Chapter 238 – Scarecrow King (1)

“There’s another one down.”

A miniature golem that had been moving about the deck had come to a halt. This happened quite frequently.

The Fragments of Calamity was truly an amazing material. Not only could every kind of alchemical byproduct be made with it, it was even possible to produce the finished product directly by imagining its form.

All the miniature golems that were roaming the deck of Sylphid to operate the ship were created in this way. This was because golems were not something that could be made by alchemy alone.

The step after the parts are gathered is called Manufacture. Manufacture was a unique skill only the Blacksmith class possessed.

A typical veteran warrior would often pick the Blacksmith class as their subclass in order to do maintenance on their weapons on their own. But Sungchul used weapons like Krumbui and Fal Garaz which required no maintenance. So Sungchul had never felt the need for the class.

This was why it was believed that something like manufacturing a Golem was not possible. But by the wondrous power of the Fragments of Calamity, he was able to greatly simplify and reduce the time it would take to create a Golem by creating entire components premade.

But perhaps due to this, the miniature Golems had frequent malfunctions. The arms would become stuck, or suddenly stop working, and so on and so forth.  They were relatively minor problems, but it happened so frequently that it inhibited Sungchul from enjoying his journey.

“Mmm.”

Sungchul tapped an arm of the miniature Golem that had come to a halt then pulled its shoulder out slightly.

Crumble

What appeared to be metallic dust and shavings fell out from the joints. These foreign objects seemed to be the cause of the malfunction.

The miniature Golem, piloted by the fifth Soul Gem containing a former Meerkat Carbungle, moved its previously malfunctioned arm about before nodding to express gratitude.

Bertelgia used the corner of her covers to stroke the head of the Miniature Golem and spoke as if she was fawning a child.

“Yes yes my wittle baby~”

“…”

There wasn’t anything Sungchul could say about this situation.

It was undeniably true that the Soul Gems prioritized Bertelgia’s words over his own, and there was no question as to why.

The Soul Gems taken from Sajators  were won over by Bertelgia alone. The effective extent of Sungchul’s involvement was limited to bringing Bertelgia to them via Fog Guide.

Sungchul pushed this situation out of his mind. He left to return to the bridge since he had already finished fixing the broken Golem.

Baron was taking up space in the middle of the deck, lying down like a cat. His eyes were closed.

Aside from requiring a large amount of food, he was an important resource for Sylphid. Baron was able to assist with a large number of tasks on the ship upon landing, such as helping rig the ship, fly small amounts of cargo up and down, or go scout.

Sungchul stroked Baron’s neck before entering the bridge.

At the bridge that served as the brain of the ship, Marakia was alone with a miniature Golem piloted by Soul Gem 1, Carbung.

“Ku ku ku…”

Marakia was making sinister laughter as he drew something on a slab of obsidian using magic.

“…”

It is not clear exactly when Sungchul became utterly uninterested in Marakia, but he ignored Marakia completely and instead walked over to Carbung who was holding the wheel of the ship. Sungchul asked with a soft tone.

“Is everything going alright, Carbung?”

Miniature Golems were not able to produce voice, but it blinked its eyes to answer instead.

The few blinks it made meant ‘there’s nothing to worry about!’. 

Sungchul took a seat at the captain’s chair located behind the wheel.

Aquiroa’s former Airship, Procrustes, was filled with state of the art technology not even the Human Empire possessed. Even Sungchul who had served in the military for a long time couldn’t help but be astonished at all the functions that could be utilized from the captain’s seat.

A colorful display appeared by the power of magic once he was in place. From this panel, he was not only able to check their rough location in the world, but also the condition of important facilities, or issue commands in case of battles. Although it was disabled at the moment, it also had equipment needed for long distance communication with a mage and long range teleportation.

‘The Floating Archipelago has such advanced technologies. They are pushing technological usage to its utmost limit, just barely remaining below the threshold that summons Gremlins.’

The more Sungchul knew about Sylphid the more he became painfully aware of how extraordinary this Airship was. It didn’t look too different from Human Empire’s Airships, but the cruising speed, stability and control, acceleration, durability, everything was incomparably better than anything the Empire could offer. Most importantly, it had such meticulous attention to detail that it blew the Imperial Airships completely out of the water.

During his days as Commander in Chief, Sungchul had thought Aquiroa’s Airship to be nothing more than an expensive excessively ornate high speed vessel. But now that he was the master of this ship, he completely changed his mind.

‘Floating Archipelago. Just what are the people who live there?’

According to legends, the Floating Archipelago was once a shelter for the descendants of great men and women in the distant past to hide from the Calamities. A shelter of last resort. 

Sungchul might have accepted the story without thinking much of it in the past. But now that he was getting ever closer to the truth of this world, everything was starting to look suspicious.

But the advanced technologies from the Floating Archipelago were genuine. This was not something Sungchul could deny.

Androa had said that the Floating Archipelago was located at the western edge of the world. Though he did not know where exactly that could be, Sungchul was certain that a faction from the Floating Archipelago would soon reveal themselves to him.

‘There is nothing to do but kill them when we meet again.’

Sungchul concluded his thoughts and turned to look at the map of the continent displayed before him.

Sungchul’s ship, Sylphid, was currently rapidly making its way towards the south west.

His destination was a coastal region known as Illeboro. In the past, castles were built here by the newly established Kingdom of Ruteginea to defend against the endless waves of invading Merfolk.

Land around these castles developed over time until it formed Kingdoms that survived to the current day.

Of the 18 crowns still existing on the Continent, four were gathered here.

The number of crowns aside, Sungchul would have naturally chosen this as his first destination because it was the closest region to the Tower of Recluse.

But Sungchul was fully aware that the master in control of the Illeboro region was none of the four wearing crowns, but a crownless merchant.

Thirteenth of the Thirteen Champions of the Continent.

Chairman of the Allied Merchant Coalition, Horneko.

Not only was he the Viceroy of the most successful trade city, Aeghe, he was also at the highest position among all merchants. He was the true ruler of the Illeboro region, as well as Sungchul’s enemy.

Within Sungchul’s list of curses, there is the following entry.

Recorded on Allied Merchant Coalition’s Black list
(Faction: Trade impossible with Merchant coalition and their affiliated factions)

There was no particular effect from the curse. It was a curse similar to the excommunications by religious sect in that it was to serve as a label more than anything else.

Of course, this curse would be more terrifying than death itself for a merchant running a business. But Sungchul had completely left the boundaries of rule of man, so this curse was meaningless.

That’s why Horneko had put a large price on Sungchul’s head and had assassins from the Assassin’s guild to pursue him for many years. Sungchul being the Enemy of the World was one reason, but it was actually because Sungchul had emptied out the Merchant Coalition’s so called ‘Bottomless vault’.

For people like merchants who valued gold above all else, no crime was more heinous than this.

Of course, Sungchul had his excuses.

Upon the creation of the World Parliament, the Allied Merchant Coalition was able to make use of the extensive trade routes that were previously monopolized by the Kingdom of Ruteginea. This brought them enough gold to swim in. In purely financial terms, the Merchant Coalition probably profited the most off of the World Parliament than anyone else.

But despite owing its successes and growth to the World Parliament, not only were they the first to oppose the resolution of the Calamities, they went as far as to use their influence behind everyone’s back to sabotage and isolate members of the Pro-Resolution factions that also wanted to solve the Calamities like Sungchul did. The Allied Merchant Coalition was responsible for pressuring and relentlessly driving the Resolutionists into a corner. 

Sungchul who had been steadily growing in his dislike of the Allied Merchant Coalition immediately broke his way into the bottomless vault to completely empty out its contents right after obtaining Fal Garaz.

‘I will avoid confrontation with the Allied Merchant Coalition if at all possible. Let’s leave this region after quickly meeting the four kings of the small nations there to summon them to the World Parliament.’

The eye-catching red Sylphid the Airship crossed over the snow covered peaks and arrived at the Illeboro region.

“Wow. This is really comfortable and fast. We should have gotten ourselves Airships earlier to ride around!”

Bertelgia looked out the window and seemed quite excited.

The journey in the Airship had been far more comfortable than any other journey they had been on thus far.

Sungchul leaned against the comfortable leather seat as he waited for time to pass.

‘We should be able to arrive at the closest kingdom within 3 hours.’

Bertelgia came flying towards him as he was lost in thought.

“Um.”

“What is it, Bertelgia?”

“So, when are we going to Ixion?”

Sungchul’s expression  slightly darkened for a moment upon this question but he didn’t show it and replied in his normal voice.

“I am thinking of going there later.”

“Hmm. Wouldn’t the Colossus have arrived at Ixion by now?”

“We don’t know that. The ocean is vast and the Colossus is slow. If at all possible, wouldn’t it be better to take the safe route rather than going there and finding out it hadn’t arrived yet?”

“That’s true, but!”

Luckily Bertelgia didn’t seem to be suspicious of anything and accepted Sungchul’s explanation, but she didn’t try to hide her disappointment.

“Well, I guess at least we got to practice Alchemy a whole bunch. But still, I thought you might go back to Ixion immediately!”

Bertelgia grumbled as she inserted herself into a bookshelf-shaped bed that was made for her in the corner of the bridge.

The bookshelf that had been upgraded in comfort by stuffing Marakia’s fluff  inside became Bertelgia’s new resting place instead of Sungchul’s pocket. Sungchul watched Bertelgia go into the bookshelf as he took a small sigh of relief.

‘I am sorry, Bertelgia.’

He could have planned his route towards Ixion first. But that seemed rather unpleasant. The words Unit 55 had left him remained with him like a curse, making hesitation bubble up from within him.

Of course there was no guarantee that Unit 55 was right, but Sungchul thought that it would be more constructive to work on the resolution of the Third Calamity rather than test that theory.

“Oy, Destroyer. We’ve got uninvited guests.”

Marakia, who had been exercising relentlessly around the deck of the ship, entered the bridge.

Soon, a miniature Golem on sentry duty used a sound pipe connected to the bridge to alert that something had appeared in the air.

It was coming from the port side.

Sungchul left the Captain’s seat to leave the bridge. And lo and behold, there were black specks in the distance to the west.

“What are those?”

Sungchul asked Marakia who possessed superior eyesight. In response, Marakia squinted his eyes and mumbled as if he couldn’t see either.

“Hmm… the visibility is not good enough for me to make out what they are. But if I had an Essence of the Fire Spirit, then I might have been able to see more clearly.”

In response, Sungchul gave him a murderous glare. Marakia immediately looked away and spoke in a nonchalant voice.

“Wyverns. Four of them. All of them are carrying humans.”

“…”

Sungchul nodded with his mouth shut.

‘They must be the knights of Illeboro.’

Riding the Airship always came with the risk that they become discovered. That was why the AIrships of every nation always flew identifiable and visible flags to identify their affiliation which could be recognized from a long distance.

But Sungchul’s Airship lacked a flag. Not only was it because he was not a part of any organization, he also did not wish to have one to begin with.

‘That being said, it might get a little annoying if they were knights affiliated with the Allied Merchant Coalition.’

Sungchul picked up a hand mirror to send signals towards the Wyvern Knights.

It was a message that conveyed no hostile intent and permission to come on board. The Wyvern Knights also made a reply via mirrors soon after.

The message they sent alerted their intent to board, and instructed the captain and important members of the crew to come on deck to stand by to meet them.

But the only human being on Sylphid was Sungchul alone.

Sungchul had the miniature Golems stand by on either side to at least make appearances and waited for the Wyvern Knights to arrive.

Once the Wyvern Knights were close enough to identify their affiliation by the insignia on their shields, Sungchul let out a sigh of relief.

There were a variety of images such as Skewered fish, thunder splitting the oceans, wave crashing into reef, but the emblem he was worried about was not among them.

A triangle formed by a gold bar stacked upon two more, the symbol indicating affiliation with the Allied Merchant’s Coalition was not visible. That means that all of these unknown uninvited guests were the knights of the four kings of the Illeboro region.

The Wyverns soon circled the AIrship before landing on the deck one by one.

“Gyurururu”

Baron who had been sleeping sensed Wyverns nearby and lifted its eagle-like head.

Boom.

The knights dismounted their Wyverns in sequence. The Knights on the deck took a look around Sylvid before walking up to Sungchul.

“Are you the captain of this ship?”

The Knight asked him. It was said in a rather hostile and commanding tone. Sungchul nodded.

“That’s right.”

“That’s right?” The knight suddenly raised his voice. He took off his helmet and walked up to Sungchul.

“You had the audacity to fly in Illeboro airspace without a flag, and what did you say? That’s right? The nerve!”

The face of a fat stubborn looking middle aged man was revealed once the helmet was gone. He began to point his fingers at Sungchul and shout even louder.

“Did you think that having a gorgeous ship will absolve you of any crime? This Sky belongs to Illeboro! How dare you trespass our airspace without a flag!”

Sungchul could tell at a glance that the man was far too obese to be able to properly carry out his duties as a knight. And as if he had been drinking until just now, the intense smell of alcohol came wafting his way each time he opened his mouth.

‘I know this is a minor nation, but it is still shocking to see a man who neglected himself to this extent still be able to keep his position as a knight.’

Even as Sungchul was thinking to himself, the knight took an authoritative pose and continued to shout loudly at him.

But one of the knights saw Sungchul’s face and did a double take.

“Excuse me, sir Baron. This might not be a good idea.”

“What? Why wouldn’t it be a good idea? This arrogant pirate deserves to be thrown off the ship this second!”

It didn’t seem like the middle aged knight was willing to cool his anger. But the other knight’s words silenced him instantly.

“That man. He seems to be the Enemy of the World though?”

The subordinate knight leaned over and whispered into the fat knight’s ears.

A man who had completely lost his temper and was throwing a tantrum quickly grew pale.

“Mmm…?”

He rubbed his eyes and took a closer look at the man he had been pointing fingers to and shouting loudly at.  While mildly dazed from inebriation, one face slowly came into focus. In one of the wanted posters distributed by the Human Empire, the title that read at the top of the poster was none other than the Enemy of the World.

“H…Hiiiie…!”

 “I won’t waste time with words. Lead the way to your king.”

Sungchul made an annoyed expression and turned around. When the knight hesitated, Sungchul said one more thing in a calm tone.

“Before I decide to go and destroy everything instead.”


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