Chapter 281: Kwak Jung, Kwak Jun, and Lee Ji-Tae

“Oi, Kwak something.” 

Kwak Jung said. 

  • Yes?

“You saw that, right?” 

  • I did. 

Kwak Jun, the tactician of Lord Vito Clemenza, replied over the screen. 

“Our king is so awesome, haha!” 

Kwak Jung shrugged arrogantly. 

“In other words, your trickeries have no use on us!” 

  • Haha, what do you mean by trickeries…? That’s an exaggeration. I had to gain Vilhelm’s trust...

Kwak Jun denied Kwak Jung’s accusations. 

“Oh? You still haven’t learned your lesson after that beating…?” 

  • Ah, if tactician Kwak says so, then it must be true. Yup, definitely true. 

Kwak Jun smiled and tried his best to curry favor with Kwak Jung. 

“Changing words, are we?” 

  • Not at all. 

“Well, if you do it again, I will break your bones into tiny pieces.” 

  • ...

“Anyways, how is the Baldur conquest going?” 

  • Good. 

“Any chance of a third superpower emerging from the Baldur region...” 

  • I will prevent that at all costs!

Kwak Jun promised. 

“Hmm! Sounds good. Alright, keep up the good work.” 

  • Yes. 

“Good to see you working hard!” 

  • Haha! It’s all thanks to the Supreme King of the West and tactician Kwak’s everlasting care and love.

“Keh… bastard knows how to flatter...”

  • Not at all!

“You must have breezed through the army.” 

  • Yes, I’m quite...

Despite the ongoing casual conversation, Kwak Jung was incredibly cold towards Kwak Jun inwardly. 

There’s a chance that you may become the third superpower. You think I will let that happen?

Kwak Jung was hiding a dagger behind his laughter. 

He was fine with letting Kwak Jun grow his influence, but he would never let him be a bigwig. 

“Well then, continue to report in the future.” 

  • Certainly. 

“Ah, and...” 

  • Anything else? 

“If Vilhelm looks for you… you know what to do, right?” 

  • Of course!

Kwak Jun immediately replied. 

  • I will report every detail of the conversation without mistake. Nothing...

At that instant. 

  • Gasp!

Kwak Jun was taken aback. 

“What is it?” 

  • A-An incoming call from Vilhelm! 

“...!” 

  • It’s classified as ‘top secret.’ Seems like he wants to have a secret conversation. 

“Hmm… ok, hurry and take the call.” 

Kwak Jung nodded. 

“Let me reiterate...” 

  • I will definitely report every single detail. 

“Good.” 

  • Well then, I will go talk to Vilhelm...

“Be my guest.” 

  • Alright!

Beep!

The call ended. 

“Hmm… Vilhelm seems to be in the soup, huh?” 

It was obvious as to why Vilhelm was looking for Kwak Jun. 

Vilhelm was in a politically precarious position.  

He had already lost the war due to Mei Ling’s trolling and had lost the trust of many Lords. Vilhelm desperately needed an opportunity to turn things around. 

The fact that he gave Kwak Jun a call meant... 

“Now, now… it’s going to be interesting! Keke!” 

Kwak Jun grinned. 

                                                ***

Overlord rank 9, Atal Ramanujan. His specialty was increasing the population and overwhelming his enemies with sheer numbers, just like Ao Xin. He was the true ruler of the Baldur region, who governed the Shatyameba territory. 

Of course, Atal Ramanujan wasn’t a man with the ability to become the ruler of one of the three large divisions of Pangaea. He could amplify his population to activate his domestic economy and cultivate a large army, but that was all. Shatyameba was a tropical territory with harsh terrains. It was impossible to feed that many people. Moreover, the territory lacked a skilled magic-engineer, thus the level of technology was extremely meagre. Regardless of the population, Shatyameba was inferior to other territories.

Because of this, 

“I have to get out of this cursed land no matter what...” 

Atal Ramanujan wished to advance towards the center of the Baldur region. 

“And recruit talents...” 

He also wished to have capable subordinates under his wing. Despite the large population, talents were nowhere to be found. This drove Atal Ramanujan insane. 

“Now’s really the opportunity... we need to make a move now… welp...” 

In his office, Atal Ramanujan kept licking his lips while reading the map. 

Now was really the right time. Alex Rothschild, who wasn’t an Overlord, but was affluent enough to pose a heavy influence on the Baldur region, had suddenly disappeared from the ranking page. Furthermore, Overlord Lee Chae-Rin and Lord Vito Clemenza’s army were fragmenting the Baldur region from the west and east respectively. In addition, six Lords who ruled over the central region of Baldur had mysteriously vanished, which instigated rebellion and uproar in those territories. Therefore, if an Overlord like him could advance to the central region of Baldur, Atal Ramanujan could be the second person to claim the crown after Kang Chul-In. 

“God damn it… where are the talents…?” 

The problem was that he lacked a genius who could command his huge army and share his insights regarding the political scene in Pangaea. 

“Hmm...” 

At that moment. 

“Your Majesty, an explorer named Lee Ji-Tae requests to be in your presence.” 

A servant spoke. 

“Lee Ji-Tae?” 

“Yes, your Majesty.” 

“Peculiar name. But how can a mere explorer request to meet me?”

“A-Actually...” 

“Speak.” 

“This explorer named Lee Ji-Tae has promised to hunt down and tribute to you the level 70 ‘gulag lizard’…” 

“G-gulag lizard!?” 

Atal Ramanujan gasped in shock. 

The gulag lizard was a native species only found in Atal Ramanujan’s territory. It was a terrifying monster which spewed out toxic gas. There was even a consensus amongst the explorers that hunting level 80 monsters was more beneficial than hunting a gulag lizard. And this stranger had promised to kill this monster? 

“A raid party?” 

“No.” 

“No?” 

“He claimed to have hunted down the lizard alone...” 

“...!” 

“There are witnesses as well. I believe Lee Ji-Tae is quite a skillful...” 

“Hurry!” 

Atal Ramanujan bellowed. 

“Summon this explorer named Lee Ji-Tae into the Lord’s hall, now!”

“Yes, your Majesty.” 

“I shall personally speak to him!” 

Atal Ramanujan’s face was red in excitement. A powerful explorer who could even solo kill a gulag lizard had walked into his territory of his own volition. It was akin to chancing upon a wallet on the street. Talents like such didn’t come by often!

                                                ***

30 minutes later, in the Lord’s hall of Shatyameba... 

“So, you are Lee Ji-Tae?”

Atal Ramnujan asked the explorer charismatically, who was kneeling on one side. 

“Yes, your Majesty. I indeed am.” 

“You claim to have hunted down a gulag lizard alone… is that true?” 

“Yes.” 

“Woah… then you must be really powerful! That’s already as good as a general in Valhalla!” 

“Not at all, your Majesty.” 

Lee Ji-Tae was humble. 

“How could I compare to the ferocious generals of Valhalla? I may be able to fight one or two gulag lizards, but they can take down four or five.” 

“I-Is that so?” 

“Yes, your Majesty. Moreover, Kang Chul-In, the Supreme King of the West, would just treat the gulag lizards as mere pets.” 

“Right… you speak the truth.” 

Atal Ramanujan was aware of that reality. He agreed with Lee Ji-Tae. 

“But that is not to say your combat abilities are insignificant. It is rare to find an explorer who can hunt down a gulag lizard alone.” 

“You flatter me, your Majesty.” 

“Well then, raise your head. Let me have a look at your face.” 

Lee Ji-Tae revealed his face. 

Hmm! Seems familiar...

Atal Ramanujan thought he had seen that face somewhere. 

Who is it…? I definitely recognize this face… ah, Lee Gong-Myung!

The stranger’s face closely resembled Alex Rothschild’s tactician, Lee Gong-Myung’s face. 

However,

No, that’s not it. Lee Gong-Myung’s eyes were not blue. His hair as well… those traits are more like Alex Rothschild’s...

The stranger was definitely not Lee Gong-Myung himself. 

At the same time, he wasn’t Alex Rothschild. He had a strange mixture of both of their traits. 

Don’t tell me… he recognizes me? 

Lee Ji-Tae, no, Lee Gong-Myung was slightly nervous. 

He had absorbed Alex Rothschild, hence his appearance carried some of his traits. In other words, it wasn’t surprising that Atal Ramanujan found Lee Ji-Tae’s face familiar. 

“Your Majesty.” 

At that moment, Lee Ji-Tae quickly spoke.

“May I request something…?” 

“Ah, do you have anything to say?” 

“Please take me in.” 

“...!” 

“If you take me in as your subordinate… I, Lee Ji-Tae, swear on my life to make your Majesty the king of the southern region!” 

“K-King of the South!” 

Atal Ramanujan exclaimed with delight. 

King. Ah, what a magnificent title! The other Lords would look up to him, just like how they respected Kang Chul-In, who was the King of the West. 

 In addition, if he managed to establish a kingdom, he could become the one and only ruler of Baldur, unlike the Gullveig Alliance in the North. Just like Kang Chul-In!

“Hmm!” 

However, Atal Ramanujan immediately regained his composure. The King of South? A grand title indeed, but it was easier said than done. He understood that Lee Ji-Tae was powerful enough to hunt down a Gulag lizard alone, but that was far from enough. 

“Lee Ji-Tae, was it?” 

“Yes, your Majesty.” 

“Are you patronizing me?” 

“I beg your pardon?”

“I understand that you are proficient in combat, but that alone is insufficient to make me a king.” 

“I’m not talking about my combat abilities.”

Lee Ji-Tae replied. 

“I plan to make you a king using my brain and tactics.” 

“T-Tactics?” 

“Yes, your Majesty.” 

“Even though you are strong enough to hunt a Gulag...” 

“To assume that a strong soldier is not brainy is a stereotype.” 

 “...!” 

“My combat abilities are far from perfect, but I am confident in my tactics and strategies.” 

That was hardly arrogance. 

Lee Gong-Myung, now Lee Ji-Tae, was a genius who had once pushed that incapable Alex Rothschild up to the same ranks as Kang Chul-In and Vilhelm. 

He could do the same for Atal Ramanujan. 

“I-Is that true?” 

“Yes, your Majesty.” 

Lee Ji-Tae replied firmly. 

“Northern Expedition!” 

“...!” 

“Your Majesty currently rules over the southernmost area of Pangaea, but you have to advance to the north to rule over the whole continent!” 

Ba-dump!

That statement made Atal Ramanujan’s heart race. Ah, the Northern Expedition! What an exciting phrase!

“Don’t you boast a huge population? Your Majesty, think about your home country India and also China!” 

“India and China...” 

“These two nations invigorated their domestic economies by taking advantage of their large population. They eventually took over the world economy!”

He was right. Population directly affected a nation’s economy, and a strong economy became the foundation for a strong army. 

“What forms the fundamentals of a nation is none other than the people.” 

“...!” 

“In that sense, your Majesty possesses an attribute which is far more valuable than that of Kang Chul-In or Ao Xin!” 

“I-Is that so?” 

“Yes, your Majesty!” 

“Keh… I think you are right.” 

“However!” 

“...!” 

“As time passes by, both the Gullveig Alliance and the Valhalla Kingdom will enjoy an increase in population.” 

It was a race against time. Both the Gullveig Alliance and the Valhalla Kingdom were equipped with a huge talent pool, abundant resources and advanced technology. Their populations were increasing exponentially. 

In contrast, Atal Ramanujan’s finance was starting to take a toll due to the increasing population. 

Thus, if Atal Ramanujan delayed his Northern Expedition and failed to advance to the center of Pangaea, then he would never get a chance to rule over Pangaea! 

“Your Majesty!” 

“What is it?” 

“If you grant me 30,000 soldiers, I will conquer the Itaracia territory for you!” 

“I-Itaracia!?” 

It was a strategic location that Atal Ramanujan had to conquer for his advancement. The problem was that it had harsh terrain similar to the 18 peaks, and also burning hot weather. In addition, the fortress was located 3000 metres above sea level, so it was wise to give up before trying in normal circumstances. 

“Yes, your Majesty.”

“Is that… even possible?” 

“I will make you proud!” 

Strong confidence! Lee Ji-Tae was 100% sure of himself. Why? 

It was because he was Lee Gong-Myung, the tactician of Alex Rothschild!

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