Was it an intended harmony? The white houses under the clear blue sky were reminiscent of clouds. He turned his gaze to the sea. It was hard to find the horizon. The clear sea reflected the blue sky.
“It is truly a beautiful place.”
Mercedes’ voice was somewhat excited as she admired the scenery of Cokro Island. The palm trees placed along each side of the small road shook their leaves like they were welcoming her.
“I like this place as well.”
Grid also liked the view of Cokro Island and its tranquil atmosphere. He felt better every time the wind swept past his cheeks.
‘It is good to set it as a no-tourism zone.’
Originally, Cokro was one of the most iconic attractions of the Overgeared Kingdom. However, tourists were forced to leave due to large and small problems. It was regretful about the tourism revenue, but what could he do? There were those who damaged nature, those who sneaked into the mines to steal resources, or those who were trying to completely revive Hell Gao. He was worried about the safety of the residents and the demise of the island. It was too far from the mainland so it was difficult for the Overgeared Kingdom to perfectly manage the security of Cokro Island.
‘Most of all, I want the residents to feel comfortable.’
The residents of Cokro Island were under great stress from the thousands of outsiders who visited every day and made a lot of noise. They deserved praise for their years of patience as they devoted themselves to the tourism business in order to enrich the kingdom.
‘It has been a long time since I’ve come here so I should give them a gift. I should make underwear.’
Wouldn’t they be pleased? It was underwear with a huge 20 defense and three extra stat points.
Grid’s sewing speed increased as he smiled. His appearance of making underwear while walking on the sparkling white sandy beach was very strange. When seen by strangers, it was a peculiar sight that would make them doubt their minds.
However, Mercedes thought it was good no matter what Grid did. She was happy that she was walking with Grid, just the two of them. Mercedes’ long hair that fell to her waist fluttered in the sea breeze. She was fixing her bangs when Grid handed her a gift.
“Take it. I think you’ll need it.”
It was a white hair tie. It was plain at first glance, but there were thousands of holes small enough for a needle to pass through. The horun thread was so thin that it was easy to break, thus nine pieces were twisted together to form one strand. Then it was made with a crochet hook.
It was a work that was difficult even for Grid, whose skill had reached advanced level four. Even though he steadily invested an hour or two into it every day, the total production period was two months. It was a delicate and beautiful hair tie. Of course, it was a different story when taking a closer look, and Mercedes was a person with better eyes than anyone else in the world. Her eyes trembled as she saw Grid’s efforts and devotion in the hair tie.
“Cherish... I will cherish it.”
“Don’t cherish it. I made it for you to wear while fighting.”
The infamous horun thread—it was so thin that it was easily broken or cut. Some people said that it was even worse than a spider web. The horun thread needed several strands to be twisted into one in order to increase the durability. It was just extremely difficult. No matter how high their sewing skills were, even people with good dexterity could accidentally break the thread in the process of twisting them together.
However, it was durable enough to be used as a material for cloth if four or more pieces were twisted into one. If eight or more pieces were twisted into one then it would become solid enough to be used as a material for armor. Now Grid had succeeded in twisted nine pieces into one.
The hair tie that he gave Mercedes was stronger than it looked. There were also speed boost buffs attached due to the effects generated by the horun thread.
“Then I’ll tie up my hair every day.”
The smiling Mercedes pulled back her hair and tied it up. The blue hair and white hair tie were a beautiful harmony and it was within Grid’s expectations.
‘It is good that I dyed it white.’
It was originally a black hair tie. Then he saw that Mercedes’ hair had regained its original color from white and he quickly dyed it.
“It looks good.”
Mercedes’s pale face turned red. Today was a special day for her. She had lived as a knight all her life, but this was the first time she received a gift that wasn’t a sword or a shield.
“Were all the fields cleared?”
Cokro Island had an absolute lack of arable land. It was a small island and more than half of the area was covered by mountains. The food that the inhabitants of Cokro Island could provide for themselves were minimal. They had to sell minerals to the merchants on the mainland and use the money to buy food. Now even that small amount of farmland was gone. It was because the area had to be cleared to create a forest.
‘I will have to ask Rabbit to support it well.’
Piaro, who carefully planted the golden walnut seedlings obtained from the Xing Kingdom, noticed Grid’s presence and approached.
“Welcome, Your Majesty.”
Piaro was sweaty from working and he shone brighter than anyone else. There were no worries on his face and he was full of smiles.Grid brushed the dirt off Piaro’s clothes and anxiously asked him, “Is it hard to work all by yourself?”
Piaro didn’t bring a single farmer with him on this mission. He was clearing the field and planting the seedlings all by himself. It was all in order to create a perfect forest. The golden walnut trees were more sensitive than any other plant. Piaro decided that in order to plant and care for the golden walnut trees well, he needed to do everything by himself. He would have to struggle alone in such a remote place for several months. Wouldn’t it be too lonely and difficult?
It happened as Grid was worrying about this...
“Honey~~! Take a break and eat!!”
From a distance, someone appeared and waved. Taking a closer look, it was Beniyaru.
“...You won’t be lonely.”
He was with his wife. It was Grid who smiled with peace of mind.
“Take a break from this Hell Gao raid?”
There were a total of five raid teams in the Overgeared Guild. They were teams led by the original members of the Overgeared Guild and took on the role of handling boss monsters that appeared regularly all over the continent to secure wealth and goods.
“Yes, King Grid said he would raid Hell Gao himself since he is visiting Cokro Island.”
“Who is with him?”
“It is a bit tight...”
Pon, the leader of the first team, was worried. The final boss of Cokro Island’s dungeon, Hell Gao—he might’ve been killed by Grid in the past, but the guy who regularly respawned was much stronger than he had been in the past. It was said that he lost his body and most of his power was sealed by the former Sword Saint Muller, but he was still the 9th great demon.
It was a setting where he gradually regained his sealed power as time passed. In the past, he had four fire stones and now he had six. Every time a fire stone was added, his level rose by a huge 150 levels. The current Hell Gao was strong enough that there were a lot of sacrifices in the first raid team, which had the highest power among the raid teams.
“Does he want to dig out fire stones?”
The fire stones created with Hell Gao’s emergence were the source of Hell Gao’s power and his weakness. Every time a fire stone was collected, Hell Gao’s stats dropped significantly. The reason why Grid and Peak Sword were able to raid Hell Gao in their low level days was because they collected two fire stones.
However, according to the findings of team one, every time a fire stone was collected, Hell Gao didn’t just weaken, the item drop rate also decreased. This meant there was no point in doing a raid by collecting the fire stones.
“I should go and support them.”
Pon rose from his seat. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in the skills of Grid and Mercedes. He had witnessed Grid smashing the half gods. Furthermore, Mercedes was a powerhouse in the same class or above Grid.
However, Hell Gao was a named boss. He was different from the NPC yangbans and boasted overwhelming vitality and endurance. It was a matter of compatible natures. In principle, it was impossible for players and NPCs to deal with the current Hell Gao.
Pon was about to leave when Lauel suddenly questioned him, “Poin, have you read the news.”
“Sir Mercedes has written a new chivalric code.”
“Of course I know. I was delighted to hear the news.”
The chivalric code was a unique characteristic of the legendary knight. In a word, it was a cheat-class ability where stats rose and new skills or traits would blossom every time she wrote a chivalric code.
“However, it isn’t enough.”
Hell Gao had become stronger and he had the skill to inflict ‘fatal injuries to five targets.’ It was true damage that ignored defense and combined with the very powerful skill that caused an unconditional critical hit, even Toban had no luck and died in one shot.
The designated target was random, but it made certain to hit the target. This meant that Grid and Mercedes had to match their skills together if they wanted to raid Hell Gao.
“I have to fill up the numbers. That way, the raid will be possible. Additionally, the current timing is bad.”
Pon’s expression became darker. It was speculated that Hell Gao absorbed a large amount of magic power and regained some of his sealed power every time he appeared in the human world. Every time a certain amount of magic power was recovered, a new fire stone was added and a greater power was displayed. However, it was currently about the time for a new fire stone to be added.
“Maybe seven fire stones will appear this time. Then his level would be higher by 150.”
It wasn’t just a problem of level and stat gains. New skills were created and there would be variations to his patterns.
‘In that case, the odds are small even if all of the first team goes as support.’
Of course, the fire stones could be collected. Then Grid and Mercedes would succeed in the raid. Still, how could it be easy to collect fire stones in front of the more powerful Hell Gao? Furthermore, collecting fire stones would make the value of the raid decline.
Lauel called out to the hurrying Pon, “Just watch.”
Pon frowned. “Just watch even though I know it will be dangerous?”
“His Majesty has been reading the raid team’s reports. He knows that Hell Gao is different from before, yet he came out with confidence.”
“He might not have considered the seventh fire stone. It was just a speculation in the report.”
“Sir Mercedes has written a new chivalric code.”
“That isn’t enough.”
“Nevertheless, she said she would lose if she faced the current King Grid.”
“Pon, the king you remember is different from the current king. In this short time, His Majesty has advanced even further. Believe in and wait for His Majesty’s judgment.”
At the same time, Cokro Island’s dungeon...
“This is really...”
It was after Grid finished looking at the golden walnut forest. Grid froze as he went to the dungeon with Mercedes to experience the stronger Hell Gao. Seven fire stones flashed and the pressure Hell Gao gave off was terrifying. It might be a bit exaggerated, but there seemed to be no big difference with the 13th ranked great demon, Beleth.
‘I heard that Hell Gao doesn’t have a body so he robs the flesh of demonkin wandering through hell to come to the human world.’
He showed this much pressure while borrowing the body of a demonkin? It wasn’t even his real body? It seemed that single digit great demons were really creatures in a different dimension. He judged that this couldn’t be left alone.
‘It seems appropriate to call Sehee for the next raid when an eighth fire stone is added.’
It was right that he should be permanently destroyed. This wasn’t a creature that the current humanity could afford to face.
Grid pulled out his weapon after making a judgment and was reminded of Kraugel.
‘What is the Sword Saint of the present day doing?’
Grid hadn’t seen him in a long time. As always, he would be training in remote areas Grid hadn’t been to yet. How far had he narrowed the gap with the previous Sword Saint? The expectant Grid never dreamt that Kraugel was being beaten up by a yangban who hadn’t even taken off her gat.
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