10) Invasion of the Haven Empire
“Huhu, the day has come.”
“Those guys won’t stop until they unify the continent?”
The Bandit King Steiner that ruled the mountain regions of the Haven Empire!
The shadow of death Seasoned Crab!
They heard that news that the Haven Empire was moving. The influence of the Haven Empire meant that every small action would quickly spread among the users. Especially something like a colossal movement to conquer the north.
“This is the best chance for bandits.”
Steiner grinned as he carried a large axe.
It was quite fun to be a bandit hiding in the mountains. The bandits in weak countries weren’t that dangerous.
But the quality of the Haven Empire meant the bandits were fairly large. Treasure, magic items and gold could be obtained from the lords of the commercial cities. Furthermore, it was also good for obtaining human personnel.
Competent knights wandered around after the Haven Empire took over other kingdoms. It was easier to recruit them as subordinates. The bandits actively recruited wandering knights with ideals like justice, recognition or a combative spirit.
Regular citizens also followed the bandits. The residents that lost their kingdoms, were subjected to extreme conditions or needed to feed their families were willing to go through tough training to become stronger.
The best and brightest quickly adapted to the mountains. They obtained the delicious taste of raising their power.
The reason Steiner settled in the Haven Empire was because it was more risky and he had great ambitions. One day he would go down from the mountains and plunder the cities.
The rangers and soldiers of the Haven Empire couldn’t catch them so they dominated the mountains and forests.
It was empty words but he was crowned King of the Bandits!
“There are so many to kill.”
Seasoned Crab wandered around the Haven Empire and a.s.sa.s.sinated users and knights. A large number of people lost their lives but it was easily blamed on the Embinyu Church.
The most outstanding a.s.sa.s.sins in the Hermes Guild couldn’t see his trail and he waited for a perfect chance to kill them. Sometimes there were opinions that an a.s.sa.s.sin was behind it but then he would wander around areas domination by inquisitors and dark knights of the Embinyu Church.
Seasoned Crab was distressed at the thought of the Haven Empire conquering the north.
“Should I continue to kill in the Haven Empire? The gathered lords shouldn’t be too difficult.”
There were many NPCs among the lords. The lords collected taxes in order to raise soldiers of the Haven Empire. The tax rate and ruling policy depended on the lords. It was simple for Seasoned Crab to penetrate through a small hole in the castle to kill the lord.
“Killing those without any resistance is no fun. I guess I have to go to the north. The really challenging opponents will be those heading to the north with the army.”
Seasoned Crab decided to hunt the users of the Hermes Guild heading to the north.
Jackson didn’t have multiple goals. He drank cheap beer in a tavern at Aren Castle, the capital of the Haven Empire and waited.
“The world has helped me. Soon it will be time for me to take action.”
He didn’t want his name known in battle or to complete a grand adventure. He only sought one thing.
The seal representing the emperor of the Haven Empire! Bardray and the Royal Guards were heading to the north so the security around the Imperial Palace would be more lax.
Jackson’s purpose was to secretly enter the Imperial Palace for the seal.
“I will steal it properly. Kilkilkil.”
Weed wasn’t happy even after completing the quest.
“It is like giving gruel to a dog!”
The Pallos Empire didn’t leave a large footprint in the history books. If he was a monk living detached from the world then money wouldn’t matter.
But his actions ended the warring period early so this a.s.sisted in the development of the Central Continent later on!
“I should boil the dog and make soup from it.”
He had been a great help to the Hermes Guild. But they weren’t grateful and decided to go conquer the north.
Weed thought the situation was unfair.
“But I can’t stop the quest to go back and defend the Arpen Kingdom.”
If Weed returned to the original time zone then Bardray would just kill him.
In the past, it had been a close fight but they were disturbed by uncontrollably factors. The stats difference from hunting and questing had just become larger since the Melbourne Mine. If he met Bardray then he would need to attack with 3~4 other high level users.
He couldn’t catch a strong enemy like Bardray in a one on one fight so it was better to meet him with dozens of high level users.
Ordinary users thought of Weed as an invincible G.o.d of War. He was really powerful in the current time but that would all fly away when he returned to his original era.
Not long ago, he had been making and selling sculptures in cities in order to earn money.
“I have a really bad luck on this earth. The difficulty of this quest is enough to threaten the peace of the continent and I have to be afraid of users that are my enemies.”
He was constantly having to work hard!
Nevertheless, even Weed enjoyed occasional moments of happiness. Buying a 5,000 won t-s.h.i.+rt and not having the neck increase after being washed or the joy of was.h.i.+ng dishes with a new scrubber. Putting on new socks or enjoying a clean bathroom were some moments of happiness in his life. He was also in a good mood when eating jajangmyeon with radish.
Life would’v e been difficult to bear without such minor joys.
“Well, I have no choice but to continue the final secret sculpting quest until the end.”
He couldn’t afford to worry about the Arpen Kingdom. There wasn’t any large power great enough to prevent the Haven Empire’s invasion.
“And speaking of which, I should’ve failed the quest.”
He felt a belated regret. His success in the quest gave the Hermes Guild a golden opportunity to unify the continent.
“Anyway, Van Hawk.”
“Go ahead, Master.”
“You did good. A trustworthy and loyal subordinate.”
“You helped win this battle. Thank you.”
Van Hawk’s ribs trembled. Normally Weed would think up some fault in order to hit them. But contrary to Van Hawk’s fear, Weed didn’t have any intention of doing that. He determined that it would be good if Van Hawk returned to the original time period.
‘Yes, the Arpen Kingdom still has a chance if I finish this quest quickly and return.’
A plan to protect as much of the kingdom as possible!
“Thanks for your help.”
“No. Of course I need to crush the Embinyu Church.”
Zahab, his lifelong slave was being worked well before he died of old age.
‘This world involves personal connections. I will make them work once I catch their weakness.’
He killed the high priests so the Embinyu Army was significantly weakened. The aura around the fanatics faded until they were ordinary humans and the bodies of the monsters fell apart. The Barates flying in the sky crashed into the ground.
It wasn’t difficult for the desert warriors and combat slaves to annihilate them.
“Waaaah, we won!”
“Hooray the Beiner Kingdom!”
Great cheers could be heard from Dulmore Fortress as the incoming monsters were crushed.
The rain cleared up and a bright light appeared on Dulmore Plains. The corpses of the Embinyu Church vanished as they were purified by the light. Only the smashed earth from the meteor disaster showed how intense the battle was.
A pillar of light fell from the sky and an old man with a long white beard showed up. He gave a long sigh as he gazed at the battlefield before turning towards Weed.
“Emperor who built an empire on blood and corpses, congratulations in winning he hard battle.”
“Are you Saint Ah.e.l.lun?”
“People who know me have called me that name.”
Weed had guessed that the old man was Saint Ah.e.l.lun from the moment he appeared.
His body was exuding a white aura that brimmed with divine power. Van Hawk, Torido and the undead were also uncomfortable as they avoided him. But humans touched by the divine aura had their wounds healed and health increased.
‘He should’ve come and helped a little sooner.’
Weed had that thought about Ah.e.l.lun.
“Emperor, my mind thinks that you are far too cruel.”
“This era made me like this.”
“In this age, swords speak louder than words and you only know how to kill.”
“If you hesitate to kill the weak than thousands of others will suffer.”
“You have committed excessive killing and destruction. Innocent souls will drift to their G.o.ds.”
“The G.o.ds have blessed me.”
A fierce quarrel broke out between Ah.e.l.lun and Weed.
In this warring period, Weed’s actions were recognized as severe.
King of Barbarians, cruel slaughterer and a tyrant. It was natural for the strong to trample on the weak in this era.
Other rulers would naturally act to stop his behaviour. In addition, those that secretly followed the Embinyu Church had no choice. He killed the secret followers of the Embinyu Church one by one.
Weed wasn’t under the illusion that he was nice. He wasn’t reckless enough to hold a knife to someone and attempt to persuade them with words. It wouldn’t be good for his mental health.
Furthermore, this was the precursor to the prosperous continent in the future. He felt like it was unfair to be criticized by someone for the result.
“I am saving the world from the shadow of the Embinyu Church. I didn’t want the weak to be swayed by them so I needed to kill them all.”
“We should protect the weak.”
“But those good humans would be dropped into misery and pain. No matter how pure hearted they are, tragedy won’t stop occurring. I’d rather clean the evil and cut off the knot of tragedy.”
“This is why you are called a tyrant. A new power will be built on the ground wet with blood. Millions of people in the future have obtained their salvation so I can’t say your actions are wrong. Being a tyrant in this age might be appropriate so I don’t blame you.”
|-You have been recognized by Saint Ah.e.l.lun.
Your infamy among the loyal soldiers will drop.
Ah.e.l.lun then hurriedly said like he was pressed for time.
“You have to quickly act to stop the Embinyu Church. You will be busy.”
“Emperor, you must be aware that the Embinyu Church has this huge plot to destroy the world.”
“They are building a tower climbing to the sky in order to wake up the Dragon of Chaos…and their goal will be fulfilled in ten days.”
Weed’s infamy meant he delayed meeting Ah.e.l.lun. Maybe Nodulle had a lot more time. But the Sky Tower was almost completed and then the Chaos Dragon would wake up.
“I thought there would be enough time to disrupt the Embinyu Church.”
“In this world, they have caused numerous blood to flow. Prisoners had been captured to complete the Sky Tower and after today’s defeat, they will try to wake up the Chaos Dragon despite it being incomplete.”
Changes had occurred to the quest after defeating the Embinyu Church. Their power was now significantly cut. Of course, the Embinyu Church still had an enormous force remaining but everything was being rushed.
“There isn’t enough time. Go right now. Emperor that owns a vast amount of treasures and territory, will you put all those things down to complete the n.o.ble mission of stopping the Embinyu Church?”
|-Unit of 7 People Leaping towards a Dragon’s Mouth
The Embinyu Army has been removed by the Emperor. It is an unbelievable achievement but the danger isn’t over yet.
The 1st sect led by high priest Heuller. It is unknown when he started or ended but he lived a long time while planning this conspiracy.
His body doesn’t show his age and he is gripped with deep wisdom, greedy and a desire for destruction.
After hearing about the Embinyu Army’s defeat, he has hastened the construction of the Sky Tower to speed up the Chaos Dragon’s awakening.
You have to stop them. For all life living on the continent…
Level of Difficulty: Final Secret Sculpting Technique Quest
Objective: Collapse of the Sky Tower.
Destruction of the Chaos Dragon Ausollet.
Quest Restrictions: You have to safely survive the quest.
The quest will fail if you die.
History will change if you surrender or are brainwashed.
If you accept the quest, you can choose a further 5 people along with the NPC Ah.e.l.lun to help you.
The continent will receive much damage if the quest fails.
“Hrmm, a dragon isn’t a boiled chicken.”
In the end, his last quest was to get rid of the Chaos Dragon. He felt like the sect of the Embinyu Church led by Heuller was much stronger. And he needed to finish the mission with only 7 people so it was indeed a murderous level of difficulty!
Despite that, Weed had no choice but to accept the quest. His guts was the only thing remaining.
“The world is calling me. I will accept the mission to defeat the Embinyu Church on this continent.”
|-You have accepted the quest.
You can choose five people to set off for the quest.
However, they must partic.i.p.ate voluntarily.
“You have good judgment. Move quickly if you want to stop the Embinyu Church.”
Ah.e.l.lun urged him to rush.
If his human relations.h.i.+ps were bad then maybe only two people would go on the quest.
‘I need people I can trust. Fortunately I’ve raised quite a few subordinates.’
Weed started with Zahab.
“Will you go?”
“Of course. I need to get revenge for her.”
|-Zahab has been included as a colleague on the quest.|
The negotiations for one old man filled with revenge was complete. And the rest was the problem.
He had plenty of subordinates to pick from but recruiting 5 was a little tough. He needed to configure the party while thinking of the various characteristics.
Ah.e.l.lun was a saint who could heal while a thief or magician would fly away with one blow.
“The problem is…picking someone who will be useful.”
Weed’s eyes looked for other professions. Those that were level 500~600 seemed so fragile that it was like they would die with one touch.
“Warrior-1, Warrior-2 and Warrior-3!”
“It is an honour.”
“I will go anywhere with you.”
|-The desert warriors Warrior-1, Warrior-2 and Warrior-3 have joined the quest.|
And now there was only one person left!
“I knew you would call me. This is a holy mission that I should complete. I will go with Great Emperor-nim.”
“I don’t like it.”
“I know you will take me. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Yes. Well, I will take you.”
|-Hestiger has been included as a colleague on the quest.|
Weed hated Hestiger for two reasons.
He found Hestiger’s excellent abilities unpleasant. While he provided generous support during the Nodulle’s Growth quest, Hestiger seemed much stronger than himself.
He had a genius talent and made a sincere effort. Hestiger completed monster hunts and quests with him so Weed had to acknowledge his abilities.
And for the second reason, Weed found it hateful how well he ate and lived. He helped repel the Embinyu Church and would lead the Pallos Empire into the future. His stomach ached as he thought of Hestiger receiving all the gold and treasures.
‘This time I’ll kill him properly.’
Ah.e.l.lun nodded at those gathered.
“Now let’s go. All those who would perform the sacred duty has been a.s.sembled. The Embinyu Church is in an area where darkness rules and divine magic doesn’t work properly.”
Ah.e.l.lun lightly tapped the ground with a white cane. Then a door consisting of bright light was created. Ah.e.l.lun entered first with the sculptural lifeforms, Zahab and Hestiger behind him.
Finally, the moment when Weed had to go through the door. If he went through this door then perhaps the founding and wealth of the Pallos Empire would disappear.
After completing the quest involving the Embinyu Church, it was likely that he would be prevented from coming back here.
“Warrior-4, Warrior-5, Warrior-6, Warrior-7, Warrior-8, Warrior-9, Warrior-10, Alverun, Alveren.”
“Yes, Great Emperor.”
His sculptural lifeforms thought that he was going to say goodbye.
“I made you struggle so I want to set aside good things for you.”
“Once the empire is founded, everyone should take up high positions and live warmly.”
A naked expression of grat.i.tude for everything they shared!
“I will never forget your grace.”
“Yes, of course.”
“So everybody come closer.”
Weed spoke closely to the remaining sculptural lifeforms. It had the smell of an insidious conspiracy.
And he stroked Bactrian Camel’s head before entering the door.
“Stay well in the future.”
Bactrian Camel looked off into the distant land. A cynical att.i.tude! Bactrian Camel was soothing his disappointment in his own way.
“Looking back, it has been really hard on you. You are the best along with Wy-3.”
Weed proudly disappeared through the door after saying goodbye.
And the mournful cries of his subordinates could be heard behind him. Thick tears flowed from Bactrian Camel’s eyes.
Weed arrived in an unfamiliar area as soon as he pa.s.sed through the door.
The land consisted of brown, cracked rocks and deep gaps that had smoke emerging from it. Something red rushed out from the earth and it turned out to be lava!
“Where am I?”
Weed hid next to a rock and quickly moved his eyes to a.s.sess the situation. There were thick walls dozens of metres high in some places and ruins here and there.
It was teeming with monsters and peculiar sounds could be heard.
And a few kilometres away, buildings similar to a fortress were being built beyond a barrier. In the heart of the buildings, a colossal statue of Embinyu was soaring up. There was a tower that spun round and round like a snake as it rose into the clouds.
He had seen a video of it in the past when receiving the Embinyu quest. Maybe the Chaos Dragon was sleeping somewhere as well.
‘There were many watchtowers when I previously saw the video. There is also a river in the middle that emits poison and I have to be careful not to be detected.’
He needed to properly grasp the situation in order to make a plan. It was different from when bringing his desert army to sweep through the continent. Furthermore, the time limit to complete the quest was very short.
To make matters wost, he couldn’t see any signs of Ah.e.l.lun and the others who went through the door before him.
“There is no dog p.o.o.p. I am abandoned…it can’t be right?”
Weed’s ability to predict misfortune was beyond that of a fortune teller.
|-You have arrived at the Barren Howling Ruins.
This is a hidden area of the continent that only exists in the warring period.
The worst cult, the Embinyu Church has spread its evil power to disrupt all teleportation methods.
Ah.e.l.lun and your other colleagues are somewhere in the large, s.p.a.cious area.
You can find them but they might die if the enemy notices them first.
Survival is entirely dependent on the ability of your colleagues.
The ability of Weed and his subordinates could be called the best. The combat capabilities of the sculptural lifeforms he created was undeniably excellent.
In this situation, it was impossible to guess how many would survive before they could meet up again.
‘We didn’t decide a place to meet up and it is difficult now that we are all scattered. If I look for them one by one then the tower’s construction might finish and the Chaos Dragon will wake up.’
So far, it was an extremely hard and challenging quest. In the worst case situation, he wouldn’t be able to find his sculptural lifeforms or they would be dead and he would need to fight alone.
‘I don’t have time to worry about the others. I might make a mistake.’
Weed moved back to a larger rock. His subordinates arrived first so they were probably hiding but he could only see old skeletons.
‘Now what should I do? Should I infiltrate them?’
Quests couldn’t only be solved with fighting and killing. This quest required Weed to use all his trickery. Weed carefully hid while watching the barrier.
‘This quest is the most important thing right now.’
All the struggles he went through was almost finished. After finis.h.i.+ng this quest, the only thing left was the Hermes Guild.
He had a higher possibility of winning if he could obtain the final secret sculpting technique. If he lived he would complete many quests and monster hunts until he became as strong as he was in the desert.
In fact, the final secret sculpting technique was probably a fraudulent skill that wold boost his abilities. But if he failed the quest then all that time would be wasted as he returned to his original time.
‘It is urgent but there is a bright side.’
The Embinyu Church would sweep through the Central Continent again. The Haven Empire would suffer great damage and might not be able to conquer the Arpen Kingdom.
‘Now I should start.’
Weed was really worried about the success of this quest.
The 12 Corps of the Haven Empire moved quickly.
Each corps was in the best condition to conquer the Central Continent.
“Go to the north.”
“There is only a little bit left until the continent is unified. March!”
The Haven Empire’s army had been tempered from constant battles against the prestigious guilds. They had been prepared to face the Embinyu Church so heading to the north didn’t require any additional preparation.
“This might be the last battle so don’t be careless. Aim for a perfect finish with a victory.”
Lafaye and his general staff decided to move with the army.
The army moved across the Haven Empire and headed towards the north. Each city that pa.s.sed through had a set of supplies prepared ahead of time.
It was impossible for the invasion of the Haven Empire to be unknown. They didn’t move quickly in order to preserve their best state.
The merchant groups within the Haven Empire followed the army with materials so supplies for the war wasn’t a problem.
Lafaye and the other staff made sure that each corps was comfortable before the fight.
“Gather these 7 corps in front of Poros River.”
Rensullot boldly led the army over the river to the north! More than 2 million soldiers were gathered to attack the enemy.
Of course the counterattack from the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult in the north would begin. But they were a bunch of beginners that used human wave tactics so the Haven Empire wasn’t worried.
The 7 corps moved to secure important terrain while destroying any enemies that pounced. The 2 million elite army had confidence that they could win no matter how many northern users attacked.
Numbers didn’t mean anything. The combat power was in the millions so there wasn’t much meaning in seeing how many troops the north gathered. In fact, an army of 2 million was enough to display the power of the Haven Empire to the world.
Many rebellions could occur once they unified the continent. Minor resistances were already occurring in the occupied territories.
So they would show it to them. Look! The mighty power of the Haven Empire!
They would trample on the Arpen Kingdom in the north. They were familiar with getting rid of the initial disgust and resistance to the occupation. Later people would start joining the Hermes Guild after a few months.
“We will win great battles and destroy the north.”
Lafaye spoke to a lieutenant in the army.
There was no doubt when he spoke. They would take care of the north no matter how reviled they were or how many people needed to be wiped out.
The Hermes Guild had always been invincible. They experienced a toxic defeat with Weed but they didn’t need to worry about that now.
The remaining 3 corps advanced through the Nudullan Mountains and onto the Nadallia Plains. They were the main troops of the Haven Empire that would destroy Morata and the Earth Palace of the Arpen Kingdom.
Going through the hilly terrain was chosen in order to accomplish a prolonged strike against Vargo Fortress.
The Haven Empire wouldn’t let the north hope for even a moment. The main troops would gather and destroy Morata and Vargo Fortress.
And 2 corps were organized for a separate occupation. They would spread out and obliterate the north. Even the smallest villages would be destroyed.
Tyrant Weed? They would show a destruction beyond what he did in the warring period. The Great Buildings that were the pride of the north and the cities would be wiped out without trace.
Lafaye intended to imprint true strength and fear into all the users.
Geomchi and the students sometimes had simple thoughts.
‘I hope that we can fight.’
If they tried to study then they would fall asleep or get headaches.
Simple paperwork was enough to make them tired. Even if it was a clerical job, it would be too mentally tough for them to endure. Instead, they felt more refreshed after working at a construction site.
Geomchi-2 came running with a poster.
“Teacher-nim, it is a war.”
“The day we’ve been waiting for has come.”
Geomchi-3 added hastily.
“We will take action depending on Teacher-nim’s words. I don’t know what Teacher-nim wants to do.”
Geomchi who was watching the sky seemed to already be prepared for war. It was like someone patiently waiting for a long time only to stand in the rain once it arrived.
‘Can I fight properly again soon?’
The students had been waiting for the day they would fight the Haven Empire so they focused on hunting and training their skills. They also aimed to complete their Weapons Mastery quest. Special stats and skills were obtained during the training. Now they were focusing on strong monsters in order to raise their level.
Geomchi-2 was excited about a battle but his position meant it was impossible for him not to worry.
The instructors and students weren’t weak but it was unknown if they could fight against the powerful forces of the Haven Empire.
“It is hard. It is hard to know. We’ve seen them fight on television so we have an idea of the extent of their skills. If we avoid the magic then we can face them in close combat. It will be a good experience to face a strong army.”
“Yes, even if we are unfortunately defeated in the end.”
Geomchi-2 nodded his head.
An inevitable fate. They couldn’t change the fact that they were weak and that the enemies were strong.
Of course, that didn’t mean Geomchi and the students were weak. It was impossible to find a group on a similar level in the Versailles Continent. They had a minimum level of 400. Advanced level 9 swordsmans.h.i.+p. The limitation was that their group was unique.
This time Geomchi-3 asked the question.
“Then what will the north do?”
“They just need to endure until the maknae (youngest) returns.”
“Will the maknae come?”
Geomchi-5 asked with a questioning expression.
The invasion of the Haven Empire! No matter how much they loved to fight, this was a huge matter. If a fight occurred then they could kill hundreds of enemies in front of them.
However, only Weed would be able to win against the colossal military power of the Haven Empire.
“Last time I asked Weed if he could defeat the army of the Haven Empire. Do you know what the answer was?”
“He could win?”
“He can’t win. Stopping the ultimate power of the unified Central Continent is a daunting task. No matter how vigilant he is, there won’t be enough time to prepare.”
“Then it will be destroyed?”
“Maybe in a fight but a war isn’t that simple.”
Geomchi laughed like he found something interesting.
“We can’t keep blocking the enemies. We don’t need to smash the enemies to death. Weed will be the one to tear apart the Haven Empire.”
“What do you mean?”
“I literally mean what I said.”
The hearts of the instructors starting beating faster. The charisma that was overflowing from those comments.
Tearing apart the Haven Empire!
It was enough to make them heated up.
Weed might die in a fight but it was completely different in their eyes. Watching the struggle heated up their fighting spirit.
Of course, Weed said something similar but it from completely different from Geomchi’s mouth.
-Ah really, those fellows are really annoying. They are like gum stuck to my clothes. This isn’t a problem that can be prevented…I will tear them apart when that time comes.
TO BE CONTINUED