The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor

 
 

The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 23 Chapter 6


Chapter 6: Furgol Fortress

Sponsored by Ser4, TLC by Enlightened End

Otem was leading the way with the other Necromancers following him while dragging along their Undeads. Looking from far away, the sight of large contingent of the Undead following them could be seen. Weed and his Undead underlings also followed from the rear line. Skeletons, Dullahans and Death knights marched with Weed, who was riding boldly on his Phantom horse. It could not be said that they had a large number but they were elite soldiers forged through difficult battles. Elite Skeletons and Elite Death Knight bodyguards! “Keuuu, the Lord has ordered us gather up and follow him.”
“Everyone move faster.” Undeads were afraid of Weed. It was not only due to his charisma and leadership but the strong will he demonstrated in battles! It was also because they witnessed his reckless behavior in taking down enemy forces even if it means putting the Undeads in danger.

-          Fear felt by the Undead contingent: 87%

Exerting just enough fear helped motivate them in battle and made them follow Weed loyally. In large battles when one point collapsed, it could cause a chain reaction and collapsed the entire formation. Though this didn’t happen often, fear helped prevent such situation from occurring. “Cough, the distance is quite far.” Just hearing Weed cough caused the Skeletons to shiver like trees in winter. Skeletons walked dragging their swords on the ground, while the Dullahans and Death Knights protected the sides and rear. It wasn’t necessary but looking at it he judged that it would be better to move in format so he ordered them to do so. Other variety of Undeads were scattered about or gathered around, lagging behind the others and generally doing as they please.
It was uncommon for Necromancers to drag their Undead with them. They had set hunting grounds and did not move around far from it. Necromancers had to focus several times in controlling Undeads. Weed told them to gather up follow him but there were still few breakaways. “Hurry up, get moving.” “The lord has spoken. Do not get out of your position!” Death Knights and Dullahans repeated Weed’s orders and commanding them. While on the move, they spotted Furgol search party but the Necromancers poured their magic to clear them out. “We have to save mana so please fight moderately.” As they encountered more scout parties, Necromancers reduced their use of attack spells to save mana. As a result few Furgols survived and ran away. “Alert the castle about the Undead invasion!” “They are coming!” There were some distance between Furgols so they had to attack with them with magic.
Weed frowned while looking at the surviving scout fleeing back.  “Nothing good will come of this.” The Necromancer’s tried to calm their worries. “Don’t worry about the search party. No matter what we do, there is no way they wouldn’t know we were coming.” Otem was in charge of the march. Other high level Necromancers were riding on wagons dragged by the Undeads and refilled their mana with meditations. Beside the quick mana regeneration, meditations also doubled the player’s maximum mana temporarily. It could be said it was a must-have skill for using a high rank spell or preparing for a huge battle. “When the scouts are close, send out a unit of Undead to hunt them. For now, let us save mana while on the move.” Following Otem’s instruction, Necromancers focused on advancing with their Undeads and left the Furgols alone. Some search party came too close and got hunted down but most of the time, they kept their distance and just watched the Undeads move. ‘We shouldn’t have let the Furgols aware of our approach.’
Weed had a bad feeling about this. The Undead army moving right now was humongous in number. Their advance were slow and they did not know the terrain well enough to camouflage their movement. Even so if they prepared well it would have been possible for the Furgol Kingdom to be aware of their advance much later. They were not humans who would light a signal fire on top of a mountain when they noticed the enemy’s advance. By hunting the scouts as fast as possible so they won’t be any survivors left, the Furgol Kingdom might not have noticed. Letting the survivors go was something that would have never happened under Weed’s watch. Even if the search parties weren’t that strong, once the war began they would be facing them again in the fortress. There was no need to increase the number of enemies. Hunting them when you can and wiping out everything, that was Weed’s method. ‘Whatever, they can manage by themselves.’ Weed just kept on following them silently. Necromancers were competing among themselves to be the best, so the rivalry and jealousy was beyond normal. It wasn’t a favourable time to join in and the majority of the force here were Undeads led by the Necromancers. ‘Compared to overall composition of the Undead, I am on the weak side.’
Being constantly observed by Furgol search parties, they arrived at the location of the fortress. The Fortress wall were stacked with bricks made by baked mud, and it was situated on a steep slope making it very difficult for the Undead to climb up. Furgol soldiers were already preparing for battle on top of the walls. When the battle began it became clear which side was stronger. Jeanne stopped her meditation and opened her eyes. “Undead armies, attack!” Following the command of the Necromancers the Undeads ran forward. Skeletons, ghouls, zombies, Dullahans and Death Knights! Weed’s army followed after the Undeads but never went up to the front. It was because Weed ordered them to not fight and wait. It’s was easy to revive Undeads but when they were revived, all the abilities developed till then would disappear. He had to prevent losing his forces in a reconnoitring skirmish! The arrows shot by Furgols rained down on the Undeads. A small portion of Undeads with low life such as the Skeletons died but the rest arrived at a narrow corner leading up to the fortress. “Kiyauu!” “Advance!”
Undeads ran uphill. The Furgol’s arrows were focused on the narrow path and boulders rolled down, crushing the Undead in its way. While trying to avoid them some of the Undead fell down the cliff. They only suffered huge casualties with none of them being able to reach the fortress. “Forget the path, climb up the cliff!” Jeanne screamed. With her current leadership ability, it impossible to command the Undead army as a whole. But other Necromancers gave the same orders and the Undeads started climbing up the cliff with their two arms and two legs. The Undeads had excellent physical abilities and they still had a semblance of instincts remaining so it wasn’t impossible for them to climb up. Jeanne and other Necromancers thought of attacking the fortress through the path where the enemy’s attacks was concentrated was impossible. Even if they reached the end of the path, it would be difficult to get pass the gate without suffering huge casualties. So they ordered the assault by climbing the cliff to divide the enemy’s attack.
“Let’s buy some time so the Undeads can climb up.” Necromancer’s casted attack spells toward the fortress. Fireballs struck the fortress and dark smokes of dark magic arose getting bigger every time it touched a Furgol, draining their essences. The attack spells were on the weak side and it didn’t have the power to destroy the walls. It was only strong enough to make archers in the fortress dodge for a moment and after a while continue shooting arrows again. The dark magic state was also low, stopping and disappearing after a short while later. During this time many Undeads were able to climb up the cliff but as their hands slip or they lose their footing, they fell off the cliff crashing to the ground below. When they fell down, they bumped into other Undeads. As they were blitzing the enemy many of the Undead were crowed below. The defensless Undead received damages every time they are hit by arrows, when one fell down, tens of them bumped into each other, all falling down and getting crushed.
Climbing walls clearly wasn’t a bad tactic and it was worth trying agin but they just lacked the preparations. It would have been nice if Undeads wore helmets, armours or at least a wooden shield but for Undead it was the same without it. With all the adversity, the Undeads tried to climb up to the fortress but it was impossible for Skeletons, Dullahans and Death knights to use their bare hands to climb this tightly stacked brick walls without ladders. They slipped a lot and when they were tried not to fall, they were hit by arrows and died. “It’s not possible. Retreat!” Jeanne at the end gave up and recalled the Undeads with other Necromancers. Coming down the cliff wasn’t easy as well as the Furgol did not just stay still. Counting the number of Undeads that came back safely, about third of the army was damaged. Of course Weed’s unit barely had any casualties and had to take glares from many others but they were not in a  situation to quibble about it.
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“Are we going to give up the Undead Legion’s quest like this? At this rate the Furgol warriors will be coming back and it will become much harder.” “Well, we should definitely try few more assaults. But without any good plans right now don’t have any big expectations on the outcome.” “It looks like the quest will be cleared if we have more Necromancers. Was it not enough with us?” “Maybe this is our end.” It was just too much to let Balkan’s Undead Legion quest to end like this. Because it was a quest that were given to all the Necromancers, it was not a simple quest with the difficulty being that much higher. If Necromancers grew up fast and number of Necromancers increased, it would be a lot easier than now. However, the situation wasn’t like that at all. While these Necromancers lost their will and were discussing what’s going to happen next, Weed sewing up a fallen button like usual. “Really getting a free ride is not possible.” It would be really good if he could just observe and the quest ended like that but the situation was not that favourable.
Necromancers were very clumsy in cooperation and group battles. It was suffocating to see them judge that by summoning as many Undead as possible to fight was enough.  “What naïve people they chose to be Necromancers and yet haven’t even invaded, sacked or carried out an arson…” If Weed was a Necromancers from the beginning instead of a sculptor, it was possible that he would have gathered Undeads and devoured few industrial cities already. These naïve and conscientious Necromancers didn’t know a basic thing about invasion, it was clear to see with their clumsy actions. When the Furgol’s fortress gate opened the first thing he planned to do was count the treasures, starting from a spoon. But he had to worry about how to conquer the fortress first.  “There are many possible options.” Thanks to his experiences from many battles, he came up with tactics exploiting the weakness of the fortress right away. Weed murmured one of his tactics near Harien. “… have to do that.” “Pardon?” “Even if the main objective is to conquer the fortress… There no need to hurry until their supports arrive…” Weed was not starting a conversation, he was murmuring, pretending to talk to himself.
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“Move faster! I heard news that our kingdom is being attacked by the Undead.” Furgol’s reinforcements! The Furgol warriors that dispersed to hunt were running back to their kingdom. Their number was over 9,000! If all the Furgols gather, their forces would be able to surround the Necromancers and eliminate them. “Attack!” But instead of losing their forces on the siege warfare, the Necromancers ambushed the Furgol warriors on their way back. They used the best places to hide the Undead and ambush the Furgols, wiping every single one of them. When the Furgols died they were revived as Undead inflating Necromancers’ forces. The best part was the number of reinforcement heading back decreased. “Knowing that the reinforcements were coming, rather than falling in danger trying to conquer the fortress as fast as possible, just hunting the reinforcements first was right!” On flat lands, it could be said that the Undeads strength were extraordinary. It was possible to overwhelm the enemies with the number of Skeletons and every time Furgols died, they could inflict more damage using Corpse Explosions or turning them into Undeads.
Necromancers lead their armies from every direction and eliminated the Furgol warriors. Not just for the purpose of the quest, they gave fairly good experience and items. “Catch them all. There are many other places to go so hurry up.” Weed led his forces, hunting down Furgol warriors while getting experience. The strategy he told Harien indirectly was not a genius strategy or anything like that. “Hunting the monsters fast or slow, there is no difference. Leave nothing behind!” Not caring about the front and rear he only saw them as experience and items! Necromancers were able to hunt down about 80 percent of the Furgol warriors. They complete recovered the force they lost and added more on top. They reorganized them as light yet tough Skeleton warriors, mages and archers suitable for siege warfare. With no reinforcements coming the Furgol’s trapped in their fortress could not hold out forever against the Necromancer’s siege. They spread contagious diseases inside the fortress and by repeated battle the walls collapsed little by little. When the Furgol soldiers came out to repair they continued to attack, causing casualties and finally they managed to conquer the fortress.
Quest completed! The bigger the battle the difference in tactics was like heaven and earth. “Thank you. With your advice we were able to win the battle comfortably.” Harien came and gave her gratitude but Weed was watching dried logs and fruits piled up in Furgol’s treasury with despair. He turned around chewing on the dried skins of the fruits ruefully.
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Weed ranked up as one of the leading commanders in the Undead Legion. It was a position allowing him to lead a unit of Undead in the Undead Legion! “I’ve heard about your great achievements in the battle and came here. I give you my loyalty.” More Undeads came to become one of Weed’s underlings.
It was annoying for the Skeletons to walked up to him with the joints rattling. “You guys figure it out yourselves and line up.” Even about Dullahan level were becoming slightly tiresome. “Do you know how to draw a sword? If you can fight well enough its okay.” Weed didn’t even blink when even Death Knight came to work under him. “Oh, you came.” Just so-so! No matter how much effort was put into raising them, he wasn’t a Necromancers and the Undeads couldn’t be made into his real underlings. Weed was someone who washed disposable chop-sticks to reuse, but once the quest ended it was not known if they would turn back into enemy Undead.
Actually, the first army sent by the Undead Legion to conquer Morata were annihilated. It was a huge armies of 120 thousand Undead but the number that wondered off were staggering, with the rest of them stopped by the church’s paladin and Morata’s players. Players were happy as they could raise their faiths and obtaining long-time-buried antique armours, swords and items. But according to the rumours from the Undead Legion, a larger force of 190 thousand Undeads were mobilized and dispatched. The war between Morata and Undead Legion was ongoing. If Balkan ever get back his full power, Morata would turn into ashes and the city conquered by the Undeads. The public order of Morata was dropping at a fast rate, feeling the unease the inflow of beginners and residents decreased. If it weren’t for the Grand Cathedral, they would have be in a much worse situation.
Anyway, Weed’s Undead army wasn’t so bad either. Although there were a discrepancy in ranks or classes, the number of Skeleton reached slightly over 600, Dullahans 123 and Death Knights 89. From then on the quest Weed received was about leading his forces into battle. Orders were given to him, such as to suppress monsters on hills or in caves and securing a path for the Undead army. As Weed’s charisma was high the Undeads obeyed him well, there was no problem solving C ranked quest. “One way or another this is doable. Not much good about the reward compared to straight out hunting.”
While Weed was solving the quests, a Necromancers player dragging his Undead contingent came up to him. “Greetings.” Seeing that the other side greeted first, Weed nodded back. “Hello.” Usual Necromancers cover themselves up with robes up till their heads and carried around staff with skull on top. Weed was wearing a full armour with a sword clasped on the side, and a person dragging around their Undead greeting normally was a bizarre sight with no comparison. but it was very awkward to say fresh hello to each other ‘Did he say Marey?’ Compared to the other players in the canyon, Weed was a new arrival so he only knew their name. Necromancers did sometimes cooperate but most of the time they were in competitions, hunting and questing endlessly. They did not have any party and so knew very little about each other. Marey, in a quiet voice, introduced himself first. “My name is Marey. I am sure you have seen me many times passing by, when we were Skeletons and Ghosts and now once again in this canyon.” “Yes, I know that.” “I see. But my original occupation was a bard.” “Yes?” Weed was of a personality that didn’t get surprised easily but this time, he was greatly surprised. Marey Stanbard, if his original class was a bard than it was no mistaking it. The Ranker who had a position with the Halsburg Kingdom, known as the very best among the bard class, he was a very famous player. “How are you here….” “I guess you are curious? Explaining it complicatedly there would be no end to the story, but should we say that I arrived here riding a breeze and now am composing a hymn for the Undead?” “…..” Bards often took enigmatic adventures. Unlike the adventurers who dug deep into legends or dungeons, bards wandered around aimlessly. It was a class that knew all kinds of stories and rumours, while playing instruments! Even if they had low fame, they could draw out sympathetic feelings towards them and make villagers’ tell their stories. When the quite a quest halfway through even their penalties were few. Many chose this class for its charm and even in Morata, the bard was really a popular class.
Marey in wonder asked him curiously. “But are you by any chance the War God Weed? If Weed uses a Sculpture Transformation skill to conceal his identity, his appearances completely changes. Even if the other had keen eyes it was difficult to notice. Right now he’s not using the skill but even when he was turned into a Death Knight, Marey noticed him. “How did you know?” “One thing good about bards is that they have very good ears. Even through the sounds animals make and vibration of grounds we can hear stories. We can eavesdrop information this way. Right now, you are making the greatest achievements incommensurable with other Necromancers.”
The competition between the players were on an incredibly fierce side, intending that the one advancing ahead the most was Weed. Necromancers were busy focusing on their battles and dragging their Undeads that they weren’t able to pay much interest to others. But because Marey had a lot of experience in adventure, just by listening to the background stories about a person with the most distinguished exploit he realized that it was Weed. “The naive Necromancers can’t show movements like that in battle. The only person who could advance so far without summoning Undead is Weed. I’ve been watching you for a long time and was completely sure it was you.”
Even among Necromancer players, there was rumour that Weed was working on the quest was spread widely. By continuously completing the chain quest they were curious if they would meet Weed as well next to Balkan! But really, they weren’t aware that Weed started from the bottom as a Skeleton with them. “Your deduction is most impressive.” Weed’s hand slowly reached for his sword. Truthfully he had built up grudges almost everywhere, anywhere vacant that wasn’t a village or a city he could not be so absentminded. Even if the other person was the best bard, he himself was one of the most brilliant sculptor among players. A bard was more agile and could equipped more armours or swords, so it was closer to a combat related class. But that much disadvantage was easily blown away. Also he was a Death Knight right now and had many Undead following him. ‘Should I take him out?’ In the wide continent of Versailles, with so many people in it, Marey approached Weed in friendly manner. But in Weed’s mind, the temptation was getting closer. ‘If I kill him, he will probably drop some good items. At least one unique item that can be used by level 380 will drop?’ Weed already made an estimate! In fact, Marey was on the side of good reputation among rankers in Royal Road. While travelling liberally he occasionally had accidents, but he was very friendly to novices and has an outstanding abilities with instruments. ‘Must be all groundless rumours. How can I believe all that?’
It was a deep swamp of mistrust that was hard to swim out of. ‘Yes, even if it’s not unique there will be decent item drops. With the money I make selling it, I can buy rice and cook it, then I will be happy while eating it…’ In his mind he already disposed of Marey and was deciding on the duration of the internet auction for the items. But murdering other high level players was ultimately not Weed’s way of earning money. It was much better to earn a steady income while hunting and raising levels. But in front of him an incredibly delicious prey appeared. Marey’s life was being threatened every second he came closer.
But Marey stretched out his hand first. “Will you not hunt in a party with me?” “What?” “To be honest, compared to Weed-nim and the others here I have a different aim. Do you know about bards very well?” Of course Weed knew about bards as well as other people. The class characteristics, the instruments they used, the price of equipment, even to the point about the income of their performance based on the singing and instrument skills. “My aim is to make a hymn about Undeads. And if possible, I can make an epic poem if I stay beside a person on a big quest. So, I will give up any rights regarding items obtained from hunts and quests.” If their hymns or poems became famous, it will spread all around the continents. Bards can earn fame and money and if their songs becomes popular, stats such as charisma and charm also increased. It was bard’s romance to roam around the continent and experience quests and battle, they were able to receive quests beyond their abilities and limitations.
Marey held his ragged cape with his right hand to cover his upper body and bent his body down a little bit. “Wandering around continents and writing a songs, it could be said that it’s the destiny of all troubadours. I don’t know what you request you want to accomplish but I won’t be of any distraction. Will you form a party and hunt with me?” Bards could gain rewards just by watching others’ adventures with their own eyes. It was an offer that wasn’t disadvantageous to Weed at all. But Marey approaching to Weed first was like getting an instalment fund from a bank robber! “Alright, let’s go together.” Just by looking at their class, it was the birth of a very awkward combination of a bard and a sculptor.
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Zabrin raised his accomplishment abundantly in Kapua village. As he got promoted to a ghost, Hermes Guild delivered any item he told them were needed. “Itemmmmm, arrreeee, theeeeee, besttttt.” Although his level was low, he was able to get great effects from items. Two Warlocks arrived from Hermes Guild and casted a blessing spell on him, Zabrin was able to hunt monsters in bulk. He actively made use of the ring of lightning and ring of destruction only usable by Ghost or Undead. About half of all Necromancers in Kapua Village gathered. “Iiiiiiii, willlll, shareeeeeee, itemsssssss, yyoooouuuu, nnnneeeeeddd.” Through the generosity of the items, Zabrin was able gather the players to him.
It was true that Polon, knights and mage troops came to catch Weed. But different to their intention, the Necromancers became their interest. It was not an ideal class for party hunting or adventures. There were times they couldn’t enter villages and the villagers abhorred them, complaining about the smell. Necromancers had great powers but had comparable experience in discriminations. But in a battle, they were the most useful. In the Central Continent there were endless battles still ongoing, large and small. Hermes Guild, after conquering the kingdom of Haven, was taking a break supplementing their forces but it was known widely it would not be a long wait. Even if Hermes Guild didn’t act first, the guilds from nearby kingdoms would form a union and strike first. If they could bring in the Necromancers into Hermes Guild in a situation like this, they would become great assets in battles. In the meeting of the chief executives of Hermes Guild, they instructed Zabrin to give out items to recruit as many players as he could.
“Could we obtain… the Undead Legion?” Of course the Hermes Guild desired Balkan’s Undead Legion as well. Armies of Undeads already completed! The endless number of soldiers that didn’t even need to food. According to Zabrin’s reports, after they arrived here there were endless number of quests. They didn’t know what will be at the end of the quest but they had their hopes up. Becoming the best Necromancers and heir to Balkan. And then inheriting his Undead Legion. “If that happens, there won’t be any problem hunting down Weed.” There is a high possibility that Weed was somewhere in this area but it didn’t matter if he wasn’t. They could bring the Undeads and turn Morata into ashes, inflict heavy damages to those opposing the Hermes Guild. It was a reckoning that could give wings to Hermes Guild, supplying the items to Zabrin was worth every bit.
Polon talked frequently to chief executives from the guild. -How do you want to handle the advance Necromancers in the canyon? -Such as Jeanne and Harien? -Yes, that’s correct. -If it is possible recruiting is most ideal. They will be closer to the authority controlling the Undead Legion than Zabrin. -I will try to recruiting them then.
Most Necromancers players, including Jeanne, were already in guilds. But you never know what would happen when Hermes Guild gave out a recommendation to join them.
-If they refuse to join the Hermes Guild… -Then I will handle it appropriately. -Also there will be Necromancers that are not completely checked out. The possibility is high that one of them could be Weed? -Yes, it’s possible. Necromancers are active while intentionally conceal their names. -Look into it and kill anyone who’s unidentified. It will make a good example to those who won’t follow us.
Hermes Guild hated passing things over vaguely. If they couldn’t have it, they destroyed it. It was one of the reason why their evil reputation was inflated but in the kingdom of Haven nothing existed that could go against them.
Even if there was dissatisfaction, there was not one case of anyone daring to come near Hermes Guild and take revenge on them.
   

 
 


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