SPACE 8. That Guy, This Guy, That Guy
“No, that is…..”
The middle aged man scratched his head with an embarrassed expression. It didn’t matter even if he didn’t reply. His facial expressions and gestures showed everything clearly. Irina replied with an emotionless face.
“I understand what you’re saying.”
“That’s okay. I know this isn’t your intention. I made up my mind when I decide to disobey Commander Haman’s instructions.”
After the Beltana war ended, she had expected to be sent to Hanan which was the hardest fought battlefield. She was generally indifferent to everything but she was also a user. And a user always needed experience. However the announcement was delayed for a fortnight and…..All of a sudden she received a notification from the section chief she belonged to and was given an unexpected mission. Irina was able to notice the rough situation immediately.
Although the Beltana battle ended with the federation’s victory, Commander Haman was pushed into a corner. Ark was displayed as a war hero and the federation was concerned the media would start criticizing their treatment of prisoners so they pushed all the criticism towards the incompetence of Commander Haman. Naturally this was because of Irina. She rebelled against Haman but it didn’t work. Ark was the one who solved the problem himself. He placed the video of the battle onto the internet and attracted the interest of users and NPCs. But Haman didn’t forget that fact that she rebelled. The federation members also didn’t forget that she went against the decision of the higher ups. This mission she couldn’t understand was probably retaliation for that incident.
‘All the worlds are the same. Power was everything. This is a game so I was hoping that justice would win in here……’
But there wasn’t anything she could do. She wasn’t the type of protest in front of the presidential office. She had no ambition for changing the world. She just wanted a small shelter to relax. A small shelter where the eyes of a callous father won’t reach……
“I don’t understand.”
The section chief said as he stared at her.
“You knew about the circumstances of the federation yet you were still determined. I heard that you were about to receive a promotion to lieutenant soon. But that promotion was put off. So far you’ve never caused any problems. You also never showed interest in other people’s matters. Therefore I don’t understand why you did acted in a way that would attract Haman’s backlash. Is that Ark person someone special to you?”
“Isn’t he? I know that you’re not an emotional person.”
“I’m not an emotional person……”
Irina murmured with a strange expression. When she thought about it, the section chief’s words were right. She fled from her father into Galaxian and resolved to do all the work in her own way. That’s why she was obsessed with sticking to the rules. It was illogical that she took such actions on Beltana. It was definitely strange. This was also the part that her section chief was asking about.
‘At that time I was angry. Why? I didn’t like Commander Haman’s actions but there were different ways to dispute it. But I visited Commander Haman and questioned him excessively. Why did I act like that? What made me so angry? Does it have something to do with Ark like the section chief said? No, that is impossible.’
Irina thought for a while before shaking his head.
“I don’t understand either.”
“Hey hey, why does your answer have no sincerity?”
“It is unrelated to my sincerity. I just don’t know.”
“That sounds like you.”
The section chief smiled and said. But Irina didn’t say anything else. The section chief watched her for a while before saying.
“Anyway, this situation might be a little uncomfortable but just endure it. The atmosphere in the upper ranks is improving. If you handle this mission well then you’ll probably receive that lieutenant promotion. I don’t know if this will be a comfort but this mission isn’t easy. If the media is aware of it then the federation’s reputation might nosedive again so please deal with it before then. Do you understand? I recognize your skills so I believe you can handle this.”
“This is the material sent from the field.”
The section chief handed her a file that said.
|-Report on the mass breakout at the orbit prison Stael.|
A new quest was registered after she read the words on the file
“It’s been a while.”
Ark looked around with interested eyes. Paved roads were stretched out in all directions from the fountain in the plaza and chattering crowds were everywhere. Men and women wearing robes were sitting on benches reading magic books while merchants were selling goods in street stalls. Users wearing armour were shouting to gather users for hunting in dungeons. And chicken were crying from nearby buildings.
“This is the good part about New World.”
Ark laughed while sitting on a bench. That’s right. This wasn’t the pioneering era in the 24th century. It was a world in the 10th century…..a different world. Instead of a world of gun and missiles, New World was a world of swords and magic. And this place was Selebrid, the capital city of the Schudenberg kingdom. Why was Ark suddenly in New World? It occurred a couple of days ago.
“Did you know?”
He had dropped in at Global Exos. The Planning Department chief Ha Myung-woo suddenly asked him.
“The number of people connecting to New World is decreasing these days.”
“Ah, yes. I guess I’ve been busy.”
“Why is your answer like that? You can’t be that busy!”
“No, I really am busy…..”
This had happened when Ark first arrived in Charem. He was inside the pipes at the water facility so he had plenty of time. But Ark knew. Ha Myung-woo seemed to have gone through some difficulties judging by his voice. Once Ark was seated, Ha Myung-woo started to list his complaints.
“There are a various reasons for the number of connections decreasing. There are various errors every time an expansion pack is released and the development speed is slow so the new content can’t match up with the users’ level up speed. However, the planning team investigated and came to the conclusion that the biggest reason is that the player’s interest has cooled.
If the interest cooled then of course the number of connections would decrease. The 20 people of the planning team were mobilized for an investigation? Did they ever think that the cause of New World’s falling numbers was because of the stupid planning team? The words were in his throat but he swallowed them down. When Ark first joined Global Exos’ entrance examination, Ha Myung-woo was the person in charge of it. Despite becoming Global Exos’ advisor, Ark still found Ha Myung-woo difficult. Anyway, Ha Myung-woo continued talking.
“The planning team worried for a while so we created a new project. These days a massive amount of publicity comes from internet broadcasting. Therefore we have to promote the fantasy game system once again. After having users fill out a questionnaire, the answers came back as ‘Ark.’ Ark is the strongest person in New World so he is the thing that users are most curious about. So the planning team joined with an internet broadcasting company. The name will be ‘Ark, the Legend of that Time’ and it will be a trilogy!”
‘What is he proposing now?’
Ark looked at Ha Myung-woo with irritation. When Ark was initially appointed as the advisor of Global Exos, the users interest exploded and Ha Myung-woo created things like ‘Ark, I am a user’, ‘Ark, the human,’ ‘Ark, behind the legend,’ ‘Ark, where is he going,’ and so on. Now another new project was being launched…..and the name was ‘Ark, the Legend of that Time’? He was being treated as a retired entertainer. However Ark had no right to refuse. The reason Ark could become an advisor for Global Exos was because he obtained the master code and he had responsibilities in New World. This was also one of Ark’s main tasks.
“I understand what you’re saying. I’ll make some time.”
Ark accepted the suggestion. But the situation in Galaxian suddenly changed and he postponed it until Charem’s problem was finally settle yesterday.
‘I might not have time when I move to another place so let’s put it in order while I have time!’
This was the reason Ark came to New World.
‘I was a little annoyed when I first heard the news but it is good once I entered. I suffered after fighting the Sufferers for so long in Galaxian so the medieval city has a calming effect. But when are they coming……’
Ark confirmed the time and looked around.
“You are Ark-nim?”
Two people started approaching him. They were both wearing robes when the woman in front holding a microphone and the man behind holding a magic projector to shoot a video. He was holding a magic projector that cost 50 gold (memory crystal sold separately).
“Yes, I am Ark.”
“That’s great. I’m Fufu from African TV and this is Camel.”
“Ah, I’ve seen you before. Are you a professional newscaster for virtual reality games?”
“That’s right. But Ark-nim is much more famous than me. You are New World’s strongest gamer and Global Exos’ consultant. That is indeed a user’s romance. There was a lot of interest from before but this is the first time I saw you directly. We’ll take good care of this trilogy.”
The red haired Fufu said with a smile. She looked vaguely like Roco.
“So now what?”
“I’ve heard from Ha Myung-woo that Ark-nim has done a lot of broadcasts before. Yet Ark-nim never talked about the NPCs that helped you become the strongest gamer. This time we want to talk to the people around Ark-nim.”
“The people around…..you mean specifically…..”
“There are a number of people. For example the 7 heroes that helped Ark-nim against Lucifer, Sid who worked with Ark-nim for a long time and is now in charge of the dwarf union, Buksil, Ulmeok, Sapjil, JusticeMan and the rehabilitation members as well as the Meow, raccoons and other beast clans.”
‘That is a long list.’
Once he heard Fufu’s words, he really though it had been a long time since he entered New World. Then Fufu said with a smile.
“As expected, the thing that users are most curious about is Ark’s summons.”
“Yes, the colleagues who travelled with Ark-nim from the beginning until you became a legend. Yet they’ve never appeared on any broadcasts. How does Ark-nim’s summons live normally? That is the question that appeared the most in the survey.”
Ark scratched his head for a while. Ark also hadn’t seen them for a while. Of course he used to often enter New World. However, he could handle the bugs by himself so he didn’t need to call his summons. No, Ark had the master code so he was like a god in New World. Even if he faced a level 999,999 devil, he could just press ‘Del’ so he didn’t need to call his summons. Therefore it had been 1 year since Ark saw his summons. However, he started to remember his summons after starting Galaxian. He was playing alone so he sometimes missed the days when he travelled with his summons.
‘That’s great. Doesn’t this give me an excuse to see them after a long time?’
“I understand. Then I will summon them right away.”
Ark laughed and nodded his head. Then Fufu shook her head and quickly said.
“No, that’s not it. I told you. The users are wondering what the summons does normally. In order words, we want to go to them.”
“Well that is also okay.”
Ark was anxious when hearing those words. He hadn’t seen them for 1 year so he didn’t know what they were doing.
“I understand. Then I’ll take you to them immediately.”
Ark smiled and took out a lamp from his bag. He rubbed the lamp with his sleeve and a giant rose from it. The giant made of blue smoke kneeled in front of Ark and lowered his head.
–Master, did you call?
“Ah, Ark-nim, that is?”
“The genie of the lamp. He is a pretty carefree guy.”
Ark tapped the giant’s knee and laughed. The existence of the master code was still a secret for the general users. It wasn’t possible to announce that a user had control of all of New World. But Ark wasn’t a magician so there would be problems if he suddenly used spatial movement or removed a whole mountain. Therefore Global Exos’ development team quickly create the genie of the lamp after Ark obtained the master code. All the miracles that Ark created with the master code could be blamed on the genie of the lamp. Therefore the ability of the genie was almost unlimited.
“Heok! W-what the hell?”
“Lamp! The genie of the lamp!”
“The genie of the lamp? T-then the person holding the lamp…..”
“Ark! He is the only person in New World who has the genie’s lamp!”
“Wah! Ark! Ark has appeared in Selebrid! Pictures! Take pictures!”
The users in Selebrid started flocking. However Ark didn’t pay attention to the interest of the users.
“Genie, please move me.”
–Where is the place you desire?
“Well…..shall we start with that guy? Genie, the destination is Dark Earth. Move Fufu, Camel and I to the Immortal Castle in Dark Earth on Seutandal.”
–As Master commands!
A storm wrapped around Ark, Fufu and Camel.
“It is the Immortal Castle on Dark Earth which is the Holy Land of the vampires.”
Ark replied while looking at the city locked in darkness.
Pepeng! Pepeng! Pepeng!
There were successive ringing sounds and dozens of vampires appeared. Wearing red armour and holding various weapons, they were the guards of the Immortal Castle. And…..
–Who dares trespass on the Immortal Castle?
An old man shouted from the centre of the guards.
“Hey Lord. It’s been a while. Are you healthy?”
-What? Damn, is it Ark? I was wondering why it was quiet. I told you the last time you came here. Please don’t just spatially move to the castle. Don’t you know how many cracks appear in the magic barrier every time you use spatial movement? At least use the dragon when coming here.
The pale, old man sighed and muttered with irritation. Then Fufu asked Ark in an uneasy voice.
“Ark-nim, isn’t that an incredibly scary vampire?”
“Huh? Oh, that old man is the Vampire Lord.”
“Vampire Lord! The King of all vampires that has enough magic to kill a dragon?”
Ark shrugged and replied. That’s right. The guards were protecting the Vampire Lord! Like Fufu said, he was the King of all vampires and one of the strongest NPCs in the world. However, Ark had already become friends with the Vampire Lord one year ago. Because he was a god. A vampire with eternal life had nothing against him. Power was the thing that determined ranking. And Ark was a user will the power to match the Vampire Lord. Because he was a god. Anyway, the Vampire Lord was a rare NPC that general users hardly ever saw! Fufu became restless with the appearance of the Lord.
“C-Camel, turn on the camera! Stand-by! Ohhh! Everyone, it is the emergence of a rare NPC! How awesome! The Vampire Lord who is a legend! Look! That disinterested face! The fearsome magic that can be felt even at a distance! He is indeed a monster of monsters!”
–What? Who is that impolite woman?
“Don’t worry about something like that. She is with me today.”
Ark clicked his tongue and sighed.
“By the way, where is Curio?”
–He is in his mansion. Yes, this is good. Please do something.
“Do something?” What are you saying?”
–That Curio. I really…..he is your summon so I left him along but seeing his actions every day…..he really is a young vampire. You should go and see him. You’ll then understand what I’m saying. I’m asking you. Please control him somehow.
The Vampire Lord said before disappearing with the guards. Curio was one of Ark’s 3 summons. At first he was just a bat but under Ark’s loving (?) care, he grew rapidly until he earned a spot in the Immortal Castle. He was a bit sassy at times but he was a pet that suited Ark.
‘I should control him? What does that mean?’
It didn’t take that long for Ark to get an answer.
“Oh, finally! This is the mansion of Ark-nim’s summon, the vampire Curio. His usual appearance is that of a cute body so he is especially popular among female users but in reality he is a vampire! In addition, he is a high pureness vampire. What kind of life does a vampire like this live? As a vampire, does he sleep in a coffin? Or is he raising his magic in preparation for any upcoming battles? This will now be revealed to the public!”
Fufu relayed while entering the gloomy mansion.
A female scream was suddenly heard. He was a vampire so maybe he captured someone to suck their blood! He thought like that for a short time but……Ark’s face soon warped strangely.
“Kyaaah, over here! Curio-nim!”
“Hohohoho, try to catch me.”
Barely dressed women were running around the hall while laughing. And chasing after them was a boy who covered his eyes with a towel.
“Hehehehe, you cuties. I’m going to catch you. Ang, I’m going to eat you!”
The body saying such silly words……
Ark murmured with an amazed voice.
“Hey! What is this? Who dared invade Curio-nim’s mansion!”
“You rude bastard! I’ll ask again! Don’t make me hurt you! We’re going to hurt you!”
3 bats shouted and flew towards him.
“Ah! Ah! King Master-nim!”
They soon screamed when they saw Ark’s face and hit the brakes. The 3 bats were Curio’s cousin and they followed him once Curio became a lord. There was a time when they believed Ark was lower than Curio but now they were taught that he was the King Master. They didn’t dare be rude to him anymore.
“Why is the King Master here?”
“What is going on here?”
The bats alternating between looking at Curio and Ark who was glaring. In the end they sighed and said.
“Lord-nim has changed.”
“When Lord-nim was still accompanying Ark, he treated his well. But since Lord-nim entered the Immortal Castle…..”
“The Lord-nim we wanted wasn’t like this. We wanted a vampire with the pride of a vampire. However the Vampire Lord just sighs at his actions while other vampires gossip. Huk, having a Lord-nim like this is really embarrassing.”
“Now Lord-nim doesn’t listen to our words anymore. Now he is just living the life of debauchery….huk!”
Ark listened to the bats whine with an amazed expression. Curio who was chasing the girls then embraced Ark.
“Hehehehe, I got you! Kikiki, I’ve decided to pick you tonight. Huh? Isn’t your body quite firm? And why are you dressed in so many layers of clothes? Huhuhuhu, are you embarrassed? This cutie, then I’ll peel it off you personally! Hehehehe!”
And he started groping Ark’s body. It was this. This was the reason why the Vampire Lord sighed. While Ark was spending time in the 24 century, his summon was running around feasting and committing acts of debauchery every night. But……
“……You seem to be enjoying yourself huh?”
Ark growled out with anger in his eyes.
“Huh? What? A man’s voice? Eh? Why is a man here? Huh? What bastard are you? Who dared interrupt Curio’s fun….heok! M-Master?”
“I’m sorry I’m a man.”
“W-why is Master here?”
“Why, is there a reason for me not to be here?”
“Ah, no…..that’s not it…..”
“Why? Huh? Why are you sweating? Is there something I shouldn’t notice?”
“Ah, no, that, I mean…..Master….I…..”
Curio broke into a cold sweat and retreated. Then a woman who was watching from behind shouted.
“Hey you! What are you doing? This is my money so what’s the big deal? He might be a summon but he is still a vampire with privacy! You have no right to interfere even if you are his master. In addition, it’s been 3 years in New World and 1 year in reality since you’ve seen him and now you suddenly show up and act like his Master! He isn’t just your pet bat anymore. He is the high pureness vampire of the Immortal Castle! Curio!”
The woman had a lot of bravery. But Curio had forgotten one thing. Who was Ark?
“3 years…..that is certainly a long time.”
Ark nodded before turning around. He looked at Fufu and Camel who were staring blankly and smiled.
“Can you turn off the camera for a while?”
“Huh? Ah, yes!”
-The broadcast will stop airing for a while thanks to various circumstances. Please be patient.
After this message played for a few minutes.
“Sob sob, I’m sorry. I went overboard. Please forgive me.”
Curio shed tears as he begged for forgiveness. Curio’s face was…..
“M-mosaic! It is a mosaic!”
……It wasn’t necessary to explain the details. It could be guessed just from seeing the reactions of the women trembling in the corner. Ark then took one step towards Curio. Curio’s face that had a mosaic stuck to it freaked out and retreated.
“Don’t be so astonished. Huh? You’re acting like I did something bad.”
“S-something bad? No! Master is a good man!”
“This brat, you sound so natural……”
Ark shamelessly laughed and said.
“However, I think I was a little wrong. It is my fault for leaving you alone for 3 years. I should still take care of my summons no matter how busy I am. A high pureness vampire has a lot of money and they also don’t age. Furthermore, you have no work so you have a lot of free time. Yes, it’s not your fault. The surrounding environment is bad. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, so I decided to change the environment. You will live like a healthy vampire.”
“Huh? C-change the environment?”
He spoke in an uneasy voice. Ark called the genie from the lamp and ordered with a pleasant smile.
“Genie, confiscate all the residences and assets that belong to Curio. And pay him an allowance of 10 silver a month. Can you do that?”
Nothing was impossible for the genie of the lamp who was the incarnation of the master code in New World. Once Ark gave the money, there was a swirl of magic and the mansion was taken apart and sucked up. That wasn’t all. All the goods and even the money in Curio’s pocket was drawn into the swirl of magic. And…..clink. Curio gazed blankly as 10 silver coins fell into his hand.
“How about it? It won’t be that hard to live like this right? If you receive 10 silver a month then you don’t have to worry about dying of starvation. How about it? Isn’t this a good consideration from a master worried about his summons? Aren’t you thankful?”
Curio couldn’t answer. He kept looking at the 10 silver coins with a soulless expression.
“Lord-nim, now you can stop that life of debauchery!”
“Yes, we’ll help you as well.”
Curio couldn’t answer. He kept looking at the 10 silver coins with a soulless expression.
“Yes…..what a….heart-warming scene…..yes…..it seems to be like that.”
Fufu finished off.
‘This is really embarrassing…..’
Ark glanced at Fufu and inwardly sighed. He was a legendary gamer. Ark was a god in New World. He might’ve neglected his summons for a while but who knew that Curio would start womanizing? Thinking of such a scene being broadcasted made his face turn red. Ark was his master so wouldn’t some people who saw the broadcast also think he was like that?
‘Surely Purital isn’t like this as well?’
Ark remembered that he was a reliable summon. He was just a skull when first summoned but Purital soon became a powerful undead lord. There was also one crucial difference between Curio and Purital. Purital was an undead knight. He only remembered that he was a knight so his loyalty to Ark was absolute.
‘Yes, I should be able to restore some of my image if we visit Purital!’
“Genie, the next destination is Oberium the city of the undead!”
He asked the ghosts about Purital after arriving in Oberium.
Clack clack clack clack, clack clack clack clack!
A skeleton was sitting in a dark corner and snapping his teeth. Even without Curio there to interpret for him, he could understand Purital’s words thanks to the master code…..
–Heh, yes. I am not like that. Anyway, I’m a skeleton. I’m only made of bones. It is natural to be abandoned by my Master. Huhuhu, an masterless knight is trash. So I am trash. Why does it matter if I’m alive? Should I just die? Ah, I’m an undead. Huhuhu, yes then I’m undead trash.
……This was the content. According to the ghost king of Oberium’s words.
–It started when you hadn’t summoned him for a month. Purital kept on repeated the same words over and over in that corner. The undead doctor said that he seems to have depression. Do you know? He might look like that but he has a delicate heart.
Even an undead can have a heart……
An undead having depression and other symptoms……There was nothing more to say.
“N-not yet! There is still one more left! Genie, the Eastern Nation’s castle!”
Ark flew towards the Eastern Nation’s castle in Seutandal.
He heard a surprised voice once he arrived at the castle. It came from a beautiful woman with glistening black hair and pale skin. She was Isabel who was the head of the assassination group Dark Brother before they were renamed the Eastern Nation. In addition, Isabel was an NPC with an unusual history. She was married to Shambala, a user who was Ark’s rival, friend and one of the 7 heroes. No, the unusual thing was that an NPC was married to a user. Unlike Curio and Purital, Ark’s last summons had no residence so he left him with Isabel.
“It’s been a long time. How have you been?”
“He went out for a while. Did you come to meet Shambala-nim?”
“Of course not.”
Ark glanced at Fufu and Camel behind him and said.
“Today I came to see Burning Soul. Where is he?”
“I have him with me. Burning Soul!”
A green snake lifted from her waist after hearing Isabel’s words. This snake was the last of Ark’s summons, Burning Soul! Unlike his other summons, this snake was the one that Ark cherished the most. At first he thought it was a snake but Burning Soul was later revealed to be a Netherworld creature called the Alamone. Once he grew, he managed to transform into a dragon species called Pendragon. Burning Soul regarded Ark as his parent and had never disappointed Ark!……At least that’s what he thought…..
Swaek swaek? Swaek swaek? Swaek swaek swaek! Swaek swaek swaek!
Burning Soul buried his head in Isabel’s chest as she carried him. He was already disappointed by Curio and Purital so he felt uneasy after seeing Burning Soul’s reaction. But as expected, Burning Soul was different from his other summons.
“Geez, why are you doing this? Take a look. That’s your dad. The dad you’ve been waiting for.”
Burning Soul raised his head again at Isabel’s words. He started at Ark for a while before jumping towards him with tears streaming down. Ark and Fufu sighed with relief and Fufu clamoured.
“Ah, what a poignant scene! If you saw glance at it, this snake seems like something that can eat someone. But this snake is actually Ark’s summon called Burning Soul! It is clear that there is a relationship closer than Master and pet between them!”
Ark felt his burden fell thanks to Burning Soul and replied. Now was the same to save a little face. Ark felt better and started opening up.
“It has been shown on public broadcast many times but after his last evolution, Burning Soul can transform into the legendary Pendragon. Genie’s spatial movement isn’t bad but it is nothing compared to flying on Burning Soul.”
“Ohh! Is it possible to see it once?”
“Ah! Ark-nim, wait a minute. Burning Soul…..”
Isabel stuttered with a startled expression.
“Burning Soul, transform into Pendragon!”
But Ark had already placed Burning Soul down and shouted powerfully. And…..Burning Heart transformed…..but….he was swollen like a big balloon……
“He is too cute so I feed him every time I see him……”
Isabel blushed and muttered.
“Ah, Ark-nim. That is Pendragon? Is it different from what we’ve heard.”
“No! It is right! This is Pendragon! Right! Burning Soul, fly!”
Ark got on Pendragon and screamed angrily. He indicated towards the sky and gave a command.
Ting-! Ting-! Ting-!
Burning Soul started running but couldn’t get up in the air to fly. It was already too late to turn around.
‘Don’t turn around! Run! Run until we’re out of sight of the camera!’
Burning Soul ran across the garden but was soon caught by the garden walls.
“Hohoho, how is it? Isn’t he cute?”
Isabel laughed and asked Fufu and Camel. Then she clapped her hands and laughed.
Sprit flashed back in Fufu and Camel’s eyes and they raised their head.
“Among the 7 heroes, there is one who caused a big topic by marrying the NPC Isabel. Shambala! Camel, aim your camera! Let’s get an interview with Shambala!”
Fufu turned around with a happy expression. She ran up to the masked Shambala and said.
“Hello Shambhala-nim. We are Fufu and Camel from African TV. Can you do an interview for a while?”
Shambala stopped and looked at Burning Soul who was stuck at the wall. He looked back at Fufu and Camel before saying.