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The Innkeeper – Chapter 123: Test Bahasa Indonesia

A heavy silence hung in the room as everyone absorbed what Ragnar had said. Marlo especially recalled the scene where a city was constantly being invaded by endless hordes of zombies. He treated it seriously even when he saw it for the first time, but he imagined that one way or another the zombies would run out, as the rate at which they were being killed was incredible. But when he learnt of the spawning portal, he realized the truth was not so simple. They really were on the brink of extinction.

What Marlo did not know was the city he had visited was founded by the Jotun Empire, and it was their presence that garnered such a strong response from the demons. Before their arrival, such a fierce battle had not occurred since the planet first fell.

Even though they all knew that Earth was not as alone as they portrayed, it was good to be reminded that the universe was a cruel place. They could not even completely secure their planet from internal strife, strong external threats could spell their doom.

“Any other enemies that we should know of?” Brandon asked.

“Enemies who target humans specifically? Not so many. But any random force can become your enemy should they see profit in doing so. Even allies of the Empire are only allies of the Empire in a broad sense. That does not prevent them from seizing control of individual planets or solar systems where they can gain benefits. The only way to gain security is to have a strong enough backer.”

“Isn’t that always the case?” Brandon remarked offhandedly. It was just a larger example of paying a thug protection money.

“Most notable forces in the universe are based around their species. For example, of the Beasts, some of the strongest clans are the Leviathan clan, the Terror Crow clan and‌ the Serpent clan. Other notable examples are the Dread clan and, ironically, the Goliath clan.”

“Why ironically?” asked Brandon.

“Relatively speaking, the Goliath clan is the newest power in the known universe. Their species started out as a mutation of humans that originated on a single planet. When they were discovered by other humans, they were shunned and even persecuted. But as fate would have it, a Prince of the Jotun Empire ended up befriending a Goliath. Out of friendship, the Prince granted the Goliaths protection, and allowed them room to grow.

“Since no one was paying attention to them, no one noticed how quickly their strength grew. What should have been the beginning of an amazing friendship and partnership soured when that Prince suddenly died. Long story short, the Goliaths broke away from the humans, and quickly surpassed them. Fortunately, they do not hold a grudge against the humans, but they are in no way allies of humans either.”

Ragnar paused for a moment, as if thinking about something, but quickly returned back to the topic.

“This does not mean that all forces are based around their species. Most recently, after many millennia of war against one another, Dwarves and Elves have actually formed a coalition. Similarly, many forces are formed from the union of various groups. I cannot even begin to list out all the forces. It would take too long.

“The purpose in me telling you this is to let you know that since you have started expanding outwards, you must also prepare for the threats. It is entirely possible that your planet may not encounter other forces for centuries, or could run into a band of pirates tomorrow.”

“And let me guess, you suggest ‌we join the Empire?”

Ragnar grinned, watching the children with amusement. To be clear, to the three and a half thousand year old Ragnar, these Nascent cultivators of Earth were indeed children.

“Joining the Empire is not so easy or simple. Your planet cannot join simply because you are human, or because you wish it. At most, talented individuals from your planet can be recruited for now. Before even beginning to consider the requirements of the Empire, the location of your planet will determine whether you are even eligible. If your planet falls under the domain of another force, then unfortunately, you are on your own.”

Technically, they weren’t on their own even if they were in someone else’s domain, but Ragnar could not be bothered to explain the details. The politics of the universe were a lot more complicated and had many more layers than that of Earth. For now, this level of detail was sufficient.

What he did not expect was that instead of feeling pressured, they felt a burden lift off their shoulders, knowing that the Empire was not recruiting them directly. Even as arrogant as Brandon was, he did not want to imagine the consequences of offending such an entity by refusing their offer.

“So if you are not looking to recruit Earth, other than help in the games, what benefits are you actually looking for?” asked the Queen directly.

“It is always in the interest of the Empire to see humans grow and prosper, even if they are not under the banner of the Empire itself. But even with that in mind, nothing in the world is absolutely free.

“There are many ways in which we can benefit one another, but I directly propose what I think is the best deal to you. Earth will send five hundred thousand men and women under the age of thirty to receive training in various fields such as medicine, mechanics, computing, cultivation, crafting and more for five hundred years – during which they will be employed by the empire. Another five hundred thousand will be employed under the same conditions for three hundred years, and another five hundred thousand for one hundred years.

“As a part of their salary, the Empire will provide Earth with some basic knowledge and technology that will boost the growth of your own civilization, while the rest of the salary will be paid to them directly. Once the employment period for these people is over, they are free to return to Earth, at which point their own skills and expertise will be enough to slingshot your planet’s growth while also strengthening its own foundations.”

The Earthlings did not reply immediately, and only exchanged looks with one another filled with a meaning they all understood very well. Ragnar’s offer seemed straightforward, but was layered with both benefits as well as tests. He did not say it, but the offer was a blatant test of their character.

Theoretically speaking, as Nascent leveled cultivators, their life expectancy barely reached five hundred years. This meant that if they accepted the offer, in the future, Earth would be flooded with cultivators at their level, along with the potential to surpass them. This may not affect them directly as they may never break through a higher realm and may not even live to see the day the last recruits return, but it would be clear that the position of their respective families would be threatened very seriously.

This was not even considering the two waves of recruits who would come back first, who would also be brimming with the strength and potential that came with the nurturing of a superior civilization. It was a test to first see if they valued the growth and prosperity of their people over their own desire for power. Second, to see if they had the courage to send their own families as a part of the recruitment, as that would possibly be the only way they could continue to maintain their position of power in the future.

Another layer of the test was that even if they sent their own children or grandchildren, which one of the three waves of recruits would they be a part of? The longer they stayed away, the lesser their attachment to the planet they spent the first few decades of their life on be. So then, would they even be willing to return to the backwards planet to struggle and help it grow?

“We will need some time to discuss this,” Brandon finally said.

“Take your time. Watching your people during the games will also give me a chance to see the caliber of the people of Earth. In the future, Anthony will coordinate with you on this, so you can approach him once you’ve decided on how you want to proceed. He will also coordinate with you on how we can cooperate during the games.”

After seeing all that he wanted to see, Ragnar delegated handling the nitty gritty of things to his subordinates. Over all, the trip to the Inn had been very beneficial, but he had to return to focusing on his original task. Since the Innkeeper was no longer around and the Midnight Inn itself wanted to establish itself as a neutral organization, the things that required his personal attention were all taken care of. Now it was time for him to return to Vegus Minima and start preparing for what came next.


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