A Monster Who Levels Up
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"But, what…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"Just leave him be. It'll be better for us if he tires himself out like that." (Sae-Jin)
Kim Yu-Rin and Sae-Jin looked at Rahaimde, their eyes shining with interest. The Vampire's body had swelled up like a puffer fish while he continued to struggle - it almost seemed like he'd go POP at any moment now.
"…But still, Guild Master, do you have an inkling as to what is happening here right now?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Meanwhile, Kim Yu-Rin asked Sae-Jin as she glanced at him with the corner of her eyes. She found this situation totally not understandable. Out of the blue, a tsunami wave swept by without warning, then Kim Sae-Jin appeared out of seemingly nowhere, and then, getting ambushed by a crazy guy and his gang, to boot…
"Ah, that. Well… I did tell you, right? Currently…" (Sae-Jin)
"Gheu uhhhhh!!" (Rahaimde)
Before Sae-Jin could explain, with a loud roar, the Vampire's amassed blood pounced on them like a raging sea current. The blood wriggled around like a living being, but still, it fell to the ground powerlessly as soon as it got near Sae-Jin's vicinity.
"…Currently, there have been a lot of unexplained incidents. These guys are the culprits responsible." (Sae-Jin)
"Culprits?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"Yes. The Lycan said that the Vampires are planning something really big and evil, and this is apparently their first step. Getting rid of those who might cause trouble for them later on - the so-called 'hit list', in other words." (Sae-Jin)
"……..Why are you telling me about such an important matter only now?!" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Falling in a silent daze for a moment, Kim Yu-Rin suddenly shouted out, flustered. Another demonstration of how heavy the Lycan's name value was, right there.
"We've already set the date for the press conference to do that exactly. And I've mentioned this to you before, remember? That it's dangerous for you to move around alone." (Sae-Jin)
"…You… well, you did, but… But still, you should've told me the details…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"But the rumours have spread around already, though?" (Sae-Jin)
For now, they have remained tight-lipped at the government's request, but rumours of the Lycan planning to announce something big as well as the existence of a certain hit list had been in circulation within the financial world and between Knights for some time by now.
"Is, is that right? I've been preoccupied lately, so…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Another abnormal roar resounded out in the middle of their conversation.
"…In any case, you're saying that person over there is a Vampire?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"Yes. You can tell that he's an evil doer pretty easily, no?" (Sae-Jin)
Kim Yu-Rin nodded lightly and poured Mana into her sword. Sharp and chilly blue Mana clung on to the surface of the slightly-chipped blade.
"Sir Rahaimde, please get a hold on yourself." (Unnamed Vampire goon)
Only when that razor-sharp threat surfaced did the other Vampires begin trying to stop Rahaimde's madness.
Looking as if he had lost over half of his original strength, Rahaimde finally stopped his crazed rampage. And while working hard to restore his calm demeanor, a thin smile slowly formed on his lips.
"Hahaha. How regrettable. That was your only chance to lessen the suffering and pain, but you have voluntarily surrendered such a wondrous opportunity…"
Indeed, it was regrettable for Sae-Jin as well, as Rahaimde changed tactic and unsheathed the sword mounted on his hips. It was crimson coloured as if made out of blood; at the same time, other three Vampires began reciting a chant.
Please maintain a certain distance from me while we engage the enemies." (Sae-Jin)
Now that Rahaimde had lost his stupidity for good, Sae-Jin too had lost all the leisure as well.
"And whatever happens, do not let that sword touch you." (Sae-Jin)
That blood-red sword in Rahaimde's hands - there really was blood soaked into the blade. No matter how superior Sae-Jin's Trait was, as long as the moisture wasn't airborne, he couldn't control it. So, even the smallest cut would prove totally disastrous.
"I've been fighting for over ten years now. So, don't worry about me." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin was confident, as always.
Sae-Jin let a slight chuckle out and concentrated Mana into his hand. The blue-coloured Mana shifted into a weapon that was perfect for the foe at hand, a lengthy spear that could help him maintain a safe distance.
"…Go." (Unnamed Vampire goon)
Unfortunately, the opponent wasn't only Rahaimde. Before they knew it, the chanting of the other Vampires were complete, and countless Monsters were summoned to the area.
*SFX for a loud roar of a Monster*
The owner of the roar that shook the earth was the guardian of the underworld, Cerberus. Hundreds of Gargoyles blanketed the sky above. Giant Worms wiggled and burrowed their way out from the ground, accompanied by hundreds of creatures such as Golems and Ghouls.
Against this horde, a lengthy spear wasn't going to cut it. So, Sae-Jin stealthily changed the shape of the weapon. And when Kim Yu-Rin accidentally saw the newly-formed weapon, her eyes went extra-round.
In his hand was a blue mace.
"You know how to wield that?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
A mace was avoided by most of the Knights as it was a difficult weapon to master. Firstly, the might of this weapon heavily depended upon the wielder's physical strength rather than the proficiency in controlling Mana. And then, because of its unusual shape, concentrating Mana into a blunt form to fit the weapon was also incredibly hard as well.
"…Let's talk about that later!" (Sae-Jin)
Too bad, Kim Yu-Rin couldn't get to hear his answer.
Koong! Koong!! Koong!!!
Triggered by Rahaimde's roar, all the Monsters surrounding the two rushed in.
Sae-Jin swung his mace towards the incoming flood of Monsters.
Every swing of the mace ripped asunder the very air they breathed, and each strike turned Golems into crumbs of stone, while Ghouls were shredded apart into pieces. He didn't bother with things like technique. Just a single, complete swing of that mace was enough to blow up dozens of Monsters into smithereens.
'That is…' (Kim Yu-Rin)
And Kim Yu-Rin's eyes went even more rounder than before, as she even forgot about the grave situation she was in and observed Sae-Jin's fight. It might have looked like he was swinging that mace willy-nilly with total disregard for separating enemies from allies, but hidden within that simple whirlwind of destruction, there definitely was a rule of some kind.
Enemies approaching closer were killed off relying only on brutal strength. And the moment when an attack was about to land on him, Sae-Jin struck the ground instead and caused a massive quake. And during the opening created by that very quake, he dashed in and landed a deadly blow to the Monster's head…
The mace slammed on the ground once more and yet another powerful tremor erupted out.
Just like that, with a few well-timed mace slams on the ground, the entire battlefield turned into a land of unbridled chaos mired in cruel viciousness. Only things left behind on the broken and jutting landscape was a scene straight out of hell, torn and mangled bits of flesh and blood showering and littering everywhere.
'How can he fight like that Orc…?' (Kim Yu-Rin)
Although the overall power and the ferocity were so much weaker, that battle style was something Kim Yu-Rin was intimately familiar with. She was sure of it, since she had sparred countless times with the Hero Orc Chieftain.
Of course, it was currently impossible for her to agonise over how Sae-Jin seemingly had absorbed and used the Orc's fighting style as if it was his own.
The mist of Monsters' blood clinging on its body, the Cerberus spewed flames of hell from its three mouths before baring its vicious fangs and pounced on her.
However, such summoned creatures were easy for Kim Yu-Rin to deal with.
For her Trait 'Desideratum', imbuing the purpose of 'snatching the life away from a living being' was impossible even against the most insignificant creatures - but the story changed drastically if the recipient was a summoned.
As long as she wasn't fighting against a Monster like the Leviathan, which couldn't be summoned without a catalyst or be un-summoned without getting rid of that said catalyst, cancelling the summoning was actually far easier than knocking the creature out.
Although it was the slightest of tickles by her sword, the Cerberus couldn't even finish its roar before disappearing completely.
Of course, it was still the guardian of hell. Yu-Rin sensed nearly 20% of her Mana reserve draining out of her. She then quickly kicked the ground and headed towards the three Vampire Wizards who were trying to redo the summoning.
"…You despicable scum!!" (Rahaimde)
Rahaimde ignored Yu-Rin shooting past him and focused only on Sae-Jin. He was like a prize racehorse looking only forward; he even slaughtered Monsters summoned by his men when they ended up blocking his way.
"You insolent fool!!" (Rahaimde)
Arriving in front of Sae-Jin, Rahaimde grandly slashed out with his sword.
The blood-red sword drew a half-moon arc as it successfully sliced apart Sae-Jin's Mana mace in two. A thick smile crept up on Rahaimde's mouth, and as his prized 'blood sword' was about to thrust into Sae-Jin's chest…
Rahaimde sensed a threat of looming death coming from behind and he quickly rolled on the ground to avoid it.
Almost at the same time, a lone blue spike shot up from the ground the Vampire was standing on moments ago. He didn't even have time to wonder what the hell that was - the threat of death brushed past his senses once more, and then…
Another blue spike shot up and sliced open a wound on Rahaimde's body.
"What sort of cheap trickery is this?!" (Rahaimde)
The blue spikes continued to inundate him even in the middle of his shouts.
*SFX for sharp things flying through the air*
The spikes no longer appeared only from the ground, but also started pouring down from the air as well while making ear-piercing whistles. Rahaimde hurriedly beat a hasty retreat, but those blue spikes didn't give him any breathing room whatsoever and persistently chased him down.
Rahaimde thought of getting assistance from the fellow Vampires, but when he took a glance, he could see that the situation over there was just as bad as here. No, it looked actually worse. A single sword slash from Kim Yu-Rin easily sliced apart one of the Vampire Wizards and his magic shield, and the rushing Gargoyles trying to protect their owners couldn't even leave behind a scratch mark on her Mana Barrier.
"A bunch of useless… Urk!!" (Rahaimde)
Just as his focus shifted for a brief second, a mace was thrown towards his way. Rahaimde could only issue a short cry as the weapon struck him right in the middle of his forehead and he collapsed on the ground.
As soon as Rahaimde was out for the count, Sae-Jin turned all his attention towards the rest of the Monsters.
However… his consciousness began to drift away. As expected, trying to control external Mana not of his own placed too much of a burden on him. The whole thing didn't even last one minute, yet… As things stood, he probably didn't even have much Mana left in him to form another weapon.
Just as his mind was blacking out and the boiling instincts were about to burst forth from within and replace the 'human' Kim Sae-Jin…
A lone shout from somewhere stabbed his ears. Sae-Jin struggled hard to regain control of his fading consciousness, and resolutely opened his eyes wider. He then grabbed the head of a Ghoul with a voracious, drooling jaw and crushed it.
*SFX for a sword slash*
After that, a crystal clear sword aura swept across the battlefield, slicing apart all the Monsters surrounding him.
On a certain area within the Monster field.
There were shredded bits of flesh and blood strewn about everywhere; the ground was completely devastated, not one spot avoiding destruction.
Within this bloody hell, Sae-Jin was sitting weakly on the ground, trying to catch his breath.
This battle would have been a piece of cake if he changed into either the Orc or the Lycanthrope, but as a mere 'human', he literally had to go through hell. And now, he was beset with the type of fatigue he had never ever felt before in his entire life, something that could only come after squeezing every ounce of Mana out from himself and moving his body to the absolute physical limit.
Kim Yu-Rin's condition was marginally better. Although totally covered in sweat, she still had some strength left to stand unassisted. However, she was currently pouring that strength into making her brain spin a bit faster.
She recalled the sight of Sae-Jin wielding that mace once more. Someone once said that, each and every fighter had their own unique way of fighting. Sae-Jin's way was incredibly similar to that of the Hero Orc. Even the appearance of him roaring out while rampaging around was the same, too.
Kim Yu-Rin turned to focus her gaze on him. He certainly looked a lot weaker than the Orc, sitting on the ground and panting heavily - still, she observed him for a long, long time with a pair of suspicious eyes, before opening her mouth.
"Mister Kim Sae-Jin."
A sudden intrusion of a cold voice pricked his ear drums.
He turned his head to look. Kim Yu-Rin was staring at him with an incredibly sharp pair of eyes.
As she stared at him, several questions regarding this and that floated around in her head.
A similar battle style to that of the Hero Orc's… And previously, he said he was friendly with the Hero Orcs and could arrange a meeting with the Chieftain. And now that she thought about it, she began to wonder why he had been using the name 'the Orc' when working as a blacksmith.
"So, let's say, hypothetically…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Her voice was heavy and serious. Sae-Jin's body trembled imperceptibly as if he too sensed the warning signs.
"…Maybe, just maybe…" (Kim Yu-Rin)
She then stopped talking there.
What is the relationship between this man and the Orc? He probably cannot completely deny having any ties with the Orc. There is definitely something wrong here. Definitely something…
"….Uhm, what should we do about that guy over there?" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Unfortunately, she couldn't spit out what she was thinking about, and ended up pointing at Rahaimde who was lying sprawled on the ground.
"…Ah. Uh… well, let's apprehend him, for now…" (Sae-Jin)
Feeling panicky inside, Sae-Jin did his best to maintain a poker face while he grabbed Rahaimde.
< 31. All Tangled Up (4) > Fin.
(TL: There will be two sponsored chapters this weekend. Please look forward to it.)