The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 50 Chapter 7 part3
[Note from Mimosab] Haaa.. Mikemyers did it again: we have 5 parts 100% funded now! Please don’t be too impatient, we still need some time before speeding up the pace. And thanks to Eternal & Dragoma for the proofreading 🙂
Python was a fighter whose skills were good enough to boast on any battleground. Once he jumped into a dungeon with his great sword drawn, he never stopped until he successfully cleared it, even if he had to stay up all night. During the earlier days of Royal Road, the videos he uploaded would receive hundreds of thousands of views, and after he became more popular, they easily scored millions of hits.
"There's a rumor claiming that Python, that fighter with superhuman strength, completely wiped out the Dungeon of Balharm."
"Did you hear? They say Python moved a huge rock with his bare hands."
Hearing the stories of his exploits that had spread among the townspeople each time he returned to a city after completing a quest or a hunt also gave him a feeling of great satisfaction.
'There aren't many fighters in this game whose skills deserve my recognition.'
That pride which once knew no limit had diminished a little ever since he had met Weed.
'How is this guy so strong?!'
Despite his profession as a sculptor, Weed demonstrated incredible power in hunting grounds. The quickness, persistence and skillfulness with which he slew the monsters were difficult to catch up to, even for Python. He secretly stroked his chest in relief when he found out that Weed became a Necromancer after mastering sculpting skills.
'For now, I'm still the strongest fighter there is.'
Python was intending to display his combat prowess alongside Weed in the advanced training hall — the training hall that took the Hermes Guild a total of 31 member to clear, including Bard Ray. If Python and Weed managed to break through this path together just by themselves, shoulder to shoulder, the video of their joint accomplishment was sure to spread among the public and greatly increase their reputation. He couldn't think of a better event to be put on air right before the battle in the Garnav Plain.
'Weed must have planned all this in advance. It's going to be a difficult task, but together we have a fair chance of success provided we thoroughly complement each other's skills.'
Python was a little delayed while he checked over his equipment and said goodbye to Surka and other companions, but it still had not been more than ten minutes since Weed's departure.
'Will he be waiting for me while fighting the first wave of monsters?'
He walked into the Path of Struggle unhurriedly, but all he saw was the remains of the dead Ulroofs.
'Hmm. I guess he's already dealt with them alone.'
Python nodded. Given Weed's capacity in combat, he would easily have been able to fight the Ulroofs all by himself. Even with his sculpting skills and Necromancer spells sealed, he had plenty of experience and an excellent combat sense.
'So, he went on without waiting for me? Then he must be fighting the next monsters.'
Python continued walking, taking a look at the signs of battle that Weed had left behind.
'I could get there deliberately late until he asks for help… no, then he would give me an earful for taking so long.'
He imagined the face of Weed desperately crying out for help; it would definitely give him some satisfaction to see him in such a state, but he decided he shouldn't do such a thing to a friend and companion.
'Kukuku. I'll show him the might of my greatsword.'
In the next fight location, he saw dead Volards scattered on the ground, expertly taken down.
Python was a little shocked at the sight of no less than 12 lifeless Volards, stripped of all their loot down to their very skins.
"Weed killed all of them on his own? They are quite tricky to deal with… This guy really is something."
Volards were both dangerous and difficult monsters. The moment one lets themselves be assaulted by those fierce leaping attacks, they will lose balance, unable to break free from the creatures' grasp.
What was even more surprising was the fact that these traces of Weed's fight against the Volards weren't scattered over several different places: he had killed them all in one spot. As it didn't look like it had taken a long time either, Python could surmise that it must have been one epic battle.
"He sure knows how to fight."
Impressed, Python decided to rate Weed's combat capacity a little higher than he'd done until now. One's level and skills did not always align perfectly with one's strength. As was the case with most sports, not everyone who had great strength could make a perfect use of that strength; there were so many other areas that influenced one's fighting ability, including one's ability to think quickly, reflexes, and understanding of enemies.
"I suppose there's a fair reason behind his power."
Python kept walking, but in the third, fourth and fifth battle locations, he only found more remains of thoroughly slaughtered monsters. He had been expecting Weed to wait for him to join in as he was fighting the monsters but everywhere he went the fight was already over, with nothing but a cold breeze hovering over the place. In the case of the fifth wave in particular, there were bodies of huge demonic soldiers, which were known to be extremely difficult to deal with, left on the ground in a line — demonic creatures with a level as high as 510.
"Even these monsters, too?"
Python was now feeling increasingly pressed for time.
"It seems I might have dallied for just a bit too long. I should reunite with him as soon as possible."
He slid his blade back in its place on his back and began to run. He knew it was a ridiculous sight, a famous user such as him whose reputation was widespread over the entire Versailles Continent sprinting at top speed not to miss more fights, but he could think of no other way for now.
'It wasn't like I was going THAT slowly. He could've just waited for me for a moment! And why is he eliminating these monsters so quickly?'
He risked burning up his stamina a little too quickly in order to run faster, but the Path of Struggle stretching out before him only awaited more evidence of monsters being eradicated.
'This is bad.'
As Python was on a dead run, his mind was filled with only one thought: he, too, had watched the video of the Hermes Guild going through the Path of Struggle. Seeing 31 people moving and working together as smoothly as a cogwheel was certainly a sight to behold, but it did not leave a big impression on Python. He knew he would have done more than an average job if he had been one of them, and besides, nothing in that video looked overly dangerous to him; that much was evident just from the fact that Bard Ray and his 30 Royal Guards all managed to successfully clear the path in the end, unscathed.
'If Weed doesn't stop… things might get really complicated.'
After passing through the first few battles on the Path of Struggle, the challenger will face the Gate of Trial. Before opening that gate, they must choose: will they go alone, or together with friends? There had been a few people who stepped in alone at first, but they all succumbed to the waves of monsters. Once one passed through the Gate of Trial, for every step they took they had to face a swarm of those creatures. There was a limit to the time one could spend on resting to recover the lost strength, since they could not consume any food on the Path of Struggle. They either met their demise from exhaustion or chose to flee and return to the gate. As an advanced training hall did not allow a second try, that was to be the end of their challenge, forever. After a few of such cases, most people chose to face enter the gate with their friends or companions, as did the Hermes Guild. Even then there had been a considerable number of casualties, except for Bard Ray and his Royal Guards.
'He's just got to stop and wait for me, but… as absurd as it sounds, I wouldn't put it past Weed to set off alone.'
What if…? Python was having a sinister premonition. He had a feeling that once Weed had immersed himself in fight, he might never stop to look back.
< Batalli the God of Fighting is satisfied with your battle.
A total of 37 chained attacks through Heraim Fencing Skill! You have dominated your enemies, and never stopped fighting until the end of combat.
Your Strength stat will be increased by 1 point by the blessings of the God of Fighting. >
While walking on the Path of Struggle, Weed realized one thing.
'There is nothing better than Heraim Fencing Skill for breaking through this path.'
There were a few other combat skills, but they all consumed a significant amount of stamina or mana. Overusing big are-of-effect attack skills to deal with the great number of monsters appearing on the path was a sure way to exhaust oneself quickly, and one would not be able to exert the full extent of their power and skills in the end.
'Things like special sword techniques and high level would not mean much in this place. On this path, one needs quick wit, adaptability, and courage.'
He confirmed this discovery once more after eliminating the magical knights of Galden which had been the ninth wave of enemies thrown at him. Wielding a huge shield and spells, their only purpose was to block his way. They attempted to tire out the challenger, forcing them to waste their stamina and mana. Weed had to create an unguarded moment in the enemy's movement, an instant that was less than taking a breath, and tore through that gap using his Heraim Fencing Skill.
'This kind of fight is quite fun, too.'
Weed smiled, for the first time after a long while. What would be the fun of it if he already knew all about the path and made it too easy? Finding and exploiting the enemy's weak points, pushing himself forward every second with all his might… that was all he needed to succeed.
'I can fight to my heart's content here. And I open up my own path as I fight through the enemies. That's why this is called the Path of Struggle.'
Through his accomplishments in combat, Weed earned some additional stats.
< An honorable victory!
For a brief moment, you exerted all your might to strike a group of Bardenhoffs to death.
You dominated the battlefield!
As great as their pride is, they would be glad to have submitted to a great warrior such as you.
Your Charisma and Courage stat have increased by 2 points each.
Your fame has increased by 1,381 points. >
It was not easy to earn such stat rewards in hunting grounds, but since the creatures appearing in this place all tested his limits just slightly, most of the fights Weed had had here led to combat accomplishments.
'Being able to fight all I want… I like that.'
Intoxicated by the heat of battle, Weed penetrated lines and lines of enemies as they appeared. When he first stepped onto the Path of Struggle he was using his brain, thinking of what would be the best way to fight. But now, he merely threw himself into the fray again and again, swinging his sword in frenzy. Making his way through the path blocked by hordes of monsters, he had arrived in front of the Gate of Trial before he knew.
< You have reached the Gate of Trial.
The challenger can choose to step into this gate with friends, or they can walk upon this path alone. >
When Weed first decided to go through the Path of Struggle, Python was with him. Two was still a very small number, but it certainly made a big difference from going alone. At the very least they could watch each other's back or force their way forward more easily.
Weed did not think even for a second.
'It's barely enough to clear this all by myself, let alone with somebody else.'
He opened the Gate of Trial, and strode forward.
– Arkhim: Urgent news: Weed has entered an advanced training hall.
Everyone on the Hermes Guild's official communication channel could not contain their shock at this unexpected report.
– Boemong: There's no way he can do that. Are you sure it's not some false information?
– Arkhim: This info is indisputable, it's leaked from the high-ranking officials in CTS Media. They're supposed to receive at least a hint from Weed whenever there's some big event.
– Phalanx: I just can't believe this… yes, what's the current situation in our advanced training halls?
– Denon: No intruders. Everything's as it should be here.
With the war coming in three days, most of the members of the Hermes Guild were currently online. After receiving a report from Denon, a ranker who happened to be near the training hall at the moment, and just as they were expressing their confusion and frustration at this seemingly false rumor, Arkhim sent another message.
– Arkhim: I'm trying to get more information, but for now it is estimated that Weed has entered the advanced training hall thanks to his skill to travel in time to the past.
– Lafaye: That should be possible, theoretically. And there would be nothing we can do about it. How many people are helping him?
There was a delay in Lafaye's response as he was busy making preparations for the fateful battle in the Garnav Plain. But if Weed and his gang had really taken a quest after traveling back in time just as he guessed, there was indeed not much the guild could do to hinder them.
– Arkhim: I'll continue to gather more information now.
For half an hour as they waited for Arkhim, the Hermes Guild users thought of Weed who might manage to clear the advanced training hall. The stronger members of Royal Guard were feeling especially bitter to see Weed grow even more powerful, but there was no way for them to prevent it.
– Arkhim: I've obtained information about the people accompanying Weed, but it is…
When Arkhim appeared in the communication channel again, all the guild members listened to him carefully. All over the Central Continent, the sight of the Hermes Guild users suddenly going blank simultaneously could be seen.
– Arkhim: Python, the fighter of superhuman strength, joined him.
– Phalanx: And?
– Boemong: We all expected Python to be there, since he was already seen in the Wulhoff Reef. Is there any information about the others yet?
– Arkhim: Well… that's it. There's just him.
– Lafaye: What?!
– Arkhim: Those who have challenged the advanced training hall are Weed and Python, just two of them.
There was a long silence in the official communication channel of the Hermes Guild. At that moment, nobody was saying anything in other regional channels of the guilds or in most of the channels related to hunting, quests or socializing.
As overflowing with powerful users as the Hermes Guild was, there was only a portion of them who had actually managed to beat the advanced training hall. Even then, there were a lot of videos and articles on clearing the Path of Struggle that had been made public.
– Unless you are in the same league as Bard Ray and his Royal Guards, it is more advantageous to gather at least 50 people.
– It is impossible to consume any food on the Path of Struggle. Therefore, it would be of some help to eat a lot of stamina food regularly that grants a long-lasting satiety and fullness from three days before going into the path. The list of such food is…
– There is no map. The passage is all connected in one straight line and the number and types of monsters are completely unpredictable as well.
– The time for clearing this path is limited due to the fact that one cannot eat anything in there, and 20 hours is generally regarded as the maximum amount of time one can endure the starvation while going through a series of fierce combat. If you don't manage to break through the path until after 20 hours, it is best to give up and turn back.
– Fortunately, your mana and stamina will recover when you take a break. There are 7 gears and skills in total that we recommend to increase the rate of stamina recovery…
– We suggest including Steel Fighters and Indomitable Champions in the storming party, which are two of the advanced professions for fighters. They possess nearly an unlimited amount of stamina, which makes it a lot easier to successfully break through the Path. It'd be better to have at least two of them.
Even the members of the Hermes Guild made preparations 2, 3 months in advance before challenging the advanced training halls. They organized shock troops, and adjusted their gears and skill settings for the occasion. Everyone was allowed only one chance to face the trial of the advanced training halls, and therefore this was an extremely high-difficulty level endeavor.
– Boemong: Just two of them? Are they insane?
– Calcus: There must be a mistake in this information. This is just impossible.
– Verdin: This is nonsense… it must be Weed's trick.
– Barakuda: Choosing such a crucial moment right before the war to challenge the advanced training hall is in itself a trick! Don't you think so?
The users who had already cleared the training hall were the first to refute Arkhim's claim most angrily. In their perspectives, passing through the same training hall that they had been before with just two people simply did not make any sense.
'Could there really be a chance of doing that, however small it would be? Even then, such a challenge is just so absurd!'
'Is it even possible to pass through the whole path with two people? It doesn't make sense. They'll have to deal with at least several thousand monsters each.'
'How could they? Why on earth did Weed decide to make such a crazy attempt?'
'Even if they don't make any mistake or get injured, they'll still have to burn their mana and stamina. There's no way they won't succumb to exhaustion in the middle of the way.'
As every member of the Hermes Guild thought it was impossible, it was all the more difficult for them to know the true intention of Weed and Python.
(Continued in next part…)
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