The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 21 Chapter 2
Translations; Jzar, Enlightened End
Weed looked back at the road behind them several times. The distrust from Yellowy, Golden Bird and Silver Bird had built up into a permanent state.
“It isn’t here?”
“Well, let’s go back then.”
They’ve taken the wrong way more than dozens of times so far. Dead ends, passages that ended up blocked, tunnels that became dangerously narrow!
But Weed couldn’t locate the correct branching passage, since all the dark tunnels looked the same, it made it very difficult to judge the direction of north, south, east, or west.
In addition, the deeper levels had multiple connections, like a huge and overly complex ant tunnel. There are literally hundreds of crossroads, gaping holes and all of them lay out in a very complex way. Finding their way to a desired location was a ending up a struggle even to gain a short distance.
Moreover, the place where one would predict the Helium mine to be was not clearly marked on the map.
Seo Yoon hesitantly held out a hand.
“Can I look at the map?”
She had stuttered the first few times when she spoke but now it was becoming smoother and natural.
Weed handed over the map of the underground.
“Do as you please. But this dungeon is very complex, it won’t be easy to find the right path.”
‘If she was going to take over as leader she had better not try to pass on any failure on her part to him!’
Seo Yoon looked at the map for a while and then pointed to the right.
“I think we should go there.”
“You think so? Well, people can make mistakes. I mean, where are you…let’s go that way then.”
Weed wanted to say more, then thought he’d better show he was broad-minded and followed her.
“There are some very sharp stalactites in 200 meters.”
Seo Yoon gave careful attention to the details around her.
“No matter where you look there are tons of stalactites everywhere.”
Seo Yoon guided them to a turn at the place with a break between the sharp stalactites.
Commonly stalactites are seen hanging from a cavern ceiling in a single dripping cone of mineral, groups of them are not what you’d normally think of.
You can drink the fresh water that drips from it too.
As Weed had returned to his human form he now needed food and water again. Yellowy, Seo Yoon, Golden Bird and Silver Bird also would need a source of water as the lava flows created a very dry throat.
“Since the way ahead is blocked by lava flow I’ll go into the new gap here next to these stalactites.”
The lava flows in this side passage were less active and more solid rock was available to walk forward on. The passageway then opened up into a large solid dungeon.
Weed had gotten them lost over and over again trying to move in the right direction, in contrast, Seo Yoon was able to find the right path with her first try.
Trying to save some face, Weed spoke quietly to Yellowy.
“I was the one who found this path originally.”
“I’m only saying that I’m the one who really did all the hard work getting us this far.”
Yellowy opened his mouth in a huge, tongue flapping yawn and kept walking. It was perfectly clear that Weed’s words were going in one ear and out the other.
Thanks to Seo Yoon, they were finally able to stop wasting time and find the true path.
As monsters keep showing up there was plenty of food, there was a middle sized monster population in this part of the inferno dungeon.
In addition, since the new passageway was bigger, they could fight easier since Tori and Van Hawk could now join in. It didn’t compare to being a Lich and controlling an army of Undead but it was enough for this dungeon. Golden Bird and Silver Bird were able to contribute as a combat team even though Silver Bird’s skills were on the low side.
You have viewed “Wandering Hope”
by the sculptor Pieche.
Art stat increased by 2.
For appreciating an excellent artwork, sculpting skill proficiency has raised slightly.
They began to find sculptures in the new wide tunnel. The first statue was of a man holding a torch to explore!
The effect from the statue was an increase to Strength and Stamina recovery rate.
“These are done in the same style as the works from the Jigolaths heritage sculptures.”
Although the estimated distance to the Helium mine from this point was still quite distant. These sculptor’s were wise enough to have left these as trail markers allowing them to find the way through these complicated tunnels.
Weed wanted to to take advantage of his sculptural memories skill… just in case.
Identifying weapons and armor was pretty straight forward, you just needed to have a high enough skill level. Using Identify on a sculpture would evoke it’s special memories and show him memories, somewhat dependent on where you touched them.
Weed was trying to find the memories of the sculpture and what it saw. Touching the hand holding the torch the embedded memories began to display
“It’s dark. So dark.”
The dungeon was dark and the sculpture had been made in the dark. It had never seen anything, so it did not have much in the way of memories.
When you create a sculpture from scratch you have no way to know how it will turn out, there is no sure way forward. Due to that huge amount of anxiety as you carve it’s easy to make mistakes which you sometimes can’t take back.
“Not sure about the next move. From here it’s hard to tell, which one is the shortest way?”
“I will do that.”
The Sculptors who found this place had carved outstanding works in the underground passageways. These works were like finding small treasures and so well made it was hard to not go looking for more of the hidden ones. It seemed like such a waste to just leave any of them these stone works undiscovered in this dungeon.
‘Well…it’s not just about obtaining more artistic stats. Even I wish to honor the spirit of these noble Sculptor’s.’
The users from the Haven Kingdom and especially Drinfeld were royally pissed.
The results from the Thieves and the other trackers ended up becoming a joke. Drinfeld was fed up with it.
The new reinforcements from the Hermes guild too, all of them had dark and unpleasant expressions.
“We were at this very same place just two hours ago.”
“You were confident in the beginning that you would catch up within three or four days. Now it’s been several days and you say you don’t know if it will be today or not.”
Meeting Weed outside the dungeon might be faster at this point.
The many battles they had to engage in have left them all tired, nervous and on edge. It was not hard to understand why, the Hermes Guild members had been constantly fighting with the inferno dungeon monsters.
After identifying the main target as the fire Giants, the wizards and shamans were used to methodically hunt them down.
These battles were all on a scale of a boss battle because of their super-size, making these battles physically and mentally draining. However, using ice based magic turned out to be pretty effective so they were able to hunt them with a relatively good success rate.
Fire giants and ice magic.
They ended up using the high attack properties of an magic ice bolt. When combined with all the mages attacking a single point on the fire giant’s body, this technique was able to completely destroy the targets.
Hunting in these large groups while destroying the super-sized monsters also allowed the Hermes Guild to make speedy progress and and do a good searching sweep through the dungeon.
So it went until the fifth day after entering the Inferno dungeon, that day they found the magic circle and a large number of stats went up putting a smile on everyone’s face.
“That alone made this adventure worth all this trouble.”
“It feels so refreshing to get this kind of compensation after trudging day after day through this super heated muck.”
Back in the Haven Kingdom hunting grounds it was largely dog eat dog just trying to raise skills and levels by a small amount. But since leaving those hometown hunting grounds and coming to Jigolaths they have all been able to experience great results at raising their levels.
But ever since they started tracking Weed’s back trail from the discovery of the circle of fire, the thieves and assassins have experience nothing but hardship.
“I’m sorry, but it all looks the same… as you know a lot of monsters live here, also the underground dungeon floor is mostly made of stone, then monsters walk over what little trial there is….so it is difficult to find the right trail…”
“I’ve heard that same thing twenty times already.”
“Give us a little more time.”
“It’s been ‘just a little more time’ for days now. Look, we don’t have much choice and all but all this extra time is making us look like complete idiots.”
Effectively the thieves want to end being responsible for this tracking, it was just too much.
Following Weed’s trail was no easy task, the dungeon was deep and wide with no natural light sources so you ended up relying on magic to see the trail.
Of course they did follow the footprints, but after a while the trail on the ground gets lost, or covered up and then you have to stop and discuss where to go, usually with some harsh curse words.
“Clearly he went this along this path.”
The other thieves and even the assassins would agree. Weed’s trail had come this way without a doubt.
“Then why have we returned to where we started from?”
The thief in the lead breathed a heavy sigh as an assassin came forward.
“I just don’t get it.”
The dungeons of Jigolaths were indeed complex.
Even Weed, who had a map, lost himself amongst the many roads and crossroads, backtracking many times.
The long trail would sometimes end up being completely blocked, with no way to go forward. So they would have to follow a branching trail which would then inevitable end up circling back to where they had started, annoying everyone in the process.
But this was not the real reason for their wandering while tracking.
Even with a cold trail, as long as you keep your head and carefully followed the traces left behind you wouldn’t end up in a circle no matter how complicated the trail was.
The problem was that Weed and Seo Yoon’s footprints were progressively changing.
Weed, with his blacksmith and sewing skills, made a number of counterfeit footprints that imitated the tracks of monsters like the Chaos Warriors and the Inferno Knights. They were wearing them in lieu of their normal footwear
Monsters and other traces were mixed up over the trail several times so that tracking them was giving the hunters stomach ulcers.
Even more fiendish was the clever idea to have Yellowy walk on two hoofs with the help of Silver Bird and Golden Bird.
“I think this is track is has the right look. That trails lead to the wrong way….”
As they traced the trails they continually drew a map of the dungeon and so discovered different parts of it. It did tend to be an erratic map as it snaked along various paths that Weed had taken or laid.
Then as they followed the path, the tracks disappeared.
“They can’t do that!, What the hell, how could he do something so ridiculous?”
The idea of trackers had been on Weed’s mind.
‘Since they broadcast the events of the Inferno Dungeon, it’s safe to assume they would chase me here.’
With the distinct dungeon terrain shown in the background of the broadcast it wouldn’t be hard to figure out his location.
Taking a few precautions wouldn’t hurt, if they did happen to come then it would make them have a much harder time finding him.
The danger of a meeting a sharp knife in some secluded tunnel was quite possible, especially with Griffith and Drinfeld hot for revenge.
There was nothing wrong with placing several misleading tracks in the dungeon, besides he also had the elemental spirits.
“Dirtman, get rid of the dirt blocking that tunnel.”
“All right, Master.”
“And make it seem as naturally as possible.”
“Hide the current footprints. Use the other set to make it look like I walked there.”
They opened paths or blocked the way forward, then using footprints they would lay a false trail.
Earth spirits were the best at doing this kind of dungeon path manipulation, it was like trying to track elves in a Forrest.
However, the trackers were good at their job, they were able to notice the smallest details. If the way was blocked, they would use shovels and would even track back, bypass the false trails and come back to the right ones, it was slow yet sure.
You have viewed “Watching the Flowers” by the sculptor Muruni.
+Art stat increased by 1.
+For appreciating an excellent artwork, sculpting skill proficiency has raised slightly.
You have viewed “Sculptor raising a Pickaxe”, which belonged to Ivance the Master Sculptor of Pierre.
+Art stat increased by 3.
+For appreciating an excellent artwork, sculpting skill proficiency has raised slightly.
As Weed and Seo Yoon moved through the dungeon they found sculptures done by the Helium miners.
These sculptures are a great way to raise levels without risking their lives, of course this was made easier due to Seo Yoon and the sculpture lifeforms finding a number of them along the way.
“I see that the headdress is made of silver. Since the craftsmanship is high it will sell at a good price.”
Every time he passed a sculpture, all the precious metals and expensive minerals that were there, disappeared completely!
Of course Weed was someone who would even pull the smallest gold teeth off a sculpture.
They finally reached the end of the path and found an old worn sign.
= Helium Mine =
-It’s not too late, youth with dreams, to turn back. I learned too late that life too is Art.-
They had reached the mine where the first sculptors to explore Jigolaths had come to find Helium.
The mine entrance looked like a open mouth, pitch black with rotting wooden beams for teeth, ready to swallow adventures. Even a party of mine explorers would hesitate to enter a Helium mine in this condition. They would need to break up their party, only 1 or 2 at the most would be able to safely explore the mine.
“What I wouldn’t pay to know what’s beyond this.”
Weed’s mine exploration was turning out to be a lot tougher than expected. A sculptor didn’t really have useful skills in tracking down top quality minerals so he in the end he would just be relying on luck.
Yet he couldn’t back out.
“This is something only the sculptor class can do, I don’t know how many days it will take to find it.”
He was determined to mine some Helium!
Weed looked in his open backpack.
He had 20 loafs of barley bread and more than 10 containers of fresh water to carry, he needed it to survive since he was in his human form.
They had already eaten all the food they had packed from Seulloeo’s royal wedding. It had a short shelf life anyway so that was fine. What remained besides barley bread and water was a large supply of dried foods. What food Weed couldn’t carry Yellowy should be able to.
“We’ll need to divide up the food.”
Using sculptural transformation to change to the Lich form would mean he wouldn’t need to eat. But if he needed to fight the undead were difficult to summon in a mine. Direct combat would only take you so far anyway.
As Weed prepared himself to go into the mines Seo Yoon too was checking her backpack.
Weed shook his head.
“I’ll need you to stay here to protect the entrance.”
Seo Yoon wanted to go into the mine, yet they needed someone on the outside too.
It was important to take control of the entrance and protect it from the trackers. However, Yellowy, Golden Bird and Silver Bird combined would not be able to kill all the trackers.
“If too many of those guys show up I want you to run away and hide in a safe place until I come out, I won’t know when I’ll finish though.”
Weed turned his attention to the sculptures of life. He needed someone to help in the Helium mine.
Golden Bird sang, turning her head skyward, playing up the innocent bystander role. Silver Bird rolled on the ground, pretending to be sick. Even Yellowy did his best, showing a stagger while walking.
‘he wouldn’t choose me.’
The three sculptures of life shared that common thought. They did not want to go into the mines. They were more than sick of dungeons but to have to endure mining was worse!
“Yellowy, let’s take a walk together”
For Yellowy, the decision came like a bolt of lightning from the clear blue sky.
‘When your hungry even raw beef is…’ Weed licked his lips.
“Let’s go looking for Helium.”
Weed, leading a very reluctant Yellowy by the scruff of his neck, walked into the mine.
You became the owner an old and unused Helium mine
+Reward: Fame +100.
+Every day for one week, double EXP and double item drops.
+Best possible items will drop from the first monster encountered depending of its type.
Weed and Yellowy walked along a narrow and crumbling path.
From somewhere ahead in the dark and murky air the eerie sound of water dripping can be heard.
Into this eerie atmosphere unknown footsteps dramatically ring out.
Weed found some dead bodies.
“A sculptors carving knife.”
You have acquired Pereun’s sculpting knife.
It’s not as great compared to Zahab’s sculpting knife yet as a sculpting knife it is an tool of great craftsmanship.
You also found precious malachite and moon rock materials!
“So the Sculptor’s are dead”
The atmosphere near the entrance to this Helium mine was as terrifying as a horror movie.
“It’s too bad Sculptor’s tools sell for cheap prices.”
The tools used to work directly on the materials sell cheaply since the money to made is also disappointingly low.
It would be good if there was a signpost showing the way but there isn’t, so he needed tracking skills in order to find the trail.
“Everyone who comes here will see this.”
The Helium mine was like a massive maze and gave an ominous feeling.
“Seems like many Sculptors have failed because of its difficulty. But if it was only at that level it wouldn’t be worth the effort to come here. “
An construction worker’s determined will to work hard !
The two of them had arrived at a mining area via a crossroad but the ceiling was collapse in one part and lava filled the other.
“I guess we’ll need to go look at all six sites.”
Occasionally, they were relieved to discover a sculpture. Their food and water was also getting used a up bit by bit. The tunnels lead them first to one branch path and then another branching path follows that one. As feared, the mine is an interconnected and seemingly endless maze.
“Master, what about us going back to where we entered this place?”
This was Yellowy idea, but Weed had already thought about that very thing.
Keeping track of your path from the start will allow you to not get lost in a maze. If, however, you start to feel trapped or imprisoned, from that point on you get so nervous that you just freeze up. That is very dangerous.
“I know, but I think we have already lost our way…”
Weed looked back. Only unrelieved darkness could be seen. While those paths were connected by forking branch tunnels, they were covered in darkness so you couldn’t tell where they went.
“Lets go with checking with where we’ve been.”
Weed and Yellowy were going to return back to get directions from Seo Yoon. Good as Weed is he was weak in mazes where finding your path was no joke, even so it was going to be hard to find the way back to get that good advice.
For them to try and map out a maze they needed special magic, even the people in the mainland would find it very hard. Even a narrow path that looked like a direct route soon became twisted. Besides, if you didn’t know where you were then you couldn’t be sure where to go to find Helium!
Weed never one to give up, ended up going back to the entrance.
“We’ve gone the wrong way more than once, without knowing exactly the way we can’t just go back to where we came from. That’s just as hard as going on to find the Helium.”
At that moment Weed looked at Yellowy sharply, the look in his eye was the look of just having spotted a copper coin on the ground.
‘This is where Sculptors and other humans came. But nothing seems to be here. This kind of atmosphere should actually have monsters in it…..’
If there were monsters you’d usually hunt them along the paths as you traveled. The monsters and passages work together to give you clues, a smelly small passage for instance would lead to a goblins etc.
‘This is a sculptors place with lots of valuable works left in place. So they also would have left a way to find your way.’
Weed thought this was a good idea. He didn’t know how difficult this maze designed by the other sculptors was but he knew they’d have to have left some kind hints behind.
‘They wouldn’t have wanted to other trespassers here only other sculptors.’
So they might have made the maze to defeat unauthorized intruders.
“They were sculptors….they left behind sculpture works!”
Weed knew there were sculptures occasionally off of every passage. This was something that worked with every idea he had so far.
“This was a sculptors way of extending an invitation. Identify!”
Weed could see the memories retained by sculptures. The sculpture from that branch path, the one carrying a torch had been pointing in a direction, he could use those as his direction!
“It has to be like that.”
Weed moved on confidently. There were sculptures that told the right way. Once he was done he would retrieve the memories from the next one. He road Yellowy for some number of hours. Due to Weed’s tenacity and patience, he could easily go without food for that long.
It is similar to cockroaches overwhelming will to survive. Even if the world was ending tomorrow, Weed would still go buy a large detergent at the store for buy one get one free deal.
With Yellow along as the pack animal they wouldn’t have to worry about food for some time. Dried meats and plants made up a lot of the food in the packs which would keep for a long time. Finally, after walking for a long time, at the end of a maze, they found a mining cart resting on mine rail tracks. The mine rail tracks led into a dark connecting tunnel.
“If we ride the mining cart, we can go a little faster.”
Yellowy was quite pessimistic about this cart idea.
“Master, it just seems to me like we would be better off walking.”
“We don’t know how much time more it would take us, a cart will be faster.”
“I’d rather you just rode on me”
“Trust me, it won’t be hard to do this…..I’ll ride in front.”
Weed tied Yellowy and the supplies in the back part of the iron mining cart.
A bull tied up in the back of mining cart!
There were some simple instructions that said that to move the cart, push the metal cross bar up and down.
Weed used the bar and the wheels started to turn slowly moving them forward under it’s power.
The mining cart made a harsh sound as it moved.
As the bar was getting pushed harder the cart was gradually gaining momentum.
“It’s quite fast.”
Weed left off pumping the bar and using a luminous light box that was there tried to take a look ahead of them. It was hard to confirm much since the tunnel curved.
Well, this mine cart will for sure make it easier to get out of this maze!
Head down against the momentum, Yellowy spoke up
“Master, can’t you slow down.”
Weed didn’t know what lay ahead of the rail cart, he too had a ‘you need to slow down’ feeling.
“Let’s slow down then.”
A steel pole at the rear right was attached to friction plates that press against the wheels to make the cart slow or stop. Weed pulled that bar.
*Cha ka ka ka kang!*
Sparks flew out from underneath the cart in a tremendous shower, slowing them down a bit.
“Master you are so reliable. Just to make me comfortable……”
Weed heard those words just as the cart headed sharply down a slope. The speed of the wagon was quickly getting faster.
“Master, this is scary”
“Okay, I’ll stop us here!”
Weed pulled the pole as hard as possible. Because he invested enormously only in his strength and agility stats, the force used ended up being rather superhuman. The cart rocked from the force applied to the brakes. The old wheels and brakes plus the excessive speed made it unable to take the pressure. The brakes started to fail, breaking apart and becoming useless.
The cart trembled and swayed violently right and left then shot ahead to the front! Weed made a decision.
“hmm, a crash might just be possible.”
The risks needed to be calmly considered without emotions. Weed objectively analyzing the situation let Yellowy have full disclosure.
“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to stop the cart”
“If the railway deviates sharply we’ll most likely fly off and hit something, we will die instantly…”
Even any hope was crushed by this hopeless description!
The iron mine cart kept increasing its speed as it ran along the tunnel rails going deeper and faster along the underground tracks.
“But hopefully…you won’t feel the pain when you die.”
A panic-stricken Yellowy wept like a cow being brought to the slaughterhouse.
The passage past wooden supports created wind as the cart accelerated through the underground mine tunnel at an even faster pace.
“Lower your body and hold on tight.”
The rails weren’t exactly straight they had a smooth curve to them. The ride was becoming increasingly bumpy making it seem likely that were heading for a fall.
It’s been a long time since since Jigolaths had given them such a heavy feeling to the pit of their stomachs!
There was no chance to even think about relaxing against this tension. After a while of this, the track then unexpectedly turned up a hill and that naturally started to slow them down.
Yellowy burst into tears of joy.
“Master, it now seems we’ll be able to live!”
With similar thoughts Weed spoke happily.
“But we were lucky. We didn’t cross any broken tracks along our path. Since no one has being using these tunnels for a long time it’s a miracle that it’s still this sound.”
At the top of the rise they could see quite a distance of the track, up ahead was a large crevasse of unknown depth, a iron bridge spanned the huge gap. Yet the story didn’t end there, 30 meters along the iron rail bridge and almost exactly in the middle of the crevasse, the bridge was broken leaving a large gap in the tracks.
Yellowy’s skin drained of color as he knew death was just ahead.
“Master, thank you for letting me experience this life so far. Please, I have a last request for my baby cows in Morata…”
Yellowy, left with only desperate feelings, wanted a last request. It was to take care of his young cows with love and not leave then to die alone.
Weed replied as usually, not giving an inch.
“So you are going to die pointlessly. Are you following Gold Man’s example, who died and is now forcefully making me recreate him?”
Yellowy was touched to receive Weed‘s kind words in his last minutes. Weed, at this closing stage moment, vented it all out.
“The flesh of the rib-eye will go to waste if you die. The fat content is just not high enough yet. You aren’t allowed to give up.”
Weed pumped the bar of the cart making them go much faster. They reached the broken parts of the railroad in the blink of an eye.
The mine cart sped along the track, then reaching a low dip in the rails they sped downward and then upward shooting into the air in a frozen moment of clenched teeth.
For a very short time they left the railway entirely and were flying in the air with a silent yet frightening speed. This pushed them back against the rearmost wall of the mine cart!
kwag wagwag wagwang!
When the cart landed back onto the farside railway, it created a huge spark shower. The cart, bouncing on the narrow track, advanced without leaving the rails.
‘I guess your not going to die here.”
Yellowy could only take deep breathes. Weed was quite happy.
“That was just fantastic.”
“Think about it. It has been a long time since this track was maintained and everywhere except that place was fine. It was also in a place where I could do something to get passed it, unlike if there had been say, something actually blocking the track.”
At that moment, seeming like it fell from a mountain, a red crystal as big as a house could be seen blocking the way forward.
“Crash ahead. Get down!”
Weed and Yellowy lowered their body and the iron mine cart hit it at a tremendous pace.
The cart smashed through the crystal breaking it into hundreds of shards.
Weed in order to have a view of the path used his light sculpture skill, making his whole body glow like a cloud with a silver lining.
The broken crystal splinters and tiny debris spun and shimmered in the light, it was an absolutely magical spectacle. It was almost a shame that they didn’t have time to see much as they were past it in an instant.
Weed couldn’t help but comment.
“Still, we only got lucky once…”
“Far better luck would be twice.”
“oh shit! …”
The cart, as chunks of its body mass were tearing off, was slowing down.
The front of the cart experiencing multiple shocks was crushed, Yellowy and Weed’s health was greatly reduced from the impacts.
Without his history of using eyes closed, Weed could have been is some real danger.
Weed who had taken the front took a lot of the damage, Yellowy’s health in contrast was in a much better state!
“Still, it’s all due to those small changes that we’re still alive……”
Just as he said this the mine cart tracks ahead were coming to an abrupt end. At the very end of the tracks was a very solid stone wall!
Yellowy let out an anguished cry.
At the last it was all about how unfair life was.
“Light Wings fly!”
After Gold Man died, the Wings of Light returned to Weed.
Weed was able to believe they wouldn’t die because of the Wings of Light!
It was fun to tease the simple hearted Yellowy, yet he had always had the wings ready to spread for the right moment.
Weed having confirmed it was time, stretched out his wings made of light and escaped from the cart with Yellowy.
They flew over 40 meters, rushing past the ceiling and side walls until he could slow down and lower them to stand on that blocking stone wall.
The cart shot into the wall with a roaring crash as the last of the cart’s parts flew off leaving only the wheels to finally stop after hitting the wall.
Weed, flapping the Wings of Light, spoke up.
“Yellowy, on our way back, want to ride another cart?”