Act 7: Viscount Ark

ACT 7 Viscount Ark

“The meeting will start in 5 minutes!”

The chief director of the King’s Hall shouted. The soldiers blew through the trumpet and announced that the meeting time was imminent. This meeting was to decide the aristocrats that would be dispatched to the 10 territories in the Sinius Principality. Once the trumpets starting sounding, the aristocrats began to gather in the King’s Hall.

‘Now, it is time to start……’

Ark who was standing at the entrance of the King’s Hall and looked at the nobles with bright eyes. After a moment, he saw a grey-haired old man surrounded by other nobles. The old man that looked like a raccoon was Duke Sarkin.
Ark quickly ran over and lowered his head.

“Duke Sarkin-nim, hello?”

“Huh? You are?”

“I’m Baron Ark.”

“Ah, you are the upstart foreigner who managed to become an aristocrat?”

Duke Sarkin muttered with a mocking smile. The nobles trailing Sarkin muttered among themselves. But Ark just pasted a casual smile on his face and nodded.

“Yes, I am that upstart foreigner.”

“Bah. Yes, then what business does a foreigner like you have with me?”

“I came to tell you this despite your disrespect.”

“I don’t know what you’re saying but I have nothing to say to you.”

Duke Sarkin looked Ark up and down with an unpleasant look and turned his back.

“Aren’t you going to regret it?”

“What?”

“I picked something like this up.”

Ark laughed as he took out a scroll from his bag and shook it. Anger flared in Sarkin’s eyes at Ark’s provocation. But his face stiffened after he looked at the contents of the scroll. He suddenly ran forward like an angry wild boar and stretched his arm towards the scroll. However, a sixty year old man was no match for Ark. Ark just turned his body like he was dancing and Sarkin fell to the ground. When Sarkin fell, the nobles flinched and grabbed their sword hilts.

“You bastard! What are you doing?”

“Oh? Why don’t you wait and see?”

Ark muttered and laughed. Duke Sarkin got up and yelled.

“Stop!”

“Huh? But……”

“Didn’t you hear me? I want to talk with him so you guys enter the hall first.”

Sarkin stared at the nobles and gave them an order. The nobles looked puzzled by Sarkin’s changed attitude but obediently entered the King’s Hall. Ark whistled and clapped like he admired Sarkin’s behaviour.

“As expected of Duke Sarkin-nim, your judgement is really fast.”

“You bastard……what? How did you get that?”

“This letter? Didn’t I tell you? I picked it up. This letter has Duke-nim’s seal on it. So this upstart foreigner came to talk to you.”

“Then it’s not necessary to speak for a long time. Give it to me.”

“So you admit that this letter is yours?”

Sarkin’s face stiffened at Ark’s question. His forehead wrinkled and he started at Ark for a while with narrowed eyes before saying in a cold voice.

“And if it’s not?”

“Then I have no reason to give this letter to Duke-nim.”

“…….What will you do if it’s mine?”

“I don’t know. The contents of the letter are quite suspicious.”

Ark smiled and lifted the letter. Duke Sarkin read the contents of the letter with a perplexity.

To. Nadin
Secretly transport the <Laurels of Purity> that has been salvaged to my mansion on the night of the full moon.
From Sarkin

The Laurels of Purity was one of the 22 tokens of the Sinius Principality that Daltin spoke about. It was a token which granted the right to own the territory to Schudenberg Kingdom! The problem was that the Laurels of Purity haven’t been reported to the King yet. In other words, this letter was proof that Duke Sarkin had commanded his subordinates to sneakily obtain the tokens. However, Sarkin shook his head and stubbornly denied it.

“I never wrote that letter!”

“But isn’t this Duke-nim’s handwriting and even your seal?”

“It’s a plot! Someone clearly faked that letter in order to trap me in some plot!”

“That might be true.”

Ark grinned and nodded. When Ark nodded, Sarkin flinched and asked in a low voice.

“Perhaps…..it is you?”

“That might be true.”

Ark jokingly replied. Then Sarkin looked at him with outraged eyes.

“You must be crazy. Do you think you will be safe if you do something like this?”

“Shouldn’t you be more worried about yourself than me?”

“Why should I be worried when you are the one who counterfeited a letter? If I call for an investigation then it will instantly be revealed that this is a counterfeit.”

“Yet the content of the letter is between Duke-nim and your subordinate. Shouldn’t you be worried?”

“What?”

“Because it doesn’t matter if this letter is a counterfeit or not.”

Ark narrowed his eyes. And Sarkin twitched like he was worried.

“W-what are you saying?”

“Obviously this letter might be a counterfeit. If examined then it will be revealed whether it is a counterfeit or not. But even if the latter is fake, it will still raise suspicions. Especially if the letter is present during a meeting related to the territories of the Sinius Principality. Since this letter contains potential problems, Marquis Daltin and Halben will no doubt raise objections and the King might even order Duke-nim’s mansion to be searched. Isn’t Duke-nim worried about that?”

That’s right. This was the plan Ark came up with. The letter Ark was holding was one that Jjak-tung created. Ark had asked Daltin for any letters from Sarkin so Jjak-tung could fake his handwriting and seal. Jjak-tung was currently level 350 and his Counterfeit skill had reached ‘High class.’ It was to the extent that Jjak-tung could produce SA counterfeits. However, that wasn’t the reason why Ark faked the letter. There were various specialists that dealt with official documents. Even if it was made with a High Class Counterfeit skill, it would still be revealed as fake.

‘However, that doesn’t matter!’

There was currently a subtle psychological war between Daltin, Halben and Sarkin over the Sinius Principality. In such a situation, the letter would raise suspicions even if it was discovered to be fake. The King and aristocrats wouldn’t be able to leave it alone. And if such problems arose then Ark had already instructed Daltin to raise a huge fuss.

‘In order to dispel the suspicions, the King would have to order Sarkin’s mansion to be searched. And Sarkin has no justification to refuse a house search. That would be like admitting the allegations were true.’

This was one of the reasons Ark made the Counterfeit letter. Ark was convinced that Sarkin had the missing tokens. However, it was impossible for Ark to sneak into Sarkin’s house to secure the evidence. Then the only way was to rally the government authorities to search Sarkin’s mansion. If the tokens were found in Sarkin’s house then he would quickly be ruined.

‘But if the token isn’t found at Sarkin’s house……’

Then it would be Ark in a difficult situation. He would be charged with forgery and blackmail and would rot in a jail cell.
That’s why Ark met with Sarkin before submitting the letter to the King. And Sarkin had removed his subordinates as soon as he saw the letter. Sarkin made some instinctive judgements the moment he saw the letter. And Ark’s conviction became even stronger after seeing that judgement.

‘Obviously Sarkin left the tokens in his house!’

“Y-you…..!”

Duke Sarkin grinded his teeth together and trembled at Ark’s words. Ark just smirked and laughed.

“Shut up you old man.”

“What, what the?”

“Weren’t you the one who started it first? Do you think I don’t know about your scheme with Nagaran’s funding? But you misjudged me. Even if I have to die, I won’t let go of my dirty nature. If I have to die then let’s die together.”

Ark growled and approached Sarkin. Sarkin winced and murmured.

“….What do you want?”

“Now you’re ready for a proper conversation?”

“You seem to be misunderstanding something. The nerves of the nobles are sharp over the problem of dividing the territories. I have no wish to strain His Majesty’s mind with such an ugly accusation.”

As expected from a noble, Sarkin still tried to avoid showing any weaknesses. He thought for a short moment before suggesting.

“Do you want the funding for Nagaran’s military supplies? Will that settle it?”

“Is this a joke?”

Ark shouted with a displeased expression.

“That is a fair compensation that the allied forces should’ve received in the first place. It is a difficult situation because you’re the one who played a trick in the middle. Yet now you think offering it as compensation will settle things? Furthermore, that is Schudenberg Kingdom’s money. Doesn’t that mean you won’t be damaged?”

“The meeting will commence in 1 minute! All aristocrats who haven’t entered yet then please hurry! The King’s Hall will close as soon as the meeting starts!”

Once again the chief director in front of the King’s Hall shouted. A hurried look appeared on Sarkin’s face. This was why Ark used the counterfeit letter to threaten Sarkin before the meeting started. If the cunning Sarkin had time then he would secretly try to hide the tokens somewhere else. However, if there were only a few minutes left until the meeting then he wouldn’t have time to think.

“Then what do you want?”

“If you sign an agreement that you will provide the funds to restore Silvana then I will leave it alone.”

“What, what the? You…..!”

Sarkin’s face wrinkled after hearing Ark’s answer. All the funds necessary to restore Silvana?
Wasn’t it shameful? When considering the amount of money required to restore Silvana, it took a lot more than 300,000 gold. 300,000 gold was just the money required to put out the urgent fire and restore some businesses. Millions of gold were actually required to make sure that Silvana was perfected recovered. No matter how much influence he had, Duke Sarkin would go bankrupt if he had to pay the millions of gold.

“I’m not crazy. You think I would pay all of that for a fake letter? Okay. It seems like your brain isn’t working. Time is wasting so I’m going to go.  Do what you want.” Sarkin turned around like he didn’t care anymore.

Ark felt his heart drop. In fact, forging a letter to threaten Sarkin was just a gamble. If Sarkin ignored it then he couldn’t hand the letter to the king. The reason was simple. If the king didn’t give the order to search Sarkin’s house then Ark would be the one in trouble for forgery and blackmail. It was a very high possibility. And there was no guarantee even if Duke Sarkin’s house was searched. Searching a house wasn’t as easy as it sounded. And Duke Sarkin wasn’t stupid so he wouldn’t just display a dangerous item like the tokens somewhere in the open. It would be hidden in a secret place only he knew. There was no guarantee it would be found by the searching soldiers. Yet Sarkin still tried to negotiate with Ark because of his insecurity. Even if the probability was only 0.1%, there was still a chance that Sarkin would lose everything. So he had tried to compromise. Sarkin tried to leave which meant that Ark had exceeded his limit.

‘If Sarkin leaves like this then I will be the one in trouble!’

“W-wait a minute! My words just now were a mistake. I only asked for funds to restore Silvana castle!”

The distressed Ark hurriedly rushed in front of Sarkin and exclaimed. But that was also a failure. Sarkin instantly snubbed him after Ark showed a weakness.

“I’m sorry but I have no intention of negotiating with you anymore.”

“W-wait. My words just now were also a mistake. As a matter of fact…… y-yes! I just want you to pay the cost of reconstructing the temple that was destroyed during the battle. The 300,000 gold for Nagaran’s military supplies and the cost of rebuilding the temple!”

“The cost of rebuilding the temple?”

Sarkin stopped moving. Ark was talking about the Asyeosu temple which covered the entrance to the secret dungeon.
In fact, the secret dungeon had been revealed to the world so there was no reason for a temple to cover it anymore. However, his pride wouldn’t allow him to leave with just the 300,000 gold provided by the kingdom. The temple reconstruction would only cost 10,000 gold. If it was that much then it wouldn’t be a burden on Sarkin.

“I suppose we can compromise with that.”

“The meeting will commence in 30 seconds!”

Once again the voice of the chief director was heard. Although previously Sarkin was the impatient one, the situation had now reversed. If the door to King’s Hall closed then Ark wouldn’t even be able to claim the 300,000 gold for Nagaran’s military supplies. Ark hurriedly pulled out a merchant’s agreement and scribbled the contents of the negotiations before giving it to Sarkin.

-A Merchant’s Agreement.

<Contractor: Sarkin=Ark>

As a sign of sincerity, Sarkin will pay for the costs of rebuilding the temple in Silvana. The contract will end with the temple is completely rebuilt.

* The above contract will place the moment Duke Sarkin receives the funding for Nagaran’s military supplies from the kingdom.

“Ten seconds left!”

Sarkin hurriedly read the contract and signed it before rushing into the King’s Hall. At this time, Sarkin still couldn’t imagine what would happen in the future. The results from this single contract were unexpected.

“Huhuhu. Sarkin, you’re caught now.”

A smile spread on Ark’s mouth as he followed behind Sarkin into the King’s Hall.

——————————————————————————————————————-

“Okay.  Now I just have to find these at a suitable time.”

Sarkin looked at the 4 gems on the table with a satisfied expression. A golden necklace shaped like a laurel wreath, a bracelet with a complicated pattern made of sapphire and platinum, etc…… They were the tokens which symbolized the territories of the Sinius Principality. That’s right. Just like Ark expected, Duke Sarkin had obtained the 4 tokens. He had used his subordinates who entered the war to secretly sneak the tokens away from Haverstein. During the meeting in King’s Hall not long ago, Sarkin had obtained one territory with a token and the four vacant territories. He couldn’t use the tokens to insist on ownership of the territories immediately but 5 estates now belonged to Sarkin.

“With all these territories, Daltin and Halben will no longer by my rivals.”

The amount of territories and nobles determined Sarkin’s influence. And currently 60% of the territories in Schudenberg Kingdom belonged to Sarkin. But Daltin and Halben also possessed quite a few estates. If Sarkin obtained even more territories ten there was no faction in the Schudenberg kingdom who was a match for him anymore.

“Ark you fool, soon you will realize what a big mistake you made. You will never be able to set foot in Schudenberg Kingdom again! Hahaha, hahaha!”

Sarkin laughed crazily inside a dark room.

Then a knock on the door suddenly interrupted the atmosphere.

“W-wait a minute……that’s it. Come in.”

Sarkin placed the tokens inside a secret safe and replied. The door opened and someone came in with a pile of documents.

“What is that?”

“This is the bill from Silvana.”

“Silvana castle? Ah, is that the bill for the reconstruction of the Asyeosu temple? Well, it is slightly unpleasant but if it’s only this degree…..gasp, w-what is this?”

Blood drained from Sarkin’s face as he looked at the bill. He looked at the bill with dumbstruck eyes before standing up and shouting.

“Make preparations! I’m heading to Silvana immediately!”

——————————————————————————————————————-

Ttukttuk, ttukttuk!

The sound of hammering resonated through Silvana. After negotiations with Ark a week ago, Sarkin had suggested sending support funding for Nagaran during the meeting. With Daltin and Halben also supporting the suggestion, the King eventually gave permission. Ark finally got his hands on the 300,000 gold to repair Silvana. The urgent problem in Silvana was food and water! After gathering Rokon’s opinion, he placed the 300,000 gold into repairing the reservoir and the farmlands. After the 300,000 gold investment, the large estate instantly regained its liveliness.

‘But this is only the beginning.’

Ark turned and smiled. He was looking at the workmen gathered. Just like he told Sarkin, he had hired workmen to restore Asyeosu temple after it was destroyed. But the number wasn’t a joke. The workmen that gathered for the temple was many more times that those required for the reservoir and farmlands. Why were so many people required to repair a small shrine? Ark was hiding a wicked scheme.

“Lord-nim, Duke Sarkin has come from Selebrid.”

Rokon came in at that moment and told him.

‘Huhuhu, he came.’

Ark laughed and nodded.

“Bring him in.”

“Ark!”

Sarkin pushed past Rokon and ran into the office. Ark asked him with a surprised look.

“Eh? Why did Duke Sarkin come all the way to my castle?”

“Y-you bastard……what is this?”

Sarkin slammed a bunch of papers down on the desk. Ark browsed through the documents before asking.

“What? The bill for the reconstruction of Asyeosu church? Duke-nim came all this way just because of the cost for the reconstruction? Did you forget about it?”

“Who would forget? I’m talking about the ridiculous amount of money!”

Sarkin trembled as he shouted.

-Expense bill for the reconstruction of Silvana’s Asyeosu temple

(Labourer Salary: 8, 000 Gold)

-Expense bill for the reconstruction of Silvana’s Asyeosu temple

(Various material costs: 12, 000 Gold)……

The amount recorded on the bill was beyond Sarkin’s imagination. The labourer cost for only one day was 8,000 gold!
The costs for the various materials consumed in one day was 12,000 gold! Due to various other additional costs, the total bill for one day reached 50,000~60,000 gold. That’s right. This was the reason why Sarkin frantically hurried to Silvana.
When Ark asked Sarkin to pay the cost for rebuilding Asyeosu temple, Sarkin had thought that 10,000~20,000 gold would be sufficient. If it was only 10,000~20,000 gold then it was worth paying to get rid of he forced letter. The profit he would get from the territories in the Sinius Principality would recoup any loss. Yet the bill had become this ridiculous. Just one week of work had reached 390,000 gold! Therefore Sarkin had suffered a huge blow after just a week. Ark sounded like he didn’t know what the problem was.

“The costs listed on the bill are correct.”

“Don’t make me laugh! How could the temple reconstruction cost 50,000~60,000 gold in one day?”

“Ah, didn’t I explain it to you?”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Rokon, explain it to Duke Sarkin.”

Ark folded his arms and looked at Rokon. Rokon smiled and clapped. At the same time, soldiers came in with a big panel.
Rokon pointed to a large figure painted on the panel and began to talk.

“Then I will start the explanation. As you can see, we’ve started the reconstruction of Asyeosu temple. Do you see this black part here? This is the underground dungeon where the Hell River is. We are currently working on purifying the underground dungeon and filling it in.”

“What, what the? Purifying and filling in the secret dungeon?”

“Yes, that’s right. This is just a small temple. Lord-nim wants to rebuild the temple perfectly. But as you can see here, the terrain isn’t suitable for building on. The 60th floor is full of holes. This is also the place where the Hell River spouted up. After getting advice from the Asyeosu church, we decided to purify the earth with holy water and salt before filling in the underground dungeon.”

That’s right. This was the secret to the huge amount of gold behind the reconstruction. Once again, the earth submerged by the Hell River would be barren for 60 years. Thanks to Ark and the allied forces’ efforts, they managed to stop Nagaran from being submerged but some areas were still affected by the Hell River. That was the secret dungeon.
After being flooded by the Hell River, the secret dungeon had become barren. Even monsters weren’t resurrected in the secret dungeon anymore. Therefore the secret dungeon was an unnecessary space for Ark. The air was dull and dusty like an abandoned place and it caused a bad atmosphere when it drifted up. Therefore Ark had thought about closing up the secret dungeon when repairing Silvana. That idea changed after the problem with Duke Sarkin occurred.

‘I can’t be sure that Sarkin will be 100% ruined because of the fake letter. If I pass the letter to the king and the tokens couldn’t be found then I would be the one suffering. It is best to use the fake letter to obtain the 300,000 gold.’

Ark thought this after hearing the situation from Daltin. But he thought there was something lacking about only receiving 300,000 gold.

‘If I can’t make Sarkin suffer then my grudge won’t be resolved!’

Then Ark thought of the Asyeosu temple. The Asyeosu temple was built on top of the secret dungeon. If he used the justification of the Asyeosu temple then it would also be applied to the secret dungeon. Obtaining salt, holy water and the labour for filling in the secret dungeon will be expensive……

‘Sarkin will become broke in just one month!’

That was the details of Ark’s brutal plan. That’s right. Ark had asked for funds to repair Silvana and then they castle in order to make Sarkin less suspicious and to pave the way for him to accept the offer to repair Asyeosu temple. In order to amplify the damage even further, Ark had waited to collect the bill for one week before sending it. Thanks to that, Sarkin felt like he had been hit by a bomb.

‘It is your mistake for trying to touch me.’

Sarkin became increasingly pale after hearing Rokon’s explanation while Ark just smirked. Finally Rokon reached the final part of the Asyeosu reconstruction project.

“……Around 30% of the 60th floor in the underground dungeon has been buried. If the rest of the cleansing and filling in goes on schedule then the Asyeosu temple will finish the reconstruction in 1 year.”

“1, 1 year? 50,000~60,000 a day for 1 year?”

Sarkin stuttered with a terrified face after hearing Rokon’s words. Rokon made a serious expression and replied in a diffident voice.

“Let’s see? That isn’t entirely correct. That only covers the initial cost of purification so it will probably require more money as the project progresses. The construction expense will be many times more than now. In addition, we have to pay a salary to the priest who is the advisor for this construction……”

“That is impossible!”

Sarkin shouted angrily. Then he ran to Ark and grabbed his collar.

“It’s a scam!”

“What do you mean?”

“If there are holes in the bottom then just use the money to fill it up!”

“The Asyeosu temple is built on top of that hole. If we want to rebuild it in the same location then there is no choice but to use this method. We’re just following the advice of the Asyeosu church by purifying the earth and filling it in. So how can Duke Sarkin say that the cost of the reconstruction is a scam? I have confidence that I’ll win if I fight it in court.”

“You, you bastard!”

Sarkin shrieked and swung his fist. But his blood pressure became too high from the excitement and he grabbed his neck as he stumbled. Ark helpfully caught him and said.

“Please be careful. I want you to see the temple when it is completed in 1 year.”

“Ugh…..t-this bastard…..you dare……”

Sarkin started at Ark with a stricken expression. After a short while, he shook his head and moaned.

“….What do you want?”

In the end, Duke Sarkin recognized his defeat. Then Ark faced the caught Sarkin and made a proposal.

“You who have received the right to reign over the 4 estates at the meeting, please hand me the 4 tokens.”

“What, what the? What are you saying now?”

“I’m not going to force you.”

Ark whispered and laughed. No matter what condition Ark presented, Sarkin would have no choice but to accept.
Ark knew from Daltin that Sarkin’s property was worth approximately 2 million gold. Just one day of reconstruction had already cost 50,000~60,000 gold. If the reconstruction was completed today than 20% of Sarkin’s entire fortune would’ve flown away. If the construction was scheduled to be completed in 1 year then Sarkin would become bankrupt and would have a huge pile of debt. Additionally, if Sarkin obtained the 4 territories then he would have to invest considerable amount of funds to restore them. Under such financial stress and bankruptcy, it was no wonder that Sarkin had high blood pressure. And Sarkin had no way to stop Ark’s construction project. The Asyeosu church was on top of the secret dungeon. Therefore if the temple was reconstructed then the secret dungeon would also be included in it. He was also being advised by a priest so there were no legal problems.

“……I understand. The construction…….stop the construction immediately!”

Sarkin said with cold sweat dripping down his face while coughing up blood. Thus the construction project which spent 50,000~60,000 gold a day was stopped.

——————————————————————————————————————-

“……Nobody in Schudenberg Kingdom can deny your achievements this time. For the loyalty and devotion you showed, I hereby bestow upon Baron Ark the title of Viscount!”

A middle aged aristocrat dressed in flashy court robes proclaimed. The aristocrat handed him a golden scroll. After Ark received the scroll, there were some heroic sound effects and the information window appeared.

-You have acquired the ‘Peerage Bestowment Certificate.’

The ‘Peerage Bestowment Certificate’ has granted you the title ‘Honour Knight’ (Viscount).
Your achievements have ensured that you will go down in Schudenberg’s history. As a Viscount, you will be able to take on various businesses.

Currently you can gain the position of knight. If you chose to make ‘knight’ your sub-profession then you can join a knight corps and serve the kingdom. Whether participating in wars or fighting monsters, you can gain up to three times the fame and achievements if you participate with the knight corps. There is also a larger change to get missions that will give more achievements. However, if the knight corps are wiped out during the mission then you will receive three times the penalty. You fame and achievement will be removed and you might even be stripped of the title.

* As a noble title bonus, all stats will increase by 15.

* Fame has increase by 10,000.

* When completing a quest given by an NPC with a noble title, your status (Honour Knight: 1000 people) will allow you to receive the support of the guards.

-You have learnt a new Lord’s skill.

As a Viscount, you can form a knight corps on your territory that will be under your direct control. The knight corps formed on your territory will receive the same advantages as other knight corps. However, if you have already become a part of a knight corps then you can’t form one.

+ Knight Corps Formation (Lord Skill): This skill allows you to hire users or NPCs to form a knight corps.

Unlike a normal party or attack group, the knight corps will receive an extra morale bonus. When fighting in the territory, a 10% tactics bonus will also be applied. When participating in a foreign war, they will receive 2 times the fame and achievements than regular knights. In addition, you can get a 50% discount when using all public facilities (knight housing, stables, barracks etc.) under the kingdom’s jurisdiction. However, the knights must be accompanied by the Lord.

<It is possible to form and control a Knight Corps>

‘I hadn’t intended this with my scheme.’

Ark’s mouth seemed like it reached his ears after seeing the information. Ark had become a Viscount thanks to the 4 tokens.

‘In order to stop the Asyeosu reconstruction, Sarkin was forced to yield the 4 tokens to me. It was the tokens which symbolized ownership to territories within the Sinius Principality.

Ark had instantly taken the 4 tokens to the King.

“Oh, you truly are the paragon of a Schudenberg noble!”

The King’s reaction was huge. Finding the 4 tokens was like adding 4 more territories to his kingdom! What King wouldn’t like expanding his territories by 4 more? Thus the King praised Ark and made him a Viscount. Naturally a Viscount would be given more bonuses than a Baron. He gained +15 to all stats and 10,000 fame! There was also the new permanent skill, ‘Knight Corps Formation.’ When he formed the knight corps, he could use public facilities with a 50% discount. However, the real benefit to Ark was something else.

“Congratulations on becoming a Viscount.”

Two middle aged knights approached. They were Daltin and Halben, the head of two of Schudenberg’s factions. Ark laughed and nodded his head.

“Thank you.”

“Honestly, I thought it was impossible when you first suggested it to me….. Yet you really did it……”

“I heard that Duke Sarkin is sick in bed.”

“It is natural. He lost 20% of his fortune and even the territories were taken away from him……”

Therefore Sarkin lost the trust of the nobles in his faction. He tried to crush Ark yet he ended up being the one crushed.
Daltin looked at Ark before saying deliberately.

“Wasn’t the plan a little intense against someone of Duke Sarkin’s age?”

“He is the one who touched me first.”

“Scary.”

Ark just smiled and nodded.

“Then you should develop your new territories quickly.”

“Yes, we’re very grateful.”

Ark grinned and nodded. That’s right. This was why Ark snatched the 4 territories from Sarkin. In fact, the 4 territories were useless to Ark. Currently the only place where users could become Lords was in Nagaran. Therefore only noble NPCs could claim ownership with the tokens. So Ark had thought about extorting money from Sarkin as a condition to cancel the contract. But even with the contract broken, Ark had already gained 20% of Sarkin’s fortune. Ark grasped that Sarkin was worth 2 million gold, including real estate and various other assets. When calculating the cash assets, he only had approximately 600,000~700,000 gold. He had already lost 400,000 so he only had 200,000~300,000 remaining. If he tried to obtain gold from Sarkin then there would be a limit.

‘With how much Silvana is damaged, that would be enough to restore it.’

So Ark came up with the method to sell the 4 tokens.

‘Anyway, Sarkin has given up the right to the territories. If I return the tokens then it would have no choice but to go to Daltin and Halben. If I request 10% of the profit from the territories from Daltin and Halben then they can’t refuse.’
Ark instantly went to meet with Daltin and Halben.

If Duke Sarkin’s plan succeeded and he gained those 4 territories then his influence would’ve completely surpassed that of Daltin and Halben. But now Daltin and Halben could obtain those 4 territories and surpass Sarkin. That alone would be a windfall for Daltin and Halben. Especially if they restored the territories in the future and obtained an income from it. Giving 10% of that income to Ark didn’t matter. The continuous income from the 4 territories was better than earning several thousand gold at once. Of course, the territories in the Sinius Principality were still impoverished but once they recovered then they would be a golden goose. Ark understood this and signed a contract with Daltin and Halben. So Ark’s entire plan had worked as expected.

“Should the three of us go and visit Duke Sarkin?”

“We shouldn’t. What if we really kill that old man?”

Daltin murmured with a sick expression.

“Ark!”

A sharp cry was suddenly heard across from him. Ark reflexively flinched and stopped. 5~6 bloody people were running up a dark alley in front of the gate. Surprisingly, they were Timosi and some Avenger members.

“Ark, I have something to say!”

Timosi breathed harshly as she looked at Ark.

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23 thoughts on “Act 7: Viscount Ark

  1. Pingback: Ark volume 23 chapter 7 | Ark Machine Translations

    1. GaYoung

      well I thought at least Alan will join Ark but this happened. Timosi be like “Ark help us huhuhu” lol and Ark be like “gimme money first”

      Still hate the fact that Ark was never smitten despite the extreme greed -_-

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Blaed

        He likes Lariette, just that he was either blocked (by Alan), distracted (every second, another battle), or thought she was taken (Alan, again).

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      2. Sei-tan

        Isn’t Alan brain dead? Didn’t they say they found him brain dead when they stormed his house in Hong Kong?

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  2. basher515

    Some typos that I saw :
    If Sarkin obtained even more territories THEN there was no faction in the Schudenberg kingdom who was a match for him anymore.

    Ark had asked for funds to repair Silvana and then THE castle in order to make Sarkin less suspicious and to pave the way for him to accept the offer to repair Asyeosu temple.

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  3. SRK

    wow… awesome… this is a pleasant surprise….. you rock turtle – sama…. thanks a lot…..
    many many thanks..

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  4. hayate90

    a bit weird, considering how many tens of thousand of dishes Ark had to cook to increase his cooking skill to High Class, Jjak-tung only need to reach lvl 350 for it to gain high class? wont he need to counterfeit tens of thousands of documents in order to reach that far? even if he’s using the skill for Eastern Nation, i dont see how thats possible.

    in another note, getting a viscount title is not really much of an achievement when u know there’s only 1 more volume left…. its like finally getting a driver’s license at 65 years old

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  5. Blaed

    Turtle-sama, I just read your latest reply to my comment on last chapter. Yeah that’s pretty much what the story implies. However, then I compared it with what actually happened anyway. Sarkin was *still* given preference. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t have been able to keep all four or even just three if he’d turned the tokens in. It just didn’t click once I started thinking about it. It would have been different if Sarkin was given two territories, with Daltin getting one extra, and the last either going to Halben or staying with the King.

    In fact, that would have been absolutely brilliant. Since both Daltin and Halben would have spent money taking care of the territories. Then, ten years later, Sarkin could have claimed ownership of them, thus reaping the benefit of Daltin/Halben’s hard work. Not a copper of his own money would have gone into the estates. They’d have been 100% pure profit.

    I dunno. For me, Sarkin being given four territories just negates the reason for a plan in the first place. And then there’s this chapter with Halben getting two more territories (five total with Haverstein’s). Nothing asked of where he got the tokens, he apparently just presented them. It just compounds the feeling of unnecessary scheming. If anything, Sarkin could have surely gotten at least four territories by just turning the tokens in. But I suppose that was part of his lesson. Too much scheming screwed him over.

    I’m thinking on it too much

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