Volume 25 Chapter 5. Secret Sword Skill
Weed was making sculptures of Zahab’s swordsmans.h.i.+p. The final theme was to sculpt several individual sculptures to create an image of the consecutive movements of a specific swordplay sequence.
Sculptures showing swordplay. They were also based on Zahab’s swordsmans.h.i.+p so while making the sculpture, his mastery of the sword skill increased easily. As Weed could possible receive a one of a kind sword skill from Zahab, he sculpted day and night without stopping. “Sculpting requires physical labor compared to all the other art forms. But Zahab also dedicated himself to the sword, so maybe among painters someone might have similarly dedicated himself to magic.”
He pondered on this baseless speculations.
Sculptors had endurance and fitness, painters had high wisdom and intelligence. There was nothing that prevented the Art cla.s.s from such happenstance.
“Sigh. Just when I was finally getting to live life.”
The chilly and windy month of March!
Lee Hyun saddled his bag like a turtle and slowly waddled to the bus taking him to university.
“To go back to university, can there be anything more terrible than this?”
There was no tingle of excitement and the cold weather only added to the misery of going to university.
“I heard they only gathered prodigies for this years freshmen.”
“Especially the virtual reality department, they said the compet.i.tion for entrance was insane.”
“Well, it is the most famous industry right now.”
Gossip about the freshmen floated around the bus. Lee Hyun believed that it was good manners for a university student to be absent for the first week, when all entrance ceremonies were occurring.
With the new students, a gentle spring breeze blew through the campus.
‘This has absolutely nothing to do with me.’
Even though the fresh juniors with their awkward makeup and mini skirts entered, Lee Hyun gave them no mind and continued on his way.
“Ah, hyung you came?”
Coming into the lecture hall Choi Sang Jun pretended to be friendly.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you for the first time.”
Beside him there were two well mannered female students sitting together. With their sophisticated looks and charm these two who could be picked as the most popular freshmen were currently talking with Choi Sang Jun.
“This guy is my peer, but he’s a hyung who’s a bit older.”
To the freshmen, Lee Hyun did not look easy to approach.
‘They pretty themselves up like that and pretend they did not eat anything and beg the Sunbae to treat them. First they would be satisfied by the university’s cafeteria, then at the end they would ask for a shot of alcohol and drag you off to a spicy stir fried chicken restaurant. They are not some malnourished college women… therefore I must never buy food for the freshmen.’
“Ah, yeah that’s right.”
Lee Hyun just nodded and sat in the empty seat nearby . But their chattering could be heard clearly.
“Sunbae-nim, I watched the scene of Black Lion’s guild capturing Bison.”
“Yeah, I was very active in that war. Did you see the knight that destroyed the castle gate with his spear?”
“Yes. It was so cool. The knight was riding on his horse and the spear just destroyed it. Oh, could it possibly be Sunbae-nim?”
“No, he’s my hyung, one of the founding members of the Black Lion’s guild. My horse died recently, so I had to climb the siege ladder.”
Choi Sang Jun had a lot of pride when he was talking about the achievements of the Black Lion’s guild. In Versailles continent, if one had the symbol of the Black Lion’s guild on their armor, they received preferential treatment. Even murderers who were part of a great guild were overlooked.
That’s why a lot of merchants joined famous guilds, paying portion of their income willingly for the benefits they receive. Guilds operated castles, villages, mines and through the activities of the merchants earned income to grow their strength and influence.
In truth, Royal Road had every different kind of method to survive and there were many players that enjoyed playing it casually. They could level up through hunting and become known for their bravery, or just wander through the tourist spots and make enough money to live by.
Royal Road was full of things to enjoy and many players did not try to stray far from the city. Hunting in a dungeon for several days was difficult and did not fit the apt.i.tude of many players. After struggling with their studies in reality, they connect to Royal Road and stayed in a vacation spot with many alluring women, what more could they hope for?
But there was something about fighting monsters and increasing territory in Versailles continent that made the heart beat faster.
“Hyung, you are here?”
Park Soon Jo came into the lecture hall and rested his head tiredly on his table on Lee Hyun’s left side. As there was some time left before the lecture started, Lee Hyun also laid his head on the table.
“Ah. These days it’s really, really hard.”
It was not easy as he needed to pick an exact stance from the swordplay sequence for Zahab’s requested sculptures. He also needed to pick and sculpt the moment the stance changed and the transitional phase of the sword swing. If he had never learnt swordsmans.h.i.+p, trying to emulate Zahab would have been extremely hard.
Park Soon Jo grumbled with him.
“Hyung, it’s also hard for me.”
“What are you doing these days?”
“Since winter, I am struggling with explorations and quests…”
“It’s not working out?”
“It’s a chain quest so I have to meet lots of people and have to gather tons of materials. But slowly, it’s progressing.”
Park Soon Jo’s character was a thief with quite a high level. His current chain quest would even keep Lee Hyun interested. But Lee Hyun’s fame was already at a level that he could do any king’s quest in Royal Road.
“Yeah, keep trying hard. If nothing works out, just leave it alone for some time and do it later.”
“I think I am almost there. I want finish it to the end.”
“Have faith. If it doesn’t work, give it up early before it’s too late.”
The two sharing a quiet conversation could hear Choi Sang Jun’s loud voice from the back.
“The Black Lion guild will hunt the Elemental Lavastorm this weekend. The IBC network will broadcast it so please watch it live.”
“Will Sunbae-nim also be there this time?”
Choi Sang Jun stuttered hesitantly.
“My qualification is still not…”
Morata’s development rate could amaze anyone.
Residential houses were built several months ago. Shacks and mud houses were sprouting up fast, symbolizing overdevelopment!
“I came here to join the Gra.s.s Porridge cult.”
“We finish up the registration process on the same day, your application number is 18639.”
“Is there that many new applications today?”
“It’s Monday so the number is on the low side.”
Through Morata’s main gates, the beginners slung their bags and went to hunt in the nearby dungeons. They gathered by themselves and chummed up with each other before they left for hunting.
“Maybe we should start considering moving on to Vargo Fortress?.”
“I heard that that place is well established so there is plenty of information about the hunting grounds.”
“If we go together, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
“Let’s go before it’s too late. I want to spend my time in the regions lord Weed reigns rather than any other villages in the North.”
Many people moved to Vargo Fortress, but the effect of players migrating away from Morata could not be felt. After a day or two, new players appeared. The number of merchants doing business continued to increase.
In addition to the large, central business district in Morata, people gathered in pioneering villages to explore and hunt. Morata’s influence continued to grow and merchants from all over the North came to trade. With Morata’s influence, Vargo Fortress’s transitional development phase was shortened.
In no time, the non-existent population was expanded through the influx of residents and players, allowing for more commodities to be created. Warriors gathered for hunts and adventures, bringing item drops. Many merchants traded with the elves, dwarves, and barbarians, while they lacked technology and production capacity, the volume of goods that were traded wasn’t so insignificant.
The merchants who manage to trade successfully with these tribes could bring in lots of profit. The merchants became more ambitious and brought in goods these tribes needed to trade with them. With Mapan and the other big merchants in the North, after their initial success in their trades they established stores in Vargo Fortress.
“One month. After one month there will be fully developed commerce here.”
There was the danger that monsters could completely destroy everything, but they pinned their hopes and dreams and invested in Vargo Fortress. Weed had invested an enormous amount but even if he hadn’t the people believed in the potential for growth and began to settle in Vargo Fortress.
It was a place for strong warriors to display their strength. When monsters came, they could rely on the st.u.r.dy wall and fight together. After claiming their victory, the warriors could have a beer fest.
The indispensable components were built fast and were taking their places.
“This is the place. It’s huge size is making me doubt if I came to the right place.”
Geomchi crossed the sea and arrived in Morata. He had seen it in the past, on the way to the Vampire Kingdom of Todeum, where he had come to help with it’s subjugation. At that time it was a rural village that adventurers avoided, but now it could be said to be the capital of the entire Northern continent.
“This is really amazing.”
While Geomchi was standing in front of the entrance, merchants were busily dragging their carts this way and that.
“Excuse me, it looks like your level is a bit high. Would you like to hunt with us?”
Geomchi spun his head, a party of 6 adventurers were calling for him.
“Yes. Our party needs one more swordsman. Trying to find someone in the Square is inconvenient… So perhaps if you don’t have a party let’s hunt together.”
The rumours of Geomchi couldn’t have spread here.
The great warrior of Yurokina Mountains. Although he only partied with few people, he cleared out the most diabolical and dangerous monsters in dungeons. The people who saw Geomchi’s achievements were few, but the Orcs and Dark Elves spread the rumour in secrete.
“A hulking man. Orc, queek! He’s not an orc. Human! Too strong. Checheek!”
“As a human he’s proficient in multiple weapons. The day he appeared, the monsters couldn’t even leave their nest.”
“He is the best warrior in the Yurokina Mountain range. We acknowledge Orc Karichwi’s leaders.h.i.+p, but no one can match his valour.”
Geomchi fought in the Yurokina Mountains because he was bored, but he became a legend and myth amongst the Dark Elves and Orcs.
“It would be nice to have various artworks here like Morata…”
“We can see the Advent of Seven Angel sculpture but it’s only here temporarily. They are moving it back to the Art Center. It would be awesome to have something like the Tower of Light or the statue of G.o.ddess Freya.”
The players in Vargo Fortress had access to the necessities but they were feeling the inconvenience when culture was sterile.
Morata was fresh and new everyday. People could take a break with their friends or lover while observing the artworks. The happy and joyful atmosphere could be felt from the highest attraction point where all of Morata could be seen.
In life, money, fame, and power were important. But on the other hand satisfaction could be found through poetry, novels, or songs! Culture and art made one conscience of life. It was a necessity that made people happy and quenched spiritual thirst.
“Nothing much we can do. This place is still dangerous. The artists will probably move here when it becomes safer and richer.”
“I need a sculpture that increases magic. Isn’t there any other Magnum Opus?”
“Also a sculpture that can boosts a warrior’s defense skill. I wonder when he will make it.”
Players were hoping for Weed to come back and make more sculptures. In Morata’s Art Center, Weed’s works were the best but there were many other good sculptures and the players were hoping for some of them to be moved to Vargo Fortress. Then another Art Center could be constructed In Vargo Fortress as well.
“I need to work harder and make more money. I am going to hunt here for a long time and I don’t believe my tax money will go to waste.”
“I heard bards will come tomorrow for a performance. Let’s go watch.”
There were many players in Vargo Fortress feeling the loss of culture. But at the entrance of the fortress a man wearing a green hat appeared.
“Who is that guy.”
“Check out his crazy cloth.”
Players were jeering at him. As he was wearing a green hat and yellow travel wear, it was easy to think he was a complete nutcase.
“My legend shall start from here.”
The person coming to Vargo Fortress with the painting equipment was none other than Petrov. Taking out his brush and paint, he began to draw on the wall. Without any sketches, he started the coloring immediately. He drew over the broken and discolored castle wall.
“I never saw something like that before.”
“The painting looks so real.”
“There are varieties of sprites playing with the fairies.”
On the castle wall, Petrov completed his specialty ‘of Sprites’ artwork! Petrov was talented when it came to painting fairies, sprites, elves and monsters. He was also close to the races in his artwork so the value of the pieces were even higher.
‘Huhu, be amazed. This is only the beginning.’
It was only the first step in filling up Vargo Fortress with his painting. Next, Petrov drew pictures of food on the wall. Basing it on a most scrumptious feast, he drew vivid pictures of whole roast barbecue that monsters liked.
‘When the monsters come, even they will know the greatness of my paintings…’
A picture of temptation!
Battles could erupt anytime in Vargo Fortress. But now they could attack the instinct driven monsters as they tried to eat the food. And so everyone in Vargo Fortress began to know Petrov as the amazing painter
“I want to eat. The color of the painting looks much better than the real thing.”
“But his attire is barmy.”
“Yeah, can’t argue with that.”
Even when the monsters were trying to come over the wall, Petrov stayed to paint till the last second. He quickly became one of the most famous persons in Vargo Fortress.
Everytime he made a new sculpture, his mastery in the swordsmans.h.i.+p skill increased. He was on the later half of the sword play that Zahab showed him when
|Intermediate Swordsmans.h.i.+p reached level 10 and changed to Advanced Swordsmans.h.i.+p.Attack power using a sword increased by 25%.Each time Advance Swordsmans.h.i.+p skill increases by 1 level, attack power increases by 9%.
Destructive power of mana consuming attacks improved by 45%.
All stats have been given an additional 7 points.
Weed’s swordsmans.h.i.+p finally reached the advanced level. The difference between intermediate and advance was like heaven and earth.
“Looks like Zahab’s sword mastery is on a quite a high level.”
While Weed was making the sculptures he was in a trance, mulling over vague memories. Zahab was a considerably powerful person, he remembered Zahab’s continuous movements or swatting of the monsters. And so he completed the sculpture Zahab wanted.
Weed set a simple name. It was not a sculpture made with a theme, it was only a representation of Zahab’s swordsmans.h.i.+p. “Zahab wielding his sword.”
|Masterpiece! The sculpture, ‘Zahab Wielding his Sword’ has been completed.Sculptures of Master Sculptor Zahab made from white marble.A special sword skill is hidden within, those with potential can realize its secret.
Artistic Value: 2,472.
Special Option: Anyone who sees the sculpture of, ‘Zahab Wielding his Sword’ will regenerate health and man 26% faster for a day.
All stats increase by 11.
Swordsmans.h.i.+p power increases by 15%.
By observing the sculpture, mastery of swordsmans.h.i.+p increases slightly.
A sword skill is hidden within the sculpture.
Effect does not stack with other sculptures.
Number of Masterpieces created till now: 16.
With this final masterpiece, he completed Zahab’s request successfully.
|Zahab’s a.s.sistant Quest CompletedYou have completed the sculptures Master Sculptor Zahab wanted to make.
You have actualized Zahab’s long cherished desires.
‘Zahab’s sword skill within the Masterpiece.’Weed was in the process of mastering the sword, but through the use of normal sword skill, sculpting blade and heriam fencing the skill level did not increase much. But learning one more wouldn’t hurt.
After the completion of the sculptures, Zahab spoke as if some burden had lifted.
“These are nice works. Now I can finally leave Grapa.s.s.”
“Are you going to some other regions?”
Weed asked so he could gain any more information about the Master Sculptor Zahab.
“I should do so. I want to wander the continent with the little life I have left.”
“What are you going to do about the sculptures in your workshop?”
“I am going to sell them to fund my travels. Or if some of my friends are still alive, I will give it to them as gifts.”
The sculptures of Master Sculptor Zahab would now be spread out throughout the continent. This change in fate occurred only because Weed came and completed Zahab’s quest.
“Can I ask how far you have mastered your sword?”
Usually he would not ask such a question, but Weed had to asked as he felt something was off when he was sculpting. No matter how much he thought about it, this could not have been an ordinary sword skill so he asked the question.
“One late night, I saw the finality of sword mastery.”
“Yes, if you saw the final then…”
Weed was dumbfounded. That meant Zahab mastered not only sculpting but swordsmans.h.i.+p as well. If one observed any traces left by Master Sculptors, they were not ordinary people.
“I reached a state where I can no longer become any stronger with the blade.”
Zahab confirmed it clearly that he was a Sword Master. This was shocking news that could cause a raucous all over Royal Road!
‘What is this…’
Weed’s brain spurned quickly like the times he tried to get a free meal.
‘That means that the hidden sword skill within the sculptures is one of the secrets sword skills?’
Zahab’s swordsmans.h.i.+p was displayed by the sculptures so it did feel like something was hidden within. Weed shook his head excitedly and began to flatter him.
“That is amazing. Seeing that you have mastered the sculpting skill, something like mastering the sword can’t have been difficult.”
His voice became more coquettish than usual. Speaking in a charming, flattering manner while hiding his greed.
“You possess many talents and skills so if you had the opportunity I believe you can reach it. The sculptures of me, please cherish them.”
“Of course. These expensive admission fee… I mean, I will cherish them and keep them safe.”
“Then if our fates cross, we might meet again.”
After Zahab finished speaking, he prepared to leave. But Weed did not want to part in such a hollow manner.
“Please wait a moment.”
“Do you have something left to say?”
After completing the quest he received friends.h.i.+p points. If he were to leave now, there was no guarantee he would meet him ever again in Versaille continent.
“I was wondering if you could help me more with my hunting.”
There was no such thing as free sculpture. If he could receive something from a Master Sculptor, then he would get it.
“I know you went through hards.h.i.+ps to complete the sculptures. I, as a sculptor understand your efforts and struggle, so that much I can at least do.”
Weed could now wander around Grapa.s.s with a Master Sculptor and Sword Master Zahab.
“Are you sure this is the right path?”
“I think it might have been the one we pa.s.sed by…”
“Pay close attention to the monsters, remember we lost our way yesterday when we were running away.”
“I am keeping a close eye on them this time.”
Hwaryeong with Bade, Pason, Yumero, April, Volk and Daerin entered Grapa.s.s together. Hwaryeong wanted to surprise Weed by appearing suddenly, so she hired Dark Gamers to come here.
After the Dark Gamers received a request, they kept strict confidentiality. The Dark Gamers Hwaryeong picked were so good that even a country boasted about them, there was no chance that they would divulge the content of the contract.
But they were lost in Grapa.s.s without even being told that the reason for coming here was to meet Weed.
“If he sees me unexpectedly I am sure he would be happy.”
Just to surprise Weed, Hwaryeong was going through unnecessary torment. Pason had the tracking skill so they followed after the tracks Weed left behind.
“There is a deep depression of a cow’s footprint. Seeing the markings it looks like it was moving energetically, I don’t think it suffered any injury but the footprints are quite deeply pressed in. It seems like it was carrying a heavy burden.”
“This is definitely the cow of the person I am trying to meet!”
Grapa.s.s was dangerous, but tracking was easy. The Dark Gamers avoided the strong monsters through the shared information on Grapa.s.s and took maximum care as they progressed forward. They finally reached the lake where they discovered Weed, Yellowy, Wyverns and Gold Man.
Hwaryeong yelled energetically, running toward him while fluttering her dress. And just for this moment, she had a sense to wear a long straight wig.
“It’s that sculptor.”
Volk and Daerin recognized Weed. He was the one to sculpt the bouquet for Volk and Daerin’s marriage proposal, and there was also the time they hunted together during the Northern continent expedition.
“That Weed-nim… It’s that War G.o.d Weed!”
Many in Versailles continent were antic.i.p.ating the clash between Weed and the Hermes guild. But to meet Weed in the Grapa.s.s region was a surprising and welcome event.
“A pleasure. I am Yumero.”
They exchanged simple greetings. When Seo Yoon guessed there were people around she immediately wore her mask again.
“This side, he’s Gold Man. And here is Yellowy.”
Dark Gamers looked in amazement when the Wyverns were introduced, when Gold Man and Yellowy were presented they were filled with deep seated interest.
“This guys weight…”
“I think it’s pure gold.”
“Ribs are expensive these days.”
But their pure astonishment came later when Weed introduced Zahab nonchalantly.
“This person can be called my Sunbae in sculpting, but he is also the one who reached the final stages of swordsmans.h.i.+p.”
A Sword Master!
This was a secret among secrets, but Weed acknowledge the abilities of the Dark Gamers. For Dark Gamers to come here, they had to have curiosity and inquisitiveness beyond ordinary people. It would not take them long to figure out Zahab was a Sword Master. And these people had good reputations.
“A person who reached the final stages of swordsmans.h.i.+p…”
They were drooling already.