People who had been scanning around all nodded their heads in dismay. It made sense. There were levels even in the empire, and being level 5 was almost top-tier. Considering the number one ranked player during the beta test was around empire level 6, it pretty much said it all.
“Then it looks like I have the most experience. I’ll start off as the village chief, and if anyone has any objections, speak now. Since no one is complaining, I assume you all agree.”
The place was filled with those who had nowhere else to go, so likely, everyone here was from empires that either didn’t exist anymore or had fallen. And the middle-aged man claiming to be the village chief was no exception.
The people glanced at Kwak Jung-han and, while they seemed discontent, no one voiced any objections. Kwak Jung-han himself listened intently, though he frowned.
“Then, I shall become the king, and all of you will be villagers under me. It’s settled, then. Damn, starting from a village again…”
“Just a moment.”
Someone raised a hand towards the middle-aged man who had been touching the air as if operating some device—it was Sehyun. As all eyes focused on him, Sehyun, still raising his hand, made a request to the would-be village chief.
“I’d like to be considered a temporary resident, and this student here as well.”
“What? A temporary resident? Ha, seriously… If you have no business, just leave, will you? Or maybe you’re thinking of bailing out by yourself when things go sour here? Or is your empire something special? Then go back there right now, why come here and mention temporary residence, don’t understand why.”
Despite the criticism, Sehyun looked at the middle-aged man with a calm expression, having long since lowered his raised arm.
The reason the middle-aged man spoke like that was that the number of residents was an important factor before building a village. Once you become a resident, it is nearly impossible to leave unless a special event occurs.
On the other hand, as a temporary resident, one could leave the village and act as a foreigner by simply notifying the chief or king. As the status was temporary, it also didn’t count towards the permanent population of the village.
Sehyun didn’t want to vocalize it any further, but it was clear that he couldn’t stand the potential tyranny of the middle-aged man.
“Then I will support Mr. Kwak Jung-han to be the village chief. Just by looking, anyone who raised their empire to level 5 and judging by the way things look here, seems capable of tyranny, and there’s no guarantee it won’t be the same here. Ah, denying my request for temporary residence would also be tyrannical. If you don’t know that, then being level 5 is just… bluster.”
Sehyun emphatically used the word “bluster.” At that, the middle-aged man’s face turned red with anger. Ignoring the middle-aged man’s glare that seemed like it could kill, Sehyun turned to Kwak Jung-han.
“Mr. Kwak Jung-han, if you become the chief, would you grant me and this child temporary residence? As for temporary residents, we have to notify the chief before leaving the village, so there’s no skipping out in the night. We’ll do our best to help while we’re here.”
“Yes. If you have a reason, it’s certainly worth considering.”
“See? There, elder. That is what a benevolent ruler looks like.”
“You, you…! What a despicable…! Damn it, just provide it!”
“Please make sure this child and I become temporary residents, elder.”
With a slight smile, Sehyun spoke and the middle-aged man grudgingly let out a groan, clutching the back of his neck. However, two more men raised their hands and requested temporary residence.
“I would like to make the same request.”
“I also request to be a temporary resident.”
One was Kwak Jung-han, and the other was a man who had been clutching some documents up to that point.
“Don’t change your words later, and if there’s anyone else from the empire, speak now! No? Then I will limit the temporary residents to four! If anyone requests temporary residency beyond this, I will drive them out!”
The middle-aged man gritted his teeth and warned the people. Their stern gazes forced everyone to remain silent, unable to voice their thoughts fully due to the oppressive environment.
This confirmed only two people from the empire sought temporary residence—Sehyun and the man with the documents, possibly including the child.
It was actually a calculated move. The middle-aged man agreed to temporary residence because it was evident that Sehyun and Kwak Jung-han could become obstacles to securing his position. They were cards to be discarded later, as they could incite conflict and were not easy to control.
Regardless of the presence of an empire, the status of a temporary resident was typically this precarious.
The middle-aged man began to gesture wildly with his hands as if typing on a keyboard in the air. When he finished by decisively tapping something with his forefinger, a deep blue flame began to rise beneath his feet. It was an awakening using data from an existing character.
The flames, like that of a fiery horse, subsided only when the appearance of the middle-aged man changed into an Australopithecus with shaggy fur, leaving a trail of ash behind.
The transformation didn’t stop there. After the awakening was complete, the man took a big step and slammed his foot onto the ground, and as a result, the ground where people stood began to upheave, constructing the village. Old wooden houses were erected, and a rickety fence was built around the village.
People clung to their heads and trembled, crouching as if an earthquake had struck. Only a few, including Sehyun and Lee Jae-young – who was right next to him, and of course, Kwak Jung-han and the document man, stood unruffled.
[Nameless Village has been established.]
[Kim Gap-joon has become the village chief of the Nameless Village.]
[The total number of residents is 98.]
[There are four temporary residents.]
[The village is currently at Level 1.]
With the construction complete and the seismic activity subsiding, system texts appeared before their eyes. Satisfied with being properly listed as a temporary resident, Sehyun nodded.
Kim Gap-joon. It was the name of the Australopithecus who had become the village chief. As expected, he was a king without an empire, likely having fallen due to his tyranny. He had probably managed the empire up to at least level 3, as it was clear he had a fair sense of how to establish a village, for a first-timer at least.
Of course, all the houses, except for the chief’s, were small and poor-looking. The smallest and shabbiest one would probably be allotted to the temporary residents.
Another Australopithecus appeared after the village was established, likely the ‘Grand Duke’ associated with Kim Gap-joon, judging by the same species. He had an aura that felt distinctly unapproachable.
The real relief was that despite being selected, the people did not turn into Kim Gap-joon’s species, probably due to their preselected races. Of course, once awakened, they would change to the race they were assigned after the aptitude test. An example was Kwak Jung-han, with his blue skin and fins.
Sehyun’s gaze shifted to the awakening window floating on one side of his view. He had postponed it by hitting “postpone,” but the window still followed him in his view. With ten days as the limit to decide whether to awaken or not, he would need to make the decision soon.
“Everyone will be assigned roles within the village, so stop dawdling and line up over here!”
He spoke in a rustic manner, and with the awakening complete, he looked the part of a primitive man. Sehyun tapped Lee Jae-young’s back as they made their way to where the people gathered. Even as temporary residents, they’d need to work like the villagers and earn their keep.
“Jae-young, are you hungry?”
“No… I’m still okay. How about you?”
“I’m alright too.”
Initially, starting players were provided with two types of potions and tough bread in their inventory. Each was given in quantities of ten. Given the circumstances, they were told to conserve them, but seeing Lee Jae-young made Sehyun think it might not be enough for a growing boy.
“If you’re hungry, take mine. I don’t like bread much.”
“It’s fine. I can manage too. I won’t take yours as well.”
Sehyun was right in his guess that Lee Jae-young was very young, only 14, barely a first-year middle school student. It seemed there was nobody younger than Lee Jae-young in the village.
It was ironic. When Elix first appeared, teenagers were strangely disinterested in it. They looked at the adults who were enthralled as if they were a variant species and stayed away from Elix without reason.
There were some teenagers who played, but the majority of users were overwhelmingly adults. But now, Sehyun thought, maybe the system had intentionally excluded children.
This made Lee Jae-young a special case—an unlucky one.
✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧ 𝑔𝓇𝒶𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎𝓃𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓁𝓈 ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧