A Monster Who Levels Up
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(TL: This extra chapter is brought to you by these wonderful individuals: Jan B, Joscha D, Dale B, and a mysterious person who didn't leave behind his/her name when making the donation!! Thank you for your support!! Means a lot.)
With its eyes completely frenzied, the big wolf carrying the Orc madly pounced on the Giant Swan. Kim Yu-Rin didn't even have enough time to get shocked. Even if it was the Hero Orc, this was going to be seriously dangerous - as soon as she thought of this, her legs moved towards the Orc all by themselves.
The mace thrown by the Orc smacked the Swan's beak and caused a big wound before returning back to his hands like a boomerang. Now that was one truly crazy sight to behold.
After its beak got attacked, the Giant Swan finally stopped its terrible screech, but its whole body started glowing in intense red. That was the very bad sign of it getting ready to grow, or to evolve further, as it were. However, both the Orc and Wolf didn't really care about such small details.
The wolf Lakcorn leaped high, which put the Orc right by the Swan's nose. The mace overflowing with Mana swung right in front of the Monster. A powerful impact noise exploded out, and the shock wave shook the surroundings. Unfortunately, though - it seemed that the Giant Swan used the damage to actually push itself to evolve one step further.
*SFX for steam rising*
The quickly-reddening body of the Monster began decreasing in size and emitted incredibly high temperature. Opaque white steam carrying intense heat blocked the sky, melted nearby trees, and burned the ground around it.
This heat wave was so intense, even Kim Yu-Rin's Mana Barrier was quaking beyond her control, getting really close to shattering into bits.
She quickly turned around and shouted out at her teammates.
Her shout echoed within the mountainside like a lone scream. The Knights hesitating at the rear finally stepped back a bit more. Seeing this, Kim Yu-Rin gulped down a large dollop of her own saliva. Was it possible to withstand what was about to come? Not her, but the Orc?
She couldn't remain undecided for long.
She ran towards the Orc. She did this not because of some unnecessary emotions deeply rooted in her heart, no. She convinced herself this was the case, that it was because of the curiosity and questions towards the Orc circling inside her head.
She ran towards the Orc and grabbed his hand. And at the same time…
The Orc looked at her. She too, looked at him. The wolf between them barked. And, from the body of the Swan, a massive boom exploded out.
An explosion so violent, it seemingly crushed the world in its wake; a jet-black cloud shaped like a horrifying mushroom rose up from the site of explosion.
In that moment when the explosion descended on them, the Orc pulled Kim Yu-Rin in his arms and activated the Scales of Leviathan. Well, he still had to save this crazy woman regardless of her reasons for walking into the blast radius all by herself. Whoever he was acting out as in that moment - Kim Sae-Jin or the Hero Orc - both of his personalities didn't want her to die, after all.
The explosion of the ground became smoke and rose up to the air. Following the apocalyptic chaos that shook the entire mountainside, a heavy, choking silence descended. However, the land upon where the two of them stood no longer existed. The site of the mind-numbing explosion was caved in like the mouth of a volcano, the end of the pit not visible to the naked eye.
Hazy dust particles settled down on
the ground like nuclear fallout. There were a handful of the giant white bird's feathers mixed in among this fog.
Sae-Jin the Orc slowly opened his eyes within the still darkness. Only now he felt that his head, lost among the burning rage and gnawing instincts, had cooled down for him to think properly.
Gradually, his blurry vision sharpened up.
He saw a beautiful woman, right in front of his nose - her comfortably-closed eyes, perfectly shaped nose, lips slightly wet from blood. And he brushed those lips with his thick finger unconsciously.
Kim Yu-Rin showed some reaction, which caused the Orc to stiffen up a little. For now, he thought it would be a good idea to extricate himself from this awkward position, where it kind of looked like they were hugging each other. But she was using his arm like a pillow.
He wondered whether to simply yank his arm lose, but in the end, he just let out a long sigh, instead.
However, if there was one thing Sae-Jin didn't count on, it was that the sigh of an Orc was incomparably powerful to that of a human's.
The storm winds escaping from the Orc's lips arrived at her eyes, blowing her hair back and shook her eyelashes in the process. And so, she woke up from her slumber, just like that.
Two of them blinked and continued to stare at each other. From Kim Yu-Rin's point of view, this was way too fast a change of pace for her.
Well, the thing was, from the moment when the Orc suddenly appeared, and when she got mixed in the explosion while chasing after the Orc, and then… After he grabbed her into his arms, and finally, to this very moment where his face was completely filling up her view, all of these happened in just over a minute for her as far as time frame was concerned.
"…You, should stand now." (Sae-Jin)
After staring at each other like this for who knows how long, the baritone voice of the Orc tickled her ears.
"Ah, yes. Right…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin quickly got up. The Orc also stood up.
"W, where do you think we are now?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
With a slightly reddened face, Kim Yu-Rin asked him while stealing a quick glance at the Orc.
"Don't know. Possible, we fell deep underground, because of explosion." (Sae-Jin)
"…You could be right." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin couldn't help but feel a distinct sense of deja vu right now. There was a situation like this one in the past, although there were quite a few more people back then.
"This place, not a cave like last time." (Sae-Jin)
The Orc said, as he lifted his head to look at the ceiling. No visible light rays permeated from up there, but it sure was very high…
"Ah, in that case…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin pulled her mobile phone out from the pocket. But there was no way an electronic device would survive such a shocking explosion.
"It's not working…."
The Orc shook his head while thinking, Obviously it wouldn't… and then he surveyed his surroundings a little more closely.
He didn't sense any particular 'funny' flow of Mana, and he could hear the sound of underground stream flowing by not too far from his position. So, this place could be…
'…Could this be, nothing more than a simple accident?'
This was different from back then, when he got caught in the isolation barrier trap. He simply fell underground after getting sucked into that large explosion.
"Euh, euh!! Euh, euhk!!"
But quite literally out of the blue, Kim Yu-Rin began struggling for some reason, like a person trying her very best to finish her… business in a toilet.
The lashes on her tightly-closed eyes trembled while both of her fists were clenched real tightly. It was kind of a funny scene to look at, but at the same time, he had seen something similar to that before…
"…I, I can't wield Mana." (Kim Yu-Rin)
After ten minutes of struggle later.
With a face of someone who just lost her country, Kim Yu-Rin looked at the Orc while being on the verge of tears.
Inside this dark space, deep beneath the surface of the planet, a bonfire was burning and spreading warmth, with two 'people' basking in it while idly spending time there.
They were thinking that, since this was an accident, there should be a rescue team coming for them soon enough and that they should stay there for now.
"I think it's the Giant Swan's ability." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin suddenly opened her mouth while she stared into the fire.
"There's a wound on my back that could've been caused by the explosion. That Monster's Mana must have invaded my body." (Kim Yu-Rin)
The Orc didn't say anything. She took a glance at the Orc and continued.
"I think I'll be fine in a week's time." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Then, the Orc let out a lengthy sigh and stood up.
Is he going to hit me?!
Kim Yu-Rin stiffened up noticeably. As if to confirm her worst fears, the Orc did reach out towards her, and then…
He broke off a big chunk of rock protruding from the ground.
"…Wh, what are you planning to do with that?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin somehow regained her calm from her shuddering and asked him. The Orc didn't say anything and simply used the Orc's Smithing Technique. Then, the uneven surface smoothed out, and its shape lengthened into a pole-like form.
"Orcs, make weapons like this." (Sae-Jin)
Feeling slightly awkward by Kim Yu-Rin's way-too shocked reaction, Sae-Jin the Orc said something and then broke off another piece of rock.
Afterwards, the Orc continued to break off rocks from the ground and then, grinded them, combined them, and reshaped them for the next 30 minutes or so.
Initially, Kim Yu-Rin watched on with an interest at what he was trying to achieve, then couldn't help but be deeply impressed by the end results.
*SFX for sounds of hammering.*
At the place where the Orc's hands went past, a small but remarkable stone hut stood proudly.
Although there was a big penalty in the Orc Form, the usefulness of the A-level Goblin's Craftsmanship displayed here was still quite amazing, indeed.
"Wowsers, just how did you…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"You, sleep inside." (Sae-Jin)
She was so shocked, she couldn't even properly finish her sentence, but the Orc spoke as if it was nothing much.
"I, sleep here." (Sae-Jin)
This time, he poured Mana to the ground. The solid stone floor rose up in a squarish shape and then changed into a stone bed.
"Uhm, that… Thank you." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin muttered as she stroked the pillar of the rather adorable little stone hut.
However, she unhurriedly pitter-pattered right next to him and smiled instead.
"But we~ll, I'm not feeling sleepy, though~?"
The ends of her eyes curved upwards coquettishly. The tips of her hair slightly brushed against his arm.
What the hell is up with this aegyo, all of a sudden?!
Sae-Jin did his very best to calm down his trembling heart.
About half a day's stay in the underground prison later.
Kim Yu-Rin had been fiddling with the unresponsive mobile phone and a communication crystal for a while, before a loud grumble came out from her stomach.
It was an embarrassing slip-up. She stopped doing everything and stole another quick glance at the Orc. She felt like hiding in a hole.
The sound should have been loud enough to surprise him, yet the Orc didn't even seem perturbed as he just yanked a big chunk of meat out of his Expanding Pocket.
Kim Yu-Rin's rounded eyes began sparkling dangerously.
The Orc increased the strength of the bonfire and began an impromptu BBQ right there. After 'nicely' sharing the tasty meat, the look of pure satisfaction was writ large on her face as she rubbed down her filled-up belly.
However, not too long after that, she began smacking her lips noisily. The Orc dumbfoundedly looked at her, as if to ask if there was a group of homeless beggars living inside her stomach or something. She quickly waved her hands in denial, and said that this time, it was actually her thirst acting up.
Without a word, the Orc went in search of the underground stream.
He only needed ten minutes as it was nearby. When he poked a hole on the wall where it seemed just about right, a small but steady stream of underground water began leaking out. He quickly fashioned a container out of stone and filled it with water, taking it back to Kim Yu-Rin.
She was definitely embarrassed by her powerless self that was only good for annoying the Orc, but still, drank the water with an ecstatic expression.
It was so, so refreshing.
The Orc chuckled after seeing her reaction, and Kim Yu-Rin also smiled faintly after seeing his expression.
Now that he was done with all the side work related to her, Sae-Jin the Orc sat down on the ground and started the maintenance on his mace. While listening to the rhythmic sound of metal being sheared off and smoothed out, Kim Yu-Rin slowly closed her eyes.
Unfortunately… a new problem arose after about one hour had passed by. It was to be expected, really. After all, she had eaten and drank, so the next natural action of the human digestive system would be…
She searched for a 'good' spot while desperately holding it in. It seemed that, this nature's call was for both numbers… But no, she told herself that she could handle something like this.
The patience and endurance of a Knight was nothing to scoff about, after all.
But her face continued to get redder and redder. Her thighs began rubbing against each other all by themselves, and her body was shivering uncontrollably.
Only then, she realised something quite important.
A Knight without the support of Mana was not a Knight - and that those who 'had it but lost it' were weaker than those who 'originally never had it'….
"Uhm, excuse me… I, ah, need to go somewhere, real quick…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Finally unable to hold it in anymore, she began to shuffle towards some unknown destination in uneasy steps. Too bad, this was a wide-open area with no place to hide…
"Inside the hut. I made a small place." (Sae-Jin)
Kim Yu-Rin's body froze still after hearing the Orc's words that sounded like a divine oracle from the heavenly saviour.
"No, no, it's, it's not like that…. I just want to wash my hands, you see. I am, a little bit… a clean freak… you see…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
While uttering something, she ever-so slowly and painfully inched closer to the hut.
She then heard the Orc's low chuckle. Kim Yu-Rin bit down on her lips while tears formed on the corners of her eyes.
While the two of them were enjoying a bit of an event that could have happened in everyday lives…
An 'egg' lying not too far from where they were began trembling slightly.
And this thing was… an egg the Giant Swan spat out before it went kaboom.
[A powerful explosion occurred during the Giant Swan raid, causing Knight Kim Yu-Rin to go missing in action. The Raven Knights Order has dispatched an emergency rescue team to the site, but it is now understood that, due to the Giant Swan's unique parasitic and harmful Mana acting like a nuclear fallout, it has proven to be exceptionally difficult to descend to where she might be…]
A breaking news broadcast could be seen on the TV screen located within the office of the Mercenary Company's director of operations.
"Yes, Miss Sae-Jung. Ah, the Guild Master is currently…" (Kim Sun-Ho)
[At the same time, the Knights witnessed the Hero Orc appearing in the middle of the raid…]
Acting as a temporary director, the sweating Kim Sun-Ho found himself busy conversing with the "Boss Madam" while keeping an eye on the news broadcast at the same time.
"I believe that, he might not be able to return home for a few days due to a difficult assignment. But you don't have to worry. Since Miss Sae-Jung was in the middle of training, he told me personally that he will contact you as soon as he finds the right time…" (Kim Sun-Ho)
- "….Is that true?"
"Of course. Why would I ever lie to you?"
- "Well, then. Do you know where Hazeline Unni is right now?"
"She's probably at the Yoseon Alchemy House at this very moment. You could call her and find out."
- "…Hmph. I understand."
Yu Sae-Jung ended the call. Kim Sun-Ho put his phone down and groaned out.
"…Just why did you go and interfere in that raid, boss?" (Kim Sun-Ho)
He bitterly murmured to himself.
At that moment, the news broadcast was showing the footage of the Hero Orc riding on top of a giant wolf rushing towards the white bird, while Kim Yu-Rin was hurriedly chasing after him.
< 37. An Orc and a Lady Knight (2) > Fin.
(TL: $43 out of $50 left for next week's first sponsored chapter.)