SPACE 9. Event! Event! Event!
Pioneer quest <Dark Omen>. In fact, Ark didn’t mind the quest that much. In fact, Ark didn’t care about the quest. It was a quest given to all agents of the 3 powers. He didn’t know if he could get a huge reward with so many people. And he didn’t have any clues related to it. In this situation it would be stupid for him to blindly jump into the wide galaxy. If all agents from the 3 powers started moving then information would eventually appear. So there was no reason to rush. He would rather have his power base properly formed……
–Why is it coming now?
He had dropped in at the Elim’s Sanctuary after dealing with Kurakan. The light sphere shouted hysterically like it was a wife waiting for her husband.
–Something unusual is definitely happening.
–The negative energy. Not long ago I detected an aura of negative aura.
The light sphere trembled with anxiety.
–Only antimatter can emit negative energy. And antimatter is a substance that can’t exist in this star system. I can only remember one time that there was an influx of antimatter into this star system. It was the time of tribulation when the Karma showed up.
“Karma? This time it is related to Karma?”
Ark explained what he experienced on Amara. This was the reason that he actually visited the sanctuary. The sphere’s name was ‘Elim’s Memory’ so it remembered the past. He thought it might know something about the magic circle. But the light sphere couldn’t give an answer about what happened in the mine.
-Uhh, it isn’t possible to build it with just that. But it can’t be overlooked now that negative energy is sensed. Someone might’ve intentionally called the negative energy. Ark, keep this in mind. You are the Elim’s Heir. And the Elim’s biggest duty is protection of the galaxy. If there is any potential threat to the galaxy then you have to stop it from happening.
|<Investigate the Negative Energy (Occupation only- I)>
The Elim’s Memory has recalled the last time negative energy was detected in the galaxy. Based on the Elim’s Memory, this might be related to the Karma who sent the galaxy into confusion. The first duty of Elim’s Heir is to defend the galaxy. You have to thoroughly investigate the event related to the negative energy.
It was a quest for information like the pioneer quest. He felt like leaving for the space frontier straight away. However Ark still had work to do in S-20.
Ark turned his eyes towards the sector entrance. Rapid. He was a user with unexpected skills. After handling Kurakan and visiting the sanctuary, he decided to explore the sector some more. Rapid had maintained and manage the sector and dungeon. Ark looked at everything.
Rapid’s fighting ability wasn’t normal. Rapid probably lost against Kurakan because of his poor physical condition. It was obvious. If he fought properly than Kurakan wasn’t an opponent for him. And Rapid had disposed of Kurakan 20 times. Kurakan was level 80. Kurakan also wasn’t skilled so he was easy to handle. But the more important thing was Rapid’s attitude. Rapid seemed angry that Ark didn’t recognize him.
‘Who the hell is he?’
However he couldn’t recall someone like that when he looked through his memory. Therefore he was interested in talking to him again. But it had been two days and Rapid hadn’t returned.
‘You can resurrect immediately after a duel. If he hasn’t returned yet then he must’ve registered at a distant place or is somewhere sick. It is one of those two options.’
Either way he would be back. Mellin and Hegel told him that Rapid waited ten days to meet Ark. And their talk had been stopped by Kurakan so he would be back.
‘There is a part I’m worried about……’
It was something that Hegel said to him.
“Actually Hyung-nim, about Rapid. No, I’m not saying this is fact. There is a strange rumour. That is……about his sexual preference. Hrmm, you know? Man to man. He spent 10 days waiting here for Hyung-nim despite having to fight Kurakan……he might like to with Hyung-nim……Hyung-nim, be careful.”
Chills ran down his spine. Virtual reality games were common these days. The problem of the realism was that stalking could occur in the game. While a virtual reality game regulated pain, there was no way to regulate the victim’s mental pain. Especially if the other person was a man. He couldn’t help feeling cold at the thought that it could be true.
‘I didn’t get that feeling when I saw him…..’
Ark made a promise to himself. If he met Rapid again then he would determine it. There was no need to worry about it in advance. He had a lot of work to do so he didn’t have time for this.
“Sector Management Window!”
|*Sector Management Information Window*
Sector Code: S-20 Sector Rating: Lv. 1
Sector Range: 1 kilometres around the entrance of Mt. Fargo.
Sector Manager: Ark (Agent: Dark Eden)
Number of Stores: 12 (7: Duty-free shops, 5: 5% tax of the income)
Sector Assets: 460 gold
* The current population of the sector has exceeded 2,000 people. If you keep this population for a week then the sector manager can request the installation of major public facilities from the galactic federation. If you bring in 2 or more public facilities then you can raise the level of the sector.
<Population Maintenance Rate: 4/7 Day>
This was the reason Ark focused on increasing the population. The sector’s growth was proportional to the growth in population. It led to more people using the stores, earnings increased and the tax collected increased. In addition, a certain population number had to be maintained to install public facilities. It was similar to not making a bus stop if there were only a few people in the village. Having main facilities makes it possible to gather more pioneers. Thus his profit would increase and he could build even more facilities to attract more people. Then the population would increase again…..if he raised the sector in such a way then the last step was promotion to a city.
‘Well that is still an issue for the distant future.
Thanks to Rapid, there was a steady increase in population and it reached 2,380 people! If he maintained this for 4 more days then he could gain the qualification to request he public facilities. Of course this wasn’t for free.
|-<Public facilities able to be installed in a level 1 sector>
Extension (5,000 G): Extend the range of the sector by 1 square kilometres.
Fairy (3,000 G): A Fairy can be installed for pioneers to resurrect at.
Exclusive Route (2,000 G): The sector can be added to the transport route that the federation operates.
Relay Antenna (1,000 G): A large volume relay antenna can be installed in the sector. When the antenna is installed, it is possible to make contact with other cities on Istana and users can receive mail from other colleagues.
These were the facilities available. The critical ones for S-20 were the Fairy and exclusive route. There was no need to explain how important the Fairy was on Galaxian. It was the same for the exclusive route. Only 20% of user possessed private ships so an exclusive route was needed in order for the sector’s population to grow.
‘The total is 5,000 gold……’
A sigh naturally emerged when considering the price. Ark presently had less than 100 gold. That’s because the 1,000 gold reward from the <Rescue the Pursuers> quest had been used to pay the Silver Star’s registration fee. Meanwhile the sector funds only had 460 gold so Ark had approximately 500 gold. But there was still hope. Ark had raked in machine parts from the Abyss of Despair. He had carefully selected expensive parts so it should come to an average of 700~800 gold.
Yet Ark still hadn’t changed the metal into cash. Merchants bought metal because it could be used to repair various equipment. Then there was no reason to sell the metal at stores. He could earn 2~3 times more by using the metal to directly repair equipment. And right now Dark Eden had a staff capable of repairing equipment up to the rare grade and airships!
|-Equipment and airship repair.
<Price will be determined after consultation. Negotiation is possible>
A new signpost was added next to the office. The professional repair shops in S-20 had their taxes lowered as a compromise but they were still unhappy. The parts that were meant to repair the airship weren’t needed anymore because of the Silver Star so he could change the mechanical pieces into cash. He also didn’t need to pay the employees. Except for Mellin and Hegel, the remaining Royal Guards had steadily opened the dungeon and had moved to the bottom layer. It had taken 25 days and the Royal Guards had beaten more than 1,000 Thanatos to reach there. Therefore they gained a significant amount of gallstones. That wasn’t all. Ark had a separate production thousands of kilometres away. Right now the octopuses were still producing fish paste bars at Charem.
‘The factory has been operating for more than a month already. 4 gold would be deducted from the daily earnings for my fee. That is a minimum of 120 gold.’
The repair store, sector’s earnings, gallstones and fish paste bars all contributed to his revenue.
‘It won’t reach 5,000 gold yet but I should be able to collect funds to install the Fairy. But there is no need to blindly rush. Right now it is the starting phase. The sector will be my base so I have to manage all business efficiently.’
“Hegel, call the members of the Royal Guards.”
Ark summoned the Royal Guards for a meeting.
“I didn’t know that Istana’s air felt this good.”
“Eh? The sector has changed from what it was before.”
“There are plenty of shops and even a fence. There are also a lot of pioneers.”
It had been 25 days since they left the dungeon so the sector’s transformation was amazing to the Royal Guards. Ark nodded and said.
“You went to a lot of effort.”
“As you can see, S-20 has started to look like a sector. You guys have been quietly completing your work despite not even being able to see the sun. But I won’t say thank you. S-20 is a sector that belongs to all of us. It might be hard work but the results will return to you.”
“Ugh, those words……!”
“I feel like all my struggles disappeared from Hyung-nim’s warm words.”
The members were thrilled. Ark moved them to the Silver Star.
“S-ship! Aren’t we looking at a ship?”
“Wahhhh! Incredible! This is our ship! On Beltana we were dying of hunger and now we can go anywhere in the galaxy!”
“Meeting Hyung-nim really is a blessing of a lifetime!”
“We will only follow Hyung-nim!”
“Yes, then follow me.”
Ark smiled pleasantly and turned around. And he led the tired and thrilled Royal Guards onto the Silver Star!
“Wow! It’s flying! It really is flying!”
“You idiot! This is a ship. Why are you excited by this much? This ship can even travel through the universe!”
“By the way, why are we on the ship? Is this a celebration ride?”
However the Silver Star landed after 1 minute. The Silver Star had landed at a lake that was 2 km from S-20. It was shrouded in lush forests and had a cool waterfall.
“There is a place like this near S-20?”
“Hyung-nim, why did you bring us here?”
“This brat, didn’t I just say it? Look, a waterfall and lake! Don’t you see? We’ve struggled so now he is bringing us to a place to relax and swim.”
“Huh? What is that?”
“Let’s clean up first before talking.”
Ark pointed to the monsters rambling on the shores of the lake. This was the Outlands. The area might be seemingly beautiful but there were dangers all around. That applied here as well. There were a large variety of monsters around the lake so 10 of them instantly came rushing the moment the Silver Star landed. The monsters were at least level 130!
“Please leave it to me!”
“I’d be happy to show you the power of the muscles I gained from digging!”
The Royal Guards raised their arms without any hesitation. They had spent 25 days in a dungeon. The Royal Guards hadn’t spent all of that time digging. The dungeon was filled with Thanatos. The crew fought countless battles with them during the dungeon restoration work. And the Thanatos in the middle layer were level 140~150! Thanks to that, the Royal Guards now had an average level of 80. It wasn’t just their level.
“Much stronger Electromagnetic Hammer!”
“Sharper Screw Blade!”
The warriors Berad and Ralph rushed at the monsters first. The hammer and sword that had become more crossed the space. There was a ringing sound and a monster shaped like a rhinoceros retreated. But when it was about to strike back, Berad and Ralph split to the left and right.
Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu! Tu tu tu tu!
Dozens of bullets poured towards the gap left by Berad and Ralph! Cupa, Hedro, Reben and Konsed had fired their guns.
“The legs! Its heavy weight is concentrated on its legs!”
The rhino’s legs were instantly battered. Then Kalliben and Beleol lifted their sniper rifles.
2 bullets were fired and hit the rhino’s eyes!
|-The rhino has been inflicted with the status ‘limited vision!’|
Since then the battle became completely one-sided. The rhino’s legs were worn out and it couldn’t see properly so it couldn’t last 2 minutes with Berad and Ralph attacking it. This applied to all the monsters. Kalliben and Beleol lured the monsters one at a time using their long-distance rifles. They approached and Berad and Ralph would defeat them in close combat. That repeated for 20 minutes until all the monsters by the lake were wiped out.
“Hyung-nim, how is it?”
The Royal Guards delightedly looked at Ark. However their faces darkened at Ark’s next words.
“Yes, it seems you don’t need to worry about the monsters here. So I will now explain the task you need to do. Look. This is the area away sector S-20. From now on you will form a channel to connect S-20 to this lake. The width and depth should be a minimum of 3 metres.”
This was why Ark brought the Royal Guards here. In fact, Ark had been unaware that there was a lake and waterfall near S-20. While returning on the Silver Star, he had spotted a lake of considerable size 2 km away from S-20. Then the idea of a fish paste bar production plant floated in his head. Originally Ark was going to have his base in Charem. That’s why he placed the fish bar production plant near Charem. But he needed to modify that plan after making S-20. There were thousands of kilometres between Charem and S-20. Even if the transport ship stopped at S-20, Charem was too far to manage it directly.
‘I should move the food manufacturing plant to the sector……’
However there were two problems with this. The first was customers to sell the product to. There wasn’t anyone to sell it to in S-20 so it didn’t make sense. But now S-20’s population exceeded 2,300 people. If he ran a 24 hour fish paste bar production factory then he could sell 2,880 a day. That was the output if the pioneers only consumed one per day. There would be further sales once the pioneers increased!
The other problem was the food ingredients supply. The ingredients were fish. The production plant required fish. Finding this lake solved that problem. The Royal Guards had already cleared the area so they could check out the lake. It was overflowing with fish because not a lot of pioneers had come here! He could sell the bars made from these fish for 50 copper a piece. That was money in Ark’s eyes.
‘The problem is the monsters around the lake. Jay and the Charenjok have no combat ability. So this place is too dangerous to produce the fish paste bars. However the Royal Guards can’t leave S-20 and reside here forever. There is only one way left……’
That’s right. It was to connect the sector to the lake and lure the fish in the lake. Of course it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. However Ark and his troops were the masters of digging. The Royal Guards spent the last 25 days digging and reached the master level in dig. Naturally the Royal Guards weren’t pleased.
“C-create a channel to S-20 from here?”
“Of course it’s hard. But this is also our sector! Our work is for S-20! Don’t forget that. If you guys sweat while picking up a shovel then you are sweating for S-20’s future. I am deeply grateful for your efforts. You guys completed the hard work in the cave without any complaints and you will also complete this task without any complaints!”
Ark didn’t even them any chance to complain. And then he added.
“If you dislike it then you can continue digging in the lower layer.”
“L-lower layer! That’s right, the bottom layer hasn’t been completely restored.”
“25 days without the sun……”
“Ohh, I don’t want to. If I need to dig then I’d rather do it in a place with sunlight.”
The Royal Guards eventually lifted their shovels. And the construction of the channel stretching 2 km between S-20 and the lake began. Once it started then the construction proceeded rapidly.
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
They were people who had mastered shovelling! Rocks and trees were easily dealt with. The spade split the ground and lifted up thick tree roots in one go. While the Royal Guards were creating the channel, Ark starting exploring the area around S-20 with Hegel.
‘The sector population has already increased beyond 2,000 so it will be difficult to collect more users with the dungeon alone. Therefore I have to extend the facilities they can use. A Fairy, supplies and new hunting grounds.’
That’s why he was accompanied by Hegel. Hegel received Scavenger lessons from Heksu so he could find new hunting grounds. If Hegel carefully examined the area around S-20 then he could probably find dungeons or new hunting grounds with lots of loot.
|++ Dungeon Information: Nest of the Man-eating Monsters ++
5 km north of S-20.
<Monsters: Caranak (Large, level 100~120)>
|++ Hunting Information: Green Plains ++
13 km south of S-20.
<Monsters: Barakun (Medium sized, level 130~150)>
New signposts were built in S-20 with every discovery. Other users wouldn’t disclose information if they found a dungeon or hunting ground. It was to monopolize their prey. However Ark’s purpose was to grow S-20 rather than hunt. If he wanted other pioneers to come to S-20 then he needed to post more information about dungeons and hunting grounds. It was a type of free service! However Ark didn’t disclose the information as soon as he found it. A dungeon was like a treasure chest for users. He didn’t know what type of items would be hidden inside. Naturally Ark released the information after sweeping through the dungeon once. Many of them already had other users visit so he didn’t get any adventure points for it. He was able to gather a steady amount of items from the dungeons.
|-Special Synthetic Fibre cloak (Magic)
Item Type: Cloak Wearer Restriction: Level 90
Defense: 20 Durability: 8/50
A cloak that is very handy to use for adventurers. It is able to protect the body from external contaminants. Depending on the situation, it can even be used as a blanket. If you enter the frontier than the cloaks will develop even further and can be used as a defense. This cloak is woven with new synthetic fibres that are resistant to flames and bullets.
<Agility +10, Resistance to bullets +10%, Fire resistance +20%>
|-Barakun’s Black Fur x20
Item Type: Ingredient
Some Outland monsters possess biological tissue that is sometimes stronger than materials made with the scientific technology of the 24th century. One of those is the Barakun’s fur. If you upgrade your weapons or armour with this material than you can add resistance to lightning attacks.
“These things ebb and flow.”
In fact, he had been living a stressful life so far. He had to fight on Beltana and Athamas’ battlefields, dig at Mt. Fargo and recently the Abyss of Despair. He had always been chasing after something. Even now he had a lot to do. Marquis Martin gave him the <Dark Omen> quest and the Elim’s Memory the <Investigate the Negative Energy>. He also needed to find clues about the location of the divine artefacts. But right now S-20 came first.
He had to connect the channel and move the fish paste bar production factory. He also needed to gather funds to build facilities so he couldn’t leave S-20. Exploring dungeons and hunting grounds were just incidental. There was no need to rush or chase after something. Therefore Ark could leisurely hunt and collect loot. Of course, he couldn’t forget to supervise the construction of the water channel.
“Only a bit more to go.”
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
The Royal Guards had been digging like crazy. The dense forest and rocks couldn’t stop them after their experience in the dungeon. Therefore the job had progressed faster than Ark expected, with 1/3rd completed.
“It should be completed tomorrow or the day after and then I can move the Charenjok and food maker from Charem.”
Ark muttered with a warm expression. Then Mellin’s voice was heard from the Nymphe.
–Ark, are you there? Ark!
“Yes, it’s me. What’s wrong?”
–T-that…..there seems to be some trouble in the sector.
–It is hard to explain. I’ll tell you once you return to the sector.
“What are you saying?”
Ark asked with a stunned expression. The man in a uniform replied in a business like voice.
“Like I said in my introduction, I’m from the central government’s special audit team. I’ve looked around the sector and your management is messed up.”
“Messed up? What do you mean?”
“As you know, all sectors have an obligation to ensure their equipment is in accordance with federation law. The first area is security. The sector administration is obliged to ensure that all stores and guests are safe in this area. But I don’t see any common automatic turrets available around S-20. Furthermore, the barrier……”
The official shook his head as he looked at the fence made of mechanical parts.
“This is what I’m talking about.”
“S-20 has just been designated a sector. The time and money……”
“But the pioneers have paid for a proper sector. Then the administrator is obliged to provide at least the minimum security for your guests. If you can’t provide that then it is a breach of trust.”
“That isn’t the only problem.”
The official ignored Ark’s words.
“I investigated and discovered that a landslide just occurred at Mt. Fargo. The inside of the cave collapsed. Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Then did you install any disaster prevention facilities?”
“D-disaster prevention facilities?”
“Of course. Didn’t a landslide occur here? In other words, it is highly likely that the same situation could happen again. Doesn’t that require some safety measures? What if it happens again and some pioneers are caught in the landslide? What if they die? If you want to operate the dungeon then shouldn’t it have some basic measures? Furthermore, the sector doesn’t have any sanitary equipment. Ever since Charem happened, all cities and sectors are required by law to have a sanitary facility.”
Why did this dog keep on barking? Of course safety equipment was important. However this was a game. It was the first time he heard about disaster prevention devices needing to be installed in the game. And he was lacking sanitary equipment as well? He just walked in here and started spouting nonsense. But his next words really infuriated Ark.
“The result of my audit has found that S-20 doesn’t meet the standards of a sector. Until the necessary equipment is provided, all operations will be suspended. If you ignore that order and receive new guests then your sector manager’s license may be revoked. If you don’t have the required facilities after 15 days then your license will be cancelled.”
|<Audit Command (Sector Quest)>
An official from the government has told you that S-20 had failed an audit. Therefore all business in the sector is cancelled until you install the necessary safety equipment, disaster prevention facilities and sanitary equipment. If these facilities aren’t registered with the central government in a fortnight then your license will be revoked.
A quest that he never imagined! If he couldn’t complete it within a month then his sector administrator license would be cancelled. It was like being struck by lightning on a clear day. And that was just the beginning.
“That isn’t the only problem. In fact, something else has occurred while you were out.”
“Another problem has formed?”
“Yes, since yesterday a large number of pioneers hunting the Thanatos has been murdered.”
“Who on earth is doing it?”
“I don’t know. Those guys use a jamming device to interfere with infrared scopes and communication devices. They kill the pioneers and then run away.”
Mellin sighed and continued.
“That’s why a large number of pioneers are pouring out of the dungeon. If they can’t hunt properly in the dungeon then we’ll have to return the fee they paid us.”
It was like misfortune attracted more bad luck. First there was the audit and now the murders?
‘Why did this happen all of sudden and together……?’
S-20 had been created for a month. There had been minor issues that Rapid addressed so he couldn’t understand why so many problems were occurring simultaneously. He received a clue several hours later.
Kukung! Kukung! Kukung!
Ark was trying to wrap his mind around the successive problems when he heard the noise. A continuous roar was heard next to the sector. Ark headed to the fence and saw that several machines were engaged in large scale construction. It was obstructing the operation to connect the lake to the sector! Ark stared at the scene with stupid eyes.
“Who the hell received permission for this……?”
Then one of the people in the field walked over. He remembered the person.
“You were from the research centre……”
“I am Bain.”
Bain. He was the director of the Laius research centre when S-20 had been attacked by the Kero previously. Bain laughed at his expression.
“Congratulations on becoming the administrator of S-20. But what gives you the right to meddle in our company? Look at this. Isn’t this S-20’s boundary fence? We are free to do anything to the area beyond the boundary. As you know, even 1 cm out of the sector is designated a free zone. This isn’t your jurisdiction so you have no right to interfere.”
“But I’m proceeding with building a water channel here.”
“Channel? Oh that reminds me, I saw some people with shovels while coming here. Were they building the channel? They seem to be digging quite far away……it is regrettable but they are just digging. We are going to build a research centre here.”
“If you have any complaints then bring it up with the Department of Domestic Affairs. Well, it will still be useless.”
Bain said sarcastically.
-This is a construction site for the Laius company.
Sorry for the inconvenience caused by construction noise. Laius is going to build an underpass to Mt. Fargo so all pioneers are welcome to use the dungeon for free.
He placed that sign and leisurely walked away. Laius…..Ark had heard that name from Marquis Martin.
-I’ve received information that Jyubel is secretly in contact with the Laius company regarding S-20. If Jyubel is contacting them regarding S-20 then it probably isn’t good for you. I don’t know what will happen so be careful.
‘…..This was it?’
Ark’s face warped. It hadn’t even been a week since Marquis Martin’s warning and construction work for a Laius research centre began in front of his sector.
‘The purpose of Jyubel and the Laius company……’
S-20! They planned to take S-20 away from Ark. Ark stared at the signpost with a bemused expression before his expression changed.
“Those damn bastards want to play like this huh? Okay, if you want a fight then I’ll give you one. You’re mistaken if you think this much will scare me off. If they come this way then I will smash the minster of domestic affairs or the 4 large companies!”
It was at that moment.
Kwa kwa kwa kwang, kwa kwa kwa kwang!
There was a roaring sound from behind him. Ark reflexively turned and saw a shocking scene. One of the airships from the Laius construction work crashed into the centre of the sector! The large body smashed all the stores in the centre.
TO BE CONTINUED