Chapter 1) Exploiter of Glory
The villages and cities of the Arpen Kingdom started filling with people.
“Over 300 people have died in an hour.”
“Go to the east?”
“Blocked. Everything in the area around Chestnut Forest has been turned into ruins.”
Walking out a gate would cause residents to be murdered by Hermes Guild users or troops of the Haven Empire.
There were no safe places anywhere.
If there were no guards at the gate then they would even come forward to attack users of the Arpen Kingdom.
“These bad fellows.”
“They killed a level 15. They don’t care about who the person is at all.”
Novice users under level 100 were killed.
“Don’t worry about them. The villains will be kicked out of this territory.”
“It is lucky that I am a swordsman. I will come back in one hour after defeating them.”
Moderately strong users tried to exit the cities but were killed.
a.s.sa.s.sins, rangers, knights, magicians etc. 20,000 members from the strong Hermes Guild had volunteered for infiltration.
The lands of the Arpen Kingdom were wide and s.p.a.cious and wasn’t divided by strong fortresses. The Haven Empire and Hermes Guild members were easily able to penetrate the area.
They divided into groups for guerilla warfare.
The northern users had their freedom of movement and hunting taken away, making them determined to defend the villages against invasion. The entire north had become paralyzed by the Hermes Guild’s aggressive a.s.sault.
Only three days! The national power of the Arpen Kingdom was reduced by 3%.
Large cities, castles and villages, with the exception of the very small ones in the mountains, became targets.
There was serious damage to the small villages of the Arpen Kingdom.
For the first time, the population of the residents had decreased like the Central Continent.
“What should we do? We can’t just sit down and die.”
“Morata should be okay…”
“We will be attacked 10 times trying to get there.”
“What about moving in large groups?”
“Our lives will be saved but think of the people left behind. And this village will be smashed after we leave.”
“It is frustrating.”
Users in every small village gathered but couldn’t find a solution.
Level 400 or more invaders would hide and then attack the weak. Some Hermes Guild users were killed during the ambushes but those cases were rare.
Each village couldn’t come up with a solution to rectify the situation.
The 20,000 Hermes Guild members and 30,000 Haven Empire troops engaged in guerilla warfare outside the villages and cities.
A crisis where the Arpen Kingdom was receiving a frontal a.s.sault.
On the other hand, an incredible number of users were gathered at Morata, Vent Castle, Port Varna, Vargo Fortress and Dawn City.
-The Haven Empire is attacking the north!
-The soldiers and users of the Hermes Guild is indiscriminately killing!
Weed heard about the invasion after finis.h.i.+ng the sculpture for Ratuas.
All stations were talking about this breaking news and it was reported through whispers from people.
-Pale: It is a big deal. The Hermes Guild has struck.
-Irene: How could this…sob.
-Mapan: It is interfering with my ability to make money.
-Zephyr: Well…won’t the recent troubles really upset Yurin?
-Seo-yoon: I’ll go ahead and kill them.
-Yurin: Oppa. There is trouble.
-Romuna: Weed-nim. Don’t you know my skills? How many people can I burn at once with my magical flames?
-Surka: I’ll smash their bones.
The Hermes Guild were really bad people. However, Weed nodded like the movements of the Hermes Guild were natural.
“They have come!”
While acting in the Central Continent, he had been concerned that they would retaliate in a similar way.
On the other hand, the scale of their activities was too different. The mobilization of ma.s.sive troops made it impossible to stand against the Haven Empire.
“This is the difference between a poor business owner and a large corporation.”
A large scale chicken business chasing after an egg farm!
However, this method wouldn’t be enough to kill the Arpen Kingdom.
“There is always a hole to escape from chasers. So there is no need to worry.”
Weed decided to think positively.
The threat from the Haven Empire was quite simple.
Tricks were used everywhere in life.
Weed descended from Ratuas’ mountain and met with Mapan who was waiting.
“What is the current situation in the Central Continent?”
“Not bad. The rebels are substantial and are causing minor damage to the empire. They are persistent so the Hermes Guild is having some trouble.”
“Mapan’s Trading Company?”
“It is maintaining a spot in the black market. The food business in the Central Continent is sluggish and needs more.”
In the meantime, Mapan’s Trading Company had gained an astronomical amount of money.
The residents saw signs of instability and war so they started to buy food.
It was common sense and natural judgement.
There was an annual decline in the grain production in the Central Continent. The rebels meant the farmers couldn’t work properly and there would be foot shortages.
Mapan’s Trading Company exported a lot of crops from the north to the Central Continent.
It would have been absolutely impossible without Weed’s prior permission!
‘The food shortage in the Central Continent is a good thing for the economy. But the long term effects will be low.’
Despite the food shortage, the Haven Empire didn’t collapse.
Weed knew about the military nature of an empire in Royal Road.
He realized it during the warring period when he led a camel cavalry to invade the Central Continent.
‘Having a strong military power is a great advantage. Ma.s.s rebellions can be easily quelled. A strong military power can defeat any challenges.’
If the residents and users were starving then hunting would decrease.
The inhabitants of the Central Continent might be starving and the Haven Empire wouldn’t be able withstand the ordeal.
The lowered loyalty of the residents would steadily weaken economic power.
It would fall apart just like Weed’s Pallos Empire! Historically, it dominated for 83 years but that duration was actually very short.
Weed joined hands with Mapan to export food and acc.u.mulated enormous wealth.
“The next task is aggressive buying.”
“In recent years, there has been a price drop for production facilities in the Haven Empire.”
“They aren’t operating normally.”
“Huhuhu. This is an opportunity. Exploiting the inhabitants as slaves…no, feed them properly in order to lure them…hum hum. Hire them at a cheap price.”
“I will select good businesses and pour money in.”
Weed and Mapan had a very good cooperation.
They had lifelong dreams in land speculation and investments! Taking control of the economy in the Haven Empire would give the many benefits.
Weed wasn’t a great politician but his skill in this area would be second to none. He was capable to filling his pockets anywhere.
Still, there was a limit to the wealth of Mapan’s Trading Company. He primarily focused on investing near the capital of the empire as well as the large cities.
Then Mapan asked.
“What about those that infiltrated the Arpen Kingdom? Huge losses every day…it is at a level that should be stopped.”
Mapan’s Trading Company was receiving various damages from the attacks of the Hermes Guild.
Ranches were smashed and farms burned.
The production facilities in the city were safe but the prosperity of the merchants were in danger.
The travelling merchants in the kingdom suffered a loss of trade and the problem would become larger if it continued.
The small, remote villages went back to their ruined state from after the Niflheim Empire’s collapse.
The influence of the Arpen Kingdom on frontier villages reduced and they became independent again.
‘Is it really possible to get rid of those guys?’
Mapan was really curious. Could Weed really stop the sneaky attacks of the Haven Empire?
‘I can believe it if it is Weed-nim.’
All the users of the Arpen Kingdom were curious about this.
‘Weed-nim’s mind is excellent and he can do work others can’t. He also never seems to die. Now he will be able to overcome the situation.’
No matter how Mapan thought, he couldn’t come up with a way to protect the kingdom from the 50,000 troops that infiltrated it.
Lafaye was a strategist while Weed lived in an inhospitable continent using tricks.
Weed and Lafaye thought about the big picture but sometimes gaps would arise. In particular, they were surprisingly sensitive to things that would benefit them.
Weed was the first to suggest taking advantage of the confusion in the Haven Empire. He provided the funds required to smuggle supplies from the Hermes Guild.
As a merchant, Mapan had to endlessly respect and follow him.
Weed said like it was natural.
“There is no way to stop them right away without any damage.”
“This is the loophole I aimed for in the first place. The population density and military power of the Arpen Kingdom is low so there is no way to stop the damage.”
Mapan raised his voice.
“This will destroy the kingdom in the long term. There will only be Morata, Vent Castle and Vargo Fortress left in the Arpen Kingdom. Dawn City hasn’t even been properly built yet.”
This was a crisis that could erase the name of the Arpen Kingdom!
Mapan had invested heavily in the Northern Continent so his entire body trembled.
Mapan was alert.
Weed wasn’t a simple human!
The person who went without sleep to make Goldman. It wasn’t right that he would look so unconcerned about the crisis of the Arpen Kingdom.
“Even so, don’t you have a perfect measure to defeat them?”
“That…can you please tell me?”
Weed gave a low laugh.
“When thinking about it, it isn’t that complicated. I am afraid when first meeting a bear in the mountains. But then the bear will come home as a chunk of money.”
“There is nothing to throw away. Some damage can’t be avoided but…the Arpen Kingdom won’t be smashed apart.”
Mapan scratched his head.
The merchants including Mapan and Gamong had helped the north prosper.
Yet it was still in the beginning stages. The people were settling into major villages and productivity started to increase.
Despite the Arpen Kingdom spreading across the north, there was a vast majority of empty land between villages.
The entire north could be said to be the territory of the Arpen Kingdom but there were some villages that didn’t belong to it.
There were merchants who barely managed to climb up the mountains to open trade routes.
It would be fairly difficult for the Hermes Guild users to enter cities like Morata.
Destroying mines or granaries wouldn’t really give a big blow.
The mines were in a situation where the majority of them couldn’t be developed due to lacking manpower and transportation links.
The Northern Continent had very fertile farmland.
Despite the decline of the Niflheim Empire, the fields still yielded a lot of food.
“The bear might cause some damage but I will eventually eat it.”
“We will exploit those guys.”
A firm declaration of exploitation!
Weed’s eyes went moist as he recalled the short history of the Northern Continent.
“Culture expansion in the Morata area keeps increasing. I couldn’t sleep properly for a month while trying to figure out how to exploit the people of the Arpen Kingdom.
He had thought about exploitation plans in advance.
Weed had some serious concerns as a king. He walked the streets to find some method of exploitation.
“Tax raise? Then people will hate it. Complaints will immediately explode. How can I reduce the difference between the Northern and Central Continent?”
It was impossible to reduce the differences between kingdoms with taxes.
Weed indifferently said.
“I couldn’t increase taxes so new residents have been accepted in order for the kingdom to grow…but it would take a few years even with our best efforts.”
There were some positive factors regarding the north of the Versailles Continent.
The blessing of the Freya Church, fertile land and the people were scattered after the Niflheim Empire.
Nevertheless, the kingdom was started from scratch so it would take a while to surpa.s.s the prosperity of other areas.
Merchants such as Mapan invested early on in the kingdom and their role was very important.
“You want to exploit the Hermes Guild?”
“In the Central Continent, I was surrounded by enemies and needed to be careful when hunting the Hermes Guild users. I barely got a great income from Knight Myul. A good chance like that doesn’t occur often. But there are only a few of them in the Northern Continent. Now I am even more committed. It will be good to hunt those people scattered through the Northern Continent. Even though there might be some damage to the kingdom.”
The Hermes Guild were the objects of exploitation.
Weed looked at them as a source of food to raise his combat skills and level.
Those people still didn’t know much about his sculptural lifeforms. The sculptural lifeforms had the ability to find the Hermes Guild members hiding in the mountains and fields.
The h.e.l.l dog Cerberus’ sense of smell and Golden Bird’s mobility and wide field of view were just some examples.
If he used Sculpture Transformation and Time Sculpting then fighting them would be a piece of cake. Moreover, they were murderers so killing them would get a lot of experience and loot.
For the time being, he was going to aggressively hunt the Hermes Guild.
“But what about the damage to the Arpen Kingdom’s users?”
“Kids have to grow up through fighting.”
“Even if some die, they will still recover. Don’t calculate the damage as a headcount. There should be thousands of beginners dying. And I’m only telling Mapan-nim this because I trust you…”
“Huhuhu. After the northern users die, they will have to purchase equipment to replace those they lost. We can’t hold those people back. From the kingdom’s point of view, this is an opportunity to receive taxes.”
Mapan was filled with sincere admiration.
Weed was a king who calmly thought of how to exploit the people who received damages.
“What about the reduced economic power of the kingdom?”
“For the moment, the economic power will reduce but the merchants will be eager to resume trading. In the first place, we don’t have that many manufacturing facilities.”
This was the sad reality!
The Arpen Kingdom didn’t have many facilities to be destroyed in the invasion. Even if the Hermes Guild users swarmed the mines, most of them weren’t operating anyway.
The current focus on production in cities like Morata was sufficient for the moment.
Approximately 70% of the Arpen Kingdom’s economic power was gathered in 3~4 places.
“The Hermes Guild members are damaging the users of the north. The northern users can take care of themselves.”
Mapan was puzzled.
“In a situation where the kingdom is receiving damage, isn’t it natural for the king to lead troops to stop the enemy?”
“The residents can stop them.”
“The kingdom was originally like this.”
A highly exploitative method.
The king was becoming more and more vicious.
Weed gathered his sculptural lifeforms and took action.
He was planning to eat a hot meal!
“Everyone go and find people from the Haven Empire.”
“Kakakakat. I understand.”
Bingryong and the wyverns mobilized with a violent blast.
“Hunt. Kill them all.”
“Melt them all. Show the humans how savage a dragon can be.”
Phoenix wanted to play with fire. Imugi was a high quality fake dragon.
Imugi and Phoenix flew high to search over a broad area, with Golden Bird and Silver Bird following them. They used little birds to search the mountains. Cerberus sniffed near the cities while the crocodile Nile monitored the rivers.
A monitoring system using his sculptural lifeforms! They could cover the entire Northern Continent.
There were Hermes Guild users in remote mountain areas that were waiting for people to pa.s.s. Naturally there were many players lurking around paths that a lot of northern users would take.
“Hunt them when you find them! Go!”
Bahamorg, knight Seville, Gernika and Eltin jumped towards the busy locations.
They attacked the Hermes Guild users and Haven Empire troops blocking the major roads.
‘They divided into smaller units for maneuverability and to ensure secrecy. If so, giving directions isn’t necessary. They just need to kill.’
Weed went to the best hunting grounds in the Arpen Kingdom.
“How many died today?”
“50 or so?”
“20 people from the guild…isn’t that too much?”
“No one important was killed. There were some level 30 people sent to the north.”
“Still, I am having fun slaughtering. Huhu.”
There were four Hermes Guild users hiding in the mountains.
This was a road where people would need to pa.s.s in order to travel between villages.
A cool breeze was blowing and birds crying in the mountains. The natural environment was beautiful but they only had one interest.
“I had a good time on the Central Continent…but this is the true taste of pillaging.”
“Even finding half a dozen people in one day is a big hit.”
“We have to hit them appropriately. There sometimes be some high quality users pa.s.sing here.”
The four Hermes Guild users had already killed more than 200 people but they failed to meet any strong opponents.
The northern users maintained a close cooperation.
Once news of the raids emerged, the fearless beginners were still active but the high level users started hiding.
“Shouldn’t we wait at a hunting ground?”
“That is troublesome. Attacking at the hunting grounds could be dangerous. We can kill a lot of people here. The excitement of wiping out people. We can easily kill the defenseless northern users.”
The Hermes Guild users shared a leisurely conversation.
They stopped as the ground suddenly vibrated.
“Something is coming.”
“They seem to be riding a cow…”
The Hermes Guild users leapt into the bushes.
It was so they could jump out for an ambus.h.!.+
A person riding a yellowish bull was urgently heading towards them.
The users whispered in low voices.
“Not bad. It is at least level 400.”
“Jackpot. The reward we’ve been waiting for…”
“We will pop out at the same time.”
The Hermes Guild users carefully examined the equipment.
Then they looked at the bull’s eyes. A wide and solid chest, thick thigh muscles and elongated horns gave it an intimidating appearance.
It was twice as fast as a horse. The man and bull came up to them in an instant.
“We can’t miss this chance.”
The Hermes Guild users prepared to pop out.
Then the man brandished his sword in their direction.
“Moonlight Sculpting Blade!”
Light emerged from the sword and flew towards them. The Hermes Guild users were frozen by the unexpected counterattack.
“Long range attack?”
“Wait a minute…he knows that we are here…”
“This isn’t the time to talk about it. Quickly avoid it!”
Kwa kwa kw.a.n.g!
They scattered as the light from the sword smashed into the spot where they were.
The team consisting of an a.s.sa.s.sin, a ranger, and two knights from the Hermes Guild flew in different directions.
It was an avoidance movement arranged in advance. But it was proof they hadn’t met a true hunter yet. Rather than scattering, it would have been better to come together to face the one person!
Weed riding on Yellowy rushed towards the ranger.
“Why me? Dammit!”
The ranger tried to attack but Yellowy’s speed was too fast. He avoided it and aimed an arrow at Yellowy. He intended to briefly knock down the bull and join up with his colleagues.
He shot the arrow but Yellowy put strength into his hind legs and leapt like a tiger. Yellowy’s dash didn’t slow down. Weed’s sword came closer.
The attack power could increase depending on the speed of the bull or horse.
The poor defense of the ranger meant that he died after three consecutive attacks from Heriam Fencing.
“I died in vain…”
The ranger changed into a grey light as Weed swept past him.
He picked up the loot in 0.1 second. He was an expert at speedily collecting items. After the attack, his movements were as smooth as water while picking up the loot.
Weed was satisfied by the item in his hand.
‘A leather helmet. The start is good!’
Yellowy didn’t stop and immediately rushed towards an a.s.sa.s.sin.
The a.s.sa.s.sin profession were experts at fast, short-distance movements. But they had some limitations in long distance movement.
The a.s.sa.s.sin had seen the ranger be killed in an instant.
The prerogative of an a.s.sa.s.sins. Concealing themselves before attacking. It was also beneficial to disappear during a fight for a surprise attack.
There was also a possibility of them not showing up again. The penalty of losing their lives was much higher than any other profession so they had ways to hide their bodies…
Weed and Yellowy suddenly appeared in front of him.
“Chiit! Poisonous Dual Swords!”
Each hand held a poisonous dagger.
The users of the Hermes Guild had a quick reaction rate.
“The effects of the attack as well as the poison will reduce his health by half!”
The a.s.sa.s.sin said that to make the opponent shrink back.
Weed just lightly moved his upper body like he knew the attack was coming ahead of time.
Pu shu shu shuk!
Heriam Fencing lightly slashed his body. An a.s.sa.s.sin had strong damage but low defense.
Weed had used Sculptural Destruction into strength in order to raise the hunting speed. He wasn’t holding Red Star since a different sword was enough.
The a.s.sa.s.sin was killed and he collected the loot before it even touched the ground. Collecting the loot was an art in itself.
There were only the two knights remaining. They stood shoulder to shoulder facing him.
“The bull is Yellowy.”
“Then he is Weed, the G.o.d of War.”
Bardray’s only match, the man who killed many Hermes Guild users in the Central Continent.
More recently, he had killed Knight Myul so the two knights felt like they had no chance of winning.
“Our luck was bad today.”
“However, we might appear on broadcast. We will be killed by a famous person.”
Both knights gave up on fleeing from Yellowy.
“Chahat. Weed, the G.o.d of War. I will compete with you proudly!”
The knights jumped at Weed simultaneously.
Yellowy kicked his legs against the ground, retreated or sped up depending on the knights.
Yellowy’s agile moves at a short distance. It was a rare experience but the knights were familiar with the battlefield.
The knights threw the weight of their bodies into every attack.
Yellowy made their attacks obsolete while Weed mercilessly used Heriam Fencing.
|-The 1st consecutive attack has succeeded.
Agility has increased by 27%.
|-The 2nd consecutive attack has succeeded.
Strength has increased by 48%.
|-The 3rd consecutive attack has succeeded.
Agility has increased by 51%.
|-The 4th consecutive attack has succeeded.
Destructive power has increased by 44%.
The enemy has been neutralized.
|-The 5th consecutive attack has succeeded.
The enemy has perished.
Heriam Fencing was used a few times and the enemies lost their lives.
Since Weed appeared, it took less than a minute to hunt all four people.
“Yellowy, let’s go to the next place!”
Other Hermes Guild users were hiding nearby.
They secretly hid in the ground but the birds hunting worms found them.
There were 470 murderers in the Hermes Guild who volunteered to go to the north and split into elite teams.
Their names were infamous even in the Central Continent.
“The enemy has appeared.”
They were formidable opponents even for Weed and Yellowy.
“The value of this group of quite high. Yellowy. Let’s go.”
If he deemed the opponent too strong then he would retreat.
Their equipment was designed for secret infiltration so they couldn’t catch up with Yellowy.
“The G.o.d of War ran away.”
“Kuhahaha. That is good to see.”
However, he summoned his sculptural lifeforms and came back for a rematch in less than 2 minutes.
The knight Seville and Gernika who had good defense were in the vanguard while Weed moved from side to side on Yellowy. The wyverns were plaguing the enemies from the air.
It wasn’t a surprise that the Hermes Guild users lost their lives.
“You cowardly people who came here! This is the method of Weed, the G.o.d of War?”
“There is no cowardice in fighting. Only winning matters.”
Weed took their remarks as a compliment.
If there was a dangerous moment then he would use a secret sculpting technique.
Moment Sculpting was an ultimate technique that stopped the world.
The Hermes Guild users were literally slaughtered.
He had still fought somewhat carefully until he learned Moment Sculpting. Others might think he was fighting recklessly but Weed calmly calculated the odds.
A top ranked team from the Hermes Guild was different from monsters and normally couldn’t be touched. In addition to high skill proficiency and level, they were users properly equipped with weapons and armour.
Even Weed who knew how to fight properly would find them daunting. Weed was always worried about being hit by curses or spells. Or he wondered if they dug a trap in advance.
All hesitation in a fight disappeared after learning Moment Sculpting.
‘I can’t actively use it yet. I need to conceal it so that the Hermes Guild can’t a.n.a.lyze it.’
Weed only briefly stopped the world and took advantage of it to appear behind magicians and priests.
If the Hermes Guild users lost their magicians and priests then they wouldn’t be able to last long.
|-Thanks to mastering handicraft, you have learnt how to do an upper strike with the s.h.i.+eld.|
|-The sword technique of the Romanak area has been acquired.
A simple sword style mainly focusing on strength.
The skill proficiency has immediately increased to intermediate level 2 after learning it.
Three knight attack skills have been learnt.
Split Far Away: A splitting technique that gathers mana around the sword. Close enemies will be pushed away and you can attack enemies within 20 metres. 3,500 mana is consumed.
Strike the Land: All enemies within 6 metres will temporarily lose their balance. 1,470 mana is consumed.
Strength Compet.i.tion: The knights of the Romanak area enjoy boasting of their power. When pus.h.i.+ng against another sword, 24% more strength will be displayed. 410 mana is consumed.
He had the ability to learn other combat skills.
Weed acc.u.mulated quite a lot of techniques based on various weapons.
“In many ways, it is good that I mastered handicraft. I can obtain skills much faster.”
A sculptor wasn’t a combat profession so he had endlessly doubted it.
Weed was close to a natural fighter after mastering handicraft.
His spear mastery also reached intermediate level 3. Weed could now wear the Sealed Thunder Spear that was Myul’s symbol and this made fighting much easier.
He could hit a few enemies with every swing of his spear. The spear attacks had a strong force. He would use wide area skills when his mana was full to increase his hunting speed. An electric shock would pour into the body through armour and weapons.
He was able to freely attack on Yellowy and it felt like he became at least 30% stronger.
“I need to earnestly improve spear mastery. Master handicraft will have more worth in the future.”
He would also become a sword master. He had achieved it during the desert quest so it was only a matter of time.
He first needed to pour all his time and effort into mastering sculpting.
Weed raised his level in one day. He reached level 442 and 443 in record time.
The invading Hermes Guild users were quickly destroyed.
He worked diligently and got rid of 150 people in one day.
“The income is really high. There are prey from the Central Continent scattered everywhere.”
He raised his experience and combat skills.
Apart from his level and skill proficiency, his overall attack power had increased due to mastering handicraft.
The best growing method was humans instead of monsters. While the Arpen Kingdom was faltering, Weed was improving himself.
“Who knows what will happen in the future. I will surely become stronger and earn more money.”
He had already collected enough money to eat and live. However, he became greedier the more money he had.
It was because he knew the joys of spending money.
“I will later live in luxury with my family.”
This was Weed’s new goal for gathering money.
Real estate speculation and then wealth inheritance! Being able to live in luxury while old was the goal.
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