7) Desert of Tranquillity
Weed felt dizzy as he walked through the gate. He felt like a duvet inside a was.h.i.+ng machine!
“Don’t tell me it failed because I went through an incomplete gate?”
It was the same feeling that he got after not winning the lottery! Weed hugged Seo-yoon tighter to make sure he didn’t lose her.
The practical reason was so he could continue the quest but he also wanted to hug her since she had suffered so much.
It was also a mystery why she hadn’t woken up yet despite the quest being finished.
‘It was prepared….’
The situation was so urgent that he couldn’t even send a whisper. Seo-yoon had yet to wake up. But Weed put her on his back and sped off. That’s why he felt a sense of urgency during the battle.
‘I wish we could relax the whole time….’
He was going to exit through the gate somewhere. And a cry of distress emerged from Weed’s mouth.
His limbs were struggling but it didn’t hit anything. They were in the air! In other words, it was the sky.
“I’m never lucky!”
Weed muttered with resentment as he crashed into the ground. He was in a state of low health so if he fell now then he could die.
‘Will I live if I quickly hit the ground?’
He thought as he fell through the sky for 1 second!
‘Well, this is a little dangerous. The situation might be better once I can look down at the ground.’
And another 1~2 seconds pa.s.sed.
‘It is quite far away…if this continues then my body won’t survive. Looking at the ground will only cause despair.’
Now he prepared his mind for it.
‘I’m going to die in this way.’
An att.i.tude that already gave up on life after only 4 seconds! Weed’s body finally reached the ground. However, it wasn’t solid ground but a pile of sand.
He slid down the slope of a hill formed from sand piled up. He slid approximately 10 metres before stopping safely.
His joy was short-lived. Weed became frustrated again as he climbed the dunes and looked around. The only thing visible in the vicinity was red sand. The wind didn’t contain any moisture and the sunlight was very hot.
“I’ve heard of this place before. Desert of Tranquillity!”
One of the continent’s 10 Forbidden Zones. They arrived at a hot, desert land without any preparations.
Lafaye and the leaders of the Hermes Guild sat in the Haven Empire’s Imperial Palace to discuss strategies.
“The siege weapons aren’t sufficient to destroy the fortress in the Chepen area.”
“Are there any resources nearby?”
“They are either being used or repaired. The terrain is also difficult to move them.”
“Then dispatch the magic army corps from the capital. They need to quickly take control of the Aberdeen area.”
“The enemy has retreated as soon as the Mosulli walls were captured.”
“Instruct the cavalry not to chase them over the hills. The 14th Cavalry Division will pursue from there.”
They commanded multiple battles that were taking place simultaneously across the continent. The Haven Empire’s territory was expanding so the leaders had to work hard to efficiently command the military.
‘The resistance is too weak.’
In the early days of the conquest war, the enemies gave them and cities and retreated. Lion Hunting plan.
It was a conspiracy with the Haven Empire as the target!
The details were complicated but it was basically using NPC soldiers for intense attacks to cut them off in a specific area.
‘No matter how good the plan is, it is useless if you are unable to execute it. War isn’t something just fought with your head.’
The guilds had joined together in an alliance but they were still susceptible to their own interests. There was heavy resistance. If the Haven Empire fell then they would pick up the maximum profit so they didn’t care about the amount of NPC soldiers consumed.
Lafaye immediately used this chance to get a profit.
The enemies weren’t taking an active stand so the Hermes Guild’s leaders boldly marched to obtain as much territory as possible and used their strong power to counterattack. They a.s.saulted the Black Sword Mercenaries on both sides and dealt devastating damage.
“If the Allied Forces combine then they can deal major damage to us.”
“Where should we start?”
“They will probably make Bardray the primary target. If he isn’t defeated first then they can’t reach the Imperial Palace.”
Bardray, the Royal Guards and their army gathered at the Gradian Kingdom. They were the strongest forces of the Haven Empire.
The Allied Forces couldn’t resist the temptation to attack Bardray.
‘They will do so even if other plans are made.’
Lafaye moved troops across the continent according to the situation. He adjusted the amount of military forces, considered the terrain and the scope of the occupied area.
The Allied Forces had a chance to take over some strong fortress with the element of surprise but didn’t. Bardray was bound to be their goal.
‘Those fellows will be prepared within a week. This will be a decisive battlefield.’
Lafaye gave an order as the guild master.
“Secretly dispatch the rangers and magicians to the Rubidom Mountains. And give instructions to all knights in the area to be prepared to move.”
“Bardray-nim’s troops will need to be at the Rubidom Mountains after 6 days so send a request for pa.s.sage to the annexed Norton Kingdom.”
“Rubidom Mountains? There are too many tress so it isn’t a good terrain for the army to move through. It is a route that will take a lot of time.”
“This is the reason why it is favourable to fight in the Rubidom Mountains. And then we can quickly occupy the Central Continent.”
“I’ve received contact from Palma. The work is progressing faster than planned.”
He was the secret weapon of the Hermes Guild. The Hermes Guild was an organization originally formed to unify the Versailles Continent. They were a group of top users unified under a single flag.
From the beginning they had an enormous potential to conquer Royal Road.
‘Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands enjoy this game. Millions of people will definitely play this game.’
It was the first virtual reality game so there were plenty of advantages. But the stormy popularity of Royal Road was larger than even they expected.
The Hermes Guild intentionally scattered according to the continent conquest plan. The Haven Kingdom was ruled by their guild and used to get rid of compet.i.tors.They took control of the Haven Kingdom to camouflage some of the other work their guild did.
Palma and the shadow troops were given missions in various parts of the continent.
-Numerous guilds will grow on the continent. And will develop their kingdoms. Work to disrupt them.
As recorded in the history books, there were numerous risk factors on the continent. The early stages when Royal Road just opened!
Evil magicians and creatures attacked and destroyed cities and castles. The biggest achievement of the shadow troops was causing the rise of the Embinyu Church quicker than expected.
“Embinyu Church. When looking at the history of the continent, it was a great threat to peace.”
“Is that so? Then find a method to use them.”
Palma and a number of other users formally signed up to the Embinyu Church. They did related quests, found necessary items and raised new followers for the Embinyu Church.
“The Embinyu Church is much more enormous than I imagined.”
“It is like that? Make sure they encroach on the other kingdoms except for the Haven Kingdom.”
Expanding the forces of the Embinyu Church! They used the Embinyu Church to weaken their compet.i.tors and the confusion allowed the Hermes Guild to grow stably. The Embinyu Church played a significant role in allowing the Haven Empire to not be impeded by their rivals.
But recently the growth of the Embinyu Church was terrible.
Once the Central Continent was in chaos due to the war, the Embinyu Church propagated in every direction. Palma couldn’t stop the influence of the priests reaching the Haven Empire.
‘Embinyu. The Embinyu Church is far too dangerous!’
Palma was appalled just looking at the activities of the Embinyu Church. The Embinyu Church spread an evil aura in lands that were raising crops.
The soil was polluted and new demons born from bodies. The residents became increasingly fanatic and those whose souls were seized became Dark Knights. The monsters were brainwashed by the Embinyu Church and emerged from their habitats and dungeons.
The territory of the Embinyu Church broadened at a colossal speed due to their evil aura and the surrounding areas destroyed.
The rivers flowing spread the pollution and plants became dyed with the evil aura. The branches and roots of trees in dense forests started attacking people. The trees full of the evil power were driven towards fortresses and were used in siege warfare.
‘The Embinyu Church is growing too fast in a short period of time.’
Palma roamed through the areas occupied by the Embinyu Church. There was no end to the army mobilized by the Embinyu Church.
The battles became wider as the fanatics conducted frenzied a.s.saults. And now they were advancing towards the Haven Empire.
“It is too hard for me to handle it anymore. I need to tell these facts to the guild.”
In the original plan to conquer the Hermes Guild, the Embinyu Church had to survive until the end. They would then reunify the continent and restore peace under the guise of getting rid of the Embinyu Church.
No one would be able to stand against their power and a new age of Haven Empire rule would be ushered in.
Seo-yoon woke up while Weed was waiting for his subordinates.
“Those guys haven’t come.”
Iron-1 and Iron-5. The sculptural lifeform soldiers hadn’t appeared.
“Surely they didn’t miss the opportunity to go through?”
Zahab who came before them also wasn’t visible.
“Maybe they ended up going to a different place.”
“Those are my thoughts too. As expected, the gate wasn’t working properly.”
While completing the final secret sculpting technique quest, he learned that his ominous feeling was always right. He also became entangled with Nodulle’s messy fate!
|-Walk through the Desert of Tranquillity
This is a place with hit sand and a blazing sun.
A place where water is life. Survival is the only goal.
Cross the desert while overcoming the lack of supplies in order to arrive at the Brukan Tribe’s oasis.
Level of Difficulty: Final Secret Sculpting Technique Quest
Quest Restrictions: If your colleague receives a great injury in the desert then the devil will wake up in her body.
The heat of the Desert of Tranquillity burns away all mana so skills can’t be used.
|-The quest has been given.
You can’t refuse.
It felt like seeing another mountain after crossing a mountain. Weed felt great respect towards the mountain climbers.
“It is like crossing Mt. Seorak only to see Mt. Everest. The Antarctic or Artic will probably appear after I cross that.”
This wasn’t like the Jigolaths.
The Desert of Tranquillity was literally a quiet desert. It was a place where human like lifeforms couldn’t live. It was a region where sand continued endlessly for most of the southern continent.
In the early days of Royal Road, many people headed to the south of the Versailles Continent to adventure. Those who advanced down from the Central Continent only found a huge desert. There was no end to the land as they walked. Desert tribes lived in the vicinity of the oases but everywhere else was just sand dunes.
Desert of Tranquillity! Those walking would become tired and die after being unable to quench their thirst.
It was rare to find people leaving the Desert of Tranquillity. Weed and Seo-yoon were currently on the continent in the past so there was no possibility of meeting other travellers.
“Skills can’t be used in the Desert of Tranquillity.”
“You received a quest?”
“Yes, it is a quest where we need to survive.”
Seo-yoon who followed him was given the same quest.
“We don’t have a lot of food.”
Weed sighed as he looked in his backpack. He received the request to rescue Seo-yoon so he wanted the burden to be as light as possible.
Currently his backpack only contained a day’s worth of food and water and the rest was filled with his spoils.
“This is why people shouldn’t be greedy. Anyway, let’s try to reach the Brukan Tribe’s oasis.”
“Yes, but which way?”
Weed looked at the sand ridges present in every direction. No matter where he looked, sand was the only thing visible. It was a hot and desolate atmosphere.
“Well, we can’t be sure until it is night time. The desert night will be full of stars. We can use that to determine if we are going in the wrong direction.”
Weed recalled reading about experiences of through the desert in Africa. When travelling abroad, they stayed in guesthouses as well as camped in the desert. He never expected that those experiences would be useful now.
“I should abolish the practice of picking up empty bottles and collecting sc.r.a.p metal.”
“It is nothing.”
Weed and Seo-yoon walked endlessly. It was difficult due to the sands blown by the wind. They also didn’t know the distance to their destination. Fortunately the two of them had the basic clothing for this trip.
Weed wore the novice clothing obtained from Serabourg Castle, Baran village and Lavias. The old cloak was easily torn but he could use it to hide his face from the sand.
“Not throwing these things away is useful in a time like this.”
“The smell is reaching here.”
“It is normal. I haven’t washed it even once.”
Then it went back to silence! They didn’t meet any monsters so they just walked forward.
‘There are 2 canteens full of water. Even if we drink it sparingly, it will only last for 1 day. After that it will be hard to find water.’
Then a desperate situation will arise. And now it was night. Fortunately he could see the stars but it was more painful moving through the freezing night than it was the hot sun.
“Night in the desert is originally cold.”
Weed and Seo-yoon sat close together under a sand hill. There was quite a distance to go so they would need to experience quite a few cold nights.. Therefore they took this moment to recover their vitality before walking.
“I remember the fun days in the past when I walked through the ice in the north. At that time we were with Alveron and Bingryong.”
“That was really cold. You also caught a severe cold.”
“Back then you were covered with white frost while on Bingryong’s back. I really needed to refrain from laughing when seeing your appearance at that time.”
It was one incident involved in causing Seo-yoon’s closed off heart to melt. She thought warmly of the adventure against the Bone Dragon in the north.
Ironically, this adventured planted warmth in Seo-yoon’s heart.
“Will this also become a memory later?”
“I hope there are more good memories.”
“If those are your precious memories then it might be better to have amnesia.”
Weed and Seo-yoon tightened the cloaks around their shoulders and maintained their body temperature. And they started marching through the desert again at dawn!
|-You are thirsty.
Due to the severe heat, your vitality has weakened and you have become thirsty.
That message window popped up once his moisture intake lessened. He was thirsty but he needed to conserve water.
Weed felt like his mouth and throat was filled with sand.
“That blade of gra.s.s looks like it comes from a tropical area.”
“How can there be a tropical region in the desert?”
“Yes, this is a place where rain hasn’t fallen for 1 year.”
“We can’t expect such good fortune.”
There was a long way to go so they needed to preserve their vitality. He didn’t know what would happen if they collapsed from weariness.
“Go well my children. We will meet again in a good place.”
In order to lighten his burden, Weed threw away the loot he acquired from Portu’s Royal Castle. It wasn’t an easy decision for him to make. The pain was like tearing healthy flesh from himself!
“Eat this salt.”
“You eat first.”
“Luckily there is plenty of salt. That is the only good news.”
“Then I’ll eat.”
Salt intake was very important in the desert. The salinity in his body was continuously falling so if he didn’t eat salt then he would get sunstroke. His advanced cooking skill meant that he could eat beef jerky covered with abundant salt.
“Let’s go again. We should move as far as possible before our food supply falls.”
Weed sluggishly moved his heavy feet. Walking was painful but he feared collapsing on the sand in the desert. It was hard but he couldn’t show it in front of Seo-yoon.
And time pa.s.sed endlessly. He felt like he had been walking under the scorching, hot sun for a long time.
Weed shared the water canteens with Seo-yoon. She had been held as a captive of war so she didn’t have any water.
“Thirsty? Go ahead and drink.”
Seo-yoon returned the canteen after drinking the water. Weed lightly shook the canteen after receiving it.
The weight of the canteen hadn’t decreased. They cherished each other so they drank as little as possible. Therefore the amount of water didn’t decrease. His heart became warmer when he thought about it.
‘Nodulle and Hilderun also went through this pain. Well, I’m really glad I wasn’t born in the desert.’
And they kept travelling through the middle of the desert until it became night. After taking a short break, the continued marching the next day.
They needed to get as far as possible before the water ran out. They couldn’t afford more than one sip of water. And the water in the canteen decreased little by little.
‘Hot, so hot….’
Weed and Seo-yoon no longer conversed with each other. It took all their power just walking. The blazing sun and hot sand in the desert!
Then a mysterious white city appeared in front of him.
“A city is visible.”
“Really? Use a little power. There might be water over there.”
Weed and Seo-yoon were filled with joy as they drank heartily from the canteen and walked quickly.
“Only a part of the city is visible but it looks strange. I think it is a mirage.”
“It can’t be.”
Weed continued heading towards the city but couldn’t approach it. It faded away the moment he approached.
|-A desert mirage has been seen.
Perseverance has increased by 1.
“It is making fun of us….”
Weed hung his head as he walked. And Seo-yoon’s voice was heard after a while!
“This time there is a lake.”
“Well, it is like that.”
He might be fooled once but he wouldn’t be fooled twice. It was impossible for a lake to form in the middle of the desert.
Not surprisingly, the lake slowly disappeared.
|-A desert mirage has been seen.
Affinity to Nature has increased by 2.
His throat was dry and he was tired so he felt like dying after seeing the mirages. They kept moving forward but there was only an endless sandy desert.
Weed and Seo-yoon’s pace slowed as they became tired.
“Should we just go?”
“It is a little difficult.”
“It seems like we’ll be walking tomorrow.”
“How much water is left?”
“If we continue to save water then it will last until tomorrow morning.”
The next day.
Weed and Seo-yoon once again started walking at dawn. There remained one sip in the canteen so they persisted in not drinking for as long as possible.
And they shared the water once they couldn’t stand it anymore. Once there was no drops remaining, Weed placed the empty canteen into his backpack.
“Now there is no water.”
“We will continue.”
Seo-yoon was becoming more haggard after becoming tired. The sight of her sad beauty made him want to hug her.
‘She encountered trouble after meeting the wrong man. It would be good if I remember these features to make a sculpture.’
His foolish hope of walking towards the north disappeared. He was surrounded on all sides by the desert so he couldn’t have any positive thoughts.
Weed and Seo-yoon walked on small sand particles. The wind blew the sand grains towards them. There was no hope for finding a tropical area in the middle of the desert.
Weed’s lips were completely dry and cracked.
“I brought you here to help me with a quest.”
“It is okay. Do not give up and continue walking. If we continue then there might be an end.”
“But now it’s over.”
|-You are suffering from a high fever due to serious thirst.
You are seeing hallucinations and vitality isn’t recovering.
Health is reduced.
Health will keep decreasing unless body temperature is lowered.
“I never expected to die in a desert due to a lack of water.”
Weed was so weak that he could barely even take one step. Seo-yoon was using all her effort to walk so she couldn’t even help him. She had a little more to drink so she had more strength.
‘Surely the success or failure of this quest doesn’t depend on how much water was brought?’
It was understandable that he thought that. He didn’t worry about the amount of water while rescuing Seo-yoon.
Weed really couldn’t walk anymore. He was suffering from severe hallucinations and his legs couldn’t walk straight. And they climbed over another sand ridge. The sand reached his ankle, making it harder to walk.
“There is a tree.”
“It is a real tree!”
Weed lifted his head as he heard Seo-yoon’s cry. There were real trees. This was a sandy desert but there were occasional tress growing with leaves dripping with moisture.
“There are really trees?”
“It seems so.”
Right now he had reached his limit. Weed and Seo-yoon painfully arrived near the trees.
|-You have escaped from the Desert of Tranquillity.
The t.i.tle ‘Desert Traveller’ has been acquired.
The amount of vitality consumed when travelling through the desert will be reduced.
Perseverance has increased by 45.
“We finally arrived!”
Weed lay down next to the trees. He then pulled out his Sculpting Knife. Then he cut the trees. The theme was a simple rainbow and rain. And then he used a skill.
A skill that summoned clouds in the sky! He could create a sculpture now that he escaped from the Desert of Tranquillity.
“Cloud Sculpting, Cloud Sculpting, Cloud Sculpting, rain fall from the clouds.”
Dark clouds gathered like a miracle over the desert area.
And rain fell over the desert! Weed and Seo-yoon watched the sky and lay down with their mouths open as they drank the rainwater.
|-Your thirst has been relieved.|
Now his mind was cleared due to the rain.
|-Natural sculpting has changed the continent.|
Yoo Byung-jin admired the rain falling over the desert.
They walked tirelessly through the desert without losing hope. This couldn’t be done by just anyone.
People couldn’t underestimate the despair and negativity in situations like this.
Weed and Seo-yoon shouldered the responsibility of conserving water while constantly moving across the Desert of Tranquillity.
The starting point for this quest depending on the amount of water they originally had.
Weed and Seo-yoon didn’t waste time quarrelling over water or blaming each other. They just walked until they finally arrived at the destination. Their patience meant they achieved it despite the low vitality.
“And the desert will be changed now that the quest is successful.”
Yoo Byung-jin glanced at another monitor. The monitor was showing the Versailles Continent in the present.
The rain didn’t seem like much as it soaked into the ground. But the Desert of Tranquillity in the south was vast and black rain clouds quickly spread through the area. And the heavy rain that fell! The rain soaked into the desert causing trees, gra.s.s and oases to grow.
New rivers were created and swept into surrounding lands, making it fertile. Weed’s rain brought tremendous changes to the Versailles Continent in the current time.
The flowing river eroded the weak desert land. And canyons started to form! The erosion created colourful canyons where a vast river dozens of metres wide flowing through it.
A long time was needed for these scenes to occur. Weed made a wonderful sculpture that manifested over time.
There were minimal users active in the desert. The environment was far too hot and painful with few monsters so only some people came to the desert to complete quests.
But now that Weed created a flowing river and there was a mysterious gorge, many users started coming.
Just like in the north, Weed changed the southern desert. Yoo Byung-jin looked at the monitor where Weed and Seo-yoon were resting in the rain.
The scorching sunlight shone through the dark clouds. A desert rainbow surrounded the two people lying down.