Chapter 6 : Sculptural Transformation
Weed was slowly walking through the village.
After he successfully completed the quest, villagers stopped ignoring him.
"We respect strong fighters. You need a lot of power to protect friends and family."
"They say you killed 5 Giant Ants? Incredible! I have something to be done, will you help me when you're free?"
Weed was getting small requests from villagers and at the same time getting to know more about the situation in the village. For example, the Village of Exiles didn't have any stores, and the villagers were buying things from each other.
'Hmmm, I won't be able to do much trading around here.'
While exploring the village, Weed noticed a crying boy. For some reason, he immediately thought that it was Moss, mentioned by Cocoon. Especially since there weren't that many kids in the village.
Weed approached him and asked the boy, but he shook his head.
"You're a stranger. Strangers don't need to know that."
That was a very cold reception. However, Weed was persistent. When you're denied something, it only makes you want it more!
"A lot of monsters live around this village. I heard there are even shape-shifting monsters, maybe you got hurt by one of them?"
After hearing about the monsters, the boy immediately raised his head. Tears on his face went dry, and his eyes shone with hatred.
"Have you ever hunted shape-shifting monsters before?"
"Of course. I hunted many monsters."
"Then help us. Those monsters... those damn monsters are after my sister."
Weed felt that there was definitely a quest associated with this conversation.
"Tell me more about what happened."
The boy vividly told about his problem.
The monsters that were attacking the village saw his sister Amy. The Doppelganger that led them fell in love with her at first sight.
"I like you human! I will feed you as much as you want if you come with me!"
The leader of the Doppelgangers was inviting Amy to his lair but she was persistent in her rejection. She didn't want to leave her older brother Moss.
Then Doppelganger turned into her brother Moss, copying his face and body, becoming his perfect copy.
"Will this do? Will you come with me now?"
"To live with a monster, whose original form is long since forgotten? I'd rather bite off my tongue and die!"
Amy threatened to end her life and Doppelganger reluctantly retreated.
He liked her a lot. And in the Plains of Despair, monsters usually got what they wanted.
"Fine, human. I can wait. I'll give you 3 years, after that I will take you with me! And if you refuse then, I'll slay every person in this village."
The time given by the Doppelganger was running out in 3 months.
Moss was pleading with tears in his eyes.
"Please don't let them take my sister. I don't have anything to give you, but please help me. Those Doppelgangers live in the woods to the north."
Doppelganger covets a village beauty.
Monsters think of humans as things. The leader of Doppelgangers likes the girl Amy. Kill him so she doesn't get taken away!
Conditions: Moss and Amy must survive.
'That means I'll fight shape-shifting Doppelgangers soon.'
Usually Weed would just refuse this quest. The reward was unknown and Doppelgangers were very unpleasant opponents. They use magic and often can do something completely unexpected.
However, the boy's tears reminded Weed of his past.
When his parents died, he was left only with his grandmother and his younger sister. It seemed like the world had ended back then. He had no one to rely on. He wanted some support but there was no one to provide it.
That's why he understood Moss's feeling very well. If he had someone to ask for help back then only to get rejected his life would be ruined completely.
Weed nodded and replied:
"I'll protect Amy for sure."
You accepted the quest.
"Thank you, stranger!"
Moss smiled for the first time since they met.
* * *
Weed left the village and headed towards the hideout.
From their peaceful kingdom, brave warriors of Rosenheim got right into the middle of Plains of Despair.
And in their first battle, they had to fight Giant Ants! To survive they had to give it their all. They won in that battle, kept their lives and as a reward all of them got 2-3 levels.
Soldiers' faith in Weed was absolute.
"Commander! Where are we going now?"
"The innocent people of nearby village are being harassed by a Doppelganger, it threatens them and wants to take a beautiful girl Amy from her older brother Moss."
"We must stop them." - replied Hosram in a firm voice.
The Royal Knights were touched by the story too.
"It is knight's duty to protect weak, we will follow you."
"I can't tolerate that a young girl is suffering from an evil monster."
"Please take us with you, we will definitely stop Doppelganger."
The small army headed to the northern woods, where the Doppelganger lived. Sunlight couldn't penetrate the thick canopy of trees to dispel the darkness below. Many dangerous monsters inhabited these woods and sometime ghastly sounds could be heard.
"The earth is tainted."
"This forest is cursed."
The priests' warnings didn't stop Weed.
"Summon Death Knight!"
Death Knight Van Hawk remained in front of the troops.
"Oh, a familiar place."
The Death Knight walked valiantly.
And shortly after they discovered the Doppelganger. They could tell it was the Doppelganger because it had the same appearance as the boy Moss. Weed and the soldiers eagerly attacked the Doppelganger.
During the fight, the Doppelganger changed his form a few times. By alternating the skills used against the soldiers, Royal Knights and Van Hawk, it endured. The variety of skills it used was enough to cause confusion, but thanks to the combination of Weed and the Death Knight along with the Priests' healing, the soldiers were able to win.
Weed and the soldiers eagerly took on quests.
All kinds of monsters emerged around the Village of Exiles. Giant Ants, Doppelgangers and so on, usually discovering the monsters at the start was the hardest part. The missions asked of them involved killing bizarre plants, animals and flame monsters within caves.
"Commander, we'll serve under you!"
"Commander, we'll follow you anywhere!"
Weed seduced the soldiers! In fact, the power of the soldiers did not help much early on. The reason being they were too weak. However, while hunting strong monsters one by one, they were getting stronger at a very fact pace. The mastery of the Royal Knights rose and the pincer movement with the Priests was done smoothly.
The army's morale changed dramatically. At first, the soldiers didn't trust in Weed much and weren't providing much help as they were weak. But time was passing and the more they hunted the stronger they became. Weed in the central role was sweating due to the light. Hunting the large monsters around and sweeping through the quests was Weed!
There were plenty of perilous moments, but Weed successfully resolved the quest and went on. And then the experience climbed at a very fast rate. When hunting just one of the monsters, a certain amount of experience and items will drop. But when you receive a hunting quest, in addition to when you catch the monsters, the quest experience rewards were very savory. The experience they received was practically 3 times as much as they would receive in Rosenheim Kingdom.
'I guess because it's somewhat dangerous.'
However, the drawback to the quests was the poor quality of things received.
In areas with poorly developed technology, all the produced items were of poor quality. That's why when Weed was receiving weapons as reward he was giving it to Royal Knights or soldiers.
"I'll be sure to use it well."
Every time Weed gave away some item, he was crying inside. It was very hard to take the item you gave to NPC back without your intimacy declining sharply.
After hunting in the Plains of Despair he reached level 279. Even the soldiers rose their levels significantly, the Royal Knights and Priests were also quite strong. However, with the Orcs and Dark Elves as the opponent, they were woefully lacking.
* * *
The word Orc immediately brought a few images to mind. Greedy and tenacious race. With strong obsession they were vengeful opponents. Quickly multiplying like cockroaches and good at fighting. The Orcs were at least in the thousands, maybe even the tens of thousands!
Back in the cave Weed groaned helplessly. The hunt around the village was going well, but how was he supposed to defeat armies of Orcs, Dark Elves and Necromancers?
His subordinates were at best 4 Centurions, 400 soldiers and 10 Royal Knights. Of course he had 50 Priests, but their power was only helpful when supporting the fighting troops to some extent.
After a number of runs, the usefulness of the Royal Knight could be considered similar to Freya's Paladins to some extent. Going right up the Yuroki Mountains with just this amount of power, they are bound to surely die. They will die at the hands of the Orcs before even meeting the Necromancers.
Enemies on all sides.
Orcs and Necromancers were definitely enemies!
But the Dark Elves were allied with the Necromancers.
Weed was thinking hard. Usually he was very sharp and knew well when to flatter or keep silent to earn more money, but now he was struggling to find any solution to this situation.
'The enemies are strong but they're not exactly close to each other.'
Finally in Weed's head from a fiction book he read at some unknown time in childhood a sentence emerged.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend!
The moment he recalled that sentence, it seemed like the fog in his mind started to clear. Like a bright ray of light appeared in the darkness of hopelessness.
Weed wasn't that much into complicated novels. The more complex the book was the harder his head ached after reading it. Therefore he liked simple, clear, cheerful stories, which he mainly read. Fantasy, adventures and comics!
'Books never lie.'
The next idea that came to his head he encountered in comics a few times. And if he combines it with his sculpture mastery it could lead to something interesting.
'Won't hurt to just try.'
Weed left the cave and started looking for a big stone. There were a lot of stones around but he needed one of a certain size.
'Not this one, I need one higher than me.'
Finally he found a stone about 3 meters high.
Zahab's Carving Knife moved quickly cutting through the rock.
Gradually an odd shape started to appear from the stone. It was neither Seoyoon, who was the usual motive of Weed's works, nor some object. It was a creature alive and moving. Warlike and greedy species.
However, while working on the sculpture, Weed became plunged in distress.
'Orcs are greedy. But I mean, I don't understand the greed. Greedy for what? Peaceful and beautiful world, I have no idea on the activities and excessive obsession of selfish and greedy creatures.'
For a perfect sculpture, it is very important to understand the target. Weed did not know how the heck to understand Orcs.
It was surely not going to be easy to understand Orcs more than humans. The created statue was made in the form of a modest Orc. It was roughly the shape of an exemplary Orc. While sculpting various monsters, he had never sculpted an Orc, so as much as possible he faithfully resurrected the memories of time.
Unassuming and ordinary statue. Somewhat docile and awkward Orc was being created. Then one moment that happened some time ago suddenly emerged. The big incident where a whopping 5 gold had been blown to obtain a shield for Cocoon. Back then there was no other way, but still.
At that time he was expecting to receive a reward for the quest. But when he actually completed the quest, all he gained was from Cocoon was a story, a few words and a knife. He entered 5 gold and failed to even get 1 copper back. He seemed to fall over in regret.
Money! Money! Money! Money! Money!
Obsession over 5 lost gold! Greed! Obsession! Desire! Grudge!
Weed moved the carving knife brilliantly. The statue became filled with life. Selfish wrinkles under the eyes, gaping mouth ready to devour and a pig nose filled with desire.
'Preferably a little stronger, show significant muscle, add scar marks to make him more life-like!'
'I think I'll make his muscles bigger so he looks tougher and add scar marks so he's more life-like!'
Perfect combat type Orc statue.
As special image settings, he made the teeth large and thick. And then a larger size and grotesque nose, eyes filled with selfishness, the Orc statue was born. A face that even kept the devil away, it was hard to keep your eyes open and the body covered with muscles was at least twice as great as a normal Orc.
Fine Piece! You completed the Monster Orc statue!
An artist with normal sense would absolutely fail to create such a statue. Completed with excellent dexterity, but it seems it would be better to put it in storage without having it see the light of day.
Artistic value: 1.
Gazing at the Orc statue will increase health and mana regeneration by 5% for a day.
Movement speed increased by 15%.
Intellect decreased by 10.
Charm decreased by 200.
Strength increased by 20.
Agility increased by 10.
Charisma increased by 60.
Leadership increased by 50.
Can stop the crying of a crying child.
Those with low courage, just by looking at the Orc statue will become severely atrophic.
Effects don't stack with other sculptures.
Until now completed number of Fine Pieces: 6.
- Mastery of Sculpting skill has risen.
- Fame increased by 46.
- Fighting Spirit increased by 1.
- Endurance increased by 3
- Charisma increased by 3.
- Fortitude increased by 5.
The Orc statue was completed. The low artistic value bothered him a little, but Weed regarded it fortunate that it wasn't an abomination. Even though he created it, he feared such a dreadful Orc would emerge in his dreams.
Looking at the statue head on, regardless of the reason, he wanted to smash it! He wanted to shatter it with Destruction Sculpture on the spot!
'But I painstakingly created it, so it's like my child...'
Weed's heart was captivated. However, even with affection, he would have to adapt as much as possible to the damn statue.
Weed instead of using Destruction Sculpture cast another skill. The first use of Daron's sculpture skill! The secret art!
You have used Sculpture Transformation.
The sculpture skill that uses boundless affection to make the sculptor resemble the sculpture.
Weed's appearance gradually changed.
His height increasingly grew and rugged muscles were created. Hair grew covering his entire body, and then after a while, his appearance completely into an Orc. Even the back of his hands and the inside of his feet was completely Orc. Height obstinately grew, changing his eye level. The thickness of the limbs was different and he gained a plentiful belly.
Until now he was able to speak normally. But now the exclusive property of Orcs, the chwiik sound emerged.
"This, chwiiik. Strange. Chwichichichiik!"
Weed tried to keep his mouth shut but his teeth were too large to close it.
Body type has changed, many of the worn equipment are unable to be used.
After the reverse transformation you will be able to equip it again.
Whole body can wear iron armor or heavy clothing.
Depending on the type of species, new equipment must be obtained.
Due to Sculpture Transformation, strength and agility slightly increase.
Intellect and wisdom will fall to the lowest level.
Art stat is reduced by half.
Charisma rises significantly.
Will remain valid until Sculpture Transformation is released.
He confirmed through the character window. Strength, agility and vitality increased, whereas other stats reduced slightly. The blow was especially great in art and wisdom. In addition, with the exception of his sword and cape, all his armor and gloves could not be worn.
"In transformed state, choeik! I won't be able to use? Chwiiii!"
The race itself was different so it couldn't be helped. Trudge. Weed unfamiliar with his steps climbed the Yuroki Mountains filled with Orcs. He walked with steps like a waddling duck, but with his great height, he was immediately able to climb the mountain.