‘It will be terrifying if Piaro gets the Matchless Heart Technique.’
The legends of the present generation weren’t complete.
Compared to the past legends, their experiences were too little and there were many shortcomings. However, if Piaro gained the Matchless Heart Technique then he would dominate the present legends. The confident and smiling Grid recalled the battle.
‘Should I have tried to hit it back using Revolve’
Even if the damage of Pounding Mortar came in three stages, wouldn’t it be enough to counter with Revolve, Flower Revolve, and followed by Divinity to use Flower Revolve again Grid thought about it before shaking his head.
‘The motion can’t handle it.’
Both Revolve and Flower Revolve were skills that needed the sword to be swung. It was physically impossible to counterattack Pounding Mortar that struck three times with no time difference. Of course, there was a prerequisite that a critical hit was required for it to hit three times and there was no guarantee that Piaro could deal a critical hit to Grid. If the goddess of luck was on Grid’s side then Pounding Mortar would’ve only hit Grid once and he could’ve used a counterattack, making it easy to deal with Pounding Mortar.
However, all this needed good luck.
It was no different from gambling. Grid wanted to face Piaro with his true power so it was absurd to say that he relied on gambling.
‘It is a good thing that I didn’t use 200,000 Army Crushing Sword.’
200,000 Army Crushing Sword crushed the target’s skill.
Piaro’s Pounding Mortar might be one of the best techniques but it would be useless in front of 200,000 Army Crushing Sword. It was just that the risk of using 200,000 Army Crushing Sword was too great. The greater the power of the crushed skill, the greater the recoil. If Grid used it against Pounding Mortar then he would unconditionally lose 50% of his health.
It was possible that he would break his arm or shoulder. It would’ve been difficult to handle Piaro’s follow-up. The choice he made when faced with this strength was correct.
‘...In reality, it would be different.’
In his immortal state, Grid had a five seconds grace period even if his health was low.
If the fight against Piaro was a real battle instead of a spar, Grid would’ve believed in those five seconds and fought aggressively.
However, Grid was more cautious than usual because sparring mode was a system that determined the outcome the moment one’s health reached the minimum. It turned out that dueling mode was more realistic than reality.
‘I think it is great that people fight without immortality.’
Grid understood why people who didn’t have immortality were more passive in battle. Unlike himself, who believed in his immortality and displayed the temperament of winning, they had only one life and had to restrain themselves in many ways.
‘If the rankers have the immortal passive then their strength should be doubled...’
Grid’s mind had fallen into deep concentrating as he was recovering, only for his thoughts to be broken.
Piaro was a duke of the Overgeared Kingdom. Even Grid couldn’t treat him carelessly (in fact, Grid wanted to use honorifics with Piaro but stopped because Piaro was upset) and there was only one person who could yell at him. The emergence of Administration Rabbit caught Grid’s eyes.
“You won’t receive your salary for the next seven months!”
The Overgeared Kingdom was a centralized one.
King Grid monopolized all the resources of the kingdom. Grid had entrusted the heavy responsibility of managing the national treasury to Rabbit and his authority was truly powerful.
“Excuse me, Rabbit...”
Grid was unable to turn a blind eye to Piaro and was about to earnestly ask Rabbit to withdraw his remarks when he was interrupted.
He wanted to say that Rabbit was being too much. It was just that after hearing Rabbit’s words, it became difficult to speak.
“Your Majesty, please don’t defend Lord Piaro.
As you can see, the training ground has been destroyed.
The cost of constructing the buildings again and carrying out civil engineering is equivalent to the cost of training thousands of soldiers.”
“To compensate for the loss, it will be necessary to raise taxes for the next two months as well as confiscating seven months of Lord Piaro’s salary.
Please allow it.”
Indeed, Rabbit was thoroughly prepared. He immediately pulled out the paperwork for the tax increase and a seal with Overgeared King Grid’s name, handing it to Grid. The bloody and sweaty Grid met Piaro’s eyes. Piaro’s eyes were different from his usual confident look.
The pitiful look was like a puppy hoping for food.
Grid sighed and tore the documents. “I am responsible for the training ground’s destruction as well so I’ll be responsible.
Don’t touch the taxes and Piaro’s salary.”
As Irene and Lord knew, Piaro was someone who Grid loved like family. Piaro was once a teacher and friend and was now a strong supporter after Khan’s death.
He was a companion Grid wanted to be with all his life. Piaro had just started his honeymoon so Grid didn’t want him to lose his dignity and anger his wife.
Lauel had also told him that there should be no tax increases for the time being. Currently, the Overgeared Kingdom imposed income taxes of 5-12% and a consumption tax of 7%.
It was 30% lower than the empire’s tax rate and 30% higher than other kingdoms’. It was equivalent to maintaining a reasonable level acceptable to players.
If taxes were temporarily increased then a large-scale departure might occur.
The players were likely to be taken away by the empire again so the best option was for Grid to give back some of his assets to the kingdom.
“Y-Your Majesty...” Piaro was thrilled with Grid’s hard decision. It was almost equivalent to when he reconciled with Asmophel.
‘For His Majesty to do this when he considers money as precious as friendship...’
Grid desperately felt the weight of being a breadwinner and firmly gripped Piaro on the shoulder.
“Piaro, I can jump into the pit of hell for you.
Please understand my heart.”
“Your royal favor is immeasurable!”
[The meaning of a bond has been recalled.]
[Your relationship with your knight ‘Piaro’ is strengthened.]
[A list of targets you currently have deep bonds with.
★ Piaro ★
All stats will increase by 5% when you are together.
Can detect if the health of the bond target is at a dangerous level.
All sound transmissions (including whispers) are possible within a range of 10 kilometers.
All stats will increase by 3% when you are together.
Can detect if the health of the bond target is at a dangerous level.]
As Grid himself said, the responsible for the destruction of the training ground also fell on him. No, Grid was even more responsible because he applied for a duel in the first place. However, Piaro didn’t think so at all. Grid felt remorse when he saw Piaro’s sincere gratitude and deeper sense of connection.
‘The king should do this.’
Grid scratched his cheeks and looked around. Mercedes, Dante, the other knights, and thousands of soldiers were staring at Grid with bright expressions. The combat power that was equal to Piaro, the symbol of the Overgeared Kingdom's armed forces, and a person who considered his own subjects and people...
They were deeply moved by the real-time sight of Grid, who was a model ruler.
They felt a deep affection for their king. The truth was...
[Affinity with your knight ‘Dante’ has increased by 20.]
[Affinity with your knight ‘Singuled’ has increased by 20.]
Strictly speaking, Dante and Singuled came to Grid because of Piaro. They had less direct interactions with Grid and now their attitude changed dramatically. As knights, their loyalty was high from the beginning but affinity was another concept.
Thus, this was a great benefit for Grid. Mercedes opened her mouth, “Sir Rabbit, rather than asking for His Majesty’s assets, confiscate my salary for the rest of my life.
Won’t that be enough for the recovery cost”
[You feel a deep bond beyond liking with your knight ‘Mercedes.’]
[Mercedes has been added to the level 1 Bond list.]
“It is enough.
Rather, it is better.
Lady Mercedes’ salary is one of the top five of the kingdom so it is enough just confiscating two years...”
“Wait.” Grid sighed as he separated the talking Mercedes and Rabbit. "Mercedes, I am the one paying you.
Why worry about this Additionally, you should consider your retirement fund.
How can you spend your money so recklessly What are you going to do if you have no money in your old age and are forced onto the streets”
Mercedes’s serene eyes became somewhat cooler. Grid couldn’t guess the reason but other people were different. Piaro and Rabbit made sad expressions and moved back. At the same time, Mercedes pulled out the White Tiger Sword and a shield.
She declared, “I will accept Your Majesty’s sparring application.”
Just like that... Grid was exposed to Keen Insight and a chill went down his spine. His transcendent senses were warning him of danger. It was a warning that didn’t happen when he sparred with Piaro. His transcendent senses were warning him that Mercedes was stronger than Piaro.
Was the difference due to the Matchless Heart Technique Or were the expectations of Mercedes’ growth higher Mercedes was younger compared to Piaro yet she was judged to be stronger Grid was somewhat confused by the unexpected verdict only to soon realize the answer.
It was because his combat style wasn’t very compatible with Mercedes. His attacks were blocked. The concept of speed was meaningless in front of Mercedes, who could read a person’s attack using Keen Insight and the Incomplete Predictions passive skill.
In other words, it was useless even if he managed to find a gap and link sword dances.
Mercedes raised her defense to the limit by activating Noble Valor and Knight’s Resolution and she even had a passive skill called Shield Block.
Grid’s ruthless attack power wasn’t effective against her.
However, this was a good thing. Mercedes’ attacks also didn’t hit Grid. Mercedes had balanced stats and didn’t have explosive power like Piaro.
It was the limit of Vaintz' Swordsmanship that she had learned. The level of the Vaintz’ Swordsmanship that was passed down from generation to generation in Mercedes’ family fell far behind legendary skills.
Unlike Grid, who learned Pagma’s Swordsmanship after becoming a legend and Piaro, who created Free Farming after becoming a legend, Mercedes was more stable than aggressive and she was somewhat powerless in front of Grid’s battle endurance that defeated even a half-god.
‘The fight won’t end like this.’
It didn’t take long for Grid and Mercedes to make a decision.”
Silver sword energy spread like wings behind Mercedes.
Grid couldn’t help sighing. He felt this image of Mercedes was far more beautiful and sublime than Archangel Sariel who he once saw. Then he quickly calmed down and controlled his heart. The winged Mercedes not only had increased stats but she was also capable of incomplete flight.
Additionally, she constantly released sword energy from the wings in order to deal damage to the target. If he became negligent from her beauty then he would never win.
Grid had to take the fight seriously. “Request to Stand With Me.”
[The power of Duke of Virtue is requesting help from your knight, ‘Mercedes.’]
Mercedes’ transparent blue eyes shook. She hesitated for 0.5 seconds, not knowing how to respond to her king’s request to borrow Keen Insight. Then she stopped hesitating. She rebuked herself for hesitating and accepted Grid’s request. The landscape that Grid could see changed.
[Mercedes is happy to respond to your request.]
[Mercedes’ Keen Insight is implanted in your eyes.]
[Keen Insight has found your restrained power.]
[The effect ‘Ecstasy of Desire’ has been awakened in the Lightning Sword Born from Enlightenment and Strong Desires.]
[Your attack power will increase by three times for 20 seconds and evasion rate will reach 99%.
However, defense is zero.]
Grid entrusted his body to Ecstasy of Desire and showed different movements from before. His attacks disappeared in a fast and gorgeous way and it was difficult to capture with her Incomplete Predictions.
He used Keen Insight to discover and dig into the gaps in Mercedes’ defense. In the end...
Mercedes suffered too much damage in 20 seconds and had to step back and concede defeat. It was a perfect victory for Grid who took advantage of the fact that Mercedes could never disobey his command. Piaro’s trembling voice permeated Grid’s heart as he admired his resourcefulness, “If this was the case, it would’ve been better to order her to surrender...”
He had been too focused on Mercedes’ strength and forgot about the nature of the spar. Grid realized his mistake and wanted to apologize.
“M-Mercedes, let’s fight again.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
It seemed she misunderstood that she was being teased. As Mercedes held her sword with no motivation, Grid urgently apologized and changed the topic. “Piaro and Sir Dante, I have something to say so let’s go to the barracks...”
Ah, everything was broken.
“Let’s go to the castle.”