“This microorganism…! You are inferior to beasts!”
Garam’s original plan was simple—he was going to tear Grid apart, kill him, and then go to the Cho Kingdom for retribution. Nobuldam tried to protect Grid. As the king’s servant, the Cho king should naturally be held responsible. Yet things had become twisted. He couldn’t see other people in this state.
“G-Garam?” A path lined with white phosphorus trees that bloomed once in a thousand years—a man and woman enjoying a walk near the entrance of the Hwan Kingdom were shocked to find the approaching Garam. Garam’s appearance was different than usual. His long hair, which was usually twisted up with a hairpin or combed beautifully, was scattered in a mess. The dopo that should be clean without a crease was crushed, torn, and stained with blood. The most surprising thing was that it was Garam’s own blood soaking his dopo. His ear was cut off.
What was this? What type of disaster had occurred to injure the body of a god?
“Let’s start with treatment!”
The man and woman rushed to Garam’s side and made a fuss. They were also yangbans of the Hwan Kingdom. They were genuinely concerned about their brother Garam, who was born and raised by the same parents. However, Garam thought they were insignificant. Rather than being irritated that they didn’t qualify to become gods, they whispered garbage and loved him like a brother. Pagma, who condemned the yangbans, was a hundred, no, a thousand times better than these people…
Garam wielded his soft sword without making a sound and slashed at the man and woman’s necks. Garam’s pride was too strong to leave them alive after they witnessed his ugly self.
“Shit… Shit!” Garam swore as he faced the resentful gazes of those who died without knowing why. He was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. It was different from his usual self. To be exact, due to Grid who had become qualified to be a god, there were dark clouds hovering over his future that couldn’t be seen.
Then a bell jingled over Garam’s head.
“You have seen a real god,” a familiar voice followed. Garam’s eyes widened as he looked up and saw a man floating above him. The man wore a mask and had on a necklace made of leather with large bells tied to them. His hair and visible eyes were fierce, causing Garam to freeze.
Garam’s expression was stiff. He felt terrible dissatisfaction because an opponent he could never match was seeing him in a pathetic state.
‘Pretend you haven’t seen me.’ Garam couldn’t bear to bring up this request and changed the subject. “A real god? Then there are fake gods? A god is a god. In the first place, he is a human, not a god.”
The myth of the guardian gods was known to Garam. Unlike the Three Gods that existed from chaos and the majority of gods who were created, the guardian gods were the purest beings born of the aspirations of humans. Chiyou in front of him belonged to that type—the crystallization of ‘military arts’, born from the aspirations of humans who wanted power. Even War God Zeratul, who Rebecca had created, was just a copy of Chiyou.
“You are afraid and anxious. It is pathetic to see you deny it.” The mask that Chiyou wore shook, the face behind it seemed to express ridicule.
“Shut up!” In fact, Garam knew—it was true that he had limitations. A god that came from forced faith couldn’t be omnipotent. However, were they so insignificant that they could be labelled as fake and ridiculed? No, a god was a god—the power might be different but the divinity was the same. “Even if he becomes a god, he will be on the level of the Four Auspicious Beasts at most. That person is just like the Four Auspicious Beasts, born for abstract reasons. I can afford to handle him. I will seal him, just like I sealed the Four Auspicious Beasts in the distant past!”
Chiyou, who was born out of the specific will of ‘the power to conquer the gods’ or ‘independence from the gods,’ was a monster beyond the standards but the Four Auspicious Beasts were different. They had limitations, just like the yangbans, and it would be the same for Grid.
Chiyou stared at Garam trying to believe this and pointed to a distant place. “Look.”
A power equivalent to the Three Gods was invoked. Thanks to Chiyou’s power, Garam’s gaze moved over the Red Sea to the West Continent. He saw a black-haired man. He was a man who communicated with the sword. Chiyou’s words were meaningful, “Child who will cut a god.”
“The child you met today will compete with this child for a long time, gradually becoming the object of a much stronger and distinct heart’s desire.”
“Don’t turn away. They are real gods and eventually, they will destroy you fake gods.”
“You!” Garam could no longer leave Chiyou’s false and insulting remarks alone. He forgot the modicum of respect for Chiyou and the fear of hell as he expressed his killing intent. At the same time…
Chiyou disappeared from all of Garam’s senses. There was only the ringing of bells.
“Hup!” Garam belatedly identified Chiyou’s location through sound and twisted the trajectory of his sword. Yet before his sword could reach the target, Chiyou’s finger touched Garam’s forehead. Chiyou’s mask once again shook.
“Struggle if you want to escape destruction.”
Chiyou hit Garam’s forehead with his finger and Garam’s field of view split into several parts. The appearance of the absurd man who wanted to cut a god and the pathetic man who sold his soul to Baal intersected with Grid’s appearance, stimulating Garam. “Do you know? If you confront them with the same feelings as a beast caught in a trap and struggling, you will become a real god and become qualified to cut me.”
Once the sound of bells rang again, Chiyou was no longer present. Garam’s eyes were bloodshot. Grid, the Sword Saint, and Baal’s Contractor—he knew that they must be destroyed.
Grid kept an eye on the horizon in his field of view. He prayed that the land he would soon arrive at was still standing.
[You have transcended the concept of space!]
The wind blew against his face and Grid stood at the horizon which had been on the edge of his field of view just a while ago. It was the expression of the space movement skill, Shunpo. As a reward for his fourth epic, Grid had built up his transcendence and his chances of triggering Shunpo was now at almost 20%. It was a leap forward compared to the time when it was described as having a terrible probability.
‘…The further I leap, the more resources I consume.’
Grid breathed roughly as his mana and stamina were reduced by half. This was the cost of leaping the ‘maximum distance’. The mana cost for leaping five meters was 2,000 and there was no decline in stamina. It was just a hop away but the amount of resources consumed increased dramatically like a taximeter after five meters. However, it seemed like this problem could be resolved after more transcendence was accumulated.
Was it due to his mood? The more tired he was, the happier he became about the red phoenix heart. He felt his stamina recovering whenever the red phoenix’s heart beat. Then he saw gorgeously decorated buildings on the new horizon. He arrived in Kars. It took him only half a day. The virtues of Shunpo were high but the ‘Guardian of the Land of Old Gods’ title that he gained as a reward for his fourth epic was great.
[Guardian of the Land of Old Gods]
[When active in the land of old gods, ‘willpower’ will increase by 1.5 times and terrain adaptability is maintained at 100%.]
Terrain adaptability was very important. Depending on the variation in the terrain, a person’s behavior could be constrained and slowed down. However, if terrain adaptability was kept at 100% then the physical limitations would disappear.
‘There are three more places besides Pangea in the land of old gods?’
Like Pangea, the places where the Blue Dragon Dao, White Tiger Spear, and Black Tortoise Jewel were sealed would also be classified as the land of the old gods. Grid believed that his new title would be a great help in the process of gaining the other weapons of the sacred creatures.
“By the way…”
Grid used Lightning Speed and rose high in the sky, putting Kars within his field of view. The scenery of Kars was peaceful, unlike what he expected. It was a good thing but he had doubts.
‘Did that madman Garam go the wrong way?’
Garam had declared that he would find and punish all the forces friendly to Grid, including the Cho king. This was why Grid headed for Kars rather than searching for the hidden shrines. He had no intention of fighting Garam again and risking his life, but he couldn’t turn away after knowing there were those who secretly helped him.
‘Considering my delay at the shrine, it is very unlikely that Garam would arrive later than I did.’
Then why was Kars so calm? Grid frowned at the thought.
‘It’s obvious. It is a trap.’
The first reason Grid feared Garam was because Garam was insidious. His plan to capture just Grid by luring all blacksmiths from the West Continent to the East Continent was something Grid would never forget.
Was it really a trap? Why set a trap when he could quickly capture Grid’s location and lie in wait. Grid knew Garam’s personality. The weaker the opponent, the more he raised his nose. Garam was a mass of pride who easily harmed humans but never allowed a human to aim a blade at him.
‘Such a person would never show up in a messy state in front of others.’
That guy must’ve returned to the Hwan Kingdom first. He would head for Kars after sufficiently cleaning himself up.
‘This is my only chance.’
Grid came to a conclusion and didn’t delay. He sped up his pace. He flew to the royal palace standing in the center of Kars.
A challenge came from the start. The talismans widely spread around the royal palace detected Grid’s intrusion and started to cast various spells, while warriors and soldiers poured in.
‘The level is high.’
This was one of the four countries representing the East Continent. Grid was greatly impressed with the defense of the Kars Palace, which was as good as the Overgeared Palace. However, it was just up to here. Grid didn’t feel anything more than admiration as he escaped the chasing soldiers and succeeded in entering the king’s hall.
“A daoist immortal?” a man with his hands behind his back greeted Grid—it was the Cho king. His eyes under the gold crown were as deep as a lake.
Grid roughly counted the number and levels of the warriors escorting him, the killers hidden in the shadows, and the daoists behind a veil before opening his mouth, “Send out the people.”
It wasn’t clear exactly what side the Cho king was on. He couldn’t rule out the possibility that there were yangban fanatics among the guards of the Cho king. There were a number of variables so Grid only wanted to take off the skin mask when he was alone with the king.
“You’re insane!” The warriors expressed outrage at the intruder’s absurd demands and rushed at Grid. The killers in the shadows threw daggers to support the warriors while the daoists behind the veil cast spells to dazzle Grid’s spirit. Some spells raised the courage and power of the warriors.
Certainly, they were the elite of the elite. It was clear that their average level was at least 400. In particular, there was one person that Grid found hard to read the exact location using his insight. He seemed to be a shadow warrior of the Cho king and had a quasi-legendary power.
However, these people wouldn’t even be a handful of prey for Garam. A bitter-looking Grid opened the Rune of Gluttony.
“Storm of the Fire God.”
[Storm Demonic Energy Field – Modified]
The devastating storm emitted the flames circulating from the red phoenix heart and was no longer subject to the weather. It was more destructive than ever before.
The warriors were surprised by the vortex of flames and lost their momentum. They were the greatest warriors of the Cho Kingdom but they didn’t dare plunge into the flames. In the midst of their shock and confusion…
“The red phoenix’s flames!”
The Cho king’s face became rosy. The intruder’s identity was a person of distinction. The sound of bells could be heard from the distant walls. They were bells that told the time for the people of Kars. It was a signal indicating that the time, history, and fate of the East Continent, which had been suspended for the past hundreds of years, had started again.