7) Sky Porridge Unit
Weed had been hunting for the last two hours.
‘This is somehow different from what I imagined. There is little battle sense?’
‘There really are a lot of monsters. Finding a place like this, he really has encyclopedic knowledge of hunting grounds.’
After 5 hours of hunting.
‘Euah, that was really dangerous. I bravely jumped at the enemies and only survived thanks to the priest. Isn’t this too much?’
‘It is dangerous due to the nature of the monster…an a.s.sa.s.sin really can live anywhere.’
9 hours since hunting started.
‘I almost died two times in a row. The hunting grounds aren’t on a train route so how is he leading us to successive ones? I want to rest. Fatigue has risen dramatically. My greatsword is too heavy. Isn’t it long past time for a break?’
‘This is the first time that I dedicated such a long time to hunting. My head is dizzy. a.s.sa.s.sin? I’m sick of it. I’d rather wave a dagger around roughly in a fight.’
13 hours after hunting started.
‘The composition of this hunting party. Each person will carry out their mission like a machine. Machine. Until now, I lived really comfortably and happily.’
‘What is hunting? An a.s.sa.s.sin is a profession that is really helpful to society and is worthy of respect. Who am I? Where am I?’
They moved from dungeon to dungeon while fighting monsters. Fighting with monsters felt like a simple labour job.
Python and the nameless man both said.
“Let’s have a short break.”
“We should relax and talk to deepen our bonds.”
Weed said casually every time.
“We will find a comfortable place after cleaning up the dungeon.”
“Well, let’s raise the speed a little bit.”
“…But that side looked good.”
They hunted for another 2 hours. They were exhausted after killing the monsters.
Until now, vitality and fatigue had only fallen slightly due to Alveron’s divine magic. Once 20% of their vitality was filled up, they would be dragged along on another hunt. The refres.h.i.+ng divine magic started to feel hateful for the first time.
Python and the nameless man sat on the ground with their faces soaking with sweat.
“Now I really have no choice but to rest. My health is almost gone.”
“You have suffered. And barely survived. If you don’t do this then you won’t be able to study at a prestigious university or win a n.o.bel prize.”
“It’s not a joke. We have overcome the limitations of a human.”
Weed didn’t sit down on the ground. He still had plenty of vitality remaining due to Sculptural Destruction.
Humans would feel mentally tired after a long battle. But that didn’t apply to Weed. Carving sculptures would recover his health and mana quicker.
“This is moist and dark. The next dungeon is very pleasant. You can rest there.”
Python and the nameless man didn’t want to stand up. They were busy thinking of excuses in their heads.
“Don’t you want to have a meal and sleep in a comfortable place? The hard earned rest will be like honey after arduous hunting.”
The two men forcibly moved their bodies at the thought of a long rest. And they arrived at an underground dungeon.
In some places, the desert sunlight entered and caused a bright place with a cool energy flowing. Like going to the bank during a hot summer.
Python and the nameless man sat on some flat rocks.
“Ah, I forgot to tell you an important fact…… I will say it now.”
“What is it?”
“This dungeon has monsters that live together. There are abundant water sources and prey in any form.”
Python didn’t want to talk. They would handle them after resting and sleeping properly! They were sick of Weed’s useless talk about monsters.
“But they have an exclusive nature.”
“They really hate intruders. And because of their intelligence……”
Kaang! Kaang! Kaang!
Loud sounds were coming from the dungeon.
“The whole tribe will gather to go and repel the invaders.”
Python and the man could see many blue monsters filling the dungeon. The break ended and the battle began!
After this dungeon, they continued hunting, hunting and hunting monsters.
‘I was tricked.’
‘He is the devil.’
There was no possibility of lying down until all the monsters were finished. After a battle that lasted several hours, they didn’t hesitate to flop down on the ground.
“I can’t do it anymore!”
“I need a break. We are humans!”
The two men declared a strike. Even though it was Weed, they were determined not to hunt any longer.
“It is regretful. The next hunting ground isn’t that busy.”
“Whether it is true or not. I will take a break and then leave.”
Python was tired of hunting. No matter how interesting it was, he felt tired. Weed hunted with extreme efficiency and mechanical repet.i.tion.
“Then I will see you later in Morata.”
“Farewell. Later in Mora…huh?”
Python was speaking when he noticed something strange. This place was somewhere in the southern desert. And Morata was in the centre of the north.
The two men gazed at Weed who seemed to be laughing. It looked perfectly like a devil’s laugh.
“Do you know the path back to Morata?”
“I don’t know. Regrettably, I don’t even know where this place is.”
“The nearest town should be approximately a 10 days walk through the desert in that direction. There won’t be any water in the middle so you will have to walk diligently while conserving your water.”
“Will I die of thirst if I don’t get there within 10 days?”
“The sun is very strong. It is easy to feel like your ankles are burning when walking in the hot desert sand. The monsters wandering around…will continue to pounce.”
“And it was several hundred years ago so I can’t guarantee the city is still there. Anyway, if you are lucky enough to find a city and cross the desert then you will eventually get to Morata. So I will say goodbye here. I’ll see you later in Morata.”
The devil’s threat!
They couldn’t leave and had to continue partic.i.p.ating in the hunt. Just like a mother dealing with unruly children, Weed’s threat was simple.
“Cruel and cowardly……”
Python wondered if this whole idea of bringing them to the southern desert was a way to trap them. The devious plan to bring them to a remote desert area caused goose-b.u.mps to form on his body.
“Isn’t it easier to keep on hunting? Hunting will raise your skill and experience. You can also acquire loot.”
They didn’t feel much empathy but they didn’t want to walk through the hot desert. So those that were mentally and physically tired toured the hunting grounds. Their eyes kept closing and mouth dripped saliva but they hung in there.
Python had thought that he wasn’t the type to receive commands from others.
‘He’s not a human. He keeps moving.’
‘My body is gradually adapting to it.’
They finally started to understand why people raved about Weed’s leaders.h.i.+p. Whether it was colleagues or subordinates, he squeezed everything from them as they adapted and grew. They continued the extremely sad hunting as Weed recklessly moved forward.
‘I know that Alveron, the priest candidate, followed Weed because of his contribution and past ties but why is Pale? Why is he so calm?’
‘Pale is an archer in the same position as us. Why didn’t he protest once while hunting?’
Python and the nameless man wanted Pale to join them in a ma.s.s protest. Pale was an archer with spectacular skills.
From the beginning Pale acted disinterested so they wanted to form a group with him to resist Weed. However, they both shook their heads the moment they saw Pale’s face.
‘Wrong. He already had a taste of it.’
‘Perhaps that person’s dry eyes….’
“Gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge, gra.s.s porridge!”
“All northern users, cheers!”
“Kyaa! We gave those Haven Empire guys a taste of what it has been like.”
An overwhelming victory at Pes.h.i.+l River!
Thanks to their internal network, the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult members cheered from every corner of the north.
“This might be premature but can we really beat back the Haven Empire’s invasion?”
“If the entire north unites then of course we can stop them.”
The regular users felt grat.i.tude to the Arpen Kingdom and partic.i.p.ated in the war.
After the consecutive victories, the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult determined that the Haven Empire was truly strong.
In the case of the users who moved from the Central Continent, they were directly or indirectly aware of the power of the Haven Empire. Despite the whole north being shaken by the war, half of the users were still living as normal.
But now, novices that freshly joined Royal Road, those with non-combat professions and Gra.s.s Porridge Cult members could partic.i.p.ate in the war.
“Piyak! I guess I should move properly.”
“Split up at regular intervals, kukuku!”
Sky Island Lavias.
The avians also joined the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult. Although many general users visited Lavias, the users who were avians had serious worries.
-Even if the avians join the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult, what unit will we join?
-The structure of the avians’ beaks makes eating difficult so is there a solution? The unit the avians would want to join…crazy.
-Do the avians need to sign up for a branch when joining the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult? Isn’t it the same as killing earthworms?
The avians lived above the continent. They lived freely on the continent and weren’t constrained by the sea.
In the early days, many people flying over the sea would lose their power and fall into the sea. There was such a big attraction in flying that they didn’t like landing on the ground.
They happily flew around as the morning sun came up and also watched the night sky. If they found an island or reef then there was also the freedom of eating fish.
However, those without any support could experience death on the seas. While the youths died, the seniors found a stable flight path or rested on the bows of s.h.i.+ps. The sailors would throw fish to them while sailing.
The avian users happily living in the north were willing to join the war with the Haven Empire. The culture and spirit of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult in the Arpen Kingdom was like a fairy tale to them.
Thousands of avians sat on branches around Lavias’ main square. And there were those in the air. Due to the nature of the avians, they could use their wings to remain in the air for a while.
“We are the proud avians of Lavias, tweet tweet!”
“We fight for justice and take care of the weak.”
“We will attack the enemy with our hard claws and sharp beaks, our marvelous wings will bring us to victory.”
“Now, we have established a new combat group. Our name will be the Sky Porridge unit!”
“Gra.s.s porridge! Gra.s.s porridge!”
The creation of the Sky Porridge unit! They were a new combat unit that could dominate the ground and the sky.
The avians could move quickly over long distances and won’t be affected by the features of a fortress. Their wings made structures obsolete and they could annoy the archers and magicians in the rear.
But the avians also knew their inherent limitations. The avians that were capable of sky combat were extremely beneficial in a war. They flew through the air so quickly that random attacks were difficult to hit.
However, arrows. .h.i.tting the avians meant their deaths. They had a crucial weakness in fights. Since the species couldn’t wear armour, their defense was really weak.
The avians’ beaks couldn’t penetrate human s.h.i.+elds so armoured soldiers were significant against them. Even though they could peck the opponent several times, simply half a second would compromise them.
Of course, it was easy for avians to use bows during a war.
But in order to get in range to fire arrows at the enemy, they would be exposing themselves to the magicians’ ranged attacks.
Ranged attacks like firebolt, thunderbolt and ice bolt were very effective long distance attacks against the avians.
Flying in the sky was a very delicate operation so receiving an injury on their wing would cause them to crash to the ground.
-I’m only level 40…the snakes are too scary that I haven’t eaten.
-I haven’t even gone outside the nest yet. My connection rate is low so I’m barely out of the egg.
-I picked the avian species to overcome my fear of heights. I’m afraid I will go crazy flying in the sky.
Those who just joined the avians were worried about doing well in the war. However, these weaknesses were soon overcome as the human users joined.
“You don’t need to fight. You can simply drop us in the enemy camp!”
“We will charge towards the enemy. It will be much easier for you to fight in a crowded place.”
“Well, I don’t care if I live. It is sufficient if I die. I am part of the Toadstool Porridge Cult.”
The northern users joined hands with the avians. gjdkafasdjodaskndjk
Despite being constrained by distance and enemy magicians, the avians were very strong and could deal significant damage. In addition, they could go beyond the enemy defenses.
The armed with bravery, Sky Porridge unit was created.
The incident that took place at Pes.h.i.+l River had a considerable psychological impact on the Hermes Guild.
The news was broken during the Haven Empire’s banquet celebrating their victory against the Abyss Knight.
The incident caused damage to the absolute dignity of the Haven Empire.
“It is difficult. A bad incident has happened at this time.”
Lafaye said softly towards the leaders of the guild. Lafaye hadn’t made a single mistake so far while leading the Hermes Guild.
Of course, it was impossible to predict the results of all humans in the future. Even if there was some damage, the guild would ultimate emerge successfully with many benefits.
Lafaye’s influence over the guild was absolute. Bardray was at the centre of the guild’s military power but Lafaye was the one who lead them.
It was a concern because many people were divided between Bardray and Lafaye. If there was ever friction between the two leaders, then the Hermes Guild would fragment.
But Bardray and Lafaye knew too well.
Bardray was like a blazing sun. Without darkness, the sun wouldn’t s.h.i.+ne for a long time. Lafaye led their group to obtain more power. They needed each other so a great split would never happen.
Of course, there was always an unforeseen possibility that two people could become hostile to each other.
But it was a fact that Royal Road was too large for one person to eat. There could only be one Emperor of Royal Road.
However, the influx of users would raise their value into the sky. A premature split would weaken the power of the Hermes Guild’s Haven Empire, rather than bring about a more stable reign.
Lafaye and Bardray formed a consensus with each other and respected each other.
‘He’s not stupid. There are benefits in pus.h.i.+ng him to the top. Once he is positioned as an Emperor…’
‘He’s smarter than me. The Hermes Guild wouldn’t have risen so quickly without Lafaye. The guild will weaken if Lafaye leaves. He knows the weaknesses of the guild so if he joins someone else…dangerous.’
In this world, it wasn’t possible to blindly believe in people. The briefest temptation might make them feel like the other side was better. The two people knew each other’s minds so they wouldn’t betray each other.
And the current Hermes Guild had become huge. The amount of investment couldn’t even be imagined!
The Hermes Guild would obtain an absurd amount of money in the future from Royal Road and investment offers.
“But is that really their proposal?”
“I never thought about it. So much money…it is rather unbelievable.”
“I thought there would be a similar offer once the Hermes Guild grew. I expected up to this amount.”
“Will you accept?”
“I have no complaints about the amount of money. But it isn’t necessary to grab their outstretched hands. It is better to talk to make it more favourable for us.”
“It is good to accept the proposal before it breaks.”
“I have considered that point.”
Bardray, Lafaye and the core leaders couldn’t refuse the offer.
The lure of money. They knew the value of 1 billion, 2 billion won but couldn’t imagine it. It was on a completely different level. Their situation could be changed with money so they were nervous regarding the negotiations.
The amount and terms of agreement were all areas that Lafaye, Bardray and the core leaders paid attention to.
“But the architects are a big deal.”
“We won’t be defeated in this war. Well, it wasn’t defeat but…”
The general users of the Hermes Guild were only paying attention to the unexpected incident. There was a discussion about sending additional troops to the north.
However, the leaders convened a meeting to determine what the policies.
An unexpected incident had taken place. Vast amounts of personnel and supplies had been poured towards the north.
They wanted a perfect victory but Lafaye and the leaders were too proud to send further troops. If they sent more troops to the north then the Hermes Guild users might feel more uneasy.
In addition, it would only take a few more days for the army to cross the Pes.h.i.+l River.
“It is normal to grasp the movements of the enemies so the other side obtained this type of information.
“Information is the pride of the Hermes Guild but our personnel are scattered through the north. Therefore, it is possible for some details to slip through our net.”
“I am interested in information about the architects.”
“The architects…they are useless in a war. If they dare invade the Haven Empire then they would be unsuccessful against our fortresses.”
The leaders reviewed their plan for the northern war and concluded that it was a sure victory. Weed was a difficult to predict variable but the gap between their power was too big.
Adventuring and war was certainly different. It wouldn’t be that easy to defeat their powerful army. The leaders had also prepared a method to weaken the real power of the north.
Lafaye came to a conclusion about the war in the north.
“The war with Weed will take place in the next few days. And we can’t be defeated. There will be a complete victory in the war as the Arpen Kingdom is destroyed. Then the Northern Continent will come under our reign.”
“So far, we’ve killed 890 people in the Bamboo Shoots Porridge unit.”
“Aren’t the members of the Bamboo Shoots useless?”
“Their levels are low but they have a special influence, especially those with non-combat professions like miners and traders.”
“Then it will come in handy. What about the situation with the Toadstool unit?”
“The request to kill the individuals over level 350 has been completed. The preliminary success rate is high as 2,000 people were killed.”
“The Jujube and Acorn Porridge units are still a work in progress as they are maintaining their security towards those introduced.”
The Haven Empire had succeeded in spreading their information network through the north.
They continued to gather information and work from the shadows. Information could be used to enhance the reputation of the user, to progress in quests and to allow the Hermes Guild to know about other people. In many ways, it was a profession as the guilds promised them goods and money.
The Haven Empire had obtained detailed information about key figures in the north in order to a.s.sist in the conquest.
“But why is something like this necessary to win the war in the north?”
“The leaders seem to be considering the future reign after it is conquered. There might be severe resistance if the Haven Empire’s subordinates are directly placed to rule.”
“But that still won’t stop a revolt.”
“They will be immediately repressed by the army. First of all, it is important to gain as much information as possible about the key leaders at the Earth Palace.”
“If Weed is at the Earth Palace…”
“We already have a.s.sa.s.sination squads from the Hermes Guild placed at the Earth Palace. Once the war starts, their goal will be Weed.”
The Hermes Guild were planning to take Weed’s life once the battle at the Earth Palace started. Whether the war was won or lost, it was best to make sure that Weed didn’t escape.
Everyone was well aware of Weed’s superior survival skills. Weed had succeeded in his final secret sculpting quest and was now a nuisance to their plan for the north.
The Hermes Guild had decided to commit some major a.s.sa.s.sins in order to take care of Weed during the war.
The Haven Empire determined that Weed’s death was sealed.
While Weed was hunting in the dungeons, he received the news that the Pes.h.i.+l River operation was a success.
Mapan watched the river from a tavern in Yusellin and notified him with a whisper.
“Listen, I just heard some good news.”
Python who was sitting on the ground asked. He didn’t have Weed’s indomitable vitality and was completely exhausted.
They were so weary that they would have wiped out a few times against the monsters if it wasn’t for Weed.
Sculptural Destruction had pushed his vitality stat so that he wasn’t even tired. In order to save his colleagues, he fought fiercely while being surrounded by monsters.
Python and the nameless man felt sick as they saw Weed’s devilish smile.
“The Haven Empire’s army has suffered a huge blow at Pes.h.i.+l River.”
Python and the nameless man replied carelessly. They didn’t care for the Hermes Guild and the Haven Empire. They experienced some friction with them on the Central Continent.
But they weren’t sure why their guts twisted as they saw Weed’s face.
Weed said with a bright smile.
“They won’t have an easy time crossing the Pes.h.i.+l River. Now we can hunt for a few more days.”
The tired complexion of three people became whiter.
Python, the nameless man and Pale weren’t ready for such a situation. Pale barely managed to speak.
“Then there should be time to rest…”
“I’ve been looking for this opportunity. It is possible to wipe out all the dungeons in the desert.”
Weed then dragged his colleagues to conquer the rest of the dungeons. The dungeons in the desert surpa.s.sed a meat buffet!
Van Hawk and Torido were also summoned in slightly tricky dungeons and Summon Sculpture was used to bring Yellowy and Goldman. Their power was customized according to the attributes of the dungeon.
But from now on, there was a generous amount of time between hunts to rest. Alveron’s divine magic and eating delicious food meant that their vitality could endure it. It was especially important in desert areas to control vitality and fatigue.
“Eat well. We will take a break for 3 hours. Eat your meals and comfortably lie down.”
They all flopped down on the spot at Weed’s words. In no time at all, Pale had joined Python and the nameless man’s miserable company.
“We can finally relax for 3 hours.”
“I’ll say this. I don’t know whether it is a trick or a treat.”
“Maybe he needs some sleep. He is human.”
While the 3 people were chatting, Weed took out his Sculpting Knife. The necessary ingredients were in the sand around him.
He used the desert sand to made a solid sculpture before aging it. The sand sculpture collapsed slightly as it felt the effects of Time Sculpting.
A sculpture of the great king of the desert area.
All tribes living in the desert can wors.h.i.+p in front of the sculpture.
Artistic Value: 54
“Well, this place should be sufficient to create my sculptures. I can continue to consecutively make sculptures. But what do my subordinates look like?”
He tried to remember the faces of Warrior-1, Warrior-2, etc., but he couldn’t. He had already used them to the full extent!
Weed would use Sculptural Destruction on the pieces after the break ended. He didn’t stop carving and tr.i.m.m.i.n.g the sculptures during the break. Those forced workers watching were astonished.
Thus one day, two days pa.s.sed.
Except for meals, toilet access and sleeping for 4 hours in reality, he spent the whole time in Royal Road hunting, sculpting and raising his skill proficiencies.
Even if his hunting partners weren’t connected, there was no reason for him to rest. Time Sculpting could make a crucial difference in the war so it was important to raise it as much as possible.
But the rating of the final secret sculpting technique only climbed up little by little.
“Let’s do what I can. Labour is necessary to make art bloom! Today’s labour could reduce the time it takes to achieve my goal.”
The Haven Empire’s army in the north struggled to cross the Pes.h.i.+l River. If they wanted to bypa.s.s the Pes.h.i.+l River then they would need to go back quite a distance.
“We will send thousands of extra-large rafts across simultaneously. It should take a day for all the troops to cross to the other side of the river.”
The army commanders made the decision. In order to make rafts to cross the river, troops were dispatched to chop them thick trees. They thought it wouldn’t be hard for the powerful knights to chop down the trees to make rafts.
“I thought there was a forest here…”
“No, where are the trees on the mountains?”
The knights that came out to cut the trees were confused. The numerous forests they marched through were all gone. There were only ghostly traces of where the trees were planted.
“It is strange…let’s take a look around.”
The knights conducted a search. And after a long time, they could finally find the trees. The trees were walking away on their roots that looked like legs.
It was the work of the elves! The elf users in the north moved the trees away.
“This! Kill the elves and report it to the main army!”
The northern conquest army spent more time than expected cutting down the trees. In the end, they had to transport the wood and it took them five days to a.s.semble the raft.
However, they couldn’t cross the river immediately.
The rain and wind caused the river to swell and they had to wait half a day.
“This is really….”
“We have bad luck.”
The Hermes Guild users watched the sky with resentment. They hadn’t thought of packing waterproof tents so the soldiers were exposed to the elements.
“The morale of the soldiers will fall.”
“I am more concerned about any sicknesses.”
The feeling of leading an army of soldiers was amazing for a commander. Commanding thousands of soldiers in an attempt to conquer a kingdom. Not to mention the pride and honour of conquering the north.
After the Alkazar Bridge collapsed and minor problems tied up the army, the patience of the commanders decreased.
The rain stopped and the sky became completely clear of any clouds.
The rafts of the Haven Empire crossed the Pes.h.i.+l River. The northern users desperately tried to stop them but the elite archers and magicians meant they could cross safely.
After 2~3 battles, the landing operation was stabilized and succeeded.
Due to the adverse terrain, they suffered a loss of 80,000 troops but the army and supplies all crossed the river.