From the Ground Up (4)
Chi-Woo couldn’t understand what Zelit was murmuring about even after giving it a few thoughts.
Thus, he politely asked Zelit if he could further extrapolate.
“Hmm, are you trying to compare notes” Zelit began with a slightly shy tone, “You must have already figured out the legend’s intentions behind this system, but if you want me to tell you what I think, I’ll give it a go.
I think rights and responsibilities are inseparable even if you try to separate them.” Great power came with great responsibilities—as the common saying went.
However, in order for this statement to be true, a certain condition needed to be met—those who had a lot of responsibility must also be given appropriate power to carry out their responsibilities.
“When the legend moved to Shalyh, he delegated some of his responsibilities.” This also meant that Chi-Hyun had given up part of his power.
In the central base and the former Salem capital, the human race was under a political system that could be best described as authoritarian.
Choi Chi-Hyun’s words were the law and truth, and he wielded absolute power.
However, the situation had completely changed since they came to Shalyh.
“Different treatment according to different ranks.
I think this system will be the starting point for future changes.” Rights were the basis for power, and power was the basis for authority.
Considering there was a possibility that even a small number of heroes could obtain the power Chi-Hyun gave up, there was now room for the leadership to change into a slightly more collaborative form.
“Then the question is who will be the few heroes who obtain those rights…” Zelit trailed off and glanced at Chi-Woo.
“Who do you think they’ll be”
“…The Celestial Realm’s lights will probably take that position.”
“As expected, we have the same thought.” Zelit nodded.
“Yeah, that’s right.
Ho Lactea, Nahla, Afrilith, Mariaju, Eustitia…I don’t know the exact details, but I’m sure each of them came here with huge backup and support.” As a metaphor, the Celestial Realm’s lights were essentially using a fast and efficient gigabit LAN by themselves, while everyone else had slow wi-fi that was shared by thousands.
“Since they have a different starting point, they have a tremendous advantage.
There’s no changing that.”
Chi-Woo couldn’t help but nod as he thought of Apoline, who performed tremendously even with only a fraction of her power awakened.
“That’s probably the reason why the Celestial Realm’s lights are staying quiet despite their current treatment.” In short, they were confident that even if they were in the same situation as everyone else, they would get stronger at a greater rate than anyone.
Rather, they might be welcoming this system inwardly since Chi-Hyun had given up some of his authority.
“Now, they have the opportunity to formally train their own army.”
“It’s an exaggeration; it’ll probably take more of a guild-like form in reality.”
‘Oh, guild.’ Chi-Woo finally got a sense of what Zelit was trying to say.
The Celestial Realm’s lights would also be given a zone like Ru Amuh if they reached gold rank, and they would try to increase their power by attracting people around the area.
“I can’t really understand hyu…the legend’s intentions.” Chi-Woo smacked his lips.
The Choi family from Earth reigned supreme even among the twelve Celestial Realm’s lights with a long history and tradition of over 1,000 years.
Chi-Woo now roughly knew how the other eleven families thought of his family.
From what he just heard from Apoline, it was beyond mere dislike.
They were all desperate to put a dent or scratch on the Choi family’s reputation.
Considering the rumor that the Celestial Realm’s lights came to Liber to prevent the Choi family from obtaining the achievement of stopping an unprecedented crisis of galaxy level, it was obvious how deep the bad blood ran.
Thus, their arrival at Liber could be seen as a continuation of the twelve families’ power struggle in the Celestial Realm.
Then why did his brother share some of his power Chi-Woo couldn’t understand it from his perspective.
“That’s the Choi family’s dignity.” However, Zelit had a different thought.
“No matter how prideful the Ho Lacteas are and think of themselves as the best, and no matter how much the Afriliths boast of their pure bloodline, the Celestial Realm’s heroes recognize the Choi family as the best.”
That was because the Choi family was never involved in the Celestial Realm’s lights’ power struggle and focused on showing the true essence of what it meant to be a hero.
Those at the second place and below always tried desperately to catch up to the first place, while the first place paid little attention to those below them.
“And truthfully, even if they’re all considered the Celestial Realm’s lights, the difference between their strengths and the legend is way too big.
Even the heads of the families stand no chance against the legend, so there’s no contest really.
If we exclude Ismile…” Zelit shrugged and continued, “Anyway, they’re all allies on Liber, so the legend might also be showing his consideration towards them in this way.”
“However, the legend hasn’t just let them be either,” Zelit continued.
By empowering and supporting the only gold rank hero at this point, he’s keeping the Celestial Realm’s lights in check.
At the same time, he may be trying to show the other heroes that even ordinary heroes can obtain power for themselves.”
“Why do you think the legend empowered Mr.
“You’ve gone way too far ahead of the conversation.” Zelit continued, “Don’t you think there’s too much of a difference in the way silver and gold rank heroes are treated If the progression of treatment is like climbing a stairs one step at a time right until the silver rank, the gap between silver and gold is akin to jumping several floors at once.”
Come to think of it, Zelit was right.
Under the current system, a silver ranked hero received a house, while a gold ranked hero received an entire zone with as many as nine houses.
“Well, Ru Amuh is the perfect person to use from the legend’s point of view.
If the legend lowers the standards in a system that allows powerful groups to form, the power of the Celestial Realm’s lights will accelerate at an even faster rate.
In other words, he needs to set a reasonable standard for the housing system, and there is a perfect candidate for that —a gold rank hero not among the Celestial Realm’s lights.”
This also made sense; while three promotional tests needed to be passed to reach silver rank, reaching gold rank would require six.
Chi-Woo felt like steam was coming out of his head from overthinking.
Of course, he knew that his brother hadn’t established this housing system just for fun, but he had no idea that such complicated calculations were behind it.
Ru Amuh is well qualified.” Chi-Woo managed to say.
“Hmm…to be frank, I’ll say that he is the most likely hero to be able to compete on a similar level as the Celestial Realm’s lights among the ordinary heroes.” However, Zelit sounded slightly skeptical.
“Since Ru Amuh made his name well-known by solving a star-cluster level crisis, and he has made noteworthy achievements on Liber.”
“It feels like your evaluation of the Celestial Realm’s lights have suddenly gone up.”
I can’t possibly compare the Celestial Realm’s lights to Ru Amuh the way I did with the Choi family.” Comparisons were always relative.
Zelit couldn't help but be skeptical.
“The twelve families all have a long history of significant achievements.
We really can’t ignore their background.” The mere fact that they bore one of the twelve families’ names implied that they had a considerable amount of influence.
There was a reason why heroes, who were nothing without their pride, would be in awe at the mention of one of those illustrious names.
“The members of the twelve families who entered Liber would surely seek to increase their power and influence, and to do so, they’ll definitely try to reach gold rank as soon as possible.”
“Will they be able to do that so quickly”
“It may not be possible right now, but it’s only a matter of time,” Zelit calmly said.
“The legend has brought three gods of the Cassiubia League to this city.
Of course, our side must have given up something to that effect…” Thanks to his brother’s arrangement, the growth pool of heroes had further expanded.
“As soon as they make a contract with a god, they’ll certainly undergo explosive growth.” Since those of the twelve lights had an advantage in the first place, it was only natural that they would progress ahead of everyone else.
Zelit continued, “The legend is probably well aware of this fact, and that’s why he gave Ru Amuh his own advantage.”
Chi-Woo knew what the advantage was without asking—it was time.
To be more precise, the time until the Celestial Realm’s lights rose to gold rank and received their zones.
At least during this time, Ru Amuh was ahead of the Celestial Realm’s lights.
As a hero without a background like the twelve families, Ru Amuh had to keep the distance between him and them as much as possible since he was bound to be caught up in the long run.
“Ru Amuh isn’t stupid.
A hero of that level must have realized the legend’s intention, and he has decided to finally accept it.” After saying this, Zelt stared intently at Chi-Woo.
“By requesting help from a hero who made him who he was in this world, who should have gone far beyond gold rank.”
Only then did Chi-Woo understand a little bit why Ru Amuh had looked so nervous and desperate.
“So, did I do enough to pass the interview” Zelit asked.
“Hmm I thought I did my best to answer.”
Chi-Woo stared at Zelit as the hero jested.
He didn’t know what exactly happened, but it seemed Zelit had misunderstood the situation.
“If I’ve passed, I want to hear about the new benefits that Ru Amuh offered.”
“Uh You knew about it”
“Did you not know Ru Amuh already visited me yesterday, and I told him I’d think about it.
So I thought Ru Amuh came to give me an offer again with you as his support.”
In fact, Ru Amuh hadn’t approached Chi-Woo first.
His original plan had been to gather a group of people using his past connections before meeting up with Cho-Woo.
He knew better than anyone of Chi-Woo’s value, and Ru Amuh was always extremely diligent.
He thought he needed to at least prepare that much before he asked Chi-Woo for help.
Unaware of Ru Amuh’s thought process, Chi-Woo shared a look with Zelit, and they both tilted their heads in slight confusion.
“Anyway, I know my place.
I’m grateful that you two are extending me an offer even in my current position, but…I still want to hear about your participation and any new benefits.” This was about more than an expedition; it was an important benchmark that would decide his future position as a hero on Liber.
Of course, joining Ru Amuh was not a bad choice, and Zelit had to admit it was a rare opportunity for him.
However, it was definitely not a light matter to form a relationship with Ru Amuh at this point of time.
Even if he became more independent later, he needed to maintain a friendly relationship with Ru Amuh; that was only moral.
However, he couldn’t easily accept Ru Amuh’s offer as he may have to compete with the Celestial Realm’s lights in the future.
“Then I’ll tell you.
Ru Amuh said it’s not necessary for you to move to his zone, and he wanted us to first gather our strengths.
Thus, he’ll ensure your freedom to act independently in the future and…” Zelit, who had been listening carefully, opened his eyes wide when he heard that they’d be paying his share of the land tax for a month after the grace period if he joined them.
Moreover, Zelit was shocked that they already had the funds.
“What! You’ve already prepared enough royals”
“If you don’t believe it, you can go and ask him to show them to you.”
“How in the world…”
“So what about it Do you want to join now”
“…Ru Amuh is really determined,” Zelit said, swayed.
If Ru Amuh paid for his land tax, he would have much more time.
Zelit was smart enough to know the value of a month at this stage—rather than simply extending the deadline, it would allow him to gain opportunities that were more advantageous than others.
Even though Zelit still had his qualms, he was leaning heavily towards accepting the offer.
“I’m not the only one you’re extending this offer to, am I”
“Well, I came to see you first, Mr.
“I’m personally very happy to hear that, but now that I’ve decided, I want to quickly get through the process.” Zelit cleared his throat with a cough and continued, “Since we’re all going to be on the same boat, may I give you a word of advice”
* * *
Chi-Woo successfully recruited Zelit.
However, he had to turn on his device immediately without wasting a moment to celebrate because Zelit’s following words had left quite an impression on him.
[You must have received a recruitment list from Ru Amuh.]
[You should have approached me last on the list because no one has their eyes on me.]
[That is not the case for the other heroes.]
No matter what anyone said, the most famous hero not among the Celestial Realm’s lights was Ru Amuh.
However, this didn’t mean that Ru Amuh was the only one who had earned a reputation.
There were heroes who stood out despite not being on the same level as him.
[Ru Amuh would also want heroes who can immediately be used to strengthen his group.]
[However, he isn’t the only hero who wants someone like that.]
[Ru Amuh probably visited and talked to these heroes already, but considering that they’re on the recruitment list, there’s a high possibility that they have turned him down, or are on the fence about it like me.]
[If I'm right, they’ll consider the offer one more time just because you visited them.
So first of all…]
Chi-Woo sent a message to Nangnang as Zelit instructed him to.
Nangnang was a promising hero who was aiming to reach gold rank after Ru Amuh.
Moreover, since he had a strong ability as a scout, there was no way that the others didn’t have their eyes on him.
Chi-Woo received a reply, but it wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
Nangnang told him that he was currently having an important discussion and asked if it would be all right to meet at a later time.
Chi-Woo felt slightly anxious, but he first replied that it was all right.
Therefore, Chi-Woo decided to visit the others on the recruitment list until he received another message from Nangnang.
“Long time no see,” Allen Leonard said when he saw Chi-Woo.
“It’s really been a long while.
How have you been” Chi-Woo asked.
“Thanks to you, I was able to keep my head high, but of course, I’m back to square-one after coming here.”
“I can help you keep your head high again.”
I thought you’d come to say that.
I put the offer on hold when Ru Amuh came to visit me, but it’s a completely different story if you’re the one asking.
Let’s hear it first.” Allen Leonard heard Ru Amuh’s offer and said, “Woah, payment of one month’s land tax and guarantee of independent activities… The benefits have become way too good.”
“Then you just have to join, right”
“Hmm, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being under anyone.
That’s why I turned down Ru Amuh’s offer even if I have to struggle in the beginning…”
“Come on, you’re not going to join”
It’s hard to refuse when you’re the one asking.
I have a debt to repay and…whatever! I don't know! Okay! Let’s try working hard together!”
Chi-Woo also successfully recruited Abis and her party.
They had put Ru Amuh’s offer on hold, but they showed a favorable attitude when Chi-Woo came to visit and finally changed their decision after hearing about the details of the benefits.
Just in time, a message from Nangnang came, asking Chi-Woo to come to a specific address.
Chi-Woo made his way there.
The building was noisy, and there were quite a lot of people; it seemed like a bar operated by the Cassiubia League.
The sign on the door said ‘The Colt’s Butt’.
Thinking what a bizarre name that was, Chi-Woo climbed the stairs.
“Ah, damn it!” Someone kicked the door open and jumped out in frustration.
A girl with platinum blonde hair stomped down and stopped when she saw Chi-Woo.
She looked at him with surprise.
“Why are you here—” Then her eyes narrowed, and she suddenly asked, “Have you come to meet the cat as well”
“What Ah, yes.”
“What is it”
“…No, it’s fine.” Apoline gritted her teeth and went down the stairs with a twisted expression.
She seemed angry if the way she kept muttering ‘so annoying’ and ‘of all people’ was anything to go by.
Chi-Woo tilted his head as Apoline disappeared downstairs.
When Chi-Woo came inside, he saw Nangnang sitting at a table in the corner.
Chi-Woo walked up to him.
“Ah…about what happened…” Nangnang awkwardly said.
He wasn’t by himself.
There was one more person sitting quietly across from him.