3. Zahab’s Artwork
Translated by Enlightened End. Proofread by mrbaconator, bloodadept, froshianaki
The flock of Wyverns flew on their stretched wings. Bingryong, Phoenix, Golden Bird, and Silver Bird followed behind them. While their flights looked free and lighthearted, their level was anything but.
Flying above the white clouds, they often passed by large birds. Weed rode on Wy-Three, with Yellowy and Goldman on Wy-One and Wy-Two respectively.
“Can’t we stop to eat for a bit?”
“It looks delicious!”
Wy-Five, Wy-Six, and Wy-Seven who were flying without any burden could chase and snack on these birds before coming back.
“Yum yum, it’s really good.”
“These don’t have any fishy smell.”
Wy-Three’s accumulated grievance was beyond its threshold.
“There are other Wyverns but why do you always ride on my back?”
“Do you hate it that much?”
“It’s not that, having a person ride is heavy and takes a lot of effort. It also feels unfair…”
Weed was speaking while lying on the Wyvern’s flat back.
“When I was making you it was annoying so I just made the back flat.”
“It is as comfortable as lying on a mat so it’s impossible to ride the other Wyverns. You are the best.”
Learning the secret of it’s creation, Wy-Three became more miserable.
Grapass was located within Aidern Kingdom on the Central continent. It was an area swarming with monsters. Due to the large distance away from Vargo Fortress, Weed decided to fly on the Sculpture Lifeforms and was able to arrive in a short amount of time.
“Thinking about it… 20 days should be enough to find him.”
Reflecting on his miserable time at Jigolaths, one of the other 10 forbidden regions, Grapass was not as large. He had not heard any rumors of the stifling maze like underground dungeons found in Jigolaths, so Weed thought that it would not be difficult to meet Zahab.
Weed pulled out the mission item he received long ago. The old handmaiden said the mission item would guide him to Zahab’s haven. And on the mission item was a drawing of a water spirit.
“I should start my search near a body of water. But this area is extremely dangerous with these monsters around, so Zahab might not even be alive!”
The original residents, who were not players of Royal Road could die. While the players revived after suffering a penalty, NPC deaths were permanent! If Zahab was already dead, the quest would have to be abandoned early.
When certain masters of the class died or went missing, the quest and its related skills disappeared. Of course other skilled people could become masters, create new secret skills, and depending on the situation, new quests could be created. But this was not a certainty.
Truthfully, it was dangerous for Weed to have prolonged the old handmaiden’s quest for so long.
“Let's get started. You all had a nice, long rest right?”
At Weed’s words Yellowy’s stomach trembled.
“Mooo, everyday hunting and adventuring… what have you done for us till now!”
The Sculpture Lifeform’s reasonable protest. Was it right to endow life just for the child to labour through a hard life? Yellowy, who toiled endlessly since he was given life had the right to protest.
Weed began to think on it seriously.
Till now, he had not done anything special for Yellowy. Dragging him to the dangerous Jigolaths, forcing him to participate in battle, always making him carry burdens, he must have felt neglected.
“When you are young it’s normal to experience hardship. Eating and playing are not the things you should strive for. Regardless, I’ll start planning for your retirement now. As you become older you need to live more comfortably right? Is it fine if I can prepare for you a palace with fresh grass for you and your family to eat?”
Yellowy was persuaded immediately due to his high loyalty.
“I was not expecting that much… but I am satisfied.”
“From now on pay 200 gold every day. I will take that and add the remainder with my own money so later on you will have a large retirement fund to draw on. Oh, right! I also have to add the marriage expenses with the heifer you like so much.”
“Thank you master. I will work and fight harder.”
Yellowy liked the idea of living comfortably when old and Weed was immensely satisfied with the 200 gold windfall.
“Phoenix, Bingryong. You attract too much attention, wait someplace where you can come to our aid immediately.”
“I understand, master.”
Bingryong and Phoenix were large lifeforms, if they came close to the ground they provoked the monsters nearby. That’s why the search had to be done by Weed, Wyverns, Yellowy, and Gold Man.
“Golden Bird, Silver Bird.”
“Father, talk to us.”
“Are you safe here?”
Golden Bird and Silver bird nodded their small heads. The birds were not affected by the monsters in the forest. No matter how famished the monsters were, the birds did not even constitute as a nibble.
Even if they were attacked, they could immediately fly between the trees and escape. Or they could turn into Avian Humanoids and the situation would reverse, where the hunter became the hunted.
“Finding Zahab is the priority. You two move independently, search inside the forest.”
“If it is a request.”
“I will do as father ordered me to. I might return a bit late, eating all the delicious bugs in the forest.”
Golden Bird and Silver Bird flew into the forest. The mission item signified water, but as Zahab’s trail could be anywhere, those two were deployed separately to find that trail.
“Then shall we be off?”
Weed with Torido, Van Hawk, Yellowy, Gold Man and the Wyverns planned to start from downstream.
In case of emergency, Phoenix and Bingryong could be called to fight against the monsters in Grapass. But, while the river and its vicinity had a variety of monsters, not many of them were a threat for Weed and the Sculpture Lifeforms.
The monster Kellkog flocked to the river for water.
Kellkog were reptilian in nature and their habitat was close to the water. They walked like humans using spear like weapons while submerged or on the ground. They had the ability to jump frighteningly high, had sharp movements and usually moved in a herd. With their average level of 400, it was no laughing matter!
To hunt steadily in the Grapass region, it was absolutely necessary be above level 400. Of course, maximizing the party’s strong points could also overcome the disadvantage in strength.
“Wyverns circle around us and fight. When the Kellkog appears, hold it down.”
The Wyverns who had to totter on the ground could finally take to the skies.
“Summon Death Knight Van Hawk, Summon Vampire Lord Torido!”
“Did you call, master?”
The frequent battles trained Van Hawk and Torido to be aware of their surroundings immediately as they were called.
“Go and fight!”
“The smell is pungent. I don’t think the blood will taste very well.”
As Torido was nobility, he was slightly reluctant to feed on the reptiles.
“You can’t always eat tasty food. I will cook some sunjihejang soup for you later.”
“If so then I will fight.”
The charge of Death Knight and Vampire Lord! Van Hawk attacked riding on his Phantom Horse and Torido flew with his cloak spread out.
Noticing Van Hawk and Torido, a group of over 20 Kellkog prepared to fight. They waddled like chickens while holding their spears, the best possible posture for a throw!
‘It could be dangerous.’
Van Hawk and Torido could receive critical hits from those spears.
“Summon Dirtman! Build a wall out of mud.”
The moment the Kellkog threw their spears, the Earth elemental Dirtman was summoned. Opening his bleary eyes, Dirtman thrust his hand forward and from the ground a wall rose up.
A large wall to protect Van Hawk and Torido.
The spears momentum was reduced as it pierced the earth wall. But it continued to fly, emitting silver light. Van Hawk and Torido were fortunate enough to dodge it quickly, but the spears continued to fly and pierce through the trees and exploded when they struck the ground.
“Getting hit would hurt.”
These packed a punch! If not for the high defense of their armor, the attacks could kill them in a moment! Feeling the high level threat of the enemy, Van Hawk and Torido attacked more furiously.
Weed followed after them, jumping into the Kellkog’s line.
With a tube that stored 12 spears on their backs, a Kellkog could attack multiple times. By fighting up close, Weed could prevent the Kellkog from maximizing their throw. Weed brandished his sword, weaving through the Kellkog line crazily without stopping.
But Kellkogs were good at slashing and piercing with their spears.
A spear has grazed your shoulder.
The injury has reduce your strength.
Your high endurance has cancelled the reduction in attack points.
Health reduced by 2,980.
Over 7 Kellkogs aimed for Weed, Van Hawk and Torido! As Van Hawk was attacking on top of his Phantom Horse, most of the spears flew towards him.
“Gol gol gol. It’s our turn!”
Gold Man riding on Yellowy attacked like the wind. Sculpture Lifeforms were too valuable to lose so only after the frontal assault did they join in!
Circling above in the air, the Wyverns disrupted the Kellkogs attacks.
Van Hawk and Torido used their special attacks unsparingly!
After some time they managed to win the battle, but barely. Weed’s whole body was covered in wounds with three short spears sticking out of his back.
“It’s more doable than I thought.”
After the battle Weed had over 19,000 health left. But the Wyverns injuries were extensive and Yellowy was limping on his forelegs.
“It could be more dangerous from now on.”
It was not dangerous like the natural disasters in Jigolaths but the monster standards were definitely higher.
“If it becomes difficult I can stop Golden Bird and Silver Birds search and call in Bingryong and Phoenix as well. There is no need to stop here.”
Fortunately, right now when Yellowy and Gold Man were in danger they could escape the battle field on the Wyverns. But if they entered a dungeon in Grapass, even that option would be barred from them.
“Right now let’s just continue. Bandaging!”
With no priests to support the Lifeforms, Weed wrapped bandages on the Wyverns, Yellowy and on himself.
Weed picked up the gems that granted magic. Hard battles equalled rewarding items! He could sell the gems to the enchanter but if he made a sculpture out of these gems, the sculpture would emanate a brilliant lustre depending on the magic held within.
Watchful of any monster movements, Weed was heedful in his exploration of Grapass. Though Kellkogs were dangerous, the fight was manageable. But if even 1 escaped it would come back with a flock of over 200, 300.
To prevent such situations, he rode on the Wyverns and hunted them down till the last member. Poisonous insects and savage beasts also lunged at them in single numbers, and they could only win through combining all their strength.
“Every time, if you adapt then everything will be alright.”
Weed’s skill and level was enough to explore Grapass. Of course the Sculpture Lifeforms took most of the burdens, but they could level up as much in return. By fighting in Grapass, Weed was able to raise his proficiency in sword mastery, perseverance and resilience stats. His bandaging skill was already mastered making Weed frustrated that he could not raise it up higher.
“Keeping this course I am sure something will pop up.”
Following the course of the river, Weed searched the vicinity as he went further upstream. Golden Bird and Silver Bird were tasked with exploring deep within the dangerous forest.
At the point where the forest and the marsh blended together, was where all the top predators of Grapass were located. Compared to these monsters, Kellkogs were scavengers trying to survive near the river bed.
“Bingryong, go left and stir things up a bit.”
Bingryong and Phoenix supported the battle in between. When too many Kellkogs bunched up Bingryong’s breath or Phoenix’s flames spewed out before they fought.
“There is a house further up, master.”
Wyvern reported his aerial surveillance.
There were three rivers flowing through Grapass. There was no definite rule that Zahab was still living in Grapass, so he had to go and check personally.
Advancing carefully ahead with his Sculpture Lifeforms, a wide lake appeared at the upper reach of the river. The lake was beautiful, with clear water reflecting the trees and the evening sun. And near the lake was a picturesque log cabin.
“Somehow, it feels like Zahab might just be there…”
Weed looked at the quality of the logs and their cuts. It was beyond normal workmanship.
“Now the standard present before visiting…”
Weed took out the gift plate prepared for him by Mapan from his backpack. Even if it was someone other than Zahab, the item could still raise intimacy! Any residents of Grapass would be beyond ordinary, so it was necessary to build favour beforehand.
Time to time, when out adventuring it was possible to meet the original inhabitants. Certain tribes could be hostile. The elves, dwarves, and barbarians were usually on the friendly side while the humans were aggressive. At that time by showing shiny marbles or a set of plates as gifts, it was enough to placate them.
“Is there anyone here?”
Weed called out loudly in front of the house and after a moment the door opened. Without a doubt, 100%, the person coming out was elderly.
“It’s the first time anyone visited my house. Yes, what is the purpose of your visit?”
Weed thinking it might be Zahab, continued.
“I came here to find a person.”
“I have been living here for some time now and I have never met any other humans. The forest over there has 1 hunter, and two sinners that ran from the law… but who did you came looking for? ”
The whiff of poverty could be felt from the eyes and below.
“I came here looking for Zahab of Rosenheim Kingdom.”
The old man stroked his beard while nodding his head.
“My name is Zahab. You found him correctly.”
Even with Golden Bird and Silver Bird, Weed felt that he would waste around 20 days searching for him. But fortunately he was able to find Zahab early.
‘This quest is not as difficult as I thought.’
His level was considerably higher since the time he received the quest from the old handmaiden and with the Sculpture Lifeforms, Zahab was conveniently found.
If Weed was alone it would have been unfathomable hardship and defeating a Kellkog would not even be possible.
‘But at least I found him now.’
Weed’s heart became restless as he finally met a Master Sculpture. With the title of a Moonlight Sculptor and distinguished as one of the central figures in early history, it was a historic meeting.
A boy and a girl.
A sculptor who kept his promise to the girl who became queen, to show her the most beautiful sculpture on earth.
Weed only needed to learn the song he sang back then.
“I came here with a request from a fellow sculptor. But coming this far, I am quite famished. Could I trouble you for some food?
“Oh, I finally reached civilization!”
Petrov walked around the market in Cotten village. He waited for a long time to see Yurin again at St. George Castle. However he came to a painful realization that she was not coming back.
Petrov is an idiot. A mongrel.
The graffiti was just painful.
“I will definitely meet her again if I roam around the continent. I will go anywhere where there are signs of her.”
Petrov’s world was filled with weird ambition.
“If I make everyone in the continent know my name, then won’t Yurin come to see me?”
Drawing could make you instantly famous. Having basic painting skills allowed one to receive commissions from the painting guild. Painting nobles and kings, making new brushing techniques was an easy way to get fame.
But Petrov decided on a more proactive method.
“Morata is known as a famous art city.”
Weed, through his sculptures, developed Morata to an amazing height. The artists there were happy with it as if it was their own works and stood proud of it.
“Then I could do the same with my paintings.”
Petrov watched the broadcast of his fated enemy, Weed, acquiring the territory of Vargo Fortress.
“I have to start there.”
Vargo Fortress was a region that lacked sculptures made by Weed. If he showed his paintings there, could he not surpass the Lord’s influence in the region?
“Through my paintings, I will take Vargo Fortress from Weed. There won’t be greater fame than this.”
It was also a good opportunity to show that painters were superior to sculptors. There was no organization in the North that could take Weed’s territory. But this was a declaration of winning the territory through art!
“I must go to Vargo Fortress.”
Petrov packed his painting supplies and walked briskly toward an area bereft of human presence. It was to use Picture Teleportation to go to Vargo Fortress in an instant.
“The baked potatoes are really tasty.”
Weed ate some of the potatoes Zahab placed in a basket. His intermediate level 9 cooking skill allowed him to taste many luxurious foods but the most tastiest was free food.
“Mooooo. Eating only grass since yesterday has left me hungry.”
“Me too, give me some too. Gol gol!”
Zahab shared some potatoes with Yellowy and Gold Man.
Wyverns were fighting among themselves outside.
“I am the tallest.”
“My beak looks the best.”
“Whose wing is the widest?”
“My back is flat.”
A display of childish quarrel!
Zahab stroked the Wyvern’s angled shoulders.
“Eat plenty. The sculpting knife and the wooden statue I left behind with the maid has been passed on to you.”
“Yes, it is as you say.”
“However I have never heard of lifeforms like these… Their forms are not well defined but their proportion are relatively right. Could they possibly be lifeforms made out of sculptures?”
It was the first time that anyone could figure out they were lifeforms made out of sculpture at a glance. Weed threw another potato in his mouth as he answered.
“Yes you are right.”
“The legendary skill of Emperor Geihar has appeared once again in this world. What an amazing occurrence. To see the sculpting skill passing through generations without disappearing, this is truly a fortunate event.”
“It has been hard. However, as I take care of the Sculpture Lifeforms and cherish them, there is a feeling of satisfaction that swells from my heart. I think Emperor Geihar’s sculpting skill is really amazing. Of course your Moonlight Sculpting Blade is one of the most beautiful sculpting skills in the world.”
This is what you call indiscriminating flattery!
“To have learnt Emperor Geihar’s and my sculpting skill, your talent is outstanding.”
“I have a great love for sculpting. Through my adventures I have also learnt other sculpting skills.”
Weed was a person who had already learnt the five secret sculpting skills. Zahab showed admiration as he listened to the various stories of how Weed acquired his skills.
“Having inherited my sculpting skills and learning Daron’s sculpture transformation, creating spirits and even able to call disasters, amazing!”
“To collect all 5 sculpting legacies that were created after the existence of the first sculpture, it’s truly a miracle.”
Weed ate the potatoes till he was full and packed the rest into his backpack.
“But more importantly, the handmaiden in Rosenheim Kingdom wants to listen to the song you sang when you sculpted the moonlight before she departs.”
The most important business that called him to Grapass! To learn the song from Zahab and singing it to the old handmaiden in Serabourg Citadel.
“Did such a thing occur? I was making sculptures here and never did go back to Rosenheim Kingdom… Well, since we are talking about sculptures, do you want to see mine?”
“Absolutely. I absolutely want to see them.”
Weed as a sculptor obviously wanted to see Zahab’s masterpieces.
Perhaps there would be greater rewards here than the reward that the old handmaiden would give for completing the quest.
Zahab led him to a cave behind the lake.
“This is my workshop. Go in and take your time.”
Inside the cave, the trees, boulders and walls had sculptures on them. Flowers and moss grew, widely disfiguring some of them. Weed observed the biggest and the most stylish sculptures first.
You have observed, ‘Mankind’s Last Moment’
A piece made by the Master Sculptor Zahab.
A scene of humans making a last stand as they fight against the monsters was sculpted.
A sculpture that is extremely elaborate and minute in details, without high comprehension of sword skill it’s impossible to fully understand the piece.
Regenerate health and mana 35% faster for one day.
Stats related to battle increase by 12.
Warrior related skills improve by 2 levels.
Fighting Spirit increased by 2 permanently.
For 1 month, health increased by 450.
By observing the sculpture with great discerning eyes, mastery of sculpting skill increased slightly.
Masterpiece sculpted near the entrance wall! The scene of 10 soldiers crumbling while fighting against the monsters in Grapass was vividly sculpted.
‘A Masterpiece… and that one is a fine piece.’
Weed walked swiftly. Every time he observed a piece, his art stat and mastery in sculpting skill increased.
The workshop had over 70 different works ranging from Fine pieces, Masterpieces and Magnum Opus.
You have observed, ‘The Moon, the Stars and the Wild Flowers.’
A piece made by Master Sculptor Zahab.
This piece has been engraved on the ceiling and the floor of the cave.
Animation of nature has been realistically portrayed.
After completion, not much care has been given.
By observing the sculpture with great discerning eyes, Affinity to Nature increased by 5.
There were nature sculptures as well.
“Seeing that you can’t take your eyes off that piece you must really like nature.”
“Yes. I really love nature.”
Weed was grinning evilly as he saw that the majority of the sculptures in the workshop were works that expressed nature. By increasing Affinity to Nature, the power of natural disaster sculpting became much stronger.
As Weed’s standards were high, even if these were sculpted by Zahab, his mastery in sculpting skill barely rose by 4.9%. Currently his skill was at advance level 8, 19.8%. Art stat increased by 137, with a variety of others skill also increasing by a bit.
The completed Masterpieces, Magnum Opus in the workshop of a master was much better than the ones found in Morata’s Art Center.
Sublime sculptures, delicate sculptures, graceful and elegant sculptures, and sculptures made from light that were shining brightly to great heights!
Zahab created things freely without a set theme or form.
“How is my sculpting testimony?”
“It’s admirable. It feels like all the outstanding sculptures of Versailles continent have gathered here.”
The sculptures would all get a hundred points. It was not like the mass produced rabbits or foxes that Weed used to make to polish his skills. Every single one of these art works was created with heart and soul.
“Ahem, wandering around like this is really great.”
Geomchi stood on the fore of the ship. It was a fast boat that was currently heading toward the Northern continent.
The wind pushed against the wide open sails. As the ship was orientated for passengers, it did not have heavy cargo, so sailing speed was very fast.
“Getting fresh air from a different place is nice.”
Sitting behind Geomchi were 5 early 20 year olds that were getting along with each other.
“The wind is really refreshing.”
“This is the benefit of coming out to the sea.”
“I heard that the number of passenger, freighter and adventure ships increased after Weed’s adventure. Looks like it was true.”
While on the voyage, many other sailing ships could be seen. Even a romanticist was sailing with a sail full of holes!
The newcomers to the sea might not know, but the experienced seaman could feel the increased interest in the sea on their fingertips.
The harbour was crowded with noob captains and sailors. The sea was filled with the sight of sinking dinghies as they struck the reef. Weed gave them a simple taste of sailing, but it became a chance for the seasoned sailors to spread the charm of the sea to many.
Even if they weren’t fishermen or sailors, Royal Road allowed them to come to the sea whenever they wanted!
“Did you hear what happened to the 3 Mad Sharks of Becky Ninh that sailed with Weed? That Heint, Fractal and Bodomir?”
“I heard Becky Ninh returned and is now operating a large pirate force. They are accepting every pirate and plundering every trade line without care…”
“They are truly evil.”
“Yes. They are unspeakably evil people.”
They applied Weed’s teachings imparted on them in their partings and became remorselessly evil.
But, pirating was a very poor profession. They could not step onto any harbour if their notoriety with that nation was high. When sighted by naval forces, they had to escape till their tails fell off, and on top of that, they only earned the ire of all the players.
They could not sell their loot at market price and more often than not were disposed of. They had to be aware all the time so it was hard and fatiguing work.
But the sea was wide and free. There was joy in adventures that only pirates could do.
“Because of the war a lot of people are dying these days.”
“Save yourself. Don’t join carelessly, the situation is about to explode.”
“Just shut yourself quietly to a hunting ground. Levelling up is more beneficial right now.”
The tavern Dark Gamers gathered at! They were resting with cider or beer in hand. As once they entered a hunting ground, they did not come out for a month and ten days. So taking the chance to enjoy themselves in the city was important.
Cooking skill was a necessity for Dark Gamers, but unlike Weed they did not learn it properly. They could only do simple grilling or boil meat. So for them, if they had access to beer and appetizers it was enough for them to unwind.
“When I entered the second dungeon…”
“The secret entrance is to the left of the fireplace and leads outside…”
They also shared high-end information.
The tavern’s location was the Brent Kingdoms capital Nehalles. The most active Dark Gamers gathered there so it was always crowded.
The tavern door opened and a player wearing a dazzling purple dress entered.
“When I was hunting then…”
“Next time I am thinking of crossing the Rozend route…”
The player’s conversation suddenly died down. The player that just entered was a dancer.
The dancer class that always needed dazzling clothes and accessories. Dancer was a hard class for Dark Gamers to choose as there was always a greater demand for battle optimized classes such as swordsman, warriors, mercenaries or magicians.
‘Must be a requestor.’
She was beautiful, and looking at her equipment, she was high level as well. If so, the number of Dark Gamers that could receive a contract from her were few.
The dancer moved around each table and spoke softly in a voice that other players could not hear.
Before the content is known, the level, reliability of mercenary, the time required to complete the request was thoroughly checked.
And as the dancer was leaving, Bade, Pason, Yumero, April, Volk and Daerin followed after her. The best and the most active Dark Gamers of Bretten Kingdom went with her. As they left, the Dark Gamers resumed their conversation. Seeing as it was none of their business, no one really cared.