Chapter 13 - The Lost Treasure of the Temple
“Good luck, Weed-nim.”
“If you make the statue look like me, I’ll reward you.”
It was decided that while Weed was carving the statue, his teammates would wander, hunting monsters with other users.
A handful of surviving lizardmen still harassed the local population, and there were fine hunting spots around the village.
Weed had already revealed himself as a sculptor, so the other users assumed that his quest was related to his profession, and nobody raised a question about it.
Once everyone else left, Weed stood motionless in the central square of the village.
He noticed that there were several Rosenheim soldiers and returning villagers.
They watched him with hopeful eyes.
“I should find a rock,” he said to himself.
Needless to say, the statue had to be made of stone.
Weed was most accustomed to wood carving, and it was the first time that he had ever handled stone.
Fortunately, there were many rocks in the neighborhood that were fit for his purpose. Baran was, after all, a backwater village stuck at the foot of mountains.
From the rocks, he finally chose one so large that a grown man could not embrace it with his arms.
Weed took out a hammer and a chisel to cleave the rock.
Item: Hammer and Chisel for Sculpture:
They are a set of items for stone carving. Relatively cheap, they are dull and easily breakable. Careful handling is recommended.
Sculpture Mastery +1.
Weed had bought them from the sculpture shop in the Citadel of Serabourg just in case, yet he had never thought he would actually use them on the trip.
*Clang clang clang!*
“The only difference between stone and wood carving is the material. Sculpture is all about the mental image and about how to shape an object from it. All I need to do is reproduce the image in my mind. It will bring the best statue, my own statue, out of this stone.”
Weed handled the rock carefully. Shaping stone demands more time and energy than you can ever imagine. A little shock on a wrong spot and the crack will spread all over the stone. A statue should have guaranteed longevity. Beads of sweat flooded Weed’s forehead from concentration and physical exertion.
By day two of his task, the rock was trimmed very little compared to day one, for Weed had so far failed to picture the definite image of a goddess.
Goddess Freya is known only to possess the utmost beauty. No living creatures have ever seen her actual appearance and this is why sculptors and painters alike are often challenged when creating artworks of her.
Artists are always dubious how to depict the Goddess Freya to realize her beauty to the full extent.
For this reason alone, she has never been portrayed identically in paintings and statues.
The artists have had a real headache over this issue. However, at the same time, it stimulates and challenges their pride and skill as artists.
Suppose two rivals carve statues, or paint paintings, of the Goddess Freya, and what if the goddess depicted by one is more beautiful than the other?
Painting skills aside, the goddess of beauty is only appreciated as long as she is the most beautiful of all, so the one with the more beautiful artwork will claim all the credit in the end.
‘Beauty. I have to carve the most beautiful Goddess Freya on the continent.’ That was the only subject filling Weed’s head.
That was why Romuna joked that she wanted him to model the statue on her.
The speed of the hammer and chisel working on the rock was slowing down, as Weed dug deeper into his thoughts.
‘How, and who should I shape this statue after?’ Weed’s mind became a tangled maze as he followed one thought after another.
Though this profession of becoming a sculptor was not originally his choice, slacking on an assignment given to him was against his temperament. If the completed work turned out to be mediocre, it would hurt his pride as a sculptor. Plus, his fame would vanish, which he could not overlook nor allow.
“Who should I take, who…”
At that very moment, someone’s image dawned on Weed.
“She would be…”
*Clang! Clang! Clang!*
The hammer and chisel began to pick up speed at last.
The rock was gradually trimmed off, the outline of the statue surfacing little by little.
As shards from the rock fell to the ground, the statue got start to show it’s shape.
A beauty beyond veiling.
An angel descend from the celestial realm and learns to smile.
Her smile envelopes the world with light.
She is but a single maiden.
The statue that Weed was carving was based on Seoyoon. He had looked at her face only once during the barbecue feast in the instructor’s house, but he had never seen any beauty comparable to hers.
Even a movie star could not rival her in raw natural beauty, where mysterious and noble dignity had combined. Yet there was a decisive flaw in her.
She never smiled, and her face was empty of any known expression. On the other hand, the statue was smiling a serene smile.
A lady in a traveler’s outfit, holding a sword.
To his shame, Weed had become quite enamored by the statue that none other than he was working on. He had thought he would just try to imitate Seoyoon’s pretty face, but as the hours passed by, he felt his heart throbbing at the sight of the statue’s smile.
The statue that held a mysterious charm to captivate people endlessly was on it’s way to completion.
“Look at that!”
Though only the general outline was roughly drafted, the Rosenheim soldiers were glued to the sight.
Even villagers had gathered, laying reconstruction work aside, and appreciated Weed’s work on the statue.
Statue: The Goddess Statue of Freya:
Freya, the goddess of beauty and abundance, is the patron goddess in Baran Village. Her statue once stood in the central square, but it was destroyed by a pine tree when a flood swept the village.
Ghandilva the Elder laments over the destruction of the goddess statue, and requests you to find a replacement and bring it back.
A user entered Baran Village through the gate. She was clothed in a traveler’s outfit, but her face was hidden behind a robe.
She had already removed the scarlet sign of Murderer from her forehead by slaying lots of monsters, and none of fellow users. So her name was no longer cast in bright red anymore.
‘There are more people here. It’s disturbing, I just want to fight.’ she frustratedly thought
Seoyoon slowly walked away and headed for Ghandilva’s house to complete her quest. In an enchanted backpack that could store ten times the weight and volume of its original capacity was a statue of the Goddess Freya.
Ghandilva’s house, which she had not visited for months, had been largely destroyed by the lizardmen.
At the moment she was about to open the door–
“You’re really great! The Goddess Freya that you have created is really beautiful!”
“You’re flattering me, sir. The statue is only halfway done.”
Seoyoon could hear people inside talking.
“I cannot describe how much I appreciate you, Weed-nim. When the statue of the goddess is completed, my village will become peaceful life once again. I will never forget your kindness. Please help yourself.”
Now Seoyoon could hear someone devouring their meal.
Flattering the instructor back in the Training Hall– Weed had used the same formidable trick on Ghandilva the elder of Baran.
Seoyoon dropped her hand from the doorknob.
Two months earlier, Seoyoon had left the instructor’s place, and headed south.
She had wandered only in the unpopulated hinterlands and occasionally visited the backwater villages, fighting monsters all the way.
Either mountains or lairs had suited her as long as there were more monsters.
Battle after battle.
As long as Seoyoon could fight, she could forget everything else in it. Eventually, she had drifted to Baran Village.
The village had been peaceful back then, well before the lizardmen’s raid and occupation.
‘Whew… What should I do now?’ she thought briefly.
Seoyoon had visited the village to purchase food and dispose of her spoils by selling them in the village market. As she was walking through the village center, she had accidentally overheard Ghandilva sighing.
The Elder had been grieving over the destroyed statue of the goddess on the spot where it had once been, and at the sight of Seoyoon who happened to come by, he had asked her for a favor.
“You appear to be the right person to find a replacement for the destroyed statue of Goddess Freya to my village! Would you please grant the last wish of a dying man?” asked the village Elder.
Quest: Restore the destroyed Goddess Freya Statue:
Freya is a goddess who is widely worshipped in Rosenheim. She is known to govern fertility and beauty.
Baran Village are devout worshippers of Freya and had always prayed for peace and prosperity at the town statue until it was accidentally destroyed.
Before the Elder dies.
Gratitude of the villagers and payment
Mute as always, Seoyoon could not take most of the quests available to other users. Thus she had been unable to build friendship with NPCs, let alone users, and was nearly blind to Royal Roads background information and history.
All she could do in any given town was selling items she had obtained, and buy items she needed.
However, she had nodded at Ghandilva who was in grief, and accepted the quest.
You have accepted the quest!
The right choice to finish the quest was to go back to the Citadel of Serabourg, buy any female statue there and bring it over, but she had set out to find the real one.
Her destination was the Order of Goddess Freya.
Through Brent Kingdom in the north, and across the Halkos Wilderness in the southwest, it was the Free City of Somren.
The Order of Goddess Freya was located there.
It would be a long journey of about three months by the official route, but she could make it within a month if she hiked over the Bark Mountains in the west.
Travelers of a sound mind avoided this route because they had to survive an enormous number of monsters.
However for Seoyoon, being the crazed battle maniac that she was, had carved her way through the Bark Mountains.
Over the countless corpses of monsters, she had arrived at the Order of Goddess Freya and bought a statue of Goddess Freya, which was even endorsed and blessed by Archbishop Mandolin.
For that, she had spent most of her gold.
Seoyoon turned away from Ghandilva’s house. On the way to the gate, she stumbled on the central square of the village.
There was a statue standing that she had not seen before.
A yet-to-be-completed statue of Goddess Freya.
“Isn’t she really a beautiful goddess, traveler?”
A maiden spoke to Seoyoon. But her eyes were transfixed on the statue.
“Weed, one of the heroic saviors of our village, is carving the statue of the Goddess for us. When it is completed, my village will stay free of monsters and we will live in peace once again. I cannot imagine what would happen if he were not here for us…”
Seoyoon looked at Weed’s statue. It was incomplete. Yet it was strikingly beautiful. It was almost dazzling to her eyes.
The statue of Goddess Freya radiated a splendor that relaxed onlookers all the while It showed a benevolent and comforting smile.
As she looked on the statue, she felt that smile was transforming the world into something brighter, a more positive.
The other statue of Goddess Freya that she had brought was a masterpiece found in the Order, it was also of a high aesthetic value and had an aura of piety.
However, now that she looked at the statue carved by Weed, she thought that hers was petty, like the glimmer of a firefly in the face of a rising sun.
Seoyoon looked on at the statue for a while longer and left Baran Village in silence– without noticing that the statue made by Weed was modeled after her.
Even Weed who feared nothing under the sun, felt his fingers shaking at that very moment. He had devoted over ten days of solid effort to this work.
Since the news of a new statue of Goddess Freya was widespread, a swarm of spectators had visited Baran Village.
Aside from the punitive force and Rosenheim soldiers, people came even from the nearby city of Demeron.With a final touch on the eyes of the goddess by Weed, the statue was completed.
“What a goddess!”
“Goddess Freya is really descending on us in our village!”
Villagers and spectators exclaimed. It was very noisy with chattering, and prayers from the faithful who knelt down before the statue.
Then, a message window visible only to Weed popped up.
Statue Completed: The Statue of Goddess Freya (Fine):
Art is not always recognized for the it’s style and skill of the work in question. It is worthy of being called great art as long as it touches many hearts and cleanses many minds.
The statue of Goddess Freya, of outstanding beauty, despite low expertise in Sculpture Mastery, will hold the public eye forever.
Artistic Value: 150
+15% Increased health and mana regeneration for 25 hours.
This effect does not stack with other statues.
Number of Fine Pieces Created: 1
‘A Fine piece!’ Weed thought excitedly.
This title is only granted to artworks recognized by users. Extensive skills alone cannot produce fine pieces, grand pieces, or master pieces in sculpture mastery.
Only when a sculptor devotes himself to create a work of soul and heart that is highly appreciated by other users, only then does it deserve any of the above titles.
In other words, the completed Statue of Goddess Freya was extraordinary by any measure.As the statue earned the title of fine piece, it was given an option, too.
Still in the basic beginner stages of Sculpture Mastery, Weed wasn’t qualified to produce an artwork with options. Never the less, combined with Zahab’s sculpting knife, his fine piece generated an exceptional effect.
This was a jackpot that over-reached even his own expectations.
Level up: Sculpture Mastery (Beginner Lv: 9 | 0%):
Enables you to produce more delicate and detailed works.
Fame has risen by 50 points (+50 FAME)
Art has risen by 15 points (+15 ART)
Perseverance has risen by 10 points (+10 PER)
Vitality has risen by 5 points (+5 VIT)
A bunch of stats rose in return for creating a fine piece.
Weed’s basic sculpture mastery finally reached the expertise rating of seventy percent at level nine, on the verge of upgrading to the intermediate stage, and his fame shot up as well.
Still, he felt cheated.
A fine piece didn’t come out anytime.
Weed’s current skill level in the basic sculpture mastery was nine, but when he was busy carving the statue, it had been only eight.
It had been applied as skill level seven in the intermediate stage, though, thanks to the hammer and Zahab’s sculpting knife.
Technically speaking, fine pieces were almost impossible below the intermediate stage of sculpture mastery. He was aware that if he had not been empowered by Zahab’s sculpting knife, he could not have produced such a beautiful statue of the goddess.
His skill level in sculpture mastery was still lacking.
Had Weed reached the intermediate stage, or even the expert one, before he carved the statue of the goddess, it could rank among the pantheon of grand pieces, not far from master pieces.
Then, he would have received five stat promotions, one of the few privileges limited to sculptors.
Other sculptors, fewer than a handful on the continent, besides Weed the Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, lack combat ability.
They are denied access to spell casting in the first place, not that their strength and defense are anything other than contemptible.
The handicraft skill compensates low attack power only a little for them.
No party of sound mind would allow them in, so they have to overcome lots of bloodshed single-handedly.
The sculptor class relies on stats that are raised higher than average users at the same level by such a fortune.
It didn’t mean, though, that a sculptor can develop his sculpture mastery and produce fine pieces and beyond any time he desired. Even a highly reputable sculptor is incapable of producing fine pieces and grand pieces at his discretion.
A fine piece is created only when a sculptor melts his soul into the mold of an image of the ultimate beauty.
Suppose you go through hell for ten days to carve a statue, and it turns out to be a mediocre work, slightly affecting your stats, how would you feel about it? Worse enough, what if it rather cuts down your hard-earned reputation as a sculptor?
You will be praised if you don’t jump off a cliff from it. There are actually many former sculptors who delete their avatars after exactly the same demise.
Sculptor is such a hard and tough profession.
Ghandilva approached Weed and grasped his hand.
“Thank you, Weed-nim! You’ve made such a great statue of Goddess Freya, and we villagers will be forever blessed in her presence. Also, the tidings of the statue will bring more even more travelers here. You’re now the second founder of Baran Village!”
Quest Complete: The Statue of Goddess Freya:
Ghandilva sincerely appreciates your work!
The statue of Goddess Freya erected in Baran Village will shore the villagers up in hope and courage. They will welcome you anytime in the future.
Fame has risen by 30 points (+30 FAME)
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
Your influence in Baran Village has reached: 60%
1st: Weed: 60%
2nd: Darius: 45%
3rd: Seoyoon: 33%
As the work turned out way better than wildest expectations, the rewards for the quest were accordingly unprecedented.
A quest with three level ups could rank amongst the highest in difficulty level D ones.
Plus, his public service to the village shot up his influence to first place.
Public service depends on various factors. If you are recognized for public service, than enlarging your influence in a town, you can purchase items in bulk at a discount there, and you are even eligible for a government position such as an elder or a feudal lord.
Weed had rocketed in public service by collecting credits for the rescue mission on the captive villagers and the production of the Statue of Goddess Freya, as well as selling weapons and gear that his party had looted from the lizardmen’s stronghold.
In the case of Darius, needless to say, he was the leader of the punitive force quest to win back the village.
Then, for Seoyoon, she had slaughtered a number of threatening monsters around Baran Village, and sold furs and items to the general store.
Before Weed and Darius came to town, her influence in Baran Village had been indisputably number one.
“Seoyoon is in third place? She’s been here before?”
Weed heart skipped a beat, probably two...
When he modeled her for the statue during its production, he had been confident that she would never come here and take notice of her own image.
The Versailles continent was vast enough.
If she had seen this statue, she might just smile coldly and behead him without question.
‘She’s a murderer, so it isn’t a remote possibility at all!’
Especially if Seoyoon ever read Weed’s writing engraved on the statue, she might kill him over and over, easily beyond hundred times. No, he’d better brace himself for the worse.
Upon completion of the statue, Weed had been very satisfied with what he had created.
He had yet to know if it would turn out be a great, average or even a failed work, but he had still been enchanted by his own artwork.
So, purely out of attachment, he had left a short epitaph on the bottom of the Statue of Goddess Freya with Zahab’s sculpting knife.
A trait no Korean can get rid of!
Weed asked cautiously, “Excuse me, Elder Ghandilva?”
“What is it, Weed-nim?”
“Was it Seoyoon that you requested to find a replacement for the statue of the goddess?”
“Yes, she is the one. So you know her, too? She is a fine lady. She accepted my strangest request, though she has not come back yet…”
“I see.” Weed replied calmly.
Weed was relieved that Seoyoon had not returned by now. If she had come back when he was in the middle of carving the statue, he was afraid what sort of hell would have broken loose.
‘She might have killed me in revenge for me stealing her quest!’
As the job was done, he wanted to leave for the City of Heaven as soon as possible. He wanted to get the hell out of town before he ran across Seoyoon again. But Ghandilva didn’t let go of his hand.
Ghandilva lowered his tone and said “I have something to tell you, the savior of my village, Weed-nim.”
“Go on, please.” Weed replied patiently.
“Do you believe in destiny? I do not think it is an accident that you came to my village.”
“A priest from the Order of Goddess Freya once visited my village and told us that evil was raging. They are expanding their influence in the invisible realm, lower than where we are, and in the dark and cold. The priest from the Order of Goddess Freya declared that only the ‘Courageous One’ could defeat them! He then granted me the power to select the Courageous One.”
“I did not fully comprehend what his words meant at the time, but I now do! I have not revealed this secret to you; the seed that has passed down in my family will serve you as guidance to a new land. The priest told me to find a man by the name of Seagull, in order to get back the Lost Treasure from the Temple of Freya. Find him. Become the Courageous One who shall defeat the evil!”
Obtained information regarding the Lost Treasure of Freya
‘This is a follow-on quest to the Statue of Goddess Freya! It doesn’t look like it has any downsides. Awesome. To think that such an opportunity would come to me!’
Weed acknowledged his fortune once again. Part of it was attributed to Seoyoon, who had failed to show up with a new statue, and in turn, opportunity had found him.
“It is my long cherished wish to prevent evil from raging in the world. I will do my best to recover the lost treasure from the Temple of Freya.”
You have accepted the quest!
Weed concluded the conversation with Ghandilva and headed for his teammates who had been waiting for him.
“Great job, Weed-nim. I never thought that a statue could be so beautiful,”
Pale said looking at the statue with fevered eyes, which was very unusual for him. Surka, Irene and Romuna looked intensely moved as well.
There levels had reached around mid-sixties by hunting monsters continuously and with little sleep while Weed was busy carving the statue of Freya.
“It’s amazing. It looks so real. It’s the most beautiful statue I’ve ever seen.”
“I bet even Goddess Freya can’t rival this statue in beauty.”
“How did you create such an image? I can’t help but admire your exquisite aesthetic sense and artistic soul…”
Weed felt more than a little embarrassed by their praise.
Exquisite aesthetic sense? Artistic soul?
Their eyes betrayed that they had been too shamefully blind and dull to recognize a once-in-a-lifetime artist, though he was always right there before their eyes.
Who? You mean, Weed? Saying that he was power-hungry would be more plausible.
‘Would they believe it if I told them I was clueless until I actually got to work? No, I don’t think so.’ Weed thought amusedly.
What’s the point of telling them something that they wouldn’t believe, anyway?
A good salesman doesn’t tell you everything when he knocks on your door to sell something. A good salesmen hides the flaws and highlights the merits of the product he’s trying to sell.
The bottom line is: what is good for you is the best policy.
“I made this statue as I pictured all of you in my mind, Ladies Irene, Surka and Romuna. Your pure hearts and pretty faces are cherished in the statue, so it looks as beautiful as it is now.”
“Oh my!” they breathed out, deeply touched by Weeds words.
Girls are simple creatures, aren’t they? All the girls in Weed’s party were happy to hear such a flimsy lie.
“Hey, you’re that Weed, right?” Darius said, as he came up to where Weed was and his party were standing.
“You’re quite good at sculpture mastery. Is that a grand piece?”
Darius was well versed in many fields of knowledge. At level one-forty, he must have picked up a few pieces of information about sculptors somewhere.
“No,” Weed said.
“Then, is it a fine piece?” Darius asked.
“Yes,” Weed said.
“Oh, I never believed I’d see a fine piece. I heard there were less than a hundred sculptors who ever created fine pieces…”
Darius showed his surprise with exaggerated gestures. Then, he made a feline smile.
“Congratulations. I guess you earned quite a number of stats for this. At least some good fortune should befall to sculptors who are pitiful in abilities sometimes.”
Darius made light of Weed, solely based on the fact that he was a sculptor.
In fact, most sculptors are weak. Their combat skills are contemptible even if they have higher stats that are raised by the production of fine pieces and whatever else.
Even if they know a powerful combat skill, they don’t know how to fight properly.
Why do they choose to be sculptors?
It is because they are poor at fighting in the first place. Many fights beget good fighters.
For most users who belong to non-combative classes, they are simply inept in fighting.
They usually get confused, as they are ignorant of how to respond to an enemy attack, and lost to what role they should take in a party.
The elementary combat skills that they can learn are ineffective in general, and even the expertise rating is low enough to be ridiculed by their teammates.
Plus, they have to practice their sculpture mastery to become a full-fledged sculptor, so they are weaker than their counterparts in everything, including their overall level, provided that the same hours are invested in building their avatars.
Of course, Weed was the exception!
“Hey, watch your mouth.”
Pale, one of Weed’s teammates stepped forward in a fit of passion. He could not stand Darius holding his teammate in contempt.
Then, all hell broke loose.
“How can there be someone like this guy?”
“His face looks like a skillet covered in grease after cooking sausages in it…”
“Fools never think before they shoot off their mouth. Weed-nim’s so good at fighting…”
Surka, Romuna and Irene shot back, respectively.
Young Surka was hot-blooded enough to say that! Romuna, who had her own share of anger from time to time, was expected too. But what really threw Pale and Weed off was that, was of all people, Irene, always a calm and gentle soul, had flared up.
There was no way that the dense Pale and Weed could have known that those three girls together could easily change someone’s status into ‘kill-on-sight’ when needed. Even if Weed’s judgment doubled or tripled, he would never fully comprehend half the aspects of women in his lifetime.
It is foolish to assume that you know a woman just because you can make her happy with a few compliments.
Weed missed his chance to get angry.
However, he took his revenge in the thundering denunciations from the girls.
“Wha-what was that?”
Darius’ eyes sparked. But neither Irene nor Romuna flinched in the slightest.
“Why, did we say something that wasn’t right?”
“How dare you…”
“So what’re you going to do? Kill us?”
“Do you think I’ll let you get away with this?!”
Darius was about to pull his sword out. If he, Level 140 warrior, was resolved to have a bloodbath now, Weed and his teammates could not withstand him.
No, Weed could stand a chance if he succeeded in realizing the best of his potential. His level was in the seventies. But, with his inflated stats, he was close to a level 100 warrior.
Considering his cheat-like skills and combat ability, he was certain he could beat Darius.
Utilizing the element of a surprise, and given that Darius was writing off Weed, seizing the moment when he wasn’t prepared for it, Weed could beat the hell out of him in a flat minute.
The only problem was that if the duel lasted longer than a minute, Weed would run out of mana because of pouring it into combat skills, and would end up dead for sure.
Weed wasn’t afraid of Darius in the sense of stats, but he knew that his weakness lay in the duration of the fight. He was, so to speak, a typical case of premature ejaculation, a man’s number one secret fear. Surely, he was still stronger than average users at his level after he spent his lifetime on mana booster.
“Darius, take it easy!”
“Let me go! I’ll teach those bitches some manners!”
“You’re the commander of the punitive force. You can’t pick a duel with your subordinates. If you do that, do you know how many of your fame points will drop? Do you really want to give up the quest altogether?”
Parros and other minions from Darius’ party held him back. They talked him out of bursting into a rage, and he calmed down at last.
“Okay, I’ll forgive you this time.” At Darius’ comment, Romuna just poured more scorn on him with a sneer.
“Who do you think you are to decide who forgives whom?”
“Everyone makes mistakes, but he acts like he’s royalty or something.”
Surka’s final blow almost ignited the second round of the quarrel, but by then other members of the punitive force had been drawn by the commotion, and gathered around them.
Darius and his minions had already lost respect and credibility. On the other hand, Weed and his teammates were deemed respectable. For one thing, Weed had cooked great meals throughout the march.
He had even repaired weapons and armors when broken, and for unidentified items, his free service of item identification was invaluable.
His other teammates had been kind to other users except for Darius, so their reputations were good enough.
While Weed had been busy carving the statue of the goddess, Pale and the girls joined several parties for hunting, and their steadily upgraded skills and swift hunting tactics made them a favorite for any party.
Weed later learned that Darius and his minions had to hunt alone because no one else bothered inviting them. Under those circumstances, Weed was in a far stronger position.
Parros, one of Darius’ few friends, said in an arrogant tone, in the place of Darius whose face was frozen in silence, “We are member of Ica Guild. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s one of the three top guilds in Rosenheim.”
Weed had of course heard of Ica Guild. It was notorious for bad behavior, hardly surprising after he saw how Darius had acted.
“We’re planning to occupy a city in the near future, so we need a good hanging plate. Would you come visit us later to carve one? We’ll pay you well.”
In the end, Darius had only visited Weed to request the hanging plate. But he had been in a terrible mood for a while now.
He had succeeded in the punitive quest with elation, but what was left in his pocket was much less than predicted.
It was because someone else had already stripped the lizardmen’s stronghold of all its items.
In a rage, Darius and his minions had been looking for the culprits, but they could not possibly suspect Weed, the mere sculptor who was carving the statue of Goddess Freya, and his teammates, objectively speaking, whose low level exempted them from the list of usual suspects.
During their private investigation, they had made a series of terrible blunders that caused more friction between them and other users, while Weed had received a solid quest from Ghandilva the elder and completed the Statue of Goddess Freya, as if to rub salt in their wounds.
To put it bluntly, Darius was jealous.
So he had spoken to Weed rudely, and it eventually twisted the whole thing into a more complex knot.
As soon as they were through with Baran Village, the punitive force led by Darius packed their stuff and headed northward to return to the Citadel.
There were some users who liked nearby hunting fields, but the village itself hardly appealed to them.There was no pub where hunters could gulp down icy cold beer after a day of rich games.A glass of beer after a day’s hunting.
Everyone missed the delicate taste sluicing down their throat, and hurried out to leave town.
It was decided that Baran Village would be protected by the Rosenheim soldiers.
Weed and his teammates reported the punitive quest directly to Ghandilva.
“Thank you for your service. We will always remember what you have done for the sake of us villagers.”
For the reward of the quest, Ghandilva gave Weed twenty fame points.
Since he was carving the statue while other users were hunting down the remnants of the lizardmen, he had practically given up on it, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a great gain for him.
Other users at level eighties in the punitive force received between ten and fifteen fame points.
Weed thought that rescuing captive villagers and robbing the lizardmen’s stronghold had worked a mini-sized miracle.
Weed and his teammates told Darius that they wanted to stay behind to hunt monsters there, with an excuse that they still had low levels.
“Now is the time,” Weed said.
At his statement, his teammates smiled expectantly.
“Then, let’s go to a dark, quiet place.”
“Of course, to a very, very quiet place… To somewhere we’re not going to be seen.” Romuna covered her mouth with a hand and chuckled coquettishly.
If one heard her, they might misunderstand.
Two men and three girls headed for the Western Mountain out of Baran Village. Once the lizardmen’s stronghold, it was now secluded enough to meet their need for quiet.
“La la la.” The girls were humming.
They were walking to a very, very dark, quiet, out-of-the-way place.
Before long, they reached the foot of the Western Mountain where there was no one within a few miles. They were already prepared for a long journey.
“It looks good here.”
“Okay everyone, get ready.”
Weed carefully dug up the soil and planted the seed in it. Then, he watered it a little.
It showed no reaction for a while, but the soil that blanketed the seed soon began to turn red.
“Kyaaa!” Surka cried in alarm.
A great earthquake shook the ground!
The seismic center lay where Weed had sowed the seed. The earth split into two, and a thick trunk shot up into the sky.
Thirty feet, sixty feet…
In the blink of an eye, a topless pillar stood before Weed’s party. Yet the trunk kept on growing.
Watching the trunk rise above the clouds, Weed said, “The City of Heaven must be up there. I think this vine will guide us to it.”
“Now we’ve come all the way here, why shrink away? Hold on to this fast. Or we might end up climbing the vine from halfway.”
“Shoot! I don’t want to do that.”
Weed took out a rope from his backpack and tied his teammates to him.
“Together we live, together we die.”
“Yeah!” they cheered.
Weed and Pale decided to hang on to the vine first.
This was so that even if Irene or Romuna, the least muscular, lost their grip, the men up on the vine could prevent them from all falling from the sky.
Weed and his teammates clung on to the trunk sprouting from the seed of the Heavenly Tree.
Then they shot up into the sky.