The Nebula's Civilization-Chapter 325

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Chapter 325

A week ago, Lunda had been talking with Lakrak in the grand library of the Hall of Myriad Stars, when someone asked, "Hey, where did your partner go?"

Aldin, wearing a large work suit and carrying boxes piled high enough to block her view, stopped and turned around at someone talking to her. Of course, she couldn't see the one who talked to her because of the boxes. She had a guess who it could be but wasn't sure from the voice alone.

Aldin replied, "...Partner?"

"Your buddy."

"...Buddy?" freeweb m

"Battle buddy."

"...What's that?"

"Oh, you don't know?"

Aldin sighed and placed the boxes on a nearby railing. Below the railing, the common scene of the grand library unfolded with countless bookshelves, scholars exchanging conversation as they walked, and librarians closely examining the shelves.

Aldin turned toward the voice's owner, Krampus[1]. "Jang-Wan is neither my partner, buddy, nor battle buddy."

"You're always together though."

"It's Jang-Wan, not me. And under the guise of supervision."

"The guise, yes. But from the side, it looks like...."

"Like an owner and their dog?"


"Yeah. I'd rather he be on a leash."

Krampus looked Aldin up and down suspiciously.

Aldin then furrowed her brows and said, "It's a joke."

"If Jang-Wan does anything, tell me right away. Alright?"

Aldin ignored that statement. "Jang-Wan said she had something to do and left. She doesn’t drag me around everywhere as you think. If you're curious about where Jang-Wan is, why not ask the Sanctuary rather than me?"

Krampus replied, "No, it's alright. I needed to see you, not Jang-Wan. I was actually hoping Jang-Wan wouldn't be here."

"You needed to see me? A great Constellation seeks out this low worker?"

Aldin gestured toward herself with an old-fashioned gesture, slightly spreading her neatly tucked wings.

It was a gesture Krampus had never seen before so he guessed it was a gesture from old Avartin etiquette, a mix of self-deprecation and slight mockery, but Krampus wasn't particularly bothered. Even though there was a class system on Earth, it was hard to notice its existence when interacting only with people of similar status.

Yet, Krampus didn’t really care much about Aldin's attitude.

"Well...are you busy? I won't take much of your time."

"I'm in the middle of moving the books filled in these boxes, as per the head librarian's orders."

"There are lots of other people to do that job, aren't there?”

"We...I mean, I am strong. The box can hold more items than it seems, so it's heavier than it looks. It's an obligatory service. If I don't move them in time, I won't just miss out on merit points, I'll get demerits."

The Hall of Myriad Stars, not being a perfect society, naturally had crimes.

However, the demerit system was partially used by several Constellations and was in use at the grand library. If one damaged books or caused too much disturbance, they would receive demerits, but receiving them wasn't the end.

If the demerits remained after a certain period, one would face punishment, but it was also a flexible system in which one could also offset them by earning merit points through volunteered service, or exchange points from other Constellations' systems.

For example, 1200 credit points issued by the Constellation of Capitalism, Redmars, could erase one demerit point gained by damaging a book. Wisdom had discussed credit score inflation with Redmars, but thought such an extent was acceptable.

Naturally, the Constellations competed for the top ranks in their respective scoring systems, but Aldin, not being a Constellation, also held a position. Aldin maintained a top-tier level of demerit points, greatly far from second place, due to her sins committed in Avartin.

Aldin thought Sung-Woon had a bad character.

...Demerit points? If they had just put me in prison, I simply wouldn't have had any hope.’

Those with demerit points received punishment after each set cycle, and being isolated in a cell for a certain period was the best way to reduce demerit points.

At the time, Aldin wasn't specifically aiming to reduce her demerit points but ended up in solitary confinement. During her time in solitary, there weren't any good experiences, and the work, which was coding since Wisdom was the warden at the time, was tough, and although it was quite lonely, it was bearable.

However, a few Constellations, led by Jang-Wan, suggested that solitary confinement should not be overly prolonged, even if the prisoner wished for it, because that choice itself could be a consequence of long-term isolation.

After meticulously reading the stack of documents Jang-Wan wrote up, Wisdom agreed with this opinion, and Aldin was almost kicked out of solitary back into the Hall of Myriad Stars.

At the time, the second world's task after Avartin was in progress, and with incidents happening daily in the Hall of Myriad Stars, Aldin's release didn't attract much attention.

Jang-Wan dragged Aldin around, making good times. This caused Aldin to judge that her time in confinement was more distressing than she had thought, and when the time came again for her to receive punishment, she recalled the feelings she had forgotten, being scared of going back to prison.

Then, Jang-Wan, who was beside her, said with a smile, "Then shall we try another method?"

Aldin judged that things were going wrong, but by that point, she thought it was already too late.

Jang-Wan first applied for a suspension of Aldin's punishment and then visited the central bank of the Hall of Myriad Stars. However, Aldin, being literally a credit delinquent, was unable to take out a credit score loan.

Therefore, Jang-Wan took out a super low-interest credit loan under her title of a Constellation, deposited it into Aldin's account, and Aldin exchanged the credit score for merit points as Jang-Wan instructed. Through that, a significant amount of demerit points was offset and erased, but a vast amount of demerit points still remained.

"Look, Jang-Wan. This isn't enough to make any difference. Of course, I'm really grateful for all the effort, but I don't have any credit points to repay you with and...."

"Wait, what did you say?"

"I don't have any credit points."

"Before that."

“I’m grateful?"

"Say it one more time."

"...Thank you?"

Jang-Wan, unlike in Avartin, no longer wore her lion mask, and for some reason, the long-serving secretary of the Pantheon, Bion, now wore the mask. Thus, Jang-Wan showed her bare face and she smiled.

"No problem."

"...Are you even listening to me?"

Jang-Wan tried to raise relief funds for Aldin but faced fierce opposition from her and gave up. So instead, she devised a system that deferred the schedule of penalties according to the level of merits acquired, and through active lobbying, it was passed by the consensus of the Constellations and the direct vote of the members of the Committee, which was a political body where members were selected by the direct vote of the members of the Hall of Myriad Stars.

Thanks to this, Aldin was able to engage in low-intensity labor called obligatory service instead of punishment, and at other times, she could work to earn credit scores or other merit points. If she had some spare time in her schedule, she could buy a cake at the café franchise Eldar opened all over the Hall of Myriad Stars for themself or rest at RD's hot spring hotel.

Aldin wasn’t even such a noticeable figure anymore. Although the Hall of Myriad Stars had not yet experienced a world as vast as Avartin, according to Krampus, there were more individuals or groups that no one knew how to deal with now in the Hall of Myriad Stars, and it wasn't even Aldin who received concentrated criticism during this sabbatical.

Even such figures were less noticed compared to the new members, the new heroes, who joined the Hall of Myriad Stars. And as time passed, people's emotions also faded.

Whenever Aldin soaked her body in the hot spring, she got lost in thought.

‘...Is this right?’

Not everything was over, nor was she in an entirely favorable situation. Generally, people treated Aldin in a public manner, but there were cases like Sha-Cha, who picked a quarrel with her on every occasion, and when people became distant upon realizing who Aldin was, it made her realize her current situation again.

Despite Jang-Wan's efforts, her demerit points were absurdly high, requiring endless effort over a long time. Continuing the same labor, there were more days ahead than those she already lived, feeling nearly eternal. It seemed manageable if she only looked at the ground while walking, but overwhelmingly distant when she looked up.

‘...There are even those who just play around!’

However, apart from all of that, Aldin felt that she had changed a lot in just a few hundred years.

‘Of course, I understand the intention.’

Aldin thought about Sung-Woon. For Sung-Woon, it would be better to somehow make use of human resources rather than just locking them up in prison. The idea that the purpose of imprisoning criminals was not for punishment but rehabilitation was from Earth, so that worldview would also be familiar to him, and Aldin was acting according to that intention.

‘...It might be for another reason, though.’

Seeing Aldin's expression slightly sour, Krampus waved his hands dismissively. "Don't worry about the demerit points. I’m the one above your superior after all."

"...No you’re not. Jerome is."

"Let's just go with it."

Even without the intervention of a Constellation, it wouldn't have been a major problem.

Aldin leaned on the railing and asked, "So, what is it?"

"You know the Mafia game, right?"

Aldin asked back at the sudden topic, "You’re talking about the game from Earth, right? The one with Mafias and citizens?"

"You know it?"

Aldin glared at Krampus suspiciously, wondering what trick he was playing.

Although Aldin was from Avartin, she was as familiar with Earth as the people from it, having observed Earth's culture for a long time, so she understood what Krampus was implying.

Krampus was the opposite of Santa Claus. Just as Santa Claus distributed gifts to good children during Christmas, Krampus took away and ate the bad ones. Choosing Santa Claus as his ID would’ve been strange, but using Krampus and even following its appearance was somewhat comical.

The sticking point, however, was his appearance. His eyes were bright yellow with black pupils like those of a goat, making it impossible to discern his thoughts just by looking at his eyes.

"...Of course I know it. It was played in Avartin too, just called a different name."

"Are you good at it? Do you know how to play?"

"I just told you it was in Avartin too. The rules were even much more complex. I didn't play often, but even so, I must have played it thousands of times."

"Hey, I asked if you were good at it, not if you played it a lot. Playing it a lot doesn’t automatically make you good at it."

Aldin slightly gritted her teeth, knowing Krampus was referring to Choi Sung-Woon.

Krampus felt grateful for the fact that Choi Sung-Woon was an Earthling, and it didn't take long for both of them to realize the futility of their attitudes.

"I can play, let's leave it at that," Aldin replied.

"Well, I guess there's no need to be good at the Mafia game."

"Then why did you even ask if I was good, you jerk."

Krampus didn’t respond to Aldin’s statement.

The reason Krampus was recruiting Aldin was because of another ability Aldin possessed.

Krampus then cleared his throat and said, "Aldin."

"What?" freeweb(n)ovel

Krampus said, with a smile at the corner of his mouth, "I'm thinking of making you an offer you can't refuse."

1. The reasoning behind this character’s name was only just revealed further on in this chapter, so the character's name will be spelled the correct way, Krampus, instead of the incorrect way, Crampus, from now on. ☜

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