A Monster Who Levels Up
The following day, the time was noon with the blazing sun overhead.
Kim Sae-Jin had no choice but to walk straight into the proverbial den of the tiger, located in the middle of Seoul. Yu Baek-Song had chosen her own house as the meeting place this time, in order to minimise the effects of his scent that had permeated into everything he had touched.
And so, right now, he was checking the contents of several documents while placed a fair distance away from Yu Baek-Song inside her house. His expressions were solemn and grave, but in total contrast, Yu Baek-Song was busy sniffing the scent that still somehow managed to cross the room with her tail slowly swaying from side to side.
As Sae-Jin was studying the documents, a hollow chuckle broke out before he knew it.
Within these papers provided by Yu Baek-Song, several truths he had absolutely no idea of were recorded.
One of them was the fact that his mother… was a Mercenary and the father he didn’t even know he had, was a Knight. His mom retired from the life of Mercenary the moment she became pregnant with Sae-Jin, and his father took the job that was meant for his mom, and ended up getting killed by a Vampire.
And most of all, the fact that all this information was ‘cleansed’ out of the Korea’s government archives, now that was something he just could not understand why.
"I wasn’t the Division Chief back then, but anyways, I can see a lot of suspicious things in there. First of all, there’s a trace of the SID performing investigation into the matter… but someone completely removed the existence of all the records."
Yu Baek-Song studied Sae-Jin’s reactions and then continued to speak.
"Additionally, your mom was the subject of special surveillance by the National Police for a period of 8 years, meaning from your birth until her death. Such a thing only applies to either an important eyewitness or a prime suspect of a case, but I don’t know why your mom was being watched at all. As I’ve said before, all records had been erased clean."
Sae-Jin raised his head. There were small pools of moisture around the corners of his bloodshot eyes.
"In other words, you are saying, right now you don’t know the full details?"
"…Yep. For now, this is the limit of what can be found. More time needs to pass before something can be done."
Yu Baek-Song narrowed her brows slightly.
"I’m currently the Chief of the SID but that doesn’t mean I’m the top cat there. We are still the part of the government, you know. The former Chief is still a part of the Administration too, so who knows just what kind of trouble might end up stirring once I start digging into an old cold case? I don’t wanna face such unknown dangers."
However, Sae-Jin did not withdraw his fixed gaze. Yu Baek-Song let out a grand sigh in the end.
"…Also, there just isn’t enough number of agents available right now. You are aware that all of SID’s resources are focused on these Vampire incidents, right? You just have to sit tight for maybe three years, until this chaos is resolved."
Maybe, what Yu Baek-Song said was correct. To dig into a case that was nominally closed over ten years ago, and furthermore, a case that for some unsavoury reason, was erased from the history - even if it was someone like Yu Baek-Song, the burden of danger would be great.
Unfortunately, Kim Sae-Jin as he was now couldn’t be considerate towards such a thing. Even if he had to resort to cowardly and unfair tactics, he needed to uncover the truth as quickly as possible.
"…Miss Yu Baek-Song."
Sae-Jin increased the power of the Skill, ‘the Scent of the Wolf’, to the maximum. He even deliberately spoke in a baritone voice as well. He
then conquered the two of her most vulnerable senses, the hearing and the smell.
"I, I told you, I’m not gonna…"
He took large steps towards Yu Baek-Song. Then, he reached out to grab the shoulders of the retreating woman. Her petite body shuddered.
"Six months. I don’t think I can wait more than that. How about it?"
Kim Sae-Jin leaned over and whispered into her ear. Her tiger ears imperceptibly quivered - a sign that his voice was working its magic. He then gently stroked the flapping ears while continuing with his next words.
"I’m not saying you should do it for free. I will give you one item you desire from our Society. With that, it should be enough to satisfy those upstairs people who might get irritated."
He added this new condition. The doll of Athany version 2.0 was an item the government begged him incessantly for. With that, they should forgive him for at least a handful of misdeeds.
"T, that… I, I don’t, know, I… no…"
Yu Baek-Song’s voice was shaking so pitifully now. This indescribable feeling that was burning up her body was something she had never experienced before in her life.
"Please… let go…"
She needed to resist… One punch would be enough to knock this bastard out… but strangely, her body wasn’t moving as she wanted it to. That warmth transmitting from her ears sent her consciousness into a blur, and plunged her body into a state of trance.
In the end, she breathed out roughly and leaned into his arms as if to embrace him.
"There is no need to worry. This is a wonderful proposal, after all."
While carrying a cold smile, he whispered into her ear.
That became the critical final blow.
Two days ago.
Agents of the SID were mobilised towards a certain hill with little to no human activity, and as Lycan had said, they found a Vampire tied to a tree and terrified out of his mind.
The agents dragged the guy back to the SID headquarters and then, began interrogating him for the past two days.
But it was the craziest thing. The Vampire caught by the Lycan was different to others of his kin and sang like a canary. As he was a bottom-feeder, he didn’t know all the important details, but still, the general information provided by the Vampire that was directly involved in this matter was like a sweet, sweet rain on the dry desert that was the current SID.
Initially, the SID thought about using this information to continue investigating in secret, but they chose to apply pressure to those Vampires hiding among the general populace and so, they delivered all the necessary details to the media outlets. And they stumbled over each other to break the news first.
And so, the information revealed this way caused a huge shock throughout the country and the world. From the Western European nations that maintained the position of amiable relationship with Vampires, such as France, Germany and England, strange atmosphere began to leak out; and from the other extreme end of perspective, there were signs of racial cleansing operation about to resume in China.
"As it has been reported in the various media outlets, from the combined investigative work performed by the Lycan and the SID, it has now come to light that the Vampires’ final goal is to rip open a Fissure to its biggest yet and in the process create a portal that should lead them back to their home world."
Even though the SID had revealed all the information already, countless reporters still showed up for the press conference; Yu Baek-Song was standing in front of them and loudly announced the findings. Innumerable camera flashes threatened to blind her, but her eyelids didn’t even flinch.
"Additionally, the number of Vampires hiding in the society is far higher than estimated. And they are divided into factions that serve different leaders."
This was everything Dwayne the Vampire had confessed to.
"I shall now answer your questions."
When Yu Baek-Song began accepting questions, reporters threw up their hands in fierce competition as if they were waiting for this moment. She pointed at the reporter sitting in the front.
"What relationship does Lycan have with Kim Sae-Jin of The Monster?"
"…I don’t know. Ask me questions related to this case, please."
Why the heck is the name of Kim Sae-Jin uttered in this place??
Thinking so, Yu Baek-Song frowned a little and then pointed at another reporter.
"Currently, a new rumour of both the Lycan and you, Miss Yu Baek-Song, joining the Society, The Monster is…"
What the hell is this sh*t, now?!
Yu Baek-Song didn’t let the guy finish his question before cutting him off.
"There will never be such a thing. If that’s all, then this conference is over."
As it seemed like there were no useful reporters here today, Yu Baek-Song chose to end the Q&A session sooner than expected and turned on her heels to leave. The reporters then belatedly began throwing the right questions at her way but she remained coldly indifferent.
And so, the press conference ended sooner than expected, but still, the truth of the Lycan’s effort resulting in the breakthrough of this case had now been revealed.
Then, a strange new trend started up all over the world when it became known the Lycan’s continued efforts had played a crucial role in uncovering Vampires’ goals.
And that was people wanting to become Mercenaries.
In other words, the profession of Mercenaries that had gone past the level of being in decline, and into complete dissolution was showing the signs of rejuvenation.
– "We’ve received a lot of commissions. Jobs such as tracking, investigation, eradication, etc. They are quite varied in nature." (Kim Yu-Sohn)
"…Is that so?" (Kim Sae-Jin)
Thanks to this development, Kim Yu-Sohn had suddenly became incomparably busy.
– "We should refuse them all, yes?"
Because of their current circumstances, they had to refuse every one of the commissions, but still, Kim Yu-Sohn’s voice was thick with joy.
– "And also, there have been an increase of people coming here, applying to become Mercenaries. There were a few serving Knights among them as well. That is why, Mister Chairman, how about forming your own Private Mercenary Company using this chance?"
"Huh? A Mercenary Company?"
– "That’s correct. Under the name of ‘The Monster Mercenary Company’. Of course, although the Mercenaries of the old operated on their own, as the times change, so should we. My son has also decided to help me out as well. If the Chairman’s thoughts and ours align, then my son and I will…"
"Alright. Please make it happen."
Sae-Jin’s reply was swift.
If it’s a Mercenary Company affiliated with his Society, then that meant he could wield them like his own private soldiers. Since receiving the information on his parents, Sae-Jin was thinking about doing this, too - after all, he just couldn’t sit tight and do nothing while waiting for Yu Baek-Song to come through forever.
– "I beg your pardon? Y, you are serious? Is it okay not to think it over?"
"It’s fine. Ask the financial department for the necessary funds. Oh, and by the way, will it be possible to raise intelligence operatives as well?"
– "Ah, ah! Yes, it’s definitely possible! After all, I specialised in that field when I was younger!!"
Kim Yu-Sohn hoarsely replied in a near-scream.
"That’s good. Then, Mister Kim Yu-Sohn, please take the reins of this matter and give it your best. I’ll reposition you as the Commander of the Mercenary Company as well. Ah, right. Before you pick a Mercenary, please bring that person to me at least once. I’d like to see their faces."
– "I, I understand! However, the role of the Commander should be you, Mister Chairman. As for me… it’s enough as the Director of the Mercenary Company."
"If that is the case, then I shall leave everything in your capable hands."
After ending the call with the brightly smiling Kim Yu-Sohn, Sae-Jin then immediately phoned both the planning and the financial department.
And on that day, on a certain spot of land belonging to the Society, the foundation for the future headquarters of ‘The Monster Mercenary Company’ was laid out.
"Wah, what is this thing?"
Just like before, as soon as her duties ended, Yu Sae-Jung came over to Kim Sae-Jin’s office.
However, today was slightly different.
Kim Sae-Jin was waiting for her to come and as soon as she showed up, he gifted her a ‘magic artifact’ he had crafted, and Yu Sae-Jung’s eyes went extra round at this sudden and unexpected gift in the shape of a necklace.
It was a stunningly beautiful necklace with a ruby serving as its centrepiece - a masterpiece Sae-Jin poured in a lot of effort to create.
He imbued the effects of the Skill ‘Warrior of Reversal’ into this ruby necklace. Depending on the amount of Mana poured into the ruby by its wearer, the strength and the duration of the Skill would vary accordingly.
Of course, it was still a pale imitation of the real Skill but, for the Knights whose positions could be decided on even the smallest differences, such an item would truly be a priceless treasure.
"I made it for you. It’s an artifact, but it’s a bit different from the others."
"Oh, is it similar to those necklaces you gave to the SID?"
She smiled happily and immediately put the necklace on.
"Yeah. But it’s also quite different. You heard that an artifact shop is going to open within the grounds of the Society, right?"
"….Uh? Ah… Are you going to sell this necklace over there?"
Her joy was short lived, and she became really disappointed.
"Haha. No way. I’ve made that especially as your present, you know."
He chuckled and explained further about the necklace. Then her eyes went round again, as she’d never heard of such an artifact before in her life.
"Really? Can I try it out now?"
She immediately poured her Mana into the necklace. Right away, a mysterious vitality began entering her body. This explosive feeling where all the Mana in her body wanted to erupt out - although the process only lasted for 60 seconds, this experience left a huge impression on her.
As if she became an imbecile all of a sudden, she stared at Sae-Jin with her mouth gaping open. Her prior experience of buying and using countless artifacts told her all she needed to know only after using it just once.
An exceedingly beautiful exterior and a special effect added to it, this was… an incredible item that couldn’t be properly described in mere words.
"I’m… giving this to you as an apology for the past. But don’t be burdened by it, please. It’s not purely a simple gift anyway. You’re making lots of appearances in television nowadays, right? Please wear it when you are in front of the camera. If you fail to wear it even once, be prepared to hand it back, okay?"
At her frank reaction, Sae-Jin smiled in satisfaction.
In spite of that, she continued to stare at him without moving - until suddenly, a drop of tear formed in her eye.
"What, why are you crying? Did I do something wrong?"
"…No, it’s not that… Just…"
I’m just thankful.
Instead of saying these words, Yu Sae-Jung took one big step forward and tightly hugged him.
The Human Form Kim Sae-Jin experienced confusion at this sudden, unexpected and abrupt skinship. And his response to this situation while suffering through the confusion, came out from his instincts.
He gently wrapped his arms around her waist and embraced her even tighter.
And so, their embrace continued on until Sae-Jin somehow could recover his senses.
< 21. A New Starting Point (1) > Fin.
(TL: the amount remaining for the sixth sponsored chapter is: $4.)