A Monster Who Levels Up
“…Eh? What do you mean? What contest?” (Sae-Jin)
– “Nominally, it’s an exhibition to see who has contributed to the society more, but is structured like a contest, sir. The government has made the official request just now. Apparently, they wish to comfort the citizens during this time of great unrest.” (Jo Hahn-Sung)
Kim Sae-Jin used an excuse of him becoming restless when being idle to leave the village for a short while. Kim Yu-Rin did annoy him by reminding him that they needed to install various traps soon, but when he asked for just one hour, she had no choice but to reluctantly let him go.
“Well, if the intentions are good, I won’t say no, but… But, how will a contest like that help with comforting the masses?” (Sae-Jin)
He found a spot within the forest that had no people whatsoever, changed back to his human form, and the very first thing he did was to have a sort-of reunion with Yu Sae-Jung (over a period of 50 minutes) over the phone; now, the person on the line was Jo Hahn-Sung, who said he had business-related matters to discuss.
And the main topic was hosting The Monster’s so-called ‘Exhibition for Contributions to the society at large’.
Borrowing the name of ‘Exhibition’, this contest’s main aim was to take a closer look at the people within the five categories of Magic, Knights, Art, Alchemy, and society, and by sussing out who had contributed to the world at large the most, admit them in as the newest members of The Monster Guild. And if five categories proved to be a bit too much, then only the two of ‘Magic’ and ‘Knights’.
– “I thought the same initially, but after hearing them out, I believe it’s plausible after all, sir. During this troubled times, this contest has the potential to become something that the citizens, even if it’s only by a little bit, could become passionate about and be involved in.” (Jo Hahn-Sung)
“Well, if it turns out like that, then that will be wonderful, but will the citizens really focus on this contest?” (Sae-Jin)
No, it was dead certain they would focus on it. First of all, the process would be televised in full.
However, to say they were going to rouse the depressed masses or some such when they were simply trying to find a new member for the Guild, well, that kind of was embarrassing and not to mention, made him a bit hesitant as well.
– “Yes, of course. Not just the country, I’m sure the world will focus on us, sir. Back then, when we picked Director Yi Yu-Jin, fanbases were formed around those so-called strong favourites and they started fighting amongst each other, you see. As we will be officially announcing the candidates, I believe it will get far more heated this time around, sir.” (Jo Hahn-Sung)
“….Really? But still, wouldn’t it be troublesome if this thing becomes too successful? I fear, we might end up receiving criticism about lowering the vigilance of the public or something…” (Sae-Jin)
– “The current climate is certainly quite depressing, but I believe being overly fearful is even worse, sir. Even the government thinks that, rather than the problem of vigilance, it is better to lower the excess amount of fear among the public.” (Jo Hahn-Sung)
Kim Sae-Jin tilted his head.
“But, just by hosting an exhibition like this one, people’s fears will lessen?” (Sae-Jin)
– “If we choose a few candidates as the new Guild members, then we would be able to advertise nationwide that there are more than enough talented and hardworking Knights or Wizards in our country that are good enough to enter The Monster. That should be good enough, sir.” (Jo Hahn-S
“Aha. Hmm… In that case, alright, please go ahead.” (Sae-Jin)
– “Yes, sir. Will do.”
Ending the call there, Sae-Jin ‘Spiritualised’ the phone into his body.
And if he were to add in something slightly unnecessary here, the Spiritualised mobile phone granted a rather peculiar ability to the person performing the technique. The words on the alert window was thus:
[A smartphone has been absorbed via Spiritualisation. By using the eyes of the host, photos and even video footage can be captured.]
Although it did sound kinda fun and slightly interesting, there was no other usage beside that.
“You’re ten minutes late.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin’s mouth pouted as if to pierce Sae-Jin with them. He scratched the back of his neck and offered up an excuse that wasn’t really an excuse.
“I can also be late.” (Sae-Jin)
“Hmm….. Fine. Let’s get going already. To set the traps.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Thankfully, she didn’t complain unnecessarily. Kim Yu-Rin simply grabbed his wrist tightly and moved her feet towards the area where the traps were to be installed. That’s right, she was holding his wrist. Although this much skinship should be nothing, the person doing it being who she was, Sae-Jin ended up feeling rather weirded out.
“Oii. Your plan, it will work?” (Sae-Jin)
So, he asked an unnecessary question deliberately, so he could pull his hand out at the same time. However, she held his wrist with an unexpectedly strong grip and he couldn’t free himself.
“Yes. You don’t have to worry. The odds of our victory are far greater than our defeat, actually. And since foot soldiers are fighting foot soldiers, and leaders are fighting the leaders, the casualties should be minimised greatly as well.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
The contents of the ‘plan’ Kim Yu-Rin was talking about with a healthy smile went something like this.
According to the detection radar of TM, it was suspected that the Ogre army consisted of 50~60 individuals that formed marching columns of 10.
And the Three-Headed Ogre was accompanied by 4 Two-Headed Ogres that acted like its ‘royal guards’, supposedly showing off the majesty of the commander in the middle of these marching columns.
However, Ogres were known for their low intelligence. That was why, Kim Yu-Rin decided to go with the most basic tactic of them all – traps and ambushes.
Firstly, traps. Using the labour skills of the Orcs, pits would be dug out, and then, a portion of the Ogre army would be drawn there.
Even though an Ogre with two heads wouldn’t fall into an obvious trap since it was marginally smarter, an Ogre was still an Ogre at the end of the day. Beat it up good and make it taste more pain than it could handle, then the rage would cause that ‘intelligence’ to drop to the rock bottom, and the Ogre would follow the bait nice and easy.
“No other things to do, beside that one?” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes. We’ll build only build traps for today and return.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Twenty minutes of walking later, Kim Yu-Rin and the Orc army arrived near the vicinity of a river.
Creation of pitfall traps, where the ground was dug out and sharp spikes installed at the bottom, was done in a jiffy. As expected of the outstanding labour skills of the Orcs that even made Monster researchers astonished.
“It’s finished~!!” (Kim Yu-Rin)
The final step, covering up the pitfalls with grass also came to an end really quickly. Kim Yu-Rin declared leisurely while wiping away sweat drops on her forehead.
Satisfaction and happiness were quite evident on her beaming face, but Sae-Jin’s feelings were a bit different from hers. No matter what, this whole place screamed this here is a trap~~, so this was kinda…
“…Kinda shabby.” (Sae-Jin)
“It’s going to be fine. Because of their big bodies, Ogres don’t pay attention to what’s underneath their feet, anyway.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
When Sae-Jin the Orc surveyed the covered up traps with unsure face, Kim Yu-Rin told him not to worry and slapped his back.
“It’s going to be fine, so let’s go back. I’m tired.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
After that, she again grabbed Sae-Jin’s wrist and began leading him away.
As if to prevent him from yanking his hand away, her grip was really tight.
Seeing this, her action was definitely not subconscious, but deliberate. Sae-Jin chuckled and rather than pulling away, grabbed her hand instead.
Her face reddened in the blink of an eye, at least initially, but soon enough, it was dyed in the colours of agony next.
“Ah-ahck!! Ah, wha, what are you doing?! Hey, it hurts! I said, this hurts!! Kkyaack!! It’s gonna break, break!! The Orc, the Orc caught me!” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Obvious. Orcs catch people.” (TL: Sigh. Yet another pun-based joke that doesn’t work when TLed into English. Well, I tried and failed again. Here, ‘catch’ in Korean is supposed to imply ‘to kill’.)
The sight of her calling out for other Orcs and even Cornlak’s help was quite pitiful.
Orcs returned to their village completely fatigued from the installation of pitfall traps.
They pulled out unidentified meat from the food storage, grilled it and consumed it. Then, some sparred for a while, before retiring to their sleeping quarters.
However, Kim Yu-Rin, who was definitely not an Orc, didn’t have her own place. So, she found a suitably quiet spot on the cavern’s floor and lied down while using Cornlak’s belly as her pillow. Even if she was a trained Knight, it still was a cold place to get a shut-eye.
As he was exiting his own dwelling in a bit of hurry to make an urgent phone call, Sae-Jin discovered her like sleeping this, so he brought along a thick blanket from somewhere and covered her with it.
But the senses of a Knight were always alert; as soon as the blanket covered her, Kim Yu-Rin’s eyes opened up half-way. The sight of a flustered Orc filled up those pair of jewel-like eyes.
Kim Yu-Rin quietly studied him for a bit of time, before smiling lazily and spoke in a sleepy voice.
“I was feeling really cold just now, so… Thank you.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Her gentle smile and drowsy eyes caused his heart to skip a beat, but Sae-Jin the Orc did his best to indifferently nod his head and returned to the Chieftain’s quarters. No, he tried to, before something caught his eye.
And that was a stuffed doll of an Orc, peeking out from a leather bag by Cornlak’s tail.
Unaware of the situation, the grinning Kim Yu-Rin followed his gaze and looked towards where he was staring at. Then, with a short but loud scream of “Ahck!” she jumped up in the air and hurriedly took away the doll.
“I, I, I didn’t bring it here, you know?! One of the Orcs made it for me, you see?!” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“….One of my Orcs?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ye, yes. His skill was really great, especially for an Orc…” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“That, looks like me?” (Sae-Jin)
The appearances of Kim Sae-Jin’s Orc Form and other Orcs had distinct differences. It was to the point where a dumb-a*s monkey would end up thinking, ‘Oh, he must be their leader‘, or even, ‘why is he more handsome than the others?‘
Just as Yi Hye-Rin alluded to in the past, his appearance was indeed better than certain sections of humanity.
“…..Completely, definitely, it’s not you. Seriously, you must be suffering from the prince syndrome…” (TL: the author wrote “도끼병” which is a slang term that doesn’t have any direct translation. The closest I can think of is “princess syndrome” but since the MC isn’t a girl, I changed it “prince” instead.)
She stealthily hid the leather bag behind her.
“Okay, then.” (Sae-Jin)
He smirked and returned to the Chieftain’s quarters.
She must have thought she made a good excuse, since he could hear her sighs of relief coming from behind him.
And after Sae-Jin returned to his quarters, it took a considerable amount of time before he realised that he was actually trying to go outside in order to make a phone call.
“They come.” (Sae-Jin)
In the far off distance, even if one didn’t open their eyes wide, the gigantic silhouettes could still be spotted. A casual glance was enough to determine that their numbers easily exceeded 60. Although it was only 60 in number, Ogres were powerful high-level Monsters that lived in the upper Mid Tier hunting grounds and above.
It was not easy to fight against a single roaming Ogre, so seeing that many of them in one spot, even if they weren’t all that well organised, was enough to make Kim Yu-Rin tense up.
“Have you gotten familiarised with the plan?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Right in the middle of the somewhat sloppy 10-man marching columns of the Ogres, an Ogre with especially humongous body stood tall. Three heads and jet-black skin – it was extremely rare to see Ogres possessing either one of those features, yet this greedy bastard had them all.
Once that Ogre army arrives at the predetermined location, 950 Hero Orcs would appear from both flanks and distract them, which should cause around 40 Ogres to break the formation.
When that number broke loose from the formation, then it would be the turn of Kim Yu-Rin, riding on top of Cornlak. She would gift enormous amount of pain on the Boss Ogre and its lackeys, thereby luring them into the ambush location where Sae-Jin and his company were waiting.
Afterwards, they would kill off those annoying small fries first, and when the Boss Ogre was the only one left, Kim Yu-Rin would use her Trait to knock it out for around one minute. Then, everyone would attack it.
“Knocking it out, you confident?” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes. Although it was just a summon, I did knock out a Leviathan for five minutes in the past. To be precise, it wasn’t knocking it out but making it fall asleep, though.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Sae-Jin the Orc nodded his head. Since he personally witnessed that scene, there was no need to question her.
“Then, I should be on my way. You should also get to the ambush location as well.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Just as Kim Yu-Rin grasped the reins of Cornlak…
“Before you go, take.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin handed over a pennant featuring the insignia of the Hero Orcs to her. It was one of those super expensive ‘passive artifacts’ that boosted the performance of the person simply by having it on the body.
“A sign, you, our comrade.” (Sae-Jin)
Kim Yu-Rin dazedly looked at the pennant, before gently receiving it with both her hands and she brought it to her chest.
“…Thank you.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
*SFX for a loud calling of a horn*
It was at this very moment when the horn of an Orc Great Warrior blew. With that as the signal, Orcs moved towards their assigned positions in a swift, disciplined manner. 950 warriors divided into two equal halves and went to left and right, while the remaining 50 Orcs carefully made their way towards the location where Kim Yu-Rin was to lure in the Boss Ogre.
“Please go ahead and wait for me.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
As her eyes got wet by the depths of her emotions, she climbed aboard Cornlak and headed off towards the battlefield.
There was virtually no change to the low intelligence of the Ogres; the battle unfolded exactly as Kim Yu-Rin had planned. Around 40 or so Ogres got split up and fell into the pitfall traps, while the Boss Ogre got struck real hard by Kim Yu-Rin, and unable to calm its overwhelming rage, it crazily chased after her.
“They come. Get ready.” (Sae-Jin)
20 paces later, and twenty-odd Ogres would arrive where Sae-Jin was. He spoke to other Orcs and took in a deep breath.
Khoong, khoong, khoong, khoong!!
Numerous and chaotic footsteps – no doubt, the Two-Headed Ogres and the Three Headed Boss Ogre were mixed up in there.
Sae-Jin closed his eyes and left his body to the five senses, with the notable exception of his sight. Well, to be perfectly clear, the gigantic bodies of Ogres were too big for his eyes to fully capture, anyways. So, the closer he got to these Monsters, the greater hindrance his vision would become. (TL: Hmm, I’m not so sure about that…)
Sensing the incoming enemies with his entire being, Sae-Jin grasped his mace tightly. He drank the Spiritualised ‘Goblin’s Rage’ potion and activated the ‘Warrior of Reversal’ as well.
Khoong, khoong, khoong.
As his senses expanded, their footsteps became slower and slower.
Khoong, khoong, khoong…..
And so, when he heard the third footstep…
Pouring all his soaring might and overflowing rage, he swung his mace as hard as he could at the ankle of the Ogre that was about to go past him.
The destructive strike possessing the terrifying might utterly smashed apart the ankle of a Two-Headed Ogre in one swing. Losing one of its legs, this Ogre collapsed on the ground, and many Orcs descended upon the fallen creature.
However, Kim Sae-Jin’s eyes remained closed. The Hero Orc’s body was glowing in bright red, and his mace swung out in search for yet another victim.
A huge shock wave shook the entire mountainside.
< 43. A Hero, an Orc, a Human (3) > Fin.