Kang Chul-In, who had just sold his friend out, visited the satellite city of Balnibarbi. He then returned to Laputa amidst much support and applause from the citizens.
“T-This place is...”
“Feeling better now?”
Inside Laputa’s sickbay, Kang Chul-In greeted Kim Sung-Hee, who just regained her consciousness.
“You’ve done well.”
He grinned and welcomed her.
“You escaped somehow even after being infected by the undead virus.”
“I assume it wasn’t easy to escape?”
“You’ve done excellent work. Just a small pity that R8 was broken… Nonetheless, it was a mission perfectly executed. Thanks to you, we could deduce immediately that Aleister and Rothschild had formed an alliance and react accordingly.”
“Does that mean…!?”
“Aleister is dead.”
“I smashed his life vessel in front of him, so he shall never be seen again. And this… is a present for you.”
Kim Sung-Hee was extremely surprised.
What Kang Chul-In handed over to her was a green wand with a jade-colored skull.
“Jadeite Skull Wand!”
An epic item which could not only grant the user the necromancy ability, but could also amplify his or her dark mana!
It was simply priceless.
“You can have it.”
“Of course. You deserve it.”
Kim Sung-Hee was extremely delighted, but she was troubled somewhat. She was an adventurer with zero association with the dark element.
Kang Chul-In thought otherwise.
“This item suits you the most.”
“The undead virus was more menacing than I thought.”
“The treatment was slightly delayed. Due to the long infection period, we couldn’t stop your mana from changing its properties.”
“Huh? Does that mean...”
Kang Chul-In pointed at a mirror in the room.
Kim Sung-Hee appeared normal, as if she had never been infected by an undead virus before.
“You are fully cured.”
“You didn’t become an undead. Well, two or three days late and you might have become a banshee.”
“That means I...”
“You are alive.”
“In fact, even better than before.”
“I-Is that true?”
“Certainly. Do you know about Mana Fire?”
“Yes, I do.”
Kim Sung-Hee complied to Kang Chul-In’s instructions. She sparked up a Mana Fire on her palm.
A flame pillar struck up.
It was a tier lower than Kang Chul-In or Dorian’s flame, but it was brighter and more concentrated than any other adventurer’s.
Kim Sung Hee was in awe again.
“My Mana Fire… It’s black!”
Kang Chul-In explained.
“Mana Fire is often black for those with an abundance of dark mana.”
“In other words, your mana now possesses a dark-element.”
“It was an unintended change due to the infection, but it’s not too bad of a consequence.”
“Is that so?”
"Dark Mana can erase an enemy’s life force. It’s kind of a debuff.”
“That’s not all. Dark Mana is effective even in small amounts. It can also increase the user's affinity with the undead or dark magic. In other words...”
Kang Chul-In looked at Kim Sung-Hee.
“You are now a battlemage capable of casting dark magic. In addition, you can be a necromancer if you practice hard enough.”
“Well of course, dark mana is not easy to handle. If not handled with care, it can change its user’s personality for the worse, and even cause him or her to go mad. We refer to this as being consumed by one’s own mana. However, this problem can be mitigated with an item.”
Kang Chul-In passed an item to Kim Sung-Hee.
It was a tiny stone.
“What… is this?”
“It’s an Infinity Stone.”
“An S-rank Infinity Stone. It may not be as good as SS-rank, SSS-rank or U(Ultimate)-rank, but it can boost your battle abilities by at least 15%. Naturally, you will have more control over your mana.”
Finally, Kim Sung Hee addressed Kang Chul-In as ‘your Majesty’ instead of ‘you’.
She was born a chaebol  heiress. Although she did sign a contract with Kang Chul-In, she had still been a prideful woman.
It was surprising to hear her address someone else with such honorifics.
“I’m thankful with just the Jadeite Skull Wand alone...”
“Didn’t I promise you?”
“I told you I will make you stronger. I’m just keeping my word, so there’s no need for such gratitude.”
Kang Chul-In began to step out of the sickbay.
“Rest well. I will visit again. As for personal tutoring, let’s defer it until you fully recover. Well then, farewell.”
“Where are you going?”
“W-Wait a minute, your Majesty!”
Kim Sung-Hee called Kang Chul-In frantically.
He had already left the sickbay, however.
Indifference is the best policy for you.
Kang Chul-In let out a cunning smile.
He had no intention of letting Kim Sung-Hee go.
He pretended to be indifferent and planned to slowly influence her to become his subordinate through his private tutoring. There was no way Kang Chul-In would let someone with necromancy abilities and dark mana get away.
“Your Majesty… you kept your words...”
Kim Sung-Hee stared at the sickbay door in admiration. She had no idea of Kang Chul-In’s intentions.
Kang Chul-In decided to put his ancient memories aside for now.
According to the Emperor of Blood and Iron, he would naturally learn about his past stories as he fulfilled his ambition of conquering Pangaea. Even if he didn’t want to, he couldn’t stop subplots from laying out anyway.
The least cumbersome way was to focus solely on the Pangaea conquest.
It was a waste of energy otherwise.
3 months left till the next Lord meeting… What's on my priority list?
Kang Chul-In wondered in his private office, in which five Rothschild heads were displayed as trophies.
There were many things to be done.
Kim Sung-Hee’s issue was settled, and the Awakening quest was on hold until a new quest arrived.
He couldn’t go dragon hunting without Death Calling, as his army would likely get annihilated.
In that case,
“Marriage, then crowning.”
Kang Chul-In mumbled.
It was winter soon, and all Lords were concluding their wars to focus on domestic affairs.
In order to later advance towards the east, the heart of Pangaea, Kang Chul-In had to strengthen Laputa’s foundation.
“Check quest details.”
Kang Chul-In commanded.
Goal: To ascend the throne!
Lord points +20%
Honorable title (The system decides based on traits)
All abilities +10%
Politics (both internal and external) +1 tier
New stat point ‘monarchy’ granted
Loyalty and patriotism from subjects +50% increase
Three mine lottery tickets given
Abilities of the main founding fathers of the nation (main subjects) +10% increase
“… Who knew ascending the throne was so fantastic.”
Kang Chul-In muttered to himself in awe, after checking the details of the reward.
Indeed, it was much better to become a king than to remain as an Overlord.
The only problem was that it was difficult to complete this quest.
100,000 citizens or above (Insufficient!)
1,500,000 Gold in possession (Extremely insufficient!)
Five cities or above in possession (Sufficient!)
55% or above of a region in possession (Almost!)
Throne (Not applicable, request for change)
Crown (Not applicable, request for change)
Official name of sovereign state
Marriage (Not applicable, request for marriage!)
There were many conditions, but number 4 was the trickiest one.
Possess 55% or above of a region?
Easier said than done, it was no easy task for anyone.
Pangaea was divided largely into three regions: Ishtar, Gullveig and Baldur. To rule more than 40% of any one of these regions was extremely difficult.
Kang Chul-In nodded.
“There was a reason why there were only so few kings in the past.”
Even in the past, no Overlord had conquered more than 55% of a region. Kang Chul-In, Vilhelm and Rothschild ruled around 40% each, but nowhere near 55%.
This condition was the one that prevented any Tom, Dick or Harry from becoming a king.
In retrospect, the so called ‘kings’ in the past were probably rulers of tiny, insignificant areas.
“Hmm… conquering two or three more territories can address the insufficient land… number of citizens can be increased… as for the gold… that’s the problem for now. Finance.”
Kang Chul-In was already broke to start with. 1,500,000 Gold was no trivial number for him.
At that moment.
“Are you in, your Majesty!?”
Timothy’s voice could be heard from outside the office.
His voice was sharp and screechy, carrying a hint of rage.
Kang Chul-In froze.
Shit, the gold for the magic gem!
A chill ran down his spine.
“Your Majesty! I know you are inside!”
Timothy’s voice could be heard again.
If he faced Timothy here, his eardrums could explode from the old goblin’s endless nags. He had to choose plan B.
The window in Kang Chul-In’s office shattered into tiny pieces.
Escaping was the best solution for sticky situations like this.
Kang Chul-In visited Kwak Jung’s office after his escape from Timothy. He explained his circumstances and asked for advice.
Becoming a king was no trivial matter. It was certainly wise to discuss such important matters with Kwak Jung, his tactician.
“Do it. It’s beneficial no matter what.”
Kwak Jung strongly advocated for Kang Chul-In’s crowning.
“Why is that so?”
“Looking at Pangaea’s political scene, it seems highly possible that a coalition will form in the north, with Vilhelm in the center.”
“They are probably discussing terms amongst themselves by now.”
Kwak Jung’s insight was sharp and incisive.
“Your Majesty had already engulfed about 50% of Ishtar region. If a single influence grew so much in power, wouldn’t the other Lords be feeling anxious?”
“Vilhelm in particular is probably in quite some distress. He already has some history with you and that man is dying to become rank 1. He can’t achieve that alone, so there’s only one option left: to team up with others.”
In other words, Kang Chul-In’s rapid power-ups had triggered the formation of the Gullveig coalition way ahead of its schedule. Thus, Ragnarök was also pushed forward.
“This gigantic coalition, if formed successfully, can keep your Majesty in check. In fact, if the whole lot attacks simultaneously, your Majesty may have to face the worst scenario possible. Isn’t that so?”
“You are right.”
“There’s only one solution.”
Kwak Jung voiced out.
“Your Majesty should ascend the throne and increase your influence. Coalition? Alliance? Sounds good but isn’t it cooler to be the super special awesome raid boss?”
“… And what exactly is a super special awesome raid boss?”
Kang Chul-In frowned at Kwak Jung’s poor choice of words.
“Ah, I meant… hehe… very powerful! A strong leader… hehe...”
“Can’t you be more dignified…?”
“Hehe… not every man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”
Kwak Jung continued.
“Isn’t there an old saying that too many cooks spoil the broth?”
“An alliance itself is good, but how troublesome would it be if one member didn’t listen to another member? And...”
“What if one betrays another? For example, communicating with the enemy to open up a path...”
“Aleister, you fucker!”
Kang Chul-In unintentionally spewed out vulgarities.
Kang Chul-In changed the topic.
That still enrages me to this day.
Having had Aleister stab his back in the past, he came to realize that nothing was more infuriating than an ally’s betrayal.
Kang Chul-In nodded.
He swore to never be betrayed again. What could be more tragic than being betrayed once again?
“I shall be crowned to increase my influence.”
“That’s a wise decision, your Majesty.”
“I shall be addressing the marriage issue immediately as well, so take note.”
“Is that so?”
“I plan to settle it before the Lord meeting.”
“Keuh~! Your Majesty’s now taken! Soon to be a living ATM machine… Huk…!”
“Watch your words.”
Kwak Jung’s big mouth always landed him in trouble.
“Well then, I have somewhere to travel with Ninetails.”
“Huh? Is it already time for a honeymoon?”
“I’m thinking of testing this.”
Kang Chul-In showed Kwak Jung an epic item on his ring finger. It was the damn Needle of the Empress.
“W-What is that?”
“Huh? Isn’t it just gold… Aarghhhhhhhh!”
Kwak Jung screamed in pain as the Needle of the Empress electrocuted him.
It emitted a strong wave of electricity.
Shall we test its power?
Kang Chul-In’s eyes came to rest on a point on the map.
I shall destroy you, Rothschild.
That place was where his former rival and nemesis, and now his sworn enemy was inhabiting.
It was none other than Rothschild’s Baldur region!
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