The meeting with Kraugel three days ago was an obvious mistake and failure. Biban acted cautiously because he couldn’t tolerate the two failures himself, let alone seek forgiveness from the tower.
‘Control my temper...’ Biban told himself repeatedly as he roamed around Overgeared City for the past three days. He barely suppressed his nature while searching thoroughly for someone stronger than Kraugel. In the end, Mercedes was the one he found. Biban measured Mercedes’ capabilities and was truly impressed. He was convinced about why Kraugel lost. Mercedes showed a ruler’s dignity with every action, and the small circle on her head proved her identity.
‘She is the ruler of this country,’ Biban came to this conclusion after watching Mercedes. He tried to make contact with her, but she never came out of the castle.
‘What is the identity of the person who made this barrier?’
It was unexpectedly difficult to approach Mercedes quietly. In fact, it was virtually impossible to infiltrate the castle undetected. It wasn’t just because of the magic but also the protection of the elementals. Biban had only trained in the sword, so he was weak in magic and stealth.
‘It is simple to break through with strength.’
With Biban’s power, the barrier around the Overgeared Castle wasn’t a threat at all to him. If he desired to do so, he could easily break through and defeat the soldiers and knights guarding the castle. However, there was a rule that the members of the tower couldn’t kill or leave traces behind in this world. So, Biban had no choice but to wait.
Then today, Mercedes finally came out of the palace. Her clear eyes were captured by Biban, who had eyesight better than a hawk.
‘Hah.’ Biban peered into Mercedes’ deep eyes and felt an eerie feeling in his body. Despite erasing his spirit, he felt like her eyes were piercing through him.
It was an accomplishment that couldn’t be achieved through discipline. This was an innate ability. Her eyes were filled with a certain power from the moment she was born. Even hundreds of years of training couldn’t catch up with this.
‘How much can this person grow?’
Biban’s heart thumped. He no longer had any regrets, but he once again became interested in the world he left. At this moment, all his attention was focused on Mercedes. The person following Mercedes and the memphis hovering around her were insignificant. Hell was just a part of this world, so even hell’s best demonic beast was nothing special to Biban.
Biban took action the moment Mercedes entered a deserted street.
“Who are you?”
“This is no place for the public.”
Biban was still uninterested in the nearby man and memphis, and he focused completely on Mercedes, observing her thoroughly. A legendary sword and the dignity of a ruler... Immeasurable eyes and thoroughly disciplined breathing...
Mercedes hadn’t built up her transcendent status due to a lack of experience, but she didn’t seem lacking. She would’ve surely made a name for herself if she had been born in the same era as Muller or Madra. Perhaps, she could even have been stronger than the two of them... Well, probably not.
“You rely on items. I don’t think there is anything that isn’t luxurious from head to toe.”
“Who are you?”
‘Ahh.’ A chill went down Biban’s spine. Mercedes's gaze was different from what he saw at a distance. He felt the magic trying to peek inside him.
“...I came from the tower to meet you.”
Duguen, duguen, dugeun.
Biban didn’t doubt Mercedes. He was convinced she was the new Pioneer and that she would climb the tower with talent beyond his imagination.
“Just once! Let me see the skills of the new Pioneer!”
He felt an emotional high for the first time in hundreds of years when he peeked at Muller from afar. The excited Biban couldn’t control himself.
A one-way street, always forcing a breakthrough, ignorant—these were the evaluations about himself that he had heard since the days of when he was cheated, and Biban was immediately caught up in his soaring emotions. In other words, he lost his temper.
The third party’s gaze was ignored. It wasn’t long before Biban opened his mouth, “I can’t believe you held out for a second! Great! There are two geniuses under the sky!”
The deep eyes that read his sword—they were amazing. Once his swordsmanship was blocked, Biban became cautious and regained his temper. He flew toward the attendant, intending to stun the ‘witness.’
However, the attendant quickly armed himself with a sword, armor, cloak, and headwear. The attendant did it with a speed so amazing that Biban wondered if he practiced changing clothes while eating.
‘Unbelievable!’ Biban’s eyes widened at his failure to hit the pressure point, and he stepped back. ‘Why am I only noticing him now?’
A legend and transcendent...
The dignity of a ruler...
A way of breathing that suggested he seemed to have pushed beyond his limits several times while training...
Even the faint fighting energy...
The squid Biban had thought was just an attendant—no, Biban belatedly stared straight at this man. He realized that, like Mercedes, the man was an unusual person.
Emotions were pulled up continuously, and negative thoughts such as ‘disappointment’ and ‘madness’ emerged constantly. Biban stood quietly for a while before shouting, “Indeed...! A king wouldn’t have an ordinary servant!”
First, it was denial. He hoped that all his assumptions were wrong and clutched at the last straw.
“The existence of the tower should never be leaked to outsiders. Send your knight away for a while.”
“Who are you?”
“I said I was from the tower.”
“The Tower of Eternity?”
“Hah, how can the Tower of Wisdom be compared to such an insignificant tower?”
“Tower of Wisdom...? This is the first time I’ve heard of it.”
The straw he was holding was cut off. The reality of the situation was grim. He was ruined. It was another mistake, another failure. Biban realized it, but he denied it once more. “I saw you coming out of the palace. I have confirmed that all the soldiers and knights in the palace are polite to you, and I’ve found that your prowess is the best in the city. Aren’t you the ruler of this country?”
‘So, please say it.’ Biban’s eyes were full of desperation.
“No,” Mercedes’ answer was decisive.
Biban cried out, “Why are you only saying that now?!”
Two consecutive mistakes and failures—it was really serious. The punishment would certainly be harsh...
Biban was feeling frustrated when the voice of the man he misunderstood entered his ears, “If you grabbed anyone on the street and questioned them, you would’ve known the identity of the king.”
Ah, he had been away from the world for too long. He had forgotten how to communicate. Biban eventually admitted it, “It was my mistake. You aren’t at fault, so I will bear all responsibility.”
“What are you saying...”
“Crazy human ong.”
The man and the memphis thought it was absurd and clicked their tongues. The two of them were well suited to each other. However, Biban showed a bright smile instead of being angry. Regardless, he had finally found the Pioneer.
“You are the king,” he said with a voice full of conviction.
Biban’s gaze was locked on Grid. Grid denied it for now, “Why do you think it is me?”
“Who in the world can be the king if you aren’t the king?”
“Don’t try to hide it anymore. I have already seen your majesty.”
‘I never hid it.’
“Also...” The expression in Biban’s eyes deepened. The traces carved on Grid’s body proved that he had pushed the limits again and again. The status carved into Grid’s soul proved the difficult path he had walked. “The heroic path you are on proves that you are the Pioneer of this era.”
‘Heroic path’—it sounded pleasant. Grid felt a strange trembling and wanted to hold the mysterious man’s hand. Then he regained his spirit and hesitated. ‘I have to be vigilant. It is clear that he came because of Greed.’ One thing he could be sure of was that the Pioneer and Tower of Wisdom weren’t enemies.
The Pioneer had the authority to ‘enter’ the Tower of Wisdom. This meant the Tower of Wisdom was likely to favor the Pioneer. In fact, the man in front of them had the ability to make Mercedes extremely nervous, but he didn’t show any hostility or killing intent. He only challenged them to a spar. Even so, Grid couldn’t be relieved. The relationship between the Tower of Wisdom and the PIoneer might be good, but the insane dragon iron was a separate concept.
‘The system definitely warned me.’
The Tower of Wisdom recognized the aura of the insane dragon iron from Greed and started to explore it. The moment they found the insane dragon iron, they would destroy it.
‘I will likely be robbed of Greed the moment I reveal my identity.’
However, could he avoid the crisis by not revealing his identity now? No. This person was already convinced of his identity. He managed to find Grid the moment he investigated on the street.
‘...Wait?’ The nervous Grid regained his composure.
He noted that the mysterious man didn’t react to the Blue Dragon Boots.
‘Is it because the aura of the insane dragon iron is removed? He can’t recognize Greed?’
Of course, it was possible this man had come because he sensed the ‘complete form of Greed’ in Grid’s inventory. Even so, it was unlikely. Otherwise, he would’ve known the owner of Greed was Grid.
‘He isn’t chasing Greed?’ Grid came to this conclusion and nodded. “That’s right. I am the ruler of this country and the Pioneer.”
“Ohh...” Biban took off his robe. He smiled brightly while extending his hand for a handshake, proudly revealing his black-gold name. “It is nice to meet you.”
Simultaneously, he sent a sound transmission to Grid as he was concerned about Mercedes overhearing. [Pioneer. First, I have to tell you a rule. The Tower of Wisdom should never be exposed to the outside world. There will be a grave punishment if you disclose information about the tower, so pay attention. This will be explained to you when you visit the tower in the future. Let’s put out the emergency fire first.]
‘Didn’t you disclose information...?’ Grid wanted to say this, but he held back. He had a hunch that there would be no progress in the conversation if he interrupted here.
Biban officially made a request, [Pioneer. The Tower of Wisdom seeks your cooperation. It is about something called the insane dragon iron. It is a mineral born from the influence of Insane Dragon Nevartan and is likely to be a target for all dragons targeting Nevartan. However, there is evidence that a human has obtained the insane dragon iron and started to deal with it. The world may be destroyed by him.]
[This is a matter regarding the world’s peace. Pioneer, I hope you can use your position in the world to search for him. All costs will naturally be handled by the tower, and sufficient compensation will be provided.]
[★ Hidden Quest ★ ‘Tower’s Mission’ has been created!]
[★ Hidden Quest ★
The Tower of Wisdom is a hidden organization that fights for the peace of the world.
Their main role is to curb the scourge of dragons.
Please cooperate with the tower to find the owner of the insane dragon iron!
Quest Acceptance Reward: 1,000 gold. 20 top-grade buff potions.
Quest Clear Condition: Take away the insane dragon iron from its master or kill the master of the insane dragon iron.
Quest Clear Reward: Dragon scale (random attribute)]
“...” Grid’s mind was blank after he saw the contents of the quest. After a while, he came to his senses and cried out angrily, “Why are you telling me this now?”