1. Bardray’s Ascension
Translated by Enlightened End. Proofread by bloodadept, FroshiAnaki and mrbaconator
Treasures were piled up like a mountain in front of Weed, the Geomchis, priests and paladins.
After the decisive defeat of Balkan and the Undead Legion, they acquired vast sums of gold, silver, treasure, antiques and equipment.
“Wow, are you really dividing the spoils?”
“Must be tens of thousands of gold. Including all the armour, it will be over one hundred thousand gold.”
The players were extremely happy hearing the news.
“Getting some of this is awesome. I could build a Villa in Morata.”
“It’s all thanks to Weed-nim that we enjoyed such success. We must never forget this generosity.”
“Please add me next time as well. If it is Weed-nim I will come whenever you call.”
Weed’s anger boiled inside as he heard the thanks from the paladin and priest players.
‘This is the reason why kind people do not live long!’
To share the riches evenly, their hearts must be filled with unfairness and misery of it all, shorten their lifespan.
“Everyone please take your share.”
Mapan with several famous paladin players began weighing the mountain of treasure, gold and silver and distributing it to the other players. They could not do anything about the item drops the individuals collected during battle but the treasures in the Undead Legion’s fortress were shared fairly based on the contribution each person made.
“We won’t need to grind for money now. Let’s eat and drink a lot today.”
“I can buy a bunch of magic arrows for hunting. Hurray!”
Overjoyed by the gold and silver they received, the players expressed their gratitude to Weed.
‘This is a nightmare. If I close and open my eyes they will all disappear.’
Weed’s insides were burning pitch black at the sight. Closing his eyes tightly and opening them, there were still players with happy smiles on their faces as they receive their gold, silver and treasure.
Sharing the spoils killed a person faster than drinking, smoking or doing drugs.
Weed could feel his blood drying out every time the pile of loot became smaller. Regardless, a 3rd of the treasure looted from the Undead Legion was his share which was still an astronomical amount.
And everyone congratulated each other on winning the difficult battle.
Lee Hyun turned on the television to watch while he ate his dinner. For a long time the channel he watched was KMC media. Not only were there many media appearances of him, the schedule was neat and the shows told a lot of useful information.
“Look at the pile of treasure over there. It has been decreasing since morning. The players who fought together with War God Weed are receiving their shares from it.”
“So Weed really kept his promise.”
“Yes. No matter how many times you look, this is a heart-warming scene. The War God sent Balkan to his eternal rest and completely routed the Undead Legion! You can’t say this isn’t amazing.”
Lee Hyun lost his appetite right at that moment.
The distribution of the Undead Legion’s treasure became the biggest topic on the Versailles continent. They originally agreed to do it, but to actually share it was another story.
Lies, scams! Such honesty did not exist in the world that fanned distrust. So this was an inspirational story that people could be proud of in the Versailles continent.
Weed’s true desire to keep everything for himself burned fiercely like a furnace in winter.
His only relief was that he received the rights to Vargo Fortress and temporarily gained the Church of Lugh’s holy sword.
Sword of Lugh: Durability 140/140, Attack 165~317.
Sword sent from the god for the humans.
The sword has been impaled inside the Lich Balkan for a long time, suppressing his dark magic.
If the sword restores its Sun Power, the Church of Lugh will be able to recover a weapon of god.
Restriction: Church of Lugh’s Paladin.
Can only be used with the permission from the Church.
Option: Suppresses dark mana.
During a crusade it can create a miracle.
Cannot be destroyed.
Dominates monsters lower than intermediate level.
*Remaining options impossible to check.
This was an item that had to be returned to the Church of Lugh.
“There is a Church of Lugh in Morata, I can return it there.”
Weed received it from Geomchi121 who landed the last attack on Balkan and was keeping it for a short while.
“If there is an item to grab and run, this is it...”
Greed churned vigorously in Weed again; but this type of weapon could only be used by a paladin or with the approval of the church. Stealing and using this would instantly turn him into the Lugh Church’s public enemy, the sword could even become cursed because of it.
“Anyway, I need to return it!”
Inscribing this magnanimous act into his heart, he decided to return Lugh’s sword! Weed decided that he would go to the Church of Lugh in Morata personally to return it. Once he returned the sword, even the players who participated in the battle would receive contribution points.
“For the time being I don’t think there is any pressing work in Morata.”
The drops from Balkan’s death were mostly Necromancer exclusive items. Balkan’s skull, boots, cloak, robe, ring and necklace that formed a complete set of Balkan’s items! These truly were items that had an unfathomable price.
These were things that Geomchi121 did not need. Combining with the magic book Weed had, it completed Balkan’s full set.
A complete set of Balkan’s items have been gathered in one place.
If you are a Necromancer, a special skill, Lich’s Power can be used.
These were items that allowed one to succeed Lich Balkan’s legacy. By becoming a Lich in Vargo Fortress and using Balkan’s skull it was possible to use his 3 Great Magics. They were frightful items that had no equal!
But due to the items having adverse side effects, it would be difficult to change back into human form after he used them. Of course only by agreeing to provide Geomchi121 a lifetime supply of free meat, weapons,armour and 2000 oak barrels of alcohol, did he receive them from him.
But wearing the Necromancer exclusive gear constantly permeated bad feelings so he could not use it. Weed decided to just keep it for now.
“There are more than one kind of people in the world. There is definitely someone out there who wants to be like Balkan. The Necromancers will not always be peaceful, when that moment comes I can sell it off.”
When a person dreaming of becoming an evil Lich appears, Weed would be the first in line to bargain off the items rather than restricting them from it. However Balkan’s equipment was restricted to high level and skill so there would be no chance to sell it to someone for some time.
Those who did not have the blacksmith skill like Weed had to be at the minimum level of 460 to use Balkan’s items. The boots at least were on the low side of the level restriction, however with the robe, ring and necklace they had to be over level 520.
Since these was equipment that Necromancers desired, they would have to curry favor with Weed. They were firmly trapped by their own desires.
The goods brought by the merchants to Vargo Fortress were all sold out. It was thanks to the share of the gold, silver and treasure that the players received and they were spending freely. Vargo Fortress became more active as the elves, barbarians, dwarves, and fairies came causing more people and players to gather there.
With a swift decision Mapan set up an exchange station, exchanging ancient gold coins and charging commission.
“Ah, I have so much money how can I spend it all?”
“Should we change swords?”
“Could hunting become easier then? In the morning I am going to try changing most of my gear to dwarf equipment.”
Vargo Fortress was bustling with players wanting to spend money. The vicinity was filled with hunting grounds no one found yet. Mountains, hills, forests and valleys, the local area had many hunting areas. The reason for many different tribes of barbarians living near Vargo Fortress was for the battles and hunting.
Weed conversed with the elders and the chieftains with his high fame and intimacy, acquiring information about the nearby dungeons.
“According to the dwarven tribe of the Hardened Earth there is a dungeon nearby…”
“Go a bit further. It’s what the dwarves said so it’s certainly there.”
Weed with Pale, Irene, Romuna, Hwaryeong and Surka searched for the dungeons in the vicinity.
“They were not drinking beer that time so I am certain the information is right.”
In between the boulders they found the entrance to the dungeon.
Dungeon, you are the first discoverer of, ‘The Hidden Pit’.
Privileges: Fame increases by 415.
Double experience and item drop rate for one week.
Very first monster type you hunt will drop the best possible item.
The search for the dungeon near Vargo Fortress! If the hunting ground was doable with their levels, they swept through it. Recklessly exploring an unknown dungeon was truly dangerous. Traps were installed, with some areas that had an abnormal standard or quantity of monsters.
Of course during those occasions Hwaryeong with her dance could put them to sleep, and with Balkan dead, Weed could summon Death Knight and Vampire Lord without any trouble.
“Van Hawk, Torido, to the front!”
Their long holiday was finished.
“Thank you for calling me after a long time, master.”
“I was longing for hot blood.”
It was time for Van Hawk and Torido to do their part.
“Wipe them out completely.”
Those two were teammates who have been synchronizing their fights for so long that their hunting speed was very fast.
Weed also alternated his hunting party and went with the Geomchis, levelling up with them.
Barbarians or dwarves, they wanted to talk to Weed so it was easy to find hunting grounds.
“I want to fight monsters.”
“For a long time these guys were bothering us. Their tracks are somewhere in the north… Our warriors followed the tracks but they disappeared by the tree in the groves. If you can find it please help us.”
“Don’t we need beer?”
“If it is for beer I will do it anytime”
“There is no difference between us brothers and the dwarves who fought against the Undead. I want to know more about what’s troubling you.”
“Hmm, recently good iron ores are hard to find. If you have good iron ore at this time the price would not be a problem. In the old days when the fortress was normal the mountain behind it had a mine that we extracted a lot of iron ores from… If the humans could help us dwarves we would like to mine those iron ores.”
“Of course we’ll cooperate. With a lot of iron ores you dwarves can make weapons and armor and market them at Vargo Fortress while paying heavy taxes… I mean, it would be good if you took back lots of beer.”
At Vargo Fortress there was much work to do as well.
“Excuse me, I know you are busy but I brought materials. Is it possible you could make a sculpture for me?”
“This is gold with many impurities. If it isn’t pure gold the sculpture is not easy to make… Well, I will do it specially for you.”
“Thank you very much for considering my order. When will the sculpture be done?”
“There is a backlog of orders… please wait a while.”
The precious jewels of Vargo Fortress were Weed’s share. Selling sculptures he made, the leftover materials went into his pack! It was a method of bringing 3 rabbits into a restaurant and getting 3 rabbit soups but with another big pot left over!
“It’s definitely faster to become rich by embezzling materials than by making money by selling sculptures!”
Weed’s fame as a sculptor was so great that they gave him expensive materials to make sculptures without hesitation. Usually he made sculptures out of wood in between hunting, now they brought the best gold or silver, sometimes mythril to sculpt as well.
He had to make a sculpture that fit the person’s taste so he could not attempt any daring pieces. But doing this still increased a small amount of mastery in the sculpting skill. Once or twice a masterpiece with high artistic value did come out. But as his sculpting skill was at advance level 8 the mastery rose slowly.
“It’s fine. There are only two more levels left. I don’t need to rush.”
They even celebrated the New Year during their hunting. Hwaryeong, Bellot and Maylon had work so they missed it, the people that left prepared a small cosy amount of food as they watched the sun come up making their wishes.
‘I wish to earn a scholarship so I can travel with Maylon.’
‘My hands became better at hitting monsters. I am going to hit them many, many times. ’
‘Should I change to a Necromancer? But I also want to see the final flame magic…’
‘This year I am going to wish for no one to die from a botched surgery.’
‘Please help me date Yurin in this New Year.’
‘To rake in money following Weed-nim…’
They all had a variety of wishes, but compared to them Weed had a simple wish.
‘Let’s stay healthy. Or else there will be hospital bills. ’
Being healthy is best.
The Sculpture Lifeforms arrived at Vargo Fortress after being called from Morata.
Yellowy dragged his feet as he forced himself to come closer. It was plain to see he did not want to come!
“I am pleased to see you as well. If you really missed me, let's never part ways again.”
Bingryong and Phoenix had large bodies so they could not hunt in dungeons. But Gold Man, Golden Bird and Silver Bird fought together through the dangerous dungeons and nimbly broke through them. Level 440 dungeons had particular themes or put out an ominous odour in their vicinity.
Nest on Kildeke Mountain!
The whole area was a hunting ground. The large area had a scenery filled with mountain peaks and flying monsters.
Compared to his other party members, his connection time was longer. During the time Pale and his friends did not come he hunted with the Geomchis or partook in aerial battles at the Kildeke Mountain ranges with Phoenix, Wyverns and Bingryong,
There was a sound of lightning far away with the sky flashing brightly for a moment. Even when the rain was about to pour from the sky, Weed was flying on Wy-Three.
“Master, at this rate aren’t we going to get hit by lightning?”
“It’s going to be okay.”
“But getting hit still hurts…”
“If we want to make a living we can’t afford to take a break even when the weather is bad.”
Weed and the Wyverns were not the only ones flying in the sky, it was also filled with monsters protecting their domain on the Kildeke Moutain. While Weed could not see properly, he still brandished his sword about.
“Moonlight Sculpting Blade!”
Coordinating with Wy-Three the monster’s wings were sliced off. Slightly higher up was Phoenix and lower down was Bingryong, who was fighting carefully without risking himself.
Van Hawk was also summoned, riding around on his phantom steed. Vampire Lord Torido was there fighting with a swarm of bats.
“They are all fighting well.”
Weed collected many Sculpture Lifeforms as underlings in Jigolaths, but he felt greater sentiment towards the sculptures he carved as they had been doing things together for a long time.
“Give treats to the bastard and order the docile ones to hunt a hundred more times.”
So forgetting about everything and focusing solely on hunting, his level went up 3 times. Weed’s current level was 403. Players with level 400 were overall few in number and were recognized by everyone for their strength.
It was an accomplishment that got delayed by giving life to the sculptures, but with manufacturing skills and making even more sculptures, he reached the level with an enormous stat boost.
1 month passed in real time and during that period Vargo Fortress saw a tremendous amount of development. The population reached 30 thousand and the collapsed walls were gradually built up. But the Fortress did not earn enough money to maintain its walls or operate, so Weed’s recent windfall went into the fortress without leaving him with any spare change.
Along the twisted roads where the walls were repaired, houses were built. Following the cleanup of the Fortress it was found that the knight’s drill hall, basic training centre and warrior guilds could be rebuilt where they originally were.
Although only half the place where the Bone Dragon rampaged was cleaned up, more players came and now there were tens of thousands of them.
“It’s night already?”
The players in the central square looked up at the sky. In no time at all the sun settled down and became dark and the moon and the stars appeared.
“It’s about time, they are starting to come.”
The person resting and checking on his weapons stood up. The soldiers eating something in the restaurant came outside in full armour. Knights and soldier’s equipment were quite heavy so when there was no battle they hardly wore it.
People changed their tune when they searched for people to party with.
“Looking for people to protect the west wall together.”
“Fighting monsters climbing over the north gate. Specially looking for someone with intermediate level 6 Shield Bash.”
“The collapsed wall south east from here needs a priest. Priests please come with me.”
At the Square combatants were recruited in large numbers. Magicians’ lit lamps, where the lines of torches were erected.
Monsters advanced every night! Monsters that the Necromancers fought before in the Undead Legion quest were now invading Vargo Fortress.
Although now, with the wall as defensive support it was easier to hunt. The players joined forces, the residents shot arrows and stones against the enemy.
Battle erupted every night in Vargo Fortress. No where else in the continent did the monsters so frequently swarm together to siege a fortress. Because Vargo Fortress was quite far from Morata and with the mountain ranges in the west and north that provided breeding grounds, the monsters attacked in quite large numbers.
When the Undead Legion existed Balkan turned them all into Undead. Now that the Undead Legion was gone the players had to defend the fortress. And if the monsters broke through Vargo Fortress, they would pass this area and spread all over the north.
To defend the fortress and prevent mass breeding of the monsters Weed had to continually invest the taxes into repairing the fortress and its walls as the destruction from the monster’s attacks were endless.
It was the lord’s duty to provide help to the players by repairing the walls. It was only due to Weed’s fame and his position as lord of Morata that the players were flocking to Vargo Fortress.
If he left the crumbling fortress because of the monster attacks it would leave the players exposed to danger that would grow exponentially. The whole Northern continent would be affected if people left Vargo Fortress as the monsters would spread out unchecked and create turmoil.
Weed cried blood while standing on top of the central tower in Vargo Fortress.
“Residents increase and hunting happens but no tax is left.”
Income tax disappeared scarily fast. Holding on to the taxes for even a moment was difficult as the fortress’ extensive network of walls was being repaired without stop. His precious money was being scattered to the wind and all of it went into military spendings.
Vargo Fortress Military Power
Novice Knights: 58
Average Level: 196
Soldiers without battle experience: 4,312
Average Level: 52
An army has been created with immigrants from Morata.
Army’s recruitment was focused on hunters or sturdy young men.
The knights are becoming stronger in order to survive.
Soldiers respect their lord and are honest in their service. But they are worried as they are thrown into battle without proper training. But as they are fighting defensively behind the fortress wall, they have some confidence.
They do not provide public order, but the situation is dire without them.
The fortress wall has to be fixed as fast as the frequency of the monster invasions. Putting one eye on another work could turn the whole Vargo Fortress into a monster village.
An army had to be created as the Church of Freya did not provide protection as it did with Morata. Weed’s method of growing the armed forces was, if they live they become stronger!
All soldiers were archers and to make them learn how to use the bow they were all deployed on top of the fortress wall.
In the future as detachments of archers were settled in, there was a plan for a large scale enlistment of infantry for an expedition to the monster’s habitat. If the army could subjugate the monster’s den they could earn treasure and also the frequency of dangerous monsters coming near the fortress would be reduced.
While shops and guilds were necessary, public order was also an important factor for beginners to start at Vargo Fortress.
“If they come we can exploit them to our heart's content.”
There was much work to be done in Vargo Fortress and it required a lot of manual labour forces. He was eager to start the exploitation so his main priority was increasing public order.
There were fights that erupted in between the fortress wall and occasionally the situation was almost perilous. As many players left for dungeons or for adventures, there were many occasions where the defending forces were too few in numbers. But the players fought hard and resiliently.
Fortresses in the central continent were well prepared against monsters with strong walls, they even had moats dug up in case of sieges. The mere thought of monsters invading a village was not even considered.
There was never a dull moment in Vargo Fortress as small to big swarms of monsters came to attack it constantly. In the worst case, it could be said that Vargo Fortress itself was a hunting ground.
“Where do I hunt here?”
“One good bow, also pack many arrows and go up the fortress wall.”
For swordsmen and knights different advice was given.
“If you want to fight as much as you want go outside the fortress wall and wait for a while. Death or fame, at the end it will be one of the two!”
That many monsters came flocking toward the fortress.
If seen this way, the Undead Legion could not be mocked. They had no stockpile of provisions to steal from and just by coming close would turn the monsters into Undead. Just the news of human occupation of the fortress spreading to the monsters energized them into attacking, as they could steal the mass provisions that were being transported to the fortress.
Weed could bring Morata’s army here, or otherwise as lord withdrawing massive funds to invest into Vargo Fortress.
“I don’t know if this might just become a bottomless hole… Still its too early to decide.”
Morata was the more impressive city and it lacked for nothing. So the residents and players crossed over to the fortress and helped with the development. There were even skilled personnel that came from Morata and helped accelerate the development of commerce on an incomparable scale. If only the development rate was compared, excluding Morata, Vargo Fortress was the next best place in the whole of the Northern continent.
The daily battle in Vargo Fortress was at such a degree that it popped up on the message boards.
Title: For the best place to level up, don’t hesitate and hurry over here.
Increase your level and also take advantage of this chance to increase skill mastery.
Come and see! It’s everywhere. It’s even stacked up.
Make friends and hunt together.
Title: Today was really dangerous
Hello. This is Liz once again uploading the daily battle against the monster invasion in Vargo Fortress.
The video uploaded today was 2 hours of dizziness. During today's battle, the east wall that was built several days ago collapsed.
The speed in which the walls are constructed has sped up these days, could it be the foundation that was weak? Or the lord using cheap construction methods? However I was suspicious about the possibility of the wall collapsing for a long time so I was able to avoid it without any danger to my life.
But monsters entered through the breach and the battle erupted inside the fortress… It was frantic.
I am sure you are asking, why should we struggle so much? Why not just go to a dungeon or a hunting ground?
Well, when the morning comes and the monsters are repelled, people are hugging and are filled with so much joy. It’s happiness that only people who were in the battle can know.
Videos related to Vargo Fortress pull in a lot of interest as it was the Undead Legion’s previous base and presently Weed was the lord.
At first, even if it was Weed, the people thought that he would give up on the region because of its dangers. But as they watched on, they could not help but feel admiration from the constant videos of the players and residents coming together and defending the fortress.
There were no safe days, they had to continuously fight and defend the fortress. It was a region where their survival was a daily battle. It was a fortress and a hunting ground.
Regardless of Vargo Fortress’s development it was a place that drew in popularity. It was the forefront where warriors from the Northern continent gathered to fight perilous battles with the monsters.
Baran village was located south of Rosenheim Kingdom. It was a famous city where a player could gain a seed for doing the elder Ghandilva’s request and use it to ascend to the City of Heaven Lavias. There was also the statue of goddess Freya that Weed made in his earlier days with immature workmanship, but the piece he sculpted in Seo Yoon’s image made the village widely known!
“Really, it’s a well-made sculpture.”
“If this woman really existed, it would be great. Just seeing her face I could live happily forever.”
“Perish the thought. This kind of woman does not exist in this world. It’s Weed’s sculpting skill that is unbelievably advanced.”
The visitors’ went to sightsee the sculpture once before leaving to hunt or they conversed with the residents. Meeting the residents allowed them to hear stories about quests, hunting grounds or talks of new dungeons.
There were pre-established dungeons but monsters could, later on, gather together and create a new one. The residents or the hunters could spot such signs beforehand and if the players built up intimacy with them, they could hear about such stories.
However one day the village people started becoming slightly strange.
“I will serve wholeheartedly.”
“Listen to the teachings of the great god that will protect this worthless continent.”
Some residents were looking at the sky blankly. When the players got closer and engaged them in a conversation, they told a story.
“I have to offer my money to the church. To create a bigger army! Half of my income is no great loss.”
“That army is going to save us.”
“Which army is going to save you?”
“Ack! I cannot tell you anymore. If you don’t have a holy heart then leave the village now. Only Embinyu god can clean this sinful world…”
The players coming to Baran village seeking its quest were amazed by the unfamiliar response from the residents. Wasn’t the Church of Embinyu the ones plunging the Central continent into disarray?
And one day the village elder Ghandilva no longer gave quests.
“The people who believe in the Church of Embinyu will receive the seeds for free.”
It was a difficult choice for the players to make. But there was an undercurrent that suggested many changes were coming.
And one day, the sculpture of goddess Freya that Weed carved was destroyed.
Bardray prepared for battle.
“It’s been a long time since I went out to the battlefield.”
After establishing their foundation, Hermes guild no longer needed to fight obstinately.
Hunting monsters, or receiving recognition from the Tower of Warriors, they were ahead of the pack. They did not lack any military subjects in Royal Road.
But the reason for them to start this war, this fight would define Hermes guild.
“We have to show our strength to everyone. We must achieve victory.”
In the fort by the border, Bardray prepared his weapon and went outside. The infantry and knights, mages with siege instrument prepared to march. Their target was Kallamore Kingdom!
With the Haven Kingdom secured, Hermes guild gathered their military forces to occupy the Kallamore Kingdom, initiating a war to conquer them.
The shape of the Black Knight Bardray appeared. The players and the soldiers welcomed him with silence.
He was the one that represented Hermes guild’s absolute and ruthless power. The showed their respect to the person who climbed to the Versailles continents strongest position. Without saying anything to them Bardray climbed the horse that was prepared for him.
Following their commander's words the fort gate opened and Haven Kingdom’s army advanced toward the Kallamore Kingdom.
“Haven Kingdom’s army is approaching.”
“Ring the emergency alarm!”
The Kallamore Kingdom’s border garrison responded immediately. To repel the enemy invasion, the fortress gate opened and the defense force came out.
Bardray on his horse, ran ahead.
“Bardray is participating in the battle!”
The soldiers and players affiliated with the Hermes guild were focused on Bardray who was at the forefront. The mere fact that he was participating in the war was enough to boost morale to the friendly forces.
“The Black Knight Bardray is at the Haven Kingdom’s side, fighting against us?”
“How can we fight? Should we just surrender?”
At the Kallamore Kingdom’s castle, the mere fact that Bardray was approaching Kallamore Kingdom was enough to instill fear. Bardray’s valor in battle, his achievement of becoming the top player was so great that it struck fear into the soldier’s hearts.
Bardray and his Black Knight guards rode together.
A Knight skill that could only be learned together! Currently in Versailles continent, it was known as the best assault skill. Not only did it increase the horse’s speed, it was an assault that pierced in a straight line, smashing through any enemy obstructing their path.
Bardray and the Black Knight guards pierced through the crumbling enemy defense line and established a breach. Like people possessed, the Haven Kingdom soldiers gave a loud war cry.
“Occupy Vatten Castle! Let’s push on toward the Kallamore Kingdom’s capital and trash it!”
The players and soldiers of the Hermes guild raised their swords and shields and charged. As the siege weaponry broke down the castle wall and gate, Bardray was the first to go in.
“To protect Kallamore Kingdom Bardray must be killed. Attack!”
Enemies lunging at Bardray were felled by 10, 20 people every time Bardray swung his sword. This was strength that no broadcast or video ever showed!
Bardray displayed a force of arm in a different dimension compared to the other rankers on the Versailles continent, conquering Vatten Castle on the Kallamore Kingdom's border.
Afterwards the Hermes guild followed their set battle plan, leaving behind a supply train and repair corps and advanced onward.