A Monster Who Levels Up
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(TL: This extra chapter is sponsored by the pizza money kindly sent to my way by these wonderful, kindred souls: Gerald C, and Dale B. Thanks, guys!! Pizza for life! Yeah!!)
Thanks to such a wild variety of Monsters rushing in like tidal waves, all the carefully-laid plans were thrown out the window and the entire battlefield descended into pure chaos.
It was somewhat unavoidable, since each Monster possessed different strengths and weaknesses, but still, no one could have imagined things would devolve into such a hectic free-for-all, where blood and flesh flung around like crazy.
Whatever the case may have been, Kim Sae-Jin continued to swing his sword. Perhaps surprisingly, there was no sword aura wrapped around his blade. Yet, wherever it went past, space and Mana shattered into pieces, and Monsters' bones and flesh were sliced apart.
This was the result of a certain, ambiguous ability imbued to the sword, called 'slice through anything', its level at a frightening [C+].
While he stood there admiring the sharpness of his own creation, another Monster jumped towards him. Before he could respond, Yu Sae-Jung stepped forward to defend him.
"Oppa, don't let your guard down, no matter what!"
She shouted out and stuck next to him, then proceeded to fire numerous sword auras to many different directions.
The countless beams of sword aura exploded and carved out many craters on the ground, making sure that no Monster could approach her current position.
She might collapse the whole ground at this rate, thought Sae-Jin as he looked at Yu Sae-Jung busy firing out more beams of that scary sword aura, all the while deeply appreciating once more just what kind of a little monster he had inadvertently created here.
'Here's the reason why so many people want to get my Mana Tattoos done. Seriously, how big has her Mana reserve become now?'
Actually, the government officials were busy asking Sae-Jin for a big favour almost everyday at the moment - some might even say begging at this point - due to all these terrible Monster incidents. They were asking him not to limit the recipients of the Tattoos only to his Guild members, but to other Knights as well - after setting a fair enough price point for all, of course.
"Sae-Jung, I'm gonna get out of here for awhile. All this smell of blood is making my head dizzy."
Leisurely observing her combat prowess for a short amount of time, Sae-Jin chuckled again and told Yu Sae-Jung. She quickly rejoiced at this and shouted at him.
"Go, now!! Hurry!!"
She was supposed to ride on a Griffin while fighting, but had to come down to the ground because she was worried about Sae-Jin's safety. She didn't doubt his abilities, not at all - it was just that, she feared for those unseen accidents happening to him.
"Argh, c'mon now!! There are so many of them."
At the end of her wild, nonstop sword aura firing, surrounding Monsters had all went away for a short amount of time. Seizing the chance of this breather, Sae-Jin handed over the sword to Yu Sae-Jung.
"Take this, Sae-Jung."
"Oppa, you're still here? Quickly get goin… What is this?"
"A present. Actually, I brought this here so I can give it to you." (TL: Really? In the middle of a battle?! What the?)
He smiled as he handed the sword over. After all, he was her boyfriend, so he should have given her a proper gift other than things like several Magic Tattoos, many different artifacts and…
Ah. I did give her a lot of stuff already.
Oh well, whatever. Although I'm still her boyfriend, it's true t
hat I haven't given her any weapons since the Blacksmith tournament way back when.
Yu Sae-Jung dazedly stared at the sword. A beautiful, powerful sword exuding a noble aura, its body darker than the night sky and its scabbard whiter than snow.
After swallowing down her saliva, she then looked at her own sword. With that innate ability of growing even more powerful the more Monsters she defeated with it, there was no doubt that it had become a sword that was far better than some masterpieces right now.
However, in this very moment… even a casual glance told her all she needed to know. The sword Sae-Jin gave her was on the level of a national Treasure.
"Hurry and take it. This smell of blood is giving me a really nasty case of migraine."
The noisy tremor of Monsters rushing in could be heard once more. Only then, she took the sword and shouted back at him.
"T, thanks, Oppa!! Really, seriously thanks! But still, you gotta go, now!! Leave this place to us!!"
She quickly pushed Sae-Jin's back. And he chuckled as he left the area.
Whatever - now that he, as Kim Sae-Jin, had participated in the boss raid, now it was time to earn proper achievements.
A fierce battle between thousand-plus Knights and Hunters, against Monsters that easily numbered past five thousand. Knights were slowly getting fatigued from the continuous assaults of Monsters that didn't give them one moment of rest.
The number of Monsters had definitely decreased, but still, many of the combatants felt sick to the stomach, looking at the damnable critters seemingly endlessly lining up through the entire horizon.
It was the same story with Yi Yu-Jin. Her Mana was at the proverbial rock-bottom, and the hand gripping the sword was trembling from the numbness.
"Are you okay, Yu-Jin?"
From somewhere, she heard Goh Yun-Jong's voice.
He was making a worried face towards her direction. Just as she was going to wave her hand to show she was more or less fine…
Right behind him, a large Ogre appeared out of nowhere and slammed its huge fist down at Goh Yun-Jong's head.
Yi Yu-Jin's eyes became wide open in panic.
Her screams rang around loudly; Goh Yun-Jong raised his head to see, and then…
Suddenly, a shadow rapidly drew in close - a man, the ends of his clothes fluttering in the wind, flew in like a bullet and threw a fist towards the Ogre. A 'simple' punch shattered the Ogre's arm, and then, blew up the rest of the large Monster's torso. (TL: ONE PUNCH!!! Yeah~~ Cue the OPM theme music)
Yi Yu-Jin dazedly looked on, as the man leisurely landed on his feet.
The man who killed the Ogre with one punch was none other the Knight of Eden and her colleague, Jin Seh-Hahn.
"Ahjussi!! Didn't you say you weren't coming?"
Fully understanding what just happened, she smiled and called out to him.
"Focus first, focus."
Looking slightly embarrassed, Kim Sae-Jin aka Jin Seh-Hahn threw out another punch. A Monster trying to prey on him got hit by that fist in the face and got obliterated into bits and pieces.
"Mister J, Jin Seh-Hahn!! T, thank you for your help!!"
Escaping from the clutches of death, Goh Yun-Jong patted down his pounding chest and walked up towards Jin Seh-Hahn. Yi Yu-Jin's eyes were sparkling brightly as she waited.
"I told you to focus!!"
Pulling the two dead-tired newbie Knights to his rear, Jin Seh-Hahn powerfully kicked and broke the leg of an Orc Warrior nearby.
'For my achievements… The Boss Monster is still around, so catching that guy should be enough.'
Kim Sae-Jin used 'Partial Beastification' to become Jin Seh-Hahn, so, he was now far more powerful than his 'normal' appearance. Plus, as Jin Seh-Hahn's 'Trait', he could freely use his claws as well.
The current situation was, Sae-Jin faked an illness and left the battlefield temporarily, and then, rejoined it as Jin Seh-Hahn. This was the golden opportunity to rise up to the ranks of upper Mid Tier in one go. He obviously couldn't miss this chance.
And after jumping into the middle of this heated battle, he utilised various Skills and killed many Monsters. Among those Skills, 'Chain Claws' showed off its particularly terrifying might. As this Skill allowed a single chop with his claws to rebound off one enemy and continue on to the next one uninterrupted, there could be no other Skill better suited for this kind of large-scale melee 'jamborees'.
However, his real aim wasn't simply this, killing lots of Monsters. No, in order to rise to the rank of upper Mid Tier, he had to catch the crafty Boss Monster that was hiding somewhere and busy manipulating thousands of minions.
Sae-Jin/Jin Seh-Hahn activated the senses of the Wolf and searched for the traces of this hidden Boss.
As his viewpoint widened, both his sight and hearing increased manifold.
Incredible amount of information flooded his optic nerve like a crashing tidal wave.
And as a result, he was able to spot a certain cat-like creature hidden among several large Monsters. And its feline body was also pretty big. Although it sure had a cute face, Sae-Jin had no plans to make it easy for this creature. He kicked the ground and like a bullet, stormed forward towards his new destination.
And it only took a blink of an eye - he arrived in front of the cat while shocking sonic booms exploded behind in his trail. Sae-Jin then grabbed the Monster's neck tightly, and…
He ran like his butt was on fire towards where he had spotted Kim Yu-Rin earlier on.
…Well, it was still a bit of a stretch to defeat a Boss-level Monster as a human, after all.
"W, what the?! Who the heck are you?"
Kim Yu-Rin's eyes went extra round at this sudden turn of events. However, he simply shoved the face of the cat at her direction.
"I'm not interested in a pet right now!!!" (Kim Yu-Rin)
"No, wait, this bastard is their lea…"
*SFX for a cat's threatening growl*
At that moment, the Boss cat showed its resistance and swung its sharp claws at Sae-Jin's arm. He quickly let go of the Monster and retreated - by this time, Kim Yu-Rin realised what was going on, so she quickly slashed out with her sword.
"This is their leader!!"
Sae-Jin didn't stop there, and called for reinforcements. That caused the attention of numerous Knights to redirect, and they began approaching this damn cat's position.
The Boss cat made a weird facial expression and its head turned this way and that, busy searching for an escape route, but…
"There it is!!"
"It's the red-eyed cat!!"
…It was already surrounded by dozens of Knights.
*SFX for a cat's far less threatening growl - in fact, sounds more like it's getting flustered.*
The Boss cat growled with just that bit less enthusiasm, and on its forehead, a waterfall of sweat drops began pouring down.
And, a week after the end of the defensive battle.
Countless reporters and filming crews as well as Knights were present inside the Tower of Eden. They were here to bear witness to the ascension ceremony, marking Jin Seh-Hahn's historic 'fastest ever' rise to the rank of upper Mid Tier.
The youngest-ever upper Mid Tier Knight was still Yu Sae-Jung, but to equal her rank in only six months, Jin Seh-Hahn was the first in the world to achieve the feat.
"Until now, Jin Seh-Hahn poured all his efforts for the betterment of the society at large, and his exemplary actions towards the interest of the public makes him a role model for others to follow. For these reasons, the Tower of Eden now declares that the Knight Jin Seh-Hahn has ascended to upper Mid Tier."
With an avalanche of cheering and hand claps, Jin Seh-Hahn was given the platinum medal that only the upper Mid Tier Knights could receive.
"Thank you very much."
Bowing his waist in a solemn manner, Jin Seh-Hahn climbed down the stage, and as the person with the title of 'fastest ever to become a upper Mid Tier', he had to talk to many other Knights on his way out.
"Back then, the sight of you fighting against many Monsters left a deep impression on me. I was really stunned by it at first, but thanks to your efforts, we were able to end the battle rather easily." (Kim Yu-Rin)
Attending the ceremony as the representative of the Raven Order, Kim Yu-Rin smiled and offered her hand for a shake. Jin Seh-Hahn/Kim Sae-Jin grasped her hand and nodded his head slightly.
"It was a wonderful, very manly fighting style. I really liked it. If there is another chance in the future, let's fight together side by side, again."
"…You're overestimating me."
"Oh~~, so this is where our hero was!!"
And after he shook the hands of several Vice Order Masters such as Oh Jung-Hyuk, Kim Yak-Sahn and Co…
Kim Sae-Jin/Jin Seh-Hahn stood before the throng of reporters.
Many questions came flying towards his way. What was his plan, moving forward; the reasons why he donated most of his monthly salary, even though he still lived in a rented apartment; his thoughts as the newest upper Mid Tier, the fastest to get to the rank, etc, etc…
Sae-Jin only chose to answer those that sounded easy to reply.
"It's a simple reason why I donate most of my salary. This 'short' life, when I leave it, I do so with a pair of empty hands. And when the time comes, I don't want to have any lingering regrets or desires, so I simply try to help others as much as possible."
It was an answer that implied the fast-approaching death of Jin Seh-Hahn, but the unaware reporters only showed much fervor at this display of selfless generosity.
And after this press conference came to an end, Sae-Jin approached the officials of Eden and informed them of his intentions to visit the upper floors of the Tower.
Officials didn't stop him. No, they gladly allowed it, telling him to go and take a look at his new office on the 60th floor.
He replied while doing his best to hold back a smile from forming on his face. After he climbed into the elevator, he didn't press the button for the sixtieth floor, but for the 81st, labelled 'Classified Information Archives'. He didn't feel like wasting time anymore, since this character was going to be killed off very soon anyways.
As the elevator ascended to the 81st floor, many thoughts ebbed and flowed in and out of his head. His father and his mother - just what kind of secrets did they possess that got themselves killed? And just what kind of secret made Eden actively step forward and silence everyone?
It was then, the communication crystal vibrated inside his inner coat pocket. Before he could answer this call, he activated the senses of the Wolf and observed his surroundings. Maybe it was because this elevator was used exclusively by the Eden's Knights, there were no recording devices or CCTV cameras.
- "It's me, Yu Baek-Song. What are you doing right now?"
"…I'm on my way to the 81st floor."
Kim Sae-Jin smiled slightly. Hearing that childish voice trying to sound like an experienced old timer, he couldn't help but recall her appearance and thought that she was one funny woman.
"Yes. Looks like 'death' isn't too far away."
Kim Yu-Sohn wished deeply for the character of Jin Seh-Hahn to die. It was the same story for Yu Baek-Song as well.
- "But, how will you do it?"
However, the method was a problem. He already had a will prepared and ready. Starting off with the words "I am fully prepared to live a life where I could die at any given moment…", this will was written by Kim Yu-Sohn. And boy, it was truly something else. It was written so beautifully, he feared that it might even find a place within the Korean language textbooks.
"I'm working on it. Since there are lots of accidents lately… Ah, maybe, I could go on a 'job' to that Romance hotel and then the Bathory…"
- "That's definitely out of the question. Bathory is seriously one dangerous woman. And instead of letting them realise their hideout has been compromised, we need her to continue staying there in the meantime."
The information on Bathory was only known to Yu Baek-Song, her closest aide, Kim Yu-Sohn and his son Sun-Ho, and finally, Kim Sae-Jin.
"In that case…"
As the conversation continued, the elevator had finally arrived on the 81st floor.
"Ah. I'll call you later."
Kim Sae-Jin ended the communication and took a look in front.
Somewhere within this extensive library that took up the entire floor, the truth about his parents, as well as himself, were hiding. He felt anticipation and tension building up. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. And then, to be on the safer side, he drank a special potion given to him by Hazeline that could calm his mind.
Then, towards the scanner, he brought his upper Mid Tier identification card, and…
He took a large step forward.
< 33. Heroic (2) > Fin.
($50 out of $50 left for next week's first sponsored chapter.)