Episode 69

Magic Stones (2)
1 week ago
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“Wow…”

Kim Hyunwoo, looking at the Magic Stones filling the Lord’s castle basement, let out an involuntary exclamation and turned to check the wealth window.

Red Stones: 480
 
Blue Stones: 9,823
 
Gold Coins: 383,422
 
Magic Stones: 423,221

The wealth window of Lartania that Kim Hyunwoo was viewing had changed significantly from a month ago.

The few thousand Red Stones that remained even after purchasing the Labyrinth package were used to expand the underground storage, as there was not enough space for Magic Stones in the Lord’s castle basement.

Additionally, the Blue Stones were used to activate the forge package, and the wealth window that once had over a million Gold Coins was reduced to just 300,000, thanks to the Gold Coins spent on fortifying the walls and purchasing additional resources and exchanging Magic Stones.

Truly an enormous consumption.

However, despite being fully aware of this, Kim Hyunwoo felt no particular anxiousness.

As much as Gold Coins was being spent, Lartania was rapidly developing, and the Magic Stones exchanged for money were gathered specifically for today.

“Loria, are all the Magic Stones here of the lowest grade?”

[No. The lowest grade and low-grade Magic Stones are mixed, with 92% being of the lowest grade and 8% of low grade]

Hearing Loria’s words and looking at the mountainous pile of Magic Stones, Kim Hyunwoo nodded, deep in thought.

‘With this much, it should be more than enough.’

In fact, when Kim Hyunwoo enjoyed Arteil as a game, the value of Magic Stones, to put it bluntly, was not very high.

For one thing, in the game of Arteil, Magic Stones were a resource that basically could not be traded with others.

Then, there should have been many uses for them, but in the game, Magic Stones were only used for various workshops and third-tier buildings that could be built in a territory later on; there were no other uses in the early stages of the game.

In contrast, Magic Stones would just accumulate in the warehouse all day long as one bought packages to raise hero levels and explored Labyrinths.

Later on, the warehouse would even become full due to Magic Stones, leading players to lodge several complaints with the developers because their warehouses were filled up with Magic Stones.

And so, thanks to the players consistently pointing out the issue of accumulating warehouses, Arteil’s developers eventually created a way to manage Magic Stones.

This was the system that allowed forcing a Labyrinth break using Magic Stones.

When users first heard this news, they cheered without exception.

If a Labyrinth Break could not be stopped, it would cause great damage to the territory, but if prevented, it was a very good system for obtaining Red and Blue Stones.

However, the system that was actually updated to trigger a Labyrinth Break with Magic Stones, dubbed “Magic Stone Break” by users, was heavily criticized by them.

The updated Magic Stone Break, in fact, was not bad in content alone.

The developers did create a slight difference in rewards between Magic Stone Break and Labyrinth Break, but that was only in terms of not being able to obtain Blue Stones, while Red Stones could be obtained just the same.

However, the reason that the Magic Stone Break system was criticized was because of the number of Magic Stones required for a Magic Stone Break.

According to the system updated by the developers, the number of Magic Stones needed to independently execute a Magic Stone Break exceeded 50,000.

If one were to continuously buy packages and hunt endlessly, ignoring the drop in heroes’ affection and not sleeping, it was possible to collect 50,000 Stones.

But here, the developers imposed another restriction on the Magic Stone Break.

That was, only Magic Stones of the same grade could be used to trigger a Magic Stone Break.

For example, if 50,000 Magic Stones were needed, they all had to be of the lowest grade, and the resulting Labyrinth Break would only match the lowest grade, affecting territories at Level 10.

In other words, despite the update revealing a strong will not to give a single penny of cash currency and the developers receiving a lot of criticism, they never touched the system.

‘Actually, it seems like that was the point when users started to gradually leave Arteil.’

Recalling what could be considered the beginning of the game’s decline, Kim Hyunwoo found himself looking at the window he had opened.

※Caution! Please use it where there are Magic Stones!
 
 
[Lowest level]
 
–A Labyrinth Break occurs!!–
 
Offer a Magic Stone to trigger a Labyrinth Break equivalent to territory Level 10
 
 
Requires: 50000/50000 Magic Stones
 
Reward: [1,500 Red Stones]
 
[Would you like to purchase? Y/N]

Reading the alert that appeared before him, Kim Hyunwoo looked at the reward.

‘1,500 Red Stones can be obtained from a Level 10 Labyrinth Break event.’

To buy a 30-day Labyrinth Package, Kim Hyunwoo had to trigger the Labyrinth Break five times using 250,000 Magic Stones, but he nodded, feeling it was not a bad deal.

Though 250,000 was a considerable amount, it wasn’t necessarily a loss.

‘Being able to exchange Magic Stones for Red Stones is a bargain in itself.’

Moreover, considering the additional income and Gold Coins that could be obtained by delving deeper into the Labyrinth over time, consuming Magic Stones to maintain the Labyrinth was essential.

After all, Kim Hyunwoo was rapidly growing his territory just by creating a Labyrinth city.

As time passed and Kim Hyunwoo continued developing the Labyrinth, the loss would be minimized even further, so he pressed the ‘Y’ button without hesitation.

Whoosh-!

Watching a huge number of Magic Stones being sucked into a giant magic circle before him, he thought,

‘Now, what’s left is just persuasion, I guess.’

As he walked towards the square where the mercenaries were, with a smile,

An unidentified hero has entered your territory.

“…?”

Kim Hyunwoo tilted his head at the sudden alert but soon shrugged it off.

Normally, he would be concerned, but since many alerts had been popping up recently without any actual incidents, he wasn’t worried.

Moreover, according to Loria, such alerts could appear when a hero wearing a specific artifact comes and goes.

Furthermore, after checking a few times as such alerts popped up previously, he had indeed found a hero with such an artifact in the tavern, so Kim Hyunwoo, shrugging, headed towards the square.

The square of Lartania.

Kim Hyunwoo looked around at the mercenaries packed tightly in the square.

Receiving curious glances from the mercenaries, Kim Hyunwoo cleared his throat with a ‘hmm’ and paused for a moment.

Of course, he had no intention of telling the mercenaries about the impending Labyrinth Break.

Since the perception of a Labyrinth Break was what it was, discussing it could lead to unpredictable outcomes.

So instead of telling the mercenaries exactly what was going to happen,

“Everyone, I am Kim Hyunwoo, the Lord of Lartania.”

He decided to phrase his words a bit more attractively.

“Starting in about 30 minutes, every monster that emerges from the Labyrinth will carry Magic Stones with a 100% rate for the next day.”

Sort of like a double experience event.


After a single word from Kim Hyunwoo, the mercenaries didn’t wait for another word and immediately dashed back into the Labyrinth.

“…What? So, the goblins that the Lord just mentioned will appear with a 100% rate… Does that mean you’ve artificially triggered a Labyrinth Break?”

“That’s correct.”

He told the truth to the curious Elena, who asked again with a surprised expression.

“Is that really okay? Labyrinth Breaks are quite dangerous.”

“It’s fine.”

Kim Hyunwoo answered cleanly.

“After all, the intensity of the Labyrinth Breaks I trigger artificially isn’t that strong.”

Naturally, Kim Hyunwoo hadn’t outright lied to the mercenaries in a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil way, but he understood Elena’s concerns were valid.

No matter how weak the intensity, a Labyrinth Break was still a Labyrinth Break, and if it led to significant damage to the mercenaries, it could cause quite a stir within Lartania.

However, the reason Kim Hyunwoo could wear such a confident expression was because of the number of mercenaries.

As far as Kim Hyunwoo remembered, about 1,500 soldiers were needed to defend against a Level 15 Labyrinth Break, assuming there was a solid wall and proper weapons.

But the number of mercenaries in Lartania was over 9,000 at the very least, and if only 50% of the mercenaries who listened to Kim Hyunwoo’s speech went down, that was 4,500.

In other words, Kim Hyunwoo could now employ a staggering strategy of overwhelming numbers without any maintenance costs.

‘Besides, a Level 10 Labyrinth Break wouldn’t bring out any large monsters, and only goblins or trolls would appear, so there shouldn’t be significant damage.’

With that thought, Kim Hyunwoo smiled as he saw the notification that the Labyrinth Break had just started.

“And after this Break event ends, I plan to go down to the fourth tier, so please prepare.”

“Ah, yes, understood.”

As he said this and looked at the progress, Kim Hyunwoo pushed a piece of dried sweet potato, one of the snacks Lani had made as a test yesterday, into his mouth.

“…?”

He tilted his head at a strange feeling.

The reason was that, despite the dried sweet potato being a snack left over from yesterday, the end was oddly moist.

‘Who touched it?’

With that thought, Kim Hyunwoo, making a puzzled face, soon noticed Elena in front of him.

“…? What’s the matter?”

Seeing Kim Hyunwoo staring at her, Elena asked, and he nodded with a small laugh as if he understood the situation.

“Dried sweet potatoes are quite delicious, aren’t they?”

“Yes…?”

“It’s surprisingly delectable.”

Elena was momentarily puzzled by Kim Hyunwoo’s sudden statement, but she soon realized what he meant and said.

“…Uh, Lord? I think there’s a misunderstanding. I didn’t touch it, you know?”

“Say no more.”

“What?? No, I mean, I really didn’t touch it!”

Elena looked incredibly wronged.

To which Kim Hyunwoo nodded, suggesting he knew everything, and said.

“Ah, I see. I’ll talk to Lani to make some more next time.”

“No, really, it wasn’t me!?”

“I know.”

“No!? It really wasn’t me!!”

“Yes, yes.”

Elena couldn’t help but feel utterly wronged by Kim Hyunwoo’s disbelief.

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