The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 49 Chapter 5 part1
[Note from Mimosab] The big funding from last week forced us to find another solution to release more parts weekly. We took a 2nd translator, so expect (at least) 3 other parts this week 😉
The three warfronts!
The Arpen Kingdom, the Desert warriors, and on top of that, Weed's appearance was causing liberation of major cities all over the United Britten Region.
'Didn't think he would sneak up on me like this…'
Lafaye took a hard and unexpected blow by Weed's method of starting wars and expanding the battle fronts without being bound by the borders.
The users in the areas that had been conquered by the Arpen Kingdom had left. The users in the Britten Region were also willingly joining the rebel army, not following the order set by the Haven Empire any longer.
'Thinking of all the losses in the Empire's population and economic power…at this rate, all of our hard work will be for naught. They have snatched away the initiative we were hoping to seize by revealing the Steel Knights.'
The tide of the battle, turned by a single cheap trick!
After some serious and grave consideration, Lafaye came to a decision.
"We were intending to take the initiative of this war, but it looks like our enemy has taken some cunning actions beyond our imagination. Now, I will use another of the Five Secret Defense Schemes."
"Hmm…so it comes to this, again."
"What, so soon?"
"The Steel Knights haven't even had a chance to take part in a proper fight yet!"
It was such an unconventional measure that even there were objections among the commanding heads of the Empire; The Five Secret Defense Schemes were their ace in the hole, created through massive amount of money and manpower even by the Hermes Guild's standard.
"There is no doubt that the Steel Knights are excellent additions to our military power, but they do not have people's attention anymore. Moreover, considering the sudden change of circumstances during the last couple of days…the Empire needs to bring out an even greater power."
"We can still defeat our enemies without much difficulty. We have never lost in the regions where our main forces are stationed."
"The Empire has no future if it can only show the power similar to its enemies. If our opponents' strength is about 3, then we need to put out 10, or 20, taking into account the potentially huge effects Weed's demagoguery can have."
The Haven Empire's most significant weakness was its large territory and population.
As Weed and the Arpen Kingdom enjoyed inexplicably high popularity among users, the Empire needed to take caution against the situation in which their enemies swing the mood to their favor.
'Other than the low tax rate, the benefits that Kingdom of theirs provides to its people are far inferior to those of the Empire, and yet…Could this be the true impact of founding a nation?'
The story of the ruined Morata being rebuilt, and the founding of Arpen Kingdom through the collective effort of the users; the strong motivation powered by this short history was what differentiated them from the Haven Empire's ways of ruling, and gave them a competitive edge that the Empire could not match.
Lafaye chose to take a decisive measure in order to break out of this vicious circle.
"The most dangerous weapon out of the remaining 4 Secret Schemes…has the potential for destruction that is hard to predict. Therefore, we shall keep it as the last resort."
"For now, I will summon the Shadow Army of Palma."
"What? You mean to take out such a strong card…?!"
The Shadow Army of Palma-it is an organization created jointly by the groups of witches and assassins which had been the most powerful forces throughout the history of the Versa Continent.
The Hermes Guild had first come to know about them while searching for some S-class quests, and not long after, a deal was made: a promise to provide secret graveyards and supplies to build their army, in return for destroying a target or a place designated by the Hermes Guild.
"Against Palma Army, the human-wave strategy will only have an adverse effect. They are a perfect countermeasure to the Northern army, so they wouldn't have much trouble reducing Arpen to ashes."
The main force of Grass Porridge Cult was slowly making its way to the south. The reporters of the broadcasting stations attempted to take a good shot of the whole army by flying high into the sky using magic scrolls, but it was impossible.
Mountains and plains, rivers and lakes.
Covering all those terrains were the great tsunami of men, advancing tirelessly towards the southern lands. It reminded people of a giant swarm of fire ants, known to devour everything on the face of the Earth.
"I didn't know there were so many Nothern users."
"My god…there must be at least tens of millions of them!"
There were also groups of orcs following behind the human army.
"Chhhhsk . We need a new breeding ground."
"Any place will do. We can't live like this. Chssskkk."
The orc lords had succeeded in propagating their servants in a remarkably short time; they raised many fighters and warriors through their commanding abilities and their quick growth in level.
"Here comes the orc army! Tssht."
"Even I'm afraid of my own men. Chsssk."
The valiant orcs willingly participated in the war. As for the orc lords, they were certainly not in the position to say no to a fight, for reducing their own headcounts that were increasing way too fast for sustenance if nothing else.
Dwarves, elves, barbarians and fairies.
The users of every race and profession were marching towards the south.
Jerome, the leader of the Second Legion of the Haven Imperial Army, was assigned the task of advancing to the north in order to restore the Harpan Region. His troops consisted of 250,000 soldiers of the Second Legion reinforced by 100,000 Steel Knights and the magical army corps of 30,000 men. The lords governing the areas near the capital of the Haven Empire also provided none less than 200,000 additional troops. Now about 10 percent of the Empire's powerful military force was under his command.
"What's the situation with the local lords?"
"Approximately 127 of them went over to the Arpen Kingdom's side."
"Make an announcement to the remaining lords: the Imperial Army is coming. Should they ever desert the Empire for Arpen, not only will an order be placed against them to be killed on sight, but they will also never again step into the lands of the Central Continent in their life."
While leading his Central Army forward, Jerome sent out several units of soldiers to the surrounding areas. About 10,000 troops moved around hunting down the Nothern users who had been excitedly roaming about the Harpan Region.
"Let us fight!"
"Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge!"
The Nothern users tried to hold their ground, but they were no match against the Second Legion, the elites among the Imperial Army.
"Unleash the Steel Knights."
Helpless against the power of the Steel Knights, the army of Northern users collapsed before they even got a chance to fight back.
Since the days of the Empire's conquest of the Central Continent, Jerome's Army had been highly respected for their prowess in battles.
"Attack! A war is won through courage!"
As the Legion Commander who had led countless users and soldiers through many a battle, he was aware of the importance of morale more than anyone else. During the conquest war of the Central Continent, he often got the start on the enemy by fighting in the front line ahead of everyone, and those who fought against Jerome's army feared their defeat even before the actual battle broke out. With the large number of seasoned elite soldiers under his command, it was often said that his army was invincibility itself.
Each day they fought 12 battles, wiping out tens of thousands of Nothern users with ease and gradually taking the control over the Harpan Region.
"This is an excellent opportunity to train my soldiers in preparation for the war."
Jerome felt quite satisfied as he led his troops to hunt the Northern users.
While the Second Legion was subjugating their enemy in the Harpan Region, the Shadow Army of Palma emerged in the Haven Empire.
Witches and assassins-the heinous criminals and demonic creatures that had been confined for hundreds of years were now released, beginning their march towards the north. With their number reaching a hundred thousand, the words of their appearance spread among the users in no time.
Wherever they went, they left behind a trail of foul stench that caused the surrounding flowers, grass and trees to wither.
The users who had heard the rumors gathered together to watch from the distance the army of demonic creatures, towering with their heights ranging from 5 to 7 meters, advancing to the north.
One of those users named Darkford, a ranger with a level over 470, scanned the Shadow Army of Palma using his long-range observation skill.
"Ehh…Those things are freakishly strong."
"How strong, exactly?"
"Between levels 600 and 700, probably. I cannot even get an estimate for a couple of witches over there. We wouldn't be able to match their power with the current levels of the users."
"Whoa…where on earth did all those monsters even come from?"
As the Shadow Army continued their march towards the north, the neighboring cities and towns took considerable damage as well.
Benzoim, Tarek, and Bahana-three villages came up with a plan to join their forces to fight and lure them to another place, but ended up being annihilated altogether. Even their villages were thoroughly destroyed, and the witches offered the spoils as sacrifices to create even more of the foul creatures.
Upon hearing this news, the Hermes Guild issued a new imperial order upon the lords of the neighboring areas.
– Do not engage them. Clear everything away from their path. Just leave them be until they encounter the main force of Grass Porridge Cult.
Since the whole event drew much attention from the broadcasting stations, through the mouths of several rather talkative local lords this supposedly secret order was disclosed to the general public.
– The Shadow Army of Palma! The Hermes Guild introduced some dangerous beings into the fight through quests. Their target: Grass Porridge Cult!
– Some brave users of Agoltha launched an assault on the several demonic creatures that have strayed from the rest of the group and have been wandering aimlessly. They were victorious, but there was a surprising discovery that the level of each individual creature is over 500.
-We just got more news about the Palma Army. Apparently they are planning to perform a special ritual once they take over the Arpen Kingdom.
– And what kind of ritual is that?
– A ritual of creating great magical borders. They are going to turn the entire Northern Continent into an ideal habitat for the demonic creatures.
-Then, what happens to the Arpen Kingdom's territory?
-It is most likely that it will become a wasteland. People would still be able to live there, but their survival would be constantly threatened by the overflowing demonic creatures residing in the lands.
While it was at least fortunate that these secrets were revealed early on, to Weed and other users of Grass Porridge Cult the appearance of this new enemy posed a threat as urgent as a fire catching on their pants.
At the same time, the public opinion with regard to the Hermes Guild was reaching a new low in the Central Continent. People had not complained much when the members of that guild got rather ambitious while playing Royal Road, zealously waging wars and expanding their control. True, ordinary users had to suffer some losses when the guild raised taxes or whatnot, but most of the time they could tolerate those inconveniences because people were having so much fun. However, now that they had found out that the Hermes Guild was going to turn the whole Nothern Continent into a land of evil creatures, the resentment they harbored towards the Hermes Guild now became irremediable.
"The Shadow Army of Palma…"
As soon as he got wind of their emergence, Weed asked Mapan to take a look at the records in the Great Library of Morata.
The Great Library, where countless users ranging from novices to high-levels record and store even the most trivial bits of information.
After the subordinate merchants belonging to Mapan Store carried out a research on frightening villains, they found some well-organized information on the Shadow Army of Palma:
Things that endangered the entire Versa Continent, #22.
The Shadow Army of Palma
Witches and assassins who hated the world around them joined forces to destroy every kingdom in existence. There are not many studies on them, but their existence became widely known through the enormous amount of bloodshed recorded in history […] …They are under the control of a king named Palma. As they modify the life force and body of a human to turn them into a strong demonic creature, each Kingdom succeeded in putting them under a magical seal by taking decisive actions… […]
The moment Weed took a look at these records he got an estimate on their overall strength.
"Not as powerful as the Embinuy Sect , but certainly quite strong."
The experiences that had accumulated as he defeated various forces threatening the peace of the Versa Continent, as well as his days as the Great King of the Desert during which he WAS one of the forces threatening the peace of the Continent, made him quite an expert of threat assessment.
"I have encountered plenty of magic users, but assassins…they can be a bit tricky."
The best assassins on the Continent-perhaps it would be safe to assume that those included a couple of Master assassins. It wasn't pleasant to imagine this kind of threat forcing its way into the north.
"If Grass Porridge Cult gets engaged in a battle against them…hmm."
One thing was for sure; Weed could count on the Nothern users to willingly take part in the fight if those creatures dared to step into the territory of Arpen Kingdom. But Grass Porridge Cult was relatively weak against large demonic creatures, as it mainly consisted of users with underwhelming strength.
"An eye for an eye. If this is how they want to play, then I have an idea, too."
– The true identity of the Shadow Army of Palma!
– The emergence of the beings threatening the stability of the Versa Continent!
-The Hermes Guild unleashes an atrocious assault with questionable means.
-Weed, a living witness of a great adventurer. Will he be victorious again?
– The fate of the Arpen Kingdom hanging by a thread!
Even with his busy schedule, Yi-hyun checked out the newspaper articles while surfing on the internet. As Royal Road was everyone's favorite topic, it was easy to find relevant news reports wherever you went.
"Hmm…I can see that the public opinion is in our favor."
Yi-hyun drank the orange juice Seoyoon had made by herself. The computer he was using now was not the one he had made by picking up spare parts in the back streets of electronics market; it was a state-of-the-art desktop which he had extorted through CTS Media. He had set a new record in Minesweeper with this piece of cutting-edge technology, and had been using it for Internet surfing as well.
"Looks like people are feeling quite protective towards the Arpen Kingdom, too."
Indeed, many comments he read were showing very favorable attitudes towards the Arpen Kingdom.
– The Hermes Guild. They are the worst. I just can't believe their douchebaggery.
– Nooo…I was just planning to take my vacation soon. My Puhol Waterpark…
– We are planning a family trip to Morata for a week. Would there be any trouble that can affect our travel plan?
– Lord Weed must stop them by any means! Grass Porridge Grass Porridge Grass Porridge!
-I'm a member of Grass Porridge Cult. I belong to the brave Poison Mushroom Porridge, but those…things…making a demonic creature with my body…that's NOT an honor. Ugh.
– I own two stores in the Castle of the Earth and one in Morata. I have invested my entire property in Royal Road. Please. Brave Warriors. Stop them. I beg you.
In most of the comments people were getting extremely worried that the Arpen Kingdom might be destroyed; if the Shadow Army of Palma take over the Nothern Continent, they would not be able to stay in their living place any longer, and would be forced to flee.
The people's worries also reflected that the Hermes Guild had indeed taken a very threatening measure, but Yi-hyun was feeling quite relaxed.
"So they chose to take everyone's blame by committing an evil deed first."
The Shadow Army of Palma!
Since he had already studied their characteristics using the resources in the Great Library, he was not out of means to deal with them.
"And do they think they are the only ones who are capable of wrongdoings? Looks like it is safe to use that method now without having to worry."
That night, Yi-hyun had a very deep and sound sleep; he was dreaming of dealing a mighty back blow to the Hermes Guild.
(To be continued…)
More details from the translator
 In the original text the orcs make this very weird hissing sound whenever they talk, so here's my rather underwhelming attempt at coming up with something similar.
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