The problem was excessive exhaustion. Agnus’ fatigued body could only react reflexively. Slightly tearful, the expression on his face was distorted. The shaking of his pupils stopped, and his eyes became sharp and threatening. “What are you doing?”
Agnus knew the girl who was lifting him up. It was Euphemina. She was a meritorious retainer of the Overgeared Kingdom, and she had helped with Valhalla’s establishment. Agnus knew the rumor about how she was one of the people that Grid trusted most. Furthermore, wasn’t she aiming for Mumud? So, why was she helping Agnus?
Duplicator Euphemina’ s strength stat was low enough to be comparable to a magician’s. This was one of the reasons why she rarely duplicated physical attack skills that required the use of a ‘weapon.’ It was hard for her to support an adult male who weighed more than herself.
“Kuoong.” Finally, Euphemina sat beside Agnus, who was leaning against a wall, and pulled out a handkerchief. “Why are you looking at me like that? What is it? Do you want to wipe off your sweat as well?”
“Get lost,” Agnus growled out. He wasn’t given the nickname of Mad Dog for nothing. Euphemina nervously put the handkerchief away as he asked again, “What do you want?”
“Are you an idiot? Why do you keep asking? Didn’t I tell you from the beginning? I will help you.”
“...Hah?” Agnus was dumbfounded. The failure condition of the ‘Mumud’s Desire for Liberation’ quest that popped up whenever Agnus saw Euphemina was for Agnus to be killed by Euphemina. In other words, Euphemina could clear her quest by killing Agnus. Yet she was helping Agnus instead of using this chance to kill him. Why?
“Why aren’t you killing me?”
“Well... It won’t be easy. Won’t it be hard to deal you a mortal wound when you can use Lich Transformation and recover your stamina instantly?”
“You have the power to neutralize that short period of resistance. Tell me honestly. What are you up to?”
Agnus’ only ally had been his dead lover. The other people he had encountered over the years were all enemies. Consequently, it was natural for him to be suspicious of Euphemina, who was one of Grid’s closest people. Euphemina spoke with deliberately wide eyes, “Don’t you have any friends? Why do you keep doubting people’s good intentions? You should just accept it.”
“Would you be able to if you were me?”
“Of course. You should rejoice at receiving the help of such a beautiful and pure woman. Doubting the goodwill of a beauty? Shouldn’t you be kind to a beauty like me?”
“Why are you calling me a big girl like me a kid?”
Euphemina was an adult woman in her early 20s. However, she was 150 centimeters tall and had a young appearance that made it believable she was still in middle school. As such, she had a bit of a complex about it and was sensitive to the word ‘kid.’
“Big girl...?” Agnus started to observe the agitated Euphemina from head to toe. No matter how he looked at her, she was a kid.
Euphemina’s face turned red. “I-I didn’t mean that type of big! It hasn’t grown yet, but I’m still an adult! I’m not a kid!”
“...” Agnus wondered how he ended up having this conversation with Grid’s friend. The situation was truly laughable. Agnus got up as his stamina had recovered. “Get lost. I'll spare you once,” Agnus spoke in a patronizing rather than thankful manner.
“Did you hear wrong because you weren’t sane before?” Euphemina threw him a temptation that was hard to resist. “Didn’t I tell you? I will help you craft the stone—the Stone of Life.”
“If you free Mumud...!?” Euphemina didn’t get to finish her words though. The spot where she stood was suddenly swept away by an explosion. It was a huge explosion which devastated the 10 houses around the narrow alley. Euphemina’s small body disappeared without a trace.
“...I’ve found you.”
This was the capital of the Murray Kingdom, Juden. Agnus was identified as the murderer of the accessory maker Catherine and had already defeated several Juden guards. He had to escape from Juden as soon as possible, but he took too long and got caught.
“Capture him!” The magicians had hit Euphemina with magic while the knights flocked around Agnus. Hundreds of soldiers could be seen behind them. The average level of the knights and soldiers was high. It wasn’t a power that a player could go against alone. Of course, this was a story for a normal player.
“Kikik... Numbers are useless in front of me.” Agnus stepped forward, causing the ground to shake and skeleton soldiers to emerge.
The approaching soldiers witnessed the skeletons wielding swords and paled. Many of them would’ve been killed without the help of the knights and magicians.
“An evil necromancer!” One of the knights shouted. From the knight’s perspective, Agnus had suddenly invaded the capital and murdered civilians and guards, so he was definitely a bad person. The knight was filled with a deep grudge. Agnus started making undead from the corpses of the soldiers, and the young knights failed to reach him. Surrounded by skeleton soldiers, Agnus seemed like an impregnable fortress. In reality, he was an old fortress.
Due to the successive chases, Agnus’ resources were at their limit. He was lacking in stamina and mana, which meant that various spells couldn’t be used. His important spells were also cooling down. The skeletons crumbled quickly due to the magicians’ spells. As the number of skeleton soldiers decreased, the Murray Kingdom’s soldiers and knights stabbed Agnus with their spears and swords.
“...Kik!” Pain and fear stimulated Agnus’ frontal lobe. The painful memories of reality disappeared, leading him to feel pleasure. The smile on Agnus’ face widened as he was stabbed by spears and shields. Agnus, who had been nervous and weakened as his reunion with his old lover neared, regained his true nature of a mad dog.
“T-This monster... Kuaaack!”
He believed in the Lich Transformation. Yet while Agnus was breaking into the enemy and killing them, he suddenly collapsed. It was due to the sword that fell from the sky and pierced his shoulder. The long and sharp sword penetrated Agnus’ shoulder and chest.
[You have suffered 27,900 damage.]
[You have fallen into the ‘internal injury’ state.]
[This is a physical phenomenon. Resisting the status has failed.]
[All resource recovery speeds are reduced by 30%. Accompanied by the ‘bleeding (large)’ status, this causes your health to drop continuously.]
It was a powerful blow that caused even his madness to disappear. Agnus was astonished by the terrible pain and couldn’t help thinking about Grid. It was a powerful attack that caused him to misunderstand and think that the Overgeared King had chased him all the way to a distance kingdom. However, the person who struck Agnus wasn’t Grid. The person, who landed on the ground and retrieved the sword he had stabbed into Agnus, was a middle-aged man wearing faded red armor.
“This is my chance to pay back the Murray Kingdom’s grace.”
The frightened Murray knights and soldiers cheered. The fierce battlefield turned into a festival, and Agnus was the clown.
‘Who?’ The wounded mad dog watched the unwelcome visitor.
“You were here.”
“I finally found you.”
Then two soldiers spoke as they came to the center of the stage. Both of them looked like low-level soldiers.
“You are...?” The former Red Knight Singuled became wary. One of the soldiers took off his helmet and introduced himself, “A soldier... No, I am the traitor who betrayed you and made you fall into misery.”
The golden name of ‘Asmophel’ appeared above the noble looking soldier’s head. Singuled’s face distorted like he was a demon. “You...! Asmophellllll!”
“....???” Agnus was dumbfounded by this change in the situation.
‘What is this?’ Euphemina, who had been hiding in the enemy camp since being swept away by the explosion, was surprised when she saw Asmophel.
“It looks like you haven’t completed the seven malignant saints quest yet. At this point, the strongest players are Grid and Kraugel.”
The unidentified soldier standing beside Asmophel came up to Agnus and took off his helmet to reveal the name ‘Haster’. These unexpected developments made the many people present confused. If Grid had been watching this situation, he would’ve ordered fried chicken for dinner while watching the ‘crucible of chaos.’
[...It is the power of brain learning. In the end, the number of people implementing Satisfy’s skills in reality will continue to increase. This isn’t a good phenomenon. Experts from all fields who have been polishing their skills for decades will feel a sense of deprivation and lose motivation, while there will be mentally untrained youngsters who can’t control their skills developed in a short period of time...]
Youngwoo turned on the TV as soon as he got out of the capsule and then shook his head. He was filled with a strong sense of hunger while the voices of the news reporters entered one of his ears and out the other.
[NASA has picked up an asteroid with a weight of 56 billion kilograms. The giant rock that measures 300 meters in diameter is now turning around the sun at speed of 80,000 kph and is expected to cause several times the damage of an atomic bomb if it hits Earth.]
[The asteroid collision is estimated to happen in five years. It doesn't make sense. NASA’s technology should’ve detected the approach of the asteroid many years ago. If NASA is telling the truth, the asteroid suddenly appeared one day. This is a physically impossible phenomenon...]
[...Still, NASA says there is a 1 in 4,500 chance of the asteroid hitting the Earth and they are well-prepared.]
The composed voices of the experts trying to calm the agitated hosts tangled together.
“Turn off the TV.”
Youngwoo turned off the unpleasant story and moved to the kitchen. The sunny kitchen with its large windows was well-built with enough tools to satisfy the chefs of the finest restaurants. Youngwoo stood in there and waited until the water boiled in the pot. Then he took out a pack of ramen. This was the power of the finest induction cooker!
“Sigh...” Youngwoo let out a deep sigh as the water started boiling as soon as he put the pot on. “My clone...”
Euphemina wasn’t replying to his whispers, so Youngwoo had decided to take a break and logged out. Youngwoo became tense again. He wanted to bring his colleague with him to face an enemy in a fight where luck might not be enough. What if Yura or Euphemina died because of him? Should he take responsibility for the penalties they would receive?
“Indeed… I wish I could go alone.” He soothed his empty stomach and wondered if Euphemina not answering was a sign from God. Youngwoo cleared his thoughts while eating the ramen and then lay back down in the capsule. “Yes, this is my job in the end. Let’s resolve it alone.”
His eyes were cold as he logged in.
[Welcome to Satisfy.]
Youngwoo became Overgeared King Grid.
[The presence in hell, who has captured your location, has arrived on the ground.]
The system informed Grid of the news.
Chill. Grid got goosebumps.