7) Eternal Colleague Zahab
Geomchi, the instructors and the trainees fell into a deep anguish.
A number of people were worried in Royal Road.
‘How should I proceed with this quest?’
‘ Find the mushrooms in the Yulun Mountains… It will be dangerous with my skills.’
‘What direction should I raise my attack skills in?’
A character’s growth and quests. Royal Road was like real life and had many choices. People would encounter crossroads that would cause struggle.
But the concerns of Geomchi, the instructors and the pract.i.tioners wasn’t at such a high level. They didn’t live a complicated life. If they were hungry then they ate and they fought strong opponents.
Geomchi-2 had a psychiatrist as a girlfriend but there were still things he didn’t understand.
‘Insomnia? Why can’t I sleep at night? Can’t I just close my eyes after lying down and snore?’
‘Am I stuck in a depression while hating the world? It isn’t a complete lie. I would commit suicide if I needed to roll around in a field of dog poo.’
If psychiatry was used on them then the result would be that they were suffering because of Weed.
“Teacher-nim, I’ve realized that we’ve been too lazy after seeing Weed’s adventure.”
“I am ashamed that I haven’t caught a dragon first. We have no pride as teachers.”
“I understand, Teacher-nim. This is all our fault. We didn’t properly support Teacher-nim.”
Geomchi and the instructors were upset by Weed’s adventure.
It was common sense since Weed had played Royal Road longer. In addition, he invested more into it over a long time. They praised him after he founded a kingdom but succeeding in quests with complex conditions annoyed them.
It felt like going to catch a strong monster for a quest was just a simple errand.
There was no need to distinguish between the good and bad guys. In the past, they made money during the days of poverty from the quests but now they weren’t enthusiastic about it.
“Weed is fighting the Chaos Dragon…hrmm.”
“He hasn’t won yet Master-nim.”
“Even so, my body is itching.”
Geomchi and the students envied the thought of fighting against a dragon. They had already been melted by a dragon’s breath so they knew how reckless it was. No matter how good they were with a sword, they couldn’t fight a dragon. They were aware of the limitations of a swordsman in modern times and quietly raised their power.
However, now they heard that Weed had a quest that required going to the past and fighting a dragon. It was a thrilling thing.
“Dragon slayer. I was aiming for this t.i.tle from the beginning.”
“Sob, I missed the chance at greater glory.”
Geomchi, the instructors and the trainees felt like they had been complacent and lazy.
“What have we been doing so far?”
“The Martial Artist Master Quest.”
“That….raising the disciples.”
Geomchi and the instructors were teaching their skills to NPC disciples. They needed to pa.s.s on their martial arts in order to pa.s.s through an advanced dungeon.
“Swung your sword.”
“All night until it seems like you are going to die. I will kill you first if you stop.”
The teachers weren’t caring or understanding and became irritating when inspecting the students’ skills. Nevertheless, there was a discerning selection of disciples.
They might have plenty of experience but couldn’t endure the training. Talent was important but they would rather teach those who would die by the sword.
“My parents are bandits….”
“I need to be strong in order to get revenge.”
“I just want to become like Teacher-nim.”
“Do you want to join your parents?”
The disciples grew like sprouts and pa.s.sed a dungeon. After that, their lives were their own.
Some joined the Arpen Kingdom as knights while others decided to wander the world as mercenaries. Some decided to switch directions from a swordsman to a merchant.
“You want to be a merchant?”
“Yes, sorry Teacher-nim.”
“No, a merchant is also a good profession.”
Geomchi-101 allowed the disciples to deviate from the path. He knew the benefits of a merchant. Merchants familiar with a sword could go hunting.
Geomchi-5’s disciples were beaten too much and fled as soon as they escaped the dungeon. And they became famous bandits somewhere.
“The disciples I raised learned a few skills.”
Geomchi-3 recalled the last few days. He had taught his disciples martial arts for a month. It strengthened their skills, enhanced their body, expanded their vision and gave them superhuman health.
The skills were raised again and again over the course of the training. The skills would disappear if they didn’t reach advanced level 3 within 3 months. In addition, they wouldn’t be able to proceed with the Martial Artist Master Quest.
The Swordsman Master Quest could be delayed at any time. The Martial Artist one couldn’t. If they made even one small mistake or failure then their master qualification would be discarded. It could be considered quite an unfair penalty.
Geomchi and his intern disciples were rather satisfied.
“Martial arts isn’t the same as other professions so this treatment is appropriate.”
“Yes of course, Master-nim!”
Each one of them had their own pride and entered the mountains for 3 months. The mountains had an atmosphere where the disciples could quickly cultivate their martial arts.
They trained their skill proficiency upon the branches and animals in the forest. A variety of unique training courses were designed to train their newly acquired skills. Once their levels became higher, their combat skills would become stronger. The result of their swordsmans.h.i.+p also differed.
In fact, it was hard and boring for humans to swing their sword for 3 months. However, Geomchi yelled at them to swing their swords every day.
“I’m can still continue….Geomchi-505 handpicked me.”
“Why are they so tough? I just want some rest.”
During to the compet.i.tion in the mountains, their swordsmans.h.i.+p rose at a tremendous rate. Each one of them achieved at least advanced level 9! Their bodies were completely trained and special stats and achievements were added.
“We have just been playing around.”
Geomchi nodded heavily.
“It can’t end here if we want to save our pride.”
“Teacher-nim has the right idea.”
“Normal monsters are like chickens and can’ be compared to the strength of a dragon.”
Geomchi and his disciples had already caught a variety of monsters in the north. They ran furiously through dungeons and defeated monsters, but they placed no value in it.
“We should create a group of knights.”
“That is a great idea!”
Geomchi thoughts weren’t sympathetic to his disciples. Being a great teacher made him feel better. Geomchi often displayed erratic behaviour and this time he spoke after thinking deeply.
“After looking at Weed’s battle, knights are the ones who fight systematically and can increase the effect by dozens of times. Winning or losing a battle can depend on the performance of the knights.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And the fight of those children on the Central Continent is spreading.”
Rumours spread that the Haven Empire was going to invade the north. The users who volunteered for the military and the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult of the Arpen Kingdom started formulating battle plans.
“We should organize a proper troop of knights and how properly show those guys. Then we can catch that b.a.s.t.a.r.d called Bardray.”
“Your disciples can’t keep up with Master-nim.”
“After completed a perfect victory, we will then move onto a dragon.”
“Yes, as you command.”
Weed had left the Arpen Kingdom for a long time and would be amazed when he returned.
“Won’t they perish with no king?”
“Yes, we should go back.”
If a kingdom was left unattended by the king, security would worsen due to bandits or thugs. Therefore, residents would quickly escape.
However, the security around Morata and Vargo Fortress was very good. There were a few burglars in the commerce area but there was a great revival of the economy.
Currently the Arpen Kingdom had almost extended through their entire north. Even residents living deep in the swamps or mountains were dependent on the Arpen Kingdom’s economy and culture.
Adventurers and warriors belonging to the Arpen Kingdom received requests to fight monsters. Merchants completed business deals and miners developed the mines. Residents were thankful to have work.
The Arpen Kingdom established a large army to fight against all the monsters in the northern area. The birth rate in the north miraculously increased and it wasn’t just humans living on the s.p.a.cious land….
“I can build a house here. Mother chwi chwik!”
“If we buy this cave then there will be no place to lie down. Chwi chwiik!”
The orcs that came from the east by the north flourished in the north! The orcs had settled around Vargo Fortress and orc users could start there. They mainly chose appearances that resembled Karichwi.
The orcs reproduced quickly and became an iconic feature around Vargo Fortress. The orc troops consisting of 20,000~50,000 could face any tough monsters.
They didn’t conquer the inside of dungeons but there were no large scale monsters wandering around the mountains. The orcs migrated to the far mountains. And the orcs continued building houses around Vargo Fortress.
“This deer leg tastes chwi chwit delicious. Chwik!”
The orcs didn’t burn it over fire and liked the taste of blood flowing from the leg. Plenty of users liked the wild life of the orcs. And the fortress was overflowing with orcs.
“Get out of the way. Chwi chwit!”
“Chwi chwit I was first!”
The orc leaving the fortress clogged the roads like workers commuting during rush hour. One orc user led a minimum of 100 baby orcs out of the fortress.
“This fat pig chuchik!”
“That orc is ugly chuchichik!”
Orc users lived separately from each other in order to hunt and seek food. It was easy for the orcs to be comfortable in the fortress. They purchased bad food from merchants and used it to raise their children.
The occasional pa.s.ser-by could watch a cute orc baby one day only to have it grow 2 metres and 30 centimetres the next day. The orc families formed a large force and could go to larger hunting grounds to face stronger monsters.
The dream of an orc user was to become an extremely strong orc warrior. Eventually they would lead a tribe containing tens of thousands of orcs.
“Leave for undeveloped land, chwi chwi chwik!”
Orcs and their children discarded their stable hunting grounds and good to look for remote areas in the north.
In fact, high level orcs didn’t necessarily prefer life and death adventures. But it could be difficult to settle a tribe consisting of thousands of orcs. Due to the nature of an orc, they could only establish a habitat quickly with strong forces.
The orcs left Vargo Fortress to find more dangerous areas and many orc villages quickly formed in the Arpen Kingdom.
But the internal affairs of the Arpen Kingdom was solid.
“I’ve never seen that road before.”
“Yes, it was made by an architect.”
“Did a bridge always connect that river?”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t there a few days ago.”
“Let’s adventure further north. I know a good hunting ground and ruins.”
“Is there a supplies plan?”
“Before there was nothing in the wilderness but now there is a city.”
A colossal civil construction project!
Now the Grand Buildings were only local events. Every city had a population of humans, dwarves, orcs, avians and barbarians so there was an unthinkable development.
“How is all of this possible with our taxes?”
“Then all this is the king’s money?”
“I don’t know but the Arts Centre possesses at least 890,00 works of art.”
“There is also an operation to restore Mordred, the capital of the Niflheim Empire.”
“Villages are also being built by the ceramists.”
“It really makes no sense.”
“I’m glad that we live in the north. We never would’ve been able to see it change so quickly if we hadn’t.”
It was determined that the prestigious guilds were the losers in the Central Continent and that the Haven Empire would invade the north. The prestigious guilds didn’t dare try to become lords in the north. The users and residents unconditionally protected the Arpen Kingdom. If anyone tried to build an independent village in the north then the residents and users would wage a vicious war of aggression.
In fact, there practical reasons for the Arpen Kingdom to forget about the Haven Empire for the moment and just devoted themselves to trade and hunting.
The quality and quant.i.ties of the users kept on increasing. The tax income of the Arpen Kingdom was very large but it was difficult to afford the expenditure.
In fact, all of this was due to the combined effort of the users. Merchants sold grains to farmers that they then planted. Miners dug out silver, gold, iron etc. Adventurers explored ruins and unearthed antiques and treasures. Tailors and blacksmiths became busy as orders kept on increasing. The beginner avians that had no money willingly pulled out their own hair to be sold. No matter how many feathers were pulled out, they would just grow back again.
And all the taxes were gathered at the capital of the Arpen Kingdom to be distributed. It barely changed after Weed had become king.
“Be careful of aides or family ties in politics.”
Deceit still existed in an era like this. Therefore Goldman, Yellowy, Bingryong and the wyverns monopolized the positions of power in the kingdom. They were silent in front of the dictator but exercised their rights when Weed was absent.
“Gol gol gol, gold is gold!”
Goldman received the tax money and invested it in different areas.
“Money shouldn’t rest. Gol gol!”
He didn’t deposit it in any savings and made immediately investments! Goldman permitted the important development projects in the north.
Areas like great architecture, urban road construction and expansion, military establishment, large granary and mine development were all worked on.
Money was generously poured into these projects.
“The money remaining in the kingdom is 0, gol gol gol. I worked hard today gol gol.”
Weed harnessed the Mapon and Beiner cities around Jonas Castle.
The Embinyu Church was approaching so he was running out of time.
“But we are the good guys.”
“Things like compa.s.sion and generosity isn’t useless. All of this… We unconditionally destroyed cities and killed civilians. We also have prisoners of war. There is no justification for it.”
Warrior-1 still hadn’t been corrupted by the evil mentality and desire to destroy.
“Aren’t these actions really bad?”
“It is in order to deal with the upcoming large battle. The entire continent is in danger of being subjugated by the Embinyu Church. This is a sign to save the world but it is too hard without your cooperation. If you fear small sacrifices then you can’t protect the peace.”
Weed used saving the world to scam the warriors! His subordinates had absolute loyalty so they would believe in anything. Weed destroyed the infrastructure of the cities in order to damage the Haven Empire.
“I like this a lot.”
Funes was the capital of the Beiner Kingdom. The ca.n.a.ls resulted in a city with a beautiful view. Boats rode around the ca.n.a.ls for a picturesque and beautiful scenery. The city still existed in the Haven Empire but the scale of it was a little smaller.
“Living in a village in this place would be nice.”
He could relax and enjoy life.
“There is no doubt that the value of this land would climb in the future.”
A craftsman asked the commander.
“I think this is a beautiful city….should we really let the soldiers loot it?”
“Block off the ca.n.a.ls with stone and dirt.”
“Then all the water will overflow and be lost.”
“Exactly. That is my aim.”
Weed was unmatched when it came to planning wickedness!
This was an unexpected side effect of what he studied in school. He would read maths and English books at night before closing his eyes because he was sleepy. However, his eyes cleared of the fog when he thought of bad things. All his sleepiness fled and curiosity burned inside him. Thinking of bad actions increased his concentration and enhanced his imagination!
“Break the large buildings in the city. Built a large statue in the middle.”
“Yes, I understand.”
He forced the residents and artists to build a bronze statue up to 65 metres. A statue of a bald Weed holding his thumb upside down! It was a work that celebrated the tyrant Weed.
“My mood will climb when thinking of this.”
Weed didn’t care about angering the Hermes Guild now. He had already shattered the Mapon and Beiner Kingdoms so there was no restoring their relations.h.i.+p.
“Over time, this bronze statue might remain in the city and I can see it at a later date.”
He had plundered so many riches that there was no place to put them. Necessary things were s.n.a.t.c.hed and battle equipment used. Trading with merchants for combat supplies weren’t necessary anymore as they looted most of it.
The most emphasis was placed on forced conscription. A training centre for the soldiers was opened at Jonas Castle. The young men trained with swords and s.h.i.+elds.
“You need to fight the Embinyu Church in order to survive.”
The residents were used to increase the headcount of the soldiers.
“Let go of my father. My mother is sad.”
A pretty, nine year old child grabbed a soldier’s leg and begged for her father to be returned. A pretty woman wailed from behind. She was the wife of a man forced into conscription.
The scene that Weed pa.s.sed by was enough to touch the heart.
“Bring that child over here.”
The soldiers caught the child and dragged her over. The soldiers had become cruel after so much looting.
Weed said in a friendly tone.
“Please save my father.”
“The world is at risk so I can’t accept your request.”
“Give me back my father.”
“Your father is fighting with us for world peace.”
“No, you are a bad person.”
Weed was notorious throughout most of the continent. The Embinyu Church did bad things but they were hidden actions. Weed was a brave warrior with the task of saving the world.
“I am like a lonely hero in the movie who is always misunderstood by the people around me. I suppose this is evidence of that.”
“You are just like fungus.”
“Yes, I understand little girl.”
“This is evidence that I’ve lived my life with frugality.”
He had unshakable spiritual strength.
The Embinyu Church was still quite far away because their advance was slower than expected. They didn’t want to arrive until the tower was completed and the Chaos Dragon summoned. This was the decision of the high priests.
The fanatics fell asleep in broad daylight. Then they would secretly march through the mountains and forests in the middle of the night. In the evening, Weed could see the videos about them and calculated that they would arrive in approximately 16 days.
Another reason was that they avoided going straight through cities and villages. The Embinyu Church captured troops defeated by Weed and turned them into fanatics.
“There is quite a variety of choices.”
Thanks to that, Weed had time to prepare for the war. This was a different time zone so there were a large number of the variables that could affect the fight. The power of the Embinyu Church was enough to dominate the entire continent.
But Weed and his subordinates’ abilities were also strong. They could compete to become the strongest power on the continent.
“The Embinyu Church is approaching to cooperate with us.”
“Rubbis.h.!.+ Their army is coming to make a blasphemy of the Atrock Temple.”
Weed sent troops to the Mapon and Beiner Kingdoms to ask for cooperation against the Embinyu Church. He wanted to coerce some priests to face the advancing army. Weed led the troops directly to the Atrock Church in the Beiner Kingdom.
“I am fighting against the Embinyu Church.”
“Don’t try to lie. We know that you are leaving the desert to occupy a fertile land.”
The volatile atmosphere around the Atrock Temple indicated that it would soon be a battle. His infamy had risen due to the repeated conquest war.
The temple had combat priests that were very brilliant at battle. Of course, Weed and the desert warriors didn’t want to start a fight.
“It isn’t a lie. I have received the blessing of Atrock. That’s why we should fight together!”
Weed shouted within Atrock’s Temple.
|-Your absolute charisma has overwhelmed the army.
Leaders.h.i.+p has strengthened and they will listen to any command.
The soldiers have become full of courage. They won’t feel fear under any circ.u.mstances.
The soldiers will become calm without falling into chaos.
The high loyalty means that betrayal or defection on the battlefield won’t occur.
The soldiers’ experience will greatly increase after battle.
Atrock’s Cry wasn’t a skill he learnt but a blessing received by the G.o.d.
“That person has G.o.d’s blessing… The Embinyu Church is our enemy as well. We will fight together.”
The situation was reversed in an instant and he could obtain the cooperation of the priests of the Atrock Church. He used this method to gain support from the paladins and priests of the 7 large religions like Tyr, Mi-ne, Freya and Lugh.
There were other kingdoms but they were too far away so he didn’t ask them for help. He also failed to enter to pa.s.s through Dulmore Fortress to reach the capital of the Beiner Kingdom. Therefore he concentrated on gathering other people.
The patron G.o.d of the barbarians. He headed to the temple and recruited 200 barbarians who were decent warriors! The defensive capabilities could be comparable to the desert warriors. They were useful in battle even if they couldn’t gain any large achievements.
The Hagar Church dealt in lightning magic. Weed had discovered traces of the Hagar at Montvertruria. Excellent magicians had built the church themselves but only existed in the warring period before disappearing shortly afterwards.
The Hagar Church ran to join him as soon as he arrived.
“G.o.d Hagar has told us to fight along with you.”
“Eh? What is this?”
“The Hagar cannot be excluded from going to fight the Embinyu Church.”
They cooperated in order to raise their reputation. This choice might cause their destruction to come faster.
And Weed had a really unexpected visitor.
When looking at the date, it had been a long time since he arrived on the Versailles Continent in the past.
Zahab the sculpting master visited the camp on horseback.
“After we parted at Portu Castle, I heard rumours that you were alive and came to confirm it.”
“I’m glad that Zahab-nim is still alive.”
Weed hadn’t expected to see Zahab again.
He had already been quite old even in the original time. After spending 22 years on the Versailles Continent in the past, his hair had turned completely white. But his eyes were still clear and his physique st.u.r.dy.
“A tremendous change seems to have happened as you are now leading a great army.”
Weed was far inferior to him in the past but now Zahab couldn’t even defeat him.
“I roamed around the world after escaping with you. I feel like this world is really terrible.”
“In what way?
“The definition of justice is ignored in this era. I wanted to fight to correct this but realized the limits of my strength. I was too weak to freely help others.”
Zahab was extremely strong but he was invincible in the warring period. All the kingdoms had above average military power. If he touched the wrong army then even a sword master would have his throat cut.
“I collected many talented people and taught them swordsmans.h.i.+p and sculpting.”
“Ah, I can see that.”
“There are 100 people but their skills aren’t as reliable as yours.”
Weed thought it was a waste and would rather just teach sculpting. But having Zahab’s group join without do any harm.
Weed said in a complex voice. It was his typically voice when trying to flatter someone.
“In fact, I have something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“I tried not to let other people know this but… I believe I can tell Zahab-nim. Did you know that the Embinyu Church is even hiding in this world?”
Zahab was a genuine man. He didn’t forget his first love Queen Evane for his entire life. Apart from that, he only cared about the sword and art. This type of human was the easiest to target.
“The Embinyu Church right now is much mightier. It can’t even be compared to the future. So I am preparing for a war to stop the Embinyu Church.”
It was a typical pattern when bragging about what a great guy he was!
“Think about Queen Evane who you always longed for. The lonely queen protected her land from the Embinyu Church by herself. I won’t hold it against Zahab-nim if you say no, but… Do you want to fight with me?”
Weed reached out hand to Zahab. If he refused then Zahab would’ve abandon his first love Queen Evane for a comfortable life. As expected, Zahab grabbed his hand vigorously.
“I’m willing to fight.”
The bald Weed laughed. He would make the old man Zahab work until his spinal cord was removed.