The Overgeared Kingdom started as an agricultural kingdom. Thanks to the agriculture developed by Piaro, the kingdom's finances were stabilized and the foundations of commerce could be established. The reason why Grid was able to train blacksmiths with Khan and to build a smithy complex was thanks to the money earned from agriculture.
Grid felt reluctant when he saw the mountain of wheat and potatoes transported from Bairan. The wheat and rainbow potatoes had become special products of the Overgeared Kingdom and were the most important export items for the nation's economy. He didn't want to give 100 tons to the empire.
"Why do we have to give an offering in the first place? We aren't even a tributary of the empire."
Lauel explained to the grim Grid. "It isn't an offering, it's a gift. Your Majesty asked to visit the empire first and the empire accepted the request. Isn't it basic courtesy to give a small gift in return for that?"
It was a meeting between the leaders of both kingdoms. It was a notable official event for the entire continent. The empire would entertain Grid for their own sake, but Grid and the Overgeared Kingdom's image would be tarnished if they came with empty hands.
"Don't think of it as a loss. The empire has prepared many events for Your Highness. Maybe they have even prepared small gifts. Simply with physical value, they will spend more money than us. It won't be a loss. And there is one more thing you can expect..."
Kukukuk. A demon like laugh emerged from Lauel.
"It's the reactions of the empire as they taste our wheat and potatoes. It might be completely to their tastes and they'll import large amounts."
The wheat grown by a legendary farmer was an improved species. The quality was excellent compared to the wheat of any kingdom. Hadn't rumors spread that the bread and noodles of the Overgeared Kingdom were delicious? The empire couldn't be immune to the taste. It was highly likely that trade with the empire, which had been firmly closed, would be opened thanks to this opportunity.
"Is this why you prepared agricultural products as gifts?"
Grid was forced to admire Lauel's extraordinary head to pursue profit no matter the circumstances. He always felt it, but Lauel was truly a great blessing to Grid and the Overgeared Kingdom.
"This was Administrator Rabbit's idea, not mine. I can't match him when it comes to making money."
It was Rabbit who paid only 73 silver to Piaro when he was still a great swordsman. From the time he was recruited to now, Rabbit had been properly managing the finances of the kingdom. Without Rabbit, the growth rate of the Overgeared Kingdom would be two or three times slower than it was now.
Grid was the one who recruited Rabbit as the administrator.
"It's amazing when thinking about it now. Wasn't Your Majesty still a fool when you met Rabbit? How did Your Majesty manage to select and recruit talented people like Sir Rabbit? Are you a natural talent?"
At the very least, he wanted to be true to the person he was serving. This was Lauel's true heart. After several incidents, Lauel always tried to be honest with Grid. Sometimes his words were too much. Grid occasionally felt angry, but his gratefulness was bigger. Lauel's honestly gave Grid many opportunities to reflect on himself.
"The ability to select and recruit talents..."
Grid was reminded of all the people he recruited, including Khan, Piaro, Asmophel, and Sticks. It was amazing when thinking about it now. Weren't they all half-dead when they first met Grid? Grid had made a positive connection with them. Of course, the Character Observation skill attached to the Lord's Sword helped, but now Grid started to realize it. It wasn't easy for anyone to unconditionally make a person their own just by looking at the stats.
'Can I take pride in it? Khan. For me who captivated your heart.'
Grid woke up from his thoughts and wiped his eyes. He had shed tears without knowing.
Lauel saw his sad expression and asked carefully, "Khan's funeral... You really don't want a state funeral?"
Grid nodded. "Yes. This isn't the place where his soul should be buried."
Three days before he was scheduled to visit the empire. He headed somewhere else before that.
Winston. Khan's home.
The concept of a corpse in Satisfy was small. Both players and NPCs turned to grey and dispersed into ash when they died. Bodies weren't seen unless they were in the middle of a specific quest or they were a necromancer. Grid was extremely grumpy due to this fact. He felt sorrow at not being able to take care of his precious person's remains.
But Grid was reminded of something. Satisfy had the concept of a soul. Braham's soul, Iyarugt's soul, and the souls of Khan's ancestors and son witnessed at the cemetery proved this fact. Grid believed it. Right now, Khan's soul was by his side. He thought about attaching Khan's soul to an item using the 'Granting an Ego' skill he obtained from the Behen Archipelago.
'I can't cause Khan suffering because of my greed.'
Grid saw it. The sorrows of the former legends after they were resurrected as death knights by Pagma. They wanted rest. Grid couldn't tie Khan's soul to him.
A small cemetery outside Winston. Grid stood alone where Khan's son, his wife, and his ancestors were buried. He kept wiping at the falling tears and took an item out of his inventory. It was a memorial stone he made in conjunction with the sculptors of the Overgeared Kingdom. It was the memorial stone where Khan's soul would stay.
"Please stay in heaven. You should only occasionally come down to the ground to play. I'll take good care of the cemetery. Ruby and Lord will come to visit often. The children..."
Grid placed the memorial stone in the center of the cemetery and couldn't resist anymore. He burst out sobbing.
After a while.
In the remote cemetery where no one was present, Grid fought with his grief alone.
A familiar voice haunted his ears.
Overgeared King Grid. He received the legendary Pagma's abilities and was the hero of the former Eternal Kingdom. He beat the 32nd great demon, Belial, with his capable subordinates. Later, he overthrew the Eternal Kingdom, built the Overgeared Kingdom, and contributed greatly to the establishment of Valhalla.
"He cleaned up the Behen Archipelago and restored the Hall of Fame?"
"He even has a statue built there."
"Yohohoho... I feel like he's a new man of this era."
"It's safe to say he has completely stepped out of the shadows of the past."
"Yohoho...he also has a deep relationship with the pope of the Rebecca Church?"
"Yes. He also seems to have interactions with Sword Saint Kraugel."
"Yoho...that friend knows how to use his abilities well."
"I think so as well. Grid uses Pagma's techniques as bait to expand his network."
"Even Braham was involved with him?"
The Tower of Eternity. It was a group that studied magic under the aegis of the empire and violated numerous taboos in the name of developing magic.
"Yohoho, I want to see him soon."
The master of the magic tower, Goldhit. One of the 10 great magicians on the continent, she was a great power compared to Ashur. They were on completely different dimensions since birth. She was the fourth disciple of the legendary great magician Braham.
The capital of the Saharan Empire, Titan. On the way back from hunting, a necromancer from Immortal stopped by a grocery store and screamed. It was because a knife and axe pierced his body the moment he exited the store.
"Stop it now!"
The soldiers on patrol ran when they heard the fuss, but it was already too late.
"This is one member!"
The necromancer died and the hunters ran away smiling. They didn't care about the penalty for killing someone in a city. Why? The penalty was nothing compared to the reward they would gain.
"Did you film it properly?"
"Of course! One of Grid's items has been secured!"
The group of people laughed as they were chased by the guards. The players who saw them were impressed.
They needed to quickly find Immortal! The eyes of the players lit up as they roamed all over the place. Once they saw a necromancer, they tracked them, monitored them and figured out their identity. Some impatient people killed just because the other person was a necromancer. It was a hellish time for Immortal.
A village located in a remote part of the empress' palace. The 347 members of Immortal were raging. They were nervous about not being able to step out of the palace due to Grid. At a time when they should be steadily hunting and gaining items, they had to hide like rats?
"That damn Veradin. He pretended to be smart, but fell completely."
"Let's turn in Veradin's group. All of us don't need to receive damage."
"No matter how angry, is it okay to sell out our colleagues?"
"Then what should we do? Should we die together?"
The bonds of the Immortal members started to twist. Fear was deeply rooted in their hearts. It was fear of Grid who moved billions of players. They felt regret that they touched a sleeping lion who was now raining hell down on them.
One of Immortal's executives, Bullet, tried to calm the guild members. "Let's wait and see. This atmosphere can't be maintained forever. Their interest will wilt once they can't find us."
Hunters who couldn't find their game were bound to lose motivation. Immortal felt like they would be able to breathe if they hid like this for a while. At least until they heard the following news.
"G-Grid! Grid is going to visit the empire!!"
All of the Immortal members became deathly pale.
"He's the devil! The devil!"
He made them sinners just because he lost some blacksmith NPCs. Now he was going to the empire to hunt them directly? Wasn't he almost crazy at this point? The moment everyone was making a fuss.
"What is everyone afraid of? Isn't this something to be happy about?"
Veradin appeared and said.
"It's a chance to show our strength to Grid. Let's reverse the situation and hunt the man who came here for us."
Of course, they couldn't strike recklessly. According to the information obtained by Veradin, Grid would have an official schedule set by the empire. If the attack on Grid ruined the emperor's schedule, Immortal could be abandoned by the empire.
"We need to pick the right timing."
A mouse would bite back when cornered by a cat. Veradin felt that Grid should be pushed. At the same time. A group of merchants entered Empress Marie's palace.