A Monster Who Levels Up

Chapter 165

Sae-Jin returned to the conference room and told the gathered members to go home. He told them that he and Lillia had come up with a suitable plan of action, so they shouldn’t worry too much.

Then, he sat alone in the empty conference room and switched on the TV.

The footage of everyday life shown on screen was the same as before.

Channels dedicated to all things magic busy talked about the matters related to the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong, who had published a brand new grimoire not too long ago; entertainment programmes, being aired much too early in the day it seemed, were filled with a sense of responsibility, an obligation to entertain the masses during these turbulent times; while the news channels must’ve decided to run counter to the entertainment channels, by only talking about serious topics over and over again.

As expected, the everyday lives remained the same.

Sae-Jin spent a bit of time looking at the TV screen with a dazed face, before leaving the room himself.

Greeted by the employees of the Guild, Sae-Jin escaped the HQ building, and drove home in his car. Although the time was just about when folks were commuting to work, the roads were sparsely populated thanks to the frequently-occurring Monster attacks. So, he got to drive at a more than acceptable speed. He even rolled his window down.

*SFX for wind rushing in*

Cool breeze entered the cabin.

Through the open window of the car, he could see the morning sun peeking out from under the clouds. Under that clear, bright rays of the rising sun, the river below shimmered like the polished surface of a priceless jewel.

He felt like concentrating on the scenery, so he put the car on autopilot.

The stunning, beautiful views passed by him, and the people started their daily lives.

Humans, Elves, Soo-ins, they were all starting their day.

Sae-Jin carefully studied each and every one of their faces as long as he could.

*

Sae-Jin came home, and found Yu Sae-Jung still deeply asleep. While carrying a thin smile, he lightly kissed her cheek. She opened her sleepy eyes and smiled brightly, before hugging him tight.

“You got an off day today?” (Sae-Jin)

“Ng~~. I was in a raid yesterday, so I got the day off today.” (Yu Sae-Jung)

“A raid? It must’ve been not too long ago since you came home.” (Sae-Jin)

“Yeah, maybe a hour ago? But, it’s okay.” (Yu Sae-Jung)

It turned out, she wasn’t ‘still’ sleeping. As he was feeling apologetic, she suddenly pulled his head close and kissed him deeply in the mouth.

She seemed especially hands-on today.

There was no need for a deep discussion, then. While smiling, Sae-Jin began to slowly undress her.

And so, the two of them started their precious day together.

****

“…….You what?!” (Bathory)

A day after that happened.

Bathory got surprised by Sae-Jin’s unexpected visit to her place, but then, got even more dumbfounded by what he had said to her.

“Have you gone insane?” (Bathory)

“Well, it doesn’t matter to you anyways, right? It’s not like you’ll run out of blood, after all. Instead, I’ll supply you with the highest quality blood packs as compensation. Blood from Knights, no less.” (Sae-Jin)

Sae-Jin maintained a crafty smile even while under Bathory’s disgusted stare. What he asked her for was her blood.

“Do you even realise what blood means to us Vampires?” (Bathory)

“It’s important, I know that.” (Sae-Jin)

“It’s past the level of being important, since it’s used to demarcate our classes, you see? But now, you asking a Vampire for her blood, doesn’t that mean

you’re planning to commit suicide by my hands?” (Bathory)

Bathory’s forehead creased up rather deeply.

“Well, it can’t be helped, then. I’ll just take it by force.” (Sae-Jin)

Sae-Jin growled deliberately and stared fiercely at her. However, her expressions became even more angrier, instead.

“Crazy b*stard…” (Bathory)

“Argh, just help me out here, will you. Like the boss lady you are.” (Sae-Jin)

“Just where are you planning to use my…. No wait, besides that, why should I even help you out here?” (Bathory)

“Because you already helped us out?” (Sae-Jin)

“You hurt your head real bad, didn’t you?” (Bathory)

Sae-Jin chuckled and pulled out his phone.

“In return, let me give you a small present.” (Sae-Jin)

He then projected one of the stored footages as a hologram.

*SFX for a chick chirping*

It was a recording of a Korean crow-tit chick flying around in the air. Seeing that cute outer exterior, Bathory froze up.

“Isn’t it cute? It looks cute enough, but it’s unexpectedly strong, though.” (Sae-Jin)

“….S, so, what about it?” (Bathory)

“I’ll let you take it as your new pet. It’s got a bit of a rotten personality, but I’m sure you’ll tame it just fine.” (Sae-Jin)

It seemed Bathory got interested, but she quickly regained her senses and shook head fiercely.

“Why should I…” (Bathory)

But Sae-Jin wasn’t finished with his sales pitch.

“I hear that thing was created by the Vampire Lord.” (Sae-Jin)

He heard it from the Nosferatus that this bird was actually a Chimera carefully created by the Lord himself. Which sounded about right, since common sense dictated that a Monster wouldn’t look that cute no matter what.

And his reason for creating that thing was to give it to Bathory as a present at some stage. It seemed that the Lord was aware of Bathory’s slightly strange taste in hobbies.

Sae-Jin chose not to pass on those emotive truths to her, however.

“……..”

As if she had figured that out without him saying anything else, Bathory didn’t utter a single word. Judging by how her chin protruded out and trembled at the same time, she seemed to be fighting hard against the tide of emotions right now.

She finally opened her mouth after a lengthy bout of silence. Her voice was weak and shaky.

“….But, but, isn’t that mine already? I mean…. I’m the Lord now…” (Bathory)

Sae-Jin averted his gaze in order to pretend that he didn’t see the hints of tears on her facade of steady strength.

“Technically, sure. But that dang thing is really fast, so even you’ll have trouble catching it. Most likely, you will end up wasting time flying around this way and that.” (Sae-Jin)

“What the? So, how the heck will you catch something that even I can’t?” (Bathory)

Kim Sae-Jin smirked confidently.

“There is a way.” (Sae-Jin)

Bathory glared at him wordlessly. Sae-Jin nervously swallowed, feeling the tension. The suffocating time crept by. He already knew she’d say yes, yet the tension was really mounting up.

Suddenly, Bathory lowered the shoulder lace of her red dress. Her pale smooth skin got exposed to his eyes quite unexpectedly, so Sae-Jin blushed a little bit and averted his gaze once more.

“Hey, hey, hey. It’s too sudden, you know…” (Sae-Jin)

“Why don’t you just shut up. How much do you need?” (Bathory)

***

There wasn’t too much time left. That was why he couldn’t afford to waste one single day.

So, the day after he got Bathory’s permission, Sae-Jin called for a regular Guild Members Conference to be held. Scheduled for the 17th every month, its purpose was to let the Guild members gather together and foster friendship and camaraderie.

The very first person he ran into was Kim Yu-Rin, known for her strict policy of arriving before the promised time. As a matter of fact, she arrived almost one hour early – but her complexion wasn’t so good.

More than likely, many worries and fears were tumbling around within her mind.

He took her to a five-star restaurant that even the self-proclaimed epicurean like himself found utterly beyond reproach.

Less than ten minutes ago, she protested that she had no appetite whatsoever, but as soon as a juicy slab of steak was placed in front, she began chugging it down her throat. Sae-Jin found it quite humorous, seeing her looking depressed while busy shoving the delectable meat into her mouth.

“Is it good?” (Sae-Jin)

“Yes….” (Kim Yu-Rin)

While he studied her interestedly, another member arrived. This time, it was Hazeline. Her complexion was just as poor, but when she discovered both Sae-Jin and Kim Yu-Rin, some colour did return.

Hazeline hesitated by the end of the table, wondering whether to sit next to Sae-Jin, or next to Kim Yu-Rin.

But then, Yu Baek-Song entered the venue, let off a short exclamation, and dived into the open seat right next to Sae-Jin’s. Hazeline had also chosen the seat next to Sae-Jin with great difficulty by then, so she got flustered by this sudden intrusion and hurriedly grabbed the back of Yu Baek-Song’s neck.

“Hey, you!! Get out of there!!” (Hazeline)

“Where the hell do you think you are grabbing right now?!” (Yu Baek-Song)

Too bad, there was no way Hazeline could win in the physical battle, so the situation got reversed in a heartbeat.

“Let, let go!! Let me go when I’m still being nice!!” (Hazeline)

Hazeline cried out in alarm. Well, she was locked into a painful-looking headlock, after all.

“Why doncha try being not nice, then?” (Yu Baek-Song)

“Ah, arh, ahh!! That hurts!!” (Hazeline)

Sae-Jin looked at them and chuckled ever so slightly.

“Hahaha… The seat next to me is reserved for someone else, though.” (Sae-Jin)

“Huh?”

“Today’s a gathering of all the Guild members, remember? Sae-Jung should be arriving very soon.” (Sae-Jin)

Only then, Yu Baek-Song released the headlock and changed her seat to the one near the empty seat next to Sae-Jin’s.

“Others haven’t arrived yet? New Guild members will attend this thing, right?” (Yu Baek-Song)

“They should be arriving soon as well. Ah, here they come.” (Sae-Jin)

Kim Sun-Ho arrived, along with Rhosrahdel in tow.

Not long after that, two new male members Joo Oh-Hyung and Bretin entered the venue, completely stiff from the nervousness.

““It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintances!!””

After the duo’s energetic greetings came to an end, Joo Ji-Hyuk and Yi Hye-Rin showed up together next.

With their arms entwined in the open for all to see, it seemed that their relationship had moved onto a more favourable stage. Was this the case of ‘danger’ being the best matchmaker there ever was?

“We’re here now, everyone~.” (Yi Hye-Rin)

“…..H, hmm.” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Hye-Rin, pretending to be outgoing and bright, and Joo Ji-Hyuk, fake coughing to clear his throat while his expressions looking somewhat complicated – the two of them sat down next to each other.

Yu Sae-Jung entered the restaurant soon afterwards.

“I got delayed while parking the car~. Really now, Knight Joo Ji-Hyuk, how come you don’t have the driving licence yet? Also, Miss Hye-Rin, too?” (Yu Sae-Jung)

“Haha…. I, uh, I only have a licence for riding Griffins.” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)

Joo Ji-Hyuk came up with an excuse while scratching the back of his head. Yu Sae-Jung smiled brightly and sat down next to Sae-Jin.

“Oppa~.” (Yu Baek-Song)

And then, openly hugged him tightly for everyone to see.

Kim Yu-Rin took a glance at Hazeline’s direction. Hazeline too glanced at Kim Yu-Rin. Their gazes met each other’s in the middle. Hazeline’s body shuddered involuntarily, before she formed a smile that said she’s okay, and then, leaned her head against Kim Yu-Rin’s shoulder.

“…So, is this everyone?” (Kim Yu-Rin)

Kim Yu-Rin asked while slowly pushing Hazeline’s head off her shoulder.

“No, not yet. There is one more person still to come.” (Sae-Jin)

“One more?” (Kim Yu-Rin)

Kim Yu-Rin looked around the table. However, no matter how much she looked, everyone seemed to be here.

Then, she remembered one more face. But, that woman was….

“Can’t be.” (Kim Yu-Rin)

With an excellent timing, the sharp sounds of high heels could be heard.

The front entrance to the restaurant opened in a rather eerie manner, and the unlikely protagonist for today’s get-together had finally showed herself.

Ellie von Bathory.

The queen of the Vampires.

“Uh-hurk!”

At her sudden intrusion, everyone panicked, with the only exception being Yu Sae-Jung and her tilting head, who had no clue on Bathory’s true identity.

Meanwhile, Bathory walked up to the table in no time and took a seat right next to Yu Baek-Song. Seeing Yu Baek-Song stiffen up completely, it was as if she was no longer a divine White Tiger, but a mere domesticated white cat, instead.

“……And why are you all staring at me for? I’m also a Guild member, too. Are you dissatisfied by that?” (Bathory)

Bathory pointedly asked Joo Ji-Hyuk, who had been sitting in his seat with an unhappy expression while staring at the leader of the Vampires. As soon as he got asked, he violently shook his head and averted his gaze towards the table.

“Well, then. Everyone, let’s not be so stiff here. We gathered today in order to foster friendship and understanding among the members, so let us enjoy ourselves.” (Sae-Jin)

Sae-Jin clapped his hands in order to liven up the atmosphere. At the same time, countless waiters appeared and carried many delicacies and drinks to the table. All of them were luxurious, top-of-the-line stuff that truly showcased the meaning of having a ‘feast’.

But, well, Bathory didn’t really care for how wonderful the feast laid out before her eyes was.

Of course, that was only until a plate topped off with a pair of energy bars was placed in front of her.

“What the. Hey, you wish to kill yourself today?” (Bathory)

Bathory narrowed her eyes and glared at the waiter that brought this plate. However, as if he had received the prior ‘education’, this waiter rapidly evacuated from the spot.

“Hey! Bring me that b*stard over here!” (Bathory)

As if she got a bit ticked off, Bathory cracked her neck muscles and beckoned with her finger. Sae-Jin quickly pacified her.

“Don’t be like that, and have a bite.” (Sae-Jin)

“And why should I bite crap like this?!” (Bathory)

Instead of calming down, though, she shouted out in an even louder voice, which served to freeze the atmosphere of the meeting completely.

“Hmm…”

Sae-Jin wordlessly tapped the table.

“Take a bite first and see. It’s wine flavoured, so I think you might be less resistant to it.” (Sae-Jin)

Bathory shuddered a bit when she heard him.

Wine. The alcoholic drink that humans drank regularly, but something she could never enjoy. Back in her homeworld, drinking good wine was a popular pastime. Even back then, her young mind often wondered how good it could be, since a bottle of certain wine could buy a whole village. Just how tasty could it be?

“………”

Bathory surveyed her surroundings. Guild members who were silently staring at her hurriedly dug into their food as soon as her gazes swept past them. Heck, they even forcibly commenced with conversations among themselves. They still stole quick glances at her, though, as if to signal their mounting curiosity to find out whether she’d take a bite off the energy bar or not.

And so, another ten minutes went by.

Making sure no one was looking at her, Bathory stealthily picked up one of the bars, and peeled it using Mana to erase all sounds. And then, she glanced around one more time to make sure no one was looking.

And indeed, no one had noticed.

Now was the time!!

She swallowed the energy bar whole.

And at that moment, her eyes shot right open.

The faint aroma of grapes that seemed to arrest every pore of her body caused her face to blush, and her spine spasmed violently.

It completely, utterly suited her preference.

“Uh-heuph….”

She quickly blocked her mouth from uttering out the gasps of pleasure. Thank heavens, no one noticed her small incident even now.

….With a clear exception of one b*stard, that was.

“Heheh.”

Bathory felt like pouring all her strength into wiping that oily smirk off Sae-Jin’s grinning face. Even if it was for just once.

< 48. Waves (3) > Fin.

(TL: Okay, here we go. This is the start of the daily releases until the end of the novel. Oh boy, hopefully nothing goes wrong…. Like me forgetting to post a chapter or some such…)

(TL: Here’s the “Official Synopsis” for The Returner, my next TL project, from the website Ridibooks:

The King of all dead, and the despair of all living.

The man who devours the kingdoms of living, and devouring the breaths of all who breathes.

The man, who sentenced a world to its destruction, has….

Jumped across the chasm of time to return to the modern world!

“Seriously, can’t I enjoy a peaceful life after going through so much sh*tty-a*s experience like that?!”

But, a danger approaches the man wanting to enjoy the freedom of the modern society.

Stop the destruction of this world!

And now, the story of the world’s least trustworthy hero starts!)

(TL: My synopsis is….

The main character Yi Ji-Hyuk has been flung to another world called Berafe with a pair of “curses” inflicted on him. Naturally, he wishes to come back home to Earth, and does whatever means necessary to do so – going as far as to destroy the world he’s been “sent” to. This happens in the prologue, so it’s not a spoiler, don’t you worry.

But, once he has returned, Earth is no longer the same – monsters are popping out of everywhere, and people has developed special sets of skills, to boot. Nothing’s the same anymore, and his desire to kick back and take it easy has gone down the toilet, so to speak.

It’s a comedy, though, so it’s not too heavy on seriousness. There’s a fairly decent amount of action, as our MC can be a total bada*s if he’s been motivated enough to act. A note of caution, though – MC can be a bit of douche, a troll, who kinda drives almost everyone up the wall. Oh, and it’s 570+ chapters long.)

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