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Something huge and ugly was the method to create primitive fear. The black tortoise merely cried out to the sky but the high rankers shuddered with fear. They felt threatened by the enormous size of the black tortoise and disgusted by its appearance. Grid was the same. No, the confusion he felt was much greater. It was a side effect of knowing many things.
‘Is this one of the Four Auspicious Beasts?’
Grid knew—the Four Auspicious Beasts were the guardian G.o.ds of humanity, born from the aspirations of humanity. It was their role to help with the stability and prosperity of humanity. Naturally, they were favorable to humanity and their existence itself was beneficial for humanity. This wasn’t speculation, it was real.
Grid had witnessed the resurrection of the red phoenix enriching the south. Now the current black tortoise was completely different. The resurrection of the black tortoise didn’t help the north. A black, sticky liquid oozed from the snake scales and eroded the civilization of the earth. The smoke that came from the fire spout protruding from the tortoise sh.e.l.l covered the sun in the sky.
[Death is coming!]
[Death is coming!]
The transcendent senses that detected and warned of danger drove Grid to great confusion. The warning messages steadily rose and Grid was dizzy.
‘...This isn’t the guardian G.o.d.’
Grid watched the growing size of the black liquid puddle and was convinced.
‘A wounded G.o.d.’
It was completely different from the red phoenix. The black tortoise was a G.o.d that stifled human life and destiny just by its existence. Was it originally like this?
‘No, it is impossible.’
The Twelve Zodiacs had told him that the black tortoise was the gentlest of the Four Auspicious Beasts. They said the reason the black tortoise denied and got rid of artificial substances was for humans.
‘By preserving nature, it is protecting the human race.’
It was extreme logic comparable to the claim that there was no war without an army. In any case, most of the actions of the black tortoise came from its heart or instincts for humanity.
‘It is different now.’
Night came to the world because the poison that the black tortoise emitted completely covered the sun. Was this darkness that withered life, for humanity? Not at all.
‘Something is wrong.’
It was strange from the beginning of the resurrection. It appeared that the yangbans had deliberately released the black tortoise.
‘Did they make this type of black tortoise?’
It happened when Grid was constantly thinking.
“Dammit! They hid a monster instead of a treasure!”
“We were deceived by the yangbans! We have to run away!”
“However, if we fail the quest then we all...!”
“The quest was to protect the treasure but we don’t even know where the treasure is! It is right to run away!”
The high rankers shouted and moved. They were very skilled and avoided the black liquid that fell from the black tortoise’s scales. Whenever the poison touched their skin, they quickly took out an antidote to drink it. However, the situation of some magicians wasn't good. They had relatively low physical abilities due to their investment in intelligence. They were overwhelmed by avoiding both the black pool and the liquid falling from the sky.
“Hey! Come this way!”
The tankers set out to help the magicians. They hid the magicians behind them while raising their s.h.i.+elds to stop the black liquid falling from the sky. They didn’t know the power of the black tortoise so it was a foolish mistake.
The s.h.i.+elds of the tankers were corroded by the black liquid and turned to sc.r.a.ps. The tankers found it unexpected that objects meant for self-defense would melt without defending them. The black tortoise had no idea of the situation on the ground. It was still roaring at the sky without looking at the humans it needed to take care of. Every time it roared, new black liquid oozed from the scales and scattered like rain.
The tankers who lost their s.h.i.+elds and the magicians behind them all paled. A black drop of water, the same size as a house, was falling over their heads.
The magicians used various spells but it was useless. s.h.i.+eld couldn’t handle the ma.s.s of liquid and Anti-magic didn’t work at all.
‘We’re going to die!’
The rankers had this thought. It was the blond intruder—the person someone claimed was Grid’s knight appeared between the black drops and the rankers. For some reason, his armor and helmet were removed. He was only wearing a s.h.i.+rt, shoulder guards, gaiters, and boots. The water droplets that should’ve soaked the rankers splashed all over the blond man. The blond knight’s shoulder guards, gaiters, and boots melted away in an instant.
He would melt and die without a single bone left behind...
Why did this person help them? The stunned rankers were screaming at the blond man’s incomprehensible sacrifice only to close their mouths. The blond knight’s shoulder guards, boots, and gaiters recovered immediately after the black liquid touched it. They repeatedly melted and regained their form. The process was quickly repeated dozens of times and the body of the blond knight wasn’t damaged at all. Not even a single strand of hair was damaged.
Only the s.h.i.+rt melted and disappeared. The half-naked blond man spoke, “This liquid only extinguishes artificial substances and is harmless to organic things. So take everything off and run away.”
Take it off? The female rankers were perplexed while the male rankers took off their items without hesitation. Then they yelled at the blond knight. “You’re our enemy! Why are you suddenly helping us?”
The blond knight—Grid shrugged with Asmophel’s appearance. "I never thought of you as an enemy.”
If he had considered them enemies then he would’ve killed them the moment he saw them. He would’ve gone beyond the level of piercing their s.h.i.+elds and armor.
“Don’t talk nonsense and get out of here,” Grid urged them. He had noticed why the rankers came here.
‘They were drawn here by a call from the heavens, just like me in the past.’
They were only being used by the yangbans and the Five Seniors. Sooner or later, they would regret it. There was no need to inflict pain on them. Grid recalled the blacksmiths who had been killed by Garam before looking up at the black tortoise. In the blackened world, the roaring red glow was more demonic than a great demon.
The rankers felt puzzled by the blond knight’s att.i.tude and were rus.h.i.+ng to leave this spot when they suddenly stiffened like statues. They stared blankly at the blond knight without being able to close their mouths.
[The durability of Berith's Skin Mask has decreased by 1.]
None of the great demons were comparable to a G.o.d. Berith, who was only ranked 22nd, couldn’t be compared to a G.o.d. It meant the skin mask made by Berith wouldn’t be safe before the power of the black tortoise. He took off the skin mask in order to avoid the drop in durability.
The gorgeous blond hair turned into short black hair and the cool eyes became sharp. The muscles that made up the chest and the thick waist was reminiscent of the statue of a G.o.d.
The rankers learned the truth of the blond knight and were astonished. Then their faces soon distorted. The emotion that struck them was anger. “Grid!”
A few rankers stopped moving. They stared at Grid who was standing in front of the black tortoise. Bubat, Shane, Ronam, etc.—they were representatives of their countries. If they had something in common, it was that they suffered due to Grid every time they competed for their country.
“Grid! Why are you helping us?”
For the rankers, Grid was special. They envied him and took him as their goal. Yes, their goal. No matter if they liked Grid or not, they had been struggling to catch up with him and learn from him. They secretly hoped that Grid would look back at them.
“You... we are really nothing to you...!”
The reason Bubat didn’t partic.i.p.ate in this year’s National Compet.i.tion was due to Grid’s declaration that he wouldn’t attend. Bubat became determined after seeing Grid’s interview about how he wouldn’t attend the event because it was boring. He was going to be stronger. He would be sure to become stronger so that Grid wouldn’t be able to say the same thing again. Partic.i.p.ating in this quest was just one way to strengthen himself.
However, this quest became a crisis, not an opportunity, and Grid was the one trying to overcome it. Bubat didn’t want to tolerate this situation.
“Helping us instead of hindering us...! Does it mean we’re not even your compet.i.tors?” Bubat yelled with bloodshot eyes.
The same was true for the eyes of the other rankers. They were angry. They were mortified by their pitiful selves, who could only be angry at Grid for doing them a favor. It was a complicated feeling that the rankers themselves couldn’t understand. However, Grid understood—he knew the feelings of the weak. “You have misunderstood something.”
He heard a yangban say, “The wrath of the black tortoise is directed at the sky.”
“Stimulate it and encourage it to burn the earth.”
Grid flew up into the sky and saw the two yangbans talking to each other. Then he activated the Open Potential skill. “I have nightmares every night. A nightmare of being brought down by you again.”
“The reason I helped you isn’t because I’m ignoring you. I just did it.”
The yangbans wondered, “Who is that person?”
“Get rid of him.”
The three yangbans belatedly discovered Grid talking to the rankers and leaped through s.p.a.ce. They made the concept of distance meaningless and reached Grid in an instant. Gooseb.u.mps rose on the skin of the rankers who shuddered at the feats of the ‘G.o.ds.’
Three swords moved like living snakes, wrapping around Grid and stabbing at his vital points. It was a fast and dazzling pincer attack that was hard to follow even for the rankers watching from afar. On the other hand, Grid’s attacks were neither fast nor dazzling. Not a single ranker was impressed by Grid’s swordsmans.h.i.+p.
It was invisible. The swords of the yangbans stopped just before stabbing Grid and shook.
There was a moment of silence...
Then the eyes of the yangbans lost their light. Blood sprayed like a fountain from the necks and chests of the yangbans. This was 300,000 Army Swordsmans.h.i.+p Stealth Sword—the technique of Madra, the Undefeated King who killed 300,000 enemy soldiers without them realizing it, was recreated at Grid’s fingertips.
[The effect of 300,000 Army Swordsmans.h.i.+p has increased the damage of critical hits by 2000%!]
[The effect of 300,000 Army Swordsmans.h.i.+p has exposed the weaknesses of the opponent!]
[Your body doesn’t meet the standards required to use 300,000 Army Swordsmans.h.i.+p. There is a great burden on your body but the effect of the Shoulder Guards of the White Tiger with the Protection of the Red Phoenix has successfully prevented an injury!]
Without noticing it, the neck of the leading yangban was seriously injured. His eyes rolled and he swallowed down the blood. Then he immediately used the White Tiger’s Breath and Red Phoenix’s Breath to try and recover. It was a reaction rate and mentality that far exceeded the level of common sense.
However, the current opponent was the worst. Grid knew how to kill the yangbans.
“Divinity.” It was to hit them hard. “Open Potential.”
Don’t give them a break.
“Transcended Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle.”
Bubat and the rankers lost strength in their legs and sat down after witnessing the horrific killing of a G.o.d by a mere human.