There was no blood on Khan's wrinkled face. His skin was pale all the way to his fingertips. His body was a mess. It was hard to fathom his pain as he kept coughing up black blood.
"I... Take me to the smithy."
Faker wanted Khan to relax. His chances of survival were likely to increase if he was stable until Sticks came back. But Faker quickly got rid of that idea. He recalled that Khan had been working for most of his 80 years of life. Khan would feel alive when striking metal in front of a hot furnace.
Doing blacksmithing would help Khan became stable. Faker believed this and helped Khan. Khan leaned on his shoulder and smiled gently.
"Thank you. Thank you."
Faker's heart ached. Since when had Khan become so small? Where did his big and hard hands go, leaving only the faded hands of an old man? Time was truly cruel. Faker recalled the bond with Khan since the days of the Tzedakah Guild and worried about Grid above all else.
He knew that the sadness Grid felt would be huge compared to what Faker was feeling now.
Unlike usual, the air was cold.
Khan was tearful as he returned to the empty smithy. This place had been filled with young blacksmiths just a few hours ago. One day, they disappeared into a handful of ashes, shouting that they also wanted to support King Grid. Khan was filled with great sadness at the loss of their dreams and futures.
"Should we go back?"
Faker caught Khan's trembling body and asked with a concerned look. Khan shook his head.
"It's nothing. I will be okay."
He had a final work to do. He would go directly to the souls of the young blacksmiths and comfort them. Khan thought this and walked up to the furnace. Faker piled up hundreds of potions beside him.
"I will bring the Saintess. Don't forget to drink a potion whenever it's time."
Faker confirmed Khan's answer and immediately logged out. Then he tried to contact Saintess Ruby using the emergency network. However, it was currently the moment when the PvP was over and Grid was receiving the gold medal. She couldn't be reached.
The urgent Faker tried to contact the other Overgeared members. But he couldn't get in touch with them either. Everyone was thrilled with Grid's victory and preoccupied with the celebration.
Faker slammed his fist against the wall. He continued to do this a few times until his fists were bleeding.
Faker was furious with himself. He was going to defend the Overgeared Kingdom? How could he when he couldn't even protect one elderly man?
'Why didn't I try harder?'
He realized the limits of a normal class. He knew that there were many monstrous players in the world that he didn't know yet. Nevertheless, he was satisfied and complacent with this reality. It was a terrible arrogance. He was mistaken after winning the battle against Black. A little more, he had to do a little more.
The moment that Faker held his head and sank to the floor.
His phone vibrated as it rang. His face turned rosy as he hurriedly accepted the call. It was Saintess Ruby's number.
The sound of the hammer on the calm night was lonely today. Ruby breathed heavily as she arrived at the smithy.
"Oh, our princess has come."
Who was the person standing in front of the flames? Khan's color was completely white as he faced the furnace. His skin remained cold despite the hot heat.
Ruby started crying. The light in her big eyes, more beautiful than jewels, faded. It was Khan who loved her and took care of her like a granddaughter. To Ruby, he was like a grandfather. She believed he would love her forever and planned to always see him. But what was this haggard appearance? It seemed that they couldn't be together anymore. Ruby's chest ached as she saw Khan try to hide his pain with a cheerful expression.
"Hope! Benevolent Light! Purification!"
Ruby wanted to get rid of Khan's pain. After hurriedly using heal, she used a cleansing spell to heal his abnormalities.
[You have healed the target.]
[The target is old. His body has reached its limits.]
[The recovery effect isn't applied properly.]
[The detoxification effect isn't applied properly.]
In the process of doing good deeds, Ruby had saved many lives. She believed that she could save more people in the future and give them happiness. Yet she couldn't save a precious person. Ruby was shocked since she never doubted the power of a Saintess.
"P-Purif... Purification! Purification!"
Ruby had a short playing experience with Satisfy. She was unfamiliar with the concept of NPCs. She couldn't accept reality and continued to use the skill. Khan placed a hand over her head.
"Please calm down."
"I'm sorry. I'm giving pain to our princess because I'm too old. Haha."
Ruby fell into Khan's arms. Khan's always hot body was exceptionally cold today. Khan patted her trembling back.
"Don't be in too much pain. There's no need to be sad. My grandson has become a wonderful adult and king. Princess Ruby, who was just a girl, is becoming a respectable adult. It's time for this old man to return to the earth."
"Grandfather...! Grandfather! Wahh!"
Ruby eventually started sobbing. She always had a gentle and calm appearance because she was conscious of her great responsibility as a Saintess, but she was still just a girl.
Khan took a deep breath and said, "Huhu, don't be sad. I should leave when my natural life span ends. Instead, you should celebrate... Cough! Cough cough!"
Khan's health gauge dropped dramatically. His symptoms of poisoning were getting worse.
Faker returned as Ruby was crying out in shock. He brought the priests who had just returned from an expedition.
"I pray to the Goddess of Light."
"Give peace to your son."
The priests gathered their hands and started praying. It was the manifestation of the ultimate healing spell Light Prayer, where 17 or more Rebecca priests chanted a prayer. But even that didn't work on Khan.
A priest approached Faker and said cautiously, "It's time to leave."
"What are you saying? We have to save him for the next four hours, just four hours."
Sticks would return in four hours. No, it could be faster. The sage's wisdom would surely save Khan. The priest quietly turned away from Faker's eyes, which were full of firm belief. It was an attitude that said he believed Faker's faith was a futile hope.
"Not yet... I still have work to do."
Khan wiped away the blood at his mouth, let go of the crying Ruby and rose. He approached the anvil in front of the furnace. An armor was placed on the anvil. It was plate armor with no visible gaps for a sword or spear to pierce. The gold rings and hinges connecting the black iron plates and the red buckle were all delicately crafted. It was armor with an excellent design. It focused on the safety of the wearer without any restrictions on movements.
"Just a bit more..."
Taang, taang, taang.
Ruby and Faker didn't stop Khan. He put a new iron plate on the armor and started hammering again. Connect the hinges, connect the rings, and do it again. Khan looked at his armor with warm eyes and diligently worked. It was hard to believe he had been affected by the pain of the poisoning not long ago.
"...He's a true craftsman."
The priests marvelled in trembling voices. Their attitude towards Khan was just as reverent as when they prayed in front of Rebecca's statue. How much time passed?
In the latter half of the work, Khan suddenly burst out laughing. He suddenly realized it. An armor with gold and red details. This color, wasn't it precisely to Grid's taste? He put a new iron plate on the armor while desperately praying to see his king wear it once.
Khan coughed out blood again as he was bringing a health potion to his mouth. A large amount of blood soaked the floor. Throughout the work, Ruby and the priests' heals wrapped around Khan's body. But it was useless.
'It's time to send him off.'
Faker was forced to accept reality as he saw Khan's health gauge. There was one-tenth left and it as slowly dwindling.
Faker was nervous. Grid should've received the news by now and Faker hoped that Grid would come quickly. Grid needed time to say farewell to Khan.
Come quickly Grid. The moment Faker's heart was become more and more tense.
Faker, Ruby and the dozens of priests were all shocked. It was because their souls rang as Khan's hammer connected to the armor.
Sounds of admiration flowed from everywhere. Even an outsider could tell. At this moment, Khan had reached a new ground.
Ttaang... taang... taang...
Khan's hammering sound, which had captured everyone's soul, died down and suddenly ended. Khan had hardly any health left. At that moment.
[A new legendary blacksmith has been born!]
[Every blacksmith in the world will look up to him and praise him!]
All players currently accessing Satisfy had this notification window rise in front of them. A world message.
"Pant! Pant! Khan!!"
Grid came running.
Without sparing a moment to breathe, he looked at Khan with a devastated expression.
Khan smiled with pleasure and opened his arms. Grid jumped into his arms as Khan started to turn to grey.