A Monster Who Levels Up
It was an incredibly unpleasant and uncomfortable sensation when Sae-Jin’s body went through ‘changes’ during the instant transmission. After experiencing the unpleasantness of his entire body breaking down to molecular level, and then getting rebuilt in a flash, Sae-Jin staggered as he opened his eyes.
He found himself trapped inside this oppressively dark space, and right away, spotted Bathory keeled over on the ground not too far, busy vomiting out mouthful of blood.
The first thing he thought of was “Is this another chance?”
Unfortunately though – the Mana cannon was a one-hit-kill attack that sucked up every drop of Mana from inside his body as well as from the outside. Regrettably, he didn’t have much Mana left within him.
*SFX for vomit. Yuck.*
Bathory made uncool noises as she continued to vomit out blood. However, Sae-Jin already understood that her actions were actually a part of the recovery process, where she expelled dead blood out of her body to replace it with fresh one instead. It was one of the bits of knowledge he gained after ingesting the scale of the adult Leviathan.
However, he had no idea why the knowledge about Vampires were recorded within the scale, though.
Whatever the case may have been, he couldn’t help but worry about the near future when her pain would be replaced by her fury.
Since he heard that Bathory liked torturing people, there were more reasons now to spin his brain faster than ever before.
It was then, he recalled a certain Skill called the ‘Dark Energy Link’. This Skill received a few additional upgrades when he ‘evolved’, so its usefulness had increased by a great deal.
And among these new additions, the bits of text gleaming quite nicely within Sae-Jin’s recollection were as thus:
[Dark Energy Link]
– Not only emotions such as ‘Fear’ and ‘Terror’, but even physical sensations such as ‘Pain’ and ‘Pleasure’ can be used to form the Link.
– However, when the Link is formed with sensation as the medium, while the experienced sensation will be shared, no other functions will manifest.
Obviously, a Link of submission formed with fear and terror would not work against a bigshot like Bathory. On the flip side, though – the Link formed with ‘sensation’ could be a possibility. Plus, she was currently experiencing acute pain right now.
However, no matter how strong the Leviathan Form was compared to his other Forms, the Dark Energy Link was a Skill he needed to use in the Lycanthrope Form to bring about the best results. But, for now, he maintained the Leviathan Form and sneaked in closer to Bathory’s position.
“You shouldn’t waste your time, darling. You can’t hurt me. We are not in the ocean anymo… Bleurgh.”
While listening to her chilly declaration and the follow-up noise of retching, Sae-Jin cautiously activated the Eyes of the Wolf. He could sort of see a ‘shadow’ of pain hovering near her back. But he found out that, as a Leviathan, he couldn’t pull that energy towards him and form a link.
He closed his eyes. He told himself that he only needed to succeed once.
Now normally, those who enjoyed being cruel towards others would not be able to adjust to being treated cruelly in return – most of the time.
The body of the Leviathan began to shrink before anyone could notice it.
The head of the dragon changed to a shape of a person’s, while the shrinking body morphed into one with four limbs. Shoulders broad enough to seemingly carry five grown men’s heads without a problem, and slick, tightly packed muscles rippling in his arms. And, the wild, macho silvery fur that warmly covered that rock-hard body
He changed into the Lycanthrope.
Now that he looked through this beast’s eyes, the dark energy hovering on top of the woman was far more distinct and clearer.
The only strand of energy he could touch right now was ‘pain’. So, Sae-Jin extended his finger and beckoned the link for ‘pain’ to come closer. That energy strand tightly wound around his finger. Sae-Jin cautiously studied this, before…
He grabbed the energy and shoved it down his throat.
Immediately, Bathory’s eyes shifted towards his direction, and at the same time, several alert windows popped up into his view.
[The Dark Energy Link has been established against an overwhelmingly powerful existence!] [Condition complete: Swallow the Heavens (1/2)] [All Stats for the Lycanthrope Form will increase by a large margin!] [The Lycanthrope Form’s unique Skill, ‘Senses of a Wolf’ has been acquired!] [When the last condition is met, the Lycanthrope Form will evolve into the final stage.]
His muscles and bones issued cracking noises as the body of the Lycanthrope began rapidly increasing in its size. Bathory completely turned around after sensing the disturbing presence, and when she saw him, she completely lost her sh*t.
“&^%#!!! What the hell!! Who the f*ck are you, you disgusting scum?!”
She violently swung her arms around. Sae-Jin belatedly raised his arms to block her, but the power behind her wild swings totally transcended his imagination. Bones in his arms shattered into smithereens, and the shock wave slammed into his innards, blowing up several internal organs.
It was such a nonsensically powerful attack, had he been a normal person, he would have died instantly.
Fortunately enough, that pain was shared with her, too. And no, it wasn’t some sympathetic sharing of pain – instead, she would feel the full brunt of the physical pain Sae-Jin experienced in that moment.
That was why it should be considered normal to see her screaming her lungs out in a high pitched tone.
Bathory screamed and collapsed on the ground. From now on, it was a battle of recuperative powers and endurance between the two. Who could recover faster, and who could endure more pain?
Sae-Jin was feeling confident of his odds. After all, the Lycanthropes of the legends were often called the ‘race of immortal youth’ thanks to the vitality and regenerative powers that far outstripped other races. And on top of this, he had over 100 healing and recovery potions ‘Spiritualised’ and stored within his body right at this moment, as well.
Some people might call all the preparations he did simply excessive, but the very notion of that being ‘bad’ was utter garbage. The more, the better. Anytime.
Completely recovering in the blink of an eye, Bathory spat out a word that kind of sounded like a curse word while reaching out towards Sae-Jin’s direction.
And so, the chain of one-sided beating and mutual sharing of resulting pain, began in earnest.
The secret conference room was shrouded in a heavy atmosphere. Everyone present carried somber expressions and spoke not a word. Without a doubt, their plan failed. Of course, it was still somewhat more palatable result than being wiped out.
But, no one dared to raise this point. The importance of the person kidnapped was just too high for that.
*SFX for the second hand of the clock ticking away*
The heavy silence, where only the ticking of the second hand could be heard, finally got broken by the alarm tone coming off from someone’s mobile phone.
Kim Sun-Ho hesitatingly pulled out his phone, and after checking out the message on the screen, let out a long sigh.
“…Well, it’s from Miss Yu Sae-Jung. What should I do?”
At the same time, several sighs also leaked out.
And as everyone here were wondering how to reply to Yu Sae-Jung, Yu Baek-Song stepped up with a serious face.
“We keep everything as a secret from Yu Sae-Jung.” (Yu Baek-Song)
“…..After hiding the truth, and then what?” (Hazeline)
Hazeline asked, her voice trembling heavily. She cried her eyes out so much, they were all puffed up beyond recognition.
“As long as Kim Sae-Jin remains as a Leviathan, he won’t die. All we have to do is rescue him.” (Yu Baek-Song)
“With us alone?” (Hazeline)
“With other people, too.” (Yu Baek-Song)
“No, wait. You, listen here…” (Hazeline)
Hazeline wanted to say something to counter her, but in the end, she became overcome with emotions and buried her face on the table once more. The sound of her soft sobbing seemed to blanket the silent conference room.
“….Stop crying, you idiot. The news of the Azure Dragon being kidnapped will be enough. Koreans love the Azure Dragon, after all. When we break the news that the Vampires have kidnapped the Azure Dragon, they will help us. Yup, I’m sure of it.”
Said Yu Baek-Song, as she gently stroked Hazeline’s head. It was a somewhat funny scene where a shorty that looked like a middle schooler was busy consoling a full-grown adult, but not one person here laughed at that.
“What do you think, Lillia? About my plan?” (Yu Baek-Song)
– “If all the Highest Tier Knights in the country volunteer to help, then we might have a chance, but under the current circumstance, the odds of it happening are quite slim.”
Boss Monsters were still raising a ruckus all over the world even now. The frequency of their appearances had increased by so much, one popped up almost every other week. Thanks to this, there were more than a few frontlines set up to confront the Monsters.
However, to snatch away the services of Highest Tier Knights under this kind of situation? It would be akin to setting the storehouse on fire just to catch a lice.
– “And also, seeing that Bathory hadn’t returned to the hotel, it is likely that she has settled down elsewhere.”
Another heavy silence descended on the room. They tried their best to come up with something, but couldn’t think of anything useful.
The only thing still flowing freely within this silence was the ceaseless sobbing coming from Hazeline.
Inside the jet-black interior.
It was impossible to tell whether this was inside some kind of a closed-off space, or the luxury hotel Bathory was staying. But it really didn’t matter either way. Because of all the blood coating pretty much everywhere, this whole place looked too gruesome to look, anyway.
Sae-Jin heard a queer speech coming from somewhere. When he turned to look, he spotted Bathory lying on the floor, just like him, busy glaring at him with bloodshot eyes. So, so much crazy killing intent contained within her glare.
“Speak in Korean. I can’t understand you.” (Sae-Jin)
He leisurely laughed and replied to her. The coincidental level up meant that, the only way to break the now-more powerful Dark Energy Link was for the owner – him – to personally severe the connection. No matter how many times she hit him, nothing would change.
“My Yong-Yong… You dirty, scummy canine b*stard, you dare to trick me?” (Bathory)
“And just what did I trick you with?” (Sae-Jin)
Bathory grit her teeth in anger. But she didn’t do anything else besides. She was probably exhausted as well.
“…Well, it doesn’t matter. In any case, as soon as I fully recover, you’re a dead meat.” (Bathory)
Bathory spoke with a manufactured smile on her face.
“Fuht. You think I’ll let you?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin sneered and slashed at her face with his claws.
Thanks to his lucky level up, his claws were much stronger now. Their hardness could exceed that of the earth’s greatest metal, mithril. So, at a bare minimum, they should be able to inflict some sort of damage to the clearly-weakened Bathory.
*SFX for wounds inflicted. I think.*
Four claw lines slashed out at an oblique angle.
She screamed out at this unexpected attack and rolled around the floor in pain. However, he didn’t feel a thing. Well, the thing was, this Dark Energy Link came with a certain convenient feature that benefited the owner, somewhat.
In a way, it was like, ‘what’s yours is yours, and what’s mine is mine’, that kinda thing.
That’s why, he needed to continuously torment her. To make sure that she would never recover her vitality, and that she wouldn’t be able to endure any longer and let him go.
“You son of a bi*ch!!”
Bathory screamed out a couple of choice words and kicked Sae-Jin in the side. His ribs shattered from the impact, but that also meant Bathory’s were also shattered, too.
“Ah, argh, eu-ah-ahrng…” (Bathory)
“Stop doing things that will be painful for both of us.”
Sae-Jin quickly recovered thanks to the effects of potions, and began taunting her. Her eyes snapped wide open and shouted at him.
“You shut up!!” (Bathory)
“Hmph. I should pay you back for your rude words.”
Strictly speaking, he didn’t learn this attack to use in moments like this, but whatever – he decided to use the ‘Lightning Chain Claw’. Immediately, purple-coloured arcs of electricity buzzed and circulated around his extended claws. Bathory saw this and her entire body trembled imperceptibly.
“You!! You better stop!! I said, stop!!! I’m warning you!! A warni… *Bzzzzzzzz*….”
He ignored her and slashed at her entire torso. Even though her body was shaking from the pain of the electricity, she didn’t submit to it and thrust forward her hand into Sae-Jin’s heart.
…Without the regenerative potions, he’d have probably died three times over by now.
His sight blurred and his consciousness darkened.
When he reopened his eyes after losing his consciousness for a brief second or two, he spotted Bathory next to him, weaving in and out of slumber herself.
“Ha-ah, ha-ah…” (Bathory)
He stealthily approached her and stabbed his claw into her neck.
“Eiii, you f*cking…” (Bathory)
Her eyes snapped open, and with an expression that said she had enough of this sh*t, she shoved her fingers into Sae-Jin’s eye sockets.
“Just die already, you scummy son of a bi*ch!!” (Bathory)
“You first.” (Sae-Jin)
In the end, a cease-fire occurred between him and Bathory. He told her to release him, but she resolutely refused to do so. She said that, she would keep him around until she found a way to exterminate him.
And so, a curious co-habitation begun.
The place was an empty, isolated space probably maintained by Bathory herself. Trapped within, both of them didn’t eat anything nor did anything. Except, for the childish tauntings thrown at each other’s way.
“You hungry now? You moron. You see, I’m the perfect Vampire, so I only need to eat something once a year and that’s all, you know?” (Bathory)
“I can rip off your arm and snack on that, so it’s fine.” (Sae-Jin)
“Who says I’ll let you snack on me?!” (Bathory)
Thanks to the Dark Energy Link, Bathory couldn’t kill him. If she wounded him fatally, then that damage would transmit in full towards her as well. However, in case of something going wrong, he had to prevent her from using a magic spell that might exceed his Skill, so he needed to constantly hurt her.
Bathory groaned out a lengthy sigh and got up. He extended his claws and slashed at her back and her waist. Deep, horrendous wounds opened up, and she fell back down on the ground once more.
“Ah-euhck!! Hey, you crazy b*stard!!” (Bathory)
“I’m telling you, it’ll be better for you to release me now. What do you think will happen when my friends show up? Will you be able to fight them off in your current condition?” (Sae-Jin)
Instead of a proper answer, Bathory fed him a knuckle sandwich to his face.