The pillars supporting the country. The empire was eternal and the people would be at ease.
This was a verse of a song that was once popular throughout the empire. Great Swordsman Piaro and Splendid Swordsman Asmophel. The people of the empire gained great courage and hope when they listened to the song that praised the two heroes of the empire.
It was the same for the young Mercedes. She had dreams of becoming a knight and was raised humming the heroes' song. Mercedes overcame every hardship and trials in the hope that she could someday wear the same red armour as the two heroes. For her, the tragedy of 12 years ago was a huge shock.
The name buried deep in her chest. The moment when the name of the sinner flowed from Grid's mouth.
The pillar of light fell and a man appeared inside. He was a middle-aged man dressed in shabby clothing and covered in dirt and sweat. He wore a straw hat on his head and he was holding a sickle and hand plow with hands covered in calluses. He looked like a farmer, but Mercedes wasn't deceived by the appearance. Despite the 12 years of misunderstanding, she recognized his identity with one glance.
Great Swordsman, Hero, Pillar, Emperor's Sword, Head Teacher, Captain...
They were all the titles that Mercedes once used for Piaro in the past. Now the best courtesy she could give Piaro was to not speak the stigma of 'traitor.' Piaro defended Grid from her sword and made a bittersweet expression.
"That keen-eyed girl is now a beautiful knight."
No regrets could be found in Piaro's eyes as he recalled the past. This made Mercedes' beautiful face distort.
Why didn't he miss the past? How could he be so dignified? Why was he standing on the side of the Overgeared King? It couldn't be.
"Your Majesty, are you safe?"
"Thanks to you."
"I am here to serve."
"Don't tell me..."
The empire in Piaro's heart. It had completely disappeared?
Mercedes eyes became red without her knowing. There was a sense of struggle as she tried to hold back her tears.
"Do you know how much I have been looking for you in the past 12 years?"
It was hard to bear. In the end, Mercedes' tears emerged. It was because she realized that she was only an 'enemy' to Piaro as she watched Piaro hiding Grid behind his back.
"Every day... I was waiting every day. For the day when you would suddenly appear, telling me that the betrayal was a false accusation."
"But look at you now? My captain... Where did my captain go?!!!"
Mercedes' cry rang across the battlefield. Thanks to this, all the Red Knights saw Piaro.
"No way... Why is Piaro here...?"
The chaos of battle stopped. Veradin and the Immortal members were baffled by this unexpected situation. Grid was also confused as he faced the Red Knights.
'Why are the Red Knights reacting like this?'
Grid knew that Piaro was kicked out of the empire 10 years ago. At that time, he heard that most of the Red Knights who followed Piaro were branded as traitors and killed. As a result, Grid regarded the current Red Knights as a group that had no relation to Piaro. Everyone else in the world was the same. Yet looking at their reactions, it seemed this wasn't the case.
Grid's question was resolved by Mercedes.
"Many boys and girls dreamt of seeing you."
"The young knights who devoted themselves to your teachings and gained great strength from then are now wearing red armor."
"No one has ever spoken your name, but we were all missing you. If you one day appeared before us and told us that you were framed and didn't betray the empire, I wanted you to come back."
At the very least, she wanted to hold the funeral. Mercedes's sad face and shaky voice gradually calmed down. The tears flowing down her cheeks completely dried up.
"But the traitor appeared alive before us."
The reason was because he was hiding behind the Overgeared King.
Mercedes recovered from her confusion. Enormous anger filled her from the betrayal.
"I missed you... I wanted to believe you. Now I'm ashamed and embarrassed."
Mercedes pulled out another sword. It wasn't until the double swords were grasped with both hands that Mercedes' strength was revealed.
"Overgeared King Grid, you have done the sin of sneaking a traitor into the empire. And the traitor... I will exterminate Piaro."
Mercedes' meaning was absolute to the Red Knights. Her declaration was a signal. The Red Knights, who hesitated after seeing Piaro, started attacked Kasim again. Meanwhile, Mercedes flew to Piaro and wielded her swords. Veradin and Immortal didn't miss this moment.
Immortal had been watching the strange atmosphere with unease. Now they started to act again. The summoned new undead to hit Grid's soldiers. Veradin shouted, "Grid! You have to summon all your knights right now!"
If he didn't want to lose the strongest farmer that the Overgeared Kingdom was proud of! Summon all the talents and lose everything in return!
Veradi, who believed in the power of the Red Knights and smiled with joy, didn't know. Piaro's Pounding Mortar that took off one of Great Demon Belial's arms. It was a power that a mere player couldn't afford.
"Piaro! How long will you play around? Are you still seeing me as a child?"
Mercedes spat out angrily at Piaro's clear disregard as he used his sickle and hand plow to block her swords.
A pillar, or mortar, that was a size too big for humans to guess appeared in the night sky. It was gigantic enough to devour the bright moon that floated in the sky.
The strong aura caused goosebumps. Mercedes and the Red Knights escaped, but the nervous Veradin and Immortal necromancers had low agility and were forced to stand in the wrong place. Yet they didn't despair. Veradin was still smiling.
"It finally came. The legendary farmer's strongest technique." Veradin had watched the Belial raid video several times. It was to grasp the power of Grid, Kraugel and the Overgeared members. In the process, he analyzed Piaro and Pounding Mortar. "A wide range skill that deals physical damage in proportion to the target's maximum health?"
He was certain. He believed that unless the skill dealt proportional damage, it couldn't inflict a critical wound on Belial who had millions of health. The confident Veradin signalled to Immortals top rankers. They all took out new armor.
[The Armor of Great Weight has been equipped.]
[Armor of Great Weight]
Durability: 59/59 Defense: 579
* Increases defense in proportion to the level of the wearer (1 defense per 3 levels).
* Reduces physical damage by 9%.
* Movement speed is fixed at 0 and moving isn't possible.
* Stamina is reduced by 20%.
* Stamina will be reduced by 1 every 10 seconds.
The armor of the Pero people that was made to endure the raids of the Saharan Empire.
It increases the wearer's defense to the extreme. However, the armor is so heavy that wearing it is exhausting. The durability is lacking because it is designed only for high defense. Wearing it for too long isn't allowed.
User Restriction: Level 250 or higher.
The worst armor that decreased stamina and made it impossible to move! However, the defensive power was high enough to exceed heavy armor.
"If we can endure this attack...!"
The death of the sub-rankers who couldn't obtain such armor wasn't a concern. Veradin calculated that he and the surviving top rankers could help Mercedes destroy Grid. Veradin and the necromancers took expensive buffing potions that temporarily boosted their defense.
Pounding Mortar fell. Piaro was aiming for the necromancers from the beginning. He knew that necromancers needed to be taken out when fighting an undead army.
Take a step forward. After a while, kill Grid.
Veradin and the necromancers laughing like crazy couldn't even scream as they were crushed.
[The Armor of Great Weight has been destroyed!]
[The Armor of Great Weight has been...!]
[The Armor of Great Weight has...!]
The heavy weight of the falling mortar contained a power that violated common sense. The armor that Veradin and the necromancers believed in was destroyed and their bodies and souls disappeared without a trace.
No one could open their mouths. They just gaped at the forest that disappeared. As the trees disappeared, ash-colored pillars scattered all over the night sky. The countless undead also turned to dust and returned to the ground. There was an awkward silence.
"As long as I am alive, no one can harm my king's body." Piaro declared to his confused enemies, including Mercedes. There was no trace of the old days. As Mercedes expected, Piaro recognized the Red Knights as an obvious enemy.
Her heart hurt. The hero who taught her how to be a knight was a traitor aiming his sword... No, aiming his hand plow at them. It was awful. It made her wonder if a knight was such a fleeting existence. The Red Knights spoke to the pained-looked Mercedes.
"It's dangerous with just us alone."
"If we retreat... Even Captain Limit would understand."
Right now, Mercedes was the only solo number knight present. Meanwhile, Piaro seemed stronger than he did in the past. In addition, Grid and Kasim were formidable opponents. The Red Knights judged it was impossible to beat the enemies with their current power.
Mercedes nodded and gave a command, "Okay. Everyone retreat."
"Who will guard your retreat?"
What did it mean to be alive? The captain she vowed a knight's oath to was forcing her to betray, rather than be loyal to the emperor, which her former teacher who taught her about a knight's oath was already a traitor. In the end, she would rather die than be corrupted.
Piaro smiled for the first time as he prepared for Mercedes' challenge.
"You are the same as ever."
There were those who didn't change under any circumstances. They were the ones who had strong convictions from the start.
"I can't break your will. Good. I will deal the end with my own hands."
Piaro was Grid's. He couldn't stand that Mercedes tried to harm Grid. He knew her talents and beliefs and decided to the girl he had raised as a seed. But Grid didn't allow it. It was because he witnessed the sadness in Piaro's face.
"Piaro, do you remember how I wished for you to be happy?"
"Summon Knight, Asmophel."
The only key to getting rid of Piaro's bad name. The Red Knights were astonished when Grid shouted this name. Mercedes once again lost her soul.