The moment he locked eyes with Pagma.
Grid stiffened and his heart beat faster. His eyes shook as sweat started running down his body. It was a phenomenon of fear that transcended tension and agitation. Was he overwhelmed by the killing intent that Pagma was emitting?
This was sheer instinct. The source of all his abilities was Pagma, so he couldn’t help feeling awe and a sense of smallness when facing Pagma.
‘Wake up.’ Grid sobered up. ‘This guy is just a doppelganger of Pagma. Don't be misled by appearances.’
The name that floated above his head wasn’t Pagma, but ‘Doppelganger of the Mysterious Forest.’ Grid confirmed this again and barely controlled his mind. After a moment, his composure was restored.
‘It will be hard.’ Who would’ve expected that the target of the raid would be Pagma’s doppelganger? ‘I never even imagined it.’
Looking back at it now, the features described by the Overgeared members resembled Pagma. But hadn’t Pagma died more than 100 years ago? It was virtually impossible to imagine that the present doppelganger could copy a person from so long ago.
The staring battle between Grid and the doppelganger continued. There were all types of complex emotions and doubts in Grid’s eyes, while the doppelganger only contained hostility towards the enemy.
It was clear that this situation couldn’t be contained. The doppelganger attacked Grid first. He lightly swung a jade green greatsword in his hand.
Grid blocked the descending greatsword with Failure. The destructive power behind the blow was beyond imagination. The attack power was comparable to Hell Gao who was in a perfect condition.
“Lauel! A doppelganger copies the appearance of the target. But can it completely copy their abilities as well?” He hurriedly asked.
Lauel shook his head. "There are limits to a doppelganger’s ability to copy. It can’t fully copy the ability of a person stronger than itself.”
It meant that the doppelganger wasn’t as strong as Pagma, who was the greatest swordsman after Muller. In other words, the doppelganger in front of Grid was an unfinished product that couldn’t completely copy Pagma’s power.
Bottom, side, top. The doppelganger showed off a dazzling skill with the greatsword, with barely a time difference in each strike. This drove Grid back.
[The durability of the +9 Failure has decreased by 3.]
[The durability of the +9 Failure has decreased by 8.]
‘What is this?’
Even the performance of the weapon was great. It was the first time he saw a weapon that could damage the durability of Failure so quickly. If the durability of Failure was compromised, it meant that the doppelganger’s weapon dealt twice the damage.
“Lauel! What about the doppelganger’s ability to copy items?”
The material that made up a doppelganger was so flexible that it reproduced human hair and skin, even tears and blood.
“Depending on its strength, it can exert a strength comparable to orichalcum. Due to this, most items reproduced by doppelgangers are known to perform better than the original.”
It was impossible to completely copy the works of the legendary blacksmith, Pagma. The greatsword used by the doppelganger was obviously below the level of the original.
'Nevertheless, it can deal such damage to Failure?’
Grid’s pride was crushed. He had been trying so hard for the two years since becoming Pagma’s Descendant, but he couldn’t even be compared to Pagma’s copy?
Grid’s sword became increasingly dull due to his agitation. On the other hand, the sword of the doppelganger was as sharp as ever, since his emotions never changed.
Grid finally started to become injured. Red blood stained his clothing. The flow of battle was heading towards Grid’s defeat.
“Quickly help Grid...!”
The Overgeared members were nervous. They wanted to go out and help Grid right away. But it was difficult to take a step because they were still caught by the feeling of helplessness. This helpless feeling was so strong that they wouldn’t be able to move their fingertips unless their survival instincts were invoked.
“We have to hope that Grid will survive until the doppelganger attacks us...”
“But look at this. Isn’t the doppelganger’s swordsmanship extremely similar to Grid’s swordsmanship?”
"That's right. I wasn’t sure before, but now that they are side by side, the two sword styles look exactly the same.”
“It can’t be...”
The Overgeared members figured out the doppelganger’s identity. To be precise, it was the identity of the person that the doppelganger copied. However, the weight of that name wasn’t light, so they couldn’t express it with their mouths.
On the other hand, Lauel had no such obstacles. “It seems to be Pagma, as everyone is thinking.”
Pagma. One of the nine legends and the source of Grid’s strength. But now. As a result of the golem invasion, Grid encountered Pagma’s doppelganger in the west.
What did this suggest?
"Through this raid, Grid will go through a big change. He will acquire new skills, quests or items and he will develop dramatically. The reason why the king appointed Grid as lord of Reiden is due to Satisfy’s arrangements for Pagma’s Descendant.”
Lauel looked at it from a very positive perspective. It was the same for the other Overgeared members.
Meanwhile, Grid defended against the onslaught of the doppelganger and he couldn’t retreat as the bamboo forest blocked the exit. There was no place to back off anymore, so he could only counterattack.
“Damn! Let’s try it once!”
How long was he going to be pushed by Pagma’s clone, who wasn’t even Pagma? The moment when Grid was about to use Pagma’s Swordsmanship.
"Stop!" The silent Piaro suddenly shouted. Grid was surprised and stopped.
The doppelganger’s sword had slashed through the spot where Grid was about to move to. If Grid had used Pagma’s Swordsmanship, his heart would’ve been pierced by that greatsword.
Grid swallowed his dry saliva as Piaro scolded him.
"Why aren’t you calm? Watch the opponent. The difference between him and you isn’t great. There is no reason for it to be so one-sided.”
The difference wasn’t great? Wasn’t his attack speed and attack power twice as high as Grid’s? Piaro gave the confused Grid a hint. "Just as he knows your swordsmanship, don’t you also know his swordsmanship? If so, can’t you cope?”
If it was four months ago, Grid would’ve found it hard to understand Piaro’s advice. But now it was different. Grid had steadily developed thinking skills in his everyday life. As a result, he was able to use Piaro’s advice as perfect nourishment.
‘That’s right. That guy’s swordsmanship is based on Pagma.’ A stabbing attack contained the simplified footwork of Kill while a slash had the simplified footwork of Link. ‘If I watch his foot movements, I can predict his next attack.’
Again, let’s do it properly. Grid took a deep breath. In this gap, the doppelganger had taken two steps forward. It was the footwork of Link. A slashing attack. But would it be horizontal or vertical? If it was horizontal, would it come from the right or left side?
‘Read the enemy’s gaze and shoulder motions.'
He recalled Piaro’s teachings. Then.
The movement was seen. Grid succeeded in detecting and avoiding the doppelganger’s sword, despite it moving twice as fast as him. It was a very good move, impressing everyone watching.
‘He listened to the advice of the farmer and...’
'He grew in real time?’
‘What is going on?’
The eyes of the Overgeared members’ widened. Their gazes turned towards Piaro. Piaro was standing with folded arms. It was the opposite of the members who were filled with the helpless feeling.
‘It can’t be...?’
He wasn’t just a farmer? It was when the Overgeared members were starting to realize Piaro’s identity.
“Pagma’s Swordsmanship, Link!”
Dozens of blue-white energy blades were created. Did it shatter the body of the doppelganger? It failed. The doppelganger completely blocked Grid’s attack using the same technique.
The blue-white blades and the jade blades collided together, causing the bamboo to shake from the force. The Overgeared members watched with amazement and awe.
Grid used another skill to not lose his momentum. However, once again, the doppelganger reacted with the same technique to neutralize Grid’s attack.
The collision between Kill and Kill caused a powerful explosion. The center of the forest was destroyed because it couldn’t cope with the explosion. The rock where the doppelganger first sat was shattered and the fragments scattered everywhere, injuring the Overgeared members.
"How about this?”
Grid used a fusion skill. This skill was based on his own experience, so he thought the doppelganger wouldn’t have this skill.
A total of 20 strikes that dealt 180% physical damage was shot out with no time difference. It was a merciless bombardment that even turned an ancient weapon to rags, so Grid didn’t doubt its power. However, the doppelganger coped by using a skill that Grid didn’t know yet.
Grid and the Overgeared members’ eyes widened. The doppelganger moved the jade sword in a half moon and absorbed all the energy of Transcended Link, while a vortex appeared around the doppelganger? This wasn’t the end.
Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!
The energy of Transcended Link that was sucked into the vortex reappeared. At the same time, it reversed course and aimed for Grid. It was a perfect counterattack.
The 20 energy blades moved through the bamboo forest in a zigzag, heading towards Grid. The Overgeared members were certain that Grid would die. But Piaro didn’t allow it. He suddenly appeared in front of Grid and pulled out his sword. Then he struck the blue-white energy blades one by one.
Kwa kwa kwang!
In turn, he blocked all 20 blows.
The Overgeared members and Grid couldn’t believe the sight that was in front of them.
‘Blowing away my Transcended Link like hitting a baseball...? Was Piaro this strong?’
‘No... What the hell is this farmer?’
As an awkward silence flowed, Piaro stepped back and urged Grid. "Fight again from the beginning. Absorb the techniques in Pagma’s Swordsmanship that you don’t know and make them your own. Then you will become stronger."
Piaro had figured out the identity of the doppelganger with the second blow that Grid and the doppelganger exchanged. However, he didn’t step forward because he judged there was no value in it.
‘This is a great stepping stone for Duke Grid.’
The private lessons of the continent’s greatest swordsman, the second stage began.
OG: Glossary Link.
Current schedule: 20 chapters a week.
Check out my Patreon for early access to a certain number of unedited chapters and well as achieve the goals for extra chapters. The early access chapters will be updated after I finish releasing all chapters for the day.