Kraugel had a deep relationship with Pangea. After all, he was the one who saved the people of Pangea who was suffering due to an evil daoist, and was hailed as the little hero. However, the Pangea he visited after a long time was unfamiliar to him. It was a town where all the familiar people and streets had disappeared. It was a result created by Grid. The old Pangea residents had moved to the Overgeared Kingdom and the new residents were full of vitality under the protection of the red phoenix.
The atmosphere was incredibly positive. No matter where he looked, he could only see people smiling and this, in turn, made him smile. There were no more evil daoists or the tyranny of the yangbans. One day, he would like to make such achievements.
“Are you a traveler? How about soothing your hunger with a delicious meal?” a woman holding a basket of fresh vegetables and meat in her arms asked as she opened the door of the restaurant. Kraugel nodded because she looked conscientious, unlike a girl who solicited customers to a restaurant selling poisonous substances.
“It is a very handsome dopo.”
Kraugel soothed his insides with warm soup along with fried vegetables and meat on white rice.
“You aren’t an ordinary traveler, right?” The nice lady asked him questions. Her expression was somewhat mischievous as she examined Kraugel’s black overcoat that was embroidered with a yellow dragon. “Are you an inspector from the capital? Are you a secret royal inspector?”
He had been using this black overcoat for nearly three years already and it made him look shabby when he visited the Overgeared Kingdom, but it seemed to be the opposite here. It was a testament to the high level of the Overgeared Kingdom and also implied that the equipment of the people visiting Pangea wasn’t as good as Kraugel’s equipment. It was unexpected since he heard there were many rankers active on the East Continent these days.
‘It seems the top rankers aren’t necessarily passing through Pangea when they go to the East Continent.’
There were many ways to move across continents without crossing the Red Sea. Although it cost a lot and involved danger, many people liked it due to the shortened time. Kraugel replied, “I think that secret inspectors will avoid this place. The town is calm even without soldiers. Is it necessary for a secret inspector to come here?”
Kraugel was the one who had completed the most quests among players. It was because he collected information based on conversations with NPCs.
“Hoho, our town is really peaceful. However, there are still many outsiders, so we need to pay attention to public security. This is why there are many soldiers. Recently, there was a celebration in the capital so the number of soldiers decreased.”
‘There is no way that local troops were sent just because of a festival.’
It was clear that a change had occurred in the capital of the Cho Kingdom.
‘It is a good idea to stop by.’
Kraugel got new information from a short conversation. He emptied his bowl of rice and stood up. “I ate well.”
“Wait! Take the change.”
“It’s fine. Please buy that child a toy with the extra money.”
A little boy was squatting in front of the kitchen and waiting for his mother to finish work. Kraugel smiled at the little boy who was playing with pebbles and left the restaurant. He had to give a certain amount of sincerity after obtaining information. Kraugel had always been like this.
There was no shame on the path he had been walking. He hoped the path he walked on in the future would be the same.
“What can I do for you?” Kraugel left the town only to stop and look back. There were six residents wearing old robes. Kraugel had noticed them since leaving the restaurant, but he deliberately pretended not to know. It was because he didn’t want to make trouble inside the village. It was for the safety of the residents and taking into account his reputation in Pangea.
“Hand over Muller’s secret techniques.”
The residents revealed their business and surrounded Kraugel. Every time they moved, long shackles could be seen through the robe. All of them had their hands and feet bound in shackles. Kraugel noticed their identity and pulled out the White Tiger Sword.
“You chased me from the Ruins of the Martial God? Surprisingly, your range of activities is wide.”
“Hand over Muller’s secret techniques.”
The followers of the martial god. It was useless to talk to maniacs who only yearned for combat skills. Kraugel shrugged, pulled out a book that contained one of Muller’s secret techniques, and handed it to them.
The followers of the martial god had wide eyes as one of them snatched the book and immediately opened it. Then they fell into confusion. They couldn’t understand the secret technique.
“Is the level too high compared to the martial god’s secret techniques?”
Kraugel ambushed the followers whose attention was on the secret technique. He knocked down the leading follower with a sharp stab and leaned back to avoid the blows from the followers on the left and the right. Then he took a step and struck the chin of the follower holding Muller’s secret technique with his forehead. Muller’s secret technique book spun in the air and fell into Kraugel’s hand like it was returning to its rightful owner.
“Hand over Muller’s secret techniques!”
The red eyes of the followers flashed as they unfolded their footwork to surround Kraugel and launch a bombardment. Based on their skill level, they must’ve learned at least five secret techniques.
“I will give it to the martial god!”
‘This is indeed the work of Zeratul.’
The martial god followers couldn’t interpret Muller’s secret techniques. It was because the condition of use for it was ‘Sword Saint.’ The reason why the followers had been clinging to Muller’s secret techniques since the ruins was due to Zeratul.
‘A nasty guy.’
Muller had left a total of eight secret techniques and Kraugel had already obtained four of them. He learned more of Muller’s story every time he obtained a secret technique so his knowledge of the worldview expanded. In the process, he glimpsed Zeratul’s ugly nature.
Deception and domination through the display of martial skills. Additionally, the obsession with strength. The existence of the martial god was enough to make the yangbans seem pure.
Kraugel blocked the kick from the side with his sheath, lightly moved his wrist, and the sheath spun like a spinning top. The aftermath was great. The shackles tying the feet of the followers were tangled up with the sheath and the follower collapsed.
Kraugel aimed for the moment when the large figure blocked the view of the other followers and used Earth Dragon’s Ascension. Only transcendents could respond to attacks coming from this angle. The follower groaned and stiffened as he was stabbed in the chin by the White Tiger’s Sword. Then Kraugel struck his chest with Jajinmori, jumped up and used Meteor Sword.
It was overwhelming. If anyone who knew the martial god followers with five secret techniques could fight evenly with the dukes of the empire had seen this sight, their mouths would’ve dropped open. However, it was a regretful sight for anyone who knew the true value of a Sword Saint.
Originally, Sword Saint was a title that meant the strongest. It was absurd to be compared to a duke of the empire. The time of reigning with absolute force had changed. Kraugel hadn’t reached the absolute position several years after becoming a Sword Saint, so his talent deserved to be questioned.
“However, I don’t doubt your talent.”
It was shortly after the battle against the martial god followers who kept rising again like a self balancing doll. Kraugel slashed the neck of the last follower and stiffened when he heard the voice. Then he looked back.
“It has been a while, Biban.”
The first Pioneer to visit the Tower of Wisdom was Kraugel. At a time when legendary classes were believed to only exist in history, Kraugel visited the Tower of Wisdom, met the tower members, and confirmed the existence of the legendary classes. It was Biban who brought a great thrill and inspiration to Kraugel at the time.
“Have you forgotten? I am no longer the Pioneer.”
The Tower of Wisdom was reserved for the Pioneer. The members of the tower only interacted with the Pioneer. The Pioneer of this day had long become Grid. In fact, Kraugel had already informed Biban of this fact last year. Yet this person appeared in front of him again.
Biban was furious at the pitying gaze Kraugel sent him. “Don't treat me as a stupid old man. Today I am visiting you as a senior, not a tower member.”
“You are speaking as Sword Saint Biban?” Kraugel quickly grasped the situation. “It must be hard for you to watch your stupid junior and remain silent.”
“You understand it well. Why are you turning away from the secret techniques that are so hard to get?”
In the past, Muller learned and developed the secret techniques of Biban, enabling him to become the strongest Sword Saint in history. However, the later generation Sword Saint, Kraugel, was ignoring this essence.
“I can understand your heart. You want to leave behind ‘Kraugel’s sword’ in history and prove that you are the best. However, your skills are still insufficient. There is room for improvement and Muller’s secret techniques will make up for what you are lacking. You aren’t going to be eaten by Muller’s secret techniques. Absorb Muller’s secret techniques and make them your own.”
Biban acknowledged Kraugel’s talent. It was why he felt even sadder that Kraugel was wasting time on this useless stubbornness.
“Look at the current Pioneer. He has accepted new power, overcome his shortcomings, and accumulated his transcendent status. Meanwhile, you aren’t showing the potential of the Sword Saint, so you are lagging behind. You were even deprived of the position of Pioneer.”
“Do I need to be in a hurry to get ahead?”
“Since ancient times, the Sword Saint has been the best existence. Of course, you have to hurry ahead.”
“Sir Biban, are you stronger than Sir Hayate?”
“In conclusion, I don’t think I can become the strongest just because I got Muller’s secret techniques.”
There was no need to think about the tower members. He probably wouldn’t even be able to rise above Grid.
“Of course. You’ve only obtained four secret techniques. However, if you use these four books as a foothold and seek stronger power then you will surely become the strongest one day.”
“So Sir Biban acknowledges that I can’t become the strongest even if I learn the secret techniques right now.”
“Then why are you urging me to learn the secret techniques so quickly?”
Biban’s face had been red since he was compared to Hayate and now he finally raised his voice, “I am advising you that learning the secret techniques will help you grow? Why do you keep listening and using sophistry? Are you dissatisfied with me?”
“I just don’t want Sir Biban to intervene in the path I’ve chosen for myself.”
“Your path is wrong!”
"Why do you say it is wrong? On what basis are you convinced that the sword technique created by Sir Biban and developed by Muller is the supreme sword?”
“Are you denying the Matchless Heart Swordsmanship?!!” Biban’s shout echoed in all directions.
A sharp sword energy fluctuated through the twilight and there was even the illusion that it was bright daytime again. Kraugel accepted the pressure without avoiding it. Then he couldn’t ensure it anymore and confessed, “For me, Muller’s swordsmanship isn’t appropriate.”
Biban’s eyes widened. He looked shocked like he had been hit in the head with a hammer. He also belatedly realized it.
“I don’t have the Hero King’s fighting energy.”
Muller was the strongest swordsman of all time because he was the Sword Saint and the Hero King. The combination of sword energy and fighting energy maximized the power of swordsmanship, making him the strongest. However, Kraugel was different from Muller. It was impossible for him to fully reproduce Muller’s swordsmanship even if he learned the secret techniques.
Biban was in a daze for a while before laughing. “As expected, you also knew it. I naturally knew it. Hahaha.”
“Still, does that mean you need to turn away from Muller’s secret techniques? You might not have fighting energy, but you have sword energy. Muller’s swordsmanship also comes from sword energy. I’m sure that if you learn Muller’s secret techniques and interpret it in your own way, you will get enough inspiration to create Kraugel’s Sword.”
“I know that, but I want to measure my limitations first. I think it is right to figure out how far I can go with my own strength before learning Muller’s secret techniques to fill in the deficiencies.”
It sounded right. It was clear that if Kraugel checked his limits before relying on the power of others, he would be able to learn more. Biban nodded and laughed happily. “Why are you only saying this now? I would’ve fully understood your position if you told me earlier. I misunderstood you and thought you were ignoring the sword.”
“I believed you would fully understand even if I didn’t tell you.”
“I see. In fact, I actually didn’t get it wrong. I was aware of it from the beginning.”
Biban pretended to be casual, but he didn’t know that Kraugel would never reach his limits. A player’s potential was too great. The better the player, the more potential they had.
‘However, one day, I might learn Muller’s secret techniques.’
Originally, Kraugel wasn’t that stubborn. His flexible way of thinking meant he regarded spearman Kirinus as a teacher. In fact, he learned the secret technique dropped from one of the martial god followers that he just hunted. The first reason he turned away from Muller’s secret techniques was the absence of fighting energy and the second reason was pride. He didn’t like the formula of ‘the Sword Saint is Muller.’ Unlike Grid, Kraugel was a Sword Saint, not Muller’s Descendant. He felt the need to prove himself.
He was thinking of giving up if he couldn’t prove it in the end. However, he wanted to do his best until then. His first goal was to prove that he could be the strongest without Muller’s swordsmanship.
‘First of all, I should collect as many secret techniques as possible.’
Every time Muller’s secret technique was obtained, he carried out new quests and episodes, extending Kraugels foundation. Just securing it was a huge help even if he didn’t learn the secret techniques. Kraugel planned to collect all the secret techniques.
Kraugel turned to the east. It was Kaya, where the blue dragon was sealed, and the most challenging area in the East Continent. It was information he learned after acquiring Muller’s fourth secret technique. He needed to prepare for a tough fight if he encountered yangbans during the process of searching for the secret techniques.
‘Can I fight the yangbans and win?’
At this point, it wasn’t possible. Still, as always, if he challenged it without giving up, then he would surely overcome it. It would certainly be the case even if it took months or years.
“Then I am going. I won’t forget your encouragement today.”
Kraugel was saying goodbye when Biban called out to him, “You won’t reject this, right?”
Biban took off his coat. He seemed to care about Kraugel’s old dopo.
“It is made by smelting dragon’s scales with sword energy. It was made along with the third seat of the tower, but my craftsmanship was so crude that the degree of completion is poor. Still, I wore it anyway.”
“...I’ll thankfully accept it.”
Kraugel bowed deeply and left. Biban’s eyes were filled with deep regret as he watched Kraugel moving away. “I should’ve cleaned up the bathroom on the third floor before coming out...”
Damn it, he was so excited after hearing news of Kraugel that he came out of the world without thinking. Biban’s vision darkened as he thought about being criticized by the second seat.
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