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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Each city within Hall Plain was structured like a web. Even though the cities that existed within various countries were in many different locations, they all look similar, yet they also all serve different purposes. If you looked at any two cities individually, they looked different. But when all the cities are looked at as a whole, you would notice that they all play a role and are linked with each other,
The Northern Country that we were currently at also had many cities. Barbara, the largest city, was located in the center, while the city Prinsika was to the east, Halo was to the west, Kan was to the south, and Pamela to the north. These four, the “ordinary” cities, were located around Barbara. Beyond each of these cities were two smaller cities that were under their jurisdiction and would aid each other in times of need.
In more detail, the smaller cities around Prinsika was Eden to the northeast and Dana in the southeast. The smaller cities around Halo was Dorothy to the west and Monica to the southwest. The smaller cities around Kan was Coran to the southeast and Monica to the southwest. The smaller cities around Pamela was Mule to the northeast and Montana to the northwest.
One large city. Four ordinary cities. Eight small cities. Say that a small city near Kan met trouble. Mid-sized clans in Kan would immediately team up, along with the Southern Freedom Alliance, and help the city together. Normally, however, there was only one representative clan in each city that took care of matters.
When clans take care for a city individual members are assigned jobs that fit their position. This would be unheard of in the Southern Country, as they value freedom above all else. However, it was possible in the Northern Country of today because the Golden Lion clan was the clan that was in power.
Anyone that wanted to get to the Central Country from the Northern Country has to pass through Kan, Coran, and Monica first. Each of these cities had their own policies that one has to follow. They served as outposts that you had to pass through in order to reach the Central Country. On the other side of the Northern Country, Pamela, Mule, and Montana to the north were close to undeveloped locations. Those to the north of Pamela guarded the undeveloped land and made sure that it was safe. I heard from an instructor that they weren’t allowed to explore and attack, but they did so anyways.
Everyone from the Northern Country knew that if you took just one step into the Central Country from the Northern Country, you would be under the jurisdiction of their large city, Atlanta. However, the Northern Country didn’t possess enough power to take over that city. Not… yet. I was sure that the “truth” that I had remembered will happen soon, and that feeling was bolstered by Han-Byul’s revealing of the Golden Lion clan’s plans that night.
I originally planned on heading to the small city Montana, but I decided to change my course and head to Mule. There was a lot of factors that went into this decision, but the biggest reason would probably be An Hyun.
I don’t remember all the details, but there was a rare class that wielded a lance called the “Energy Spearman.” I wasn’t sure exactly where or how it came to be, but I know that it was found within a cave in Mule. If one of my members can get a rare class, then it’ll be a great addition to my power. Thus, I decided to go check it out.
“I plan on going to Mule first.”
Everyone carried a confused look after I told them I was going to Mule. The other users were either heading towards a big or ordinary city, but the fact that I wanted to go to a small city probably caught them off-guard. An Hyun’s face was filled with curiosity as he asked the reason for going to Mule.
“Soo-Hyun, isn’t Mule the northernmost city? Also, I heard that that city was only recently developed, so it’s still pretty dangerous. People said that it’ll be dangerous to go there if you’re not skilled enough because of all the vagrants there.”
An Hyun would be right… normally. I wanted to travel a bit further than I would otherwise in order to train them to gain the skill to judge how things work in Hall Plain. Such things required experience. Regardless, I was proud that An Hyun was able to think of that, so I patted his head. He raised his head with a confused look but didn’t push my hand away.
To explain my reason for going to Mule, then I would first need to explain Golden Lion clan’s plans. As An Hyun and Yoo-Jung had already either assumed or heard the rumors about them elsewhere it didn’t take long to explain. Sol had been quiet for a while, and when I turned my head to look I noticed that she was staring at my hand that was still on Hyun’s head. I quickly put my hand down.
Many varying issues had to be resolved first before advancing into Atlanta. If you were to consider all of the various factors, then stabilization would be the word that encompassed all of it. Have the nearby monsters been taken care of? Was it safe within the territory? Is there anywhere that hasn’t been attacked? Lastly, can the Vagrant’s intervention be prevented beforehand?
Stabilization was important within Hall Plain. If cities under a country’s control were stable, they would be able to recover from disasters even if the military fails. Since the Central Country had a strong foundation, it would be difficult for anyone to advance into the Central Country with malicious intent. The problem was that users had different interpretations of what is “stable.”
It was hard to say that the Northern Country was safe; cities like Mule were still being developed. Despite that, the Golden Lion clan was already planning for its expedition. The clan, known as the best clan in the Northern Country, will collapse due to their hasty decision.
I thought back to my experiences with the first war in my memories. One of the reasons for their failure was that their method of stabilization was insufficient. The only success during the war was with the city of Halo. There, a large war took place between the joint Alliance of the Golden Lion clan and the Sun Clan, who represented Halo, and the Vagrants. In the end, the clans won.
However, the clans were too flushed with their success. The Vagrants were called so because they were a discrete group that had users spread everywhere. As the clansmen’s lives were typically short, they weren’t satisfied with just one victory. Despite that, they celebrated too early and advanced into the mountains. It resulted in a tragedy that could have been avoided otherwise.
The first time they advanced into the mountains was about six months after I initially entered Hall Plain. This time around, since I spent 13 weeks at the User Academy, I still have around three months left before they begin their fated expedition. I had about a 100 days to become as powerful as I can.
In a sense, Mule and Montana were the optimal cities to go to for my plan. Right now, there were small hints that getting rid of the Vagrants was a part of their plan for this expedition. Sensitive users will be able to infer that preparations for war were beginning in the Northern Country.
Vagrants typically hid in shadows and carried out their plans from within. Before their group gets attacked, they will most likely meet in the Western Country and prepare an ambush. If my assumptions were correct, then the West and South countries will be affected the most. As those two countries will be focused on, the Eastern and Northern countries will most likely be safer.
“There’s nothing to gain for us around the popular cities. It’s not a guarantee that the attack will be successful, but the attack is pretty well planned for. As a result, many users will be clamoring to join the expedition. Also, since we plan on making our own clan problems with clans that already control the cities will arise.”
“I’ve heard rumors too that, like you said, the largest expedition will occur soon.”
I shook my head at An Hyun’s statement. We weren’t qualified to even participate in this expedition. Rather than getting needlessly hurt by getting involved, it was more beneficial to take it a step at a time and start from the bottom.
“Who can guarantee the expedition a success? Barbara, the largest city within the Northern Country that we are standing in, took four years to develop. That development required numerous preparations, and countless sacrifices to make it what it is today. However, attacking the mountains is a much harder challenge than developing Barbara was. In my opinion, they’ll be hard to overcome with merely four years’ worth of preparation.
“Hm… really? It does sort of make sense after you say it.”
“Soo-Hyun, does that mean there’s a lot for us to do at Mule?”
I can feel their reluctance to give up even after my spiel. I understand their confidence being through to roof due to ranking high at the User Academy, but them joining the expedition was something I could not allow. I put more force into my voice, then continued talking.
“Well, for one, we won’t have to worry about the Vagrants. The majority of the users and Vagrants will be directing their attention to that expedition from now on. As of right now, the users in Mule have already departed to join the expedition so I heard that all development has halted. Since they gave up, this is a big chance for us.
Since I couldn’t directly tell them all the details, all I could do was contribute an assumption with the words “this could happen.” Since I know “the future,” I could explain with confidence, but the end result still depends on whether or not they accept my words. I looked at them with a serious expression.
An Hyun, too, had a serious expression as he brooded over what I said. Yoo-Jung also looked as if she was contemplating something. But Sol hasn’t said a word for a while… why? Why was she looking at me while pouting? Was she discontent? Was something wrong? I wet my lips as I broke the gaze. At that moment, Yoo-Jung raised her head and spoke in a serious tone.
“I have a question. Well…Can I ask?”
I thought that I was detailed enough that they wouldn’t have any questions, but it seemed like there were still some vague parts. I nodded my head since I preferred those that asked questions and speak their mind, like Hyun, instead of following every word I said.
As soon as I nodded my head in agreement, Yoo-Jung walked up right next to me then held my hand. Instead of asking her question, she behaved peculiarly by first bringing my hand up to her lips. Next, she opened her mouth wide enough that I could even see her teeth. Then…
With a provocative look, Yoo-Jung bit my hand.
Mine, An Hyun, and An Sol’s expressions hardened.
“You said I could bite. So I bit.”
I couldn’t help but look at her with a startled expression when she smiled brightly when biting my hand. Yoo-Jung let out uncontrolled laughter as she gently let my hand go. An Hyun looked at her with a pitiful expression while An Sol looked around, embarrassed.
I tried to put on a straight face, but the atmosphere bothered me. I even thought that maybe she was crazy because she was suddenly being random while we were talking about important plans. If this happened a long time ago and was another user (for example, Lee Ji-Young) instead, I would’ve been furious. However, it was Lee Yoo-Jung.
From my observations of Yoo-Jung, for someone that she disliked, she showed that dislike to a point where it was disturbing. Park Dong-Gul was a good example. On the other hand, when she was with people that she liked, she would act coy, like this time. I was able to swallow my anger since I knew of this. However, I feel like there was a need to tell her that there were moments when she shouldn’t act like this. Perhaps An Hyun knew how I felt since he spoke and criticized her first.
“Hey, Soo-Hyun was talking about something important, so this isn’t the time or place to be acting that way.”
“Sorry, I’m really sorry. Oh. Soo-Hyun, I’m really sorry. But, your expression was so serious that I did it without thinking.”
“Well our lives are stake here, so of course I’m serious.”
After hearing An Hyun’s retort, Yoo-Jung avoided his gaze, but she still looked somewhat happy.
“While we were training, whenever we asked Soo-Hyun about his plans he always said that he was thinking about it. But to think that he was thinking about this… Honestly, I wouldn’t have dared to think about something like this, but… but, we decided that we were going to follow him, right? Anyways, I agree with the plan.”
An Hyun showcased his agreement by nodding his head. Moments later, he mumbled that there was no way that Yoo-Jung has the capabilities to think of something like this anyways and got kicked in the shins. An Hyun looked at her in pain. When their eyes met, he clicked his tongue and turned his attention to me.
“After hearing your words, I also think that going to Mule is a good idea. How will we reach it though? It’s located so far north that walking would take a long time.”
An Hyun’s normal question was able to get us back on track. I let out a deep sigh inside before answering in a calm voice.
“It’s best for us to get there as soon as possible. There are probably other users that are thinking the same thing I am. It’s best to have as few competitors as possible. Users that lack the skill to do well will probably give up on the expedition and the ensuing battle and head towards the undeveloped areas. Let’s… use the warp gate.”
A warp gate was available in all cities. The cost to use it depended on the distance, so shorter the distance, the cheaper the cost. Since Mule was located in the northernmost region, on average, it would cost 2 gold per person (1 gold = 100 silver = 10,000 bronze).
An Hyun had an uneasy expression.
“I heard using the warp gate is expensive…”
Instinctively, I was going to mention the weekly pay, but I organized my thoughts and answered.
“I heard that in developed cities, the cost to use the warp gate is reduced. There are rumors that they might stop soon, but I’m sure they’re still doing it. You guys saved up your weekly pay, right?”
The three of them looked at each other after hearing my question. Did they use it all? No; what would they have used it on? I myself had 1,000 gold saved up. I was getting worried over nothing, and the three knew it as they looked at each other and laughed. For a moment, I thought they were all crazy, but then Yoo-Jung extended her hand and I was able to see the small bag within it.
I accepted the bag with a confused look while Yoo-Jung spoke with an energetic tone.
“Hyun, Sol and I saved up the money we received every week. There should be about seven gold and 80 silver.”
“…Why should I take this? You guys earned it.”
“Not you guys, us.”
Yoo-Jung corrected my words. With a sheepish expression, An Hyun added on to what she said.
“We thought it would be better if you took care of the money rather than us.”
“Also, I’m an impulsive shopper.”
I had a blank expression as Yoo-Jung stuck out her tongue. The look that she and the rest were giving me birthed a new feeling that I’ve never felt before; it was a strange feeling, and it was taking over inside me. I forcefully quelled the feeling, then threw the bag in the air and then caught it again. I was a meaningless action.
But the weight of the money I felt in my hand was heavier than normal.
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