"Hello Muto. Thank you for answering the invitation."
"The number two of the Overgeared Kingdom called me? I had to come running."
The 3rd ranked merchant, Muto. He was shaken when he received an invitation from the Overgeared Kingdom. The first player to become a king. He thought that if he was able to trade with the Overgeared Kingdom, which was progressive due to modern ideas, he could make great deals.
"Muto has already exchanged with the empire for several years?
"It has been exactly four years. I was fortunate to encounter Duke Guardian during a quest and I started to sell things to the empire through the duke."
"Four years ago...? Isn't it faster than Kir?"
"Haha, that's right. I pioneered the empire's market first."
The 1st ranked merchant Kir was a big guy who had several merchant rankers under him and ran a huge trading company. He used his enormous health to equip himself with military power and recently purchased a whole city. This could be a stepping stone to building a kingdom. There were already many people calling Kir a king.
Lauel felt disbelief.
"You pioneered the empire's market first, so why are you ranked lower than Kir?"
The merchant rankings were determined not just by level, but through the trading volume and number of trades. Muto pioneered the continent's largest market first, but was ranked lower than Kir. It frankly made him seem incompetent. Muto revealed the truth. "I was beaten by Kir's trick and lost several accounts. His political power is several times higher than me."
Muto was a type of merchant to do everything directly. He conducted lucrative business by investigating the market and gaining information ahead of others. It was why he took a risk and went to the East Continent. On the other hand, Kir was a master of slander. His specialty was taking away the businesses built by others. Muto had been hit several times.
"In the end, I'm not a vessel for the first rank. But isn't the vessel for the 3rd rank big enough? I'm confident that I can do enough."
Muto knew. The merchant that the Overgeared Kingdom wanted now wasn't the best merchant. If they wanted the best merchant, they would've called Kir instead of Muto.
"Please tell me what you called me for. I will do well and pay back your expectations."
He was a quick merchant without any bragging. It was good to believe in him.
"You accompanied King Grid on the East Continent for a few days? I can see why His Majesty liked you. Okay. I have a suggestion. Become a scammer."
"Huh...? A scammer?"
"Sell a defective item to the imperial palace. It means you will have to stop trading with the empire in the future."
"W-What is this?"
Despite the fact that Kir had deprived him of most of his business in the empire, he still had some dealings left. A lot of Muto's wealth came from the empire. Now Lauel was telling him to scam the imperial palace and give up on dealings in the future. As Muto thought the suggestion was absurd...
"The prize is the Overgeared Kingdom. We will leave one-third of our trade to the Muto Company."
"One-third of a kingdom's trade..."
The development of the Overgeared Kingdom was ongoing. Numerous players flocked to the Overgeared Kingdom based on Grid's absolute item production ability and Lauel's resourcefulness. In the future, the Overgeared market was likely to become the second largest after the empire. He was being given one-third of this market. It was an unbelievable proposal.
"The first rank, shouldn't you take it?"
Muto was visiting the empress' palace. He recalled the meeting with Lauel two days ago and took a deep breath, calming his mind.
'This is the sky...an opportunity from the sky Grid. Do well Muto.'
Daring to scam the empire. He was crossing a river that he couldn't turn back from. Muto's hands shook from the tension and he swallowed cold water several times.
"Did the sun rise in the west today? Sir Muto is coming to see me first, not His Majesty?"
After a 30 minute wait, Muto's trembling stopped with Empress Marie appeared. It was thanks to the passive skill Merchant's Fortitude. He would never shake when facing a trading partner.
"You're more beautiful every time I see you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet the star of the empire. It will be the glory of my family for generations."
"How can natural beauty fade? Okay. I'm especially excited about the things you have brought today."
The merchants who traded with the imperial family always went to the emperor first. It was natural courtesy to give the highest priority over goods to the highest ranking person. Yet today Muto found the empress first, not the emperor. There was clearly a reason, but Marie couldn't help feeling good about it. It felt like she was being treated as superior to the emperor.
'The atmosphere isn't bad.'
Unlike her mild appearance, Empress Marie was a fickle and violent woman. Muto was relieved that she was in a good mood and signalled to his subordinates.
"Isn't the material amazing?"
Empress Marie checked the items on display and was interested in two ornaments. They were a splendid chandelier and mobile made of a matte black metal.
"The place where the candles will be set are made to resemble the imperial chrysanthemum? When it's lit up, you can see the red-colored tulip."
"The light penetrates evenly into the matte frame.
"I like this. It feels elegant."
"Indeed, the empress has a discerning vision."
It wasn't a false compliment. Muto sincerely admired her. Before listening to the description of the product, the empress recognized them as special products.
"I don't know. What material is it made of?"
Marie was one of the world's leading authorities on gold and silver valuables. Due to her high position, the best items on the continent were gathered near her. Therefore, she had high insight and a lot of knowledge. But this was the first time she saw the matte black metal that made up the chandelier and mobile. She couldn't understand no matter how many times she touched it.
Now it was time to drive in the wedge. Muto gave a meaningful smile and explained, "It is a mineral from a dragon lair."
"What? D-Dragon lair?"
Marie doubted her ears. Humans managed to enter the nest of a dragon and obtain minerals? Her common sense told her it was impossible.
Muto gave her confidence. "It's a mineral from the lair of the insane dragon Nevartan."
Nevartan went completely crazy for some reason and was wandering around the world. Nevartan's lair would be empty. It would be a big hit for the person who found it.
"Check it out."
The convinced Empress Marie ordered the various experts standing behind her and they started to look closely at the chandelier and mobile. They came up with an answer in minutes.
"I don't know if it is a mineral from a dragon lair, but it's definitely a mineral I have never seen before."
"The workmanship of the mineral is also excellent. It's at least a craftsman level. However, the biggest flaw is the craftsmanship. It isn't a masterpiece because it isn't in harmony."
"But it's sufficient to be worth a lot."
"Okay. I like this. I'll buy two of them."
Marie decided after hearing the opinions of the experts, only for Muto to become embarrassed. Marie frowned.
"What is it?
"T-That...with all due respect, I was going to show one of these to His Majesty. It is polite to show the emperor such a special thing..."
"Look Sir Muto."
"Get rid of the unnecessary acting. Didn't you bring these things to me first because you knew I would pay a higher price? I'll buy them. Don't worry. I will give one of them to His Majesty as a gift."
"You're truly amazing."
There were few rare objects in the world. The emperor would be greatly pleased when the empress gave him one of these item as a gift.
'Sometimes I need to be charming to make him shed some suspicions.'
The empire was currently divided into two factions between the emperor and the empress. But the relationship between the emperor and Marie was good. The emperor tried to believe in Marie. The emperor recognized Marie's faction as the faction of 4th Prince Edan. Marie didn't make her own faction, but the people who wanted to put her son Edan on the throne were gathering by Marie's side. Empress Marie had been acting as a naive woman towards the emperor for decades.
"Now, this price should be enough?"
[You have received 580,000 gold as the transaction price for the Insane Dragon Iron Chandelier.]
[You have received 190,000 gold as the transaction price for the Insane Dragon Iron Mobile.]
Thanks to the merchant's passive skills Advanced Trading and Bargaining, as well as the products made from the insane dragon iron, Muto earned a huge amount of money. It was a huge benefit even if he had to return half of the profit to the Overgeared Kingdom according to the contract.
Muto smiled and bowed to the empress.
"I am thankful every time Your Majesty deals with a poor merchant like me."
A huge chandelier and a mobile with sharp leaves. They would be placed on the ceiling of the office and in the bedroom of the emperor and empress The moment they failed to hold the weight and crashed down one month later, the empire would be in great turmoil.
Merchant Muto perfectly fulfilled his mission.
The convoy transporting 100 tons of wheat and potatoes and Overgeared King Grid arrived at Titan. His spirit disappeared as he gazed at the endless walls in front of him. He lost motivation when he witnessed the overwhelming scale of Titan, which made Reinhardt look shabby.
Grid weakly thought that it would be better if he avoided fighting with the empire forever. But he quickly got rid of this thought.
'I will be swallowed up if I shrink back.'
The growth rate of the empire was much faster than the growth rate of the Overgeared Kingdom. He had to fight and take things away from them, otherwise he would end up losing.
'I have to swallow them first before I lose.'
Grid and the convoy moved along the shadows of the huge walls hanging over them. Kasim's shadow soldiers were putting needles in the walls. Not a single one of the soldiers watching Grid's procession noticed anything suspicious.
'There is only one chance.'
Grid calculated that it would be in one month. The chandelier crashing would threaten the emperor and empress, while Titan's walls, which stood for hundreds of years, would collapse. This would confuse the entire empire. That was his chance. Grid and the elites of the Overgeared Guild would infiltrate the imperial palace and kill all members of Immortal.
They would tell Immortal that nowhere in the world was safe. This was the goal of his long-term plan.
'I will make them feel fear and regret every night.'
Grid's eyes blazed as he thought about Veradin and Agnus. After a while, he entered through the gates.
"Overgeared King Grid is entering!"
"King Grid, welcome!"
"Welcome to the Saharan Empire!"
Baam baam! Baambabababa!
The empire's soldiers and people warmly welcomed him. Flowers bloomed all over Titan and the cheerful music helped the atmosphere. The reporters from various stations relayed the situation in a loud voice.
『 In history, the Saharan Empire has only received one formal guest. The first and last time was when they welcomed Prince Rajandra of the Lubana Kingdom. 』
『 The empire is more accustomed to domination than diplomatic relationships. From the point of view of the empire that controls all kingdoms on the continent, they don't recognize anyone as a VIP guest. 』
『 I now have respect for Grid who is treated as an honored guest by the empire. 』
Grid was treated as a honored guest of the empire for the first time since Prince Rajandra handed Undefeated King Hamad's head over to the empire. The people of the world were thrilled to realize that Grid was a much greater person than they thought. The same was true for Grid.
'These formalities are for me.'
He really would've been shamed if he came with bare hands. Grid waved to the people with a dignified expression. It wasn't just due to his high dignity stat. Grid was familiar with big events so he could look natural. This was the power of experience.
'Your Majesty, I have been looking through the palace with shadow movements and I think you should be nervous.' He heard Kasim's voice. 'It seems that most of the powers of the empire are gathered here in Titan. I have detected at least 10 people in the palace who are more powerful than me.'
"Can they read you?"
Kasim had previously been detected by Duke Steim's knight, Laden. It was highly likely that his stealth wouldn't work against real geniuses or high-ranking officials.
"Don't enter the imperial palace."
It would be bad if he was caught bringing an assassin into the place where the emperor was. Especially if Kasim's appearance was exposed. Kasim was the last survivor of the Nero, which had been destroyed by the empire. His appearance was very noticeable.
Grid laughed at Kasim's hesitance.
"It's fine because I have the Knights Summoning."
He could summon any of the elites of Overgeared, as well as Kasim, Piaro, and Asmophel. He had already put them on standby just in case.
"Sigh. Then let's go."
What would the owner of the strongest forces and his nearest aides be like? Grid hung the Great Lord's Sword at his waist and entered the palace. At that moment.
[You have discovered a strong person of this era!]
The effect of the Hero King that responded to Sword Saint Kraugel was activated, causing Grid's fighting energy to rise. It was because he encountered Mercedes, the 1st Knight guarding the entrance. Mercedes nodded slightly as she discovered Grid.
[Mercedes' deep eyes have looked at you.]
[Some of your stats and skills are forcibly revealed to Mercedes.]
[You can't resist.]
[Mercedes' sharp sword energy threatens you. The strong pressure makes your mind and body shrink. All speeds are reduced by 30% and skill casting speed is reduced by 20%.]
[You have resisted.]
[Reflecting the status has failed.]
Grid had experienced this in the past. But Mercedes was the one feeling surprised, not Grid.
"I don't know what you saw."
Grid placed a hand on the stunned Mercedes' shoulder and gripped hard.
"Next time, please bow your head a bit deeper. How can a knight dare to look a king in the eyes?"
This was the person who had been kneeling in front of her a few months ago? Mercedes' beautiful faced wrinkled while Grid entered the hall behind her.
At the same time.
[You have discovered a strong person of this era!]
[You have discovered a strong person of this era!]
[You have discovered a strong person...]
[You have discovered a strong...]
The notification windows kept rising.