A Monster Who Levels Up
"Shall I get started?"
Sae-Jin pulled out and drank a potion he made that was designed to boost a person's mental concentration, sensitivity towards Mana, the 'Magic Strength' stat, as well as various other Mana-related stats for a short period of time.
He then changed into the Orc Form and activated the Smithing Technique on the mithril ingots. With a gentle Wuoong~, mithril ingots melted into thick liquid form.
Next, he changed into the Goblin Form and began the painstaking process of crafting this composite material made out of mithril and Mana into something else.
He added various attributes suitable for an armour, and since the body of his Leviathan Form was getting larger everyday, he also didn't forget to add one more attribute, that of elasticity, as well.
Even if the work seemed simple from a casual glance, every master craftsman carried the mindset of going all out to achieve the best result they could. Kim Sae-Jin too, gave the process all his being and focused 100% on it.
Two hours later.
As the sweat pooling on the end of his chin fell, the crafting finally came to an end.
- The damage incurred by all forms of physical attacks will be reduced by 50%.
- The material will not tear no matter how big the host grows. Makes the material almost the same as the host's own skin.
- 3000 units of Mana can be stored within the gear. 'Units' are based on the average amount of Mana found in a human adult. An average adult human possesses 10 units of Mana.]
- By consuming Mana, 'space' can be manipulated. The maximum distance applicable: 1 kilometre.
- By consuming a large amount of Mana, the flow of time can be manipulated. The maximum limit for manipulation: 1 second.]
The armour with many special attributes imbued with, specifically designed for the Leviathan's use - although it looked more like a piece of cloth rather than a real metallic armour, it was still an incredible thing nonetheless, as several of its features could be easily referred to as minor miracles all by themselves.
"Wow, finally, the time manipulation… Euh-ah-ah… Oh man, feel like I'm dying from this dizziness…"
While feeling very much satisfied by the end product, Sae-Jin plopped down on the cold, hard floor. The effects of the potion had run out, and he was feeling really dizzy thanks to the backlash from the forcefully increased concentration levels.
After wasting another ten minutes doing nothing but recuperating, Sae-Jin changed into the Leviathan Form in order to put on the new battle gear.
Around the 2.5 metre body, he draped the bath towel-like silvery defensive gear. As soon as this towel (?) came in contact with his scales, it clung tightly to him like another layer of skin and completely covered his body. That caused his original pure blue colour to change into the brilliant silver sheen.
He felt there was a different type of coolness coming off of him when compared to his original appearance, but he nevertheless also sensed that he had gotten stronger than before. Would there be yet another noisy fuss raised, when the world finds him like this, saying that the Azure Dragon had evolved once more?
'…Hmm, should I add, uh, a cape too?'
…He decided not to, since, at this rate he might truly morph into an action figure for children. He did hear that dolls of the Azure Dragon were flooding the markets of late, after all.
"Keung… Khooung… Khreung!! Kkyung…" (TL: what the?!)
While staring at the mirror, Sae-Jin the Leviathan began taking various poses - looking dignified and serious, then sulky and pouting, and even, a cute face. In the middle of this, he suddenly recalled an
order he gave to Jo Hahn-Sung about a month ago, so he changed back to human, picked up the phone and called the guy.
Jo Hahn-Sung picked the phone up even before the first ring tone could end.
- "Hello, Guild Master."
"Hello, Mister Hahn-Sung. Do you remember the thing I asked you to do the last time?"
- "….Ah, aha. You mean that one? Yes sir, I do remember. I did not forget it. Not at all, sir."
He did sound like he had completely forgotten about it before Sae-Jin made the call, though… Sae-Jin smirked slightly and continued.
"Well, then. I called you to find out about the progress on the matter."
- "….Ah, the thing is… the Mana Stones of sea Monsters are very rare and are also quite expensive…"
Mana Stones of sea-faring Monsters - meaning, Sae-Jin wanted an underling for his Leviathan Form, so he ordered Jo Hahn-Sung to locate one.
"You haven't found one yet?"
- "No, sir, actually… There is one that hadn't been sold because of its exorbitant asking price, sir. It's been priced way too much compared to what it can be used for, so not even those mad collector types have stepped up to buy it at the moment."
Right away, Sae-Jin stood right up from the chair. To think, a Mana Stone belonging to a Monster that was so expensive, no one was willing to buy it. His body began to ache from the excitement.
"W, what is it? The name of this Monster?"
- "That is…"
Jo Hahn-Sung hesitated slightly. As the CEO of TM, he was burdened with the responsibility of safely handling the financial balance of the company as a whole. However, this Mana Stone…
"Please hurry up."
- "Ah, well, it is… a Kraken, sir."
The Kraken. One could humourously call it a giant squid, but the truth was, it was an incredible creature that could easily occupy a starring role in many legendary tales of yore.
"A K, Kraken, you say?!"
Hearing those brightly-glittering name, Sae-Jin's heart skipped a beat altogether. At the same time, Jo Hahn-Sung's heart also missed a beat as well - what if Sae-Jin asked him to buy it?!
"B, b, but!! The estimated price alone is around $65 million!! On top of this, the Knights Order is asking for the amount that is nearly ten million more than that, sir!! It's just nonsensically, ridiculously expensive amount."
"Wow, as you say, that's some price tag, alright. But how did they catch a Kraken? Who caught it?"
- "This Kraken used to be nicknamed 'Amari', previously found in the Mediterranean Sea, Master. A Rome-based Knights Order killed it while losing three of its own Knights, so it's more than likely they will not negotiate any terms whatsoever."
Jo Hahn-Sung swallowed nervously. No matter how densely packed the Mana Stone was with the Kraken's unique and special Mana, it was worth no more than $40 million, when considering the potential financial applications for it. So, $75 million plus was simply too much…
"Buy it." (Sae-Jin)
*SFX for a building collapsing*
The heart of Jo Hahn-Sung the CEO collapsed into a helpless heap. 75 million dollars would be the equivalent of one full year of combined wages for the employees…
"However, since we're dealing with a Knights Order here, we can probably exchange items with them, am I right? Tell them I will ready up to 4 armaments and artifacts with attributes they want. Oh, set some limit as well, don't allow them to ask for anything willy-nilly."
Fortunately, Jo Hahn-Sung had forgotten about something important. It was the fact that Kim Sae-Jin was the proverbial goose laying golden eggs - no, rather, he was the Korean silky fowl that laid mithril eggs…
At least, there was no way the negotiation with any Knights Orders, or even Wizard Towers, would fail.
- "Yes, sir. I understand. I shall send the official request right away."
"Please. I need it quickly, so give it your all."
After ending the call, Sae-Jin began whistling out loudly.
He thought getting a Monster like a Ness at the end of the day would be perfectly fine enough, but then, even bigger fish had entered the net, instead.
When he add the Kraken to the list of Monsters he could summon, then there would be only one slot left in his 'heart'. But he was planning to leave that one alone for now; well, it was currently reserved for that white bird that could spew out Breath attacks.
Around the same time when Kim Sae-Jin was feeling rather chuffed with himself…
Kim Yu-Rin was staying awake throughout the night in a bout of depression.
The night was only growing taller, yet sleep didn't want to visit her. Originally, Knights didn't need a whole lot of sleep in the first place, but since she couldn't catch a wink in the last two days, the situation seemed serious this time.
She felt so lethargic all the time, and didn't feel like being alone any more as well. However, although she did feel this way, she also didn't want to leave her house, either. Plainly speaking, she only wanted to be with one specific person.
She couldn't understand why depression would attack her like this… No, honestly speaking, she knew. She understood the reason plenty well enough.
Her colleagues said something or rather about her mood being a post-operation trauma experienced after surgically removing the parasitic Mana, but…
She wanted to see him. The scent that wasn't present in her home, it still lingered within her memories and stung the inside of her nose.
She wondered what would the Orc be doing right now. She already knew that he probably wasn't thinking about her. He was most likely fighting tooth and nail, or maybe, maintaining his mace or the armour in contemplative silence.
She then suddenly thought of 'Kim Sae-Jin'. What was his relationship with the Orc? Just what did he do that made the Orc call him as the 'most important' person? She was curious. Envious. Jealous, even.
*SFX for a mobile phone ringing*
Her phone rang. But since she couldn't be bothered about anything, she just let the phone be.
For the first time in a long, long while - no, for the first time in 13 years since she entered the Knights Order, she thought that she could seriously do with a vacation, right about now.
Morning of the following day.
The Monster officially announced the partnership deal with the Jin Mudo School led by director Yi Yu-Jin. The contents of the announcement were simple enough.
The Monster honestly admired and believed in Yi Yu-Jin who had inherited the true legacy of the hero Jin Seh-Hahn. So, not ending at just a simple sponsorship, TM would continuously invest into its future as well, going as far as to purchase the surrounding land near the dojo and expand the size of the association and the school itself.
That short but no-nonsense announcement began giving birth to brand new rumours, when combined along with another announcement made by TM exactly three months ago - regarding the 'new Guild member selection'.
The mass media folks were already naming the potential candidates and were in the middle of raising a huge fuss. The funny thing was, the guy supposedly 'handing out the dough' didn't even know this was happening at the moment. Meanwhile, names of the Knights he hadn't even considered before were being placed on the list of 'potential candidates'.
Hell, some media companies even interviewed several Knights appearing on that dubious list.
- Right now, although we're not supposed to say this, you're acknowledged as one of the most likely candidates. So, various betting houses around the world have placed very low odds behind your name… However, what are your thoughts regarding this matter?
- Haha… No, it's not like that. I certainly haven't heard of anything from them. And I also happen to believe that I still lack the ability and temperament right now to become a member of the Monster Guild.
- In that case, even if you're asked to join, you will refuse the invitation?
- Uh-huh-huh. Of course not. How can I do something like that. If I indeed do receive an invitation, that means the Monster Guild has evaluated me highly. Thus, I must put in more effort to meet their expectations of me.
This was an excerpt from the interview done with Kim Won-Jong, a High Tier Knight from the Daebaek Knights Order. Unfortunately, this man who gave such a cool and humble interview, got busted trying to bribe one of The Monster's employees.
While both within the borders of Korea and outside of it were getting oh-so noisy over the news related to The Monster…
Inside the office of the Vice President of 'Great Wisdom Corporation', inexplicable roars of anger and a bunch of expletives could be heard.
"….God damn it!! Hey, you f*cking son of a bi*ch, what nonsense is this sh*t!!"
After receiving the news much later than everyone else due to spending the day in a drunken orgy, the enraged Kim Jong-Hyuk cursed out in anger and tried to destroy his own desk. (TL: To all the readers who forgot about this minor character, he first made his appearance in the chapter 73.)
"My sincerest apologies, sir. This event unfolded so suddenly, we couldn't…"
"No, no, but why? Why the f*ck did those bi*ches suddenly do this?"
"The thing is, there is a story that Kim Sae-Jin actually called the dojo and just handed over ten million dollars, just like that…"
"What? That no good son of a bi*ch is doing whatever the hell he likes now, huh? Who the hell does he think he is, a goddamn NPO? A f*cking commoner, who just lucked into a sh*tty Trait thinks his bloodline has suddenly become a nobility or something?! Argh!!"
Kim Jong-Hyuk was actually the ringleader who rallied other big businesses and Knights Orders to pressure Yi Yu-Jin.
And since those businesses and even the government tacitly agreed with his idea, this matter was something that would have been resolved, very soon.
After all, when viewed from the government's perspective, to see the unique martial arts created solely by the born-in-Korea, raised-in-Korea hero Jin Seh-Hahn spread around the world without a proper compensation was not something to be too happy about.
"W, what should we do now, sir…?"
"What the, you dipsh*t!! What the f*ck can we do now when things have become like this?! Ah? Wait, didn't this sh*t become such a goddamn mess, because of your lack-a-f*cking-daisical fooling around, saying it's all going to happen soon?!"
Kim Jong-Hyuk picked up an ashtray off the desk and threw it on the floor. The more violent he got, his coagulating rage only burned hotter and hotter.
"That, that f*cking son of a bi*ch, I want to kill him myself, but I can't… Argh, f*ck this all to hell!!"
Kim Sae-Jin - because of that bastard, Kim Jong-Hyuk even suffered the indignity of being sent to prison. Even then, Jong-Hyuk had to cool his rage and let it go after listening to his father's advice. What choice did he have? That bastard had grown too influential to cut off his head now.
"Get the f*ck out. Get out!! You f*cking useless a*shole. Get the f*ck out of my sight!!"
"M, my apologies, sir."
Kim Jong-Hyuk kicked his personal assistant out of his office. Even this wasn't enough to appease his boiling anger; so, he began destroying his office, instead.
Only after turning his once-dignified office of a Vice President into an unrecognisable junkyard, he regained some of his cool and sat down on one of the surviving chairs.
However, he suddenly remembered something. That suspicious-looking Wizard, who asked him if he was interested in 'working together'.
Kim Jong-Hyuk did chase the guy away since he let off that unpleasant aura unique to Vampires back then, but now…
He opened the locked drawer, and then tapped on the blood-colour crystal hidden within.
During the afternoon of freedom, after Yu Sae-Jung went off to work.
Jo Hahn-Sung came to visit Kim Sae-Jin while carrying a certain Mana Stone.
"Here it is."
"…How did this arrive after only one day?!" (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin received the small treasure box that obviously held the Mana Stone inside and tilted his head in confusion. He remembered giving his order only yesterday - no, just over 12 hours ago.
"Ah, the thing is, when you called me yesterday, it was also morning in Rome, so the Knights Order's higher ups had arrived for work by then, Master. That's why I could conclude the talks quickly. When I mentioned the exchange conditions, they just sent the Stone over without asking for anything, and then, they called me up afterwards. They said, 'since the package has been sent, you can't renege on the deal' or something similar to that effect, sir." (Jo Hahn-Sung)
"Haha, that's a relief." (Sae-Jin)
When Sae-Jin cracked open the lid of the box a little, a jet-black beam of light exploded out from the small opening.
"Oh, oh, wow." (Sae-Jin)
He got deeply impressed by the display of the powerful aura, and hurriedly closed the lid.
As expected, inside the chest was…
There was a huge Mana Stone fitting for a Kraken inside, all wrapped in a dignified silk, while patiently waiting for its new owner, Kim Sae-Jin.
< 39. Preparations for the Hunt (1) > Fin.
(TL: $48 out of $50 left for this week's second sponsored chapter.)