A Monster Who Levels Up
(This extra chapter is brought to you by these heroic defenders of humanity: Jan B, Keneth P, Tevin T, Jona D, Valentino W, and Arvin S. Thank you for your donations!!)
Initially, this system of Society began with the idea of forming a party to make the Monster hunts more effective. But as time passed, the goal and the scope expanded far beyond that initial premise. From the humble beginnings of ‘hunting parties’ where only the Knights and Hunters could join, to a versatile gathering of individuals where its members would communicate with one another in pursuit of the better tomorrow.
So, nowadays, people other than Knights and Hunters, such as Wizards, Blacksmiths, Alchemists (obviously in very low numbers), as well as regular civilians joined Societies. The current situation was that nearly half of the country’s population had joined one or more Societies. Which meant that the number of Societies continued to increase and as such, there were as much as 30,000 active official Societies in South Korea alone.
And among all those active Societies in the country, none were more famous than perhaps the ‘Trilogy’.
Its leader, Kim Yak-Sahn, was also the current Order Master of the Goryeo Knights Order.
Currently the only S Class ranked Society in the country, Trilogy boasted a total member count of 273, and they all came from quite varied and colourful backgrounds. (Surprisingly, even the Societies had a ranking system. The higher the rank, the higher the number of members it could have.)
Its members consisted of: Knights and Hunters ranked at least the upper Mid Tier, Wizards, several big fish from the worlds of politics and finance, famous celebrities, and even Blacksmiths and Alchemists. It was not wrong to say that the communication happening internally within Trilogy could easily control the entirety of South Korea.
Recently, with the advent of couple more behemoths like Trilogy, a growing number of voices were saying that the Societies in A and B Classes should be called a Guild or a Clan instead, for the sake of differentiation. Already, one or two media outlets had tried those terms out to see how it would go with the viewers.
"Congratulations~ October 8th, in other words, today, is the day the Society ‘The Monster’ is born~!"
"Ah…… Well, thank you."
Sae-Jin was giving his disinterested reply inside the Monster Store; he came here after receiving the phone call of confirmation that his Society had been formally recognised and registered. Within his arms, he carried an armful of the ‘Society Operational Chart’ and ‘leader business cards’. (TL: I TLed Society Operational Chart literally. *단체운영차트*)
"Really, you are just too amazing! From the get-go, your Society has been rated as a D- class!"
"It’s like we’re witnessing the beginning of a legend~!"
Kim Sae-Jin found all this a*s-kissing a bit burdensome. More correctly, as a person who had no clue on the significance of a Society, he just could not fathom why these people were busy making a scene in front of him. It was rather obvious, actually; he had lived a busy, work-swarmed loner life until now, so why would he pay attention to the symbol of the multitude of people, Societies?
"…To start as a D-, is that suppose to be that amazing?"
"Eh? O, of course! Normally, most start at F Class, and if the evaluation is favourable, then E!"
The increase in a Society’s rankings depended on its results. And when talking about the ‘results’, it didn&#
8217;t only mean the successful hunts of Monsters by the Knights, Hunters and/or Wizards, but also included matters such as performing volunteer work as well.
The ones in charge of measuring the number of these services rendered for the good of the populace, was some nameless government entity that no one seemed to know what it was exactly; but since there were no particular complaints from the Societies, it could mean that their evaluation process was all 100% above-board.
"Is it a good thing to have a higher rank?"
Members from the same Society usually felt close camaraderie towards each other; they also outwardly showed no hostility towards other Societies.
The reason was that, as the name implied, a Society was basically like a student club found in universities. Classes were assigned to make classifications easier, but in the end, there was no profit to be made other than personal connections that would form within a Society.
So, a Society was simply an environment for meeting people and making connections.
"Y, yes, it’s a good thing! And if you can develop deep relations with other members…. it will be even better. I’m so envious!"
When looking at the Society Sae-Jin had formed from this point of view, it could be seen as a rather important one. After all, its members were an A ranked Wizard and a precious granddaughter of a multi-billionaire.
On a side note, one of the main reasons why Sae-Jin’s Society started off as D- Class had a lot to do with the exploits of the A ranked Wizard, Hazeline.
"Yeah. I’m also happy about the high rank. I get this urge to raise its ranking even higher in the future, too. Well then, I’ll be on my way, now."
But, for Sae-Jin who was not knowledgeable about how the Societies operated, he simply scratched the back of his neck and turned around to leave as if it was all in a day’s work.
Watching the back of such an uncaring man, the government workers present had no choice but to carry around the maddening curiosity, a collective desire, to find out just what kind of background this guy had.
– "But why did the name end up as ‘The Monster’?!"
Yu Sae-Jung’s puzzled voice came out from the receiver of the mobile phone.
"No particular reason. I just got p*ssed off. I mean, whatever name I picked, they kept on telling me, ‘it’s already been taken’. So I went for something nobody would go for. But even ‘Monster’ was taken. So, I just tacked ‘The’ in front of it."
– "It’s true… that there are one too many Societies nowadays. Even the civilians are busy making their own civilian Societies, too. A mountain climbers Society, a football Society, etc, etc…. Ah, right. There are guys forming Societies even at my school, calling them study groups and such."
*SFX for water boiling*
While in the midst of the call, the water began to boil. Sae-Jin put the phone on the speaker and placed it on the table.
– "Were you in the middle of a meal?"
"No, not yet. I am cooking at the moment."
– "Wah, all alone?"
"Yeah. I’m pretty good at cooking, you know. As good as a pro chef, even."
*SFX for knife chopping up stuff*
The kitchen knife flashed like an arcing electricity and uniformly sliced the vegetables. The bits of veggies cut in the blink of an eye were all shaped into a perfect geometric symmetry as if they were measured with a precise ruler.
As expected, the Goblin’s Craftsmanship, now at C-, proved to be a wonderful skill once more.
– "Fut. If that’s the case, then you should apply for a spot at the Hunters’ Food Sense." (TL: "식견" literally Food Discovery.)
The ‘Knights and Hunters’ Food Sense’ was a program where Knights and Hunters showed off their cooking skills in a duel-style format. Sae-Jin had heard that there were a few participating Knights who were crazy enough to rely on their constitutions to cook with Mana rather than using any cooking utensils.
"No way, since I’ll never lose. Which means I’ll have to keep on making the appearance like, forever."
– "That doesn’t even make sense… Then, you should cook for me at a later date."
Sae-Jin stopped moving for a moment. He was about to feel good about himself. But he remembered the age difference. Although there was only a four-year gap, she was still a minor. (TL: The author wrote "궁합도 안본다는 4살차" here. It’s almost impossible to describe what these words mean without going through a lengthy explanation. So I TLed without them.)
"…Well, that’s that, but can you tell me your address?"
– "Why the sudden change of topics… Which one would you like to know - the one in Gangwon Province or the one in Seoul? Why do you need it so out of the blue?"
"Gimme the one where you stay most often. I heard that the leaders of Societies are supposed to hand out gifts to the members on either a monthly or an annual basis. So, I was thinking…. that I should send you a membership gift for helping me out, even if it’s not worth that much."
Yu Sae-Jung chuckled at his reply and told him the address.
– "By the way, what present are you planning to give me?"
"Uh…. well, you’ll just have to find out later."
There was a lot of stuff he could give to her. Potions, weapons, and if she wanted to become stronger, then even the Magic Tattoos. If he sent her a weapon, there was a good chance that she’d go crazy over it, too.
However…. he needed more time for that. For now, it was still too early to reveal his true identity to her just yet.
‘…Should I just add The Orc blacksmith as a member too?’
An idea suddenly came up to him.
Really, if he did this, then moving about as a blacksmith should become more convenient for him, and since he was the Society’s leader in charge of the member’s records, he could add anyone without the need for a rigorous vetting process as well.
Of course, he’d need the written agreement, but hell, it’d be rather easy to get one from himself anyways.
Two afternoons later.
Kim Sae-Jin decided to hunt as a human for the first time in a long while, and stepped up towards the Monster field.
The performance of his equipment was guaranteed as they were all TheOrc’s Forge K‘s products. Plus, he had turned two other pieces of equipment into spirits and had absorbed them too.
However, the moment he stepped into the Rest Stop, all eyes suddenly focused on him. This place was quite big, for sure, but Sae-Jin could clearly feel all those eyes taking a peek at him.
Yu Sae-Jung isn’t even with me today, though? Sae-Jin hurriedly checked out his attire. No problem there. His armours were clothing type as well, so they wouldn’t necessarily attract attention either…
But before long, he was able to figure the puzzle out.
"Haha, how do you do?"
An unpleasantly greasy man approached Sae-Jin and blocked his progress.
Sae-Jin couldn’t help but panic slightly as this guy, whom he had never met before, approached and started greeting him with a certain amount of arrogant swagger.
But this guy just thrust out his hand for a shake as if he was unperturbed by the reaction.
"I heard it through the grapevine, Mister Kim Sae-Jin, that you have formed a Society."
It seemed like the news of him forming a Society had spread around like a plague.
Even though those government workers were making a bit of a scene back then, he didn’t expect the news to spread this fast…
"Oh, right. I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Kim In-Soo, a Mid Tier Knight from the Genesis Knights Order." (TL: Decided to use the English translation of "Gaebyeok" from now on. Got a feeling this guy will pop up again in the future chapters…)
The guy introduced himself first as Sae-Jin just stood there looking at his hand wordlessly.
Sae-Jin’s brows narrowed after hearing the name Kim In-Soo. He was quite sure of hearing it from somewhere….
"Ah, the Mid Tier Knight nicknamed the ‘Saviour of the Light’?"
Sae-Jin had indeed seen him from somewhere. It was that guy from that ad he saw on that outdoor electronic billboard, when he spewed out those corny, cringeworthy lines. He was the Mid Tier Knight from the Genesis Order, Kim In-Soo.
"Ehem. As expected… Yes, it is I, the Saviour of the Light. Also, I’m planning to advance up to upper Mid Tier very soon."
"Ah, yeah… How do you do. But what can I do for you?"
"That, well, I heard that Mister Sae-Jin has formed a Society. With Miss Yu Sae-Jung."
Keheum- With a fake cough, Kim In-Soo handed over a business card.
"It’s a wise choice to form your own Society in these trying times. But, wouldn’t you agree that having only two members is a bit, well, not enough?"
Kim In-Soo stopped speaking there. Looked like he was waiting for Sae-Jin to take the hint and continue the conversation from here onwards.
"…That’s true, but I only formed one to advance to the upper Mid Tier rank, so the number of members doesn’t really matter to me. Oh, and it’s not two, but three members."
"Aha. Is that right?"
And another period of silence. Wondering what this nonsense was all about, Sae-Jin simply bowed his waist a little to say goodbye and tried to enter the Monster field.
"Oh, hey. Where are you going? I, I’m still standing here."
Unfortunately for him, Kim In-Soo grabbed his shoulder. Sae-Jin studied this guy with dissatisfied eyes before finally realising why he was acting like this.
"…Do you wish to join my Society?"
"Eh? Ah, it’s not like I wish to, but… well, if you ask me for a favour, then, sure, why not. You see, I already enjoy a friendly relationship with Miss Sae-Jung. We met in The Eden recently, and have shared many conversations, as well as exchanged advice…."
Blahblahblah- As if he had infinite amount of things to say, Kim In-Soo yapped on and on without taking a break.
But Sae-Jin became sure of one thing.
Whenever Kim In-Soo spoke of Yu Sae-Jung, his eyes would gleam and he’d put more emphasis in his voice; plus his cheeks would slightly blush. In other words, this guy had developed a very clear case of crush on her.
"Keheum. Well, what do you think? When Miss Sae-Jung was looking for a Society to join, I was going to ask her to join my ‘Light Saviours’ Society but then, you have scouted her already. I still can’t understand why Miss Sae-Jung agreed to join yours, but… But well, it’s still possible to be a member of multiple Societies, you see? The achievements would be divided but, if Mister Sae-Jin wants me, then…"
Kim In-Soo stopped short of saying he’d join the Society. While busy yapping on, he was expectantly waiting for Sae-Jin to bow down and make the offer first.
"Ah… it’s true that it’d be great for the Society if a Knight such as yourself joins but…. there is a single condition for the prospective members."
"Eh? A condition?"
Kim In-Soo made a disbelieving face. There were lots of other Societies with conditions to join, but they were led by high Tier Knights or A ranked Wizards. So, how could a measly little Hunter…?
"New members must completely submit to my will."
Kim Sae-Jin spoke without thinking too much in order to chase away this guy. But instead of that happening, Kim In-Soo stood there, his eyes round and dazed, before all of a sudden, his face began to take on the colours of a tomato.
It was not too hard to figure out what sort of imagery was blooming inside the head of this repulsive-faced man.
"What do you mean by ‘completely submit to your will’?!?! You, you-you-you, what have you done to my little Sae-Jung…?!"
"It’s only for the new members. Miss Sae-Jung isn’t a new member, but a founder. And trust me, what you are thinking of right now, I won’t ask anyone to do that."
Although the face dyed in the colours of a ripe Maple tree leaf was reverting back to being normal really fast, the arrogant demeanor of Kim In-Soo hadn’t weakened one bit.
And after a lengthy, silent and hostile stare-down, Kim In-Soo spat out that no one in their right minds would agree to that kind of condition and walked away in a huff.
< 10. The Quickening (4) > Fin.