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“I thought I was going to die.” Nefelina’s words were extreme. It seemed she had struggled quite a bit during the h.e.l.l Gao raid.
From Grid’s perspective, it was hard to understand. Certainly, h.e.l.l Gao, who appeared with seven fire stones, was strong. His body might be sealed and he borrowed the bodies of demonic creatures, but the 9th Great Demon’s majesty wasn’t for nothing. Nevertheless, he should be a relatively easy opponent if the six messengers joined forces. It didn’t matter how many fire stones there were. Just remove them. Despite a lot of hards.h.i.+ps, Grid and Mercedes had succeeded in the raid with just the two of them.
Nefelina explained to the confused Grid, “That madman Braham didn’t take action and just watched.”
“Bah, it is too disgraceful to join forces to kill such a thing.”
“That stone Zikfrector slept on the spot!”
“It wasn’t my will.”
“Mercedes took a long time to collect one fire stone!”
“The grandmaster slept in the spot where the fire stones were generated. It took me a while to break through his barrier of runes.”
Grid summarized Nefelina’s words: Braham sat on the sidelines during the battle, Zikfrector did nothing, and Mercedes failed to remove the fire stones in time. In other words, the other three people—Nefelina, Sariel, and Piaro—had a tough battle.
Grid would’ve been upset if he was Nefelina. Still, what could he do? Braham was impossible to control and Zikfrector was bound by the Curse of Sloth. The reason why Mercedes’ fire stone removal wasn’t easy was an accident.
‘If there was no accident, they would’ve easily killed h.e.l.l Gao without Braham and Zikfrector… in any case, it is my fault.’
He hadn’t predicted the possibility of Braham and Zikfrector trolling. He couldn’t predict this unfortunate accident. However, Grid oversaw the h.e.l.l Gao expedition and had to bear the responsibility for the accident.
“I’m sorry, Nefelina. In order to apologize, I’ll increase the amount of food in the future.”
Grid was actually already planning to increase Nefelina’s rations. No matter the reason, she was fighting for Grid. She had the right to enjoy something. She already ate three times as much food as her size. Administrator Rabbit had advised that her habits would get worse if she received more, but it was fine if Grid gave it with the excuse of an apology.
“Hmm, if so…”
Nefelina’s anger was calmed. She hadn’t been whining while hoping for anything. She just wanted to nitpick over it. Yet when she received something in return, she was a bit embarra.s.sed. In her heart, She wanted to punch Braham, but she decided to put up with it because she knew that Braham wasn’t a simple vampire or magician. Braham also didn’t cross the line with the future dragon either. He swallowed down the sarcastic words, ‘You are a pig who only eats.’
“Then why did you just watch?” The messengers scattered to their respective places. Grid chased Braham to the nearby mountain and asked this question.
Braham struck Greed with Disintegrate and answered with an unwilling expression. “Nefelina and Sariel still lack experience.”
Nefelina was a hatchling and Sariel had been in heaven before being locked in the Abyss. Their innate blood and status meant they had the same knowledge as a sage, but knowledge alone couldn’t achieve things. They had to gain experience and open up their wisdom in order to help Grid.
“I see.” Grid understood why Braham acted like a bystander and smiled happily.
Braham frowned. “Why are you smiling?”
“It is because I am grateful and happy.”
The reason why Braham tried to instill experience in Nefelina and Sariel was for Grid, after all. Unfortunately, Braham’s personality wasn’t honest.
“Bah… I just don’t want them to hold me back.”
Grid smiled at Braham’s lame excuse and carefully touched the Greed placed on the rock. Light magic power was felt. it was still dim, but it was a bright and powerful light magic power.
“Can this guy cut down the moon too?”
The Falling Moon Sword had proved its worth by bisecting Mir’s body. Grid wanted to have more moon night iron, but it was no longer available.
Braham read Grid’s desire and spoke firmly, “It can’t cut it.”
“If Mir is a match for Baal as you evaluated, he is an opponent who can’t be completely cut.”
A presence that was close to a G.o.d. It couldn’t be cut except by the Sword Saint. This was why the name of Sword Saint shone so much. It was also one of the reasons why Muller was the hero of heroes.
“However, it can break it down somehow.”
Just because they couldn’t be cut didn’t mean they were immortal. If beings only died from cuts, then everybody in the world would be cut to death. They could be destroyed from the inside out. It was a truth that was less obvious the more outstanding the person.
“Grid, don’t be impatient.”
Knowing the other side of the world didn’t necessarily mean one had to take full responsibility. The shadow on Grid’s face created by his obsession with the star-like existence called ‘G.o.ds’ was lifted by Braham’s clumsy but warm consolation.
“It is enough for us to prepare as usual. There is no reason to fret and covet what isn’t there.”
No matter how excellent the moon night iron was, it wasn’t everything. The moon night iron was something that ate away at a person’s status. Braham thought there was no need to rely on it too much and Grid felt the same way.
A duel of words. It was a fight with words, not a sword or a fist. It was easy to think it would be dirty and dreary instead of flashy, but surprisingly, this wasn’t necessarily the case. Deep understanding and logic were sometimes fancier and more powerful than a blade. A word could kill or save 10,000 people while a sword killed or saved one person.
This was why the duel of words, called PvP by scholars and tacticians, had so many enthusiasts. There were many duels of words taking place all over the continent at this moment.
“Binch! Binch! Binch!”
“Hey, Binch! I bet on you again today! Don’t receive a penalty for swearing after becoming mad with anger. Do well!”
Among the non-combat cla.s.ses, the cla.s.ses in the field of controversialists were highly difficult to grow. The expression ‘extremely desperate’ fitted perfectly. Blacksmiths made items, scholars read books, and non-combat cla.s.ses were expected to raise their cla.s.ses through certain actions, not hunting. Meanwhile, controversialist-like cla.s.ses had to level up through hunting. Couldn’t they earn experience by starting a duel of words, appeasing people, or writing poems?
This was a story for at least after the third cla.s.s advancement.
No matter which city or village, there were already outstanding NPC controversialists, so it was hard to find a place or job for player controversialists below level 300. They had no choice but to hunt using skills such as dealing debuffs to the target and causing abnormal conditions. However, they were insignificant compared to the debuffs of black magicians, so it was hard to get parties.
They weren’t welcome anywhere they went. They could barely kill one monster in the time it took others to kill 10. Yet if they raised their level, they would become a strong malicious force and this was the case with Binch.
‘It is noisy.’
There were cheers from the crowd of thousands. Binch’s expression when he appeared with enthusiastic support was as uncomfortable as the shadow around his eyes. It had been two years since he was hired as the trumpeter of the Lion Group. He had been active in hundreds of duels of words, securing the interests of the merchant group and resolving all types of disputes. Even so, he still wasn’t accustomed to people’s attention.
First of all, he didn’t like the ‘stage’ itself. It was a duel of words over the interests and pride of the merchant groups. They were forced to disclose some of each other’s weaknesses and transactions, so wasn’t it right to do it secretly in a dark room? Yet the merchants rented the Colosseum to attract onlookers. The duel of words was also considered a means of making money by merchants.
‘I’m not a monkey in a zoo.’
It was unpleasant to be on stage. Of course, that didn’t mean he was going to quit this job. The reason why Binch was dissatisfied with the current situation was due to this twisted personality of rejection
That was it. If the content of the duel of words caused damage to his employer, there would be no damage to himself (the contract contents stated so). It was also an opportunity to build awareness and the experience and remuneration were greater than anything. There was no reason to quit.
‘This person isn’t confident in his skills.’ Binch snorted when his opponent didn’t show up after he had been on the stage for one minute.
Sometimes there were these types of guys. They were people who would delay taking to the stage just before the duel of words began. It was a psychological battle, but it was shallow. Binch had never lost to such people.
“Who the h.e.l.l is this great person who is delaying the time so much?”
“Apostle of Justice? Is this ID real? It is a lame ID.”
“Puhahat! This chuunibyou disease! What type of Lauel is he?!”
“It is boring, so hurry and come up, you son of a b.i.t.c.h! Will you pay the price of the tickets if I get bored?!”
The crowd started booing Binch’s opponent. This was a gentleman’s game of culture and wisdom, unlike the b.l.o.o.d.y PvP. The duel of words was a n.o.ble spot loved by keyboard warriors for its distinctive characteristics. The crowd might be about to start a riot but Binch was reviewing his opponent’s information in the midst of the disturbance.
‘Affiliated with the Landy Merchant Group. The ID is Apostle of Justice, the ranking is unknown.’
Most controversialists hid their ranking. It was embarra.s.sing because their level was low. The ranking hidden by the opponent wasn’t a matter of concern. Binch paid attention to the Landy Merchant Group.
‘The Landy Merchant Group. They are said to provide manpower for the miners in the eastern part of the empire…’
It was a merchant group selling manpower. The history was long, but small in scale. According to the information provided by the Lion Merchant Group, the direction of the business itself wasn’t very good.
‘The reason they asked us to fight a duel of words this time is due to the labor costs.’
The problem was that the Lion Merchant Group acquired all the manpower nearby after entering the eastern part of the empire. The Lion Merchant Group bought manpower for high fees that ignored the existing market price. Therefore, the Landy Merchant Group only had flies left.
The Landy Merchant Group’s demand was a freeze on the labor costs. They were poor to start with, so there was no way they could save for an expensive controversialist.
“He came up!”
“It is finally starting!”
The other party came up on stage. It was a face he had never seen before. The Apostle of Justice was just as strange as his ID. Binch planned to use a frontal attack. The demand for a freeze on labor costs by the Landy Merchant Group was an act of ignoring worker’s values and rights. This was the justification of the Lion Merchant Group. At least in this duel of words, Binch was on the good side.
[The other party has accepted the duel of words.]
He sent an invitation to the other person, who took to the stage just in time, and the person accepted it immediately. The theme of this duel of words appeared along with a 10 squared mental gauge in Binch’s vision. From now on, the two of them would exchange words with each other. Every time they failed to refute the other person’s opinion or made a statement that was contrary to their argument, their mental gauge would be consumed by one square. The opportunity for a first attack was with the opponent.
“How many gifts did you buy for your parents on the day you received your first paycheck?”
It was a question that didn’t match the subject at all. Binch thought that one square of the opponent’s mental gauge would be consumed at the system’s judgment, but the opponent’s words weren’t over yet.
“You should spend at least 10% of your salary unless you are a bad son. I’m sure this is enough to prepare a set of long johns, but after your salary doubles next month, can you give your parents two sets of long johns?”
Maybe it was because it was so strange. The system wasn’t able to judge the other person’s remarks and responded belatedly. The sight of two squares on Apostle of Justice’s mental gauge being consumed clearly entered Binch’s vision. It was Binch’s turn to talk, but Apostle of Justice was chattering non-stop. The penalty for ignoring the turn consumed another two squares, but he didn’t seem to care.
“Of course, if your salary has doubled, then you can buy two sets. However, if everyone’s salary has doubled, then you can’t buy one, let alone two. A sudden rise in labor costs is bound to be accompanied by inflation.”
“This is too extreme. Are you a liberal arts major? I’ll explain the economic structure for you, liberal arts…”
“You will be glad to buy even one set. Your job will be affected by the rising prices and rising labor costs that occur at the same time. There will be a restructuring and you will be out on the streets. Then you won’t be able to get your parents a pair of socks, let alone a pair of long johns. Isn’t this too bad?”
‘This crazy guy?’
Apostle of Justice was self-destructing. There were only two squares left on his mental gauge because he kept ignoring the rules and continued to talk nonsense. Binch judged that he had won and shut up, thinking that the Landy Merchant Group who hired such a person was insane. At this moment—
“And so, your Lion Merchant Group is an immoral group!” Apostle of Justice shouted.
They were ignorant words without any logic. Binch was snorting when his eyes suddenly widened.
[You are greatly offended by the criticism of the other person.]
[The mental blow is huge!]
[You are so angry that you are speechless and your head is blank!!]
Rules and logic governed the duel of words. Still, there were a few variables such as the use of the ‘Spiteful Tongue,’ ‘Swearing,’ and ‘Disregard’ skills.
Disregard could make the opponent’s verbal attack into nothing while Spiteful Tongue and Swearing were lethal moves that greatly consumed the other person’s mental strength by ignoring logic.
It was just difficult to use Spiteful Tongue and Swearing in practice because all controversialists were armed with the ‘Mental Defense’ skill. If one failed to break through the other person’s mental defense after using Spiteful Tongue and Swearing, then their own mental strength would be consumed in reverse.
Binch’s Mental Defense skill was as high as advanced level 4. To have a 100% chance of breaking through Binch’s Mental Defense skill, the level of Spiteful Tongue and Swearing needed to be at least craftsman level 4. Binch’s face turned white as his mental gauge dropped.
“D-Don’t tell me you are…!”
Parents attacker, Huroi—Binch encountered the huge presence who was considered a legend among all the controversialists.
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