Chapter 5) Dark Gamer’s Fate
Aren Castle of the Haven Empire.
A vast amount of construction work was being done on the grounds of Emperor’s Palace. Bardray had decided to build a luxurious palace instead of granaries.
“Gather the artists and architects.”
In the meantime, the Hermes Guild had been stingy towards the arts.
After Weed had started sculpting, many sculptors had been strategically raised in the guild. However the sculptures they produced were just like the ancient art excavated. The support for painters and sculptors disappeared and the artists increasingly left the Haven Kingdom.
But their presence was necessary for the Emperor’s Palace.
“The Imperial Palace will compulsorily raise the residents’ loyalty so we can increase taxes by 2%.”
“Send all the soldiers that surrendered in the war to the mines.”
Lafaye had a leadership meeting to discuss various ideas intended to squeeze the inhabitants of the Empire.
A war victory commemoration tax.
Imperial Palace construction tax.
Special tax for the maintenance of facilities for Aren Castle.
Tax for the military marching through the city.
Special tax for territory expansion.
If Weed heard this then he would be beating his knees with admiration.
“Quite a few dwarves live in the Lasalle Kingdom. We should catch them and make them work as slaves.”
“There are riots in some of the occupied areas. Suppressing it won’t be a problem but security will lower and the Embinyu Church will spread.”
The Haven Empire had received damage and the Embinyu Church was spreading like wildfire. But the top level leaders in the Hermes Guild wasn’t worried about that.
The people converted to the Embinyu Church were poor and the Hermes Guild was confident they could defeat them if the Embinyu Church declared war. Of course, new taxes would be necessary for a war with the Embinyu Church.
The Hermes Guild intended to completely conquer the continent so they needed to maintain a strict military.
“Those bad guys.”
Weed instinctively cursed after hearing that the Hermes Guild intended to stop the war. He instantly sensed something strange.
“They have an ulterior motive. Anyway, they are bad guys so there is no way to believe them.”
One philosopher’s theory was that human nature was fundamentally evil!
Weed continued to grow while fighting with Bahamorg and Seo-yoon. He made luxurious dishes from ingredients obtained in dungeons and his cooking skill finally reached advanced.
|-Your intermediate cooking skill has reached level 10 and changed to advanced.
It is possible to minimize the side effects when dealing with tricky ingredients, pickled food and fermented food.
You can dramatically increase the shelf life of the food.
Professional cooking can be produced.
All stats will increase by 20 points.
He could now be called a cook. It was possible for him to live even if he only toasted bread in some cities. All the work in the early stages was now worth it. But Weed still had misgivings about his future.
“I don’t have a full pension or one of the 4 major insurances. If I quit my job then I won’t get a severance pay.”
He was earning money now but the future was unknown. He wasn’t insecure like many other freelancers.
There was a post written on the Dark Gamers bulletin board that had the viewpoint echo with him.
Title: I will try to get married.
I have been associated with a woman I love for 3 years.
Yesterday I greeted my father in law. And now I’m crying. My girlfriend is fine but the one I can’t bear is myself. I want to share a short story between my father in law and I.
“Yes, you are doing something now.”
“Yes, fathers in law. Do you know something call Royal Road?”
“I know it! Every day the newspaper and television is talking about the hottest company called the Unicorn Corporation. Don’t they earn enormous profit every year? I can’t imagine the welfare benefits received by the employees of Unicorn Corporation. My Hyo-sun has met a man like that.”
“No. I’m not an employee but someone who finds items in Royal Road and sell them for money.”
“…..Yes, have you gathered a little money?”
“If I dispose of the equipment I’m currently wearing then I can get enough for a house deposit. That’s because the price for this set has been recently rising in the auction.”
“You won’t bring Hyo-sun any suffering?”
“Yes. I will eagerly enter the Royal Road capsule for 18 hours every day.”
I didn’t go beyond high school. Do you know this sorrow?
He couldn’t help empathizing with the Dark Gamer’s story. It was a service industry but it was too early to reveal it to the world. There was no job stability, fixed income or welfare benefits.
Furthermore, the Hermes Guild’s expansion was a huge threat. There were other users that felt burdened by the Hermes Guild but the pressure towards Weed as King of the Arpen Kingdom was larger.
Even if Weed became the Master Sculptor first, it wouldn’t be significant if Bardray and the Hermes Guild unified the Central Continent. The troops of the Haven Empire would come to the north for the Arpen Kingdom. The buildings that Weed had invested large amounts of money in would be taken over by the Hermes Guild.
Weed had to put that to one side in his mind.
“The resentment would be enough to make me go to hospital.”
If he became the first class master then there would be a lot of attention from the broadcasting stations. Weed wasn’t in a situation where he could worry about that.
“Arpen Kingdom is my rice bowl.”
Weed had an attachment to his particular rice bowl. He couldn’t let some neighbourhood dogs eat his rice bowl!
“I need to find a way to protect my rice bowl.”
He needed to protect the Arpen Kingdom from every type of threat.
“I need to ask Teacher-nim and the Sa-hyungs.”
Originally he wanted to give the difficult tasks to people he was close to. They would do it if he offered them cooked meat and alcohol. But no matter how strong the Geomchis were, they would be limited in large scale wars with intense magic attacks. They were lacking a lot.
“If I collect the sculptural lifeforms races then I can make them work.”
He intended to overcome the situation with exploitation.
Weed wanted to win but he couldn’t face the Hermes Guild at this moment. It would take a considerable amount of time to meet the sculptural lifeforms and to build intimacy and achievements.
If they weren’t a race related to battle then they wouldn’t be useful. They would be useful to the growth of the Arpen Kingdom in the long run but there was a threat in the short term.
“I need to train the army to protect the kingdom. But they are fighting monsters at this level… Even if I invest time and money, it won’t be enough to thwart the Haven Empire.”
He couldn’t find a way to deal with the Haven Empire despite thinking of several possibilities. That’s because conquering the cities already developed in the Central Continent was faster than gradually developing one.
“When looking at it calmly, I’m not better than them in any areas. My kingdom’s population and development can’t compare to them, let alone my military. If a war spreads then I won’t win.”
When considering the future, it was a reasonable judgement to give up on the Arpen Kingdom now. There was no other forces on the Central Continent that could keep up with the Hermes Guild. The population and military power was so large then it would be hard for the 5 large guilds to oppose them.
“I need to make something to win…..”
Weed looked back at the things he had.
He had the abilities of Bingryong, Yellowy, Phoenix and the other sculptural lifeforms from the Jigolaths. They would have amazing power if they continued growing for 2~3 years but that didn’t mean the war would be won. The problem wouldn’t be resolved even if Goldman offered bribery.
“There is still a chance to do something with sculpting. I haven’t created my own skills. And there is the final secret sculpting technique from the legend.”
After learning Sculptural Life Bestowal, Sculpture Transformation, Sculpting Blade, Disaster Sculpting and Elemental Creation then Weed could learn the final secret sculpting technique.
He dreamt many times about an extravagant skill while sleeping at night.
“Perhaps the last secret technique can make a sculpture that will curse a target or… Something that can express the beauty of a sculpture… Or something that can raise the abilities of my sculptural lifeforms.”
He had a variety of concerns and expectations. He couldn’t guess what the sculpting technique could possibly be despite looking at the past. The secret sculpting technique could make his fighting abilities rise but it might not. Anyway, the situation on the continent was unstable so Weed had to make a decision.
“I just need to raise my skill proficiency and the Class Master Quest will be over. I don’t know whether to learn the skill or create sculptures to complete the quest. If I challenge the last secret technique then…..”
If he found the last sculpture then Weed could challenge the secret technique.
“If I learn the last secret technique later then it might be too late.”
He decided to hope on finding the last sculpture. The future could change depending on what type of technique would emerge.
“If a skill that transcends imagination emerges then I can fight the Hermes Guild. Maybe other people will fight against them as well. And if the skill isn’t that much…..”
It was the final secret sculpting technique.
“I’ll kneel down and surrender right away.”
Weed decided not to postpone the final secret sculpting technique. He would continue raising his skill proficiency while hunting but acquiring the final secret technique was the priority.
“I don’t know how difficult it will be so I need to adapt to the situation.”
He was betting the game on the final secret technique. Weed decided to challenge it despite the uneasy situation on the continent.
“Someday I might regret this decision.”
His fate was to repeatedly go on large adventures despite his desire to live a long life.
Weed had made a large number of sculptures on the continent. They were sold to people or pieces carved on walls and rocks.
“This is… A piece of work.”
It was of a birdman with its tail split in two! Weed discovered a sculpture he left behind while travelling.
“It is a good sculpture. The skill is worth being called an excellent sculptor.”
He thought of something before talking again.
“We’ll meet again.”
It wasn’t just the birdman.
In the meantime he had carved many great sculptures. He had spread his mark throughout the continent.
Other than those carved in rocks and trees, a significant amount had been spread through sales. The sculptures were continuously traded between users and scattered everywhere. If there weren’t any special options then they would give it to the residents to increase intimacy. Some also lost sculptures if they died in a dungeon hunt and they would be left there.
Such sculptures were marks of Weed.
“My skills are still lacking.”
“I’ve managed to obtain a piece from Weed.”
Some sculptural lifeforms in distant places found works made from Weed. These sculptural lifeforms decided to retire after the Arpen Empire collapsed. They would rather live with each other than humans.
And quite a few sculptural lifeforms had become extinct. The remaining lifeforms either became angry monsters or hid themselves. Some would remain sleeping unless a sculptor woke them up directly.
Even if Weed explored many places on the continent, the sculptural lifeforms were hidden in deep places. He didn’t even find any sculptural lifeforms deep in the Jigolaths volcanoes.
“A sculptor came here not long ago.”
“What is this? I want to meet the sculptor.”
“He also gave me life.”
The 8th generation head of the Sculptor’s Guild had created a magnum opus. It had lived a quiet life at the tower in the Jigolaths until granted life by Weed. The sculptural lifeforms would talk about Weed whenever they encountered others. Many of Weed’s sculptures were scattered across the whole continent.
“I want to know the personality of the sculptor.”
“I didn’t meet him for a long time but he seemed stingy.”
Bardray made time for hunting even when the wall was ongoing. He could hunt more efficiently with the support of the guild and he missed the Haven Empire’s victory celebration banquet to go hunting.
“The attack skills are fairly good.”
Bardray was currently at a place with many monsters. They were mole like monsters with thorns on their body that would pop up from the ground of the dungeon.
Monsters up to level 500! Their health was high and the skin as hard as steel so he suffered damage from the thorns every time they popped up. Bardray utilized the one point attack Weed showed while hunting with the Royal Guards.
“He is becoming increasingly stronger.”
“As expected from the Bardray-nim.”
The one point attack method surpassed the high defense of the monsters. Bardray was very successful in using in using this new attack method. He was astounded by the destructive force of the one point attack.
Bardray spent a lot of time hunting with others and didn’t even take a break to wait for the monsters.
If it was Weed then he would carve sculptures and recover health while waiting for monsters to appear. But Bardray didn’t know any art or sculpting skills and could only grow in battle.
Instead he slept in the middle of every hunt. Sleep would make health and vitality recover faster than usual. Even though the battle might last longer, sleeping in the middle of every hunt actually reduced the time required for him to sleep.
“They’re all collapsed.”
Bardray stood alone at the base of a mountain.
They continued pushing to unify the empire and the Haven Empire fell to pieces. Bardray couldn’t match up to Weed’s glory. He could hardly imitate Weed’s command style and combat method.
“Huhuhu, I’m relieved. This is something that I’ve been pushing towards.”
Bardray felt a light feeling. For a long time he had been faithful to the Hermes Guild and everything ended up in the hands of the greedy guild.
That was the regret. A man needed to have a goal to challenge. And that dream was broken so now his shoulders felt lighter.
He could start from the ground up again.
“I have to adventure and do requests.”
Bardray wanted to travel the continent and quietly enjoy his life. He could fully enjoy the taste of the Versailles Continent after disbanding the Hermes Guild.
There was a person slowly walking towards Bardray.
Weed the God of War. Currently he had tremendous power and appeared as the new ruler of the Versailles Continent. The Death Knight Van Hawk and Vampire Lord Torido that he often saw in Weed’s vicinity were there as well.
“Where will you go?”
Weed said in a low, threatening voice. The atmosphere made him feel like an existence impossible to despise.
“I will now live quietly. I admit my defeat.”
Bardray confessed with a clean spirit. No matter how much effort he made, it was impossible to catch up with Weed. The Hermes Guild had been crushed so they weren’t even opponents any more.
Weed shook his head.
“I can’t let you go.”
Bardray already had those expectations. He had the ability to take control of the continent. Weed and his colleagues wouldn’t let him get that chance.
‘That chance can occur again. And if I raise the power…..’
Ambition kindled inside him. But Weed trampled on his imagination.
“The equipment you’re wearing is pretty good.”
“I will snatch it after I kill you.”
Weed drew his sword.
Bardray opened his eyes. The bodies of the Royal Guards were resting in front of him.
‘It was a dream.’
Bardray arranged his spirit while breathing deeply. Even if they were the Royal Guards that he spent a lot of time with, he didn’t want to tell them his nightmare. He always needed to look strong in front of them.
It wasn’t just today but he had similar dreams many times.
‘Haven’t I dreamt of defeating him since my time in Continent of Magic?”
It had affected him psychologically. Weed hadn’t even remembered him. But he couldn’t think about the past right now.
‘My competitors in Royal Road…..’
There was the Roam Guild, Lion Star Guild and Black Sword Mercenaries. They were weaker than the Hermes Guild in every area.
Bardray felt like he could win even if he fought with their leaders personally. Bardray’s level, combat skills and tricks were much stronger than them. If the continent occupation plan went as planned then he would meet them.
There wasn’t much time left.
‘Weed is incomprehensible…..’
Weed was always mysterious to him.
He never heard that name in the early days of Royal Road. Yet he was suddenly chased by a brilliant figure at a scary speed. Weed had completed impossible quests without the support of any other forces. He had the qualities of a great adventurer but the Bardray ruled the Hermes Guild so there was no need for him to worry.
There was a considerable amount of lords on the continent with no room for Weed. However he had managed to set up a kingdom in the north where hardly anyone lived.
His combat abilities also couldn’t be ignored. His level was low in the early days but Weed was able to compete with him in the Melbourne Mine.
Weed was definitely different from other people. Just like a weed, he seemed to become more terrifying over time.
He was a target that Bardray had to win over!
‘Obviously I will meet him again.’
Bardray was waiting for that moment. He had used the one point attack method Weed utilized in order to complement his weak point.
‘Maybe that dream…..’
Bardray decided to accept this minor fear. The path to conquer the Versailles Continent is fun. So far it was progressing as planned.
‘I will thoroughly stomp on him when I meet him next time. I won’t let him run amok…..’