The Hwan Kingdom. It was a pillar for the entire continent and a kingdom under the heavens. Since the day that a unique child was born in the 'small kingdom,' it had ruled over the continent. Why did the Hwan Kingdom reign? Was it right to divide humans between yangbans and the rest?
A child questioned the things that everyone took for granted.
"That kid's name was Pagma. He was an idiot who believed that all humans are equally precious."
Garam looked very happy as he recalled the past. There was a smile on his face. The long half moon eyes were beautiful enough to evoke laughter. But he was a man.
Grid felt hostile towards Garam's beauty. In the first place, Garam didn't show any goodwill towards Grid. He was smiling, but his eyes that stared at Grid were different. It was like he was looking at a worm.
"That fool Pagma's journey reached the peak when it came to useless non-fighting skills."
Since he appeared, Garam had been talking about Pagma like he was a trivial person. But Grid wasn't upset at all. Grid had never met Pagma, so he didn't care about Pagma being ignored and criticized. But something caught his attention.
"Useless non-fighting skills... Are you talking about blacksmithing?"
Grid had no special feelings for the person called Pagma. However, he respected Pagma's techniques and was proud to have learned them. For Grid, the blacksmithing job was the best blessing that changed his life. Yet Garam dismissed blacksmithing. It was natural that Grid felt offended.
Garam responded to Grid's glare.
"It is. Are you glaring at me?"
"...I'm sorry. I got excited for a moment..."
Grid started brown-nosing straight away. It was because he knew instinctively. Garam was far stronger than himself. In particular, Grid wasn't in a complete state right now. Most of his buff skills, including Belial's Power, were on cooldown. It was too much to make Garam hostile.
'I'm not cringing because I'm scared to die! It's just better to act as courteous as possible in order to get information about Pagma!'
-Who are you talking to?
'...Don't misunderstand that I'm acting subservient.'
Grid made excuses to Braham. The words were like a sharp dagger in his heart. Grid was reminded of the past where he was unable to beat the strong. He felt disgust at himself.
'Idiot... I promised myself that I would always be confident in the future. This nature is really the worst. It'is garbage.'
Braham's ridicule was heard.
-It isn't shameful to be small in front of a strong person. Even a beast feels fear towards an opponent stronger than it. How can a human be better than a beast? You're not an idiot.
-Don't yield to the absurdity. If there's a person who insults you and demands something unreasonable just because they're strong, be ready to die instead of submitting. It isn't good to be so weak that you can even drop your pride. Well, I killed all those who were weak and tried to go against me.
Braham gave advice while showing his high self-esteem. Grid smiled and couldn't help feeling relaxed. He was no longer ashamed about shrinking back in front of Garam. Garam continued to speak.
"But it was surprisingly not useless. Once Pagma learned more about blacksmithing, the yangbans of the Hwan Kingdom started to lead a more convenient life. Pagma's tools were much better in quality than any other tools produced."
Garam put his hand into his clothing and pulled out a smoking pipe. It was a white smoking pipe. It had a refined and smooth appearance.
"This pipe was made by Pagma out of white phosphorus wood. Kukuk, every time I smoke this pipe, I miss the Pagma who ran away. I recall the memories of tormenting him."
The legendary blacksmith made a smoking pipe?
'How strong are the yangbans that they could treat Pagma like this?'
Pagma was the strongest person who defeated a great demon after becoming Baal's Contractor. Even considering the fact that great demons who descended to Earth couldn't use their full power, Pagma's combat power was comparable to other combat legends. It felt strange that the man called Garam treated Pagma like this.
'Is this Pagma the same Pagma that I know?'
The moment Grid questioned this.
Garam lit the smoking pipe. He breathed in deeply and exhaled, the smoke covering his face. It was an act that completely ignored Grid's personality.
"Yes, Pagma was a really convenient laborer. There are many yangbans who regretted that he fled from the kingdom. It's very good that the successor to Pagma's techniques appeared."
Garam scanned Grid like he was a delicious fruit. He made a decision.
"I will take you to the Hwan Kingdom. I don't think the clean air of the kingdom will decay because an ignorant person is living there. Kukuk."
Grid reached the limits of his patience. Grid's cowardice disappeared into his own 'nature.' Being subservient wasn't part of Grid's nature.
'What did he decide?'
Fear disappeared from Grid's eyes as he looked at Garam. Both hands clenched with anger.
"How dare you mock the world's best techniques? Do you think I will respond obediently, you XX? Do you think I will do nothing?"
The moment Grid was about to yell this.
-Calm down and talk to him more.
Braham stopped Grid. Braham wanted to know more about Pagma.
Pagma might've harmed Braham, but he'd been a friend at one time.
Grid understood Braham's mind. Once he thought about it calmly, he also wanted to know more about Pagma. The more he understood Pagma, the closer he who become to the class quests and hidden pieces. Grid barely suppressed his agitation and asked Garam.
"I'm curious about why Pagma ran away from the Hwan Kingdom. What's hidden behind it? In addition, you look my age at most. How can you share the same timeline as the old and dead Pagma?"
It wasn't Garam who answered.
"This insane guy... What right do you have to ask this question? This is a great yangban! They can even deflect the years!"
Sam Dasoo. He had lay flat on the ground after Garam appeared and now he shouted while foaming at the mouth. It seemed he considered the yangbans a noble existence.
'They can deflect the years?'
Were they gods? Once Sam Dasoo's words were heard, Braham whispered to Grid.
-It isn't possible. Pagma was as helpless as ordinary humans in front of time.
'Then this guy called Garam is a braggart?'
Questions were piling up. Grid was feeling confused when Pagma talked.
"Why did Pagma run away? He became disillusioned with his own lacking strength and couldn't stand the shame."
The legendary blacksmith Pagma?
"Yes, he was ashamed that he was so helpless. He failed to pass the yangban's chiyou test and ran away."
"Chiyou test?" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiyou)
"Let's just say it is a test showing your armed force."
How difficult was the test that someone strong like Pagma failed? Garam spoke words that were hard for Grid to believe.
"Well, Pagma was a famous weakling."
"Yes, he's like that. His swordsmanship was just cheap tricks."
"Hrmm, I was thinking of old memories and delayed the time too much. Now, let's go to the Hwan Kingdom. I still have a lot to do. Ah, before that..."
Garam's gaze moved to the Han Seokbong father and daughter. At this moment, Grid, Sam Dasoo and the Han Seokbong father and daughter felt their hearts freeze. It was because Garam's gaze was cold compared to when he looked at Grid. They could see that Garam had been friendly to Grid.
"I should kill these people who dared to cheat the yangbans."
Garam took a deep breath. Then his mouth turned red.
Grid knew the characteristics of the white phosphorus wood. This was the precursor to the white phosphorus wood exploding. Garam's mouth was going to explode? Common sense said that Garam would be hurt. But Garam was a yangban. Common sense didn't apply to yangbans.
Grid acted reflexively. It was to protect the Han Seokbong father and daughter. At the same time.
Flames shot from Garam's mouth towards the Han Seokbong father and daughter.
Grid appeared in front of the Han Seokbong father and daughter and counterattacked.
Sam Dasoo and the Han Seokbong father and daughter turned white as they saw Garam engulfed in flames. A yangban was hurt? It was impossible.
"Use this gap to escape."
Grid reached out to the Han Seokbong father and daughter.
"Are you crazy?"
Garam whispered from amidst the flames. His low voice was shaking. It was filled with tremendous anger.
"This ignorant person dares to swing a sword at me...? Do I look easy to you?"
Garam rushed to Grid. One hand held the tobacco pipe while the other one was behind his back. Grid fired Pagma's Swordsmanship, Link at him. It was fired from the Sword Ghost. However.
Garam turned his body and avoided all of the Link energy blades. Then he hit Grid's forehead.
[You have suffered 9,350 damage.]
A basic hit did so much damage?
Grid trembled in pain as the smoking pipe turned red. Han Seokbong panicked and shouted.
[You have suffered 25,310 damage.]
[You have suffered serious damage on one eye. You have been blinded.]
The explosion was so sudden that Grid couldn't scream. He frowned as one eye was covered in blood and he stumbled. Garam made a nasty expression.
"The sword dance is too trivial."
Pagma's Swordsmanship. Garam mocked Grid's ultimate force as insignificant. The furious Grid moved his sword again. Sword Ghost moved through the air as Grid narrowed the distance to Garam.
"I can't stand it. Should I cut off your legs to get rid of your spirit?"
Garam's memory of Pagma's Swordsmanship was that it was trivial. He didn't feel threatened by Pagma's Swordsmanship and didn't feel the need to interfere with Grid's sword dance. This was a mistake.
"Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle."
It was a sword dance that far transcended Garam's memory of Pagma. Garam's eyes widened.