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The troll lord’s eyes widened.

Flashing golden hands came out from a cave and gave a new weapon to Grid.

“This is called Item Combination.”

Kuoooooh-!

It was a blue shark-shaped greatsword with red lights scattered around it like cherry blossoms. It was the beautiful harmony of Iyarugt and Failure.

“Pagma’s Swordsmanship, Linked Kill Wave.”

Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa!

“Ki…! Kieeeeeek!”

So what if it was difficult to get close due to the acidic blood? He would attack from a distance. Grid laughed as the troll lord turned to grey ash. However, he couldn’t laugh for long. His skills were on cooldown and new monsters were gathering.

***

[You have entered the 60th island.]

[This is a save point. Would you like to register?]

[You have been registered. When you enter the Behen Archipelago later on, you will start from the 60th island.]

“Heok… Heok… Wow, I thought I was going to fall behind.”

Grid broke through the 59th island and sat on the ground. He wanted to Meditate to restore health and stamina, but it wasn’t easy to enter the state.

‘I can’t adapt to the new skills.’

The condition to activate Blacksmith’s Eyes was to watch the equipment for at least 3 seconds. Was this hard? Of course it was difficult during a battle. His field of view narrowed and he often missed the target’s movements, exposing a gap.

The problems didn’t end there.

‘The information of the items covers my vision.’

During a battle, the item information window seriously disturbed his view. It felt like the navigation screen was hidden while he was driving. Anyway, it seemed like he would take a long time to adapt.



‘I can gradually adapt.’

Grid looked at his immediate problem. The islands in the 60s. Would he be able to progress through here? The difficulty of the Behen Archipelago was amplified every 10 islands. The last island in the Behen Archipelago was the 66th island.

It was possible to infer that the difficulty of the islands from 60 onwards would be incomparably higher than before.

‘Originally, I wanted to clear this place before the National Competition.’


It seemed to be an impossible task. Grid sighed as he thought about it. Did it read his anxiety? The cooldown time of Assimilation ended and Braham’s soul woke up.

[Challenge it first.]

“Braham!”

Grid had increasingly started to rely on Braham. Grid welcomed Braham’s voice and asked.

“Do you mean I can win if I challenge the Behen Archipelago?”

Braham scoffed.


[You are too arrogant. I said that this is a playground made by Pagma. You haven’t reached Pagma’s full capacity yet and don’t have the ability to clear this place. I want you to challenge it to realize that you are still weak.]

“…I wondered about this before, but what do you mean by a playground that Pagma created?”

[Do you know about the original Behen Archipelago?]

“I heard from Sticks. It was a Hall of Fame that celebrated the achievements of legends and a training ground for current legends.”

[That’s right. It’s a shameful place for those who are hostile to legends.]

“Those who are hostile to legends?”

[Great demons. They saw an opportunity to destroy the Behen Archipelago, which connects legends. In order to prevent this, Pagma installed various gateways.]

“A space created to prevent the great demons…”

Grid suddenly felt some doubts.

“How did Pagma make this space?”

Pagma was a legendary blacksmith, not a god. He could install various devices, but it wasn’t possible to summon the monsters, reproduce past trials, or clone the contestants.

‘It might be different if he was a magician.’

Then Braham spoke meaningful words to Grid.

[It’s possible for a great demon.]

“What?” Chapter 403

[It’s possible for a great demon.]

“What?”

Pagma was a great demon? It was ridiculous.

‘Wait.’

Grid attempted to deny it when he suddenly stopped. He didn’t know enough about Pagma to judge, and Braham’s nature was also odd.

‘In fact, isn’t Braham a vampire, rather than a human?’

A legendary great magician was a demonkin, so it wouldn’t be strange if a legendary blacksmith was also one. But why?

‘Why isn’t it mentioned in the legends?’

Braham sensed Grid’s confusion and laughed.

[Aren’t you an idiot, to take my words at face value?]

Grid frowned.

“I have taken the intelligence elixirs, so why are you still seeing me as an idiot? No, what does that mean?”

[To put it more accurately, Pagma is a human who accepted the power of a great demon.]

“He accepted the power of a great demon?”

[Baal.]

“…!”

Grid was startled. Did he know the weight of the name Baal? No. It was because Grid felt Braham’s anger. The anger was deeply imprinted in Braham’s soul like an abyss and it slowly boiled up. Grid held Braham’s soul, so he was also angry.

[Pagma was Baal’s contractor.]

“…!”

Grid was once again surprised. Questions filled his eyes.

“What is Baal’s contractor?”

[…Hah.]

It was the first time Grid discovered that souls could also sigh.

***

The 1st great demon, Baal. As the peak of the 33 demons, he reigned as the master of hell. It was easy to call him the demon king. He was an absolute existence that even the dragons guarded against.

[He is more faithful to his instincts as a demon than anyone else. He is proud, destructive, and does anything for pleasure. Plantings seeds of chaos through contracts with humans is very entertaining for him.]

“Why did Pagma sign with such a bad demon?”

[Ironically, he had to borrow Baal’s strength to protect the Behen Archipelago.]

“Eh?”

The words were confusing. Pagma wanted to protect the Behen Archipelago from the great demons, so he borrowed the power of a great demon?

[It’s as you said. Baal likes taunting and deception.]

“So?”

[It is irrelevant to Baal whether the target being deceived is a human or a great demon like himself.]

“…”

The Grid in the past would’ve been frustrated without understanding to the end. But now it was different. He properly interpreted Braham’s remark using his developed thinking ability.

“Baal wanted to enjoy the entertainment of protecting the invasion of great demons with the power of a great demon, so he signed a contract with Pagma?”

[That’s right.]

In other words, Baal screwed over his own people. Grid couldn’t understand Baal. Braham laughed at his confusion.

[Don’t look at great demons with the prejudice. Don’t humans also betray and hurt their own people?]

“But isn’t Baal the master of hell? Isn’t he the king of the great demons? A king sacrificing his servants just for entertainment… I guess there are some.”

When he thought about it, there were many crazy people in the world. Grid was convinced and defined Baal as a psychopath great demon.

“Um… Yes, this is why the Behen Archipelago changed in this way.”

If so, there was another question. Why did Pagma leave the Behen Archipelago in this state? He protected the Behen Archipelago with a contract with a great demon, and then the Behen Archipelago eventually deteriorated and the original function was lost. If Pagma truly wanted to protect the Behen Archipelago, he would’ve returned it to its original state after the great demons were repelled.

But he didn’t…

‘Was there a chance that the great demons would invade again?’

Or maybe Pagma had no more power left.

Grid asked a question.

“What happened after Pagma contracted with a great demon to protect the Behen Archipelago? Did he die? Or is he still alive?”

[Why do you think he is still alive?]

“He contracted with a great demon, so wouldn’t his lifespan increase?”

[That’s a ridiculous notion. The reason why demons contract with humans is to basically take their life force and soul.]

“Isn’t something strange? Pagma lived for a long time, right? Didn’t you say that he lived for hundreds of years? Wasn’t it because of his contract with the great demon?”

[You are mistaken. Pagma made the contract with Baal 100 years ago, not 300 years.]

“…Ah!”



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