Volume 56 Chapter 2 – The King of Devils
– These pesky, worthless dwarves must have lost their senses stealing my things!
The dwarves of Cygorn and Ulta Mountain Pass continued to suffer under Kaybern’s wrath.
The peaceful villages were set entirely on flames, and the terrain was transformed by a series of avalanches.
“That insane dragon!”
The dwarven citizens forgot about their instinctive fears and retaliated, only to be wiped out by waves of magic.
– Attack, slaughter them all!
The dragon soldiers led the monsters to invade the resisting dwarven villages.
In 3 days, 45 villages were razed and over 30,000 dwarves lost their lives.
The war that took place in the deepest parts of Ulta and Cygorn Mountain Pass were released to the public via broadcast.
– Thor has ultimately become the target of the dragon.
– Seems that the dwarves and the dragon cannot coexist within the woods any longer.
– Would there be a possibility that Kaybern’s weekly target may shift to dwarven villages?
– It doesn’t seem to be to that extent. For the time being, the cities that the dragon will likely target are… Hmm-hmm. The calculation is very complex to understand, but anyways the targets will be major cities.
– The dwarves do not settle in large communities, to begin with.
The situation in Thor became dire and more dwarves descended from the mountains away from the dragon. It was so critical that even Weed, who carried out the dwarven race quest, was deeply concerned.
‘This is a race quest? What, is this some kind of dwarf annihilation quest?’
Even so, the dwarves of Debrado Village, who were connected to the quest, actively roamed around the Mountain Pass.
“Just for how much longer are we supposed to suffer? We retrieved our nation’s treasure, the Brazier of Sacrifice. It is time to swing the axes of revenge.”
“Finally, has that time arrived?”
The nature of dwarves were different from humans. They were naturally afraid of the dragon, but if their kind lost their lives they burned in vengeance.
All the dwarves were uniting as one.
“Is it really true that the Brazier of Sacrifice was found?”
“Yes. A great, heroic dwarf has appeared before our kind.”
“What is his name?”
It was a fake name that Weed told them when he was under Sculptural Transformation!
That name was spreading among the dwarves of Thor.
The dwarf users that remained in Thor laughed.
“This is amazing. Isn’t it the first time that such a large-scale dwarf race quest arised?”
“It’s spectacular of Weed-nim to discover it. A chain quest after the robbery of Kaybern’s lair…”
“Awesome. Just purely epic.”
“I want to join too.”
“We are dwarves too, so we can.”
“Oh, yeah. Dwarves never had a war quest like this one. It’s going to be fun.”
The dwarves that were negligent even when the Hermes Guild dominated the Central Continent wished for Weed to succeed in his adventure.
Kaybern was the most wretched presence of all for the dwarves and so they hoped dearly that the dragon would be slain.
Weed preceding the progression of the dwarf quest, hunted whenever he could. It was also an important task to lead the assault squad that pledged to fight against Kaybern and take care of the multiplying monsters.
100,000 monsters vs. 1,000 assault squad!
On the vast plains, huge clashes with aerial supports from the avian broke out in the morning, midday and afternoon. Even after midnight, before breakfast, during breakfast, after breakfast… They just kept on fighting.
“19 hours of hunting in a day… Though I think I’ve grown a little used to it.”
“Humans are mighty beings. If I kept on levelling since the start of Royal Road, I would have won against Bard Ray.”
The users that enlisted in the assault squad began calling themselves combat slaves in the process. The nickname that was given to Pale had spread to everyone.
“This is impossible. But, he can fight like that even while leading us.”
“I thought it was plain insanity when he first explained it, but once we got into it, it’s doable.”
“The hunting level has become more difficult than when we first started, but somehow we are pulling through.”
“The willpower of humans is strong.”
“Yeah. That’s why people die from exhaustion.”
They were all above level 500, but the more they hunted the more they developed respect for Weed. Weed wasn’t a typical person to whom they can apply feelings like jealousy.
Weed sprang into a field full of monsters, fighting with the strength of ten men.
– Everyone fight! Advance!
He swung a sword, used a sword cloning technique, wielded the Radiant Sword Technique…
He even healed his allies with the Sword of Regeneration on occasion whilst leading the battle. Then he would use Corpse Explosion and summon the undead, doing the job of 30 or even 50 men. Even users above level 500 could do nothing other than watch in awe.
“That is just really amazing.”
“He is the perfect all-around character, the complete, ultimate mode. Something like that.”
“But he doesn’t use Sculptural skills that often. He’s not even using Disaster sculpting.”
“If he used that, this place would become a living hell. We would die too.”
The high level users would spend weeks in dungeons during their peak. They levelled up and naturally exceeded their limits whenever they found good hunting grounds.
They reminisced about past memories, and gradually their complaints diminished.
Whenever Weed led the hunt, their eyes dropped below their cheekbones, but when he was absent on a quest, they waited anxiously.
Depending on whether or not he was present, the hunting speed could be from 2 to 3 times faster.
Furthermore, their hearts boiled whenever they saw Weed in action with their own eyes.
‘Weed is doing that much… What stops me from doing the same?’
‘Just hold my ground. If I stick here for a month, I will become a hero in the future.’
‘Rankers? Hermes Guild? This is the chance to become stronger than any of them.’
A craze for training was brewing up among the users of the assault squad. Passion burned inside them whenever they saw thousands of monsters advancing across the plains.
– Let us fight!
The Central Continent users thrived under the pressure of the Hermes Guild and the prestigious factions. Their tendencies were slowly changing.
‘My operation is starting to show results.’
Weed too felt their attitudes changing into proper combat slaves. On the other hand, news of the Brazier of Sacrifice was spreading like wildfire.
“Using the brazier reduces your level by 20 to 30?”
“You can decline further than that. It’s to a maximum of 10% depending on how much you use as fuel.”
High level users made a blunt assessment.
The tradeoff was too heavy for fighting Kaybern just once.
“For one hunt… I need to throw away all that I’ve worked for?”
“All that grind we did in hunting hell would become meaningless. Just how hard did we try to reach where we are?”
“Other people would be training while I become weaker.”
Most users that heard of the brazier could not accept it. They wanted to participate in the fight against the dragon, but they did not wish to use the brazier.
The higher level they were, the more they were attached to their own level of power.
“What about the live stream? If we give up now, won’t we look like dirtbags?”
“We said we are going to fight Kaybern, so we just need to fight. Forget about the Brazier of Sacrifice.”
“If we end up fighting in our current state, it is good enough to keep our promise. But if I am forced to use the brazier, I’m out regardless of how people are going to curse me.”
Out of the 400,000 members in the assault squad, only a few hundred elected to use the brazier. They didn’t want to bear the loss and frankfully they had their legitimate reasons.
Fleeing during a battle would indeed be a behavior subject to criticism, but throwing away a handful of levels was a different story.
Weed also knew of this consensus and did not bother mentioning it.
‘These guys signed up to fight against Kaybern, so I can drag them all around these hunting grounds. But I cannot impose sacrifice.’
Honestly, the success of the Kaybern hunt could not be guaranteed.
There were no rewards he could offer at the moment and even he had some conscience. On top of that, it did not concur with Weed’s usual philosophy.
Normally, speeches of encouragement in war are the desires of a single individual manipulating mob psychology.
The core desire of these high level users was to become more powerful.
‘Even I would have been reluctant if someone asked me to fight using the brazier.’
No matter what reward they were promised, it was very difficult to get someone to do something that most people would turn down.
‘The only one to trust is myself. I would appreciate people who will help me, but I should not rely on them.’
The Earthy Shadows party that left for the South quickly progressed their quest to uncover the secrets of the Frozen Forest.
< The Reason For the Cold Winds >
< The Tree That Vanished >
< Ancient Vestige >
< The Elves’ Course >
The difficulty was above A rank but they were clever in their use of adventure skills and requested necessary information from the Great Library of Morata.
“There is nothing yet about the Wind Mage, Ruckledare. Could we have followed a false lead?”
“I don’t know. We might have opened the door for another quest, but it’s too late to quit.”
“Weed is progressing through the dwarf race quest, so maybe the lead to stopping Kaybern might arise from that side.”
“We need to be hopeful.”
The self esteem of the continent’s best adventure party was depreciated after repeated failure in quests.
They changed the weather with magic and created a miracle of reviving the frozen forest.
The bleak forest of solid ice regained its green vigour.
< Mayad’s Forest is reviving. The wood elves will return.
As reward, affinity with nature is increased by 3. >
Elix wrapped bandages around his wounds and spoke.
“This is the reason why I cannot give up on adventures.”
“It’s a spectacular sight. Even if other people wouldn’t appreciate it as much.”
It was something that occurred in the outskirts where no one visited.
Just who will acknowledge their accomplishments of putting their own lives in danger to bring back the elves.
Even so, they felt pride in turning a small part of Versailles into a beautiful scenery.
“Let’s look around the forest before the elves return.”
“That’s a sound idea.”
Following Silver Ring’s suggestion, they walked into the forest.
It was a silent forest yet without creatures like birds and hares.
On the ground were snow and ice fragments that were still melting; a little eccentric.
– Welcome, Adventurers.
A tree began speaking to them.
It was a plain tree about 3 meters tall, rooted in the wide open space in the forest.
Ben was extremely surprised.
“A talking tree… You don’t seem like a spirit or a fairy. Are you the World Tree?”
– I have succeeded that great being, somewhat. Though I could not protect even this forest.
A tree in Mayad’s Forest.
It wasn’t the World Tree that existed and protected the world since the beginning of time, but its descendant that budded from its branches.
– The World Tree was destroyed by Kaybern. It rotted in poison, burned in its flames and was torn down in pieces. The high elves took the roots and branches not yet burnt away and scattered across the continent. To revive the tree that protects the realm of forests.
“Kaybern… So it was connected to Kaybern after all.”
– Kaybern and the high elves engaged in countless battles. Despite the dragon’s might, the high elves did not submit until the end… Thus they disappeared.
Silver Ring was inspecting the fallen leaves on the ground and asked.
“So, the reason for this forest being here…”
– Yes. They fled from Kaybern and raised a forest here. The noble high elves fell one by one to the monster legion that tracked them down. If it weren’t for the help of a human, the new roots would not have settled.
Elix’s eyes glimmered.
“By chance, is that human the Wind Mage Ruckledare?”
– Yes. It was he who assisted us.
It turned out that they were on the right track for Ruckledare’s tracks connected to Kaybern and Landony.
– I have a favour to ask of you all. I must return to the forest again. All elves will offer their assistance.
Weed received news about the Earth Shadows party while on his way to the dwarf quest.
“The high elves are stepping in…”
– Mapan: Yes. Apparently the quest for reviving the World Tree has surfaced.
A quest appeared for all elven users across all continents.
< Protect the World Tree.
The last hope yet to be destroyed by the Black Dragon Kaybern.
Adventurers Unring, Ben and Elicks are planning to recover a part of the World Tree’s roots and return it to the large forest.
The World Tree is a great presence that calls for fairies and spirits and protects the elves from harm. When the World Tree returns to the forest, the elves will regain their lost powers.
Unfortunately, this news has also reached the ears of the dark elves and Kaybern’s subordinates.
Protect the World Tree so it may return to the forest from the far south.
Requirement: Elves exclusive racial quest
Reward: Elven magic and Elemental Summoning enhancement.
Difficulty: S >
The quest popped up for all elven users from level 1 to over 500!
“This is pretty sweet too.”
Weed thought it would be worth offering his support if it wasn’t for the dwarf quest.
All he had to do was to use Sculptural Transformation to access the elf race quest.
“If I weren’t too busy with my schedule I would have loved to visit.”
– Mapan: Are you considering helping them?
“If it’s possible.”
– Mapan: I thought you weren’t interested in the adventures of others.
“Unless I’m going to be active as an elf for a long time, enhancing Elemental Summoning or magic won’t do me much good… But, I have to devote myself to this world.”
– Mapan: Yes, the amount of taxes from the elves would have to increase as well.
– Mapan: K-heh-heh-heh.
Weed wished to help the elves but he could not offer transport with the wyverns like with the Brazier of Sacrifice. The World Tree must be in the presence of the earth’s essence, so if it gets too far off the ground it would wither away.
Before its roots settled firmly in the earth, it was a frail being that would die easily when exposed to heat or to cold.
“It won’t be easy to travel through the desert.”
– Mapan: They plan on passing through the oasis and taking the long way east.
“Are you close with them?”
– Mapan: Yes. Well, they’re my usual customers…
The more famous an adventurer was, the closer they were acquainted with the merchants.
The bigger the merchant council was, the quicker they could deliver the necessary equipment and materials.
“It would be great if the elves could join in the fight against Kaybern.”
– Mapan: I also think it is possible. However, the fact that a quest that connects elves after the dwarves with the dragon must mean…”
– “It means that the savior quest connected with the dragon will be a serious challenge.”
Weed was assessing these quests all along.
The quest that recovered the Brazier of Sacrifice was the dwarf race quest.
There were savior quests for rescuing barbarians and the fairy knight as well, and perhaps it was possible for the elves to join.
Several races were binded to a single fate due to the dragon.
“It will become a disaster… What about the information that I asked for?”
– Mapan: I am still in the process of organizing the information about Knatul and Malin. There were too many incorrect stories and too much fake intelligence, so it will take a considerable amount of time.
– Mapan: It’s because of the hopes of becoming a lord of Arpen that… They are reporting just about anything.”
The lord seat and a million gold. The reward was attracting a huge amount of information about the barbarian and the fairy knight.
The problem was that they were rarely useful.
Even quests of rank F difficulty that were incomplete were still being sent in as information.
“It is what it is. We have to sort them out from our side.”
– Mapan: That is so.
“It will only become more dangerous given how the scale of the quest continues to grow. Nothing to fall back on if we fail…”
– Mapan: Yes! We have faith in you, Weed-nim.
“You speak so calmly since you’re not the one behind the wheel.”
– Mapan: Well, that is life.
The entrance to Norn Mountain Pass.
Weed arrived on Wy-3 to attend the dwarf council meeting.
‘I have to be careful from here.’
It was a considerable distance away from Kaybern’s territories, but there were terrible rumors that thousands of draconic warriors were roaming around Thor.
– We have to retrieve the treasure.
– Find them and kill them. How dare those lowly dwarves intrude Kaybern-nim’s lair!
Additionally, the monsters level of activity became more frequent, turning Thor into a danger zone.
“Bypassing the obstacles and getting to Treestub Village where the dwarves are is a quest in itself.”
He had 10 days and it would have been far easier if he moved as soon as he accepted the quest.
However, he had to split up his schedule in order to host the Arpen Empire lord conference and another slot for hunting. During that time, the draconic warriors and monsters filled the entire mountain pass.
“It’s already difficult as it is and it’s getting even harder. I suppose this is how we all thrive.”
– Bidol: No enemies in sight within a 200 meter radius. They may be hidden in the grass or below the trees, so be wary.
Just like how they scout with drones in the military, the avian users were scouting the surroundings. The avian were always helpful for Weed, but after the lair raid, their loyalty grew exponentially.
Weed transformed into a dwarf and equipped average equipment around level 300.
There were many useful things out of the dragon’s treasures, but they carried a risk of drawing too many eyes and hence he did not bring them.
Even so, he stashed equipment like the Loa sword and the Sky Ruler’s Armor in his bag.
It was a kind of infiltration quest into the heart of enemy lines!
If he were to be discovered, all draconic warriors and monsters in vicinity would swarm on top of him. Kaybern too would undoubtedly fly over from the lair.
“I am on the move.”
Weed’s voice transferred through the regional chat to 100 avian that were mobilized to provide aerial surveillance.
– Pale: Preparations for reinforcement complete.
With Pale as the core, the backup team, composed of the users out to hunt for Kaybern, waited nearby as well.
“You don’t have to do this.”
“We are doing this because we want to.”
Weed wanted to turn them back because he did not see them as any significant help if the situation were to turn for the worst, but they were voluntarily gathered.
“As I have seen for quite some time, there’s a lot to gain from staying near Weed-nim.”
“It is draining… Deathly painful, but ultimately worthwhile.”
“You get to be on broadcast. That in itself is profit.”
Much like how the Hermes Guild assisted in Bard Ray’s hunt or quest, Weed was receiving the same reliable support.
– Biwalde: There are monsters at the east ridge. The trees are blocking the sight, so I think Weed-nim will stay undiscovered.
– Chukyeong: There are 20 draconic warriors found in this area. We are confirming all of their movements.
– Kaliyacard: There are some outposts along the progression path. They were built by the dwarves but were overtaken by the draconic warriors. The detour is west but you must pass through a gorge.
– Seum: Currently scouting the gorge. Large group of monsters are resting here. It may be possible to progress through them without being discovered but… It’s not certain.
– Toro: The gorge is not viable. Judging by the look of these monsters, I suspect that they possess a keen sense of smell.
Weed received a wide range of information on his mountain climb.
‘draconic warriors on outposts… That’s the first challenge.’
If he were to be seen, nearby draconic warriors and monsters could overrun him.
‘S difficulty quests are not simple. If things go wrong, it won’t end with just me, but all dwarves in Treestub Village will perish.’
Weed’s mind was sharp and sensitive like the tip of a blade.
Avian scattered all around informed him. He assembled those stories into one. He did not take anything lightly; the surrounding terrain, sound of the wind, the smell.
‘I will not let up my guard.’
It was Weed’s style to not get full of himself or underestimate his opponent until the moment of death!
Using his short legs, he barely made a sound during his climb. He even carefully avoided tree branches and leaves.
– Herman: I know a lot about Norn Mountain Pass. The outpost on that side can be evaded by going through the dwarven liquor storage.
Herman spoke to Weed after watching the live stream.
– Herman: I can’t call it the next crossroad… If you continue that way for a bit more, there will be a secret path on the right. It might be covered by grass. It’s where the hundred year old trees intertwine and if you switch directions towards that way and keep walking, you will encounter a passage between the rocks.
Norn Mountain Pass had lots of huge trees and also large boulders.
– Herman: Cold wind seeps through it, so the senior dwarves store their beer inside. The manager of that area should be Brockhand… The place is only known by reputable dwarves. Eh-hem. He will treat you well if you mention my name.
“Thank you, Sir old dwarf.”
– Herman: … If you could take out “old”. Damn it! If this goes live, more people will mock me. Curses. Ah, my cursing just went live. This is not good.
Weed received Herman’s info which was soon confirmed by Seoyoon and Mapan.
He wouldn’t have told Weed wrong information, but Herman was more a blacksmith than an adventurer. Many things could have changed since his last visit.
– Seoyoon: The dwarven liquor storage. Location confirmed. Sir Herman’s words are correct. If you pass through the storage, you can cut down the distance down by approximately 340 meters.
– Mapan: I am assessing the mountain map. The location is firm and based on the words of other users it seems that NPC Brockhand is a bit picky. He doesn’t seem to let dwarves with low reputation through the entrance… Well, I guess that isn’t a concern for Weed-nim.
An adventurer, an artist.
Weed’s reputation as he climbed to the position of emperor of the Arpen Empire, with a bit of exaggeration was known even by the aquatic creatures just fished out of the ocean.
In fact, mermaids and creatures of intelligence spoke about Weed.
– On land I heard there is an honorable man who creates beauty and doesn’t know fear. How can I meet him?
– There is rumour spreading throughout the oceans. The polar explorer, the honorable king of kings, a determined fisherman. I have stories to tell day and night about the man with such titles. Shh. These are secrets that I haven’t told anyone.
His reputation and various other requirements were already at such a level where he could accept just about any dangerous quests!
In the past, he was discouraged at the sight of S rank quests.
Now, he could see high possibilities of success with his arsenal of tricks.
Nonetheless, the process would still be arduous.
Weed, slowly and carefully walked through the shortcut and found his way into the crack in the rock where the cool breeze passes.
“There are only a few dwarves that come all this way… Who are you?”
Brockhand was a dwarf with a beard that reached all the way to his knees. His nose was red and held a large, sharp axe in his hand. He was ready to swing down on the infiltrators without a permit at any moment.
“My name is Weedhand, Sir Brockhand.”
“Oh. Weedhand, you say! What in the world… I never thought I would see the most famous dwarf here.”
After he stole the Brazier of Sacrifice from Kaybern’s lair, his reputation had increased by 32,000. The entire Versaille Continent was in an uproar and dwarves in the Thor region talked about it at every beer table.
It was surely going to simmer down soon, but for the time being it was boosting his reputation significantly.
“It takes more than just courage to face Kaybern, you’re an impressive man.”
“I do not deserve your kind compliments. I was just unable to turn away from injustice and lifted my axe.”
“Of course. Do you know what it is like to wield an axe?”
“It is heavy and dense. It is useful for chopping down trees, but best when crushing monsters with power and destructive force.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. Such a splendid dwarf deserves as much of my beer as he wants.”
“Would you be kind enough?”
Weed was securing friendship level all the while.
Drinking beer among dwarves was a great way to become friendly.
One thing to be cautious between dwarves is that when you turn down the offer, the relationship plummets badly.
“You must be on your way to Treestub Village. I know you are busy. Let’s empty one barrel quickly.”
He drank plentifully from Brockhand’s offerings in the rock liquor storage.
– You are slightly drunk from the flavorful beer. The dwarf trait grants increased focus and stamina until you become sober.
All production and combat engagements efficiency is increased by 10.
Recovery rate is increased.
Reduced loss of strength from severe wounds.
< You have tasted Bornyak beer.
Tasting such great beer increased Art by 2.
Dignity increased by 2.
Courage increased by 2. >
< Cooking Skill proficiency is enhanced.>
< Outstanding Insight allowed you to see through 85% of the recipe for Bornyak beer. >
‘Such cool effects…’
Weed was content drinking the hidden beer of the dwarf.
In Royal Road, many thrived by diligent hunting, but there were also those who searched for spectacular scenery or cooked delicious recipes and became powerful in their respective ways. It was about enjoying life.
Though one mistake could turn that life into a lazy and frolic one.
Brockhand laid down his empty glass and spoke.
“Weedhand, are you really going to hunt that dragon?”
“Of course. The dragon persecuted us dwarves.”
Weed lied without a conscience.
“Then I shall follow in your endeavor.”
“It’s too dangerous. There will be many enemies waiting for me.”
“Do not worry about that. This body of mine is old indeed, but if it’s slaying Kaybern, I will fight at any battlefront.”
Hence Brockhand joined as a comrade.
Weed skimmed through his equipment and they seemed to be less than level 500. Even so, his axe and equipment were worn out like they have been used frequently.
Brockhand undoubtedly would have gone through countless battles in his youth.
‘He’s at an acceptable level as a comrade.’
Veteran dwarf warriors were always welcome in any group.
In any situation, they always pulled through despite the costs in beer than they raised.
– Mapan: Brockhand is a dwarf with a sensitive personality… It feels good that he’s joined as an ally. Brockhand has never been a comrade of a player. This is a first.
– Spenson: It looks like the dwarves are joining in on our quest against Kaybern. Normally, dwarfs aren’t such cooperative people .
Weed came out of the liquor storage and walked with Brockhand.
“Look at these prints. They belong to the draconic warriors.”
Brockhand checked out the firm prints on the ground.
Weed had already known from the avian that there were 5 draconic warriors up ahead.
Though he avoided the outposts, there were many obstacles on the way to Treestub Village.
“Do you know how to identify the tracks of the earth?”
“Not in detail. But, the mountains and forest are familiar to me. Draconic warriors have larger and heavier feet than those of a human.”
“Dwarves have feet just as big.”
“We do have such feet, but we try our best not to step on live flowers.”
“That is so.”
“Don’t trouble yourself with them. This place is like my own backyard. The path is blocked for sure, but there is always a way around.”
Brockhand led the way through a crack in a large boulder using his small stature.
“Have you ever swung on vines? We can traverse a long distance up this tree.”
“Hmm. I will give it a try.”
Weed climbed the tree with Brockhand. Then he grabbed on the vines and leaped through midair, travelling dozens of meters each time.
Brockhand who was confidently leading the way lost his grip and almost fell several times.
“K-hmm, high places are sure dizzy. Weedhand, you ride well like the young dwarves.”
Brockhand’s guidance allowed them to bypass several groups of draconic warriors.
– I hear something from afar.
– It must be the wind.
– It seems young monkeys are just playing around.
The draconic warriors stood at their assigned positions and patrolled the area. Passing through the tall grass and the path through the rocks was safe enough.
“Whew, we didn’t get discovered.”
“It was possible because of Brockhand-nim.”
“I know, it was all me.”
“Now if we stay in the shadow of the trees and if we put this on, we will be well camouflaged.”
Brockhand’s suggestion was rubbing mud on their faces. Then he stuck a bit of grass and branches between his chainmail and praised himself.
“This is perfect, if I say so myself. Those dumb lizards will never figure me out.”
Weed honestly didn’t think much of Brockhand’s camouflage.
‘I guess it will have some sort of an effect. Barely a difference though.’
An axe sticking out between a tree and the grass!
Even so, the dwarves must always be praised as the best.
“Your hiding skills are amazing.”
– Beakraccoon: A group of draconic warriors closing in fast, 320 meters west. 4 draconic warriors and multiple other monsters.
Weed peeked unnoticeably to the west. There was nothing in sight, but soon the draconic warriors were going to appear.
Brockhand put his backpack on once again.
“Let’s get on our way.”
“Hold on. This doesn’t feel right. Let us wait in the grass for a little longer.”
“Well, if you say so.”
After a moment of waiting, the draconic warriors and the monsters passed by.
“We must find Kaybern-nim’s lost items.”
“We have to get them back, even if it means killing every last dwarf in these mountains.”
“Find the villages with lots of dwarves. They will know where the treasures are. If we don’t find treasures, the dwarves will have to offer their own lives and treasures instead.”
The patrolling dragon soldiers were exchanging murderous conversations.
Weed stopped Brockhand from dashing out.
“They are just words. I heard that the nearby dwarf villages already retreated after engaging with monsters.”
“I must take revenge.”
“There will be a better opportunity later.”
Brockhand was hotheaded like the dwarf warrior he was. Other than the fact that he wanted to pounce whenever he saw a monster, he was an excellent guide.
‘Terrain and scouting. Assistance in both makes it so much easier.’
He moved cautiously nonetheless.
According to the map, Treestub Village was west of Norn Mountain Pass and surrounded by steep mountains.
Thick forests prevented sight of the village from a distance.
Adventurer Chase and many dwarves said that they only heard stories about Treestub Village.
– Chase: I constantly write down clues about quests in my notepad. I’ve heard about Treestub Village 3 times. It’s recorded as a peaceful, typical village where the dwarves reside.
Even adventurers did not know what it was like for certain.
Some players might have visited by pure chance but passed through thinking that it was just another village.
The village served as the meeting point for the warriors when their fates were in danger.
‘Judging by the map, Treestub Village is near the waterfall. At the foot and breast of the mountain I could hide and detour, but where the water is – there is the problem. Typically, it would be full of monsters.’
Weed pondered but came to no solution.
Teleportation and Painting Teleportation was prevented and flight would be discovered by the draconic warriors.
‘Of course that S rank chain quest wouldn’t be so easy.’
Just because the first difficulties had been overcome easily didn’t mean the entire process was the same.
“Brockhand, let us go.”
Adventurer Chase. He who arrived at the Ring of Fire could see mountain tops spewing lava.
Some volcanoes were vomiting lava several hundred meters into the sky.
“Wow… This is truly an incredible sight.”
“It is too hot. The heat is going to melt my face.”
“Put on your fairy windbreakers. The flames will be dangerous from here on out. We have to be careful of the terrain more than the monsters right now.”
The adventurers began the investigation with Chase.
Their objective was Landony’s lair that was yet to be found!
For now, the threat of the Red Dragon was looming; it could invade the Central or Northern Continent after its assault on the orcs.
“K-ugh… This is a perilous path.”
With each step, they sank to their knees in the volcanic ash.
In the sky, strange-looking rock monsters took flight. Some grounds sank and lava flowing underneath was visible to the eye.
“Watch your feet!”
A boulder on a steep area crumbled and dropped down into the distance.
The adventurers had tied themselves to one another and didn’t fall, but it was truly a dangerous moment.
That night, the adventurers had a meeting in a tent.
“There are many locations that cannot be reached due to the terrain.”
“I don’t think we can find our answer without any kind of information. It will be difficult to find anything.”
“If it’s a dragon, there will surely be some traces. Maybe near the largest volcano or between the ground fissures.”
“Half of us would die in those locations.”
The more they talked, the more they realized the danger of this adventure.
‘But, this is what adventures do.’
‘One slip and I’m dead. I never had such a thrill doing quests.’
The adventurers investigated the Ring of Fire, uncovering the unknown regions bit by bit.
Every day, several players died but no one desired to go home.
After some time, news reached out to them.
Orc lord Seechwi who was investigating the Plain of Despair messaged them.
– Seechwi: Shhk! I finally earned the trust of the orc tribe. Ch-Chhk!
“How did you…. Did you find anything?”
The adventurers at the Ring of Fire were basically barehanded and needed any information they could get.
– Seechwi: Orcs do not have records… Shhk! What’s worse is that stories weren’t passed down properly through the generations. Ch-chhk!
“I suspected so.”
Chase and the adventurers were discouraged. In truth, it was the reason only a few adventurers visited the Plain of Despair when it was released. The orc history did not pass down properly.
When one orc says his stomach is full, the other orc would think they succeeded in the hunt. The next orc would scurry over to have a share, many stories were lost or distorted.
– Seechwi: However… Shhk!
– Seechwi: I discovered a word that could be a clue. Shhk! Cletta the king of devils…Ch-chhk!”
Weed and Brockhand diligently moved with their short legs and climbed the mountain.
‘Cletta, king of devils? What does that have to do with anything?’
A name that randomly spouted in this calamity of the Black and Red Dragon!
‘That is too misleading. It’s not worth trusting, coming out of the orcs. Yup. It doesn’t have any basis.’
He wanted to relieve himself as such, but he could not free himself from the tickling at the back of his mind.
‘For now, I have to do what must be done. The things on the list… will be done when they are due.’
Weed could see monsters from far away.
“Leave them to me. I’ll split them in half.”
Brockhand took off the axe tied to his back.
“There are other monsters in the vicinity. Monsters will crowd if we make a sound, so let’s pass through quietly.”
“My dwarf pride doesn’t…”
“I’ll buy you as much beer as you want later.”
“I think your quiet approach is right.”
Brockhand intervened at times and discovered shortcuts, but when it came to decisions Weed had to convince him every time.
To their luck, they were dwarves with small stature.
Just by sitting in the grass, they were hidden from monsters breezing by.
“Hmm. It’s unfortunate that they can’t get a taste of my axe.”
“There will be a chance.”
On their walk to Treestub Village they discovered a small cave with 9 dwarves.
“We are warriors of Golson Village. We saw a lot of monsters while heading to Treestub Village, so we were preparing a surprise attack. Who might you folks be?”
“I am Brockhand of the liquor storage, and here is Weedhand who took back our treasure from Kaybern’s lair.”
“I am in the presence of a great dwarf. It is an honor. It seems you’re making your way to Treestub Village. Do you mind if we accompany you?”
Weed accepted their request and his brain was working fast.
‘With them, that’s 10 dwarves. At first I thought it was mere coincidence coming across Brockhand… It might not be what it seemed.’
He only thought about sneaking into Treestub Village. But now, leading all these dwarves increased his chances of getting caught.
‘Plans will change slightly. A clean surprise attack and clear the path.’
At Treestub Village, the dwarves will make a decision that will determine the fate of their kind. It wouldn’t be so bad for him to take the time to befriend the dwarf warriors.
– Betten: There are monsters around. They look to be gigantic demonic beasts leashed by the draconic soldiers. 7 of them are roaming, all apart from one another. If we wait for 4 or 5 minutes, we could sneak through.
“7 ahead. Can we take care of them quickly?”
“So be it. I’ll finally show them my axe.”
“I will take 3 of them.”
“So I can see your lair-robbing skills in action. I got your back.”
Weed and the dwarves launched an assault on the monsters blocking the path.
The monsters hidden among the grass and trees burst out, then Weed leapt down from the tree branch.
The dual-wield axe with which he trained so rigorously!
With the weapon he grabbed from Kaybern’s lair, his base attack was 280.
Other attributes also increased sharpness, strength and destructive force. It was truly a rampaging weapon.
The monsters quickly died as soon as the dwarves unleashed their two-pronged attack.
Weed rapidly slayed two demonic beasts.
– Biwald: Southwest, 270 meters. Draconic warriors and monsters approaching. If you leave quickly you won’t be discovered.
– Sseum: 8 monsters north. I have been observing for some time, and they seem to patrol within certain boundaries. You could take care of them at the chestnut forest and remove any threats.
“Let’s hurry. Our next destination is the chestnut forest. There is a battle waiting for us there.”
“Sounds good. My blood is boiling.”
Thanks to the avian scouting the surroundings, they took care of the monsters and advanced with ease.
Weed slaughtered dragon soldiers by using Sculptural Destruction and poured all his art stats into strength, crushing them in just 3 blows.
These soldiers had substantial health points and endurance, but were weak to his method of heightening base attacks.
They could withstand skills, but were crushed under direct attacks!
Weed’s eyes glimmered.
‘I can’t say this is efficient in terms of hunting, but it’s a decent location overall.’
The draconic warriors dropped useful equipment as well as dragon teeth and scales.
These were great as magic ingredients and also needed in special quests.
The dwarves looked at Weed with amazement.
“You are incredibly strong!”
“I didn’t think you’d slay the soldiers that swiftly.”
The dwarf warriors of white beards were in awe. They were all short but had broad shoulders.
“They are nothing compared to Kaybern.”
“The Black Dragon?”
“When I faced Kaybern…”
“Gasp. You battled Kaybern?”
“Well, we clashed briefly… Let’s keep moving. We need to get to the village by tomorrow noon.”
They arrived at the ridge of the rocky mountain.
There was a high chance of getting discovered by the draconic warriors and monsters.
What made matters worse was that the moon was bright and the family constellation that he created while mastering sculptural techniques too was shining.
The star that resembled Seoyoon and a baby, dressed with jewels rained light down on the earth.
“Please come take a look.”
Weed gathered the dwarves.
“This ridge is widely visible. We will definitely get discovered through this way and attract the monsters.”
“I have no fear. Death isn’t something to be afraid of.”
Brockhand spoke with confidence.
“We will distract them if it need be. You have important matters, so head to Treestub Village!”
Their plan was the warriors scattering and diverting the draconic warriors and the monsters.
Weed thought that in terms of just the success of the quest, the dwarves could be sacrificed.
‘It would be helpful but it risks a huge loss.’
The dwarves boasted about their bond of loyalty with one another. They willingly jumped into battle to save one of their own.
Hence they despised leaving one of theirs as bait.
‘I will get to Treestub Village, but there may be a significant turn of events.’
Though it was a while back, he used to take care of the Rohaim Kingdom soldiers one by one in the Lair of Litvart.
He never got to see them after that, but he did not wish to lose military resources meaninglessly.
‘I have to save as many as I can. I have to save them to exploit them later. These are dwarves we are talking about here.’
Truthfully, Weed was not concerned even if getting to Treestub Village would turn out to be challenging.
He was proceeding in the form of the dwarf, the standard of the current quest but he could always use Sculptural Transformation.
He could morph into a monster or draconic warrior and just walk through carefree.
Or he could turn into a squirrel and scurry away.
Riding on Wyvern3 across the sky could get him seen by the draconic warriors, but the other methods were just plain cheating!
‘Keeping these dwarves alive will be of help later on.’
Weed took out animal hides and a sewing kit from his bag. They were items he carried around after he mastered sculptural techniques.
“I have a plan so please wait.”
He sewed the hides together and applied paint that he borrowed from Yurin.
The work of sewing intermediate level 7.
He wasn’t a master but was very crafty, even fine-tuning it.
The thread and needle danced and created the animal hide clothing. The head was carved from mud using sculptural technique.
The collaboration of sewing and sculptural technique!
< Well-made Coat of the Black Bear: Durability 20/20 Defense 11
It was a finely woven coat based on the form of a bear!
So well crafted that the wearer would definitely be mistaken for a bear.
Attribute: Slight fear on monsters.
Weak monsters may flee.
Far from current trends, but could be sold at high prices depending on personal taste. >
“Mmm. Turned out pretty good.”
It was just a plain leather coat.
Even so, like the sculptural master he is, the head of the black bear was very realistic.
One could not tell it apart beyond 10 meters away.
Weed followed up with wolf and monkey coats.
“Wear these coats.”
“You mean these?”
“Yes. We can skip over this ridge with these on.”
“This is disgraceful for a brave warrior. How about we wait until nightfall?”
“That’s not an option. The Family constellation is too bright… We could wait even longer and traverse when the fog sets, but then even we cannot tell when the enemies approach us.”
In the fog, the scouting from the avian was also rendered useless.
Weed did not want to leave this quest to pure luck.
“Currently the draconic warriors are leading the monsters. The draconic warriors have sensitive taste and do not hunt animals. I heard that there are many bears, wolves and monkeys on this mountain. If they do not approach us, they might not notice. Even if they do come quite close, they won’t be able to identify us.”
Weed’s plan was to wear disguise and traverse the ridge.
Many animals of the natural habitat were roaming around as well, so nothing would be peculiar looking from afar.
‘Disguise coats in the middle of the night… Even a ridge will have trees and grass here and there on the way that would provide as cover from their vision. Being exposed a little bit at a time would not be a problem.”$
The dwarves were reluctant, but it wasn’t difficult to convince them.
“I don’t like it more than any of you. But, we are making a sacrifice for our kind.”
“Yes. I wish to fight them too… But we will not win against Kaybern if we do. How glorious would it be to have a cold beer after we slay Kaybern?”
Hearing Weed, the dwarves grumbled but managed to wear the disguise coats.
“If they catch us, we will buy time. Weedhand, you head to Treestub Village.”
“Yes. I will do so.”
Weed wore the wolf hide coat.
The mouth was sharp and long with fangs sticking out; the typical villainous wolf coat.
The dwarves got on the move one at a time wearing the animal disguises.
The bear walked a bit further up front and the wolves and the monkeys followed loosely.
It was indeed a strange scene, hence they spread the distance apart and walked in threes or fours.
Weed was experienced in walking on four legs in the past and it was familiar and fairly easy.
The dwarves too were pretty decent in mimicking animal movements, moving along the ridge.
No one asked them to do so, but the dwarves got excited and started making quiet animal cries. There was surely the sound of sipping beer back when they were getting dressed.
– Sseum: The dragon soldiers are passing by from a fair distance in the east. You will still be visible in that range.
Weed too slightly turned his head to look.
Under the moonlight, he saw the dragon soldiers and the monsters patrolling Norn Mountain Pass. Their objective was finding the dwarves.
The bear, wolves and monkeys treaded lightly along the ridge and headed to Treestub Village.