Lahonya, the armed fortress of Haven Kingdom!
It was rising as the new military stronghold of the Hermes Guild after the destruction of Castle Aren .
The 5-layer thick castle walls were equipped with various defensive mechanisms, arguably the best fortress that could hold off an Arpen Empire invasion for at least a month!
A lot of players gravitated to this location for the sake of quests or simply because it had become their new homeland .
“Selling king crabs that were just caught!”
“Going to a dungeon . Looking for warriors level 350 or higher . ”
“Recruiting an architect for building a house . I’ll only accept someone who can finish building it within 4 days!”
The players, who were crowded near the gates, suddenly went quiet .
Someone was walking proudly towards the gate .
“Weed! Weed has appeared!”
“No way . Why would he…”
“I’m serious . It’s him!”
The players near the east gate all turned their heads toward the direction of the commotion .
This place was the center of power within the territory of the Hermes Guild after the destruction of Castle Aren after all . The players believed it was a hoax and looked towards the ruckus .
“Is that really Weed?”
“I don’t recognize the face…”
“His armor! The Sky Ruler’s Armor . He has the Loa sword by his waist too!”
“He’s the real guy!”
Though they did not know his face, no player could fail to recognise the symbolic equipment .
– Weed is here!
– He’s fully armed . It’s war!
The military fortress Lahonya instantly fellinto a state of emergency .
“Move it . Come on!”
The Hermes Guild members sprinted to the east gate .
Mages and archers stationed themselves on top of the massive walls constructed for siege war and knights on horses darted to their positions like they were mad .
“All get ready for battle!”
The news of Weed’s arrival spread and attracted over 2000 guild members in the fortress in just 3 minutes .
Including the east gate, forces were positioned at the west and southwest gates as well!
Under the emergency protocol, the fortress gates were closed tightly and the trenches were filled with water .
Even a huge fire would not cause such commotion . The memory of their dreadful defeat at Garnav Plains was heavily imprinted in the minds of the Hermes Guild members .
No one would think that Weed had come all by himself .
They all witnessed the prowess of the assault squad in their preparation against the sculptural creatures and Kaybern on broadcast .
“It is Weed-nim . ”
“So cool . How did he get here?”
The players of Lahonya could only stare in wonder . Others looked with eyes of anticipation .
“Is a massive war going to break out here and now?”
“Whoo… Just imagine… the Arpen Empire flag lifted high as he conquers the entire Versaille Continent . ”
“The conqueror Weed!”
“But there is no one else around . Even for him, I’d say it’s quite reckless to go solo against the Hermes Guild headquarters . ”
“Are they in the sky? Could he have brought his aerial forces? Players landing everywhere from above…”
The players scouted frantically . The forces could unload from the merchant wagons or they could just as easily fall from the sky .
The tension became so high that the players were expecting an attack against Lahonya fortress at any second!
Weed climbed to the top of a rock near the gate .
The Hermes Guild members and the players guarding the gate and the wall observed him tensely .
– Alright, today is a day that doesn’t come by often .
Weed’s shout echoed shrilly .
– Players of Lahonya! This is a fox sculpture that is essential nowadays! Now that doesn’t mean you absolutely need it . It’s just something everyone else has .
Weed flipped the sack and spilt the fox sculptures .
– These are premium limited editions . True works of art that I carved myself . But they go for just 500 gold! As quantity is limited, it will be first come first serve .
In the central headquarter of the Hermes Guild, he set the latest trend and gained profits from selling fox sculptures .
It only took about 5 minutes for the fox sculptures to be sold out .
Sales were quick because there were rich players in Lahonya who bought 5, 10 copies each .
‘That’s the economic power of the Haven Kingdom . ’
The most developed neighborhoods of the Central Continent were the Haven region and the Britton Alliance .
Several hundred thousand players from Castle Aren had also migrated to Lahonya Fortress after its destruction, which helped in his easy sales .
‘How simple it is to earn 500K gold… Distribution without question is best for money . Lower the production cost but sell it as expensive as possible . ’
The purpose of emphasizing craftsmanship was naturally to sell the products after over producing them .
After selling all his fox sculptures, he spoke out to the Hermes Guild members on the walls .
“Lafaye-nim is here, yes? Can someone deliver a message?”
The armed Hermes Guild members did not let up on their guard .
They felt insulted while watching Weed sell his sculptures right in front of their eyes, given that there was still a huge possibility of a war breaking out in Lahonya Fortress .
The God of War .
The undefeated commander .
They were under great pressure because of Weed’s history of accomplishments and his records of crushing the Hermes Guild .
For the guild, they could risk one or two battles near the border . However, a conquest was a different story .
If they lost their key military fortress Lahonya, it also meant the end for their pride and dignity .
They felt tense and anxious as if the Arpen Empire’s hive attack had already begun .
‘So it is war . ’
‘We should expect a huge army rushing in after his speech . How on earth did he bring his forces without spreading any news?’
*Gulp . *
The guild members waited for the declaration of war, thinking what Weed will say was predetermined .
“I just want to have lunch together . ”
“I was in the middle of a quest and I would appreciate it if you can treat me with a delicious meal . ”
Lafaye was hurriedly preparing to command his troops to ready for the coming twar in the castle of Lahonya .
He summoned guild members scattered across the regions and positioned the army most efficiently, preparing for the siege battle on ground and in the sky!
For quite some time he had been preparing for war against the Arpen Empire, but he did not expect it to break out this very day in Lahonya .
“Weed wanted to meet me?”
“He said he wanted to have lunch together . Well, he wants to be treated to food; to be exact…”
“What is the current situation?”
“We do not see any Arpen forces at the time . ”
“The skies were scouted?”
“Yes . The elemental spirit callers and avian players did in detail . ”
There were a minority of the avian under the Hermes Guild .
“If he isn’t here for war… I can’t tell the reason why he wants to meet with me . ”
Lafaye walked to the terrace connected to the outside .
The scenery of the military fortress Lahonya was reassuring to him, but now he felt insecure .
He felt reluctant to have lunch with Weed, the one who pushed them out and became the emperor of the Arpen Empire .
‘For him to visit alone and demand food . Is Arpen trying to offer us something? Or is it to prepare for the duel against Bard Ray-nim?’
Lafaye closed his eyes .
He could not determine the motive of the opponent and felt he would be in a disadvantageous position .
Comparing each other’s faction to faction, he was disgraced after having lost consecutive battles against Weed .
“May I join as well?”
“Weed . There is no telling what that arrogant man will do, so I will stand guard . ”
“If you are alright with it, I will also…”
“K-hu-hum . I’m curious too about what he wants to say . ”
Gaushu, Jest, Gross, Boemong .
The rankers representing Hermes Guild wished to be in the lunch meeting with Weed .
‘Sigh . ’
Lafaye hid his long sigh .
Though an enemy, he had achieved incredible accomplishments .
The emperor of the Arpen Empire was popular among players . Him having come all this way, it would be a little presumptuous to send him back without meeting him .
Weed, with official invitation, entered Lahonya Fortress .
The hallways of the castle were extravagantly decorated with ornaments and antiques as if confirming the stories that said all of Haven Kingdom’s wealth was in Lahonya Fortress .
Kaybern’s targets, with the exception of Castle Aren, were focused on the capital cities of each region and the Britton Alliance, but Haven Kingdom, overall, had many wealthy cities .
Weed spoke in front of Lafaye and the 10 elite members .
“I’m so hungry… May I tell you all after eating first?”
“Of course . We prepared quite urgently so it’s not much . But please help yourself . ”
“What do you mean? The table is about to break down . Fried eggs can’t compare to these dishes . ”
The Hermes Guild cooked the finest ingredients from their inventory and displayed an ocean of food . Weed was indeed an enemy, but he still deserved a welcoming, delicious meal befitting his title .
‘Why? Why did he come?’
It was Lafaye’s first time seeing Weed up close and appreciated the time he could observe Weed during his meal .
‘Asking for a meal must be his way of intimidation before the real deal . To show off his composure…’
“So good, this dish… Wow . Hermes Guild had great chefs too . The ingredients are amazing . ”
Weed was only caught up in feeding himself .
The same could not be said of his hosts: the Hermes Guild members did not touch the food at all and simply watched him . Weed did not seem to care at all .
All his life he couldn’t eat comfortably, but now he could enjoy tasty dishes among other people .
“This is the special grade pine mushroom from Mallen Village . It raises health points permanently by 20 . ”
Boemong observed Lafaye’s mood and spoke cautiously .
“You are right . You know of Mallen Village in Haven territory too?”
“When I first started Royal Road, I contemplated choosing Botha Castle Seraborg of Rohaim Kingdom and Mallen for my first city . The village was filled with medicinal herbs, so I thought the side income after each hunting trip would be profitable . ”
“I considered Castle Aren too . It was the best of the major cities . Well, now it’s been destroyed by Kaybern . ”
Lafaye and the Hermes Guild members were confused as to the attitude they should pose against Weed who seemed very relaxed .
They were both too significant of figures to be grudgeful like children .
Of course, they felt disappointment and sorrow of having been defeated just before completely conquering the continent, but they knew that their feelings towards him were shameful .
“The food is really delicious . ”
Weed offered compliments from time to time while trying the different dishes .
Lafaye regarded them as words out of courtesy and reacted in similar fashion .
(To be continued…)
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