SPACE 2. Treasure Hunter
“It is painful.”
The man that resembled a mouse sighed. His name was Berami. He was a professional gamer who lived through games.
Professional gamers invested more time and effort than normal users into growing their characters, conquering hunting grounds and earning money by acquiring items.
But he wasn’t the only user who was a professional gamer. No, there was a small handful of pro gamers. He didn’t know the number in the past but now there was approximately 30%.
Nowadays the trend was intelligent pro gamers! Professional gamers invested an enormous amount of funds from the early stages of the game. Once pro gamers obtained a stable seat with their money, they were able to get a steady income.
However, it required a huge amount of investment in the early stages so only the ‘rich’ pro gamers chose such a method.
Thus another type of pro gamer was formed. They could be classified into the intelligent type, money type or both. Some pro gamers operated a store selling items at 10 times the price or there were those that scammed beginners who didn’t know the market price of japtem.
Well, there was the brave type but they were mostly ignored by intelligent pro gamers. Users who were pro gamers were unmistakable in a game. And half of the current pro gamers were the intelligent type.
Berami belonged to this category. But Berami was different from the other intelligent types or beginners. Snatching things was Berami’s specialty.
He looked around for pioneers who had found resources and ruins and then quickly registered it with the Council first. But he didn’t excavate it directly.
In order to avoid retaliation from the users he cheated, he would hide as soon as he got the monopoly rights. Whenever he succeeded, he could obtain thousands of gold but first he needed to wait 1~2 months. Once the opponent gave him, he would quietly start a new business.
This time Berami had acquired the exclusive grace period for the ruins on Inquiry. Normally he would sell it to other users immediately but the circumstances were different this time.
The opponents he snatched it from were NPCs, not users. There weren’t many merchants left on Inquiry. And he didn’t need to worry about retaliation from people like that.
‘I can get guaranteed profit and resources at a lower price. The exclusive grave period is 20 days so if I sell it I can get at least 200 gold. There is also the investment cost….’
There wasn’t a lot of chances to obtain ruins like this. Unlike the other ruins, the one on Inquiry had no monsters. It was buried in the ground but Berami could obtain the ruins if he mobilized enough labour.
‘Yes, it is too valuable to hand over for 200 gold. I can obtain good things by myself. Relics aren’t guaranteed but if I’m lucky then I can make a fortune. Okay! I’m going to try! I will plunge in to obtain a bit more money. I will play a direct role this time!’
Desire burned inside Berami. And he rallied 100 Charenjok slaves to excavate the ruins. However…..
|-An <Old Earthen Vessel> has been discovered at the ruins.|
|-An <Old Copper Coin> has been discovered at the ruins.|
|-<Rusted Equipment x5> has been discovered at the ruins…..|
He only obtained 20 antiques at most during the past fortnight. He would only receive 10 gold if he sold all of them.
“Dammit! What on earth, these ruins? Is it an ancient dumpster?”
Berami started fretting. He felt a big pain in his heart as he looked at the excavation site! Once the situation flowed this way, his followers immediately began to feel uneasy.
“Hyung-nim, what do we do now?”
“If this continues then it will be a perfect deficit!”
“We installed anti-aircraft guns around the ruins and even borrowed the Charenjok slaves. It costs 30 gold a day and we borrowed them for 20 days so that is 600 gold! We also have no money now. If we don’t find any expensive relics in the remaining period then there will be no way to pay the rental cost.”
“Hyung-nim should know the nature of humans. If we don’t pay the rental cost by the appointed date….”
“We won’t be able to step foot in the clearing.”
Berami was the most anxious about this part.
Berami’s funding situation wasn’t that good. Therefore he had borrowed slaves and an Excavator from other users.
600 gold for 20 days. At this rate, he wouldn’t be able to cover the rental cost let alone make a profit. Furthermore, it wasn’t an ordinary user who lent him slaves and the machine.
The user was famous in the pro gamer industry. He easily lent money to people but if it wasn’t returned by the promised date then he would kill them and suck out their bone marrow. In this state, Berami would become one of those users.
‘Damn, if I want to live…..’
Berami shook his head as he imagined the dark future.
“In such a situation, I might have to give him my rental deposit money! But there is still 6 days. There is no reason to give up yet. The ruins are this size. It is natural that the expensive relics are hidden! They haven’t found anything so the Charenjok aren’t working properly. So make them work more! Increase their working hours and beat them until they find the relics!”
“But right now the Charenjok are already coughing up blood….”
“Dammit! Why are we worrying about that now? This is a situation where we are the ones coughing up blood!”
Then one of Berami’s henchmen ran in. Every time japtem was unearthed at the ruins, they would come running.
“I’ve noticed some strange guys!”
“The pioneer who entered Inquiry not long ago…that…”
The old man called his name. Ark smiled and sat in the opposite seat.
“Grandfather-nim is a store owner so why are you sitting in a tavern all day?”
“Right now you are the only guests on Inquiry so what should I do? And you still managed to find me here anyway.”
“Well, I guess so.”
“But why are you here? I thought you left on your spaceship yesterday….”
After Ark arrived on Inquiry, he sent Hegel and the Silver Star back to S-20. Only Ark, Milan and Tori remained on Inquiry.
“It will be back in a few days after the necessary preparations.”
“The necessary preparations?”
“The preparations necessary to excavate the ruins.”
“Hoh, you are interested in the ruins as well?”
“Of course. What pioneer wouldn’t have any interest in ruins? The pioneer Berami has the exclusive rights now but that will end in 6 days. So I’m getting ready in advance.”
“Shouldn’t I use this time to warm it up?”
“Shouldn’t I use this time to warm it up?”
“Warm it up?”
“Well, it is something like this.”
Ark laughed and took some things out of his backpack. It was an old sword and several machine parts. Ark started to speak as the old man looked at it with a doubtful expression.
“A relic found on Inquiry.”
“Inquiry, not the ruins? These relics are buried elsewhere?”
“Of course. Think about it. The ruins found on Inquiry are a considerable scale. You can’t investigate the ruins yet but doesn’t it mean that an ancient race lived here? Of course, the real valuables would be buried somewhere in the ruins but it is easy to imagine smaller relics buried in the vicinity. While waiting for the exclusive grace period to be over, I’m going to dig for those relics.”
“No, but even so….”
The old man glanced at Ark.
“Didn’t you just come to Inquiry yesterday? Berami only found 2o relics despite mobilized the Charenjok yet you already found10 after digging for just one day?”
“I’d like to receive an answer as well.”
Just as Ark scratched his head and was about to answer. The tavern doors opened and 4 people entered.
“They are Berami and his cronies. Berami is the one with the yellow head. The 3 people following are his henchmen.”
The old man whispered to Ark with a nasty expression. Berami scowled at the old man before turning towards Ark and speaking again.
“I heard that there was someone digging up relics on my private land. Is that you?”
“Your words are rude for our first meeting.”
Ark frowned towards Berami.
“It is true that I dug up relics but it is unrelated to your private land.”
“Do you expect me to believe that? My slaves could barely find 20 relics while digging. Yet you managed to find 10 relics after only one day? Is it possible for you to find that outside?”
“Doesn’t that just mean our abilities are different?”
“I have no interest on whether you believe it or not….”
Ark got up with an annoyed expression.
“If you continue to be annoying then I’ll show you. The difference between our skills. Tori, Milan. Come. You guys as well. And Grandfather-nim can come as a witness in case you don’t believe your eyes.”
Ark led the people outside the tavern. They walked for 10 minutes before entering a wide vacant land on the outskirts of the shopping district where Tori was waiting.
“How is it? This place?”
“Judging by the arrangement of the structures, this place was likely to be a crowded living space of the ancient species. Approximately 89.24%? And when considering the ruins buried in the sand, the wind likely blew from the 3 o’clock direction to the 6 o’clock direction. Approximately 93.45%? Even if there are other living spaces, the other areas are likely buried deeply after hundreds of years. But this place isn’t buried that deeply. So there is a 91.86% probability. When using the formation I devised to find relics, 89.24×A/B÷92.45√91.45≒Y makes the probability of relics buried here 99%.”
“What? This bastard?”
Berami’s party looked at Tori with a strange expression. But Ark ignored their reaction and went to Milan.
“Milan, here and there. Start.”
Then he took out 2 iron rods from his backpack. These iron rods where Milan’s dowsing tools. It was an exploratory device used to find something buried in the ground. Milan grasped the iron rods with both hands and walked around before suddenly pointing to the ground and shouting.
“Hyung-nim, over here!”
“Okay, get out of the way.”
The last person to move was Ark. And the next moment, the old man and Berami’s found witnessed a shocking scene. Ark took out a shovel and dug at the place that Milan designated!
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
Earth flew up like a mountain! The dirt on the ground was removed and a large hole formed in the blink of an eye. It was the perfect movement with no wasted motions! A phenomenal work rate! His high skill level showed a perfect digging form! After the repetitive digging, Ark’s digging skill had risen to Master level.
“Oh my god! Excavator! That’s an excavator!”
Berami’s group screamed from shock. After Ark had dug for several metres, huge mechanical parts emerged.
“It is japtem again. Well, this is good for a place that isn’t the ruins.”
Ark swept all the mechanical parts into his backpack and grinned at Berami.
“This is the difference in ability between you and I.”
“W-who on earth are you people?”
Ark laughed. Then Tori’s belly fat shook as he rocked forward and replied.
“I am Tori! I am a member of the Tiny Clan that received the Professor title after my intellectual ability was recognized. My major is archaeology. In particular, I am someone who specializes in excavating ancient ruins.”
Berami burst out with confusion. Milan came out and started talking.
“I am a treasure hunter. As you can see, my major is finding relics.”
“I….well let’s just say that I’m a master at digging.”
“M-master at digging….”
“There are various things to do in the game but….”
Ark looked at Berami’s group making a stupid expression and laughed.
“The important thing is that we are professionals unlike you. There is a huge difference between us so there is nothing more to say. Didn’t we prove that we didn’t intrude on your private property? Then we will return to the tavern.”
Ark, Milan and Tori turned around. Then Berami shouted frantically.
“W-wait a minute!”
The corners of Ark’s mouth rose quietly. But after a brief moment, he frowned and shook his head.
“What? Are you still thinking of accusing me?”
“No, that’s not it!”
“I want to apologize. I misunderstood. Please understand.”
“H-Hyung-nim, why all of a sudden….”
Berami’s henchmen were confused by his sudden words. Then Berami shouted at his henchmen with angry expressions.
“Stupid brats! That person is a real professional. We made such accusations so of course we should apologise. You should apologise immediately!”
“Huh? Ah, yes. I-I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to go that far…..”
Ark blushed and scratched his head from the sudden change in attitude. Berami then approached Ark and started talking.
“I’m really impressed that you can find relics in the middle of nowhere. I’m not a beginner but it is the first time I’ve met an outstanding guy like you. By the way, your name….”
“Ah, you are Ark-nim. I am Berami. Perhaps you’ve heard but right now I have the exclusive rights to the ruins. So I wanted to say….do you want to work with me?”
“You want to hire us?”
Ark frowned at Berami’s answer.
He thought for a moment before shaking his head.
“I don’t want to.
“That isn’t the problem. Do you think I know nothing? Doesn’t your exclusive grace period only last another 6 days?”
Berami’s face darkened at Ark’s words. It was only a moment but Ark didn’t miss the expression change.
“Wasn’t I in the tavern when I met you? I heard that your brought slaves but couldn’t dig up more than 20 relics in a fortnight. I can imagine the situation just from hearing that. You guys will never find any real money in the next few days. You will just blindly dig in the ruins and not find any relics. It is necessary to have some professional expertise. It is hopeless for you guys who don’t understand a thing. In other words, why should I be employed by you when I can just wait 6 days for the ruins to become public?”
Berami’s eyes rolled around before he started to talk again.
“When the exclusive grace period ends, Ark-nim isn’t the only one that can enter the ruins. I’m sure a lot of pioneers will be flocking. There will also be many pioneers whose expertise is finding relics. Is there any guarantee that Ark-nim could obtain the relics?”
“No. But this is the original method. No matter how much time there is, it is a gamble trying to find relics in a ruin. Sometimes you will die before finding it. Isn’t a treasure hunter someone who gambles because they believe in a jackpot? Even if everything is lost, it is better to expect a jackpot then doing work for a small amount of money.”
“I’m not going to employ you with money!”
“Not money? Then how are you going to employ us?”
Berami hesitated as he hadn’t thought about it yet. Ark smiled and continued.
“So I’ll make a suggestion. It will be impossible to have motivation to work under a fixed salary. Then the pay will be sorted from the relics found while searching. How about 8-2? Of course, my share will be 8. In other words, I will receive 80% of the price of the relics.”
Berami’s mouth gaped open.
“No way! This is a complete robbery!”
“Hyung-nim, let’s go! We don’t need to listen to him!”
The henchmen stared at Ark’s group with bloodthirsty eyes and shouted. But Ark just gave their objections a ludicrous look.
“You still haven’t figured out the situation.”
“I can’t be assured that I can obtain the relics after the exclusive grace period. But at least I have a high chance. What about you guys? Do you have any chance? No. If you can’t monopolize the ruins then you only have a 0.1% chance. Think closely. Shouldn’t there be a registration fee when applying for the exclusive grace period? Wouldn’t you prefer to collect 20% then leave empty handed?”
“What? This bastard!”
Berami shouted angrily at his followers. He narrowed his eyes at Ark before speaking.
“Only a fool would handle you with that attitude. And the numbers don’t fit.”
“What doesn’t fit?”
“Certainly you are an outstanding treasure hunter from what I’ve seen so far. I admit it. But no matter how excellent, 1 team will only be able to find 10% of the relics in the ruins. Even that amount is fortunate. But if we join hands then almost all the relics can be found in the remaining 6 days. If you join hands with me then you will benefit more than the 80%.”
“5-5. I am willing to concede this much.”
“You don’t want to?”
“I will concede this much. If we can’t acquire all the relics before the exclusive grace period is over then the ruins will be opened. However, you guys will be excluded. You can do a lot during the 6 days before the ruins are opened. The choice is yours. We can either get nothing together or divide it 5-5. It is one of those two options.”
“That seems fair.”
Ark laughed and replied.
“Okay. 5-5. However, a condition is that you transfer the slaves to me after the work ends.”
“Yes, I need to a lot of manpower. Anyway, you don’t seem to specialize in this work. There is nowhere for you to use the Charenjok. So I will receive the Charenjok and concede 30% of the shares. Of course, I won’t just take them. Right now the price for 1 Charenjok at the slave market is 30~40 gold. If you have 100 then they will be worth 3,000~4,000 gold. When assuming that is 30%, wouldn’t the total income be 10,000 gold? That’s the condition. If the total income doesn’t exceed 10,000 gold then you can forget any talk about the Charenjok.”
Berami’s mouth opened absent-mindedly. If he couldn’t find any relics then he couldn’t pay off his 600 gold debt. Yet Ark just casually mentioned 10,000 gold. Of course, he didn’t know if that much money was possible but it didn’t seem to be a joke.
Then one of Berami’s followers started talking.
“B-but the Charenjok originally….”
Berami waved a hand and interrupted his follower’s words.
“Okay. I accept. The condition is 5-5. If the income exceeds 10,000 gold then the Charenjok will be handed over.”
“That is an excellent choice. You won’t regret it.”
Ark and Berami shook hands. Following the consensus, a contract was signed.
|-The contract with Berami-nim has been completed.
Contractors: Ark- Berami
Contents: All relics unearthed in the ruins will be distributed in a 5 to 5 ratio between Ark and Berami.
In addition, the 100 Charenjok slaves will be transferred once the contract expires. However, the transfer of the Charenjok slaves will only apply once the total income exceeds 10,000 gold.
While the contract is in progress, Ark will be in charge of all the excavation work. Instead, Berami has the right to supervise all the excavation work.
This contract will apply unless something disgraceful occurs or the contract is violated.
The contract was completed! Ark went to the pyramid with Berami’s party.
“That Ark, he is a ruthless bastard.”
“It is the first time I’ve seen someone so merciless. In fact, sometimes I was thinking ‘eh, isn’t this too much?’ when kicking the Charenjok but now I think I was an angel.”
“Yes, I was a little astonished as well. I expected him to be a formidable character but to this extent….”
Berami swallowed his saliva and nodded. He had just signed a contract and brought Ark’s party to the pyramid. Ark collected the octopus slaves and said.
“Starting today, you will be under the command of the foreman Ark. Come and greet him.”
Berami stepped away as the octopuses started swarming.
The next scene caused Berami to gasp.
So far Berami hadn’t treated the octopuses as humans. They numbered 100 but he only provided 50 of them with food a day. Of course they had no choice but to starve. He also didn’t hesitate to kick or whip them.
But Berami at least had a reason. He was lacking in funds to distribute food and violence accelerated the working pace. Yet Ark suddenly knocked down the octopuses out of nowhere.
Step on them and hit them! Ink was ejected from the octopuses’ mouths as they were beaten! Ink! Ink!
It was the horrible sight of Ark committing violence for 10 minutes as the octopuses threw up ink.
“It is important to establish control over the slaves at the start. If I’m even a little slack then the slaves will play cheap tricks. They will work diligently because they don’t want to suffer. That is the secret to managing slaves. Anyway, now I can work comfortably. This can be the difference between successfully clearing the ruins or not. Once the exclusive grace period ends, not 1 copper of relics will be left in these ruins.”
He looked reliable. The skill to find relics as well as handle the octopuses! He had the smell of an expert.
“It is fortunate that we met him when there is only 6 days left in the exclusive grace period. To be honest, I really didn’t believe that he could earn more than 10,000 gold. But with ruins of this size, there will be many relics worth 1,000 gold hidden. If he can find that much in 6 days then this would be a success.”
“But even so……”
Then one follower spoke with a dissatisfied expression.
“I feel like it is a waste. Aren’t we monopolizing the ruins now? Yet we have to give that guy half of the proceeds.”
“I’m also worried about the octopus problem.”
“Even if we did make over 10,000 gold, didn’t we borrow the octopuses from that person? If we have to transfer the octopuses….”
“Do you really think I would split the proceeds?”
“Huh? What does that mean?”
“Didn’t you write up a contract?”
“There is no guarantee the contract will be met. Unexpected things can happen in this world that causes the contract to break.”
Berami explained his plan in a low voice.
“Ooh! T-that method!”
“Genius! Hyung-nim is a genius!”
“Huhuhu, I’m not an intelligent type pro gamer for no reason. That Ark bastard thinks he is wise but I grew up eating guys like them. Anyway, we need him right now. So endure as much as possible. That guy will work while we obtain the profit. Isn’t that right?”
Berami and his henchmen had wily smiles on their faces. Then a follower spoke like he suddenly remembered something.
“But Hyung-nim, that guy has free access to the ruins while working. Then perhaps he has an ulterior motive and is plotting something?”
“I also had that question but….”
Berami laughed and shook his head.
“I placed 10 Flies around the ruins. One is already set to follow Ark around 24 hours a day. And it will also be watching the 100 octopuses. If there is some ulterior motive then the Flies will catch it before they do any damage.”
“Yes I see.”
“We just need to comfortably watch the surveillance videos and wait for a chance.”
“And he will eventually leave with nothing.”
Berami grinned wickedly.
At the bottom of the pyramid, a machine started sparking. Tori’s Nymphe was connected to the machine and his fingers moved rapidly as he spoke.
“That’s it, Hyung-nim.”
“Okay, get started immediately.”
“Yes. New number 1, action!”
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
At the same time, Ark swung his shovel like crazy. Every time his shovel moved, it moved through the tofu like ground and a pit was instantly made.
The octopuses who had experienced violence looked at Ark with expressions full of fear and admiration. However, the digging didn’t last long.
“Whew, is this fine?”
“Yes. Up next is the new number 2, action!”
Tori raised his thumb and shouted once again. Ark started looking restlessly around the long passage.
The confused behaviour was repeated. He sat in a corner with a worried expression and stared closely at a pattern engraved in the wall. And he also crawled around looking at the ground.
The questionable behaviour only stopped after 10 minutes.
“How is it? Was it well shot?”
“Of course. It was clearly caught in UHD.”
Tori answered as the machine he was connected to made a humming sound.
“The program has been inputted so it was continually send out the videos we just recorded to the Flies. In the simplest terms, it is a video player for CCTVs.”
“No matter what Hyung-nim does, they will only see this footage.”
Tori grinned and nodded at Milan’s words. This was the reason for Ark’s strange behaviour.
Once again, Ark had acted like a treasure hunter and formed a contract with Berami in order to find the Divine Artefact. And if he found the Divine Artefact, it wold need to be shared according to the contract.
The Divine Artefact should belong to the Elim’s Heir! However, Berami wouldn’t give it up if he knew about the existence of the Divine Artefact. Therefore he needed to hide the existence of the Divine Artefact from Berami’s surveillance. In other words, Ark needed to deal with the Flies.
Before entering the pyramid, Ark had expected Berami to install the Flies and took counter measures. Ark employed the outstanding hacker Tori!
Ark immediately captured Berami’s Flies. The system of the Flies were hacked and the videos of Ark’s behaviour stored in the memory. And Tori set it up to send the transmission to Berami.
The problem of the Fly attached to Ark was solved!
‘Now, the remaining problem is…..’
Ark looked at the octopuses.
The octopuses had been treated cruelly so they jumped as Ark’s gaze turned towards them. Ark scratched his head and approached the octopuses.
“Who is the elder here?”
–It is me.
An exceptionally wrinkly octopuses approached. Ark smiled at the octopus and said.
“Please feel free to speak.”
“Oh, please don’t misunderstand. The method I used before was to deceive Berami and his cronies. But that isn’t my real intention. Rather, I’m a person who regards the Charenjok as friends. I would like to work with you from now on.”
–Elder-nim, don’t be fooled! All humans are the same! He is only intending to use us! How many times have we been duped before now?
Some of the octopuses shouted. It was impossible to blindly believe in this situation. However, the cooperation of the octopuses were essential in the pyramid. And Ark possessed a weapon that would quickly persuade the octopuses.
“Will you believe if you see this?”
–Eh? This is?
“Yes, this is a token that is only given to someone the Charenjok considers a true friend. After travelling the universe, I encountered some Charenjok in an unfortunate situation. This was given in exchange for helping them.”
–Unbelievable! I never expected to see this again!
The octopus looked at the token in Ark’s hand with disbelieving eyes.
-In addition, this token has already evolved twice. There is no doubt that this human is recognized as a friend by an elder of the Charenjok! Ah, to see this token again in my lifetime. Yes, the Charenjok will believe your words.
Ark replied with a smile. Thus the Charenjok joined his group.
At the same time, Ark fully secured the pyramid.