A Monster Who Levels Up
It was unknown how much time had passed by. However, he knew for sure that the inner area of the isolated space had grown as big as an elementary school playground.
It indeed seemed like a hopeless situation, but there was also something else to console Sae-Jin as well.
As he continued to tussle and fight with Bathory, the ‘Degree of Advancement for structure of the muscles and bone density’ continued to increase and increase until finally, the alert window that said [Muscles have been strengthened, and the bones have been fortified] accompanied the 100% completion for the Advancement.
The improvement was quite easy to see for himself. Not only the pain he felt after getting kicked and punched by the annoyed Bathory decreased noticeably, it was now possible to contend against her physically to a certain degree. Of course, he was still helpless against her magic attacks, though.
On the other side, Bathory was finding it quite suspicious regarding Sae-Jin’s sudden increase in his overall sturdiness. But she let go of her suspicions pretty quickly after he came up with an excuse of “I’ve become used to your violent assaults, that’s all.”
Whatever – he still got to completely assimilate the ‘physical essence’ of Bathory for himself, and the next thing he started absorbing was [the knowledge of sorcery accumulated for the past 300 years.]
He initially hoped for the Skill where he could morph his entire body into pure vapours of Mana, but still, this was none other than the ‘sorcery’ – something that was commonly believed to be one level superior to regular magic. As the Leviathan, a being of Mana, he would be able to wield sorcery far more effectively than Bathory ever will.
And right now – the Degree of Advancement for sorcery was at 15%.
“Heu-hng, it’s all done~.” (Bathory)
And so, as he was trying to piece together 15% worth of fragmented knowledge of the sorcery in his head, Bathory’s rather pleased chuckles could be heard out of the blue.
He sent a curious gaze towards her way. There was no need for him to say anything, really – she should start grumbling all on her own, anyway.
But for this time around, Bathory’s explanations weren’t strictly necessary.
There was a paper castle stacked up with playing cards in front of her. Bathory had built this 50 centimetre-tall stack with the method Sae-Jin taught her, and it was quite apparent that she was very pleased with herself.
Feeling rather cantankerous for some reason, Sae-Jin blew with his mouth. The paper castle trembled pitifully before it collapsed, and Bathory’s face crumpled along as well.
“What the hell are you doing?!” (Bathory)
“Is it fun? Shouldn’t have taught you that.” (Sae-Jin)
“Really now, acting exactly like a man who is about to die, your temper is so rotten… But, besides all that, hey you. Don’t you wanna play a round of cards with me again?” (Bathory)
The card game Bathory was referring to was ‘One-card’. He played it with her before after seeing how bored she looked but now, she was bothering him over 18 times a day about playing it with her. Of course, when talking about a day, it was in terms of the flow of time within this isolated space. Although, it was not known how many days it would be outside for one day spent inside. (TL: “One-card” is a type of card game played mostly in South Korea. I’ve never heard of it, but there’s a page for it in Wikipedia.)
“Don’t want to.” (Sae-Jin)
“…How ridiculous. It was you who wanted to play it before. Is it because you lost to me all the time?” (Bathory)
dquo;You are welcome to believe that if you want.” (Sae-Jin)
In front of the complaining Bathory, the ace that used to occupy the top spot of the now-collapsed paper castle floated down quite lazily.
He looked at that innocuous occurrence without thinking too much when, quite suddenly, a single wisp of electricity buzzed past his brain cells. A feeling of a chill going down his spine – the Lycanthrope’s intuition was acting up. No, it wasn’t as if he had another peek at the future. Just that, a certain suspicion brushed past his brain like a flash of light, that was all.
She replied while gathering the deck of cards. Since she sounded grumpy, Sae-Jin had to think for a bit. What he was about to say was going to be seen as far greater misconduct than blowing off her paper castle, after all.
“What is it? Speak up, will you. You’re going to die soon anyways, so why are you being hesitant?” (Bathory)
He ended up chuckling after hearing her words. Although it was her own arrogant desire of not wanting to breathe in same air as humans, she apparently lived all her life stuck in a castle somewhere, and well, she was certainly full of curiosity as a result. And if she was so inquisitive, then that also meant she would be full of questions as well.
In that case, she would have no choice but to admit to the words others might think of as nothing more than an attempt to sour the relationship.
“Well, it’s nothing. Just asking because I’m curious. Your ‘plan’, did your Lord declare it will definitely succeed?” (Sae-Jin)
When he cautiously tested the waters, Bathory proudly nodded her head.
“That’s right. Our Lord can see everything, you see? Although, he is old now and he has to sleep a lot nowadays.” (Bathory)
“Hmph. So, that guy must be thinking that both the time and space can be distorted at the ‘same’ time?” (Sae-Jin)
Bathory’s brows narrowed.
“That’s right. Both at the same time. Hey, what are you trying to say here? Stop beating around the bush!” (Bathory)
“No, see. I’m just curious. That doesn’t make sense, though. You ever heard of the term ‘contradiction’?”
Bathory didn’t know, but still nodded her head in an oblique angle as if she knew it already.
“…I’ll explain that later. Whatever, what you Vampires want is to reverse the timeline and jump across space all at once. Time, and space… Just which one needs to proceed first in order for the plan to succeed?”
“….What rubbish are you spewing this time? You really a mongrel. You even bark like one when you talk.” (Bathory)
As expected, her expressions were sullen. No, actually, it seemed like she had no idea what he was talking about in the first place.
“Well now, think about this carefully. If the timeline was reversed first, then there won’t be any Fissure in your new time period, so how will you jump across the dimensions? And also, if you jump through the dimensions first, then the new dimension won’t have the Fissure there, so how will you reverse the timeline?” (Sae-Jin)
Looking at the plan with a critical eye, influencing both the time and space simultaneously was impossible. No matter what, the difference of a single microsecond should always exist.
That was why, their plan definitely had a contradiction to it. It wasn’t a particularly hard to understand this problem; even a layman would realise this issue eventually, given enough time.
In other words, Vampires would’ve caught onto this contradiction pretty easily as well – only if it wasn’t for the presence of someone who could block any and all suspicions… the Vampire Lord, a figure who demanded blind, unquestioning and absolute loyalty from his subjects.
“Well, to me… No matter how hard I think about it, it feels like your Lord is using you.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin said this only one line, but the thick killing intent and heavy pressure were quickly added to the atmosphere. However, after fully assimilating Bathory’s constitution, such physical threats were as good as non-existent to him now.
“….Hey, maybe you don’t want to die after all? How about living the rest of your miserable life being ripped to shreds by other Monsters?” (Bathory)
Her voice was tinged in pure rage. But still, within her quietly-trembling eyes, a type of restlessness that couldn’t be hidden away could also be felt.
“Besides, there is no need for the Lord to something like that.” (Bathory)
“So, here’s the thing. You all want to return to your original world, right? But your Lord probably doesn’t. Most likely, he already knows it’s impossible to return to the past version of your home world.” (Sae-Jin)
“Even I think it’s definitely possible to overturn either the timeline or dimensions, sure. But that’s only when you choose one or the other – the time, or the space. So, in other words, maybe the Lord is planning to drop you off at your home world like a bad habit, while himself alone – or maybe, with those goons loyal only to him, return to the past version of the earth~~, so he can swallow up the defenseless version of this planet for himself.” (Sae-Jin)
“You shut your damn mouth!!” (Bathory)
As soon as he finished speaking, Bathory pounced on him while growling wildly. Unlike the other times, though, her movement was urgent and lacked that certain elegance she possessed. Was that the clear evidence of her being restless?
Sae-Jin pushed her face away with both of his hands and continued on with his words.
“I heard Rhosrahdel call you as the future leader of the Vampires. But here’s something else – you think the Lord will accept that? Vampires are a bunch of ambitions and desires rolled into one. I mean, doesn’t the ones with nobler than noblest bloodlines have stronger obsession towards power and prestige?” (Sae-Jin)
“Kobhack!! The Lord has already said, he will choose the replacement for his aging self…” (Bathory)
“Well, that is, who would like it when he says he will rule over you lot for hundreds, maybe thousands of years into the future? Doesn’t matter how well the Lord controls Vampire’s instincts to drink blood by using whatever special artifact, he will get his a*s assassinated long before that. Besides, after he hands over the position, what would happen if one of you cause a revolt or something?” (Sae-Jin)
Calming down his shaking heart, Sae-Jin did his best to form a sneer.
“Oh, by the way, is it really true that the Lord sleeps a lot? From what I’ve heard, doesn’t he have, like, 100 more years left in his lifespan?” (Sae-Jin)
It was then, Bathory’s Mana began rising up like a dragon ascending to heavens. The blood-coloured Mana boiling spectacularly on her skin showed off how violent her fury was this time around.
“Our Lord isn’t that kind of a person.” (Bathory)
Sae-Jin smiled and added the final words, “Oh, is he really?”
Maybe that crossed her bottom line, since she pounced on him as if she was planning to dissect him right there and then. He sank his fangs on her shoulders and desperately held on. Soon after, he was greeted by the type of pain where it felt like his organs were being pulled out one by one and his spine was being smashed into pieces.
And after some time had passed by…
Bathory abruptly stopped what she was doing.
*SFX for sucking noises*
“….What the?! You stupid mosquito!!” (Bathory)
She angrily pushed Sae-Jin off her as he continued to suck on her blood.
As he was lamenting on the fact that the Degree of Advancement was still only at 30%…
Suddenly, the cracks began forming on the walls of the isolation barrier.
“Oh? Looks like the rescue party has arrived.” (Sae-Jin)
A smile automatically formed on his lips. He retracted the fur covering his body – he changed back to the human’s appearance. Bathory stared at him with an unreadable expression, before her lips twisted upwards.
“Really? In that case… I should kill them all, then.” (Bathory)
When the golden sword light cut into the wall of the barrier, a rift ripped open on the part of the jet-black dome that didn’t look like it’d break no matter what. And three seconds later, with a loud ripping noise, the rift appearing on one side spread out to the rest of the dome, and the whole thing shattered and fell apart like falling pieces of glass.
“We did it!!”
There were two people within the isolated space.
As expected, they were Bathory woman and Kim Sae-Jin.
However, their positions were a bit strange. Sae-Jin was lying on the ground, while Bathory was straddling him on top. It was somewhat suggestive, and also was a position of dominance…
“That, that crazy bi*ch is!!” (Hazeline)
Seeing this scene, Hazeline screamed out even before she had the chance to think.
“What did you say?” (Bathory)
Hearing that uncalled-for name-calling, Bathory’s face crumpled to resemble a demon. Then, Mana began to pour out from her body.
But, it was right at this moment when Hazeline’s ‘Mana suppression’ activated. By sacrificing every single Mana Stone of Monsters taken from The Monster’s warehouse, they succeeded in suppressing Bathory’s Mana.
“These damn mongrels…Kkheuck!!” (Bathory)
After the usage of Mana was forcibly taken away from her, hundreds of arbalests fired their load at Bathory.
Horrifying noises of flesh being blown away resounded out, and countless sharp bolts fired off from the arbalests turned Bathory into a hedgehog in the blink of an eye.
But everyone knew this wasn’t going to be enough. Yi Hye-Rin’s whip sword, Joo Ji-Hyuk’s greatsword, the front claws of the White Tiger, and Kim Yu-Rin’s Gungnir descended down on Bathory’s figure at the same time.
They had more bodies than her. And she also had only one more life remaining.
Bathory had to swallow her humiliation and send a rescue signal to her lackeys.
Countless sword auras rushed in like a storm of thunderbolts. Still, Bathory endured and avoided some of them. No need for crap like Mana, just with her physical body only.
She barely managed to dodge the golden sword aura rushing towards her heart. She then grabbed the curvy sword that drew a strange arc and brushed past her throat, throwing it down to the ground. And the Knight holding that whip-like sword, Yi Hye-Rin, accompanied her weapon and slammed into the ground as well.
“Hye-Rin!! Are you alri….” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Next, Bathory dashed towards the female Knight relaxedly worrying about her comrade and punched her gut.
The female Knight commendably endured against Bathory’s physical power, but still, a fair amount of blood gushed out from her mouth. Bathory pounced on Kim Yu-Rin in order to finish her off, while Joo Ji-Hyuk and Yu Baek-Song stepped forward to block her…
Seeing this battle unfold, Sae-Jin intuitively knew they would lose.
Hazeline’s efforts in Mana suppression was at its limit, and her Mana reserve was simply too empty to fire off any sort of offensive magic spells. On top of this, Bathory’s reinforcements should be arriving any time now.
In other words, ‘retreat’ was the correct answer here.
But, what about the method? Using ‘speed’ to evade Bathory and escape was simply a crazy wish. She was fully capable of a crazy turn of speed where she could easily exceed the speed of sound and travel over a kilometre in one second.
So, he need to think of a means to escape. Think.
He abruptly recalled the part of a certain sorcery, so he hurriedly began to dive into the accumulated knowledge he stole and stored deep within his mind.
When he searched, he found one.
‘The instant transmission.’
It was the sorcery Bathory used to kidnap him back then.
At the same time, Kim Yu-Rin’s Gungnir collided with Bathory’s bare fist and a huge wall of dust cloud exploded upwards. And within this cloud where one’s view was obscured, Sae-Jin identified the locations of his comrades and summoned forth his Mana in order to compose the ‘sorcery’.
As expected – the Leviathan’s ability to integrate and wield Mana was simply beyond the capabilities of other species.
Bathory sensed something was amiss, and quickly began to get rid of the dust cloud. But, as she did so, blue Mana mushroomed up and surrounded Kim Sae-Jin’s comrades, and…
…They all vanished into thin air.
“Where?! ….Wha, what the hell?” (Bathory)
Bathory ended up punching the empty air quite unexpectedly, and as a result, she was left utterly confused – initially, at least.
“What the hell is this? Where did you run off to?!! Where the hell are you, you scummy mongrel sons of bi*ches!!! Aahahahahahck!!!” (Bathory)
Then, she exploded in pure rage. Did Kim Yu-Rin succeed in landing a blow to her face? Bathory’s swollen cheek seemed to further enhance the awful and ugly atmosphere.
“…My, my queen!!”
“Ha-ah, ha-ah… Hey, you b*stards, why are you so bloody late?!” (Bathory)
“My, my apologies!! Should we chase after them? We have detected the flow of their Mana!!”
Elders and Apostles hurriedly appeared and knelt down before her.
Bathory wiped away the blood from her lips and tidied up her messy hair while cold words of fury exploded out from her mouth.
“No. I’m more or less calm now. And what if we chase after them? They’ll just run away using the same method again, anyway…” (Bathory)
“In, in that case?”
Bathory fell into a dilemma, before she abruptly recalled what Sae-Jin had said, that one about the Vampire Lord deceiving the Vampires.
That was definitely a disrespectful statement that even the most horrifying death wouldn’t be enough of a punishment. However….
“…I’m gonna meet with the Lord.” (Bathory)
“Eh? Pardon me, my queen. We definitely understand your majesty’s fury. However, the Lord hasn’t woken up yet, so…”
Hearing that pathetically weak voice, her blood seemed to well up in the reverse direction.
Why did she not possess a single fun lackey amongst all her underlings? Why did every one of them know only to grovel so pathetically?
While she glared at these failures of male kind whose knees and even their heads were firmly glued to the ground, she couldn’t help but recall the man who had been next to her only until a few moments ago.
And at the same time, countless flames of anger spiked up, each of them carrying diverse feelings within.
“Shut up, you stinking insects!! I’m going to see the Lord, so just make the godd*mn way already!!” (Bathory)
Her super-loud yell seemed to shake the quiet mountainside.
< 42. Rescue (4) > Fin.