4) In Times of War
Lee Hyun fed the gathered chickens.
He watched the healthily grown chickens and chicks with a pleased look. A happy laugh automatically emerged when giving food to the animals he raised.
“I’m a really good owner.”
The chickens had a miserable fate. While hens could lay eggs, the roosters that couldn’t lay eggs were discarded when they were just chicks. And the hens who could only move their bodies in a small space and gave birth to eggs every day died after 2 years.
The life of an animal was too sad. Maybe that was why there were movements to protect animals.
Lee Hyun wished for his chickens to grow up happy and healthy.
“So they will be delicious when I eat them later.”
The joy when eating them half fried and half with sauce! He also cleaned the yard and enjoyed the chores that he had been neglecting for a while.
The quest in progress had the time only flow when Lee Hyun and Seo-yoon connected. Although it was like that, the normal Versailles Continent was changing so he couldn’t relax his mind.
“I will access it again in the evening. Lululu!”
Lee Hun hummed as he completed the chores around his house.
“Earn money. Earn it rapidly. Last time I made a deposit to buy the land. It can be developed into anything. It will be a jackpot if it becomes a train station or a highway.”
A fun song that made he feel good!
While Lee Hyun was working, he was being watched through binoculars from the rooftop of a building.
“He is living quite differently than expected.”
“Hyung-nim, we’ve already robbed him. Is he really going to sign a bond contract?”
“Hyung-nim will take care of it. Our work is to just watch that fellow.”
Myeongdong’s loan shark!
They knew that Weed the God of War was Lee Hyun. He had a formidable popularity that attracted attention from the broadcasting stations. Therefore they had a definite plan to hook him.
They used illegal means to collect information and keep watch on Lee Hyun.
The loan sharks were so busy dreaming they didn’t see the 9 tiny dots floating around them.
The latest stealth drones! They were the surveillance aircrafts sent by Yoo Byung-jin and the artificial intelligence. Detection radio waves were launched at the loan sharks and measured the biological responses. The missiles mounted on the small aircraft could wipe out the loan sharks.
The Myeongdong head office also investigated any relationships he had.
“His grandmother and sister. The old lady is in a nursing home so she isn’t useful. His sister will be an effective hostage.”
“It will be easy to snatch his sister, Director-nim.”
“We have to be careful. It will become troublesome if this becomes known to the media or the police investigate.”
“Do it quietly and we can control him until the end. In the meantime, we’ll earn quite a bit of money from the contract so it will be profitable.”
“Check out the list of properties near the region and buy a few of them, Director-nim.”
And of course, the mini android was able to see all this information. Not long ago, Yoo Byung-jin had issued an order to the artificial intelligence to take care of the loan sharks.
-Get rid of them. So that my ears never have to hear about them again.
The artificial intelligence determined the best way to fulfil this command after taking into account the behaviour of the loan sharks. And it came to this conclusion.
-High risk level. This won’t be resolved with a normal conversation. I have to actively take care of it.
From that day on, the Myeongdong loan sharks were broken.
“What? Investigation Commissioner-nim, what does that mean?”
-This is a legitimate police duty so I don’t know what you mean. I don’t know who you are.
“Isn’t this unbelievable? I gave you so much money until now. You shouldn’t do this after accepting all my money!”
-I’ve never heard of or met you. I don’t know how you know my phone number but let’s have no contact in the future. Also, keep in mind that things might not improve in the future.
They were suddenly investigated by the IRS and the prosecutor’s special investigation unit. They asked for help from the politicians and officials that they regularly bribed.
“Donation? Huhuhu. Ddek! Look at this person. These days donations are illegal so I’ve never received any! I’ll warn you now. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t bark such words in public!”
“Gwon Jae-hyuk, I’ve eaten in Senator’s rice restaurant for 16 years! You dare to threaten me now? Do you want to be buried in Korea?”
The Myeongdong building was instantly shaken up by the government forces.
“This…it can’t be like this all of a sudden.”
Han Jin-seop had started this work against other competing factions. But all the strings holding them up were breaking.
Politicians, prosecutors, the police and national tax service. All these organizations started moving against their company.
“Clean up the data. Dispose of all the materials, including the computer’s hard disk.”
“But these books are worth more than 1 billion won.”
“First we need to get rid of all the evidence.”
The account books, computers, documents, etc. were all destroyed in preparation for a search and seize. They also allocated quite a few funds for lawyers to defend the office. Given the tolerance of Korea’s laws, they had no choice but to wait and believe in that. Sale activities that weren’t illegal and only a small, normal part of their overseas finances was left.
“These are in English?”
“The funds given to Senior-nim to move?”
“There is no contact yet. Rather, they are withdrawing funds and erasing all traces to us.”
“Our work can’t be revealed…the social repercussions will bury us.”
“They won’t obtain any evidence.”
It would be the end if they were revealed as loan sharks who forced people to pay back their debt or lose everything. Therefore, they were anxious as they removed the evidence and 6 days passed.
The search and seizure occurred but all the data had been lost. The preparations were complete so the finance group could feel somewhat relieved.
“Korea’s true form of prosecution gives us time to wait.”
The judiciary process in Korea didn’t move quickly so it rewarded businesses like theirs. But this was all part of the artificial intelligence’s plan!
-Phase 1 is complete.
-Phase 2 is starting.
Later that evening, Han Jin-sup and other members of the finance company lost their spirits. Whether they were in their home, at the company, on the streets or in the toilet alone, they all lost consciousness and woke up in a small, dark room.
“W-where are we?”
Beds were crammed in a narrow space reminiscent of prison cells and there was a television, bread in a packet and food.
“It can’t be.”
They were suddenly reminded of the story of a man in a movie. The man was trapped somewhere for 15 years and forced to live on dumplings. And from that day onwards, they survived on barley bead and tap water.
“Someone… Surely they will find us. The members and police won’t be quiet.”
The loan sharks grinded their teeth together. But the trapped people were unaware of one thing.
The police had closed the investigation into the loan sharks. The search warrant was executed too late and they had already disappeared from the office. They examined phone records and looked for other traces but couldn’t find anything. Therefore, it was assumed that they were smuggled to foreign countries.
10 days ago, a post appeared on the internet community.
Title: What is a good method to control loan sharks?
There are loan sharks that are repeatedly annoying me.
Despite the money being paid off already, they keep on making persistent attempts to do bad things. Words don’t seem to convince them so what should I do?
-Just bury them. Bury them in the tidal flat.
-Hey, is this a joke? If this is real then report it to the police immediately.
-Don’t report them. If it isn’t reported then this will become a liveable world sooner.
-The loan sharks should go to jail. They are also bothering me. Be careful everyone.
-Those people won’t repent. They should just be isolated from society forever.
-They should be locked up like in Old Boy.
-That is the truth.
-I also agree!
-Dumplings are expensive. It is too precious to give to loan sharks. Just give them leftover rice.
-But the motorcycle fuel cost delivering it will be a waste.
And then there was a list of good foods to feed the loan sharks. The most astronomical and practical methods listed barley bread and canned tuna. At least 5 years’ worth of barley bread and canned tuna was already paid for.
Weed once again accessed Royal Road. He was a Sun Warrior with a level of 824.
At that moment, the flow of time on the continent returned to normal. The stars in the cool, night sky shone down on the desert cities. He had spent a relaxing day in the city with Seo-yoon as they ate grilled scorpions and camels.
“Well, I am trembling a little.”
Nodulle’s quest had led to an explosive growth. But like always, he wasn’t distracted. The scale had grown uncontrollably larger so the difficulty was bound to increase. It felt like he was now reaching the climax of the quest!
Seo-yoon soon connected as well.
“You came early.”
“Yes. It is a good night.”
Weed and Seo-yoon sat on a pile of stones and waited for the next quest. The desert evening wasn’t too cold and the atmosphere was cosy. They had spent a lot of time together during the process of the final secret sculpting technique quest.
‘Give me a suitable quest… If I receive the final secret technique then I can prevent the attack from the Hermes Guild and earn a lot of money. Seo-yoon…I’m thankful that you are helping me.’
It was just become his kimchi soup started boiling. Weed tried to think about his life in the future.
The situation in Royal Road was going out of control. While the quest was ongoing, the war among the prestigious guilds was reaching the finale.
‘That fellow seems to be eating the continent.’
It was an established fact that the Haven Empire was going to occupy the Central Continent! The Arpen Kingdom had gathered numerous people and materials but the situation wasn’t hopeful. Weed’s popularity and myths caused the north to rapidly develop so it was a target to be conquered.
The Haven Empire launched a frontal attack and were repelled by the Grass Porridge Cult. Therefore there were rumours that they were going to attack again. He guessed that spies of the Hermes Guild were already in the north. The fight in the Central Continent was over so there was only the north and the Embinyu Church left.
The Rosenheim and Brent Kingdoms in the east were destroyed by the Embinyu Church. The original population of the south was small but it rapidly flourished due to Weed’s adventures.
Yesterday Weed relaxed while on the internet so he knew that such things were happening.
‘Although it is still like a dog.’
Despite the south developing, it couldn’t compare to the strong users in the long established Central Continent. The desert cities had become larger but that wasn’t a good thing against the armies of the Haven Empire and Bardray.
‘In the end, Bardray is behind all these bad things. The northern and southern areas that I raised might be eaten by him.’
Maybe Bardray also had the life of a protagonist. He was revered as a warrior who won every battle. The Allied Forces on the continent had collapsed and no one seemed able to stop the forces of the Hermes Guild. An inferiority complex burned inside Weed.
‘He isn’t a lot better than me. He seems to be only 10 centimetres bigger. I am 170 centimetres, which isn’t that short as 180 centimetres is considered tall. And when I saw his face… He seems to have received a fine education.’
The intense eyes and neatly trimmed features, Bardray had the appearance of a typical elite.
‘His leadership is also significant…well, I’m not that much of a leader. I lived moderately while going to an old school. When looking at him… A spacious house and nice car. The bank deposits are also incredible.’
His thoughts deepened as his hostility increased! Realistically, he wasn’t a rival for Bardray and his followers. They would just eat him up on the spot.
‘Life is a time to bloom.’
He missed the chance to have the spirit of a warrior! While he was envious of Bardray, a video started playing in front of Weed and Seo-yoon.
A deep, dark and dismal cave!
“Chakujel, was the work in the Portu Kingdom a failure?”
“I’ve collected the necessary materials for the black magic so it wasn’t a complete failure.”
The person wasn’t visible and only the voice could be heard. But there was at least 2 things that he knew. Their voices were low but there was enough power to cause it to ring through the cave.
“Hul hul, even though he was the treasured disciple you raised.”
“His value was used up. At least I don’t have to handle him now.”
Desun was the name of the Portu King.
“They ran away. But the power of the devils descended so it wasn’t a complete waste. If we search the entire continent then we can collect the sacrifices again. If there are sufficient scapegoats then the devils will be able to open their eyes.”
“Let me help. I want the era of fighting and killing to continue for as long as we want.”
The video lingered before slowly changing to a different place.
This time it was an enormous, red wasteland. A bird was flying away. The screen moved according to the eyes of the bird.
The remnants of the walls were collapsing and ugly looking monsters roamed the place. A river with black water flowed with bones from various different species floating on it. And beyond that was a shrine that gave off a dreary atmosphere.
There was a high guard tower were centaur like demons stood holding bows. In the centre, people were continuing to build up a tower that reached into the sky. That alone was remarkable but there was a statue in the middle of the shrine that reached 200 metres in height. A statue with 12 arms!
Weed thought to himself as he watched the video.
‘It is Embinyu! The Embinyu Church!’
Weed really had a tedious, evil destiny.
‘Why has this thing appeared before me? Bother Bardray instead of me. The Embinyu Church hasn’t bothered Bardray at all. He is truly lucky.’
Anything involving the Embinyu Church was never easy. But looking at the scale of it, this wasn’t a typical Embinyu shrine.
Numerous buildings were placed around the statue like a city. And in the building connected to the Sky Tower, demons were selling souls at altars. A training camp had women and young children wielding weapons with bloodshot eyes. Creatures, beasts and insects were captured by the fanatics and brought to the Embinyu altars.
Those bodies were turned into evil spirits. This was the military production base of the Embinyu Church and a den of evil.
‘Somehow it doesn’t give off a good impression.’
The screen moved closer to the statue in the centre.
“All believers, we will purify this world of the corrupted with our strength.”
It seemed to be an important ceremony as the High Priest gave a speech in front of the huge statue. Every time he shouted, the red liquid in dozens of bronze would boil explosively. Countless humans kneeled down on the ground and replied in unison.
“God Embinyu, give us your directions.”
A heavy but bloody atmosphere occurred.
“God Embinyu has answered us. Destroy, destroy, destroy everything! Your efforts and willpower will give me strength!”
|-Important information has been obtained.
The Embinyu Church is constructing a tower.
If the tower reaches the top of the sky and pierces through the clouds, they will be able to exert a stronger power obtained from the God Embinyu’s will and strength.
There is 197 days and 16 hours remaining until the tower is completed.
Submissive humans in the Embinyu Church are obediently stacking stones in order to build an infinitely high tower. There are many people who staggered after losing their strength and died. The other fanatics literally stepped on the corpses to build the tower.
In this confusing and anxious world, it was a completely horrible scene.
The High Priest took a stick off the ground and shouted as he waved it around.
“God Embinyu is an endlessly merciful person! Destroy the hypocrites and open up this world for the subordinates that he will send us!”
“Ohh, God Embinyu!”
“We will punish them all!”
The sound of drums rang out throughout the entire shrine. The faithful had bloodshot eyes and were foaming at the mouth. And a vast shape slowly appeared alongside the High Priest.
There was a long, sleek body over 100 metres long and a pair of magnificent wings. It was the most complete art form.
The dragon Ausollet.
In ancient times. Unlike other dragons that maintained harmony and balance, Ausollet was born with only feelings of hatred and insanity. Even the other dragons didn’t associate with Ausollet.
Ausollet burnt the peaceful elven forests and invaded the human world. There was a direct battle with the clergy and the high elves borrowed the power of the gods and other dragons to seal Ausollet.
That’s why Ausollet was named the Chaos Dragon. It was unthinkable that the Embinyu Church was going to unseal the Chaos Dragon. The priests sacrificed their own soul and flesh to gain the power required to unseal Ausollet. Now there were no constraints on Ausollet’s flesh.
The dragon Ausollet was like a stone statue with its calmly folded wings and closed eyes. But the dragon made the atmosphere heavier.
Sometimes a dragon like Akryong Kaybern would show their force. He burnt entire mountains in one day and caused scenes of destruction. Kaybern was insurmountable to the dwarves.
For as long as human existed, it was common to think of dragons as unslayable. They would have to penetrate through a large number of monsters before reaching the dragon. Dragons were different from conventional monsters so the guilds and kingdoms couldn’t help worrying about their safety.
The Embinyu Church had found and removed the seal on Ausollet. The torchlight shining on Ausollet’s body caused the shadows to lengthen.
“God Embinyu handed us this ceremony in order to control the soul of the dragon. Untainted but blessed young babies are required.”
“Ohh, we will be God Embinyu’s eyes and ears.”
“Destroy and kill more. We will bring the children in order to obtain the dragon’s soul!”
The fanatics screamed and cheered furiously.
Weed had a myriad of thoughts as he watched the video.
‘Others are being entertained in Royal Road so I wonder why these things keep happening to me. I don’t have any interest in things like the peace of the continent or the conspiracies of the Embinyu Church.’
He remembered when he was a child of 12 years old. A fortune teller sitting at the pedestrian underpass had sighed when seeing his face.
“Tsk tsk, the share of millions of people.”
Lee Hyun stopped and asked the fortune teller about the meaning of those words.
“Does sharing the fortune of others mean I will earn a large amount of money?”
“No. But you will do the work of millions of people. It will be tangled and tangled and the water will become murky.”
“It isn’t normal to go through all that trouble. Dark clouds, dark clouds. The dark clouds in the world will flock to you.”
Now looking back, it seemed like the fortune teller’s words were true.
Weed escaped from reality for a moment after seeing the video
‘It can’t be. It can’t be. It can’t be. I don’t want to face a dragon. Just give me goblins. Bardray should bear the burden of taking care of the Embinyu Church and the Chaos Dragon.’
|-The Path for the World
After Nodulle grew his strength in the desert, they headed towards the Central Continent to solve Hilderun’s curse.
But the Central Continent had yet to escape from the swirl of war. The royal families strengthened their military due to greed and unknown grudges.
And the biggest cult on the continent, the Embinyu Church! They mobilized their forces to destroy the continent that was preparing for the final stages of the great war.
They require large seeds to acquire the soul of the Chaos Dragon. They will randomly kidnap babies in the future. If 100,000 soul seeds are gathered then Ausollet will wake up.
The priests from various species obtained reliable information about this and planned a raid of the Embinyu Church.
They have to implement a reckless plan before they are killed. If this isn’t stopped within a specified period of time, the devil in Hilderun’s body will wake up.
Level of Difficulty: Final Secret Sculpting Technique Quest
Quest Restrictions: Three months remaining.
If you or Hilderun dies then the quest will fail.
Please Note: If you are unable to fulfil Nodulle’s role then the continent will suffer much damage.
The awakening of the devil, rule of the Chaos Dragon and expansion of the Embinyu Church will depend on a series of quests.
Weed swallowed his saliva.
“To be honest, I expected it but a dragon really did emerge.”
It was like buying a lottery ticket not expected to win but still feeling disappointed when it didn’t win. Technically speaking, he didn’t have to fight a Chaos Dragon. The dragon hadn’t woken up yet so he only needed to fight the Embinyu Church.
“But this won’t be the end.”
Naturally the work wouldn’t progress smoothly.
This wasn’t going to be the ending of a fairy tale that kindergarten students would read where Cinderella lived happily ever after with the prince. After fighting with her parents-in-law and sister-in-law, she had to deal with her husband’s infidelity.
Now he became involved and had to actively fight the Embinyu Church.
“The power of the Embinyu Church is tremendous in times of war. There is no need to mention what will happen if the dragon wakes up.”
Weed couldn’t find any details of Nodulle and Hilderun in the history books. In addition, there was no mention of the Embinyu Church in this time of war.
“This must mean Nodulle’s adventure didn’t cause any damage to the continent. I have to take over his mission.”
He knew how horrible the Embinyu Church was.
Even in the original time zone, the Embinyu Church had expanded greatly with many followers. The cities and villages were destroyed and the army contained thousands of fanatics. They grew like poison mushrooms to cover the Versailles Continent.
If Weed failed the quest then he would be giving a great gift to the Embinyu Church and Chaos Dragon. This would be a catastrophe for numerous users.
“Well, it’s not like I’m going to lose anything anyway.”
Weed’s sense of morality was different from that of a hero. It depended on whether he would profit or not!
Even if the devils woke up because of the Embinyu Church, the action would mainly take place on the Central Continent. The indescribably damage would most ruin the kingdoms of the Central Continent and surrounding areas. In particular, it might break down the Haven Empire that was currently being established.
The devils and Embinyu Church. Both were terrible things to deal with. If Weed failed the quest then Bardray and the Hermes Guild would have to deal with it.
A small smile was on his face.
“I haven’t suffered in vain. The ship won’t sink even if the quest fails. Things are rapidly coming loose.”
The Hermes Guild implemented their policies based on careful, strategic thinking.
They had abundant resources, sufficient strongholds prepared, squeezed the residents for money, upgrade military facilities and improved road networks.
Lafaye used textbook management and leadership strategies.
“Only dispatched 40,000 troops to the Havers area. It can be occupied in 14 days.”
“Stop the troops from marching into the Rom area and rearrange them. Has the commander requested battlefield supplies?”
“Send any magic weapons available through the forest.”
“The supplies road has been secured and it will arrive after 19 days.”
They gained the advantage over their enemies due to extensive military support.
The Allied Forces had combined again after their defeat in the Rubidom Mountains and challenged them to soothe their souls after the loss. The previous deaths of the experienced users and the soldiers weakened the power of the Allied Forces.
During this time, some minor guilds didn’t miss the chance to apply for an alliance with the Hermes Guild. Well, it was an alliance application but they were actually puppets.
“With these odds, wouldn’t it be better to ally with the Hermes Guild instead of fighting them?”
“If we surrender then we can act within the Haven Empire.”
“It will be better to side with the Hermes Guild even if we have to pay war reparations. It would be better to build up achievements in their army now. The Camelot Guild will act as a vanguard of the occupation forces.”
The occupation of the Haven Empire was gaining momentum. White flags would raise before the march of the Imperial Army.
The Haven Empire only took a small amount of time to secure public order because they wanted to occupy the continent. They completely seized the Gradian Kingdom, Norton Kingdom and Nest Kingdom!
The broadcasting stations talked about this news straight away.
“I saw that the Dragon Castle opened their doors to the Haven Empire and surrendered.
“The Nepiad Fortress that have been fighting a few days ago raised the white flag. They abandoned the fight against the Haven Empire.”
The stations honoured the Haven Empire. The Imperial Army gained the nickname of invincible army.
The leaders of the Hermes Guild issued a new command.
“From now on, the army will be divided into two. The occupation troops will be reorganized and focused on the primary battles.
And the remaining troops will organize the occupied areas.” As the number of conquered territories expanded, a larger management plan was required.
The conquest of the continent was proceeding smoothly as the Allied Forces were unable to confront Bardray.
The Thor Kingdom and Iron Road Guild was also helping the Haven Empire. Dwarf weapons would wreak havoc on the battlefield while the armour meant that ordinary damage was negligible.
“It is a good thing that we’ve internally absorbed the Thor Kingdom and Iron Road. And the elves haven’t made contact?”
“Yes. They are a species not normally involved in war so there is silence.”
The elves didn’t built cities or strongholds. They lived together in large forests without anyone vying for dominance. Many users selected the elf species due to that atmosphere.
The Central Continent might be engulfed in war but the elves were free. Prestigious guilds that rules cities and castles within the influence of the elves knew not to interfere. For that reason, the elven players grew unhindered to an extent that they could no longer be ignored.
“Should we continue to leave the elves alone?”
“No. The army needs to pass through the elven forest in order to safely arrive at Dragon Castle.
“The forest is a natural fortress to the elves.”
The elves could get help from the trees and the spirits they had a high affinity to. Rangers firing arrows were also active in the forest.
“Use axes to chop down all the trees, rocks to dry out the forests and burn the whole forest if there is resistance when advancing. It would be good if you recruit applicants with already high infamy.”
“I understand. We will take action.”
The Haven Empire headed towards the forest of the elves.
“Phew, we can survive for a bit here.”
“Be careful. We can’t believe in people.”
30 novice users carefully observed the area before exiting the forest. They were users of the new ruined city Crea.
It had only been a couple of days but the city was in ruins when they connected around the fountain. There were only traces of fire, collapsed buildings and dead bodies in the street. Despite the fact that it was noon, dark clouds filled the sky like it was evening and a chilly wind blew.
There was the sound of a howling wolf not far away. This was like the bleak atmosphere of a scene in a horror movie.
“It is this way. Come quickly!”
“Hide before the wolves catch our smell.”
The Crea users who connected late joined those who were first. They had belatedly connected and couldn’t take refuge.
“Why has it changed?”
“You don’t know? The Embinyu Church completely swept through it.”
“Ah, I never got the compensation for the quest I completed for the weapons store owner.
“Forget about it since the owner turned into a cannibal.”
“The employee of the inn?”
“Now there are only a few surviving residents. Furthermore, most of them have changed into fanatics. It is foolish to perish for some quests when we should be fleeing from the Embinyu Church towards a safe city.”
Most groups or parties had a warrior as the leader.
“But I am level 230. Wolves are nothing…”
“I am a level 300 warrior. But a monster’s speed and strength grows in areas occupied by the Embinyu Church. I barely survived with my health and vitality.
And if fanatics flock to the fight then we are dead.”
“Let’s escape when it is night.”
While the conversation was ongoing, users continued connecting to Crea and joining them in the hiding spot.
“The Embinyu Church headed to the north and the south.”
“Let’s do it. Tell everyone.”
In the evening, the 30 people moved in the opposite direction of the Embinyu Church. They hid behind rocks whenever the cry of a wolf was heard or fanatics appeared.
It was exciting and thrilling but they couldn’t help worrying about the Embinyu Church.
‘Will this continue to happen?’
‘Ah, I wish peace could find the Versailles Continent.’
The users pulled out of their comfort zone tried to move as secretly as possible.
“Embinyu! Embinyu can save you. Destroy. Kill and destroy everything around you.”
“The era of reason is over. Madness and anger will set us free. We will punish those who torment us. In the name of Embinyu!”
But even here followers of the Embinyu Church roamed the city preaching. The city guards caught them but new followers kept on appearing out of nowhere.
“There is news that the troops of the Embinyu Church are heading here.”
“Is that so? Then where should we go?”
“Go anywhere if you want to survive.”
The users continued to avoid the Embinyu Church.