A Monster Who Levels Up
“….You sure know some weird tricks, don’t you?” (Bathory)
Bathory glared at Sae-Jin as she spoke. It was just her looking at him, yet the pressure emanating from her eyes felt like a noose was tightening around his neck. If a normal person faced such a cold pair of eyes, then that person would’ve kicked the bucket in that instant.
“What are you on about?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin replied with the most deadpan expression he could muster. Bathory hadn’t sensed that he consciously invoked magic, so she did not say anything else.
“Fine, whatever.” (Bathory)
The weighty Mana pressing down on his entire body was withdrawn. Sae-Jin felt a slight sense of enervation.
“So, you gonna cooperate with me or what?” (Bathory)
Bathory crossed her arms while displaying the unsatisfactory mood. But right now, Sae-Jin could not understand this new attitude of hers. Seriously, back then, she wanted to rip his limbs apart just for questioning the Vampire Lord, yet, here she was…
Bathory didn’t wait for his answer and continued with what she wanted to say. This one, though, was as far removed from the main topic as humanly possible.
“Oh, by the way, kid – just what is this ‘The Monster’ and why is it causing such a chaos? Seriously, ‘it’ does something, then fools rush in like a mad mob, and that inconveniences me greatly. Did you know that I so wanted to kill a few b*stards on my way here but had to endure it so much?” (Bathory)
The Elf Wizard Emil Rerheu enjoyed huge fame. Of course, odds were, that was due to the aura of seduction inherent within Bathory’s Mana, but still, the size of her fanbase was second only to Kim Yu-Rin’s.
And to be brutally honest, it was understandable why Emil/Bathory’s appearance on TV screens garnered so much popularity. She wielded refreshingly awesome destruction magic to blow everything away and acted like the queen that she was – exuding an aura of a tyrant, to boot.
“Watch the TV, you’ll know. It’s the world’s greatest Guild. Offering the best advantages in the world, and the world’s best welfare benefits, too. The top Guild in the world that every Knight and Wizard wish to join.” (Sae-Jin)
His voice overflowed with pride.
“Hmm… But, don’t you think it’s funny to talk about the world when you’re from this tiny-as-a-rat’s-a*s land?” (Bathory)
“Then, just what are you idiots trying to do in that tiny-as-a-rat’s-a*s land in the first place?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin looked straight into Bathory’s eyes and retorted. Her expression was rather unreadable, hard to tell whether she was peeved off or happy. But, she hardened her face soon enough and asked him once more.
“….The cooperation. You in, or not?” (Bathory)
“You should tell me the contents first.” (Sae-Jin)
“I told you already. I’ll help you to kill the Lord.” (Bathory)
It was such a different attitude compared to the past, when she was still worshipping the Lord. It was questionable how could a person change so quickly, but still, it would be great if one more thorn in his side was removed permanently.
But the problem was after Bathory had become the new Lord.
“And after that?” (Sae-Jin)
Kim Sae-Jin sharply opened his eyes.
“After that, you people should do whatever accordingly.” (Bathory)
Bathory sneered as she continued.
“Hey, you. I think you’re mistaken about something here. The portal opening up, that’s like, set in stone, you know? No
matter how much you struggle, that’ll never change. You should be preparing for the ‘aftermath’, instead of thinking about blocking the portal or something~.” (Bathory)
“In that case, killing the Lord is one of the things to prepare for the ‘aftermath’, is that it?” (Sae-Jin)
“That’s right. According to your guess, the Lord wants to return to the Earth’s past, no?” (Bathory)
Sae-Jin shut his mouth.
Initially, he did think that the Lord wanted to return to this planet’s past. But after giving it more thought, he became aware that this was not the correct guess as well. The odds of the Lord’s plan being not about going to the past, but maintaining the same timeline as the stage called the Earth and moving to another dimension, were very high.
So, Sae-Jin explained this to Bathory.
“….That’s complicated. Make it easier to understand.” (Bathory)
“Okay, so… If the Lord succeeded in going back in time, then the ‘present’ should have been affected, right? Like, because of the Lord going back in time, the world should have became the paradise for Vampires or some such. But that didn’t happen. So, I’m saying, my initial guess is not correct. That b*stard is trying to jump dimensions only.” (Sae-Jin)
“….And when you say dimensions, you saying there can be many of those existing in the same space?” (Bathory)
“Correct. One of the definitions applied to the Fissure is that it’s a gap between different dimensions and different worlds, so you can get to other dimensions through it.” (Sae-Jin)
The reason why Sae-Jin said all of this, was to tell her that killing the Vampire Lord had nothing to do with the preparations for the ‘aftermath’. Technically speaking, the Earth of another dimension had no relation with the matters of this world, after all.
As if Bathory somehow understood the meaning behind his explanations, her face crumpled to resemble a rakshasi. (TL: A rakshasi is a female version of rakshasa. Google one to get the feel for how ‘ugly’ it looks. Beware of the Bollywood film popping up instead, though.)
“So, you don’t wanna cooperate?” (Bathory)
Sae-Jin didn’t reply immediately. And within this silence, Bathory forced out a smile and began emitting Mana from her body.
“You’re not gonna answer?” (Bathory)
There was no need for an answer, though. For better or worse, her helping out in killing the Vampire Lord would be a good thing, after all.
However, he simply maintained his silence while transforming into the Lycanthrope.
Since she came to seek cooperation, that meant, at minimum, she wasn’t thinking of killing him here. In that case, he wouldn’t miss this chance to drink some more of her blood.
“You really ain’t gonna answer.” (Bathory)
Bathory’s face became dumbfounded. But Sae-Jin simply pounced on her without a single shred of hesitation, pressed her down with his arms and his jaw descended down on her pale smooth neck.
[The blood of Bathory has been ingested….]
Accompanying that feel-good alert window, a huge impact shook his brain. Bathory simply punched the side of his head. However, her strength in 100% condition was truly terrifying…
One saving grace was that she’d suffer the same amount of damage as Sae-Jin received. While borrowing the strength of the potions, he pounced on Bathory once more.
After getting beat up by Bathory till he was on the cusp of dying, Sae-Jin acted as if he had no choice while accepting her offer. Right next day, he organised a meeting.
The participants were Kim Yu-Rin, Yi Hye-Rin, Hazeline, Yu Baek-Song, Joo Ji-Hyuk, Lillia, Kim Sun-Ho, and even Rhosrahdel. All eight of them gathered in the secret underground conference room.
Kim Sae-Jin unpacked the rather horrifying prospect of cooperating with Bathory to the gathered members first, and then explained what they had to do next.
“For now, Rhosrahdel will continue to stay beside Bathory.” (Sae-Jin)
At Sae-Jin’s orders, Rhosrahdel’s expression collapsed like that of a person who just lost his country or something.
“Obviously, we will need someone to spy on her movements. And as for actual gathering of information as well as searching for locations, Miss Yu Baek-Song and Mister Kim Sun-Ho, please handle them along with the available intelligence operatives.” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes, boss. Understood.”
Yu Baek-Song and Kim Sun-Ho nodded their heads. However, their sights were locked onto Kaiser the 2nd acting coquettishly on Sae-Jin’s thighs.
“As for the Knights, please concentrate on getting stronger. Also, Miss Kim Yu-Rin should be unfamiliar with handling a Griffin, so please head over to the Nesting area and get to grips on how to control a Griffin perfectly. Ah, after the Exhibition ends, of course.” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes, I understand!”
Kim Yu-Rin replied back energetically. And so, Sae-Jin was able to end the meeting quite quickly.
Next up, was Yi Hye-Rin’s mischievous expressions of her admiration.
“Ohhhh~~. Our Guild Master looks so cool today~.” (Yi Hye-Rin)
“….Please stop joking around.” (Sae-Jin)
“Ehehehe. Ah, right – will it be fine with a non-Guild member taking part here?” (Yi Hye-Rin)
With a guilty face, Kim Yu-Rin’s shoulders trembled.
“It’ll be fine, since her admission is almost a sure thing anyway. So, everyone, disperse! We don’t have much time!” (Sae-Jin)
Bathory said the Fissure/portal should fully open up between October and December, so they indeed didn’t have a lot of time left. No, it was more correct to say it was imminent.
At Sae-Jin’s words, the members all replied with lots of spirit and hurriedly went on their own ways.
10 days later, 2nd of April.
The Exhibition that garnered so much of the public’s passionate support finally ended.
The successful candidates in the Knight category were Kim Yu-Rin and Joo Oh-Hyung, both of them Highest Tier Knights. A pretty interesting spectacle of sorts unfolded on the presentation stage during the final broadcast where the successful candidates were announced – Kim Yu-Rin’s serene speech on her thoughts on entering the Guild contrasted rather sharply with the heartfelt dedication read out by the tearful Joo Oh-Hyung.
On the other side, the two Wizard candidates who made it were a male Elf named ‘Bretin’, as well as Emil Rerheu, as promised to Bathory previously.
However, Bathory wanted to look stylish in an old fashioned kind of way, and quoted a four-word idiom during her acceptance speech. Unfortunately, she used it in such a wrong context, it wasn’t even funny anymore. Kim Sae-Jin just couldn’t understand why she ended up saying the four-word idiom “Eup-Cham-Ma-Sok” during such a happy occasion. (TL: This idiom actually comes from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This author must have a thing for RoTK or something. Basically, it means foregoing personal feelings and upholding the military command structure, or something similar to that effect. Not sure how you can Google this one if you’re interested in finding out what’s what. Oh well.)
But he heard on the following day, that it was Rhosrahdel who deliberately fed Bathory nonsense in order to publicly embarrass her.
And predictably on the day after that, Bathory found the truth out via the Internet and invaded the Guild HQ in unbridled rage while shouting out that she was going to kill Rhosrahdel.
Fortunately, though, the temporary cooperation pact between her and Sae-Jin remained intact.
– The completion ceremony for the Dawn Corporation’s and TM’s Wizard Tower, the collaboration of the Dawn and The Monster.
– The unrivalled financial muscle and The Monster, combined.
– According to the Dawn, the time to invest more capital and to diversify its portfolio is when the state of current affairs are at most unstable.
Another nuclear bombshell dropped. A Wizard Tower that the Dawn Corporation and The Monster each held 5.5:4.5 of shares was officially launched.
Obviously, that alone lacked the necessary oomph to cause a commotion in the country.
Even if it was the Dawn, the number 1 in the business sector, a modern day Wizard Tower was a cradle of wisdom built from dozens upon dozens of years of accumulated experience and knowledge. The consensus of industry experts from other Wizard Towers were that, even if it was the Dawn, one should be ready to endure decades of losses and ridicule.
However, a news with an ‘exclusive report’ tagged on got published soon after, and the whole situation got turned around 180 degrees.
A Wizard that didn’t put down his roots in any Wizard Towers until now.
Not only referred to with the worldwide recognition as the greatest talent in magic, but also being seen as a true iconic genius – the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong.
He had proudly aligned his name with the Dawn’s new Wizard Tower.
As if that wasn’t enough, not only he offered up his grimoires number 1 to 25, he also announced on his blog that, all subsequent published grimoires would be donated to the Tower, as well.
It was, without a doubt, a scoop on the level of nuclear explosion, and many Wizard Towers felt like they had dropped a newborn baby in a mud pit, and realised they had no choice but to give in.
The protagonist that had pushed other Wizards into a state of confusion and terror was actually enjoying a holiday of sorts, that was a world far removed from the whirlwinds of the Wizarding community.
“So, how is it? How’s the media reacting to the news?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin tightly hugged Yu Sae-Jung, who seemed to be stuck like a glue to her notebook PC, and asked.
“It’s seriously great. The number one liked comment is [the Dawn and The Monster and Bangbae-Dong Wizard come together, and the nature’s balance is upset.] Heeheehee.” (Yu Sae-Jung) (TL: Our delightful author tried another weird pun-based joke that I just don’t get. Consequently, I couldn’t TL it literally, as well. Thus, this is the result…)
“Is that so? Hey, you seemed to be really interested in this Wizard Tower business, though.” (Sae-Jin)
“Ng, of course. I pushed for this business venture, after all.” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“Yep. That is why, the Tower’s Operational Director is me~.” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yu Sae-Jung pecked a little kiss on Sae-Jin’s cheek and smiled happily.
As an aside, a Tower Director and a Tower Lord was not the same. If one thought of Tower Director as a chairman of the board, then the Tower Lord was like the dean of a school. And sure enough, a Tower Director’s powers were greater than that of a Tower Lord’s.
“What the. Why didn’t you say anything? I’d have negotiated with a bit more leisure, then.” (Sae-Jin)
The guy in charge of making this deal work, Jo Hahn-Sung, negotiated so tenaciously that even left the representatives of the Dawn utterly blown away. According to him, a former superior officer who bullied him in the distant past just so happened to be one of the Dawn’s negotiators, so that was why…
“It’s alright. After all, my share is fixed at 35% anyways. The rest belongs to my grandpa and my dad. It’ll be better if Oppa has the rest, instead.” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Should he feel proud of her or be sorry for her? Sae-Jin formed a slightly apologetic smile, leaned his head on her shoulder, and they looked at the notebook PC together.
“Oh. Hey, isn’t this guy the Vice Lord of the Seoul Wizard Tower? And this person over here, that’s the Tower Lord of Busan Tower, right?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ng. I thought they would be people that lacked nothing, but the amount of requests for open position coming through is just so much. Someone’s PR/resume data was as big as 1GB, you know? ….Ah, that’s right. Even foreigners sent in some. Look, look. Here’s the Tower Lord for the Velli Wizard Tower, ranked fifth in the world.”
Yu Sae-Jung pulled up a photo. And the Tower Lord shown was a female Elf with a slick figure that sure fitted the name of the Tower. She must be really good at belly dancing… (TL: Oh boy, yet another pun-based joke by the author. I did what I could, but you be the judge…)
“Hah, how ridiculous! Hey Ahjussi, where do you think you’re looking at?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“…..Ah, it’s nothing. Cough. Well, it’s all good news. Our Wizard Tower should grow fast at this rate.” (Sae-Jin)
“….Ng. The influence of the Bangbae-Dong Wizard was really huge. We only have around 100 grimoires stored in the Tower, but over a thousand Wizards are applying to enter, you know?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
A single grimoire was really expensive. And it was also difficult to procure one, too. Most regular mid grade grimoires fetched upwards of several million dollars. But more importantly, even with enough money, the products themselves were not available to begin with, so it was virtually impossible to buy one.
Well, even the Dawn couldn’t purchase more than 75 grimoires (25 grimoires of the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong not counted), so there…
Many of the grimoires stored in a Wizard Tower were actually developed and invented through hard work and as well as the investment of a great amount of time by the Wizards affiliated with that Tower.
“So, that is why…” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yu Sae-Jung formed a content but suspicious-looking smile as she sneakily scratched Sae-Jin’s thighs.
“If Oppa works just a bit harder…. We might be able to grow at a tremendous rate, am I right?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Her hands became a bit more strange and daring. So, Sae-Jin smirked a little, and…
“In that case, I’ll decide who gets to become the Tower Lord.”
….And, he reopened the negotiations.
Yu Sae-Jung’s eyes trembled like a newborn chick.
< 44. Suspicion and Alliance (3) > Fin.