Chapter 5) Sacrifice of Paladins
Weed’s lifestyle was suffering but he was glad about it.
“This is finally the taste of living.”
It was rough but he was just grateful the priests, paladins and Bahamorg were still alive. They had been fighting the demon soldiers for 2 days and 54 paladins had already been sacrificed.
When they entered Roderick’s Labyrinth, there had been 680 people but that number was quickly reducing. The paladins were getting damaged but they hadn’t reached the centre of the labyrinth yet and were just wandering around the outer edges.
In the meantime, the cooperation and tactics of the priests and paladins had changed. They practiced healing or using with holy magic while being violently attacked by the demons and were able to reduce the damage.
“The energy pill is good for the body. Use all of it. It isn’t any use now but it will come in handy later in the dangerous moments.”
Weed had come prepared with many supplies. Most things were procured with the labyrinth in mind. Monster meat and leather, herbs to stop bleeding and other materials were obtained for the expedition.
“This is quite salty!”
Some supplies that could be used for level 200s were old so they were bitter. They were goods left behind from the early days of Royal Road where many people challenged Roderick’s Labyrinth.
“Maybe other people didn’t take them because they were considered useless.”
Of course Weed packed all those goods. Sometimes valuable items were abandoned but this was a labyrinth so people couldn’t go looking for it.
“I definitely have to get out alive.”
Weed wasn’t wearing flashy armour. If he wore Baharan’s Bracelet and the G.o.ddess’ Knight Armour, then they were highly likely to drop if he died. Although he was worried about the G.o.ddess’ Knight Armour, he had to wear it because it increased resistance against black magic and curses.
The extra leaders.h.i.+p over paladins and priests was also required right now. Weed’s charisma and leaders.h.i.+p was at a very high level but there was a chance morale would fall in the very dangerous labyrinth.
“Take this, hiccup!”
So far Jeidun hadn’t made any mistakes while disarming the traps. Weed promised to pay him in alcohol so he was drunk but it was better than the alternative.
“Ah…no. We shouldn’t have come here. We’ll die. Aaaack!”
“Now, have a cup of this…”
“Kyah, I like the taste of this alcohol. Ggol ggol ggol!”
So far the priests and paladins were still good.
“This is where the demon soldiers…”
“We have to punish everything.”
In Bahamorg’s case, he didn’t have to worry about anything at all. He could take care of the enemy’s offensive by himself even if 2~3 demons appeared.
Bahamorg and the paladins’ levels slightly increased by facing the demon soldiers. The priests’ treatment skill improved a bit but it wasn’t a large difference.
Weed took one step and reached level 429.
The level of the demons was difficult to hunt every day. Outside the labyrinth they would be cla.s.sified as boss cla.s.s monsters. A party hunting level 500 monsters every day didn’t exist. The paladins were sacrificed but those remaining could get quite a lot of experience and skill proficiency.
“I can use the demons to raise the level of Radiant Sword!”
Weed piled up experience by continuously using Radiant Sword. The only downside was that his contribution to the Freya and Lugh’s Churches would decrease and the group’s combat power weakened. He was anxious about conquering Roderick’s Labyrinth and getting out alive.
“I have to keep looking for a way through the labyrinth.”
As he proceeded with searching through the labyrinth, 3~4 demon soldiers would appear.
“Concentrate the healing magic. This will be a prolonged battle. Even if the paladins on the front lines aren’t injured, the priests should continue using healing magic. And Alveron.”
“Please use protection magic when those guys are chanting a spell. No one else can block it except you.”
Commanding the troops was more difficult as a large number of demons showed up. The risk factor increase with the number of demon soldiers. The troops carried out a thorough defence formation but facing the demons wasn’t easy.
“The humans who came here are moderately proficient.”
“Let’s all go to h.e.l.l together!”
The demons’ wide area magic exploded! Although the lead paladin was holding a s.h.i.+eld, he turned grey and disappeared.
“Alveron, obscure their eyes!”
Alveron’s holy magic caused an intense burst of light so painful that the demons temporarily couldn’t open their eyes.
Derian used the power of Lugh’s miracle to raise the ability of the paladins. Everyone used their maximum ability to interrupt the demon soldiers.
“The number of demons will start increasing and the defence formation will be limited in a prolonged war.”
If it wasn’t for his Blacksmithing and Cooking skills then more paladins would’ve died by now. Weed thoroughly screened the skills that the demon soldiers used. While the paladins could withstand a few physical attacks by the demons, it was important to hinder or stop their magic attacks.
“The troops have to move perfectly…in order to get rid of those guys.”
The combination of priests, paladins and Bahamorg needed to be perfect in order to fight back. Many more demons would emerge deeper in the labyrinth and the standard of the mutated monsters would rise as well.
“It can’t be like this. It will become dangerous if more demons emerge.”
Currently the battles against the demons were smooth but it would become rougher as more troops were killed. The demon soldiers were cunning and didn’t fight in a similar manner. If the paladins stayed in one place then an attack would be concentrated there and the iron defence would collapse. Failure to escape would be a quick death!
Although Weed carefully watched over them, so far 71 paladins had died.
‘I can’t put them to work anymore.’
It was a shame that the casualties couldn’t be resurrected with a necromancer’s abilities. At least none of the priests had died yet due to the paladins’ thorough protection. If there weren’t any priests in a place where demons were running rampant then there would be devastating results.
“I’m grateful that you’re fighting with me.”
“I came here because I believed in you. It is also possible to fight against an enemy that isn’t boring. I will fight like a barbarian warrior.”
Bahamorg was the most reliable person in Roderick’s Labyrinth in Weed’s view.
‘I was afraid the other sculptural lifeforms would die so I didn’t bring them. If I did, they would indeed die early.’
Bahamorg was able to endure against the demons’ evil magic with the support of the priests. His race was meant to be warriors so he wouldn’t die easily. He would probably hold out until the end and succ.u.mb after all his colleagues died.
Bahamorg was also at a similar level to the demon soldiers. Anything dangerous could be entrusted to him. Of course, there was no need to think about it until Bahamorg died.
“Bahamorg, keep advancing.”
“I’m going. Jump at me, turiyaaa!”
|-You have listened to the call of the wild.
Physical combat ability will improve by an overwhelming amount.
Attack skills will greatly increase.
Complicated skills that require thinking can’t be used.
A warrior’s roaring skill!
The wall, ceiling, broken table and candlestick that Bahamorg was moving towards melted and 7 demon soldiers flew out. Their muscular bodies were hovering in the air due to their wings and they were gripping axes in both hands.
“I heard news that humans had arrived. I didn’t think they would reach here…”
“Catch them all!”
“Grant their death wishes.”
“They will be chopped up by demons.”
He had expected the number to grow but this was 7 at once! It was possible for demons to set up a secret ambush. The demons couldn’t underestimate humans became many of them seemed to be priests.
“As expected from my destiny…but I am glad.”
Weed never believed that everything could be solved easily due to good luck. He never entered the lottery or took minor prizes. He would write a review every time he purchased a product. If 3~4 demons steadily appeared then he would actually feel more suspicious!
“Step back and form a defence formation! Paladins should fire as soon as crossbows are loaded. That is the target. And start attacking with holy magic! Shower them with holy magic so that the demons can’t approach!”
A large number of demons emerged so Weed’s numbers would reduce unless they focused quickly. There were more of them so the damage would increase. Bahamorg tried to impede them but the demons scattered around.
It was the worst situation but the difficult part was ensuring the priests’ mana didn’t run out. The paladins attacked by the demons could receive healing. If the priests ran out of mana then it would be catastrophic.
If a large number of paladins died then the Roderick’s Labyrinth quest would fail. Once the priests started to receive damage, it would be hard not to be wiped out by the labyrinth.
“One point attack!”
Weed continuously attacked one point on a demon’s chest as holy magic exploded around him. He tried to use Texture Sword to destroy the opponent but unfortunately it didn’t work.
Understanding the opponent’s health and defence was required for Texture Sword. Pinpointing the health of a high level boss monster was hard. Even if he used his highest attack, the demon’s defence was so high it was impossible to use Texture Sword.
‘The damage to the paladins is too large.’
He could see paladins facing the demons and losing their lives.
‘If it wasn’t for Bahamorg then we wouldn’t be able to hold out.’
Weed struck the demon soldier and pulled out a sculpture.
“Sculptural Destruction! Everything into strength.”
|-You have used Sculptural Destruction.
The pain of destroying a Fine sculpture! The grief!
5 Art stats have permanently disappeared. Fame has decreased by 100.
The Art stat has been converted to Strength for one day.
Your Art stat is too high. Strength stat is too low so the conversion won’t be completed all at once.
|800 Strength has been changed to the level 8 advanced skill ‘Severe Blow.’
When hitting enemies with the exact amount of power, enemies will be blown away. Probability of causing paralysis and confusion has increased.
|980 Strength has been changed to the level 7 advanced skill ‘Piercing Spear.’
The opponent’s s.h.i.+eld and armour will be smashed by the powerful attack.
|1,430 Strength has been changed to the level 9 advanced skill ‘Momentary Herculean Strength.’
Power will triple for a short amount of time. Enormous vitality is required.
|1,598 Strength has been changed to the level 3 advanced skill ‘Skilled Attacker.’
Increases damage of attack skills.
Weed immediately struck the demon’s weapon.
|-The collision has exceeded the limits of the sword and the durability of the Daemon Sword has decreased.|
Durability would be restored with repairing.
“I’ll do it. Now is the time to run wild!”
The demon’s chest was full of gaps. The level was high so originally the demon was very powerful. So far Weed had been pushed by the power of the demon. His health reduced due to the damage despite the G.o.ddess’ Knight Armour.
However, he was overflowing with strength after Sculptural Destruction.
Weed’s sword moved freely in his hand like a toy as he continuously attacked the demon soldiers.
“Kuhek, a great human!”
The angle and speed of the sword was like magic as it left an afterimage while cutting the demon. The demons mainly used long and heavy weapons that were slow so they had no choice but to receive damage.
His mind wanted to face many demons at once but fighting against 1 was the best. The paladins and priests had to take on 4 demon soldiers. Alveron and Derian played an active part as they poured all their holy power into catching the demon troopers.
“G.o.ddess Freya, I will go to your loving arms.”
“I’ll raise my sword with courage.”
The paladins devoted their lives and eventually put away the 4 demon soldiers. Weed’s hunt was also a success with the support of the priests. Meanwhile Bahamorg had been safely holding up against 2 demon soldiers.
‘Now there are only two left.’
Every one wasn’t in a normal state but there was no place to avoid it. A lot of paladins had already died or received severe injuries but there were demons left so it would be dangerous if their morale fell.
“We will win. Now we just need to get rid of 2 more!”
|-Skill: Lion’s Roar has been used.
The morale of all allies within the influence of Lion’s Roar has increased by 200%.
All confused states are released.
Your Leaders.h.i.+p will increase by 300% for 5 minutes.
“For the G.o.ddess!”
“Drive out the devil with Lugh’s light!”
The paladins and priests recovered their morale and continued fighting fiercely against the demons. Bahamorg’s treatment continued so his body had recovered close to its normal state.
“Kurot…it has become troublesome.”
“I want to slaughter even more.”
The 2 remaining demon soldiers sneaked from Bahamorg’s range and a.s.saulted the paladins! Once the demons escaped the provocation, they chose to kill as many as possible rather than face Weed or Derian. And they didn’t care about their lives so the maximum damage was shown.
|-All demon soldiers have been removed.
The sacrifice of all the paladins will be known once the labyrinth is exited.
“It was a terrible battle.”
Once the battle was finished and the damage confirmed, a staggering 22 paladins had died. There were many critical moments against the demon soldiers but the paladins held on with their indomitable spirit or else a lot more would’ve died. Alveron had at least 10 paladins die near him.
The paladins were able to achieve a miraculous victory due to their faith and Weed’s leaders.h.i.+p.
“Too many people died in this one battle.”
The problem was that this fight would be repeated hundreds of times as he wandered through Roderick’s Labyrinth. Weed’s eyes grew darker.
No matter how optimistic a person was when entering Roderick’s Labyrinth, they would eventually think of failure. Countless demons, monsters and magic! There were infinitely complicated paths that led to traps.
Derian, Alveron, the paladins, priests, Jeidun for finding traps and Bahamorg was the optimal configuration for this place. When a priest was drawn pulled into a drawn out fight, they would benefit from the paladins’ defence.
The troops Weed led had a good balance of attack, defence and recovery. Taking that into consideration, borrowing Royal Knights from other kingdoms would be the best choice despite the high contribution required. They were only able to hold up in Roderick’s Labyrinth that long due to Weed’s cooking and production skills.
But the paladins paid a high cost as they kept on dying. 163 paladins had died since they entered Roderick’s Labyrinth.
“At this rate, it is just extermination.”
Weed looked at the injured paladins lying around. A severe fight with 9 demon soldiers had finished just now and exhausted priests with low mana were lying down on the ground. A considerable number of paladins had been reduced since they first entered the labyrinth but they didn’t give up.
Bahamorg’s combat spirit was strong and he would fight until the end. The priests had a lot of faith and their willpower didn’t fall easily. Another factor that maintained morale was Weed’s tasty dishes. If morale ever fell then recovery speed would slow down and they might not be able to fight properly in battle.
He had thought about hiring mercenaries from the mercenary guilds but their morale would rapidly drop. They could also rebel and leave the group so it wasn’t worth bringing them to a dangerous place.
“However the mercenaries could lure them. Even if it costs more money…”
Weed’s face was earnest and serious unlike before. The paladins were becoming fewer and he still hadn’t found a clue to navigate the labyrinth. More demons would emerge deeper into the maze so this was rather dangerous. If they continued walking in circles then they would be wiped out by the demons.
‘Is this an impossible quest to succeed? No, it is not over yet. Just like bloated noodles, it is still too early to give up. I can’t try again if I fail so I need to give everything in order to not regret it later.’
It was impossible to run away anyway. It wasn’t possible to find an exit in the labyrinth and Yurin’s Picture Movement skill couldn’t penetrate the spatial distortions. He had to fight and find a way to overcome being trapped.
‘This labyrinth is related to the secret sculpting technique. Of course, professions related to sculpting could overcome the maze.’
If they didn’t have to worry about the path and just killed the demons then Bardray and the Royal Guards could overpower them. But they would receive considerable damage from the demons.
‘Did I receive a clue from the sculpting quests that I’ve done so far?’
Weed thought about the secret sculpting technique quests that he had done so far. No matter how positively he thought about it, with his current power he would fail. He had to examine everything from the beginning in case he missed a clue. Then a quest related to Zahab suddenly rose up.
Weed took out a small hand mirror.
“I obtained this item….Inspect!”
|-Truth Showing Hand Mirror.
Made of special materials, holy power is flowing through it. Reveals falsehoods and visions, leads one back to the way of truth.
Can be used in a particular place.
|Restrictions: Can’t be used by murderers or evil people.
When dancers, bards or priests equip this item, the effect of this item doubles.
|Options: Intelligence, Wisdom + 7.
Maximum mana has increased by 11%.
Faith has increased by 38.
It will lead the way in a specific place.
A hand mirror belonging to Queen Evane who loved Zahab. It was normally used to verify his appearance after he used Sculpture Transformation.
|-Additional information about the item has been revealed.|
|-Truth Showing Hand Mirror: Durability 14/25
A hand mirror kept by the Saint Manderia. It was a gift given to him by the King of Gradian.
Manderia tried to sell the hand mirror to help the poor but no jewellery merchant was willing to buy something given by a king.
But after Manderia died in a back alley, the hand mirror was imbued with the holy magic ‘Path of Truth.’
It reveals falsehoods and visions, leads one back to the way of truth. But it can only be used as long as Manderia’s holy power remains.
|Restrictions: Can’t be used by murderers or evil people.
When dancers, bards or priests equip this item, the effect of this item doubles.
Once Manderia’s holy magic is depleted, the effects of the hand mirror will disappear.
|Options: Magic Resistance +9%
Rare magic can be restored.
Intelligence, Wisdom + 24.
Maximum mana has increased by 17%.
Faith has increased by 38.
It is possible to find the path in a labyrinth flowing with evil energy.
2 users remaining. When everything is used up, it will return to an ordinary hand mirror.
“A difficult to obtain item can only be used twice…I was too late for the quest connect to Zahab but this isn’t bad. Path of Truth!”
Weed immediately used the hand mirror.
Light poured out of his hand and pointed to one of many paths.
“That is the right path.”
Weed had turned on the light of hope. If he walked forward then many demons would emerge from now on. The probability of Bahamorg, the paladins and priests holding on until they reached the destination was low.
Even so, there was a satisfied smile on Weed’s face.
“There is still one use left in the item. It can still be sold at the auction even with one use remaining.”
A great number of black sedans were lined up in front of Lee Hyun’s house.
“CTS Media’s audience rating is quite high these days…congratulations, Director Hyeon.”
“Haha, what are you saying? These days there are many fresh programs being broadcasted. The audience reactions are quite good…well, it is popular but that might fall in a few weeks.”
“LK will make a broadcast contract with Weed the G.o.d of War. The contents of the contract are so surprising that everyone has made a wasted trip. But I didn’t think the director of Digital Media would come directly.”
“The office was stuffy…I decided to take a trip outside.”
Those gathered before the gates didn’t believe those words. People with a heavy responsibility for each broadcasting station visited Lee Hyun’s house directly.
Lee Hyun had been concentrating on his Master Quest for a while so the broadcasting stations were thirsty for a special program. It was important to regularly raise the quality of the various programs and increase the fixed audience. The Royal Road viewers were increasing and the broadcasting stations gained a large profit from advertis.e.m.e.nts.
Selling the programs produced to foreign broadcasting companies also reaped an astronomical amount of profit. It was natural for foreign countries to connect and spend time in Royal Road. Royal Road related goods were sold in cities like Paris, London, Shanghai, Venice and Barcelona.
They all knew about Weed the G.o.d of War despite not knowing the South Korean president. If a broadcasting company produced a special program on Weed then their names would be known. The overall ratings would rise so the broadcasting stations couldn’t miss the chance.
Once information that Weed was entering Roderick’s Labyrinth spread, they immediately visited his house.
Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong.
“Hrmm, nothing is happening when I pressed the bell so he might be sleeping or playing Royal Road.”
“He isn’t picking up his phone so he might’ve gone outside.”
“Should we wait out here…”
“If you have an emergency then feel free to leave.”
“Director Hyeon, time will pa.s.s quickly while talking.”
The people in charge of the broadcasting stations waiting endlessly in front of Lee Hyun’s house. Lee Hyun was inside his house.
“The beat paste soup tastes very good today.”
He relaxed while eating rice and visited the home page of the Dark Gamers. He knew the people from the broadcasting stations were outside but he made them wait intentionally. It was common sense to gain the upper hand in negotiations. It was necessary to make them wait.
“Rururu…money will come in again.”
Lee Hyun hummed as he washed the dishes and slightly opened the window to let out the smell of bean paste soup. After a long time, he finally opened the door and went outside.
“What suddenly brings you here?”
“Haha, I just stopped by for a greeting.”
Naturally the people from the broadcasting stations didn’t come empty handed. Rumours had spread about Lee Hyun so they were each holding thick shopping bags.
‘He likes free things.’
They brought various things like cow ribs, red ginseng, chinaware, whisky, power tool set etc. The power tool set was specifically bought by KMC Media due to something Lee Hyun previously said.
-I often make improvements on my house. Having power tools would make it comfortable. I considered it but money is valuable but….it is absolutely necessary. If there is only 1 power tool then it would be a problem if it breaks down.
Director Kang brought a whole bag full of the latest power tools. It wasn’t a pure gift but a neat extortion by Lee Hyun.
‘This present speaks to my heart.’
There was no need for him to refuse the gifts from the broadcasting stations.
“Everyone…you brought these things for me. They are things that I need. Rib set, I’d like to have it. Please come in.”
Lee Hyun invited the broadcasting station officials into his house. Flashy presents were received so he should welcome them a little bit.
“Would you like any cold or hot drinks?”
“I’d like a warm beverage please.”
Lee Hyun took out some coffee mixes. Iced coffee mixture and general mocha coffee mixture! CHN Broadcast brought green tea as a present but he would save that for his sister to drink. The broadcasting station officials were used to eating expensive dishes at good restaurants. Lee Hyun knew this so he asked a question as he handed out coffee.
“By the way, what is the reason for visiting my house?”
“That….recently there are rumours that you took a company of paladins and entered Roderick’s Labyrinth.
“Hahaha, it isn’t important but the director wanted to greet you…”
Of course it was important that he entered Roderick’s Labyrinth. Weed the G.o.d of War challenging the continent’s 8th labyrinth was a great issue. If he conquered Roderick’s Labyrinth then it was another event that would rewrite the continent’s history.
“I am indeed currently inside Roderick’s Labyrinth.”
“Then….this is a contract for a broadcast appearance.”
“This is definitely a good contract that is better than the other broadcasting stations.”
They came to give Lee Hyun the broadcast appearance contracts! The special appearance fee was enough to raise an orphan.
‘I’ve grabbed hold of more a.s.sets.’
If he signed an exclusive contract with a broadcasting station then there was the contract signing money and appearance fees. But Lee Hyun decided to form an agreement with all the broadcasting stations at a relatively high price. Eating at many places was better than just one place.
“If you agree to show Roderick’s Labyrinth…incentives are also prepared. How about a luxury car if you sign an exclusive contract with us?”
CTS Media offered money and a foreign car. Weed shook his head.
“I will not take the car.”
For the most part, men were interested in cars. However insurance money, taxes, oil changes and tire changes were required every year. A car unnecessarily consumed money so Lee Hyun refused it.
“If it is cash then I will consider it positively.”