Overgeared

Chapter 1967
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Chapter 1967

A non-human demonic beast managed to condense a spiritual root? Grid was left speechless for a moment. He thought about it for a bit.

‘Well, a spiritual root is similar to a mana core.’

Beings who used magic had mana cores, regardless of their species. Using that logic, it wasn’t that unusual for Noe to have a spiritual root.

What should be noted here was that Noe learned and understood the method of condensing a spiritual root on his own. The demonic creature had made good use of the man-made technique book...

“I have some type of new energy in my body that I’ve never had before, ong.”

Noe returned to the form of a small cat. His black fur had a subtle, silver hue. He had an enigmatic aura around him, but his expression and way of speaking were just as cute and amusing as before.

“The book you just read contains information about converting spiritual energy into demonic energy, right?” Grid asked as he checked Noe’s status window. “How did you use a technique that can only be used by someone who already has a spiritual root?”

Noe replied with a hint of satisfaction, “I removed part of my mana core and converted it, nyang.”

“How?”

“I just read the book and it worked...! In the end, it is all the same to you, nyang!”

Noe couldn’t give out a proper explanation, but Grid wasn’t disappointed. Noe was pretty talented to use a technique like this simply by reading and understanding its concepts.

Others might also be likely to have the ability to naturally understand and acquire certain techniques like Noe. Would one person in a hundred be able to pull off what Noe just did? Or maybe one in a million? Grid would have to wait and see just how common this talent was.

‘Anyway, I just have to put the technique books in the library and let people read them freely. Someone will eventually do the same thing as Noe.’

Grid was very grateful that the technique books weren’t classified as one-time consumables. This made training cultivators much easier than initially expected.

Grid felt relieved and reignited the furnace.

“Okay, let’s start again. If you understand something when reading a book like you did just now, sort it out in a separate room.”

“Why bother sorting it out, nyang? I just have to learn it right away...”

“You have only one technique slot left. You have to be mindful until your realm accumulates.”

“Oh...”

“Don’t be disappointed,” Grid said in a comforting manner. “The higher your realm, the fewer restrictions you will have on the techniques you learn. That is why you have to be more careful when choosing the second technique.”

Grid increased the speed of the bellows. The smithy, which had been chilled to the bone, was now warm again.

Randy couldn’t help but smile as the voice of Noe reading the books overlapped with Grid reciting the spell for body manufacturing. Spending time with dear friends meant a lot to her. She swore to protect them for a long time after gaining a body and becoming stronger.

“......!”

The moment of serenity was short-lived. Surprised, Noe closed the book and jumped up. Randy stood up from the chair. Grid’s hammering also came to a halt. They all turned to look outside the shattered windows, and they all saw the same streak of gray light.

It was certainly far away, but the violent energy it gave off was fiercer than a meteor falling.

“...A dragon.”

The more powerful a beast was, the harder it was for it to find opponents. This was why Noe was intimidated every time he encountered a dragon. However, this time, Noe didn’t hide. Using his mana core and spiritual root, he was ready to fight using not one, but two types of demonic energy. Before he knew it, he ran outside with Randy, who had transformed into Grid.

Grid scratched his head and chased after Noe and Randy. ‘I don’t have a chance to focus on work today.’

After noticing what was going on, the entire palace was bustling with activity. Knights climbed onto the castle walls, ready to pull their bowstrings. Magicians were busy drawing very large magic circles.

“Everyone, stop.” Grid said. “There is no need to worry.”

He slowly flew up. The source of the approaching gray light was the top dragon, Cranbel. People recognized him and exhaled in relief. Some cheered and welcomed him as a guest. They all remembered Cranbel helping humanity against the dragons.

Grid was more polite to Cranbel than ever before. “I was worried about you. I’m relieved to see that you are safe. However, you seem a lot weaker. Let’s go in. We can have a chat after you relax for a bit.”

Cranbel had received help several times from Grid, someone he’d always respected.

“......”

The dragon polymorphed into human shape to convey to Grid that he had no animosity. However, he had a strange expression on his face.

An Absolute referred to a hierarchy where one could kill any enemy or survive in any situation.

Of course, Cranbel had had the idea of attacking Raiders and escaping because he had a trump card. However, everything was uncertain when it came to Grid. Cranbel had never been more intimidated than now. Grid was smiling softly, but Cranbel still felt overwhelmed. He had a hunch that he wouldn't be able to pull off anything against Grid.

After a moment of silence, Cranbel regained his senses and handed over a map. “...Thank you for your consideration. I came looking for you because I trust you. Please take a look at this.”

Grid opened the map with a puzzled expression. His eyes widened. “Don’t tell me this is... Have you marked the places where the erosion ritual is taking place?”

“Erosion ritual? You can look at it that way. These are the places where space rifts have appeared. These rifts make it possible to connect dimensions. You might call it erosion.”

“Um...”

Grid was troubled. There were a hundred and two places marked on the map that Cranbel gave him. He had to assume that there was at least one soul transformation cultivator or higher at each location.

They didn’t have much time left—they only had thirty-five days left to stop the ritual. Considering the physical distance between the places marked on the map, it was unrealistic that Grid and the Overgeared members would be able to stop the ritual before the deadline, even if they moved in groups.

There was a bigger problem. The map that Cranbel handed over was the map of the West Continent. If there were as many ritual sites on the East Continent as there were here... They really couldn’t prevent this disaster from occurring.

Cranbel knew what Grid was thinking. He explained, “You don’t have to worry about the east area. The old dragons have already left to deal with the space rifts there.”

Grid looked up with a skeptical expression. “The old dragons?”

He didn’t seem to trust the old dragons too much, so Cranbel said, “They are the self-proclaimed guardians of the world, so they will do their best. They will probably cooperate with Chiyou. They were the ones who gave me this map.”

“I see.”

Finally, Grid seemed to relax. He nodded and ushered Cranbel into the castle.

“Let’s go in already. I’ve summoned my sister, so let’s wait a bit before talking to her.”

“...When you say sister, are you talking about the Saintess?”

“Yes.”

“......”

Cranbel frowned upon hearing this. He knew he would have no time to rest in the future.

***

The reason dragons recovered so slowly was because their total health and mana pools were incredibly high. It would take them a considerable time to return to a ‘perfect state,’ even if they had the same recovery ability as Grid, who boasted unrivaled recovery ability among the players.

In addition, they were greatly affected by the condition of their horn and heart. If either of those were wounded, the dragons would continue to lose health and mana until they were healed.

Coincidentally, Cranbel’s horn was wounded, a result of Kubartos’ relentless pursuit. However, Cranbel recovered quickly thanks to Ruby’s heals that restored 30% of his health.

Cranbel’s HP recovered instantly. The excess healing was used to help his horn recover. He was back to peak condition.

Ruby, drenched in sweat, declared with a proud face, “Done. From now on, you just need to take Reidan’s potions for an extended period of time and your mana will recover quickly.”

“...Thank you.”

Cranbel didn’t know what to think anymore. He was mentally exhausted after fighting against his own kin, being chased by Kubartos and a group of cultivators, and having a battle of nerves with the old dragons.

Healed body aside, he just wanted to get some rest. Normally, a dragon’s rest period lasted for hundreds of years. The situation at hand was very strange.

Cranbel just didn’t dare disclose his inner thoughts.

Grid asked him, “Are you comfortable working alone? Or should I have someone accompany you?”

“......”

Grid had numerous ideas on how to overwork Cranbel. The dragon’s help would be essential in dealing with the hundred and two erosion ritual sites. Grid knew the enemies’ strength level was quite high, and there weren’t many beings Grid could confidently ask for help from.

Cranbel understood the situation and nodded. “I’ve always worked alone, but I think it would be better to have the Saintess with me so I can have enough power to complete the mission. Of course, I don’t mind going alone.”

“Good idea. My sister will wholeheartedly take care of you, so please rest assured.”

“I accept your kindness. I will go around the west...”

Cranbel pointed to the erosion ritual sites in the far west, which was the area furthest away from Reinhardt. He’d chosen this area specifically because he was capable of getting there a lot faster than humans, thus saving the players a lot of work.

“You’ve always been a good role model. I want everyone to look up to you as an example.”

Grid’s attitude made Cranbel feel uncomfortable. "You flatter me."

Lauel rushed over. He had a plan. “There are too many erosion ritual sites, and some are very far away. I am planning to create as many teams as possible. However, there’s no way to determine the strength of the enemies guarding the sites beforehand. Considering the average skills of the cultivators, the level of each team shouldn’t be too low. I think we should have at most around forty teams. The premise is to have manpower support from the Tower of Wisdom and other allies. Each team must have at least one Transcendent...”

They needed to check the map, summon their comrades, and send letters of cooperation to their allies. Lauel seemed a bit impatient because there were so many things that had to be done at the same time.

“Plus, using the Tomb of the Gods...”

Grid interrupted Lauel as he was trying to explain the details of the operation.

“Kraugel, Cranbel, and I will be on separate teams. Ruby will stick to Cranbel. Here, here and here—these are the spots we’ll investigate. We will check out the farthest locations from Reinhardt, so keep this in mind when dispatching the teams.”

“Still, we have so little information. Isn’t it dangerous to go alone?”

“Time is running out. We have no choice.”

“Um... I understand. Well, I will copy this map and distribute it throughout the continent. This way, other players can help.”

“Yes.”

Grid nodded, exchanged looks with Cranbel, and left Reinhardt.

A few days later, Grid arrived at the first location and tutted at the unexpected sight.

“What is this...?”

A huge castle was floating in the sky.

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