Chapter 16. Someone has their eyes on our land (1)
The day’s battle came as a shock to all the people of Laputa.
Their ruler, who had just come from a different land, had defeated 20 Orcs with 30 soldiers. It was not only a win, but a grand victory.
And that was not all.
A rather exaggerated rumor had spread across the lands, where Kang Chul-In had supposedly courageously ran into the center of the Orcs alone, and was unmatched by any. Kang Chul-In’s popularity soared.
It was understandable because for the common folk, it was a surprising thing for lords, Sovereigns, Kings, emperors, and other people of high ranking, to lead by example. This went beyond Panagea to Earth as well, and was relatable to all those who were under authority.
It was the same thing as a politician, who was visiting and inspecting military troops, to grab a K2 and engage in combat against a North Korean guerilla team. Furthermore, it was like the politician then contributed and played a key part in winning the battle. Of course… something like this would not happen.
And after the battle, him sitting casually on a pile of straw drinking beer with the other soldiers added to his image as an approachable, familiar leader.
Of course, these effects were not at all intentional.
All Kang Chul-In did was battle because a group of Orcs appeared, and drank a cold beer after a victory. No prior calculations were made.
‘What are these people?’
Kang Chul-In, who had returned to Laputa as a triumphant general, no a triumphant Sovereign, tilted his head in confusion at the loud cheers from the people. In his head, he wondered if this was something to praise about to this extent.
It was quite an understandable question coming from Kang Chul-In.
Valhalla, the land he ruled in his previous life, had very few humans. Most of its inhabitants were vampires, death knights, 마인, and other non-human species, so Kang Chul-In could not understand human emotion too well. Why were they making such a big deal, and why were they even singing about him?
[Favorability due to leading by example +20]
[Free-Spirited Leader image gained so Charisma -3]
[Free-Spirited Leader image gained so Approachability +30]
[Positive response by people of the land, Sovereign Point +20]
When he had removed all his gear and returned to the Sovereign’s hall, an information screen appeared in front of him.
‘Hm… I don’t like charisma decreasing.’
Charisma was an extremely important skill needed for a Sovereign.
It was key for commanding and ordering subordinates as a Sovereign. For example, the first thing to think about when purchasing a strong unit through the automated store, was charisma. If charisma was low, one could not control a strong unit even if they purchased one. If a Sovereign with a E Grade charisma purchased an Ogre through the automated store, it was likely that the Ogre would not blink an eye at the orders of the Sovereign and do whatever it pleased. Also, if charisma was low, disobedience of orders or revolt of subordinates might occur.
‘I will be more careful from now on.’
Kang Chul-In swore that he would not let his charisma fall again. There will be nothing worse than not being able to control his troops at a critical moment.
However, not all was bad.
It was actually good.
The people’s favor meant that the loyalty levels would also rise, and approachability and friendliness also helped in internal affairs. Also, Sovereign Points, which have the biggest role in determining the Grand Sovereign status had risen 20 points, so it was definitely an achievement.
Sovereign points were the key to becoming a Grand Sovereign.
Sovereign points rose when one gained the respect of the people, hunted monsters, or won a battle against another Sovereign. It was rewarded when one had achieved something.
All Sovereigns were required to partic.i.p.ate once a year at the a.s.sembly. It was called the ‘Sovereign Meeting’. And in this ‘Sovereign Meeting’, 10 Sovereigns who had gained the most points would be elected as a Grand Sovereign. Although his charisma had decreased a little, if he had gained 20 sovereign points, it was not a loss.
‘Hold on, how many points was the cutline for the first Grand Sovereign election?’
He could not remember clearly.
The first election would take place about a year after the current time, which was December 25th, 2021, and the past Kang Chul-In would remain in 13th place, not being able to become Grand Sovereign by a close fraction. At that time, he was immersed in dungeon exploration and solely concentrated on increasing his personal specs. However, he had ranked 13th, so he was going to become something in the future.
‘Well, there is no rush.’
The position of Grand Sovereign was risky, so there was no reason to obsess over it from the beginning.
Because they are watched by all the other Sovereigns!
It was especially worse in the first and second years, where the skill set of the Sovereigns were downwardly similar. If they showed a bit of prominence, they would be ripped and bitten apart from many different Sovereigns. For example, during the first Sovereign Meeting, five of the Grand Sovereigns elected including Baroque al Yousef and Scotty Andbury, had not been at the second Sovereign meeting (they had died, or escaped to Earth).
As Kang Chul-In ws thinking about Sovereign points and Grand Sovereign appointments, Lucia called to him.
“Rustler and his daughter Lana has sent you tribute.”
Kang Chul-In’s brows furrowed in confusion.
“Are they my people?”
“They are the father and daughter that you rescued from the Orcs. I believe they have sent tribute in thanks for saving their life.”
Lucia handed Kang Chul-In a basket with a clean cloth covering it. Lucia’s expression as she handed over the basket seemed a bit disapproving.
Kang Chul-In had mixed feelings, receiving his first tribute. In the past, he had never received such things. I mean… how many humans were there in Valhalla—there weren’t many to send him tribute.
“Bread and ham.”
Kang Chul-In mumbled, after opening the basket.
In the inside, there were four rye breads and a large chunk of ham, along with a bit of honey and beer made from pure malt. It was a plain tribute, but filled with thanks from the poor.
Just when Kang Chul-In was going to be pleased, Lucia s.h.i.+vered.
‘What is wrong with her again?’
Kang Chul-In was confused. He could not understand why Lucia was s.h.i.+vering suddenly.
“Is something wrong?”
Lucia seemed like she was extremely angry.
Kang Chul-In asked in return.
“You must bring this father and daughter here right away and punish them!”
“This rude father and daughter are hara.s.sing you my Lord! How could they send such a plain thing as tribute! About a hundred hits with the club would not even be enough! My Lord, if you order me now, I will go to their home right away and cut their necks…”
Kang Chul-In then understood why Lucia was so enraged.
“Yes, my Lord. I will right away…”
“I am satisfied.”
“Huh? What do you mean…”
Lucia seemed confused and her eyes opened wide.
“Is it right to be angry that what they have sent is not much?”
“Yes, my Lord. How can they send to you bread and ham, something eaten by commoners? And rye bread! Of all the bread in the world, how is it they send rye bread! It is a bad tasting bread, my Lord! Not sweet at all!”
Lucia seemed really angry. It seemed personal to a certain extent, but Kang Chul-In, instead of pointing that out, gently scolded her.
“I will say again, I am satisfied.”
“Of course, if premium quality wine, gold, or jewels were given as tribute, I would have been happier. It is not that I do not like materialistic effects. In fact, I love money.”
That was Kang Chul-In’s honest thoughts.
The more the better.
In order to have a strong, powerful army, it was common sense that a strong, powerful economy was needed. To gain control of Pangea, money was a critical element. Also, to maintain his dignity and status in Earth, he needed more money.
Kang Chul-In spoke.
“They also have their position. How would a farmer who tends to the land send me gold? They might have starved a meal or two so they could send me these.”
“If a poor man sent tribute with the little he had, it is right to see the heart behind the gift and not the gift itself. Isn’t the man quite loyal?”
“Sure, if there were to be tribute, it would be good to have a bunch of gold and jewels… but this kind of gift is not bad either.”
“You are a fair ruler! How you love your people so, my Lord!”
Kang Chul-In did not agree with what Lucia had called him.
His goal, primarily, was unification! It was to be the emperor.
For that goal, war was tied together, and that tie could not be severed. For him to fulfill his desire, a tower of bones must be built, and countless must stack their bones atop another.
‘It isn’t even true.’
What common farmer would like war? How many things would match the horrors of war. Kang Chul-In ultimately, was just a war crazed animal, and could never be a benevolent king.
“What are you thinking so intently about?”
Kang Chul-In shook his head slightly at Lucia’s question and spoke.
“I will punish them.”
Lucia seemed confused at Kang Chul-In, who had praised the father and daughter and now was saying that he would punish them.
“What you said is also true. I am pleased, but they would need to be punished at least a little, for gifting a Sovereign such plain things. Appoint the farmer called Rustler to oversee the farming and give him heavy responsibility. There is no heavier punishment than being responsible for something.”
Lucia was in awe of Kang Chul-In’s consideration.
What Kang Chul-In had ordered wasn’t just a punishment, but also a reward. In the background of this order, there was Kang Chul-In’s intention to listen to Lucia’s advice in punis.h.i.+ng the father and daughter but also in acknowledging their heart in sending him gifts. He had caught two birds with one stone.
‘Ah… the Sovereign is not just anyone!’
Lucia once again was in awe of Kang Chul-In, thinking how extraordinary and competent he was as a leader. That moment, Lucia’s loyalty and respect for Kang Chul-In grew deeper. However, Kang Chul-In did not understand why Lucia made such a big deal and s.h.i.+vered so often.
And even after this, Kang Chul-In spent many days on the quest for monsters.
The monster subjugation, which was originally supposed to last 3, 4 days grew longer and longer, until ten days had pa.s.sed.
It was not because Kang Chul-In was incompetent.
Actually, Kang Chul-In and the Royal Guard under his leaders.h.i.+p had outstanding victories in every battle they had, defeating all the monsters. They were straight victories, with no losses—all done by Kang Chul-In and his soldiers.
However, despite Kang Chul-In’s efforts, the reason why the monster subjugation took a long time was because of a monster called the ‘mole looter’.
The ‘mole looter’ was a mole about the size of a midsize dog, and it would attack humans, eating chunks of ankles or the back of the foot making people handicapped.
The problem was that these annoying moles were all over the northern plains.
-[Tutorial 2] Monster Subjugation
Description: Conquer the monsters within the land
Reward: Experience +250 / 20 Gold
His level was already at level 8.
If he was to destroy 79 monsters, he would naturally be at level 9, and then simultaneously clear Tutorial 1 Quest as well, which was linked—putting him at level 10.
But these moles were ambus.h.i.+ng Kang Chul-In and his Royal Guard, and the troops dug tunnels every single day, trying to destroy them at their source. Ironically, a low-level monster was hindering Kang Chul-In.
Kang Chul-In, who was hunting the moles with his Royal Guard in the northern plains, looked up at the blue sky on a quick break.
‘It’s already been ten days. I need to return to earth in two days at the latest.’
It was postponed over and over again because there were many things to take care of, but returning to Earth was unavoidable. He needed to pay back the money that he had borrowed, and also needed to hear reports about Kwak Jung from Park Du-Sik. Also…
He needed to visit his mother, who was alone.
Undutiful Kang Chul-In had never gone to see his mother after being rebirthed.
It was not intentional, but for Kang Chul-In who had been indifferent about his family for 10 years, he had not even thought about visiting. However, now that he had remembered, he felt a lot of guilt.
‘I should visit her more often.’
For various reasons, Kang Chul-In swore he would take care of his mother.
And it was then.
A soldier who was on the lookout during the break shouted while pointing up to the sky. In the air, something that had been created with magic, radiating blue light, was circulating on top of the troops.
Kang Chul-In’s face hardened.
‘What the heck?’
It was a scout unit sent by another Sovereign called a ‘scout hawk’.