A Monster Who Levels Up
(This extra chapter is brought to you by these guardians of good tastes: Julius V. B., Dale B, Keneth P, Jack T, Cristi N, Alex D, and Misraim V. Thank you for your support!!)
On the promised day with Kim Yu-Rin and the dinner, Sae-Jin was busy paying careful attention to his attire, going as far as even checking out the pages of fashion magazines. Although, his careful attention was nothing more than dressing up the same as on those pages…
‘…It’s not bad?’
Weirdly, he looked better than he thought but not because he had plastic surgery or was suffering from the case of narcissism.
Whatever the reason, the height of his Human Form had grown another 2 cm to 183, and his overall build became broad enough make any clothes look good on him.
‘But, it really is weird.’
He slowly scratched his sharper-than usual jaw line and lightly questioned himself. It felt like even his face had gone through an imperceptible change.
‘…Almost like it’s what a human version of a wolf might be…’
But his thoughts couldn’t be sustained any longer as the phone resting on the table vibrated.
It was a business-like message from Kim Yu-Rin.
After sending a quick reply, he pocketed the phone and stepped outside the house.
Having arrived first, Kim Yu-Rin waited for Sae-Jin inside the restaurant. As he texted and told her to order for him as he was fine with anything, she was doing exactly that when a call came through to her phone.
She was wondering whether that was Kim Sae-Jin, but when she took a look, it was actually from a man named Chae Young-Ho, a Chief Knight of the Team 3. A Chief was one of the sub-divisions of the High Tier rank, and it denoted the position of the head of the High Tiers.
Her forehead creased the moment she saw those three words on the phone’s display.
Even though her position as the Highest Tier was far higher, as his career spanned well over 25 years, he wasn’t some nobody that could be treated poorly.
On top of that, this guy was one of those types that skillfully utilised all of his considerable experience in manipulating the flow of conversations which made him a tough customer to talk to. Even if they were in the same Knights Order, she really, really didn’t like this guy.
She thought hard about ignoring him, but in the end, she answered the call. He was the kind of person to come intruding if she didn’t. It was far more preferable for her to end it with a phone call rather than go through the ordeal of speaking face to face with him.
– "Oh, it’s you, Yu-Rin. So, I heard. You’re going to meet with the Society chairperson Kim Sae-Jin, yes?"
She spat out a long sigh from the get-go.
Even though she was in the higher position, he always addressed her with barely any acknowledgment towards her superior position. (TL: the entire exchange between Kim Yu-Rin and this Chae Young-Ho is very difficult to TL, as the guy uses incredibly patronising speech patterns to treat Yu-Rin like a child. I did what I could, but… oh well.)
And if she showed displeasure, then he would endlessly repeat: "I’ve known you since you were 13 years old…"
Know what, exactly? He’d been forever trying to keep her in check; but seeing that he was a contemporary colleague of her father, there wasn’t a whole lot she could do.
"…I’m about to meet him."
That was why, all she could do was lament and resign herself into accepting it as the case of ‘age before beauty’.
– "Since the call got through, the meeting hasn’t started yet, am I correct? But you should have infor
med me in advance when you made the appointment with Kim Sae-Jin. You also know very well the equipment problems our people are suffering from. For instance, Young-Jin’s weapon he bought two weeks ago broke already…"
"… It’s been only two years since Knight Young-Jin became an upper Mid Tier. What happened that time was normal. You already know this, so why did you bring that up?"
– "Hu-uh. That is exactly one of the many problems you have, Yu-Rin. You think it’s okay for us to play the waiting game… Keheum. Just tell me where you are. I think it’ll be better for us if I go there personally. Wouldn’t Kim Sae-Jin be happier to talk to two important figures of the Knights Order? A promising gem like him needs to be nurtured properly early on."
So, that was his real intentions.
Of course, Chae Young-Ho was an outstanding individual during his childhood which allowed him to become a High Knight. But as the aging process took its toll on him who had no special Trait to fall back on, he resorted to relying only on the personal connections to survive until now…
It went without saying that his connections were truly incredible. Even if he caused a disharmony within the Raven Knights Order as he did just now, Yu-Rin’s father could not discard the man simply because of that point alone.
The words that best described the connections of Chae Young-Ho was - ‘the founding member of the Society, Trilogy’. Nothing else mattered, really.
– "There is also the matter of Kim Sae-Jin having a deep relationship with the Goblin Alchemist. That means you alone is definitely not enough. By the way, Yu-Rin, I asked you where you are, so why aren’t you answering me?"
"……… Ahhhh, so, where is this, you ask…"
Right on cue, she heard a chime from the restaurant’s entrance. Yu-Rin turned her gaze over there.
It was Kim Sae-Jin.
"Oh, he’s here already! Talk to you later."
– "He’s there? Hey, wait a…"
Yu-Rin immediately hung up.
She stood up from her seat to greet Sae-Jin. This man was just too eye-catching even from a distance - after all, the man happened to be built like a champion athlete.
"Were you waiting for long?"
As he smiled and sat on the opposite side, the familiar smell rushed in against her senses.
"Oh, no. I also arrived just now."
She too, replied with a smile.
Unlike the earlier expectation of things being awkward, there were plenty of topics to discuss for the two of them. Such as, how did he find the Leviathan’s summoning circle, whether the Orc Blacksmith indeed joined the Society or not, what were Sae-Jin’s plans moving forward, and if the Goblin Alchemist disliked the Raven Knights Order, etc, etc…
Kim Sae-Jin answered as truthfully as possible. Even though the dinner was only 30 minutes long, the results achieved during it were still tangible.
"Me joining the Society… I think it’ll be difficult."
After the great dinner had ended, Yu-Rin had to refuse him with some difficulty outside the restaurant.
"…Is that so? That’s a bit regretful, but can’t be helped, I guess. Oh, by the way, here. Please take this."
Strangely enough, Sae-Jin showed not an ounce of ill mood while accepting her answers.
No, he actually gave her a gift, instead.
With the Orc’s Smithing Technique, it was possible for him to use other materials besides metal so he crafted a present especially for her.
"What is it?"
Yu-Rin curiously looked down on the box that was already within her arms.
"It’s a gift, to ensure the Raven Order and my Society can enjoy a friendly relationship."
"Eh? Oh… I am grateful, but… I haven’t prepared anything…"
She dug through her pockets hoping to find something but alas, there was obviously none.
"It’s fine. It wasn’t all that expensive, anyway. Oh, right… Here’s something else as well."
After watching her reactions with a satisfied expression for a bit, Sae-Jin pulled out a piece of paper from his inner pocket and handed it over to her.
"And what could this be…?"
This paper, treated in special coating, could only be written on with Mana. It was one of the security features applied to important contract documents.
"…A weapon application form?"
Yu-Rin dazedly read the letters written on the form before straightening her neck with a surprised face.
"Yes. Miss Yu-Rin can use it for herself, or give to a subordinate you find promising. Once you have filled in the preferred type of weapon as well as the combat style, you can send it over to me. Then I’ll pass it onto the Blacksmith."
"Uh… Will it be fine? But…"
Mister Sae-Jin isn’t the Blacksmith. She swallowed these words down and simply stared at the man with a pair of very round eyes.
"It’s alright. The Blacksmith said he’s a fan of Miss Yu-Rin, so he can spare the time to craft at least one weapon for you."
"Wah… thank you very much. Oh, and please give my thanks to the Blacksmith as well."
Politely bowing her head, Yu-Rin carefully pocketed the application form inside her coat.
Hye-Rin: ⸢Please give it to me!!!⸥
Seung-Ho: ⸢No, it should be me! My weapon is about to break as we speak!! ⸥
Hyu-Rin: ⸢Who the heck are you to butt in here?! Get lost!!⸥
As soon as she returned home, Yu-Rin took a photo of the application form Sae-Jin gave her and uploaded it onto the private chat room for the Team 1. Predictably, all hell broke loose. When she checked after taking a shower, there were 999+ unread messages in her inbox.
Yu-Rin read the contents with a content expression, before posting a new message while looking rather serious.
⸢One week from today - I’ll give this form to the person achieving the highest position in the internal rankings.⸥
And their reactions were fast. The eleven members of the Team 1, who wouldn’t even bother to reply no matter what crazy antics were used during normal times, all showed positive responses within 0.1 seconds.
While shaking her head and saying "these guys are helpless", Yu-Rin still had a full smile on her face.
"Ah. I forgot."
She only then remembered the boxed gift Sae-Jin gave to her. The blame solely laid with the ridiculous impact that single piece of paper had…
"Could it be a piece of equipment?"
Yu-Rin took the box and climbed on top of a couch. Without much thought, she opened the lid.
Her mind blanked out for a second or two.
Because, in this box, it was not a piece of equipment, nor was it a weapon; no, there was a seriously cute doll of a harp seal inside. No, on a closer inspection, it was not a seal. It sure resembled one, but rather than fur, it was scales.
Whatever it was, she still found it utterly adorable. And so, Kim Yu-Rin ended up hugging the doll tightly without realising it.
And only after a long while of hugging the doll did she discover a card inside the box.
There is a wonderful magic spell cast on this doll that will help you ease your mind and help you recover your stamina when you stay near it. It’ll show a great result if you place it near you when going to bed.
It was the very first doll Yu-Rin received as a gift in her life.
Another month had flown by. There were a lot of changes.
First, Sae-Jin received an over-the-top celebration from the Monster Store employees for his rank advancement to the upper Mid Tier. Then, the rank of his Society also rose, from D- to D. Of course, the Orc Blacksmith produced two more weapons, as promised.
One was a Mid Quality-ranked Zweihänder. It was for that Knight Joo Ji-Hyuk who came to see Sae-Jin at that time. To match his fighting style, the weapon was imbued with the following attributes - ‘Increased Sturdiness’, ‘Material Destruction’, ‘Weight Reduction’ and ‘Stamina Recovery’; four attributes that would shine brightly on the front lines.
The appearance of Joo Ji-Hyuk after receiving his weapon, what with very large tears threatening to burst out from his wet eyes, was altogether a memorable scene that Sae-Jin found a bit hard to stay and bear witness at the same time.
The other weapon was a High Quality product, a longsword. And this one went to an upper Mid Tier ranked Knight named Yi Hye-Rin who was a subordinate of Kim Yu-Rin. She was apparently someone famous enough to shoot TV commercials.
The sole attribute imbued in this sword was ‘Bending’, level C. This longsword would twist and bend according to her will, which made it difficult to predict where it would strike.
Yi Hye-Rin must have found the weapon very much to her liking because Sae-Jin received her three-page-long hand-written letter the following day. For some reason, the letter also contained her selfies, signed autographs, and her private phone numbers.
‘I might become an artisan at this rate.’
And now… Sae-Jin was having a laugh while reading the reactions of the Internet.
The photos both Yi Hye-Rin and Joo Ji-Hyuk uploaded to SNS caused a stir not only locally but abroad as well.
"…But, what the hell is this?"
It had been a long while since he last read the comments sections, but as he read more, his eyes spotted something rather strange.
– A bro I know is a Knight in the Raven Order, and he says that as long as you have dinner with Kim Sae-Jin, he’ll get you a weapon, just like that. He will give you an application form, and when you fill it up, the weapon of your choice will be made for you. I even saw the photo of it. [Upvoted 539 Downvoted 113]
└A bro I know is the Lycan. He’ll find you and murder you. He will rip you apart like he did with those Vampires, so whatcha gonna do, eh?
└;; I am a currently serving Knight, and even I heard that rumour as well. The moron above me must be an escaped mental patient.
└F*ck off. Have a meal with him and you get an application form. It’s the truth. But it should be very difficult to have a meal with him.
‘Who the hell wrote this piece of garbage and pass it off as truth?’
Still, he found all of this cute, so he just chuckled and moved onto the next article.
< 13. A Small Footstep (2) > Fin.
(TL: amount needed for next week's two sponsored chapters: $14)