‘It isn’t a dream?’
There was a black round table with 10 chairs around it. As soon as Coke returned to Reinhardt, he was called in by Lauel and couldn’t contain his excitement.
Demon Brain Lauel, Red Phoenix Godly Archer Jishuka, Lightning Flash Peak Sword, Cold-Blooded Prince Pon, Iron Fist of Justice Regas, and Bald Vantner—the people sitting down were the meritorious retainers of the Overgeared Kingdom. If one of them had been missing, the birth of the Overgeared Kingdom would be difficult. After Grid, they were the people that Coke respected and envied the most.
Then who were the owners of the remaining four empty seats?
‘Is it Faker, Huroi, Katz, and Chris? No, Faker might’ve rejected a place due to his personality... Perhaps it is Euphemina?’
Coke’s eyes shone like lanterns. It was a dream come true for him to be facing the top rankers in each field and the people closest to Grid. So, he was naturally nervous.
“Ah! I-I’m really sorry!”
He eventually dropped the glass of water he was holding in his trembling hands and didn’t know what to do. While Coke was fussing over the broken glass, Regas smiled gently at him. “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it and sit down.”
Bald Vantner clicked his tongue. “Bah! This brat protected Queen Irene and Prince Lord? Isn’t the information wrong?”
“...” Cold-Blooded Prince Pon just remained silent.
“As expected from a Korean.” Peak Sword looked affectionately at Coke. It was like reuniting with a younger brother after a few years. “Puhahat! Coke! I have been watching you from the beginning! The DNA of the Koreans which has evolved due to blood, sweat, and tears is the best! Puhat! Puhahat!! Good! I like it! Sign up for the Korean Patriotic Association! The membership fee is only 800,000 won per year! It is an opportunity to be patriotic for only 800,000 won!”
No, it was more like Peak Sword was looking at a pushover.
“...” Coke was embarrassed and disappointed by Peak Sword’s attitude.
It was the voice of Jishuka, one of the most beautiful women in South America. Jishuka’s voice was a beautiful voice that seemed to stimulate the listener’s senses and take away their soul. What was she going to say?
Coke was anticipating Jishuka’s words only to become embarrassed.
“Shut up.” The words that emerged from Jishuka’s lips were unexpectedly different from Coke’s expectations. “Aren’t you all going to shut up?”
“U-Uh...” The noisy Vantner and Peak Sword immediately shut up like cats in front of a lion.
Bald Vantner was considered the shield of the Overgeared Kingdom while Lightning Flash Peak Sword had beaten the Hero Kraugel in the National Competition. Yet right now, these people, who were big names in the world, couldn’t open their mouths before Jishuka.
‘She truly is the Red Phoenix Godly Archer!’ Coke was fascinated by Jishuka’s beauty only to come to his senses.
He reminded himself that she was the godly archer who had annihilated thousands of enemies with one bow in the Eternal War! That’s right. The woman before him was the strongest in the Overgeared Guild that was swarming with monsters. It wasn’t right to simply evaluate her by her beauty.
Coke unknowingly straightened his posture. Once the atmosphere was calm, Jishuka spoke to Lauel, “Now, tell us.”
Lauel—he was the demonic brain who had used all types of ploys and tricks to give the enemies despair and eventually make Grid king! He was currently taking care of the government affairs of the Overgeared Kingdom. Feeling tense, Coke gulped once again. Lauel showed a strange charisma as he covered half of his face with one hand. He truly was a chuuni. Anyone would be nervous when facing Lauel.
It felt like an eternity... Coke only met Lauel’s gaze for a few seconds, but it felt like hours had passed by. Lauel’s blue eyes contemplated him, and Coke felt like he had been stripped naked. It was a feeling that everything inside him was being dug up by Lauel.
Gulp! Coke’s throat was parched, and he swallowed his saliva as his tension reached the peak. Coke hoped that Lauel would quickly explain why he had been summoned. Did Lauel read his wish?
“You...” Lauel finally spoke.
“Yes...!” Coke’s voice cracked as he reflexively answered. His throat was dry, so it couldn’t be helped. Lauel sat with his legs crossed and his chin arrogantly raised. The smile on Lauel’s face could be seen through the gap in his collar. It was a meaningful smile.
‘What is he going to say?’ Coke had already forgotten his excitement of meeting the meritorious retainers. The strength of the meritorious retainers was greater than he’d imagined!
Lauel continued speaking, “You are Coke?”
“Yes! That’s right!”
“Huh?” It was difficult for Coke to understand the meaning of the question. Lauel looked up and smiled with his eyes wide open. “The 10 meritorious retainers! Isn’t this great!”
“Kuk... Kukukuk...! That’s correct. In the past, there were the seven malignant saints who worshipped the gods, and now there will be the 10 meritorious retainers who serve the Overgeared King.”
Grid had told Lauel the details of what had happened in the Vatican, and Lauel was captivated by the name, ‘the seven malignant saints’. He thought it sounded very nice and attractive. That’s why Lauel came up with the 10 meritorious retainers—the 10 meritorious retainers who served the Overgeared King and founded a new kingdom with him.
“Isn’t it cool? The people of the world will praise our 10 meritorious retainers, and our reputation will increase. Then won’t the authority of the Overgeared King soar into the sky? Huhuhut!”
“Ah, yes... 10… meridorious… retainers...”
What the hell did Lauel want to say? What was his reason for calling Coke?
Stunned, Coke just nodded.
Meanwhile, Peak Sword whispered to him, “Be careful with your pronunciation. It is merit, merit. Not merid.”
He felt like the 10 meritorious retainers weren’t that reliable, especially Peak Sword. Coke looked at Peak Sword with pity while Lauel finally cut to the chase.
“Sir Coke, I heard your saga. You said that you are a talented person who will beat the Red Knights on your own?”
“Huh? N-No, it was King Grid...”
“We have decided at the end of a meeting to train you.”
“From today, you will be studying under the 10 meritorious retainers. You will learn strategy from me, archery from Jishuka, swordsmanship from Peak Sword, the spear and magic from Pon, martial arts from Regas, and how to use the shield from Vantner.”
The knight class could gain all types of mastery skills such as Sword Mastery, Bow Mastery, and Spear Mastery. It was meant to be a universal class, but there was a problem. The process of acquiring the skills and raising the level was very difficult.
It was natural. The experience of mastery skills increased only when using a weapon suitable for that mastery. How did they have the time to raise mastery skills levels for Sword Mastery, Bow Mastery, and Spear Mastery? Compared to some classes that only had one mastery skill, a knight’s growth was much worse.
In fact, most knight players only focused on one weapon. It was a sword, a spear, or a blunt weapon. Only one weapon was used repeatedly in order to train that mastery skill. It was a class that needed decisions and concentration. This was what it meant to be a knight. Of course, as time went by, the skill level of the NPC naturally increased, but this situation was different.
“Thank you for the consideration, but I will refuse.”
Coke was a player. There was a limit to his time and growth. The tremors disappeared from his voice for the first time since he entered the room. His unwavering eyes stared straight at Lauel and the 10 meritorious retainers.
“So what if I have wonderful teachers? There are limits to the system. If I receive your teachings, the speed of my mastery skills increasing will be very slow, and I will eventually be a trashy jack of all trades. I would rather focus on swordsmanship like I have been doing so far. Only...”
“I want to get a chance to study strategies from Lauel. As you know, knights can learn tactical skills, and it will be useful...”
You are bold.”
He rejected the offer made by the meritorious retainers of the kingdom he belonged to and took advantage of a loophole instead...? Coke’s attitude seemed reprehensible. If this were any other country, the meritorious retainers would be furious. However, the meritorious retainers of the Overgeared Kingdom weren’t like this. Rather, they now had a better impression of Coke.
“Our personalities are similar.”
“Grid’s evaluation was accurate.”
“...?” Coke had been afraid of the reaction, but he ended up dumbfounded. He was perplexed about how the atmosphere had improved instead of worsening. Lauel explained to him, “There are countless different options for items. Just as there are items that make the wearer stronger, there are items that can help the wearer grow.”
A typical example was an item that sped up the rate at which a skill level increased. It was an item that often dropped when catching low-level field bosses.
“We have prepared all types of things to help you grow.”
“I was yawning so much when hunting the petty field bosses.”
“The performance isn’t great, but it’s okay because we’ll support you.”
“There isn’t enough time. Let’s move to the hunting grounds right now.”
They already knew everything and were prepared. Well, that was natural. After all, they were senior rankers and meritorious retainers of the Overgeared Kingdom. They knew a lot more than Coke. His heart jumped as he realized that he was being raised. However, there were some doubts in his mind that couldn’t be erased.
“Can I ask why you are doing this for me?”
The 10 meritorious retainers were busy people. They had to take care of government affairs and maintain their ranking, yet they were wasting time they didn’t have on him. Why? What was he supposed to say? Coke couldn’t understand it. Lauel replied as the representative of everyone present, “We have to turn Grid’s declaration into a reality. Won’t you be angry if His Majesty is misunderstood as a useless braggart?”
It was a simple and straightforward answer. Convinced, Coke shouted energetically, “I’ll do my best, so thank you in advance! 10 meritorious retainers!”
“...Let’s change the name,” Peak Sword requested, but it just passed through Lauel’s ears while he laughed.
On this day, the secret weapon development project of the 10 meritorious retainers began.
[You have reached 60% understanding of the First Holy Sword that is Becoming Petrified.]
It was the third day after Grid started working, and this occurred after he had disassembled and reassembled the holy sword more than 100 times.
[The sin of the holy sword’s maker is stimulating the Stone of Original Sin!]
“Sin of the holy sword’s maker?”
The maker of the holy sword was a god—the blacksmithing god, Hexetia.
‘A god sinned?’ Grid was surprised by the unexpected development. The petrification process the reassembled holy sword was captured in real time. Proceeding much faster and wider than before, the petrification eroded the blade of the holy sword.
Frightened, Grid started to beat the sword with a hammer. He intended to shock the petrified parts and reduce the progress of the petrification. However, the method he had been using for the last three days no longer worked. The petrification was no longer vulnerable to external stimuli. No matter how hard he hit it with the hammer, the speed of the petrification didn’t slow down.
Were his efforts for the last three days useless? Grid got a chill and used his last resort. He threw the holy sword in the furnace, deciding to remove the petrified stone in the process of melting it again, disassembling, and then reassembling it. Yet the sword which entered the blast furnace didn’t melt. Instead, it caused a big explosion that shattered the furnace.
Swept away by the impact, Grid was shocked. The half-petrified holy sword floated in the air.
-The sins of the gods are covered up? An unknown voice rang out.
Grid sensed that the quest he was carrying out had reached its main stage!
-You who have succeeded the power of the 4th evil, look at the sins of the gods! Anger seeped into the unknown voice.
Grid’s vision flashed white, and his consciousness was transferred from the Vatican to an entirely new place. It was Asgard, the world of the gods. Simultaneously, at the head office of the S.A Group...
“This is the second time...”
What decision would Grid make? Would he align with good or evil? President Lim Cheolho’s expression was full of tension.