Dinner on the island of Ipia
“Alright! Then first, let’s start by building the foundation!”
Novice sailors starting in Ipia Island exclaimed from ash.o.r.e. They were chopping wood to make a seaworthy raft. But a warning to all aspiring sailors in Ipia! The production of timber is actually quite costly. First you need to go to the forests in the mountains and chop down the trees yourself. Then you have to drag the lumber down the mountain to build your raft.
“Once you have the fis.h.i.+ng skill, you can just eat whatever you catch. Later on I’ll be sailing the far seas.”
But many sailors had a different mentality.
“There’s been pirates on that island. If I find their buried treasure… fufufu.”
“If you’re going to have a large gathering, then of course it has to be by the sea!”
“If you’re going to go take a risk, it has to be in the sea!”
At first many set out in s.h.i.+tty boats made out of logs held together by knotted vines. They use a sheet of cloth for a sail as they begin their adventure!
(T/N: Every pirate’s first boat sucks.)
There were many names engraved on top of the flagpoles.
There were many names engraved on the sides.
Best Ipia Transport.
s.h.i.+pping Federation of Versailles Continent.
Chateau de Balleroy Ocean Peace Corps.
The s.h.i.+ps were just rafts, but their names showed huge aspirations.
Surka sighed wistfully.
“This island is really lively.”
She was sitting in a tavern overlooking the sea while drinking orange juice. Zephyr was sitting near her, searching through the women by swiveling only his eyes. Even if he tried to stop, his eyes would start roaming again subconsciously.
“This is a nice resort… it has a good atmosphere.”
He did not miss a single woman within a 100-meter radius.
‘Hmm, her thighs are a bit thick for her body. She has shoulder length hair. Her posture is that of someone with military training and it looks like she can high-kick. My conclusion is that she is someone who trained hard to overcome her pet.i.te body.’
An in-depth a.n.a.lysis of women!
‘It only goes to show that women are lonely.’
For him it was easy to become friends and lovers. Buy a drink for a girl who looked lonely and then… natural instinct would take over. After that it was easy to register them as friends and maybe even take them out to dinner.
Still Zephyr’s b.u.t.t remained stuck to the chair. He was sick of these quick girlfriends who were so easily seduced by a few words. He wanted a real companion. Many women loved his appearance, academic background, and financial power. His possessions included designer clothes, a foreign car, members.h.i.+p to first cla.s.s hotels and luxury watches. He was tired of using his a.s.sets to gain favor. He felt as if he was a fake, and he was tired of people getting close just because of his possessions.
If the heart was not moved, then it was meaningless.
‘I can heal their loneliness for a brief moment but it would never last.’
Zephyr wanted to meet a woman who he could really love. Could anyone truly be happy in life without sharing it side by side with a loved one? Surely not. However you can not judge a person without knowing them.
‘… What would I like to do….’
Spending time alone on dates would be nice, but going out with others as a group also sounded attractive. Would simply spending time together solve the problem and make them feel closer?
Even amidst these complex thoughts, he was stirring the cinnamon around in his drink while his eyes turned fully back to the women.
“That? She looks fine but her neck is moving by itself… tsk!”
He muttered to himself.
“Because of that it won’t work out.”
Hwaryeong, along with Maylon and Romuna were just watching. Drinking soda from gla.s.ses, they were relaxing without a care in the world. Summer vacation on Ipia Island! It was supposedly the most heart-soothing place in all of Royal Road.
Weed floated on a boat just off of Ipia Island. He looked at the boats floating around with just a plastic sheet and a flag.
“They sure are putting a lot of faith into those little rafts.”
He felt sympathy for the novice users because the raft he was using was more than just a simple raft! It was a dugout Korean canoe! He felt like he could even kill a Kraken with it! He took the name from a mighty sea creature thingy! This was the first s.h.i.+p he had built with his s.h.i.+pbuilding skills. The ghost s.h.i.+p could be operated properly after advancing the beginner s.h.i.+p sailing skills to level 7. It was too large for his low skill to operate now, so right now if he tried to steer the s.h.i.+p it would just drift in the wrong direction. To raise his skill, he needed a smaller boat, so an one-person dugout canoe was perfect.
Sailing skills proficiency has increased.
Even just floating in the sea increased his skill. Weed had raised his sailing skills to level 3 just by going around the island and looking at the sights and views. As his skill level rose he became better and faster at getting around while feeling less and less of the waves’ impacts. The dugout canoe was easy to handle with low-level skills. He started to head back to one of the many ports on Ipia Island.
Due to sailing for a long time there is a 13% increase of proficiency.
Sailing skills level 4!
“This skill is rising so quickly!”
Weed was quite delighted. It had a very fast growth rate compared to the sculpture and production skills. The skill grew fast during a short period, but Weed was determined to never be a sailor.
“Would the skill go up faster if my s.h.i.+p got damaged? I think it would give proficiency if I sunk the s.h.i.+p….”
He looked at a coral reef nearby and paddled furiously!
When the durability of the s.h.i.+p had reached zero, the repair s.h.i.+p skill was used. Sticks and broken pieces of rope were wound around the tree branch parts. He received food by fis.h.i.+ng and fresh water when it rained; after its long journey around Ipia island, the little canoe was ready to fall apart at any moment. Weed returned to the harbor not a moment too soon!
s.h.i.+p owned by Deoreo has sunk.
He could just create a new boat. There was no use salvaging it since it was a cheap dugout canoe. Still, it was not your usual beginner’s s.h.i.+p.
“Sailing skills at level 4. Now I will be able to control small, high-speed boats.”
It was great fun building up his navigation skills to become a great sailor. Now he could get a high-quality boat, hire a crew, sail some more, and go on an ocean voyage. A real dream!
But Weed’s professional career with sailing skills was going to end here. He had only meant to enjoy a quick vacation on the Ipia Island. A few days off that his sister could enjoy!
However the ocean was really, very attractive. Different species of fish could be seen in different colored waters. The water was so clear in some parts that the fish could be seen flitting about. The coral reefs and the fish gave off mysterious and bright light effects. If you sailed around you could even discover uninhabited islands.
Marine trade was a very profitable form of commerce that most users overlooked. Most well-known trade routes could earn a lot of money on a single trip.
They could also earn a lot by providing transportation to people. Going by s.h.i.+p around the continent was so much faster than walking! The Versailles proverb went:“The first on the soil will be the adventurers full of muscle. Then will the merchants.”
There was no place in the Versailles continent where merchants did not work. It may not be actual strength, but the power wielded by a merchant who traded vast amounts of goods across the continent could not be ignored. Aspiring merchants who utilized the sea had an advantage when they familiarized themselves with sailing skills.
“It’s certain that prestigious guilds would not hold out very long if there were no merchants supporting them.”
Instead of going with Weed to the Mariners guild, Hwaryeong and the others went together to the pub where they heard a quest related to Zahab. Quests relating to the remaining Matallost, and quests relating to the Niflheim Empire.
Ipia Island attracted many people with its specialty beers and you would often see parties eating barbecue on the beach. But Weed had another purpose in mind. He would collect information relating to the Niflheim Imperial quest.
It was said that Ipia Island was just a giant resort, but it was visited by so many people that it could also be called an important port. Every port has taverns and the waitress had the most information. In order to obtain information on sea quests you had to “capture” them. Treatment of the waitresses at the bars was a sensitive compet.i.tion that often provoked rivalry.
“Getting on the ghost s.h.i.+p would be meaningless if I don’t have any information.”
Pirate Island Croix is located near Ipia Island! Small fis.h.i.+ng boats which consisted of hunting parties full of warriors and priests floated around, completing quests.
“I hope ye didn’t run into too much trouble”
“Not at all. I enjoyed talking to you.”
“Shank’s, here’s the three gold ye were promised.”
Croix was a very dangerous hunting ground because the first half, it was a pirate base with various defenses that had been built around the fort. And the other half, it was filled with monsters!
Only users of level 340 or higher could enter and come out alive. On a narrow but safe strip of land, users were standing around gathering parties to carefully hunt and explore Croix!
However, seven s.h.i.+ps sailing decrepit sailboats with an imposing presence arrived from the sea. It was the ghost fleet of pirate Deoreol. A one eyed, one armed, one-legged pirate held out a money bag in one hand and a great flag in the other.
“Tweeeeet! Pwap pwap pwap pwap. Sha! Invasion of the enemy!”
The pirates of the island promptly responded. Shouts of alarm and the sound of a bull horn cried out a state of emergency. Users attempting to hunt sat down in amazement.
“What should I do?”
“What else, just wait till those idiots die.”
No users were usually crazy enough to attack Croix Island. Croix was the gathering place for some of the most notorious pirate gangs. Even so much to hunt on this island that it would make users feel proud. (T/N It took a lot of guts to hunt there.)
The users were laughing as the pirates lined up one after another to protect their waterfront home. The decrepit s.h.i.+p sailed straight on without changing directions. Geomchi3 was sitting in the captain’s seat while the first mate Nickey was steering the s.h.i.+p. Nickey humbly bowed at the waist and said.
“Temporary Captain! At this speed, we will hit the coast. Do you want to slow down?”
Geomchi3 shook his head.
“Go straight at full speed.”
Going straight ahead without changing direction! Anch.o.r.ed on a sandbar. At Croix Island, raiders carrying scimitars and ropes with hooks were waiting as the ghost s.h.i.+p approached.
Emerging from a hole leading to the hull of the Ghost s.h.i.+p, Geomchi came out.
A landing operation on the famous Pirate Island Croix was being carried out.
There were over 20 bars in the Ipia Island port. There were also many big name resorts, but for sailors who came back from a long voyage, they wanted to relax and wash away their tiredness with beer at their usual hangouts. It was cla.s.sified as a cozy pub near the harbor and beach that allowed casual swimwear. Sailors usually went there for its quiet atmosphere. Hwaryeong had told him to meet at the bar because of its good atmosphere and the bar’s name “Girl Waiting at the Harbor”.
“Here is your gla.s.s of beer and dried seaweed snacks. Please tip over here.”
Weed finished ordering and sat down at the bar where gentle music was flowing.
“Not a bad atmosphere. Zephyr and the others haven’t arrived yet.”
Weed firmly put a piece of seaweed in his rotten teeth with bony fingers. Even after turning into an undead it was still possible to taste the fragrant flavor. Normally a skeleton wouldn’t have much of a sense of taste, but thanks to the effects of Sculpture Shapes.h.i.+fting, he was effectively masking his real body. So he still had some advantages of a human body.
When he learned Sculpture Shapes.h.i.+fting, it was unknown to him if those masking traits would disappear, but for now taste and aroma were meant to be enjoyed. While drinking beer, Weed listened to the circulating stories.
“I’m glad we came to Ipia Island. I am going to try to come again next year.”
“Then invite Oze and all the other guys to come on New Year.”
“Palowin’s team followed the Berwick fleet into this dungeon. There they revealed they were doing a really big quest, and the fame was amazing.”
“You know that you can transport cheese to the kingdom of Brent for big money.”
“… Do you really think so?”
“Information was from a minor source, but I think it could be a big draw.”
Users with multiple jobs and merchants talked freely and shared stories. You could benefit by listening, and they might receive help too. If there were no secrets to share, one could listen to the band. It was customary to pay for drinking expenses while gathering information. Weed eavesdropped on many other people’s conversations at the heart of the tavern while wearing a heavy robe. After about 10 minutes of spying, he heard.
“But every time I go to Morata, the lord is busy. I would have liked to see his face before I left.”
Every ear within the place must have heard and started talking.
“Where do you go to get in on a sculpture quest?”
“G.o.d of War Weed, Matallost quest… do you think he is only sharing with the users who helped him rescue the church?”
“I heard that everyone who did the original was included but they don’t have exclusive rights, so anyone can join.”
“That’s nice experience for the combat professions, such easy experience from one quest can’t be seen that often in large organizations.”
“Hundreds of people cooperating together for a quest… sound like fun.”
Weed suddenly stretched his shoulders wide even though they were only narrow bones. Users that completed the Matallost quest were resolved to beat the next request. In Royal Road it was not such an easy thing to take part in a big quest, it would also be a fun experience.
“Morata’s Lord’s obsession with earning money is certainly unique. He has done a lot more business than most traders.”
“Oh, by the way have you heard about this evening’s performance of Hairen Benti?”
They had quickly changed topics. When drinking there is no reason to talk too deeply of the lords from other regions.
“Do you mean that show that is going on in the central square?”
“Has it finally arrived at the central square? At this rate there’s gonna be a lot of people attending.”
“It is a great show.”
Hairen Benti was a female bard. Singing and dancing from Morata, she had gained sensational popularity. Thanks to the ongoing investment in culture, the bards were vigorously working. Many songs with a Morata theme were showing up all over the Versailles continent. Morata was full of fun adventures and included a robust commerce centre.
The fact that stories about Morata had spread into the far northern island of Ipia was an evidence that Morata was growing. Whenever Weed’s quests are being broadcast, each bar always blossomed with conversations about it.
“Over here, waitress!”
Weed called out to one of the employees.
Soon after a waitress with pigtails came running.
“Rather, the bards at that table seem to be calling for me… can I just give you the bill now?”
“No no. Please send me two more strands of seaweed. I’ll calculate the bill later.”
“Shees.h.!.+ Okay, sir.”
He was ignoring the waitresses bad att.i.tude. This is what happens when you have bad intimacy. Weed was an unknown and a skeleton, not even four drinks were enough protection for Weed.
Weed thanked the waitress with the bad att.i.tude when he received seaweed with a gentle wave of his hand. And soon he walked up to the hostess with a swish of his mantle. The stretched lobes immediately crumpled.
“Do you girls like sculptures?”
Working to build intimacy! Weed talked to the female employees under the watchful eyes of the users. It was a bar by the sea, retaining a friendly relations.h.i.+p with the waitress could lead to the necessary information for a quest. The others sympathized as they kept watch wondering what sort of information the female employees would give out.
“My name is Delia, not “you”, and I hate sculptures!”
A sharp rejection! He didn’t even have to put this much effort into carving a masterpiece. If he had to build intimacy like this, it could take a long time to earn the information he needed for his quest. Weed was not going to give up because it was hard, how else was he be able to share the lunch with the instructor, and take away the elder of Morata’s precious sweet potatoes with only a resigned look left on the elder’s face?
Weed tapped his bony finger on the table and said lightly.
“You are beautiful.”
“Hearing such praise from a skeleton does not make me happy.”
“What kind of man do you like?”
“I like a man with a short head of hair. I hate a man with no hair.”
The sorrow of a skeleton! The one eyed, pierced appearance was met with severe antipathy from Delia.
‘A skeleton is not beautiful?’
It was not cool? How the h.e.l.l was his outfit not wonderful? He could never understand the taste of women. Okay, the cracked part of the skull naturally gave off the inelegant appearance of a gaping skull. Since his appearance had escaped the Orc Karichwi charming effects with women, Weed decided to switch directions. (T/N Weed has great talent in making hideous ugly things.)
a.s.suming one cannot gain familiarity from talking there was another special way one could gain favors.
The fastest way to buy the favor of the female employees! However, intimacy gained from gifts did not last long. If the gift you give is not up to par, then the intimacy immediately dropped.
‘And then you regret the gift.’
Weed decided to ask directly instead.
“What kind of stories do you like?”
“Hmmm… I’m fond of adventure stories, especially adventure stories from the sea! However I probably wouldn’t have any interest in ones from a skeleton.”
Weed thought of an adventure that went with the sea and the surrounding regions.
“I’ve had many great adventures from around the sea.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you an interesting story.”
“It seems like a waste of time.”
“Once I’ve heard a certain adventurer from the kingdom of Rosenheim….”
The start of an adventure story to buy the female employee’s favor, impress the employees, and make the bar become more jubilant.
Just as he was about to unveil the story of the adventurer, a bird made out of gold flew onto his shoulder. The Golden Bird with its eyes made out of sapphire looked at Delia. A cute figure wearing a crown of diamonds. The Golden Bird showed exquisite timing!
The guests of the bar looked in surprise at the Golden Bird. Golden Bird made users stumble because they had never heard of such a thing.
“Oh my! Did you raise this mysterious birdie?”
|Strength of friends.h.i.+p with Delia, employee of the tavern “Girl Waiting in the Harbor”, has increased a little.|
“May I touch it?”
Since it did not cost anything to touch, plenty of touching was allowed. Delia lightly swiped a finger along Golden Bird.
“I did not know there were birds like this. You must be a great adventurer!”
|Strength of friends.h.i.+p with Delia, employee of the tavern “Girl Waiting in the Harbor”, has increased significantly.|
The tacky skeleton’s treatment rose greatly! If you miss an opportunity to gain a great deal of intimacy, you would surely regret it.
Even though now and then he fell into misfortune in the Versailles continent, he was now living the dream of adventuring at sea.
However now that he was able to own a medium sized sailboat, there was no need to worry about small disasters…. The commandeered ghost s.h.i.+p had no end to small disasters. There was no need to even talk about the habitual water leaks, the awful air filtration, the seaweed that twisted them up at the reef, and the group of dirty sailors and colleagues ready to jump into the mouth of any sea monster at the first word.
The only reason he came to sea was because the Golden Bird had pointed to the location across from it. Weed had been ready to kidnap Golden Bird with his silky voice. Yes, the atmosphere maintained a certain skeletal theme, and had left him with lingering expectations.
“The Golden Bird is pointing somewhere isn’t it? Is it supposed to do that?”
“Unfortunately I don’t know yet. However I am certain there is a connection to the collapse of the Niflheim Empire. Have you ever heard of it?”
“… It is the Niflheim Empire, right? That topic covers names from long ago, but I wouldn’t know anything about them. But if you’re talking about the North Sea then you should talk to Grandpa North T., he often sailed in the north. Wouldn’t it be better to go speak to him then ask me?”
“May I ask where I can meet him?”
“He lives near the island’s eastern Imperial Villa. It’s always easier to meet him in front of his house during broad daylight.”
Weed felt a premonition.
Sometimes the slightest clue could cause the greatest things to occur. There was a possibility that Thira did not know anything about the Niflheim Empire. However it was information that he did not have to pay for, so he accepted it as a gift.
Weed spread his shoulders wide.
“This is all thanks to my luck!”
The Golden Bird laughed along with Weed! The sculptures created by a sculpting master like the Emperor were really unique, they had a calming bond.
‘Life Bestowal sculptures like this guy are really uncommon. This guy is so much smarter than the guys I have to beat.’
Weed thought of all the inadequacies of large bird shapes.
‘In regard to shape there are many inefficiencies. Beautiful appearances and eye catching wings, but the feet are inconvenient to write, eat, and carry things with.’
While Weed contemplated the geometry of eating vs. carrying.
“Hyeong-nim, you came first.”
Zephyr appeared carrying a fis.h.i.+ng rod.
His colleagues had previously gone their separate ways on Ipia Island, but Zephyr had been spending his time drinking at the bar.
“Welcome back, sir!”
Delia showed a bright figure of hospitality!
“Mister, you are incredible! You’ve caught a pretty big fis.h.!.+”
One of Zephyr’s packages included a variety of rare fish.
“For a great angler like me, this is child’s play!”
“Oh, I’ve never seen such a big Sunfish.”
The female waitresses flocked around Zephyr!
“Isn’t this a Cinnamon Ganhan? I will personally give you a salted plate if you want to sell this.”
“There are also good seaweed, skin sh.e.l.ls, and powdered pearl which might be good for you according to some medical journals.”
“This might be good!”
“Sir angler, come and sit down. Do you have any questions or need anything else?”
Zephyr’s popularity with the waitresses was explosive.
‘This guy… he didn’t even have to ask for seaweed.’
“Did you figure out some kind of secret?”
Meanwhile Yurin was using her picture s.h.i.+ft to travel around.
“Oh Yurin, I like to use cinnamon a lot. “
As if to answer his thoughts, Yurin showed up shortly after.
“Uh huh, such a nice system.”
He didn’t ask why she just showed up. Just that suddenly there were dark clouds in the background of Zephy’s love life; he felt like weeping.
A moonlit night party on Ipia Island the companions shared their stories while drinking beer. In the humidity, Hwaryeong shared her stories of how she composed her songs in various countries.
“I first saw the Eiffel Tower when I was 16.”
“The Eiffel Tower… you mean the steel structure in France?”
“Weed, when did you see that?”
“On my summer vacation trip. Do you want to see the photos of it? I have some other travel photos as well.”
France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, England! Weed was able to converse with Hwaryeong about all of them.
“The taste of traveling abroad is very different….”
“Hey, I have to travel because of my band. I do my best work when I travel! England’s strip is really small but the most lively, right?”
Hwaryeong had attended mostly only major cities because her performances needed large s.p.a.ces, so she had not seen much of the countryside. Talking about the band that harmonized with Hwaryeong’s talent left her with tears in her eyes.
“Do you think we have time to go now?”
Bellot’s face was flushed bright red.
Mapan’s eyes were frantically darting about as if he was waiting for something and then he nodded his head respectively.
He was holding an exquisitely designed set of playing cards.
Yurin especially was sketching the scene and the playing cards.
Drinking alcohol in a good atmosphere! There was just the perfect amount of people for a great party!
“It’s a bet, 10 gold.”
“It will be a fairly large plate. All bets are final.”
Da’in was at the beach party under the moonlight escape.
“It looks like you’re doing fine.”
Weed looked happy with all of his companions. It was a picture she had imagined in the hospital.
‘Prior to the surgery I did not know if I would be leaving this world forever… I was afraid, so I didn’t want to admit that I thought of you so much.’
It was insane. What the mind tells you was not always what the heart wants to accept.
‘Ah, Royal Road was not very interesting. I did not know when I could even connect later. From the beginning, my family and friends would just worry. I felt so alone. I just wanted to quietly have the surgery. So I didn’t tell you about it until the very end. But at the end, I was given courage because I knew that someone would remember me forever, even without a candid confession. I wanted to remain as that special person without causing you to worry about other inconveniences. Then I was worried about what kind of story to tell you, so I deliberately did not change my cursed appearance.
However, Weed, now you look really happy with your close companions. I’m sorry that I could not properly talk to you. And now it’s impossible to ask if you liked me. It was my fate to meet with you again. I had a fantastic illusion. With the memories of us you carved into the earth, I was truly pleased.’
“But all that doesn’t matter now. Weed, now that you’re doing well, my mind is at ease. It means you can love someone else, right? Probably for the best… but… even if you say that now it’s okay isn’t it?… to stay by your side.”
Tears s.h.i.+mmered gently in Dain’s eyes. However, as she walked to another location they slowly were replaced with a vigorous laugh.
“First love…. In the end your first love was me though, right?”