SPACE 6. Sector S-20
Ark couldn’t bear it. He was anxious about Gwon Hwa-rang involving himself in the real estate problem.
‘Should I have confessed about Lucifer from the beginning?’
He had that thought. However Gwon Hwa-rang wouldn’t back off even if he knew the circumstances. Gwon Hwa-rang was already involved in the issue. He wanted the people who used their position to create victims of the real estate scam to be held accountable. Ark didn’t know what Gwon Hwa-rang would do if he found out that Lucifer was threatening people with the nuclear power plant.
–The country is in a crisis situation yet those VIP people are using their position to trick the common people into a corner! Unforgivable! I’ll expose their work and deliver justice!
It would be like pouring oil on the fire! In fact, Ark originally had the same thoughts as well. But it wasn’t very realistic. The parking lot incident occurred not even two months after Gwon Hwa-rang returned to Korea. While Ark’s feelings were cheering Gwon Hwa-rang on, realistically he didn’t want him to go against those powerful people. The situation could also get worse at any time. But not just yet.
‘This is a complicated situation. Father has interfered so I should be more cautious. I’ll trust it to Myung-ryong hyung at the moment and will just watch.’
Ark organized his thoughts for the moment. But there was no guarantee the 3rd party would back off. Ark could fight in a separate manner from Gwon Hwa-rang and Lee Myung-ryong. That was his confrontation with Lucifer!
‘The real estate of the Taek Mountain is in a slump because Lucifer is controlling the nuclear power plant. If the threat disappears then the real estate prices will soar again. Then the problem of the common people will be resolved. Then I’ll make those people regret selling the land and threatening Father.’
If he won the confrontation then all the problems would be settled. And he had already started. He had won 1 skirmish with Lucifer. Of course, the war would only be won if he reached the ultimate goal before Lucifer. This victory might not be that significant but it boosted his confidence.
‘I can do it! I just have to be more determined!’
…..That’s what he thought…..
“This is a video from Athamas.”
Marquis Martin showed him a video after the battle ended and he returned. The video showed a Rama warrior wielding a red lightsaber. His identity could be determined as soon as he saw the appearance.
“The Red Slaughterer?”
“Yes, this video was taken shortly after the destruction of the antenna base and the federation army was in the midst of attacking the Rama headquarters. In other words, it is after you claimed to defeat the Red Slaughterer. Considering the Red Slaughterer’s level, it is impossible that he revived using the Fairy.”
The higher level a pioneer was, the more time it would take to revive with the Fairy. The Red Slaughterer was over level 100 so a minimum of 2 days was required for resurrection. Yet the allied federation and Aschulat troops had attacked the Rama headquarters when less than 24 hours had passed.
“In other words, the Red Slaughterer wasn’t killed in battle with you. And that guy escaped through the Star Gate before the Rama headquarters was destroyed.”
‘I certainly didn’t confirm that he died……’
Ark had thrown a grenade into a trap and buried him. If he survived in those circumstances then he was like a zombie. He realized once again that Lucifer, the Red Slaughterer wasn’t an easy opponent. But he hadn’t expected that his war with Lucifer would end with this confrontation. And overall it was Ark’s victory! And he received compensation for that victory!
|Character Information Window|
|Health||2,500 (+90)||Mental Power||1,500 (+340)|
|Strength||240 (+38)||Agility||305 (+41)|
|Stamina||385 (+18)||Wisdom||40 (+13)|
|Intelligence||230 (+68)||Luck||55 (+8)|
Cleaning Foreman (Agility + 3)
Ignorant Destroyer (Wisdom -10, Strength +7, Stamina +7)
Beltana’s Hero (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, Intelligence, Luck +3)
Athamas’ Hero (Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wisdom, Intelligence, Luck +5)
Mediator (Wisdom, Intelligence +15)
|* Contribution: Galactic Federation 11,850, Aschulat 500
* Affiliation: Dark Eden (CEO)
|*Body Coating: Survivor
+ Environmental adaptation increases by 50% due to the Survivor coating.
+ The Survivor coating reduces the drop rate of Satiety by 30%.
+ The Survivor coating will reduce fall damage by 50%.
+The ‘Clairvoyance’ effect of the Survivor coating is applied.
Level was the first thing he checked! Ark had played a core role in the federation’s victory so he had received bonus experience ad gained 9 levels. But there was even more.
|-You have received the <Athamas’ Hero> title from the Galactic Federation.
This title is given to the user who participated in the war on the disputed planet and gains the most achievements. Therefore it is a unique title due to the different names of the disputed planets. Only one person can receive this title so it is different from the general titles.
The user who receives a title with the name of a disputed planet would be given huge compensation from the galactic federation. You will be given priority in investing on Athamas when development starts. You will also receive preferential treatment compared to the average citizen.
<Title Effect: Athamas’ Hero (All stats +5)>
+ 2,000 additional fame. + Galactic Federation contribution +5,000 + Acquired 400 Adventure points
+ Acquired 3% investment stake in Athamas that has become the property of the galactic federation.
A new hero title! His fame and contribution rose significantly while all stats earned +5 points. However there was a difficult part involved with that. A hero’s duty. It was becoming the federation’s promotional billboard. Ark had no intention of being dragged around like before. On Beltana he had made a secret deal with Marquis Martin so he had no margin to argue. Of course, fame was useful in many ways. It helped maintain a good impression with the NPC. Fame could also help prevent make unnecessary enemies. Ark already had a powerful enemy called Lucifer so it was best to avoid any new ones. So he made a suggestion.
“Can you give that role to someone else?”
“I’m talking about Slayer, Leon and Melina who earned some large achievements. I received the Hero title but it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for them. You know better than anyone that a hero can’t win a war by themselves. It is soldiers fighting in unison. If the hero receives the entire spotlight then wouldn’t the morale of other soldiers fall? I’ve already been exposed to the mass media so wouldn’t using other warriors have more effect?”
It was an annoying task for Ark. But his suggestion was quite persuasive.
“If I reuse the same person then the effect would definitely drop.”
If herbal medicine was used too many times then the effect would lessen……
“Okay. This time I will use them.”
Marquis Martin nodded.
“I’ll do it! I’ll do it!”
Slayer and Leon welcomed it with open arms. In fact, that was how most users would react.
“We’ll finally get to be celebrities. As expected, it is good that I came along with Ark-nim! Huhuhu, now we will be popular!”
Leon and Slayer were celebrating because of the bonuses that came with being a celebrity. They expected that they could use their brilliant background to attract the interest of female users. Well, it was consistent with their personality.
“Doesn’t that mean Ark-nim is going to leave now?”
Unlike Slayer and Leon, Melina wasn’t that excited. However Ark had no intention of parting with Slayer, Leon and Melina here. There were numerous users in the game but it wasn’t easy to meet reliable ones. And they were the most reliable users he had met so far. Maintaining the relationship with these users was also important.
“We can meet again any time if necessary.”
Ark exchanged ID codes with Slayer, Leon and Melina. The clean-up after the battle…..wasn’t over yet. There was still the most important thing. The title was just a perk he obtained for his active role. He still needed to receive the quest reward from Marquis Martin. This was the reason he was waiting in Tatuine after leaving Athamas.
“Was the problem dealt with?”
Marquis Martin nodded.
“Jyubel is in charge of the Department of Domestic Affairs so it was slightly difficult. But his Majesty the Emperor also showed an interest thanks to your achievements so that guy couldn’t say no.”
“I finished the process a short while ago.”
Marquis Martin said as he handed over a memory chip.
“The debt between us is cleaned up with this. I don’t know why you’re interested in a place like that but here you go. I wish you well. Now, is there anything else I can help you with? Or will you return there immediately?”
“I’ll go there.”
“Then I’ll lend you my personal airship. This is compensation for the delay in the processing.”
Ark had no intention of rejecting it.
Ark headed towards the airfield where the Royal Guards were gathered. The Royal Guards had returned the rental equipment after arriving in Tatuine and now looked like their previous selves. But Ark wasn’t disappointed. Ark wandered for a while before finding the target and the Royal Guards was only starting now.
“Hyung-nim, what will we do now?”
“Surely we’re not going back to the Silver Hand again?”
The members asked with uneasy expressions. They had to give to the Silver Hand to repay the money the Silver Hand lent Ark. They had spent a month and a half with the Silver Hand and they still hadn’t repaid the money. The Royal Guards were also aware of this and was concerned they would be sent back to the Silver Hand. However Ark had already paid back the debt out of his own pocket. This was because he judged that further training wasn’t required.
“You guys will be coming with me.”
Ark smiled and replied. And the place Ark headed to on Marquis Martin’s airship was……
No, before that!
“Don’t touch any of the food or drinks on this airship!”
Da da da da!
Hegel sprinted forward. Once he arrived at a distance place, he spread his arms and shouted.
“Pant pant pant! Hyung-nim, here too?”
Ark silently nodded. Then Hegel ran a few hundred metres in the opposite direction and shouted again.
“Pant pant pant! Hyung-nim! Hyung-nim! Here too?”
Ark once again nodded and smiled. This situation repeated a few times. Hegel ran around gasping and asking the same question while Ark nodded without any annoyance. Once he had done this a dozen times, Hegel ran back with tears in his eyes.
“Hyung-nim, really? It’s not a joke? Yes? This is really our land?”
“Yes, it is our land.”
Ark replied while patting Hegel’s head. A large wasteland stretched in front of him with a mountain located in its centre. This was Mt. Fargo, the dormant volcano. The reward Ark claimed from Marquis Martin for the <Athamas’ Battlefield!> quest was Mt. Fargo.
“You want to have Mt. Fargo?”
This happened a few days ago when Ark was flying to Tatuine on the airship. Marquis Martin frowned and said.
“You seem to be misunderstanding something. Mt. Fargo doesn’t belong to me. Strictly speaking, Istana doesn’t even belong to the federation. I don’t have the right to give you this land.”
Then why did you say that?”
“Mt Fargo doesn’t belong to the galactic federation but what about the different sectors?”
“Are you talking about splitting that area into sectors?”
Ark said with a smile. The reason he thought of this reward…..
‘The fight with Lucifer won’t simply be decided with a 1 on 1 fight. Something larger was required to meet the ultimate goal. Then there would be limits on my power alone. I need the strength of an organization behind me.’
This was one of the reasons why Ark hurried to register as an agent. Luckily he was able to register as an agent in Charem. However, the agent registration wasn’t his goal. It had no meaning if he didn’t grow it properly. Of course Ark’s interest was in growing the agent.
The first step was to secure a base.
An organization required robust roots in order to grow. And the foundation of any organization is a base.’ Ark had intended to use Charem as a base. He managed to become an agent for 18,900 gold, he also had a 3% share and the Charenjok’s food manufacturing factor was nearby. It was also a special autonomous trade city so the growth possibilities were endless. That idea changed once he found the Elim Sanctuary. He had obtained the occupation Elim’s Heir from there. Ark needed to focus on growth and obtaining Xanax’s legacy. Therefore he needed to make his base at Mt. Fargo where the Elim Sanctuary was located. Of course, this wasn’t the only reason to pick Mt. Fargo. There was a hunting ground situation inside Mt. Fargo. He could earn income from the gallstones and grow the Royal Guards at the same time.
‘This place is perfect as a base.’
And there was no apparent difficulty. Mt. Fargo was located in the Outlands. Istana basically belonged to the federation but they had no reach over the Outlands. Therefore a user was free to make it a base.
That was the problem. The federation isn’t involved in anything that happens in the Outlands. Therefore establishing a base is free but it won’t be protected by the federation’s laws. Of course, if someone killed a user or NPC in the Outlands then they would become chaotic. But unlike a city, the chaotic value accumulated was low and they would just need to pay a small bail. This was the reason why PKing was prevalent in the Outlands.
Building a stronghold in this place was dangerous. Even if he painstakingly developed the building, its rights wouldn’t be formally acknowledged. So he had no way to stop large guilds from forcibly crushing it. That was the reason why Director Bain needed to request help from the Laius headquarters when the Kero clan attacked. The federation troops couldn’t get involved in incidents in the Outlands. There was only one way to prevent such a situation!
The only thing the federation could manage in the Outlands was a sector. The same laws as a federation city also applied to the sector. The federation troops could help out in a raid.
‘An unsafe base will only be a burden. If he wanted to establish a stronghold in Mt. Fargo then it was necessary to make a sector. And it will be good if I’m registered as the administrator of the sector.’
This was the conclusion Ark came to. Of course, that task wasn’t as easy as it seemed. The user had to have a business to apply for a sector. It also required the appropriate fame and federation contribution. This was the minimum conditions required to apply for a sector! Marquis Martin looked frustrated and said.
“But that is literally the smallest condition. In order for a sector to be formally recognized, the area needs to have a minimum population and you need to apply to be qualified as an administrator. Once all those criteria are met, you need to pass an exam at the Department of Domestic Affairs.”
“Isn’t that why I asked Marquis Martin?”
“You think I can do something like this?”
“Yes, that is what I think.”
Ark replied with a serious expression. Marquis Martin sent Ark a sour look before finally nodding.
“Okay. If you succeed on Athamas then I’ll take care of it.”
That was the behind the scenes deal Ark made over Athamas. And Ark did his part. Somehow Marquis Martin had also achieved his promise. Ark didn’t care how he persuaded Jyubel who was in charge of Domestic Affairs. That important thing was that Marquis Martin had registered Mt. Fargo as a sector and Ark was the administrator. That was the contents of the memory chip given to Ark before leaving.
|-You have become the administrator of a new sector!
Sector code: S-20 Sector rating: Lv. 1
Sector range: 1 km area around Mt. Fargo.
Sector manager: Ark (Agent- Dark Eden)
* You have become the administrator of a sector and was granted the right to uphold the laws of the federation in this area. You can receive taxes from pioneers and merchants who visit the sector. However, you have to pay the federation 50% of the tax money as a public utility fee. In return the sector will be protected from all threats.
The administrator of the new sector S-20! This was founded on Ark’s achievements in Athamas.
“I never thought this day would come!”
“You were a criminal sent to the battlefield and now you’re a sector manager!”
“I’ll have no regrets even if I die now!”
The members looked around with eyes full of tears. They were beyond impressed. They used to suffer from hunger on Beltana and now they were the subordinates of a sector manager. Ark also felt a deep emotion with looking at the area around Mt. Fargo that he was in charge of. He had finally gained a piece of land in Galaxian!
“It is thanks to your suffering.”
Tears finally fell from the eyes of the members. However Ark wasn’t entirely pleased. It was a small scale town when Ark came here for the first time. However many of the merchants’ trailers were abandoned after the Kero’s raid. The Laius’ research centre on the slope of Mt. Fargo was also smashed by the landslide. The debris was just left around Mt. Fargo so it was no different from a ruin. The caves inside the mountain had also collapsed so users couldn’t hunt. The merchants also all went away. It hadn’t been designated as a formal sector when the attack happened. It was natural that everyone would desert it and it would become a ghost town.
‘Now it is time to fight!’
Ark started the sector reconstruction project. This was the first step he had to do after registering it as a formal sector. However, he used his remaining funds to clear the Royal Guard’s debts with the Silver Hand so he was penniless. No funds meant he couldn’t build anything……
|-Sector S-20 Administration
This was the information on a signpost.
“Hyung-nim, it is okay to cry.”
While the members were thrilled, he was sighing in front of the signpost. But it couldn’t be helped. He had no money!
“It might be disappointing but this is our reality. As you can see, a formal sector was registered but this is the middle of nowhere. How it changes will depend on us. We need to pour our blood and sweat into this land. We have to transform this sector into the largest and most thriving sector in Istana. Of course things won’t be that easy. But I believe in us. Working together nothing is impossible.”
“We believe in Hyung-nim!”
“I’ll do whatever you say! Anything!”
“What do we need to do?”
He had waited for those words.
Ark took out a shovel. An entrance fee from pioneers was the basic income for a sector. If he added many inns and shops then he could get additional income. In the Outlands, pioneers needed a Fairy the most so he could also obtain money from that. Therefore the necessary thing for his sector’s growth was to secure pioneers! But the caves inside Mt. Fargo were blocked by the landslide. It was necessary to create the caves in order to return the sector to its original state. Then he needed to do one thing.
Of course he wasn’t going to do it alone. Ark had used his remaining money to purchase 11 shovels in Tatuine. Milan distributed the shovels to the other members of the Royal Guards and Ark started the digging training.
“Everyone grab one and follow me!”
Ark led the members to dig in Mt. Fargo.
And…..Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
Ark, Milan and the Royal Guards. The 12 of them started shovelling. Once again, the Royal Guards had shed tears because they weren’t required to receive the Silver Hand’s hell training anymore. Yet those tears tried up after not even one day in S-20. Instead sweat started pouring out!
“Pant pant pant! Pant pant pant!”
All of them were breathing heavily. Ark was the only normal one. Still, this was better than receiving the Silver Hand’s hell training. Their training was so tough they felt like they were always going to die. But they could take breaks with Ark. Ark ate breakfast, connected to the game, dug, ate lunch, dug, dinner, dug, dug, dug until he fell asleep! But he couldn’t complain. Because Ark had a reason for doing it.
“This is our land. We need to save this place with our own hands. You guys have to dig, dig, dig. Every drop of sweat will fertilize S-20! Now, follow me!”
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
And the shovelling started again. How could the subordinates not obey a boss who was working hard? Even if the Royal Guards’ backs were throbbing with pain, they couldn’t stop shovelling. No, if it was just shovelling then they could withstand it. Mt. Fargo’s caves were teeming with Thanatos! They had to shovel as well as take care of the Thanatos when they came flocking. The members also needed to deal with the Thanatos. The members became battered by the Thanatos every time they penetrated a blocked cave. Then they had to start shovelling again!
‘W-what it this?’
‘I thought I finally escaped from the Silver Hand……’
‘Oh my god! That was 100 times better!’
The members became like zombies after the situation continued for a few days. But the members had some hope. The caves where they were digging weren’t that big. The cave had a round form and was only 5 km large. After 5 days had passed, they were able to clear out all the dirt and sand and opened the cave to traffic.
“W-we did it!”
“The cave is finally in its original state!”
The members who hadn’t seen sunlight for 5 days cheered. However Milan’s expression didn’t change. Milan knew the structure of the caves inside Mt. Fargo. The cave the members took 5 days to clear was just the upper layer. The intermediate layer was many times larger and he couldn’t even grasp the size of the bottom layer. And considering Ark’s nature…..
“Now. Let’s go down to a lower layer!”
Of course he wouldn’t give a break. The Royal Guards finally started to realize it. Meeting Ark again had been their dream. The happy start they imagined soon turned to misery. They had moved from hell to an even worse place! The members would actually rather receive the training from the Silver Hand. But it was too late for regrets. The Royal Guards had no choice but to continue digging.
|-Mellin has learnt the <Dig> skill.
-Hegel has learnt the <Dig> skill……
The only consolation was the ever increasing skill. And that was also Ark’s happiness.
‘Huhuhu. This is a pretty good?’
The members were going to help Ark fight Lucifer. Ark had been quite nervous about not seeing the members’ growth. That’s why he came up with the training schedule that he gave to the Silver Hand. He had also confirmed their fundamentals on Athamas.
‘My efforts on building the foundation for stamina is starting to show an effect. It has been demonstrated that the Royal Guards are still too low levelled to compete with Lucifer’s subordinates. Now I need to focus on raising their levels.’
That was his thoughts after the fight on Athamas. But right now it was imperative to rebuild the sector. Then the Thanatos showed up every time they penetrated a cave. Ark was glad about being able to do reconstruction work as well as level up. Of course this was incidental. Right now the urgent issue was to restore the sector. S-20 had to develop beyond what it was before. And he had finally cleared the upper layer dungeon.
“Soon I will receive guests.”
He was ready to bring back the pioneers. And the promotion of the newly opened S-20 was already in progress.
Istana’s central city of Tatuine.
Two men and one lady appeared on a large screen attached to a building. The two men and one lady smiled perkily despite looking like they had no rest. They were Slayer, Leon and Melina who were playing Ark’s promotional role. Leon and Slayer thought they could be famous like Ark.
–I heard that you played a decisive role in leading our forces to victory on Athamas?
–No, that….it is something I wanted to do as a citizen of the federation.
–You’re too humble.
–Doesn’t a rice plant ripen better when it lowers its head? Hat hat hat!
The big screen zoomed in on Slayer laughing like a frog. Then the users watching the screen gave it unpleasant looks.
“What? That guy?”
“He’s unbelievably smug after receiving some achievements.”
……He gained a lot of anti-fans every time he appeared on the screen. However this shameful conduct by Slayer and Leon led to an unexpected effect.
“Sheesh, I can’t believe those guys became heroes.”
“Okay. We should lend our support to Bellin’s battlefield!”
“If those guys could gain attention than the Rama must not be a big deal.”
They started becoming dismissive of the Rama. Therefore the number of pioneers volunteering to go to the battlefield steadily increased. That wasn’t the only effect of Slayer and Leon’s advertising.
“I thought Ark was annoying when he appeared on TV……”
“That’s right, now I actually prefer the blunt Ark. He is better than these smug guys.”
“Those bastards, they should stop promoting at once!”
“Okay, killing Ark is cancelled. Now they are out targets!”
Ark’s anti-fans transferred their attentions to Slayer and Leon. It was an excellent choice picking Slayer and Leon as his promotional billboard. But those were both unexpected effects. Other than his anti-fans switching targets, Ark had a reason for selecting Leon and Slayer as the billboard. That condition was……
–Did you have any last words you wanted to say?
Slayer and Leon scratched their heads.
Then the silent Melina had quickly jumped in.
–Wait a minute. I wanted to let the people seeing the broadcast know something.
–What is it?
–We were able to build up the achievements thanks to Ark-nim who has received the title of Hero. We got the chance to go to Athamas after accidentally meeting Ark-nim at Mt. Fargo. It received a surprise attack by space pirates and is in ruins. However Ark-nim is currently reconstructing the sector. The probability of monsters dropping gallstones in the dungeon is quite high so it will be useful for any users looking to upgrade their equipment.
This was the condition attached. The promotion of Ark’s sector S-20! Ark had already played the role of the federation’s billboard. He knew how quickly things could spread if promoted properly. The effectiveness of S-20’s promotion was more than he imagined! Pioneers were attracted to S-20 thanks to Ark’s advertising strategy. And the advertising strategy was definitely effective. Users interested in gallstones headed to S-20 from close cities like Tatuine as well as faraway cities like Sidellin. Among those users was ‘him.’
The blond youth looked up at the screen with complicated eyes. He had received a special pardon for the war on Athamas and was nicknamed Rapid.
“……I finally know where Ark is.”
A corner of his mouth went up. He had been completely disappointed on Athamas. He couldn’t understand why Ark had been defeated so easily by the Red Slaughterer. He felt like he lost the feeling that was sustaining him. However he learnt after the battle that it wasn’t the real Ark. Ark also played a decisive role in the victory on Athamas.
“Yes, I knew it. It is worthwhile looking for you.”
His enthusiasm was revived. After returning to Istana, he figured out Ark’s location through Slayer, Leon and Melina’s broadcast. The end of his long journey was finally nearing. He still couldn’t clearly explain why he wanted to see Ark. He didn’t know what he wanted to say. But he didn’t worry about that issue anymore.
“I’ll discover it when I meet Ark.”
All the answers would be released from Ark himself. And soon he would meet Ark!