Chapter 6 : Sculpture of a Child
“Weed-nim is truly a genius!”
Mapan was driving 20 large wagons past the River of Lamentation basin. He was moving the wagons to trade in the Barbarian village.
“Fresh human. You are prey.”
Even though a great number of monsters followed the wagons, they were annihilated by Bingryong and Phoenix.
Mapan dragged the carts and safely arrived in the village of the Vejague Tribe. Vejague tribesmen and women of all ages gathered.
“Hurry up and buy! Cheap and reasonably priced goods for sale. Nothing will left if you are late. Buy lots when they’re going cheap!”
The goods that Mapan had brought were weapons, armors, leather goods, and foods that had been made in Morata!
A young Vejague Tribe girl grabbed copper earrings that she seemed to like. “How much is this?”
Mapan made a severe expression. “That is very expensive.”
“I know. It seems expensive. I only have leather. Or fangs …”
The fangs and leather of the Black Wild Boar– they were goods that could net a good several hundred Gold in Morata.
Mapan shook his head as if it were preposterous. “But you can obtain those any time if you hunt in this area.”
Mapan, who was showing an example of a wicked Merchant!
The spa.r.s.ely haired Vejague Tribe la.s.s was on the verge of tears. “Hnng, but I really want to buy it…”
“Then, I will sell it to you for 3 leathers.”
“Thank you, Merchant oppa!”
Mapan traded with the uncivilized barbarians to buy up leathers and material. As the first person to trade with them, he was reaping an enormous profit.
The method of extorting the uncivilized barbarians that he learned from Weed!
The leathers he obtained here were a very precious material. They would be treated as a speciality back in Morata because they were leathers that came from the around the River of Lamentation. In addition, splendid robes and armor would be crafted once they were processed by Morata’s excellent techniques.
* * *
Weed sewed in his private room in the Lord’s Castle in order to make a sculpture for the 1 Copper request. He bleached Imoogi leather white and made a child’s body.
“Though a person’s skin isn’t white…”
He was stressed starting from making the skin color itself because of its dull color!
It was too much to consider Weed a real tailor, because although his ability to handle leather or cloth was quite outstanding, he had paid almost no attention to dyeing.
“Before, it was fine as long as the utility was good. Because color isn’t that necessary!”
Even though the design was an important element for clothing, it sold quickly as long as the defense or a different option was good. Dyeing could also be done by buying the clothing and taking it to another dyer.
Because of that, it was difficult starting from the task of making the child’s skin color.
“I don’t have to make her too young.”
A newborn. A child not even a hundred days old would just make them recall their sadness more easily.
“Some time must’ve pa.s.sed, so let’s make her two or three years old.”
It was the age when they would start making trouble.
“Just seeing their face will make you want to give them a rap with your knuckles, and you also regret having the child, only to suffer… even so, it’s the time when you love them most.”
Since this was a sculpture he was making for the parents to sort out their feelings and say their final farewell to the child, a cheerful expression would be good.
Not a sculpture that had simply artistic value, but one that could move the heart. It should have a warm feeling rather than detailed expression. He needed a sculpture that could show warmth.
“Even though I don’t have that kind of skill…”
Weed had learned by experience that in the end, something he wanted to forget or sadness were all made into memories by time.
To Weed, it was too much to expect a marvelous sculpture that would embrace all their pain and longing. He may be a truly remarkable sculptor, but even though he could express beauty, he couldn’t erase sadness.
“What I can do is pave the way for them.”
Weed attached eyes made from crafting obsidian onto the doll.
When his sister was little, she had enough toys to not be envious of others because of the dolls he made in the factory. If she were a little boy, she would have wanted all sorts of toys like planes, boats, cars, and robots, but she had cute tastes since she was a little sister. She was boundlessly happy when she saw a stuffed animal.
“She liked teddy bears to an extraordinary degree.”
Children liked dolls because there was something about them that stimulated their minds.
“Not only a sculpture of child … I’ll have to make more dolls. “
Weed thought it was lonely for the child to be alone. He planned on making a Magnum Opus sculpture at the very least, but something would really feel missing with that alone.
They would have to share an eternal farewell parting, so if there was just a doll of a child, the parents’ hearts would be torn with sadness.
“A sculpture that’ll be rimmed with plenty of children’s dolls. Looks like I’ll have to make all sorts of things as long as children like them.”
He would make all the things that a little girl would like. He would decorate it prettily with candles and could somehow even make a snowman.
“I can just peel off a bit of Bingryong’s skin dust!”
Sculptors were surprisingly capable of doing many different jobs.
Imoogi Leather : Durability 30/30.
An item related to the production skill, Tailoring.
The ultimate Tailoring material, it is an exceedingly valuable item for making clothes or equipment. Imbued with the power of Mana, it grants resistance to poison and amplifies darkness related powers.
Imoogi Leather can not be handled with ordinary Tailoring skills or tools.
Only a Tailor who has risen to the ranks of a Master Craftsman will be granted an incomparably precious experience and the opportunity to create a masterpiece.
Traces of battle are left on the leather, so its value has been slightly compromised. In order to manufacture it into a product, it requires additional repair.
It is a top-grade Tailoring item.
Options: Amplifies darkness related powers. Increases maximum Mana by 20,000. Has poison resistance, so will not be easily poisoned.
Very light material.
He was using an ultimate Tailoring item to make a mere doll. A material that could net tens of thousands of Gold despite their holes and blemishes if it was made into a tunic for an Adventurer or a Magician’s robe was cut without hesitation and reborn as a doll.
You have created Rabbit Plus.h.i.+e.
A new challenge by a Sculptor, who brings out beauty with his hands!
Rare leather was used as a material to make a rabbit doll.
Weed, the creator of a new revolution in the field of sculpturing, will not stop his challenge.
Artistic Value: A work by the great master Sculptor Weed. 309.
Possessing the Rabbit Plus.h.i.+e increases jumping ability by 5%.
Showing the plus.h.i.+e to children is enough to raise intimacy.
Can increase friends.h.i.+p with the Giant Rabbits.
– Sculpting skill proficiency has been improved.
– Tailoring skill proficiency has been improved.
– Fame has increased by 12.
– Art stat has increased by 3.
– Luck has increased by 1.
The Giant Rabbits hadn’t been discovered yet. Like the Yetis that were said to live in the snowy region, they were a tribe that only existed in the legends pa.s.sed down the generations!
By making a sculpture with a plus.h.i.+e, his Sculpting skill proficiency went up by a whole 0.9%.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to get this much proficiency even by making a Fine piece after my Sculpting skill level rose to 7…”
It seemed like concentrating on large sculptures or stone sculptures was a mistake. Sculpting could only develop by constantly attempting new changes. Themes or works you wanted to make would pile up so much that you’d have to make them without rest– such was the world of Sculpting!
As a human, the sculptures Weed made were determined, to some extent. He tended to make sculptures he was familiar with, and he was gradually straying away from making new attempts. After making Seo-yoon sculptures for a while, he had switched to large sculptures, but there were limits to sculptures made out of habit.
Weed completed about 30 stuffed animals with tender and friendly expressions and laid them out neatly. Wild beast plus.h.i.+es like lions, elephants, bears, cheetahs, and rhinos were in cute poses.
“Though a doll is best made with evil looks and gleaming eyes…”
They were severely mismatched with Weed’s tastes, but they were for children anyways.
Out of the dolls he made from leather, 5 Fine pieces emerged. As dolls made by attaching cloth and leather with the involvement of the Tailoring skill, the degree of completeness was considerable.
Weed’s craftsmans.h.i.+p boasted tremendous durability. He created plus.h.i.+es that would remain fluffy even if a real elephant were to come and trample them; they would even be perfectly fine if they were burnt with fire magic. They were at a level where children playing with them unawares would be rendered agape with astonishment upon seeing the plus.h.i.+es that remained unscathed even as they burned in a fire!
“The bias that a doll shouldn’t be st.u.r.dy has to be disposed of!”
As Weed made even more stuffed animals, he learned the basics of doll production. He also displayed imagination that truly went outside of the box. Leather squirrel plus.h.i.+es were turning a millstone to crush a big acorn– they were going to make acorn jelly to eat. Rabbits made carrot soup and were swimming around in it.
“For the piece name, ‘Squirrel and Rabbit Cooks’ will suit it.”
It was a Fine piece. If he used his Cooking skill later to make real acorn jelly and carrot soup and added it, it would be perfect.
Monkey plus.h.i.+es were peeling bananas, singing, and dancing in a group. They lit a bonfire and cavorted in a dizzying and sensual dance that would seduce monkey lovers. He even staged the comical scene of the playful monkeys falling over and slipping on the banana peels below them.
“The piece name will be ‘Cheeky Monkey Festival.'”
This time, it turned out to be a Masterpiece. The sight of the monkeys handling instruments carved out of wood was adorable.
“Next will be…”
Animals, animals, animals.
If it was for a little boy, he would be able to make sculptures like cars, boats, and planes. However, they had to be sculptures for a female child.
“Because little girls like stuffed animals!”
He made so many stuffed animals that it was ridiculous. He had an immunity to hard work, so he didn’t tire even after making hundreds of them.
“So I can completely fill up one room with dolls… I have to make it so the child will feel that she was happy and never unfortunate.”
The dolls he was making right now were merely side accessories. He had to make a special doll for his ultimate work, a greater magnum opus than any other works Weed had made. He had to make a true masterpiece.
* * *
Trivan, a village close to Morata, was recorded as a territory that had been ruled by a viscount in the days of the Niflheim Empire. It had been a blessed domain that produced a lot of silk and cinnamon, and had even possessed an expansive granary region.
However, after the harsh winter of the North pa.s.sed by it, all that was left was a wasteland and ruins. There were also many monsters, so the village was often plundered. After an attack by the likes of wild dogs, there was hardly any food supplies left in the village.
The Styrene Guild settled down here.
“Dig up the ground! We have to take out the rocks and plant the seeds, so we’ve gotta hurry.”
30 guild members under the command of Styrene were working with pickaxes. It was so they could clear the earth and plant seeds.
“Dammit, at least in Norman Kingdom, even beginners recognized you if you said you were part of Styrene Guild… what the h.e.l.l is this.”
“There’s no helping it since there aren’t any residents to do the work. They’re all earning in Morata right now.”
Styrene Guild had settled in Trivan Village about 5 months ago in Versailles Continent time! Around the time when the North’s pioneering was booming, Styrene Guild had moved their base early.
The villages and territories in the North were currently being governed for the players and guilds that were migrating over extensively.
When the Styrene Guild was choosing a village to settle, their conditions hadn’t really been that picky.
“Real estate is all about location. Fertile land? Broad fields? Or terrain next to a mountain? They’re all unnecessary. It just has to be close to Morata.”
At that time, Morata had been rising as the North’s famous village. Its future looked bright, even to Styrene.
“The benefit of being the center of the northern continent… Merchant trade is flouris.h.i.+ng and players are gathering. In the future, Morata will become the North’s hub.”
It was as Styrene predicted. Morata developed at a frightening speed from the Lord’s bold investment and the influx of people. Every time the Styrene Guild went to Morata Village to purchase goods they needed, they saw a world of differences in the changes.
Where there had only been the Tower of Light and a few sculptures, the ruin that had been Morata Village was paved with roads nice enough that a carriage could speed along on them and new buildings were built. Though it wasn’t fancy, a wide central square with a fountain also formed. In the square, Warriors, Magicians, Knights, and Adventurers sought party members to quest and hunt with. As they looked at the Merchants who packed around the fountain doing business, Styrene was so envious that tears sprang to his eyes.
“Our Trivan Village will… definitely also become like this later.”
Since the Lord of Morata’s profession was Sculptor, there was hope.
“The sculptures will have the effect of drawing in people at first. But once our Styrene Guild publicizes the hunting ground information and stuff, they’ll all come to our side.”
Styrene Guild excavated a dungeon and publicized monster information. They meant for many players to come hunt and settle in Trivan.
“Wow, so this is Trivan Village? We found it properly.”
Fighting parties visited in swarms. They were able to come quickly on horses because Trivan wasn’t that far away from Morata. However, once night fell, they returned to Morata.
“Let’s go look at the Tower of Light.”
“I’m a bit hungry. Let’s go to Morata and eat.”
That was the nearby city’s limit. The players made money from the dungeon and hunting ground and went to spend it back in Morata.
“Let’s sell our j.a.ptem in Morata, too.”
“Yeah, there are lots of Merchants in Morata so we can get a good price.”
They didn’t even sell off their j.a.ptem in Trivan Village.
Styrene’s village operation suffered a loss, but they weren’t frustrated and didn’t give up. “It’s the development of a village, so… we expected this much difficulty at the beginning anyways.”
They spent an additional 100 thousand Gold to invest. They built new houses and even made a square so that there were no discomforts. However, players still didn’t come, so it was no different from a ghost town.
“It’s probably because it’s not known. Let’s go to Morata in person and try advertising there.”
Styrene went to Morata Village with Duma, a guild member.
“Seeking people to live in Trivan Village. It is a village that the Styrene Guild is peacefully governing. We will support you with various conveniences and even provide you with a fixed resettlement fund.”
They found other guilds that seemed to be in similar circ.u.mstances, as they were tearfully advertising.
“We welcome adventurers to come to Home Village. It still has many inadequacies, but our Faroe Guild will…”
“We invite everyone to Keatu Village!”
When Trivan Village had improved a little, Morata had grown in the number of buildings and people. The G.o.ddess Freya Statue was completed, and an artificial lake appeared. The Lord personally expanded the tavern and even set up battle guilds. As it even became a starting city, the Morata region was growing bigger day by day. The expansion speed was so tremendous that the shops and houses were built on the empty lots beyond the Lord’s Castle, village, and the stone castle walls. It was a shantytown that overwhelmed them on their first visit to Morata!
“Eurgh, it’s really incredible.”
Even then, Styrene was optimistic. The fact that Morata was developing meant that people’s interest in the North was also growing! If Morata was getting better, Trivan Village would also gradually grow in residents.
“That’s how a city’s development is. If one place is intensively developed, the areas around it will also benefit.”
Having learned things like city organization and administration before, Styrene decided to think positively.
Morata wasn’t only a village with a Lord’s Castle, but also an extremely large land that included the neighboring regions.
“The Lord doesn’t even rule the region himself and he entrusted it to the elder, so that lack will probably show up somewhere.”
Through Styrene’s personal connections, he was clear to some extent on the situations of other guilds ruling castles and villages. The town’s representative didn’t leave his position unless there was a serious issue. That was because if you entrusted the administration to the elder or another n.o.ble, the expenses on useless aspects were severe. Morata’s expenses in the field of cultural art were great enough that they were unimaginable in the central continent.
“Good. Even Morata has a hole to it. If it’s investing in cultural art, then the waste will be severe and it’ll collapse soon.”
Styrene pulled together the guild’s astronomical funds to increase the number of smithies and develop the related techniques, investing a whopping 780 thousand Gold. He was developing the town tremendously as a city for Blacksmiths. Building a battle guild and even a magic guild, he strove to draw in players.
“There’s no place in the North that has a higher technological development level than Trivan Village. In time, this place will also become as big as Morata and grow in people.”
Styrene and his guild mates simply waited for that day to come. They were so excited that they couldn’t even sleep properly at night. While they were waiting, as culture developed in Morata, people began to enjoy the town. People tired from hunting, sightseeing, adventure, and quests comfortably enjoyed songs, sculptures, drawings, and art.
Culture didn’t even take much money. There were keepers making bunnies act cutely, performers, and even players who displayed their j.a.ptem and boasted. Morata’s players were happy.
– 35 residents from Trivan Village are moving to Morata.
The complaints of the residents are intense.
The residents came complaining to Styrene.
“Why is our village failing to thrive like Morata, my Lord?”
“There’s nothing for the village children to play with.”
“Even after finis.h.i.+ng hard work, I have no enthusiasm for life. I think this town is too desolate.”
The residents were deeply dissatisfied over the lack in culture. Morata’s residents were continuously growing, but Trivan Village’s population of just 3,000 was continuously falling. The loyalty of the town soldiers also fell, and work efficiency didn’t rise, either. As the residents decreased in number, silk production fell and the fields they had cleared with difficulty remained empty; they couldn’t even collect resources from the mine. Following the decline in residents, there were even cases where quests naturally disappeared. Players would come after struggling to finish a quest, but the store owner who was supposed to give them the reward had gone and disappeared. Plunged into a shocking situation, the players asked the residents but the reply was really the last straw.
“The weapon shop mister? He moved to Morata the other day. It won’t be easy to set up a new shop there, but they say it’s a village that people really want to live in. Me? I’m going to Morata soon, too. If you want to fulfil the work that was entrusted to you, go to Morata.”
– 23 Trivan Village residents are moving to Morata.
The residents want a religious establishment.
“I want to see G.o.ddess Freya. Thankfully there’s a G.o.ddess statue in the village next door, so we will spend the rest of our lives there.”
“How happy must our Morata friends be as they receive the blessing of faith? Going to Morata will bring one closer to the G.o.ddess!”
The residents continued to leave. Wanderers visiting the North had been settled in Trivan Village by giving them money and food, but they moved away. As a result, the village’s population was just barely 3,000 and didn’t grow.
Until now, Lords had worried over economy, technology, and military power. They viewed culture with scorn and paid no attention to it. If many Bards visited, they were even treated poorly for being noisy and annoying. What use was a rise in culture! Investing the maintenance fees or construction costs of culture-related facilities in other places was considered far more profitable.
There was no change in that way of thinking in other places in the continent, but Styrene was currently feeling an acute lack of culture. To make matters worse, he even received news of the issue he had worried most about.
“Guild master, they say Morata’s Lord Weed has returned.”
At the guild member’s report, Styrene’s head began to throb painfully.
“You’re saying he returned without going off somewhere and dying?”
“Yes. Apparently he’s making a Statue of Lugh now.”
“Ugh…making another sculpture!”
Styrene shook his head. No matter how he thought of it, there was nothing as reckless as competing with a Sculptor in city development. But even if he were given a fortune, there was no other alternative. There were just no Sculptors as outstanding as Weed in the Versailles Continent; the whole area was impacted every time he made a sculpture. As a neighboring Lord, it was like h.e.l.l for Styrene.
“But there’s also a recent piece of news.”
“The Lord of Morata’s true ident.i.ty is WarG.o.d Weed.”
It was such a feared name that it sent s.h.i.+vers down their spines.
Styrene was also a player who had grown up in the Continent of Magic. He had personally experienced the Continent of Magic Weed’s wicked charisma. He killed, stole, and was absolutely ruthless. Like looking at a mountain that could not be climbed, WarG.o.d Weed had filled him with despair.
“Are you saying he’s really WarG.o.d Weed?”
“We can’t be certain, but they say that possibility is sufficient.”
“Did he say it himself?”
“Several news channels on broadcast are saying there’s an almost 100% possibility that WarG.o.d Weed is Morata’s Lord.”
Styrene was silent for a while.
WarG.o.d Weed’s nature was extremely brutal, and he didn’t condone those who challenged him. He was a figure who would be furious even after razing everything to the ground by the simple fact that there was a territory in Morata’s vicinity.
Styrene had fled the rough wolves in the central continent, but he ended up next to a tiger’s den.
He was about to recall nightmares from the Continent of Magic. However, his guild member said something that was somewhat comforting.
“A rumor isn’t always true. And there are also many opposing opinions.”
“What are they?”
“First of all, he does have quite a few connections to WarG.o.d Weed, like the evidence of the Ice Dragon and his relations.h.i.+p with the Freya Church. However, it’s not certain whether it’s actually him or not.”
“Even if he’s really WarG.o.d Weed, there’s not much he can do. Could he dare to challenge our guild alone?”
They were the welcome words Styrene had been waiting for.
“Right. There’s nothing to fear even if he’s WarG.o.d Weed. And if his profession is really Sculptor, then we could even see it as a blessing and a stroke of luck, right?”
“There’s a chance for us.”
Styrene harbored grand ambitions concerning Morata. He would develop Trivan Village, draft soldiers, and seize Morata by force with his guild members! Styrene Guild had over 600 high-level players settled in the North altogether. If they acquired mercenaries from the central continent, they could field an army of about 2,000.
They were planning to take everything Morata had.
“Even if it’s Weed… this time, it won’t go as he pleases. His record from the Continent of Magic will end here. And if he isn’t WarG.o.d Weed, then it’ll really be over for him.”
“That’s right, guild master!”
“Then hurry and go to Morata to lure in some residents so we can enact the plan.”
* * *
Weed developed his Tailoring and Sculpting skills as he immersed himself in making dolls.
“Dolls can also be called a field of expertise, after all.”
He could earn a lot of proficiency or Fame if a work he made for the first time exceeded a certain level. However, he acc.u.mulated professional experience after making several of them, so the effect on his skill level or proficiency grew as well.
It was like how it was awkward for a Swordsman to use magic, and how Blacksmiths couldn’t make tons of different kinds of weapons. Of course, a Sculptor was the profession at the very peak of hybrid characters that could combine all of those.
“A doll of a child…”
Weed tasted failure dozens of times. He couldn’t make a perfect magnum opus, a work that looked like it was carved from the light of the heavens. He could only dream of it because he knew his own humble skills well. However, it wouldn’t do if there was an aspect that he found lacking.
“A young little girl. A doll of a lovable, bright, and peaceful child.”
Weed tore at his hair. The King Hydra and Imoogi leather that had been stacked like a mountain was shrinking. If bronze or iron had been used as materials, then he could melt them down again and reuse them, but for the most part, he couldn’t recycle the leather materials and had to discard them.
“It’s hard enough making a child that’s flawlessly bright, but darkness follows brightness.”
In the eyes of the parents who couldn’t have the child, such brightness would be pain that would chip away at their hearts. Even so, their sadness would be infinitely greater if he made a child that was shrieking as it cried.
“Magnum opus. I need to create a magnum opus…”
Weed fell into confusion. His worries on what kind of work he should to make were growing even more severe.
“Should I guess how Seo-yoon looked when she was young and make that?”
Escaping from reality!
He thought it’d be easy to sculpt Hwaryeong or Irene in their youths. However, Weed soon saw the error of his ways and shook his head.
“The player named Mandol believed in me and entrusted this to me. I can’t just do a rough job.”
It seemed like doing the quest would be way easier than agonizing over something that was so difficult to resolve.
The proficiency he acc.u.mulated while making dolls also amounted to 36% of level 7. Even if his skill level and expressiveness grew with experience, it was no good if he couldn’t decide on the right subject.
“I’m not being too greedy… I just want to sculpt the best little girl that I can.”
Weed’s worries kept deepening.
Since there was no word from the expedition that had gotten the shared quest and had left for the Embinyu underground prison, he just kept sewing dolls. As he repeatedly experienced countless failures, he was trying to make that something.
Dolls, dolls, dolls, dolls!
“Gaaaaah!” Lee Hyun kicked away his blanket and stood. It was such a big issue that he couldn’t sleep. “I thought I’d never have to suffer because of a doll again.”
The dolls of young girls wouldn’t leave his mind.
“Should I just make it as a bronze statue? If I make it using gold or silver, then…”
He came up with ways to escape, but he didn’t want to run away from it like that. Such an action would be completely betraying the trust he had gathered in sculptures thus far.
“I can’t just forget about it without even being able to make the requested sculpture.”
It wasn’t his way to give up because it was hard. No matter what, he just had to find the method!
Lee Hyun went to the market to cool his head. The dawn market was overflowing with liveliness from the people buying and selling things like vegetables and meat. But even within that liveliness, he couldn’t think of the right sculpture for the young little girl.
“Should I try going to the maternity ward or a preschool?”
He could see little kids there, but it wasn’t like he didn’t know what a child looked like.
“They’re sleepy little devils that get hungry and you have to frequently change their diapers.”
No matter what kind of little girl doll he made, he wasn’t pleased.
On his way home, Lee Hyun pa.s.sed a photo studio. Photographs for the first birthday celebrations of little kids and wedded couples were on display.
As he looked at those photos for a long time, Lee Hyun gained enlightenment.
“For a sculptor, the subject can be felt and seen in the finished work alone. That’s probably very different from a parent’s perspective.”
There was a life to a child even in an ordinary photo, and to a parent, that one photo would be a truly precious work.
Lee Hyun tried thinking of saying farewell to a little girl from a parent’s shoes.
Just what was he supposed to do about a parent’s breaking heart as they parted with a doll of a newborn baby!
“Making a doll of a child was wrong from the very beginning!” Lee Hyun suddenly shouted.
If he thought about it from a parent’s perspective, then he already had the most definite answer.