Episode 4: The Great Colonizing Age / Chapter 62: Demon King (3)
Sponsor: Anonymous and Tyler
The only path to humanity’s survival – Colonization. Although becoming a colonizer was dangerous, there were many young men and women who wanted to become colonizers. Like the young, penniless colonizers who crossed over to the New World, and like the outlaws who roamed the West, many left the world of civilization behind and headed towards the colonized lands, sword in hand. On top of that, wasn’t it ‘outer space’? It was a suitable place to act on impulse when you broke up with your lover and the word ‘outer space’ was enough to boil the blood of people for no reason.
Those who were determined on becoming colonizers would normally either take a test to enter a clan or buy Mission Points with money to move to Dragonic. This aspect was very different from the first awakenees who had no choice but to become colonizers.
That was why Lumin was saying this today again.
“What I’m saying is that being a colonizer is nothing compared to the past.”
Did kids these days know what suffering was? Even without saying, it felt like they could hear the bragging coming from within his heart.
Like most clan leaders, Lumin was also one of the first awakenees. The generation who became colonizers after overcoming more vicious fights than anyone. He had achieved a few feats within that hell and obtained ‘2/3 Qualifications to be a Sovereign’, becoming a Leader of Ten Thousand, the clan leader of the ‘Lumin Clan’.
That was why he was calm while everyone else was nervous. He was saying those words, how becoming a colonizer wasn’t anything, in an attempt to cheer up his clan members.
Although Lumin’s new recruits felt that his words were a bit cocky, they were also strangely reassured by them.
Their clan leader, Lumin, sat his butt on the rampart and confidently said,
“Don’t worry; you’re not going to die. I survived through worse conditions than this.”
His composed figure, even with the growing number of monsters outside the rampart, was brazen but also felt reliable.
The Lumin Clan was a skilled, mid-sized clan. They considered themselves as one of Lao Ban’s subordinate clans and were active in his capital city, ‘Zhiyu’. It was also a profit-oriented clan that surrendered immediately once Choi Hyuk captured ‘Zhiyu’ a few days ago.
The hot springs city ‘Pyungryu’, the mining city ‘Wanwu’, the farming city ‘Yeshi’, and the capital city ‘Zhiyu’, whose market had developed so much that it was known as ‘the market of all things’, had all fallen under Choi Hyuk in an instant. Amongst them, there were mid and small-sized clans that confronted Choi Hyuk out of loyalty towards Lao Ban, and some, like Lumin, who immediately backed out, saying they never had that kind of relationship. Choi Hyuk left the clans who backed out intact. Not only that, but he even ordered them to manage the city for the time being.
To be honest, his actions weren’t very understandable. Choi Hyuk didn’t come with enough soldiers to safely occupy the four cities in the first place, and immediately left the cities after capturing them. After telling the surrendered clans that they would be back, all the Berserkers headed towards their capital city, Barhaloleun, before returning to Earth.
In reality, the four cities were left alone in a state of anarchy.
Within these cities, the mid and small sized clans began a bout of wits. To swallow the cities for themselves? That was impossible. If Choi Hyuk inherited Lao Ban’s authority, then they would be deported without even being able to fight. Then, there were two remaining choices. Either obediently manage the city, or flee and look for another colonized land.
Each of them did their own calculations and eventually around half stayed while the other had left the cities. The clans that remained were usually those that yearned to revive themselves in a city with fewer competitors, rather than finding a new foothold in a different colonized land teeming with competitors.
However, the problem was the monsters.
“The fight must have been noisy for monsters to swarm into the city territories…”
Perhaps it was because of the noise and the scent of blood.
A few days after Choi Hyuk left, the number of monsters gathering around the cities started to increase. At first, it was ‘I see some?’ to ‘There’s a lot of them?’ and now, a week later, there were enough to call them an army.
Yet, they normally wouldn’t fear them. They had thick ramparts as well as the blessing of the Territory Pyramid that weakened the abilities of monsters and strengthened the abilities of allies.
However, now that the position of the sovereign was vacant since Lao Ban’s death, the Territory Pyramid stopped functioning. They had to fight the monsters without buffs. This was the reason why they couldn’t help but resolve themselves on top of the ramparts.
It was to the point where clans, who decided on leaving late, stayed. However, Lumin was still confident.
“This place is our hometown. If we leave once, we will have to forever live as fellows without a base. Just erase the thought of running away. And don’t worry! You won’t die. The Berserk Sovereign said so. That he would return after inheriting Lao Ban’s authority. You know that those monsters out there are nothing if the Territory Pyramid functions again, right?”
It would be fine if the Territory Pyramid functioned. They only needed to endure until then. The goal he proposed ignited the fighting spirits of his clan members since it was a more realistic goal than trying to block all the monsters.
Then all that remained was in the Berserk Sovereign’s hands.
‘Hey, Berserk Sovereign. No, Mr. Berserk Sovereign. I don’t know what it is, but finish it quickly and return…’
Even Lumin’s heart was burning with urgency.
The reason why Choi Hyuk suddenly withdrew was, in fact, because of the Sovereign Mission.
Complete the dimensional transmission and obtain the code that can lift the dimensional isolation. Among the three dimensionally isolated areas, Kangdong, Mapo, and Seongbuk, release one and annihilate the monsters dominating within.
It was a mission with a time limit and one that also took place on Earth. It was a situation where Choi Hyuk, who prioritized inheriting the sovereign’s authority, couldn’t help but quickly withdraw. Once he returned to Korea, Choi Hyuk immediately issued a draft for Berserkers and put the Berserkers, who returned from space missions, on standby at their headquarters. 12,000 soldiers could be recruited. This was the largest soldier recruitment since the formation of the Berserkers. The deciding day was tomorrow.
Since he was recruiting within Seoul, he had already discussed it with President Shin Woojin. Shin Woojin had introduced him to nearby civilians and actively promised to cooperate with the Berserkers for food supplies and other problems.
Although there were frequent disputes between Berserkers and Super Soldiers, Shin Woojin and Choi Hyuk’s relationship was amicable. In reality, in Shin Woojin’s perspective, nothing good would come from being on Choi Hyuk’s bad side.
Though he was still the president, due to his recent dictatorship, his political legitimacy had fallen greatly. Only, he still had the support of the military and colonizers because of the crumbs he could give them, and with their support as his foundation, he was able to give citizens the minimum level of safety, not completely lose his popularity, and obtain political power. But to get on the bad side of Choi Hyuk, who was known as a mythical existence among Korean colonizers, in that situation? The military power of the Berserkers was already frightening, but there was no doubt that the reactions of other colonizers, due to this, wouldn’t be soft. If the political situation became that chaotic, then even hearts of the citizens would leave him.
The president had even acknowledged the current fighting-oriented colonizers’, the members of large and small clans, exercisable rights. Because their support was his most important political foundation, he usually let their commotions and unlawful acts slide as long as they weren’t too severe. He especially paid no attention to disputes amongst colonizers. He had already decided on this policy the moment Choi Hyuk sliced Song Simin’s head during the dinner party.
Since he treated regular clans that way, it was obvious he would treat the Berserkers, who were a sovereign clan, even better. On top of that, Shin Woojin was already greatly indebted to Choi Hyuk.
It was successfully colonizing his first territory which made him a sovereign. If it wasn’t for the apt advice from Baek Seoin, whom Choi Hyuk sent, Shin Woojin would never have become a sovereign.
There were 39 people who made up the first sovereign group. They were all strong, becoming sovereigns after accomplishing amazing achievements. However, there were only 13 still alive today. 26 had died. Although there were some who died during outer space missions, or while expanding their territories, but 17 of them had died during their first colonization. They made up the majority of deaths. The first colonization was simply that difficult.
There were currently 41 sovereigns. Among them, 11 had accomplished new achievements and became sovereigns, and 17 leaders of various countries succeeded in colonizing a land and became sovereigns. Only 17… The Giant Orc Karik had granted the leaders of each country the status of ‘preliminary sovereign’. There were hundreds of them. Since only 17 of them had succeeded in their first colonization, one could once again realize just how difficult the first colonization was.
In fact, even those from developed countries, like the prime minister of England and president of France, had died during their first colonization. Although, strangely, the Queen of England succeeded and had become a sovereign.
Anyways, the reason why Shin Woojin was able to succeed in such a difficult colonization was because of Baek Seoin’s unsparing advice. The composition of soldiers. Quality and formation of soldiers as well as tactics. Shin Woojin had consulted Baek Seoin on all of these and was able to safely succeed in his first colonization.
Because of this precedent, the relationship between Choi Hyuk and Shin Woojin couldn’t help but be amicable. In the very least, Choi Hyuk was still useful to Shin Woojin. It was the same for this ‘Sovereign Mission’. Wasn’t this a mission that he may eventually have to take? There was nothing bad in watching it beforehand.
Due to President Shin Woojin’s wholehearted support, preparations for the Sovereign Mission, which would be held in the middle of Seoul, was going smoothly despite the urgency.
Choi Hyuk had decided to release the Seongbuk District’s dimensional isolation. Yes, Seongbuk. This was why he was feeling restless the night before the Sovereign Mission.
He left the dormitory and was walking alone. The dormitory of the Berserkers was simply called so, but it was, in fact, a luxurious apartment complex in Yeouido.
Choi Hyuk quietly walked along the well-tended garden and wide streets. Yeouido Xi apartments stood tall. Although it wasn’t possible for all 20,000 Berserkers to live here, those who were considered elites all lived here. No living costs. Choi Hyuk took that burden for his followers.
Where did this money come from? He was a sovereign with colonized lands. Each passage to his colonized lands was taxed. Every business transaction within his territory was taxed. And Earth’s economy was restructuring to become more reliant on resources from colonized lands. This… was a structure where even a three-year-old child could build a fortune, let alone Choi Hyuk.
“Money, power, how great…”
When he thought about how this vast apartment complex solely belonged to him, he felt odd. This wasn’t a level of power that could be achieved simply through money.
Although he paid more than the market price, it wasn’t like he was buying a house but an entire apartment complex, so there was no way things would go as he wished. People were bound to be unable to leave due to certain circumstances no matter how much money he paid. Also, because it was already an apartment complex the rich lived, it wasn’t possible to solve everything with money…
But, the ‘Yeouido Colonizer City Special Law’ was created. It was a bizarre law that made it so that if a clan offered to buy a property above market price and if the property wasn’t owned by a clan, then the owner would have no choice but to sell their property and leave. My god.
… It was times like these when dictatorship was good. As long as you were friends with the dictator, of course.
There were rumors about how Baek Seoin, who disliked unjust acts of power, went to each of the original owners and gave them additional compensation and apologized with an awkward expression, but Choi Hyuk was happy. Since he was already overflowing with money, he gave Baek Seoin a bonus to make up for his loss.
Power to do almost anything you wished…
The more he appreciated it, the angrier he became. He wasn’t someone who could use this power properly. He was someone who was more suited to destroying something than creating it.
Of course, when his mother was still alive, he wanted to become someone who created things. Although he liked the unmatched thrill of fighting, a peace that calmed his emotions wasn’t bad either. Those days, he would normally read books about design and architecture. However, that was already a world he had separated from.
The buildings, pictures, and design products… he now had the power to buy all of them. However, he no longer needed them. Since it wasn’t him who could achieve something with them, but his mother.
However, his mother was gone, and he was alone.
So he decided on Seongbuk District to be the location he would conduct the Sovereign Mission in. The place where his mother had died.
“That bastard known as the Flaming Devil… Would it still be there?”
The monster that killed his mother. The monster that was the same rank as the Wyvern of Destruction. Seongbuk District which was blocked by the opaque dimensional isolation wall.
Choi Hyuk sincerely wished to meet the Flaming Devil.
“Of course it’ll be there. But you need to be careful. Because that bastard should only be a small fry now. The monsters in there aren’t normal. They might even be able to see your mind.”
He suddenly heard a familiar voice. Choi Hyuk couldn’t help but be surprised. As if it was morning, it brightened up behind him. He turned around.
Her face was still covered by a rippling flame veil.
“… You can come to Earth?”
“Of course. This place is also part of the Flame Wing Alliance. Although you haven’t officially joined.”
“… You call that a reply… Anyways, your motive?”
As expected, Flame-Rain didn’t give him a proper reply. From what Choi Hyuk knew, lowest ranked warriors didn’t have the qualifications to enter other warrior’s homelands. He had never even heard of this.
But Flame-Rain acted as if this was obvious.
In fact, there was one thing he was certain of. Flame-Rain was not a lowest ranked warrior.
‘There’s no way she is. Since she’s that strong.’
Even though Choi Hyuk had become stronger, he was still unable to estimate Flame-Rain’s abilities. All he knew was that she was undetectably strong.
Then what was she? He had once straightforwardly asked her, ‘What is your identity?’ However, because she replied with a ‘Let’s see. Guess?’ nonsense, he never asked questions like that again.
“How heartless. I just wanted to congratulate you. I heard rumors that after this Sovereign Mission, they will decide the advancement evaluation for earthlings. They were divided, some being for and against it, and they very narrowly passed it. I think they said something about deciding after seeing the results of your Sovereign Mission?”
Where did she hear these rumors from? The question, ‘What is your identity?’ once again crept up his throat, but he pushed it down.
“What do you mean so? I’m saying that’s how it is. Hmmm… Want me to give you a hint? They say that they are going to test your control and command in this Sovereign Mission… How about it, are you confident?”
“Control? Command? I don’t know but… Who knows… In the very least, I’m not afraid of opponents I don’t know.”
As if she was pleased with his reply, Flame-Rain giggled.
“Kik. Okay. If it’s you, you will do well. Still, don’t let your guard down. The stronger monsters aren’t simply powerful fools. How elaborately and wickedly they destroy intelligent beings… Remember that sometimes knocking everything down with your sword may not be everything.”
It was like a riddle. Choi Hyuk’s judgment became distorted.
“If you’re going to give me a hint, give a proper one or don’t distract me and leave.”
At his sharp reaction, Flame-Rain showed an exaggerated gesture as if saying ‘Wow! Fiery!’ and stepped back. Then she calmly changed the mood.
“Sorry, sorry. To be honest, I don’t know much either. I only brought this up as an excuse… I honestly wanted to come to your homeland once.”
She pushed her two palms out in apology.
Choi Hyuk was silent.
Unconcerned, Flame-Rain spread her arms momentarily as she looked up at the sky. Tall buildings, and the moon which rose between them. A few stars that had been covered by the city lights.
“Beautiful… As expected, your homeland is as well.”
She said with a faint voice, staring into the sky as if piercing into outer space.
Choi Hyuk stared at her before letting out a sigh.
“Haa… Okay. Still, since you’ve come a long way, have a cup of coffee before you go.”
Then he swiftly turned around and left the complex. Flame-Rain quickly followed behind him. Choi Hyuk was bothered by the flames trailing behind her and turned around.
“It’s bothersome, put it out.”
“Don’t worry. I look like a normal person to other people.”
“Why can’t you do that to me too? My eyes hurt.”
“Ah, but what’s coffee?”
Completely ignoring Choi Hyuk, she walked with hurried steps, looking somewhat excited.