Chapter 4 – Visit to the Main Office
[Ahhhhhhh. So tired…writing this by myself…I think I’m going crazy…] (TN: These are most likely Author’s notes.)
The story of the Versailles Continent can be considered as KMC media’s headlining program.
Dungeon and hunting ground discovery, merchants that specialized in retailers trade, rumors about a hidden races and legends, and they even informed about the famous Players or like the Quest that become successful even in the High Seas.
Recently, the Central Continent battle news about the war had become the all-time high.
“The area around the Tibot hills was seized by the Xenia magician’s forces. The Maple guild looked for mercenaries to block it but the difference in power was too big, and in the end their defense failed.
“Miss s.h.i.+n Hye Min, I heard that you acquired/obtained the video of the battle?”
“Yes. Currently, we are here to convey the urgent news about the battle on the hill that took place two hours ago, and in a sec we’ll give you a brief view. There was a fierce battle front put up by the warriors and how they were swept aside by their enemies.”
“People who like magicians might also be interested in it.”
The war was actively going on and there are large-scale fights that’s happening very often as the mercenaries or the soldiers were marching.
This age was the time for the rise and fall of guilds, and also determined the awakening of sleeping heroes.
“Hermes Guild became the full owner of Haven Kingdom. Oh Ju-Wan, but I heard that half of the members of the Hermes Guild surrendered to the Union?”
“The Knights of the Iron Blood, enemy Magicians, and a lone mercenary, that made up half of Hermes Guild were defeated in battle, unable to afford withdrawal, the players declared unconditional surrender.”
Hermes Guild has taken over 147 among 169 parts of the present Haven Kingdoms.”
“What about the remaining 22 parts?”
“Hermes Guild formed an alliance of guilds in guild cities. The difference between the forces is so large that they would barely do any harm. Major plans are underway for the complete occupation of Haven Kingdom.”
“For the first time, there is an event for the coronation of the Kingdom. It seems there are many people who are wondering about it.”
“The Fame of a Castle is just as an important as the Fame of a Kingdom, it is very important to have diplomacy and foreign affairs to act in different areas of intervention. A Kingdom’s Fame is very important on its food production.”
“The Hermes Guild has made all the necessary preparations.”
“Just like you mentioned. Banners were posted inviting everyone to come to the Central Continent. Arendelle Castle in the capital will be open where we are holding a party for a week.”
“What about the eligibility?”
“Hermes Guild still did not reveal the name of their new kingdom, Saerong, to the press. Only current Haven Kingdoms Players can attend.”
“I think it would become an exciting place.”
All the guilds and individual players of the Kingdom were able to partic.i.p.ate.
Compet.i.tion between players and guilds had a ma.s.sive parade. The Hermes Guild showed off how they were beyond others capabilities.
Including KMC, as well as all the media broadcasters which covered Royal Road, decided to televise all the related to the coronation ceremony of the Hermes Guild.
“Do you know who is being coronated as the king of the kingdom during the ceremony?”
“According to the news obtained, it’s Bard Ray.”
Bard Ray had the best Fame, Strength and Force.
He recently became the king of one nation.
“I suppose this shows that the Hermes Guild has more wings.”
Gaining control to Haven Kingdom, his name has ascended to the top, whether it was in real world or virtual world.
“How did the Hermes Guild make more than half of them do an unconditional surrender?”
“They abandoned their hostile att.i.tude, and became a part of the Hermes Guild while the other guilds prepared to move to other kingdoms.”
“We overheard that this was just a front to recover from the honor that they lost in Jigolaths.”
“Yes those high-leveled players were a part of the guild, but that doesn’t mean that they represent their guild.”
“Isn’t that the same situation as Haven Kingdom’s subjugation? How is it different from a guild member fighting in a distant land?”
“Well, that still ended in a deadlock.”
In the other kingdoms besides the Haven Kingdom, there were still on-going wars. Millideon and other lesser guilds have expanded their reach and entered the Union. High level players one after another have discarded the charm of the prestigious guilds.
After the Festival ended, the Advent of the Seven Angels was placed into the House of Art and Sculptures.
Sculpting Master Daycram made Dori a great sculpture treasure of the Versailles Continent. It can be evenly compared as on the same level of a Holy Item.
| The Advent of Seventh Angel was displayed in Morata’s Art Hall
The news about the sculpture has become sensational and widespread like a pandemic in the region
The cultural development speed of the area has quickly increased by 5%
This made a huge impact on cultural influence
Due to revival of art, popularity has increased for those who are engaging in art related jobs
Morata has become the sacred place to those who engage with art
The fame of the area has increased
The angels’ blessings have greatly improved the stats and faith of priests and knights.
Players in Morata have flocked to the Art Center to see the miraculous art
“Was this work fetched from Jigolaths? I can’t really believe this mithril carving’s intricacy”
“Will I reach Weed’s capability of this degree?”
“No one among sculptors has reached the master level.”
The Arts Hall’s daily visitors have increased by threefolds, and it was obvious that they were there to visit Daycram’s work, due to its favorable comments spreading widely.
Weed increased the official admission fee of the Art Hall to 5 gold. But to the newbie players, he only increased the charge by 1 gold.
By merely exhibiting the Seven Angels that descended from the sky, The Art Hall which is in Morata has increased its work by a lot day by day. Players Challenge the new sculptures and get admission to come in. Sculptors and Painters compete with each other which made their works improve gradually
Nevertheless, there were still many protesting players.
Booo! This is the Lord’s tyranny
“Before going on the hunt every day, I used to come to the Art Hall, but now I must pay 15 gold to receive its effects.
Morata Art Hall, is a important in every hunt, which is why they ought to lower the price!”
“This insane price increase did not take into consideration the residents’ side at all!”
Some Players protested fiercely in a loud voice from the entrance of the Art Center.
The residents taking advantage of any form of protest against the daily increase of the entrance fee of the building is never an unwelcome action.
Weed therefore announced 3 lengthy statements.
The increase to the admission fee has been minimized, but we still need this increase due to the rise of prices of raw materials, and not to mention the maintenance of the art and the building itself…..
It was the same shameless logic that the government used when they increased the costs for electricity, water and the subway!
There were many protests, but the Newbies were quiet because 4 gold was not that expensive.
On the other hand, there were those who actually looked down upon the complainers. The Tower of Light and the Statue of the G.o.ddess Freya were free to watch, and there still were those with thoughts of sympathy towards those with professions in Art.
Before Weed emerged, the mood of the Sculptor profession was darker than ever. They received insults from everywhere, and they were only able to eat the cheapest food or beg for sc.r.a.ps on the streets.
Even if they strive to do their best with their artwork, there was even no marketplace which would compensate them fairly.
Having a battle based Profession was in fact what was expected of most players, but they had to accept that the right admission fee felt wrong in mind. The more good works that fills the Art Center, the bigger help it will be to the non-combatant players who are only able to work in these field.
By increasing the entry fee using these stereotypes was a trademark exploitation of the firmly packed Weed!
“One should definitely raise prices by a ton. After all, you can’t make a fortune by simply raising 1 gold at a time.”
Morata’s player level was gradually increasing. Players from the Central Continent will soon be hunting in its grounds. It won’t be long until the number of players exceeding level 100 increase.
Not raising the taxes at all, and then raising it abruptly would just make him eat more insults.
By the time you do have to adapt, you will have forgotten the given increase.
University of South Korea in the second semester.
Early on campus, chilly winds came. At first glance it was unusual that the Royal Road Ltd. Unicorn would schedule a tour for the Virtual Reality Department.
They scheduled a visit to the Inst.i.tute that would last two nights and three days to be stuck in school.
All college students had their own companies in mind.
However, most of them wanted to be in the world’s largest revenue and creative company from its first three years of establishment. Students from the Virtual Reality Department of Korea University and other universities were invited.
“I can’t wait to see it. We have to stay for two nights and three days?”
“I wonder if the company is really as great as they say it is.”
In order to secure the degree of media coverage, the students were thoroughly screened and their antic.i.p.ation rose.
Of course, Unicorn’s field trips came at a cost, and made the Royal Road Players drop their responsibilities in the game. Lee Hyun thought that all of this was futile.
“Yes, and if you write within the circle of the exam form then you’re eligible to get a job!”
The entrance exam that students take for Mills elementary school was harder. It was not clear if being hired in this company was something to be proud of.
It didn’t make sense. The Unicorn Company could afford the best doctoral talent, and was only hiring mediocre applicants.
The Virtual Reality Department itself was not established when he graduated from High School and got various jobs.
Since the place was crawling with personnel from the tour, the news about the job opportunity quickly traveled through word of mouth.
Lee Hyun’s spirit fell because of the tour schedule.
Being away from Royal Road for 2 nights and 3 days was a great financial loss.
However, this was not as greatly felt in the North when compared with the Versailles Continent group that was covered in catastrophe.
There were many things that needed the attention of Morata’s Lord. There were plenty of things that needed to be caught up on.
“By the way, students, these three-day and two-night tour is important in our academic calendar!”
“This is slavery.”
Lee Hyun raised his hand abruptly as soon as the lecture was over.
“Student Lee Hyun, Do you have any questions?”
Because Lee Hyun had never asked questions in his cla.s.s, Professor Ju Jong Hoon asked in wonder.
“I have a really busy schedule at home, so can I skip the scheduled tour?”
He couldn’t stand to lose any money, Lee Hyun quickly pulled out various reasons such as Society’s demands over cla.s.s and other schedules that he has to meet.
Exceptions are only exceptions when they’re once or twice, but now it felt like he was a wanted suspect!
The Professor replied sharply.
“You may not skip the tour.”
“It’s really important, I have personal reasons that I must attend to…”
“Tours are also cla.s.ses. If you’re not going to attend them you would need to take supplemental learning during the vacation period.”
Eventually, the reluctant Lee Hyun became involved in the tour.
The students from the University of Korea rode the bus, and stopped in front of the high-rise building, Unicorn headquarters.
There were students from other University who had arrived earlier.
The Unicorn Company authorized a total of 230 students to attend the tour.
Lee Hyun looked up at the building of the headquarters as he got off the bus.
“It’s been a long time.”
The last time he was here was when his character climbed the top of the Hall of Honor.
He came straight for the money that was made from all the promotions and advertis.e.m.e.nts.
Unicorn was already aware of how good Lee Hyun was.
“As sharp as a razor, an honest company violating a payment date has never been seen.”
Money was always well spent by the best of companies.
The public relations staff met the students, and they looked back and saw several departments in the head office.
Their workers were either having a pleasant meeting or a conversation about their wonderful view of the world.
In addition, there were special facilities for the staff!
A Music Hall, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a cinema, and of course the capsule rooms were a given.
The female Public Relations employee who guided them to the restaurant said.
“You can make a saga about meals here with the fresh ingredients prepared by our professional chefs.”
The cafeteria was on par with that of a five star hotel.
“Do the employees have maternity leave?”
A female student had raised her concern. Maybe having a family and raising children were a problem for the company.
“Only once for a year, but as a rule, the holiday is a nominal fee. When you give birth you will receive a paid leave for one year.”
The one year maternity leave was very generous. They also gave the child a college tuition fund of 40’ days worth of salary.
The difference in the working conditions to Weed’s sculpture Yellowy from Royal Road was like Heaven and Earth. Here they had proper food and were well pampered.
Sang Jun Choi asked the female Public Relations officer about other useful employee information.
“How… how much is the salary of a new Unicorn employee?”
All the students’ attention were fixed on the Public Relations officer.
“It depends on the department. As company policy, the specific salary cannot be disclosed to outsiders. However, the bonuses and profit allocation is in the excess of…”
In the end, the most important information, the annual salary was not told.
But the students knew from the news organizations that the new employees of Unicorn receive a ton of salary.
Even after all the welfare the company gives to its employees it still receives astronomical profits from its different businesses. As long as you qualify they will give you a lot of money.
Lee Hyun had to have more tangible evidence.
Since the contract in the Hall of Fame, the unicorn company had sent him four ribs and a fruit set every time it was the holidays. Packaged individually in times, and department store receipts were still stuck showing how much the Unicorn’s wealth was spent on the gift package.
“If this is about money… How much money did the company spend on the many toilets with the embossed toilet paper?”
A world-cla.s.s company which was truly differentiated, can be said that they cared about its staff.
The last time he was there he met with Yoon Soo Jang, Lee Hyun wasn’t able to meet him now because he was dedicated to a long-term project within the Project Relations Department.
There was no employee there who recognized Lee Hyun.
That was the end of their first day at Unicorn Headquarters!
The next day, they were scheduled to visit the factories and laboratories.
The University of Korea students were placed in a resort like hotel with dinner and other accommodations.
The next day, also in accordance with a fixed schedule as if it was a school trip on the employee’s description and move with it.
“This is the factory that creates the core system of the capsule.”
Eight robots are a.s.sembled and tested simultaneously. It can walk, perform basic commands, and can move the equipment.
The robot which has been inputted by various processes was directly produced by a subsidiary company of Unicorn, Node.
The company had a wide array of products. Be it robots intended to guide blind people, robots designed for cleaning, or an industrial robot that sliced meat for a fish company
The size of the company was indeed colossal
The net profit of this company is so huge that it can’t be rivaled by two or three companies combined revenue
Lee Hyun is hostile to these business firms.
“It is my most formidable rival”
When you work in a construction site, you will see how robots are heavily involved. They are subst.i.tuted for the purpose of carrying heavy materials, cleaning the windows of tall buildings, or any dangerous field of work.
Even though they are just subsidiary company of Unicorn, they still reap huge monthly cash earnings. In fact, 9 years ago before the Royal Road capsule was released, the production cost of the capsule was astronomical and with that, they didn’t reap a profit. But Unicorn’s advanced control technology was developed further. Now, Unicorn has firm grasp of various sectors like electronics, machineries, chemicals, banking, and retail.
With a perfect virtual reality and aggressive maneuvers of company expansion, everything was taken over by the Empire. Lee Hyun can only just sigh.
“In the end, the company is trying to brag about its name. In this way, the past, two nights and three days grudgingly flew away all for the company’s sake.”
Following the guided tour he couldn’t play at all, and it wasn’t working for him.
The Unicorn’s Guide of the public relations staff worked hard detailing each department, but just not visible outside her pride.
The factory and the research center were attached to their close proximity
The inst.i.tute researchers had a villa overlooking the sea which was just a walking distance from their head office which also served as a laboratory. Even though the office was quite small, the various utilities were quite good.
“I wish to work at a place as good as this”
Having glimpsed the luxury cars in the parking lot, you could roughly estimate the social status of the researchers.
“Unfortunately, the inst.i.tute does not disclose what is going on inside”
Even the staff of the research inst.i.tute could not go within the facilities as it is being shutted down when the schedule is over
“You’re all welcome to stay at the hotel Unicorn had gotten you while you’re in town. After dinner, you’re free to relax. Enjoy your free time.”
As I went there, the atmosphere was thrilling similar to school trip
“A generation of well bodied men have gathered here, 12 for 12!”
“All the girls from the other schools made dates with the boys from our school. So, I’m all that’s left.”
The students of Korea University were out together with the representatives from the other schools and were still out on their dates.
Lee Hyun was tired so he left early to sleep at the hotel.
Early in the morning the next day,
Lee Hyun got up early for his habit of morning exercise.
“The air is not bad.”
The many trees that made the air refres.h.i.+ng.
It could be seen that the researchers and staff unwind in the morning by using the exercise facilities. There were also many scientists from overseas around.
Lee Hyun noticed an elderly man during his light jog around the hotel, sitting alone on a bench.
Lee Hyun approached the man.
“What are you doing?”
“Move along now.”
“You seem bored old man. Who are you waiting for so early in the morning?”
“I don’t have anything to say, so go away.”
Lee Hyun was experienced enough to see that the old man was suffering. And that due to his pride as a man, the old man remained stubborn and refused to speak to others.
“I was going for my morning exercise but should I play with you for a moment?”
“Don’t give me that c.r.a.p, begone.”
“Did anything bad happen to you or something?”
“Don’t sit down.”
Lee Hyun sat beside him on the bench.
There was a poisonous feeling coming from the old man, but after a brief moment, it became the loneliness of longing to talk with someone.
They both fell silent for a while.
“Have any children? You look lonely old man.”
“What do I have to do in order for you to disappear?”
The two were sitting in thought.
The old man adjusted his position on the bench. For a long time he avoided Lee Hyun.
Only a few more leaves were remaining on the trees, however the leaves were still gradually falling. They watched their surroundings for a long time.
The old man’s ident.i.ty was the scientist who lived in a castle of his own genius while ridiculing the world of men. He was Yu Byeong-jun!
He recognized the face of Lee Hyun through the G.o.ddess of the Versailles.
He was aware of this fact before he sat down next to him.
He only pretended not to know.
Yu Byeong-jun saw him as only one of many players he could recall having observed.
Only Yu Byeong-jun knew about the true end objective of his own plan.
Finally, Yu Byeong-jun was the first one to speak.
“What is life?”
Yu Byeong-jun was dressed in plain clothes that resembled what the paid workers at the inst.i.tute wore.
It was a costume.
There were only a handful of people at Unicorn who knew his true ident.i.ty which was generally limited to executives and a few scientists.
Lee Hyun would never be able to imagine the true ident.i.ty of Yu Byeong-jun.
He thought it would be a good opportunity to ask questions.
Lee Hyun was trying to think of some profound answer to say to the old man.
Yu Byeong-jun realized this fact and said,
“Relax, just tell me what comes to your mind immediately.”
Lee Hyun replied quite simply
“I don’t know. I just live. To eat, live, and make money.”
Lee Hyun gave an answer that Yu Byeong-jun expected.
It was a simple answer with unmatched clarity.
“Emotions are like the falling leaves in autumn. Have you felt the cold winter come to empty the leaves from the trees?
“Fall and winter are just cold. So I make sure to wear thick clothes. And also good underwear.”
“Young guys aren’t supposed to wear underwear because fas.h.i.+on dictates you shouldn’t wear any.”
“It’s best to live warm.”
“What do you think is the most important thing needed to live?”
Lee Hyun didn’t need to think twice.
“Are honor, friends, and family not important?”
“Is Honor which is splashed on me by what others think is important? You need money to even maintain a friends.h.i.+p. You’ve got to take care of your family. There are too many times where if you don’t have money, then you won’t be able to take care of your family. Money is needed to keep order so that you have something to fall back on.”
Yu Byeong-jun slowly nodded his head.
“I don’t know that many people who only think of money.”
There was no longer anything left to say but Hyun continued to remain sitting on the bench.
Little by little there was an increase in the number of people starting to walk past them.
No story could keep Lee Hyun from skipping breakfast so he stood up from the bench.
“It’s cold here old man, so you should leave here soon as well.”
“My nerves will tell me whether or not to go.”
As Lee Hyun took a few steps toward the direction of the hotel, he looked back.
“Here help yourself to some hot cocoa.”
He then took out 200 won and placed it in the hands of Yu Byeong-jun.
Yu Byeong-jun remained silent because it had been the first time he had received such treatment.
He did not know that there was a field trip scheduled for the students from Korea University, and that Lee Hyun would be mixed in this group as well.
If he hadn’t gotten up for his early morning jog, they would not have met each other.
The Unicorn corporation had been alive and behind the scenes for decades.
But underneath Yu Byeong-jun’s skeletal physique, there seemly flowed sympathy.
“Ha Ha. Unbelievable.”
The coldness he felt could never be felt by other people.
The scientists that knew about him as the director of Unicorn were afraid to look him in the face.
But Lee Hyun gave him a coin and treated him like a poor old man.
‘The last time I drank something from a vending machine was over 20 years ago.’
Yu Byeong had a sudden desire to drink the cocoa.
He saw the vending machine and looked into it to see the price of cocoa was 300 won.
After the 3 day and 2 night tour, Lee Hyun returned home!
“Finally it’s the weekend.”
A fresh smile was painted on his mouth.
He cleaned the laundry and dishes then turned on the computer.
Calling ahead in their last march of greed, the guild advanced forward as they got caught up by the whirlpool of war that drove them to Central Continent
Legends in Royal Road were created from its never ending conflicts and various special programs that broadcasted those legends live on air.
“There seems to be a ma.s.sive war going on in the Central Continent.”
Instead of videos about hunting or quests in the Hall of Honor, there were only videos about the war.
Lee Hyun watched a couple of videos, each for a short amount of time.
A ma.s.sive army charged toward the fort like a wave, and rolling their wheels, the siege weapons approached as well. At this, the defenders resisted fiercely by firing arrows and casting spells.
Although some managed to heroically defend and stop the invaders, most fell to the invading guilds.
It was because they did not fight unless they were sure of their victory. The fact that they prepared for a long time helped as well.
“Where do we have to go in order to escape the war?”
“Merchants from the Moldroon region please be careful. The armies that have lost their supply lines have begun to raid the trade routes.
“Due to the strengthening of control over the dungeons, the cost to enter dungeons in the Central Continent is continuing to rise.”
“Did you not know? The price has already doubled.”
The notice board was in uproar with information about the war.
There were many recruitment notices as well.
“Those who wish for battles and victory, join the Bane Guild! We promise that we will provide you treatment fitting for your level.
“We deal with players who aren’t in any guilds. When high level players join, we will provide fitting equipment for you.”
The price of weapons and armour in the Central Continent jumped up to twice its original price, and the cost for other war related equipment had shot through the ceiling.
For the Merchants who dealt with weapons, a golden market had opened. It was heaven for Blacksmiths and Tailors as well.
On the other hand, there were many cases where the merchants were raided by other guilds and couldn’t transport the materials.
Lee Hyun logged onto the Dark Gamers Union.
The request board was filled with requests for mercenaries to help in combat.
On the information bulletin, you could find combat situations of each region and the power of each guild.
In the Central Continent, there were many castles, towns and fortresses that were occupied by guilds.
Although the prestigious guilds were powerful, the so-called gra.s.s root guilds had superior numbers.
Each guild would had a minimum of 1~2 high level players, and there were small guilds filled with only high level players.
Those without guilds banded together to form Guilds and resist the scale of the great war which was growing out of control.
t.i.tle : The end of the war in the Central Continent?
t.i.tle : The relations.h.i.+ps between all the guilds?
t.i.tle: Top Secret Information. The war with Haven is not over.
Although there were many worthwhile stories to read, Lee Hyun did not think that any were relevant right now.
“Item price is going up, you have to jump at this opportunity to earn money.”
There were many people looking for mercenaries but there weren’t many applicants.
Dark gamers used items to explore unknown dungeons and to hunt in the heat.
This made it impractical to enter the war, it was futile to die only to be thrown away and betrayed by the guild. However, level, skills, and equipment can be relied on as it is your property.
Many people wanted to hire Lee Hyun as a mercenary, but he wasn’t interested since they only wanted to take advantage of him.
“I shall go into Mt. Debkart right now.”