still plenty of time. I will show you what it really means to be overgeared.”
The Saharan Empire was a huge nation. One city in the empire was equal to the full size of the Overgeared Kingdom. It was impossible to control all the people with the imperial family alone. Yes, Grid had already been preparing. He thought that the empire would threaten them when the truce ended or even before the truce ended, regardless of the emperor’s will. Grid needed to train talents to prepare for that time.
‘After clearing this quest, I will show a true overgeared army.’
‘The target is too high. His Majesty is making a mistake.’
While Grid and Dulandal were having a staring contest, someone was feeling tense. Coke felt like he was sitting on a thorny cushion.