8) Choice of the Northern Lords
Fire spread wildly around the body of King Belsos. Fire spirits were also flying around the stone chamber.
-It is rare to see a junior sculptor with such a wonderful att.i.tude.
Weed’s thoughts were correct. King Belsos was weak to flattery! They might pretend differently but there was no one who didn’t like flattery.
-Yet here you are.
King Belsos grabbed Weed’s arm.
|-Your health has decreased by 489 after being burnt by the fire.
-Your health has decreased by 832 after being burnt by the fire.
-Your health has decreased by 1,309 after being burnt by the fire.
-Your health has decreased by 372 after being burnt by the fire.
Weed’s health fell excessively. But despite that, Weed’s eyes were s.h.i.+ning like a lantern.
“Your Majesty, thank you very much!”
His colleagues couldn’t stop their admiration. When hunting and adventuring, it was relatively easy to raise intimacy with the village residents. But it would be difficult for someone to think about intimacy in this situation.
Usually people would stiffen when encountering a powerful monster but Weed’s instincts had kicked in.
-I want to thank you for coming here and finis.h.i.+ng the sculpture I couldn’t complete in my lifetime.
“Comparing myself to the Great King Belsos is like eating kimchi ramyun with chopsticks. No, the sculpture was already equipped with the proper form and proportion.”
-Humble sculptor, you are putting down your skills.
“My sculpting can’t compare to that of King Belsos. I might receive recognition through the Versailles Continent for my sculptures but it is modest compared to your sculptures.”
-You will develop more in the future.
“I’d like to be taught by a great king like you.”
Weed was able to carry on dialogue about various topics.
-You pa.s.sed my test so I will give each of you one present. Say what you want to have.
|-You have completed the sculpture and finished the adventure in King Belsos’ ruins.
You can receive a present from the Fire Elemental King Belsos.
You can choose between summoning fire spirits, advanced fire magic or pick something from the treasury.
Deep anguish rose on Weed’s face. His other colleagues also received the benefits of completing the adventure despite Weed making the sculpture.
In the meantime, Romuna didn’t think too deeply and chose first.
“Your Majesty, I’d like to learn advanced fire magic.”
-You will receive something in accordance with your proficiency.
Romuna’s robe clad body was covered in flames.
|-You have acquired the fire magic, Flame River.|
Romuna uttered an ecstatic cry. It was a wide area magic that would cause a river of flames to wipe out the enemy. Unlike the ‘Burn’ spell, there was no need to be close to the enemy to strike.
But Flame River wasn’t a useable magic in a dungeon. On open areas like the plains, it was a magic of ma.s.s destruction! The biggest advantage of a magician was their destructive power so obtaining advanced magic was a great profit.
“We would like to receive a treasure.”
-This place contains things that I collected when I was human. I no longer need it as a spirit. You can choose one item from among the goods.
Everyone else excluding Weed examined the treasures. Although the jewels were desirable, most of the items here were unique or legendary! Treasures that were enough to expand a kingdom on the Central Continent were gathered here. They were presents prepared for a special quest or event.
Hwaryeong chose a pair of beautiful and brilliant ruby earrings.
Weed was conflicted even at the last moment. It was difficult for Weed to choose based on what he knew about King Belsos. One of the top treasures Weed had, the Teuresec’s Horn couldn’t be compared with the items here.
‘The fire spirit will help sweep up the enemy…..’
Spirits could be mobilized for combat without mana consumption.
The Crimson Wings Guild leader Terose had desired the flame sword and was burned up! The flames struck the s.h.i.+eld and armour and baked the enemy. Defending against the best sword was impossible. Furthermore, if monsters were gathered than the fire would spread as ma.s.s killings were possible.
Everyone worked hard to hunt but the outcome also depended on their skills and weapons. If he obtained the flame sword then Weed would be quite comfortable despite his lacking level. His blacksmith skill and fire resistance meant it was possible to use the sword.
“So my choice is… I don’t want Great King Belsos’ treasures. I’d like to receive some some Agate crystals as a sculptor. Kuuck.”
Weed said with tears flowing down his face. In the end, Akryong Kaybern won over his greed.
-Sculptor, you really want…
I have a number of sculpting materials gathered that isn’t necessary. You can have all the sculpting materials.
“Thank you for your kindness.”
In addition to the Agate crystals, there were several materials that weren’t expensive or difficult to obtain.
“I would’ve preferred something expensive, my worst destiny…..”
Weed lost all his strength as he walked to collect the Agate crystals.
-You have received a present from the Fire Elemental King Belsos.
“Yes, Belsos sunbae.”
Weed’s words became short.
He deserted the relations.h.i.+p after getting what he wanted!
-My thirst for art has risen again after seeing the sculpture.
Now the only thing left was to leave the ruins so Weed asked bluntly. Of course, he would instantly cringe if King Belsos showed any signs of physical threats.
-I would like to make a sculpture with you.
|-The Fire Elemental King Belsos has made a proposal to make a sculpture together.
Belsos can stay in the human world for a week and you can’t leave the King’s Tomb.
In the past he had collaborated with Darone and was taught Sculptural Transformation! At that time, Weed was low levelled so he learnt a lot.
But now he was on an almost equal footing with Belsos from his perspective.
‘It is impossible to make a large sculpture in a week so I can work on a sculpture with the Agate crystals.’
If he worked on it with a Sculpting Master then it would be a work with a high artistic value.
Weed asked in an uncertain voice.
“If you try and claim owners.h.i.+p later…..”
-I have no desire for that as a spirit.
“As you know, this isn’t an industry that is very rich.”
-I have no intention of receiving anything.
A contract will be made before starting the work.
“Then it is good!”
Seo-yoon entered Morata with light steps.
Architecture, sculpture, artworks, performances and cooking! Normally she didn’t meet any people in the hunting grounds so she was happy to see the bustling city.
She had watched from the early days as Weed raised Morata. This was the city that Weed protected and was the Lord so she also had a lot of contribution. She had settled early in Morata, cleared the dungeons in the north as a Berserker and sold the loot she obtained in the stores.
“I’m sorry but I can’t dispose of these precious materials yet, Visitor-nim. How about going to the kingdom in the south where you can receive a fair price?”
“I’ll sell it here. It is okay even if the money is less.”
|-You have contributed to the development of Morata.
Contribution has increased by 17.
She disposed of precious materials early on and helped with commercial development. It was common for high level users who came to Morata to wear the equipment she disposed of.
Once the park and bridge were opened, she also gained enormous contributions. The north was plagued with a host of migrants so housing was insufficient and construction costs were required.
She had 32,000 contribution points. It was a very high amount.
‘One day I want to go here with him.’
She thought about going around Morata with Weed on a date. Thanks to the impact of the Tower of Light, there was a bustling night scene. At night, lights from the building could be seen in the clear water running under the bridge. And when looking at the Tower of Light from a far place, there was a wonderful atmosphere between lovers.
Seo-yoon was standing beautifully on the bridge!
‘I’m not very charming.’
Seo-yoon enviously watched the female users walking around with men. If she wasn’t wearing a mask then many people would be rus.h.i.+ng.
There were many male users who looked at the Ice Beauty to relax before leaving on a hunt. The crowd in front of the Ice Beauty was equal to those in front of the G.o.ddess of Freya Statue. Unlike the other sculptures, there was a mania involved with those watching the Ice Beauty.
‘I’m not pretty because I’m too pale. Weed-nim doesn’t dislike me……’
Seo-yoon had been pretty since she was a child but she had no idea about her own beauty.
When she walked to school, the men and women would look at her face. But none of them tried to start a conversation with her.
Seo-yoon thought she wasn’t attractive but the actual situation was completely different. Her beauty was so dazzling that all thoughts left their heads. They didn’t dare say anything. They were just happy if they could see her again.
After trading in the stores, she sat near the fountain and watched people. The sweet sound of music from nearby performances drifted on the wind.
Seo-yoon closed her eyes lightly.
She hadn’t come here for some time so the number of users since the Garden of the G.o.ds was finished was intense. At night, the city was bustling with tourists.
Beginners lived together in shacks Novice users who settled early in Morata could go on adventures and receive quest rewards. The city was gradually evolving to form a middle cla.s.s.
“Looking for a party to take on a level 180 dungeon. You can check the shares distribution.”
“Priest looking for a group. Anyone seeking a priest? Level 230, I won’t doze off and will work hard!”
“The Gra.s.s Porridge Cult is going on an expedition. A level restriction of 210 or more. Up to 300 people going to the west. Gather!”
As the level of the users increased, the goods also became more sophisticated. However intermediate users didn’t have the funds to build houses on the hills or rivers with good views. Their priority was investing in equipment rather than homes.
The stabilization of house prices was an extremely sensitive topic to users. In Morata, anyone could easily build a shack so the low housing prices were maintained. But the shabby houses would harm Morata’s landscape.
This housing problem was easily fixed by the appearance of the new ceramist profession. Ceramists had amazing dexterity just handling the soil. They collected soil from the river instead of hunting.
“I have to quickly create a workshop!”
A ceramist needed their own workshop. It was difficult to work with fire in the city and monsters infested the riverside. The monsters were just snacks to Weed but they were a fearful existence to the ceramists.
They utilized their ability to the utmost and built houses. The house was made of pure clay and earth! The lakes and river near Morata had a lot of mud so it was a good building material. The houses built by the ceramists were a huge topic among the Morata users.
“How much is the cost of construction?”
“It is just water and soil so it is a similar price to the shacks.”
“Oh, really? How many days does it take to complete?”
“The best! Can you build my house? I’ll give you a fee.”
There was an active response among the intermediate users as word of the clay houses spread. It was an opportunity for beginner ceramists to earn money!
The strong point of the clay houses was that it was built with natural materials. Therefore it wasn’t complicated to heat the room by burning wood so it was popular among users.
“This way. It is incredibly warm.”
Having such a warm seat on a cold night really set the mood. The Morata users could rest and fully enjoy their adventures in the north. Friends gathered to bake sweet potatoes and eat fish while discussing their expeditions and hunting. Along with honeyed gra.s.s porridge, there was nothing more they wished for.
As the level of the users grew, they moved out from the shacks to the clay houses. The shacks on the hill and the clay houses near the riverside helped to maintain the cheap housing prices. The clay houses were the new characteristic of Morata so the ceramists had a chance to gain a position early on.
Apart from the houses, they made bowls and pottery that sold extremely well.
The Ellyons that moved to Arpen Kingdom also mined more minerals and cultivated grains. Coffee and melons were also registered as new specialties.
There was an especially big reformation from the extensive visit of clergy affiliated professions. Religious orders from the continent dispatched priests and paladins to see the Garden of the G.o.ds and praised the King of Arpen as smart.
The kingdom gained fame and increased its relations.h.i.+p with the various churches. Players wearing white uniforms or holy armour continued coming from the Central Continent. Priests and paladins weren’t the only ones that could be seen in the Garden of the G.o.ds.
“How much money do you have?”
“3,400 gold. Why?”
“If you donate here then you can raise your contribution.”
People came to the Garden of the G.o.ds to donate a substantial amount to the G.o.d they believed in. The donations were collected and architects started to construct cathedrals. It was the reason why construction still continued in the vicinity of the Garden of the G.o.ds.
People who came to the Garden of the G.o.ds also visited the Art Centre and the Arpen Kingdom’s culture expanded.
|-The Arpen Kingdom’s culture has become widely known.|
Many visitors bought artworks as commemoration and brought it back to various cities and kingdoms.
Weed’s status as a King also affected his sculptures. Knights and soldiers would pledge their loyalty more easily. Just like Weed’s fame as a sculptor, the kingdom’s culture also expanded at an incredible pace.
|-Tares’ Cathedral has been completed. Its religious influence in the Arpen Kingdom has risen.|
|-The Arpen Kingdom’s reputation has reached a small mountain village in the far reaches of the north.
Merchants from the Central and Eastern Continent are eager to engage in dealings with the Arpen Kingdom.
They are eager to import high quality agricultural products.
|-Arpen Kingdom’s political influence has increased and it can meddle with the politics in nearby villages.
The lords won’t rejoice as the residents would become more eager to join the Arpen Kingdom.
It is possible for areas with low loyalty to their lord to revolt.
If the rebellion succeeds then the area will belong to the Arpen Kingdom. However, the King will lose honour and diplomatic relations will worsen.
Weed wasn’t the type to stir a rebellion to expand the region and increase the population. Even if the area expanded into the north, Morata would still be the best city.
The goods that novice blacksmiths and tailors also spread through the merchants’ trade network. Adventurers gathered rare items from dungeons and traded the loot so the development potential of the city was endless.
Word of Morata’s miracle spread on the bulletin boards. It was to the extent that novice users unconditionally wanted to start in Morata.
While the Arpen Kingdom’s fame and political power was rising every day, the other lords in the north couldn’t catch up with its development.
“A person is coming!”
“Hey, go and help them!”
When the northern lords found migrants heading to Morata, they would prepare houses and stores. Guild members also pulled out weeds to prepare farmland.
“Lord-nim, thank you very much.”
“No. If you feel any discomfort then come to me at any time.”
Everyone was also delighted when a child was born. When the residents increased by 3 than 4 people, the population would eventually grow until it became a village. Weed managed to develop Morata from the time it was poor so they believed it was possible.
“I’m sorry Lord-nim. I haven’t forgotten the benefits I’ve received from you. Hey, let’s go.”
But people kept on leaving the territory! Those who heard about Morata’s advanced technology, huge economic scale and amazing culture would pack up their baggage and left in the evening.
People cruelly left with their carts full of things!
Many users hunted and adventured in the north so the visitors to the northern lords’ villages increased. They had hope but there were no large benefits.
“Shall we hunt in the vicinity and then return to Morata in the evening?”
“Let’s quickly hurry.”
“I have an appointment in the evening near the Tower of Light… Let’s hunt fast.”
Even if dungeons and hunting grounds developed, users still returned to Morata. While the population of the villages painfully increased by 100 people, Morata was increasing by 20,000 or 30,000 people.
Morata’s mine development was weak so the villages could trade with them but they couldn’t catch up with the sculptures and support facilities.
“The guild’s funds are in bad shape from the mercenaries hired. Hahahat!”
They couldn’t build any buildings. They had heard about the Grand Buildings constructed in Morata through the broadcasts. The hearts of the northern lords suffered a blow.
“Why is Morata’s beer so delicious?”
The 2nd Northern Alliance had been formed to declare war. However Morata’s users had increased by dozens of times and their levels also rose so it was difficult. The reaction of the other lords was also negative.
“War? Oh, that isn’t possible so leave us out of it.”
“Why fight when the odds aren’t in our favour? We will just end up paying war preparations to Lord Weed. Have a conscience.”
“Do you have confidence you will win if you declare war on Morata?”
There was a large trade relations.h.i.+p with Morata so the northern lords didn’t want a war. Some lords actively developed their mines and relied on exporting it. If a war started with Morata, it would lead to a halt of the exports and most northern users would follow Weed. If it ended then their lands would be abandoned by users. There wouldn’t be any visits from hunting parties.
The prestigious guilds in the Central Continent had strong power and military strength but the situation was different in the north. Morata had a low tax rate and fantastic environment so the future of the Arpen Kingdom was bright. The historic Garden of the G.o.ds was completed so it had a ma.s.sive popularity.
Meanwhile the lands of the northern lords were infertile, the population’s skill level was low so their loyalty was also low.
|-The residents of Armang Village want to be permanently dependent on the Arpen Kingdom.
Morata’s thriving culture has captured the hearts of the residents.
Residents have abandoned their hopes for their Lord and wish to become part of the Arpen Kingdom.
Monthly Tax Revenue: 7,989 gold.
|-The residents of Ekwinok Village want to be permanently dependent on the Arpen Kingdom.
Morata’s economic power and population has made them envious.
The Lord’s effort isn’t bad but there is no hope for children in Ekwinok Village.
They choose to belong to the Arpen Kingdom.
Monthly Tax Revenue: 4,124 gold.
The power of culture!
Armang, Ekwinok, Yoanna, Yusellin were part of 8 villages that wished to become part of the Arpen Kingdom.
The residents voluntarily decided to accept Weed’s rule. There were very small villages with no lords but six villages were ruled by guilds.
“Ah… Crazy. How did this happen?”
The lords were faced with an unenviable situation. They would need to mobilize the troops to quell the residents. But the loyalty of the residents’ would continue to decline and that would lead to the population decreasing. They would gain a tremendous notoriety.
“At this rate, it is impossible to follow the speed of Morata’s development…..”
It was difficult for their population to even reach 10,000 yet Arpen Kingdom had millions of residents. The situation had already deteriorated for the lords. The situation would worsen if there was excessive military spending or monster attacks.
Users in the north had many chances. In the early days, they had invested large amounts of funds into mining and agricultural development. They didn’t expect that they would be like a rural village next to Morata. Watching the residents protesting, the lords had to make a difficult decision.
“What should we do?”
“Guild Master-nim, now our culture, technical capabilities and gap in military force means it will be difficult to survive against Morata in the long-term.”
“What will happen if we become subordinates of the Arpen Kingdom?”
“We will lose our political rights as Lords but can’t we still keep out investment funds?”
“Several opportunities can be obtained but there will be more users.”
If Weed governed their villages then it could develop rapidly. Furthermore the technology, population, trade, fame and specialities of the Arpen Kingdom would be shared so there would be a favourable environment.
“But we still have absolute power in the area as the Lord. If the situation changes later and the village develops…..”
Some lords were unwilling to obediently leave their seats. They were attached to their ego and power.
But the merchants that belonged to the guild said.
“We need to decide in the early days of the Arpen Kingdom. If we miss this opportunity then the situation might worsen and the village will disappear.”
“Guild Master-nim, we’ve seen Morata’s development speed. And what about Vargo Fortress? People with a higher average level than our guild are hunting there. Arpen Kingdom’s military is also growing quickly.”
“Remember why we were driven out of the Central Continent. Wasn’t it because we lacked power? Weed won’t cause a war in the north but if he does then our villages will cease to exist.”
“If we delay anymore then other villages will join Arpen Kingdom first.”
“It won’t be good if we join later. There will be a larger economic gap with other villages. The users in the north also won’t have significant expectations. If they leave Morata to adventure, our villages are close to they might not choose to stay in our village. This village will have really weak growth potential. It won’t be easy to develop on our own.”
The merchants were actively trying to persuade them to annex to the Arpen Kingdom. If they integrated with the Arpen Kingdom then they would receive great benefits in trade and taxes.
In fact, they watched people trading at the entrance and squares and realized they couldn’t compete with the Arpen Kingdom. Even if the northern lords gathered together, it wouldn’t be easy to achieve their goals.
The users with combat affiliated professions didn’t have anything to say. Developing a village wasn’t their area of expertise so they didn’t mind belonging to the Arpen kingdom as long as it was profitable. In order to receive cla.s.s skills, adventures and hunting quests, they needed to go to Morata.
They had the power of a lord but their investment funds were slowly disappearing. The guilds were also active in the Arpen Kingdom. It would be more beneficial to belong to the Arpen Kingdom so they had no choice but to give up the Lord status.
“Everyone’s opinion has been understood. Then let’s accept the will of the residents.”
Eight large and small villages decided to join the Arpen Kingdom.