Chapter 4) Empire’s Fall
The shocking death of knight Myul!
The military commander of the Gradian and Nest Kingdoms and someone with a high position in the Hermes Guild had been killed, causing a huge shock.
The Hermes Guild and even general users were surprised.
At the same time, the balance of power tilted and the Black Sword Mercenaries managed to conquer Node Krape.
Myul didn’t appear during a big moment so the soldiers and griffon riders were badly shaken. The death of the commander completely broke the army’s morale
The griffon riders returning were met at the walls and gates by elites of the Black Sword Mercenaries.
The Haven Empire reluctantly gave up Node Krape and retreated to Bergen Castle where they built up some defenses. Bergen Castle also received enormous damage and they retreated back to near the border.
The Black Sword Mercenaries were trying to regain the Gradian Kingdom and the Haven Empire was also busy fighting rebels.
Michel made a decision.
“We gain a large profit but unfortunately we can’t keep it. But we won’t let the Haven Empire eat it.’
Taxes couldn’t be obtained properly and they didn’t have the time and strength to fight the Haven Empire.
They destroyed the military facilities and handed out the wealth in the warehouses to the people.
After that, they split up and fought the empire as rebels.
The Gradian and Nest areas were in extreme confusion as the number of rebels rose.
“Something like this happening to me…”
Weed was thrilled.
He acquired loot from Myul. He was impressed as he looked at the s.h.i.+ny goods.
“This is really…only those with bad principles can survive in this world!”
Myul dropped three items after dying.
Belt, gloves and spear.
Myul unfortunately fell into the trap with the thunder spear.
Weed knew there would be a griffon scouting group so he had Bahamorg stand guard to stop anyone from escaping.
Myul was the commander of a vast area. He was hailed by the people as a great knight. But the reality was that he fell into a trap and died!
It might receive criticism about being cowardly but a war wasn’t a place for a one on one fight. If that criteria was used then there would be no such thing as ambushes or surprise attacks.
There would only be a frontal a.s.sault.
This was a war with the Hermes Guild so calling a strategy cowardly was just being naive. Weed didn’t called the Hermes Guild cowardly when they interfered at Jigolaths or when they sent a.s.sa.s.sins in a war.
Perhaps they wouldn’t even spread the word that Myul was killed by Weed.
Weed personally felt sympathy for Myul. He lost his life after such an intense battle.
Weed decided to look at the simplest item, the belt first.
|-Great Victor’s Belt: Durability 110/110.
A platinum belt encrusted with gems.
A historical treasure worn by heroes of the Kallamore Empire.
Great warriors used it in that era.
Restrictions: Level 495.
300 Honour. 300 Dignity.
Options: All stats will increase by 25.
Health and mana will increase by 21,980.
Dignity, Honour, Perseverance, Charisma and Art +50.
Combat skills +1.
Shamans will have their power increased by 11%.
All magic damage will be reduced by 21~89%.
Poison and curse magic will be quickly released.
He made an admiring sound like he just drank a whole bottle of soju!
“The defense and options are crazy. It will be hard to decide the price.”
The selling price would be raised at the auction. There would be a compet.i.tion over high priced items.
“Isn’t wearing equipment like this when hunting a total scam?”
Compared to Weed, the Hermes Guild could obtain equipment from the entire Central Continent so there were bound to be these types of differences.
Weed obtained equipment from special quests or producing it himself.
“Uhh, for the moment I will use the belt instead of selling it. It is tolerable until I find a better one.”
His combat power would improve with just the belt. An equipment that couldn’t be ignored.
Weed’s eyes then headed to the gloves. His chest started pounding.
“Let’s take a look. Inspect!”
|-Gloves of a Legendary Knight with Great Leaders.h.i.+p: Durability 90/90.
It is speculated that this was created 250~370 years ago.
A piece created by the continent’s best tailor and blacksmith.
Knight Rark presented this gloves as a gift to the Kallamore Empire upon his death and it has been a treasure of the royal family ever since.
Restrictions: Level 490.
Swordsmans.h.i.+p advanced level 7.
Options: Strength during battle +170.
Skill will have an addition 15% effect.
Deadly attacks will deal additional special damage.
The opponent’s swordsmans.h.i.+p will temporarily weaken.
Honour and dignity will increase more quickly.
Knight skills +2.
Due to the high durability, it isn’t easily damaged.
80% of the accomplishments inside the kingdom will be added to the public achievements.
“It really is a luxury item. Luxury.”
Weed couldn’t stop his admiration.
It was the same after seeing the gloves.
Or whenever he dealt with any users of the Hermes Guild.
“It is like a separate luxury goods department store.”
Weed also decided to use the gloves.
“The feeling of getting stronger. I’m looking forward to an awesome appearance.”
Equipment such as gloves, boots or cloaks were made using the blacksmithing and tailoring skills.
He might have the G.o.ddess’ Knight Armour and Red Star but the Hermes Guild users had the overall best balance.
“I should obtain more of these equipment.”
Weed had been living on his skills and stats!
Weed’s eyes turned to the remaining spear. A familiar black spear. The handle of the spear was carved with lightning bolts.
“Hey, this can’t be. It isn’t the same.”
He couldn’t believe it.
“It probably just looks similar to the other spear. This is like a fan at a souvenir shop.”
Still, his body trembled like he was lifting a courier box.
|-Sealed Thunder Spear: Durability 136/150.
Made by the dwarf blacksmith master, Rond Hand.
The dwarf Rond Hand drew a simple spell on it that drew in the destructive power of nature.
After using this spear dozens of times, the Subein Kingdom had an unceasing amount of thunderbolts striking a mountain there.
If the spear is charged with hundreds of millions of thunderbolts then its power will be restored.
Restrictions: Knights only.
Advanced level 6 Spear Mastery.
Options: The spear can cast thunderbolts.
Mana will be consumed every time a thunderbolt strikes down.
It is 97% immune to lightning and the power can be absorbed.
Lightning based magic spells will increase by 228% when it is a surprise attack.
Attack speed has increased by 21%.
There is a chance of shocking the enemy.
Dealing a critical hit on a weaker opponent will have a 33% chance of stunning the enemy.
7 consecutive successful attacks with randomly form Chain Lightning or Lightning s.h.i.+eld.
Skills such as Electric Shock, Lightning Wave, Lightning Storm and Turbulent Thunder are available.
# Currently the thunder spear’s power is sealed.
The spear can only exert 60% of its power.
Using enough power will be sufficient to release the seal.
The Sealed Thunder Spear.
Myul was an executive of the Hermes Guild early on. As a commander, he didn’t have high infamy or a murderer state.
He hadn’t lost his life since the early days of Royal Road so he generously dropped some equipment.
“It is brilliant. It is too bad that I can’t unleash the power of the weapon.”
Weed got his hands on the thunder spear.
His body tingled as electricity flowed into it.
|-Your capabilities aren’t high enough to handle the Sealed Thunder Spear.
Due to the effect of advanced level 2 blacksmithing, you can use it when Spear Master is intermediate level 3.
“Right now I don’t have spear mastery…handicraft and insight means I can raise it quickly.”
An unimaginable item.
The spear was a long range item and easy to handle. The damage was also very strong.
Continuously attacking and defending was easier than a heavy sword.
Some Geomchis training in a sword decided to change to a spear. Even so, they had Weapons Mastery so they didn’t need to learn Spear Mastery.
“I’ve seen 1~2 nice videos. No wonder why Myul was popular with women.”
Although he was crazy about the sword, sometimes it was too light to suit his personality. Weed spent the remaining three days before meeting the dragon, hunting in the north.
He had been level 440 and gained one level while fighting with Myul. He also gained another level in the three days of hunting.
He created a spear with blacksmithing and easily reached beginner level 6. Weed used the spear during his time in the desert and was proficient in the weapon. Swordsmans.h.i.+p was advanced level 5 and the spear was an extension of that, making it acc.u.mulate faster.
|-Understanding of Spear Mastery has increased the insight stat by 2.|
“Just a little bit more growth!”
He deliberately left the Hermes Guild users alone on purpose.
Everyone would be thinking about it. Even the knight Myul has lost his life. Few people in the Hermes Guild would be safe!
The Hermes Guild made preparations for a severe attack. Instead, he left them alone. Once their fears were raised, surprise attacks would be much easier.
“Shall I take care of this?”
The continent’s top a.s.sa.s.sin.
The one who didn’t like to disclose his name had secretly infiltrated the capital of the Haven Empire.
“Weed. He caused a big incident.”
“It is inspiring for an a.s.sa.s.sin.”
“Hunting but…I am the best at a.s.sa.s.sinations.”
Myul was a celebrity on the Central Continent.
The videos of him flying on a griffon and fighting were popular in Royal Road’s Hall of Fame. The best knight when it came to dealing with flying creatures.
He had outstanding individual abilities as well as the griffon troops so people envied him.
“Killing Myul…anyone would be afraid of death.”
The Hermes Guild in the capital of the Haven Empire were already wary of a.s.sa.s.sins. Those who laughed earlier at the hunting grounds were now spending time at taverns. They needed to pay attention while hunting just in case Weed had used Sculptural Transformation. Stories even spread about Weed turning into a centaur and indiscriminately firing arrows.
An obsession with Weed! Almost all the Hermes Guild users were afraid of Weed.
The lords of the cities even said.
“Fire at anyone who steps near here.”
a.s.sa.s.sins charmed women with a nice smile. The dark and chaotic night was their world. They were the masters at destroying the soul and dealing out cruel death.
“Weed killed Myul so my goal is Boemong. I need a target that doesn’t fall behind Myul.”
Boemong was a giant knight.
He belonged to Bardray’s Royal Guards and conducted the Haven Empire’s conquest war. He had conquered the largest territories.
Boemong was one of the names that represented the Hermes Guild! But he surprisingly didn’t have a lot of subordinates. In addition, his fighting ability was close to Bardray so he was good prey for the a.s.sa.s.sins.
Despite the fact that the Hermes Guild was in an emergency state, Aren Caste was still silent. Vigilant Hermes Guild members walking the streets were a common sight.
The a.s.sa.s.sin waited for a chance.
“There can’t be danger in an a.s.sa.s.sination. A real opportunity will come in the midst of a crisis.”
He maintain a certain distance from Boemong.
He entered the city’s finest weapons store. There were only regular users and no Hermes Guild members in the store.
The a.s.sa.s.sin lowered himself from a beam on the ceiling and stuck Boemong with a dagger.
“Attack of Death!”
|-The critical hit was successful.
Health, mana, and stamina of the target has reduced by 45%.
The toxic effects of the dagger has blocked the movements of the target.
“Kwaeeek! This b.a.s.t.a.r.d!”
The a.s.sa.s.sin succeeded in seven consecutive attacks before Boemong withdrew a two handed axe.
a.s.sa.s.sins aimed for short term gaps instead of a prolonged battle.
He had barely pulled out the two handed axe when the a.s.sa.s.sin thrust five daggers in his chest.
Five Deadly Daggers! The poison effect acc.u.mulated every time he thrust a dagger in the enemy. The increased number of poisons mixing together would kill the target.
The a.s.sa.s.sin’s secret technique used up to 12 daggers. He didn’t need to use such a technique on Boemong.
|-The Red Knights Commander Boemong has died.
One of the Haven Empire’s top 5 knights.
Boemong has high infamy from conquering many cities.
Many residents will be delighted at his death.
|-Fame has increased by 7,921.
-The a.s.sa.s.sination was a success and agility has increased by 2.
-The skill proficiency of a.s.sa.s.sination has increased.
-The skill proficiency of swordsmans.h.i.+p has increased.
Boemong’s body turned into grey light and disappeared.
The a.s.sa.s.sin laughed lightly.
The strong really did lose their lives in an instant.
The moment that divided life and death, it really suited his t.i.tle of Shadow of Death.
The Hermes Guild already knew about the a.s.sa.s.sin.
“I need to go.”
It was only a matter of time before the Hermes Guild knew the news.
He hurriedly left the capital of the Haven Empire before he could be isolated.
The a.s.sa.s.sin changed into a simple tourist costume and escaped.
The camouflage meant it was easy to watch the residents. He listened to the residents of the Haven Empire as he left.
“I heard something. Did you know that the knight Boemong died in the capital?”
“Scary. I can’t be at ease in my own home.”
“I heard something in a bar. Someone called Seasoned…”
“Shus.h.!.+ Don’t bring up his name. If you call him then he really will show up.”
“Heook, that’s right!”
While Weed was gone, the Arpen Kingdom went through a strong period.
They had won a difficult war and the Earth Palace was being rebuilt at a frightening speed.
The construction was being carried out by the architects of the north and they mobilized the northern users as labour. Painters and sculptors on the continent also partic.i.p.ated.
However, the construction frequently went over budget!
“Everyone, the construction funds are in short supply. There is no more money to buy materials so we need to postpone the completion schedule.
“Payment! Payment! Payment!”
After just an hour!
“This funding for the construction of the Earth Palace has ended. From now on, we will be raising funds to build Dawn City.”
“Payment! Payment! Payment!”
The construction funds were gathered in one breath!
They built up fame and national achievements as well as their names carved on bricks.
Even the low level users in the north had money. Basic living was very affordable due to low taxes and the merchants’ success.
Farmers cleared abandoned, fertile land, elves sold fruit from the trees in their forests while fishermen caught seafood in the sea. Weapons and armour were produced cheaply and there were plenty of quests.
Equipment obtained from killing the Haven Empire enemies in the war were also piled up like a mountain.
In the Central Continent, goods were rarely sold at stores. Selling goods in the store would require paying 30~65% of the price as taxes.
It was like feeding an already full dog!
The minimum tax rate when selling it to merchant users was 20%. It was difficult to get rid of low level equipment and j.a.ptem. As a result of the taxes, users often bartered among themselves.
In contrast, trade in the north was proceeding briskly due to the cheap taxes.
Users could easily change items into money and also save time. Even a little hunting during the day could earn them plenty of money for a comfortable life.
In particular, there were legendary stories in the Arpen Kingdom about j.a.ptem.
“Although I live in Morata, it isn’t because of pretty women or a beautiful city. The quests are fun and taxes aren’t expensive!”
The novice user Kir!
He gained j.a.ptem worth 4 copper and 13 copper. He felt too embarra.s.sed to sell it in stores or to other users.
“I can’t live like this. It is just making my backpack heavier.”
The novice users had similar concerns once in a while.
At first they picked up anything but later they would discard items worth less than 1 silver.
But the users saw the process that Weed used to dispose of goods from Jigolaths.
The items were literally piled up like a mountain.
“He came from a tremendous adventure. The real deal.”
“Can we go on fantastic adventures like Weed?”
And the items piled up like a mountain were disposed of through Mapan.
Egg sh.e.l.ls, stone sculptures, abandoned bandages, iron ores, claws, withered flowers, dried fruit pieces, old animal bones, etc.
The items were in a poor state since he carried them from Jigolaths through the sea.
Weed even summoned a ghost fleet to deal with the Haven Empire.
Weed disposing of j.a.ptem through Mapan was talked about seriously in the Arpen Kingdom.
“Weed-nim, this old map is in such a bad state that it can’t be traded.”
“Heh, this can be sold to experienced sailors at Port Varna. 37 silver. Additional compensation will be paid for a successful voyage.”
“Ah, indeed. I learned a lesson. I still don’t know the sea well.”
“Mapan-nim should start operating a trade fleet from Port Varna.”
“Hum hum, I’ve recently had some interest in that.”
The sight of Weed collecting j.a.ptem through miscellaneous quests and selling them through bargains!
The users felt like their mouths were full of salt.
‘I don’t want to live like that!’
Due to the frugality of King Weed, the selling of j.a.ptem was like a natural culture in the north.
People thought it was a waste to carelessly discard the j.a.ptem while hunting.
The frugal j.a.ptem trade culture meant the users picked up loot without missing a beat during hunting. Some people collected j.a.ptem like it was their job and gained a big fortune.
As the economy grew due to j.a.ptem, simple quests could be accomplished rapidly. There was a positive influence on the growth rate of users and residents.
The Earth Palace and Dawn City was being built but places like Morata, Mordred, Vargo Fortress and orc castles were also expanding.
The Arpen Kingdom had wide, fertile land and their economic influence was increasing.
The transportation network of horse carriages from the period of the Niflheim Empire were rebuilt.
There was a boom in the development of the entire kingdom and users were constantly coming in.
Due to the development of Morata and the other cities, the ruins of the old Niflheim Empire were inconvenient for the Arpen Kingdom.
Users floated around the Northern Continent doing quests, hunting and trading.
In one month, the kingdom’s growth rate increased by 38% and completely overwhelmed the Central Continent’s economic growth rate in the early days of Royal Road.
The miracle of Morata was blazing through the Arpen Kingdom.
Merchants in the north were making a diligent effort to overcome the lack of transportation and production facilities.
Merchant was a promising career in the Arpen Kingdom. Compared to the heavy taxes on the Central Continent, the users chose the profession of merchant much more often in the north.
The users of the Arpen Kingdom were becoming increasingly wealthy.
Bellot became the lord of one of the territories the Haven Empire conquered in the north.
She first built homes and had 1,000 settlers transplanted.
Haven Empire troops were stationed nearby so monster invasions weren’t possible.
“What should I do to grow the village?”
Bellot and Hwaryeong impulsively gave up on friends.h.i.+p and accepted the Hermes Guild’s offer due to greed.
“I will build a very nice and luxurious city.”
A fantastically beautiful city where festivals took place every day and was the centre of traffic for tourists.
But the reality was farmers asking her to help plow a field.
The Haven Empire had given her 3 million gold in funding. Of course, she could ask for an additional loan if it was needed.
Settlers were also promised to help grow the village.
Rebels were running rampant in the Central Continent and city infrastructures were destroyed so there were many displaced residents.
The Haven Empire’s policy was to collect the residents and bring them to the conquered north.
“There is no need for a military. Agricultural land needs to be cleared, mines developed and houses built…phew.”
Bellot was desperate since she already used 2.5 million gold.
It was really difficult to grow a village from the beginning.
“I will give Lord-nim my life. Leaving home to be buried in a distant place like this…”
“I’d like to see my mother. I want to see her before dying.”
Most residents forcefully moved from the Central Continent weren’t motivated.
Bellot contacted Mapan to ask for help. Mapan learned from Weed and had a brilliant sense for money.
Bellot asked Mapan about how to get ordinary visitors and he gave advice.
“Urban development? Why would you do something like that?”
“Isn’t the Hermes Guild continuing to provide residents?”
“They made a clear promise.”
“There is frequent confusion on the Central Continent so make the settlers into slaves.”
“Enormous exploitation of forced labour…if they are given a certain amount of food then they won’t die of starvation… I have some slaves in my business. There is no need to collect taxes from slaves. Slaves are the property of their master. Okay, just build tourist facilities and collect money from the rich. Constructing houses is a waste of money.”
“This is a good location. Later there were be many buildings for regular users so keep the tax low. Then the village will develop into a city. Continue to take slaves into the city. Raise revenue through the slaves!”
A clear conclusion!
In Mapan’s eyes, Bellot’s village showed tremendous promise as a slave’s heaven.
In the face of human anguish, Bellot decided to abandon his advice. It was essential to build houses, clear land and construct the required facilities to attract users.
Approximately one month pa.s.sed since she became the lord of a village. Residents rose from 1,000 to 4,000 people and Hermes Guild users came from the Central Continent for hunting.
Occasionally they invested their money in urban development. Luxury hotels and Grand Buildings to attract tourists were built.
The residents complained.
“I’m old and about to die. Build medical facilities so I can die cleanly.”
“Lord-nim, don’t you know that there is no hope every day?”
“Training facilities for children? We lack skillful hunters so I can’t even eat meat!”
No matter how well done, the residents expected more. Bellot had low fame and public achievements so it wasn’t easy for her to rule.
More than anything else, the lively fun of the north couldn’t be felt.
“I think it would be great to be a lord in the Arpen Kingdom. I could get tens of thousands of residents in minutes. It has friendly users and I can trade with Gamong and Mapan.”
Bellot finally regretted it.
But she didn’t care about the process.
The residents of the Arpen Kingdom were watching as Weed hit the Central Continent.
Geomchi and the students joined with northern users to fight the Haven Empire in the conquered territories.
They already smashed several villages and dealt serious damage to the Haven Empire’s army.
The war hadn’t ended. The Haven Empire and Arpen Kingdom had a sticky relations.h.i.+p.
Mapan told a meaningful story before he left.
“The job of a merchant is to prepare for the future. If you don’t read it properly then you won’t be able to get money. The Haven Empire is an empire but it is in a difficult situation right now.”
“I’ve heard the news. They are continuing to fight with remnants of the rebels… But aren’t they defeating the rebels?”
“Even so, it is tough. There will be more difficult things in the future.”
“Don’t tell me that Weed-nim’s intentions…”
Bellot gaped as the recent situation was summed up.
The difference between the Hermes Guild and Arpen Kingdom was too big.
It was still impossible to match the economic and military power of the Haven Empire.
The gap was largest just after the conquest of the Central Continent.
‘Weed-nim revealed this gap and caused the Haven Empire to commit to an unreasonable attack. Wasn’t that followed by the plan to knock down the Royal Palace? After that, rebels started causing chaos in the Haven Empire.’
Weed and the Hermes Guild hated each other. He would either surrender or oppose the Hermes Guild.
If he gathered all his power then it would be amazing.
There was already a lively atmosphere thanks to the blind allegiance of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.
Mapan’s trading company had considerable stakes in Weed.
Apart from his shares in the northern continent, he partic.i.p.ated in the black market in the Central Continent.
‘Creating a continent according to his imagination.’
Bellot was dense and realized the big picture involving Weed for the first time.
‘He seems callous and stingy but…that is only a shallow way of looking at him. All movements on the continent are under his hands. Using the enemy’s ambition to draw them closer!’
Mapan had no idea of Bellot’s thoughts and continued his story.
“The Arpen Kingdom is growing at a huge rate. Weed is playing a significant role in the Central Continent.”
“Is there some hidden meaning?”
“In the past, he had never feared retaliating. He would hold a grudge until he is old…cool words like revenge and retaliation.”
“Hum hum, the balance between the Arpen Kingdom and Haven Empire has clearly changed. Wait and see.”
He believed that the land Bellot ruled would one day be included in the Arpen Kingdom.
When that day came…
“Weed-nim will be my king so won’t he exploit me?”
Bellot could feel goose b.u.mps all over her body.
Weed was an excellent king but that made her even more suspicious.
The 3 Mad Sharks of Becky Nin would occasionally whisper things to her.
They didn’t even dare dream of betraying Weed and looked up to him as a mentor.