Episode 4: The Great Colonizing Age / Chapter 50: Investigation (1)
[T/N] There is a bit of a time skip from the last chapter.
The great colonizing age had begun.
Colonization was profitable, and you had no choice but to take part even if you wished to avoid it.
Both the resources only produced in these lands and the alien products, which could only be bought from the sovereigns’ shops, were undoubtedly valuable and worth a lot of money.
However, that wasn’t all. The ground on Earth kept becoming drier. All experts claimed that if they didn’t start farming in these new lands, humanity would no longer have a future.
On top of that, the number of missing people increased. In 2 years, 5% of the total population had disappeared. And, like Bae Jinman had predicted, they were found in the colonizing lands, ‘Dragonic’. Earthlings called these people ‘immigrants’.
Choi Hyuk had colonized half of Barhaloleun Hill and was now looking to expand to the wide plains beyond it. 3,000 soldiers participated in this expedition. There wasn’t much. Even though Choi Hyuk was the first colonizer, his growth was slower than other sovereigns. Still, his berserkers were all known to be elites.
The nickname he received during [Survive and Escape], ‘Berserker’, had been spread through word of mouth and now each of his followers was known as a ‘Berserker’ while he himself was known as the ‘Berserk Sovereign’. His troops were collectively called the ‘Berserkers’.
It had come to the point where Choi Hyuk would react to ‘Berserkers’ and ‘Berserk Sovereign’ naturally.
It was a smooth march. The plains continued endlessly and because they had already annihilated the ‘Plains Shark’ monster tribe that had a tight hold on the nearby land, they weren’t met with many monsters either. The weather was refreshing. The sky still looked like whirlpools of milk and the Berserkers were marching in the direction of the largest whirlpool.
Baek Seoin, who was walking next to him and looking at a transparent tablet, suddenly became surprised and said.
“Leader, there’s a reaction from a native!”
“Native? Not an immigrant?”
“Yes. It’s the first time it’s rung since I downloaded this app.”
They called earthlings who had been forcefully moved to Dragonic ‘immigrants’. Unlike regular people who could freely move back and forth between Earth and Dragonic as long as they had enough Mission Points, immigrants, who had been forced here, couldn’t use the portals that led to Earth. Because they were ‘people who could not leave Dragonic’, they were called ‘immigrants’.
On the other hand, you had the descendants of the fallen dragonics. They called the indigenous people, who survived by avoiding the monsters’ attacks, ‘natives’. They were rare. Only three colonized lands, Israel, Thailand, and Germany, had sighted the natives. As they were a bunch who survived on a planet occupied by monsters, they possessed many mysterious and useful techniques. The benefits they could gain through interactions with them were endless. Many colonizers dreamed of encountering the natives. As a result of this, Baek Seoin had bought a transparent tablet made with alien technology and had downloaded a native tracking application on it.
Choi Hyuk looked around. Endless plains. He occasionally saw foaming mouthed monsters rushing towards them, and the search party, having been dispatched ahead, dealing with them. There were no other living beings besides them.
“I don’t see any?”
“Since they have lived until now by avoiding monsters’ eyes, of course they are hiding in a hidden place.”
“… For example?”
Baek Seoin coolly pointed to the ground.
Choi Hyuk looked down towards the ground. It seemed possible. However, if they were hiding underground, it would be hard to find them. He began to think.
‘Would finding natives really be helpful?’
There was a clear goal for this expedition. Of course, finding the natives would undoubtedly be beneficial in the long run, but he couldn’t help but wonder if he needed to find them right this moment.
“Don’t we have to wait for Chu Youngjin and Ryu Hyunsung to come back before we decide which direction we go? If we find the natives, we will also be able to obtain information about our surroundings… I think we should search.”
Baek Seoin advised on searching. His judgment was usually correct. Choi Hyuk nodded.
“Fine. We stay here.”
3,000 soldiers quickly dropped their bags and set up tents.
It had been 2 years since Choi Hyuk successfully colonized his land. The world had changed greatly. Many sovereigns had succeeded in colonizing and new sovereigns had emerged as well. There were currently 40 activated portals. The number of people who received the sovereign title was about the same.
Chu Youngjin and Ryu Hyunsung were entrusted with a separate mission and had headed out to another sovereign’s land. The colonized land of Lao Ban, a sovereign from Macau.
There they saw people locked in cages. They were ‘slaves’. This place was a hot springs town called ‘Pyungryu’ situated deep in the colonized land near the portal between Macau and ‘Dragonic’. This was a common sight here.
Unattractive men and women were in a dirty state, while beautiful men and women had all been dolled up. They were sorted into different cages. Both sides had no hope in their eyes, seemingly dead inside.
Ryu Hyunsung sounded sick.
They had heard stories, but the shock they felt from looking at this personally was completely different.
The people within the cages were those commonly called ‘immigrants’. The people who were the cause of accelerated colonization, the ‘immigrants’. They were the earthlings who had disappeared and were forcefully transported to Dragonic. They were unable to go through the portal and return to Earth. It was also a place where the corresponding sovereign could exercise their extraterritoriality and control over those who passed through the portal. In a place where crime was rampant, these immigrants, who had nowhere to go, became easy targets.
“We need fellow colonizers and they are overflowing with them here.”
Chu Youngjin clicked his tongue. Of course they had found immigrants in Choi Hyuk’s colonized land. Choi Hyuk took them in as equals and allowed them to live in his colonized cities. And, in the case their goals and skills were appropriate, he would even accept them as Berserkers.
This fit well with Choi Hyuk’s aim, which put everything on the line for combat. As many immigrants were ready warriors. They had suddenly been dropped onto a planet filled with monsters, Dragonic. All they possessed were weapons and karma. For them to have succeeded in surviving in these conditions meant they were already proven warriors. Only, they were usually weaker than Earth awakenees because Earth awakenees had generally awakened earlier than them. The awakenees also had access to a greater variety of items and had formed into different powers.
“But… Aren’t those people too weak? It’s either because it hasn’t been long since they became immigrants or because they were weak even compared to other immigrants…. Where are all the strong ones?”
Chu Youngjin questioned.
“I don’t know… It doesn’t seem like they’ve accepted them into their colonized land either.”
When he heard Chu Youngjin’s words, Ryu Hyunsung felt something was weird. Even in Lao Ban’s other colonized cities they had passed until now, ‘Zhiyu’, Yeshi’, and ‘Wanwu’, they had not heard about any immigrant warriors being accepted into their land. And only weak immigrants were being sold in ‘Pyungryu’, which had a slave market.
“Then is that really true? That Sovereign Lao Ban has the fate, ‘Plunderer’?”
Ryu Hyunsung mumbled.
Chu Youngjin indifferently replied.
“No doubt he’s a crazy bastard. Since they are bastards who had even killed our Berserkers.”
“Though they flatly denied doing that.”
“Coincidences can only happen once or twice… All sovereigns are hostile against Lao Ban… But it seems like this place is doing well.”
With a bitter expression, Chu Youngjin observed the guests who filled the slave market. There were a lot of people even though this was a remote place. There were all sorts of people who had gathered here in ‘Pyungryu’, from people seeking pleasure and pimps looking to recruit people for their adult entertainment establishment to plantation owners who had come looking for workers. Even though it was a city far away from the portal, guests from all over the world gathered here for the only slave market in the world.
Even when 30 sovereigns, including Choi Hyuk, had banned trading with the Sovereign of Dark Secrets Lao Ban, it was to no avail.
The Sovereign of Dark Secrets Lao Ban was a headache of the current world. He received two big criticisms. One was continuously killing other colonizers and the other was inhumane treatment of immigrants.
If Berserk Sovereign Choi Hyuk had put everything into ‘battle’ for the development of his land, then the Sovereign of Dark Secrets Lao Ban had put everything into one concept, ‘money’.
Not only did he possess a natural talent for money, he was obsessed with it. Choi Hyuk’s shops were all filled with consumables and equipment necessary for battle, whilst Lao Ban’s shops were filled with convenient alien products. Even the transparent tablet Baek Seoin was using was first sold in Lao Ban’s shops. Instead of the supplies from the ‘Supply Store of the Flame Wing tribe’, Lao Ban was more interested in trading with the aliens in the marketplace. And that was how new products from different cultures arrived on Earth.
If that was all, no one would condemn him, but he went a step further. Disappeared earthlings who would have been someone’s family or lover… He even started a wicked act of selling these immigrants as slaves.
Other sovereigns were enraged at his actions and continuously sent warnings, but they weren’t able to actually act. As long as your base was situated in a colonialized land on Dragonic, you could only enter their territory through a portal. But the portal leading to Lao Ban’s territory was under his management. He was able to instantly kick out anyone he refuses, which meant that using military force to control him was impossible. Although they eventually decided to impose economic sanctions against Lao Ban by officially announcing a trade ban with him, people who had become engrossed in the products and pleasure offered by Lao Ban would continuously enter his territory by hiding their identity. Both Macau and mainland China, who enjoyed the benefits they brought with them, acted as nothing was happening and remained bystanders.
They were frustrating efforts. Though all colonized lands were located on Dragonic, their locations were very far apart from each other. Currently, colonized lands were no different from unreachable islands, and controlling what goes on in a territory was an incredibly difficult task. It was natural for all sorts of crime to be rampant. Yet, it was difficult to close their eyes to the sheer scale of Lao Ban’s evil deeds… Even though multiple sovereigns cooperated together, they weren’t able to come up with an effective restriction due to Lao Ban’s outstanding ability.
Ryu Hyunsung revealed a bitter smile as he approached a cage. He had to gather information to complete his mission.
He called out to a youth inside the cage. Surprised, the youth instinctively turned his head. He had been trained to obey orders. Though unspeakable acts of violence were committed during training. Ryu Hyunsung hid his expression and calmly asked.
“Where did you get captured? Can you tell me which direction it is from this city?”
At his question, the youth looked as if he was about to cry. Truthfully he had heard similar questions before. Horrible tortures were committed by slave traders to figure out where other immigrants were. The youth trembled in fear and lowered his head.
“That-that way. That’s all I know. That’s really all I know.”
The youth pointed at a white whirlpool in the sky. Ryu Hyunsung was familiar with this whirlpool. He nodded.
Although he had unintentionally distressed the youth, he had obtained the information he wanted. Ryu Hyunsung left the cage and joined up with Chu Youngjin. They both attempted to leave the city.
If only they weren’t caught by slavers…
“Ey. What did you do just now?”
In colonized lands that were no different for lawless regions, there was a clear-cut difference in the treatment of guests and non-guests. If you had a lot of money or was a regular, then you could receive a 5-star hotel treatment, however, it was common to beat wanderers like Ryu Hyunsung and Chu Youngjin, who only looked and didn’t buy anything, to death. It was a characteristic of slavers to be the part-merchant part-gangster type.
Ryu Hyunsung calmly observed the oncoming slavers. He saw black corpse silhouettes with a red background on their shoulders. They were patterns indicating their ‘fates’. Ryu Hyunsung had one as well. He was hiding it now but it was the pattern of a ‘Battle Addict’, a red trajectory slicing through a black background. It was the same fate as the Berserk Sovereign, Choi Hyuk.
Ryu Hyunsung indifferently asked.
“Are you guys working under the Sovereign of Dark Secrets?”
The pattern the Sovereign of Dark Secrets had was exactly the black corpse and red background. The exact name of the fate wasn’t known. Only, there were rumors it was the ‘Plunderer’. Unlike other sovereigns, he only allowed his followers to use his fate.
Because of this, Ryu Hyunsung had in fact asked a useless question. There was no doubt those with that pattern were his followers. However, it wasn’t completely useless. As it was an impressive provocation.
“What? The Sovereign of Dark Secrets? Is this bastard crazy?”
The nickname, Sovereign of Dark Secrets, wasn’t one Lao Ban made himself. It was a nickname created by enemy sovereigns. It was a forbidden name within his territory.
The four slavers became enraged and raised their weapons.
Chu Youngjin partly unsheathed his sword and looked at Ryu Hyunsung.
‘What should we do?’
He asked with his eyes.
Instead of a reply, Ryu Hyunsung unsheathed his sword and extended a Karma Blade. Then, introduced himself.
“Berserker Ryu Hyunsung.”
He had no thought of avoiding a fight. Ryu Hyunsung and Chu Youngjin had two motives for coming here. First was to investigate. And the other was to give them a warning.
As they had quietly come to their destination, it was now time to give them a warning.
Chu Youngjin roused his own unique karma. A soft rumbling sound could be heard.
“Berserker Chu Youngjin.”
He smiled as he unsheathed a blood red sword.