SPACE 5. R-14’s Master
|-Your body has been restored through the revival system ‘Fairy.’|
The message window flashed in front of Ark. But he no longer paid attention to such messages.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this.”
Ark murmured as he checked his equipment. The Fairy was a revival system where the user was exactly restored to the state that they registered. Of course, this was limited to R-14 that was the beginner area but there was little damage when dying if the users registered. It meant there was no need to fear death. Therefore he could try everything.
“If there is no death penalty……”
It was possible to train skills that appeared through death. Back in New World, Ark learnt the Indomitable Will skill because he died so much. There also might be a similar skill in Galaxian. And the only time to try it out was on R-14 where there was no death penalty!
–Since it is a free service, a lot of pioneers play tricks and die.
Bhurad said the first time Ark revived with the Fairy. They also seemed to be thinking like Ark. This was a death penalty free area so there was a chance of obtaining a hidden skill. Ark’s autobiography had stated that Ark learnt a hidden skill through this area.
‘Virtual reality games aren’t that easy for the users these days.’
He had to prepare himself. So Ark spent an entire day dying. Thanks to that, he figured out hidden information about the Fairy revival system……
|-You have received the ‘aftereffect’ caused by frequent revivals.
The Fairy is a system that perfectly recycles the registered body. But frequent revivals placed a considerable burden on the spirit. In the worst case scenario, it will lead to mental damage. A proper rest is needed for recovery.
<For 6 hours, all stats -50% and the stats will be permanently lost if you die again under the ‘aftereffect’ status>
He couldn’t acquire any skills through dying. Ark confirmed the ‘aftereffect’ message and stop trying to obtain a death related skill. However, Ark wasn’t disappointed.
‘I found out about this penalty so it isn’t a waste of time.’
It was still the beginning stages of a game. Even information that seemed boring was valuable. It might’ve seemed like a reckless attempt but it also brought something good.
–Hey, are you okay?
Burum asked anxiously after the 20th time he died.
–It is impossible by yourself so shouldn’t you try to fight with the other pioneers?
The NPCs couldn’t understand that Ark was intentionally trying to die.
“No. I’m fine on my own. This place is safe but who knows what type of dangers there will be once I leave R-14. There is no doubt that I’ll encounter risky moments. I can’t possible ask for somebody’s help every time while I’m travelling.”
–You’re not wrong but…..
Burum scratched his head with hesitation. He worried a while before proposing.
-Then do you want to learn a technique of the Charenjok?
“Huh? A technique of the Charenjok?”
–I noticed that humans seem to have a little trouble moving on mud. Is that right?
In fact, that was the part that irritated Ark the most. Even if Ark wanted to die, it was no use if the space bugs just chewed on him. He wanted to practice various battle techniques before dying. He had no skills and had to rely on basic offense and defense. Attacking was no problem but he had trouble with defending. His ankle would often get stuck in the mud and would cause him to fall. The mud floor of the paid hunting ground was the area where the Charenjok lived. It was easy for them because they were octopuses but Ark wasn’t an alien. His movements were so dull on the mud that it was difficult for him to even move. He had no chance to use evasive movements. The other users were hunting in groups of 5 so the mud wasn’t a problem for them. Ignore defense! Ignore evasion!
Why would they have any problems when they just stood there and attacked? But Ark was hunting alone so he needed manoeuvrability. Burum thought that was the reason why Ark continued to die.
–A muddy ground is the best environment for the Charenjok. It is how the Charenjok were able to survive many brutal monsters. There are hardly any monsters able to catch up to us when travelling on mud. I can teach you this technique.
‘A skill from an NPC!’
Ark immediately nodded and accepted the offer.
“Yes, I’ll sincerely learn it!”
–Huhuhu, yes. Because you are just like the Charenjok’s benefactor.
Burum chose a location.
–Now, please follow me. First spread your legs like this and…..
His 8 legs started quivering and moving.
‘…..Is this a joke?’
How could Ark move like that when he didn’t have 8 legs? However, Ark swallowed the words which rose in his throat and followed Burum’s instructions. This was a technique that the NPC offered first.
There definitely had to be a way to learn it. Once he set a goal, he recklessly dashed towards it! Ark rolled in the mud and desperately did the training. Burum also enthusiastically taught him.
–Not like that! Relax a bit more! Like suk suk!
There was a reason Burum was so desperate. The octopuses could only collect the income from the hunting ground once Ark left R-14. Therefore the octopuses wanted Ark to level up quickly so he could leave R-14. Ark managed to master the skill thanks to such passion.
‘The main point isn’t using 8 legs. The important thing is how evenly I can distribute my weight. It is the same principle as someone with super strength picking up an egg. Remove the unnecessary power and disperse the weight.’
It was the secret to balancing in mud!
|-A new skill (Common Occupation ☆☆) has been learnt.
Swamp Walking (User, Passive): Not all environments on the frontier of space are suitable for humans. Therefore it is important that pioneers can adapt to harsh environments. The faster method is to learn from the local aliens. You have learnt Swamp Walking from the Charenjok.
<The restrictions in the swamp has decreased and the evasion rate has increased by 10%>
He learnt the skill once he reached enlightenment.
‘A two star rated skill!’
He learnt that the stars attached to the skill would change according to the degree of difficulty or importance. Needless to say, a two star skill was more difficult to learn and important than a one star skill. His movements quickly changed after learning Swamp Walking. He hadn’t been able to do any evasive actions until now. It didn’t matter even if he grasped the timing of attacks. However, he now managed to sometimes succeed in an evasive action and the damage diminished. He finally started a full scale battle after days spent cleaning the pipes.
“Now, let’s see……”
The pipe cleaning quest also gave experience. But the experience was tiny and he only reached level 3 despite clearing it 300 times. His agility increased by 3 thanks to the Cleaning Foreman title bonus and his evasion also increased due to Swamp Walking. The Alloy Dagger had an attack of 3~4 while the Modified Alloy Dagger dealt 5~6 damage. The difference was only 1 damage but it couldn’t be ignored.
“This much should be sufficient to try it alone!”
The level of the space worms was 4~7. He was able to distinguish between the levels thanks to the size. The smallest were level 4 while the largest ones with black fur were level 7. It was different from the insufficient farm area and he could afford to choose his prey. And despite the monsters being everywhere, they weren’t aggressive so he could attack them first. This was a suitable advantage for the level 3 Ark.
‘Let’s start with the level 4 space bugs.’
The space bug turned its round body after being pierced by the dagger. His stats were low. He also didn’t have any skills so he had no choice but to fight tediously. At first the monotony was extremely painful but he soon changed his mind.
‘I have to get used to this monotony.’
The users could exert more power in a virtual reality game than in reality. A person who was in a wheelchair in reality could run around and fly in the game. And even a child could fight against a large monster. This was the charm of a virtual reality game! But that power had to be supported by stats. If the user had low stats then that would actually be a penalty towards their actual physical abilities. It was the reason why Ark was lost in the earlier battles. Ark had misunderstood his power thanks to his previous character.
‘I have to reset myself.’
He wasn’t the strongest warrior but a level 3 character. That’s why he had recklessly ran forward when he first hunted in a party. Now he could accurately measure his power.
‘Hit, to the right, I have to carve every step into my body!’
He finished killing the space bug and it collapsed. He had 15% health left so it was possible for him to hunt level 4 space bugs.
‘It has been 10 days since I’ve started Galaxian and I’ve finally caught a monster by myself.’
He felt a lot of emotions after catching the space bug. And there was something even more inspiring.
-Ohh! Ark finally defeated a space bug!
–There’s no time!
–We have to heal him quickly so that Ark can hunt faster!
The octopuses cheered and thronged towards him. Ark had 10 octopuses clinging to him, which was a lot more compared to the other users! Ark had finally killed something after dying so many times. Thanks to the desperate octopuses, his 100 health was restored in seconds.
-We’re rooting for Ark-nim!
He even received sincere cheers.
“What is with that guy? He brought us to the paid hunting ground…..isn’t that VIP treatment?”
The users didn’t know the situation and just looked at Ark with confusion. But Ark didn’t care about the interest of the players. Ark’s only concern was fighting! Ark became immersed in battle with no breaks. Fighting, being restored by the octopuses, fighting, being restored……
|-Your level has risen.|
His level immediately increased after repeated battles. After 2~3 hours, Ark reached level 5 and added bonus stats to agility.
‘Now I can roughly sense it.’
Ark started moving more boldly.
He kicked the space bug right in the chest. Ark specialty of taekwondo kicks had finally started.
In fact, kicking wasn’t a special skill in virtual reality games. Once Ark’s success was well known, the users started to imitate him. He had seen many users hunting with crude kicks in the 2nd sector. However, they couldn’t be compared to Ark’s kicks. They weren’t the original. Ark had training and his standards were different from other users. Well, he was still only level 5…..
‘Damn, my kick didn’t connect?’
It did 0 damage. That meant it wasn’t regarded as an attack. However, it wasn’t completely pointless. The space bug flinched and retreated a little bit at the kick. There might not be any damage but the laws of physics still applied.
‘I don’t know if my level is too low to learn the relevant skill or Galaxian might not acknowledge kicks. But there is a reaction so it wasn’t hopeless. Even if there is no damage, there are endless ways to utilize the secondary effects.’
It was a correct judgment. Fighting became much easier once he started mixing in kicks.
The 10 octopuses recovered his health after each battle and his fighting speed accelerated. Therefore he reached level 6 in 2 hours! At the same time, the previous ‘Space Combat’ skill was regained and he learnt the basic combat skill ‘Dagger Mastery’ when he reached level 7.
|-A new skill (Common Occupation ☆) has been learnt.
Dagger Mastery (User, Passive): This is the skill that most pioneers learn first in Galaxian. The dagger is the most traditional and the most utilized from a wide range of weapons. Dagger Master will be the foundation of a large number of weapon techniques you will learn from now on.
<Additional 3% damage will be granted to the dagger>
As expected from the early stages of the game! Once he made up his mind then his level and skills rose quickly. The growth of the character depended on the user’s will! After learning Dagger Mastery and Space Combat, Ark started hunting the strongest monsters in the area which were the level 7 space bugs. Thanks to the various bonus stats and skills, fighting higher levelled monsters normally wasn’t a problem for him. But catching monsters in the early stages were more difficult. Ark was the same as well. Even if he learnt Space Combat and Dagger Mastery, they were still common skills that other users learnt. If the other users learnt such basic skills then there was no reason why they couldn’t face the space bugs. However, Ark had one skill that the other users couldn’t easily learn.
It increased evasion by 10%! It was a huge bonus for someone with 100 health.
“Take this you stupid slugs!”
It was an explosion of kicks followed by the dagger attack!
At the end of a 10 minute struggle, even the strongest level 7 space bug collapsed. It was only difficult the first time. He grew used to hunting the space bugs so they didn’t feel that difficult afterwards. Moreover, Ark always started the battle with 100% health thanks to the octopuses. It was indeed the best hunting environment. However, Ark wasn’t in a position where he could just hunt. If a user reached level 10 then their deposit would be returned to them and they would move onto the next area. And Ark had to gather new users from the farm area. That consumed quite a bit of Ark’s time but he didn’t regret it. Making money was just as important as levelling up.
‘I should reduce the time needed for sleep!’
His previous mindset had been revived. So he spent 3 days hunting and acquiring customers.
-Your level has risen.
Ark’s body was filled with excitement as he saw the message window. He finally reached level 10! He could leave R-14. The octopuses were even more excited than Ark.
-Oh! You finally have the qualifications to become a pioneer!
-Halo! It’s like a halo is shining around you!
The octopuses gathered and clamoured away. The paid hunting ground had opened for 4 days so they were thrilled they could get custody of it back. However, Ark immediately betrayed the expectations of the octopuses.
He just closed the information window without talking and became immersed in hunting again. The octopuses were at a loss from Ark’s action and murmured.
–W-what is that friend doing?
–Does he not know that he can leave R-14 now?
-No, that is impossible. Every pioneer should know about it.
–Then why is he still hunting?
–Perhaps…..he intends to stay here and get all our income?
–W-what? T-then? What about us?
The octopuses started panicking. So the octopuses gathered around Ark and incited him to leave.
–Don’t you think you’ve become strong enough?
–Yes, you’ll be able to chew any monsters on the frontier.
–Of course you have to give up the income from the hunting ground to discover the unexplored regions.
–But the frontier is a land of gold and opportunity for pioneers. Someone smart, strong and filled with desire like you…..no, a pioneer with strong desire can earn money that can’t even be compared with the income from this hunting ground. We guarantee it.
The octopuses didn’t want to give the impression that they weren’t grateful. But Ark also had the same idea as the octopuses. The average daily income for the paid hunting ground was 7~8 gold. When considering that the average income of level 10 users who left R-14 was 2 gold, that was a huge amount. But this was because it was the beginner area. Once he entered the frontier and the game earnestly started then that amount would be nothing. Common sense indicated that reaching higher levels meant more income. 7~8 gold would be nothing once he raised his level. His previous character Ark had earned thousands of gold in one day. Furthermore, he didn’t gain that much experience once he reached level 10. He was only hunting level 7 monsters. There was a difference of 3 levels so a penalty was applied on how much experience he could earn. And the monsters weren’t a sufficient opponent to practice his fighting skills anymore. He would be wasting time if he stayed in this hunting ground.
‘I know that but……’
He had ignored the octopuses and continued killing the space bugs. Ark’s target was to regain his mindset. So another three days passed. He suddenly heard Bhurad’s voice from the Nymphe.
-Ark, come and see me.
Ark quickly ran towards the central plaza.
“Did you call?”
“Ark, that is…..”
Bhurad looked at him with significantly different eyes before continuing.
“In fact, I really thought you were a hopeless person the first time I saw you. You broke your dagger and you also couldn’t report your work. Yet I can see that you have a bright future ahead. You continued receiving a small salary and eventually obtained a dagger again. Now I can’t help but feel admiration.”
“You’re overpraising me.”
“No, no. I’m not the type of person to say empty words.”
Bhurad examined his Nymphe and said.
“Your recovery is startling but the amount of mileage you ended up recording is even more astonishing. You reserved 56 mileage from hunting the space bugs. You also recorded 144 mileage from bringing in meat and leather from the space bugs. This is the best record among all the pioneers on R-14. No, it is the highest recorded among all the pioneers scattered on the space station around Earth. How on earth did you accumulate that much mileage?”
It was hard work. There was a chance that the user could die when recording mileage for the space bug hunting. The amount of quests the users normally completed by the time they reached level 10 was 25~30. However, Ark had reserved 56 mileage through the paid hunting ground. His leather and meat was also approximately three times that mileage. It was incredible when thinking about the low drop rate from the space bugs. However, Ark actually found getting the leather and meat to be easy. The guests of the hunting ground paid for the octopuses’ recover service through leather and meat. That also went into Ark’s pocket. If the customers also gave all the meat and leather they found then Ark would lower the fee to 30 silver. All of this was for one goal.
“No, it doesn’t matter how you gained that much mileage. The result says it all. Anyway, I admire your will. I honestly didn’t expect much from the novices entering the universe but you are different. So I prepared a present for you.”
Bhurad handed him something for his wrist.
|-Bhurad’s Shield (Magic)
Item Type: Energy Shield Wearer Restriction: Level 10
Defense: 25 Durability: 30/30
Shield Quantity: 1,000/1,000
A special reward given by Bhurad, the manager of R-14’s training centre to the pioneer who raised the most mileage. The energy shield is a common defense item in the space pioneering age that helps protect the body from various dangers. The shield will be destroyed after several attacks from the enemy but the equipped battery will automatically repair the shield after a certain period of time.
<Option: Strength +3, Stamina +3>
“This is a shield that I took care of for a long time. It is quite old but it should be sufficient for a beginner pioneer to use. And I’ve also written you a letter of recommendation for the galactic federation. The galactic federation is always looking for talent like you. If you would like to work for the federation then show them this letter of recommendation. I’ll tell you beforehand but this isn’t given to everyone. I won’t explain it now but this is a considerable privilege that you will soon understand.”
Then an information window appeared from the Nymphe.
|<R-14 training centre manager Bhurad’s letter of recommendation>
You’ve should incredible talent compared to most pioneers that pass through R-14. The training centre manager Bhurad appreciated your patience and qualities and wrote you a letter of recommendation to the federal government. If you make someone from the federal government a sponsor then it is possible to receive considerable benefits.
|-You have received the quest item ‘Bhurad’s Letter of Recommendation.’|
‘I did it!’
At first he thought that Bhurad’s quest would be infinitely repeated. However, the repeatable quest <Cleaning R-14’s Air Circulation Pipes> had a limit and ended. Then wouldn’t it be the same for the <Space Bug Processing> quest? That’s why Ark continued hunting despite reaching level 10.
‘I will get an achievement if I reach the end!’
Cheksun gave him items once he reached the end of the quest. If the same thing was applied then Bhurad might also give him an item. Ark’s guess was correct. Bhurad’s Shield! It was rare to receive a magic item in the beginner areas. Furthermore, he also received a recommendation related quest!
‘Well, I have to find out a bit more information about it…..’
But that wasn’t the end. Ark took the item and organized his bags. Now he could relax and leave R-14. Ark paid one last visit to the paid hunting ground to finish up the business.
The octopuses who had been gathered tightly together stared at him with surprise. They exchanged looks and Burum slowly approached him.
–Ark, we’ve been thinking and we realized that we were too short-sighted.
“Huh? Too short-sighted?”
–You really were a big help to us. You helped us establish an independent business after we tried to kill you. We’re embarrassed about how we treated you when you’re going to be leaving soon. So we made up out mind after a meeting. We decided that we should show out sincerity.
Burum extended something that looked like a small octopus.
|-Charenjok’s Token (Special)
Item type: Recovery
A mascot loved by the Charenjok. If you attach this mascot then you will recover from poison and your health will recover for 10 minutes.
<Recovery from poison, your health will recover by 1 every 3 seconds for 10 minutes>
This was why the octopuses were consulting each other. It was to decide what they should give Ark as thanks.
An ‘!’ appeared in his head. He remembered something that he forgot thanks to the behaviour of the octopuses. Once something broken then everything would come out. Ark realized that while playing the previous game. He had polished the pipes with the octopuses and their sincerity towards Ark increased due to the business plan.
–This might be useless for humans. Isn’t it beautiful? It will be able to sooth you if you feel upset. But this is all we have right now. Please think of us and take it. And…..this isn’t a demand. You’ll be heading to the frontier so can you give us our dream now?
–Ohh! Really? You’ll really give it to us?
The octopuses danced with joy as they received the answer they were waiting for. Ark taught the octopuses how to acquire customers and the knowledge to make the business successful.
–Phew, he should go now. That terrible guy.
The octopuses muttered after they were handed the business documents. Ark heard it through the pipes but he didn’t question it. The NPCs had given Ark an item so he couldn’t afford to be generous.
Anyway, Ark meticulously checked that everything in R-14 was finished and headed towards the exit.
It was a place filled with users who reached level 10. Ark was already familiar with the procedure and entered an elevator in the centre of R-14.
-Ark, the body scan has begun.
There was a mechanical sound and the information window appeared from the Nymphe.
|Character information window|
|Health||300 (+15)||Mental Power||150|
|* Title: Cleaning Foreman (Agility + 3)|
Ark had reached level 15 by the time he left R-14! It was an unprecedented record for R-14. Once the authentication procedure ended, the elevator closed and shot upwards. Another door opened and the universe expanded in front of him. It was a huge dome shaped area covered in a 3D map of the universe. One planet lit up when he entered. At the same time, the Nymphe vibrated and information appeared.
|-You have accessed the Star Gate system.
Currently dozens of frontiers exist in the present galactic federation. However, space travel using the warp system is impossible to withstand for pioneers who haven’t received the body coating. These are the places where the pioneers can move to from the R-14 Star Gate. Istana is a planet located on the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy and is approximately 2.5 times Earth’s size. It is the centre of humanity’s current exploration.
Unlike other settlements that are close to being barren, Istana has conditions suitable for humans to live in. Therefore Istana is the place where most pioneers are active and it currently leading the space development. It also contains a number of companies, including the headquarters of the galactic federation.
In order to receive a body coating, the support of a company or the galactic federation is required. Therefore, you must first be recognized by Istana and find a sponsor before you can head to the frontiers. As a pioneer, you can ask a company with huge financial capital or a company with amazing technology to sponsor you. The future is bright.
The planet of Istana expanded and red dots appeared. They were the different regions of Istana that he could select as a starting point.
The area where the headquarters of the galactic federation is located. It is the largest city on Istana.
Population Density: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Civilization: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Except for Tatuine, this is the commercial city with the most companies. Abundant space resources are scattered around the area and it is a commercially profitable city. Aside from the 4 main companies that are leading the space development, there are various small companies so it is easy to find a sponsor.
Population Density: ■ ■ ■ ■ □ Civilization: ■ ■ ■ ■ □
Approximately 20 cities were displayed. Selecting the starting point was an important choice. Ark meticulously read through the information about the cities one by one. He searched for a while and found a city that met all his criteria.
“Activate Star Gate, destination is Nephalim!”
The whole area vibrated and light gathered. Ark turned into a ray of light and shot out of R-14. The light was launching towards Istana, the centre of pioneering.
“What? What’s going on?”
Shortly after Ark flew towards Istana. The users were noisily gathered in R-14’s central plaza. It was because of the message that appeared on all monitors.
|-Achievement: The first mission related master of R-14 has been born. <Ark>|
“R-14’s Master? What does that mean?”
“Isn’t this just a place to reach level 10 before leaving for the frontier?”
“Every quest is just a repeatable quest. How does someone become a mission related master?”
“Is there a hidden ques we don’t know about?”
The users endless speculated. But they were even more interested in the name of R-14’s Master. Ark!
“Surely it isn’t that ‘Ark’?”
“Of course not. Why would the hero of New World start a new game?”
“That name is popular in Galaxian so we don’t know if that is the real Ark……”
“Is the real Ark in Galaxian?”
The users looked at the monitor dubiously. Then they scanned the surroundings with bright eyes.
“It doesn’t matter if he is the real Ark. Clearly there is a quest we don’t’ know about in R-14!”
“Find it! We have to occupy the spot before others find it first!”
The players swarmed like flies all over the place.
Gumul gumul, gumul gumul.
An octopus wearing tattered gear moved though the users.
–Huhuhu, Ark is gone so we can finally get some funds!
It was Burum who was full of dreams and looking for new customers.