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    Gravitynovels

    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    #4

    [Hmm, that’s a good question. Of course, it’s not that there isn’t any way out. A king can ‘surrender’ to another town or empire. There are several other conditions, but there isn’t enough time to explain them in detail. What’s certain is that once you surrender and your empire gets absorbed by the opposing empire, the surrendered empire falls into ruin, regardless of the presence of a king. Hmm, looking at your expression, it seems you don’t understand. It would be better to experience it directly.]

    When a player surrenders to another empire, that empire becomes a defeated nation and gets absorbed by the opposing empire. At that time, the king also loses his position and is absorbed just the same into the opposing empire, as a citizen rather than a king.

    As a result, one can end up abandoning their empire.

    “So then… how should someone who doesn’t want to establish an empire survive…?”

    [There is also a way to become a ‘resident’ or ‘temporary inhabitant’ of another empire. It’s always better for a king to leave an opening to return to his empire. Those with existing empires should bear in mind that they must become ‘temporary inhabitants’ to maintain their empires. Since we don’t have much time, let’s just take one more question.]

    Bilwill took out a pocket watch, hinting that time was running out, and everyone became agitated and started to babble. At that moment, a man who had been silently standing and clutching documents raised his hand.

    The man was different from those around him who appeared frightened. Although he seemed displeased with the current situation judging by his frown, there was one thing that set him apart. There was no fear. He calmly observed the situation and reacted with surprising coolness, just as he was doing now.

    “What happens if one does not awaken?”

    The crowd that had been noisy quieted down in an instant. Most understood what he was referring to. It was the most important question, something everyone had been rather complacent about.

    [Hmm, you’re someone who has died several times and has lost ‘Elix.’ I understand. In that case, you’re not obliged to undergo a racial awakening. However, you will face many restrictions. The human body is more fragile than you think, so survival will become more vulnerable… but, well, that’s just deserts. If you’re still uncertain, you can put it on hold for a fixed period. Ah, I forgot to add the hold option to the selection window.]

    The man with one eye exaggeratedly gesticulated with an exclamation, as if to show off.

    [Let’s see… Here it is. The hold period is, hmm, precisely ten days. I almost missed that.]

    As Bilwill gestured in the air, a third option appeared in the awakening window: ‘hold.’ It was a cunning interaction and Q&A that could have been missed if one hadn’t asked.

    “If one loses their Elix…”

    [The questions are over. This is as far as I can help. From the moment you all leave this place, you will gain the status of Road Players. I wish all players good fortune. Oh, and for those without empires or who are afraid to go to their empires, please use the portals over there. I wish you a new beginning.]

    With a flick of his fingers, Bilwill conjured dozens of layered portals amidst the closely packed portals. In contrast to the other dazzling portals, these were small bluish elliptical portals, all unclaimed and empty.

    [Those who wish to stay here are welcome to do so. However, the longer you are exposed to the gap between dimensions, the more likely you will become unable to leave it. In that case, you’ll become a being of nothingness, never again to breathe the outside air. Please make a wise decision.]

    Bilwill remained polite to the end. Despite delivering a terrifying message casually, he flew up into the vast, unreachable emptiness above. And from there, he quietly observed the teeming crowd below, looking akin to a swarm of ants.

    Soon after, people began to rise in search of a way to save themselves. Some were nervously looking for their own portal to cross over, while others who had lost their way gathered to build empires. There were also those who sat in a daze, motionless.

    Amidst the bustling movement, Sehyun got up. In his arms, he carried Lee Jaeyoung, who was huddled in fear and trembling.

    “…Do you have somewhere to go?”

    Lee Jaeyoung shook his head in a frightened manner. Sehyun’s eyes found their mark somewhere undefined. Among the countless portals, one shone red, the reason probably being that only his eyes could see it as red.

    “Big brother, what about you?”

    “…I don’t have one either.”

    Sehyun pulled his gaze away from the red portal and, together with Lee Jaeyoung, delved into a group of people gathering around middle-aged individuals.

    Among the crowd was the man with the papers. The group split into dozens of factions. The group including the paper-holder, Sehyun, and Lee Jaeyoung was one with Koreans.

    The man who solemnly led the group stepped into one of the unclaimed portals created by Bilwill, one that revealed a misty forest, presumably having judged it safest. Sehyun and Lee Jaeyoung also followed the moving group.

    With a brilliant light piercing their vision for the last time, Sehyun’s group disappeared from the void in space.

    As the portal’s voracious light dimmed, the faint silhouette of a person loomed inside it.

    [This time there’s quite a few.]

    Bilwill’s gaze took inventory of the stable portals reacquired by their owners, as several other portals turned black with smoke and lost their light.

    These portals were falling empires, paying the price of death. Bilwill simply watched with a neutral gaze. As his eyes slowly closed, a bitter emotion briefly crossed his face.

    ***

    During the few days Sehyun spent in Elix, he realized that humans are indeed quick to adapt. While the first day was filled with sleepless worries about the uncertain future, by the next morning, people started to face reality and showed a will to live.

    Among them, Gwak Junghan, who led the forefront and orchestrated the people, was outstanding. He ended the assessment of the current situation quicker than anyone else and led the people decisively. It was his judgment that gathered a group of a hundred people as soon as the next day dawned.

    “My name is Gwak Junghan. Although I may be insufficient, I have taken the initiative to gather everyone’s will to face the current situation. It may be tough and painful for everyone, but let’s put aside our anxiety and work together to get through this. I ask for cooperation from each and every one of you.”

    Gwak Junghan was a towering man with a muscular body. He appeared to be in his early thirties, but his exact age was difficult to determine due to his awakening. The faint blue hue of his skin and the shark fin that grew from his back were telltale signs that he belonged to the merfolk.

    The man with striking features was well-known to Koreans – a famous national swimmer who had swept world competitions with his unprecedented genius in swimming.

    That was the kind of person Gwak Junghan was.

    A case where talent affected awakening. As much as he swam, his talent manifested as a ‘merman.’

    “Regrettably, I have never played the game Elix before. I logged in after finishing the aptitude test but was killed by a regent before I could establish an empire, and I never logged back in after being left idle. Therefore, I propose to prepare for future strategies and plans based on the opinions of those who have experienced the game.”

    People took Gwak Junghan’s words seriously. However, among them, a middle-aged man with half-balding hair pushed through the crowd and stepped forward. Déjà vu. Everyone thought the same, but no one dared to speak it aloud.

    “Excuse me, youth.”

    “Yes, please speak.”

    “Listening to you talk, it seems you have no experience and yet you’re giving orders. So now you think you can become the king here?”

    “If everyone considers it, I am willing to give that a shot.”

    “That’s fine, this kind of matter should be handled by the elders with experience, so step aside, youth. What’s this, a green youngster trying to be bossy?”

    “Then do you have experience, senior?”

    “Senior? Hah… Look, kid, I’m 45 years old. Don’t call me a senior. And experience or whatnot, step aside, kid. The adults will handle this, we’ll figure things out among those who can communicate.”

    Gwak Junghan looked at the middle-aged man for a moment but then nodded and stepped back. Although murmurs arose here and there, no one stood up to support Gwak Junghan again. The place where Gwak Junghan had stood was taken by the middle-aged man with a vigorous posture.

    “Looks like most don’t have game experience, so if there’s anyone here who’s played longer than me, step forward. Anyone who has raised an empire to level 5, raise your hand.”

    ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧ 𝑔𝓇𝒶𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎𝓃𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓁𝓈 ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧

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