Volume 53 Chapter 6 – Grand-scale Investment
– In the end, he did appoint lords with the worst method. Is money really everything to him?
– Is Weed also blinded by money? I never thought of him as such.
– A disappointment… Seriously.
– They all change when they become kings.
– The true appearance is revealed.
The Arpen empire’s lord appointment covered live by the broadcast station created a massive opposing public poll.
“We have 296 million gold for Ladin city right now.”
“Yes. We have a gentleman for 320 million gold.”
The lord positions were auctioned off for ridiculous amounts that the novice and common users could not even imagine.
– This is a total paper party.
– It’s crazy. Weed’s going to slide a portion of his own in the name of Arpen Empire.
– I didn’t want to see this… It’s discouraging.
– Weed is the same as the rest of them.
The lord position not only grants honor and authority, but also a significant amount of taxes monthly. That was why people paid such an expensive price for it.
– Still, he can’t appoint a nobody as a provincial lord. If we speak in terms levels, the Hermes guild or those who had bribed their way into positions of authority are the highest. It is better than giving those high-level users the lord seats.
– If someone was appointed as lord out of a million users, the ones that did not would have opposed in any way.
– Let’s play along for now. He did well up until now.
There were users in favor of Weed, but the live coverage of people buying their way into power led to huge voices of opposition.
– Can you not see with your own eyes that we have been played?
– Weed should just go ahead and govern the whole empire on his own. Then I wouldn’t be ticked off this much.
– I’m seriously annoyed by this.
– I am a user of the Britten alliance territory. The Haven Empire receded and the Arpen Empire has come forth. What has changed though?
Weed led the undead in his quest to rid the monsters increasing in numbers under the influence of the dark dragon Kaybern.
“Rise and fight. Slaughter them all!”
Then more skeletons!
To begin with, they were quantity over quality but were firmly systemized by fighting alongside sculptural creatures.
Warrior Bahamorg was at the head, Van Hawk and Torido led the led the forces together.
“Have faith in me and charge!”
“Forces of darkness. Offer your bones!”
“Blood. Fresh blood!”
Knight Sevil, swordswoman Vindex and barbarian warrior Gernica also supported on the sidelines.
“Having to ride alongside the undead, it goes against the path of the sword. This is to protect the people!”
“Anywhere is fine for me. If I get to fight, that is.”
“Kuhuhu. Battles are always exhilarating.”
The high elf Eltin fired magical arrows, and Geumin breathed fire.
Nurung dragged a large wagon and collected all the loot. Depending on the size of the monster cluster, White Tiger, Nile alligator and other sculptural lifeforms would join in.
“Break through. Faster!”
The roaming herds of monsters in the northern continent had increased tenfold from thousands in just a few days.
The advantage size of the undead force was such that the force could increase consistently or be maintained through battles.
If one were to fight in a narrow dungeon, he would leave a few and release the summoning of the rest. In the wide plains however, the more the merrier.
Death knight Durahan and the spirits were the core of the composition and on occasion, Doom Knights were summoned.
Countless numbers if undead resulted in a high efficiency in hunting speed.
< You have gained a level. >
A necromancer was suited for large-scale hunting!
‘I don’t have to enter a dungeon. It’s great for wiping out clustered monsters all at once.’
– Monster spotted approximately 95 meters away.
– A swarm approaching from the rear.
That didn’t mean hunting was easy. Beasts appeared frequently, stomping the weak undead in their paths.
Due to Kaybern, monsters swarmed out from the deepest parts of the dungeons and crushed the skeletons. Weed channeled a magic spell.
“Thorns of viscid gore!”
Large monsters named Gogul were constricted in bloody thorns. It was a curse magic that reduced health points and restricted movement.
“Attack at once!”
The skeletal knights as a group threw themselves at the 5 Goguls at Weed’s command.
The Goguls’ struggle sent the skeletons flying in different directions, but the skeletons regrouped at a menacing speed.
“This is the command from the overlord of death. I will rip you to shreds and feed on your remains. Kekekeh!”
“How are my joints? Aren’t they beautiful?”
The tenacious skeletons restricted the Goguls’ movements.
“I got it.”
Bahamorg lifted his axe and charged, as Eltin the high elf fired his arrows imbued with the fire spirit from afar.
Dozens of fire arrows travelled above the heads of the skeletons and landed on the goguls’ bodies with precision.
– Why, you…!
Van Hawk followed up with cavalry comprised of death knights and doom knights, while Torido circled around back to the napes and sucked blood.
Goguls lost their vitality rapidly as the vampire sucked the blood out of them!
The levels of the Gogul were estimated around mid or high 600s, but they quickly fell to the composition and tactics of the undead without causing any significant damage.
“Return to the lands where you last breathed and walked. This is a dark place. A dark and corrupted land. Engrave the eternal rule of darkness to every being. Undead rise!”
Weed did not turn the Goguls into death knights. Several Goguls could be reborn into a bone dragon, but it required considerable exertion of control and mana.
His undead summoning had reached intermediate level 9, allowing him to control the beast-like Goguls while they were still alive.
Though, it had a limitation of expiring after 1 hour.
The body of the massive beasts would then lose their flesh and then rise to their feet in skeletal form.
– I stand in the presence of the honorable undead commander.
The Gogul’s deep voice spread across the battlefield.
The skeletons, Death Knights and Durahans clashed their shields and shouted towards the Goguls that had joined their ranks.
“Alright. You smash into the enemy!”
5 Goguls stampeded over the herd of monsters near the Pahel river.
The charge alone destroyed the monster formation and decimated their morale.
“Deploy the undead!”
The entry of the undead, exuding the aura of death.
Living creatures could not exercise their powers properly, but the monsters fighting did not cease their endless charge towards them
“That’s the way. Nurung!”
Nurung added assistance by luring the monsters with its appetizing flesh and huge body.
Weed was having a blast increasing at least one level each day, but his mind wasn’t clearing up.
‘Even if I make progress like this, will I be able to defeat Kaybern?’
He already had subordinates like an ice dragon, a phoenix and baraags under his command. He had nothing to be ashamed of in terms of military strength.
In spite of that, it was extremely risky for him to deploy them into the Kaybern hunt.
‘I cannot be preemptive about this. Even if victory is certain… A few of them will die.’
He was also concerned with having to fully commit to the power of darkness in his necromancy. Necromancers like the lich must offer the lives of themselves and others to obtain the power of death.
In the process, the user became evil and his honor and reputation declines; even his health points, faith, luck and strength stats.
Of course, Weed was different from Bard Ray with his high positive reputation. Some citizens of the north openly deified Weed. It could actually be achievable if he accumulated a little more accomplishment and reputation.
‘It turns out it is undesirable to grow as a necromancer. I thought that the battle with a dragon would happen ages later.’
A shortcut existed for necromancers bypassing the limits of growth. There was the destructive method by Bar Khan Demoph the Undead King, but what controls the continent now is the Arpen Empire!
If the world belonged to the Hermes guild, he would be up for a mud fight. For all that, the situation did not call for.
< You have expedited the dungeon of the coiled snake.
You have completed the dungeon expedition in the shortest time.
Reputation is increased by 7,680.
Intelligence has permanently increased by 3 points due to experience in magic combat.
Rewards are doubled by perfect completion. >
When the monsters dwindled down, he proceeded with dungeon expeditions in his spare moments.
He cleared dungeons everywhere from the north to the central continent with Yurin.
The core of his training was the consistent accumulation of combat accomplishment!
‘The basis of my quick growth rate is the stats that I stacked up since I was a novice player. For future investment, I’m going to stack up plentiful amount of combat accomplishment.’
His goal was to complete at least 4 dungeons a day. Even in the Hermes guild, no user had cleared so many dungeons.
A user chooses two or three dungeons depending on their growth and combat style and revolves around them.
The above method was thought to be safe and effective.
Weed was confident enough to survive through most situations, and his composition of sculptural creatures and the undead worked well in most dungeons.
“If time allows, I could become way more powerful than when I was the great king of the desert.”
Intelligence and wisdom accumulating quickly was another advantage of combat achievements.
It was also essential for him to upgrade the power of his skills and expand his mana pool.
“In the future, it would be nice for me to fight like Bard Ray and spam various secret techniques in battle. Powerful spells should not be reserved, but utilized whenever available.”
– Pocket Money : Castle Pormos had been claimed by the Black Lion guild.
Weed checked on the lord appointment regularly amid his swamped fights.
– Pocket Money : It seems that the response of the discussion boards and viewers pertaining to the Royal Road aren’t so welcoming.
“As I expected… But just how bad is it?”
– Pocket money : They are criticizing the Arpen Empire on a public level. Most are central continent users and it is shocking that some are northern users.
“I can understand where they are coming from.”
Weed could sympathize amply for this situation.
They had fought and won a difficult battle at Garnav plains, but the outcome was turning out to be rightfully suspicious campaign for money, recruiting rich lords!
‘That is what it is, really. I was concerned that I could well be criticized in proceeding with this plan.’
All that the Arpen Empire had was just a large sum of land, its roots weaker than the Haven Empire in reality. Although he had started this for money, there was an urgency for provincial lords because it was impossible for him to directly govern the vast empire all on his own.
“Hmm. I guess it’s unavoidable. I have no other choice but to host a festival, or an amusement facility like Puhol Waterpark.”
Weed swore firmly to earn a fortune and turn a blind eye somehow.
‘I did well up till now. Let me live for my needs just this once. Taking criticism will be for later…. I need to make what I can right now.’
Weed in spite of everything going on, decided to take his share. It was possible that he would be able to buy out dozens of buildings if the lord appointment ends successfully.
Calcus, the slaughterer of the Hermes guild!
In the real world, he was a full-time gamer by the name of Jong-sung Lee.
After the loss at the battle of Garnav plains, he refused to go outside of his house for a few days. He watched the Arpen empire’s lord appointment through the broadcast and became envious.
“Weed. That chap is going all-out for himself. Just how much is he trying to make?”
Jong-sung Lee devoted himself to posting toxic comments on the discussion board.
– Looks like Weed is going to become rich by selling lord positions. There is a divide between those who fought alongside him and those who are profiting out of this. Come to your senses. We’ve all been used.
His heart fluttered for the few seconds he had to wait for other users to respond to his toxic comment.
– This guy is right. Can we really say that Weed is better than the Hermes guild even after all this?
– They’re all the same.
– I didn’t think things would unfold like this from the start… I think we all had too big of a fantasy about Weed.
Unlike usual, the response to the comment was positive. With that in mind, half were against his comment.
– Definitely better than the Hermes guild.
– Bluntly speaking… I have complaints of my own, but the situation needs to play out a bit more.
– He is creating the Arpen empire official legislation. The provincial lords won’t be able to exercise power at will, so things will not change much from how it currently is.
– He is entitling the administrators.
– The Hermes guild never treated people like us as equal human beings.
– Did anyone get killed because they were feeling uncomfortable? I was killed because I was ugly, apparently.
Jong-sung Lee felt joy just for a moment watching the strings of comments.
Unlike in the past when he used to swing through the central continent after logging on to Royal Road, he now had to stay put in the Haven territories.
He felt loads better about himself after posting toxic comments rather than sulking in defeat like the other Hermes guild members.
He moved from one discussion board to another and posted diligently.
– Kaybern is going to destroy the entire Versaille continent.
– Who is gonna stop dark dragon Kaybern now? Weed? He’s busy doing his own thing. Yeah. Busy trying to stash away some for himself.
– There is a saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” I think the days when the Hermes guild ruled were really the best.
– I can’t wait to see Weed die…
– This is why you need power. Popularity? It’s a bubble under true power.
In the middle of his intensive posts of toxic comments, his cellphone rang.
‘I wonder? Did they discover that it was me?’
He took the call anxiously, but the call turned out to be from a writer in CTS media.
– We are holding a discussion meeting in regards to the current lord appointment. Do you have any interest in participating?
It was normal for the high-level users of the Hermes guild to appear on broadcast frequently.
“Ah… I need to discuss that with the guild beforehand.”
– We are bound by time as this broadcast was organized urgently.
“I will get back to you as soon as possible.”
– We would really like you to be on cast. We need someone as famous as Calcus-nim.
“I will do my best to gain a favourable response.”
Jong-sung Lee frantically received permission from the executive counsel through the Hermes guild communication network. Lapei and the counsel believed that there was more than enough reasons to criticize Weed’s method of appointing the provincial lords.
Jong-sung Lee appeared on broadcast and criticized excitedly.
“How long do I think the Arpen empire is going to last? I anticipate that it’s going to be shorter than that of the Haven empire. The people are turning away already.”
An empire with massive territory spanning over the center and the north of the Versailles continent. It boasts its vast territory, but much of the northern region has not been developed, and it was only recently that it had conquered the Central continent. The national reputation of the Arpen empire has already spread across the continent. The citizens of the central continent are anxious and are also looking for an opportunity.
“Arpen empire… I think it’s nothing compared to the Haven empire that used to be strict and fearsome. National security is unstable? I bet stirring up some large-scale bandit hordes makes better money than farming.”
“Let’s banish the soldiers! This is our land!”
“The monsters have multiplied… It’s dangerous. Can Arpen empire truly protect us?”
More than the reputation of the Arpen empire was emperor Weed’s fame as an adventurer and artist. The communication between the north and central continent was weak, resulting in inconvenience for trades and travels. One must go through many hordes of monsters.
The army of the Arpen empire was seriously lacking for the protection over a huge territory.
The northern citizens and central citizens had entirely different personalities.
“The Arpen empire is an amazing place. My mom said so, and I think so too.”
“Many villages settled, then people start to gather shortly and cities are built. In Arpen, you can do anything. If you want to realise your dreams, hurry on and start.”
“If you want to ride an awesome boat, go to Port Varna. A boat with 36 open sails is heading out to sea. There are also pirate treasures and countless legends waiting.”
The northern citizens paid undivided loyalty, however the central citizens did not open up to the Arpen empire.
“The Arpen empire will take everything that is ours. Why don’t we get a head start before that happens?”
“I cannot believe anything. Everything about them is a lie.”
“If you have gold, bury it in the deepest parts of your farm. That is the safest way.”
“You got skills? You got hope? You don’t need those to strive in this world. Just live leisurely and drink cheap beer.”
The Arpen empire failed to relieve the anxiety of the citizens in its conquer of massive territory. Only the Church of Freya, the Church of Lu and the Church of Minae thought positively of the Arpen empire.
They were on deep, religious, friendly relations and the priests would not have any hesitation in granting blessing over the empire. To the churches, Emperor Weed had become the symbol of beauty, art, adventure, peace.
His accomplishments in the north were transcendent beyond his age and job, respected by everyone; he was referred to as the hero of heroes.
They had absolute faith in Emperor Weed. Even if a tragic accident were to fall upon them, the chances of the loyalty declining was near non-existent.
“What in the world… A dragon?”
“This is a sign of continental apocalypse. Yep. We are all good as dead. So, let us drink the time away.”
The rumors about the black dragon Kaybern spread and the entire empire was shaking in fear. With monsters approaching the cities and the black dragon’s wings hovering above, the threat would soon become much more tangible.
The level of military strength that barely covers the empire’s territory would not be nearly sufficient to fend off the monsters.
Military strength : 25,631
Economy : 327,983
Culture : 57,273
Technology : 112,601
Religious influence : 89
Empire politics : 56
Influence to nearby regions : 49%
Empire development rate : 84
Sanitation : 52
National security : 62%
The citizens of the northern regions were joyful as a result of such dazzling development.
They dreamed of barren lands and restricted zones cultivated into green oceans of grain. Prosperous products led to research for more delicious dishes and appearance of gourmets.
The chronic condition of lack of minerals was a component restricting the production level of the north. The mining rate could not support the increasing level of production.
The conditions of the northern roads were favorable enough for merchants to travel day and night.
“If I pay, I can get what I want. Also, I work to earn that money.”
“It’s a beautiful world. Wouldn’t you say so?”
“Do I remember chewing on tree roots because of starvation? I don’t know… The tender, profound taste of the grape wine comes to mind. It was made in Morata, considered the best in the continent!”
“Emperor Weed gave us everything. If you are in peace, that is in favor of his majesty. Everyone around me will agree.”
The people of the central continent gave up on making any further comments about the Arpen empire.
The citizens feel anxiety, fear, and chaos.
The loyalty and influence of the empire is too low to reveal any details on the Central continent.
The central continent had many cities that had developed over a long history, and sustained at its minimum after the collapse of its great economy.
The soldiers of the Arpen empire were excellent with their swords. What lacked was their numbers, impossible to defend the northern territories.
Knights carry perseverance and honor in their hearts. They do not hesitate to raise their swords for the emperor and believe in their own actions to be righteous.
<Empire total population : 285,214,832.
Monthly Tax income : 1,164,053,274.
Empire maintenance expense details : Military strength 3%, technological advancement 2%, economic development 2%, cultural investment 1%, commission and monster expedition 4%, road construction 3%, religion 2%, retention bond 83%.
Military strength : 26,951 knights, 84,279 apprentice knights, 734,667 footmen.>
The bulk of the Arpen empire’s army were trainees.
Free knights each swore oaths to the empire.
They were gathering because of the emperor’s reputation and to stop the dark dragon Kaybern’s activity.
Seoyoon was staring at the affairs screen with glittering eyes.
The income and population had increased, dramatically more than when they just controlled the north. That said, it was still a wreck in many aspects.
They had taken the approach of sending out a few soldiers throughout the central continent to gain control and thus, the security and loyalty of the cities were near the floor.
“I can extinguish the emergencies.”
She was thankful for the incredible amount of 9.32 billion gold accumulated by those who registered for the lord positions.
‘This is a lot of money. The Arpen empire will be more successful now that I can invest all this.’
When they posted the letter for lord recruitment, she had consulted with Weed and came up with the content together.
– We gained a vast land called the Central continent with the help of everyone. We want to make this underdeveloped areaprosperous… But, we are incompetent.
We want to make investments but are in lack of money. That is why we need help from you all.
– The duty fees will be well spent for the good of the Arpen empire’s development.
Seoyoon decided to put the money into the development of the empire as promised.
Recently, the affairs of the empire were her responsibility.
‘This is precious money gathered by the others. I cannot waste even a single penny of it.’
Half of the central and northern continent had been appointed to provincial lords. Unfortunately, the strongholds, military forts and villages in rough terrains had no candidates.
Also, lords were not recruited for areas near castle Evaluk and Thor because it was deemed too dangerous due to the dragon Kaybern.
Major cities and capitals were packed with competition for lord seats, but many other lands did not go through the same process.
If it weren’t for Kaybern, more duty fees could have been collected for the lord positions in the Arpen empire.
‘I need to reserve as much as possible and spend it effectively. If I waste this opportunity it will be much more difficult the next time.’
Seoyoon felt heavy responsibility and begun the affairs.
She made investment in the wide north with undeveloped lands, and also for the weakened central continent.
She calculated the maximum efficiency considering the defensive fortification against the monsters raised by Kaybern and the requests from the citizens.
She could not grant every request, so she divided the budget where necessary over the span of a day.
< Arpen empire is undergoing 89 major development projects.
In all the history of the Versailles continent, the highest fortune has been spread out across the continent for the sake of development.
26 commissions for the construction of great architectural landmarks have begun.
Arena of Batali, Stairway of Heroes, The Library of the Great Scholar, The Altar of Prosperity, The Bell of Danger Perception, The Hidden Underground Vault and The Great Shrine will be constructed.
The reconstruction of 257 cities will be under way.
Roads, sewers, castle walls, bridges that have not been completed will be resumed.
Old empty homes will be demolished, back alleys with no traffic will be repaired to increase security.
Increase in the citizens’ standard of living conditions.
Stimulation of trades and production by organizing commercialized streets.
3 forts will be constructed.
Vaden, Niam, and Mabark will become solid pillars of defense against the monster invasions.>
She meticulously calculated the budget for each part and was firm in the spending.
9.32 billion gold.
The stellar amount accumulated through lord recruitment were all used up in the development of the Arpen empire territory.