The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 49 Chapter 3
[NOTE from Mimosab]
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Weed and the Northern users landed on an uninhabited island in the Neria Sea.
The booty they got from destroying the Haven Empire's fleet was so huge it was hard to even calculate the exact amount; all the stolen ships and war supplies! Sharing them alone can already yield a large profit, but the most significant reward was gaining the control over the sea trade routes.
A ship that was able to sail to the far away seas as well as engage in combat and trade needed a lot of resources, manpower and time to build. Restoring the Haven Empire's navy would take tremendous amount of efforts, so from now on, the sea belonged to the Arpen Kingdom.
"Since the Empire can't use marine transportation, the Northern users can freely use the trading routes."
Mapan, who came to the island with the help of Yurin, smirked from ear to ear, his belly swaying.
"Using the sea routes, transportation costs will be greatly reduced for the Northern ships, not to mention the possibility of smuggling; the profits gained by the regions next to the sea will be incredible."
Smuggling-the trade that does not pay taxes to the Empire!
Once caught, merchants would have to deal with a ruined reputation and disgrace, but as long as they got away with it, the profit they will gain from the deals will also be huge. Some people would go so far as to recommend smuggling as the quickest way to grow a merchant's business.
Weed's face was also content, as if he had just had a very hearty meal of fried chicken.
"As merchants get richer, the North will build up a lot of fortune eventually-"
"-by taking away the Empire's wealth. It is already having a lot of trouble dealing with the rebels, so it will be difficult for the Empire to take actions against the northern merchants on top of that."
"We need to push them even harder, when the circumstances are in our favor."
"Yes sir. We'll try to squeeze every last copper out of them."
Weed's comrades were deep in thought while listening to this conversation.
How would I feel if I was in the Hermes Guild and hadn't found out about the real Weed until now?'
Knowing that there is someone who is coming to steal everything in your pocket someday, and that person is none other than Weed? Even worse still, Weed won the respect of a kind and innocent merchant like Gamong, and had the support of the Grass Porridge Cult.
'He's different from those bad guys who appear in Batman or Superman movies; he's a cutting-edge villain: A sage of all villains, so to speak.'
'Supported by ordinary users and helped by mass media…He can make people follow him even if they know who he really is; I guess he's the ultimate form of a perfect villain.'
'Nobody can blame a successful villain.'
Weed encouraged the Northern users to repair their ships. Since it was an important task and couldn't be delayed much longer, he himself participated in the task and used the shipbuilding skills he had gained.
'Just as I thought, working with a good ship improves my skill proficiencies faster.'
He could increase his skills while repairing a ship of the line, and the users were happy to see Weed doing the hard work just like them, oblivious to his intention. There's a good reason why politicians appear on TV pretending to enjoy cheap street food during an election season.
"Alright, let's go plunder the Central Continent!"
"Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge!"
The Northern users were used to large-scale quests and hard labor; they chopped down all the trees of the uninhabited island to repair the damaged hulls.
Due to the sheer number of users, it didn't take long to complete basic repair of the ships. As there was no more threat of a war with the navy, it was enough to just get them to stay floating in the sea.
"The wind is fair. Let's depart."
"Today we are going to eat dinner at the Litum region."
"Conquer the continent!"
The users who arrived in fishing boats and rafts were now enjoying cool wind on the decks of carracks and battleships.
It was a happy time to play as a user of the Arpen Kingdom, enrolled as a member of the Grass Porridge Cult.
Just going online on Royal Road was enough to make all of your stress disappear.
The Cloud Guild, Lion Castle, Roam Guild, Black Sword Mercernaries, and the Black Lion Guild.
Those who belonged to the prestigious guilds of the past were facing a strange situation.
Shadow of the Cloud Guild sighed.
"Is it really wise of us to idly sit like this?"
"What choice do we have? We got a request to stand by and do nothing."
"But that was ages ago! Besides, it's not like we have to obey that Weed dude as if we were his lackeys, am I wrong?"
Shadow exclaimed angrily.
Ever since the Hermes Guild lowered the tax rate, their fate took a very disappointing turn. Users of the Central Continent didn't follow the old prestigious guilds even though they hated Hermes Guild.
Despite the fact that they ruled over wide territories, these old forces were crumbling ruins. There were no new members enrolling and the remaining useful members had left; about half of them went to join the Arpen Kingdom, and others went to the Hermes Guild or became independent.
The Versailles Continent was wide, and it was not easy to hide their identity and become wanderers, dealing with hunting and trading.
The old prestigious gilds were now nothing but remnants, and their forces were diminishing every day.
Shadow bit his lips painfully.
"Isn't it because we followed Weed's words in the first place that we all ended up like this?"
He was furious, remembering how the Cloud Guild had shrunk compared to its glory days.
Gunt from the Lion Castle also agreed with his opinion about Weed.
"If we had joined forces and occupied the same region, things wouldn't have gone so badly. It was a mistake to believe the words of someone who isn't even an ally."
Roam, Mihel and Calis thought differently.
'Well, as to losing our influence…that was because we were overpowered by the Hermes Guild.'
'We have no territory; we have nothing.'
"Join forces to occupy one region? What are we going to do if the Hermes Guild attacks us then? Besides, it's not like we reach a consensus that easily.'
Part of the reason for the fall of the prestigious guilds was the fact that they could not form a proper alliance. Indeed, it would be impossible for the guilds that once fought each other over the dominance of the continent to sincerely cooperate.
Calis from the Black Lion Guild said tentatively,
"But don't you think this might be a chance for us?"
Shadow asked sharply but he didn't hide his expectant tone.
"The Hermes Guild is ostracized by common users. Broadcasting stations are taking actions, and the guild is now attacking the Arpen Kingdom and the Desert region. Obviously their military power is going to be scattered."
"So you mean that we should seize this chance for resurgence?"
Calis gave a light sigh.
The glory of the past!
It was not very long ago when they reigned over people like kings, but it now felt like a lifetime away.
"Take a look at the ability from the Hermes Guild to conduct a war; it won't be easy to reclaim the land we lost."
"We need to follow Weed's words so that we can strike a blow to the Hermes Guild."
"That we can do, but what's next?"
"We should help the Arpen Kingdom win this war, and if we serve under Weed…"
"Calis, what nonsense are you talking about?"
Shadow shouted loudly.
"What an incredibly foolish opinion."
Gunt also couldn't hide his disapproval, but Roam of the Roam Guild, and Black Sword Mercernary Mihel didn't change their expressions; they knew which way the wind was blowing.
Roam carefully opened his mouth.
"Even if the Hermes Guild were to dissipate, we still wouldn't have a chance. Most of the users who don't like them will either join the Arpen Kingdom or the Grass Porridge Cult."
"But we still have quite a lot of high level users. If we gather all five guilds' strength…"
Mihel cut Gunt's words short.
"That's no more an easy thing to do."
"There has to be some hope in order to fight, isn't there? If I told the Black Sword Mercenaries that we have to fight against the Hermes Guild, there would be a stream of deserters."
"Our guild is of the same opinion."
Calis from the Black Lion Guild agreed.
The continuing defeats against the Hermes Guild had resulted in a lot of complaints from the high level users.
Roam shook his head.
"We cannot risk any more war. Even if we hung our guilds' flags in front, nobody would come to join our cause anyway. But if we unite under the flag of the Arpen Kingdom… we could absorb the force of the rebels. Or even more than that."
"Indeed, it is like that…"
Shadow and Gunt were beginning to change their opinion.
If they couldn't build a Kingdom that bears their name in this world, well, at least they would need to find a way to survive.
"Huh…Just like that…"
The heads of the mighty Hermes Guild.
As the system changed
into that of a war for conquest, even the great lords attended the meeting.
The absolute domination over the Central Continent and the advance to the North!
Fate had it that they saw the video of the Imperial navy being defeated as they were about to distribute the assignments in accordance with these two quests.
"The navy, which was thought to be invincible, was annihilated; there won't be any chance for us at least in the sea for the next three months."
Lafaye's eyes became sharp.
The defeat was shocking, but they were quick to calculate profit and loss.
The Haven Empire's growth was based on conquest; in a certain sense, not having been able to pioneer the sea reduced the damage.
"From now on, let's focus on what we need to do."
Lafaye stirred up the people around.
"Mister Crebolta. Please, take care of the Briton region. You don't have to wait till the rebels gather. If you see even small signs of them, wipe them out."
Crebolta was ranked in the top 10 of Royal Road.
He had great abilities, but as it was often the case with the top-ranked users, he usually did not come forward unless there was a big war.
When the Hermes Guild let Crebolta move, it meant that they were starting to take things seriously.
"Mister Calcus. You'll need to take care of the Tullen region. We will give you control over the entire regional army."
"A massacre is exactly what I want."
Calcus smiled, revealing his white teeth.
In contrast to his handsome face, he was a slayer!
The more users he kills, the stronger his madness and aggression became, which were his unique abilities. Once the instinct of massacre was awakened, even Bard Ray could not underestimate him.
"Mister Jento. Please take charge of the defense and stabilization of the Gradian and Nest regions."
"Mister Heroid, your charges are Breman and Sur regions. Also, be prepared for the coastal attacks."
"I will take firm hold of them."
Lafaye arranged the military power of the main regions.
The armies of the lords, excluding the central Imperial army ruled directly by Bard Ray, will be ruling the regions. When your rule over a country centers around military force, it inevitably leads to conflicts with the users. It would be too much to consider the average tendencies of the users of the Hermes guild and hope that those with power will not abuse it.
You forced us to draw our sword. We were hoping to turn to peaceful methods as we dominated the continent…Now, we won't look back.'
Lafaye's eyes glinted sharply.
Stable domination and control!
They tried to change the power-centric system of the Hermes Guild with Bard Ray in its center through policies, and failed. Now it was time to show the true colors of the Hermes Guild once again!! Indiscriminate destruction and conquest.
(To be continued…)
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