One day pa.s.sed after the end of the National Compet.i.tion. In the meantime, all the media outlets in South Korea and elsewhere were focused on Yura’s public confession. Public interest soared into the sky, and Grid and Yura’s story spread on the Internet and SNS sites 24 hours a day.
–Aren’t Grid and Yura arriving today?
–I guess they finally decided to go out.
–Ah, I’m envious.
–We have to cheer for them.How much courage did it take Yura to confess…?
–That’s right.This is the true att.i.tude of a fan.
The news of Grid and Yura’s arrival caused thousands of people to flock to Incheon International Airport. Broadcasters, reporters, and even ordinary people came to the airport to see the main characters. Unlike Grid’s worries, the people didn’t curse at him. Instead, they cheered for Yura’s courage while accepting that Grid was worthy of being confessed to.
Once Grid’s group actually appeared, the atmosphere cooled down sharply. The people calling Grid’s and Yura’s names shut up, and the reporters clicked their tongues. The reason was that Grid didn’t come with Yura alone; he was also with Jishuka. Jishuka’s arms were tightly linked with Grid’s arm.
–Grid, that x.x.x…
The moment Grid’s entry was relayed to the world in real time, and he got 10 million anti-fans. Grid got a chill down his spine as he faced the crowd with the two girls. He felt that the many people gathered at the airport were sending hostility and killing intent toward him.
‘…This is a sign of friends.h.i.+p.’
Jishuka was a close friend and colleague, so she hugged his arm. Yes, this was friends.h.i.+p, not affection. Yet he was currently receiving killing intent because he was mistaken as having the affection of two girls…?
‘It is unfair…’
Jishuka didn’t know Grid’s feelings and smiled deeply as she attached herself more closely to Grid. Yura suspected that Jishuka was the one who released the information of when they were returning.
Grid’s Village—this was the name that people given the area where the streets had evolved after Grid’s building was completed. There were six high-rise buildings finis.h.i.+ng their construction next to Grid’s building, and one of them belonged to Jishuka.
“It is a good place.”
Jishuka’s building was right next to Grid’s building. Based on the structure, Jishuka also seemed to be using the penthouse as a home like Grid. It was too open though.
‘The distance in between is short, and the exterior walls are plain gla.s.s? If I turn on the lights at night, my place can be seen.’
The garden and swimming pool were completely exposed. The structure of Grid’s place meant people could peek in with one glance. Why did he place a high wall on the other side but not this side? Grid c.o.c.ked his head and asked, “It will be completed in a fortnight?”
“Yes. Thus, I need to ask for a place to stay during the fortnight. South Korea is still strange and a bit scary for a woman alone… I’ll probably stay at a hotel.”
“Why bother with a hotel? Come to my place. There is plenty of room.”
This was a friend who had flown in from faraway lands. He was willing to offer his house to her as a courtesy. A bright smile emerged on Jishuka’s beautiful face.
“Thank you, Grid!”
“D-Don’t hug me so suddenly!”
Grid was very exhausted. He provided a room and meals to Jishuka but lost his energy after just one day.
‘Do all South American women dress like this at home…?’
The absent-minded Grid sat in the capsule for a while before banis.h.i.+ng his thoughts and logging in. It had been almost two days since he connected to the server. Grid first went to Irene. It was because Irene’s image had blurred since Yura confessed to him.
He was confused. Satisfy and reality were disconnected worlds. Should he feel guilty toward Irene because he liked Yura in reality? If he cheated on Irene because she only existed in Satisfy, could he really be confident that he loved her?
Upon arriving at the palace, he saw Irene’s beautiful side profile standing in the garden as she overlooked the pool. She was now older than him. Grid’s heart hurt like his chest had been torn open.
“Your Majesty!”Irene discovered Grid and ran over.
Grid smiled bitterly as he approached and hugged her tightly.“There are many things I want to tell you and stories that I want to hear. Let’s chat all night.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Irene buried her face in Grid’s chest and laughed like the happiest person in the world. Grid held her tightly and realized… He couldn’t betray her.
“I love you.”
“Your Majesty… There are too many eyes watching.”
Irene used to like this a few years ago, but she was older now and had to be careful of her dignity. Out of nowhere, Grid shouted in a loud voice, “I! Love! Irene!”
“Y-Your Majesty.” Irene blushed as she smiled at him, and they exchanged glances. The king and queen who loved each other deeply always set an example. That evening…
“You haven’t changed since the first day we met.” Irene paused as she walked through the garden with Grid. She had seen the depths hidden in Grid’s smile. The current Grid had a similar look to when he had been momentarily shaken by Sua. “I am mortal. I can’t stand by Your Majesty’s side forever.”
“Irene, what are you saying all of a sudden?”
“I want Your Majesty to meet a woman who can be with you forever.”
“Don’t say that.”
“I am sincerely saying this because I love Your Majesty.”
Their times flowed differently. He was already prepared for it, but he felt frightened and resentful of her determination. Grid saw the sadness and determination in Irene’s blue eyes and vowed to never love an NPC again. Then he wept without realizing it.
Three days after the end of the National Compet.i.tion, the world’s messages appeared in front of Lauel’s eyes as he was working.
[The marine Media Kingdom was destroyed.]
[The Saharan Empire has absorbed all the territories and rights of Media.]
[The survivors of Media have a great grudge against the Saharan Empire. Their desire for vengeance will last forever.]
[The Saharan Empire’s momentum is rising sharply in a terrible manner! For the next 10 days, players from the Saharan Empire will gain an extra 10% experience and an extra 5% chance to acquire items.]
Media was a kingdom that Lauel had visited because the Behen Archipelago was located there. It was a small and beautiful kingdom with a considerable amount of wealth acc.u.mulated. Despite having been predicted to possess a significant number of elite troops, it had been destroyed overnight.
‘Did they use the magic machines?’
Lauel convened an emergency meeting. A whisper arrived as he was waiting for the 10 meritorious retainers. The person who sent the whisper was a big shot—the G.o.d of War, Ares.
–You can rest a.s.sured because my players have gained the White Dragon’s Eyes first.
‘What are the White Dragon’s Eyes?’
It was the first time Lauel had heard of them, but there was nothing good about exposing the absence of information.
–So?What is your purpose? Lauel inquired indifferently.
Ares replied, –I’m hoping for compensation.Reduce the price of the weapons that are traded with us by four times.
Since Grid received Hexetia’s blessing, many blacksmiths had migrated to the Overgeared Kingdom, and Lauel had thoroughly taken advantage of this. He almost exclusively monopolized the items market and received profit by raising prices. Frankly, it was a huge blow to Valhalla. It led to a situation where Valhalla couldn’t properly arm the soldiers they recruited because the value of the items had increased by three times. Even if they used all the kingdom’s money to purchase weapons, it would be insufficient.
Criticisms toward the Overgeared Kingdom and Lauel came from all over the continent. However, Ares never condemned the Overgeared Kingdom. Grid had helped him in the past. However, Ares was also the king of a kingdom and couldn’t keep being held back…
‘Claiming compensation?’ Lauel’s brain worked quickly. The destruction of Media, the empire that destroyed Media, and the White Dragon’s eyes…
‘The reason the empire invaded Media was to get the item called the White Dragon’s Eyes. If the empire managed to get the eyes, it would’ve harmed us…’
It was imperative to learn about the White Dragon’s Eyes.
–I will contact you after discussing it with King Grid.
–I will be expecting a positive answer.
Despite Lauel’s reserved words, Ares withdrew without hesitation. It was an att.i.tude that said his side held the cards. Lauel found it strange and immediately went to Sticks. The great sage Sticks was a cheat key. He naturally knew about the White Dragon’s Eyes.
“The White Dragon’s Eyes can reflect all types of powers.”
“All types of powers?”
It was a hugely fraudulent item. Consequently, it was natural for the empire to covet it. So why did Valhalla intercept and take it? Why did Ares talk about compensation? Lauel returned to the conference room and consulted with the 10 meritorious retainers, but it was difficult to determine the answers.
Two hours later, Faker reported to him, “Media salvaged the White Dragon’s Eyes 10 days ago and the empire immediately obtained the information. Media tried to conceal it, but it was impossible to avoid the empire’s intelligence network.
Why did the empire covet it so much that they destroyed a kingdom with hundreds of years of history overnight? Lauel struggled for dozens of minutes before looking like he was. .h.i.t by lightning.
“…The evil eyes’ king!”
“…?” The 10 meritorious retainers were confused.
Lauel explained to them, “Species such as elves, dwarves, orcs, vampires, giants, the evil eyes, and the water clan are eyesores to the empire who are seeking to unify the continent. Among them, the Saharan Empire is most wary of the evil eyes due to the power of the evil eyes’ king.”
Raising his hand, Lauel covered half of his face. He revealed one eye while thinking about how wonderful it would be if a shape flashed in this eye. “The White Dragon’s Eyes reflects all types of powers. What if it reflects the eyes of the evil eyes’ king?”
“Will it be possible to destroy the evil eyes’ king?”
“That’s right. The White Dragon’s Eyes can’t enter the hands of the empire.”
This was the most shocking fact.
“The G.o.d of War knows about the relations.h.i.+p between King Grid and the evil eyes’ king. He knows that the evil eyes’ king has a favorable relations.h.i.+p with King Grid, seized the White Dragon’s Eyes halfway, and attempted to trade with us using it…”
“…” The room fell silent. They had all realized it. Lauel pushed in the last wedge, “That’s right. Valhalla has excellent strategists. They are genius enough to read the positions of the empire and the Overgeared Kingdom before acting one step ahead.”
They were completely hit by him. It was the result of partic.i.p.ating in the National Compet.i.tion.
‘I won’t be able to partic.i.p.ate in the National Compet.i.tion again,’ Lauel pledged as he determined what happened.
“We are now in a position where we’re being threatened by Valhalla. If we don’t listen to the demands of the G.o.d of War, the White Dragon’s Eyes will fall into the hands of the empire…”
“I roughly know the situation.”
While Lauel was speaking with a serious expression, Grid entered the meeting room. He was wearing gla.s.ses with lens as transparent as a jewel. The lens were also tinged a mysterious violet color.
“Don’t worry about the evil eyes’ king.”
To think that Grid was showing up in sungla.s.ses and grinning when the situation was so serious…? Grid explained to the baffled 10 meritorious retainers, “The evil eyes’ king will be able to control his eyes. There will be no problems with the White Dragon’s Eyes.”
The continent unification episode of the Saharan Empire finally started, and the Overgeared Kingdom became the eye of the typhoon right from the very beginning.