The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor Volume 8 Chapter 1
Chapter 1 : Rhodium
Rhodium, the City of Artists, was filled to the brim with beggars. Masses of people asking for alms were found all the way from the gates to the plaza.
"Please, spare just one coin! Ah, have you chosen what paint color to use yet?"
"Well, I wanted to create a new shade of my own, but as you know, the price of paint isn't cheap."
"Right, it's hard to use as many colours of paint as you are right now."
"I may have to stick to using the basic primary colors."
Impoverished art critics! This is a common sight anywhere in Rhodium. But, right now, these panhandlers were extremely jealous. The reason being a user named Weed, a beggar who had recently appeared from a Teleport Gate. At first, they had crowded him so that they could beg him for money. Now, however, they were amazed by his skill in supplication.
Weed gazed at the sky with an expression of utter devastation ... He was still wearing Yeti fur clothes in this hot weather! Crowds of people passed by this part of the plaza.
Weed just stared at the sky with a gloomy expression. Despair, lamentation, pain, frustration, regret! Showing all these emotions on his face, just sitting there. Clink!
"Perhaps a better day will come."
"I don't know what happened to you... but life isn't as hopeless as you think."
"Please, buy some clothes with this... that fur looks so uncomfortable."
Weed didn't say a word. Passing adventurers simply used their own imagination.
"He must have suffered a terrible fate."
"How can he stare at the sky so mournfully?"
"My heart bleeds, just by seeing him..."
And so, they tossed their coins.
His skill was enough to attract donations through sympathy alone! However, if they knew what was actually on Weed's mind, they would have cried out in frustration instead.
"How could I be accepted into a college?! Now I'll have to pay expensive tuition fees for classes! And, in addition, I'll have to buy all those pricey textbooks. It can't be true ... What must not have happened ..."
He was devastated about something that everyone else would be envious of: Getting into college. Even the other artists couldn't truly stay jealous of him, since he looked so miserable.
"Hey, a young one like you shouldn't be so dejected."
Weed only sighed.
Pavo clicked his tongue, saying, "Cheer up, it's a big world out there ... Were you dumped by a girl?"
Weed just shook his head. He couldn't bear to say that he had passed an entrance exam. To him, it was such a tragedy, just the simple mention of it would make him burst into tears.
Gaston and Pavo couldn't have imagined that it was merely this that made him seem to be in such terrible despair.
"You shouldn't be so discouraged. No matter how dire the situation seems..." Pavo said, as he took a step towards him.
Pavo was now close enough to reach for the stack of coins in front of Weed.
Weed collected the coins in the blink of an eye as he maintained a pained expression. The movement was so fast that it would have been missed by anyone, even if they had watched him closely. No matter how sad he was, he wouldn't forget his attachment to money.
"Lacking cash as I am, I had better grab all the change I can."
There was one gold coin, several silver ones, and many copper pennies. However, those totaled a whopping one gold and forty silvers... pretty nice for just being small change.
It wasn't that much to Weed, but it was a motherload to the artists in Rhodium. Pavo came closer and patted Weed's shoulder.
"Haha, were you that needy? But, say, are you planning to sit here without eating anything?"
Of course, Weed didn't want to do that. It was just that he was stuck in the midst of beggars. Then again, he was rather hungry.
"I know a good diner just around the corner. Wanna join me?"
"How much is a meal?" Weed asked, sharply.
"You can get a decent meal for around twenty coppers."
Twenty coppers would buy almost seven loaves of wheat bread, but a proper meal raised satiation more.
"I guess it would be okay."
As if he'd finished what he came here for, Weed rose to his feet.
"Then, let's go and have a look at that diner."
When he had first arrived through the Teleport Gate, loads of beggars had crowded him. Luckily he managed to ward them off at the time. Now those panhandlers didn't bat an eye as Weed left the plaza. Actually, they were pretty happy to be rid of the competition, if only for a while.
"I didn't lose any money to those guys... I even earned a little more than a whole gold coin."
He had managed to protect his money, even though he could have just tossed a few coins in the first place to do so. But he was proud and satisfied! No artist should ever bother to beg from Weed!
"There is a good, cheap diner this way. Just follow me, and I'll show you where to get some nice food."
Gaston and Pavo dragged Weed through the convoluted alleys. They had gone quite far from the plaza.
"This place might actually be good..."
Normally, stores in deep alleys sell cheaper and tastier meals than ones near main roads. Only people in the know can find these places, hidden like treasure. In layman's terms: Exclusive native diners!
Weed sat down with Gaston and Pavo to have a meal. Cheap as it was, the menu only included a simple soup, some salad, and a loaf of bread. It was made with good quality grain though, so it was soft and savory.
Weed ate his food with satisfaction. He could bake his own bread, of course, but it would require a lot of materials and time. His money was well spent on bread this good. Pavo smiled brightly.
"Isn't it? Few places would sell this as cheaply."
It was a valid point; even Weed agreed. That would explain why the diner was so crowded, even though it was hidden this deep inside the alleys. The bowl was virtually clean once Weed was finished.
"Thanks for showing me this, it was a very nice meal."
"What are your plans?" Pavo asked, interested.
"I'm going to have a look around in the city."
"You don't exactly look like a tourist to me..."
Many tourists come to Rhodium, since it had become a trend to tour the castles and cities of the continent. Though, tourists usually didn't start begging as soon as they arrived.
"I wished to inquire about skills relating to my job."
"Then your profession is...?"
"Ah, you chose a tough one."
Gaston and Pavo looked at Weed with sympathy. They also understood why he begged so fervently now. If he came here not as a traveller, but as a sculptor, he surely had a hard time wherever he went.
Gaston said, "Among art-based classes, the more basic types, like sculptors, tend to be the most difficult. You need a skillful hand, and can't even make art as you wish. Even in the city of Rhodium, few have chosen an artistic class; production classes are much more common. Though... I have heard rumours that there's actually a world-renowned sculptor somewhere in Royal Road."
"Someone who has, with passion and persistence, overcome a class that everyone else dismissed."
"Wow. It's amazing that there's such a person. Do you think I would be able to meet him here in Rhodium?"
"They say he's in Rosenheim Kingdom. He even made a pyramid and the Sphinx; something no ordinary sculptor would even have imagined! They even say that some of his other works are hidden around the continent. Some pieces thought to be his work are also found in the sky city, Lavias. The rumours say that his sculpting skill is at least Intermediate Level 7, and that you can get enormous buffs from looking at any of his works."
Weed was very surprised that stories about him were this widespread. He knew that he was well-known as the adventurer Weed, but he hadn't thought that he was this famous as the sculptor Weed.
"Makes sense though, since it would be artists that like this side of me."
Weed stood from his seat.
"Are you going now?"
"Then, we'll see you around. Perhaps once you level up some more, you can buy some paintings... or I might help you with a house..."
Gaston and Pavo waved good-bye.
* * *
Rhodium, the City of Artists.
There was poverty everywhere, but the city itself was beautiful and romantic.
It was filled with wondrous architecture that complemented the surroundings, with streets that were littered with detailed art, and even the little things spread here and there were stupendous.
The whole place was filled with fancy lights and colors.
Each road had young aspiring artists, either painting or sculpting. Others were playing instruments, often performing on the spot.
Crowds of travellers visited, and even more artists strove for their dreams in this city.
Indeed, it was built majestically. However, due to lack of funds the city wasn't properly maintained and therefore easily deteriorated. Understandably, Rhodium was also known as the city without a lord -- since no one was interested in taking it over!
While the continent had plenty of lords engaging in brutal struggles over castles and territories, Rhodium seemed almost too peaceful.
The lifeblood of any city is, of course, money. Funding is needed to populate, irrigate, research, and trade.
However, weapons and armor didn't sell very well in Rhodium.
The place was nearly deserted of adventurers, because the nearby hunting grounds were just mediocre.
No person in their right mind would want to own such an unprofitable city.
"Well, art won't bring in any profits..."
Weed's convictions were strengthened in this moment.
Blacksmiths, weavers, and enchanters usually complained about how tough their classes were, but to Weed they sounded a hundred times easier than any artisan class.
Weed continued his slow tour of Rhodium.
"O, you are my sunlight, my blessing, my lover!
To be with you forever!"
He could hear some young bards singing at a nearby theatre.
There were many bards in Rhodium.
They could improve both the strength and morale of their parties while hunting, and could also earn extra cash by giving performances.
In short, just the fact that they didn't have to beg was an advantage. This was a class that could earn its keep wherever it went!
Because of these traits, the Bard was the most respected class in Rhodium.
The second place would be Jewelers. Jewelers are able to manufacture various precious metals into beautiful accessories.
Sculptors could also refine gemstones once they reached a certain skill level, but they couldn't compare to the real specialists.
Jewelers could refine gold, silver, pearls, jade, emeralds, sapphires, and more to raise their worth.
The Jeweler class could be considered a more specialized type of sculptor.
"This is truly the City of Artists."
Weed appreciated many artworks as he walked around in Rhodium.
There were the production guilds and artistic guilds, who were very rare in other cities.
Of course, there were also a few basic combat guilds here and there.
In Rhodium, there were more than three hundred guilds! This was only possible, since there was of all kinds of combat, production and artistic guilds.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that nearly all existing classes could be found here.
Weed stopped at a street lined with guilds.
"This would be a good time to look for more clues."
He had been told that there would be more hints about moonlight sculpting to be found in the artist guilds.
Thus, it was necessary to become friendly with the residents and guild masters.
Flattery and praise to steal a target's heart and relentless criticism to make him look like a lifelong friend!
This task wasn't all that difficult for Weed who possessed these smooth-talking skills.
"There is something else I need to do first... It would be good to learn a few skills now that I'm here."
Before touring the artistic guilds, Weed entered the nearby warriors' guild.
* * *
Even though Rhodium was an artistic city, it didn't mean that there were no users with combat-related classes.
Bramas was a warrior who strangely enough had chosen to start in Rhodium.
Being someone who loved to travel, he was attracted to the history and culture of Rhodium.
At first, that choice had been fine, as there was plenty of prey in the surroundings!
While the artists were busy trying to raise their skill levels, Bramas easily found mobs to hunt right outside the walls.
Normally in starting cities, there would be an extreme lack of rabbits and foxes which created fierce competition among hunters.
However, since there was an abundant wildlife to hunt around Rhodium, Bramas had quickly leveled up.
He even developed a strong companionship with the few other combat classes, as they fought along each other.
"There are no warriors in Rhodium stronger than I!"
Bramas had started to take pride in being the best warrior in Rhodium. While he was practising a new skill in the warrior's guild, someone approached him.
"Oh! Are you a warrior visiting Rhodium?"
Warriors had great compatibility with each other. Since they could cover each other in tough battles, it was a good idea to have more than one in a party.
Weed, who had just entered the guild, shook his head.
"Sorry, but I am no warrior."
"Then, what are you in our guild for?"
"I'm here to learn a skill. If you have no business with me, please excuse me."
Weed walked past Bramas and entered the guild's training center.
"What is he trying to do here?"
Curious, Bramas followed him. Weed had stopped in front of the center's instructor.
Curtly, the instructor asked, "What business have brought you here?"
Simple and dutiful warriors generally tended to dislike artists.
The instructor treated Weed with disdain, because he saw that Weed possessed the "displeasing" temperament of an artist.
Weed silently unequipped his Yeti clothes and put them away. With the continent as hot as it was, he didn't require any leather clothing. He even unequipped the armor covering his torso.
"Please, strike me."
"To protect my peers, I wish to test my will."
Bramas went goggle-eyed. Aren't those the promised words for warriors learning new skills?!
"It's definitely in order to gain a warriors' skill -- what is going on?"
The instructor brandished his club.
"A feeble artist dares to make such an arrogant statement!? I will make you regret those words!"
The instructor forcefully swung his club towards Weed's torso.
A terrifyingly powerful blow!
However, Weed didn't move an inch.
"Looks like that wasn't enough. Then I shall strike again."
But Weed's expression still didn't change at all.
"Perhaps I have seriously underestimated you ..."
The instructor showed a little more respect, and held his club even tighter. The veins popping out from his arm were visible.
"If it gets too painful, let me know. You could die, even if you force yourself to endure it."
"I am fine."
"Then I shall continue."
*POW* *BAMM* *BAMM* *BAMM*
The instructor struck, each blow more powerful than the last. But Weed still calmly took the hits. The instructor's breathing became more and more labored, and in the end the club snapped in two.
"Haaaaaa ... Haaaaaaa ..... You ... are incredible!"
The instructor was out of breath.
"Have you ever tried closing your eyes when you took a hit? This a whispered secret, but they say that the pain dulls when your eyes are closed. This method lets you endure even more rigorous beatings."
New Stat: You have gained the Toughness stat!
The ability to endure blows. The more hits a body has survived, the stronger the hits it can resist becomes. Unlike Patience, which grows as you repeat a task, this stat is only increased by being hit, and contributes to increasing your maximum life.
SKILL: You have learned Eyes Closed Tight.
EYES CLOSED TIGHT LVL 1 (0%): Closing your eyes as you are attacked minimizes the damage taken. For each level in this skill an additional 3% of Damage and Pain is decreased. However, caution with this skill is advised, as unwise usage of this skill in combat may expose you to even greater danger.
A new stat and skill!
But closing your eyes was a very dangerous action.
To close your eyes as an opponent's weapon closes in... it's a newbie's mistake, but in this case it's done to distribute damage, and in order to do this better, it is necessary to shut your eyes at the right moment.
This requirement might actually end up exposing a player to following attacks, and cause an inability to counterattack, or leave the player's weak points vulnerable.
Weed re-equipped his armor.
"Thank you for teaching me. I truly respect the warrior class since a warrior is able to protect their friends and fight their enemies at the frontline. I will do my best to become such a dependable man and might return once the chance comes around."
"It was an honor to teach such a great man who is able to defend the ones dear to him. Please come again anytime you want."
After bowing towards the instructor, Weed stepped towards the exit.
At this point, Bramas went slack-jawed.
The skill Weed had just learned required a whopping four hundred Patience.
Thus, it was a skill even Bramas hadn't learned yet... Patience wasn't an easy stat to raise in the first place. It only increased when a player consistently took severe damage from monsters, or falling into grave danger. But how often will a player actually let himself get hit by monsters?!
"No one in their right mind would fight those kinds of dangerous battles."
Usually, warriors hunt in a party instead of travelling alone.
Therefore, there aren't really that many occasions to get hit. While the warrior may take a blow or two from monsters, the fighters of a party always return at least three or four for each taken.
They can hunt monsters with less damage. So, even if a player has a high level, usually their Patience stat won't be very high.
On top of this, Patience only rise in situations driving players to their limits... for instance when a monster deals severe damage, because the strength of it's attack overpowers one's defense!
Patience is only easily increased when one's life is near empty.
Toughness only demands for players to take many hits, but Patience is true to its name in that one has to truly endure to increase it.
To get such a stat to a high level, a player would need stunning combat awareness to preserve their life until the critical point and still deliberately permit multiple hits.
But, in such a situation, a direct hit could mean instant death!
A monster's attack power isn't fixed. A direct hit causes a lot of damage, while a grazing blow only causes little.
A player would have to tolerate those blows and precisely monitor his health.
Considering that most common warriors cannot break past the two hundred and fifty mark in Patience, this situation suddenly seemed ridiculous.
Flabbergasted, Bramas really had to ask: "Just what kind of class are you?!"
Weed answered, "A sculptor."
"..........." Bramas was at a loss for words.
* * *
The Frozen Rose Guild used every possible means to try and rally people.
"Come on! We still need more people to join our expedition!"
"No way... we don't know what kind of danger is waiting for us out there."
The users in the Frozen Rose Guild and their allies announced their participation in the expedition.
A total of four hundred high-level users, and an additional thirty more Dark Gamers joining on the day of departure!
For only being a mid-sized guild, this was an incredible effort.
Since they were tired of constant clashing on the central continent, they had decided to invest heavily in exploration of the north.
Even so, Oberon the guild master of Frozen Rose felt as if something was missing.
"It's better to start exploring the north before others do, but there's no need for any futile sacrifices."
While there were already adventuring parties making their way north, this was the first time a guild were attempting this as well. It also put the guild's fate on the line.
Oberon wanted to be fully prepared.
"We shall only recruit the best of each field."
The primary adventuring classes, assassins, thieves, cartographers, rangers, and other exploration classes had already hired. However, there were still many other roles needing to be filled.
"Clerics! We need someone to cure our injuries and afflictions. We also need cooks for meals, and at least three blacksmiths for repairs. A few merchants for logistics would be a good idea too."
Since it was a guild-wide, large-scale exploration, there was still much to do.
There was no time for slacking off, since no one knew what dangers and adventures would be waiting in the northern towns and castles.
Other guilds probably had probably been delayed due to having similar thoughts.
Leading a guild to explore the north was indeed a huge risk.
Until the expedition was ready for departure, Oberon and the rest of the Frozen Rose Guild would be busy collecting members.
While they were working on finding valuable men for the expedition, Drum, the guild's chief mage, called out.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Why don't we recruit a few people from Rhodium?"
"The City of Artists? Why from there?" Oberon asked quizzically.
There weren't any warriors or adventurers of notice in Rhodium.
As the rumors about the northern expedition spread, a tidal wave of requests to join from all over had been flooding in!
Sure, have a larger force would be nice too, but it wouldn't do to admit just anyone.
Only famous and very skilled users were allowed in.
"Rhodium is full of classes related to crafts and arts, right?"
"Perhaps we can make use of their specialities... if we were to encounter a storm during our adventure, the expedition would quickly tire. With an architect around, wouldn't we be able to build a shelter to rest in?"
Drum brought up a valid point.
"That sounds like a nice idea. Add in some architects - why didn't I think of that?"
When Oberon showed his approval, Drum continued with increased confidence.
"While Bards aren't explicitly useful, they can wash away the fatigue of travel by playing their instruments. Dancers can also play a similar role. When a certain number plays as a group, their performance will become even more effective."
Though the stat bonuses from bards only totalled about 10%, the cumulated effect of using it on hundreds of people made it impossible to ignore. If dancers and other similar classes joined in, it would grant a significant increase in the expedition's fighting power.
Bards and dancers were not well-accepted in standard sieges though.
Their low vitality made them easy targets for skilled assassins in the early stages of a war.
This was a critical flaw for most of those classes!
When a performer dies during a song or dance, the boosted stats is not only reversed to normal, they're even decreased.
This was why these classes weren't of much use for sieges.
They might still prove essential for large-scale explorations though.
Oberon stroked his chin, mumbling, "This really is an intriguing suggestion..."
"That's right, commander, and it may be nice to have a few types of artists as well. While they may not have an immediate effect, they will definitely bring some kind of buffs to the group. We should bring as many people who may increase our chance of success as possible."
"Alright. We have to pass Rhodium as we head north anyway, so we'll use the occasion to recruit some more people."
* * *
After learning a skill from the Warrior Guild, Weed headed towards the guilds related to production and arts.
"Firstly, I should investigate the places most likely to be related to my goal."
He was going to start his search head on. The hints for moonlight sculpting should be somewhere nearby.
First, Weed visited the Sculptors' Guild. Lots of people were entering and leaving the building.
"That'll be a good place to start looking."
However, as Weed tried to enter,, the guards crossed their spears and barred his path.
"You may not enter our guild unless you are an artist of Rhodium. If you wish to pass, go and register as one first and return."
"How do I register as an artist?"
"Go to the Artists' Union. The Union is on the left at the end of this street"
With no other choice, Weed had to go and visit the Artist's Union. The Union was a grandly built three-story building.
"Extravagantly fancy despite being dead broke..."
Weed opened the door and entered. There were five middle-aged men handling the usual office work.
"We haven't had a visitor in a long time. How may I help you?"
"I wish to register as an artist."
The elder laughed heartily at this.
"Anyone from Rhodium wouldn't need to register separately, so you must of course be from some other kingdom. Where are you from?"
"I came from the Rosenheim Kingdom."
"Hmm... That's quite far away. Surprising that artistry has spread all the way over there. Then I shall first introduce to our city Rhodium. Rhodium is the City of Art and Culture! By all means, any person seeking a meaningful life must live alongside art. Barren, dry emotion causes an impoverished lifestyle. In our Rhodium, there are countless pieces of art; each preserving great beauty and vintage style."
Weed nodded in agreement; he had seen that for himself.
Each piece decorating the streets and houses of Rhodium were crafted with a very devoted effort. Since even the common streets had art of that class, it was plausible that there were even better pieces inside residences or galleries.
Weed had actually visited the Palace of Rosenheim, but even there he hadn't see artistry of this level. With all this art, the city definitely deserved the title of "An Artist's Heaven". On top of this, Rhodium was overflowing with requests for art that anyone with decent talent could easily accept.
The elder continued his seemingly endless boasting over Rhodium.
"Have you seen the sights of Rhodium during sunset? It is an absolutely breathtaking scene! Many tourists come to Rhodium for that sight alone. Art is the lifeblood of any rich soul! Once again, I welcome you to the city of art, Rhodium."
However, Weed wasn't the least bit inspired. There were more beggars than artworks! If he had not seen those unfortunate people, the elder's speech might have moved him a little, but now it was too late.
Rhodium, a city with so little profit that no one wanted to claim it! It was definitely way out of Weed's interests. The only redeeming quality it had was that artwork was traded in bulk here.
That made it easy for Weed to sell all those mini-sculptures he had piled up for a bit of profit.
There were even a multitude of quests related to artists.
Since there was such a rich culture in spite of the lack of commercial development, there were still many such requests. This fact alone was what kept the artists from leaving Rhodium.
"I wish to know how I can register as an artist of this wonderful city of Rhodium."
"Mmhmm, that is something you should know. For a foreigner to register as an artist, one only needs to show a specific qualification."
"What do I need to do?"
"Make art. Any road, wallside, or place in Rhodium is fine. Just make some kind of artwork in a spot. Should you create art that shows your passion for Rhodium, we will welcome you with open arms. Since you are a sculptor, you will have to carve a sculpture."
Artist of Rhodium
Sculptors prove their effort and passion through their works. If you wish to gain the right for activity within Rhodium, create your own piece.
QUEST CONSTRAINTS: You must create a piece fitting of your talent. Should you dishonor yourself, you may lose a significant amount of fame and be restricted within Rhodium.
So, to get registered as a Rhodian artist, he needed to carve a sculpture that accurately represented his talent. That explained why there were carvings everywhere! As this point, making any old sculpture was a piece of cake for Weed. But to make one fitting of his skill, he needed to make either a Grand artwork or a Masterpiece.
"I shall make a fitting sculpture."
You have accepted the quest.
* * *
When Mapan first arrived at the Yuroki Mountain Range, he couldn't really find much to do. It really was difficult for merchants to settle their businesses in unknown territories. Mapan, however, adapted pretty quickly.
"There is no such thing as a place in the world where you can't earn money!"
An indisguisable greed for money! The adaptability Weed had seeded in him activated.
"I can trade, simply traveling from town to town, buying and selling."
There were plenty of towns in Yuroki, either comprised of Orcs, Dark Elves, or the Exiles in the plains. Mapan started a trading route between all these towns with a wagon filled with goods.
"Alright, buying items -- anything from animal skins to japtem from your hunts!"
First, he bought all the japtem he could get his hands on in the Exiles' towns. Those items, traps and camping equipment such as rope, were cheap and plentiful. He purchased enough items from the Exiles to fill five wagons, and moved on to the Dark Elves' settlements.
While not as skilled as Dwarves, the Dark Elves still had a rather high skill in handicraft. Much of their crafted equipment and tools were durable and reliable.
Mapan bought as much as he could here as well.
After selling the skins from the Exiles' towns, he spent all the money on buying more items.
Then he travelled to the Orc settlements. First to the town of the Orc lord Bulchwi. After the Orc Race quest had been cleared, new users was appearing in great numbers in Yuroki.
"I'm an Orc. Chwichwit!"
"Any real Orc should be able to nasalize. Chwiiik! Mimic me everyone."
"Oppa, you're so charismatic! Chwichwichwit!"
"Eww, you're spraying spittle. Chwichwit!"
There were a horde of Orcs wearing the Orc starting gear.
These people were charmed by the Orc race after watching Karrichwi on the Hall of Fame.
Overwhelming numbers! Quantity over quality! Orcs, the incredibly reproductive lords of Yuroki!
Those who dreamed of adventuring with the strong, charismatic, and violent Orcs chose this as their race. Even the shoddy east gate of the town was crowded with more than a thousand Orcs!
If you added to this the Orcs that hadn't passed the newbie four weeks in Versailles Continent's time, it would total an astronomical amount of them!
"Let's hunt! Chwik!"
"It's a monster haven. Chwichwichwit!"
"Chwikchwik! Lots of things to beat up."
These people formed parties of three to five, scattering out of town in order to pummel wolves.
They held bulky clubs and even large broken branches as weapons.
Since branches had shoddy durability and miniscule attack power at best, newbies from not only the central kingdoms, but also from the Rosenheim Kingdom, altogether ignored them as weapons.
The female Orc user, Erchwi, pummeled the head of a wolf with a branch. It wasn't a weak hit at all.
"Nice hit, Erchwi. Chwiik!"
"Such overwhelming power, Oppa. Chwichwichwit!"
While humans have trouble hunting even the feebler rabbits and foxes, these newbies were effortlessly beating up wolves.
Orcs don't have to fight as controlled as humans.
They can take most attacks with their natural thick-skinned defense even without protective gear. Add that to their natural strength!
They could even freely use heavy weapons normally unusable to humans, so their fights were very easy.
Take one hit, then give back a hit - only, their reciprocated hits were extremely powerful.
"From the Yuroki Mountain Range... Chwichwichwichwi! I am an Orc!"
"Orc! Orc! Orc!"
"Puchwiik! Puchwichwit! Kill them all!"
Massive, burly Orcs ran amok, stomping and clubbing wolves on sight. This was the splendor of the Orcs, and proof of their incredibly fast precocious growth.
Meanwhile, Mapan began his business in this Orc settlement.
"Come one, come all for adventuring tools! Essential bandages to dress those wounds, and bags to carry all your items! There's even some simple weaponry -- top quality, made by Dark Elves. You must be tired of all that mundane Orc cooking! Don't you miss the taste of salt? I have all sorts of spices used by Dark Elves."
"I'll pay all my money. Chwichwik! Please sell me one of those weapons."
The Orcs had to line up to buy even one thing. Sure, Orc settlements were fine in all other fields, but it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that their shops were the baddest there were.
Since even a rusty glaive cost more than a hundred thousand gold, there was no affordable weapons to buy and use. Then, as if some kind of god had manifested on Earth, Mapan appeared with wagons filled with goods. Not only were they in high demand, he had a monopoly as well!
"Step right up and wait in line; there's plenty of stock!"
Mapan was more than happy to sell all the goods he had bought. The lowest price was two or three times the original cost, and weapons were even sold at ten times the original cost!
Others might criticize his actions as bordering extortion, but Mapan had been taught something important by Weed: "It's not a rip-off if your customers are happy."
Usually, the profits from newbie items were minimal, but it was a completely different story if they were sold this skillfully. It might have been nice with a little more, but the profits were enough to fatten Mapan's pockets. Above all, the fact that he didn't have to wait very long for it to sell was a huge advantage.
As he watched the Orcs cheer as they make their purchases, he felt a certain satisfaction as a merchant.
However, Mapan's faint heart was tested every time an Orc's face got too close.
The atrociously ugly Orc Karrichwi! His vestige was evidently present here. The users who selected the Orc species after being charmed by Karrichwi's quest usually changed their appearance slightly. Except, they always changed it for the worse!
"A knife scar on the face, please."
"I'll be fine, even with an eyepatch."
"Make the teeth as large as possible, and have them stick out of the mouth a lot as well."
"Make it easy to spit a lot while talking..."
"A nose that takes up half the face!"
Orcs don't even have a plain appearance in the first place!
There was always at least an eyepatch or a scar on their faces. Adding to this all the personal "tastes", the resulting sights were the stuff of nightmares.
Nevertheless, Mapan ended up making a killing on his sales and rapidly built up his fame.
Mapan, the Merchant of the Orcs! Virtually every Orc user knew the name of Mapan.
"Orcs tend to grow blazingly fast, though it slows a bit after the initial stages to mid-game."
Orcs had feeble magic and handicraft. They have no idea how to disarm traps, and lacked the power of faith. There were Orc Shamans and Warlocks, but they specialized in buffing fighting power, rather than restoring health.
"Orcs -- weak mentally but amazing physically. If these people mature, so will my profits... Establishing a monopoly without a single competitor! This is the dream of any merchant."
Mapan continued trading with high hopes. After selling all his goods, he bought japtem from the Orc users.
"Hey! Buying anything and everything! Buying all kinds of japtem."
"Over here! Chwichwit!"
"Chwiik! Buy mine too."
Mapan even purchased japtem in bulk. Items from thousands of Orcs! Using his monopoly to buy items cheap, he made a fine profit by reselling them on the spot. His dream of becoming a wealthy merchant was finally coming true, step by step. Depending on the success of the many Orcs now wandering Yuroki, Mapan's profits might grow even larger! Since the number of Orc users were multiplying by the day, one could say that Mapan had discovered a rose-colored life as a merchant.
Most ordinary merchants would have become complacent at this point.
"I've earned lots of money already. I deserve some rest."
However, Mapan was already severely affected by Weed on this point.
"Gotta earn as much as possible while I can. I need to tighten my belt, buy cheap, and sell for even more."
Mapan didn't even bother resting on the roads between the Orc settlements and Exiles' towns. He kept his hands busy as he sat on the coach box. He used a carving knife to improve his handicraft.
"Indeed, a merchant must learn and practice. One must do whatever he can to get rich."
Mapan diligently carved sculptures. He had learned the basics of sculpting back in Rosenheim Kingdom.
His primary goals were to learn weaving and jewelcrafting. After his handicraft reached a certain level, he would be able to learn even more production skills. If a merchant like Mapan buys leather and turns it into clothing, or refines the jewels he purchased, he can double or triple his profits!
However, as neither his handicraft or his other skills could rise quickly because he didn't have a sculptor-like class, Mapan could only handle his carving knife with even more diligence.