The shimmering streams of light seemed to hint at a wonderful future. They tangled together. The two black tortoises approached each other with the light as the backdrop.
They touched foreheads and gazed at each other with gentle looks.
『 Thank you...
The black tortoises were originally one. It was natural for the black tortoise of death and water to be united again. Yet Grid somehow felt like crying. The last voice of the black tortoise of death was deeply engraved in his heart. “Remember! Don’t forget that you are the most beloved and respected being in the world!”
『 ...Thank you 』
The black tortoise of death just repeated its gratitude before scattering.
The remnants of the warm voice melted into the sky and earth, the rivers and seas, bringing blessings to the world.
[Black Tortoise of the Four Auspicious Beasts has succeeded in a complete resurrection!]
[★Hidden Quest ★ ‘Protect the Black Tortoise’ has been cleared.]
[The Black Tortoise’s Shell has been acquired as a quest clear reward.]
[Affinity with the black tortoise has reached the maximum.]
Once again, the black tortoise was beautiful and holy. The scenery of the north projected in the black tortoise’s blue eyes were full of abundance.
The huge shell covering Mount Baekmi like a roof seemed to symbolize an umbrella that would protect the north from all types of bad karma.
“True black tortoise, don’t forget...”
Grid gazed up at the distant sky and was briefly soaked in sentiment. It was only for a short time.
『 Why are you treating me like I’m gone when I’m still here 』
The black tortoise tackled him and Grid’s feelings ended. Grid coughed from embarrassment and bent over to look at the ground. The colorful flowers and trees growing to fill the plains below Mount Baekmi made him feel overwhelmed.
The emotion of appreciating the better world created by his hard work was beyond description. The fact that he got a good reward was also one of the reasons for his happiness.
Grid opened the inventory and pulled out the Black Tortoise’s Shell. He expected it to be a shield due to the name but he was wrong. It was a type of item that was engraved on the body, just like the Mark of Evolution made by the transcendent Sabaek.
[Black Tortoise’s Shell]
A sign inscribed with the protection of the black tortoise, one of the Four Auspicious Beasts.
300 stat points will be gained when it is attached to the body.
The user is completely immune to poison and underwater breathing is possible.
Water attribute magic and skills will gain an additional 50% damage.
Poison attribute magic and skills will gain an additional 50% damage.]
The reason why the yangbans tried to develop the mark even with the help of humans was revealed.
‘They wanted to recreate it.’
It was a really unstoppable performance. Thanks to Khan’s work, Valhalla, Grid was already enjoying the full effect of Immune to Ten Thousand Poisons but he didn’t feel any disappointment. 300 stat points was no different from gaining 30 levels but it was surprising that even a large amount of attribute damage was added.
‘It is also great to be able to breath underwater.’
It was safe to say that once the possibility of drowning was gone, his survival ability had increased.
It would be much easier to act when water was the stage. The mark didn’t even occupy an item slot.
It was carved directly onto the body like a tattoo and was always there.
At this point, it might be the most valuable physical reward that he earned in the East Continent. Grid was looking at the shell happily only for his expression to darken. It was because stat points reminded him of the concept of level.
‘It doesn’t make sense no matter how I think about it.’
Grid had killed a total of 13 yangbans in Chiaotzu. He killed three yangbans almost completely alone and his contribution to the death of the other 10 was great. Putting aside the fact that Maru had self-destructed, Grid predicted that he would gain at least two levels. However, he only gained one level. Grid was now level 408.
His experience bar was also only 30% full.
‘It feels like the experience required doubles every time I level up...’
It wasn’t an exaggeration.
This was his actual experience. It was a tough game but it took ages after level 403.
‘In fact, does this make sense’
Just as he obtained the Black Tortoise’s Shell, Grid had been acquiring all types of hidden pieces.
Thanks to this, he surpassed his level and reached the realm of fighting and winning against the yangbans. The average player was different from Grid.
The number of players who got as many hidden pieces as Grid could be counted on one hand. Even if they achieved the same level as Grid in the future, they were unlikely to win against the yangban.
‘So the average player needs to improve their level to catch up with the NPCs.’
Was a player’s maximum level set at 400 Was this right
‘No, it is wrong.
Something is wrong.’
Even if the yangbans weren’t included because their level was too high, there were many potential enemies such as the great demons, archangels, and some different species. This meant that even if players couldn’t dominate the world outlook, they would need to grow to the extent where they could grasp the central position.
What if the system set a level limit It was simply taking away the players’ hopes. Countless people would feel weary and give up the game. The players becoming bottlenecked at a certain level likely wasn’t the image that the S.A Group wanted.
‘Perhaps I am overlooking something’
There were two main ways to level up—hunting and quests. Of course, it was possible to level up through production but this type of benefit was only available to production class users.
As the level progressed, the effect became less effective. The reality was that most players, as well as Grid, leveled up through hunting and quests.
At this moment, Grid faced the limits. This suggested only one thing.
‘From here on out, there is another way to increase the level.
Another means to raise my level...’
Of course, it was possible that the high experience required was only for a certain level section.
After level 409 and 410, the experience required could be lowered again. However, rather than waiting for that time, it makes sense to keep the possibilities open.
‘...Kraugel should’ve had this concern as well.’
Grid was once again burdened by being in the supreme position. As the person who was the most advanced, it was hard and lonely because he suffered difficulties that others hadn’t experienced yet.
What would be another way to level up Grid was suddenly reminded of the Tower of Wisdom. Based on the name Tower of Wisdom, it should hold a lot of information and it could only be accessed by the Pioneer.
‘I’m going to have to stop by the Tower of Wisdom.’
Of course, he needed a break before that. After coming to the East Continent, Grid was mentally exhausted. He wanted to confirm Braham’s safety with his own eyes and to convey the Matchless Heart Technique to Piaro. Most of all, he wanted to see Irene, Lord, and Mercedes. He wanted to share a reunion with his colleagues who came back from the National Competition.
“By the way, Old Sword Demon.”
“Hmm” Old Sword Demon had been unable to take his eyes off the black tortoise as if fascinated by the black tortoise’s appearance.
Now he turned to Grid.
Grid didn’t hesitate to get to the point. “Please come to the Overgeared Guild.”
Unfortunately, the answer was as expected.
“It is a great honor that the supreme one has invited me.
Unfortunately, I already have a group.”
“Is it the Kaya Kingdom”
“...That Hwang Gildong said something again.”
“What is Kaya’s Mapae
"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you yet.
It isn’t because I don’t trust you.
It is part of the rules.”
“I understand.” Grid nodded and pulled out a scroll to return to the West Continent. “I’ll see you again next time.”
“I’m sure we’ll see each other again.
By any means.
I’ll explain what Mapae  is at that time.”
As expected, Old Sword Demon was a gentleman.
The strange interpretation of his ID was because Grid’s personality was rotten. Grid said goodbye to Old Sword Demon and then waved to the black tortoise.
I was glad to meet you.”
『 ...I hope you can come to visit me from time to time.
Grid answered with a smile and his body gradually faded. The faces of Old Sword Demon and the black tortoise were full of regret as they looked at the vacant spot left by Grid. In particular, Old Sword Demon felt like a thorn was stuck in his neck. He felt uncomfortable due to the stigma that couldn’t be denied.
wait and see.’
Old Sword Demon said goodbye to the black tortoise and descended Mount Baekmi.
He regretted that he couldn’t go back to Kaya and headed to the capital of Xing. Then after half a day, he realized he was heading to Kaya and had to turn back. Old Sword Demon hadn’t reached level 380 yet because he often got lost and wasted time.
At the capital of the Overgeared Kingdom, Reinhardt...
Grid shook his head as he flew through the sky and passed over the walls. It was because the average level of the soldiers guarding the gates was nearly 20 levels higher than before.
‘I’ve only been away a bit over a month.
They’ve leveled up so fast’
Grid looked at the name, level, and affiliation of the Overgeared soldiers. It was using the king’s basic authority. In addition to the soldiers guarding the gates, he confirmed that the guards patrolling the streets and the soldiers gathering and training in the central army had improved their levels.
Thus, Grid hurried to the palace.
Grid confirmed that even the levels of the royal guards had risen and questioned Lauel who had come to meet him, “You’ve struggled a lot while I wasn’t here.
By the way, Lauel, what method did you use to raise the soldiers’ levels so quickly”
Then Lauel had a strange expression.
“I actually wanted to consult with Your Majesty about this.
Didn’t you say last time that Sir Dante’s lifespan is short”
“However, he is becoming more and more energetic.”
“A few days after Your Majesty went to the East Continent, he suddenly felt the amount of energy increasing.
Suddenly, his bowed back straightened.
The age spots covering his skin disappeared like they had been washed away.”
“Then he started to teach swordsmanship to the soldiers.
Since then, the level of the soldiers rose at a ridiculous rate...”
Lauel stopped explaining. It was because Grid looked at the stairs behind Lauel’s back and his eyes started shaking wildly. Looking back, Lauel saw Braham with a cast on his arm.
‘Miss Ruby has healed him properly.’
It had been surprising when Braham came back with a severed arm. Grid had already died and Lauel was worried that Grid would come back disappointed.
Grid ran past Lauel and jumped up to the landing of the stairs before yelling at Braham, “Dammit! Why did you stay and fight after using Meteor, breaking your arm”
It happened when he just entered Chiaotzu Castle. Maru had mentioned the sacrifice of the silver-haired demonkin and Grid had lost his mind. Maru’s tone seemed to imply Braham’s death so Grid’s heart sank and he was distracted by his anger. Then he quickly regained his composure. Grid had a bond with Braham.
[A list of targets you currently have deep bonds with.
★ Piaro ★
All stats will increase by 3% when you are together.
Can detect if the health of the bond target is at a dangerous level.]
They were soul companions. If Braham was in a real crisis then it would be impossible that Grid didn’t know. Thus, Grid was able to shake off his worry about Braham.
Shit, dammit. Now Grid saw that Braham was wearing a cast. The legendary great magician in a cast was a ridiculous sight.
“If it isn’t healed immediately then doesn’t it mean the bones were completely crushed No, why did you foolishly remain and fight Am I that unreliable”
Grid didn’t know that Braham’s arm had been horribly cut off. He hadn’t heard that Saintess Ruby had healed the arm that had been damaged to a level that couldn’t be recovered with magic power. No, he would never know this. It was because Braham had threatened them to keep quiet.
Braham wondered, “Do you think you’re reliable”
“Don’t talk nonsense and get out of the way.
I am busy.”
Brahan snorted and went down the stairs. Perhaps it was due to the cast but he was uncomfortable wearing clothes, thus the sight of Braham’s naked self covered by a cloak was sensational even for another man.
“Wearing a single piece of clothing and walking around...”
The moment Grid muttered this...
“Huhuhu, it is very desirable.” At the bottom of the stairs, Lauel welcomed Braham. “Just go around the city in this state.
Many children will be conceived today and it will contribute to the endless development of the Overgeared Kingdom...”
Grid shook his head and left.
He moved to the large training ground to confirm Dante’s condition and inform Piaro about his conclusion of Matchless Heart Technique.
 In Korean history, Mapae was also called the ‘horse requisition tablet’.
Horse requisition tablets were implemented to restrict the use of horses.
The number of allowed horses engraved on the tablet varied according to the ranks of those who received them and they would receive horses from stations set up by the government by showing the tablets