Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 9

//Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 9

Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 9

This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, BlankBlank, Charles, Droker, and Lei.

Kekeke,

I’m sure you’re all wondering why Japtem didn’t pull any prank this April Fool’s day, and I must admit, I stopped them from destroying the hopes and dreams of all leechers. They wanted to redirect the website to a hacker’s website to make everyone believe they had been hacked and will be dropping all projects! How dare they?! When I got a hold of the information, thanks to my secret source, I managed to prevent it from happening.

There will be no bad pranks on my watch! Only favorable and satisfying news. For example, another early release of Ark! All leechers must hail me! Long live the Random Leecher! Random Leecher for president! For Overlord! World domination!

— A random leecher.

PS: If I disappear from the face of the earth after this release, my murder should fall on Cat, the previous Overlord. She has informed my secret source that my head is getting too big. I’m stealing all her dazzle. Pssh. But who can blame her for being jealous? I’m much more liked by the readers.


Hero Assembly

“I deliberately gave him advice but he still came back? He’s a much more foolish fellow than I thought.” Vidus tutted after he found Ark fearlessly snooping around the auction again. “Well, no need to concern myself about it. Since he took a beating once, he won’t follow me. If he does, I’ll just give him another bitter experience.”

Just as Vidus predicted, Ark didn’t follow him around. Actually, he didn’t even participate in the auction for a few days. He just went around the auction looking at the items with hungry eyes. Ark finally participated in the auction after three days of nosing around. He bought cheap items worth a few Silver and checked them, but 80% were failures. He suffered a loss of nearly 20 Gold in no time, but Ark didn’t give up.

‘There’s definitely something to it.’ Ark steadily bought cheap auction goods after that.

Two days later, he began to see a change, his success rate went up from 20% to 30%, and in once it started to rise, it didn’t take very long to rise to 40%.

‘I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. It’s simpler than I thought.’ After losing another 50 Gold or so; Ark felt certain of his perception.

Ark had experienced countless part-time jobs over the last 5 years. He tried things from basic newspaper and milk delivery, to sales and business. Among them, he especially remembered the job he’d obtained from Gwon Hwa-rang’s introduction, working at an antiques store.

Ark came in contact with items from all around the world in that job. There weren’t many items considered as hard as antiques to value. Things that looked extremely expensive turned out to be worthless, and sometimes the opposite is true. Therefore, losses or gains of thousands of Won hung with the Identifier’s judgement.

He never formally learned it, however, as he worked there the ability to guesstimate the value of antiques by eye and ear developed. There are many deciding factors like luster, shape, use, utility, and scarcity but they all result into one value.

The amount of heart and soul the maker poured into the item was critical. When an outstanding craftsman makes an item with their heart and soul, even if it looked shabby at first glance, something was ‘unique’ about it. One couldn’t put a finger on it, but it definitely felt different.

They say practice makes perfect.

‘Ah, that one’s no good. Something’s not right about it.’ Most of the items he thought of in that way were fakes.

‘Hm? That one’s better than it looks?’ Those were the valued antiques worth hundreds of thousands of Won.

‘This place is virtual reality; item details are the same as in real life.’ In order to confirm this, Ark spent a few days going around inspecting the auction goods. It wasn’t a shocker, but New World also followed the same rules as the real world. This meant it was possible to know the value even if he didn’t get it appraised and check the info.

After reaching a certain degree of conviction, he started buying items. By getting the items identified, he checked the differences from the actual feeling and steadily corrected his mistakes. It required an enormous amount of perseverance and concentration.

After spending several days like that, he stopped encountering losses.

But that wasn’t all. As he checked countless auction goods, he sometimes encountered a totally unexpected bonus.

Old Coin (Ancient Relic)

This is an old coin used hundreds of years ago. The living conditions in those days can be glimpsed by the design carved into the coin’s surface. The coin is a relic of the past, but it is popular among collectors, so it can be sold for a high price.

Value: 10 gold

 

Bonus from acquiring information about the ancient relic, Old Coin:

Knowledge of Ancient Relics +1, Intelligence +1, Fame +5.

There were items relevant to Ancient Relics mixed in with the Unidentified items. If he had such an item identified, and held it, he received a bonus to his Knowledge of Ancient Relics stat.

‘Now that I think about it, the Mysterious Stone Fragment that was in Gallic’s stomach required 50 Knowledge of Ancient Relics to check the info. I was worried about how to raise the stat, but there’s a method like this.’

Currently, the stat was at 36. Although it only rose by 1, there were still many auction goods. It wouldn’t be too hard to get to 50 if he steadily appraised them. Moreover, the Intelligence that rose along with the Knowledge of Ancient Relics was critically necessary for Ark, who summoned Familiars.

‘I found yet another reason to stay in the auction house. Okay, I’m getting more and more motivated.’

Once Ark made up his mind, it was scary how persistent he was. Besides a few hours of sleep, Ark just about lived in the auction house. Slowly, he grasped how much to bid for each item. As his success rate steadily increased, his money also started to pile up, if only a little.

Once he made some surplus capital, he dragged Sid to the auction.

“Sid-nim, from now on I will point out some items, so please bid on them at the auction closing time. Of course, give up on it if it exceeds the max sum I tell you and aim for another item.”

“What? But I was just about to leave for a trade…”

“Please do this as a favor. Didn’t we cross Grey Ridge together?” Ark held Sid’s shoulders and stressed Gray Ridge.

‘This isn’t receiving help, but holding them by the scruff of their neck.’

In the end, even Sid became a zombie wandering the auction house.

Completely caught by Ark, Sid heaved sighs; however, it was profitable for him as well. Ark stockpiled the items from the auction and sold them through Sid. Thanks to this, Ark made a profit and Sid’s EXP rose steadily. Of course, no matter how trustworthy Sid was, the Trade Contract was indispensable!

Thanks to Sid, Ark gained some free time and immediately started another job. He re-auctioned items he’d bought cheaply when there were few people.

‘This one is can be sold for 13 gold at most. Since it has Intermediate Protect, once I spend 10 Gold on identification, there’ll only be 3 Gold left.’ He re-auctioned such an item with a starting bid of 3 Gold. However, Ark wasn’t as naive as to just wait for the item to sell itself.

The auctioneer can’t place a bid on their own items. But an NPC can.

Ark used that fact to summon Dedric and made him participate in the auction. Ark had to pay if Dedric won the bid, but since Dedric wasn’t the one who submitted the item, it wasn’t a violation of the rules. The small fee he had to pay to put the item up for auction wasn’t much of a loss, either.

He had hit upon the auction’s blind spot.

Ark had Dedric and Sid raise the prices on his items. The price was rapidly increasing, so of course it seemed like a good item to clueless people. After doing that for a few hours, they hooked 1-2 blind fish. At that point, the two who had been raising the price for a while immediately backed off.

Even without seeing it, he knew what the expression of the players who took the item they won to the identification shop would be.

“A-Ark-nim. This is a scam.”
“Of course not. Not knowing is a sin, that’s the world of auction.”

“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is,” Ark concluded, with a completely remorseless expression. What he said wasn’t wrong. After all, Ark had learned it from Vidus.

Ark spent ten days like this. Except for when he appraised and sold auction goods, he lived attached to the auction house.

Money kept coming and going so crazily that he couldn’t tell how much he made or lost. One thing was for certain: he was making money! No, it was only inevitable he would make money.

‘By now, I’ve probably recovered more than the 400 Gold I wasted in the beginning.’

It was what Ark was thinking of as he headed to the auction house again when a message box appeared with a cheerful sound effect.

You have learned a new skill.

Discerning Eye (Special, Passive, Beginner): You have seriously identified countless items for a long time. As a result, you have gained an outstanding eye for sorting out items.

Mana Cost: 20

* You are now able to clear Low-level Protect of unidentified items.

* You can now immediately determine the value of items whose market prices have been checked before.

‘W-what’s this?’ Ark’s mouth fell wide open.

The Identification skill could only be learned by production classes with over 300 Wisdom or Magicians with more than 500 Intelligence.

The only exception was to use a Rare skill book. However, Ark, a Dark Walker, was able to learn a skill of the same effect without spending a single penny. In addition, he also gained the ability to immediately determine the value of an item, which was only possible at the identification shop.

It wouldn’t have been possible if he hadn’t sharpened his eye at the antiques store.

“That’s right, in this game, if one fully concentrates on one thing then a related skill will form. However, to think I was able to learn an Appraisal skill when my class isn’t Production or Magician-related.”

There was a benefit to spending over 10 days in the auction house. The new skill further increased Ark’s earnings. It was only low-grade, but 10 identifications was 50 Gold. In another five days, even after selling 300 Gold to pay the hospital fees, he still has 900 Gold piled up in his bag.

In the end though, there was a limit to the amount of money he could make at the auction house.

“I don’t see any more useful items now.” Ark looked around the auction with regretful eyes.

It has been half a month since he started his auction house life. Now, Ark had a success rate of almost over 70%. Since he’d bought all the useful items like crazy, there were only lousy-looking goods left.

It was an auction that only dealt with items users put up, so there was no way the auction goods would be submitted infinitely.

‘Is it about time to leave this place?’

Ark was torn. Although there wasn’t a single worthwhile item left, one thing bugged him– the auction item currently in front of him.

It was a sooty sword blade without a handle. On the surface it looked to be trash; but, if inspected closely, there was a peculiar aura emanating from the blade. The problem was, the feeling he sensed from it didn’t feel like it would make money.

‘No matter how you look at it, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to make big bucks; although it feels like there’s something there.’

Normally, he probably would have just bought it; but, the circumstances was a bit different this time.

‘Just who is this guy named Danil?”

The item’s starting bid was just 10 Gold. Even so, nobody bidded on the item for the next few hours. It just showed how shabby the item looked. That was why Ark thought he could get it easily and bid 10 Gold and 1 Copper. But the moment he took his eyes off, a player named Danil raised the bid to 15 Gold.

Because of him, Ark’s competitive spirit was aroused and he kept raising the price. Before he knew it, the price had rose to a whopping 40 Gold.

‘What the hell? Why is this Danil guy so obsessed with this item? I haven’t seen his name in the auction before…’

Seeing the price higher than he imagined, Ark placed a bid for 40 Gold and 1 Copper as a test. Perhaps because Danil’s competitive spirit was flaring up, he bid a whole 100 gold. One could only think he was crazy.

‘If that guy isn’t crazy, there’s something about this. This is too extreme to be fishing.’

After Ark used the method of inflating prices in the auction house, there were players who used similar methods. Such a method, which he called fishing, was used with discretion to the situation. If he raised the bid to 100 Gold in one go, what kind of madman would get hooked?

This was the reason why Ark was concerned. It looked like he was fishing too obviously. It made him think he wasn’t actually fishing. In addition, Danil was a name Ark hadn’t seen in the auction house. 100 Gold wasn’t an amount that an auction noob would recklessly put out without any certainty.

‘But to spend as much as 100 Gold… It’s too ridiculous.’ It was rare for even a flashy-looking sword or armor to go up by 50 Gold.

‘What to do? Should I think of it as my last go, close my eyes tight, and bet on it?’

Even after recovering his loss, he had still earned 250 Gold. Including the Gold he sold to pay for hospital bills, that was a total of 550 Gold! However, for Ark, 100 Gold was not small change.

To invest the money he had earned, running around the auction house like crazy for half a month, it was not a decision he could make lightly.

‘Fine then, since I’ve learned the Discerning Eye skill you can’t even get with money here, I’ve made a huge gain anyways. I’ve earned all I can from the auction house. Now, as a commemoration of finishing up my life in the auction house, let’s trust my eye! Whether it’s a success or a failure, I’ll part with the auction with this!’

Just when Ark made a big decision and stretched out his hand to the bidding memo, another hand approached at the same time and flinched as it stopped. It was unthinkable for there to be another player who was going to bid higher than 100 Gold on an item like this.

With a surprised expression, Ark stared at a Merchant player he’d never seen before. The player looked at Ark and frowned slightly.

“Are you perhaps Ark-nim?”
“Then you’re Danil?”

The Merchant nodded and said, “I don’t know why you’re trying to win this item, but I absolutely need this item. Won’t you please yield?”

‘This guy must be a beginner.’

Ark’s eyes flashed for an instant. The auction is a battlefield. A battlefield where victory is won with wits and timing rather than swords and shields!

For Danil to show his feelings like this, in such a place…

After Ark saw Danil’s response, he perceived that the sum Danil had bid wasn’t just fishing. With his fidgety appearance, it was clear there was some reason he had to win this auction no matter what. In other words, this was an item that was guaranteed to have a profit worth the amount he had bid!

‘I’d be an idiot to lose such an item in the auction.’

Without saying a word, Ark raised the bid to 110 Gold.

Danil flew into a rage and bid 120 Gold. However, without even batting an eye, Ark raised the price several times. Danil’s face soon paled. When the price finally exceeded 200 Gold, Danil complained with an exasperated expression.

“You’re too much.”

“It wasn’t too much. The auction house has always been such a place. If there’s something you want, you don’t ask your enemy to yield– you do whatever it takes to crush your opponent. Don’t you know asking him to yield was your mistake from the start? If you don’t have enough money to bid, get out of the way.”

At that moment, another person approached and said what Ark had wanted to say. The person was none other than Vidus, who had been in the auction house for the longest time.

Vidus glared at Danil with disparaging eyes. Danil made an enraged expression, but he walked away as if he had nothing to say.

Then, Vidus’ gaze settled on Ark.

“Are you also set on this?”
“There isn’t any other worthwhile item.”

“Hmm, you seemed to be buying up quite a lot of items. It only takes a rough calculation; you must’ve made a few hundred Gold.”

“I wasn’t following you, Vidus-nim.”

“I know that much. I saw you buying even items I gave up on early.” Vidus studied Ark with fresh eyes. “But this is truly amazing, just how did you learn how to judge items properly in a few days? I may have given you a hint, but it shouldn’t have been easy. What’s more, looking at the bids you’ve made, your eye for judging an item’s maximum price seems more precise than mine. To be able to judge an item not by Silver but down to the Coppers… Is there some sort of method I’m unaware of?”

It was the result of his tenacity to save even a single Copper.

“I didn’t know it then, but my eyes are somewhat high quality.” As Ark answered while grinning, Vidus nodded.

“So your high quality eyes have set their sights on this item? Then, I too can’t just yield it to you. Since my income isn’t the same as before because of your unruly meddling, I’ll make up for it with this chance.”

“Are you saying you want a bidding war?”
“That’s right.”

Vidus laughed as if amused by the bellicose Ark. “However, since that fellow has dropped out thanks to you, there’s no need to raise the price too much, right? It’s ridiculous for professionals like you and I to senselessly raise the price like crazy. It’s not good to shed each other’s blood. Therefore, I’ll make a proposal.”

“Please continue.”

“There isn’t much time left before the auction closes, so there is no need to drag this on. We’ll write down the max we are willing to go. And the one who writes the higher amount gets the item. How’s that?”

“Sounds good.” Ark answered without hesitation.

After all, if they had a price war there was no way Ark would win. Vidus, who had been earning money at the auction for a long time, would have many times more capital than Ark.

In fact, Ark was certain Vidus was the player who had bought the Epic item, wandering around the auction house. There was no way he could win with money against such a well-endowed player. Even if he did win, he couldn’t hope to recover his losses after raising the price even more in a battle of pride.

‘Alright, how much should I write down? How much will Vidus call?’

Now that the match had started, he found it quite difficult. Ark agonized for a moment, thought of something, and quickly wrote down a price.

“Now, at the count of three, we’ll both reveal them.”

At the same time, they both showed their prices.

Vidus had written 220 Gold. After checking the price, a triumphant smile spread on Ark’s face.

“It’s my victory.”
“…Dammit, how did you know how much I was going write?”

“I remembered the time I spent following you. Vidus-nim, you have a habit of betting exactly 10% higher when you are bidding decisively.”

Vidus winced, then let out a sigh and shook his head.

“I lost. I completely lost.”
“Then I will take this item.”

Ark wrote 220 Gold and 1 Copper on the item’s memo. As soon as Ark wrote it down, the sound ending the auction rang and the NPC managing the auction came to collect the item. Once he went to the management office and paid the price, it’d be his farewell with the blind auction.

“I’m leaving this place today. So don’t worry and keep making lots of money.”

“Look who’s talking– you cleaned out all the profitable ones in just half a month, you scary bastard.” Watching Ark run off with his backpack jingling, Vidus stuck his tongue out.

Raising the price by 10% at a time was a habit he’d picked up while managing auctions in real life. But who would have thought a rookie would pick up on the habit he himself had forgotten all about.

“With an eye of that level, it’d be fine to leave him the entire auction house. Should I have asked where he lived? Seeing how fast he picked it up, he’s probably working in the field already. Shame.”

Just as Vidus was turning while smacking his lips, someone ran in helter-skelter and rejoiced when they saw the item had disappeared.

“The auction finally ended!”

Vidus stopped walking and turned around. It was a young player wearing a set of black leather armor. Next to the player was Danil, sporting a helpless expression– he looked around and tearfully made an excuse with an apologetic face.

“I’m sorry, Shambala-nim. Because another user bid more than 200 gold, I wasn’t able to win the item. Since it went past the agreed upon amount the contract was invalidated… I will return the money entrusted to me.”

“Wh-what did you say? What are you talking about? 200 gold should have been enough…”

As Danil returned the money pouch, the user named Shambala’s face twisted.

The player who had actually wanted the item was not Danil but Shambala. Because of an urgent quest, he had promised payment and had entrusted the auction to a Merchant instead.

Vidus grasped the gist of the situation and tutted, “Tsk, tsk, you had a proxy contract with that fellow?”

“Ye-yes, so what?”
“It’s a shame, but the item you wanted was taken by someone else.”
“Wh-who was it? Just who was it?”

“His name is Ark, and he took it for 220 Gold and 1 Copper. That guy is very tenacious, so if you want to buy it, you’ll probably have to add at least 100 Gold on top of that price. If you still want to buy it, you should hurry and follow him. He’s probably going to the appraisal shop right now.”

Before Vidus even finished talking, Shambala ran out of the auction house.

“That rascal Ark, he surely took his share to the very end.”

* * *

Unfortunately, while Shambala was running towards the appraisal shop, Ark was strolling to the Trade district. The item had low-level Protect; since he had the Discerning Eye skill, Ark didn’t really need to go to the appraisal shop.

“Well, shall we see the result? Discerning Eye!”

With a cheerful sound, the item’s information window popped up.

Black Frost Blade (Ancient Relic)

It is an abnormal blade made of iron. There is a mysterious ancient rune engraved on the surface, inscribed in a forgotten holy language of magic.

However, the chill emanating from the blade is like a grim aura that has drank much blood. The holy ancient rune seems to have been engraved to restrain the evil aura. There is currently no way to find out where it was used, but it likely wasn’t used for good.

Value: —

 

Bonus for learning about the Ancient Relic – Black Frost Blade:
Knowledge of Ancient Relics +10, Intelligence +5, Fame +5.

“Wh-what?” Ark burst out in confusion.

Though the description on the item was good, the problem was the value: ‘-‘. That meant it couldn’t be sold in a store! An item he had invested 220 Gold and 1 Copper on was just a DECORATION!?

For the first time in a while, Ark felt dizzy.

‘Damn it, as the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a successful gambler… Just when I thought I’d saved up some money, I waste it all in the end!’

Ark was about to throw the blade into the canal in anger, but he soon changed his mind. After reading the item description, it seemed like there was something to the item. If he was lucky, as he had been with the Mysterious Slate, it could also lead to a good quest, or turn into something useful if combined with another item.

‘If I acquired a hilt or a sheath, for example, it could become a useable sword…’

The chance of that was very low, but it would be better to hold on to it and hope for the best rather than throwing it away.

Until now, all the ancient relics he had obtained from the auction only raised Knowledge of Ancient Relics by 1. But the Black Frost Blade raised it by 10! The stat had risen by that much when he found the hidden ancient ruin.

If only because of that, it couldn’t be called an average item.

‘Well, I’ll pack it away for now.’

“Snake, stone fragment.”

Snake, who was dozing off, snapped awake and spat out the stone fragment. He had failed to make profit, but he did raise his Knowledge of Ancient Relics by 10. He had gained 8 Knowledge of Ancient Relics from the auction house. Thanks to that, his Knowledge of Ancient Relics stat was now 53.

‘At least now I can check this item.’

As soon as Ark held the stone fragment, it vibrated as an information window popped up.

– With the Knowledge of Ancient Relics, you have confirmed the Stone Fragment Infused with Ancient Power.

 

Stone Fragment Infused with Ancient Power (Star Fragment)

This stone is a part of a very mysterious and awesome power. It was created by the power of darkness, but it possesses light properties.

Knowledge of Ancient Relics has confirmed this to be one of the Three Marvels of Hero Maban from the Dark Century, long ago. Hero Maban left a part of his own power in this marvel for future generations. If a Truthseeker comes into possession of this marvel, they can acquire a part of Hero Maban’s knowledge.

* The penalty imposed upon the owner has disappeared.

*The owner of the Star Fragment can utilize Hero Maban’s techniques.

Experience +30,000. Knowledge of Ancient Relics +15, Intelligence +10, Fame +20.

 

You have learned a new profession exclusive skill.

Gift of Darkness (Passive): All Dark Walker abilities unfurled in the dark will increase slightly. Stats will receive a 30% increased growth. Duration of ‘Stealth’ has been increased to 15 minutes. However, it is impossible to level up this skill.

 

You have learned a new profession exclusive skill.

Blade Storm (Active, Beginner): The first of Hero Maban’s secret skills; it shatters the sword to make a maelstrom of shards that violently tears the enemy apart. The used sword is completely destroyed.

Mana Cost: 400

Wasn’t it said that there is pleasure at the end of suffering?

He wasted all the money he worked to death on for half a month, but thanks to that, he was able to check the Mysterious Stone Fragment. And as he’d expected, the stone fragment was one of Hero Maban’s Three Marvels. A legendary item sealing a part of Hero Maban’s power, a Star Fragment!

The rewards from it were enormous. It was hard to say anything about Blade Storm since he hadn’t used it yet, but Gift of Darkness was better than leveling up a couple of times.

However, the greatest success of all was that his goal as a Dark Walker was now clear. He needed to find Hero Maban’s Three Marvels. If he knew what his goal was, he knew what he must do. Because of this, Ark was able to take a step forward as a true Truthseeker of Hero Maban.

‘I’m certain a Dark Walker gets skills whenever they find a marvel.’

Most professions were able to learn 5-6 exclusive attack skills when they were done with the job-change. On the other hand, Ark had only received 2 skills, and Summon Demon wasn’t an attack skill he could use directly.

Dark Blade was quite a useful skill, but he had felt that having just one attack skill was lacking.

‘Blade Storm, huh… it drains Mana like crazy. If I don’t raise my Mana more, there’ll be almost no chance to use it with the Familiars out. And the fact that it destroys the sword bothers me. It would be nice if the damage was as great as the penalty…’

In any case, it seemed he’d received the reward for investing 220 Gold and 1 Copper.

“Alright, if the result is good, all is good.”

Ark made a pleased expression. He went in and out of shops to prepare his bags for a departure from Giran, when–

FSSSHH! FLASH! BOOM!

The sky suddenly darkened, then a flash of light flew in from afar. The light crossed Giran and smashed into the top of a tower high in the sky. Sparks flew as the whole tower swayed. It was Giran’s Magic Institute Tower.

The Magic Institute Towers built in several cities resonated with each other. When there was a need to send a widespread dispatch, it was transmitted and received through magic by the towers just like now. He’d read about this on the Jackson Castle forum, but it was his first time actually seeing it the dispatch being received.

Alarmed, the other users were also staring transfixed at the Magic Institute Tower. Not long after, a Magician hurriedly ran out of the tower and casted loudspeaker magic.

“Urgent message! A few hours ago, an unknown Dark Army launched a surprise attack on Jackson Castle. Because of their attack, Jackson Castle has suffered enormous damage and its people are shivering in fear. The Lord of Jackson is still resisting with his forces, but the Dark Army is stronger than expected, so the future is uncertain.”

At the Magician’s words, the players started to talk amongst themselves.

Monsters organized an army and invaded a castle? It was an unimaginable event.

Users who started in the Schudenberg Kingdom all went through Jackson Castle. All the users held their breath and stared piercingly at the Magician.

“If left as it is, Jackson Castle will be completely trampled by the Dark Army. But most of Schudenberg’s forces are stationed in the frontier regions, so deploying them will take nine days. Therefore, the Magic Institute has considered the urgent issue and has decided to recruit volunteers from all regions.”

“Volunteers? Does that mean we can also participate?”

“Of course. We are urgently recruiting brave warriors to save Jackson Castle. The Magic Institute promises a great reward for he who contributes in the war. Those who call themselves brave adventurers, please gather immediately at Magic Institute Tower. We have no time. The airship sent by the Magic Institute will depart Giran for Jackson Castle in 3 hours.”

“It’s a special event!”
“An event where one can get awarded by the Magic Institute!”

Wide-eyed users flocked to the Magic Institute Tower. Of course, Ark was also mixed in with the others and ran towards the tower.

But because the airship had a fixed capacity, not all players could be used. Magic Institute Magicians checked the players’ info one by one and only granted the quest to the qualified.

“Next person, please.”

When Ark approached, a Magician pushed a crystal ball toward him. Then, Ark’s character information window popped up before his eyes.

Character Name

Ark

Race

Human

Alignment

Good +100

Fame

700

Level

68

Profession

Dark Walker

Title

Cat Knight, Soul Caretaker

Health

1,415

Mana

975 (+100)

Spiritual Power

100

Strength

178

Agility

218 (+17)

Stamina

268

Wisdom

27

Intelligence

186

Luck

43

Flexibility

15

Art of Communication

18

Affection

23

Special Stat: Knowledge of Ancient Relics

63

Equipment Effects

Black Bear Mouse Leather Armor: Agility 2, Frost Resistance +20
Cat Paws: Attack Speed +10%, Agility +15, Critical Hit Rate +10%
Crystal Golem’s Head: Mana +100
*All abilities will increase by 30% in the dark.

* You have the ability to hide in the darkness (15 minute duration. Cancelled when you get into combat).

* Resistance to Fear, Darkness, Blind, and Seduction spells is increased by 50%.

*You can bring out the true abilities from all types of tools.

From the EXP he’d earned in Grey Ridge and from checking the Star Fragment, he had leveled up to 68. His Health was 1,415, and his Intelligence had also risen from examining Ancient Relics to bring his Mana close to 1,000. And although it didn’t appear in the equipment effects, the attack power from Lancel’s Sword couldn’t be ignored. If he equipped the the Guardian Armor of Merpeople on top of that, a Warrior was nothing to be jealous of. With his Agility over 200, it greatly increased his crit rate, evasion, and damage. Since his various other skills had also improved dramatically, he was at a level where it wasn’t embarrassing to show his stats.

As expected, the Magician’s crystal ball recognized Ark’s skill and shone with blue light.

“Thank you for volunteering. Please take this badge. This symbolizes your participation in the battle as a member of the Magic Institute. Please head to the top of the tower now. The airship will arrive soon.”

Magic Institute Badge

A badge given to those who participate in the defense of Jackson Castle through the Magic Institute. If the battle is won, those with the badge will be rewarded by the Magic Institute according to their contribution.

As soon as he received the badge, a quest window popped up.

Hero Assembly (Event Quest)

An unknown Dark Army has launched a surprise attack on Jackson Castle. The Lord and his soldiers are currently doing their best to block them, but the Dark Army is overwhelming them.

You must defeat the Dark Army before the Jackson walls that have protected the peace of the residents collapse. It is an opportunity to show the skill you have honed and polished through your long journey.

The hero who contributes greatly to the rescue of Jackson Castle will receive the reward prepared by the Magic Institute.

(You must protect Jackson Castle or defeat the Dark Army after three days in real time or until the arrival of the Schudenberg Kingdom’s forces. If you die, the quest will be automatically failed and you will not be able to log in for 72 hours as the quest progresses.)

Difficulty: ++C
Quest Restrictions: Level 60 (A player under the minimum level cannot be recognized for their contribution even if they participate in the battle)

* * *

“Huh?” As he checked the system after eating dinner, Kim Gwon-tae cried out in surprise. The monitor suddenly turned black as an enormous amount of data came up like crazy.

“What’s it doing all of a sudden?” Startled, Kim Gwon-tae focused on the data screen. The data coming up like crazy was all in preparation for a single event.

After hastily flipped through a thick booklet and compared it to what was on the screen, Kim Gwon-tae screamed.

“Team Leader, a protect-type level C event has activated!”

“What?” Ha Myung-woo came running in as he asked, “What are the activation conditions?”

“I will check it now.”

Kim Gwon-tae took out a laptop, connected it to the main computer, and checked the data while typing as if possessed. He found a few conditions and answered, “It’s an event having to do with the 7 Heroes. The starting condition is that there have to be at least 4 players with a Hero-related profession and 2 of them have to find a clue about the Heroes.”

“Damn, it’s progressing too quickly. Kim Dae-ri, do we have any way to find the players with Hero-related profession? If you can also find the players who found the clues, even better.”

“It’s impossible at this time. There are scores of Hero-related professions. Among those, there are people who failed the quest for job-changing and a few who succeeded. What we can do with the system is too limited, so it’s impossible to investigate them all. The only player we’ve currently confirmed as having found a Hero clue is Alan, who job-changed to Holy Knight. You probably know this, but he is one of the applicants.”

“Is there a way to interfere with the event?”
“No.”
“Does it mean all we can do is watch…” Ha Myung-woo bit his lower lip angrily.

It was pathetic. New World, the perfect virtual reality game that still remained unparalleled. But for Ha Myung-woo, New World was full of faults. The game was perfect, but because it was so perfect, it couldn’t be controlled by an administrator.

A sword you can’t use is no better than a stick.

‘Damn those crazy bastards!’

Nausea rose to his throat. He was cursing the developers he had boasted of so vigorously in the reception room.

Those so-called world-class scholars seemed to have gone a little touched in the head after working on the game for a long time. In the end, they fell under the misconception that they were true Creators. That was the start of all the problems.

The world they created must be perfect. A perfect world where all existences must obey the absolute laws.

With those absolute laws, the creations accepted the game as one world and had to overcome trials prepared by the Creator to write a new history— it was a world where no external influences were permitted.

The result of such a crazy idea was an unprecedented virtual reality game, the true nature of New World.

The developers put up so many locks that there was almost nothing an administrator could do freely. The planning team tried to use all sorts of methods and means to break those locks, but it was all for naught.

As a result, the understanding of New World by the planning team was not much different from what the players knew. They couldn’t find out what kind of professions there were, or what kind of skills, even what kind of events would happen.

Even the operation of the game was the will of the AI constructing the game and not because they wanted it. They had released the game since the investment had been enormous, but nobody knew how the game would unfold. Of course the planning team didn’t know, and even the developers, who called themselves Creators…

From the perspective of Global Exos, this was an extremely dangerous situation. Collecting players for the entrance exam was actually just an excuse to probe the system.

‘Park Woo-seong, you bastard!’ Ha Myung-woo ground his teeth.

All the locks on the game were from the developer who had disappeared with the game’s completion. Park Woo-seong, a developer who boasted fame as a genius game designer.

In any case, as long as Park Woo-seong didn’t release the locks, there was no way for the planning team to engage with the game.

“Then at least search for information on the players involved with the event.”
“But…”

“Even if you have to look up hundreds of players one at a time, find them before the event ends! If we find them, it’ll be possible to predict when the next event will begin.”

“Understood.” Kim Gwon-tae’s fingers danced across the keyboard.

An event no one predicted was happening. A new history was about to begin in New World.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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2016-11-02T22:16:09+00:00April 5th, 2014|[X / KR] Ark|72 Comments