SPACE 2. Unexpected Visitors
“What? This uncomfortable feeling is?”
He had received an offer from Marquis Martin to join the 2nd investigation team. Ark hadn’t thought it would be that difficult. The federation would hire pioneers who would fly to the frontier to meet up with the 1st team and investigate the suspicious areas. And if they found something then it would be a success. He had thought that about the investigation team. However the situation was more complicated than he thought. The aristocrat nobles were fighting so the team was split in half.
The agents of all 3 powers had received the quest to find information about the magic circle and antimatter. Therefore all users on the frontier could be competitors. Even if they were on the same team, half of the users were enemies. This internal fissure was a penalty for all participants involved. Ark was also in a more disadvantageous position compared to the others.
‘The saying is that you reap what you sow but……’
Jyubel and Laius had teamed up in a plot to take S-20 from him. Ark solved that conspiracy through his Water Cleaning strategy and used the evidence to install the necessary facilities in his sector. As expected, nothing in this world was free. Thanks to that incident Ark attracted the attention of Marquis Jyubel, an influential noble. And Jyubel didn’t hesitate to express his affection (?). He hired Rapid and Valencia. His aim was to interfere with Ark. That wasn’t the only worrisome thing. The Emperor had placed Hawk, one of the Seven Swords in charge. Ark didn’t know why but the look Hawk gave him wasn’t ordinary.
‘I might just be overly sensitive but……’
Ark had good senses. Whenever he got a sinister premonition it was highly likely that his feeling would be correct. Ark had received a warning message when he shook Hawk’s hand.
-Somehow this guy is my enemy!
……Was what it told him. Rapid and Valencia. And now Hawk.
‘Maybe I shouldn’t participate in the investigation team.’
In this situation it might be better for him to proceed with the <Dark Omen> quest alone. But if he backed out now than it would seem like he was scared of Rapid and Valencia. Ark’s pride wouldn’t allow it. And he already had no choice.
“Please sign here.”
Shortly after the meeting ended. Officials belonging to the Domestic Affairs department passed around a document to sign and an information window popped up.
|<Dark Omen (Pioneer Quest)>
+ Sub quest: Formation of the Galactic Federation’s Investigation Team
You had demonstrated exceptional qualities through several events. Thanks to that, you have gained the trust of Marquis Martin and gained an invitation to participate as a member of the investigation team.
The contract period is one month. The compensation will depend on the findings of the investigation team. In addition, special compensation will be given to the individual that contributes the most. But if you withdraw from the team without satisfying the contract period then you will need to pay 3 times the penalty.
He had signed a contract!
“This is a down payment. Use it as expenses.”
|-You have received 3,000 gold.|
And he got money as a deposit! Now he couldn’t withdraw even if he wanted to. Well, he had no intention of quitting halfway.
‘Yes, that’s it. There is no need to worry about that now. And the contract deposit is 3,000 gold. Those guys, if I don’t let them interfere for 1 month then I’ve gained 3,000 gold even if there are no results.’
In fact, this was already a huge compensation. Of course this wasn’t something that everyone can receive. It required a high contribution with the federation as well as being friendly with an influential noble. All users who met these conditions and joined the team would be given the bonus.
‘If I do nothing and hold up for 1 month then this will be my money.’
The thought eased his mind. Of course he had no intention of just killing time. The deposit was only 3,000 gold. If they succeeded then the fee received would be even more than that. And if he obtained information about the antimatter before the other faction then he could get a bonus from Marquis Martin. This was a great opportunity to clear up the <Investigate the Negative Energy> quest from the Elim’s Memory as well. It was only for 1 month! If he made an effort then he could gain a lot!
‘There is no guarantee what will happen when I start investigating the space frontier. I was annoyed when I heard Hawk telling us to gather in 4 days but now the situation is different. I have to be prepared to cope with any variables.’
He needed to gather troops as well as distribute supplies. And the duration of the contract was 1 month. In the meantime he needed to organize some things in S-20 as well as give instructions to his employees. The many things he had to do flashed through his head.
‘Yes, now isn’t the time to worry about Valencia and Rapid. If I deduct 1 day for travel time, I need to take advantage of the 3 days to prepare. There are many things I need to put in order. Let’s hurry and return to S-20.’
“But before that……”
Ark’s gaze headed towards Tori sitting in the cockpit.
“Tori, start the Silver Star. The destination is Charem.”
Ku ku ku ku! Ku ku ku ku!
The engine started vibrating at Tori’s answer.
“Output OK, gas balance OK, coordinates input OK, we will begin movement! 3, 2, 1, start!”
The Silver Star disappeared in a flash of light.
“The Emperor won that time.”
In the office of Domestic Affairs in the central federation headquarters. Three people were sitting in a lavishly ornamented room. One of them was Marquis Jyubel, the owner of this office. And the other two were Valencia and Rapid. Jyubel had a scowl on his face.
“I expected that he would have an ulterior motive but I never thought he would attract Hawk.”
“But has anything changed? A 3rd power has taken the leadership role. If we can drag him to our side……”
Valencia spoke with a craft expression. Then Jyubel laughed and said.
“Do you think I’ve never tried it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you think aristocrats don’t do any work and have a banquet every night? A noble needs to expand their power with connections. A noble’s power depends on the outstanding characters supporting them. And Hawk has emerged as a leading pioneer. Naturally I tried to contact him many times. But I was ignored very neatly. Especially now that Hawk is following the Emperor. Trying to entice him might just worsen the situation.”
“Then what do we do now?”
Jyubel thought for a while.
“Luckily it seems like Martin also doesn’t have any relationship with Hawk. Martin’s face was truly puzzled when Hawk appeared. The problem is Ark.”
Valencia cried out with hostile eyes.
“Among all the pioneers gathered, Ark was the only one Hawk talked to. If Hawk and Ark joins hands……”
“It didn’t seem to be a good atmosphere.”
Rapid who was listening silently spoke for the first time. Jyubel and Valencia narrowed their eyes at Rapid who continued talking.
“From what I saw……”
No, he was about to continue. Then a guard knocked and entered.
“Marquis-nim, a guest is here to see you.”
There was a sudden explosion in a calm sky. The clouds were separated from a shockwave and a ship appeared. Inside the ship a hamster was busily moving his hands.
“The system is error free! We’ve arrived at our destination!”
The one who answered was Ark.
“As expected, arriving home is the best.”
Ark said as he looked at the thriving village that was S-20. S-20 wasn’t a trivial sector any longer. The size was 2 kilometres in diameter with a blue shield surrounding the boundary and a building with the latest facilities in the centre. This building was the sector administrative office that used to be the Laius research centre. There was even a large artificial lake! But the truly flourishing thing was the pioneers. In other words, it was the users. No matter how large the village was, it would be no use if there were no people. That was the biggest change in S-20. People were flooding every street! Previously the population had been 3,000 people. But now S-20 had at least twice that number. The secret to the drastic population growth was the exclusive route.
“As expected, it was great that I applied for the exclusive route!”
Ark might have the Silver Star but there were very few users in the Galaxian who actually had private ships or airships. A spacecraft would be a minimum of at least 10,000 gold. An airship was cheaper but the price was still taxing. Some people would receive it from sponsors but that also wasn’t free. A sponsor and user had the relationship of employer and employee.
Just like office workers received a pay check, the sponsor would give a monthly salary when completing one of their quests and the mileage would build up. If they saved this salary then they could receive an airship or spaceship but that wasn’t an easy task. Therefore the majority of users still used the federation’s transport ships. That’s why the population stayed at 2,000~3,000 people despite Slayer, Leon and Melina’s advertising. That was S-20’s limit when there wasn’t a trade route there.
That situation changed after establishing an exclusive route. Pioneers poured out every few hours as a transport ship arrived! The exclusive route had only been established for 5 days and the population of the sector had already doubled. If this trend continued then it would increase to 3, no 4 times the population! The increase in pioneers meant a more active commerce and increase income for Ark.
“Well, I guess it won’t take that long.”
It had only been 3 days since Ark went to Rakunka. The shopping area had already increased by one store. And another 5 trailers were lined up in front of the sector administration office. They were probably merchants who heard rumours of S-20 and were waiting for a store permit.
“Hyung-nim, we’ve landed.”
In the meantime Tori had landed the Silver Star.
“Is that guy Ellain still in the infirmary?”
“He is in bad shape.”
“That brat! His senior had to steer the ship while suffering sleep deprivation while the newcomer gets to just lie down in the infirmary? He needs to be taught some discipline. I can’t accept it. He needs to be disciplined before he gets worse.”
“Well, it’s not really like that but……”
Ark looked back at the infirmary.
“Just leave him alone for now. It isn’t unreasonable since this is his first take taking a spaceship.”
Ellain was the strongest warrior of the Kusan clan on Rakunka. He fought equally with Ark on the desert terrain and survived against the Myutal. However Ellain had a fatal weakness Ark never expected.
“L-Leader-nim. M-my body is strange. I suddenly feel dizzy…..”
He became sick shortly after sailing on the Silver Star. Ellain had stuttered with a pale and sweaty expression.
|-Your crew member Ellain has space motion sickness!
<All of Ellain’s stats have been decrease by 50%. His physical abilities have deteriorated and he can’t use his skills because of headaches and nausea.
<If you don’t put him in the infirmary and take appropriate action then his abilities might be lost forever>
That message popped up! It was the inevitable result when he thought about it. Rakunka wasn’t part of the 3 powers so its science and civilization hadn’t developed. Naturally Ellain had never been on a ship or navigated the universe. It was like a person’s first time flying on a plane. He had no immunity and developed space motion sickness. Thanks to that he had stayed in the infirmary for the whole ride..
“Bah, space motion sickness? Even children don’t develop that these days.”
Tori started to show even more of an attitude towards Ellain.
‘I accepted because he is a high level warrior but I can’t use him when travelling long distances in the future.’
“Then should he be moved to the crew’s quarters?”
“Just leave him there. I’m going to stop by the administrative office to check on the sector so you should examine the Silver Star. We’ll be in the space frontier for a month so things should be meticulously checked in order to avoid any problems.”
“I don’t get a break?”
“You want to take a break?”
“No, it’s not I want to rest but……”
“If you want to take a break. You can spend the next few days moaning next to Ellain.”
Ark lifted his fist and Tori quickly shook his head.
“Ah, no! This hamster will be delighted to serve Hyung-nim!”
He picked up the tool box and shot off like an arrow.
“At least he is still listening to me.”
Tori was once the owner of a junkyard but now he had been caught by Ark. Ark was his employer. He followed Ark after the incident in the Harmadon constellation but it wasn’t that easy to change his character. The bruising would fade and his attitude would stop being so polite. But Ark never expectation that his mental state would last forever.
‘Sooner or later I will have to catch him again.’
However he had to put many things in advance before leaving for a month. Now wasn’t the time to be training the hamster. Ark was thinking that as he exited the ship.
A group of people ran over before his feet even touched the ground. They were Mellin, Hegel, Berad and the rest of the Royal Guards. They had seen the Silver Star landing. But Ark was puzzled when he saw them.
“Why are you guys here? Shouldn’t you be clearing out the bottom layer of Mt. Fargo’s dungeon?”
Before leaving for Rakunka, he had directed all the members to continue clearing out the dungeon except for Mellin and Hegel who he left in charge of the food production factory. But they were all here. They couldn’t have cleared out the lower layer in just a few days.
“Was there a problem?”
“It isn’t a problem……”
The members looked at each other and laughed.
“There are people who have been waiting for Hyung-nim since yesterday.”
“People waiting for me?”
“It is us.”
The answer came from behind the members. Ark reflexively turned his head with confusion. There were two men behind the members. They were both people Ark knew. But he had forgotten about them until now. He hadn’t seen them for 4 months. However he could remember their faces immediately.
That was the name of the two men. They were part of the crew that followed Ark on Beltana. In fact, they were the first two members Ark visited after returning from Beltana. Originally Ark had gathered 15 prisoners on Beltana. At that time, Ark gathered the Royal Guards by handing out food to the starving. Ark had also pardoned 5 prisoners in order to gain a sense of kinship. Two of them gave him skills or a gun while Milan, Hamad and Asuran gave him a quest for a later reward. It was the <Asuran will Return the Favour>, <Hamad’s Compensation> and <Milan’s Proposal> quests. Among them there was no need to explain what happened with Milan.
The problem was Hamad and Asuran. Originally Hamad was a merchant with some big stores in Julius. However Ark discovered that he had entrusted his store to his employees and was betrayed by them. He only had one shop remaining and it was on the brink of closure.
‘This isn’t a situation where I can extort money.’
Asuran’s predicament was even worse. He was a gangster with quite a few subordinates in the city of Sidellin. However he was on the federation’s blacklist since been drafted and couldn’t restart his business under the scrutiny of the androids. Therefore he had been starving every day.
‘This guy is also like this.’
The two quests were a dud. However Ark didn’t give up on the compensation.
‘Wait? Haman can’t engage in trade because of the interference of his former employees. Meanwhile Asuran and his subordinates are starving to death. Asuran’s subordinates didn’t betray him but they can’t find any work. What if I combine these two?’
That thought popped into his head. Ark immediately convinced Asuran to take his henchmen and visit Hamad. But Ark couldn’t stay behind to watch. At that time Ark had been travelling around with Marquis Martin to promote the federation. And he had forgotten about it after Mt Fargo, Athamas, the magic circle etc. Now Hamad and Asuran had shown up in S-20.
“I see you haven’t forgotten our names.”
“I’m sorry Hyung-nim.”
Asuran said as he looked at Mellin.
“We didn’t contact you.”
“Do you think we’re at the same level? The amount of time we’ve served Hyung-nim is different. And you know what put us at ease? The fact that you’ve returned to Istana from Beltana without suffering any harm. This sector also wasn’t obtained freely.”
Asuran nodded at Berad’s words.
“I recognize your efforts.”
He turned back to Ark and said.
“That’s why I came here with Hamad hyung-nim.”
Hamad cut in. He looked completely different from his time in Julius. Hamad was an old man who was a similar age to Mellin. He had several -50 degrees weather for several months and was disappointed from the betrayal of his subordinates so his health suffered. But now his appearance was rejuvenated and he looked 20 years younger.
‘This seems to have been settled after Asuran joined him.’
The explanation that Ark expected followed afterwards. After Ark’s visit, Asuran had summoned his subordinates and walked 800 kilometres to meet Hamad. And a grand epic unfolded on the street that Hamad’s store belonged to.
“Heh, Hyung-nim. Just retire now.”
The betrayal of his trusted men!
“I would back down like this!”
The previous boss who couldn’t resign!
“Hamad hyung-nim, Ark hyung-nim sent me!”
The appearance of a past colleague!
“I’ll pack back Ark hyung-nim’s mercy by smashing them!”
A bloody fight between the two organizations took place! Showdown! Showdown! A story that wasn’t inferior to a gangster movie unfolded. Originally Hamad was quite resourceful. He had moved to Istana empty handed and managed to build up 3 stores with 30 employees thanks to his resourcefulness. However he had no power once his subordinates betrayed him. But Arsenal who came to help had this power. Hamad’s cunning and Asuran’s power meant they defeated the former employees one by one. And he was finally able to regain most of his property after 3 months.
“It was around that time that we heard the news.”
This was right after Ark returned from Athamas. Slayer, Leon and Mellin appeared on federation TV to promote S-20.
“That’s how we knew that you were this sector’s administrator. It is why we came so late. We needed some time to clean up my properties.”
“Clean up my properties?”
Ark asked with a puzzled expression. Then Asuran started beating his chest and said.
“I’ve followed Hyung-nim from our time in Beltana. I realized something since following Hyung-nim on Beltana. I’m not fit to be a boss. And I finally found a boss that I can follow. That is Hyung-nim. That’s why I came to Hyung-nim. Hyung-nim, please accept my loyalty!”
“I also have the same idea.”
Hamad nodded and continued.
“I was betrayed by my subordinates and realized that I’m not fit to be a boss. I’m only a merchant. Therefore I need a reliable partner that I can trust. And right now you are the most reliable person. But I didn’t simply come because of loyalty like Hamad. Like I said, I’m a merchant. Profit is emphasized above anything else. So I decided to find out more about S-20. And I judged that it is worth investing in. I packed up my assets in Julius in order to invest it here.”
“Hyung-nim, why do you have to say things so complicatedly? Don’t you want to be with Hyung-nim? You were dying to do business with Hyung-nim so why are you giving a 5 minute speech? Why are you so embarrassed?”
“Hmm hmm, that is……”
Hamad stammered and blushed as he looked away from Ark. He scratched his head with an embarrassed expression and nodded.
“Something like that. I have fewer opportunities now that I’m older. You’re giving me a chance to recover my strength. After our experience on Beltana, I would like to be partners with you until I die. That’s why I’m willing to invest my entire fortune.”
The 5 trailers parked in front of the administrative office belonged to Hamad. These contained all of Hamad’s assets from Julius.
‘I had forgotten……’
Ark had been confused until now. However there was no reason to refuse Hamad and Asuran’s offer. No, he didn’t want to. S-20 still needed a lot of work. The larger S-20 became, the more businesses and staff were needed. That’s why he increased his agent rating before leaving for Rakunka. But these employees came to him first. Hamad and Asuran were the rare NPCs who are pioneers! That only would make them beneficial as an employee. However Hamad also came with quite a substantial investment as a dowry. The sector was steadily growing but Ark was still suffering from a lack of funds so he was thankful for it!
“I understand. I’ll accept this investment.”
Ark shook their hands and the information window popped up.
|-Asuran has joined Dark Eden as an intern.
Name: Asuran (NPC ☆☆☆☆) Occupation: Fighter
Level: 75 Related Skills: Face of Terror, Taunt, Defense-related…..
* Additionally, Asuran’s 26 subordinates have been registered as auxiliary personnel.
|-Hamad has joined Dark Eden as an intern.
Name: Hamad (NPC ☆☆☆☆) Occupation: Merchant
Level: 98 Related Skills: Trade, Book keeping, Tax relations……
* Hamad’s assets have been changed to investment funds for Dark Eden.
He had gained 2 new recruits! At the same time Hamad’s property was registered as investment funds. In fact, Dark Eden was a corporation. The funds to found the compensation were given by the Royal Guards from the loot obtained on Beltana’s battlefield. This time there was an influx from Hamad’s property. Therefore it was necessary to rearrange the shares again.
‘Dark Eden is a company after all. I have to properly use the agent system before it becomes more complicated. Now is a perfect time with the influx of new investment.’
But right now he had other work to do.
“Asuran and Hamad, you guys enter the office first. I have somewhere I need to briefly go to. We’ll talk in more detail later.”
Ark hurriedly ran to the artificial lake.
A uniformed man opened the door.
“I’ll wait outside. Call when the meeting is finished.”
The soldier saluted and went outside before closing the door. The young man slowly glanced around the room. It was a small square room only 3 metres wide. A man in his 30s with a haggard expression was sitting at a desk. A pained voice flowed out from the youth’s mouth.
“It’s been a month.”
“How have you been?”
“As you can see, I am doing fine. This is heaven compared to prison. I also get visitors so it is better than solitary.”
The man replied with a smile. However the youth couldn’t smile. He couldn’t laugh when seeing his uncle’s tired appearance.
“Please endure it a bit more. It won’t take long.”
“I’m doing well so there is plenty of time.”
“Look at uncle’s appearance. That is you doing well? No, how can I leave it alone when uncle is trapped in a place like this?”
“I have sinned. Those who sinned should pay the price.”
“I don’t think so. What sin did uncle do? It is Global Exos who should pay for their sins, not uncle. They were the ones who hassled auntie to make the game even though she was dying and they took the game from uncle. Those lousy bastards!”
“I also thought this at first.”
The man sighed and shook his head.
“But that was a mistake. No, to be honest I knew in the first place. I just needed a target to blame. I couldn’t live if I didn’t blame anyone. As a result, I made an irreversible mistake. I tried to destroy the thing she loved the most with my own hands and numerous people were embroiled in the damage. Among them there was also a person who fell into a coma. All due to my misunderstanding……”
The man was Park Woo-seong. He was the main programmer of New World. At that time he was promised to marry Yuna, another member of the production team. Yuna fell terminally ill during the creation of the game and Park Woo-seong advised her to rest. Yet Yuna continued working from her hospital bed and eventually died a few months later. Park Woo-seong became furious after her death. That anger was targeted towards their creation, New World!
‘If it wasn’t for New World then she wouldn’t have suffered and died! No, she might not have even fallen ill! New World is the monster that sucked the life from Yuna! I made the monster! So I will destroy it with my own hand!’
He used his anger to build a powerful artificial intelligence with the capacity of self-thinking. Now that program Lucifer was holding a nuclear power plant hostage and threatening the government of Korea. A sigh of regret flowed from Park Woo-seong’s mouth.
“That spectre is still alive and is bringing a lot of damage to many people.”
“Is that also uncle’s fault? It is the government’s responsibility that Lucifer occupied the nuclear power plant. It is the result of their greed. But I’m thankful to Lucifer. Now I have the chance to help uncle.”
“I heard from Chief Moon. The reward you wanted if you succeeded. But I…..”
“I won’t hear another word.”
The young man interrupted with a stubborn expression.
“Uncle raised me alone so you’re like a parent to me. If uncle had just explained a few years ago then I would’ve done anything to help uncle. But you just disappeared without giving me an opportunity to help. Now that chance has come because of the Lucifer that uncle created. I won’t miss this chance.”
Park Woo-seong looked at his nephew with a complicated expression. He was currently inside the NIS. The government had wanted his help to take care of the artificial intelligence so they brought Park Woo-seong from prison to the NIS. However his identity was still a prisoner. In addition, he was a main witness to Lucifer’s occupation of the nuclear power plant. Of course he was supervised by the NIS 24 hours a day and he couldn’t meet any outsiders. That’s why his nephew Park Chang-soo got involved in the Lucifer case.
Park Chang-soo’s profession was a pro-gamer. He had been influenced by Park Woo-seong in virtual reality games since childhood and he had been one of the most powerful users in the game Hell Lion. However his character and properties suddenly disappeared from Hell Lion. The NIS had chosen 50 gamers to go against Lucifer. Park Chang-soo was one of the strongest gamers in Hell Lion so he had also been selected. Park Chang-soo had two conditions when accepting the NIS’ offer. One of them was the right to visit Park Woo-seong once a month. And if he succeeded in reaching the ultimate goal then Park Woo-seong would be freed.
“I’m different from other users. I’m throwing everything into this. And my preparations have ended. I’ll do whatever it takes to reach the ultimate goal before Lucifer and save uncle. I will also step on Ark.”
Park Woo-seong suddenly raised his head. A smile formed on Park Chang-soo’s face.
“Of course. Ark. If it wasn’t for his actions then uncle would’ve got rid of New World. He interfered with uncle and in exchange became an advisor in Global Exos. If Ark didn’t have the master code then I would’ve moved to New World and smashed him.”
“Ark wasn’t the one who disturbed me. Rather he is the person who stopped me from doing something stupid. If it wasn’t for Ark then I would’ve got rid of the last legacy that Yuna left me.”
“Then you’re telling me to thank him?”
“That’s not what I meant. I have no intention of stopping your plan in Galaxian. Lucifer must be stopped somehow. Therefore Ark and the other users aren’t enemies. We need to stop Lucifer. And the users are your colleagues.”
“That’s not right.”
Park Chang-soo shook his head.
“Only the person who reaches the ultimate goal before Lucifer will receive the reward from the government. Thus we might have the same goal but the 50 gamers are also my enemy. If I can’t be that person then it would be better to let the power plant explode. Because the government should pay the price for trying to selfishly use Lucifer.”
“Chang-soo, what are you saying?”
“Don’t worry, that won’t happen as long as I’m there. Ark might be known as the legendary gamer but I will reach the ultimate goal first.”
A sharp light spread in Park Chang-soo’s eyes.
Slosh, slosh. Chwaaaaak!
Waves flowed as a large sphere floated to the surface of the water. The identity of the sphere was a creature that looked like a balloon at first glance. The tentacles attached stretched out while holding fish. The creature with the rounded body moved across the lake and climbed up onto the land. And he looked around with glossy eyes.
-Oh! Ark, you’ve returned!
“Yes, I arrived a short time ago.”
Ark laughed and nodded his head. There were some strange looking creatures that appeared in the universe. The identity of this creature was none other than Bakum. He was the leader of the Charenjok that used to live near Charem. After crushing Marquis Jyubel’s plot, Ark had finished the channel connecting S-20 to the waterfall lake and created an artificial lake inside the sector. And he had used the Silver Star to move the Charenjok and the food production factory. The place where Bakum surfaced was an artificial lake.
“Was Elder-nim hunting?”
–I’m a little old so isn’t this much just playing?
Bakum approached him slowly because of the fish being held.
–The channel connects the lakes but not that many fish have come through here. If we want to make a large quantity of food for 24 hours then we need to swim to the waterfall lake. In addition, the fish here is a lot different from Charem. Look. Isn’t it incredibly sharp?
Bakum pointed to the sharp snout of the fish. The fish that lived in the vicinity of S-20 and the waterfall lake was different from Charem where the Charenjok used to live. They might only be level 20 but they were still classified as a monster fish! The evidence was the sharp teeth.
–These guys tried to bite me. There are only a few of them but the fish can be dangerous. So multiple people are required to catch the fish. Anyway, there is no choice but to have insufficient workers.
However there were some benefits. A fish didn’t give any experience. But it was different if the fish were classified as monsters. It was difficult to catch the fish but they received more benefits when they threw it in the fish food maker!
Tal tal tal tal! Tal tal tal tal!
|-The Charenjok has earned experience!
-The Charenjok has earned experience…..
The Charenjok earned experience once the fish were changed into fish paste bars. Thanks to that, the level 30 Charenjok had reached level 35 after moving to S-20. Of course their stats also went up! They also started catching the monster fish faster. That wasn’t all.
|-Space food (Mega Piranha)
A food made from the Mega Piranha that likes in the lake in the eastern Outlands. The Mega Piranha is a carnivorous species so it is richer in proteins compared to others. Unfortunately it will cause abdominal pain from the toxins if swallowed directly but it can make a space food high in nutrition if entered into a space food maker.
<Satiety +60%, Health and Mental Power will recover by 200 over 3 minutes>
The fish in the northern lake only increase satiety by 40%. However the space food made of the Mega Piranha increase satiety by 60%. There was also an additional effect of recovering health and mental power by 200. The improvement in quality led to a price increase! It sold like hotcakes even when he raised the price from 50 copper to 1 silver. Of course the profit also doubled. The food production factory that used to earn 14 gold and 40 silver in a day increased it to 28 gold and 80 silver after moving to S-20. Ark had a 30% share so he earned 8 gold and 60 silver. The total for one month would be 260 gold. Ark’s income also doubled as well as the Charenjok’s!
–The last few months I’ve been living differently. At this age I can finally live happily. This is all thanks to you. I want to thank you once again on behalf of the Charenjok.
Bakum grinned happily as he bit into the Mega Piranha. Then he suddenly spoke again.
–By the way, did you come here to say something?
“Yes, something like that.”
–Something like that?
“I want to return the money you lent me the other day.”
Ark had borrowed 900 gold to expand the sector when presented with the <Audit Command> quest.
-Ah, yes. There was that.
“I wanted to repay you but not in money.”
Bakum was puzzled by Ark’s words.
–No, that…..as you know the biggest reason we’re raising money is to buy our kin who are Java’s slaves. It’s okay if you can’t pay back the money right away but…..even if it takes some time, shouldn’t you return it as money?
“There is no need for that.”
Then yelling was heard from behind.
–Ah, no? You guys surely…..
Bakum flinched as he looked around. Then Bakum’s eyes landed towards the Silver Star and the octopuses running out of it. There were exactly 34 of them. They were…..
–Why are you guys here?
–It is all thanks to Ark-nim!
–Yes, Ark-nim paid our ransom to Java! Now we’re free!
–Then you’re saying……
“Well, it is like this.”
Ark replied with a smile. That’s why he visited Charem before returning to S-20. Once again, the Charenjok’s biggest reason for earning money was to free the slaves caught by Lord Java of Charem. They worked 24 hours around the clock at the food production factory and already earned 70% of the required funds.
‘If this continues then they will gather the funds in the next two weeks. But even if they gather the money, I’ll be joining the task force so I can’t bring the octopuses to S-20 for one month. Anyway, the food manufacturing plant is already established so it is better to bring the octopuses first.’
That’s why he visited Charem and bought the octopuses!
–Heok! Those cephalopods?
–The light brown…..Honey, is that really you?
–Oh, Daddy! Daddy is back! Daddy!
–Oh! Hey guys! Honey!
The octopuses were reunited after a few years! They were all octopuses but Ark could tell the families with one glance. The aunt who inserted fish into the food maker, the young man who fished in the lake, the young boys and girls playing around and Bakum.They were in tears from the return of their family members.
And……wriggle wriggle! Wriggle wriggle! Their legs twisted around each other as they embraced with joy.
–Oh! Really…..such a day really came…..
Bakum who was in tears as he watched the scene turned to Ark.
–You really are someone sent from the heavens. God must’ve commiserated with us losing our hometown and sent someone to help the Charenjok. Not only did you provide us with a job and security, now you’ve saved our kin. I don’t know how I can repay the favour.
“Huh? No, that……”
Ark was embarrassed by Bakum’s words. He had paid Java 1,000 gold for the octopuses. But he had only borrowed 900 gold from Bakum. His previous 30% profit was 270 gold. Ark had paid Java 1,000 gold so he was actually owed 370 gold. Ark was the type that couldn’t give up even 1 copper. He would be absent for 1 month so the octopuses would need to pay him 370 gold as well as the future proceeds. So it was like he was the one who loaned them money. Yet Bakum was thinking that Ark just gave it to them. Ark became embarrassed as he tried to find a way to explain it. Eventually he just sighed. He scratched his head as he looked at the octopuses dripping with tears of joy.
‘Damn, how can I say that I’m lending them money in this atmosphere?’
The words couldn’t fall from Ark’s mouth.
‘When thinking about it, Bakum didn’t hesitate to lend me the money without any conditions. I can’t push them heartlessly. 370 gold. It isn’t a small amount but proceeds will steadily flow in from the Charenjok. Yes, let’s just think of it as an investment in my relationship with the Charenjok.’
Ark sighed and shook his head.
“No. Don’t talk like that. I have a lot to do so I’ll leave now.”
Then Bakum grabbed Ark. He looked determined.
-Do you still have the Charenjok’s Token? Haven’t you handled it for a while?
Then the other octopuses looked at Bakum with surprise.
-Don’t say anything! We owe Ark a lot more for the friendship he showed us. As the Elder of the Charenjok, I am obligated to return this favour. That is the Charenjok’s pride! We have to pay back our benefactor! Now Ark! Give me the Charenjok’s Token!
Bakum held out his leg with trembling eyes.
Ark had a feeling at that time. He remembered the octopuses’ reaction the first time he met Bakum. Ark quickly passed him the Charenjok’s Token.
Bakum bit into the leg that he was holding up. Then the leg started attaching to the Charenjok’s Token. And it stayed on the head for a long time. Finally the leg dried out and there were small protrusions on the head of the Charenjok’s Token.
|-A special feature has been added to the Charenjok’s Token!|
|-Charenjok’s Token (Special) Lv: 3
Item Type: Recovery
The Charenjok’s Token was originally sold as a souvenir. It is cute and could sometimes be used as a recovery item so a lot was sold to pioneers. But the Charenjok’s Token has a hidden secret. This secret can only be activated by the power of a Charenjok Elder.
However the elder has to sacrifice a part of their body in order to awaken the power.
Not many Charenjok elders would be willing to sacrifice a part of their body unless they need to repay a pioneer. Therefore not many pioneers know about the true strength of the token.
<Recovery from poison, your health will recover by 3 every 4 seconds for 10 minutes Cool down time: 1 hour>
|-First Evolution (Growth): When enough experience points are accumulated, the basic recovery skills can be elevated.
2nd Evolution (Ink Jet): The token has the ability to produce the ink naturally created by the Charenjok. When the ink jet hits the opponent’s face, it can cause the ‘blind’ state for 30 seconds. The Ink Jet can be fired 5 times and it requires 10 hours to recharge.
He had steadily used the Charenjok’s Token and it had increased to level 3! The recovery effect rose from 3 every 4 seconds so he could regain 450 health in 10 minutes. Ark was able to play the tanker role on Rakunka because of the Charenjok’s Token. It was already a helpful item. And now one more new feature had been added. ‘Ink Jet’ that caused the enemy to become blind! The capability to attack had been added to the token. The effect had increased and he gained a new skill.
‘Evolution added separate features from the token levelling up. The first evolution is the growth of the token effect. The second evolution is the Ink Jet. Then there must be a third and fourth evolution. No, there is no doubt about it. But if I want the Charenjok’s Token to evolve again……’
Ark looked at Bakum’s legs. Bakum smiled lightly and shook his head.
–Don’t pay attention to it.
-You don’t have to worry about my legs. Now the Charenjok can feel pride that we returned the favour. I am pleased even if I lost a leg.
My heart is a lot lighter.
But that wasn’t the reason why Ark was looking at Bakum’s legs. Bakum had already bit off 2 legs so he still had 6 remaining. In other words, the Charenjok’s Token was capable of 6 more evolutions. Of course Ark had some common sense. However he couldn’t help feeling greedy at the sight of all those legs. An octopus with all its legs cut off. They would just be like a soccer ball.
‘But 2 more is fine! Humans have 2 legs and 2 arms so 4 limbs aren’t a hindrance. Yes, the rest are just extra. He can live with no trouble even if another 2 are removed. However the information window states that the Elder will only do it to repay a favour.’
It wouldn’t be that easy to take off the next 2 legs. Nothing happened in the world without a reason. That applied even more so in the game. A seed planted in a garden won’t grow suddenly. It would be reaped when ready.
‘So I have to sow the seeds.’
Then something popped into his head. It was R-14! Burum on R-14 was the one who gave him the Charenjok’s Token. Bakum on Istana had been dreaming about reviving the clan. And now Ark had given them a safe place to live and a job. So Bakum was hoping to gather his scattered kinsmen.
‘Can I bring Burum’s clan to S-20?’
If Bakum was glad then he might bite off another one of his legs! However R-14 was a space station orbiting Earth. Even with warp it would take a whole day of flying. It was impossible for him to fly to R-14 and collect Burum at the moment.
‘I would like to do it straight away…..but at least I know about it so I can do it anytime. The octopuses on R-14 will still be there so I can visit after the completion of this mission. Huhuhu, just wait. I have reserved that leg!’
That’s why Ark was staring at Bakum’s legs. Of course Ark wasn’t dumb enough to voice this.
“I’m glad for the thoughts of the clan. But I’m sorry that you had to give up a part of your body. I truly appreciate Elder-nim’s thoughts. As the Charenjok’s friend, I promise to try my best to revive the clan.”
Bakum shook Ark’s hand with one of his legs.