The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 49 Chapter 4 part1
[Note from Mimosab] Here is the 2nd part this week.
Still some delay but we’re doing our best!
Also: thanks to SoreLoser, Eternal and Re1er, we’re updating chapters 1 to 3 in a really better version than before. Don’t forget you can also suggest changes to improve the translation 😉
Imperial Army's subjugation of Ritten region was led by Trakis the Conqueror of the Third Legion.
“We will destroy it thoroughly in a week. Not only will the Kingdom of Arpen be driven out of this land, but given any chance, we will invade it in return.” Trakis declared to his commanding officers.
The 250,000 elite soldiers of the Third Legion formed the basis of the army under his charge. In addition to that, there was a reinforcement of 100,000 troops recruited from the nearby cities under his order as a lord of Haven Empire, and another 100,000 Imperial soldiers deployed by the commanding center of the Empire.
A total of 450,000 powerful troops! And there were none less than 50,000 Steel Knights following behind them.
“The estimated number of Nothern users that landed on Ritten region is one million."
"And how many of them are above level 400?"
"Our guess is about 5 percent of the total number."
The reports from the secret agents working in Ritten region were arriving in a stream. Hermes Guild actively utilized secret agents during the conquest of the Central Continent; over a hundred of them had been sent to Ritten region, so naturally any new information arrived through them immediately.
'We could simply trample on them right now…'
Trakis was one of the top 20 rankers of Royal Road, but he still took some time to think carefully before going to battle.
‘Judging by the combat power alone, they would not be able to match even 10 percent of our military strength. But there will be a lot of unexpected variables.'
He was so convinced of their victory while watching the broadcast that showed the Nothern expeditionary force attempting to conquer the Castle of the Earth not long ago. But the sight of the huge army being destroyed as the castle collapsed on them gave a considerable shock to Trakis; an unbelievable twist, during that dramatic moment.
‘Weed's intervention is more likely than ever. There will be more Nothern users streaming in, too…Then the answer is a lightning war; don't give them time to prepare.'
Trakis thought the situation will become more difficult if the battle dragged on. Nonetheless, he took care not to show these inward thoughts during interviews with the broadcasting stations.
“Weed and the Northern users? They are nothing.”
“You seem to have great confidence before the battle.”
“Of course I do. We are not going there to fight. We are going there to trample on them."
For the morale of the whole troops as well as his own popularity, he decided to talk big.
Na Ye-seul, a field reporter of CTS Media with an unusual choice of race as a bear, asked him with a smile, "A contest between Weed the God of War and you, Mr. Trakis-it's only natural that this event is highly anticipated by everyone. Are you willing to fight if there is a one-on-one match against Weed?"
This gave Trakis a pause.
He had to be cautious; if he said yes in the interview, then a situation might arise in which he has to face Weed directly by himself. Not only would his life be at stake, but also the whole Third Legion might be defeated before even having a proper fight if things went wrong.
'This is rather uncomfortable…'
His mind raced as though he was just caught while stealing. True, he was one of the very top-class rankers of Royal Road, but still, he would rather avoid a duel with Weed; the man's fighting capability was not something that could be predicted by normal standards. He got stronger in unusual ways such as causing disasters, or changing race or form. There were even rumors that claimed he had an ability to stop time.
“It was so strange. I clearly remember my skill was just about to hit him directly, but instead, I was the one who got killed the next second."
"A short-range teleportation skill? But it was a bit different. Normally a skill attack does not hit at the same time you move."
“Even if you manage to disable his magic, it's no use; you cannot block that particular movement no matter what you do."
These were some of the comments given in unison by Hermes Guild users who had fought Weed face-to-face. They were all strong in their own ways, but their general sentiment was that Weed was comparable to a mirage that couldn't be reached.
“Fighting Weed? I must say, that is an exciting thought. However, as a commander-in-chief, I'm afraid I cannot carelessly rush into a fight when there's such an important battle ahead.
“Ah yes, I understand. It would be rather overwhelming, fighting Mr. Weed directly."
"No, I don't mean…"
“Then, would you accept if Mr. Weed challenges you to a duel?"
The Imperial Army of Haven led by Trakis moved swiftly, night and day.
“Move faster, move!”
The Third Legion troops were even wearing specially-crafted armors; these equipments improved the resistance against nature in case of disasters, and maximized the longevity of the soldiers to the limit.
'With these, we can prevent death by natural disasters up to some extent. Also there are no factors that could maximize the damage like in the sea…'
‘Trakis employed a massive number of scouts, preparing for ambush. The troops avoided terrains such as canyons, rivers and swamps whenever possible, even if they had to make a detour. Taking advantage of their horses and carriages they tried to compensate for the longer distance with speed.
As there was also a teleport gate installed in the middle, they arrived at the border of Ritten region just two days after they left the center of Haven Empire,
"The small damaged villages can be restored later; we will continue advancing towards Shelgium, the heart of Ritten region, at full speed."
The Nothern users had already conquered Shelgium, which was once the capital of the old Ritten Kingdom.
To be precise, the word 'conquest' was not quite appropriate, because hundreds of thousands of Nothern users approached Shelgium,
“Finally, the day has come to repay Weed's kindness."”
…and one of those users used to be something like an elder citizen of Shelgium.
He once asked Weed to carve his unborn daughter. He was willing to pay any price, but the cost of this commission was 1 Copper.
'He wouldn't give something like this a lick and a promise, would he?'
Mandol was anxious, but he waited for the completion of the work.
That 1-copper-sculpture turned out to be a mythical work depicting the life of his daughter.
Even an art center was built in Moratta, and Mandol settled down in Arpen Kingdom with his wife. He was the first one to come forward and take the lead when Grass Porridge Cult started their march.
“Let’s go! Take revenge upon Hermes Guild!"
As Mandol took his place in the front line, young users of Grass Porridge felt afraid.
“Who's that old guy? I'm scared…"
“H, he looks really intimidating…"
Mandol, who was making even his allies feel frightened just because of his threatening looks.
When he arrived at his old home Shelgium, a lot of users in this place voluntarily came out to welcome him.
"Dear sir Mandol!"
“You've finally come. I have waited."
In spite of his appearance, Mandol was a kind and considerate guy. There were users all over Shelgium who had played Royal Road and leveled up with him, or who owed him favors.
"If Mandol needs our help, then of course we should be there for him."
"Yes. And it's not like it's a bad thing if Arpen Kingdom takes control of the region."
As there were signs of an uprising even among the users of Shelgium, Vegus, the governor of the city, chose to open the castle's main gates and flee by night. Publically, this event was known as the downfall of a parachuted officer who had got his position through money and connection, but in fact this was planned by the heads of Hermes Guild.
"We must not let the war drag on for too long; we need to subdue the rebel forces all at once in order to show them the power of the Imperial Army, and we need to overpower Arpern Kingdom."
Thus they decided to let their enemy take Shelgium, the capital of the Government-General, without bloodshed for now; a scheme to confine all of the Northern users in one place and exterminate them in a single assault!
"We must make sure there is no space for even an ant to escape."
When talking about a siege, total annihilation of the defending force inside the castle would show just how big the gap between the two sides is in terms of military power.
The Siege of Shelgium!
The dawn was breaking on the day of the battle between Haven Imperial Army and the Nothern users.
"Wow…Look at all those tents."
"That's the splendor of the Imperial Army for ya. I must say, it IS quite amazing."
Nothern users were standing along the castle walls of Shelgium.
Looking over the tents of the Imperial Army which were more than 10,000 in number, the air was surprisingly relaxed.
"Let's just go and have a large meal."
"Good idea. If we die, we die, right?"
These Nothern users didn't even fear defeat; they were none other than the advance party of Grass Porridge Cult!
The main force was on their way down from the borders with Haven Empire, little by little.
"We don't have enough stone!"
"Is there a mountain nearby that we can use as a quarry?"
"There's one about 2 kilometers away from here. There are a lot of rocks by the river, too."
"Then let's go and dig them all!"
The main force of Grass Porridge Cult was on the march, even paving a road that leads to Haven Empire in the process.
If Weed had made an explicit suggestion to conquer Haven Empire in the first place, he could have easily formed an expeditionary force of more than 10 million people. As the news of Seoyoon's sacrifice was extensively spread among people through broadcast, more than half of the whole Northern users were advancing southward in anger.
As they were descending in thousands of smaller groups, it was impossible to know the exact number. Their architects were even securing a traffic route on their way down, paving roads to ensure the swift movement of the main force.
"It's fine if we die. But we are the frontline liberation army against Haven Empire."
"Yeah, you're right."
"I bet our sacrifice will be remembered throughout the history of Royal Road."
Crowers, a user with the level of late 400s, were talking to his comrade Zenthal at the castle wall.
-There is no chance of winning this battle.
Meanwhile in the Emergence Situation Room of Grass Porridge Cult, people were analyzing the fight against Haven Empire.
While continuously monitoring the status of the military strength of both sides, they came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to defend the occupied area with the advance party alone before the main force comes to join them.
A second lieutenant, who had been kicked out of Korea Military after reporting a corruption case regarding the ingredient used in the meal service , voiced his opinion.
-It would be best to abandon Shelgium and back off for now. Even if that means we need to hand over our victory to Hermes Guild.
He also explained about the difference in strength between the two sides to the representative users of Shelgium.
"It looks like a planned movement that the Third Legion is marching to this place immediately after Hermes Guild gave up Shelgium. We need to retreat."
The advance party of Grass Porridge Cult and Mandol were determined not to follow that plan.
"We are not going to back off."
"But this is too reckless!"
"Grass Porridge is a legend. Grass Porridge! Grass Porridge! Grass Porridge!"
The core of this advance party consisted of Grass Porridge fanatics; they did not want to retreat the moment after they reached the Central Continent.
Mandol smiled as well.
"It's going to be fun, fighting to my heart's content. I'm going to join them."
"Nobody's forcing other people to join. Those who do not want to take part in the fight can choose not to go online on Royal Road for some time, or withdraw from Shelgium. Those who decided to stay; please don't blame them. We are doing this because our hearts demand it."
After listening to Mandol's speech, the users of the Central Continent couldn't easily make up their minds.
As they were high-level users, death was a very big loss. But their pride would be hurt if they decide to flee, tail between the legs.
"So, we are a scapegoat…no, not a scapegoat. I'll die as a warrior, fighting against Haven Empire."
"It would be my pleasure to fight alongside you."
About half of the high-level users of Shelgium decided to join. Once they made up their mind to lay down their life, the only thought left in them was the hope to fight without regret.
-The siege of Shelgium has begun.
-Haven Imperial Army is swarming the castle walls.
– Siege weapons. Flame carts and Ice catapults are being used.
– Look at those fireballs and ice shards with the size of a house; they are being shot from the distance and even hitting the buildings in the city, flying over the walls!
-Those weapons haven't been used after the conquest of the Central Continents.
-With each shot from Flame carts, tens of Nothern users are killed.
Most of the broadcasting stations related to Royal Road were relaying the scenes of the siege of Shelgium.
Haven Empire versus Arpen Kingdom!
The broadcasting stations couldn't ignore this event especially when Weed himself could join the battle, and the viewers were showing great interest as well.
Weed gave a sigh.
"They would have been better off giving up Shelgium…"
His catastrophic nature sculpting would not have been enough to sweep off the whole Imperial Army from a normal plain.
The big gap in their military force might have been overcome with a lot of resurrection sculpting or life grant skills, but that would have meant losing at least 20 levels per every battle; the situation was impossible to handle, even for a necromancer.
Even without Weed, the advance party in Shelgium will give their best effort to fight against the Empire, and they will be annihilated.
'Hermes Guild might have a feast, after killing all the Nothern users and the users of Shelgium.'
The event will be exaggerated as a great defeat of Arpen Kindgom or the Nothern users through broadcast as well.
Weed wanted to get something in return for Shelgium.
'If you give me sour grapes, you bet I'll trample them with my feet.'
He has already contacted some of his trusted acquaintances, and a couple of users active in the Central Continent.
Calis from Black Lion Guild and Roam of Roam Guild came bringing the entirety of their troops as soon as they got the whispered message from him.
The place for their gathering was the united region of Britten; it was a strategically important area, holding about 30 percent of the economic bloc of Versa Continent, a free city that became the center of trade and commerce.
Inside the underground sewer, a dungeon meant for starting users of around level 35, Weed had a meeting with a thousand high-level users.
They were in the deepest part of the sewer dungeon, crawling with fist-sized cockroaches.
"We are going to take the free city of Somren."
Roam and Calis just listened to him in silence.
Their state of mind might be complicated, but in any rate, the free city of Somren was a big game.
'Taking Someren…with just a thousand soldiers?'
'How many troops are there? Quite a lot, as far as I know. Easily over forty thousands.'
With the two users who once had unmatched fame in the entire Central Continent keeping quiet, the rest did not even dare to ask questions.
There were so many things they wanted to ask, but this was a plan designed by Weed himself.
'He must definitely have something in mind.'
'He probably has prepared a lot of hidden cards that he hasn't told us about. After all, he is the hero of legend who hasn't been defeated once.'
'He is even willing to give up Shelgium in order to concentrate on this scheme; it must be huge! I'm so honored to have been included in this battle. I'll tell my girlfriend and parents all about it when I get back.'
A thousand was not even enough to alert Hermes Guild of their existence, and their fighting power was definitely insufficient, too.
People like Pale, Python and Romuna were dragged in to join in as well, after being contacted by him.
"Do you want to go hunting for about a week?"
"I was about to say I'm going to fight Hermes Guild in Britten."
"Oh, in that case, You could count me in…"
The moment when all hope was about to be drained from them, they were tempted by this offer and decided to participate.
Seasoned Crab was also hiding in darkness, listening to Weed.
"The first step of our plan begins in the Central Plaza of Somren. The place has a lot of floating population."
The users gathering inside nodded. Everyone who was present was a top elite user with level near 500 or higher; they were Weed's acquaintances, or the top-class members of Grass Porridge Cult. They had also visited the Liberty City of Somren before Haven Empire united the Central Continent, so they knew how prosperous that area was. The united region of Britten was the true heart of the Central Continent, controlling its economy.
"Due to security reasons, I'll reveal the second and third steps when the time is right."
Weed's suggestion went through; there wasn't a single objection.
(To be continued…)
More details from the translator
 I actually found this bit in the original Korean text very random; I'm still not sure why there is a sudden talk of Korean Military or meal service corruption. Maybe it's there to emphasize the blatant honesty of this lieutenant? If I'm missing any context, I'd appreciate any clarification.”
The original Korean words for these siege engines are obviously creation of the author, so I attempted to find some appropriate English equivalents that sound mildly fantasy-esque while also explaining their purpose to some extent.
 This is an obvious reference to the tale of the fox and the sour grapes. There's an equivalent Korean expression involving a bitter persimmon, but I thought this would be more appropriate.
Here I used an English saying "Hard work is not wasted."The Korean adage used in the original text literally translates to something like “A tower built upon great efforts does not collapse easily" which has a very similar meaning to the English saying.
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