SPACE 1. Black Hawk
Ark scratched his head. The trip to Rakunka had been quite arduous. As a result he managed to obtain the Baius Shield that had been left for the Elim’s Heir. His difficulties weren’t due to the Myutal but more because of the time constraints. He needed to meet up with the 2nd investigation team on time. Thanks to that, Ark spent his time on Rakunka jumping like his tail was on fire. But all that hard work was for nothing. Despite his efforts he ended up being 30 minutes late. However the promise had been caught a week before. He thought being half an hour late wasn’t that bad but Marquis Martin’s response was cold.
“Ah, I’m really sorry. That……”
“I’ll listen to your excuses later. Follow me.”
Marquis Martin interrupted Ark’s words and turned his body. He walked down the hall silently with a frown.
‘What’s with that attitude? Damn, does he think I was being idle? I might’ve been late but it was only 30 minutes! I went through all that trouble so that I wouldn’t be late! Is he going to remove me from the team because I’m 30 minutes late? Isn’t he a noble?’
Thanks to that Ark’s mood was unpleasant.
‘Dammit, should I really join the investigation team?’
In fact, his mood wasn’t just due to Marquis Martin’s attitude. Ark had felt a mixture of disappointment and expectation after finding the Baius Shield on Rakunka. The reason he was disappointed was because the performance didn’t match up to his expectations of a Divine Artefact. But the Baius shield had an advantage that could compensate for such shortcomings. It was a growth type equipment. This was the part Ark was worried about.
‘A growth type item becomes stronger the more it is used. In other words, it isn’t beneficial straight away. But if I join the investigation team then it would be more difficult to find another Divine Artefact. Of course, the Divine Artefact is just for my occupation so it can be delayed. However there is no guarantee that the mission will be a success if I join the investigation team. I might just be throwing away my time. Then wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on finding the Divine Artefact?’
He was impatient to start looking now that he had found one. But Ark soon shook his head. <Dark Omen> was a main quest that had begun with Episode II of Galaxian! The compensation would be incomparable to general quests. Of course, all agents had been given the <Dark Omen> quest so it could be completed without joining the investigation team. However the person who had access to a wide information network and support was more likely to succeed. Ark had also received the <Investigate the Negative energy> quest from the Elim’s Memory.
‘If I join the investigation team then I can get the support of the galactic federation. It will be a huge advantage to join the team. I can find the Divine Artefacts at any time but this opportunity won’t come again. I can’t give up this chance. I should worry about one thing first.’
It was his relationship with Marquis Martin. The relationship with NPCs was one of the most important things in RPG games. Players often misunderstood this but NPCs were the ‘top’ in a game world, not users. NPCs gave out quests and items as well as managed the game system. It didn’t matter if they stayed day and night in a hunting ground raising their levels. A NPC’s help was indispensable. Especially if the person was a high ranking noble of the federation. Such a relationship wasn’t created by itself.
He had completed the difficult quests Marquis Martin gave up and their intimacy gradually increased. In other words, this was the result of his time and efforts. And it was easy for that intimacy to drop. If he cancelled a quest that he accepted that the good feelings would decrease and intimacy would drop. He couldn’t be too impatient to find the Divine Artefact! Therefore he felt upset because of such blatant disregard. But he couldn’t do anything stupid.
‘Yes. He had me by the throat. What power do I have? I need to endure it.’
Ark stared at Marquis Martin’s back. Then Marquis Martin suddenly stopped moving. He sighed and spoke in a low voice.
“The situation has become a little troublesome.”
Ark was confused by the sudden words. Then Marquis Martin slowly turned his body and looked at Ark.
“Do you know the purpose of this mission?”
“It is to investigate the magic circle that caused change in the galaxy. That was the external reason.”
“Then the real purpose was something separate?”
“No, that is the purpose. At the same time, 3 magic circles the size of intermediate planets were created before disappearing. Someone deliberately did it. Furthermore, a sizeable organization must be behind it considering the scale of the event. Those guys made the magic circle for some reason so the federation considers them a serious threat. But it is the negative energy detected with the magic circle that is the real threat.”
“You mean the antimatter that you mentioned in the orbital headquarters?”
“Yes, it is something that shouldn’t even exist in this star system.”
“But the negative energy was detected which means it must exist?”
“That is the problem.”
Marquis Martin sighed and continued talking.
“Like the name suggests, antimatter is antimatter. It has the opposite structure of common substances. If common substances have the plus (+) property, antimatter has the negative (-) properties. So antimatter destroys any substances that it comes in contact with. The problem is the tremendous energy that will occur as a result of the process. The amount of energy is thousands of times stronger than a hydrogen bomb. No, that is just what the witness presumed.”
“Witness? Someone saw it directly?”
“At one time the 3 powers fought a war against each other. And stronger weapons would have a greater impact on the outcome of the war. It was natural that the 3 powers would be interested in antimatter. And on the surface we don’t know the end of the Galaxy War. A secret research centre ran by the Aschulat managed to succeed in creating antimatter.”
“Didn’t you just say there was no antimatter in the galaxy?”
“There is none now.”
“Didn’t they manage to make it?”
“It was created. But it failed to stabilize. The result is called the tragedy of Rajenka. The generated antimatter immediate started overflowing and the energy caused the planet of Rajenka to disappear without a trace.”
It was a fear that all species had never experienced before! The event was enough to make all 3 powers in the galaxy tremble with fear.
“That’s the reason why the 3 powers signed a truce. At that time the weapons development had already reached its limit. The only thing that exists beyond that limit was antimatter. But they realized something through the tragedy of Rajenka. The weaponization of antimatter wasn’t a victory. Thus the 3 powers signed a truce to ban the research of antimatter. And the scattered satellites all over the galaxy in order to monitor for negative energy.”
That’s the reason why the 3 powers were so sensitive about this matter. They still needed to confirm that threat directly but there was no doubt about it. The problem was that the negative energy was detected in the airspace called the space frontier.
“This is why the 3 powers can’t move aggressively.”
“Because of the special treaty.”
“If the identity of the energy is really antimatter then the enemy will be beyond different powers. In that situation no one would think about upholding the special treaty. But nothing is definite yet. If troops enter the space frontier in this situation then it will only irritate the enemy. The result is……”
War! It would be the beginning of the second space war. The 3 powers had commissioned agents in order to avoid that situation. But that was just for show. The problem was connected to the life or death of the 3 powers. They couldn’t just leave it in the hands of private agents. Just like the federation dispatched secret agents like Irina, the Rama and Aschulat had also sent special forces. This means the spies of the 3 powers were all gathering at the same place with the same purpose. It was natural for there to be disputes in order to get information about the antimatter first.
“But sending more troops as reinforcements is difficult. Just like we know, the Rama and Aschulat also know that we’ve sent secret units. If we increase the troops then they will also increase their troops. Then it will only be a matter of time before it becomes a battlefield.”
That’s one of the reasons why they created the 2nd investigation team. The mobilization of any more troops would be dangerous. That’s what the private agents were for. The federation decided to organize agents to investigate. Marquis Martin then expressed his displeasure and muttered.
“It was a mistake.”
“Who do you think would be the worst person to get their hands on the antimatter?”
“Wrong. The correct answer is Marquis Jyubel.”
“Eh? Marquis Jyubel?”
“Antimatter is a very dangerous existence. The 3 powers knew how dangerous antimatter was after the tragedy of Rajenka. It isn’t something that can be abused as a weapon. The 3 powers are dispatching secret troops in order to stop the other 2 from obtaining the antimatter, rather than using it to become stronger. However Jyubel’s position is different. If the military gains the antimatter then their influence will strengthen.”
“And his power will weaken.”
Marquis Jyubel was the Minister of Domestic Affairs and head of the opposite faction. If the military got their hands on the antimatter then Jyubel’s political base would be weakened.
“Until now Jyubel had no justification to stick his neck into this thing. The antimatter is a weapon and everything related to it belongs to the military. But the situation changed with the 2nd investigation team. Because the management of private agents if under the jurisdiction of Domestic Affairs.”
Marquis Jyubel didn’t miss this small chance. He persistently used that excuse to request control of the 2nd investigation team. Of course, Marquis Martin wasn’t going to yield obediently to him. It was the opposition of the two factions! Ark had no way of knowing that the nerves of both factions were extremely sensitive. It was to the extent that there was an internal discord in the parliament.
“But didn’t you catch Marquis Jyubel’s weak point?”
“The incident with S-20?”
Marquis Martin laughed and shook his head.
“That would intimidate but it wouldn’t hurt the enemy. It depends on what they want to achieve. In other words, the enemy would only accept a small range. Jyubel is in a dire situation so he won’t care about that weak point during the negotiations.”
“Then the 2n task force……”
“In the end, his Majesty himself had to arbitrate.”
The Emperor was forced to intervene in the fight between the two factions. The galactic federation is a republic so the Emperor is just a symbolic presence. However the Emperor was still the Emperor. He was an existence that ruled over all the aristocrats in the federation. It was like the Emperor was giving a verdict on whether chicken should be fried or with sauce. No, he decided to divide the pioneers of the investigation team into the two factions.
“In other words, half of the task force organized are pioneers under Marquis Jyubel’s influence. Do you know what that means?”
Of course. Ark smiled and replied.
“Yes, this means the reward for the mission has increased.”
“There is currently a battle between the noble factions over their influence in the mission but it has nothing to do with the investigation team members. If the mission is successful then all pioneers in the team would receive compensation. But the information about the antimatter is more important to the nobles then the success of failure of the mission. If you want the pioneers you recommended to work harder than you need to prepare a bonus steak.”
“…..That is the correct answer.”
Marquis Martin answered with an odd expression. If Ark found information on the antimatter then it would be the quest reward + α.
‘Okay. I’m getting more motivated.’
In fact, Ark also wanted to stop Marquis Jyubel’s power from growing. Jyubel had teamed up with the Laius company in order to steal S-20 from Ark. Ark had formed a hostile relationship with Jyubel thanks to that event. If Marquis Jyubel obtained more power than Ark would be negatively affected.
“You seem to have understood.”
Marquis Martin then turned his body around again. He paused in front of the door of the room where the pioneers were gathered and said in a low voice.
‘”Don’t forget. From now on you’re not just dealing with the task force from the Rama and Aschulat. Some pioneers are also recommended by an enemy faction! The enemy will be close so you have to stay vigilant. You can’t relax.”
‘……That’s what he said…….’
He frowned at the man in front of him.
‘I didn’t think it would be like this.’
The blonde youth Ark was staring at was Rapid! Of course Ark recognized Rapid. He was the user who helped S-20 grow while Ark was away. They only had a short 10 minute conversation but it was impossible to forget about it.
“Do you know him?”
“No. I don’t know that person at all.”
But his answer to Marquis Martin wasn’t completely a lie. Obviously they had met. However he had died in a duel with Kurakan immediately after so Ark didn’t know who Rapid was. There was one thing Ark couldn’t understand. Rapid hadn’t left S-20 for 10 days in order to meet Ark. But 20 days had passed since Kurakan killed him and he hadn’t returned to S-20. Therefore the reason why Rapid was waiting for Ark was still a mystery.
‘This was the answer?’
Ark’s gaze turned towards Marquis Jyubel. Each faction had recommended 10 agents each. There was a limited personnel so naturally they had to be cautious. Considering the nature of the mission, he had to choose skilled and reliable pioneers. In other words, the pioneers gathered in the room had a close relationship with the aristocrats. Ark’s relationship was with Marquis Martin. Then Rapid had an association with Marquis Jyubel.
‘The relationship can’t just be for a few days if he was recommended for this task force. That means they already had a relationship when Rapid was in S-20. Rapid disappeared and then Jyubel gave me 10 days to save S-20…..this can’t be a coincidence.’
If he thought about it than the answer would come naturally.
‘The reason he was in S-20 wasn’t to wait for me. It was to collect information for Jyubel and the Laius company. It is also the reason why he was defeated by Kurakan despite his skills in marksmanship. He just used waiting for me as an excuse. If people started to question it then it would become difficult. He used that duel as a pretext to leave S-20. That’s how the Laius company knew about the situation in S-20. Dammit, I didn’t know until now……’
Ark originally had a good impression of Rapid. He was the user who helped S-20 grow while Ark was away. His development of S-20 was almost the same as Ark’s blueprints. He also displayed extraordinary marksmanship in the duel. It meant he was smart and skilled! Therefore Ark had been thinking about scouting Rapid. Yet Rapid’s true identity was Jyubel’s mole. He felt betrayed! And angry!
‘So you tricked me huh? Okay, good. You asked me when we met if I was the Ark from New World? You sounded really curious so I’ll let you know soon. Don’t you know who I am? I’ll make you regret having Ark as an enemy. I’ll make you shed tears of blood and regret for this!’
Ark thought furiously.
“Nice to meet you. Please call me Rapid.”
Rapid shamelessly stretched out his hand. Of course Ark didn’t want to shake his hand.
“I’m sorry but I have no intention of becoming friendly with you.”
Rapid didn’t show a reaction to his response. He just shrugged and took back his hand. Jyubel laughed and looked at Marquis Martin.
“Marquis-nim should teach your dog some manners.”
“I’m not raising a dog. And even if I was, I’m not going to teach him to shake hands with someone who might tear out his neck later.”
“Someone who might tear out his neck…..is that so?”
“I hope something like that doesn’t happen.”
“I can’t promise anything.”
An answer was heard from behind Marquis Jyubel. A man was coming up to the place where Ark, Rapid, Marquis Martin and Marquis Jyubel were gathered. Ark reflexively turned his head and became confused.
The man who had a square jaw was smiling meaningfully! Surprisingly that person was…..
“……Who are you?”
Ark tilted his head to one side and asked.
The man frowned and answered in a low voice.
“Ah, yes. Valencia! I had forgotten about you. Please tell me your name the next time you appear. Huhuhu, the dog who was smashed by me has appeared. Then I guess you want that to happen again.”
Ark made a really hateful expression and laughed. Then Rapid turned his head to look at Valencia. His eyes seemed to be asking if it was true. Valencia’s face reddened with shame.
“You cocky bastard. Don’t mess with me.”
“Ha, the dog that was smashed by me is yelling while the other wants to welcome me kindly. I wonder who the cocky ones are?”
“If you keep having that thought then you’ll disappear.”
“Why don’t you try saying that after fighting me?”
Ark replied in a ludicrous voice. But unlike his unconcerned expression, inwardly he was confused. Ark’s head was already confused by the appearance of Rapid. And now there was the addition of Valencia.
–Valencia was the leader of the 1st armoured platoon on Beltana.
I unknowingly aggravated someone with a high rank. But I paid him back with interest.
I don’t need to worry about that guy now.
This was the three line history of Valencia that Ark remembered. But two lines were added after their reunion at Mt. Fargo.
I smashed him once again.
I don’t need to worry about that guy anymore.
It might’ve increased to 5 lines but the bottom line was that he didn’t need to worry about that guy. It was impossible to be comfortable now that he saw Valencia again. Valencia’s aura clearly showed that he wanted revenge. That wasn’t the only worrisome part.
‘The magic circle in the Harmadon constellation was the work of the robed men who attacked Mt. Fargo. And Valencia was with that man. He might’ve simply been hired as a mercenary but…..’
He couldn’t ignore the possibility that Valencia had a relationship with those guys. That guy possessed a grudge against Ark and he might have something to do with this event! A guy like that was part of the investigation team. Rapid was also Marquis Jyubel’s mole. Ark already had a headache before it even started.
‘Damn, of all users why is it Valencia……?’
Ark sighed with frustration. Marquis Martin frowned and asked Jyubel.
“What do you mean?”
“Valencia is a person dishonourable discharged from the federation.”
“That isn’t a problem. Any private agent is qualified for the investigation team. And like Marquis-nim said, Valencia isn’t part of the federal army anymore. Apart from the grudge he has against Ark, is there any reason that I shouldn’t recommend him?”
Ark immediately understood the situation. It was no coincidence that Valencia was on the team. Ark planted the impression of ‘tough opponent’ in Marquis Jyubel after the events in S-20. Therefore he was quite neurotic after learning Ark would participate in the investigation team. So Jyubel needed participants who would mark Ark. The user he selected for this role was Valencia! In other words, Valencia was there as an anti-Ark.
“It seems like I don’t have to introduce the two of you. I don’t have anything else to say so please excuse me. I’ll expect a lot from you in this investigation.”
Jyubel said meaningfully and turned around. He walked towards the pioneers gathered on one side with Rapid and Valencia beside him. Marquis Martin watched their backs before clicking his tongue and saying.
“Well, it doesn’t change anything.”
“Didn’t you say the pioneers were split into factions? This is an opportunity to learn those who are hostile towards me. It will also give me more motivation to fight against those guys.”
“You have confidence in yourself.”
“I need to be confident since you’ve handpicked me.”
Marquis Martin nodded with satisfaction. Of course, Ark had to beware of opponents other than Rapid and Valencia. Ark was with the military faction and the factions were competing. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that all the pioneers gathered around Marquis Jyubel were from the enemy faction. However Ark also wasn’t alone. Valencia and Rapid belonged to the political faction while Ark belonged to the military one. Of course the military faction kept a distance form Jyubel.
“I’ll introduce you.”
“There is no need.”
Marquis Martin said after they walked over to the users in the military faction. A user with a small body and moustache who looked like Super Mario said to them. His round eyes looked Ark up and down before smiling.
“Ark-nim, you are the one who received the title of Beltana and Athamas’ Hero?”
“You know me?”
“Of course. I was in this room when Marquis Martin said your name. Well, I did hear it before. You were persistently broadcasted on the federal TV. There is no one gathered here who doesn’t know about Ark-nim.”
Once again, Ark was a celebrity. Furthermore he had performed psychological warfare with Marquis Jyubel as soon as he entered the room. Ark had unintentionally drawn their interest when he provoked Rapid and Valencia.
“Yes, that’s why I don’t need to introduce you separately.”
Marquis Martin stepped back with a smile. Then Mario (?) approached Ark even more closely and said.
“Is there anybody who doesn’t know Ark-nim? All the people here must’ve heard Marquis-nim. We’re reliable colleagues unlike those guys over there. But I’ll introduce you.”
Mario went to grab Ark’s arm.
“Hey, you over there!”
“Who else would I be pointing to? This body is the one that reached 18th place. Do you have any questions? You are the youngest so of course you should do it.”
“Shut up! Just do it quickly!”
3 men were whispering together when one of them was pushed. The man who was pushed out flinched and jumped with surprise. However, the two guys behind were glaring so he came up to Ark with weeping eyes.
“I-I…..I have a question……”
“Huh? What is it?”
“That is, have you ever…..I mean…..are you the Ark of New World?”
‘Hah, this question again.’
He was already sick of this situation. He needed to repeat the same answer and he also needed to watch the other side’s response. Ark could tell whether they were pleased or disappointed by their reactions. It would be difficult to be comfortable in their presence. But this time something was different.
“No. I am a different Ark.”
“Yes, I heard that Ark hasn’t started Galaxian yet?”
“Yes, I heard thank to! Indeed! Thank you very much!”
“Huh? Thank you?”
“Ah, no! Hyung-nims, it isn’t him!”
The man shouted brightly as he ran to his fellow colleagues. Then he hugged the user who had said ‘shut up!’
“It wasn’t him! He just resembles that guy!”
It was the first time Ark had seen this reaction. Didn’t they seem slightly pitiable?
“Who are those people?”
“Eh? You don’t know him?”
Mario asked with a surprised expression.
“Doesn’t Ark-nim watch the game exclusive news?”
“Game exclusive news……”
Ark flinched as he heard the words from Mario’s mouth. The game exclusive news was a program focused on virtual reality games that 80% of gamers in Korea watched. Ark of New World had appeared on the game exclusive news before. Well, he could get game related information through the broadcast so Ark had watched it every week. However not long ago he started avoiding watching the game exclusive news. It was after the female MC was changed. The name of the new female MC was Jung Hye-sun. In the past Ark knew her as Roco. These days many people who got a divorce were friends but their relationship was still uncomfortable.
“I didn’t watch the TV.”
“The one who talked to Ark-nim was B and the other one is Ferguson. He is a famous user like Ark-nim. The game exclusive news just recently released a ranking of users from #1 to #50 and Ferguson took the 18th spot. Well he was pushed out of the rankings in the next week. The two people he’s here with is A and B.”
“A and B?”
“Yes. A and B. That’s their names.”
A and B…..Ark had heard some strange names over the several years he was playing games but these were the worst.
‘They are A and B? Is that real?’
It was to the extent that he felt compassion for them! Nevertheless, Ark was more interested in Ferguson than in A and B. Galaxian serviced the whole world and millions of players accessed it at the same time. There were millions of registered users. Of course the game exclusive news couldn’t investigate all the users but no ordinary person could reach rank 18. His naming sense also wasn’t ordinary.
‘I have to keep an eye on him.’
Perhaps Ferguson might be necessary. If they wanted to avoid Ark in Galaxian then they’ve probably given up on New World already. Ferguson wasn’t the only user Ark was paying attention to.
‘……Over there as well?’
The other users weren’t inferior to Ferguson. The pioneers gathered in the room were those specifically picked by the nobles of the federation. In other words, they were users with the certificate of quality from the federation nobles.
It was possible to understand just from looking at the equipment.
The more high level and expensive the equipment was, the more flashy it looked. The equipment Ark looked at shone with different types of special effects.
But his interest went from the equipment to Mario.
“I am Cayenne.”
“Cayenne-nim is the CEO of an agent that mainly dispatches mercenaries in Sidellin. This isn’t accurate but it is rumours that there are more than 100 mercenaries scatter all over that belong to him. It is the highest record for a single agent.”
“I’m Ryu. Please take care of me.”
“Ryu-nim is the CEO of an agent called Arion. Arion only has 7~8 employees but they are all high level users. Ryu-nim’s staff has enough skills to take down a large group of opponents.”
Mario gave out the name and relevant information about other users like a vending machine.
“I’m impressed that you remember all this.”
“I’m a merchant.”
“Huh? A merchant?”
“Oh, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Mario. Heh, did you flinch because you’ve been calling me Mario in your mind? In fact I deliberately made it like this.”
Mario’s real identity was actually Mario! However he wasn’t an innocent plumber trying to rescue a princess.
“I told you that I’m a merchant. Information is the most important thing to merchants. And I’m familiar with other users. It is profitably to become familiar with other users. Huhuhu! Even female users don’t guard against Mario.”
Mario truly was calculating. But Ark was more startled at his occupation than Mario’s name or background. It was highly likely that this mission would involve a battle against the Rama and Aschulat agents. Therefore the most important thing required for this team was combat. The number of troops was limited so the team needed to be configured around combat power as much as possible. Yet one of the 10 spots was taken by a merchant.
‘Perhaps Mario isn’t an ordinary merchant?’
While Ark was busy thinking.
“Marquis-nim, how long do we have to wait for?”
Cayenne who was introduced a little while ago said with an irritated expression. Then Marquis Martin turned back around and asked.
“Didn’t you hear from the guard? Not everybody participating in the task force has arrived yet.”
“Eh? Isn’t everyone here?”
“10 pioneers from each faction are participating in this mission so that should be 20 altogether. Including Ark-nim we are 10 people. Rapid also makes the other side 10 people. Haven’t all the spots been filled? Then who else are we waiting for?”
“There is still one person remaining.”
“One person? What faction does the pioneer belong to?”
“Neither of them. He is……”
Marquis Martin sighed and was about to open his mouth. Then the door opened and a man appeared. Wearing huge iron armour like a medieval knight and carrying a sword on their shoulders and a 1 metre gun in both hands, the 10 people entered with a threatening impression like they were attacking the room. A skull was carved on their chests!
“What the, these guys?”
“Skull? Are they pirates?”
“Wait, that isn’t the mark of pirates. A clear, blue skull……”
Then they split in half. They formed two lines to allow a man to walk through. He had black hair, wore a black uniform and black cloak. He had an eyepatch over one eye and his whole atmosphere was dark. The man strode across the room without paying attention to the users in it. His cloak containing the mark of a blue skull waved with every step. Marquis Martin made a startled noise.
“Unbelievable…..I thought His Majesty wouldn’t select an ordinary user but……”
“His Majesty? The Emperor of the Galactic Federation?”
“Yes, the last participant is a pioneer that His Majesty selected. No, he received a title of nobility some time ago so he can’t be called a pioneer anymore.”
“A title of nobility? Then that person is?”
“Yes, that person is Baron Hawk.”
Mario moaned after hearing Marquis Martin’s words. But Ark wasn’t surprised. He didn’t know why they were amazed. Mario noticed Ark scratching his head with a puzzled expression and whispered.
“Seven Swords! Seven Swords!”
“Seven Swords? What are the Seven Swords…..?”
Ferguson explained when he heard what Mario was discussing. The game exclusive news had released a TOP 50 ranking. Of course this ranking varied every week. A users’ rank depended on the situation and new players entering the ranking. That’s why Ferguson was pushed out of 18th spot after a week. However there were some whose ranking didn’t change. They were the users occupying the top 7 spots. Ever since the TOP 50 had been released, they might’ve changed spots but those users had never been pushed out of the 1~7 spots. In other words, they were users on a completely different dimension from Ferguson. Thus they were named the Seven Swords! These 7 users were some of the biggest forces in the space frontier.
“Hawk is considered one of the best and is always part of the top 4 spots. He is always dressed in black armour so he was dubbed the Black Hawk. According to rumours, Hawk already possesses at least 4 space colonies and a fleet of spaceships.”
‘There is already a user with that kind of power?’
Ark looked at the man across the room with new eyes. In any game, a user with overwhelming power would build over time. Ark’s goal was to become such a user. However Galaxian’s service hadn’t even started for 10 months yet. While Ark had been a little too comfortable, another user was already building that power in the frontier. It wasn’t just one user but seven! And one of them was Hawk!
“He really is Hawk.”
“Oh my god! Then one of the Seven Swords is participating in this mission?”
“This isn’t a joke?”
The users became noisy after confirming it was Hawk. But Hawk just silently approached the couch where Ferguson was sitting. Ferguson sat up with excitement.
“Get out of the way, pig.”
“What? Ah, no. Huh? Ah! Yes!”
Ferguson jumped up like a pig struck by lightning. Then Hawk naturally sat down on the couch. Hawk’s gaze was then directed to the users. Hawk’s mouth went up as he gazed at the users divided into two groups. But Hawk quickly returned to his original expression and he started talking in a low voice.
“I am the team leader.”
“What? H-Hawk is the leader?”
“The leader isn’t going to be a NPC from the federation?”
Some users murmured with confusion. Hawk didn’t even look at them.
“I will now give you the instructions. From now on I will give you 4 days. I don’t care whether you use that time to organize your troops or supplies. I will leave the troops and supplies up to you. 4 days from now we will gather at the Turan Hive located on the southern tip of the Igracia constellation in the frontier. Any person who doesn’t arrive in time will be withdrawn.”
“I thought we were leaving today?”
“What are you talking about? Today is just the meeting day.”
“Anybody dissatisfied with this should withdraw now.”
Hawk interrupted the people complaining and surveyed the room.
“I’ll tell you now. I’m not interested in what the nobles of the federation think. My only concern is finding out information about the magic circle and antimatter. Of course, my final purpose is the compensation. How many people here are 100% certain they can get the reward?”
“The Rama and the Aschulat……”
“I’m convinced. I believe that anyone who follows me will be able to receive the same compensation. I’m the only one that can do that. As I said, I’ll leave the choice up to you.”
The users started to stir again at Hawk’s words.
“Are you sure?”
“If Hawk who is one of the Seven Swords talks like that……”
“We can do it! We can get the information about the magic circle and antimatter before the Rama and Aschulat!”
“Okay! I will follow Hawk!”
‘What? That guy?’
Ark looked at Hawk with astounded eyes. Until now the users had been disgruntled with Hawk’s one-sided commands. It was natural. They would accept it if it was a NPC but nobody would like receiving commands from another user. Especially if the users had a lot of lose. However Hawk changed their attitudes with just a few words. They were affected by the name Seven Swords but he knew how to deal with people.
‘I guess he isn’t one of the Seven Swords for nothing.’
“I leave it here.”
Hawk stopped speaking and got off the couch. And he walked in the middle of his subordinates like when he came in. But he hesitated while walking past Ark and turned his head.
“Are you Ark?”
Ark replied in a curt voice. He was brusque even in the first meeting. Ark had no reason to show him respect. But Hawk just stretched out his hand like he wasn’t interested in Ark’s attitude.
“I wanted to say hello. I heard a lot about you from the federation TV. I wanted to meet you at least once and now we’re on the same team. I will expect a lot from you in the future.”
“I will try.”
Ark said as he shook Hawk’s hand.
“Wah, the reception of a user who received the Hero title really is different.”
“A Seven Sword greeted him.”
“Damn, this is the difference between our careers.”
Their voices were mixed with envy and admiration. However this was just unpleasant for Ark. The other users had misunderstood something.
They were overwhelmed with the Seven Swords business card and the Hawk took over the atmosphere with his charisma. But Hawk was still a user. It would be different if this was a NPC but he was a user. Ark didn’t want to be envied because of another user’s fame. His pride wasn’t the only reason why he thought it was unpleasant. There was a sharp light in Hawk’s eyes. He didn’t get a good feeling from those eyes.
‘What on earth? This guy?’