Grid was reminded of the 41st island on the Behen Archipelago. The small island had given him a clear and succinct mission—to fight against himself and win.
At the time, it had reproduced all of Grid’s information. The clone had used the same skills based on Grid’s stats, had better combat abilities, and had been able to fuse sword dances. He had worn the same items as Grid and also had the God Hands, but his use of the God Hands was much better than Grid’s. Unlike Grid who couldn’t focus on giving delicate commands to the God Hands, the clone had inherited the super intelligence of the super named NPC and could completely control the God Hands. In any case, Grid had somehow beat the clone.
‘The clone has God Hands, so I can secure more pavranium by taking his God Hands.’ Grid was able to come to this conclusion. In fact, until relatively recently, Grid had forgotten about his clone. He had never dreamed that the clone he had killed on the 41st island would still be alive. However, Yura then told him that his clone was in hell. It seemed Grid’s dark-skinned version was looking for him. Grid was able to instantly realize that the clone had died in Blackening mode and fallen to hell, surviving until the present.
‘The reason why Belial was surprised to see me was probably because of the clone.’
It was normal to fall to hell when dying in Blackening mode and then get expelled from hell when Blackening ended. Still, it was presumed that the clone had been in hell for years.
Grid didn’t receive an answer to his question. It was virtually impossible for a player to understand every game setting. He just needed to accept and cope with the current situation.
“Hrmm...” Grid tapped on the table while thinking. It was because his clone was in hell that he desired to maintain the Blacksmith Hammer to Go Against the Gods and the Blade Aiming at the Gods. He wanted to steal the clone’s God Hands as soon as possible.
‘Of course, there is no guarantee that the God Hands will drop when I kill the clone.’
At present, he needed new God Hands. To be exact, he needed to secure more pavranium from the clone. So, it was worth trying. There was a problem though.
‘I don’t know the path to move to hell...’
In the past, Grid had been defeated by his clone several times. To be honest, the clone had been much stronger than Grid. He might have had the same stats as Grid, but the clone had the artificial intelligence of a super named NPC and had displayed an overwhelming combat ability. However, Grid had won in the end. Based on Item Creation, he had produced the Motley Flail and won by purely relying on luck.
‘I have become stronger over the last few years.’
His skill levels had gone beyond the clone’s skills. Grid had also gained God’s Command, the titles of First King, and Hero King, as well as the powers of several named bosses such as Belial and Astaroth onto his rune. There were also the goddess’ blessings which he obtained this time and the special event that happened when he made six myth rated items. It was true that Grid was currently completely different from when he entered the 41st island. Grid believed that if he went to hell and met the clone now, he would be able to overcome the clone.
‘I think I can win even if I fight with one hand.’
Of course, this belief only lasted a moment.
Didn’t Yura receive a fatal blow with a single strike? Would the clone from a few years ago be able to win against the current Yura?
Was the clone from a few years ago strong enough to embarrass the Great Demon Belial?
‘That isn’t possible.’
At this moment, Grid perceived it clearly. His clone had also grown stronger over the past few years.
‘Maybe. In the worst case scenario...’
The clone might be affected by Grid’s growth. In fact, the clone might’ve also gained God’s Command when Grid got it, and he might have gotten fighting energy when Grid became the Hero King. It was a possibility which couldn’t be ruled out when recalling that the clone had the characteristic of duplicating Grid’s appearance and abilities.
‘Even so, I can fight him.’
Grid didn’t shrink back. Even if the clone was stronger than him, Grid believed this.
‘I can somehow win if I use the Motley Flail again. Okay, don’t think too hard.’
In the end, Grid planned to rely on luck. He wasn’t a fool just because he didn’t prepare any measures. Instead, he was calmly grasping the situation. What measures could be prepared against an unknown enemy who couldn’t be evaluated? It was a waste of time.
“Okay...” Grid made a decision and rose from his seat. He would go to hell and hunt the clone.
-Yura, take me to hell.
Yura was embarrassed by the random whisper. -Are you thinking of fighting against your clone?
-Yes. I can’t leave him alone. I have to get rid of this cheap shit.
Grid wasn’t just greedy for the pavranium. The clone was derived from Grid, and it might be possible for him to influence Grid one day if Grid left the clone alone. This influence might be in a bad direction. As such, Grid’s mission was to hunt the clone. It couldn’t be helped when he didn’t know the clone was alive, but Grid couldn’t stay still now that he knew about the clone’s presence.
Yura was speechless for a moment, but it wasn’t because she was impressed with Grid’s determination.
‘Shit...’ Yura was called the world’s most beautiful woman. Countless people praised her, and men tried to look good to her. Everyone was cautious with their words and gestures in front of her but not Grid. Grid had said the word ‘shit’ without hesitation. It became clear that he considered Yura as a comfortable friend, instead of a woman.
-Yura? Did you go somewhere? Why aren’t you saying anything? Ah, is it impossible for you to take another person to hell?
-...No. I can take up to two other people. It would be a total of three people, including me.
Grid flinched. He said he was cleaning up shit, but it would be a lie to say he wasn’t afraid. After all, he would receive a death penalty if the clone was stronger than him, so he would rather fight with his colleagues. Of course, one person came to Grid’s mind.
-If you can bring one more person, let’s take Euphemina.
The only player that Grid perceived as stronger than himself was Duplicator Euphemina. Yura agreed, -It is a good idea. We can count on her.
Unlike Grid, Yura could objectively evaluate Euphemina. She wasn’t afraid of Euphemina and had a solid grasp on her power. Yura didn’t disagree that Euphemina was the strongest. She knew that Euphemina was one of the greatest players whenever she copied the strongest skills. Moreover, she could use Mumud’s magic.
‘If the three of us join forces, there is no chance for the clone to win...’
Yura had watched the Grid vs Damian duel in the Vatican as it was relayed through OGC, the world’s best gaming station. The media and public were amazed at how Grid had overpowered Damian easily, but Yura knew that Grid hadn’t used all his power against Damian.
‘It has been like this since the 3rd National Competition.’
Grid never exposed his true power against a player. It was the same when dealing with Kraugel. Due to this, Yura believed that Grid’s power was greater than what she imagined. If Grid combined forces with Euphemina who was the strongest conditionally, Yura believed they could overcome the clone. However, there was a problem.
-Is Euphemina replying to you?
[A whisper has arrived, but you can’t hear it.]
Euphemina’s Skill Duplication wasn’t universal. There was another realistic problem apart from the issues of having a limited number of times she could duplicate and the overload caused by overuse. Her Skill Duplication could duplicate a skill at 100%, but an unexpected penalty might occur. The master level Stealth that Euphemina was currently using had the realistic penalty of ‘concentration.’ She needed to focus in order to maintain the stealth. This meant that executing high speed movement, casting skills, and having conversations were forbidden since they all interfered with her concentration. It was an unreasonable penalty considering the fact that assassins who mastered the skill could move at high speeds, cast skills, and converse with other people while maintaining the stealth.
“...” Still, Euphemina was calm.
After being a Duplicator for so many years, she was familiar with the penalties that occurred. She naturally accepted the penalty for maintaining the stealth since she wasn’t an assassin.
[A whisper has arrived, but you can’t hear it.]
Euphemina ignored the continuously rising messages. Rather than feeling curious toward whoever was whispering to her, she was more focused on what was happening in front of her eyes.
It was already the third one. For some reason, Agnus was visiting the workshops of accessory makers in every country. Yet by the time he reached them, the accessory maker would already be dead and the guards blamed Agnus.
“H-Hik...!” The last surviving guard dropped the spear in his hand. Yet Agnus didn’t show him mercy. Agnus’ blade pierced the heart of the young guard. “...Kik.”
Deep in the alley, Agnus stopped after losing all trackers.
His body, mind, and spirit were like his empty eyes. He seemed exhausted. His mouth only repeated one name. No, Euphemina knew it was a nickname.
‘Luna is Caroline...’
Euphemina was an unofficial ranker who was not on the leaderboards, but her information network and resourcefulness had allowed her to be at the top since the beginning of Satisfy. She couldn’t be unaware of the information related to Agnus—the target she must deal with to clear her class change quest. That’s why her heart ached even more.
Why did that man draw his lover, who was already dead in reality, in the game? She became terribly sad as she watched Agnus and felt cold from seeing the madness that covered up his sorrow. He looked like a huge beast baring its teeth, but he was actually small in front of reality.
Flop! It was a journey without any breaks. Agnus had fought countless enemies while feeling in despair and was already at his limit. Like a sand castle meant to break down from the beginning, he collapsed. Agnus fell down and was unable to get up.
Then a blonde girl approached in the darkness. It was the appearance of Euphemina, who could no longer just watch.
“You?” His face lay against the cold floor, and his eyes shook as he watched the girl approach. She felt sad to see the wounded beast so scared.
Euphemina made a bittersweet expression and extended a small hand to Agnus. “Do you want to craft that stone?”
“Promise that you will release Mumud. Then I will help you.”
It was a world where there was only frustration and despair. Agnus’ vision blurred as the fantasy of salvation appeared. Euphemina felt her heart drop as she saw Agnus’ tears and struggled to calm down. “No reason. I just think it will be convenient.”