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Moving along the royal main road, we could see the border’s checkpoint.
The border’s checkpoint that the soldiers were guarding had one small door and one large door.
In front of the small door was a long line of people, and the large door was vacant.
Our carriage headed towards the large door.
“Excuse me. Please present your identification.”
Odin opened the carriage door and showed them his identification.
The soldiers looked at the I.D. and looked surprised.
They returned the I.D. and assumed respectful positions.
“It is an honor to meet the great military man of Arend, the count of Wolfenbrooke.”
For reference, this continent is called the Arend Kingdom.
And Odin was one of the strongest people among those in the Arend Kingdom.
The carriage started up again.
Past the border’s checkpoint was the neutral zone between the two countries, and the condition of the road became awful and the carriage clunked along.
“Won’t this break the carriage?”
“It’s got magic spell on it so it won’t break from most things.”
“Ah, magic sure makes things easier.”
“Do not look down on this world’s civilization. I have heard they even developed the four wheels maneuver height so even racing on an unpaved road they will maintain evenness.”*
(TN: Literally says four wheels maneuver height. I’m just going to assume that it means something like the shocks on a car.)
I was once again awed by the mysteries of magic.
This world reminded me of the Dark Ages of our humanity’s history so it was true that I looked down on the civilization in the Arena.
Without human equality and civil rights, it was definitely inferior.
But their skillful use of magic, that I had to give them credit for.
Even what is impossible on earth with science was sometimes possible here with magic.
Even the different entities from various groups on earth that have entered the Arena business are playing to that point.
We passed through the neutral zone and once again arrived at a border checkpoint.
This time it wasn’t the Arend kingdom border checkpoint.
It had already been 30 days since we started.
We had finally arrived at the Aman kingdom.
The Aman kingdom was a nation with a damp tropical climate.
Perhaps that was why everyone’s attire was so open and refreshing.
We got to the commercial district, Galen, and we were barely able to navigate through the bustling streets.
‘Wow this is like a beach resort!’
Seeing everyone wearing barely anything, I couldn’t hide my surprise.
Of course, the surprise was due to the young ladies.
Walking confidently showing off their skin bronzed by the sun, in their short dresses and tops barely covering their breasts, my eyes naturally followed them.
Marie called my name and I finally peeled my eyes away from the women on the streets.
With hurt eyes, Marie stared at me.
“What do you mean?”
“I think you have misunderstood, I am not a bad guy.”
Rather, a bit of a pushover actually.
Marie looked sullen and she opened the door and jumped out the carriage.
“Huh? Where are you going?!”
“Leave her be. She’ll find us soon enough.”
Odin stopped me.
‘I really can’t get a read on her.’
A crazy girl is definitely hard to deal with. My baby sister Hyun-ji is the best representation of that.
The city of Galen is the first city once you passed the border checkpoint.
I was told it was busy year-round with traveling brokers, businessmen, and vacationers.
Because of that there were lots of various hotels at different price points.
There were cheap boarding houses for mercenaries/hired soldiers and travelers, and for well to do merchants there were luxury inns and top of the line hotels for nobles.
We, of course, headed to the noblemen’s hotel.
Befitting of a hotel used solely by nobles, it was large and luxurious.
There was a place to park carriages and separate lodgings for the servants as well.
“I have lots of money so there is no need to be frugal. We will each get a room.”
Everyone agreed with Odin. Odin paid the money, including the room for the absent Marie, for 4 rooms.
A fat middle-aged man who looked to be the inn owner gave us each a wooden tag.
On the wooden tag was a number, mine said 401.
“These are your room keys. It opens and closes with magic.”
It might look very analog but this was comparable to our world’s key cards.
We headed into our rooms.
I put down my luggage in room 401 and looked around the room.
“Whew, I can properly rest here.”
Properly stretching my arms and legs and lying down on a bed, the exhaustion finally started to seep in.
All that time spent scrunched into the carriage was uncomfortable. It did beat sleeping on the floor though.
At the sudden voice I shouted in surprise and bolted up.
….. Marie was hanging on the window outside.
From an inside pocket she took out what looked like a pin set and she instantly broke through the locked window.
The window opened in a few seconds.
“What do you think?”
Having come inside, Marie spun around.
I didn’t even realize I made the sound.
She was wearing exactly what the women of Aman were wearing.
A short skirt and a shirt that’s basically just a bra.
Every time she spun around, the skirt moved up and down showing peeks of white panties. With her glowing pale skin, it made me dizzy.
“Um, what about your synthetic muscle suit?”
“I put it away.”
Marie tilted her head to the side.
“But the only person that can retrieve electronics without breaking them is me.”
Then Marie was surprised and summoned her item bag and took out the synthetic muscle suit.
She took off her clothes down to her undergarments and she frantically put on the synthetic muscle suit.
Don’t change in front of me!
…. Although, thanks.
She moved her body this way and that way and Marie let out a sigh of relief.
“It’s not broken.”
Thankfully, the synthetic muscle suit didn’t break and looked to be working properly.
‘As long as it doesn’t go through the exam door, it looks like it won’t break.’
But without me, when we return to our world, we will have to store the synthetic muscle suits and radios somewhere here in the Arena.
I took out my radio and called Odin.
On our way over, we placed the transmission receiver somewhere discrete and transmissions worked here too.
-I already made such arrangements before the exam.
-Of course. It is expensive equipment we finally got into the Arena, we cannot have them break.
But of course.
No way the Nordic exam group would be careless.
-As long as Marie was careful, there won’t be an examinee who will screw up.
“……. Sounds right.”
Marie must have been feeling shy, she was giggling. She eventually gave up the Aman attire and returned to her normal fashion.
We lived in the hotel for a while as we gathered data.
Truthfully, Marie investigated the area very quickly, gathering rumors.
All we did was go around to pubs and listened in on drunken conversations.
I was able to put Sylph to very good use here.
“Look around and words like massacre, slaughter, wipe out, death en masse, and annihilate, and deliver those conversations to me.”
After reaching intermediate level 2, Sylph’s recon distance had increased to 3 km.
Sylph allowed me to listen to any conversations with those key words within a 3 km distance.
Pubs and restaurants, the chatter and stories were relayed clearly to my ears.
Amongst those, I wrote the useful information as memos on my phone.
Thanks to the guider skill, I could chase after John Omento or Lee Chang-wee but the reason we were gathering data this way was to be cautious.
‘It wouldn’t be good to just barge into the ultimate boss room.’
A fortnight passed and we were able to determine our final destination.
“The Deport area seems most plausible. The rumors coming in from there are all about how chaotic it is.”
Marie, who was cuddling my back, agreed.
The Deport area was to the west of Aman, a region that hugged the coast.
John Omento was also to the west.
In the western region, I picked an area with the worst rumors and that was the Deport area.
“Lee Chang-wee is also in that direction.”
Added Cha Ji-hye.
Odin nodded his head too.
“Then it is definitely there. We will set out tomorrow. Lee Chang-wee will be there too, we must be careful.”
In order to be discrete, we decided to leave our carriage here and make the trip there and back on horseback.
We got three horses and set out.
Odin and Cha Ji-hye each rode a horse, and I rode one with Marie behind me, who had become like a piece of gum that wouldn’t come off.
Deport was a coastal area in western Aman, and the Deport port and its namesake was due that that.
The Deport port had an abundant fishing industry and an abundance of seafood that were so rare and precious that you could lay them at a sultan’s feet.
The only downside was there were lots of pirates who wreaked havoc.
The Aman Empire’s public order weakened and, using that opportunity, the pirates grew strong in that interim and they took control of the entire western coast of the continent.
It was a given that they attacked the ports on the coast but now they were brazen enough to penetrate deeper inland to attack and plunder more places.
Aman tried and failed many times to eradicate the pirates.
That was because even though they boasted the largest army in the world, the Aman Empire had a laughably weak naval presence.
“Like always, they are obsessed with taking over all the land so they just focus on training the army only.”
“They want to repossess the glory they once had when they owned the entire continent. If it were me, I would make peace with my neighboring countries and restore national public order and focus my energy on getting rid of the pirates to restore safety.”
“Even so, these pirates are extremely strong. It sounds like it’s not just the Aman Empire but all the nations with ports on the western coast who are having a hard time with them.”
“Well, the reason they can’t eradiate them is obvious.”
“The royalty is probably making money off the pirates.”
Said Cha Ji-hye.
Odin nodded his head.
“That’s it. The pirates have backdoor relations with the nobles, delivering them precious treasures. The nobles work to prevent the eradication of the pirates or give them information to avoid danger.”
Even a democracy like Korea has corruption, so how would it be in the Arena’s barbarous system?
I thought it over then said,
“Do you think the leader of this pirate power is a corrupt examinee?”
“I am thinking that too. Even if not, I am sure he/she is conspiring with the pirate power.”
Let’s collect all this info.
- Corrupt examinees
- Black magic organization
- Pirate power
- The rotten nobles that back them
This was an atrocious criminal cartel alliance.
With this much, it’s not just a worry for the Aman Empire but the entire Arena world.
There are even so many monsters that make living difficult and to add on top of it all, humans were quarreling like this!
I felt pity for the people living in the Arena that had to suffer through this hell.
‘It might be that the final mission is to restore this rotten world.’
After many days passed since leaving the city of Galen.
We finally arrived at Deport.
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