V50C6P2 Myul visit
Myul, who had been standing in the back of the audience, was so amazed that his mouth was still hanging wide open.
‘I never knew such music exists in this world. And the mood of the crowd is also… quite something.’
The general impression of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult to an average Hermes Guild user was quite similar to that of a zombie horde, swarming in to kill you while screaming ‘Gra.s.s Porridge! Gra.s.s Porridge!’ But ever since he arrived at the festival site, he could see that these people were genuinely enjoying a happy moment while listening to this music.
‘I feel like I’ve stepped into a different, wonderful world that I didn’t know before.’
Even as Myul stood watching there were a continuous stream of people joining the crowd, and currently it seemed there would be at least a million of them in this area alone. One million… and it wasn’t like the headcount on a battlefield; they were the people who had a.s.sembled to enjoy some great music.
‘I didn’t expect to see such a sight here.’
Myul stood there for almost 2 hours listening to the music, unable to bring himself to leave. Only when the exhausted Marey and the bards were taking a break and wiping their sweating foreheads did he leave the stage to visit a different area.
“Come and have some delicious food here!”
“Food alley right over here. Come, Everything’s really cheap!”
As they were in a plain rather than in the middle of a city, restaurants set up in simple tents were doing their business. Within those endless lines of tents, every kind of dish imaginable was being cooked and served; starting with the 400 different types of gra.s.s porridge that represented the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult, every famous cuisine from all around the globe could be found here.
– Restaurant owned by Daphne, the chef serving the Royal Family
– Mouthwatering boar meat cuisines
– Specialist seafood restaurant, only roasting fish that lives at least 300 meters below sea level!
– The freshest seafood from the Wulhoff Reef!
– Fruits and vegetables! Just give it a chance, you’ll like it!
People were entering different tents according to their taste.
“*Burp*. That was a good meal.”
“Oh, there’s a Bulgogi  place over there.”
“Let’s go! Gogogo!”
“But we’ve just eaten…”
“Don’t worry about that. Our profession is of a Warrior; we’re not going to be easily killed by burst stomach! Let’s eat some more.”
“If you say so…”
As there were so many excellent restaurants, people were busy filling their stomach with more food.
Cuisines from various countries in the real world and from every region across the Versailles Continent were gathered in one place in this food alley. Adding all the original menus developed by many renowned chefs on top of that, the total number of different dishes in the place would be simply staggering. One would easily lose the track of time and end up spending a few days in this street alone.
‘It looks like there’s no food I cannot find here. And look at all those people enjoying themselves…’
As he admired the view around him, he found a restaurant that looked up to his taste and entered. He had always been quite fond of seafood, and he was curious to taste the food made with the ingredients obtained from the Wulhoff Reef that had recently been on the air.
“Excuse me… a table for one person, please.”
“Sure. Come take a sit here.”
The restaurant, which was presently packed full with over a hundred customers, had only three items on its menu:
– Table d’hote (fish) – 45 Silver
– Table d’hote (clams) – 20 Silver
– Table d’hote (Octopus) – 35 Silver
Exactly 100 Silver if you have all three!
Myul glanced at the people in other tables. Every customer was eating their way through the plates of seafood piled up in heaps. The main dish of the octopus course meal was apparently a huge roasted octopus that was longer than 80 centimeters in length.
Myul stopped a waiter who was pa.s.sing by and asked, “Excuse me, but I think there’s been a mistake in those prices in the menu…?”
“Why? Are they too expensive?”
“No, no, it’s just… I think they should be in Gold pieces, instead of Silver?”
The table d’hote of fish also consisted of various kinds of delicious fish roasted expertly. Not only were they fat and juicy, but they were cooked so perfectly that he had to fight down the urge to hold the fish with both hands and gnaw at it. Myul would have been more than willing to pay even if the price had been 45 Gold.
The waiter asked him, smiling, “You are from the Central Continent, I presume?”
“Yes, what about that?”
“Those prices are quite normal in this area. You’ll find even cheaper places in Morata.”
This was unimaginable in the Central Continent.
Such low prices were partly due to the cheap labor costs in the Arpen Kingdom as well as the custom of enjoying cheap and delicious food that had been widespread ever since the old days when Morata was but a shantytown. But the more fundamental reason was the fact that there were no taxes charged on food products. There was no user in the Arpen Kingdom who didn’t know of the famous quote made by Weed when he was establis.h.i.+ng tax laws for his kingdom:
“Why do we have to put taxes on food? Don’t tamper with things that people eat!”
The tax rates in the Arpen Kingdom were already very low, but when it came to food in particular, there were no taxes imposed whatsoever. As Weed himself had had much experience of going hungry during his impoverished childhood, he simply couldn’t bear to put tax on what people eat.
“We can always make up for the low tax revenue by selling lands. Just ripping them off a little… I hear that real estate investment scam is a real gold mine nowadays?”
Of course, this latter half of what he said was quickly and quietly silenced before it spread, never to be known to the public.
At any rate, Myul was so shocked by the cheap prices of the Arpen Kingdom he was feeling as though something just hit him hard in the back of his head.
‘If people don’t have to worry about matters of basic necessities in this way… there’s no wonder this kingdom is so popular.’
After a day’s visit to the Garnav Plain, Myul was filled with a mixture of complicated emotions. He couldn’t help but think that those users who moved over to the Arpen Kingdom from the Haven Empire must have felt like discovering a paradise. For the first time, he understood why so many of them fought while chanting the name of the Gra.s.s Porridge Cult.
‘I never doubted our right to rule, because we were the winners, because we were the strongest… but… could it be possible that we have exploited our users too much?’
After dining in the restaurant, Myul continued roaming around the plain. There were exhibition sites for artworks, and several expos were taking place for promoting elven and dwarven cultures. Parents were holding their children’s hands while walking on the treetops, experiencing the elven lifestyle.
He also looked around the magnificent exhibit halls for various brands around the world including LG and Samsung.
“A luminescent wall-mountable TV! Watch the upcoming war with this luxuriously designed television!”
“Apply now, and we guarantee complete installation within two days, anywhere in the world! Get a free crystal ball with a size over 1 meter, too!”
“We are currently having a customer appreciation event; we give a magic quiver and a silver axe to any customer activating their new mobile phone!”
“This is Ssangyong Motor Company. The size of this wooden statue is identical to that of the original. Feel free to try sitting on it. Buy it, and get a free, living ox!”
The promotional booths connected to Royal Road.
Slim elf ladies were advertising and selling the companies’ products as a part-time job.
“We’re from Kw.a.n.g Dong Pharmaceutical. Have a sip of this cool ginseng water. There’s nothing better for relieving your fatigue!”
“Hi, we’re from Lloyd’s. You can make all the troubles of your life go away with a single insurance. We give a free vitality potion for everyone who visits our promotion booth now!”
“KTX : comfortable, rapid travel to your destination. A train pulled by 100 oxen bound for the east side of the plain is due to depart very soon. Anyone who’d like to get on, please come gather over here!”
“From fighter planes to freighters. We are Boeing, a manufacturing company specialized in all kinds of aircrafts. Step into the exhibition hall right now and enjoy the show!”
“Amore! We are giving out free herbal cosmetics! For the first 500,000 customers only!”
“This is PIC Resort. Anyone feeling tired after all the walk around the exhibition halls? Come and have some rest here! We’ve opened a pool, too!”
“This is the announcement from Nordstrom Department Store. We give a free Macaron set for every customer who visits our store now…”
Companies and corporations all across the world were covering a considerable portion of the Garnav Plain in order to promote their image. They were able to raise their brand awareness significantly by giving out small souvenirs to the users or offering them a trial experience of their service.
Home appliances, IT, automobiles, s.h.i.+pbuilding, chemistry, real estates, construction, health care products, steel manufacture, furniture, banks, machines, department stores and hotels!
All these exhibition halls had been built which would easily dwarf even the largest home consumer electronic exhibition in the world in terms of scale, almost like comparing a university to a kindergarten.
Myul was now almost speechless with astonishment.
‘Right. Aside from the fact that all those world-cla.s.s companies have their booths here, how on earth is it possible to prepare something like this in just ten days?’
Although it was a long time ago, Myul once looked over the Garnav Plain while flying on the back of a griffon. That once-barren land which had nothing but overgrown gra.s.s had now been completely transformed right before his eyes.
‘Is this the extent of Weed’s influence? But that’s probably not all there is to it…’
Of course, even Weed had not expected such an outcome, but before he knew events started to gain in scale with a frightening speed like a rolling s…o…b..ll. With the entire media over the world focusing on the Garnav Plain and people and companies competing with one another to take advantage of it, it was only a matter of time before such a perfect transformation took place.
“This is Okpo Heavy Industries. Try boarding on the world’s largest container s.h.i.+p! We are currently building a cruise s.h.i.+p as well.”
Myul heard a large shouting sound and automatically turned his head towards the direction of the noise. What he saw was a supersized container s.h.i.+p towering over him, which was more than 400 meters in length, 35 meters in height, and with a whopping 70 meters of width.
“The size of this s.h.i.+p… but how is this standing in the middle of the plain?”
A mysterious sight!
Not so long ago, the management of Okpo had also thought at first that such a construction was impossible from a common-sense point of view; but what would be impossible, when sculptures of far more impressive sizes were being constructed at that very moment in the Garnav Plain?
“It’s not like we’re actually setting this s.h.i.+p off into the sea; we just have to make its exterior believable enough.”
“No, we need to get this right. Look at all those other companies that publicized themselves for free to the worldwide media by building the statues in the Garnav Plain. If they can do that, why can’t we?”
So the engineers in heavy industries managed to construct the s.h.i.+p in just two days, through cooperation with the master s.h.i.+pbuilders from Port Varna. Although it was too hastily constructed with wood, stone and soil to be launched to the ocean, the structure of the sails and the hull was that of a real, functioning s.h.i.+p.
“The way they build a s.h.i.+p in Royal Road isn’t half bad. It’s quite convenient for promoting our company to the overseas buyers, since we can show them the life-size models of the s.h.i.+ps…”
“Wouldn’t it be also nice if s.h.i.+ps constructed by our company sail around the seas of Royal Road?”
A container s.h.i.+p that weighs 340 thousand tons!
Now it was possible to build a supersized vessel in Royal Road. Of course, as it needed the driving power of wind or rowing oars in order to sail even with the help of the sailing skills there were a lot of inconveniences when operating the s.h.i.+p in the real ocean, but it was still well worth constructing it for tourism or promotion purposes.
“So this is how we build large sized vessels here.”
“The cooperation of masters is indeed crucial in s.h.i.+pbuilding industry.”
The master s.h.i.+pbuilders of Varna could learn valuable know-how as they constructed a large vessel. Even with the same techniques and labor time, a few tricks and some know-how could more than double the speed of s.h.i.+pbuilding, which was normally a process that took a long time.
“I think it is also worth referring to the method of making an onsh.o.r.e deck for s.h.i.+pbuilding.”
“How about opening a joint s.h.i.+pyard? There’s only so much an individual builder can do.”
“You mean we set up a real, official s.h.i.+pyard here?”
“Building those large merchant s.h.i.+ps with more than 70, 80 crew members is too difficult and time-consuming for an individual work. It’s far better to make it into a joint operation, while increasing the production efficiency by using novices for simple tasks. It would be convenient if we could obtain standardized materials, too.”
“That sure makes sense, but what if we cannot find any work?”
“The Haven Imperial Navy has been eradicated. The sea belongs to the Arpen Kingdom now.”
The repository of adventures and exploration!
There were rumors of exorbitant treasures and mysterious lands far away from the Versailles Continent. There weren’t many people who set out on a long-distance cruise due to the heavy risk and lack of information, but they thought it was just a matter of time before more people joined the expeditions. The number of s.h.i.+p orders that the master s.h.i.+pbuilders received had already been increasing by almost a hundred percent every month. Although the overwhelming majority of those orders were for small fis.h.i.+ng vessels sailing around the littoral sea, there were quite a few fast-sailing liners for adventures and medium-sized sailing boats for trade. The size of those s.h.i.+ps was getting larger each day as well.
“Let’s do this, then.”
An additional effect of the festival — it triggered an extensive increase in the production output of the Arpen Kingdom’s s.h.i.+pbuilding industry.
‘The power of this Arpen Kingdom is indeed enormous. I’ve always looked down on it, only considering its weak military strength… but its full potential might even be beyond my imagination.’
After looking around the exhibition sites, Myul started heading over to another location once again.
‘This isn’t going to be easy. We really need to prepare ourselves for the worst… I should take a look at those sculptures, too, now that I’ve come all the way here.’
He walked towards the sculptures construction site.
It took him a considerable time to get away from the festival site because of the crowd, and as he was walking nearer and nearer to the construction place, he was feeling increasingly overwhelmed. At first he thought the huge silhouettes rising from the heart of the vast plain were mountains, as human common sense dictated when a person saw something that was so absolutely gigantic. But soon he realized that those mountains were covered with climbing people that looked like a swarm of ants; those people had even built stairs to carry the materials.
‘Those… are sculptures?’
Myul was taken aback, once again. As a great lord of the Haven Empire, he had seen a lot of sculptures: the collections of n.o.bles during the early days of Royal Road, or the extravagant artworks he saw in the Royal Palace… His general impression of sculptures was that they were pieces of art, carved both splendidly and delicately, but what he was watching now had a size of such a scale that was almost ridiculously excessive.
210 meters tall, and 600 meters wide.
Its tail alone could match the size of a 50 storey building.
He could also hear the workers who had joined the construction of the statue.
“Some more stone and sticky mud, quickly please!”
“The surface is getting cracked. I think we need some help from potters… please bring a few fire-cla.s.s mages as you come up.”
Myul’s head was beginning to hurt.
‘They’re STILL making those things?’
It was a tremendous relief that they were not, at least, making it any bigger, as it seemed that they were now working on the detail.
‘So I need to fight against these huge… things… when the battle begins?’
The strength of the Griffon Knights was unmatched in the Central Continent. They had never been defeated before, save by Weed and the Arpen Kingdom.
‘But their size… can they all come alive and move?’
On top of the size, the eyes of this great ox looked as ferocious as those of a predatory beast. Its claws were as sharp as a lion’s, and there was even a pair of wings sprouting from its sides.
This work of art was made by filling up the interior with soil and stone and pouring 329 tons of molten iron into its frame. A total of 540 thousand people worked together in order to complete the statue. >
(Continuing on the next part…)
A Korean-style barbecue made by seasoned and sliced pork or beef.