Khan's family had produced excellent blacksmiths for generations, while the king of the Eternal Kingdom changed 11 times. They owned a famous smithy. It was no wonder that Khan's pride was as high as the sky. Since his youth, he had been praised as the best blacksmith in the eastern part of the Eternal Kingdom and dreamt about becoming the first blacksmith of the continent. He didn't doubt that his dream would become a reality.
But reality wasn't that easy. It was cruel. Reality trampled on his dreams, tearing them to ashes. His beloved wife and son died. Khan experienced great heartbreak and spent a few years as a drunkard. He held a bottle in his hand instead of a hammer and looked at the river instead of a fire.
His wife was a childhood friend he had grown up with. In the process of welcoming her as his lover and wife, Khan's affection was incomparably greater than the world's gold and treasures. Then he lost her overnight. There was also his son who loved her as much as Khan did.
Khan was left alone and had no meaning in his life. If the Mero Company hadn't coveted the smithy Khan inherited from his father, he would've chosen to obediently die. But the Mero Company coveted his smithy. Khan had to endure somehow. He recalled his duty and suppressed his grief in order to maintain his smithy.
It was a meaningless effort. His grief was very large. He couldn't keep back the poison for long. In the end, he gave up everything in life. He gave everything to the damn swindlers and was on his way to making the extreme choice of cutting off his life.
The savior who appeared at this time was Grid. Khan still vividly remembered Grid's first appearance. A young man with a sullen expression and a dead look in his eyes. Grid resembled himself. But their skills were different. After he saved Khan from the crisis, he became Khan's disciple, friend, and son. Now he was a king.
Deep in the night. Khan carefully polished the metal and wiped the tears that suddenly flowed down. 80 years old. He had lived longer than others. Perhaps that was why? He was keenly aware of it. He couldn't sleep easily, he was submerged in memories, and he kept shedding tears.
"It's time for me to go."
Every person had a fixed lifetime. He would naturally know how much life he had left once it was time. Some people might see Khan as only an NPC, but he was also a person. He instinctively sensed it was time for him to leave. That's why he was busy hammering. His hammer was filled with a desire to pay back Grid as much as possible before Khan left.
Did he want to prove that the blood of Albatino, who inspired Pagma, flowed inside his body? Khan was obsessed with making a better Valhalla. He wished that this armor would help preserve Grid's life.
'Perhaps this will be my posthumous work.'
This was his last chance. It was an opportunity to prove his life as a blacksmith wasn't in vain. An opportunity to prove that King Grid's teaching wasn't lacking!
Khan wanted Valhalla to be completed as the greatest armor on this earth. He wanted to make an armor that Grid wouldn't be ashamed of. He reminded himself of this every time he saw Grid's armor.
Khan's hammering was more sophisticated than ever. It was so delicate that it was comparable to a legendary blacksmith. It was a hammer containing the desires of a blacksmith. Now Khan was making his life's work. It wasn't a miracle, but all his experience that allowed him to display a greater ability than usual.
The blacksmiths alternated working day and night on the mass produced Grid set. Their hammering could be heard despite the late hour. Khan's hammering sound was exceptionally clear.
"The chief is in good condition today?"
"I agree. I'm already anticipating some monster-like work."
"But I'm a bit worried. It looks like he hasn't been sleeping for the past few days..."
A strange voice entered the blacksmiths' ears.
"There's a saying about the final radiance of a setting sun (dying flash)."
It was a low voice. The voice came from the entrance.
Clack! Clack clack clack!
The sounds that followed were a bit strange. It sounded like footsteps but were very light.
Khan turned his gaze towards the entrance and was shocked.
They weren't mistaken. Bones occupied the entrance to the smithy. The lifeless bodies moved in a threatening manner. Skeleton knight. At the center of these skeletons, the white-haired Veradin fixed his gaze on Khan.
"The appearance of working severe hours while burning your life. It's a very desirous attitude for a worker. It is no wonder that you have the favor of the Overgeared King."
"Who are you?"
The smithy complex was the most important area in the Overgeared Kingdom. Soldiers were always stationed here and the knights patrolled every hour. Now an unidentified intruder appeared in the smithy that was at the center. Khan didn't know what types of terrible things happened outside.
Khan replied to Khan, who showed extreme vigilance.
"I'm sorry, but I'm a villain."
Veradin winked and the robed men behind him clapped their hands. It was a signal for the skeleton knights to move.
"K-Khan! Run away!"
The frightened blacksmiths gathered to stall the skeleton knights. They knew that Khan's life was more important than their own. Khan was their respected mentor and the closest one to King Grid!
"Ugh...! K-Khan! Hurry!"
The skeleton knights were the advanced undead that could only be produced with the body of a knight. Since they were already dead, they weren't afraid of death. They were given the power of the necromancers and demonstrated a transcendent ability. It was a level where knights could barely subdue them.
Then what about the blacksmiths? They had excellent strength and stamina because they used their bodies for a living, but they were still civilians in the end. Five skeleton knights instantly slaughtered dozens of blacksmiths.
Khan screamed with a white face. The young people who would become the pillars of the kingdom lost their lives. His sense of despair was great.
"Come forward. Isn't it easier for you to quickly accept the inevitable fate?"
The sacrifice of the young blacksmiths to save an old man made Veradin unhappy. It was awkward to have unnecessary casualties. He was sensitive to the value of life. He didn't mind killing for a purpose, but he disliked unplanned killing. Veradin blocked the entrance with a frown and hastened Khan's death.
The result was that a sound was heard. Something fell from the high ceiling of the smithy and the skeleton knights were cut apart.
Veradin's eyes shook. It was because he knew the identity of the man who destroyed five skeleton knights summoned by the elites of Immortal.
"Faker, why are you here?"
As a close confidant of Grid, shouldn't Faker be watching the PvP match right now? He should support his master like a loyal dog. The doubtful Veradin read Faker's eyes and snarled.
"I see. The god of killing... Is it more interesting to be a god than a dog?"
Just before Veradin's words finished. Faker used Acceleration to move faster than anyone and he reached Veradin's side. His weapon was one of the Belial series of items received at the Overgeared Kingdom's founding ceremony. The dagger made of Belial's bones stabbed at Veradin.
[You have suffered 12,900 damage.]
[You have received the curse of fire and darkness!]
[Every five seconds, damage equal to 4.8% of your total health will be received. This effect will last for 30 seconds.]
[As a necromancer, you have resisted the curse of darkness.]
"Did you conclude it's better to act first?"
Veradin rushed back and quickly drank a health potion. The moment Faker reached him again.
Veradin raised a finger.
Khan's groan was heard and Faker looked back with panic. A death knight appeared from the darkness and pointed a sword at Khan's neck. Veradin saw that Faker was unable to move and his eyes curved in a half moon.
"I knew that this blacksmith was Grid's close friend. But I didn't know it was enough to get your protection. Aren't blacksmith craftsmen common in the Overgeared Kingdom?"
"Hrmm? You don't seem shocked by the surprise attack itself? Is it thanks to Lauel? That friend was able to predict this type of situation?"
The rewards for the National Competition were huge. In particular, the reward for a medal was 10 times bigger than a raid. But big profits were accompanied by big risk. Why were rankers and hermits reluctant to take part in the National Competition?
While their competitors were wasting time with the official schedule, they were hunting and raiding in order to achieve a steady growth. It wasn't guaranteed to get a medal when participating in the National Competition and they might fall behind. In severe cases, forces could invade while the participants were away.
Of course, there was a considerable number of participants in the National Competition. In the end, they made their choice and were responsible for their choices. Lauel knew this face and would've prepared some countermeasures during the competition.
"It isn't surprising to put a big person beside the target. That Lauel, is he a fortune teller?"
Lauel wasn't a fortune teller. He was just prepared to protect what was most important to Grid. Kasim was beside Irene and Lord so he put Faker on Khan. That's why he was here when Veradin struck. But Veradin didn't seem panicked.
"I know that you are a talented person, but who knows? Will it work against me?"
Veradin was the right arm of Agnus, who could become the peak of two billion users. Of course, it was just a superficial relationship. But Veradin was able to become Agnus' right-hand man because he was qualified. On the other hand, Faker wasn't Grid's right-hand man. He was only one of Grid's many subordinates. It meant that their levels were different.
Veradin flicked his fingers with an emotionless face.
Faker immediately accelerated.
The death knight would've been surprised if it had feelings. No, there was no surprise. Faker's dagger stopped the blade that was going to stab Khan and immediately linked an attack skill.
The sharp dagger pieced the death knight several times. A bright purple light covered the death knight and the death knight was in a state of blindness. It was the Luminous Ray Flash.
Faker kicked the death knight and grabbed Khan's wrist. He wanted to first take Khan to a safe place. At that moment.
"Tower of Command."
"Tower of Command."
"Tower of Command."
Ku ku ku ku!
A black tower with a height of one meter appeared around Khan and Faker. The number of towers increased. It was a necromancer's special skill, which weakened the power of the living and gave absolute power to the dead.
The death knight flew towards Faker. It wielded its sword randomly, as if not caring if Faker or Khan died. It had been affected by the blindness state.
But the death knight recovered the moment the Tower of Command was used. The reason the attacks looked disorganized was due to the style of swordsmanship. It was an unrefined, fierce attack that was like a wild beast. Faker saw that its Sword Mastery level was quite high.
Clack! Clack clack!
The situation was becoming worse and worse. The skeleton knights, which had fallen to Dance of the Reaper when Faker first appeared, now stood up one by one. They gradually approached while armed with threatening weapons. The situation wasn't good and Khan shouted, "Don't worry about this old man. Just run away!"
"I'm an old man who doesn't have long left to live! You don't need to risk yourself to save me!"
"Your life is worth 100 times more than mine."
Faker opened his mouth for the first time. Khan was amazed because it was the first time he heard the voice of the normally taciturn Faker in years.
Faker whispered to him. "Hold on tightly. I will move faster."
Faker's dark dagger flashed red. At the same time, the bloody demonic energy shattered the towers and mangled the skeleton knights. Only the death knight succeeded in evading. Khan and Faker already reached the ceiling of the smithy.
The elites of Immortal were fed up. It wasn't easy to estimate the power of the Overgeared members, who were armed with non-standard equipment. They were filled with the thought that their plan might go to hell.
The death knight moved to intercept Faker. It was Veradin's response to Faker's determination to protect Khan.
Faker frowned as he exchanged blows with the death knight. It was because the death knight started exuding a terrible poison.
The poisoned Khan coughed up dark blood.