The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor

 
 

The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 51 Chapter 2 part2


[Note from Mimosab] Thanks to the proofreading team: Eternal, Arun7 & Re1er!!

The war finally started: meteor shower for everyone! And it’s not a spoiler, I didn’t read this new part yet 😉

This one is also longer than usual.. but I’m wrote the same since the beginning of this volume so maybe it’s the author’s choice to post +20% words now. We’ll wait a bit more to be sure before updating the status bar value.


 

"…Uuugh…"

"We need a priest over here! Please, he's going to die any minute!"

"There are users buried in the ground. Let's all gather around and rescue them."

The Garnav Plain had turned into a hellish place in a matter of a few minutes.

There were no survivors in the locations where the meteors had struck directly, and even in the vicinity a lot of people were killed by the resulting shockwave. As the burning meteors had impacted the ground, the sudden and sharp increase in temperature had caused a great fire.

"Spirit of Water. Summon Water Drops! Put out the fire immediately."

"Flooding River!"

Shamans and Mages worked busily to extinguish the fire, but there were some other users who were fixed on the spot, feeling completely lost: those who hadn't reached level 10 or 30.

To them, using a magical spell when hunting monsters was something unusual, and getting hit by a magical attack was out of the ordinary. Magic itself was a curious and uncommon event to them, and so witnessing flying shooting stars that had been created by one of the ultimate magic spells, Summon Flaming Meteors, strike the land they were standing on was enough to befuddle them out of their senses.

"Hey, are we still alive?"

"Yes, although barely. My Life Force has dropped to less than a half."

"I was so frightened. My body was floating in the air for a second when the meteor hit."

"And we were easily more than a kilometer away from the thing. We'd probably have been killed on the spot if we had been just a little closer."

The users were terrified by the destructive power of the Summon Flaming Meteors spell. They were all determined to fight to the death against the Haven Empire when they first came to join the war, but it was an entirely different feeling to experience such a wondrous magic first-hand.

"How are we going to fight now?"

"I don't know. Who knows, there might be more meteors coming our way if we stay too close together."

"Just how many people have been killed?"

"No way to know for now. I think everyone who was standing over there is dead."

"Damn it. That's where the food alley was. The buildings are all gone."

The surviving users found themselves trembling with anxiety and uneasiness, wondering if there would be another meteor strike as they gazed upon the now quiet night sky.

Meanwhile, there was a group of people moving in secret.

– Phgel: We've arrived at the target position.

– Danango: Pour it into the fire and get out. It spreads quickly, so be careful everyone.

Around a hundred users were quietly sneaking around, carrying bottles of something and sprinkling the content on top of the fire. Crowds of people who were thronging in nearby areas spotted them, but did nothing to stop them, thinking it was no big deal.

– Phgel: Mission accomplished. Leaving the area now.

The people who had put the liquid in the bottles into the fire swiftly fled from the site.

Other users were racing around the Garnav Plain, which was currently stricken by confusion and grief.

"I'm a member of the Herb Porridge squad. Our squad has a lot of paladins and priests, so come over here if you're injured!"

"Chicken Porridge, here to provide aid."

"We're giving out free bandages for anyone who needs them!"

The users cared for the injured, put out the fire and tried to restore the collapsed ground. Driven by the strong bond among users that had been shared since their early days in Morata, they were finding ways to help each other despite the mess that the Summon Flaming Meteors spell had left them with.

But at that very moment:


< You have contracted the Alkin disease!
A strange dizziness and a high fever are coursing through your body.
14 points of damage to Life Force every second.
Your maximum Life Force and Mana have decreased. >


"Huh?"

"Alkin disease?"

"What is it this time?"

A mysterious disease that had started spreading from several different areas simultaneously!

The users who were infected went to seek the help of the priests, thinking it wouldn't be anything serious.

"I'd like to request a healing spell; I think I contracted a disease. I can wait if you want… Looks like you are quite busy."

"No, it's alright. I'll do it for you right now."

The priests cast healing spells… Normally, this would instantly cure most diseases.


< The healing spell did not have any effect. >


< The Alkin disease gains its potency as your body becomes weaker.
You will lose 47 points of Life Force per second.
Your stamina will decrease to 52% of the maximum amount. >


"What is this?"

"A healing spell cannot cure this… How?"

The conditions of the infected users continued to worsen even as they looked around at each other in panic. As their Life Force dropped, eventually they became unable to move their bodies at all and collapsed to the ground, slowly turning grey as they perished.


< You are infected by the Alkin disease. >



The users who were near the patients, even the priests with their uncommonly strong resistance, contracted the disease. The news of the appearance of a contagious disease that couldn't be cured by healing spells started to spread via the regional chat channel, engulfing the whole Garnav Plain in fear.

***

The Hermes Guild members assembled in the banquet hall of Aren Castle could not hold back their awe.

'This is so severe. Our guild sure gets the job done in a battle it is prepared for.'

'We've found the best solution to deal with the human wave strategy.'

As the domestic affairs of the Empire had been through much turmoil, Lafaye's competence as a leader had been put in question several times. He had often looked rather powerless when it came to Weed or the Arpen Empire, but nobody would think so from this point on, for he had completely and irreversibly neutralized the crowd in the Garnav Plain.

Arkhim took a step forward and spoke.

"This is not over yet."

"…"

One would have had to go through all sorts of hell and high water to rise to a high position in the Hermes Guild. But even these veteran members had to restrain their fearful groans.

'They are not done yet?'

'They've still got a trick or two left up their sleeve after all this… I know it's my guild, but I must say, this is brutal.'

'Devils. That's what they are.'

The thought flashed in their mind that Weed and the Arpen Kingdom might have chosen the wrong enemy.

What appeared before their eyes through the crystal orb in the banquet hall was the Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights! Having emerged from the sites where the flaming meteors had struck, they began to massacre the users who were unfortunate enough to stand nearby.

Lancelot, who had been watching this in silence so far, asked a question.

"Undead, are they?"

Arkhim nodded.

"They are called the Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights."

"Hmm. It looks like they have pretty high levels."

"I believe they're at around level 620."

Judging by a rough scanning, the Phanzellope Order seemed to consist of about 250 members. A squad of phantom knights felt rather unremarkable compared to the Summon Flaming Meteors spell or the Alkin disease; a couple of armed groups from the Hermes Guild would be sufficient to match their fighting power.

'They will certainly be effective for confusing our enemies further after the first two events… But they don't seem like a big deal otherwise.'

'They're not that impactful, for a weapon that was specifically selected and prepared for this occasion. But then again, maybe it's because the meteor summoning spell has left too big an impression.'

The Northern users stepped up to stop the Phanzellope Order. Those who were under level 200 were wiped out almost as soon as they jumped into the fight, so the users at level 400s and 500s gathered together. There were also quite a lot of users from the Central Continent staying in the Garnav Plain.

An explosion of countless magical spells!

The phantom knights were struck by almost gruesomely fierce attacks from the enraged users. As this was not a full-scale battle against the main forces of the Haven Empire, all of the firepower was now being concentrated solely on this undead squad.

"Huh…"

"How did they…?"

What happened next was enough to astound everyone who was watching.

The Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights looked perfectly unscathed by all those magical attacks that had hit them. Some of the phantom knights' forms did dissipate into the air, but they couldn't be completely destroyed no matter how many attacks were focused on them. Even when their path was blocked by Warriors, Fighters and Paladins, they shifted to their astral bodies to vault over any obstacles and continued charging forward.

Arkhim explained.

"The Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights. Their main characteristic is that they are immune to all types of damage. However many blows they may take, they will continue to exist, until they eliminate every last enemy in front of them."

"…"

A group of undead knights which do not take any damage; this was the third hidden card that the Hermes Guild had drawn.

"We've really gone to that length to destroy them?"

"Using all the rare magical spells and military forces at hand to beat them up… There really can't be any hope for them."

There was nobody in this banquet hall of Aren Castle who didn't believe in the victory of the Haven Empire now.

At last, the members of Bard Ray's Royal Guards began to distribute the handouts containing the operation plan to the commander of each Division. The information about the moving route for each Legion, mission objectives and battle formations was written in the handout. The Legion commanders read the title of the operation plan on top of the paper.


Annihilation Plan.

Step 1. Cast the Summon Flaming Meteors spell, targeting the Garnav Plain.

Step 2. Spread the Alkin disease. An instantly-infecting contagion, it will deprive the enemies of their combat strength and propagate fear among the users.

Step 3. Appearance of the Phanzellope Order of Phantom Knights. Bring more despair to the enemies.

Step 4. The Imperial Army begins the full-frontal march into the battlefield from the North, South, East and West pathways. Use the Steel Knights and the Spears of Annihilation.

Step 5. Cast Summon Flaming Meteors one more time. Assassinate or otherwise subdue Weed and the core users of the North in the midst of the confusion in the battlefield.



For each step, there were tens of pages of instructions on the detailed operation plans. The main mission objective was to kill more than 40% of the users gathered in the Garnav Plain, including Weed.

"With this mission plan, it should be easy to carry it out successfully."

"All these traps and ambushes… No one would be able to escape, even Weed."

"We're basically killing them all. The point is to make sure they never even dream of opposing us, ever again."

The Legion Commanders and top ranking users assembled in Aren Castle began to disperse to go about their business, with a smile on their faces. Nothing was on their mind, except for the thought of heading to the battleground as soon as possible.

***

A while ago, Weed had gone back to Batalli the God of Fighting after the Palrangka War.

– The Palrangka War has been recorded differently in history now, and you have made a remarkable combat achievement. Not as a warrior like I expected… But you did something that no warrior can do.

"I only wanted to do my best." claimed Weed, politely yet confidently.

– Yes… I guess not fully using the power one possesses cannot be considered good behavior for a true warrior. Here are the gloves, as promised. Next time you meet me again, I will make you fight against some of my own warriors.

"Will there be more rewards, too?"

– Those who fight them and win shall be rewarded with fame and power.

"I will make sure to visit you again."

With that, he made his exit from the God of Fighting's Great Coliseum where strong warriors of every race including human were assembled.

'I'm going to knock them all down once I've mastered swordsmanship and archery as well as spear techniques.'

Afterwards, Weed eventually reunited with Pale and the other companions, and was presently preparing himself for the battle. He repaired the damaged equipment using his blacksmithing and tailoring skills, and he needed to have some food as well; it was quite important to replenish one's strength before a combat by having a delicious meal. Now that he did not need to do repetitive manual work to increase the level of his Sculpting skill after he had mastered it, his proficiencies in other skills were increasing rapidly.

"Meteors have been summoned!"

That was when he received the urgent news from the Garnav Plain.

The video he watched using Romuna's crystal ball showed the entire plain blazing like a burning sea in the midst of the darkness. With the appearance of the Alkin disease and the Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights on top of that, the Northern users were quickly being slaughtered.

The Hermes Guild had drawn terribly powerful cards indeed; however, seen from a different angle, this also meant that they have exposed the extent of their military strength to the enemy side very early, and the North would only have to endure and survive these attacks somehow.

Weed sent a private message to Lemon, the saint of the Grass Porridge Cult.

"Are you busy?"

– Lemon: Oh, hello? Things are a bit hectic here but you can go on, Weed-nim.

"What's the current situation?"

– Lemon: Well, we're not making any progress in straightening out this mess at all, and the command structure is completely down, too.

The Grass Porridge Cult had divided its many members into numerous porridge squads. That might have been what made it difficult to quickly handle the crisis of the summoned meteor strike, but then again, no kind of command structure would have made much difference in the event of such a disaster.

– Lemon: Still, our priests and paladins are going out of their way to help the injured users.

"I see. Just as expected."

The bond that bound the Northern users together was indeed strong; it had become part of their culture to willingly give aid to those who in danger.

– Lemon: People are getting increasingly concerned about the plague. There's no cure for it… Those phantom knights are quite problematic, too.

"We'll need to stop this in any way possible."

Weed was just as helpless as everyone, unable to take any immediate action to sort out the situation. This was the first time he had come to know about the Alkin disease or the Phanzellope Order… As knowledgeable as Weed was, he did not know every last one of the countless secrets of Royal Road.

– Lemon: Weed-nim! We just got a report from the Avians. The Imperial Army of the Haven Empire has appeared in the North, South, East and West of the Garnav Plain — they are everywhere!

***

The twenty Legions that constituted the Haven Imperial Army began their sudden march. Besides their original military camp by the Dellawood River, more troops emerged from their other secret bases and moved towards the Garnav Plain.

"Begin the full-scale attack!"

The top-rankers that had been on standby in Aren Castle also made their appearance through the teleport gate. They were leading the followers of the Hermes Guild — mostly high-level users — into the battle.

"From this day forward, not only the cities of the Central Continent, but every corner of this entire land will be covered by the flags of the Haven Empire!"

"Let's go. We should finish this war before the day fully breaks!"

The top ranking users and the military commanders of the Hermes Guild shouted confidently. Just a moment ago, they had been all a little worried about how this battle would unfold, but after discovering the three powerful hidden cards of the Empire — meteor summoning, the Alkin disease and the Phanzellope Order — they did not have the slightest doubt about their victory. Hence, there was no hint of hesitance in the footsteps of the Hermes Guild members, and their voices were carrying power.

"We are attacking the Garnav Plain. Following the way of the Hermes Guild, we shall no longer show any mercy to those who defy us!"

North, South, East and West. From every direction, the twenty Legions of the Empire started advancing into the Garnav Plain. The sight of them was also being relayed to the rest of the world in real time through the broadcasting media. The MCs of the programs were already yelling with the veins bulging in their necks despite the fact that the battle had only entered its earliest stage.

"Incredible. We were expecting them to carefully assemble their forces before confronting the North, yet they chose to open the battle in such a way…!"

"It seems they are showing what the Hermes Guild is truly capable of."

"I believe they managed to perfectly recreate their prime days during the conquest of the Central Continent."

"Their spirit is burning strong. It looks like they are fully convinced of their certain victory."

Even the hosts of the shows of KMC Media channel that had normally maintained a favorable stance towards Weed and the Northern users were speaking highly of the Haven Empire. Having taken a look at the videos of the Haven Imperial Army in various locations, Oh Joo-Wan commented:

"Even if we take into consideration their failed attempt in conquering the Northern continent as well as some poorly made decisions in dealing with the rebels, I must say they did not have any choice in those matters. On the other hand, the Imperial Army that we see now seems to be just as strong as they used to be during the days when they boasted to be invincible."

"Will the Arpen Kingdom be able to stop them?"

Shin Hye Min wanted to join the battle herself as Maylon, but she had to take the role of the MC of this broadcasting program, as it was such a crucial one for the company. If the program continued on to the second part, the MC should be replaced as well in order for them to have a rest, so she was determined to go online on Royal Road to fight then.

"To be honest, I really cannot be sure for now. The Haven Empire is really hell-bent on defeating the North… Judging by the fact that they've even chosen such extreme measures such as meteor summoning or the Alkin disease, it seems they are ready to risk any backlash from the public. They are focusing on nothing else but victory in the battle."

Do Chan Mi, a member of a girl group, chimed in:

"They remind me of the proverbial tiger that rises to full height after being cornered into a dead end."

"Mmm. I guess that would be quite an adequate analogy, seeing that they have decided to reveal such powerful hidden cards. They're now going all out, and I expect Lafaye's strategy and Bard Ray's military power will create a strong harmony."

Shin Hye Min looked up some data using her tablet device and said:

"It looks like there is very little public information about the Alkin disease and the Phanzellope Order of the Phantom Knights."

"I believe the Hermes Guild had prepared them in utmost secrecy. They would most likely make a great impact on the battle, so we should continue monitoring how the Arpen Kingdom will stop them."

The users in every city of the Versailles Continent were watching the broadcast through crystal balls. Those who were in mountains, dungeons and seaside also gathered together and made comments such as:

"I think I really must vote on the Haven Empire for this battle."

"It's so amazing that they've readied themselves so thoroughly."

"What's more amazing is that this mustn't be all they've got; the true core of the Empire's force is its Imperial troops."

There was an increasing number of users who anticipated the victory of the Empire and joined the Haven Empire's army whenever it moved. The high-level users from the Central Continent had lost a place to belong to ever since their guilds had collapsed to ruin. The Northern Continent's developmental progress seemed to be too low just yet for them to move over, and more importantly, they had the history of packing personal gains while actively taking part in the tyranny of their old prestigious guilds.

"Should we join the Arpen Kingdom?"

"What good would that do us?"

"Well, there is no restriction in hunting there, and we can also take any quests freely."

"I dunno… I feel like things were much better before than they are now. We lived just as we pleased, and still enjoyed special treatment from people as befitted our strength."

"Yeah. Frankly speaking, I don't like constantly having to pander to those newbies whatever I do."

These users had thus wanted to join the Hermes Guild for some time, which they finally got a chance to do so — Lafaye had made an announcement to everyone in the Central Continent:


Conquest War of the Versailles Continent!

Anyone who makes a contribution in this war will be allowed to gain membership of the Hermes Guild.



Hence, currently there were many high-level users from the Central Continent streaming in to join their cause, as the earlier events in the Garnav Plain had made many people conclude that the Arpen Kingdom only had a very slim chance of winning this battle.

"I did not want to take such extreme actions either. But you are the ones who have driven the Haven Empire into a crisis, so you should be the ones to take care of the consequences, too."

Lafaye was heading to the teleport gate in Aren Castle, intending to move to the Garnav Plain himself.

'We will write the history of the Continent today.'

At that moment, a woman wearing a suit of armor walked towards Lafaye.

"Do you expect that you will be victorious in this battle?"

Lafaye slowly turned his head and looked at the woman who had talked to him.

'Dain.'

(Continued in the next part…)



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