“How can I express my gratitude... I have received a great favor.”
The Xing King passed the crisis safely thanks to Grid and bowed to him. He didn’t look servile. Indeed, he was more grateful that his kingdom and people were safe, than for his life being saved.
Grid looked at the Xing King with gentle eyes and smiled. Grid told him, “From the moment he fought for Xing and God Black Tortoise, His Majesty, the Overgeared King, already thought of Xing as a blood ally. It is human nature to help each other. There is no need to be too polite.”
It was beyond allies and closer to family members. It was very thrilling for the Xing King who knew that Overgeared King Grid restored the forgotten old god and set the history and kingdom right. However, there was a question that was hard to resolve. “I have no doubts that His Majesty, the Overgeared King, helped Xing with no ulterior motives. Since ancient times, heroes are people who practice justice. Still, it is hard to understand why he would describe Xing as a blood ally. We didn’t do anything for him, so how can we be blood allies?”
“You must look at the future, not the present. Humanity must work together one day. The great demons of hell and the gods in heaven... there are too many threats to humanity in this world.”
The Xing King had met and experienced the yangbans in person. He agreed with the queen’s assertion that humanity must work together.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty!!” Hundreds of warriors rushed into the corridor. They were the reinforcements that arrived less than 10 minutes after the palace was raided. It seemed slow considering they arrived after the situation was over, but considering the size of the palace, it was actually the opposite. Their arrival was swift. Even without Grid, they would have succeeded in escaping with the Xing King. Of course, there would’ve been many sacrifices.
Grid examined the faces of the warriors and continued speaking, “We want to work with the powerhouses of Xing to overcome future challenges. Therefore, it is called a blood alliance. Your Majesty, are you not happy?”
“How can that be? I will willingly accept it.”
Xing was obviously strong. It had been proven in many events. There was just no room to go against transcendents like the yangbans or the grandmaster. In order to survive, they had to hide under the black tortoise’s protection forever. The Xing King didn’t want to do this. He wanted to create a better future by cooperating with the Overgeared Kingdom, who were led by the transcendent Overgeared King and the refreshing Overgeared Queen. It was his desire and duty to bring true peace to his people.
[The Xing Kingdom has formed a blood alliance with the Overgeared Kingdom.]
[The two kingdoms are no different from a family.]
Grid was thrilled. First there was the Cho Kingdom and now Xing. He had succeeded in convincing half of the four kingdoms in the East Continent. It was unthinkable when he first visited the East Continent. His hard work was rewarded and he smiled as he was unable to hold back his joy. Then the Xing King showed him kindness.
“Then we will prepare a banquet to welcome Your Majesty. First, you will be guided to your room. Please relieve your fatigue from the journey first.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
Grid didn’t lose his tension throughout his conversation with the king. In order to win the king over, he spoke only after careful consideration. He paid attention to his words and actions without forgetting that he had transformed himself into Irene. Grid gently placed a hand on his chest and carefully said goodbye to the Xing King, looking exactly like a woman. However, he wasn’t a woman.
“I'm going crazy."
Grid frowned as he was guided to a VIP room by a court lady. The attires prepared in the room were too airy or too revealing. There was a skirt that dragged to the ground, a jeogori  that showed the chest, and a cheongsam with a side slit that showed the thigh. They were all Xing’s traditional attires, but it was very burdensome for Grid to wear them.
“If I wear this to eat, I’ll get sauce on them...”
The attires with less exposure were so wide it seemed like a watermelon could fit in them. The cheongsam looked the most comfortable, but he didn’t want to wear it because the waistline and thighs were too revealing.
‘I can’t show anyone Irene’s pretty legs.’
In the end...
“As Your Majesty expected, the grandmaster is nearby. By the way, Your Majesty, are you going to dress like that?”
“Why can’t I? For me, this is formal clothing.”
Grid wore armor just like he did in combat. His entire body was wrapped in metal to minimize exposure, except for his neck and face. It wasn’t stuffy. Grid almost always wore armor. In the first place, all his items were ergonomically designed so they weren’t uncomfortable.
“By the way, what was the grandmaster doing?”
Piaro had been hiding throughout the battle at Grid’s order and he tracked the Neo Red Knights. He had seen the grandmaster from afar. He replied, “He was waiting on the outskirts of the city with that person called Zibal. Based on the location, it seemed he was blocking off the Xing King’s retreat.”
“His diligence doesn’t match him.”
The identity of Grandmaster Zikfrector was the 6th evil, Zik—he had the sin of ‘sloth,’ just like the vampires, and his activities had many constraints on them, thus it was difficult for him to directly intervene in certain events, yet he went directly to prevent the Xing King’s escape.
‘It means this is important.’
It was inevitable when thinking about it. From Zik’s point of view, the encounter with the Five Seniors was the first step toward his goal. It was a situation where he had to overcome his laziness, even if it meant stabbing his thigh with an awl.
‘He will come sooner than I thought.’
In the past, the grandmaster had tried to win over Grid, who was on Juander’s side, as an ally rather than be hostile to him. It seemed that he needed Grid’s power rather than wanting to crush Grid. Then it would be easier. An opportunity to persuade him would come. He had to tell the grandmaster that the moment he joined forces with the Five Seniors, the chance to get rid of the stigma of evil on the seven malignant saints would be gone forever.
“Your Majesty, are you ready?”
Grid was determined as he was guided by a court lady to the banquet hall.
“The Overgeared Queen?”
Zibal watched the Neo Red Knights kneeling in front of the grandmaster to report and doubted his ears. It was said that a woman who identified herself as Irene, the Overgeared Queen, cut Susan’s throat with overwhelming force.
‘Doesn’t Irene have no fighting power?’
Irene was a huge celebrity among players. She was the first female NPC to be married to a player. This was enough to become a hot topic. She was also very beautiful, so she was spotlighted many times. Moreover, according to public facts, her hobbies revolved around flowers. She might be Duke Steim’s daughter, but she was said to be a stranger to swords and magic.
‘Was the pure appearance of the past just an act?’
No, it was hard to say that it was an act. If she was a powerful person, she would’ve acted various times, including defending Khan from death. However, she never did anything. Rather, it was right to say that she was weak because she had been kidnapped by the Yatan Church.
‘...So she suddenly became stronger?’
To be fair, the Overgeared Kingdom had a good environment in many ways to become strong. There were the Sage Sticks, Mercedes, and Piaro. Named NPCs who were hard to find throughout the continent filled the Overgeared Kingdom. If taught by them, it was possible to become stronger. It would be great when Grid’s items were added.
‘Even Irene’s own pedigree isn’t bad.’
Duke Steim had been one of the pillars of the Eternal Kingdom. Putting together various circumstances, there was nothing strange about Irene gaining strength. Even so...
‘I can’t understand how she became strong enough to overwhelm Susan.’
The runes—Zibal had been unable to master the skill because of level constraints, but Susan had been able to use them skillfully. Susan was confident enough to compare herself to Mercedes. Objectively, she seemed to have grown to the level of the Seven Dukes. Yet she was killed?
Zibal was filled with doubts. Then the grandmaster asked him, “Is the result difficult to understand?”
“Yes, there is something strange. It is unrealistic that the Overgeared Queen, Irene, can become so strong in a short amount of time, even if all the resources of the Overgeared Kingdom were invested to strengthen her.”
“Then she isn’t the Overgeared Queen.”
In fact, there was no need for the grandmaster to ask any questions. He had dug into all the important figures on the West Continent and knew Irene perhaps better than Zibal. He was suspicious from the beginning. He knew the Overgeared Queen couldn’t be stronger than Susan.
“Then who is it? The blasphemer over there.”
The grandmaster had decided to be evil. He was determined to lose the ego he had been preserving for thousands of years. However, the moment he made a decision, he was disturbed and things went wrong. It was unpleasant. The grandmaster made a rare frown and stared at the palace in the distance.
Meanwhile, Grid, at the royal palace...
‘...I’m going to have an upset stomach.’
He was experiencing the life of a beauty. The nobles of Xing were very polite and afraid of the Overgeared Queen’s powerful skills, but they still glanced at the queen’s appearance. Of course, no one dared to show their heart. Most of them were instinctively or purely attracted to the woman called Irene and were trying not to show it. The problem was that Grid could see everything.
‘It would’ve been a big incident if I wore a cheongsam.’
Grid’s mood became subtle and complicated. He was anxious when he discovered that his wife always received this type of attention. Perhaps, even at this very moment, she would be tempted by someone. He could only feel reassured if he summoned her and kept her by his side.
‘...No, that is complete delusional jealousy.’
Grid shook his head, became determined, and spoke to Piaro, who was next to him, “Piaro, I will be a man so wonderful that Irene will never be tempted to stray from me. By all means.”
“Your Majesty...” Piaro’s eyes became wet. It was because his liege had pledged to be a wonderful man when he was in the form of a woman. “Every time I see Your Majesty, I feel that it isn’t easy to live in this world.”
“...?” Piaro’s reaction made Grid uncomfortable. He frowned and changed the topic, bringing the matter to the Xing King. “I heard that golden walnuts were grown here in Yangzhou. If it is fine with Your Majesty, can you guide me to the planting area?”
"Of course.” The Xing King nodded cheerfully.
Then Grid’s expression stiffened at the subsequent words.
“However, the word ‘grown’ isn’t appropriate. Golden walnuts are a plant that grows naturally and can’t be grown artificially.”
'What? This is shit.’
Grid was upset.
Meanwhile, Piaro's eyes twinkled. A sense of challenge seemed to be burning in him.
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