SPACE 6. Touching Reunion
On a frigid snow covered mountain. 10 bikes were descending down a relatively gentle slope. It was the Rama clan riding die to side in a steady formation. The Rama warriors were wearing white armour and camouflaged with the snow! The snowy mountain was ‘The Border’ between the Rama and the galactic federation and they were the Rama scouting unit positioned there. Their main duty was to intercept any scouting units from the federation. But right now their purpose was different.
The bikes were descending the slope. The lead Rama warrior raised his arm and shouted. All of the bikes stopped moving and gathered around him. The Rama warrior looked around at the other members and said.
–Did you find any traces of him?
–I found some marks along the way. But all of them are considerably in the past. The last mark I found ends 1 km away from here……
–He seemed to have crossed the border a long time ago.
The Rama warrior bit his lip at the words. The situation didn’t seem that good. A few days ago, they heard the Carrier MR-II that belong to the federation and increased the patrols around the border.
When they found a signal light and searched the perimeter, someone from the federation was found in hibernation mode.
‘He might have something to do with the incident at the base.’
That was easily guessed. Therefore the squad commander of the scouting unit captured the enemy and brought him to a bunker for questioning. And other scouting units started searching the area for anyone else. After completing the reconnaissance mission, they had returned to the bunker one day ago.
‘Meanwhile the squad commander and medic…..’
Looking at the context, it must’ve been caused by the one locked in jail. The base was attacked by the federation but there was no traces of a trail. And how did that guy who was handcuffed escape from jail? Moreover, the prisoner even managed to kill the Rama warrior and the medic. But that wasn’t the main problem at the moment.
‘The important thing is that he managed to escape!’
And it was highly likely that guy knew the location of the Rama base. If he managed to return to the federation base then they would now its position. He had to stop him no matter what it took. He had to kill the guy to delete the GPS information recorded on the Nymphe.
–Catch him! It’s been 18 hours since we left the bunker. He escaped on foot so it is possible to catch up!
The Rama warriors immediate got on their bike and chased after the prisoner. However, they reached the other side of the border and still couldn’t find him. And on the other side of the border……
–It has become more difficult.
The Rama warrior looked around with irritation. There were a lot of cliffs so the places to move were limited. The other scouting units were also searching near the bunker and the border. It was an area that 10 units could search effectively. However, that changed if the prisoner had crossed the border. Extensive plains unfolded beyond the border. Finding one person in a place like that was like finding a needle in the desert. The escapee was heading towards the federation base but it would’ve already been over if they knew the location of the base.
-Vice squad commander-nim, what do we do now?
–As long as there is the possibility that he knows the location of the base, we can’t give him up. The situation on Beltana will become dangerous if they get their hands on that information. We have to stop it somehow!
–He’s moving on foot so he couldn’t have gotten very far even if he crossed the border. It should be a maximum of 20 kilometres. So the search area will be set at 40 km. We will split into three and move in the 9, 12 and 3 o’clock direction. If we can’t find him then we will change the direction of the search to 10, 1 and 4 o’clock. There is a snow storm so we should eventually find a trail.
Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa! Ku kwa kwa kwa kwa!
The engines of the 10 bikes roared and shot forward. The snow gradually subsided as the bikes moved into the distance.
Shake, shake, shake…..byong!
A pile of snow nearby started shaking and the head of a person emerged.
“Heh, those fools. They still don’t understand the situation?”
The person was Ark who the Rama scouting unit were looking for.
“Don’t you know those movements are completely obvious?”
Ark crawled out of the pile of snow and laughed. However, Ark still wasn’t safe. He might’ve escape from the bunker by killing the medic and Rama warrior but there are still scouting units roaming around this area. Many of the scouting units had to return to the bunker within 24 hours. The time they left the bunker was unknown so they could return after 10 hours or 20 hours.
‘But if they have to return by tomorrow then they wouldn’t be back in the next few hours. If I find a proper route then I can cross the snowy mountain in 10 hours. They have to return to the bunker within 10 hours so if I cross the snowy mountain then I don’t need to worry about being caught.’
There was just one problem. The area beyond the mountain were endless plains of snow. It wasn’t easy to find a person in that place. However, that only applied when there was a distance.
‘There is 10 hours between us but they will be riding bikes. They can catch up in 30 minutes by riding the bike. And I will be easily spotted if they get within a few kilometres and there will be no way to escape. In that case……’
Ark took out an item. It was something now indispensable to Ark, the shovel!
Pa pa pa pa! Pa pa pa pa!
Ark dug a hole in the snowy mountain. He entered the hole, covered it up and used the Withdrawal skill to hide himself. The scouting unit couldn’t spot the hiding Ark and moved far away. Of course, they weren’t chasing him blindly. They divided into 3 groups and searched in a systematic method. No matter what direction Ark escaped in, he would’ve been caught by the net. However…..
“I already heard everything you stupid bastards.”
It was the reason he was hiding in this location. The path through the snowy mountain wasn’t straight. But that changed once the mountain ended and the snow fields began. He couldn’t escape blindly so he had to work out some strategies. This spot was what he came up with when thinking of a strategy! It wasn’t accidental that he overheard the scouting unit.
“Huhuhu, the biggest mistake is that you didn’t know your opponent is Ark.”
In fact, Ark was also astonished by the change in himself. Ever since starting Galaxian, Ark had been making successive mistakes. First he broke his dagger on R-14 and then he was entangled with a criminal hamster and got arrested.
‘Am I really Ark?’
He understandably had this thought. However, that situation changed little by little after coming to Beltana. At first his hopeless situation continued on Beltana but he slowly managed to escape and began to regain his previous self. His rusty head was slowly being cleaned. His head was slowly going back to its previous state. He was Ark of New World!
‘Yes, this feeling. I had forgotten for a while…..this is who I am. This Ark.’
Beltana was the worst environment that Ark encountered. This worst environment wasn’t only in the game. His real estate property had suddenly fallen to 1/10th of the price. If an accident with the nuclear power plant really occurred then his real estate would fly around. The real estate price wouldn’t go up unless Lucifer’s threat disappeared. If he thought about it like that then Lucifer’s threat extended to reality.
‘I have to do something!’
Ark’s sleeping survival instinct woke up thanks to the situation in reality.
“Anyway, I can’t stay in a place like this forever. There is a limit to this battlefield. If I can’t escape from my status as a prisoner then I can’t go any further. And it isn’t necessary to speak about Lucifer.
So I can’t waste time being captured.”
Ark looked around with gleaming eyes. He had already perfectly grasped the movements of the scouting unit. He could sneak out of their search network.
“First I need to fill my stomach……”
Snap! Munch, munch, munch.
Ark inserted a bug into his mouth and chewed it. Ark had collected 20 Space Foods from the supplies box but he was still eating the bugs. The reason was simple. It was in order to raise the skill proficiency of Steel Stomach through experience. If he ate the bugs then he could increase the proficiency of Steel Stomach. But it wasn’t that easy to raise. No matter how many bugs he ate, the degree of proficiency only went up by 1. Furthermore, he couldn’t catch the bugs everywhere. And Steel Stomach only helped with insects that gave lethal doses of poison. He needed the maximum amount to raise the skill. It didn’t feel good eating the bugs but it helped his mental growth so Ark endured it.
|-Achievement + 100.|
-Satiety has reached 100%.
His satiety was full just by eating 6 bugs. Steel Stomach also gave an extra 3% satiety with every food eaten.
|-Distance to the galactic federation’s base: 243 km.|
“Now the remaining distance is 243 kilometres……”
He hadn’t even travelled half the distance from when he first left the pyramid. If he travelled 70~80 km a day then it would take 3 more days to reach the base.
“But the snow storm is dying down. Communication will soon resume.”
If communication was resumed then he could use wireless contact if he was within 100 km. He would be able to request help from the base. In other words, the base was only 140 km away and he could get there in two days.
‘Yes, the next two days! That’s no problem! I can return alive!’
Ark energetically stepped forward. Of course, he was still being pursued so he couldn’t be careless. The snow storm was dying down. Therefore he would leave footprints in the snow. However, he had already found a way to solve that.
He distributed his weight like he was walking on a swamp! At first he applied this skill to prevent from slipping on the snow. Once it was used steadily, an unexpected information window appeared.
|-A new ability has been added to the ‘Swamp Walking’ skill.
Some skills have special ‘secrets’ that can be acquired. This secret can be obtained when the skill reaches intermediate level or the user realizes there is another application for it.
+ Snow Walking: Your movement speed when walking on snow can increase if you apply the same principles as Swamp Walking.
<The restrictions on the snow has decreased and the evasion rate has increased by 10%>
* You won’t leave any footprints when walking on snow.
He gained the additional ability Snow Walking! That was how Ark was able to leave no traces when walking over the snowy mountain. The problem was it consumed his stamina……
Snap! Munch, munch, munch.
There were plenty of bugs so it wasn’t a problem. He chewed on the bugs like it was popcorn and walked through the snowfield. He calculated that he had been walking for over 30 hours since escaping from the bunker. Sometimes he would become dizzy with sleepiness but Ark bit his lip and persisted. In the meantime he had travelled 90 km. He had probably already escaped the Rama’s search net but he couldn’t be careless. Ark had been captured when he entered hibernation state. He couldn’t guarantee his safety if he rested in a place like this.
“Pant pant pant, there is 150 km left. Damn, it is still far away. Pant pant pant, but if I travel 50 more kilometres then I can send a request for help. Pant pant pant! 10 more hours. I have to somehow hang on until then!”
Ark fought with his sleepiness and looked at the Nymphe to confirm the distance. Suddenly a blinking icon on his Nymphe caught his eye.
“Eh? This? Why is it reacting in a place like this?”
Ark clicked the icon with a bewildered look.
|-New GPS information has been entered.|
A message he couldn’t understand rose in front of him.
Valencia smiled as he looked around. Enormous armoured vehicles were advancing behind him. 5 Memeods were advancing forward while surrounded by dozens of bikes! It was the federation army marching towards the Rama base.
“If this surprise attack succeeds then the Beltana war will end!”
Valencia wasn’t just glad that the war was ending. After being sponsored by the galactic federation, he had been appointed as the leader of the 1st armoured platoon on Beltana for around two months. In the meantime, Valencia had raised his income quite a bit from users sent to Beltana as prisoners. He couldn’t be happy about the war ending since he would lose his extra income.
“But that will change if I become a distinguished person.”
The best person who led the army to victory on a disputed planet! Needless to say, the rewards would be colossal. Furthermore, this would be the first victory over a disputed planet since Galaxian was commercialized. In other words, he could become the first war hero. A hero! It was a word that indicated a user who grasped money and honour in both hands. And it was 90% confirmed that Valencia was the main character with all the glory.
‘The remaining 10% is anxiety that Ark will revive……’
Valencia looked at the bikes moving around busily and smiled. The 1st armoured platoon on the bikes had a secret order to directly execute the deserter Ark. Then he would be 100% confirmed as a hero!
“It was worth being sent to a planet like this.”
Valencia murmured while smiling with satisfaction. Then a bike approached him.
“Platoon Chief Valencia.”
Valencia’s face shone as he turned his head.
“Hoh, it is unexpected for you to initiate a conversation with someone. Do you like me?”
“I just had nothing to say to others.”
The woman who answered with an emotionless face was Irina. She was the military officer in charge of distributing supplies to prisoners.
“Then you must have a reason to talk to me.”
“Will they be left in that situation?”
A cold laugh emerged from Valencia’s mouth and he winked at Irina. Behind the advancing Memeod were 10 people painfully walking. They were breathing harshly and staggering while walking. They were Ark’s Royal Guards.
“What’s the problem?”
“Why are they the only ones walking instead of riding on the Memeod?”
“There is no more room on the Memeod. You know that we mobilized all of our troops. The mercenaries also joined us. Some of them have their own transportation but others have to take the Memeod.”
“I’m aware of that. I’m asking why they of all people have to walk.”
“What are you implying? The core power of this mission is the regular troops and mercenaries. Marching would consume their stamina. Isn’t it natural for the prisoners to walk?”
“But they haven’t even eaten properly. Some of them are starving and have probably reached their limit. If they have to march hundreds of kilometres in that state then they will collapse before arriving at the battlefield.”
“Then so be it.”
Valencia replied with a grin.
“We can’t have weak soldiers on the battlefield.”
“Are you deliberately trying to kill them by making them march?”
“Is there such a thing? Like I said, there is no room in the Memeod. It is my duty to only bring soldiers in the best condition onto the battlefield.”
“But there are still some spaces on the vehicles of the mercenaries. If you ask them…..”
“Let’s see. I’m not a storyteller. They weren’t willing to do it.”
The Royal Guards didn’t find it that funny as they examined the vehicles. In fact, there were no vacancies in the Memeod but room could be made for 10 people. But Valencia made the Royal Guards walk. The Royal Guards were Ark’s subordinates. If left alone then they could adversely affect the prisoners paying Valencia money for protection. Valencia felt he needed to make an example of them.
“If you’re so worried about it then you should give them some food.”
“That….it is against the regulations.”
Valencia burst out laughing. Irina frowned at Valencia’s attitude. Pedro who was a member of the 1st armoured platoon then approached on his bike.
“Leader-nim, an accident has occurred in the rear.”
“Yes, one of the mercenaries’ vehicle has fallen into a hollow and can’t move. It looks like the vehicle will need to be repaired. The mercenary members aren’t enough to pull it out of the hollow so they request the support of 10 extra soldiers.”
Valencia looked at the gasping members of the Royal Guards following the vehicles.
“This should be suitable labour for them.”
“This really is terrible.”
Mellin sighed with a gloomy face. They had been dying of starvation ever since Ark and his food supply disappeared. And they only had 40% satiety when mobilized for the mission. However, they were pulled onto the battlefield without being given any food or allowed on the Memeod. While the other soldiers were resting in the Memeod, the Royal Guards had to waste their energy walking to the battlefield. Therefore their satiety had fallen to 25%. Cupa who was part of the Tobil Clan was gasping with every breath.
“Now we have to do the difficult task of pulling this truck out of a hollow…..”
Valencia had given the task of pulling out the truck to the Royal Guards. They sighed at the sight of the huge truck stuck in a hollow in the middle of the snow field.
“That bastard, does Valencia want us to drop dead?”
“It can’t be helped.”
Mellin muttered with no willpower.
“Valencia has become the leader of the regular troops thanks to his achievements while we are just prisoners. If we disobey him then won’t we be penalized even more? This won’t change even if we go onto the battlefield. Valencia is in command so we will just be shields for the bullets. We’ll either die from starvation or being hit by bullets.”
Berad bit his lips and spat out curses.
“This is all because of Hyung-nim……”
Hegel murmured as he lowered his head. Someone in the crew flinched and turned at the voice.
“What did you just say?”
“Hyung-nim…..Hyung-nim did it! Why? Did I say something incorrect? Isn’t it right? Valencia is annoying us because he disliked Hyung-nim!”
“You’re saying that now? Did you forget what Hyung-nim did for us? Did you forget that Hyung-nim just handed out food to us while we were fighting with the other prisoners for even one piece? Huh? Now you’re blaming Hyung-nim for Valencia’s harassment? What type of person are you?”
Berad shouted as he grabbed Hegel’s collar.
“But…..he is gone……”
Tears flowed from Hegel’s black eyes.
“We had a great time with Hyung-nim. I was forcibly drafted here but it was fun. I hoped that we could someday return to Istana with Hyung-nim. I was going to ask Hyung-nim if I could still be his subordinate when we leave this place. I’m willing to die if it is for Hyung-nim. But…..but…..Hyung-nim deserted us……”
“You idiot! You’re becoming upset because of Valencia’s words. Hyung-nim wouldn’t abandon us!”
“Then why hasn’t he returned? It has been a fortnight since Hyung-nim disappeared. But why?”
Berad stuttered with a puzzled expression. After a while he sighed and retreated. The other members also held their tongues and sighed with heavy expressions.
“Hey, you guys! Why are you chatting for so long?”
Then a rough voice was heard from the rear of the truck. A huge figure covered in fur and smoking a cigar approached. His eyes surveyed the spiritless Royal Guards and he clicked his tongue.
“Sheesh, you look exactly like a zombie.”
“Are you the leader of the mercenaries?”
“Yes, I am the leader. Are you Mellin?”
“Yes but…..how do you know my name? Did Valencia tell you?”
“I will give you a detailed explanation later. Let me do a staff check first. Hegel, Kalliben, Beleol, Berad, Ralph, Cupa, Hedro, Reben, Konsed and Mellin. 10 people right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“It is like that guy said.”
“Huh? That guy? Platoon Chief Valencia?”
“Sheesh, we wouldn’t follow a despicable child like that platoon leader. Anyway, the main force is quite a distance away so we can get started.”
The leader of the mercenaries approached the truck.
Buaaaang! Kukong! Totong!
Suddenly the truck released some fumes and quickly got out of the hollow. The eyes of the Royal Guards popped out at the unexpected situation.
“T-the truck that fell into the hollow……”
“Bah, this truck carried dozens of tons of metal parts through swampland for several years with no problems. It is impossible for the truck to get stuck in a hollow like this.”
“Get in. We’re going somewhere.”
The leader opened the container of the truck. Then 20 mercenaries poured out and thrust the Royal Guards into the container. The truck then raced over the snow at a breakneck speed. The Royal Guards were uneasy but they sat down opposite the mercenaries. The truck clattered on for 1 hour.
There was a sharp noise and the truck stopped. Then the door of the container opened and the leader’s voice was heard.
“We’re here. Everybody get down.”
“Where are we? Where did you bring us?”
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll understand once you get off.”
The mercenary leader laughed and replied. With a bandage covering one eye, the man gave off a bloody impression. It was a face that couldn’t be trusted but they couldn’t just stay inside the container. Mellin and the Royal Guards got off the container with a worried expression. They looked around restlessly until they saw someone standing 10 meters away. It was getting dark so the sunset was obscuring the face of the person. The members looked at him with confusion.
Kalliben suddenly let out a scream.
“What’s wrong? Do we know him?”
“Hyung-nim? That guy…..is Hyung-nim! Ark hyung-nim!”
“Ark? Ark hyung-nim? Such a thing? It is impossible. How could it be Ark hyung-nim?”
“I didn’t tell you?”
The mercenary leader smirked and spoke with a sly expression.
“I know that guy from before. He was a prospective member of the Silver Hand.”
The large man blowing out cigar smoke was Clem. He was the head of the government recognized Silver Hand.
Let’s return to several hours ago.
“H-how did my GPS catch this here? And the distance is 50 km?”
Ark looked at the Nymphe with a confused expression.
|-You have received the GPS signal of the mercenary group Silver Hand.
<Present location of the Silver Hand’s truck: 53 km in the north east direction>
Surprisingly the Nymphe had caught the GPS signal of the Silver Hand. Before Ark was sent to Beltana, he had been tricked by a wicked hamster and hired out to the Silver Hand mercenary group. But unlike his worries, the Silver Hand was a surprisingly decent mercenary group. Ark worked hard and was able learn various basic combat methods from Clem. He also cultivated a strong relationship with the Scavenger Heksu and could learn miscellaneous information. He had spent a fortnight with them. Meanwhile, his intimacy with the mercenary group became high and Clem inputted the GPS data of the truck into Ark’s Nymphe when their contract ended. But this was Beltana. The Silver Hand was supposed to be on Istana. Yet the GPS said they were 50 kilometres away?
“Is the Nymphe broken again?”
It was an uncomfortable thought. However, he decided to try communicating with them.
–This connection ID code…..Ark! Oh my god! Is it really Ark?
“This voice is? Leader Clem-nim?”
–That’s right! Ark! What on earth happened to you?
“That doesn’t matter. Why is the Silver Hand on Beltana?”
–We accepted the galactic federation’s request and were dispatched to Beltana. We don’t really are about things like this but we heard that you were sent to Beltana when we dropped by the city. Heksu and the other members were in an uproar once they heard and couldn’t understand what happened. Well, well.
–That’s okay. You don’t need to say it. Obviously it is because of that hamster. That damn hamster, I knew this day would come eventually.
“But why did the federation dispatch the mercenaries?”
–Ah, of course you wouldn’t know.
Ark was then told what happened on the federation base. The garrison commander Haman found out the location of the Rama base and asked for reinforcements from the central government of Istana. However, they don’t have enough regular troops and decided to dispatch mercenaries to Beltana.
“Then the Carrier MR-II that I sent arrived.”
-What? What does that mean?
“I found the location of the Rama base. And sent the information.”
Ark explained how he managed to find the Rama’s base before sending the information with the Carrier MR-II he found on the snowy mountain. Then Clem continued in a puzzled voice.
–I never heard anything like that. I asked the Beltana soldiers about you and didn’t hear anything about that. I heard that you’ve been missing for a fortnight and was labelled as a deserter. The garrison commander announced that a soldier called Valencia was the one who found the location of the Rama base.
Ark felt like a bomb had exploded in his head. What happened…..it wasn’t necessary to think hard about it. It was impossible for Valencia to find the Rama base while there was a snow storm. Then the answer was simple. The Carrier MR-II that Ark sent. Valencia must’ve obtained it before it reached the headquarters of the federation base. And he downloaded the information from the Carrier MR-II before disposing of it. It wasn’t surprising when considering that the soldier was Valencia.
‘Valencia of all people…….’
–Something smells dirty.
Clem murmured in a suspicious voice.
–If it is true then he can’t get away with it.
Of course Ark wasn’t going to let him get away with it. He was going to do everything possible to smear Valencia.
–If you die then there is no way but if you return alive then you can reveal the truth. The contents will be stored on your Nymphe so an investigation will clearly show the truth. But that is only if you return alive. Fortunately you’re only 50 km away so you can join us quickly. That is the most imperative thing.
‘I have to return alive. That is definitely the most imperative thing right now but…..’
Over the past fortnight, that was Ark’s foremost goal when wandering through the storm. However, his objective wasn’t to simply ‘survive.’ Ark was eating bugs to stay alive so he wouldn’t lose the experience and Rune Carving skill he obtained from the pyramid. In other words, he needed to survive to register with the Fairy. However, the federation had mobilized all their troops and were advancing towards the Rama base. It was likely that the Fairy at the federation base wasn’t working anymore.
‘Although I have to join up with them……’
Valencia was currently holding all the power among the main body. Valencia had intercepted the Carrier MR-II that Ark sent then his return would be the most dangerous threat to him. He would use any excuse to kill Ark. On the battlefield, there were no soldiers who wouldn’t kill while obeying the commander’s order. And he was just a mere prisoner.
‘If I join then I will die!’
The Carrier MR-II could lead to his death. However, that only applied if Ark joined up with the main force. His Steel Stomach meant he could survive on Beltana alone. But he couldn’t let Valencia be seen as a hero.
‘If the federation wins the war then Valencia will be hailed as a hero. The investigation might not proceed if I protest afterwards. I need to find some way to reveal Valencia’s injustice. I need to find some way before Valencia becomes a hero.’
Then something popped into Ark’s head. Ark was lost in thought for a while.
‘I have no choice but to try it!’
“Captain Clem-nim, I have a request.”
“There are 10 prisoners who follow me like I’m their Hyung-nim.”
–Yes I heard that as well. Valencia and his platoon members have been bothering 10 prisoners.
That bastard. That guy called Valencia. His actions were expected. He felt sorry because he had forgotten about the Royal Guards for a while.
“Can you somehow separate my younger brothers from the group and lead them here?”
–Separate? But an appropriate excuse……
“I have an idea.”
That was to have the Silver Hand’s truck fall into the pitfall. It would be impossible for the Silver Hand to advance with the main army. Then Clem requested additional help while the other soldiers continued marching. And the prisoner unit were the useless soldiers. Valencia had been bothering the Royal Guards for a while. The situation proceeded like Ark planned. And finally……
The 10 Royal Guards stampeded towards him.
“Hyung-nim, you’re alive!”
“We thought Hyung-nim was dead.”
“So we waited day and night in front of the Fairy!”
“What happened? Where have you been in the meantime?”
The Royal Guard members surrounded Ark and fired questions at him.
“Stop, stop, I can’t answer all your questions at once. You see……”
Ark who was surveying the depressed face of the members flinched and closed his mouth. Hegel was standing behind the other members while dripped tears.
“Huk, I…..I really thought Hyung-nim had deserted us and wasn’t returning……”
“You brat, is such a thing possible?”
Ark patted Hegel’s head and looked at the other members of the Royal Guards. It was obviously with one glance that they had no energy and looked like zombies. Ark didn’t bother to ask how much they suffered while he was away.
Korururu. Korururu. Korururu.
The stomach of 10 people started growling.
“It’s no joke. We’ll talk later so fill your stomach for now.”
Ark handed out the Space Food he obtained from the Rama’s bunker. The famished members shoved the food inside their mouths. Seeing the members looking so happy also eased Ark’s mind. And he placed a bug in his mouth without thinking. Hegel gawked at Ark with surprise and asked.
“Hyung-nim, what are you eating?”
“Huh? Oh, this? It’s a bug. Why, you should know. It is a bug often found when extracting Iridium.”
“Hik! W-why are you doing something like that……?”
“In fact, I ran out of food while coming here.”
Ark laughed and tried to explain the process he went through to obtain Steel Stomach.
Hegel’s mouth dropped open while chewing the Space Food. It wasn’t just Hegel. The other members were also looking at Ark with shock.
‘What? Is seeing me eat a bug so shocking?’
Ark became embarrassed and scratched his head.
“Ohhh! Ohhh! Ohhhh…..!”
Hegel moaned and started crying even more.
“Eh? What happened? Is eating a worm so terrible?”
“Horrible….that’s not it. Ohhh! Hyung-nim ate bugs despite having food…..it is because of us. You knew we would be starving if you met us again and ate the bugs while leaving the food for us…..ohhh!”
‘Eh? What are they saying?’
“Ohhh! We didn’t even know…..Valencia kept on saying that Hyung-nim deserted us and I blamed you….I, I……”
They had completely misunderstood Ark. Of course, it was true that he worried about the Royal Guards. His heart actually hurt when he saw the shabby forms of the members. But…..Ark wasn’t the type to sacrifice himself and starve for other people. However, there was no need to talk so bluntly. It was wiser to leave their innocent dreams intact.
“These children, I’m fine. I told you. We are comrades.”
Hegel embraced Ark and shed heavy tears. The other members also shed tears like a fountain and flocked around Ark.
“I won’t doubt Hyung-nim at all now!”
“If Hyung-nim commands me to jump into water or fire then I will do it without hesitation!”
“I would give up the rest of my life for you!”
|-Mellin’s loyalty has increased by 200.
-Hegel’s loyalty has increased by 200.
-Berad’s loyalty has increased by 200……
The loyalty of all the Royal Guards increased at the same time! It wasn’t just the Royal Guards.
“That Ark, he really is a good person.”
Clem smoked his cigar with moist eyes. Heksu also looked at Ark with admiration and murmured.
“That big fellow. What would it be like if he was my successor…..?”
“He also willingly did all the dirty tasks.”
“It is good that we came here to help.”
|-Intimacy with Clem has increased by 100.
-Intimacy with Heksu has increased by 100.
His intimacy with Clem and the Silver Hand also rose. The atmosphere increased thanks to the excited feelings from the Royal Guards and the Silver Hand.
“What will you do now Ark? We managed to sneak away but if we don’t return soon then we’ll be punished. Did you have an idea when you told us to leave the main force?”
Clem asked once the atmosphere was calm.
Ark smiled and replied.
“From now on, we’ll become a detached force.”
“Leader-nim, I have an urgent report!”
At the headquarters of the Rama’s main base. A warrior shouted with an urgent expression.
“The scouting unit that we sent out to investigate the incident at the base has returned. While trying to capture the federation soldier that escaped, they found the federation army moving along the border. They number approximately 600~700. There are 5 Memeods and dozens of bikes and vehicles. It is a lot more troops then we previously judged was on Beltana. It is clearly an all-out attack by the federation army.”
“What, what the?”
The Rama commander jumped out and exclaimed.
“Dammit, was that fire really caused by a federation scouting unit?”
The federation had rallied all their troops and advanced. The region around the mountain was 100 km. If they rallied all the troops to bypass the border then they clearly knew the location of the main base. If they’ve already started to bypass the border then there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare.
“To happen at this time……if it was a few more days then Beltana would be ours…..”
“Perhaps our plan was leaked to them?”
“It is still unknown……”
The Rama commander raised his head and shouted.
“It is clear that our base will be attacked. We have to stop those guys before their heavy weapons close in on the base. Adjutants, quickly gather all the troops in front of headquarters. Wake up anyone in hibernation mode! All necessary troops except for the engineers will gather to prevent the advance of the federation army. The limit is 10 km away in area T-23. No matter what kind of sacrifices we make, we have to stop them for 3 days until our plan is complete!”
Sirens rang across the Rama main base.