A Monster Who Levels Up
The Orc and the Knight stared at each other for a long time. The Winter winds blew and issued a chilly wail as they brushed past the barren branches. From the dim and grey sky, tiny snowflakes fell and melted even before they could meet the ground.
And standing within the mother nature’s deafening silence, just how long did their stillness continue?
A nearly imperceptible vibration shook the ground.
“Ah! Ex, excuse me!”
The first one to show a reaction was Kim Yu-Rin. She trotted towards the front of the Orc and stood there. Probably because of these cold months making her face paler than usual, her slightly reddened cheeks seemed to stand out even more.
“An enemy will be arriving soon. It’s an Ogre… So, it’s like, two heads are Ogres, and one head is a Troll, so, uh…” (Kim Yu-Rin)
However, it seemed like she was at her wits’ end trying to explain. Well, it was true that the Boss’s name was a bit on the cumbersome side. The Three-Headed Ogre, or to be more precise, Two-Ogre-Heads-One-Troll-Head-Blackskin Ogre -, that was its full title. And her troubles came from her trying to explain while excluding the English words that formed all the important nouns in its name. (TL: Okay, so, the author here wrote the Boss’s name in Korean as romanised English words. When read, it still sounds like English words. Kim Yu-Rin is trying to say the English word “Head” and numbers with their corresponding Korean counterparts, but well, since I’m TLing it back to English, the tongue-twisting she has to go through has been lost in the translation, so to speak. My bad…)
“Ah-woo…. y, yeah, so, I’m trying to say… Do you by any chance know what an Ogre is?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
She gestured with her hands this way and that in sheer frustration, before deciding to explain the background information first.
“I know.” (Sae-Jin)
“Then, what about Ogres being stronger with more heads and with darker skin tone?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Whew-oo. What a relief. Right now, an Ogre with three heads, two heads out of three being that of Ogres’ and the other one being a Troll’s, and on top of that, its skin completely black -, an Ogre with all these features -, is heading this way.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
He already knew all these facts, but still, Kim Sae-Jin took a look around anyway. He could only see the barren and eerie Wintery scape as if all life had abandoned this place. Not one trace of humanity could be spotted at all.
“It’s you only?” (Sae-Jin)
“Eh? Ah, that’s right. It is only me here.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Hmph. Humans, no fight the Boss?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ah, the thing is…”
Seeing how Kim Yu-Rin was avoiding to meeting his gaze out of embarrassment, Sae-Jin could roughly guess what had happened.
The situation in Korea was rather difficult at the moment. After all, there were a total of three different Boss Monsters roaming around in the Korean peninsula right now – the demon Minotauros near Pyoungyang, a Boss Monster called ‘Beherokbel’ near Busan, and this Ogre in the Monster field.
If one were to calculate the threat level posed by these Bosses, then the two near the residential areas of Pyoungyang and Busan were a lot more urgent, indeed.
No matter how much praise was heaped on – the Hero Orcs, the KoreanOrcs, whatever – at the end of the day, Orcs were still Orcs.
The Korean government couldn’t care any less on whether these Orcs could survive or not; rather, they were hoping that the Orcs would delay the gigantic Ogre and its army for as long as possible.
Only human fighting, is you? Right?” (Sae-Jin)
“…Yes. That’s correct.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
It was true that, when in the Orc Form, the tendencies and emotions of the Orc were stronger, but still, he could understand their reasoning. More than likely, it was Kim Yu-Rin who couldn’t accept it, thus abandoning her orders and ended up coming all the way to here.
“I suggest retreating from this place for now. We’re currently building a trap between the border of the Monster field and the city limits, so if you were to cooperate with us there…” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Sae-Jin shook his head. Even if only death awaited for them, no such thing as retreat existed for Orcs. Besides, they wouldn’t die from the likes of some measly Ogres, too.
“We fight.” (Sae-Jin)
His voice was thick, charming and yet quite aloof as well. Kim Yu-Rin could only gulp down her saliva and say nothing.
The words she finally spat out after a lengthy and silent deliberation were something Sae-Jin fully expected from her.
“In that case, please allow me to aid you.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
She sounded tense, perhaps worried about being rejected.
However, Kim Sae-Jin didn’t say anything and walked towards the interior of the village. Realising that this was him giving her the permission, Kim Yu-Rin followed him in with a huge grin on her face.
Entering the village after such a long time, they could see how greatly it had developed compared to before. Seeing the areas strictly separated into training facilities, food storage, residential areas, smithies, etc, etc, was a rather impressive sight, even to the point where it was difficult to believe the Orcs were solely responsible for all these advancements.
“Wow… Really, everything has advanced by so much.”
Genuinely impressed by what she could see, Kim Yu-Rin took in the sights of the village with her eyes extra round. Kim Sae-Jin walked in and called for the Orcs to gather. Approaching with practiced discipline and a certain discernible dignity, the gathered Orcs easily numbered past one thousand.
Sae-Jin swept his gaze over the Orcs once, and shifted his gaze towards Kim Yu-Rin. Receiving his intense gaze, her face reddened deeply, but she pretended to not notice it and simply twirled her poor hair around her fingers.
Sae-Jin smirked and spoke.
“You, take command.”
“See, I told you. No one’s here.” (Bathory)
Around the same time.
Bathory surveyed the dark space she was in and spoke as if she was lamenting about something. The underground city that took so much effort and care to set up was no longer here, and the only thing left was completely, utterly desolate empty cavern.
In other words, the Nosferatus had all fled to somewhere. As if they had planned for this in advance, not one trace of them remained here. So much so, it was difficult to believe that a city had existed in this cavern, even.
“My sincerest apologies, my lady. We should have suspected something, the moment they built a village underground to evade our Lord’s eyes…”
The voice of an Elder tickled Bathory’s earbuds.
Yes, it was an ‘Elder’. On the account of the purity of the bloodlines, placed above that of an Apostle and just below her who just so happened to be the ruling class – these were the Elders.
However, the voice of such a man was weak and pathetic.
It wasn’t because of the advanced age, either. If that was the case, then when admonishing the lackeys below him, his attitude should remain timid and weak as well.
“Your sincerest apologies?” (Bathory)
“Yes, yes, my lady. We are truly sorry…”
“About what?” (Bathory)
“That is, that we fail to suspect…”
“But why are you sorry? It’s Nosferatus who’s at fault here.” (Bathory)
“Whatevs. All you lot are just old and decrepit like a flock of beasts, aren’t you. You lack backbone, you don’t have pride… No, wait. Maybe it’s par for the course, since you don’t have the necessary strength?” (Bathory)
The day before, Bathory went to meet the Vampire Lord even if her actions could be seen as disrespectful. But he wasn’t even there. Instead, one of the Lord’s faithful servants gave her an ‘advice’ – “Better stop with the unnecessary questions.”
However, it was not easy to calm the ripples once it began to spread in her mind. At least, she would never be satisfied unless she dug the truth out with both her hands and feet, and confirm with her two eyes the truth that ‘it’s not true’.
“…Hey, everyone?” (Bathory)
Bathory spoke to dozens of Elders and Apostles who had followed her into this cavern with the most beautiful voice imaginable. Utterly charmed by her, they couldn’t even meet her gaze and bowed deeply. Unfortunately for them, Bathory was planning to force them into making the most difficult decision in their lives.
With the voice so beguiling that it could even charm a nightingale and make it swallow its own tongue, she carried on with some seriously shocking words.
“Decide, whether you will follow the Lord, or me.” (Bathory)
This was tantamount to her declaring a rebellion. They were in this deep underground where the Vampire Lord’s eyes couldn’t reach, otherwise if they were in some wide-open field somewhere, they might have died of thirst after losing control of their desire to drink blood. Well, the Lord did possess the power to somehow control that particular instinct of all Vampires, after all.
“B, but, Lady Bathory, that is…”
“Everyone. It is regretful, but I… Well, I don’t think I can wait until the Fissure is fully opened up.” (Bathory)
Suddenly, around the radius of 500 metres, a dark-coloured Mana spread out and rose up in a dome-shape. It was a barrier preventing the Vampires from escaping.
“So, here’s the thing. I feel like I should at least let you in on a couple of things that might help you with making your choices. So, take a seat. Listen well to what I’m about to say, and make a wise decision afterwards, omkay?” (Bathory)
Before anyone noticed it, a throne had appeared before her feet.
Elders and Apostles listened to her as they continued to grovel on the ground.
Kim Yu-Rin began her impassioned mission briefing in front of the gathered Orcs. However, she was simply far too energetic for a Knight about to face a huge scale battle. Most importantly, though, the subjects listening to her wholehearted explanations were Orcs. Although these guys weren’t really ‘normal’, but Orcs were only acknowledged to be slightly smarter than a killer whale, so…
“Ogres are the personification of destruction that will fight and kill even among themselves. But the sole reason why these Ogres are uniting, is simply because of the Boss Ogre.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
She even resorted to drawing on the wall of the cave to illustrate her point – a lifeform that might be the Three-Headed Ogre, and smaller lifeforms resembling other Ogres following the big one.
“When we kill the Ogre leader, the rest will lose the bond that holds them together, and will start fighting each other.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
The contents of the plan she was briefing the Orcs on were rather simple. Ignore other Ogres, and just defeat the Boss.
The big problem, though, was the fact that this Boss Ogre was an existence that exceeded common sense.
The results arising from the detailed scientific analysis performed by Monster researchers showed that, an Ogre’s strength would increase by four times with an addition of one more head. And this Boss Ogre had two more heads, so it was at least 16 times more powerful than a regular Ogre.
And on top of this, another variable in the form of ‘skin’ was added to the mix.
An Ogre was stronger the more achromatic its skin tone was. And the standard theory was that, the Ogres with the colours on either end of the achromatic spectrum, white or black, were twice as strong as regular Ogres with brown colour.
In other words, even with the most simplest calculations, this Boss Ogre was at least 32 times more powerful than a regular Ogre.
And to add further fuel to this unfortunate situation, one of the heads just so happened to belong to a Troll. A Troll, well known for its incredibly tenacious vitality that even made Knights grit their teeth in frustration.
“Of course, it will be difficult. This Boss Ogre is… unimaginably strong. However.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin shifted her gaze towards Sae-Jin in his Hero Orc Form and smiled deeply.
“However, it will be possible when everyone’s powers, the prowess of your Chief, and Cornlak is combined into one.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
An Ogre ate twice a day. After the meal, for almost half a day, it would not budge from its spot. Meaning, there was at least one or two days of time left before the Ogre army arrived near the village. Kim Yu-Rin utilised this time to train the Orcs as soon as the briefing came to an end. As if her training was harsh to the extreme, pitiful screams of Orcs continued to ring out through the day.
‘I should’ve come later…’
And right now, Sae-Jin the Orc was sitting in the Chieftain’s room while deeply regretting his decision. His fault was that, he didn’t know of the Ogre’s living habits in detail until now. He really thought that these Monsters would flood in crazily as exactly as their appearances suggested, but hell, who knew they liked taking so many breaks in between?
Of course, thanks to that, he was afforded enough time to prepare. Also, it was really smart of him to bring along his mobile phone via ‘Spiritualisation’…
[Yu Sae-Jung: Oppa, isn’t this just too much?! And why can’t you answer your phone!! You think a single memo is going to be enough?! You think I’ll stay here forever even after you treat me so poorly? ….I’m not trying to break up with you, so don’t misunderstand me, okay.]
[Yu Sae-Jung: No wait a minute. I take back what I said just now. I’m gonna stay right next to you like, forever. Even if Oppa tells me to take a hike, I’ll stay. Like a leech.]
Sae-Jin found it hard to type with his extra-thick fingers. Unfortunately, he still needed to send his reply.
[I couldn’t tell you, you were still asleep. Besides, why are you complaining so much when I said I got things to take care of? I should be back in two days’ time so stop annoying me with this. One more complainting, and I won’t come back for a whole month.] (Sae-Jin)
As he was still in his Orc Form, the reply was bit more brusque and sharper than usual. He thought her feelings might be hurt from this, but her reply arrived less than ten minutes later. And well, her attitude seemed a lot softer than previously.
[…Sorry. It’s just that, I got really surprised because you left without saying anything…. By the way, are you angry at me for something I’ve done, Oppa?] (Yu Sae-Jung)
[No, I’m not. I really want to see you like crazy right now, so stop stimulating my thoughts, okay?] (Sae-Jin)
His words were rather rough in so many respects.
[(An emoji of a hamster holding a heart) Aah-iiiing, what the~~. Ehehe~~. Got it, so hurry home~~.] (Yu Sae-Jung)
[I’ll be back as soon as I can. (A heart emoji)] (TL: LOL, an Orc busy sending a heart emoji on his phone. Just picturing this scene cracks me up.)
As he finished up his reply, he could hear the gentle footsteps outside his room. Sae-Jin quickly absorbed the phone back into his body. It was seriously lightning-quick.
There was no need to knock, though – since there was no door to begin with.
“What is it?” (Sae-Jin)
Kim Yu-Rin’s head peeked out from the edge when he spoke up. As if she just came out from a shower, her glistening, wet hair cascaded down.
“……..Where is Cornlak?”
Hearing her cautious questioning, Sae-Jin lightly tapped the ground. Having been summoned earlier, Cornlak violently rushed into his cavern chamber. As soon as it entered, Cornlak jumped on top of Kim Yu-Rin and began the attack of affection on her for a while.
Dust rose up and dirt thickly permeated the air.
Sae-Jin’s brows narrowed deeply, and was about to shout out, when…
“Ahahahaht! Wait, wait!! I got it, I got it, Cornlak!! I said, I got it…”
…He couldn’t, after seeing Kim Yu-Rin’s bright smile and her happy expression.
< 43. A Hero, an Orc, a Human (2) > Fin.