Space 1: Special Reward

SPACE 1. Special Reward

-A new city has appeared to the north of Nabe.

-So far the northern trading port Charem has only existed in rumours. It is registered with the galactic federation as a special autonomous trade region.

-Charem is a new, advanced base in the northern frontier!

Right after Charem was registered as the autonomous trade region. The news spread throughout the excited users of the federation at a LTE speed. The users with a merchant affiliate showed a particularly hot reaction.

“Charem…..that city was real?”

The merchants were no strangers to the name Charem. It was a city that smuggled goods through the galaxy so they had no choice but to hear about it. However, the exact location and how to access it were unknown so it had been treated like an urban legend until now.

“This is a great opportunity to open new trade routes!”

The merchants gathered their baggage and headed for Charem. Then the interest of the warriors naturally turned to Charem.

“There are still a lot of unexplored areas in the north compared to the rest of Istana. It had no city or village so it was too much trouble to go but now the situation has changed. With Charem acting as a base we can now explore the northern areas!”

The adventurous people cheered.

“The new trading city has appeared so merchants will flock there. Huhuhu, it is easy to make money from merchants. Right now Charem isn’t connected to other cities via the Star Gate. The routes there will still be limited so it will be simple to take from merchants. Let’s go! Grab your weapons!”

Even the criminals cheered.

“The security around Charem won’t be working properly. Therefore a lot of thieves will target small scale merchants. We will escort them to destroy the thugs and raise awareness with agents in other areas. Let’s go! Pack your shields!”

The security companies cheered as well. But not everyone welcomed the emergence of Charem. Dozens of octopuses were watching from the lake as Charem suddenly appeared.

Unbelievable…..

No way! Why did a city all of a sudden…..?

Oh my god! A disaster! This is a disaster!

Around 100 octopuses grabbed their heads and screamed.

————————————————————————————————————

Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku!

A few hours ago. A large spaceship emitted a roaring sound and flew away. After the Sufferers incident finished, the Aschulat sent some transport ships as support. There were two types of people who took this transport ship. The city had been blocked for a month so merchants were on the ship to help with deliveries. Of course, Charem was autonomous region but it was still under the control of the federation. Therefore criminals or hostile species like Clark had no choice but to feel anxious. As soon as the blockade was lifted, many people swarmed to the port and exited Charem.

“This is why it doesn’t have the atmosphere of a shopping mall.”

Ark clicked his tongue as he looked around and murmured. Huge crowds were gathering at the port so the other regions were relatively quiet. He could wander the wide road without bumping into someone and the doors for the shops lined up barely opened.

“But this is a temporary phenomenon.”

A new city had been registered in an area that was previously classified as undeveloped land. Right now people were ebbing out of Charem like a tide but soon more people would flock in. Until now this city was filled with smugglers not pioneers. Now Charem would change. Charem was a special autonomous trading region with fewer restrictions compared to other cities so it was likely to grow explosively.

“This is the greatest time to grab a spot!”

Ark looked around Charem with shining eyes. If he had to explain……

‘It has been 4 months since I’ve started Galaxian and I hadn’t really adapted during that time. It was I didn’t have a concrete direction. If I have a specific direction then I can endeavour to work towards that goal.’

When checking it clearly, it was Lucifer. He had proposed a condition and he had hurt his head thinking about it. He also died while raising his level. The condition that Lucifer raised was to reach the ultimate goal. It was such an ambiguous condition that Ark wandered off.

‘But there is no reason to think too hard. No matter what the ultimate goal is, there is only one answer. The strongest person in the game wins! I just have to be stronger than Lucifer.’

It didn’t mean simply raising his character level. Anybody could raise their level in a general PC game. However MMORPGs, especially virtual reality games weren’t that simple. His purpose in New World was to make money and he raised his level to reach that goal, ultimately becoming the strongest person in that game.

‘Yes, it is clear that I need an organization as well as power to fight against Lucifer.’

When he thought about it, Ark also did that in New World. At that time Lucifer had the Army of Darkness as a powerful organization. Most people only remembered Ark’ part against Lucifer but he had actually led a coalition to win the war.

‘Fortunately I was the commander of the allied forces. I was also able to protect Lancel village that was my home base thanks to Dark Eden. They were the reason I was able to push back Lucifer in New World. Yes, now isn’t the time to be wandering. Right now I need a base. I need funds and a base to rally the forces!’

This was the conclusion Ark came to after 4 months of worrying. In order to create a stronghold, he needed to register as an agent in Galaxian. An agent might seem similar to a guild in general RPG games but it was actually a different organization. And the registration cost was 27,000 gold! The price was 10 times the amount required to establish a guild in other games. Unlike a guild that was a simple gathering, an agent was a business. The privileges given was also different from the standards of a guild……it was too complicated to expand on right now but the agent registration was another worry.

‘Where should I do the agent registration?’

It was this. When registering an agent, the city registered in would become a base. The rights given to the agent came from the relevant city. So Ark had considered Tatuine, the most prosperous city in the galactic federation. But he changed his mind the moment Charem was registered as an autonomous region.

‘Right now Tatuine is the most stable city. However it is the same for other users. Many users have already registered as agents in Tatuine.’

It meant there would be competitors everywhere.

‘Charem has no influx of users yet. The city is new so there will be more opportunities. Moreover, it is designated as an autonomous region so the growth potential is a lot better than Tatuine. There is no better place to be my base.’

Furthermore, he received a 30% discount on services thanks to his Mediator title. This privilege would be a tremendous help when operating a business in the future. No, even the 30% discount on the 27,000 agent registration rights means that he only needed to pay 18,900 gold. The discount gave him a huge potential for growth! It was a no-brainer. And Ark presently had 18,650 gold.

‘I still need 250 gold even with the discount but……’

He still needed to receive the reward for the <Operation to retake the management system> quest. He could receive the reward as money and register as an agent!

‘I’m close to reaching my goal!’

Kukwang! Kukwang! Kukwang! Kukwang!

He heard a banging sound while he was walking. It was the noise of equipment repairing the areas destroyed by the Sufferers. Ark would soon register as an agent so this was like sweet music to his ears. He finally reached the desired street.

“It is here.”

A huge metal building was being built in a corner of the business district. It was made from bits of metal scraps so the building was shabby but that was an unrelated matter. The important thing was that this was the residence of the Lord of Charem. In other words, this was the temporary lodgings for Lord Java who he would receive the quest reward from. Ark showed the guards at the front of the hotel the counter that Clark had given him when he first joined the squad.

“I am a mercenary who participated in the operation to retake the management system with the Phoenix squad.”

“Oh, I’ve heard about you from Clark.”

Phoenix was a mercenary squad but they were Charem’s elite soldiers. And it was also known that they played a crucial role in settling the Sufferers problem. Therefore the guards had a good impression of the Phoenix members. The atmosphere made him anticipate the quest reward.

“Then follow me. I’ll guide you to Lord Java.”

“Thank you.”

Ark followed behind the guards. They crossed a long hallway and finally arrived in front of a spacious hall.

“How many times did I tell you?”

A rough voice was heard from the hall.

“If it wasn’t for their help then Charem wouldn’t have been saved!”

“A bizarre voice is talking. Did your head rot while you were stuck in the pipes? The soldiers of the federation and Aschulat were the ones who saved Charem.”

“Are you denying it?”

“There is no more need to negotiate!”

“I just……”

“It is disgusting to hear! Stop and go away! I don’t have time to argue with you. Guards, what are you doing? Remove this guy!”

“Wait a minute! Please wait a minute, Lord-nim! Lord-nim!”

“I said I don’t want to hear it!”

‘What? What’s going on? In addition, this voice is…..eh?’

Ark’s eyes widened as he peeked over the eyes of the guards. A creature that looked like a giant larva was sitting on a floating chair in the middle of the hall. If he saw it in the Outlands he would shoot a bullet into its head but it didn’t seem to be a monster judging by the atmosphere. No, the various jewels and decorations hanging from it made it seem like a high ranking alien rather than a monster. The larva creature was probably Java, the Lord of Charem. However Ark wasn’t surprised because Lord Java was a larva.

“Jay?”

The man being dragged by the guards suddenly raised his head after hearing Ark’s voice. Jay was the man who helped Ark navigate through the control tower! But Ark had forgotten about him after taking care of the Mumu and the negotiations with the Aschulat. Jay also looked at Ark with surprised eyes.

“Ah Ark-nim! That’s right!”

Jay shrugged off the guards and approached Ark.

“It is good that you came. Lord-nim, here! Here is a witness!”

“What? Who is this?”

“He is the person that Clark of the Phoenix squad told you about.”

A guard replied after the larva frowned at Ark. Jay nodded and said.

“Yes, that’s right! I told you. This is the warrior who decided not to give up after receiving the surprise attack from the Mumu and losing most of his fellow soldiers! He is the witness who will prove me words. Ark-nim please say something!”

“No, I don’t know……”

Ark scratched his head with a puzzled expression and Jay immediately shouted.

“The Charenjok!”

“Eh? Charenjok?”

“Yes, the Charenjok! Will Ark-nim deny it as well? Ark-nim was able to survive the Mumu’s attack and save Charem thanks to the help of the Charenjok. If they didn’t help then it is likely that Charem would’ve been destroyed. Shouldn’t they receive some kind of compensation? Even if they are slaves, doesn’t it make sense? I won’t leave until they give them compensation!”

“……Ah!”

He had forgotten until he heard Jay’s words. The agent registration distracted him so much that he forgot about Tuntun and the Charenjok. He had received a quest from the elder Bakum to find the missing Charenjok. But when he thought about it, it wasn’t as easy as he thought. The octopuses that disappeared were alive but they were presently Java’s slave. This was the reason Jay was raving wildly. Anyway, the Charenjok were the ones who saved Jay from the Sufferers. He was spouting fire because he wanted the Charenjok to escape from their identities as slaves.

‘This is true……’

Ark scratched his head and looked at Java. Ark had visited Java to receive the quest compensation. Yet now he was embroiled in the problem of the Charenjok. Of course, it wouldn’t be a problem if Java decided to release the Charenjok but that was highly unlikely judging from his expression. No matter how he looked at Java, he didn’t seem like an alien with a good nature. In order words, there was a high possibility that he would incur Java’s ill feelings. No, it felt like Java already had ill feelings towards him. Java had been glaring the whole time Jay was talking to Ark.

‘However I can’t pretend ignorance……’

Anyway it was true that Ark received Tuntun’s help. He couldn’t pretend otherwise just to receive the reward. But he was worried about suddenly interjecting. Then Java who was staring at Ark suddenly tilted his head to one side.

“Wait? Ark? If you are Ark then perhaps…..”

“Yes, Ark is the name of the human who negotiated with the Aschulat ambassador.”

Someone who looked like a secretary replied and Java’s gaze turned back to Ark. His eyes were asking if it was the same person.

“Yes, I am that Ark.”

“But wasn’t the mercenary who joined the Phoenix squad called Alan?”

“There were circumstances and I used a pseudonym for a while.”

Ark scowled at Jay and replied. In fact, Ark hadn’t thought about revealing his identity until he received the quest reward. Ark had sneaked into Charem as a spy for Marquis Martin in the first place. The whole thing was resolved but he didn’t know what problems it would cause.

So he was still using the Hyde Helmet but Jay had called him Ark.

“That is normal for mercenaries.”

Fortunately Java didn’t dig deeper into the matter. The unpleasant expression on his face also smoothed out.

“I never imagined that the person who completed the mission with the Phoenix squad and the person who mediated with the Aschulat was the same. You saved Charem. But this is a different problem. I don’t care who you are or what you say. The slaves are my possessions. It is natural for my possessions to protect my assets. Yet you want me to give compensation for doing their duty? They are my slaves. Other people who no right to tell me how to treat them.”

Java spoke with an arrogant expression.

Then a light flashed in Ark’s eyes and he said.

“Wait a moment. Lord-nim is acknowledging that the Charenjok helped?”

“What? No, I mean……”

Java flinched and tried to make an excuse but Ark struck first.

“Like Jay explained, it is obvious that the Charenjok played a large role in saving Charem. Of course, they are Lord-nim’s slaves so you have the right to do what you want with them. However, Charem is now designated a special autonomous trade region so many people would be flocking from all over. If they know the contents of this situation then I’m worried that they will misunderstand Lord-nim.”

“Hrmm……”

His words were effective. Java folded his short arms and started thinking. Then Jay took the chance and spoke quickly.

“Yes! I will spread rumours! I’ll spread rumours about Lord-nim in every direction!”

“This bastard…..!”

Java glared angrily at Jay. Then he looked at Ark again before nodding.

“If you received the Mediator title then you definitely aren’t ordinary. Okay, I’ll accept your proposal.”

“R-really?”

The answer was surprisingly different from what he expected. It was settled so easily that he was puzzled. Java laughed and continued.

“However I will only release the Charenjok called Tuntun.”

“Huh?”

“Isn’t it natural? I’ve heard about all the circumstances from Jay. According to him, isn’t Tuntun the only one out of the Charenjok who saved you? The other Charenjok were just hiding in the pipes. There is no reason to give mercy to slaves like that. If you still want to save the other Charenjok…..I will sell them.”

Java asked a man in uniform standing next to him.

“Adjutant, how many Charenjok slaves do I have?”

“If I add all the young children that the androids captured from the water facility, the total is 35. Excluding Tuntun that is 34 Charenjok.”

“34 in total. If it is 30 gold for 1 then that is a total of 1,020 gold. Okay, I will make it 1,000 gold. How about it? This is the maximum that I can tolerate. I’ve achieved my obligations by releasing Tuntun. If you want to release the other Charenjok then you have to pay that amount. Isn’t that right?”

As expected from the Lord of a smuggling city, Java wasn’t easy to crack. There was no room for him to object……Jay also released this and cursed.

“Dammit, this guy is really nasty! Spit! Really petty and nasty!”

“Shut up, Jay!”

Java was shooting a really mean glare at Jay.

“You shouldn’t be worrying about the Charenjok right now. I’ve received some testimonies from employees that escaped from the control tower. If the reason for the outbreak was due to the research then you will have to take responsibility as the head of research.”

“That’s it! This job, I resign! I resign!”

“He dares……!”

Java snapped angrily at Jay. Then he acted like it was too troublesome and turned back to Ark.

“Anyway, this is the maximum amount that I can concede. This is a courtesy that I’m showing you because the Aschulat ambassador recognized you. But I also have a condition.”

“Huh? Condition?”

“Before saying that…..you performed the mission with the Phoenix squad so shouldn’t you receive the compensation? Let’s check that and speak afterwards.”

‘What condition is he suddenly talking about?’

Ark was uncomfortable by Java’s sudden words but handed the counter over to the secretary. Java asked the secretary who was looking at the counter on his computer.

“What is the number that is piled up on the counter?”

“1, 646. According to the agreed contract with the Phoenix squad, we need to pay 800 gold.”

‘…..800 gold!’

Ark felt an exhilarating feeling after hearing the secretary’s words. Although he entered the control tower with the Phoenix members, Ark was all along after the Mumu attacked the elevator. The federation and Aschulat troops cleaned up the Sufferers but that was possible because of Ark. When considering that point, 800 gold was a lot for a quest that he received by chance. He had gained an extra 800 gold. No, it was quite a satisfying amount. Ark’s biggest interest was the 250 gold required for the agent registration. If he was given 800 gold then he could register and have some spare money!

‘That’s it. I can complete the agent registration.’

Ark puffed up with anticipation.

“This is my condition.”

“Huh?”

“Charem has been attacked by the Sufferers for 1 month so half the city is in ruins. The meeting with the federation and Aschulat has designated this area as an autonomous trading region but nothing can be done in this state. The problem is Charem’s recovery. We need huge amounts of money for the recovery project. Charem’s urgent problem is to save every copper possible.”

“T-then my pay……”

Did it have something to do with the Charenjok? Ark started feeling uneasy.

“It’s not that I’m not paying you. I just want to postpone it a bit.”

“Postpone the payment date? For how long?”

“Let’s see? Restoring the city should take about 1 month?”

Ark’s body felt cold after hearing Java’s answer. Even if he didn’t receive the quest reward, he could still do the agent registration. Among the loot obtained from the control tower, he could sell the ‘RPG PW-600’ and ‘Ray Steel-???’ and it would be sufficient to get 250 gold. However Ark was irritated that he would have to wait 1 month to receive a quest reward. Think about it. Who wouldn’t be annoyed if they expected to receive their pay check today only to be told to wait 1 month? Java was looking at Ark’s expression and began to talk quickly.

“If you don’t like that then there are some other ways.”

“Some other ways?”

“There are two ways. The first one is to receive the reward through the Charenjok. The price for the Charenjok is 1,000 gold so you have to pay me 200 gold.”

“Ark-nim, 200 gold……”

“No!”

He replied in a decisive voice before Jay could finish talking. The octopuses who were slaves had saved Jay and Ark’s lives. But like Java said, Tuntun was the one who actually helped him and his freedom was guaranteed. Ark had no reason to be responsible for the other octopuses. And the octopuses were hiding in the northern lake so they didn’t have any money. There was still the <Under the Black Water> quest but he wouldn’t receive a dime if he rescued the Charenjok. At best it would probably be a bag of fish for travelling. There was no quest compensation and he would have to pay 200 gold.

“And the other way?”

“Play a simple game with me.”

“Game?”

“Yes, there are no copper coins in my vault right now. In order to obtain the funds necessary to restore Charem, I need to dispose of the items in my personal collection that I’ve gathered for a long time. But it will be tough to receive a fair value when I have to sell it so quickly. Therefore…..I’m also uncomfortable postponing the payment for 1 month so how about you receive something from my collection as a reward instead?”

“Take something from your collection as a reward?”

“Yes, I’m actually more comfortable with this. However the control with Kalbern and the Phoenix members said I had to pay in cash. But if you accept then we can change the terms of the contract.”

“Then why did you talk about a game?”

“Huhuhu, this is the key point.”

Java laughed and pointed towards an iron door.

“It would be no problem if I decided to give a specific item in the first place but the contract agreed to give money. I have no complaints but my position means I just can’t give it to you. And it will be difficult to confirm if the item is actually 800 gold. So I want you to go to my collections warehouse to select it directly. You can choose one item. Time isn’t an issue. Take your time and select it carefully. However it ends if you exit the warehouse. In other words, the item you pick can be worth 1 gold. Of course, the opposite is true and it can even be worth 10,000 gold. Do you understand? This is a game to test your discerning eye.”

“A game to test my discerning eye……”

Ark looked at the iron door that Java indicated. If he received this proposal in New World then he would accept without thinking. Ark had the skill called ‘Discerning Eye’ and his experience meant he could guess the approximate value of the items. But Ark wasn’t familiar with the swords, armour and items in Galaxian so he couldn’t judge the value. It was the future so special items like firearms, RPGs and grenades also existed. It was difficult for Ark to guess the price of a commercial transaction. In some cases he might suffer an enormous loss.

‘But……’

There was also a chance of gaining a huge benefit.

‘And the value of the goods isn’t just determined by the store price alone. It is like the meteorite in the laboratory. Some items might be worth thousands of gold but I won’t be able to sell it at the stores. There might be a lot of things similar to the meteorite in Java’s collection. Yes, this might be my chance to get my hands on an excellent item. If I add some conditions then I might not lose money.’

Ark considered for a moment before speaking to Java.

“I accept. But I have a few questions.”

“What is it?”

“Is there a time limit?”

“No. It doesn’t matter how many days you take. Just search until you find something you like.”

“Are there any rules about touching the stuff?”

“It doesn’t matter as long as you only bring out one item.”

“Then my last point. I don’t know what types of items are in the warehouse. In some cases I might have trouble lifting it alone so I want to go in with Jay.”

“It also doesn’t matter who goes in with you.”

‘……The game is over.’

Ark was inwardly certain of it after hearing Java’s answer. As long as he could directly confirm the item information window, he could obtain the most expensive item even if it took some time. Of course, it was also dafficult to determine the value even with the information window. That’s why he wanted to make Jay enter with him. Jay might’ve resigned just now but he had still been Charem’s head of research. He would possess more knowledge about relics than Ark.

‘This is a game that I absolutely can’t lose!’

“I’ll accept!”

Ark’s eyes shone as he answered.

Yet that didn’t even last for 1 minute before Ark’s face turned dark.

“T-this is…..”

A shocking scene unfolded before him in the warehouse. Ark naturally expected a warehouse full of treasure after hearing about Java’s collection. However, stacked in the warehouse were piles of scrap items and machine parts instead of treasures. Instead of a collection, it should be called a pile of junk!

“I-it’s a scam!”

Jay shouted.

“A scam? Where did I scam you? This is my collections warehouse that I told you about. The collections warehouse where I keep all the goods gathered from the areas that the Sufferers destroyed.”

“No way! You didn’t say that there was only junk in the warehouse!”

“I never said that it wasn’t second hand items. This might be a misunderstanding but I never lied. I never said that you would find something worth 800 gold in the warehouse.”

Java shamelessly replied.

‘……This!’

Ark now realized his mistake. He was fooled by the word ‘collection’ and forgot to ask the main question.

He forgot to ask if there was an item worth more than 800 gold!

“But there is no need to be disappointed. We gathered everything from those areas so who knows what might’ve been missed? Why don’t you check everything one by one? If you search eagerly then you might even find a treasure.”

Java turned his levitating chair and exited the warehouse.

‘……I was stupid!’

Recrimination surged inside him afterwards. When he first heard the proposition, Ark thought the probability of losing was 1%. On the other hand, the probability of a jackpot was at least 50%. But he should’ve had doubts. The proposal was too good to trust. He should’ve been suspicious.

‘The Phoenix members told me. Java isn’t a guy to be trusted.’

This was why Kalbern specifically placed a money reward in the contract. But Ark was careless with Java. He felt uncomfortable with him but Ark wasn’t expecting a scam.

“It’s a scam! Scam! Ark-nim, let’s just leave!”

Jay was still clamouring away.

“No, like Java said it isn’t a scam.”

Ark looked at the pile of junk as he said.

“It is like Java said. He didn’t lie. I just didn’t question him enough. And I was the one who accepted the offer.”

“Oh my god! Why are you saying this now? Isn’t Ark-nim angry?”

“I am angry. 800 gold suddenly changed to several coppers worth of scrap iron. Of course anger would surge. But if I just ran out of the warehouse then it is GAME OVER. And running out and hitting him isn’t a good idea. He isn’t an ordinary NPC but a Lord. We would just need to pay hospital expenses. I’m angry! I’m angry but there’s nothing to do!”

The result was obvious. But Ark hadn’t given up yet.

“Please help me.”

Ark rolled up his sleeve and walked to a pile of scrap iron. Then Jay frowned.

“Are you really going to search through that pile of crap?”

“Giving up is just what Java wants.”

“I guess, but……”

“Java thinks there is no item over 800 gold here but he hasn’t checked everything. Therefore we should look at every piece of scrap metal. There is no reason to give up yet.”

“You’re really going to check it?”

“I have to.”

Ark replied without thinking about it. From the beginning Ark had been planning to check all items and picking the best one. Things were no different now. There were more than 100 items so the odds of finding something worth 800 gold……it was honestly depressing but Ark wasn’t going to give up.

“I won’t give Java the satisfaction of abandoning this task!”

“…..I understand. I’ll help you.”

Finally Jay rolled up his sleeves and approached.

“Then I’ll dig up the scrap metal. Jay-nim will classify them.”

Ark took out his shovel with a determined expression.

“Then let’s start! Ohhhh!”

Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!

Ark started continuously digging.

-<Old Motor>, <Used Battery>, <Broken Monitor>…..

Trash kept on pouring out!

“Now let’s continue! Ohhhh!”

Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!

-<Clothing Pieces>, <Crumpled Pieces of Iron>, <9 mm Screw x10>……

Trash flowed out over and over again! Trash! Trash!

“Pant pant pant, dammit!”

Ark cursed while breathing harshly. His lower back was sore after digging for 6 hours without a break. But the result was a total failure. Even when he dug trench after trench, the only thing he found was japtem. It was japtem that was only worth several gold! Not one item was worth a lot of money.

‘Well, I knew this from the beginning……’

Not even any useful items showed up. If he couldn’t find an item worth 800 gold then he was hoping to find something useful. He searched for piles of junk for 6 hours but he didn’t even find one cheap iron sword. Fortunately he learnt the Metallurgy skill so he found some scrap metal worth 3~4 gold.

‘If there any item that I can use in here?’

Ark looked around with gloomy eyes before shaking his head.

‘No, I shouldn’t be weak! I’ve only searched through 30% of this. There is still more than half left. I can’t give up until I search through every piece of scrap metal!’

Ark gnashed his teeth together and grabbed the shovel again. He bent his waist and started digging again.

Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa…..tang!

The end of his shovel hit against a large object. He moved the surrounding scrap metal around and found a big machine buried. Most of the scrap metal piled in the warehouse was the size of a soccer ball. But the machine deeply buried in the scrap metal was more than 2 metres.

“This might be the most expensive thing we can find in here.”

Because it was scrap metal. The value of scrap metal depended on the weight.

“If this is a rare metal then we might be able to receive hundreds of gold for it…..damn, it is just an alloy. What, I can only receive 10 gold for this size?”

Ark checked the metal of the machine using metallurgy and resumed digging again. Then something popped into his head.

“Wait? The name of this machine……?”

He checked the information window again! There were other pieces of it scattered around.

‘Yes, so far everything I’ve checked was japtem. That’s right, Java collected all the scrap metal left in the ruins of the city. Clearly…..Java’s proposal was taking out one item so this isn’t breaking the rule. Maybe……’

“I found it! A way to defeat that larva bastard!”

Ark smiled and muttered.

————————————————————————————————————

Alive?

A large octopus shouted with an agitated look. After spending a full day in Java’s warehouse, Ark exited and rode the air board towards the Charenjok’s hiding place. The octopuses were delighted that their kin were alive but that only lasted for a brief moment.

But a slave……

Bakum shook his head and sighed.

That means they can’t return even if they’re alive?

“I’m sorry. I spoke to the lord of Charem many times but I only managed to release Tuntun. However I have a way to free the rest of the Charenjok.”

You have a way? What is it?

“Buying the Charenjok from the lord of Charem.”

B-buying? Buying the same species like a slave trader?

“Yes. It is wrong to pay money to buy a race that should be free but that is the reality. Why don’t you just think of it as paying a ransom to kidnappers?”

That is true however……

Bakum moved his 7 legs and hesitated. He looked at Ark with a worried expression and asked.

How much do we have to pay?

“Except for Tuntun, Java has 34 Charenjok so the ransom is 1,000 gold.

-1….1,000 gold!

Bakum’s head turned pale white with fear.

That’s impossible! We’re hiding in this type of place so how can we get that money?

Ark also knew this as well. The Charenjok wouldn’t be hiding in a place like this if they had money. They would just this money to buy citizenship. But the Charenjok could only catch fish and couldn’t gather that type of money. Well, the Charenjok on R-14 could just their pipe cleaning skills to earn money but these Charenjok couldn’t. However…..

“I’ll prepare the way to gain the money.”

In fact, Ark had a reason for visiting the Charenjok as soon as he left the warehouse. Some time ago, Ark had found the body of a huge machine in the pile of rubbish. Of course it was broken from the Sufferers attacks. Therefore it was just junk. He could only sell it as scrap metal.

Then Ark had a brilliant idea.

‘Can this machine be repaired?’

Ark had the idea because of small machine parts. The information window had written ‘some parts of a machine.’ He found a 2 metre large machine so he might be able to repair it. If it wasn’t broken then the machine would be worth a considerable amount!

‘Yes, Java placed all the scrap metal found in an area together. Then there is a large possibility that all the parts for his machine are in the warehouse. If I look for the necessary parts then I can assemble it!’

Of course not everyone could assemble a machine. Unless it had a simple structure, only engineers with the ‘mechanical engineering’ skill could assemble one. Obviously Ark wasn’t an engineer…..

“If there is a body then it is possible.”

Jay was an advanced engineer in charge of Charem’s research. He also had the necessary tools in Cheksun’s Toolbox. Since then, the direction of Ark’s work changed 180 degrees. He looked for parts that seemed like they would fit a large machine. That’s why Ark and Jay spent an entire day in the warehouse. They even needed to find the precise screws to attach the parts to the machine. Finding the parts, attaching them with screws, tightening and oiling took one day! When the machine was restored to its original appearance……

-Space Food Maker (Ver. 2)

Item type: Primary Production Machine

A machine made to settle the chronic food problem in the space pioneering age. Most planets in the galaxy contain wild flora and fauna that contain ingredients harmful to humans. In addition, the environment was too poor to grow crops common on earth so the early human pioneers experienced food problems.

The Space Food Maker was developed to settle this problem. This machine removes the various toxins and forms the extracted nutrients into the form of an energy bar. The resulting space food is easily to store, can be consumed anywhere and the prices are also affordable for pioneers.

<After ingredients are inserted, 120 Space Foods will be produced per hour. The quality of the Space Food will range between 1~3 depending on the quality and freshness of the ingredients>

Space Food Maker! It was just scrap metal when broken but the Space Food Maker was a machine worth thousands of gold! Java never imagined that Ark and Jay would be able to put together a machine like that. As expected, Java ran wild as soon as Ark dragged out the Space Food Maker.

“T-this is…..a foul! This is a foul!”

“Your condition was that I could bring out one item from the warehouse. You didn’t say anything about not assembling the parts inside. And……isn’t this ‘one’ item?”

Ark tapped the machine that had been changed to 10 metres using hundreds of parts and laughed. Ark could also use the same methods as Java. Java had to keep his promise. Java might be a larva but he was still a lord. Ark might’ve built it with hundreds of parts but the Space Food Maker was still one item! In the end Java was forced to admit it. 800 gold compensation had been turned into thousands of gold. However there was a small problem. The Space Food Maker might be worth thousands of gold…….

“It worked! Now we can save the Charenjok!”

Jay was still talking nonsense. Ark had no intention of wasting 1,000 gold to buy 34 Charenjok. But he couldn’t ignore Jay’s pleas now that he had the Space Food Maker. Ark thought for a while before finding a way to use the Space Food Maker.

You’re offering to rent the Space Food Maker?

“That’s right.”

Ark smiled and replied.

“In the beginning I thought about just selling the Space Food Maker so I can pay the Charenjok’s ransom. But I know that the Charenjok have their own pride despite being refugees.”

-No, that’s not……

“Also! Even if I buy their freedom, isn’t this place different from before? The Charenjok are still refugees. There is no guarantee that something like this won’t happen again. You’ve been hiding here but now Charem occupies this area. Soon a large number of people will be flocking here. Quite a few of them will be slave hunters.”

-Yes, that’s right. That’s why we’ve been discussing about leaving this place.

Bakum had received a huge shock when Charem first appeared. Ark nodded as if he understood and continued.

“The Space Food Maker needs ingredients. If you have the Space Food Maker then you can also gain money. If you catch the fish in the lake and make Space Food then you can eventually make enough money to buy a federation citizenship. You’ll no longer need to hide!”

Ooh!

The octopuses murmured with excitement at Ark’s speech. This was the method Ark developed to use the Space Food Maker. The Space Food Maker meant he didn’t need to waste money buying food but it actually wasn’t good for general users. The weight made it difficult to carry around and the person always needed ingredients. At least 2 people were needed, one to supply the ingredients and the other to operate the machine. However, the price of Space Food was 10~50 copper. If it produced 120 per hour in 24 hours, that would be 2,880 produced a day. If he calculated with the maximum amount then his profit would be 14 gold and 40 silver a day. It was possible to get a profit from the machine.

……If he didn’t include the labour costs.

‘It is different if there are aliens that will work for free.’

Ark looked at the 100 Charenjok and smiled. The northern lake was overflowing with fish that the Charenjok could catch. If the Charenjok didn’t rest and continued catching fish then it was possible to have a 24 hour non-stop operation! And if he rented it to the Charenjok then Ark didn’t need to manage the Space Food Maker machine directly.

‘Charem is an autonomous trade region so pioneers will flock here. Besides, the areas around Charem were wastelands. Of course it was possible to buy supplies in Charem. And Space Food is the item required above everything else! There will be plenty of customers!’

He even created a sales channel already. And Ark would get 30% of the profit. If he left them alone then the octopuses would earn money for him like the SCV (StarCraft Workers)

“However 1,000 gold is a large amount of money so it wouldn’t be easy to make that amount using the Space Food Maker. But that is the best I can do for now. The northern lake is also full of ingredients. If you have patience and work hard then it won’t take as long as you think.”

Bakum nodded after hearing Ark’s words.

The fact that the Charenjok are enslaved and we have to pay a ransom is deplorable. But there is no point lamenting the situation so I will accept your offer. And one day we might be able to buy a citizenship. However, this isn’t a safe place for us anymore. What guarantee is there that we won’t be caught as slaves?

It was an obvious problem. Naturally Ark had already thought of this.

“Like I said before, Tuntun isn’t Java’s slave anymore. He will stay in Charem to help his friends. However…..Tuntun might be released but he is a refugee so how can he possible stay in Charem?”

I don’t know.

“It is thanks to this.”

Ark laughed and took out a familiar collar.

-Slave’s Collar

Item Type: Restriction Ring

If you enter the authentication number of your Nymphe into this ring, you can restrict the body of a monster. The collar can tighten to give pain and it will blow up if the monster leaves the designated area.

The collar was developed to train captured monsters but now it is used to capture nationless aliens not protected by the federation. Therefore it became known as the slave’s collar. It is prohibited by law to use these rings on people with a citizenship.

It was the slave’s collar that had been around Tuntun! Bakum was also sensitive to the sight of the collar.

T-this is?

“Yes, the slave’s collar.”

W-why do you have this thing…..?

“This will guarantee your safety in the future.”

It will guarantee our future? Don’t tell me……?

“Yes, by law aliens with no citizenship won’t be protected by the federation. But if you are recognized as somebody else’s slave then no one can capture you. There is no reason to fear slave hunters and you can also freely access the city.”

We will become your slaves?

Bakum muttered with an unwilling expression. The other Charenjok who heard the word ‘slave’ also trembled. But Ark had no intention of being put off by their unease. Ark had already spent quite a bit of money on this plan. The Space Food Maker was equipped with parts from the warehouse but the inner battery and several motor parts were so badly damaged that they needed to be replaced. He also purchased the slave collars for the octopuses. This was an investment into the octopus SCV so that he could earn a steady income! And Ark knew that the Charenjok couldn’t refuse his offer. If they rejected the proposal then they were giving up on the 34 octopuses, including 5 children who were caught by Java. The Charenjok also had no other plans for their future.

‘The octopuses will understand if I make a reasonable justification……’

“I feel bad even though it is just for show. But this is the best course for now. I received the token as a symbol of the Charenjok’s friendship so can’t you think of these collars as a symbol of my friendship?”

Okay.

In the end Bakum nodded his head.

Putting on the collar weighs on my mind…..but it is a symbol of your friendship. No, we will think of it as a token of our appreciation for you. Thank you. Bakum bowed on behalf of his clan.

Bakum then placed the collar on his head. The remaining octopuses continuously used the Slave’s Collar and an information window popped up.

-112 Charenjok have been registered as Ark-nim’s slave.

The federation basically doesn’t admit slavery. However, illegal aliens who are wearing the Slave’s Collar will be treated as the private property of the citizen.

Therefore if someone else tries to capture the slave then they could be punished with unauthorized infringement of private property or theft.

And…..112 SCV were established.

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13 thoughts on “Space 1: Special Reward

  1. Pingback: Ark the Legend volume 6 chapter 1 | Rainbow Turtle Translations

  2. Naeko

    Ark found a loophole in the Federation laws in order to acquire 100 slaves. Now he has plenty of slaves to serve as shop staff if he is going to make a chain of Ark’s stores planet to planet.

    Like

    Reply
      1. eaa

        Ark will take their maney from secret hunting area and use them as a worker (he save a planet and city at another planet)

        Like

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