The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 51 Chapter 2 part3
[Note from Mimosab] Haaa, here is an extra (long) part!
Thanks to proofreaders (Eternal, Arun7 & Re1er) and don’t hesitate to bring suggestions and critics on the Discord channel 😉
During the earlier days of Royal Road, Lafaye and Dain would often meet in hunting grounds and play together. Back then, Lafaye genuinely enjoyed hunting for its own sake.
'I was happy when I felt myself growing stronger, and… I also enjoyed going on adventures with others, putting our strength together.'
This was the absolute beginning stage of the Hermes Guild; there were quite a lot of users burning with ambition, Lafaye and Bard Ray being the most prominent ones, but they were yet to form a large-scale organization like they had in the present time. Royal Road, in itself, felt so new and joyful to them, so they were quite content with merely roaming about the Continent, mainly around the Haven Region. Naturally, adventure and exploration formed a considerable part of their lives, even though hunting monsters to become stronger still took priority.
"This world is really full of fun."
Lafaye loved Dain's bright smile, for it made him feel as if he owned the whole world.
They had thought that moment of happiness would last forever, but…
"We need to start from the Haven Kingdom, and thoroughly take it over. With our power, we'll just need to get ready step by step."
"We cannot just stick to normal means if we are to weed out the other forces in this land. We must prepare ourselves in order to gain as much advantage as possible for as little cost as possible, and more importantly, to make sure we succeed in our objectives."
"Let's organize an assassin squad in secret; deal with those who we need to eliminate."
As Dain associated more with both Bard Ray and Lafaye, she soon found out about the true color of the Hermes Guild.
"Is all this really necessary?"
When Dain asked, Lafaye merely turned his face and looked away.
"Even if we didn't do it, someone else would. Since it's going to happen anyway, don't you think it's better if we're the ones doing it?"
Even though she observed the Hermes Guild's behavior, she did not leave. And so their adventures and hunting expeditions continued. Dain was an extremely competent user as a Shaman, and her skills were truly versatile in hunting grounds. One or two fighters missing did not cause any problem when more than 50 users were fighting together, but a player like Dain whose skills and abilities covered every area of expertise such as cursing, healing, blessing and combat was a very valuable asset.
One day, Dain said something strange when they were in the flying city of Lavias.
"I'm afraid I won't be able to come online very often from now on."
"My health… is not in a very good condition."
"I'll wait for you."
"I don't know when I'll be able to come back. At least six months? It might even take longer than a year."
Lafaye could not afford to waste time, for the sake of his own growth. When Dain did not come online for three days, Bard Ray and the other core members decided to leave.
"It seems we've finished looking around all the important hunting grounds here. Let's move on to the next one of the locations we've scouted before."
"What about Dain?"
"She hasn't been online for some time… Let's just leave a note for her. Or we could send her a private message later, too."
At this point, there was a fierce competition for higher ranks among the top-tier members of the Hermes Guild. Although Bard Ray was maintaining his lead far and away from everyone else, the contest for the second position, third position and so on was very intense. There was nobody who was willing to spare some time for Dain, and thus Lafaye chose to leave with the rest of the guild.
'I made the wrong choice. I should have stayed there for her, even though everyone else had left.'
Belatedly, along with the guilt, he also realized his true feelings for her.
'I never felt joy while playing Royal Road after that day.'
Ever since he lost contact with Dain, Lafaye had not carried out any quest or went to a hunting ground; he had only strived for the one goal: dominion over the entire Versailles Continent for the Hermes Guild. He had had to abandon Dain when he had chosen to pursue this goal instead, and he was determined not to fail.
When Dain suddenly came back one day, he was so happy that he wanted to do anything for her. This was why he appointed her to the position of the lord of Evaluk Castle in Kallamore, an important region for the empire. She ruled over the castle admirably, and her reputation among the public was excellent, too.
Whenever Lafaye looked at Dain's face he could not help but smile.
"We're going to win, I promise. The Hermes Guild that I have built up from the ground will never be defeated."
One of the top 10 ranked players of Royal Road, he was in charge of the 7th Legion.
"We are the vanguard of this army. Our mission: kill every single enemy. Demonstrate the full extent of our power."
The 7th Legion mainly consisted of heavy-armored infantry and knights. A classic composition of an assault unit, they prided themselves on brutal striking power and breakthrough ability.
*Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!*
The grand sound made from the legendary item "Drum of Storm" reverberated throughout the battlefield.
"Kill everything and open a path!"
As soon as the 7th Legion arrived at the southern edge of the Garnav Plain, they began to advance while slaughtering all the users in sight. The troops clad in black armor and helmets shaped like the head of a rhinoceros rushed in all at once at their commander's order.
As the knights yelled out mighty roars the heavy armor troopers felt new vigor welling up inside them.
"Get out of the way!"
Using their terrible strength and destructive power, they drove the users back with their shields.
"Rage of a Destroyer!"
The Hermes Guild users also willingly joined in the frontline. Whenever they used area-of-effect skills, users within the range of 10, 20 meters in radius were wiped out as if being evaporated.
"Just do whatever you can!"
The users who were staying in the outskirt of the Garnav Plain ran about in confusion and fell apart as they were struck by the unexpected attack from the enemy.
The 6th Legion was led by Gros. He had rarely participated in wars, but he had always maintained the third or fourth position in the guild rankings in terms of player level.
"I shan't let the other Legions outshine us, my dignity wouldn't allow it."
The way Gros operated his troops was simple: deploy the archers on the frontline and let them march forward. The superior range and destructive power was the core of their strategy. There were hardly any Northern users who dared to approach them to attack in the first place, but even those who did had already been dealt with by the knights who had been waiting in advance.
"A slope, hmm… Let's bombard the east side."
Whenever an area felt suspicious to them, they used magic. A pile of rocks fell from the sky and struck the site where some users had been hiding.
The 16th Legion was under the command of Mox the Gladiator. Peculiarly enough, he also led a legion of gladiators like him; the entire one hundred thousand soldiers that belonged to his army comprised exclusively of gladiators.
Supreme attack power, physical toughness, and stamina!
They had taken heavy damage while fighting on the frontlines during the conquest of the Central Continent, but they had also made the greatest contribution in that war. They had grown into an elite force thanks to the experience they gained in battles, and since then they continued honing their strength through expeditions in dungeons and hunting grounds.
"Send a signal. We march."
Without even making a proper formation, the gladiators started running towards the users in the Garnav Plain in an unruly manner. A singularly disorganized sight, but as each of them could match the strength of a hundred men alone, they turned the field into a scene of massacre in no time.
"Blood! After such a long time, finally I shall revel in blood!"
"Bring me some drink, and I'll give you an even more painful death!"
The legion of crazed gladiators was eliminating countless users. Until the end of the war, they were to carry out only one mission: fight in whatever way they saw fit. Such a strategy was not made possible because the Northern users were particularly weak; this was simply the way they had always fought in every one of their battle.
Through a teleport gate, Bard Ray arrived at the military base by the Dellawood River. This was where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Legions of the Imperial Army were deployed to, and the Emperor's personal squad was already on standby waiting for him; the 150 thousand Combat Golems of the Order of the Steel Knights had been readied, as as well as the Black Mages' exclusive property: the Chimera army. There were even Witches, Black Mages and a legion of beasts, who all presented themselves as part of Bard Ray's personal squad. The Hermes Guild had also sent a special force that comprised only the top elite soldiers of the Imperial Army to be included in the Emperor's squad. These troops led by Bard Ray were the symbol of the Empire, and so they needed matching prestige in order to dominate over the Continent.
"We're receiving reports that the battle is progressing even more smoothly than we expected."
"They say that the Northern users are falling before they even have a chance to put up a proper fight."
"Since there are too many of them assembled together, most of those users are simply being swept away by the tides of the battle. At this rate, we'll be able to inflict a great amount of damage on them within just an hour."
The news of the battle in the Garnav Plain kept coming in for the Emperor's squad.
"A report from the 6th Legion. They have found a group of about a thousand users presumably from the Central Continent showing resistance, but defeated them without much trouble."
"The 19th Legion has managed to repulse an enemy force that had the size of more than a million soldiers. Estimated enemy body count is 450 thousand. The rest ran away."
Most of the debriefing they had received from the field so far was reports of victory. Bard Ray, Arkhim and the other Hermes Guild users were all having quite a bright expression on their faces.
"Sounds like the earlier stage of the battle is going in our favor."
"And it will continue going well for us."
"The enemy troops will fall apart altogether at one point; they won't be able to hold out for long."
Bard Ray's personal squad was waiting to join the battle themselves. Each of them wore a suit of armor decorated with gold and silver, and was equipped with all sorts of magical items down to very trifling parts. These kinds of gears were extremely difficult to procure even if one had money, but the guild had once discovered the weapon storehouse of the Kelton Kingdom, which had been built a long time ago during the Warring Age. This was one of the many benefits they had by having the Central Continent under their control, and this was the first time they decided to use these gears.
One of the lieutenants approached Arkhim and said:
"CTS Media is requesting our permission to broadcast the fight of the 11th Legion."
"How's the situation there?"
"The dual-wielding fighters are leading the battle on the front. It seems they have attracted some attention because of their unique combat style."
"They'll need to demonstrate overwhelming firepower. Enough to make everyone tremble in fear."
"I assure you, they are making sufficiently impressive scenes."
"It's going to be a live coverage, so send them some more guild members as reinforcement and tell them not to hesitate to use their power liberally."
Now the Haven Empire was even making preparations to engage in a psychological warfare using broadcasting stations. They had been at a disadvantage in every aspect when Weed was setting up a picture in the Garnav Plain, but the moment the actual battle began they had taken back both the fighting power and the initiative they had lost to their enemy during the last 15 days.
The Cloud guild, the Lion Star guild, the Roam guild, the Black Sword Mercenaries, and the Black Lion guild.
The troops of the former five prestigious guilds were waiting at a distance where they could see the Garnav Plain from afar.
Gunt, a member of Lion Star guild, let out an impressed noise as he noticed a great flash of light illuminating the plain.
"The Hermes Guild… They've become even stronger than before. And it looks like their numbers have increased a lot, too."
"I think the opposite side cannot even be compared to them in terms of military strength alone. We've all assembled here once more, but I don't think even we can be a match for them if we fight them again now."
Michel from the Black Sword Mercenaries also observed the battlefield with a frown. Watching the sight of the Haven Empire's army driving back the Northern users, he could see just how much the guild had gained in size after it took over the Central Continent. Some of the members of the Hermes Guild used to belong to these five guilds. After all the prestigious guilds had fallen, the Hermes Guild had skillfully snatched only the strongest members from them.
"I think Weed might lose this battle."
Sherwood said, but others were still keeping their cautious stance.
'That's not something we can conclude so easily.'
'Sherwood has always been like that.'
'I wonder if he really thinks it makes him a great person to oppose Weed in everything?'
The five prestigious guilds had already submitted a written oath promising to fully come under the jurisdiction of the Arpen Kingdom. They knew that there was nothing they could realistically achieve by themselves in their current weakened and diminished state. Although it had not been an easy decision, the Black Lion guild and the Roam guild had had a chance to directly witness something that would remain in history forever after they made this choice; they had seen Weed raise a rebellion and eventually take over the Britten Region with nothing but a few flags. If the Hermes Guild was to be compared to a giant bear, Weed would be a lion in its prime. While there would be no doubt that both sides are very strong, they felt that this lion might even have a pair of wings.
As they continued watching the battle, Gunt murmured:
"The Hermes Guild has dealt a huge blow to them. Isn't this going a bit too dangerously for the Arpen Kingdom?
They had all been in the Garnav Plain only a day ago. They had enjoyed the festival and joined in the sculpture construction work. And now they were getting worried that too many of the faithful users of the Grass Porridge Cult and the Arpen Kingdom would be killed.
Carlise let out a chuckle.
"As powerful as Meteor Summoning and the Phanzellope Order might be, the battle has only just begun. Weed hasn't even made his appearance yet."
The leaders and the other members of the five prestigious guilds were all feeling their blood boil; they were dying to fight against the Imperial Army that was attacking the Northern users so brutally, and prove to everyone that they still had some strength left in them.
The problem was, they were still waiting for the signal that Weed had told them about.
"This is incredible."
"Uh-oh, mister! Watch out!"
Bart the merchant was presently in the Garnav Plain.
He just barely avoided a flaming rock fragment flying towards him, thanks to a person standing nearby alerting him.
"It's still dangerous here. You should be mindful of your surroundings."
Bart rose to his feet from the ground he had fallen onto.
He remembered being fixed on the spot as if being paralyzed when the flaming meteors were rushing in to hit everything.
'That was an incredible experience.'
Bart had fallen narrowly outside of the range of the destruction. In the moment of impact, priests chanted incantations for the spell of Sacrifice, and warriors used Protection skills before throwing their bodies into the meteors.
It was not certain exactly how much they had managed to reduce the meteors' destructive power, but it was still a sight that allowed one to realize the true strength of the Northern users.
'At any rate, this won't be an easy battle for that lad…'
Bart climbed to the top of the carriage he had so laboriously dragged with him, and shouted.
"There are plenty of herbs and bandages for recovery over here! They are all free, so take however many you need!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Feel free to use them."
He had been the one to sell things until now, but it was time for him to start winning people's heart. He firmly believed that there was a better and brighter future ahead of everyone after this war was over.
(Continued on the next part…)
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