A Monster Who Levels Up
Good. Mor. Ning~~. Tingtingtingtingting, tingting…
“….Slurp, what the hell…” (Sae-Jin)
The smartphone alarm woke me up. I got slightly flustered – since it’s not often I sleep until the alarm wakes me up. Grabbing the phone with my right hand, I found out it was seven in the morning.
And I even scheduled a final strategy meeting at six in the morning today… Fearing the absolute worst, I checked the messages – and as expected, a ton of dissatisfied texts bombs from the Guild members – including Kim Yu-Rin, Hazeline, etc, etc – had piled up in the inbox.
I was about to get up in a hurry, but then, looked at my left arm that felt like something a little bit weighty was resting on it. Turned out to be Sae-Jung.
Was it because we were really giving it our all last night? Or should that be this morning, instead? Whatever, she was still completely submerged in her dreamland, her breathing calm and steady like a sleeping child. With not a shred of fabric covering her, she remained still as if she had fainted or some such.
“Must be cold.”
It would be fine to cover her with a blanket, but I embraced tightly instead. Her milky skin was so smooth and well, it felt really wonderful, too, almost to the point where I wanted to start ‘tormenting’ her for a bit longer.
I pressed my cheek to hers and rubbed slowly, and only then, she squirmed this way and that, while showing signs of waking up. She looked so adorable wriggling around like this, so I hugged her even tighter.
I wanted to stay like this for as long as I could, but too bad, the phone began vibrating.
This time, it was a call. From Kim Yu-Rin, no less.
Right, I don’t have the time to laze around like this. After kissing Sae-Jung’s forehead, I stood up. As I got dressed, Sae-Jung hugged the pillow tightly and rubbed it all over, as if she felt the emptiness next to her.
I gently patted her restless back.
And after helping her fall back into the comforting arms of sleep, I left the house.
(TL: Perspective changed back to 3rd person.)
As soon as Sae-Jin arrived at the underground conference room, he had to withstand several scary stares all at once. Well, they did gather here at six in the morning, regardless of how insanely busy each one of them were, but then, the very person who called for the meeting in the first place was late by a hour and a half, so there was that.
“I’m truly sorry.” (Sae-Jin)
He lowered his head and apologised sincerely before sitting down on the seat of honour.
“Oh, well. What can you do? No need to apologise. We just have to wait for you. You’re the person in charge, after all.” (Hazeline)
Those words came from the mouth of Hazeline, currently feeling prickly due to handling the daily running of the Wizard Tower.
“I said, it’s fine. Start the meeting already. You got delayed while romancing around, probably. I can tell without even looking.” (Hazeline)
Sae-Jin signaled Rhosrahdel with his eyes.
“Oh, uh, yes. I’ll start with the regular briefing first.” (Rhosrahdel)
Below the pharmaceutical company’s building, around two thousand Vampires affiliated with the el Las clan were concentrating on the deciphering & researching of a certain ancient tome, while the rest 28000 strutted around the outside world.
Taking that fact into account, it seemed like a bit of a stretch for ten people to face off against two thousand. Besides, even if they were able to fight them off, it would turn
into a massacre during the process. That was a big no.
So, Sae-Jin devised a solution for this quandary.
And that was to teleport to the exact location where the clan’s head was hiding at, and use the isolation barrier to isolate and deal only with the head and his retainers.
This was the best plan they could come up with at the end of the lengthy meeting.
“Well, in that case.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin began preparing equipment and spoke.
“Let’s go and take them.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“….You mean, like right now?” (Yi Hye-Rin)
However, Yi Hye-Rin showed hesitation, her face flustered somewhat.
“Of course. Nothing good will come about by delaying this, after all.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“I haven’t prepared myself yet…” (Yi Hye-Rin)
“And what other preparations do you need?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
With an expression showing she couldn’t understand, Kim Yu-Rin looked around. There were uber-expensive artifacts, potions, equipment, weapons and other things strewn about inside the conference room. Even with a slight exaggeration, everything here would fetch over ten billion dollars if stolen and sold on the black market.
But well, all Yi Hye-Rin did in response was to blush deeply while fidgeting helplessly with her fingers. While everyone stared at her with questioning looks, Joo Ji-Hyuk slowly stood up from his seat.
“Pardon me, Miss Yu-Rin?” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
He called for her and whispered something to her ear. Only after that, she came to realise something important and became embarrassed, before letting off a couple of fake coughs and spoke up.
“I’m going to a convenience store for a little while. Hye-Rin-ah, would you like to come with me?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Uh? Ah, yes. I will.” (Yi Hye-Rin)
Only then, Sae-Jin figured it out. During the meeting, he detected a thick smell of blood so he thought that Rhosrahdel must’ve been stealthily snacking on a blood pack, but it was actually the result of the Great Mother Nature’s magic.
Yi Hye-Rin whispered with a very small voice to Joo Ji-Hyuk, and vacated her seat.
“Thank you….” (Yi Hye-Rin)
Joo Ji-Hyuk didn’t say anything, just a smooth smile etched on his lips.
And after eight hours of rest time caused by that small event.
“Is everyone ready to go?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin asked his companions. They were tightly holding onto the Leviathan’s tail, limbs and other parts.
“Well, then. We’re teleporting now. Oh, right. Please do not forget that our aim is to ‘talk’. Fighting comes after if that fails.” (Sae-Jin)
Recalling the coordinates once more, Sae-Jin closed his eyes and imagined the scenery of the arrival point. Right then, a disgusting, unsettling sensation of space twisting apart washed over him.
The first thing he saw after opening his eyes, was a young boy.
A cute and innocent outer appearance, with his age that couldn’t be more than ten years old or so. The boy showed no surprise at the sudden arrival of the enemies, and simply stared at them with darkly-hooded eyes.
The boy looked like a lost little kid, but Sae-Jin heard enough about the leader of the el Las to know the truth. Sae-Jin immediately deployed the barrier.
And the space they were in got separated from the rest of the world, dying in jet-black colour.
The interior of the barrier followed the will of the caster. As if Sae-Jin had inadvertently remembered Yi Hye-Rin’s call of the Great Mother Nature, the interior of the barrier was transformed into a forest full of verdant trees and a small stream trickling by to the side.
Within this picturesque scenery, Sae-Jin stared at the boy and spoke.
“You’re the leader of the el Las, correct?” (Sae-Jin)
“……..I know about you.”
The boy’s words were quite literally out of the blue. That was why Sae-Jin couldn’t easily form an appropriate answer.
“You’re their son.”
Sae-Jin’s brows quivered.
“….What are you talking about now? Are you talking about me?” (Sae-Jin)
“If it’s not you, then who can be the child of them?”
“…For someone who knows about that stuff, aren’t you a bit too young?” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes, I am indeed too young. Anyone forty years old like me is considered a child in the el Las bloodline, after all. Since I was eight, my outer appearance has remained as you see.”
Sae-Jin inexplicably recalled something Bathory mentioned in the past. She said that there were unique quirks found among different Vampire bloodlines.
“The eternal youth, is that it?” (Sae-Jin)
“Yes. But besides all that, aren’t you curious about the true story regarding your father?”
Of course, he was curious. Sae-Jin didn’t know what had happened in detail, so the curiosity drove him mad sometimes. But this wasn’t the right time to dig into that stuff.
“We didn’t come here to talk about stuff like that.” (Sae-Jin)
“Then, what topic did you wish to discuss so urgently that brings you here?”
Sae-Jin replied matter of factly.
“Mah-ins. And the Fissure.” (Sae-Jin)
“Ah. So that’s what you wanted to talk about.”
The facial expression of the ‘boy’ was languid, while his brows lifted up ever so slightly.
“My apologies, but negotiations are not possible. We have no intentions of letting go of the Fissure. Our one true aim always has been our homeworld.”
“But, why? Even if you don’t return to your homeworld, you should be able to live without too many issues just by waiting for a bit longer.” (Sae-Jin)
“Hmm…. Well, it is impossible for us to live with others. But if I was allowed to explain the reasoning, then your parents have to be brought into this discussion.”
Sae-Jin’s brows narrowed. The ‘boy’ didn’t pay any mind and continued.
“It won’t take long.”
And so, the boy’s story began. As he promised, it wasn’t a lengthy tale.
Sae-Jin’s father and mother, as the Knights of Eden, became involved in the so-called war with Vampires – operations to wipe out Vampires, in truth – and got deeply shaken to core by all the inhumane and senseless slaughtering they witnessed.
During one of the missions, they ran into him, the head of the el Las. And his pleading to their conscience resulted in him successfully duping them. It was all because of the ‘great cause’ of returning to the past version of their homeworld in order to change their fate, which certainly did not sound so bad on the surface.
So, the two of them aided el Las for a brief amount of time.
“However, when they came in contact with the Nosferatus, they betrayed us. I was really confused back then – the Nosferatus did not know our plans to widen the Fissure, after all.
“But somehow, they learned the truth. And they also gained this unshakeable belief in the process, as well. A belief so strong, your father even predicted that our plan will fail. That was why I killed him.”
Sae-Jin glared deeply into the boy’s eyes. Those unreadable eyes were eerily empty and completely devoid of feelings.
“But, after I killed him, I became deeply curious of just what the source of that great belief was. So, I furnished all the information regarding your father and left it in Eden. If the reason for that firm belief was a person, then perhaps, one day, wouldn’t he show up to take a look? That’s what my vague line of thought was.”
A lightbulb went off inside Sae-Jin’s head.
He felt like that the pieces were finally falling into their places now.
It would’ve not been difficult to destroy all the records since they had taken over Eden. Yet, the info about Sae-Jin’s father was left as it was.
And the reason was…
“And then, he did come. Jin Seh-Hahn. I do not know what kind of connection this person had with your father, but regardless, he certainly possessed all the right qualities to become the foundation for that belief of him saving the world.”
Sae-Jin’s lips quivered slightly. Without a doubt, Jin Seh-Hahn’s abilities and dignified appearance were enough to rouse such a misunderstanding – reaching the upper Mid Tier in less than six months, well, even Sae-Jin had to admit that it completely broke common sense.
“Unfortunately, Jin Seh-Hahn was killed. We killed him. Do you all realise it now? There is no ‘belief’ for you anymore. There is no hope for you, either.”
And so, this was the reason why this ‘boy’ told them of this short story of the past.
To let them know that el Las couldn’t live with other races, and that there was no hope left for humanity.
“…So, you believed that and caused all this chaos?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ah, the thing is…. Kind of sorry about this, but…” (Sae-Jin)
This time, it was Sae-Jin’s turn to tell the truth.
“Jin Seh-Hahn didn’t die, kid.” (Hazeline)
Hazeline spoke up instead of Sae-Jin. Sae-Jin smirked and changed his appearance – into Jin Seh-Hahn’s face, of course. The boy’s face that was the very example of leisurely demeanor until now, finally crumpled to resemble an Asura. Even the rest of Sae-Jin’s companions, who didn’t know of the truth until now, got shocked out of their minds, too.
“So, your expression finally changed, huh.” (Sae-Jin)
Too bad, Sae-Jin and company didn’t have the time to take things easy.
*SFX for things shooting out*
From behind the boy that now resembled an angry devil, an unidentifiable tentacle shot out. It divided into ten and rapidly grabbed hold of every Guild member present.
“It’s called ‘Mugu’. The Lord had gifted us this self-defense weapon. Regrettably, not even the Lord himself expected to be under fire before anyone else, though.”
Sae-Jin transformed into the Leviathan Form. But no matter how hard he struggled, the grotesque tentacle remained tightly wound around him.
“That’s not going to work. Because….”
Just as the ‘boy’ was about to extol the unbelievable sturdiness of the ‘Mugu’…
The isolation barrier suddenly developed a crack, and at the same time, the Mugu got destroyed as well.
All of those events were caused by reddish Mana that weaved around the air like bloody mist.
“…..How utterly disgusting.” (Bathory)
A voice that was quite seductive and rather familiar at the same time.
The el Las leader fired dark coloured Mana Spears at the suddenly-appearing Bathory, but they simply melted into nothingness before even touching her skin.
“Fut. What the heck was that?” (Bathory)
She sniggered and with a simple flick of her finger, the entire body of the el Las leader got restrained to the spot.
“Better give up, kiddo,” said Bathory.
The el Las ‘boy’ gritted his teeth.
“Again. Are you trying to kill your own species again?”
“Mm… There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding with what you’re saying. Me, I decided not to see the clueless b*stards that get into bed with Mah-ins as the same species as me.” (Bathory)
Instincts mired in violence and wicked desires, below-average intelligence, and finally, powers that couldn’t be controlled properly – the creature beyond saving thanks to this trio of sins, that was a Mah-in. And Mah-ins were considered enemies of all races in existence.
Enemies to Vampires, Elves, humans, Soo-ins, et al. From the very beginning, Mah-ins were treated similarly to that of Monsters.
“….Then, why did you murder our Lord?”
Suddenly, Bathory’s expression crumpled.
“Did the Lord collude with the Mah-ins, too?”
As if he found Bathory’s fury quite enjoyable, the head of the el Las clan continued on.
“Our Lord was only seeking the road to our salvation, that was all.”
“Why don’t you shut up now. Stop testing my patience, kid.” (Bathory)
“But you knew that better than anybody, didn’t you? The Lord was your godfather, after all.”
Finally, Bathory couldn’t hold back anymore. The blood-red Mana coming out from her body crashed towards the ‘boy’ like a tsunami wave. However, he didn’t try to avoid that onslaught of deadly Mana, and instead, accepted it with all his being.
And then, formed a smile.
At the same time, the floor of the research venue gave way and collapsed. Just below the falling floor, the abyss-like Fissure where nothing could be seen in its darkness, a crack in space that existed between worlds, waited for them.
“….You, you crazy son of a bi*ch!!” (Bathory)
In that instant, Bathory’s eyes were dyed in panic after she figured out what the ‘boy’ was about to do.
“From here onwards, it’s your turn. I shall be waiting for you in our homeworld, Miss Bathory.”
The boy threw his body into the Fissure.
And the Fissure began to shake alarmingly, after swallowing el Las and Bathory’s Mana swirling within his body.
< 48. Waves (1) > Fin.