A Monster Who Levels Up
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(TL: This extra chapter is brought to you by these wonderful individuals: Jan B, Joscha D, Dale B, and a mysterious person who didn't leave behind his/her name when making the donation!! Thank you for your support!! Means a lot.)
The Nosferatu woman said that since there wasn't much time left until the Fissure widened up enough to become a portal, the Bathorys had to be eliminated as soon as possible. She also added that the world needed to acknowledge the upcoming calamity and concentrate on increasing their military might as well.
But, in all honesty, Sae-Jin just couldn't really grasp the level of danger that might appear when the portal opened up for good. No matter what it was, without having a personal experience on the subject, a person wouldn't be able to understand it. Still, he planned to do his very best in the meantime.
*SFX for Mana buzzing about*
Currently, inside a closed-off arena, where the space was being illuminated in vivid blue and the only sound accompanying it was the buzzing of the Mana's emission, Kim Sae-Jin was in the middle of trying to find original ways to utilise the 'Mana Body'.
And the new method he came up with, was to extract Mana out from his body and to coagulate it into a stone or a crystal. It was no different than trying to create Mana Stones artificially. Plus, Mana Stones created through this method were completely different from the Monster's Mana Stone.
First of all, the properties of these Stones could be altered to suit Sae-Jin's tastes. He could freely control the degree of hardness and strength of each stone as if it was metal ore, and create weapons and armours made purely of Mana. And not only that, a person could even swallow one of these Stones, too.
Seeing that regular Monster's Mana Stones weren't hard enough to craft into armaments, and that they also possess harmful elements thus making it impossible to eat them, these new Stones could be called revolutionary.
"God damn. I might really die at this rate." (Sae-Jin)
However, it did prove exceptionally difficult to squeeze out Mana and force them into a blank canvas of a Mana Stone. It was to the point where, only after making three such Stones, he was this close to passing out from the dizziness.
After gulping down lots of cold water, Sae-Jin shifted his gaze towards the three Mana Stones emitting brilliant blue shine that he had made. There was not one speck of imperfection visible on or within them. He felt that there were literally endless applications for these Stones.
He could make a few more and use them in crafting various armaments, or he could sell them at astronomical sums to Knights and Wizards by advertising these Stones as 'Mana Supplements'. After all, those guys were the types to go absolutely mad when it came to all things Mana-related.
Suddenly, a wry chuckle escaped his lips as he thought about this and that. Whenever he browsed internet, he read lots of people busy writing that Sae-Jin's Trait was a cheat, a biggest cheat no less. But without a doubt, he couldn't deny that they were all 100% right on the money.
Well, it was indeed beyond the realm of common sense - he was currently in the middle of making a Mana Stone artificially, an item that most normal people would shout out "Eureka!!" when picking one up off the ground.
*SFX for a mobile phone vibrating*
While wryly 'praising' himself inwardly, his phone vibrated. He took a glance, and saw that the call was from Yu Baek-Song.
- "…Yeah, it's me."
"How are you? Although, I'm surprised by this sudden call. I heard you're real
ly busy nowadays."
One of the few people who proudly boasted the title of 'Kim Sae-Jin's close associates', Yu Baek-Song was being seen as the most promising person currently serving in the government. And accordingly, she was really busy with receiving lots of great 'treatment' from nearly everyone. Hell, one could probably buy twenty-odd skyscrapers with all the bribes she had refused so far.
- "Hey, you forgot about the favour you asked me before?"
Sae-Jin's head tilted in confusion. He could hear the groan of disappointment from the receiver of the phone.
- "You told me to get you a certain Mana Stone, didn't you? A mutated Ebony Wolf's. I just got it, sent in from India."
He then remembered. There was one Skill he hadn't been utilising until now. It was a Skill where he could 'recall' and control Monsters by using either their carcasses or their Mana Stones. However, he could only control three Monsters, so he was very carefully choosing which Monsters he'd like to control - and then, predictably, the whole thing slipped out of his mind completely.
"This is a great timing. Let's meet up right now."
"Yes. Are you busy with something?"
- "Not really. There's an appointment, but I can cancel that one. But the thing is… I just got out of the shower."
She probably said that without thinking too much at all.
Plus, he even had a lover.
However, those were the words that held the scary power to shake a man's heart…
"…I'll be there. Right now."
Hanging up immediately, Sae-Jin departed and arrived at Yu Baek-Song's house seemingly in one single breath.
And no, it was definitely not because he wanted to see her moist hair. Not at all.
The mutated Ebony Wolf, known as 'Lakcorn'. This Monster made its base in the Himalayan mountain range and was infamous for its might and intelligence that didn't fit regular wolves. It even fought off and safely escaped the hunting parties of upper Mid Tier Knights and High Tier Hunters.
Sae-Jin had chosen this creature to be his pet dog. (?) But it had been over six months and he completely forgot about it.
"Wow. Even my Mercenary Company couldn't do it. How did you pull this one off?" (Sae-Jin)
The Mana Stone wasn't the only thing that Yu Baek-Song had procured. Below the Mana Stone, the carcass of the Monster was on the floor, its remains still a bit warm to the touch.
"We did the Athany diplomacy with India not too long ago, you see. I sneaked in a couple of conditions during the negotiation, if they were willing to hunt the Lakcorn for me." (Yu Baek-Song)
"Yup. I'm sure a nationwide hunting operation took place over there. They probably called in 1000 Knights to hunt this Monster." (Yu Baek-Song)
Seeing her brightly smiling face, adorably implying that he should praise her good work, Sae-Jin ended up inadvertently patting her head. Her white hair was still moist and soft to his touch.
"Thank you. As expected, there is no one that comes close to taking care of things better than Miss Yu Baek-Song." (Sae-Jin)
"…Keu, keheum. I'm not a Great White Tiger for nothing."
As if she got embarrassed, she slowly pushed away his hand but still couldn't hide her reddened face. Also, her nostrils continued to flare up while she smelled his scent and her ears carried on twitching as if to capture one more word of praise.
"Well, in that case, I'll see you again later!!" (Sae-Jin)
Unfortunately for her, though - Sae-Jin didn't praise her anymore.
Because he quickly exited her house while grabbing both the Lakcorn's Mana Stone and its carcass, utterly unable to control his excitement at the thoughts of riding on a Wolf's back.
*SFX for the door slamming shut*
And so… left alone by herself, Yu Baek-Song glared beyond the now-slammed-shut door and pouted unhappily.
"…Was it so difficult for him to praise me some more?!"
As soon as leaving Yu Baek-Song's house, Sae-Jin immediately headed off towards the Monster field. After changing to the Hero Orc Form, the mere thoughts of riding on the real Lakcorn that he only saw on TV screens caused his heart to boil in anticipation even harder.
After taking a couple of deep breaths, Sae-Jin carefully picked up the Mana Stone and activated the Skill. Both the Stone and the carcass of the Monster Lakcorn suddenly scattered like fog, and then, turned into a stream of energy and entered his chest.
The alert window informed him of the smooth integration with the Mana Stone.
Sae-Jin the Orc closed his eyes and activated the Skill. And it was oh-so simple. All he had to do was whisper, "Summon" in his mind. Soon enough, murky Mana flowed out from his heart and a form made up of swirling blue and black colours, rapidly took shape.
It was like a hologram display drawing on air. When the two different coloured Mana streams combined, the giant wolf, Lakcorn regained its life once more.
Even though it was just a measly wolf, its body was big enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with Sae-Jin's Hero Orc Form. And those brilliantly sparkling eyes surveying the world displayed the valor of a warrior quite clearly.
Feeling utterly satisfied, he stroked the wolf's back.
*SFX for a repeated low growl of a canine*
Lakcorn recognised its new master and growled in satisfaction as well. Sae-Jin the Orc smirked and then, placed the prepared saddle on the creature's back.
After climbing up the saddle, Sae-Jin lightly drummed on the back of the wolf. He didn't have to point it to a direction. The wolf still understood his intentions perfectly and kicked the ground hard, rushing towards where he wanted to go.
*SFX for air blowing past*
This was truly a wondrous turn of speed, fast enough to effortlessly leave behind the surrounding scenery in a blur. And the sonic booms left behind their wake uprooted trees and caused maelstrom of dusty storm clouds. They were so dominating, even the Monsters in the High Tier hunting ground scurried away in fright by their approach.
However, as Sae-Jin was deeply admiring this speed that was several times faster than what he imagined…
"Everyone, take a step back!!"
…From somewhere, a resolute yet harried voice came to him. Was someone out hunting right now? When he took a glance over yonder, a head of a huge white bird rose up among the tops of tall trees, and then…
Out of the blue moon, it screeched out one of the most unpleasant cries anyone had the misfortune to hear. It was so terrible that it was definitely two thousand, no, four thousand times more ear-bleeding than fingernails scraping on a blackboard.
Sae-Jin's anger shot up through the proverbial roof after hearing that terrible noise. It was the kind of sound that could pretty much enrage anyone, so both Lakcorn and the Orc couldn't control their tempers anymore.
He grabbed the reins tightly, and Lakcorn quickly changed the direction, heading towards the origin of that noise.
After handing over the Mana Stone and the carcass of a rare Monster donated by India to Yu Baek-Song, Kim Yu-Rin received an urgent message from the government that said, "a highly dangerous Monster has appeared within the High Tier hunting ground".
The Monster was called the Giant Swan. As the name indicated, it was a huge white bird and it was one of those growth-type Monsters that grew stronger with the passage of time. So, she quickly formed a subjugation team and came here.
She figured everything would be okay. Although the Giant Swan was a High Tier Monster, her team was made up of twelve High Tier Knights as well.
Unfortunately, none of them could have imagined that the condition for its growth was 'getting damaged'.
"What the f*ck is this sh*t… What should we do now, captain?!"
After it got sliced up by the Knights' swords, it began clawing madly all around it and started getting ready to evolve. And the terrifying energy the damn thing was emitting easily exceeded that of a regular High Tier Monster.
"…Everyone, take a step back!!" (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin ordered the other Knights to retreat, and then changed the shape of her Gungnir from a sword to a spear. She quickly compared the amount of Mana left in her and the types of 'effects' her Trait could imbue her attack with. It seemed that knocking the Monster out was not possible. In that case, at a minimum, she'd have to take a limb from…
She was grasping the spear tightly, when the Giant Swan let out an explosive and unpleasant roar. This unexpected cry easily penetrated past the Mana Barrier and attacked the ear canals, disrupting the flow of everyone's Mana. And as a result, the ears of the Knights began bleeding. However, the Giant Swan did not stop its sonic attack.
"That son of a… K, kheu…"
Kim Yu-Rin forced her body to stand up, even if she was stumbling about. Her aim was that huge opening of the mouth. Her eyesight was blurring away, but she just had to…
*SFX for a loud roar of the Orc*
It was then, another ultra-loud roar blanketed the shrill cry of the Giant Swan.
And right after that, puhurng!!!
The sound of powerful impact resounded out. Following that sound, a mace flew towards the wide-open beak of the Giant Swan. It all happened in a blink of an eye, but as Kim Yu-Rin was focusing hard at that moment, she witnessed it all in slow motion.
That slowly-flying mace and the roar definitely belonged to…
*SFX for a shorter but angrier roar of an Orc*
From her left, exploding out of the tall bush, a lone Orc jumped out. He was, without a doubt, the Hero Orc that proudly boasted a powerful physique, and now, it was even riding on an overwhelmingly frightening wolf Monster.
Sae-Jin was slightly taken aback by the sight of Kim Yu-Rin staring back at him. However, taking care of his anger took precedence, first of all. That ugly screech from the crazy-a*s white bird was more unpleasant than any other provocations he'd ever heard before.
Even though it got hit in the face by a mace, the Giant Swan didn't give up and continued to screech out.
"*SFX for the loud barkings of a wolf*"
"*SFX for a loud roar of an Orc*"
Both Sae-Jin and Lakcorn responded with enraged roars.
But still, the Swan didn't want to back down, not even by an inch.
In the end, the anger reached the top of his head, and with his entire body becoming crimson, the Orc madly dashed towards the large white bird.
< 37. An Orc and a Lady Knight (1) > Fin.
(TL: $43 out of $50 left for next week's first sponsored chapter.)