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[Note from Mimosab]  Thanks to Eternal for the proofreading 😉


– The Hermes Guild really lives up to its reputation as the strongest guild.

– They've certainly proved their raw strength with this video; that much is for sure.

– Bard Ray, the Godly Warrior. He is the most powerful user on the continent, period. Other users might boast all they want, but they could never ever beat him in one-on-one combat.

– But what if Weed shows up?



– Weed cannot even get his foot into an advanced training hall.

– That's because of the Hermes Guild, though. Haven't you seen Weed's great performance in the Tower of Heroes?

– Still, what matters in the end is that Bard Ray has cleared the advanced training hall, and Weed hasn't. Weed's sculptural skills give him advantages in a large scale fight, but Bard Ray's the strongest user when it comes to one-on-one. Bard Ray even killed Weed once.

– Agreed. For now, Bard Ray is at the top. Weed's power is rather exaggerated because of the quests he did and his various other skills.

– Desert warrior? That's not his current strength. Those days are all passed and gone now.

Weed did not feel hurt by those meaningless comments. Bard Ray's videos attracted a lot of fans who were impressed by his great power, and since the Hermes Guild was monitoring the comments it was natural that there were a lot of praises for him. Still, Weed had to admit that he was quite intrigued by the video.

'An advanced training hall, huh? I wish I could go there, too. It doesn't look as difficult as people say, though.'

Weed had never grown stronger by slaughtering weaker monsters ever since he started playing Royal Road. He had always challenged powerful enemies, and hunted until he was knocked out exhausted. Did he rest then? No. Once he was knocked out like that, he would start working on his sculptures, even while lying down. He was used to hunting nonstop like this until his whole body was aching, and after some time his stamina and patience grew so strong that he didn't have to worry about exhaustion anymore when he hunted.

'I think it's going to be fun. I probably won't be able to use my sculpting skills in the Path of Struggle, but that shouldn't matter too much.'

Although his Necromancer skills would be blocked as well, this huge disadvantage could not make him hesitate to take up the challenge of the advanced training hall.

Weed and Python, together with his other companions, arrived at the Church of Batalli in the city of Taho. The ground surrounding the church looked almost like a battlefield, with broken weapons and arrows scattered about everywhere.

"Wow… the atmosphere of this place sure is terrifying."

"It's the Church of Batalli. This is the first time I've been here in person."

From the moment they stepped into the entrance, Surka and Maylon were startled by the scenery that greeted them. The male and female priests serving the order of the God of Fighting had many scars on their bodies. Another characteristic of the church was the various types of weapons hung on the walls, which meant that the followers there trained to fight with any weapon. It truly was a religious order for warriors.

One barbarian warrior who had been standing at the entrance spoke to Python in a rough voice.

"You. You look like a fighter who wields a greatsword."

With his piercing gaze, he looked extremely intimidating, as if he was about to challenge Python to a duel any minute.

This was the reason why ordinary people were reluctant to visit the Church of Batalli.

Python mustered up his courage, held his greatsword at ready and said in a loud voice: "This is my weapon. I have come here to walk upon the Path of Struggle."

He was a man who had no reason to feel small anywhere he went; Python replied in an equally rough manner, holding in his stomach tight, like a man.

'This is my way of do things.'

The pride of a strong one.

The barbarian warrior nodded.

"I can see you're an experienced fighter just by those scars. The one in your neck; was that left by a Mantelder[1] ?"

"Yes."

"If you survived the encounter with a Mantelder… I say you are sufficiently qualified to face the trial of the Path of Struggle."

It was now Weed's turn.

'How is he going to get past him?'

The companions looked at him expectantly. Flattery and friendliness constituted Weed's default stance, always ready to bow down his knees and back. Even Mapan had admitted that he could learn from Weed's attitude when he was rubbing his hands together and bartering with people. And the persuasion skills he demonstrated when he entertained Emperor Geihar with food and drinks surpassed even those of an experienced salesman.

Weed lifted his chin haughtily as he addressed the barbarian warrior.

"Open the path right now."

"Have you come here to face the challenge of the Path of Struggle as well? But this path only opens to those who deserve to step into it."

"Shut up and open it. Before I kill you all and make my way in."

"Do you truly mean that?"

The eyes of the barbarian warriors guarding the entrance glinted menacingly. Weed recalled a line from the cartoon he had once read and had been deeply moved by, and went on:

"Get out of my way. The only thing that can halt my footsteps is my own will."

With those few words, he had declared upon the barbarians that he was willing to kill everyone if they refused to step aside.

Weed had a vast amount of knowledge related to Royal Road. Those numerous pieces of information he had gathered until now included not only the data about dungeons and monsters, but also about the residents and history of the Versailles Continent. His detailed knowledge extended to even things like the preferences of the cleaner or the florist lady of the Serabourg Castle in the Rosenheim Kingdom.

'The warriors of the Order of Batalli are straightforward to deal with. They think one's power proves everything.'

They seemed similar to Geomchi and other Geomchi brothers, but not exactly the same.

'During this time period, they would be particularly weaker towards strong people.'

A dark spot in the history of the Order of Batalli, which was also known as a group of combatants! It followed an incident during which most of the order's truest warriors were massacred as they hunted down the demonic creature Khdertal, before the foundation of the Arpen Empire. The warriors who were currently remaining in the Church of Batalli were nothing but hollow shells. The Order of Batalli took roots again through countless sacrifices of its warriors during the Warring Age. There was no strength in those barbarian guards, only the false pretensions which were the remnants of their long-past glory days.

As per the normal procedure, in order to enter the Path of Struggle one would have get their qualifications acknowledged and pay a considerable amount of money as an offering, which was absolutely unacceptable to Weed.

"We, we are…"

The barbarian warrior drew himself up and tried to withstand Weed's glare, but Weed continued staring at him as if he was facing a conman who had been caught while trying to bilk him.


< Your Fighting Spirit is activated. >

His Fighting Spirit stat of over 600, which he had accumulated through the hunting and occasional slaughter of countless powerful monsters, came into effect.

"Kuuuu…."

The barbarian warrior's whole body trembled, and before long he gave in and stood aside.

"The Path of Struggle… is in the basement of the church."

*Ding!*


< You have intimidated an enemy. Your Fighting Spirit stat increases by 1 point. >

< Battali the God of Fighting is gazing upon you proudly. He is greatly impressed by your attitude, which befits your strength.

With the blessing of the God of Fighting bestowed upon you, your Mental Endurance, Courage and Charisma stats increase by 2 points each. >


A successful bullying!

Even when they were inside the church, Weed kept radiating his Fighting Spirit as he walked.

'I mustn't let my guard down. These rascals might try to steal my money any minute.'

He was determined to thoroughly destroy anyone like an arch enemy at the first sign of pulling a trick on him. The warriors of various races who served the Order of Batalli all stepped out of Weed's way as he walked past. Parted into two lines, they stood well apart from each other, unable to muster the courage to challenge him.

A great statue stood in the basement of the Church of Batalli, the statue of the God of Fighting himself.

And a solitary path, opening up into the darkness.

They didn't know what would show up in that path, but they could certainly feel the danger that filled up the whole space.

Timidly, the barbarian warrior said: "You'll just have to… go through this path and reach the end. You must not eat anything in the middle of your journey, and you'll fail automatically if you turn back. Even if you die, you must die on the path."

*Ding!*


< You are facing the Path of Struggle.

This training hall has been constructed in order to train the true warriors of this land, in order to prepare for the time when a great danger befalls the Versailles Continent.

Walk upon the Path of Struggle, and prove your worth.

Reward: Improvement of combat related skills and increased limits on stats growth.

Difficulty level: Unknown

Quest Restrictions: if the player consumes any food or turns back in the middle, the quest fails. It cannot be attempted again. The player can have water in order to quench their thirst. >


'Nothing I have done in this game has been easy. I will not back off, even just a step.'

Weed stepped into the path as he reaffirmed his resolve.

"H-hey!"

Even before Python had time to prepare himself, he was gone.

Once in the Path of Struggle, Weed rushed forward.

Clang!

He drew the Loa Sword, threw off his novice garment and changed into his armor. He did not have the Goddess's Knight Armor now, since he had asked Fabio and Herman to melt it down and forge a weapon out of it.


< Fabio's Sturdy Heavy Armor : Durability 250/250. Defense 241.

A suit of armor made by Fabio, a blacksmiths who knows how to hammer a piece of metal. This is one of the best-quality armors he has ever crafted in his life. It has been reinforced six times by mixing in special minerals. It is thick and heavy, but when equipped by a fighter who can handle it properly, this armor will inflict much despair on the enemies attempting to attack them. It is in pristine condition.

Restrictions: For Knights, Fighters and Warriors only. Level 520.

Additional effects: Maximum Life Force increased by 40%.

Physical damage decreased by 40%.

Magic resistance 3%.

Maximum 30% of damage reflection, depending on the physical toughness of one's body.

Strength -35

Dexterity -140

Very heavy.

No damage taken from weak attacks. >


It was an armor Weed had received from Fabio when he gave Goddess's Knight Armor to the blacksmith, in case he needed protection. It did not have many notable features, but its defensive capacity alone was absolute.

"Kuhehe. Intruders."

"This is the domain of the God of Fighting. Off with you!"

The monsters guarding the Path of Struggle appeared before the party. They belonged to the race of Ulroof, which possessed huge bodies like those of barbarians. Warriors of a spider-like species, their long limbs and keen senses made them tricky to handle.

Headcount: 8.

Estimated level: higher than 400.

Weed jumped into the midst of the monsters right away.

"Kuhehehe. Quite bold, this one."

"We shall break your defiance through our strength!"

The Ulroofs raised their spears and started attacking. As expected from a warlike race that reveled in violence, they said few words.

Before the spears were extended to their full reach, Weed blocked what he could and dodged the rest. An analysis of the enemy's combat capacity flashed through his head like a bolt of lightning.

'Overall, they are quite competent. Their long arms give them a greater reach and speedier attacks, but their defensive technique is not sophisticated, as is the case with most monsters. And they tend to parry the attacks with their strength, rather than just blocking.'

Weed read the breathing patterns of the Ulroofs, the manners, speed and strength with which each of their joints moved. It might be because of the fact that he had experienced so many combats before, but his senses were automatically analyzing the enemies without him actively working his brain to make calculations. It was quite analogous to showing an elementary school math textbook to a top student who was admitted to Seoul National University[2]  through talent hand effort, or asking a chef working in a famous hotel restaurant to make a fried egg.


"Sculpting Blade!"

Weed's sword lit up.

*Tri-ri-ring*!

The sword flowed continuously along two spear shafts. No less than five spears were entangled and struck among one another in a flash.

"Seven Celestial Footsteps!"

Weed stormed forward, slashing with his sword. His direction changed with each step, and the sword moved in his hand in an almost magical manner to strike down the Ulroofs one by one.

"Kuuargh??!"

The Ulroofs, so confident just a second ago, all turned grey in a blink of an eye and disappeared; they could not endure the critical hits targeting only their vital spots, on top of the attacking power of the Loa Sword.

Weed kept running along the Path of Struggle, pushing forward. Of course, he had completely collected all the loot dropped by the Ulroofs already.


< You have acquired the steel spear of Ulroof. >
< You have acquired a leather pouch. It has quite a lot of contents. >
< You have acquired a valuable shining rock. >


'I must make an efficient use of my time and stamina.'

Wasting time in the beginning was not Weed's way of doing things. His style of hunting was so quick and relentless that he would not only fry beans with a flash of lightning[3] , but would roast some sweet potatoes on top of that while having a bowl of Ramyun in the meantime.

The next monsters that appeared were Volards, the fire leopards Weed had once fought in Jigolath.

"*Growl*!"

A group of Volards threatened him, but Weed charged in, unabated.

'I've dealt with these monsters before. They take a quick leap to attack, and the speed at which they do that can be extremely befuddling to those who face them for the first time.'

Experience was important; knowing the strength and combat style of the opponent enabled one to devise an optimized tactic against them.

"Heraim Sword!"

Weed held the Loa Sword with both hands and started swinging it like an axe, smashing the heads of the Volards that sprang at him in a sudden jump.

"Kiiiieeeennngghh!!"


< You have successfully made the first serial attack. Your Dexterity will be increased by 20%. >

Even with the life force and toughness of Volards, it was a painful strike. Through the effect of Heraim Sword, Weed's movement gained in speed a little. He continued dodging and smashing the head of the Volard every time another one leapt at him.

< You have successfully made the second serial attack. Your Strength will be increased by 40%. >

< You have successfully made the third serial attack. Your Dexterity will be increased by an additional 40%. >

< You have successfully made the fourth serial attack. Your Strength will be increased by an additional 20%. >

< You have successfully made the fifth serial attack. Your enemy has fallen unconscious and lost all attacking abilities. >

< You have successfully made the sixth serial attack. Your Strength will be increased by an additional 50%. For each hit, there will now be a secondary area-of-effect strike caused by the shockwave inflicting 15% of the damage of the original strike. >

< You have successfully made the seventh serial attack. Your Dexterity will be increased by an additional 30%. Your Strength will be increased by an additional 20%. Using 1500 mana, you can now make a ranged attack. >


A merciless chain of strikes!

Weed's combat abilities had reached the peak now. Heraim Sword Skill was capable of defeating any enemy, however strong they might be, provided that one was able to make a continuous series of successful hits. Heraim Sword Skill would be cancelled with just one miss or dodge, but the Path of Struggle was narrow, and the ferocious Volards kept coming.


< You have successfully made the fifteenth serial attack. The pain you inflict on the opponent will be delivered to other enemies. The chained damage is 15% of the original attack. >

< You have successfully made the sixteenth serial attack. A critical strike has hit the target. The enemy has been destroyed. You are dominating the battlefield! >

< Your proficiency in sword skills has increased. >

< Your astounding accomplishment in combat has increased your fame by 580 points. >

< Your Strength stat increases by 1 point. >


Weed had successfully connected 24 chain attacks in total, devastating the Volards. He quickly gathered the remains of the dead Volards and the bounty scattered across the ground in all directions. He had used up some of his strength and stamina, but it was less than 5% of his total reserves thanks to the ridiculous amount of stats he had built up through countless hours of farming.

'It's quite easy for now.'

Even as he thought that, his body began to move. Weed rushed towards the next foe that would be waiting for him on the Path of Struggle.

(Continued on next part…)


Notes from the translator

[1]I'm not sure if this is supposed to be the name of a person or a species; I looked up both the LMS Wiki and Korean wiki page for the novel and could find nothing…

[2]The top-ranked university in Korea.

[3]In Korean, we use the expression 'like frying beans with a flash of lightning' to describe a person's behavior that is very quick and dexterous, or very restless and anxious. The author added some more exaggeration to this phrase with sweet potatoes and Ramyun.


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