With Garam's words, the scattered puzzle pieces joined together in Grid's mind.
The sudden occurrence of the East Continent quest... The reason why only blacksmiths could participate even though the blacksmiths could never clear the contents of the quest... The questions about the abnormalities were now resolved.
'Yes... It is a quest that only I could reach.'
Grid was being aimed at. He was surprisingly calm after realizing this. After all, he had found Pagma's Rare Book because of a quest NPC, so it wasn't systematically impossible. In the first place, the majority of players' quests were given by NPCs.
Grid pulled out a health potion, but Garam didn't stop him from drinking it. Instead, Garam snorted and spoke like it was ridiculous, "Trivial and ignorant person. You have committed three sins.
"First of all, an ignorant person succeeded a yangban's skills. It might be Pagma's skills, but your presence alone undermines the quality of all yangbans. Your presence deserves to be erased."
Tong, tong, tong.
There was a chain of small explosions around Garam. An invisible wind was hitting the space. The interval was shortened, and it occurred more frequently.
"Second, you dared reject my proposal. You rejected the glory of being my slave. An ignorant person like you is supposed to obey the yangbans. Do you deserve to enjoy yourself? No."
[You have suffered 5,800 damage.]
[You have suffered 5,800 damage.]
[You have suffered 5,800 damage...]
By the end of Garam's second statement, Grid had become bloody. He was swept away by the power of the invisible wind and bounced around like a billiard ball. Every time there was a sound, his body was injured and he groaned. Grid looked like a doll being bounced around, and Garam found it ridiculous.
"Third, you hurt me. The ordinary people are livestock. You are raised according to the taste of us yangbans and then slaughtered. Yet you dared to extend your claws and hurt me."
It was Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle. Grid had linked four of Pagma's sword dances and dealt a shallow cut to Garam's skin. The pain that Garam felt at the time had been unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It became a nightmare for him every night.
"Verdict, you are sentenced to death."
The power of the wind hitting Grid grew stronger and faster, becoming like a storm. It swept Grid's body away, and he slammed into the cave ceiling. The storm moved around Grid like an angry beast. He was hit and sliced at repeatedly.
20cm, 30cm, 40cm, 50cm... Every time the storm moved, Grid's body was pushed deeper into the ceiling. In the shaking cave, Grid's vision spun around and around. Blood gushed from Grid's body, and the smile on Garam's face grew wider.
It felt like a 100-year-old blockage had been relieved. His pride that had fallen to hell because of this bug had finally been recovered. Garam hummed as he saw Grid's dying appearance.
"...Transcended Link." Grid, whose health had fallen to a breathtaking level, had been waiting for his fighting energy to reach 100% before beginning to fight back. Despite being deeply embedded into the ceiling, he unleashed dozens of energy blades.
"...?" The red and purple aura around Grid's body warned Garam of something. He was surprised and moved the storm pressure that was around Grid. The storm became a mild warm wind and surrounded Garam like a shield. The energy blades of Transcended Link were all canceled out by the shield. However, Grid's situation had improved. He gained freedom and landed on the ground. Then he took out a new potion and drank it.
"XX, this sucks," Grid cursed in a trembling voice before looking at the frightened blacksmiths and residents who were remaining. They felt helpless after seeing their companions explode like watermelons. The absolute gesture of a transcendent had deprived their unfortunate companions of their lives. This made those who survived feel doubtful and sink into despair.
Grid gritted his teeth. "Did you have to kill them?"
"Them? Who are you talking about?"
"The blacksmiths and the residents. The people you just killed."
"Ah, you mean these bugs. They were interfering in my line of sight, so I killed them. Nobody stops walking when they are about to step on ants."
Were they this insignificant? The blacksmiths, who came to the East Continent because of him, and the residents, who couldn't bear to leave and protected their home-Grid wasn't very familiar with them. It was too short of a relationship for him to be confident and say that he knew them. However, Grid vividly remembered dreaming of a better life and trying to achieve it. He knew that these people tried hard, just like he did. They couldn't be denied by being called bugs.
"..." Grid's fists clenched from uncontrollable anger, and his gaze shifted toward Tiramet's Belt. Tiramet's Belt was an item that had remained at the unique rating for many years. Its experience had been stuck at 96% just a while ago, and now it exceeded 97%. The yangban, Garam, had lightly attacked dozens of times, and 1% of experience was accumulated.
'It is impossible to win.' Grid hated Garam till his dying breath. From the first day they met, Garam was a person Grid didn't like at all. Still, he had to acknowledge Garam's skills. Garam's level must be close to 600, and he had overwhelming stats.
'There is no chance in a fight. I will lose. Still...'
Grid, who was covered with a purple red energy, turned his head. The trembling blacksmiths and residents were staring at him.
'I can buy time for them to flee.'
At the present time, Garam was an overwhelming powerhouse. His fighting energy and the speed at which his item accumulated experience proved this fact. Garam was less likely to be wary of Grid. For example, it was clear that he had once again been careless just now. Grid believed there would be an opportunity and sent a whisper to the blacksmith Jin Haecheong.
-I will buy time, so escape with the residents.
-I-I can't understand the current situation...
-The quest is up to here. It is because of me that you came to the East Continent and lost your level and stats. I'm sorry.
-D-Don't say that! The help we got from Grid is much greater! Coming here is worth losing some levels and stats!
-Please...! I wish you all the best!
Jin Haecheong finished whispering to Grid and sent a message with his eyes to the other blacksmiths. They had to save the residents. The blacksmiths understood Grid's feelings. Unlike the players, the residents only had one life. Thinking about the last three days they had spent making items, the blacksmiths felt the desire to protect the residents.
"I don't know why you are clinging to a meaningless life," Garam said in a ridiculing tone once the people started to move. He seemed to have no intention of letting them go.
Tong, tong, tong. The chain of explosions began around Garam.
"Pagma's Swordsmanship." Grid immediately came forward. One step, two steps... The dance strides were shorter than before as the Enlightenment Sword roared.
"Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle!"
It was as Grid expected, and Garam's face distorted for the first time. Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle-the strongest technique that had hurt Garam previously-was being used by Grid to provoke Garam. Seeing this, he no longer paid attention to the residents.
Instead of his smoking pipe, Garam now held a short spear and started responding to Grid's bombardment. Garam slashed his short spear and defeated the incoming energy blades, raising the spear above his head to block the final blow that was like a lightning bolt. This was the moment when the whole process of Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle was completely disrupted.
Grid had expected this, so he wasn't shaken. On the other hand, Garam hated it as Grid's sword was emitting black flames.
"What?" The flames surrounding Garam devastated the area. The cave shook and Garam stepped back. The blacksmiths didn't miss this opportunity. They ran as hard as they could with the residents.
"Kuk...! Kuaaaaah!" Garam screamed as he was surrounded by flames. It wasn't because of pain though. Rather, Garam was fine. Only the tip of his hair was slightly burned. However...
"Is your pride hurt?"
That's right. It was a matter of pride. Originally, Garam had been planning to trample on Grid like he was an insect. He had wanted to laugh as Grid died without resisting. Yet Grid had once again resisted and even damaged Garam's body. It might just be his hair burning slightly, but...
"You...! Youuuu!" Garam suffered great damage to his pride, and he could never recover from this wound in a lifetime. He was using a weapon instead of a smoking pipe and had opened up the power of wind, which was one of his abilities. Yet he still allowed this insect to counterattack.
Garam swung the spear angrily, cutting one of Grid's arms and causing him to slam into the cave wall. The reach and speed of the attack was much greater than before. Garam's spear kept stabbing at Grid and he moved backward. Despite summoning the light elemental and Blade Aiming at the Gods, Grid was unable to cope with Garam's offensive. In the end, Grid was pushed into the depths of the cave.
"Cowardly bastard!" Garam shouted and his short spear aimed precisely at Grid's heart when he no longer had room to escape. It had an attack power which had dealt 10,000 damage just by scratching his arm. Grid would die if a vital spot were hit.
So, Grid made a decision and used Blackening and Quick Movements. "Revolve!"
He didn't step back and unfolded a counterattack. It was almost instantaneously. The tip of the spear, which aimed at Grid's heart, was swept up in Grid's sword and changed its trajectory. The tip of the spear pierced Garam instead of Grid. No, it seemed to pierce him.
Garam used the ultimate footwork that leaped through space itself-Shunpo. The moment Grid deployed the counterattack, Garam used Shunpo and appeared by Grid's side. The spear only pierced the afterimage that was left behind by Garam. Grid's face was caught by Garam's hand, and it was like hard granite slammed into it. One, twice, three times, four times...
[You have suffered 4,900 damage.]
[You have suffered 5,150 damage...]
[One eye has been severely injured. Your field of view isn't properly secured. Your body has become dull.]
Grid's face literally became a mess. The bloody Grid couldn't even groan as he was held by Garam. Garam's face was like the devil's.
"I can't understand it. You are just an ignorant person. Why do you want to anger me every time? What the hell do you believe in?"
Garam transferred all responsibility for this situation onto Grid. He treated Grid as a sinner. However, Grid wasn't a sinner. He was a king.
"Once again..." Grid's tingling lips opened. Grid was angrily staring straight into Garam's eyes. "I... won't... succumb... your... strength."
"What?" Garam thought he would hear begging, but his ears were contaminated. Using the power of the wind, Garam blew away the light sword and the Blade Aiming at the Gods and then slammed Grid's face into the ground. It happened at this moment.
[The First King title effect has been activated.]
[A protective shield containing the health that was lost in the last minute has been created.]
[All terrain adaptability has increased by 100% while movement speed and defense has increased by 10%.]
A bright orange shield formed around Grid. He fully adapted to the terrain of the cave and opened up Ruson's Power, further amplifying his speed and gaining the ability to smell blood. Grid suddenly moved, and Garam hurriedly stabbed at him with the spear. He felt irritated when he couldn't keep up with Grid's speed and hit the protruding limestone instead.
"You rat bastard!"
At this moment, Garam decided he had no more pride left to be crushed and opened up his second power, which was the holy attribute. Meanwhile, Grid discovered the daoist hiding in a corner and stabbed him. The daoist couldn't cope with the destructive power and turned to ash.
"If I'm going to die anyway, shouldn't I get more rewards?"
Garam's response was surprisingly intense. "Y-You! You snake!"
Was Garam angry about Grid gaining more rewards? Garam emitted a killing intent that had never been seen before. Grid opened Belial's Power and used Item Combination to join together the Enlightenment Sword and the Blade Aiming at the Gods.
"Youuuuu!" Garam seemed like he was being chased by something. His eyes were manic as he stabbed the spear at Grid. However, the spear didn't reach Grid. It was due to the vampire who popped out of Tiramet's Belt's, which had just reached the legendary rating. Tiramet reached out and caught the spear with both hands.
Noe released lightning from his mouth, and Randy-who copied Grid's appearance-stood by Garam's side. The three monsters aimed at Garam's heart.
Long energy blades were fired continuously. Grid's level and stats were much inferior to Garam's, but the power of his super myth rated weapon and the power of the rune penetrated Garam's skin without much difficulty.
"Cough!" Garam coughed up blood. Then Grid discovered why Garam had become nervous and exposed a gap.
[★Hidden Quest★ 'Hunt the Daoist' has been cleared.]
[You have acquired three elixirs from the quest clear reward.]
[A linked quest will occur as a quest reward.]
[Back to the West Continent...]
[★ Hidden Quest ★
Thanks to your efforts, the people of Pangea have regained peace. Now, Pangea will be able to stand on its own.
Quest Clear Conditions: Return to the West Continent within 24 hours.
Quest Reward: A Pangea's Secret Dungeon Pass.]
[Moving between continents is now possible again.]
"Griiiid!" Garam's power started to run wild. Noe, Randy, and Tiramet were swept away by the magic power and turned to gray. Garam leaped toward Grid, but it was pointless.
"Goodbye, you stupid jerk." Grid had already disappeared in a flash of light.