The news that Grid had punished King Sobyeol caused an explosive reaction. It was practically a new epic.
The battlefield where Grid confronted King Sobyeol became a holy land. There were a lot of people who came to the East Continent to see if there were any valuables left behind at the holy land. The ranker, Hyde, was one of them.
At a small town on the outskirts of the Xing Kingdom... Hyde rented an entire house to share with his colleagues. He was prepared to explore the holy land for a long time.
Perhaps a new dimension gap would appear, or it was possible to pick up the blood shed by King Sobyeol or fragments of divinity. It was also good to understand the emergence cycle of the imoogi, which was raised by King Sobyeol... et cetera, et cetera.
It was only a few minutes ago that he had all types of expectations.
“This damn thing, I told you to log out. What are you doing?”
In the present, Hyde’s anticipation turned to irritation.
The dragons—it was due to the emergence of the Absolute species that drove natural disasters. It was even Nevartan, the Insane Dragon.
It was a being synonymous with the dragons. Most of the dragons recorded in history depicted Nevartan. It was the appearance of a giant among giants.
‘There is no way a monster like that will act aimlessly... does this mean that the Grid’s ongoing episode isn’t over yet? Did I move hastily? No... this is the Insane Dragon who is crazy. It is his vocation to wander aimlessly.’
All he had to do was overcome this crisis. Logging out was the best option. Just take a break until the trouble was over. This was Hyde’s judgment, but...
“...Hey, what are you actually doing?”
One of his colleagues was stubborn. Their accommodation had collapsed in the aftermath of a series of explosions shortly after the emergence of Nevartan. This colleague was whining that he would rescue the NPCs buried under the wreckage of the building.
“Bob has already logged out? A single shot of his magic could blow away all the debris and rescue people.”
“People? Are they people? You have only been watching Grid’s mad movies for a while and became sick because of them.”
A colleague who treated NPCs as human beings when they were just chunks of graphics—the problem was that it wasn’t a pretense.
Hyde had worked with his colleagues for ten years. They had made so many memories that it couldn’t even be described using terms such as ‘childhood friends’ or ‘friends that grew up on the street together.’ He fully grasped the personalities of the dozens of people.
“Hyde, this is the child you praised earlier. You shook hands with him while saying that you liked how polite and quick-witted he was.”
A hand sticking out of a gap in the steel bar—Hyde stared blankly at his colleague, who was talking nonsense. Then he sighed and pointed to the hand that was turning blue.
“It was nothing special. It was just a casual conversation. The more you interact with NPCs, the more likely they are to give you a quest. What meaning are you attaching to a conversation that is just like that?”
Hyde told him, “Wake up. You just have to do one thing. Log out right now. Turn on the news and wait until I call you.”
Nevartan wasn’t here. He flew over the city and was fighting something on the horizon. However, the repercussions were coming in real time. The surrounding forest collapsed, the ground split, and landslides occurred. All types of disasters happened to the city.
Hyde couldn’t afford to allow the so-called Grid disease. This was why Hyde poked his spear through the cracks in the bricks and steel frame. He murdered the boy who was dying anyway, and turned his screaming parents into companions to the underworld.
In the aftermath alone, the rubble of the building became dust and scattered. It meant that if he tried to save them, he could’ve saved them.
‘This crazy thing.’ Hyde felt like he had stepped on poo. A warning window rose up. It told him that not only was his chaotic value full, but there was also a witness somewhere and he had become a wanted criminal. Unless the inhabitants of this city were destroyed today, he would be under a number of restrictions in Xing for a while.
‘If this was going to happen, I should’ve rescued him even if it is tiring and would take a while.’
Should he just kill them all...?
Hyde was looking around and thinking seriously when his colleague slapped him. “You...! You! How could you do this...?!!”
“It is because of you.”
“You played games without distinguishing between reality, so I got a murderer penalty. For the time being, our party will be left homeless. Stamina management will become more difficult and the overall difficulty of exploration will increase.”
“Now stop fucking around and log out as soon as possible.”
Similar situations were playing out in various parts of the city.
Someone swept up all the valuables in the house where the owner had died and killed the witnesses that appeared, someone froze NPCs with freezing magic to use them as shields to break through the flames, etc.
They really hurt the inhabitants in all sorts of ways and for all types of reasons.
Nevartan’s Breath and magic never touched the city, but the population of a few towns quickly disappeared. It seemed to have become a ghost town at first glance. Hyde’s wanted criminal penalty was also removed.
‘The witnesses were found and killed by someone? How lucky.’
They were atrocities committed by a very few people. Even so, the problem was that the level of each player was very high. It was a small city without a proper army and it was controlled by only a handful of players. From a long time ago, normal NPCs couldn’t handle players.
Satisfy’s high degree of freedom where ‘anything was possible’ meant that even at this moment, NPCs around the continent were being driven to death. Grid had eyes and ears throughout the empire and he naturally knew this best. Thus, he chose to work with Rebecca. It was with the conviction that this world shouldn’t belong to players.
-...In addition, Hyde, who is known as the slayer of the Chaos Mountains. Add this guy to the kill list.
Just in time, Grid passed over the city and delivered dozens of names to Lauel. There were exactly 24 people. Grid even saw it with his own eyes. These 24 players took advantage of the disturbances to harm the residences and take advantage for their own interests. There must be someone who committed murder even if there were no benefits.
The names of bigshots, who were hard to ignore, were mentioned one after another, but Lauel accepted the order without hesitation.
The four nations of the East Continent were effectively under the protection of the Overgeared Empire. A person who committed a crime here couldn't be forgiven even if they were the owner of a nation. It was something that Grid had long declared, making it the law.
‘By the way, there is no end to the trash.’
Grid was deeply frustrated. The peace that had come to the world after Baal’s death was overshadowed. No, it was because peace had come that the number of garbage becoming active was increasing.
Then hundreds of God Hands spread across the city.
The necromancer who slaughtered the inhabitants and made disposable undead to build a barrier and block the rocks rolling down the mountain; the swordsman who killed the soldiers helping the people evacuate to take their swords; and the transcendent who killed the lord, who should be leading the soldiers, and climbed to the top of the lord’s castle to appreciate the disaster—all of them were cut by the swords wielded by the God Hands.
“Braham will arrive soon. I think you can leave the rest of the work to him,” Nefelina said cautiously. Her voice trembled. She seemed to know that it was her father lurking at their destination on the horizon.
"Yes, let's go.” On the other hand, Grid's voice was subdued and calm as he retrieved the God Hands. He was outwardly calm.
In reality, he was much more nervous than Nefelina. What choice would Nefelina make when she would soon face the truth? Maybe she would leave his side...
Grid paused for a while before using Shunpo again. He was holding Nefelina, who had polymorphed into a human, in his arms. He treated the girl with the same care as usual, even though she might cooperate with her father and turn against him.
Grid had been repeatedly moving forward, only to suddenly stop. His cheeks ached. It was due to the aftermath of the shockwave caused by the collision of Nevartan’s Breath and Chiyou’s sword. However, no blood flowed. It was thanks to the ‘physical tolerance’ stat that came from Rebecca. It felt like having dragon scales on his skin. Grid noticed that the value of the newly acquired stat was similar to wearing an extra layer of dragon armor.
“...Hmm?” Chiyou had Nevartan’s tail wrapped around his waist in return for blocking Nevartan’s claws. Then his gaze fell on Grid and he made a sound. He tilted his head and didn’t seem able to grasp the situation properly.
Nevartan was different.
[Grid... you joined forces with Rebecca and finally came to get in the way.]
Dragons learned providence from the moment they were born. Furthermore, all knowledge and information were learned naturally. Of course, they were incomplete during the period when Bunhelier lost his yeouiju. They fell into oblivion and didn’t fully demonstrate the ‘I know everything’ characteristic of their species.
Now it was different. Ever since Bunhelier regained his true form, they had grasped the major events of the world in close to real time. It was because this was the authority Morpheus had given them. It was a reasonable choice to quickly identify and remove the bugs that might be lurking.
[I can’t understand it. Why are you on the side of the crazy Goddess?]
Rebecca tried to reset the world in her own way. It was never normal. She was an evil that was incomparable to Baal, who was playing house in hell, so correction was necessary. She wasn’t someone Grid should cooperate with when he had been fighting to protect the world.
Grid replied to Nevartan, who was genuinely puzzled, “We shouldn’t be the masters of this world.”
[It is sophistry. They are words that aren’t suitable for you, who have swallowed more than half the world. Is the madness of the Goddess contagious?]
“At the very least, we need a counter-force to keep us in check.”
The girl’s shoulders trembled at her father’s quiet call.
[Even though you are still a hatchling, you know what is going on.]
Did she already know? The reason why Nefelina was less talkative than usual—it wasn’t because she was nervous, but because she was worried about her relationship with Grid...
[Come here. We all have our roles.]
Grid closed his eyes. He didn’t have the courage to see Nefelina’s expression. He didn’t want to see her leave for her father’s side.
He had to face it. He had done this without any consideration for Nefelina’s position. He betrayed her. The minimum of courtesy that he should do was to see her off on her way.
“Goodbye. Be careful of dangerous things until you become an adult.” In the end, Grid said goodbye to Nefelina. No matter how much he thought about it, he saw no possibility of her remaining by his side.
‘In the first place, a small car is a bit awkward.’
Grid was trying hard to control his mind, but... it didn’t have much of an effect. His heart was heavy and depressed.
“...Excuse me, Grid.” Nefelina was still by Grid’s side. Her small hands carefully grasped Grid’s cloak that was fluttering along with his divinity. “What are you going to do from now on? It can’t be helped due to the relationship with my father, but... are you going to fight against Raiders, who helped you? Even with Bunhelier, who became a friend...?”
“...I’m going to convince them.”
“They aren’t beings who will be persuaded with just a few words.”
Persuasion wasn’t just about a conversation. Strength was necessary...
Grid meditated on it and controlled his mind. Then Nefelina glared at him and asked, "Then me?”
“I will respect your choice.”
He didn’t want to fight Nefelina...
Even if she was going to leave soon.
If she shot a Breath at him, he would just let her go.
‘Well, how can a hatchling fire a Breath?’
“Why?” Nefelina raised her eyes. Her large eyes gradually became transparent. Tears welled up in her eyes. “Why aren’t you going to convince me?”
“...In what capacity should I persuade you?”
“Don’t you feel sorry for the cows you wasted?”
“Is it such a waste to feed me? Grid, you are a little idiot!”
Grid was greatly shocked.
Nefelina—she was called a hatchling, but she would eventually become a dragon. She was even the bloodline of an Old Dragon. She was the heir to Morpheus’ will, but she was about to go against her natural destiny.
“I woke up from the egg safely thanks to you!”
“You raised me!”
“I am your family! Lord and Irene said so!”
The reasons why she needed to be with Grid. Nefelina dared to list them out. They were interesting facts. She didn’t mention her identity as an apostle. She seemed to decide that family was the most important and valuable thing in the world.
It was just like Grid. She was influenced by Grid. Anyone could see that she was Grid’s child.
Grid’s eyes trembled. His eyes also became transparent. Nefelina’s strong heart, affection, and daringness to defy fate touched him greatly. It also gave him hope. It was the hope that maybe it was really possible to convince Bunhelier.
Nevartan didn’t tolerate it.
[I will judge that Rebecca’s mania is contagious.]
The huge jaw opened up. The dark magic power, which led everything to destruction, overlapped dozens of times in a split second. The targets were Grid and Nefelina. Nevartan put all his energy into getting rid of them.
“Hey! Get on!” It was just as Nefelina hastily undid the Polymorph and was about to put Grid on her back...
Chiyou, who had been silent for a while, asked, “Is the conversation over?”
He grabbed the tail of the giant dragon that was tightening around his waist and swung it wide. Just in time, the Breaths that were fired shot toward the sky. The black flashes spun around and around, tearing through the clouds and grazing the sun and moon. The fragments of the moon formed the Milky Way.
“Then let’s fight. Of course, the three of you can cooperate.”
The truly crazy god smiled slightly with his back against the half-broken moon.