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'What are you up to?'
Grid was the person who previously beat Hurent in just five seconds. Consequently, Grid was able to antic.i.p.ate that Hurent resented him for the aftermath of the 'five seconds' incident. Yet...
'What is this?'
What was this loving attention?
'I feel very uncomfortable.'
Seeing Hurent's s.h.i.+ning gaze, Grid felt burdened and turned away. It was an effort to wake himself up.
'I have to think about it first.'
Grid judged this and opened his mouth to say, "Did you take the wrong medicine? Why are you looking at me with such eyes?"
He was wary. However, Hurent was trying to appeal to him with his eyes, so Grid couldn't make any rash moves.
'I have to grasp the intent behind his ways to understand what he is interested in.'
It was fine. He could do it. Grid had spent the last year trying to use his head! He encouraged himself, thinking he no longer had a stone brain.
"Huhuhut. There is no need to act. Oh, I am older than you. Can I speak in a more relaxed manner?"
As Hurent's nonsense began, Grid fell into confusion.
It didn't matter if Hurent spoke less politely, and it was strange to listen to an old man talk in a polite way the whole time anyway. Why did he suddenly say that Grid was acting though?
'How am I acting?'
It felt like he was in front of a sphinx!
Hurent bowed to the baffled Grid. It wasn't a perfunctory bow that would make others want to slap him. He bowed with deep respect. "Thank you for your care over the past few years. I am amazed and honored that despite knowing the intentions behind why I came to the Overgeared Kingdom, you observed me instead of disturbing me. I feel embarra.s.sed thinking about the days when I was obsessed with getting revenge on you."
"I'm serious. Ordinary people wouldn't be able to watch a compet.i.tor who can be a threat without being prejudiced about the past while also giving them new opportunities. Grid, I am fascinated by your boldness."
"...????" Question marks continued to appear over Grid's head. Grid was still feeling lost when Hurent showed a bitter smile and said, "You kept watching... I also thank you for being concerned about me fighting in the fields. Still, I feel it is somewhat bittersweet. I'm so weak that you defeated me in five seconds, and I can't beat the farmers in this kingdom... It must've been difficult to see such a thrilling battle."
This was crazy. Hurent wasn't sane. It was obvious that this human was crazy.
Grid was watching Hurent...? He was considerate enough to give Hurent new opportunities… and he protected Hurent in the fight...?
'Since when? Ah!' Grid stared at Hurent like he was a madman before belatedly realizing that Hurent was wearing dirt-covered clothes and there was a straw hat at his feet. '...Is he the second Kraugel?'
Grid's head was definitely working better than before. As soon as he heard Hurent's story and confirmed the pattern, he gained a rough grasp of the situation. 'This guy has been a farmer in the Overgeared Kingdom for the past few years and mistakenly thought I knew about it. He misunderstood my intrusion in the fight as an act to protect him.'
Did Grid have a const.i.tution p.r.o.ne to causing misunderstandings? Why did people misunderstand his actions every time? Grid had a headache, but he also felt relieved.
'Most of the misunderstandings went in a positive direction.'
If he had been misunderstood in the negative direction, how uncomfortable and frustrating would it be? That road was too dark to imagine.
"I will explain, Your Majesty." Piaro quietly approached them at this moment.
"Tell me," Grid gave permission.
Then Piaro started the long story. After Hurent led the Eternal army and invaded Reidan, Piaro saw his potential and took him in as a farmer. Since then, Hurent had been contributing to the agriculture of the kingdom... Piaro didn't hide a single truth and explained everything to Grid, "Hurent's aura is truly great. It is at a level that can cause an agricultural revolution. Since he became a naturalized farmer, the crop production has increased by 20%..."
"Naturalization? He isn't an illegal?" Grid frowned as he listened. He was feeling more angry than disappointed with Piaro. "Does it make sense to take an enemy, who might hurt me, and make him work in the fields? Do you want me to be a.s.sa.s.sinated?"
Grid didn't doubt Piaro's loyalty. At the time of the Belial raid, Piaro had fought for Grid and risked dying without achieving his purpose of getting revenge on the empress. In particular, Piaro had given all the loot he acquired from Belial to Grid. Yes, Grid found it difficult to doubt Piaro's loyalty. However, this time, it was hard to understand. Taking an enemy who wanted to harm Grid and placing him in the fields...? In the end, Piaro was raising his enemy. This was the part Grid couldn't understand. It was a reprehensible action.
"..." Piaro shook his head. He couldn't say anything because he knew why Grid was angry. Grid grew angrier because Piaro didn't give an excuse. He had to interpret the silence as agreement. Fortunately, the misunderstanding didn't deepen. It was thanks to the emergence of the potato lover—no, Bland who was more famous for being a farmer than a magic swordsman these days.
"King Grid, the person called Hurent was always under my supervision."
It had been several months since they last met, but Bland had a potato in his mouth like usual. Bland swallowed and explained to Grid in detail, "It was Piaro's command. He told me to kill Hurent if I ever saw him take any actions with a different heart. It was a thorough preparation for Your Majesty's safety."
Piaro added, "It was also my personal judgment. Hurent is someone without the capacity to ambush a person. I am convinced that even if he did point his sword at Your Majesty, it would be in a fair fight. If that day came, I would run to Your Majesty and explain all the circ.u.mstances."
At first, Piaro had only coveted the aura ability. Hurent's ability to plow dozens of targets on the ground had room to grow to a level similar to Piaro's. Piaro had no doubt that Hurent would grow into a person who would contribute to the Overgeared Kingdom's agriculture, and Hurent met these expectations. Additionally, Piaro had been aware of the danger, so he stationed people around Hurent.
"I see... It was like this." Grid was relieved after finding out the entire truth. The disappointment and anger that sprouted in him at the thought of his most trusted loyalist betraying him gradually disappeared. However, Grid still felt sad. Thus, he gave a warning, "In the future, don't keep secrets from me. I want you to report everything that happens to me."
"Yes, I understand. In the future, I will report to Your Majesty whenever I recruit a new farmer," Piaro answered energetically. His still solid loyalty could be seen. No, it had grown from before. He was grateful that Grid had helped him reunited with Singuled, his old friend. It was a harmonious atmosphere.
'...I'm ashamed.' Hurent stood alone and blushed. It was because he realized the reality of the situation through the conversation that went on between Grid, Piaro, and Bland. He was ashamed because he had misinterpreted Grid's actions and even admired Grid.
'I will be a fool for the rest of my life.' Hurent became uneasy because he thought that Grid would laugh at him. He wanted to hide in a mouse hole.
"Do you have a grudge against me?" Grid suddenly asked Hurent.
Hurent glanced at Piaro and Bland before answering honestly, "It would be a lie if I said I didn't have those emotions. Now that I think about it, I don't hate you. I was defeated purely because I was weak. It is funny if I keep thinking it is unfair."
"Hoh...? Your lost your honor because of me, but there are no hard feelings?" Grid was full of doubts as it was hard to believe.
Yet Hurent's eyes were s.h.i.+ning brightly. "Secluding myself from the world was the path I chose. I didn't lose my place because I was defeated."
"Did you seclude yourself to train?"
"That's right. I wanted to beat you."
"You said there was no grudge?"
"Yes. It is just the matter of a man's pride.
Grid was a special person. He had experienced both the lows and highs of life. He had lived the life of the weak, the poor, and the debtor as well as the life of the rich, the life of those envied by others, the life of a challenger, and the challenged. In the process, he had met all types of humans and had been treated differently by them. Sometimes, he had been downtrodden and stepped on, while other times, he had stepped on them or they had given him joy.
That's right. Grid had a varied history. Setting aside his intelligence, he had a good eye for people. Grid could see that Hurent was an upright person. He could sympathize with Hurent since there had been a time when he also aimed for Kraugel. Thus, Grid made a suggestion, "I will give you a chance to get revenge. Let's fight. Come on."
The opportunity Hurent desired had suddenly arrived? Hurent thought he would be deported, so this was a good chance for him.
"...No, I still can't fight you," Hurent rejected the opportunity. Why...? Hurent continued saying, "Do you know the person called Haster?"
"The one here before? It is the first time I've seen him."
"That's right. He is someone unheard of in Satisfy. Yet I struggled to win against him."
Haster had the power of the seven malignant saints, and he couldn't be called weak. It was enough to make Hurent feel rather weak. After all, he was someone who had suffered several defeats to the farmer called Bland.
"I am shamefully weak despite all my efforts over the past few years."
"It is absurd for a weak person like me to fight someone like you. I realized it today."
"I will give up on this desire. I will humbly accept the defeat of that day. I should've done it earlier but enlightenment was too late. Hut! Just think of it as this uncle's stubbornness."
Grid still vividly remembered Hurent's powerful aura attacks and his control that was comparable to Hao's. Looking back at it now, Hurent's strength had been amazing. If Hurent had grown steadily over the years, he was probably still one of the strongest players in the game. In particular, he was one of the few players who could threaten Grid. Yet this powerhouse called himself weak and gave up his desire to defeat Grid, wasting his efforts of the past few years?
'This is wrong.' Grid felt very regretful, especially because he liked Hurent's personality. So, he suggested once again, "You have been working for so many years, and now you want to avoid a confrontation with me? Won't it be a lifelong regret? You will want to turn back the clock one day. Come on, let's fight."
"You are a really decent person." Hurent's nose wrinkled. Feeling deeply grateful for Grid's care, Hurent didn't stay stubborn. He released his fighting spirit in return for Grid's consideration. "Okay! Let's fight! I will challenge you!"
"You should've come out like this sooner."
[Aura Impact is being used.]
[Accurately imagine the shape of the aura within 2 seconds. If there is even a small error in the image, the skill will fail.]
[You have visualized lightning falling from the sly! By reproducing the power of nature, the power of your aura has been increased greatly!]
[There is a limit to the power that a unique rated aura can exert.]
Red lightning bolts fell from the sky several times. It happened in a flash. This wasn't something that ordinary humans without Super Sensitivity could react to.
[You have suffered 9,900 damage.]
[You have suffered 9,900 damage.]
[You have suffered 9,900 damage.]
[You have received an electric shock.]
[You have resisted.]
Grid was filled with a thrilling feeling as he was struck by the lightning. It was a power that rendered his defense and resistance useless.
'The fixed damage has grown close to 10,000!'
It was too strong. Hurent was one of the best players. Grid could see this himself. He felt respect for Hurent who had been trying hard for so long.
"Linked Kill Wave Pinnacle!"
This was the result.
[You have suffered catastrophic damage!]
[A person who is becoming a legend doesn't die easily. You can resist all attacks for 2.5 seconds with a minimum of health.]
"...Hah." It was the first time Hurent had suffered like this in a long time. His shoulders sagged, just like the day of the 'five seconds incident'. "Look... I am weak..."
"Didn't you last 20 seconds this time?"
"Oh, aren't you in bad shape because you just had a battle?"
"..." Grid felt a sense of guilt for some reason. He felt it was a pity for Hurent's shoulders to sag with useless regret. Maybe this was why he reached out. "If you don't have a place to go, join the Overgeared Guild. Become a scout."
"A scout? I already have a job as a farmer."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes. I have to learn more from Piaro."
"How much stronger...?"
"At the very least, I have to escape from being a weakling. What is the point if I can only defeat mobs? I can't keep losing when fighting against other people."
"Ah, yes. Then just apply to the guild."
He wouldn't miss out on Hurent. Grid took the opportunity to recruit the best talent, and Hurent joined the Overgeared Guild. It was a great event that would make several people fall from amazement.