“Hello, My Lord. I’m Johnny, and I’m temporarily in charge of the management of Phinis.” Johnny, the man who introduced himself as Phinis’ temporary manager, was a fat man.
‘They are NPCs who usually care about their own interests,’ Hyeonu thought.
His preconceived notions against Johnny were stubborn. It was a byproduct of his long experience with virtual reality games.
“As you know, I am Earl Gang Hyeonu. As of today, I have been commanded by His Majesty the Emperor to rule Phinis.”
Nodding, Johnny continued, “I naturally know this. It is impossible not to know about Viscount—no, Earl Gang Hyeonu who has emerged as a rising star of the empire.”
Johnny’s face was red and full of excitement.
‘Why is he acting in such an exaggerated manner?’ Hyeonu cocked his head at Johnny’s behavior and remained vigilant. Then he said, “I’d like to see the information about Phinis right now... Is that possible?”
“Of course, you have to look at it. I’ve already prepared it. I have also prepared for your inauguration as the lord. You can come this way.” Johnny guided Hyeonu to the heart of the lord’s castle.
The place that Johnny took Hyeonu to was at the top of the castle with 10 floors, and its entrance was blocked by a huge iron door.
“This is where the territory is managed,” Johnny stated while pointing at the iron door. A magic circle the size of a hand was drawn in the center of the iron door. The role of the magic circle was to be a security measure. It was developed by the imperial family since they couldn’t allow just anyone to carelessly manage the estate.
“Just inject magic power here. You can also create patterns with your magic power,” Johnny explained.
‘It’s a type of door lock?’ Hyeonu saw the magic circle and was astonished. He never imagined there would be this type of security method.
“Quickly inject magic power. That way, you can get inside,” Johnny urged Hyeonu, seemingly in great urgency.
‘Why is he rushing me like this?’ Hyeonu frowned, but he still injected his magic power anyway.
It was because Hyeonu was quite curious. What was the territory management place like? Magic power emerged from his right hand that was touching the magic circle, and a pattern was engraved on it. It was a very complicated pattern that couldn’t be imitated even if someone saw it. Hyeonu stopped injecting magic power and released his hand. Then a golden light burst from the magic circle, and the iron door started to open.
‘There’s nothing special?’
The view beyond the iron door wasn’t as complicated and flashy as he thought it would be. There was only a chair.
‘What is this?’
However, the chair was very strange. It was a modern chair that didn’t fit at all with Arena. The chair was very similar to ergonomically-designed chairs and seemed to be for the sake of having a sense of comfort in the game.
“Just sit here. Then I’ll be going.” Johnny quickly escaped from this space before Hyeonu could stop him. Hyeonu tried to catch Johnny, but he couldn’t get up. It was because the moment he sat down, a voice rang out and a screen popped up in front of him.
-Welcome to the Lord of Phinis, Player Gang Hyeonu.
It was a familiar voice. This was the voice Hyeonu had heard back when he created his character.
-From now on, I will start the tutorial on territories. First, call out ‘Territory Status Window’ to confirm the status of the territory. Check it and then ask if you have any questions. I will answer them.
“Territory Status Window.”
Hyeonu followed the voice’s instructions.
It was the first time Hyeonu had obtained a territory, so he couldn’t pass through the tutorial quickly like when he created his character.
He had no information this time.
[Territory Status Window]
[Territory Name: Phinis Earldom (formerly the empire’s direct territory)
Lord’s Name: Gang Hyeonu
Territory Development: Economy: 51 (-36) Military: 76 (-31) Magic: 56 (-45) Culture: 37 (-37)
Territory Population: 183,123
Territory Assets: 15,438 gold
Consumption Cost: 17,800 gold
Levy Amount: 3,200 gold
Security: Very unstable
Owned Facilities: 7 (excluding residential facilities)
Current Status: There are no complete buildings from the walls to the inner city. It is hard to find the original form. On the day when monsters come down from the surrounding mountains, the destruction of the territory is obvious.]
‘What is this?’
Hyeonu’s expression distorted when he saw the status window. If the emperor were in front of him now, he would’ve grabbed the emperor’s collar. This was because the territory was a mess. There was nothing extraordinary, and the territory was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Hyeonu barely managed to open his mouth to say, “Start explaining.”
In the midst of this, the wrinkles on Hyeonu’s face never disappeared. Nevertheless, just staring at the status window wouldn’t change anything.
-The territory’s development is literally a numerical value on the current state of the territory. The highest figure is 100. The figures are based on the capital of the empire.
‘That means the negative number is due to the territory’s current state? Is it temporarily lowered?’
Hyeonu’s guess was correct.
-The negative number in the brackets is a temporary drop. However, if it doesn’t return to its original state within 30 days, the number will remain the same.
Hyeonu heard the explanation and raised his right hand to rub the back of his neck; his blood pressure seemed to be rising. He didn’t know where to start. “How can I get rid of negative numbers?”
-Just restore the territory to its original state. If the buildings are broken, rebuild them. If there are no soldiers, train them. It is difficult to improve the value of a territory’s development.
“What is the consumption cost?”
-The consumption cost is literally the cost of operating a territory. The standard procedure is for it to be deducted every seven days. It will automatically disappear from the territory’s warehouse. Something big will happen if there aren’t enough gold coins in the territory’s warehouse. Currently, the consumption cost of the estate has increased considerably due to the planned restoration project.
‘I’m not worried because Lebron said he would get money for me.’
The money wasn’t much of a concern for Hyeonu as he was reassured by the support that Lebron would provide.
“So the standard for the levy amount is also every seven days?”
-That’s right. The levy amount is added to the territory’s warehouse every seven days. At present, the current condition of the Phinis territory is poor, so the levy amount has been severely reduced.
There was nothing good about any of the explanations. It was a territory, but it was the worst territory. “Are there really monsters coming down from the surrounding mountains? It’s a monster wave?”
-Yes, monsters will periodically descend on Phinis. The level of the monsters is roughly between those of the Hejin Great Mountain Range and the Balder Mountains.
‘Isn’t this good?’
It was good news. This was an element that would appeal to players. It wasn’t as competitive in Phinis as it was in the Hejin Great Mountain Range, nor were the monsters as difficult to fight as those in the Balder Mountains. There were many players at this level. Anyone who had finished their third class advancement would be able to hunt here easily.
‘I don’t need to worry too much about monsters if I do good publicity.’
“Then let’s move on. What is after the status window?”
-Then I will move to the next one. Please call out ‘Territory’s Administration’.
[Building construction (+), soldier training (+), adjusting tax rates (+), policy announcement (+), talent recruitment (+).]
This time it was simple. There were only a few things that appeared.
-Click on each one for more details. This is where you can determine the direction for development of the territory and set a large framework for the operation of the territory.
“Is there anything else?”
-New areas will be opened as the number of player lords increases in the future.
“By the way, do I have to come here to handle the territory’s administration?”
-That’s right. Instead, there are considerations for the lords. You can return to your territory at any time. The return location is fixed here, the internal room.
‘Isn’t this the best?’ Hyeonu thought that the return function was the biggest benefit of being the territory’s lord.
“Then finish the tutorial.”
-I understand. If you ever have any questions, please click the question mark on the top of the Territory Status Window.
Hyeonu ended the tutorial, and more message windows appeared.
[The title ‘First Lord’ has been created.]
[A title given to the first player to become a lord.
Effect: All benefits associated with the territory are increased by 10%. Consumption cost is reduced by 10%.]
[The title ‘Lord of Phinis’ has been created.]
[Lord of Phinis]
[A title given to the player who became the lord of Phinis.
Effect: Attack and defense will increase by 10% in Phinis and the surrounding areas.]
‘It is fortunate. I’m the first one.’
He had been worried that maybe someone had obtained a territory in a way Hyeonu himself didn’t know about and that perhaps he wouldn’t get the first title.
Nonetheless, his worry had been groundless, and Hyeonu gained the title.
There were tears in his eyes as he put the gold that he was lacking into the territory warehouse.
‘It is 20,000 gold only once...’
[Would you like to put 20,000 gold into the territory warehouse?]
“Put it in. Put it in...”
If it were 35,000 gold, it could last two weeks. It could even last a longer period of time with sufficient support from the imperial family. Hyeonu finished putting in money and then something came to mind—Johnny, the man who left Hyeonu here and disappeared.
‘Where the hell did he go?’
His doubts grew like snowballs. Perhaps the reason why the territory was like this was because Johnny had stolen something? Hyeonu urgently rushed out of the administration room and ran through the castle. This wasn’t just a walk-around; it was a search.
Johnny wasn’t far away. He was packing his things in a room nearby the inner room.
“Where are you going to in such a hurry?”
Seeing Hyeonu appear like a ghost, Johnny fell onto his bed in amazement. “Uhh! What’s going on? My Lord, have you already finished managing the estate?”
“Johnny, I asked where you’re going.”
“Where am I going? I have to go back to the capital. It is my hometown. I will go there quickly. I don’t want to work here anymore. It was only for a few months, but it was really hard. Don’t you see these skinny cheeks?” Johnny pointed to his face. Objectively, it was a very plump face. It was absolutely not skinny, far from it.
“You aren’t hiding anything and running away?” Hyeonu questioned.
Johnny waved his hands vigorously at Hyeonu’s words and said, “I’m not such a conscienceless administrator. It is better to steal food than to steal anything in the territory warehouse.”
His eyes and expression looked like he found Hyeonu’s question really unfair.
‘It really isn’t the case? Am I too stuck on my preconceived notions?’ Hyeonu wondered. Just then, Hyeonu had an incredible idea. It didn’t matter if Johnny embezzled money or not. “It really isn’t the case? You’re innocent, Johnny?”
“Yes, I am innocent, My Lord.”
Hyeonu held the hands of the innocent Johnny to prevent him from going anywhere. Then he said, “Congratulations. Today, you are appointed the official administrator of Phinis. I will speak to His Majesty. I can’t give up on such a talented person.”
Hyeonu’s idea was to tie Johnny to Phinis. In any case, manpower was scarce. Even if he attracted real people, the best choice was still an NPC of Arena. Johnny had ruled Phinis while there was no lord, so his ability should be sufficient.
“Let’s do well, Administrator Johnny.”
Thus, Hyeonu recruited a competent administrator NPC.
(Submission Final Date: 15th November)