A Monster Who Levels Up
A Vampire’s lifespan was usually twice that of a modern-day human being. Plus, the nobler a bloodline was, the longer the life expectancy became; and then, there were unique Vampires with ageless appearance as well those boasting much, much longer lifespan as well, such as that el Las kid. So, after considering all those points, Lillia decided that she’d refuse to believe Sae-Jin was a human being.
“You say you’re a human, yet you’ve lived for how long…?” (Lillia)
Her expressions showed her complete failure to understand this quandary. Of course, this was par for the course, really.
To ‘share’ the same time period with others were a prerequisite element to being alive, so, no longer constrained by the normal flow of time, Sae-Jin came very close to losing his sense of self, his ego.
“….Technically, I haven’t lived for that long time. The actual time I spent awake is only around 50 years or so.” (Sae-Jin)
Waiting around had become too much burden to endure. It was just too unbearable nowadays.
Hell, he even ended up suffering the worst of all bad inflictions he could’ve come down with – insomnia. He probably couldn’t fall asleep for almost two years back then.
Whenever he remembered back to those times, Sae-Jin had to wonder just how he had endured until now. It was to a point where even he himself was mystified by it, and felt somewhat proud, as well.
Whatever the case may have been, the Leviathan’s growth rate had finally reached 95%. If he waited for another 70 years or so, he was confident of reaching the fully matured state.
“Lillia, there’s something I want to ask you about.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin looked down at the kneeling Lillia and grinned slightly. Even at that simple gesture, she was trembling quite pitifully. She was reminded of the past not too long ago when she got mercilessly pummeled by nothing more than Sae-Jin’s single magic spell, that was why.
“And your reply should be…?” (Sae-Jin)
“Y, yes, sir. Ask me anything…” (Lillia)
Compared to how on the knife-edge she sounded before the beating, her voice was far more softer now. It sounded more or less like Lillia from his memories, so Sae-Jin felt quite chuffed by that.
“By any chance, do you want to go back to your homeworld?” (Sae-Jin)
In a way, what he asked about was completely out of the blue. Lillia became dazed for a minute there, before she shook her head quite vigorously.
“No, no, no. No way. I can’t go back to that hellhole now…” (Lillia)
“But, what if you could go back?” (Sae-Jin)
To be absolutely honest, if he were to take care of the Vampire Lord and that el Las kid as they were about to cross over, then the world would not experience the Fissure opening up way ahead of schedule, like how it was with his future. According to Bathory, it would’ve only opened up naturally after 100 years or so.
It was indeed a terribly selfish wish of his, but if he did stop them now, then it was unknown whether ‘he’ would be able to meet any of those precious people or not. They might even forget about the existence of ‘Kim Sae-Jin’ altogether, as well.
What was the real purpose of him waiting and enduring the past 600 years? What was it?
Wasn’t it simply because he wanted to see them again?
He came to the past to save the world because, in the process of saving everyone, he also benefited from that as well.
There was no grand reason. That was it, his sole purpose.
That was why… he’d never ever do something that might threaten the direction of the future.
“I don’t understand what you’re telling me….” (Lillia)
“I’ll explain the details to you later. For now, listen. I came from the future, Lillia.” (Sae-Jin)
“Eii, what nonsense are y…. Euh?! Wha?!?! Kkyaahh!!!!” (Lillia)
No need for a lengthy chat – he simply transformed into the Leviathan. It was quite a sight seeing Lillia’s expression quickly change from shock, panic and then to pure, unbridled fear.
However, there was something he had overlooked just now – and that was the fact that his body size had ballooned up to a terrifying level recently.
After all, a Leviathan’s size was too big for the girth of the Han River to contend with, so how could a measly little underwater cavern even dare to try containing him?
The divine creature of the oceans that resembled the legendary dragons grew larger and larger and larger, until it eventually slammed into the cavern’s ceiling and started a massive tremor.
Lillia screamed out in terror and fell back on her butt again. Sae-Jin hurriedly reverted back to the human form, but by then, as if its ‘lifespan’ had come to an end, the entire cavern began to quake and collapse all around them.
“We, we need to escape….. Kkyaaahck!!” (Lillia)
And finally, the cavern broke apart.
Sae-Jin grabbed the screaming woman’s shoulder and initiated instant transmission.
When he opened his eyes, they had arrived at the bottom of a certain cliff – the place where the Nosferatus had made their nest.
Lillia had shut her eyes so tightly, her eyelids were trembling quite noticeably.
Sae-Jin patted her head and spoke up.
“You guys stay here from now on. You can avoid the Lord’s eye in here, too. And, this place is sturdy enough that even after you carve out an underground city, the earth will hold just fine.” (Sae-Jin)
Only then, Lillia opened her eyes. And she stared at his gentle smile with absentminded eyes.
“Follow me.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin placed his palm on the surface of the cliff’s face, and activated a magic spell. And on the path where his magic flowed by, a passageway opened up.
“I’ve opened up the space. As for construction, I’m sure you can do that better than me.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin finished creating an underground cavern with a size big enough to accommodate around ten thousand Nosferatus, and was about to take out his diary – but, he felt doubt creep up, so he sneaked a glance at Lillia’s direction.
The appearance of her surveying the surroundings with a dumbfounded face made her look completely unprepared and way too naïve, so he figured it was too early for her to handle this book.
“….But, before that.” (Sae-Jin)
His baritone voice resounded deeply.
“Let’s depart on a training journey for a while.” (Sae-Jin)
“Excuse me?” (Lillia)
Lillia tilted her head in confusion.
“What are you even…. Excuse me, I can’t even begin to fathom what the heck is going on here right now, you know? And it hadn’t even been a day since we met, s….” (Lillia)
Before she could finish, Sae-Jin activated instant transmission once more.
The new scenery before their eyes was an uninhabited island literally in the middle of nowhere.
“What the hell?!” (Lillia)
“Temper your personality. The future ‘you’ is not a ruffian like the current you.” (Sae-Jin)
“Calling me a ruffian…. No, wait a minute. I am supposed to become the next leader of all Nosferatus, so I can’t be wasting time like this! And besides, it really hasn’t been even a day since we me… Kkhyack!!” (Lillia)
Without saying a word, Sae-Jin fired off a blast of air. Swept away by that forceful push, Lillia fell into the ocean and then, began shouting while splashing water everywhere.
“H, hey!! I can’t swim!! Save me!!!!” (Lillia)
“*SFX for an old-fashioned guffaw* Learn to save yourself.” (Sae-Jin)
*SFX for struggling to breathe while sinking*
Lillia’s arms and legs hurriedly thrashed about, and she continued to spit out seawater out of her mouth as she rapidly began to drown.
“Please, help me!! Save me!!” (Lillia)
“No. This is all a part of training jour….” (Sae-Jin)
“Save me, you rotten son of a b*****tch!!!!” (Lillia)
He really thought that he’d forgotten about how to get angry, but before he knew it, Sae-Jin was already gritting his teeth.
Other than the odd occasions where she had to enter the city limits to guide the arriving Nosferatus to their new underground base, Lillia spent close to half a year in that uninhabited island with Sae-Jin as the only company.
During that time, a ton of rehabilitation (?) training happened. He taught her magic and how to swim; the importance of the stable supply of sustenance; told her of things that would happen in the future, thereby doing his best to change and fortify Lillia’s mindset.
And the end result was that, Lillia got to possess some semblance of that composed, relaxed demeanor Sae-Jin saw from her in the future.
After thinking that this much was enough, Sae-Jin said his farewell to her exactly on the 200th day of the training.
“I’m going now.” (Sae-Jin)
“What, you don’t want me to leave?” (Sae-Jin)
“No, no!! That’s not it!” (Lillia)
Maybe he was too hard on her until now? Lillia’s expression as she vigorously nodded her head was stuck somewhere between joy and regret. Of course, the scale leaned ever so closer to joy.
While grinning, Sae-Jin added one more thing.
“Right. This is your freedom, the one you’ve been dearly praying for. By the way, if you happen to find out the exact location of the Lord’s hidey hole, let me know via communication magic, okay?” (Sae-Jin)
“Oh, sure…. Uh? But, why would you need that…?” (Lillia)
“There’s something I gotta do.” (Sae-Jin)
The Lord said that he had misplaced the treasure that controlled the survival instincts of Vampires, their bloodlust. However, unless he was suffering from a powerful dementia brought on by his extremely advanced age, there was just no way he’d ‘misplace’ something that incredibly valuable. No, it’d make more sense if someone stole it away, instead.
And the thief responsible for that would be…. Well, there was no strict reason to mention that now, was there?
“Sure, I understand.” (Lillia)
As if she desired to get rid of Sae-Jin as soon as possible, Lillia answered quickly.
Since he didn’t find her attitude all that nice, Sae-Jin flicked her forehead, and then, pulled out the diary. Lillia stared at it with blank eyes, before finally asking him aloud.
“……This is?” (Lillia)
“It’s the diary of the future I wrote in the past. It’ll work out better if you tell the others it’s a book of prophecy, or something like that. Then, they’ll believe you even more.” (Sae-Jin)
“Ah, in other words, all the things that will happen from now on are…” (Lillia)
“Right. Make a copy, mock it up to look like an ancient tome or such, and hand it over to the Lord, as well.” (Sae-Jin)
Lillia reached out and snatched the diary away, before trying to open it willy-nilly, so Sae-Jin hurriedly grabbed her hands.
Then, he glared at her, full of intimidating pressure that implied she should read it when he wasn’t here.
Lillia quickly understood the gist of the stare and nodded her head, before hiding the diary within her clothes.
“Okay, then. I’ll be on my way. I will see you later. I shall stop by at your place once before it gets too late. Got it?” (Sae-Jin)
*SFX for a sudden flash of light*
Sae-Jin turned into blue light, before disappearing from the spot.
Left alone, Lillia cautiously turned her head to survey her surroundings, before opening up the cover of the diary.
Three years flew by after meeting with Lillia.
As the citizens of the world were gradually discovering the presence of other worlds, Lillia finally uncovered the hiding place of the Vampire Lord. He was slumming it out underground beneath the city of London.
After receiving the coordinates, Sae-Jin used instant transmission and arrived at the Lord’s residence.
The Lord had been weakened considerably after crossing over from his homeworld recently, so only a small dosage of the sleeping potion was needed to knock him out cold. And Sae-Jin was able to snatch away the Lord’s most prized possession rather easily.
It was a bloodstone that shined with a sinister reddish hue – the Phantom Bloodstone.
Sae-Jin had no idea how to use it, but whatever, it was still the most important weapon passed down from one Vampire Lord to another.
Without a shred of hesitation, Sae-Jin destroyed it.
No matter how valuable a tool was, if it was created to rule over other people, then it shouldn’t even exist in the first place, after all.
(TL: Told from the MC’s perspective.)
Time continued to flow by.
The density of Mana on Earth increased everyday, leading to many strange phenomena to occur. And the world went through a big upheaval and a certain change at the same time, when the presence of refugees and migrants from another world came to be widely known as well.
When Monsters began appearing, new professions called ‘Knights’ and ‘Wizards’ were created to deal with the rising threat. The very first Wizard Tower and the Knights Order were established in the USA, and soon afterwards, many more sprang up all over the globe as if they were in a race or something.
During this period of transition, several immigrants from the other world found themselves unable to integrate with the Earth’s society and its rules, and began committing various crimes – violent actions of Mah-ins that seemed to know no end, and several mysterious missing persons cases that were suspected to be the work of Vampires, etc, etc.
In order to handle these criminal activities, another profession called ‘Mercenaries’ got invented.
It happened in the year of 1990. Unable to endure anymore, the countries around the world agreed to call for the extermination of the Mah-ins first. Several thousands, tens of thousands of Mah-ins were executed without a chance for rehabilitation.
And five years after that, the sharp ends of the vengeful spear of mankind wielded under the blinding rage were now pointing towards the Vampires. It was beginning of the so-called war with the Vampires.
And so…. the world moved towards the future that I grew up to know.
On a certain Autumn day in 2010.
I stood on a street of a certain city in Gangwon.
It was to meet again with someone I wanted to see so much.
I really wanted to meet her before this day, but I had to endure it. I feared that something unexpected might happen, so I didn’t even dare to look on from far away, as well.
Maybe, I wasn’t supposed to meet today either. I had no idea what kind of butterfly effect today’s meeting might cause…
However, my hopes were resting on one significant fact:
Before my mother passed away, she was seen talking to a strange man.
However, the el Las kid or his lackeys had no reason to talk to her in the first place. They were even planning to implicate the Bathorys after murdering my mom, by leaving behind a fake clue – so, they wouldn’t do something that might trace back to them, after all.
On that day deeply imprinted in my head, the day I still clearly remember… The day before mom passed away – the day we went to a photo studio.
I came to the bridge where we shared our final goodbyes.
If I waited for a bit here, then soon, mom and the younger version of me would pass by.
And then, she would proceed to gift me an wound that may never be healed.
I thought that my tear ducts had dried up due to my advanced age, but just by thinking about it, tears were overflowing out from my eyes.
Thinking about how I’d get to see, and hear, her face and voice that were about to fade from my memories, so many emotions were acting up almost beyond my control.
But, I gritted my teeth and stopped my tears.
It was then.
From afar, I saw a brightly smiling duo of a mother and her son. Seeing her appearance that was so familiar to me, all those tears I desperately held back began pouring out like a waterfall. Strength abandoned my legs and I plopped down to the ground. This was my first time feeling such a powerful mental enervation.
“Sae-Jin-ah, mommy has to go to work for a bit, so….”
I heard her gentle voice so vividly. I was trying to steel my heart, but in that brief moment, it got shattered apart. My throat clammed up and I couldn’t speak anymore; and I couldn’t push my powerless knees to straighten up at all.
“My Sae-Jin can head home alone, right?”
Mom sent me home first, by telling me there was something she had to do.
And so, that child would head home all alone, very soon.
And then, mom would leave me forever.
Meanwhile, the boy energetically replied and ran towards home.
And mom gazed at the back of the running boy absentmindedly.
I watched them, busy wiping away my tears. This was my one true final chance. I couldn’t simply stop here.
I pushed myself up with both hands. I forcibly stood up. I wiped tears off my messy face and slowly approached her.
Towards her, the one that I was eagerly waiting for.