3) Eyes of a Landlord
Lee Hyun saw the battle on Rupoi Plains on the television.
“They were properly crushed.”
After half of them fell victim to the Haven Empire, the northern users retreated. He felt sorry seeing them retreating.
The novice users that survived until the end scattered only to lose their lives behind chased down by the cavalry. No matter how many troops there were, the quality and war skills of the Haven Empire overwhelmed them.
And fear and helplessness spread among the users after the defeat.
“What should we do?”
“Ah, this thing probably….”
“Our strength is lacking. We can only accept the outside rule.”
The Haven Empire’s army had experienced multiple wars so each corps could fight calmly. The flow of troops, attack and defense when appropriate, deployment of troops and knowing the terrain all played a large role in allowing them to unify the Central Continent.
The Hermes Guild used tactics that had grown through all the wars. A collection of the so-called elites!
In contrast, the northern users had no tactics.
This was the crucial weakness of the northern users. There was no military commander so they were easily swept by a herd mentality. There were no tactics or properly deployment of troops when facing the enemy.
Once those points were perfectly identified, the troops with outstanding combat power could take advantage of it.
Lee Hyun realized the important of leaders.h.i.+p in big battles. Even with the same subordinates, the outcome of every fight could be different depending on the battle tactics and proper conduct.
The Haven Empire wouldn’t have conquered the Central Continent if they just smashed in recklessly.
“Well, it makes sense.”
Lee Hyun nodded.
He didn’t have any hope from the beginning. He had expected something like this. People with a smart mind would somehow succeed. Ordinary people would end up partic.i.p.ating in large events.
Things like loan fraud scams, bad accounting, stock price manipulation and financial companies suffering bankruptcy in the billions of won was common. People were easy pickings for scams.
Those middle cla.s.s people hadn’t experienced true adventure. The world was only a really good place to live if someone had money.
Force was an essential element in Royal Road if you wanted to trample on others.
The Hermes Guild named this war ‘Operation Treading on Ants.’ They would step on the northern users like they were ants. Of course, Weed would be the greatest ant.
Lee Hyun sighed.
“I’m glad I didn’t have any expectations.”
If he was expecting to win the lottery or rooted for the northern users then h would’ve felt even deeper disappointment!
It was the definition of bad guys eating well!
He didn’t expect that they would manage to hold off the army.
“Today, some rice has fallen.”
Even so, he wasn’t in a good mood. His important rice bowl was on the brink of collapse due to the Haven Empire’s invasion. He knew the worst thing might happen so his mood fell to the bottom.
Weed’s character didn’t exist in the current time zone so he couldn’t fight against the Haven Empire.
Lee Hyun’s eyes shone coldly.
“Let them try it. I have to lose one… No. I should’ve tried to act more moderately.”
The Arpen Kingdom trying to stand up to the Haven Empire seemed insane. To be honest, he never seriously though about any methods.
It was easy to live life in moderation while cringing away from the strong. But he wouldn’t be able to fight if he used that method.
Lee Hyun came alive when challenging impossible quests or breaking through the enemies.
The northern users were currently helping him. Millions of people going against the Haven Empire meant that his party consisted of millions! Once he returned to his original time zone, he would like to work with the northern users. He could check the emotional damage.
He needed to quickly finish the final secret sculpting quest first. Lee Hyun’s rice bowl was very large.
“I will keep my rice bowl, soup bowl and side dishes. Wait a bit. I will show you. You’ve pulled the beard of a sleeping mad dog.”
Weed logged into Royal Road and appeared at a puddle near the barrier.
“Umm Great Emperor-nim, that urgent look….”
Warrior-2 studied his s.h.i.+ning eyes. He had bandages around him and seemed well rested.
Weed welcomed him and said.
“A useless person who only eats rice is useless.”
A very familiar nagging.
His sculptural lifeforms were accustomed to it. The blunt remarks and jealousy! If Weed was a mother in law then the divorce rate would be several times higher in Korea.
“Anyway, you’ve recovered so don’t fight recklessly and search for your colleagues.”
“Yes! Great Emperor-nim isn’t coming with me?”
“It is better to move separately. Head to the Embinyu Church after meeting your other colleagues. Meet me in there.”
“I’ll be sure to see you again.”
So Warrior-2 left the place.
His quest needed to proceed but finding his subordinates was also important. Weed gave instructions to his subordinate to sneak around and find the others.
Of course, he didn’t have great expectations.
“I’m more comfortable moving alone.”
Weed’s task was infiltration!
Sculpture Transformation meant he could somehow mix in with the monsters. Figuring a way to pa.s.s through the middle of the rotten river caused him a slight headache. He needed to figure out the narrowest portion of the river and cross there.
But he couldn’t avoid the Embinyu Church’s watchtowers as he got closer. There would be a ma.s.sive fight if the knights discovered Weed.
-Embinyu has delivered a diving message stating that an enemy has appeared.
It was like rubbing honey on his body while entering a tiger’s den! More enemies would continue to come out while fighting the knights. No matter how strong he was or if he transformed into a suitable creature, Weed wouldn’t be able to fight alone without suffering.
If he tried to run away then the group of monsters around the rotten river would also be a hurdle. Even if his health managed to survive like c.o.c.kroach, his mana would eventually run out.
“I need to observe. Find a gap and take advantage of it. A shortcut or shallow work is always necessary in life.”
Weed no longer wandered around the barriers as he walked around the rotten river. He was a virulent pony so no monster touched him.
“The smell is unbearable. It doesn’t seem like the usual poison.”
The monsters that drank from the river naturally emitted a poison odour. Typically it would be really challenging to hunt them.
“I don’t think it will be difficult to cross the river. Monsters pa.s.s through the river really quickly. Sculpture Transformation means my body is resistant to the poison fog.”
After thinking about it, Weed shook his head. Any immediate solutions were useless unless he figure out a path.
After crossing the rotten river, he would be subjected to the scrutiny of the Embinyu Church. He needed a plan that didn’t require fighting alone.
“Uhh, there must be a more reliable way.”
Weed continued walking towards the rotten river. The monsters that smelt him ran away so his path was smooth. It was like a thoroughbred steed proudly walking down the street.
He seemed like he would fall down at any minute despite his four legged stride. It was natural to be worried when seeing so many monsters.
Sya sya sya sya syak.
He moved sideways like a crab living in the mudflats! Weed acted like this while secretly looking for any gaps in the monsters.
And he found a stone bridge connecting the rotten river banks.
| -A special hazard has been discovered.
A bridge built by impoverished slaves in the Barren Howling Ruins.
The poison gas means not everyone can use the bridge to cross the river.
7,600 members of the Nord species was sacrificed to accomplish this task.
The bridge is built on top of their blood and bodies.
|-Fame has increased by 485.|
|-Health has permanently increased by 640.|
He was pleased since this health and stat increase would remain after returning to his original world.
“I can just pa.s.s using strength.”
He had no need to use the bridge anyway! But the opposite side of the bridge was heavily guarded by 100 Embinyu knights. Any rotten creatures that wandered over the bridge were killed by the spears of the Embinyu knights. This was just a bridge so the knights guarding it didn’t give off a strong impression.
Then he had a sudden idea!
‘I wonder if I should turn into one of them?’
The first ones that popped into his head were the Embinyu fanatics, priests, knights or monsters. He needed a member they wouldn’t fight.
‘If it is their priest… No. It won’t work.’
Sculptural Transformation didn’t give him the ability to use holy magic. Weed’s faith was quite high but he couldn’t use the holy magic that priests were permitted.
Each religion had a religion or baptism that would enable the priest to use the holy magic of their G.o.d. If he disguised as an Embinyu priest that couldn’t use holy magic then there was a high possibility he would be killed.
He couldn’t imitate a high priest, inquisitor or priest. But his options weren’t just the Embinyu followers.
‘No. It’s not just one or two of them.’
Virgins would be offered as sacrifices while animals disappeared to become cooking ingredients. If there was a problem than all lives would die! Once gripped by the Embinyu Church, most of the creatures would die.
But there were still creatures that wouldn’t die straight away.
‘The builders of the Sky Tower!’
It was built by slaves.
While scouting the Embinyu Church, he had noticed members periodically dragging slaves over the bridge.
‘That is my conclusion.’
The nord species with small, protruding eyes.
They didn’t have a st.u.r.dy physique like orcs or the bravery and combat power of barbarians. They didn’t like gold coins or jewellery. Instead, they were a peaceful species that ate grilled fish and berries picked from nearby trees.
They were similar to an endangered species in this warring period.
A plain and slightly smaller nord was walking along the rotten river.
He seemed to have come looking for his mother as he glanced around with an anxious expression while stumbling. There was a heavy limp and short arms like he was a young child.
He seemed tired from a long walk but if someone looked closely, they would be able to see the quickly moving eyes.
A typical crafty type! A face that wold typically engage in embezzlement and fraud if they were born in a feudal period.
The nord hesitated a little bit before crossing the bridge.
“You are unfortunate. You dared to enter without permission from Embinyu so you must die.”
The nord was surrounded by the Embinyu Church members. They raised their weapons with contemptuous looks.
The nord stared with such pathetic eyes that he could star in a morning drama.
“Excuse me, is my mother here? I’d like to see my mother.”
“Hrmm, I am hungry.”
“The taste of a nord. The meat can be given to crows and the blood used to nourish the vampires.”
A tendon rose on the nord’s forehead.
‘These ignorant b.a.s.t.a.r.ds.’
The ident.i.ty was Weed who had used Sculpture Transformation. His behaviour would depend on the actions of the Embinyu knights.
“I really don’t taste good. And my mother was taken over there by some knights.”
The bored Embinyu Church members accepted his word.
“Is that so? When?”
Weed thought quickly. It couldn’t be too long ago but it shouldn’t be too short.
“Six months ago.”
“Kilkil, then the bones will still remain.”
“I don’t know. She might’ve been swallowed whole and digested….”
The knights teased the innocent child about his mother being eaten.
“This is a critical time so we need to thoroughly protect the boundaries. Let’s just kill him and go back to guarding he boundary.”
“Then should we eat him? I am hungry.”
“The inquisitors said they need more slaves for the construction of the tower.”
“Oh, he won’t be able to endure the harsh labour and will die. But isn’t he too young and weak?”
Weed could hit the ground with his fist and cause a crack dozens of metres long but he was pretending to be a weak nord. In fact, the appearance of a human actually caused a greater loss in combat power.
“It doesn’t really matter since the tower will be completed in a few days.”
“Once that time comes, the great power of Embinyu will descend to earth and we will become much stronger.”
“Yes! On that day, we will no longer need slaves and the festival of blood will occur.”
“The humans look really delicious.”
Among the knights of the Embinyu Church, there were many with the vicious habit of cannibalism.
The knights made a decision and said to Weed.
Weed asked with feigned naivety!
“Do you want to be taken to your mother?”
“You know where my mother is?”
“I know. Ajuss.h.i.+ will take you to your mother. But there are conditions.”
“What is it?”
“You need to work hard if you want to see your mother. Can you do that?”
Weed bravely nodded. Of course, the Embinyu knights had no intention of following through with their words! No one could scam Weed.
“Then you can meet her in the end.”
“I really want to thank you.”
Weed pretended to be sucked in by the knights.
“I will go for a while.”
“You can’t leave if you change your mind in the middle.”
“Huhu, of course.”
Instead of running, Weed rose a horse with one of the Embinyu knights.
|-You have entered Embinyu’s Holy Land.
All those who follow Embinyu will have their resilience strengthened.
Those who deny Embinyu will have their vitality, health and mana regeneration decreased by 49%.
In addition, the divine power of other G.o.ds will be weakened by 89% in this s.p.a.ce.
This effect will be maintained as long as the sanctuary of faith isn’t destroyed.
“Aigoo, it is like a mountain.”
The Embinyu knights looked back at him.
“What do you mean?”
“It is nothing.”
“Let’s go. Stay quiet or I will tear you apart and eat you.”
“Yes, I understand. I don’t have any taste.”
The horses accepted the evil magic so they didn’t get tired despite running fast. But unlike Bactrian Camel, there was more shaking while running quickly. It was like the difference between a city bus and a taxi.
‘Bactrian Camel is good.’
He already miss Bactrian Camel. He had become used to his sculptural lifeforms so he suffered after parting from them.
He wouldn’t be able to meet those sculptural lifeforms in the future. After finis.h.i.+ng the quest, he would return to his original world and likely never see the sculptural lifeforms again.
He had become familiar with them through quests and battles but now only memories would remain.
He felt sorry for the wyverns but he had placed more love into the creation of these lifeforms.
‘Maybe this is because I created the wyverns really roughly. It is like the taste of bad food.’
Vague memories would deepen after having to say goodbye.
“This is where you will work.”
The Embinyu knights had taken Weed to the construction site of the Sky Tower.
Nords, humans, orcs, dwarves, elves and all types of species had been caught and were doing forced labour. Many people were digging stones from a nearby quarry and carrying them up the stairs.
There were no safety measures so quite a few people fell from the tower. Weed smiled like he was accepting candy from a child abductor.
“It seems like a wonderful place. I originally liked high places.”
“That is great. It is a great honour to be able to die here.”
“Can I really meet my mother if I work here?”
“Of course. But if you run then we will kill your mother.”
“Uh huh! I will never run.”
“If you work around the clock then you can quickly meet your mother. In the distant… Kukuku….”
The knights left and then the tower guards shouted at him.
“Hey there, little boy! Don’t just stand there, work!”
Weed shouted and vigorously carried the rocks.
He transformed into a nord and the basic stats were high so he could easily carry the weight of the rocks.
Of course, he was going to spend a day or two here so he needed to pretend to have a tough time.
“Then let’s get started.”
He had safely arrived at the tower and a construction site was familiar to him.
Weed carried the rock up the stairs.
’20 thousand 6,237, 20 thousand 6,238, 20 tohousand 6,239….”
Weed counted the number of columns while he climbed the Sky Tower. The staircase that rose into the sky was enough to make someone dizzy.
The workers rose and descended so the height of the stairway was quite low. It wasn’t good for the short legs of an orc or nord as one stair had a height of 30 centimetres.
A high rise apartment had 1,000 stairs so a tower with more than 10,000 stairs would be much higher than a mountain. Once it was 20,000 stairs, it had continued through the clouds.
From then on, the ground looked like a small toy from the tower. His eyes could see the entire Embinyu camp, rotten river and Barren Howling Ruins.
‘There are at least 1 million monsters and fanatics.’
Although that wasn’t a specific head count, the earth and sky was overflowing with medium and large monsters. He needed to break down the walls of the stronghold of fanatics and knights!
‘They failed to destroy the continent with these numbers. Those incompetent b.a.s.t.a.r.ds.’
Rather than being frightened, Weed thought it was pathetic. The bad guys had strong forces but the knights were careless when fighting.
‘Indeed, society really compensates for stinginess. Is this a reward for the effort of the villains?’
There was also a landing where slaves could rest briefly.
“What should we do?”
“I don’t know. All life will die.”
“Did you see the nord a few days ago? He was thrown alive into a boiling pot.”
“Wasn’t the flesh melted away and the bones given to the birds?”
The slaves didn’t have useful information and only told cruel and gloomy stories.
“Heuller-nim? We can’t recklessly talk about him. If we gossip anywhere then we will be devoured.”
“There is an omnipotent person. Do you see that elderly elf over there? He has been here for 100 years. According to what he said, Heuller-nim looks younger than ever.”
“The weather will change and it will become dark. A might magic is also contained in this tower. Isn’t that enough to call him a G.o.d?”
There were guards every 4 or 5 floors in order to whip the slaves who were sitting around.
“Go up faster. If you delay then I will throw you to the prey.”
“Please, please spare me!”
The slaves made groaning noises while carrying up sand and stones. The tower was filled with a gloomy atmosphere of fear and death.
Any impressionable person might shed tears of empathy when seeing the situation!
‘Hah, I’m bored and sleepy. The stairs are really long.’
Weed quietly climbed to the top of the tower. He felt breathless as he reached approximately 40,000 steps.
“It is a really tremendous height. I didn’t realize the tower was this high.’
He had gone beyond the clouds for a while and there were no strong winds. He didn’t usually come up to this height even when riding the wyverns. Looking down at the ground from the tower was enough to make someone afraid of heights and it felt like he was floating in the sky.
The area of the upper floors of the tower decreased until it was only the width of a small room.
Perhaps this was the tallest building on the entire Versailles Continent.
From now on, only stairs with no railing endlessly rose into the sky. The stairs heading towards the end of the sky!
Weed could see the top part of the tower. Like the eyes of a devil, looking down on the dismal earth. The top of the tower was built to resemble dark, red eyes.
There was 600 metres remaining until he reached that place.
‘It resembles my landlord’s eyes when he looked down at me from the 3rd floor.’
The landlord didn’t just watch a person’s face.
He calculated whether the person could pay this month’s rent, the security deposit, whether he should raise the rent, damage or vandalism, stealing, eating and various other things!
The confidence of a predator at the top of the hierarchy looking down on a herbivore.
Weed felt nervous whenever that door opened to collect the monthly rent. Of course, he would never dare use the was.h.i.+ng machine on a sunny day and would wait until it was overcast to use the clothesline in the yard.
The eyes of the tower reminded him of the landlord’s gaze that dug into his bone.
“Come down when you are finished!”
The guards urged him so Weed left the stone behind and descended the stairs.
This was sufficient for a brief reconnaissance.