『 As Grid and the Behen Archipelago is becoming a hot topic, the S.A. Group has announced the new rules for the 3rd National Competition. 』
『 It was a shocking announcement. Thanks to this, interest in Grid has been dispersed. 』
『 This is a conspiracy, a conspiracy! The new rules released are too disadvantageous to South Korea! This is a blatant shot at South Korea! The S.A. Group deserves criticism at a national level!! 』
The Haenam branch of Eat Spicy Jokbal.
Peak Sword frowned as he chewed on jokbal. He was angry due to the news report.
"Those traitorous S.A... The national competition is in three months and they want to add such rules?"
The Olympics, which had long been a festival of the world, were completely different from when it was first held hundreds of years ago. From the current point of view, the first one had bizarre events and rules. But over the years, know-how was accumulated and the Olympics applied fair rules that were close to perfection. Yes, it meant that the Satisfy National Competition would one day have a complete system like the Olympics. However, the current system was still incomplete.
The basic rules were changed every year, causing confusion among participants and viewers.
The 1st National Competition had been limited to 17 participating countries and the players of each country were obliged to participate in three events.
On the other hand, the 2nd National Competition was extended to 32 participating countries and the players of each country could participate in three individual events and three group events, for a total of six events.
Now the 3rd National Competition scheduled in three months would be expanded to 50 participating countries and each player was only allowed to take part in two events, whether it was a solo or group event.
The problem wasn't the increased number of participating countries. The increase in countries meant the recognition of the National Competition had risen and the gap between players for each country had narrowed, which was rather positive. The problem was that each individual could only participate in two events.
In the future, the first place was likely to be the U.S. which had the widest player pool. The country that suffered the most damage was undoubtedly South Korea. Why? It was easy when thinking about the reason why South Korea was able to overturn everyone's expectations and achieve top results in the 1st National Competition and 2nd National Competition.
It was only thanks to the activities of Grid. Grid secured a large amount of gold medals and raised South Korea's ranking exponentially. Now that was impossible. No matter how good Grid was, he would eventually only get two gold medals. South Korea relied on the lone Grid and it was impossible to dream about becoming the top ranked country.
"The number of events has even increased to 20... Sigh."
Peak Sword sighed. He brought up the conspiracy theories that the majority of people had.
"It seems to be true that the S.A. Group has received funding from the United States. They want the reputation of being the strongest country in Satisfy and are threatened by our country, so they have revised the rules."
"Isn't it South Korea who has only relied on Grid in the first place? Can't you win a gold medal without Grid? What is different if you don't qualify for the gold medal? Even if South Korea stays in the lower rankings, it can only blame itself. There is no reason to blame anyone else."
Eat Spicy Jokbal said while making makguksu. In fact, Eat Spicy Jokbal's words were right. Looking at it objectively, South Korea was unusual since it ranked high due to Grid. In fact, criticism had sprung up which was why the rules of the 3rd National Competition had been changed. However, Peak Sword refuted it.
"It definitely is sad to rely on only one person. But isn't it funny for the organizer to change the rules just to keep one person in check? Think about it. Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina are good at soccer and keep winning the World Cup. Have they ever had rules against them?"
"...No, soccer is different."
Eat Spicy Jokbal clicked his tongue when Peak Sword came up with an absurd example. But Peak Sword didn't care and continued the claim.
"On the other hand, what about Taekwondo and E-sports? South Korea won medals in various competitions and they adopted rules to keep South Korea in check! This is really reasonable!! The whole world is bullying South Korea!"
Eat Spicy Jokbal was a Korean after all. He didn't agree 100% with Peak Sword's claim, but he could empathize to some extent. But what could they do? Everyone blamed South Korea and felt resentment for their ranking in the previous two National Competitions. There wasn't a single country who felt it was fair when they saw South Korea securing a large number of gold medals thanks to Grid. If the National Competition continued to be dominated by Grid, it would lose credibility and become a minor contest.
"Peak Sword, you should understand this part. Would you be able to speak like this if you aren't Korean?"
"The scale of the Satisfy National Competition is big, but it's still a new competition. Anything that feels unreasonable right now will eventually become a foothold for the future. Over the years, it will eventually develop into a competition where everyone will be satisfied."
Eat Spicy Jokbal had organized and operated Blood Carnival to fulfill his own desires. Considering his basic tendencies, these lines didn't fit him. However, Eat Spicy Jokbal was changing. It was a phenomenon that occurred as a result of getting close to Peak Sword who came every week. Eat Spicy Jokbal, who was only interested in his own growth in the game, was now comforting Peak Sword. He was being grabbed by Peak Sword's warm personality.
"Stop being upset and drink more soju."
Eat Spicy Jokbal filled up Peak Sword's empty glass of soju. Peak Sword drank it and revealed his true feelings.
"Eat Spicy Jokbal, I dislike people like you. People think that South Korea is a country weak in Satisfy but what is the reality? I heard rumors that there are many South Koreans among the unofficial rankers. One of them is right here, Eat Spicy Jokbal."
"If you gamers who hide in the shadows for the sake of personal gain actually fought for South Korea, then nobody would think this. South Korea could be recognized as a great power in Satisfy like the United States or Canada. Everyone in South Korea could be proud. But what is the reality? Among the players, Yura and Grid are the only ones fighting for South Korea with pure intentions."
Peak Sword was also blaming himself for not participating in the 1st National Competition. Why hadn't he taken part in the 1st National Competition? He was afraid that he would have to disclose all his skills to the world and tricked himself, saying "Nothing will change even if I participate in the competition."
On the other hand, Grid and Yura took a penalty and committed to the country. This was Peak Sword's subjective interpretation. In particular, he was still shocked when he thought of the scene where Grid, who was close to obscurity, appeared in the 1st National Competition and revealed his talents.
"I hope you won't regret it like me... Participate in the 3rd National Competition and let the world know that Grid and Yura aren't the only talents in South Korea. How exciting would it be if we can prove that even changing the rules won't push down South Korea!!"
Peak Sword had already eaten more than half the jokbal. First he asked for makguksu as a service and now he was making this request of Eat Spicy Jokbal.
"Didn't you approach me to get me to join Overgeared? Now you are telling me to fight for South Korea. I don't know what you want."
It was a criticism telling Peak Sword not to forget his original intentions. After Peak Sword came every week, Eat Spicy Jokbal thought of him more as a drinking companion than an Overgeared member. Of course, it was a miscalculation. Peak Sword hadn't forgotten. He was just greedy.
"If you join the Overgeared Guild, the Overgeared Guild will be abundant. If you participate in the National Competition, South Korea will be abundant. I want both."
"In the end, you want everything? Aren't you being too greedy?"
"Of course I won't push you. I don't have the right to do that. The choice is yours. No matter the choice, I still want you to be my drinking buddy. Your jokbal is delicious."
Eat Spicy Jokbal filled Peak Sword's glass again. His ability to make dungeons could be used in various fields and he was the best talent that had the title of 'conditional' strongest alongside Yura, Katz, and Seuron. Now he was locked in deep thoughts.
"Hero King~ Hero King ~~ lululu~~Ego sword producer ~~~ lulalulua~~~"
Really, Grid was a person with a lot of emotional ups and downs. The man who had been holding his head in frustration a few minutes ago was now dancing around the room and singing. Question marks appeared above Sticks' head as he watched Grid.
'It's amazing that he can show such extreme concentration in battle when he has this personality.'
By default, a person needed to be self-controlled in order to show high concentration. But the usual Grid seemed like an innocent child. It was questionable how such a person could control himself and show high concentration.
'He must try harder than others...'
He came up to his present place despite his lacking talent because he worked hard. Sticks laughed and used Mass Teleport.
"A letter came from Lubana."
"It's finally here."
The capital of the Overgeared Kingdom, Reinhardt.
Lauel looked up from where he had been buried in a pile of documents. The sender of the letter that the soldier held was stated to be the 'descendant of the Undefeated King.' Lauel could easily infer the contents of the letter.
'He is asking to cooperate in the war.'
It was the right answer. The person who claimed himself to be the descendant of the Undefeated King and caused a rebellion in Lubana hoped that the Overgeared troops would move while the empire was concentrating its forces on Lubana. The rumor that the relationship between the Overgeared Kingdom and the empire wasn't good was already spreading and the descendant believed it would be a good proposition for Overgeared.
"But why should we do this?"
The request of the descendant was to attack the rear of the empire and disperse their gaze. Lauel had no intention of accepting this. There was no way of knowing exactly who the descendant of the Undefeated King was and the situation in Lubana. The risk was too great to stand on their side.
"I thought he would give a bit of information about himself in the letter, but he hid it until the end."
Lauel confirmed the contents of the disappointing letter and put it in a corner of his inventory.
There was a flash of light in the center of the office and Sticks and Grid appeared.
"Ah! How surprising!"
Two people suddenly appeared in a quiet room. Lauel would be dull if he didn't feel surprised. The startled Lauel fell back. Grid approached him and extended a big hand.
"Isn't this too over the top? What will the Overgeared Kingdom do if a high ranker has such a poor body?"
"...I don't dare be called a high ranker in front of someone who is ranked third on the unified rankings."
Tears poured from Lauel's eyes as he clasped Grid's callused hands. Grid had only been at the Behen Archipelago for 10 days, but Lauel felt like he was seeing Grid after a very long time. It was natural. Grid had completely changed in these 10 days. He had gained close to 10 levels, his expression had matured further and the red energy around his body gave off a transcendental energy. It felt like Grid came back a completely different person.
"What a wonderful aura... Have you finally recovered some of the power that was sealed in a previous life?"
"Hahaha, I'm glad to hear your chuuni words after such a long time."
Grid also felt like it had been a long time since he saw Lauel. It was because he experienced many things on the Behen Archipelago. Looking back at what happened on the Behen Archipelago, it felt like it took place over several months rather than days.
"Are you going to see Queen Irene?"
After a brief greeting, Grid immediately opened the office door.
"No, I'm going to the library."
Grid waved a shabby looking booklet.
"Eh? Huh? Library??"
Lauel doubted his ears. It was because the space called the library didn't suit Grid at all. Lauel had never once seen or heard of Grid using the library.
What was so urgent that Grid had to leave immediately? Then Lauel asked Sticks, who was puzzled about why he had to teleport into someone's office.
"Is His Majesty okay? Did he perhaps hit his head?"
So it was unusual to read a book. Sticks felt pity that Grid was misunderstood as having a head injury just for going to study.