“Huh?” Desdemona’s eyes widened. “The programme code of Erinyes?”
“Why do you ask?”
It was a pretty unexpected question. It had already been five years since they defeated the Agnaga. The Agnaga that threatened Earth and Pangaea no longer existed. They were perfectly extinct, so why was Kang Chul-In asking for the programme code?
“I need it.”
“Huh?” Desdemona was surprised once again. “W-Why do you need it? Don’t tell me...”
“No.” Kang Chul-In shook his head. “There’s no third coming of the Agnaga, of course.”
That certainly had nothing to do with Desdemona’s concern.
“I have a plan.”
“What sort of plan requires the programme code of Erinyes?”
“I plan to create a virtual world with similar conditions as Pangaea.”
That came out of nowhere. Why was he trying to create a virtual world with similar conditions as Pangaea? Desdemona could not comprehend his rationale.
“Why? Are you perhaps bored…? Could it be that you want to make your own virtual world and play in it?”
“You know. Playing lord with some humans, like last time.”
By last time, Desdemona was referring to the time when Kang Chul-In had just become a Lord after the Great Summoning. In other words, Desdemona believed that Kang Chul-In wanted to play a game.
“That’s an interesting idea.” Kang Chul-In smiled faintly. “That may be quite fun. To return to those days...”
Kang Chul-In recalled his past. That was when he had first become a Lord – 20 years ago, if he included the past that no longer existed. He could barely remember those days.
Those were the good times. Kang Chul-in smiled. That might have been the most exciting period of my life...
It wasn’t just exciting. Kang Chul-In had a burning enthusiasm when he first stepped into this unfamiliar world. The times when he had become the leader of a territory, met Alfred and went to conquer the goblins... and even his first battle to protect his land; everything was new, fearsome and interesting for Kang Chul-In when he was younger. Although he went on a rampage five years after the Great Summoning, Kang Chul-In had vigor.
“Hmm? Is that really your plan?” Desdemona frowned. “You want to mingle with the novices and act like a novice?”
“That’s a good idea, but… that’s not my type.” Kang Chul-In shook his head.
He knew his place. Even if he started the Lord's game now, he knew that he could not replicate the burning passion of the past.
That wasn’t to say that he was devoid of passion. He had plenty. It was just a different kind of passion from his younger days. Currently, Kang Chul-In was diverting all his attention and passion into the reconstruction of Pangaea. He lacked the luxury to participate in some lame simulation game.
“I-Is that so?”
“I had my doubts… After all, everyone wishes to return to their past and change it. I thought you wanted to do the same, even if it were just a simulation.”
“Right, that’s true.”
“However,” Kang Chul-In spoke and embraced Desdemona. Her face instantly turned red.
“W-Why so sudden...”
“Those who wish to alter the past have one similarity.”
“W-What is it?”
“Humans, no, any living organism with intelligence is bound to have regrets.”
“But not me.”
“Well, I can’t say I’m devoid of it… but I do not have any agonizing memories to correct. Why would I resort to simulation for reminiscence when I have already returned to the past once? Moreover...”
“I’m already happy.”
“I even have… such a cute dragon wife, so why would I obsess over something like a simulation?”
“D-Dummy!” Desdemona blushed. “Cheh… you are usually so brusque, but now you say those sweet words…?”
“A-Anyways!” Desdemona changed the topic. “Why are you looking for Erinyes’ programme code?”
“For the future generation.”
“The future generation?”
“Our sons and daughters.”
“For our baby.”
Desdemona could not comprehend Kang Chul-In’s words. In fact, nobody would be able to. Why was the programme code of Erinyes essential for the future generation? The Agnaga had already gone extinct. Using it for the sake of the children did not make any sense.
“I’ve seen the emperor of Blood and Iron’s fear.” Kang Chul-In went straight to the crux of the story.
“His fear? What is it?”
“The tragedy of the Aurangzeb royal family.”
“Ah…!” Desdemona finally understood.
“The emperor of Blood and Iron, who never feared anything in the world, including Saturnus, felt terrified of someone for the first time. Do you know who that was? It was none other than Arshelly.”
“He feared that his cute daughter could change at any moment and point her sword at him. He did not fear that Arshelly would take his throne. Rather, he was more worried that his precious daughter would change for the worse. I would have thought the same. That was the tradition in the Aurangzeb family history, after all.”
“That’s right.” Desdemona nodded. “Understandable. There’s a joke that the Aurangzeb royal family’s history books were written in blood.”
“No, it’s not a joke. There wasn’t a single sane emperor.”
“Hmm… I see...”
“We are no exception.” Kang Chul-In said sternly. “There’s no need to worry for now, since I’m still alive and well… but what about 100 years later?”
“Well, for sure...”
“There will be an internecine feud.”
“Right...” Desdemona could not argue with Kang Chul-In. Power could turn people into monsters. As of now, nobody dared to fight for the throne out of fear for Kang Chul-In. However, things could be different after his death.
“Internecine feud is not the only problem, however.”
“That’s not all?”
“What if there is a coup? An internal war? That could very well devastate the lives of the people of the empire.”
“Also, what if a tyrant like Saturnus becomes the victor in such a conflict?”
“The empire, no, the whole Pangaea will be stained in blood.”
“Hmm… husband’s right...”
“I plan to prevent that.”
“I do not wish for my descendants to fight over the imperial throne. Moreover, a tyrant like Saturnus should never become the emperor in the future.”
“That’s why… Erinyes…?”
“You are right.” Kang Chul-In nodded. “I plan to use its code to create a virtual world… and let our descendants compete with each other. Needless to say, the winner shall become the next emperor. Just like… me.”
“Ah…!” Desdemona gasped. “You want to let them brawl it out in the virtual world, instead of doing so in reality?”
“Wouldn’t that be better? The winner will ascend the imperial throne with the Core of Pangaea, so nobody can disagree with the game’s result.”
Kang Chul-In pointed at the longsword on his bedside.
“T-That’s a great idea!”
No. Kang Chul-In’s idea was revolutionary. Nobody else had thought of a fairer method to select the next emperor.
“This could prevent the tragedy of the Aurangzeb royal family!”
“That’s not all.” Kang Chul-In had planned further. “The competition that our descendants shall take part in… will not be easy to win based on strength alone.”
“Of course, the owner of the Core of Pangaea has to be strong… but a brainless, brawny gangster cannot be it.”
“There’s nothing more horrifying than someone like Saturnus winning the Lord's game.”
He was right. If strength was the only factor of consideration, there was a high chance for a tyrant like Saturnus to become the emperor.
“An emperor...” Kang Chul-In continued. “Should possess strength, insight, charisma, financial knowledge, a strong will, responsibility, wisdom, political aptitude, an altruistic and benevolent mind, talent in dealing with domestic affairs, the ability to read paperwork fast, a fast hand to quickly sign documents...”
Desdemona was flabbergasted.
Husband… I see now that you have had a hard time...
She wondered how agonizing the paperwork could be for Kang Chul-In to say that. Indeed… even the invincible Kang Chul-In feared Timothy and paperwork.
“Anyways.” Kang Chul-In continued. “The competition shall test all the above qualities.”
“To rule out any potential tyrants?”
“Exactly.” Kang Chul-In nodded. “I will not hand down the throne purely based on bloodline. The people of the empire do not have any say in choosing their leader. Be it a benevolent leader or a tyrant, they have no choice but to follow.”
“That’s true. We dragons voted our Lord...”
“I do wish to establish democracy, but this is Pangaea, not Earth. It’s a hundred years too early for the people to appreciate democracy. So what if I give them the rights to vote and participate in politics? A right that is not earned will lose its meaning.”
“Husband… you are incredible… as expected from the emperor...” Desdemona looked at Kang Chul-In with admiration. He was that cool. Kang Chul-In was a true emperor, one with both strength and wisdom!
“Hundreds of years later, the people shall earn democracy of their own accord. I will even make arrangements accordingly, so until then...”
“We will choose the candidate based on the Lord's game, right? A fair game that any member of the royal family can take part in.”
“Yes, that’s my plan.”
Kang Chul-In naturally arrived at this conclusion after pondering for a long time… he realized that the competition system in which he himself took part in in the past was the best method.
“That was why I asked whether you still have the programme code for Erinyes.”
“Of course I do.”
“In that case...”
“Let’s make one, then. I, too, do not wish for my descendants to kill each other.” Desdemona smiled widely. “It’s a good opportunity to prove that I can be a great dragon like my mother too.”
“Excellent.” Kang Chul-In laughed. “Let’s make a new Lord's game together, just like how Julius and Emilia did it 1000 years ago.”
That was the start of what would eventually be called the ‘Imperial Throne Ascending Game’ in the future. They called this project ‘Kaiser Maker’.
“Ah, right!” Desdemona frowned.
“What is it?” Kang Chul-In asked.
“So, aren’t we gonna do it?”
“I...” Desdemona kept fidgeting. “W-wanna do it...”
“Do me as you please...”
Kang Chul-In closed his eyes in fatigue.
Five years have passed since Kang Chul-In’s “eventful” night. Kang Chul-In was a little older, and the production of Kaiser Maker had already reached its intermediate stage.
“Hehe...” Kwak Jung, who was now a Grand Duke of the empire, laughed. He was once again healthy, as his vampire DNA had almost been completely eradicated thanks to Kang Chul-In and Desdemona.
“Your imperial Majesty...”
“I’m getting married next month.”
“Oh? Finally. Okay, with who?”
“Well… hmm, hmm...” Kwak Jung hesitated. “As for that… haha...”
“It’s Niu, am I right?” Kang Chul-In could read Kwak Jung like a book.
“H-How did you know?”
“You’ve been chasing her for 10 years. Moreover, how could I be oblivious of who’s dating the deputy director of the empire’s Intelligence Department?”
“I will send you a lot of money.” Kang Chul-In smiled.
While Kang Chul-In focused on managing his empire and reconstructing Pangaea, his colleagues parted ways with each other.
Dorian Explorer was now a dungeon conqueror, historian, monster book writer, ancient relic investigator and more, living the life of a true explorer.
James, who was the leader of the Guards and also one of the founding members of the Valhalla empire, was now a duke. At the same time, he was the commander-in-chief of the imperial army, dedicating his life to the military.
Drakan and Amur were marquises, dedicating their lives to the military similar to James.
Timothy the goblin administrator kept his role and established the ‘Timothian Economic Theory’.
Billy Halford retired to become a legendary rock star and promoted heavy metal in Pangaea.
Podolski had become the director of the Intelligence Agency, collecting and analyzing information and torturing criminals and rebels. His personal torture room had various types of ropes which were used to humiliate whoever entered the room.
Lily Sephardi was now the CEO of a toy shop franchise which earned big bucks. She married Clémenceau, the imperial navy admiral.
Alfred, the vampire butler, was now the empire’s butler, dealing with all sorts of administrative affairs.
Kwon Hyung-Woo had finally finished repenting for his sins and passed away peacefully.
Nilus had become the owner of the imperial mage tower, developing magic theory and such. He was widely praised and admired by his fellow magicians.
Last, but not least...
In the Laputa Sky Fortress, on the highest spire...
“Y-Your imperial Majesty…!” Lucia was shocked. “W-Why are you doing this…!?”
It was because Kang Chul-In had hugged her from the back.
“Did you wait long, Lucia?”
“Y-Your imperial Majesty…!”
“I’m sorry.” Kang Chul-In whispered into Lucia’s ear. “You are my secretary. Maybe that’s why I hesitated so much.”
That was true. A beacon does not shine on its own base. Lucia was so close to him that he had failed to notice her love.
“Yes… your imperial Majesty…?”
“…Be my seventh wife?”
“Y-Your imperial Majesty...!”
“I love you, Lucia.” Kang Chul-In embraced Lucia even tighter.
Lucia was too deeply moved to say a word. Her wish had finally come true. Her unrequited love had come to fruition!
And Kang Chul-In...
To think I have three wives and four concubines...
He had the glorious (?) experience of having multiple spouses.
Another 5 years passed by, slowly.
Ssss…! Cool wind swept across Pangaea. Kang Chul-In stood alone on the spire, looking down at Metallia.
“Good.” Kang Chul-In, now a middle-aged man, smiled satisfactorily. “I’m content.”
15 years had passed since the final battle. Metallia was living up to its name as the empire’s capital, displaying its majestic splendor. Furthermore, today was the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Valhalla empire. The whole capital was in a festive mood.
Everything was perfect. The empire was peaceful. It had enjoyed a reign of peace for over 15 years, and this was to continue for the next few decades. Kang Chul-In was now hailed as the legendary Divine Emperor of Blood and Iron.
However, that certainly did not mean that the story will end there. As long as he was the ruler, Kang Chul-in had to devote his time and energy in managing his empire. Only then could he keep his honourable title...
“My time has already passed, but...”
He mumbled in pity. However, it was alright. Project Kaiser Maker was about 80% complete, which meant that his descendants were about to compete for the imperial throne.
“A new era shall begin.”
Nobody could last forever. Right now, his role was to manage the empire. The intense competition was the responsibility of his descendants. All he had to do was take a step back and watch from the side.
“Your imperial Majesty.” At that moment, Alfred climbed up the spiral and handed something to Kang Chul-In. “I made this new cape. Please, try it on.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
He looked at Alfred with affection.
“Haha… that was out of the blue. Try it on!”
“Alright.” Kang Chul-In put on the cape with Alfred’s help.
Flip! The cape made of the highest-quality silk fluttered in the wind. It was a passionate red! Nothing could represent Kang Chul-In more aptly.
“You look great, your imperial Majesty!”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, as expected from your imperial Majesty!”
“Good.” Kang Chul-In smiled.
“Your imperial Majesty, it’s time to go now. The people are waiting for you. Please do not make them wait any further!”
“Of course.” Kang Chul-In made his move without hesitation.
“Long live the Valhalla empire...!”
“Long live his imperial Majesty, Kang Chul-In...!”
“Long live his imperial Majesty, Kang Chul-In...!”
The clamor of the people of the empire could be heard from all around, even from the far distance.