Gourmet Gaming

Chapter 700: The Ten Plagues

Who was Nerva Sephiroth? He played the most important role in Athenae’s second era. He was one of the absolute beings that the Battle God had chosen to descend to earth to lead an army that was so powerful that even several empires combined would not be able to win against them.

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As such, Nerva Sephiroth was very prideful and arrogant. However, he was currently sporting a very pale look on his face. His hands that were about to knock on the door paused in mid-air when Minhyuk suddenly appeared in front of him.

[You have completed the Quest: Nerva Sephiroth’s Move.]

[Nerva Sephiroth is the emperor of the Luvien Empire. It is very unusual for him to make the move first.]

[Please coordinate with Nerva Sephiroth for your rewards.]

Minhyuk caught a glimpse of the hundreds of escort knights and soldiers that were standing behind Nerva, a scene that prompted a confused expression on his face.

“Why did Your Majesty come to this shabby place?”

“Didn’t you want to have a cup of tea with me?”

Minhyuk turned to look inside the house. He acted as if he was busy with something. Simply put, he was disregarding Emperor Nerva’s presence right in front of him. However, Nerva still held his anger back.

“Please come inside.”

Minhyuk first allowed Nerva inside while glancing at the troops stationed outside.

“Knights, stay on standby.”

“…Yes, Your Majesty.”

The only ones that entered the house were Minhyuk and Nerva.

Minhyuk quickly served some chamomile tea. “You look quite anxious and restless. Chamomile has a calming effect and can soothe the mind and the body. Please have some.”

He had clearly heard that the rewards that he would receive would depend on the deal that they would make here.

“The empire seems quite noisy these past few days?” Minhyuk thus began his act.

“…I will be straightforward with you. Stop these disasters right now.”

The moment Minhyuk arrived, disaster fell upon their empire. Nerva was convinced that he was the cause, especially after hearing that sly undertone in his voice.

Of course, Minhyuk sported a confused expression on his face. “Stop the disasters?”

Nerva was currently very anxious and tense. What if something went wrong with the princess?

“If something happens to the princess, I will not let the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom go. Your kingdom will not be safe.”

That was the truth. If Nerva made up his mind, the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom would disappear from the map in just a week. The Luvien Empire could also give quests to other players and get them to help destroy the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom.

“Why are you suddenly besmirching Beyond the Heavens?” Minhyuk asked, his gaze turning fierce.

Nerva grabbed the cup of tea presented to him and stared at Minhyuk.


The overwhelming killing intent that poured out from Nerva’s body made Minhyuk feel breathless. Minhyuk could not help but be surprised. After all, the air around them had completely turned sharp from the man’s killing intent.

‘Just how strong is Nerva?’

Nerva Sephiroth was not just a simple emperor. He was someone that was recognized by the Battle God. Even his climb to the throne was very unusual. Minhyuk was certain that Nerva was a very powerful man, someone that he could not win against.

“Is it because this emperor has wronged you? Forgive us for letting you live in a place like this. To tell you the truth, there’s not enough room for distinguished guests of the imperial family.” Nerva suddenly remembered his current situation and instantly erased the killing intent that he was releasing.

“I promise you, the Beyond the Heavens’ King, if you feel like you have been wronged, then I will make sure to compensate you for it.”

“I don’t know what in the world you’re talking about. What do you mean by stopping the disasters? And what do you mean by compensating me? This is making me uneasy,” Minhyuk said, shaking his head while sporting a miserable expression.

“Not too long ago, many of our people and soldiers had died because of the army that the God of Death had sent and the vicious and heinous group that aided them.”

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Nerva was aware that those words were aimed at him.

“I feel bitter resentment toward those people. And I will make sure to show those that did this to us what kind of power we have.”

“The God of Death is not some kind of pushover.”

“But I cannot back down on this. On another note, you have told me that you will compensate me. However, I do not know what you mean. But if I dare ask you…” Minhyuk looked back up and made eye contact with Nerva.

‘He’s different.’

At that moment, Nerva realized that the man in front of him was different from the kings and the puppets that inherited the throne from previous emperors, the ones that licked the path that he walked on and kissed his shoes. Nerva even felt a bit of admiration for him at this moment.

‘He is a talent that can become an emperor.’

Perhaps he might reach a greater height than Continental Emperor Ellie. That was when Nerva felt a bit of fear. If Ellie and this man cooperated and combined their strength while still growing, it might be impossible for him to devour the entire continent.

Whether he knew what Nerva was thinking or not, Minhyuk said, “I’m not asking for too much, Your Majesty Nerva. I just want to appease my kingdom and the families of the bereaved that were affected by the war.”

His first demand was gold.

“The war has also made us lose and break a lot of our weapons. It is to the point that we have to import a lot from the other nations.”

His second demand was artifacts from the Luvien Empire, an empire that was overflowing with such things.

“Ah. From what I heard, you are holding plenty of prisoners inside the Luvien Empire’s underground prison, is that true? If some of my people are there then…”


Nerva did not even bother to answer.

The third demand was the release of the prisoners of war from the underground prison.

“Also, I’ve heard that the Luvien Empire has plenty of interesting ingredients.”


Nerva was confused, wondering if he heard correctly.

“You know, that ingredient where you can get either fruits, vegetables, or even meat? The ingredient that would make someone grow stronger if they eat the product produced after planting? What was it called? ‘Seed of Growth’…?”


Nerva’s eyes grew wide. ‘How, how did he know about the Seed of Growth?’

The Seed of Growth was something that Nerva Sephiroth had obtained as a reward from the Battle God after he had made another achievement. It was a ‘God-grade’ ingredient.

However, the most surprising thing about this ingredient was the fact that it could increase the potential of the being that consumed it. However, it would have no other effects for those that were already normally strong.

What would happen if a soldier consumed such an ingredient? The seed could identify if that person had the desire and passion to get strong. Also, if that person was talented but was not strong, it would promote a higher growth in potential.

‘It has the power to turn an ordinary soldier into a legend of this era.’

Nerva, who acquired this seed just a few days ago, was actually looking for a person to feed it.

The reason why Minhyuk knew about it was because of his ‘Ingredient Search’ skill, which would automatically search for cooking ingredients within a one kilometer radius.

‘I even walked around the castle grounds on purpose for this.’

Nerva pondered deeply for a very long time. This seed was also very valuable to him. After he finished thinking, he said, “Can your Beyond the Heavens Kingdom handle this?”

“…Isn’t that something that we’ll only know if we try it?”

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Nerva smiled. Once this deal was concluded, the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom would openly become the enemy of the Luvien Empire. This was because they had made their presence firmly known to Nerva Sephiroth.

“I will send gifts to the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom in the form of gold, treasures and artifacts.”

[Nerva Sephiroth has promised to give you 5,000 platinum as a gift!]

[Nerva Sephiroth has promised to give you 20,000 weapons, 30,000 armor, and 5,000 accessories!]

“I also promise to release the prisoners of war being held in the underground prison.”

[You can now enter the Luvien Empire’s prisons and bring the prisoners of war out!]

“I will also give you this Seed of Growth.

[You have acquired the Seed of Growth!]

Nerva held out a handkerchief bearing the symbol of their empire to Minhyuk. This handkerchief contained the Seed of Growth.

Minhyuk smiled lightly once he received it. This was his victory.

But before Nerva stepped out, he said, “Everything comes at a price.”


Minhyuk knew what it meant. One way or another, the Luvien Empire would make sure to make them pay for this. Perhaps the destruction of the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom would even be sped up. Still, Minhyuk could not resist having one last jab.

“Ah. Please do have some chicken with me sometime. It’s delicious.”


Nerva’s face turned red as he hurried out of the room.


The doors finally closed.

After receiving the Seed of Growth, Minhyuk pondered deeply, ‘I have to find someone loyal. They should not be strong yet, but they must have the skills and will give their all. I need someone like that.’

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Deep underground the Luvien Empire’s Imperial Castle was a prison. Its cells were filled with prisoners of war from several kingdoms and empires.

As the Luvien Empire wanted to dig out the secrets that they knew, the means of torture that these prisoners underwent were extremely terrible. There were even cases where some had their eyes gouged out.

In this underground prison, there was a soldier stripped down to his underwear and shivering fiercely from the cold, while countless prisoners were dying around him. All of the soldier’s nails and even his toenails had been pulled out. This soldier was none other than the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom’s soldier, Nero.

Nero was born with a weak body. However, despite his condition, he never neglected a day of exercise and had always walked the proper path when learning, in order to become a soldier.

He had always been grateful to Beyond the Heavens’ King Minhyuk. ‘I will never forget it.’

The people of the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom were not starved. No, they used to starve but not anymore.

Soldier Nero’s house had been shabby and dilapidated and they used to starve. Then one day, his mother grew sick. Unfortunately, he did not even have the money to make porridge for her. At that time, the Beyond the Heavens’ soldiers knocked on their door and gave them a bag of flour.

On that day, a royal decree was passed down. It said that there would no longer be hungry and starving people in the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom. Nero hugged the bag of flour and wept bitterly. That was the day that he decided to become a soldier.

Nero trained and practiced hard, and grew to become a skilled, competent soldier. However, war came and he was dragged into it.

“Shall we start again?”

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The prison guards appeared, slowly approaching him with iron rods heated in fire.

A while ago, some of the imperial guards came and went to this place to torture them. It was a very long and painful time to the point that the others had already fainted in the middle. There were even some of them that shouted ‘I’ll tell you!’. But the guards continued to torture them. That was why Nero was sure that they were just doing this for fun.

“Tell us the secrets of the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom. Where is the secret passage to the kingdom?”

Nero, who was curled up in the corner and trembling from the cold, saw the reddish and hot rod that was coming his way. The pain of getting his nails pulled out was already unbearable, he shuddered to think what would happen if he got stabbed with such a thing.

“…I don’t know.”


The guard looked at Nero pensively as he continued to torture and abuse his body. All Nero could do was clench his teeth and endure the pain.

“Heuk! Ugh!”

Tears poured down from his eyes, his consciousness and rationality slipping further away from him as the smell of burnt flesh and the smoke of the hot rod invaded his nose.

“Are you ready to talk?” The guard asked him with an evil grin.

Nero breathed roughly as he firmly shook his head. “I… don’t… know!!!”



Nello’s torture was endless, his skin getting burned all over. In the end, the guards began to resort to breaking his fingers.


At that moment, the conversation that he had with the other prisoners of wars came to mind.

—You might as well give up those secrets. No emperor or king would care about us anyway. All of us here have been abandoned.

—That’s right. We’re already abandoned. Besides, the empire has promised us riches if we spill the secrets, right?

—I’ll choose to confess.

Indeed, there was no king or emperor that would care about their people that had already been captive and turned to prisoners of war.

—We are nothing but tools for war.

With the promise of wealth and riches, most of the captives had decided to betray their nations. But that was not the case for the soldiers of the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom.

—Even if our king doesn’t come.

—He will still be our one and only true king, the king that fought for us.

So, Nero endured.

“I have never seen such a tough and stubborn guy as this.”

“He hasn’t even passed out.”

In the end, one of the guards dragged Nero’s body out and started another round of torture, this time much terrible than before.


“Ugh, aaaaaaack! Uwaaaaaaaaack! Keuaaaaaaack! Keheooooook!”

It was so terrible that the only thing that could come out of Nero’s mouths were groans and screams of pain. The worst part of this was the trauma inflicted on the mind. Still, Nero endured everything.

“This bastard is no fun. Let’s just kill him and do the same to the other bastards.”

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The sound of death loomed upon him as the sword got dragged out of its scabbard and was placed over his neck. It renewed the fear in Nero. He had always wanted to become stronger so that he could become a knight, so that he could cut down his enemies. To become one of the strong of the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom and gaze at his king, Minhyuk, from afar. What would he say? Those were the thoughts that flashed in Nero’s head as he watched the blade come nearer.

In the end, Nero could only close his eyes tightly as he shouted the words that had been raging in his heart. “Be… Be…”

“Be? Be… what?”

“Long live… Beyond the Heavens Kingdom…”

“This f*cking bastard…”

“Your… Majesty… Minhyuk… may you live long!!!” Nero squeezed out the last of his strength and shouted as loud as he could.

The guards giggled as they held the sword to his neck, digging into his flesh. But Nero kept his eyes shut, the only thought running through his head, ‘Your Majesty… I hope… I hope… that you live a long and healthy life…’

At that moment, a cold voice rang out.

“Do not touch this king’s people.”


The guard was sent flying back, his head stuck in the wall opposite Nero.


Everyone saw the man glaring sharply and coldly at the falling guard, and were shocked.

“Your, Your Majesty…!”

“Your Majesty Minhyuk!!!”

“Your Majeeeeestyyyy!!!”

The prisoners of war from the Beyond the Heavens Kingdom cried out loudly, their heads bowing deeply toward the man. As for the other prisoners of war from the other kingdoms and empires, they were all looking incredulously at the scene.

‘The, the king of a nation personally came here to save the prisoners of war?’

‘He did not send his men but he came personally?’

At that moment, the same thought flashed in their heads: I wish the emperor and king that we serve is just like him. They also realized why the Beyond the Heavens’ soldiers did not give in and kept their mouths shut.

“I’m sorry everyone. I came late.”

“Your Majesty!!! Your Majeeeestyyy!!!”

Their howls and cries filled the entire underground prison. Although Nero could only open one eye from how swollen they were, he slowly looked up. There, he saw His Majesty, the one and only king that he served. His king, whose eyes were shining brightly through his black hair, placed his warm and large hands on Nero’s shoulder.

“Thank you.”

Nero felt warm tears well up in his eyes. Then, an even more shocking statement was spoken.

“Nero, let’s go home. Your mother is waiting for you.”

“…Your Majesty.”

…Minhyuk, who commanded hundreds of thousands of troops, remembered his name.

“Sob, sob, sob, sob, sob!”

Minhyuk, who saw Nero crying, spoke kindly, “Nero, will you come back with me and become my knight?”

It was at this moment that Minhyuk had decided on who the owner of the Seed of Growth would be.

Nero replied, tears dripping down his face, “…Yes.”

This was the start of the bond between Minhyuk, who would become the emperor in the future, and Beyond the Heavens’ Moon Nero, who would become his shadow.