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 Chapter 897

[The Sword Aiming at the Gods was born after being smelted and forged in Asgard: First World.]

[The energy of Asgard: First World is released from the Sword Aiming at the Gods.]

[Golden clouds have appeared!]

[The golden clouds will be the bridge between you and Asgard: First World.]

"...!"

The golden clouds that descended from the sky were layered like stairs. It felt like they were telling Grid to step on them and climb into the sky.

"Oh...! Ohh?!"

"A bridge to the goddess...!"

The Rebecca members were fascinated. The elders were frightened of Grid while being captivated by the golden clouds. Heaven existed! The golden clouds of stairs proved there was meaning in their lifelong faith and infinite worship in all those who served a god.

[The appearance of the golden clouds has amplified the morale of all those who serve the gods. During the three minute summoning time of the golden clouds, all those who serve a god will have their attack and defense increased by 10%.]

[Everyone who doesn't serve a god will feel terrified by the golden clouds. During the three minute summoning time of the golden clouds, their attack and defense will decrease by 10%.]

[You serve multiple gods, so your attack power and defense have increased by 10%.]

"Ah..." Grid sighed.

Those who served a god and those who didn't...

After dividing humanity into these two types, the power of the golden clouds, which generated a global buff and debuff, turned out to be below Grid's expectations. Grid had hoped that the golden clouds were a powerful wide area attack skill like the black flames explosion.

Yet what was this wide area debuff and buff? The buffs and debuffs didn't even distinguish between friend and foe. Right now, the Overgeared members had visited the Hexetia Temple and had the status of serving Hexetia. Then what about other players? Grid speculated that many players had already joined a religion. It meant that people could receive the golden clouds buff even if they didn't have a class like a paladin or priest.

'If these clouds are summoned in the middle of a battlefield...'

The war situation might significantly tilt depending on how many soldiers had joined a religion. Just looking at the Saharan Empire, the Rebecca Church was a state religion.

'It is a complete mess... No, at least I will receive minimal damage if I have all my people serve the Hexetia Temple...'

In any case, it was below expectations. The golden clouds weren't very appealing to Grid who had been able to gain an overwhelming power after the Astaroth raid. Then something happened. It was as if his disappointment was noticed.

[The baby angels at the other end of the golden clouds touching the highest heaven are reaching out. The angels have a great interest in the ground. However, they can't come down to the ground because they know the summoning time of the golden clouds is short.]

[The linked skill of the golden clouds, Angel's Aria, has failed to activate.]

"...??"

'Angel's Aria?' Grid's disappointment quickly disappeared as he recalled the young angels he had met in the world of the gods. He felt anticipation now that he knew the golden clouds could be a platform for a special skill, not just buffs and debuffs.

On the other hand...

"..." Damian was overcome with pained frustration as he lay on the ground. What was defeat? It was denying his own efforts and value. Damian admired and respected Grid more than anyone else, but this was separate from losing. He felt ashamed and humiliated at being defeated every time he competed with Grid.

'Putting my pride aside, it is a real problem. This is why Grid is disappointed with me.'

Damian had grown as time passed, but he still seemed weak. He felt like he disappointed Grid and was anxious, despite being the pope. Damian wanted to prove his worth. He wanted to prove his past efforts. Yes, time was equal to everyone. Just as Grid went through all types of incidents after the 3rd National Competition, Damian was the same. He shouldn't be defeated in such a manner. Damian raised his body that had been burned with lightning. He didn't rely heavily on the 10% increase in attack and defense that appeared thanks to Grid's golden clouds as he knew that Grid was likely to have received a similar buff.

"Goddess' Breath." A light surrounded Damian, and his health was restored to 100%.

Grid saw his fighting spirit and looked surprised. "Do you still want to continue?"

Damian hadn't wanted this duel from the beginning. Thinking he would lose, he had started the fight with a dejected spirit. Grid had been somewhat disappointed with that. Where had the old Damian gone? This was the man who fought against the corrupted Pope Drevigo, the farmer Piaro, and the sky above the sky Kraugel. His conviction had never dampened.

However, Damian had changed little by little after becoming pope. He had worried over the status of a pope more than his own beliefs and gradually bowed his courage under the pretext that it was for the church. It was the same for this spar. A few years ago, Damian would have been happy just sparring, but now he was only crying. He had the attitude of not wanting to be embarrassed in front of his beloved Isabel but showed no fighting spirit to overcome Grid.

Unlike Grid, Damian had gotten weak. Grid was bound to think of Damian like this and felt many complicated emotions. Damian's change, which could be evaluated as maturing in some way, was bittersweet and painful. Yet at this moment...

"I will continue. It might be one-sided, but it is problem if Grid doesn't feel any fun." Damian was regaining his old self. He threw off the cumbersome white clothing that symbolized a pope.

"Your Holiness!" The elders frowned and rebuked him. They didn't like Damian's behavior of casting aside the pope's clothing in front of the congregation. The usual Damian would've scratched his head and laughed awkwardly. Instead, he said, "It is uncomfortable. I can't fight while wearing it. What am I supposed to do when the fabric catches on armor every time I move?"

"..."

"Please respect the fact that unlike other popes, I am a paladin and not a priest."

"..."

"Didn't the first pope fight in armor instead of clothing when sealing Marie Rose?"

He felt good as he watched the elders close their mouths. Then he pointed his sword at Grid. Damian still had 1 minute and 10 seconds left on his buffs.

"I am going to use all my power."

This time, he didn't pay attention to the eyes of the church's members and Isabel. Damian would fight for himself. He would also discard the pope's dignity. Reading Damian's determination, Grid laughed. "Okay. Come, Damian."

Then he quickly pulled four hammers out of his inventory. They were the Mjolnirs which could cause a target to become stiff. Of course, the Ultimate Enhanced Mjolnir was included. Grid was curious. Was it possible for the God Hands made by the Sword Aiming at the Gods to wear equipment?

'Indeed?'

Grid's new God Hands were able to wear equipment. If equipment couldn't be worn, they would be too lacking in comparison to the old God Hands. The semi-translucent God Hands grabbed the Mjolnirs from Grid, meaning that equipment could definitely be worn.

'Good!'

The pulling device was used. The Blade Aiming at the Gods fell off and was replaced by the Enlightenment Blade. Grid equipped himself with the flaming black sword, while the God Hands and Blade Aiming at the Gods moved around him.

'If I make good use of defense magic, I have a chance to counterattack.' Damian tried not to be daunted by the fraudulent abilities Grid was displaying.

The God Hands rushed toward Damian. Damian was aware he would be defeated if he allowed even one hit from the hammer, so he summoned a number of small light shields in the air to neutralize the God Hands as much as possible. The Blade Aiming at the Gods was blown away. Damian wouldn't allow himself to be hit by the same move again. He showed a gap as he twisted his hips and swung his sword.

"Drop." Grid used the skill that had the shortest activation time among Pagma's Swordsmanship. He didn't take it easy. In order to show his respect to Damian, Grid would fight seriously. This was his power. Damian blocked it with a huge square shield. It was as if he expected Grid to attack, so he used the shield to block Drop without even moving his eyes.

[The Square Divine Light Shield has absorbed the powerful shock!]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased by 67.]

[Your left hand holding a shield has been paralyzed temporarily.]

[You have overcome the paralysis with your high status resistance.]

"Kuk...!"

As expected, a scam was a scam. The durability of the shield designed for defense had been reduced by two digits, making it questionable if the shield was doing its job properly. A flash of light emerged from the small magic circle above Damian's shoulder after countering Grid's offensive. The flashes struck the God Hands and the Blade Aiming at the Gods continuously, making the God Hands stiffen.

On the other hand, the Blade Aiming at the Gods moved smoothly and cut Damian, interrupting the illusion that Damian was in a 1 vs 1 match instead of a 1 vs 2 match. There was a bigger problem.

"100,000 Army Massacre Sword."

Damian was a powerhouse, but this was his mistake. As the years passed by, the gap between Damian and Grid hadn't narrowed. The reason wasn't because his efforts were lacking or because he had the wrong mindset. The problem was that Grid was the Hero King. As Damian became stronger, he stimulated Grid's fighting energy to a greater extent. Grid was able to accumulate fighting energy faster because of Damian's strength.

[The Square Divine Light Shield has absorbed the powerful shock!]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased by 35.]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased by 31.]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased by 39.]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased by 20.]

[The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has decreased...]

[Warning! The durability of the Square Divine Light Shield has reached its limit!]

Grid unleashed an onslaught without stopping.

[The Square Divine Light Shield has been destroyed!]

The huge square shield which had protected Damian from numerous threats so far cracked and then turned to gray.

"Nani?! Pope's Charity! Goddess' Protection!" Damian tried simultaneously casting a healing skill and a shield skill.

"Linked Kill." Grid's powerful attack dealt a critical blow to Damian who had just lost his shield. Damian's health fell down to 1 point, and his defeat in the spar was announced.

"Pant... Pant... Pant...!" Damian's face became shadowed as he was injured. He felt ashamed because of his terrible defeat and wondered if he was qualified to be Grid's colleague. At that moment...

[You have heard Goddess Rebecca's warm voice.]

-You, my agent, need to become stronger.

Damian's unique class of Goddess' Agent encountered a change.

[The goddess of light is the pinnacle of all gods and thinks that you, as the Goddess' Agent, also needs to be at the pinnacle.]

[The goddess has witnessed your many defeats against the same opponent and feels terrible enough to make a trial.]

[The class quest 'To Truly become the Goddess' Agent...' has been created.]

"Ah?"

What conditions had he met unknowingly? It might not be Grid's intention, but shouldn't Damian be thankful to Grid?

"Good job. It was really fun to fight against you."

"..."

Damian finally looked up from where he had been sitting without grabbing Grid's outstretched hand. He saw Grid with the sun behind him. There wasn't pity but pride in Grid's eyes as he looked at Damian. He had beat Damian easily, but Grid acknowledged Damian instead of ignoring or being disappointed in him.

Damian's grip on the grass strengthened. Grid looked like a person who had fallen from the sky. Every time, this person was a great help to Damian. Grid was like a person who only existed for him.

"You... You truly..." Damian couldn't explain this feeling. He was unable to endure the surging emotions, and his eyes reddened.

'Crying all of a sudden?' Grid was at a loss for words as tears filled the eyes of the beautiful young man. "W-What is it? Ah, I'm sorry. I will naturally reimburse you for the shield. I will make a far better shield. So, please calm down..." Grid couldn't finish speaking.

Damian suddenly stood up and hugged him tightly. It was a hug from a pretty man...

"W-What?" Feeling uncomfortable, Grid tried to push Damian off.

Still, Damian clung to him like a leech. "Daisuki! Grid-sama aishiteru!!"

"L-Let go!"

To think that Damian was confessing his love while hugging Grid... as hundreds of Rebecca followers watched, including players...? Grid felt bitter. He was seriously worried that Damian was deliberately messing with him due to the loss of the shield.

That evening...

[Pope Damian's confession of love to the Overgeared King!]

[Damian's worship of Grid originated from private feelings...?]

Media outlets around the world started to release unpleasant articles. In particular, the women's magazines which enjoyed gossip featured these articles. Grid was an undisputed world star as every move he made was turned into a story. He was the best star who had been popular ever since he appeared in public!

It's just that...

"Dammit. How annoying." Grid himself felt very uncomfortable. The number of members in the Grid Anti-Fans Cafe was skyrocketing due to the rumors that he was a garbage playboy.

'Well, whatever. I was able to figure out various things from the spar with Damian, so it isn't a loss.'

Grid decided to hold off on disposing of the hammer and Blade Aiming at the Gods for the time being. It was difficult to abandon the exponential rise in production ability, and the versatility of the blade wasn't that lacking compared to the God Hands. He had another problem to worry about in the future.

"How can I secure more pavranium?"

It was clear that the more pavranium he obtained, the stronger he could become. Was there a way to gain more pavranium?

"...Ah?" Grid suddenly thought of his clone in hell.

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