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.

“Godspeed”

Once everyone else left, Weed stood motionless in the central square of the village.

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.

“Let’s go.”

Weed took out a hammer and a chisel to cleave the rock.

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.

Hammer and Chisel for Sculpture:

Durability: 10/10

They are a set of items for stone carving. Relatively cheap, they are dull and easily breakable. Careful handling is recommended.

Clang clang clang!

“The only difference to wood carving is the material. Sculpture is all about the mental image, about how to shape an object. 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.

Day two, 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 even seen her actual appearance. This is why sculptors and painters are often challenged when creating artworks of her.

Artists are dubious how to depict 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 a real headache over this issue. At the same time, it stimulates their pride as artists.
Suppose two rivals carve statues, or paint paintings, of 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.

Claaang! Clang!

The speed of the hammer and chisel working on the rock was slowing down, as Weed dug deeper into his thoughts.

Who, and how should I shape the statue after?

Weed’s head became a maze.

Though this profession of 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.

“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 into shape.Beauty beyond veiling.
An angel descends from the celestial realm and learns to smile.
Her smile envelopes the world with light.
She is but a single maiden.

Seoyoon.

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 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 was enchanted 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 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 the way to completion.

“Oh my!”

“Look at that!”

Though only the general outline was roughly drafted, the Rosenheim soldiers were glued to the sight.

Even villagers gathered, laying reconstruction work aside, and appreciated Weed’s working on the 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.

Seoyoon.

She had already removed the scarlet sign of Murderer from her forehead by slaying lots of monsters, and none of fellow users.Her name wasn’t cast in red anymore.

There are more people.

It’s disturbing.

I just want to fight.

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 Goddess Freya.

Ghandilva’s house, which she had not visited for months, had been largely destroyed by the lizardmen.

The moment she opened the door–

“You are great. Goddess Freya 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 complete, my village will begin peaceful life once again. I will never forget your kindness. Please help yourself.”

Munch munch

Now Seoyoon could hear someone devouring his 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 unpopulated hinterlands and backwater villages, fighting monsters all the way.

Either mountains or lairs had suited her as long as there were more monsters.Battle after battle.

Seoyoon could forget everything else in it. In doing so, she had drifted to Baran Village.

The village had been peaceful back then, way before the lizardmen’s raid and occupation.

– Whew… What should I do now?

Seoyoon had visited the village to purchase food and dispose of her spoils by sale, and she 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, 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?

Speechless, Seoyoon could not take most of the quests available to other users. She had been unable to build friendship with NPCs, let alone users, and was nearly blind to background information.

All she could do in any given town was selling items she had obtained, and buy items she needed.

She had nodded at Ghandilva who was in grief, and 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 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 the route because they had to survive an enormous number of monsters.

Seoyoon had cut 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 the beautiful goddess, traveler?”

A maiden spoke to Seoyoon. But her eyes were transfixed on the statue.

“Weed, a heroic savior of our village, is carving the statue of the Goddess. When it is finished, my village will stay free of monsters and live in peace once again. I cannot imagine if he were not there for us…”

Seoyoon looked at Weed’s statue. It was incomplete. Yet it was beautiful. It was dazzling.

The statue of Goddess Freya radiated splendors that relaxed onlookers. It showed a benevolent and comforting smile.

She felt that the smile was transforming the world into something brighter, more positive.

The other statue of Goddess Freya that she had brought was a masterpiece found in the Order. It was of a high aesthetic value, and had an aura of piety.

Now that she looked at the statue carved by Weed, however, she thought that hers was petty, like the glimmer of a firefly in the face of a rising sun.

“……”

Seoyoon looked at the statue for a while and left Baran Village in silence – without noticing that the statue by Weed was modeled after her.

* * *

Tremble

Even Weed who feared nothing under the sun, felt his fingers shaking at that very moment. He had devoted over ten days 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.

Fine Piece: You completed The Statue of Goddess Freya!

Art is not always recognized for the 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

Effects:Increases speed of life and mana recovery by 15% for 24 hours.

The effect does not overlap with another statue.

Number of Fine Pieces Created:1

Fine piece!

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 stage of sculpture mastery, Weed wasn’t qualified to produce an artwork with options. But combined with Zahab’s engraving knife, his fine piece generated an exceptional effect.

A jackpot that over-reached his expectations.

Level up: Sculpture mastery [9]

Enables you to produce more delicate and detailed works.

Fame rises by 50 point. (+50 Fame)

Art rises by 15 point. (+15 Art)

Endurance rises by 10 point. (+10 EDR)

Vitality rises by 5 point. (+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.

“Shoot.”

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.<