A Monster Who Levels Up
Yu Sae-Jung was waiting for him when Kim Sae-Jin returned home.
Although her face was awash with discontentment, Sae-Jin felt this was rather fortunate. He was worried that she might be still stuck at the Knights Order.
"Oppa, just what’s going on with you right now?" (Yu Sae-Jung)
With her arms crossed, she bluntly spat out her words as soon as she saw his face. He simply smiled and replied.
"Just this and that. But today was the last day. I’m all done with it. From now on, I’m going to spend the holidays with you." (Sae-Jin)
It seemed that her anger had cooled down a bit. A sigh of relief automatically escaped from his lips. Too bad, that ill-timed sigh ended up reigniting her fuse once more.
"I’m still angry at you, you know? Oppa, do you have any idea how many times this month alone you spent the night outside without telling me?" (Yu Sae-Jung)
Muttering his apology, Sae-Jin hugged Yu Sae-Jung tightly. She shouted "Don’t you even think about glossing over this with only this much!!" and continued to throw a tantrum, but he didn’t let go. Three minutes or so later, she grew much more quieter.
Yu Sae-Jung’s voice tickling his ears was thick with worries. Was this the so-called woman’s intuition? He did his best to maintain a calm face and answered her, but the worries in her trembling voice still remained palpable.
"You’re not cheating on me, right?" (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yes, it was called an ‘intuition’ since it could indeed get stuff very wrong. When he looked at her with a somewhat dazed face, she quickly added something else with even more worries in her voice.
"If, if you’re seeing someone else… just, just don’t get found out, okay?"
What on earth was she even saying? Sae-Jin groaned out deeply and lightly stomped on her forehead with his fist.
A cute cry resounded out.
"You see, there are lots of women who seemed to like me out there." (Sae-Jin)
He jokingly bragged while pulling her close back into his arms.
"….You should be oh-so proud of yourself, then." (Yu Sae-Jung)
Her grumpy voice leaked out from within his embrace.
"What’s the matter? Why aren’t you saying anything? Lots of women like Oppa, so what next?" (Yu Sae-Jung)
"That’s just it. The only one I like is you." (Sae-Jin)
He had spend a long time in the same space with her. He had grown so accustomed to Yu Sae-Jung; she had become someone he just could not imagine not having in his life anymore.
"…What the heck. Is that all?" (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yu Sae-Jung playfully narrowed her eyes and began pinching both of his cheeks.
"Les’s ghewt mawwied."
His words became garbled because of that, but he could still transmit what he wanted to say to her.
She stopped pinching his cheeks and lowered her hands, her face completely dumbstruck.
"Maybe not right now, maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but… definitely. When we can marry without any worries then…" (Sae-Jin)
One of his cheek experienced a stinging pain right then.
"Eek!! Hey, what was that for?!" (Sae-Jin)
"Ho, how can you say something like that in this kind of a situation!! You, you idiot!!" (Yu Sae-Jung)
She began shouting at him while tears formed in her eyes.
"Seriously, just what kinda proposal is this…" (Yu Sae-Jung)
"Uh?! Ah… Oh, uh, yeah, uhm, this isn’t a proposal, you see? No, hang on, yeah, it is a proposal in a way. It’s like, I’m proposing to you that I’ll make a proper proposal…" (Sae-Jin)
"You’re noisy!! Outta my way!
!" (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yu Sae-Jung pushed him aside and stomped her way into the kitchen. It seemed that she was royally pissed off right now, but thankfully, her voice coming out from the kitchen seemed to indicate otherwise.
"Oppa, you hungry? There’s some leftover cake, would you like some?"
Late at night, on the day of the Christmas.
As soon as the short-ish meeting with Yu Sae-Jung was over, Kim Sae-Jin headed off to the East Sea. After transforming into the Leviathan, he began swimming in the ocean with only his head peeking out of the ocean’s surface. This was in order to ensure that Bathory wouldn’t lose interest or run away after seeing his new body that had grown three times the previous size.
Eerie winds blew, and even the calm sounds of the waves felt rather ominous, yet Sae-Jin wasn’t worried. This was in the middle of the ocean. He didn’t have anything to fear here.
And as he sliced through the waters…
He sensed the cold presence of a certain someone.
He knew who it could be without using his eyes to confirm. However, Sae-Jin maintained his poker face and continued to swim, towards where Lillia’s isolation barrier was located at.
He picked up the faint movement following him from behind. Sae-Jin swam leisurely and swam towards the trap set for the target.
The location of the isolation barrier trap was set in a triangular formation with three small, uninhabited rocky islands acting as the three vertices. While eagerly waiting for the Bathory woman to follow him, Sae-Jin faithfully moved towards the centre of the formation.
Just as he arrived at the destination.
A red whirlwind broke out in the air.
The whirlwind grew in ferocity and size, violently whipping the water around before it all came to a sudden halt.
The crimson winds died down and the ocean’s turbulent waves also calmed down. And when the crimson winds blocking the view dissipated, a stunningly beautiful woman carrying a seductive smile revealed her graceful self.
It was none other than Prillani von Bathory.
Bathory greeted the Azure Dragon, and behind her, Rhosrahdel could be seen, smiling deeply in satisfaction. Sae-Jin the Leviathan too assumed a thick smile as well.
"Oh, my. Oh my!! Is he smiling at me right now?" (Bathory)
Bathory raised a fuss after spotting the curved lips of the ‘Azure Dragon’.
"Yes, my Lady. I think you’re right."
"Right? Doesn’t it look like it likes me?" (Bathory)
Rhosrahdel enthusiastically agreed with her. Unfortunately, Bathory couldn’t maintain her happy mood for long.
Immediately, From the bottom of the ocean, Mana began boiling like crazy, then it rose up along with the water and encased all three of them in a dome-shaped barrier.
"Mm…? Hey, kid, what is this?" (Bathory)
"I’m not sure either… Could it be, one of the Azure Dragon’s abilities…?"
"Is that so? By the way, why are you going over to that side?" (Bathory)
Bathory tried her best to maintain a smile as she looked at Rhosrahdel. He had already taken refuge behind the Azure Dragon by then.
*SFX for things popping out from magic circles. I think.*
Soon afterwards, teleportation magic circles hidden within the barrier activated and many silhouettes emerged from there. These were Wizards wearing jet-black robes, already finished with their chantings to fire off high-level magic spells at any time.
Bathory panicked for a brief moment, before breaking out in another smile as she opened her mouth.
"…Nosferatus. So, it was you b*stards. I guessed as much. Inferior breeds are unable to coexist in harmony with the purebloods, after all."
Bathory sneered in contempt and wielded Mana stored in every part of her body.
No, she tried to.
However, Mana didn’t move an inch. It was as if her blood vessels had all been blocked up.
Finally realising the urgency of the situation, she hurriedly searched for the one responsible for this strange magic. But every one of them were wearing the identical black robe and it was impossible to tell them apart.
"You no-good sons of bi*ches…!!"
Thoroughly enraged by now, Bathory unconsciously rushed forward. She didn’t need things like Mana. No, with the constitution of Bathory, that unbelievably powerful physical body alone would be enough to sweep away these uncouth rabble of inferior breeds…
However, a weighty greatsword appeared seemingly out of nowhere and blocked her progress. It was Joo Ji-Hyuk’s doing. He did succeed in delaying her for around two seconds, but…
…But, he was unable to completely withstand her angry attacks.
The greatsword was powerlessly shoved away and Joo Ji-Hyuk was flung away to the corner of the barrier like a ragdoll.
But, Joo Ji-Hyuk wasn’t the only Knight here. Past the head of the flying Joo Ji-Hyuk, a sharp sword aura slithered forward like a snake and sliced a couple strands of Bathory’s hair.
*SFX for falling hair*
Red strands of hair fell to the bottom of the isolation barrier.
Unconsciously stepping back a couple of times, Bathory confirmed her faintly damaged hair, and roared out to the high heavens in pure rage.
Bathory shouted out some undecipherable words and was about to rush towards Yi Hye-Rin’s direction.
But then, countless magic spells rained down on her position.
Dark red flashes of light beams, spheres of condensed destructive power, curses filled to the brim with resentment - at this hail storm of approaching spells, even Bathory had no choice but to stop what she was trying to do.
*SFX for a loud sweeping sound*
The combined might of the spells were incredible enough to scar the isolation barrier semi-permanently, and the shock wave coming off from the resulting explosion was harsh enough to make all the listeners bleed from their ears.
However, there was one more attack that could easily be described as a sure-kill still left to be unleashed.
And that was the ‘Mana cannon’ busy gathering in the Azure Dragon’s maws.
This was the finishing move that Sae-Jin learned after ingesting the adult Leviathan’s scale. It was the true one-hit kill Skill where he gathered every bit of Mana from both his body as well as from the ocean around him, to fire out and annihilate the enemy in front.
No matter who or what the target was, all things would ‘disappear’ without a trace when struck by this Mana cannon. Didn’t matter the shape or form of the physical body, elemental preference, Traits, whatever.
Even ‘light’ was not spared. Within the path where the Mana cannon swept past, darkness dyed the world black.
That was why, not even Bathory herself could survive this devastating attack.
However - less than ten seconds after the battle broke out.
One of the Wizards wearing the black robe suddenly collapsed.
And at the same time, at the location where the magic spells from the Wizards were raining down, a powerful Mana rose up like an ascending dragon.
Bathory was in the middle of emitting the dense, red-coloured Mana to her surroundings, while her melted down skin and maimed limbs were rapidly recovering by themselves.
Someone shouted out, prompting Yi Hye-Rin, Yu Baek-Song and Rejen to step forward at the same time. But, Yi Hye-Rin’s Mana dissipated powerlessly the moment it came in contact with Bathory, and instead, a blood-red whip slammed into Hye-Rin’s chest. She got squarely hit and spat out a mouthful of blood, before collapsing helplessly.
Yu Baek-Song transformed into the divine beast and rushed in. The Giant White Tiger swung its front paw hard. Bathory simply blocked it with only an arm and fired off a light beam at the side of the tiger.
At the same time, Rejen emerged from under the body of the White Tiger and her blade pierced deep into Bathory’s heart.
Bathory quickly reorganised her Mana and slashed at Rejen’s arms, but then…
The front paw of the White Tiger slammed into her head, hard.
"….That hurts, you know?" (Bathory)
Unfortunately, Bathory didn’t die. No, she instead carried a leisurely smile as she grabbed the neck of the tiger.
The White Tiger was clearly in distress, yet it continued to punch Bathory’s head. But the future Vampire queen showed no adverse reaction, only her grip on the tiger’s throat was getting tighter and tighter.
It was then.
"Get out of the way!!"
20 seconds had passed in total.
A time way too long in the context of this battle flew past, but by then, the Mana cannon was fully charged. Lillia loudly shouted out at the same time. Yu Baek-Song quickly cancelled the transformation and retreated to a safe distance.
Almost immediately, a huge and massive white ray of light engulfed Bathory.
One might have gotten confused that even the sound was eradicated within the isolation barrier.
The sounds of breathing, sounds of swallowing saliva, none of them could be heard.
Everyone stared dumbfoundedly at the space where the Mana cannon swept by. Would the world look like this if it was burnt black? They all stood there and ‘appreciatively’ gazed at the unnatural darkness etched on to the world - until an urgent cry shattered this silence.
"Wait!! The finger!!"
Lillia hurriedly fired a Mana Spear at a stump of a finger rolling around on the bottom of the barrier.
But alas, it was too late.
That small finger violently expelled the red Mana and blocked the enemy’s attack, and then, rapidly regenerated into…
"….Well, I died four times because of a strange magic." (Bathory)
…The finger fully regenerated into Bathory. While cracking her joints, she took a look around at her opponents.
"You guys, I guess you have a close relationship with my Yong-Yong, huh?" (Bathory)
Bathory spoke as she stared down at her enemies.
She died a total of five times today. She so wanted to rip apart every single one of these mongrels here, but if she got killed one more time, then that would be the end for her. Considering that she also needed to tear apart this stupid barrier, quite regrettably she no longer had the spare capacity to handle the additional danger.
Also… Yong-Yong was busy sucking up endless Mana from the ocean right at this moment. If she dallied any longer, it might fire off that outrageous beam attack again.
"Oh well…. it doesn’t matter, really. I really enjoy taking away things from others, you see." (Bathory)
While holding her side that hadn’t fully regenerated yet, Bathory fired off a magic bullet that was comprised of condensed and uber-intense flames at the isolation barrier’s wall. What with the Mana reserve of the Wizards maintaining the barrier falling quite low, a magic bullet the size of a baseball could easily pierce a gap in the barrier.
The complexions of the Wizards turned ashen.
Bathory didn’t have time to waste here. She immediately rushed towards the Leviathan, and grabbed its neck tightly.
…She disappeared, along with her catch.
That was a spell where chanting nor a magic circle was needed. This was way past the boundaries of normal magic - the so-called ‘instant transmission’. (TL: LOL. DBZ reference FTW!!)
The thought processes of everyone present stopped dead in their tracks.
What happened just now? They even found this hard to figure out.
Even after the isolation barrier shattered into nothingness, not one of them could say a single word for a long, long while.
< 41. A Curious Occurrence (1) > Fin.
(TL: Okay, bad news, folks. Although donations did come in, they weren’t enough for sponsored chapters for this weekend. So, sorry about the cliffhanger… Well, see you on Monday.)