6) Statue in the Square
When Weed had connected again, everything had changed. Central Square was narrower than Bingryong Square and Light Square but it was the most crowded place.
‘Keheok! Why am I here….?’
Weed was confused but people were just engaged in business like usual. Beginners were filling buckets with water and looking at the sculptures as they pa.s.sed by.
“This sculpture was found?”
“Yes. It looks just like the real thing.”
“I’d like to touch it…..”
Two females were looking at the sculpture from close by.
“But the height isn’t very tall.”
“The face also seems ordinary.”
The female users left and beginners wearing the default beginners’ clothes appeared.
“Weed-nim, I will follow Weed-nim and live eagerly. Please watch me in the future.”
Merchants who finished their business folded up their stall and talked to others.
“Thank you very much for helping develop Morata. I’ve had fun doing it.”
Weed was a statue so he held still without any movement. The merchants stood next to the altar and stared at the sculpture with a serious face.
Warriors and adventurers hunting in parties also approached. In Morata it was basic to appreciate an artwork before exiting the city. If they didn’t appreciate a statue or painting before going hunting then they would be reviled.
“It is the first time I’m visiting this place. I went to hunt in a far place and died but I still enjoyed it.”
They never imagined that the sculpture was actually Weed frozen in stone.
A short dwarf came as well.
“Kyah! I’ve travelled throughout the continent and Morata is the first place where I’ve tasted such good beer. I’m really thankful that such a lively place has been created.”
Older uncles and aunties holding hands also came to see the sculpture.
“I’m from the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.”
“Hooray King Weed!”
Some users who liked Weed didn’t come empty handed. They left wild flowers and gra.s.s from hunting outside under the statue. Even those who disconnected and came in again, they admired the sculpture and talked about the development of the Arpen Kingdom.
“It is good to be a resident of the Arpen Kingdom. Indeed.”
“Yes. I told you it was right to enter this kingdom. There’s no place like this on the continent.”
The form of beginners just starting Royal Road could be seen running around Central Square. It wasn’t possible to feel boredom when seeing people moving brightly.
People looking for a party to hunt or someone to trade with were also present in the Central Square. Bards also performed in public with instruments.
Weed’s heart was also peaceful as he heard the music.
‘The residents are enjoying themselves… And there is business even in the middle of the night. The merchants are earning a large sum of money.’
He was really happy as a king.
‘This is perfect for taxes.’
A secret meeting of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.
“The maintenance of facilities is necessary for business in Ekwinok village.”
“There is a request for the architect Monbert. Extending the commercial buildings will raise the scale of the market in the short term.”
“Yusellin village, there isn’t anything special right now but it has high growth potential thanks to a dungeon.”
“Should we dispatch adventurers so that it fits the characteristics of a pioneering village?”
“Log-nim, I heard that recently you couldn’t do you job thanks to a quest so I’m sorry for asking you this favour.”
“Thanks to the increasing number of people moving, the village of shacks are growing.
“A construction site for shabby hours has already been prepared on the steep hill. We don’t have to specifically worry about that for the moment.”
The Gra.s.s Porridge Cult was proud of the era of prosperity. It was impossible to even guess the size now as it was natural for users to join the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult when they started in the Arpen Kingdom.
The Gra.s.s Porridge believers had deep admiration every time Weed governed wisely.
“The Grand Buildings were completed on our behalf. Let’s use it eagerly!”
“I really think that there is only Weed-nim.”
The other lords were compared to him.
“The lord of Boron village destroyed the castle to build a new one.”
“It is simply nonsense. Weed-nim is like a giant, black star. Tsk tsk.”
“If that money was used by Weed-nim then he would’ve built another building.”
“Did you hear that Dians village had their taxes increased by 2%?”
“Are they just going to keep on raising taxes?”
The source of the members’ loyalty was these talks. Weed was sincerely respected by the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.
While other people were facing war, destruction and unfavourable taxes, Morata was the only favourable place to live on the Versailles Continent. The wonderful King Weed who illuminated the world!
“There are many things more delicious than gra.s.s porridge. We’re not cows so we can’t live just on gra.s.s porridge. I’m already at the level where I can drink bean soup or eat steak. I really was stupid.”
It was the confession of a beginner who started in Morata.
“I had forgotten for a while. The reason why Weed-nim gave us gra.s.s porridge!”
“Gra.s.s porridge! Gra.s.s porridge! Gra.s.s porridge!”
“The Gra.s.s Porridge’s spirit that symbolizes freedom will continue from now on. Even if we have warm meat soup, we can’t forget the stingy and bitter taste of gra.s.s porridge!”
“Hooray Gra.s.s Porridge Cult!”
Gra.s.s porridge might be a meal for beginners but it was also a symbol of freedom.
“We are like gra.s.s that is stepped on. One root is easily pulled out but if we gather together then we can accomplish anything. Follow Weed-nim!”
“Gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge!”
“It’s not just gra.s.s. It is the combination of our effort to grow!”
“Gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge!”
The Gra.s.s Porridge Cult members from Morata were distributed throughout the north.
? Weed-nim, a lot of handymen are necessary.
? It doesn’t matter if I have to eat gra.s.s porridge.
It was an absurd situation when considering that Mapan had partic.i.p.ated in setting the foundation in the past. After the Arpen Kingdom was founded, the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult members actively looked for work. Morata was receiving a huge influx of people in a very limited land but the city was strengthened to be comparable to a kingdom.
“The town should develop more quickly. We can’t allow a situation to form that will require Weed-nim’s attention.”
“Many people are already working but we need someone to manage the roads and villages. Weed-nim has a lot to do since being killed by Bardray.”
“That’s our fault. We should’ve come out earlier!”
The Gra.s.s Porridge Cult started clearing mines, building, hunting and adventuring in the territory of the Arpen Kingdom.
“Bamboo Shoots Porridge unit. Let’s hunt near Rubens River today. We have to take the lead for the recovery of peace. Go and gather the alumni.”
“Bamboo Shoots users gather here!”
“Toadstool unit, what are you doing? Monsters are invading Staen Castle! Let’s go right now!”
“Wooo, catch everything!”
In the past it was a gathering of beginners but over time their overall levels rose. Considerable monsters of their level were wandering the plains while they invested in buildings or restoring peace.
Bold investment and time were needed for the villages to develop and the Arpen Kingdom to expand. The development process would be reduced by the acc.u.mulated power of the users.
“Lord, you have to pay back His Majesty’s grace. As an architect I think you should name a square after Weed-nim.”
“This artwork here.”
“Business will be for one or two days. Should I open the first general store in Armang village? If I trade for a week then I’ll be able to recoup my investment.”
A small guild from the Central Continent moved to Arpen Kingdom. They wanted to be included in the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult as well.
“Do we really have to throw away our guild’s ident.i.ty in order to join the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult?”
“Guild Master-nim, it is required in the Arpen Kingdom.”
“Are there any restrictions on hunting grounds or anything else? But I’ve never heard about anything belonging exclusively to the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.”
The users that migrated from the Central Continent were tired of such persecution. They came to the north but if there were restrictions then it would be very unfortunate.
“Nothing like that. Full members of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult will receive a 5% discount at all restaurants in the city.”
“Is it the Lord’s restaurant?”
“No. Most of the restaurant owners are Gra.s.s Porridge members so we receive benefits. It also comes with more side dishes. And you will receive a 10% discount when purchasing hunting items from merchants.”
“You will get a discount when renting a horse or carriage and the earliest start time for performances will be available at half price.”
“Is that all?”
“A discount when buying paintings and sculptures! We also provide information about adventuring and hunting and provide credit security for businesses. If there is a difficult quest then we are happy to go together.”
The Gra.s.s Porridge Cult contained considerable benefits!
The masked Seo-yoon was walking around Bingryong Square.
“Soft fur coat for sale. You are able to wear it over armour. The lowest price is 390 gold.”
“Feel free to look around. All items necessary for hunting are here. Second hand goods also available.”
“Fresh fish jerky! The taste when chewing is different. The fish jerky can be chewed in battle to give a feeling of fullness.”
She approached a merchant engaged in business.
“Excuse me, where can I buy tableware and furniture?”
“Are you buying for a shack?”
“There are many items for the mud houses sold in this area. The items to decorate the shack are sold in Bull Square.”
The merchant heard a beautiful and warm voice. It was a voice that gave off the feeling of beauty for some reason. Seo-yoon headed to Bull Square to buy tableware and furniture that would match a shack.
Making furniture was also a side job for sculptors. If they used tree logs then they could carve desks, beds, chairs, dining tables and sofas etc. But apart from design, durability was also an important part.
“Oppa, this is a lion.”
Couples also came to buy a wide variety of goods to decorate their shacks. They could find decorations for the living room, bedroom, kitchen, den etc. at a fairly decent price. After decorating the house, they could rest and also show it off to friends so it was a temptation they couldn’t overlook.
Seo-yoon picked various goods but realized there was some missing.
“The items you’re looking for… You have quite an eye. They are a bit expensive. If you go to Central Square then the merchant Anders will be selling them.”
While searching for the goods in Central Square, Seo-yoon found Weed’s sculpture near the fountain.
She knew that it looked exactly like Weed. Seo-yoon watched and waited for the group of people watching the sculpture to pa.s.s before going forward.
From up close it looked exactly like Weed.
Even though it was night time, Seo-yoon bought goods from Central Square and spent time there. There was nothing to do to kill time except for shopping.
In Central Square there were miscellaneous goods and attractions worth seeing. Time wasn’t fixed but it was normal for pubs to be busy in the evening and for people to go hunting in the morning.
It was a little quiet because it was evening but Central Square was a market that was open 24 hours. In the morning dishes like bear barbecue were available so the market was even more popular.
“There is a performance by Hairen at the venue.”
“She has already returned to Morata?”
“Let’s go quickly!”
Lots of players went to see the performance of a popular female bard. The people’s interest in the sculpture of Weed was reduced.
When Weed’s sculpture had first been on display, Central Square was swarmed with spectators. The ripple effect meant that the sales of merchants in Central Square increased by as much as 10 times.
Unlike other cities, Morata was rich in cultural benefits. The beginners and high level users could both get stats from the sculpture of Weed. But it had been on display for 10 days in Central Square so the attention fell as time pa.s.sed.
However, there were still busy periods where a line was required to see it.
Seo-yoon secretly approached the sculpture and looked around. Magic illumination was everywhere although it was night so the square was dim.
‘Should I really?’
Her heart jumped wildly in her chest. Seo-yoon lightly raised her face that was covered with a mask.
As the moonlight shone on her face at that moment, Seo-yoon lightly kissed the sculpture.
Lee Hyun connected to the item auction site after a long time. Nowadays, his source of income was the fees from the broadcastings stations rather than the sale of items.
“Hrmm, the prices of the items haven’t fallen as much as I thought.”
This was the first thing he had been worried about with Royal Road. If there were no new users then the price of the item was bound to drop.
However Royal Road was attracting users exponentially. The ridiculously fast growth of the Arpen Kingdom was proof of the strength of beginners under level 50. The power was shabby but the beginners showed a wonderful strength when gathered!
Leather from beasts was being supplied on a daily business so the sewing and leather industry were developing every day. Necessary goods for beginners were also procured so commercial activity was brisk.
“It will be okay if I sell my items a bit later.’
Lee Hyun regulated the timing of sales. The market price fluctuated within several minutes but if people were lined up for it then the price would jump.
Useful weapons were found from hunting and new combat methods developed.
While combat affiliated professions were most popular in Royal Road, professions like thieves or adventurers were also indispensable. Large and thick s.h.i.+elds were useful in prolonged battles against monsters with strong attack power.
However, a magician or archer was integral members of a party to shave down the enemy’s health. If they had the blessings of priests then the knights didn’t’t need to bother with the s.h.i.+eld.
Therefore the prices of s.h.i.+elds had fallen into a slump. The s.h.i.+elds were needed for sieges or dungeons so they were still consumed to a certain extent.
“The magic items are still expensive… It isn’t good to be a magician.”
The price of exclusive magician items transcending imagination! NPCs tended to have a good impression of magicians due to their high intellectual ability.
In a hunting party they just fired magic attacks from behind. There were flashy effects and tremendous damage from spells requiring memorization so magicians were a very popular profession. They also had a variety of secondary magic such as flying through air, teleporting or walking on water so it was an interesting profession.
But magic items were really difficult to make and the equipment was expensive so many struggled.
“It still isn’t time to sell Barkhan’s full set.”
The necromancer goods were still at a low or medium level so he needed to wait a while before selling Barkhan’s set. If Lee Hyun sold the items then there would be a huge uproar on the auction site.
He was comfortably exploring the auction site when he saw a product that was causing a huge shake.
“Don’t tell me……”
He clicked on the auction. A familiar item appeared! It was an item that he repaired and polished daily.
-Wasn’t this armour on television?
-The armour that Weed the G.o.d of War used?
-Take a look at the ID of the person selling it.
-It is Bardray.
-A perfect jackpot.
The starting price for Tallock’s Armour was 1.3 million won! It wasn’t a low price but many people were raising the bidding.
It had a variety of options but the level limit of 350 was relatively low. The fact that it reached 3.7 million won was due to the fact that Weed wore the armour!
The auction ended in 5 days so the price was likely to go even higher.
Lee Hyun bit his lip.
“Bardray, that b.a.s.t.a.r.d…..”
Bardray was regarded as the strongest warrior on the continent and respected as a superior user. They were enemies but Weed didn’t have hostile feelings towards him.
However the sight of the auction upset his stomach!
“Bardray, later I will definitely kill you. And…..”
Lee Hyun would get revenge in more than one way.
“I will also take an item away and sell it for a high price!”
It was enough to make Lee Hyun’s body feel weak. His anger at the loss of profit!
The road to Korea University.
Lee Hyun took the bus. Usually he walked but he took the bus to save time and now he regretted it.
He met a junior from his department on the bus.
“Sunbae-nim, h.e.l.lo. Are you going to school?”
The one who greeted Lee Hyun was the junior that followed Choi Sang-jun. In Royal Road, they had also hunted together in the Melbourne Mine.
“Do you have time to eat rice with me? I’d really like to hear about your adventures.”
“I ate breakfast.”
“It is lunch time. Do you want to enjoy the tonkatsu at the Humanities Hall cafeteria? It is delicious.”
“I’d like to do that but I’m only drinking water these days because of a stomach ulcer. I can’t have greasy food.”
“I’ll buy it for you.”
“I’m suddenly hungry.”
There were already many rumours about Lee Hyun’s character among the juniors.
When the fact that he was Weed of Royal Road was still unknown, they had seen him stuffing a chicken. He had no presence in the cla.s.sroom except for his activities during the MT.
“We had a sunbae like that in our department?”
“Doesn’t he seem to be avoiding us? He doesn’t accept it when I greet him.”
“I heard he doesn’t listen in cla.s.ses. He just scribbles in his notebook. Recently he didn’t even submit his report. Having a sunbae like that is really troublesome.”
“Ah, is he the man who is always with Seo-yoon sunbae-nim?”
An insignificant existence like a c.o.c.kle on a tidal flat! This all changed after it was known that he was Weed the G.o.d of War.
The juniors said pointless things every time he had cla.s.s.
“Isn’t Lee Hyun sunbae wonderful? He seems to be locked in deep thought and full of agony….”
“It could be called a compelling appearance? Most people would be bragging about being Weed the G.o.d of War but he just attends school quietly….. Kyaah! That duality is attractive.”
“He has a really manly form when battling. I would like to see the orc Karichwi.”
“Doesn’t he have the sculptor profession? Normally is it a very difficult profession. I never thought I would see pretty sculptures when adventuring.”
“Did you go to Morata? A perfect hero. I really want to eat just one meal with Lee Hyun sunbae-nim.”
“My sibling told me to receive a signature but I’m shaking….. What should I say?”
Lee Hyun instantly became a great sunbae in the virtual reality department. He became a star at his school. Lee Hyun didn’t want to be bothered by his juniors until he graduated. Fortunately many women didn’t dare leap the wall that was Seo-yoon.
“Why are those two meeting?”
“What weakness was caught?”
“Did she also bring him a wrapped lunch? I really like Seo-yoon sunbae.”
That also changed these days.
“I think those two people look really good.”
“Seo-yoon sunbae had a natural reason for that choice.”
Lee Hyun was eating tonkatsu in the school’s dining room. Aside from nutritional food cooked by a person, he really liked tonkatsu and ramen.
‘When I was young, I really wanted to eat tonkatsu with my younger sister…..’
It wasn’t a restaurant but he was really happy when eating a frozen tonkatsu at home with his sister. Tonkatsu reminded him of eating at home but he hadn’t eaten it lately. It was due to the oil used in the cooking!
“I wonder what your ideal person is? I like a man I can go on adventures with.”
Lee Hyun instantly cut the tonkatsu with his knife when it came out. The meat was cut into exact portions.
“Someone who can protect me. If we venture into unknown lands together then wouldn’t it be good to share those heart palpitations?”
“It would be nice.”
“Are you perhaps Seo-yoon’s boyfriend? We met in Royal Road.”
“Yes. I heard they go on dates in their capsules.”
Lee Hyun felt the satisfactory taste as he chewed the tonkatsu.
‘Tonkatsu is good!’
Lee Hyun couldn’t taste any oil. He had no interest in the noises made by the juniors sitting around him. No faces floated to his mind.
Lee Hyun didn’t surface until he finished eating and got up.
“I ate well. Then I’ll see you next time.”
The junior’s expression showed satisfaction as she thought she had made a connection. She expected that they would talk closely if they met in school from now on. And maybe he would give support items in Royal Road or introduce her to quests!
Lee Hyun walked the lawn while the hot sun blazed down on him. He saw the large tree that he sat under with Seo-yoon for 1 year.
“It won’t be possible for me to eat boxed lunch for at least a year.”
The food from Seo-yoon wouldn’t come anymore.
Lee Hyun had become increasingly paler as the holiday pa.s.sed and his sister noticed before she finally made a decision. In the evening, his sister had put on bean paste pork stew and said softly.
“Your major cla.s.ses, painting, specialty cla.s.ses and Royal Road seems to be taking a toll on your body these days.”
Lee Hyun’s body wasn’t the same as before. He developed muscles from jogging 10 kilometres every morning.
“Your body doesn’t seem as good and you often have a cold these days….”
He had purposely taken lots of cold baths in the meantime. It was natural for colds and coughs to appear. He also slept without a blanket and ate a lot of ice cream. Naturally his body would ache and feel a cold! He also stayed up all night so his eyes were bloodshot.
“Oppa, are you feeling really sick?”
Lee Hye-yeon placed her hand on Lee Hyun’s forehead. When she took his temperature, it was so hot she was surprised. She put hot water in a bottle and placed it on his forehead.
He drank plenty of warm water and also ran until his entire body sweated.
Lee Hyun spoke feebly.
“I can bear with it. I’m just a little busy with several things.”
“Let’s go to the hospital.”
“I don’t need the hospital!”
He would absolutely never fake an illness serious enough to require the hospital!
“Just rest for a little while. By the way, what time do you start tomorrow?”
“Can I go to school? I would like to go but I don’t know if my body will be better tomorrow. I’m worried my body will become much worse if I go to school.”
“School originally started in the first week. Just stay at home.”
Lee Hyun didn’t have to go school and could just play Royal Road. Like a boomerang he could return to the past.
Lee Hyun made exaggerated tired movements as he leaned on his chair.
“Anyway, I need to consider your body. There is a lot of time on the holidays but once I go to school then it will be more difficult.”
“You’ll be able to do well, Oppa. I will also help you if you need it.”
“I just want to rest slowly. I always seem to be busy and can’t enjoy life.”
He feigned illness with his sister and decided to register a 1 year absence from school!
“I’m finally free from the headache inducing things.”
Lee Hyun walked through Korea University and recalled his 1 and a half year of memories.
“That bench was changed with my registration fee. Even the flowers planted in the flower beds… The new gym and staff dining room as well.”
His eyes caught sight of the familiar sights.
“But if I take a leave of absence for 1 year then I won’t have to pay the tuition fee.”
The leave of absence system was the largest benefit of the university! Lee Hyun went to his department office and filled out his absence application. Originally the law in Korea was that it needed to be done before the course started but that didn’t apply any more.
The reason he wrote down for his absence was ‘Revenge on Bardray.’
Lee Hyun returned home with light footsteps. He was in a relaxed mood because he didn’t need to pay tuition for 1 year.
“This 1 year might turn into 2 or maybe 3 years.”
If his younger sister went studying abroad then he would use every method to extend his leave of absence.
He went into the yard and gave rice to Dogmeat.
“Eat a lot.”
Bark bark bark!
Dogmeat seemed to have some sense of self protection and was on a diet these days.
“You have to gain a lot of weight. The fat should flow heavily…..”
He wanted to connect to Royal Road but he had a heap of ch.o.r.es to do. Lee Hyun also fed the rabbits and ducks.
The work was complicated sometimes but he couldn’t give up on raising animals. The delight at seeing them grow larger every day!
While Lee Hyun was enjoying his peaceful time, construction was in full swing next door where his neighbour had moved out a short time ago. Lee Hyun lived in a residential area but the most s.p.a.cious land next door had been sold recently for a high price. Then the house was knocked down and a mansion built.
She heard that Lee Hyun was taking a leave of absence from school and bribed the next door neighbour. Of course, she only planned on a simple American wooden fence for the side walls attached to Lee Hyun’s house.
The effort of Ban Jik-seok to win her heart had no effect.
Choi Ji-hoon sat down in a cafe that could see the Han River.
“The time has come…..”
Today was the day of his date with Lee Hye-yeon. He thought it would be nice to go see a movie or eat at a nice place but decided to go biking.
-I wanted to go bike riding 1 month ago. But I stopped because I was tired.
Lee Hye-yeon was scary. Despite the fact that she was busy every day, she still agreed to this date.
While Choi Ji-hoon ordered coffee and cookies, the eyes of the women in the cafe looked at him. He was tall and well-dressed so it was natural for him to capture their eyes.
But Choi Ji-hoon no longer paid any attention to them. He was caught by Lee Hye-yeon’s charm so he couldn’t like any other women.
“She is a really good woman.”
She didn’t yield to the difficult environment and grew up well. Choi Ji-hoon was completely different from the him who chewed gum in the past!
“Smart, neat and good looking, there really is no gaps. If we’re able to live together happily then anything will seem trivial.”
Thick bags were underneath his eyes from the lack of sleep. Cho Ji-hoon was happy even while waiting for her. A date early in the morning instead of at night was a great change of pace.
His phone vibrated and Lee Hye-yeon’s name floated on the screen.
“I guess she is coming now.”
Choi Ji-hoon felt his heart beat faster as he answered the call.
“Where are you now?”
It was a bit after the promised meeting time already so he wasn’t embarra.s.sed to say that he arrived before Lee Hye-yeon.
-I’m sorry.I suddenly have some work to do so I can’t go.
“I see. It’s okay. If something happened then it can’t be helped.”
Choi Ji-hoon was a man who understood.
“But what happened? Was it something difficult?”
–Oppa made a mess while doing the laundry.His hairs were left behind in the bath…I need to help.
Choi Ji-hoon was ditched to clean the bath!
-Perhaps Ji-hoon oppa should come here?
“I-I’m not very good at cleaning…..”
–You don’t want to?
“I’ll go. Shall I go to your house?”
-Thank you.Come quickly.
Choi Ji-hoon grabbed his keys and wallet before rising from the seat. He checked the time on his luxury watch.
Many women were caught by Choi Ji-hoon’s body.
However the reality was that Choi Ji-hoon had to go quickly because he was lectured.