Valhalla’s invasion of the Ultina Kingdom was entering the final phase. Ultina’s outer fortresses had been destroyed, and the walls of the capital had been smashed through. After the fall of the fortified walls, Valhalla’s strong army one-sidedly killed Ultina’s weak soldiers who were obedient to the empire.
The reason why the Ultina Kingdom could hold on was thanks to the struggles of the Ultina Guardian Knights, who had completed their fourth class advancement. Pon had watched the news of Valhalla’s invasion war when he logged out, and now he raised this question, “Can we just stand by like this?”
Just like the other Overgeared members, Pon was very wary of Valhalla. Overgeared and Valhalla were currently allies due to having a common enemy, the empire. Yet what if Valhalla became an enemy? Fostering Strong Soldiers—Ares’ skill which allowed him to raise strong soldiers quickly—was placing enormous pressure on the Overgeared Kingdom.
However, Lauel was surprisingly calm. “You don’t have to worry. Just leave it alone.”
“What? Haven’t you heard from the ones who went to support the Valhalla war? Ares’ forces will soon become stronger than the Overgeared Kingdom’s soldiers. Their numbers are swelling and if they become stronger...”
Lauel interrupted Pon’s impassioned speech, “Valhalla can become even stronger. No, they must become stronger.”
Did Lauel experience side effects from eating chuuni medicine? Lauel’s claim that Valhalla should become stronger puzzled Pon. What was the reason for it? Pon could only think of one thing. “If Valhalla is stronger, we can join forces to bring down the empire?”
“Sigh... Sadness burns in my heart which is deeper than the sea... Humans live in a three-dimensional world but why are their thoughts so one-dimensional...”
“Pon, think about why you are wary about Valhalla. Do you think they might become an enemy one day?”
“Yes. You should know that there are no eternal allies. But think about it. Will you live for eternity?”
What nonsense was this? The confused Pon then suddenly thought of something, and his eyes widened. Lauel placed his hand on his forehead and let out a sinister laugh. Pon gulped and asked carefully, “Do you intend to hold hands with the empire?”
“Is there a law saying I can’t?” Grid had already suggested the possibility. The Saharan Empire was different from the great demons. Unless they were absolutely evil, there were no unconditional enemies. So, their relationship could change at any time. “Wait and see. The empire won’t stay still, and the goals of both nations will become bigger and bigger. Don’t forget that we have a friendly relationship with both nations and thus have the advantage, so stay calm.”
Pon was reminded of something—the Overgeared Kingdom wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Lauel. If Grid hadn’t grasped Lauel’s heart and Lauel had become hostile to them, what would’ve happened to the Overgeared Guild now? Pon was horrified just imagining it. Only Lauel’s dismal laughter was heard.
Then someone knocked on the door of the office. Lauel confirmed the time and opened the door with a bright smile. The person who visited his office was none other than...
“Welcome, Eat Spicy Jokbal. Come in.”
Dungeon Maker Eat Spicy Jokbal made dungeons to protect something, trap enemies, or make people grow. His personal strength was estimated to be sun-grade, so Lauel, Pon, and the Overgeared Guild welcomed such a great ally. Both Lauel and Pon welcomed him with a bright smile.
“...What do you want?” On the other hand, Eat Spicy Jokbal seemed unhappy with the welcome. He was staying in the Overgeared Kingdom because his niece Elizabeth had joined the Overgeared Guild, but he wasn’t eager to join it as well. It was still hard to forgive Grid for causing the collapse of Blood Carnival and taking away the insane dragon egg.
“If you want me to join the guild, stop here. I don’t intend to join the Overgeared Guild. If you want to ask me to make a dungeon, stop. Do you think I would do anything good for you? Bah.” Eat Spicy Jokbal scoffed and turned to leave.
“Have you acquired the cooking skill?” Lauel asked a completely random question.
Both Pon and Eat Spicy Jokbal were stunned. Lauel asked again, “Aren’t you a professional chef in reality? I think it is likely that you learned cooking in the game.”
“Well... That’s right. Don’t you know that there are many players with cooking skills?”
Cooking was a common skill which could be learned without being a chef. Of course, the skill couldn’t increase to a high level without being a chef. However, it was better for players to learn basic cooking for long adventures on the road. The same was true for Eat Spicy Jokbal. He was a true jokbal enthusiast who honed his cooking skill in order to be able to make jokbal on the road. For him, Lauel’s suggestion was unexpected. “There is a chef called Poison Master in the basement of this castle. Why don’t you learn cooking from him?”
“Poison what? What is this?”
Learn cooking from a chef? By the way, why was the name of the chef Poison Master? Eat Spicy Jokbal was speechless for many reasons before realizing something. “Are you trying to trick me into staying in this city for as long as possible?”
“Yes. That’s right. If you stay here, won’t you end up liking us? Then you might join the Overgeared Kingdom."
“Nonsense! What benefits will I receive from learning to cook from the chef?”
“He is a chef from the East Continent. He can’t cook well, but his basic Cooking skill is very high. If you build up an affinity while cooking with him, your Cooking skill level is likely to increase.”
“Are you suggesting that I raise my Cooking skill level? Don’t you know who I am?”
“I am aware. You are Jang Doksoo, the current president of the Eat Spicy Jokbal Haenam Branch, who was once chairman of the Eat Spicy Jokbal Company’s main branch. Don’t you want to show off the taste of jokbal to the people of the world who are visiting the Overgeared Kingdom? Don’t you want to increase the number of Eat Spicy Jokbal chain stores around the world? Don’t you want to recover your position in the Eat Spicy Jokbal company?”
“How long do you intend to be relegated to Haenam? Recall why you were raising money with Blood Carnival. Do you intend to give in to the traitors?”
“You want to watch?” Elizabeth’s round eyes became slightly bigger. She was confused because there was no warning. Elizabeth had never met anyone who wanted to study her work. The delicate and static work was far from a spectacular sight. Other fields only took a few hours while she had to do tedious work for a few days. It was a far cry from the relatively colorful and brilliant blacksmith’s work.
Elizabeth was puzzled and sighed a bit. ‘This person is thinking too simply.’
Accessory makers with the rank of craftsman spent a few hours to many days producing one item. Among them, particularly delicate work would take at least four days. However, a legendary blacksmith was unlikely to know this fact. Why? He could easily make items due to the class compensation effect, and he couldn’t help seeing other people’s work as easy.
‘I’m aware that he demonstrated good skills in the National Competition.’
Yes, Elizabeth didn’t ‘ignore’ Grid. The level of concentration and efficiency that he demonstrated in the National Competition was worthy of praise. It was expected that he had put in a lot of effort to build his current skills. However, Elizabeth was forced to think that Grid put in relatively less effort than people like her who worked hard to build up her skills. It was a reasonable assumption based on the fact that Satisfy was a game.
In the game called Satisfy, the ability of the legendary class was overwhelming. Since Grid was a legendary blacksmith, she couldn’t help thinking that he learned blacksmithing techniques easily.
‘Well, it isn’t his fault.’ Elizabeth’s eyes filled with pity as she looked at Grid, who thought it would be a few hours of easy work. She didn’t hate Grid and realized that she should instead resent the S.A Group for making the blacksmithing job ‘easy’ for him.
“Okay. Feel free to visit although I don’t know how long you will stay.”
At the center of a high-end shopping district which housed a wide range of cosmetic and jewelry stores. There was a colorful and luxurious small store. The sign on the store said ‘Elizabeth’s Workshop’. It was a new workshop the Overgeared Kingdom had set up to welcome Elizabeth, a craftsman level accessories maker. Elizabeth’s eyes were excited as she entered with Grid and looked around. “Both the internal structure and the equipment are amazing... You have thoroughly listened to my requests and even thought about parts that I hadn’t thought of.”
Grid was a delicate man, unlike his outward appearance.
‘Yes, he is a man who cares about details. This is how he was able to get powerhouses to join the Overgeared Guild and how he was able to capture Yura’s heart.’
Elizabeth’s gaze toward Grid changed as she was forced to evaluate Grid much higher than before. However, she had to treat Grid the individual and Grid the legendary blacksmith separately.
“I’ll get started.”
Elizabeth sat in front of a table and warned as she raised a magnifying glass, “I will warn you, this won’t be fun. You won’t understand by watching from the side. If you become bored, feel free to leave.”
“You are very kind.” Grid didn’t know what Elizabeth thought of him, so he just accepted her warning as goodwill stemming from kindness. Elizabeth was embarrassed by Grid’s bright smile. The Grid that she had seen in various media outlets was an arrogant person, but wasn’t he actually pure enough to feel like an idiot?
The bright smile of an adult man gave off a strange charm, and Elizabeth suddenly became aware that she was in a small space with someone of the opposite sex. Her face turned red as she recalled the exhilarating feeling she’d felt when she shook his hand.
“What is it?”
“N-Nothing! It’s nothing!”
Elizabeth ignored the concerned Grid and pulled out the package of jewels. First, she took out 400 Belial C-grade jewels. They were C-grade, but they were much more beautiful and solid compared to the finest rubies and emeralds. The C-grade jewels boasted the splendor and hardness of diamond of the highest grade.
The amazing thing was that these jewels were still close to being gems. It was difficult to predict how much more beautiful they would be after Elizabeth, a craftsman-level accessories maker, worked on them.
“Sigh.” Elizabeth took a deep breath and raised her concentration to the extreme. Then she slowly and carefully started working. Once the marking process was completed, she would cleave, cut, and shape the jewel. Her hands were careful, just like when she had been at the final gateway in the test to become a craftsman, and her concentration was maintained throughout the night.
The next morning…
“Beautiful...” Elizabeth finally had a gorgeously shining jewel in front of her. She gave a bright smile of satisfaction and finally remembered Grid, whom she had forgotten about.
‘I don’t even know when he left.’
She had forgotten that he had even been there in the first place. It was the aftermath of being too concentrated.
‘Grid must’ve gone back.’ While thinking this, Elizabeth stretched only to end up screaming, “Kuooooh... Kyaaack?!”
Grid was still watching her from the spot where he had been sitting yesterday.
“Y-You. What are you doing here?
Grid’s hands were itchy as he responded casually, “Didn’t I say it? I will watch.”
After watching Elizabeth work all night, he got a hint about something.
“The jewels... Depending on the hardness, can they be attached to actual equipment like swords or armor?”