A Monster Who Levels Up
Quickly shaking away the negative emotions that would always invade his mind whenever he went outside, Sae-Jin returned to his cave, one that resembled a respectable dwelling… more or less. He then set about formulating a new plan.
Now that he was a Grey Wolf, he could go a bit further away to hunt. The issue was…. it was still undoubtedly dangerous. Even though his Trait Level was at 3 and had advanced from the Brown Wolf to a Grey one, the Monsters in the Low Tier hunting ground remained a tough challenge.
Besides the Grey Wolves within the Low Tier hunting ground, there roamed Monsters such as Orc Warriors, Skeleton Soldiers, and Trolls, each of them possessing powers greater than that of a Grey Wolf. The reason why these wolves were acknowledged as Low Tier creatures and could survive in this hunting ground was simply because they formed large hunting packs.
‘It would have been nicer still if the Orc Form evolved as well.’
Judging by how only the Brown Wolf Form evolved, all three of his Forms - Orc, Wolf, Goblin - must have had different criteria, specific conditions assigned for each of them. If his Orc Form evolved into an Orc Warrior, then it wouldn’t be a problem to continue using the same hunting pattern for catching Brown Wolves, but… unfortunately for him, that wasn’t the case. Right now, his Grey Wolf Form possessed higher Physical Strength stat than that of the Orc Form.
‘It means I must hunt in the Wolf Form…’
Sae-Jin emptied all the complicated worries out of his head and stood up to leave. Sitting here wracking his brain cells wasn’t going to give him answers. For now, he’d go out there and take a look-see first.
He moved all four of his feet and left the cave.
As expected, the laws of Low Tier hunting ground was far more dangerous than that of the Lowest Tier areas. The viciously growling Grey Wolves with feral eyes couldn’t be compared to that of the lowly Brown Wolves at all.
If it was just comparing the body sizes, then Sae-Jin’s current Grey Wolf Form was 1.5 times larger than the normal ones, but…
The spectacle of 6 ferocious Grey Wolves pouncing on a patrolling Orc Warrior and ripping it to shreds, was something he didn’t find enjoyable or impressive to witness.
Losing his motivation, Sae-Jin turned around and went another way. From his back, noises that eerily sounded similar to dogs voraciously chewing on a toy and a desperate, pained scream could be heard. Knowing that he wasn’t on the menu for those wolves today could only give him a small sense of relief.
He then headed towards the outer area of the Low Tier hunting ground. This was after rolling his head around for a bit. Numerous Monsters inevitably gathered around a drinking water source such as rivers and lakes, which could create a potential killing field of sorts. Because of this reason, most of the physically weak Low Tier Monsters that lived in groups settled down in outer areas that were as far away as possible from the said water sources.
For instance… Monsters such as Goblins.
Sae-Jin’s thoughts proved to be correct.
His eyes sharpened abruptly, a deeply sinister grin plastered on his lips. In the distance, he saw a bonfire burning brightly, illuminating a quaint little village consisting of several primitive huts.
e-Jin slowly approached there. It was quite likely that he had found a village of Goblins nestling in this Low Tier hunting ground that practiced in medicine and witchcraft. These Monsters possessed pathetic physical strength. The things he had to be wary of were: if it was a Goblin practicing medicine, then he needed to look out for poisons; if a Goblin dabbled in witchcraft, then he had to be cautious against curses. However, it wasn’t easy to defend against such attacks, so if a Goblin’s rank was higher than Low Tier, then regardless of their own ranks, Hunters and Knights would see it as the number one Monster to avoid like a plague.
– Khreng Kkheng!!
Sae-Jin spotted two green-skinned Goblins. One of them had tattoos plastered all over its body. Must’ve been the so-called "Elite Goblin."
‘They are medicine-types,’ thought Sae-Jin.
He used his nose to make sure. The super sensitive olfactory sense of the Grey Wolf caught the unmistakable whiff of herbs, confirming his thoughts.
Two Goblins performed some sort of a farewell ritual and parted ways. Seeing this, Sae-Jin quickly lowered his body and hid in the tall grasses.
The one with lots of tattoos on its body, began walking towards where he was hiding. Judging by the binocular-like object as well as a pair of shoes the creature held in hand and wore on its feet, it seemed like this Goblin was heading out either to scout or to gather medicinal herbs.
Sae-Jin’s heart beat faster and faster the closer the Elite Goblin got. One footstep, two footsteps. Unaware of the danger lurking in the bushes, the prey unhurriedly walked closer to the trap, and seeing this scene, Sae-Jin’s muscles tightened in dreadful anticipation, unconsciously salivating.
As the time to pounce neared, he slowly rose up half way, his ears flattening to reduce air drag as much as possible. However, Goblins were clever and alert Monsters to begin with, and an Elite Goblin was even more so. In order to catch one, he had to exercise utmost discretion and maximum wariness.
As expected of a perceptive creature, the Elite Goblin stopped just short of the trap, sensing the aura of uneasiness permeating in the air. But Sae-Jin didn’t wait and kicked the ground, pouncing on his prey.
Ignoring the distance, the terrifying beast rushed towards his target like a crashing wave of a tsunami.
‘… It’s far.’
It turned out, the Goblin was just out of the initial reach. To make the matters worse, the creature had regained most of its composure as well. As a matter of fact, the damn thing had pulled out a primitive blow gun and was trying to shoot it at Sae-Jin’s direction. As befitting of the moniker "Elite", there was not a single shred of fear showing in its calm demeanor. All those tattoos weren’t just for a show, indeed.
‘Son of a bi*ch!!’
But Sae-Jin was far more desperate than the Goblin. His desperation, fuelled by the emotions of heartache and fear, pushed him past the physical limit of the Wolf’s four limbs, and like grey-coloured tempest winds, the Grey Wolf stormed in and sunk his fangs into the neck of the Goblin before it could mount a counterattack.
Almost at the same time, an alert window popped up as if it was a message of his victory.
► [Complete: breaking past the limit while running] Active Skill "Whirlwind Dash" has been acquired.
– Instantly raises the dashing speed. (Can be used in Human Form.)
– Calculated from the numerical value of the current Agility Stat, the skill can be safely activated (2 times) per day; exceeding this amount will put strain on the body.
Sae-Jin broke the neck of the Elite Goblin while reading the pop up notice. The dead Monster’s blood seeped into his mouth, past his fangs. Then another notice window popped up into his view.
► [Complete: Traditions of Goblins, Inheritance of Memories.]
– Drank the blood of a Goblin specialising in medicine. Now, while in either the Goblin Form or the Human Form, the host can freely activate "the Elite Goblin’s medicinal knowledge and concoction skill".
Sae-Jin tilted his head slightly. Was this a good thing? But since he was as good as in the middle of enemy encampment, he wasn’t able to afford time to ponder this new development.
The hullabaloo raised by a beast’s hunt roused a pack of Goblins and they were busy heading this way.
Sensing the overwhelming killing intent, Sae-Jin didn’t even look back once as he fled the scene. The countless poison darts, obviously fired by the irate Goblins, inundated the air behind him, but a Grey Wolf’s running speed was far greater and rapid than they were.
The sight of a Grey Wolf excitedly shaking its hips with a booty of an Elite Goblin dangling in his mouth while walking back to his home in the Lowest Tier hunting ground could easily be described as endearingly humorous, somewhat.
But in the middle of this trot, Sae-Jin suddenly caught a faint but pained whimpering from somewhere.
After carefully lowering the Goblin down, his ears stood up sharply to listen.
– …..Ha, ahhh…
So weak, it might die out any second, but it was there for sure.
It was a moaning of a person in trouble.
There was no need to think too deeply when a human wanted to help out another human being.
Sae-Jin picked up the dead Goblin again and quickly dashed towards the direction of the dying person.
After running full speed for a minute or so, he found a gravely injured figure lying on a thick grass. The injury on this person was terrible enough to make him turn his head away.
He could see intestines within the torn abdomen, crimson blood spilling out, and intermittently, the whimpers managed to escape from the lips in between the bubbling red stuff clogging her mouth.
Even though it was an incredibly serious wound that would have killed a person instantly, this person, a female, was still clinging on desperately. Her consciousness had abandoned her, but she kept on moaning in pain while both her hands were rolled in tight fists, as if she could not accept the fate of her impending doom.
Sae-Jin knew who this woman was. Her race was an Elf… like human, her profession a Knight.
The daughter of the Master of the Raven Knights Order, reputedly the strongest Knights Order in South Korea, and only a step away from accomplishing the feat of the youngest-ever Knight ranked Highest Tier in the history - some even going as far as uttering that she could be THE representative of the whole nation and some outright admitting that she was the most beautiful female Knight in the nation - Kim Yu-Rin. (Me: Another Kim?! There are other surnames in Korea, btw. Also, not 100% sure of how to classify these rankings just yet. Will revise if more context is provided in the future.)
The claims of being the most outstanding beauty wasn’t all empty talk, tough. Even while precariously striding on the boundaries of death, Yu-Rin’s beauty still wasn’t going anywhere.
But the description of her stunning beauty and admiration for her personality had to wait for now. All the honour and glory could only be maintained if one managed to live.
Putting down the dead Elite Goblin, Sae-Jin quickly assumed the Orc Form. As a giant Orc, this slender woman felt lighter than a feather. So, he even hoisted the Goblin carcass he was planning to discard over his other shoulder and hurriedly ran towards his base of operations.
He just hoped that he could make it in time.
Sae-Jin placed the woman down on the stone bed and changed to the Goblin Form. "Thanks" to his short height, he had to climb up on the bed to diagnose all of her wounds. And just like that, like a lie, he could tell exactly what potion he needed to make, and the ingredients necessary to make the said potion.
‘A dream-inducing grass, jejeung liquid, a scorpion grass, and… a single low grade Mana Stone.’ (I’ve no idea what this jejeung is. Left as is.)
Sae-Jin began rummaging through the belongings of the dead Elite Goblin. Thankfully, he found all the necessary ingredients as mentioned as well as a mortar and pestle inside the small rucksack it carried on the back. And the most important item in concocting the medicine, the low grade Mana Stone, he just happened to have a couple on hand, so that was that taken care of.
Sae-Jin began implementing the steps to create a potion as engraved in his brain.
Dividing the ingredients in equal measure, he poured all his efforts grinding them in the mortar. When the herbs were powderized to a certain degree, he then added the Mana Stone and resumed grinding away. That’s when the miracle happened. The solid Mana Stone melted into a liquid that emitted a clear blue light, as soon as it interacted with the rest of the ingredients.
It didn’t look any different from other emergency medicine on sale in the stores, but the effects would be heaven and earth in difference. Using the knowledge of herbs now firmly rooted in his head, Sae-Jin could ascertain the comparative advantage. It seemed like he made a mid grade potion. If the widely available emergency medicine could only heal the surface wounds, then his own miraculous potion would not only mend the deep injuries but also replenish the lost blood as well.
Sae-Jin applied some of the liquid on the woman’s wounds and poured the rest down her throat.
And then, the miracle began. The frightening injury on her abdomen, with the internal organs on show, slowly but surely started to regenerate by itself, and her pale complexion that seemed to indicate that death was just around the corner, regained some of the lost colours.
Sae-Jin breathed out a sigh of relief, seeing the recovery of the woman below. Suddenly, several message windows popped up and obscured his view.
⸢Condition Cleared: A Goblin's Kindness.⸥
– Must administer a necessary aid to at least 1 human being. All stats rise by 1.
– The host can now assume the "Medical Goblin" Form instead of "Goblin" Form. All stats related to the Goblin Form will be adjusted accordingly.
► Acquired the passive skill "Goblin’s Craftsmanship."
– The host will receive bonus attributes when performing all jobs related to craftsmanship. (Manufacturing, Cooking, Cleaning, Healing, etc.)
– The skill’s effectiveness will be reduced during the Human Form.
Not only did the Goblin Form evolve, he even ended up getting a skill to boot.
Sae-Jin toiled hard for the whole month, hunted like crazy until it felt like his back would snap into two, and still, he couldn’t even get a sniff of a skill during all that time, but here he was, getting three of them in one day!!
Was this emotion that he was feeling right now one of profound happiness, unbridled panic, or inescapable emptiness?
Whatever it was, Sae-Jin just sat there, unmoving, and stared at the message windows.
Meanwhile, without a fanfare, a single modest tattoo manifested on his forehead, just like that.
< 02. A Goblin’s Kindness (1) > Fin.