The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 50 Chapter 3 part2
[Note from Mimosab] … and a 2nd part released today!
It was only half funded so I paid the other half because… I really wanted to release 2 parts today 😉
"Wait, what he just said… could it be..?"
It was hardly impossible that the party would stumble onto a local sculptor; there were people with some sculpting skills among the residents  of the Versailles Continent, although they were quite rare, and there were shops that sold materials for sculpting as well. However, this old man had such a relaxed air about him that it made them wonder if he was just an ordinary sculptor.
Irene must have had a similar thought, too, for she asked him cautiously, "May I ask your name, sir?"
"Well, it's quite a common name… I'm called Gherr."
Weed and the other companions were still looking at him suspiciously, as the name sounded similar to "Geihar".
'Well, this isn't some big mystery to solve; there's a quick way to check.'
Irene was having the same suspicion in her mind.
"Sure. Please go ahead and make a sculpture of me."
The master sculptor, Emperor Geihar von Arpen!
If this old man was indeed him, he would be able to create a magnificent piece of art on the spot.
Scrape scrape scrape!
A block of white marble was being carved into shape by careful strokes of the old man's blade.
The speed at which he moved his carving knife was slow, but it took the observing adventurers less than a minute to become fully convinced of his identity, for there could be no mistaking such incredible beauty of his sculpture shimmering in bright colors.
'How can he make a sculpture of Irene look so pretty? He might as well have created a whole new person!'
'That's Emperor Geihar.'
'The emperor who united the Versailles Continent for the first time ever… and he's just shown up before us.'
'This will make Weed-nim's plan go awry… does that mean we don't have to do all this work now?'
The other companions were having different thoughts for meeting a hero from old history, but none of them was overly amazed; in terms of amazing things, they were living a far more incredible reality where Weed, just a nobody who they had met shortly after starting Royal Road, had become a man of such fame after undergoing all sorts of hardships. Indeed, it was truly a miracle how they themselves came to become famous just by being close to him, or how they successfully completed all those challenges and adventures that everyone had deemed impossible.
They had travelled in time back to the age in which Emperor Geihar was alive, and they also knew that he was somewhere in the nearby areas, so it was not too much of a coincidence that they had encountered him like this.
'Well, this messes up my plan a little.'
Weed furrowed his brows, but still closely observed Emperor Geihar's sculpting work. Rather than trimming down the form and the proportion of the sculpture little by little, Emperor Geihar worked his way from the head to the feet, detailing each part down to the finishing touch before moving on to the next while being completely immersed in the job. The most prominent aspect of his sculpting skills was the great expressiveness which made the sculpture look so full of life that it did not even need any further correction.
'It's going to be at least a fine piece, quite possibly a Masterpiece, even.'
Needless to say, the excellent value of the sculpture was to be expected from the master sculptor.
'Never mind that. I'll have to call off the plan to win the good graces of him by stopping the sea monsters; now that things have come to this, I might as well just stay close to him.'
Weed walked up to Emperor Geihar and stood almost cheek by jowl with him; he was cleaned up the chips of marble on the ground and provided the emperor with a number of brushes to beat off the dust on the sculpture like an assistant in a hairdresser's.
"I needed those, thank you. I'll use them well."
"It's my pleasure, sir!"
Weed spoke in a voice that could only be described as sycophantic.
Various kinds of beauty and charm were mingled together in the Emperor's sculpture; its vividness was such that it looked as if it was about to come alive and move any minute. While Irene was certainly a young and pure-looking lady, her sculpture was a powerful piece of art that could make anyone who beholds it fall in love with it.
'And it's slightly different from the real person.'
From the perspective of an expert in sculpting, small changes could be seen such as the legs being slightly longer or the jawline slimmer than the actual model; the emperor possessed remarkable technique in bringing out the beauty of the subject without making any obvious changes.
"This lady is truly adorable."
Emperor Geihar was now using a sharp tool to carve her hair, taking much time and care, in fine detail. The sight of him working on a piece of art with his body soaked in sweat was indeed quite becoming to a master craftsman.
'I knew it; the emperor was just another skilled manual worker.'
'That's the secret of sculpting — you slog and slog and slog.'
'Ugh, he smells a bit too much of sweat…'
As this was also a sight with which Weed's companions were only too familiar, they simply concluded that Emperor Geihar was just another guy like Weed. They could see his manic passion and tenacious purpose, but washing one's body was also an important part of one's daily life.
Emperor Geihar looked up at Irene and asked:
"We need to give a title to this piece… would you mind if I named it?"
"This work… I shall simply call it 'A Statue of Beauty', without any other decorating words."
A Masterpiece! "A Statue of Beauty" has been completed!
A sculptor who brought much glory to the art of sculpting on the Versailles Continent —
Geihar von Arpen, the master of sculpting skills — fashioned a figurine of a devoted priest out of marble, and filled it with his warm touch.
The recovery speed of life force, mana and stamina will increase by 40 percent.
All stats will increase by 52 points.
Faith and Charm stats will permanently increase by 10 points.
Skill proficiencies related to divine professions will increase by a small amount.
The Fame of the region in which the sculpture was completed will increase by 85 points; after a certain time has passed, this place will become a sanctum of faith.
The Blessing of Goddess Freya has been bestowed!
All aspects of your current status have been improved beyond the average, and your body has reached the maximum ideal condition.
The effect of your racial benefits will be doubled.
When a paladin is near their companions, the potency of their divine skills will increase.
You can block any special attacks from Dark-type monsters with holy power.
"I'm grateful that a fair lady like yourself allowed me to make a sculpture of you."
"I'm the one who should thank you for making such a beautiful sculpture."
"Oh, it was a huge honor for an old sculptor of some trivial skills. I will remember this day for the rest of my life."
It seemed that Emperor Geihar couldn't be in a better mood. He looked at Bellot and Hwaryeong and suggested, "Would you ladies care to be the models for my next works as well? It would be a great honor for this old man."
"I'd be delighted!"
Both of them gladly accepted his offer. The popularity they had gained from being part of Weed's adventures could easily surpass that of many existing celebrities; the video showing the making of their sculptures would spread across the entire world. For now, they were all the more eager to agree to be the models for the emperor as it meant that they would be freed from the infernal task of weaving the nets.
While Emperor Geihar was working on the sculptures of Bellot and Hwaryeong, yet another trick was being devised in the head of Weed, who had been watching them in silence.
Weed made a request to Zephyr and Pale.
"Could you catch a large amount of fish for me? I should start preparing dinner."
"Well, we're still making these steel nets…"
"You don't have to worry about that anymore."
"I need some venison, boar and bird meat as well. We are going to have a feast this evening."
While his companions were out hunting for animals, Yellowy and Gold Man gathered some wild herbs. Shortly afterwards, Pale and Maylon brought many deer, hares and birds they had caught, on top of all the delicious looking seafood such as white snow crabs, shrimps and various kinds of fish.
"I could make anything with these."
Weed's cooking skill was at Advanced level 2. He already knew how to bring out profound flavor from any ingredient, and now he was given some first and second-class cooking materials.
Weed started to prepare all sorts of delicacies with some help from Surka, who had developed a recent interest in cooking. He simmered, fried, roasted, boiled, and steam-cooked. Soon, a hundred different dishes were lined up in the beach in a grand buffet.
"It's not much, but please help yourself."
The eyes of the emperor, who had had a hard day making multiple sculptures in one sitting, were filled with astonishment.
"These are… some magnificent dishes; I can tell just by the smell."
Weed flipped the Korean pancakes in the frying pan with impressive adeptness. With each snap of his wrist, a flame that was almost a meter tall shot up from the oil in the pan.
"This is just some petty skill I picked up as a pastime. It's nothing compared to the immortal value of sculpting as an art of expressing beauty."
"I'm glad to know that you appreciate the value of sculpting."
"I myself am a sculptor. I have faithfully walked the path of this profession for the entirety of my life."
"Indeed? Sculpting is a very complex technique to master. I'm impressed a young man like you has been practicing it so diligently."
Weed had cast the topic of sculpting as a lure to trap the emperor, and Geihar took it like a starving crocodile.
"To be quite frank, I have never considered sculpting to be difficult."
"What? You think sculpting is easy, then?"
"No, but it's an art that always gives me much pleasure while pursuing it. Every day is full of happiness as I give body to many beautiful images in my head and live the life of an artist. A sculptor must learn to love all creation in this world through passion and perseverance, wouldn't you agree?"
With these few lines, Weed had completely buried the entire first year after becoming a sculptor during which he was constantly grumbling about his useless profession.
"Those are some good words. I would love to share more stories with you."
"I also have a lot of things I wish to learn from you. I'd much appreciate it if you could teach me everything from the scratch, starting from how to grip a burin."
Weed filled a plate with a large pile of shrimps first and offered it to the emperor.
"I'm ashamed to give you such a humble meal, but please enjoy it."
Emperor Geihar accepted the plate without a single shred of suspicion.
And while watching their exchange, the faith of the other companions in Weed grew stronger.
"I'd say this Emperor Geihar will become yet another one of Weed-nim's slaves soon."
"He was destined to be one the moment he appeared in front of us; just like what happened to Hestiger."
Weed's incredible ability to build up intimacy level even with legendary heroes of the Versailles Continent through coaxing and flattery — it hadn't been of much use after he earned his fame and rose to a higher station, but now that he was using this special talent once more after a long time, the companions were fully confident that Emperor Geihar would begin to be willingly exploited like a slave from next day onwards.
"Weed-nim's seafood dishes are so delicious."
"Kya-ah. It's been a while since I tasted this."
"This is a fantastic dinner party. A feast in the beach with the sun setting into the sea…"
The food tasted even more delicious to the companions after the long hours of hard labor. While eating, they basked in the beautiful view provided by the shore of the coral sea. Seasoned Crab had also bought an ample amount of beer from the nearby villages, and Romuna, who could use some basic Ice spells although she specialized in Fire magic, cooled the beer to the right temperature. Pale and Maylon also had a glass each.
"We're having a banquet just among ourselves. If only every day could be like today…"
"I think I've given myself a huge treat by following Weed-nim. We've had some battle and a memorable trip after that. There will be a lot of days like this after the war with the Hermes Guild is over, don't you think so?"
"But what are we going to do if we lose?"
With this sudden question from Surka, a brief silence fell on the table as nobody was quite sure how to respond. If they lost in the coming war, they would become the subject of the Hermes Guild's unrelenting vengeance, which meant that they might not be able to continue playing Royal Road any more.
Seasoned Crab smiled and said, "We can all move to an inhabited island in the East, or one of those Avian cities in the sky."
"*sigh* I suppose."
Sensing the anxiety and worry from the other companions, Maylon hesitantly opened her mouth.
"I'm supposed to keep this a secret, but I have something to tell you."
"I think all the broadcasting stations have decided to side with Weed-nim."
Maylon informed the other adventurers of the recent changes in the atmosphere inside KMC Media.
"About three days ago, Weed-nim invited the chief director of my company to dinner in his house."
Even Zephyr, who was mostly uninterested in the political climate of the Versailles Continent, put down his glass of beer and joined the conversation.
"Well, apparently Weed-nim treated my boss and all the other chief directors with a bowl of Ramyun each…"
"That's classic Weed-nim."
"It's said he didn't even bother to put any eggs."
"Anyway, I don't know exactly what they talked about during that dinner party, but after that day, all the broadcasting stations have been covering various adventures of Weed-nim almost 24/7, including this one."
In every single channel that was related to Royal Road, people were talking about Weed.
Seasoned Crab asked with a puzzled expression, "Isn't that just because the battle in the Garnav Plain is due to take place very soon, and he's also currently in the middle of an adventure that's taking place in the past?"
"The viewers would certainly think so. But the people working at the broadcasting stations are focusing on editing the videos of Weed-nim's adventures in as positive a light as possible."
"Well, that's because he is very popular among people… also, KMC Media has quite a close relation with Weed-nim… doesn't it?"
"But what about re-editing all the past adventuring videos and putting them on constant reruns, while implying that he has always succeeded in saving the continent in the end? By comparison, any mentions of the Hermes Guild have been reduced to less than a half of the initial proportion. Even when they do mention them it's usually for letting people know about the guild's past evil deeds on repeat."
"That does sound a bit odd."
"And this is not only happening in KMC Media. Every single broadcasting station is behaving in a similar way. I think Weed-nim is leading the general mood in his favor through broadcast."
The rest of the companions opened their eyes in sudden realization.
Taking control of the public sentiment using the broadcasting stations around the world before the war begins!
If most of the people in Royal Road's community were convinced of Weed's victory, more would flock to the Arpen Kingdom's side, which would, in turn, dramatically improve the combat strength of the kingdom. That meant that it would become more and more probable that he was to create an outcome which he desired.
"Wow… I'm having goosebumps right now."
The companions glanced at the profile of Weed laughing exaggeratedly at the side of the emperor.
Such a peaceful-looking laugh, as if he would give him a shirt off his back  !
'He certainly knows how to stay on top of his social life.'
'I remember him saying he learned how to manipulate the media while working as a newsboy. I hadn't expected it to be anything more than a joke, but now I know he was telling the truth.'
It could be said that Weed was what you get after you combine the art of manual work and social skills.
Notes from the translator
 I was wondering if 'NPC' would be a better word, since I don't think the 'residents' in this context include any PC characters. Let me know what you think.
 Just for your information, the equivalent expression in Korean language is "he would take out and give his own liver if asked".