Piaro was sitting in the moonlight while moving the hand plow. The result of his experiments in the vampire city... No, the full moon tonight was enough to plant a 'bloody tomato' he had developed with the help of a colleague.
"Field work is fun."
Piaro felt this every time, but farming wasn't a joke. He had to dig at the hard ground, plant seeds in it, and cover them with soil again. The more he repeated this series of exercises, the more efficiently his muscles were trained and the more strength he gained.
"It is thanks to the health and clean outdoor air."
He sucked the clean air deep into his lungs. It might be exaggerating but he felt that his life was extended by one day every time he took in a breath. It was a sensation he couldn't feel in the vampire cities. The vampire cities were underground, and the flow of air wasn't smooth. He also never got sunburnt because it wasn't sunny. However...
"I'll have to go back soon..."
He couldn't avoid it just because he didn't like it.
Noll's blood was an enormous help for farming because it contained a large number of nutrients. Thanks to Noll's help, Piaro could improve the new variety of potatoes that he was planting. Ultimately, he might be able to get a hint on how to grow the golden walnuts.
'I have to say goodbye to His Majesty tomorrow.'
The reason why Piaro had briefly returned to Reinhardt was due to Grid's safety. He had waited in Reinhardt so he could receive Grid's call at any time when Grid was in the empire. Grid had returned unharmed today, meaning Piaro no longer had a reason to stay in Reinhardt.
'I want to go and see him.'
However, the time was too late. It would be rude to find Grid now. Recently, Piaro had been planting potatoes in the middle of the night, causing him to wake up late.
"Hmm?" Piaro was wishing that morning would come soon when he suddenly stopped moving his hand. He felt turbulence in the atmosphere a few hundred meters away.
Yet the silence of the night continued. The only sound in the serene farmland was the cries of the night owls. However, Piaro felt certain that… something was approaching. Was he mistaken? No. Piaro farmed using the power of the sun, the earth, the water, and the wind. His keen senses precisely captured the changes in the atmosphere.
He knew it. Piaro could hear the cry of a woman coming from far away. Her silent footsteps seemed like she was secretly approaching, but her shout showed that wasn't the case.
'It was a subconscious hiding of her presence...'
It was at a considerably good level. The moment Piaro felt admiration...
"Stop!" A cry came from the woman's right side.
"...Huh?" Piaro was startled. It was because the woman's movement speed was fast enough to exceed his awareness. Her presence had been dozens of meters away, and now it was right in Piaro's field of vision.
"This is an unexpected guest." A smile appeared on Piaro's face as he confirmed the woman's face.
"P-Piaro?!" Mercedes' eyes widened as she grasped the identity of the person digging the tunnel. What method had she used to train? Piaro burned with an intense fighting spirit and cried out excitedly, "You have grown a lot in just one month!"
He didn't ask trivial questions about why Mercedes was now here. Piaro only swung his hand plow with the dream of dueling with a strong person.
"What...?" Mercedes panicked. She had reunited with an old hero in a totally unexpected manner. Rather than feeling joyous, he attacked her randomly? Moreover, it was with a hand plow!
Mercedes frowned as she defended herself with her sword. 'He seems different from before?'
One month ago, Piaro had attacked her under Grid's orders, so Mercedes had already experienced Piaro's power. His attack power with a sickle and a hand plow, instead of a sword, had been surprising. However, Mercedes had been promoted and was now a legend. As long as Piaro didn't pull out his sword, it should be expected for Mercedes to overtake his hand plow.
Yet it was impossible. Why? It was because this was farmland, and farmlands were Piaro's field. The aura of nature made Piaro even stronger, like how Demon Slayer Yura who became more powerful in hell. This was something Grid had overlooked because he didn't become stronger when fighting in the smithy.
"Kuk...!" Piaro continuously took advantage of the hand plow's short reach and quickness to attack. His attack power was even more threatening compared to one month ago. The fast and powerful Mercedes hurried to defend herself. "As expected from Piaro...! You have become stronger in such a short time!"
Facing a legend with farming equipment...!
Mercedes felt a sense of discomfort and didn't question why Piaro attacked her. She was well aware of Piaro's obsession with the strong. Pulling out one more sword, she cried out as she defended against Piaro's hand plow, "Are you finally reaching the level of a Sword Saint?"
If it was like this...
"I'll help you!"
She would duel wholeheartedly so that the old hero could reach a higher level. A silver sword energy sprung up behind Mercedes. It was in the shape of beautiful wings, reminiscent of an angel. The silver wings—Mercedes' wings—spread out. She had some capacity for flight, and she also constantly released sword energy from the wings in order to deal damage to a target.
Mercedes great power collided with Piaro. Strong winds like that of a storm rose and ruined the farmland, swirling the grains in the air.
"I'm no longer the young girl from your memories. Draw your sword," Mercedes suggested. However, Piaro was stubborn. Instead of a sword, he drew a sickle. Now, he struck back with a hand plow and sickle.
Mercedes' expression stiffened. "...You will regret it."
Mercedes felt the need to convince Piaro that she was no longer a young girl. She didn't just want to be acknowledged. It was necessary to validate her skills with her future colleagues.
"Sword of Honor."
Then something amazing occurred. Mercedes' two swords hit only one point. Her swift assault with her flapping wings rushed toward Piaro, forcing him to defend.
'Ha!' Piaro defended against a stab that couldn't be followed with an ordinary person's eyes. The hand plow and sickle had been made personally by Grid, yet cracks started to appear on the farming equipment made of materials from Great Demon Belial. The reason for this phenomenon wasn't because Mercedes' two swords were better than Grid's hand plow and sickle.
It was just the limits of farming equipment. Farming equipment used a much smaller amount of metal than weapons, making them less durable. This was a flaw Mercedes had already discovered.
'I didn't expect to be attacked with this strategy.' Piaro admired the fact that Mercedes truly had an amazing insight as he twisted his crossed hand plow and sickle.
"...!" Mercedes' sword was pushed to the side. Piaro expected Mercedes' stride to become twisted and lose balance. "Hah!"
However, Mercedes' used transcendental movements to keep her balance. She swung her other sword and grazed Piaro's chest, turning her upper body along with the sword.
"Draw your sword now, please."
"The hand plow and sickle are my best weapons. Why should I draw a sword?"
"Stubborn to the end...!"
During the past 12 years, had Piaro become like this to cope with the terrible suffering? Mercedes was convinced of this. 'It is clear that Piaro has regressed.'
How could he have made progress? How could he have afforded to train his mind and body when it was hard just surviving? Mercedes determined that Piaro had become narrow-minded due to what had happened.
"Knight's Resolution." An energy sword formed on her chest, and her mind and body became stronger. Mercedes felt a sense of obligation. She felt obligated to defeat Piaro to remind him of the painful reality and give him a chance to develop further.
'Piaro must become a Sword Saint.'
What about Kraugel? She couldn't accept a person she hadn't heard of suddenly becoming a sword saint. The moment Mercedes made her resolution...
"Free Farming 7th Style."
Thousands and then tens of thousands of seeds were scattered in the aftermath of the battle.
Pepeng! A series of explosions occurred on the ground and in the air. There were literally thousands or even tens of thousands of explosions. The seeds were what exploded, so the size of each explosion wasn't great. However, it was big enough to compare to magic.
"Ugh...!" Mercedes was trapped in the blast and couldn't take a single step. She wrapped her body with the silver sword energy to minimize the damage.
'What is this...?'
The seeds suddenly exploded? Was it possible to take advantage of sword energy to do something like this?
'It can't be!'
Mercedes shrank back in her wings and belatedly realized that Piaro had already reached the same realm as herself. In other words...
"A Sword Saint..." The explosions ended, and Mercedes' expression became jubilant as she opened her ragged wings. "Are you already a Sword Saint?" Mercedes asked.
She was expecting a brilliant resurrection of the old heroes. However, Piaro brutally destroyed her expectations.
"No, I am a farmer."
Was he still joking around right now? The baffled Mercedes tried to open her mouth to speak. Then Piaro pulled out a pitchfork. "Free Farming 4th Style, Plowing the Field."
The ground around Mercedes was quickly cleared.
"Sowing Seeds! Grow!"
New crops were planted, and Piaro used the energy of nature to make them grow.
"..." Mercedes was stunned as she was suddenly surrounded by a golden wheat field. It was a nightmarish night.