The City of Heaven
A pub. A place that was usually filled with hearty laughter and clamorous noises had been silent for the last few days all because of a single man, Volk.
He had a scarily massive body, but what was scarier was his face.
Considering that someone whose countenance could make an Orc’s heart skip a beat had been drinking gloomily all day long, it was hardly surprising that the pub was drowned in silence.
Volk made a face while drinking.
‘I want to propose to her. I need something special for her, if there is anything.’
Volk wanted to propose to a lady. His heart-breaking anguish wasn’t visible to others.
‘A gift for her. Right, I heard of a sculptor in the Citadel of Serabourg. I will ask him to make one for me. If he makes something that pleases my heart, I will give him the most precious thing I have in return.’
Volk left the pub, stumbling.
* * *
“Whew, this is still full of users here.”
Back in the capital of Rosenheim kingdom after seven weeks, Weed felt a headache coming on at the sight of an incalculable number of avatars.
It was a dizzy scene in which buyers and sellers were actively trading with one another, and new adventurers were looking for partners to join their adventure.
“Quick, Arse! Let’s go to your home.”
Weed led the colt to the Royal Stable. It followed him obediently.
The beast had just survived the poison gas from the queen worm, as luck would have it.
As if it knew by instinct that it had missed imminent death more times than it deserved, the colt was willing to stay out of Weed’s way; the sooner it got home, the better.
There was a shabby stable outside the Royal Palace. As soon as the chief horse trainer laid eyes on the colt, he grimaced.
“The good times are gone, now that this mouth-firing Arse is back. Heard of you from Lord Midvale. Are you returning this beast that shames his father, Weed-nim?” Lighthearted now, Weed left the colt in an empty lot.
“You’ve had a good journey. I know this beast spells nothing but trouble.”
“I am fine. It’s over now.”
“Lord Midvale left a message. He wants you to visit him if you are still interested in the centurion job. He says it’s yours anytime.”
“Tell him I appreciate it.”
The chief horse trainer was polite to Weed who was virtually a stranger to him.
Assured once again that a man’s status depended on who his contacts were, and what he had done in his name, Weed left the Royal Stable and went to the Training Hall.
There, he met the instructor.
“Hmm. So that’s what happened to you…”
The instructor was very sorry that Weed was forced to convert to the Legendary Moonlight Sculptor class.
“It is my fault.”
Weed kept it short. He just dropped his head with a grim face.
“No. How can anyone in his right mind blame this on you? The counselor stepped over the line. Still, hang on to hope,”
The instructor said, patting Weed’s shoulder.
“Yes, Instructor. You’re the one I can always rely on…” Weed said.
“Haha. Absolutely. Anyway, you have come back from a great journey and you finished my quest.”
The instructor rewarded him with three gold and fifty points of public service to Rosenheim for the completion of The Clean-up Operation in the Lair of Litvart quest.
As public service is largely accumulated, it gives a user the upper hand in trades in the country in question, and he is qualified for government positions as well.
However, the instructor’s attitude changed slightly. He no longer considered Weed one of his kind as a colleague on the same path in swordsmanship.
It implied that the friendship between them, which Weed had worked so hard to build up, was crumbling a little.
After visiting the instructor, Weed stopped by at Rodriguez’s manor as his last visit. As always, the counselor was confined in his study.
“Haha. You really finished the quest,” Rodriguez said. “I was wondering how you fared because you had not appeared on my doorstep for a long time.”
“Hmm… Anyway, as destiny directs it, I have an object for you.”
Rodriguez handed Weed a wooden statue that fitted in his palm. It was shaped like an imperial knight.
“What is this?” Weed asked.
“It is the legacy of Geihar von Arpen the Magnificent. My family used to serve the Imperial Family of the Arpenian Empire. The blood, and the obligation accompanying it, has flowed in my family. I am the one to take the task for this generation. Now that I hand it to you, I am finally liberated from the reins,” Rodriguez said.
“But what is this statue for?” Weed had already received a wooden statue of a different shape when he carried out Zahab’s Moonlight Sculptor quest.
“I do not know the secret of this wooden statue, either,” Rodriguez said. “The myth has it that there have been five masters in sculptural art on the Continent. Of course, it is only an ancient myth, for they came and went like the wind. They are known to leave their own crafts in their legacies, so I surmise that this statue is probably one of them. According to the myth, if you succeeded in collecting all five of the statues, and solve the puzzle arising from them, the ultimate secret of sculptural art will appear.”
Still doubtful, Weed identified the wooden statue. Due to his low level in that skill, he succeeded in finding out the identity of the statue only after a couple of failed attempts.
This statue contains the Emperor Geihar Von Arpen’s skills.
Equips: Enables you to acquire a unique skill to give the breath of life to any statue.
When Weed identified the wooden statue left by Zahab, he also found an engraving knife technique whose prerequisite was five or above skill level in sword mastery.
“A great secret is hidden in sculpture mastery,” Weed said.
“You are now on the path in sculptural art, and I wish you the best in making Grand Master in sculpture mastery. The world has never seen a Grand Master, but if there is ever one, he will be able to handle the fate of the Continent easily,” Rodriguez said. “It is true that I introduced you to this path out of malicious intent, but it is also a true tale I have told you.”
Weed no longer resented Rodriguez. The past was the past, and a sudden interest in the craft hit him.
‘The one who creates his own path.’
Furthermore, Weed was told that if he ever made it, the days of riches and power would wait for him.
Rodriguez thought he had paid off old scores with Weed. At the sight of his sorry state after he wandered hungry and cold for seven weeks, the grudge was already gone in the counselor’s mind.
“I have another question, Counselor. Do cooks or blacksmiths have their own hidden path to becoming Grand Master?” Weed asked.
“I guess so. God is generous,” Rodriguez said. “Remember –not everyone on the path in the cooking skill sees and grabs the opportunity.”
“There must be other Chosen Ones! They will see to it their own way. It is up to them if they have it or not.”
When Weed had heard all he wanted to hear, he left the manor.
* * *
Darius heard his heart pounding. He had never expected to go this far when he had solved a series of trivial-looking quests.
The best luck, he called it.
There were two men at the center of a power game in Rosenheim Kingdom—Duke Kanus and Count Albrook. Of the two, Duke Kanus, in charge of the military affairs, was more powerful.
The man in question was now lowering a snowy white sword toward him now.
“Darius-nim, I hereby bestow temporary knighthood of Rosenheim upon you in recognition of your dedicated service to the Royal Court. I order you to form a punitive force by the power of a knight and rescue the villagers at the frontier from their misery.”
“At your service, milord. You can count on me,” Darius said.
“Sir Darius, I entrust this task to you,” Duke Kanus said.
Darius felt a slight touch of the blade on both shoulders in turn, then on the head.
It might have been a dreadful sensation in times of war, but he was in the middle of an ordination ceremony of knighthood in the Royal Palace of Rosenheim. Moreover, the holder of the sword was Duke Kanus.
Rather than fearful, it was such a memorable moment for Darius that he almost let out a cry of excitement. Darius had to fight this spontaneous temptation to exclaim and roll over on the tapestry in spite of the solemn atmosphere. Suppressing a smirk, his face wrinkled into a grin.
‘Now I’m the commander of a punitive force’ Darius counted himself very, very lucky.
* * *
‘I’ve got to do something’
Weed made a serious face.
The nature of the sculptor class that he happened to stumble on was as follows:
As Weed’s main weapon was a sword, it was useful to compare him to a sword warrior.
The moment the class is decided, a sword warrior wins a 50% bonus on sword mastery. Of course, Weed could close the gap with his useful handicraft skill as compensation.
Thanks to the initially heightened stats, even a knight at the same level was no match for him. In the case of relatively lower levels, he was confident that he would win a duel against two sword warriors at the same level, supported by the engraving knife technique and the Imperial Formless Sword Technique.
The Imperial Formless Sword Technique—Weed was surprised by its dominant power when he tried it.
This technique was something close to a cheat key, doubling the speed of reflex and the power of destruction, and even tripling the recovery of mana. No wonder the Emperor Geihar selected it to leave to his successor.
However, the warriors and knights also have sword skills and breathing patterns of their own. When they master a breathing pattern suitable to their own class, it has a great effect on them, even when the grade of sword techniques that they know is lower than Weed’s Imperial Formless Sword Technique.
It is the special right enjoyed by the knights and warriors, the two standard classes specialized in combat skills.
In other words, no matter whether Weed raised his handicraft skill and other stats zealously, and acquired more cheat-key-like skills, he would one day be caught up by his counterparts. Even now, Weed was only slightly ahead of them unless he used underhanded tactics.
Obviously, he would have been much weaker than an ordinary sword warrior without timely investment in the handicraft skill as well as the Imperial Formless Sword Technique, and additional stats that he had earned from the Training Hall.
‘But the sculptor class has a greater potential than appears. If not, the Emperor Geihar could not have conquered the Continent, and it would be hard to explain Zahab’s strength,’
he said to himself.
* * *
The Citadel of Serabourg, the capital of Rosenheim Kingdom.
In front of the Central Fountain where the thriving downtown was located, a line of avatars was watching various statues on display. Weed had opened a second stall to work on his skill level in sculpture mastery.
“Hello. How much is this?” a girl asked.
“Five silvers,” Weed said.
“Oh my, it’s too expensive. Can you please make a little discount for me? Please? I’ll buy two pieces.”
The cute girl beamed at Weed, trying to persuade him, but he was merciless. Especially when it came to money, he treated men and women alike.
“With due respect, young lady, a discount is like an insult to my artworks. Do you think I discounted my passion in art, and my devotion to the work in particular, when I carved this statue? An artwork has to bear a fair price that reflects its true value, which will grow within your mind as time passes,”
The girl was moved. It was silly that she tried to bargain for artwork that held the sculptor’s heart. Seized with remorse, she took shiny silver coins out of her pocket.
“I’m so sorry. Here are ten silvers,” the girl said.
“Thank you, young lady.”
Weed grinned demurely, handing over two statues. It was a winner’s smile, proud of himself that he had sold the statues as they were originally priced.
As a sculptor with the bold description ‘Legendary Moonlight,’ which he had resisted but converted to in the end, he carved beautiful statues even by the standard of Pratique Des Arts, Peinture, Sculpture, Gravure.
His current skill level in sculpture mastery was four. Since Weed converted to Moonlight Sculptor, the effects of his sculpture mastery had been doubled, not to mention that he owned one of the top items that amounted to a cheat key, Zahab’s Engraving Knife.
Weed’s lineup was yet limited to small-size statues made of plain materials by his immature expertise in sculpture mastery. Their simplicity and low price rather appealed to a broader spectrum of customers.
Some of his fans even lined up to pick up the artworks that he was working on there and then.
Foxes and rabbits, which cost less than ten coppers for materials, were the most popular items in his stall that sold at a lightning speed, though they were priced at five silvers.
Weed believed that his enterprise was an honest business. He wasn’t coercing anyone to buy his statues. What could he do about people flocking to get hold of them for the stated price?
Weed moved the engraving knife faster. He was raising his expertise rating in sculpture mastery while he was making money.
Like sculpture mastery, cooking, repair and other craft skills are upgraded from the basic stage to intermediate when they reach the skill level of ten, which falls back to one after the upgrade.
For cooking skill, this upgrade creates solid options of enhancing life and mana benefits for hand-made meals. For the repair skill, the intermediate stage introduces a new tech tree for producing and refining weapons and gear.
That isn’t the end of it.
When the skill level reaches ten once again, thus passing the intermediate stage, the expert stage descends on a new full-fledged master, who has proven worthy of himself by completing all the necessary steps.
A master in any field of skills, combat or craft, is recognized and respected based solely on the merits of his expertise in the skill, but overall craft skills, such as sculptural art and cooking skill, are very limited in prospect.
Weed’s priority at this point was upgrading his basic handicraft skill to the intermediate stage.
The skill level had increase to nin