Land of the Myth

Ghandilva the Elder of Baran Village was in a dilemma. The Village home to five hundred households. Baran Village had once been a peaceful village in the southern province of Rosenheim Kingdom. It has been invaded by lizardmen as of late. The villagers had dispersed, while some of the women had been taken captive.

“I’d like to hear where this seed comes from,” Weed said.

Ghandilva’s colorless eyes shone with the light of hope.

“Would you help us when I tell you what I know, Master?”

“Please don’t insult me, sir. Whether you speak or not, I will help your people. When innocents are held captive by evil monsters, how can a fellow man leave it alone and go his way?”

“Oh!”

Ghandilva was struck by a surge of excitement. While everyone else dismissed his plea for help, here was a Good Samaritan who offered his sword for the rescue.

“Darius-nim declined my request… because all I could offer in return was this seed,” Ghandilva said.

Certain that Darius was already out of earshot, Weed said carefully, “Who would weigh the value of a good deed? It is utterly irresponsible.”

“The world still has a few good men left.”

Weed’s eyes casually turned to Ghandilva’s clenched fist.

“By the way, what is this seed?”

“Oh, this. I don’t know what life it bears.”

“Don’t you even know where it came from?”

“The seed has been passed down in my family. My ancestors told me to guard it zealously for it is invaluable. I have vowed to give it to a fine warrior in return for a favor.”

Everything clicked as if two puzzle pieces in a fog fit together. But it was still a fifty-fifty risk.

Was it the seed to show Weed the way to the City of Heaven, or just a plain seed of some nameless plant?

Among countless professions, there are gardeners and farmers. Unsurprisingly, they are too few to find anywhere.

“Will you rescue my people, Master?”

Ting

The Calamity of Baran Village

Baran was a peaceful and lively village till the Eastern Border was ravaged by hideous monsters.When the lizardmen raided the village, Ghandilva the Elder didn’t have enough time to save all his people. He escaped, taking only the young. The adults decided to stay behind to stall for time.

The wicked lizardmen captured the resisting adults and, instead of beheading them, enslaved them in a stronghold in the Western Valley.

Rescue the parents of the children. As time is ticking by, the lizardmen will show no hesitation in killing the villagers one after another.

Difficulty Level: D

Reward: A Nameless Seed

Number of Captives: 55

A quest with D level difficulty. It was equal to the Punitive Force quest.

Weed had an A level quest that was to succeed Zahab’s will, but it was still far beyond his capabilities. To his dismay, however, it took up valuable space in the quest window.

This quest was more difficult than anything that Weed had ever done. But he read the quest’s descriptions over and over, skipping the difficulty level part; parents in distress.

The memory of Weed’s parents ceased when he was eight years old. Since then he could summon only the darkest hours of his life when the loan sharks had bullied him.

“It was the only legacy left to me.”

Still, Weed missed his father and mother. He would pay any price to bring them back to life if possible.

As the would-be savior was deep in thought, Ghandilva fretted and asked, “I suppose you’re not satisfied with the reward?”

“…”

“Once my village is restored, we will pay back your debt over time.”

“No, it’s fine. It is more than I could ask for. I will finish the quest as soon as possible.”

You have accepted the quest.

“Thank you, Master. The lizardmen headed toward the valley in a mountain west of my village. I will await you with good news.”

When Ghandilva left, Weed’s teammates came over.

“Weed-nim, what just happened?”

“Did you accept the quest?”

Pale and Surka gazed at Weed in disbelief. He had just accepted a new quest that would reward them with a mere seed.

“No questions asked. Catch up to the guy, and accept the quest I just got.”

Weed was the de facto leader of the party.

His teammates reasoned that there should have been some logic behind Weed’s insistence, so they walked to Ghandilva and asked for the quest, which he eagerly gave them.

“I’m with Weed-nim.”

“I also want to offer you my bow in rescuing the villagers.”

Your party accepted the quest.

The rest of Weed’s party accepted the quest, but they wondered what the whole point was.

Pale shook his head.

“I can’t understand why you gave up the punitive force quest and instead picked this quest after we came all the way here.”

“It will present a great opportunity if I’m not mistaken. Whether I’m right or not, this is still better than fighting the lizardmen alongside the troops.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Suppose we fight the lizardmen with the punitive force. At our levels, we can’t gain much in terms of experience and fame.”

They agreed with Weed. Their levels were far lower than those of Darius and his minions. They were originally interested in search and destroy missions that would take place after the troops drove the lizardmen out of town, so the large-scale battle meant little to them. Sandwiched amid two hundred other users at higher levels, Weed’s party was, at best, more of a liability.

“I have a hunch that we’d be better off switching to this quest,” Weed said.

“But the difficulty level is D… Don’t you think it’s too difficult for the five of us?” Surka asked.

“Don’t worry. I have a plan,” Weed said.

“Okay, Weed-nim. We’re with you,” Pale said.

Weed decided to accept Ghandilva’s quest, and with his party, broke away from the ranks. Soon, two men came over to the deserters.

They were Becker and Dale, denarions of the Rosenheim Army.

“Commander! Where are you going?” Dale asked.

“We are getting closer to destroy the lizardmen,” Weed said.

Weed answered fatefully, “My teammates and I are leaving to liberate the villagers, fathers and mothers of homeless children, from the lizardmen’s stronghold.”

“Quite a difficult mission!”

Becker was startled by Weed’s statement. Dale looked disbelieving.

“Will only five of you penetrate the depths of their stronghold?”

Dale sized up Weed’s party. He concluded that they appeared weaker than he. He banged his chest and offered his service.

“Commander, we want to support you in the mission” Dale said.

“Yes, Sir. Our commander will allow us to join you when he hears of your heroic act” Becker said.

The friendship that Weed had built with them worked that time again.

There are some unjustifiable events that are definitely rejected by soldiers, regardless of their loyalty, such as a perfidious mutiny or the mass killing of innocent villagers. Charisma and good relationships cannot motivate them unless it is supported by the leader’s fame or a just cause.

In the eyes of the denarions, it was regarded as a heroic act that Weed volunteered to rescue the villagers. As it was also largely associated with the original punitive force quest, they felt justified in helping him.

After a moment of silence, Weed said, “I am more than grateful to hear that from you, but I can’t accept your service. You are currently dispatched to win over Baran Village under Darius-nim, aren’t you?”

“But…”

“The fewer the people for this mission, the better! I ask you to do your best in your place. What if we succeed in bringing back the parents, and find there is no place to stay for the families?”

“Aye, Commander.”

Becker and Dale were persuaded and gave in.

Two hundred foot soldiers from Rosenheim Army would make it easier to set the captives free from the stronghold of the lizardmen, especially as all the denarions used to serve Weed.

The quest would be less burdensome if he had accepted their support. His strong charisma could turn them into a formidable force.

The downside was, however, that Darius would take notice of it.

Weed and his teammates deserting from the punitive force of three hundred users and two hundred soldiers could go unnoticed, but the disappearance of a great number of soldiers would surely reach Darius’ ears and move him to find out why.

Weed and his teammates headed for the mountain west of Baran Village described by Ghandilva.

The Western Mountain had a gloomy demeanor.

A humid fog arising from waterfalls in the valley created the best conditions for the lizardmen.

“I can tell their territory extends way over here.”

Pale the ranger had improved his vision and observation skills to optimize the merits of his class. They were mandatory for rangers, which were given to intercept enemies at a distance, and to analyze diverse landscapes.

He was concentrating on the ranger’s passive skills, such as Multiple Shot and Penetration. It was the most popular tech path up to the second transformation of the ranger class.

Meanwhile Weed, whose class was sculptor, superseded others in sword mastery, thanks to his sculpture mastery and Zahab’s Engraving Knife.

“Yes, I think the lizardmen crossed the Eastern border and camped here,” Weed answered shortly, studying the landscape. The valley was wider than you would think.

They trod in fear that lizardmen could surprise them from the surrounding forest.

Finally, they encountered lizardmen warriors. The reptiles resembled giant lizards on two feet with slippery, greenish skin. No less than level sixty.

“Eew, gross,” Romuna remarked.

Weed could not disagree with her. Monsters in general were repulsive and unsightly.

Yet they hardly scared him.

“I’ll just use the same trick as I did on the goblins,” he said to himself.

The lizardmen’s levels were ten higher than those of the goblins, but they were handicapped by living in the field since monsters in lairs, or at night, were stronger by half. However, those lizardmen were not stronger than goblins.

Weed equipped himself with the hard iron sword, instead of the bow. He had been so busy with cooking meals and selling statues, away from the battlefield, that his body was itching for blood.

“Now I can try one of the sword techniques.”

Imperial Formless Sword Technique!

The five movements recorded in the skill books were as follows:

The First Form:
Mana Consumption: 300
With splendor, you strike an enemy three times consecutively.
As the skill develops, the number of strikes and damage rises.

The Second Form:
Mana Consumption: 400
You sneak behind an enemy in a flash and strike his back.

The Third Form:
Mana Consumption: 600
You destroy an enemy’s weapon by improving attack power five times temporarily.

The Fourth Form:
Mana Consumption: 1000
You aim at an enemy’s vulnerable spot in a dance-like motion.

The Fifth Form:
You harmonize with your sword.
Concentrate all of your mana and explode into a single point.
Mana is consumed to zero, and if the amount of mana is below 2000, your life will be reduced as well.

The single footstep technique was an active combat skill to dodge an enemy attack by seven swift steps.

Weed nicknamed each form in the sword technique individually.

The first form was named Triple, and the rest Backstab, Power Break, Sword Dance, and Sword Kaiser, respectively.

Weed’s mana totaled 940 points thanks to the Emperor’s Tablets. He could execute the skill Triple three times, Backstab twice, and Power Break only once.

Moves beyond the third form were out of the question because his mana could not sustain them. He could activate the fifth form, Sword Kaiser, without mana, but it was too adventurous to gamble his life on a single attempt.

He labeled the footstep from the skill book as Seven Celestial Footstep. It alone consumed 100 MPs. Fortunately it lasted at least a minute once it was activated.

“Let’s see what I can do.”

Weed had not fought once since he learned the Imperial Formless Sword Technique.

“In broad daylight, they are not as strong as they’re supposed to be,” Weed said to his teammates in a low voice. “The lizardmen are empowered to their full extent in swamps, but they’re far weaker in a valley. I’ll go first and fight them.”

Monsters that are adapted to a dry climate, such as poisonous scorpions and sandworms, prevail in the desert.

Finding a home in swamps, the lizardmen are weakened in the open, as in this case.

Still, his teammates were surprised.

Weed had just suggested they assault the stronghold of the lizardmen.

They had been following him to this point, but they counted on him to have a scheme to overwhelm the lizardmen, who outnumbered them.

“Wa—wait a sec. Can we really just get into their stronghold?” Pale asked.

“Yes, why not?” Weed said.

“But this quest has a difficulty level D…” Pale said.

“For the difficulty level D, at least eight hundred lizardmen are encamped over there. Am I correct?” Weed said.

Pale nodded dumbly at Weed.

“Eight hundred give or take.”

“I’m sure that was exactly the case when we accepted Ghandilva’s request. But don’t count out Darius too soon. He’s helping us out.”

“Darius