A Monster Who Levels Up
(This extra chapter is brought to you by these following Kings and Queens of Promise: Misraim V, Anon, Keneth P, Evelyn K. W., Peter S, Markus S, Kevin H, Daniel T, Jan B, Rigo G, Dale B, Zain Z, Erik Å, and Zofia L. Thank you for your donations!!)
(Also, 30 Seconds to Mars reference FTW!!!)
In all 23 years of his life, Kim Sae-Jin had never seen this many Knights and Wizards gathered up in one place.
"I have a question to ask you!! How does your Trait manifest - hey, stop shoving, man!!"
"The compensation for Yu Sae-Jung’s tattoo was the Ruten Building in the Gangwon Province, was it not?"
This place, where Knights, Wizards and even reporters all mixed in, was a scene of pure chaos. Hell, some Wizards used magic spells to levitate themselves and started shouting out their questions from the air.
While Sae-Jin was dazedly admiring this chaos, the crowd jostled and pushed and shoved until they were right by his doorstep. If he didn’t do something right away, they might rush inside his house, so Sae-Jin hastily slammed the door shut.
"…What the hell."
Sae-Jin muttered absentmindedly as a sound of the human wave crashing into the closed door entered his ears.
This was somewhat unexpected. He definitely said he could only do the tattoo thing once a month, plus the price of getting one on Sae-Jung was a whole dang building. So, he truly didn’t even imagine these many people would seek him out like this.
Right on cue, his phone vibrated.
– "Ah, hello, Mister Sae-Jin. This is Park Hyun-Oh."
Park Hyun-Oh was the butler as well as the Chief Secretary in the Dawn CEO’s household. He was there back when Yu Sae-Jung didn’t know him and acted rudely - back when they encountered the Troll. He was the guy who quickly called the Knights to avert a big disaster. (TL: Well, it’s official - Park Hyun-Oh it is, then. That other guy is now completely forgotten…)
"Hello. But what can I do for you…"
– "Firstly, I’d like to convey our unreserved apology at your great inconvenience caused by our Miss."
"Huh? Oh… It’s fine. I did receive something…. big in return, after all."
Sae-Jin tensed up in that moment. Was this guy calling to tell him that they had changed their minds?
– "If so, that’s a relief. However… I assume it is rather disorderly outside your home as we speak?"
Fortunately, Park Hyun-Oh didn’t even mention such a thing.
"Oh, yeah. It is somewhat chaotic, yes. When will they go away?"
Sae-Jin hoped for the Dawn to swoop in like the last time and sweep these guys away. But Hyun-Oh’s reply was against his expectations.
– "Even we’re not certain. We too are in not much of a different situation than Mister Sae-Jin. All the Knights Orders excluding the Dawn have come to an agreement, so… regrettably, there is very little we can do to aid you at the moment."
– "I am truly sorry."
As expected, even the Dawn could not easily withstand the might of the people combined with political will.
"In that case…"
– "Please, try to be patient until a suitable solution has been found. And our Miss will be out of reach for the next few days because she is… being harshly reprimanded by the Chairman and the Order Master at the moment."
"Ah, is that so?"
– "Yes. Right now, she’s in the next room, getting disciplined with a cane."
"Ah…. uh, by the way, it’s not Sae-Jung’s fault, you see."
– "There’s very little anyone can do, as both her guardians are very upset by the fact that she had gotten a tattoo without consulting them first."
"….So, that’s how it is."
Replying as such, Sae-Jin wi
shed Yu Sae-Jung best of luck.
The situation remained the same two afternoons later.
It was as if reporters set up military encampment outside his home and they showed no signs of leaving.
And somehow, they had found out his phone number; text messages and phone calls inundated him at all hours.
This was, without a doubt, his own sin for underestimating the desires of the Knights and Wizards wanting to get stronger.
So, he had to make a decision, which he did. If this continued and one or two of them broke into his house, then an irreversible disaster might befall on him. Well, he could only remain as a human for a set period of time, after all.
Standing behind the door, Sae-Jin tried to loosen up his throat for the short, impromptu press conference he was about to hold.
He breathed in deeply three times, then let out two fake coughs. With that, he swung open the door.
"He came out!!"
As soon as the door opened, someone cried out and that caused a tsunami of humans rushing towards him.
Before they could start causing havoc, Sae-Jin shouted out loudly first.
"Three questions!! Meaning, I will answer three questions only!! Ask me what you’re most curious about!!"
However, he couldn’t understand any of the questions as there were just way too many people here and their voices got all tangled up. Narrowing his brows, he raised his hands in a gesture to calm the crowd down. Of course, it had no effect whatsoever.
"Tell me more about the tattoos…"
"The government, with Mister Sae-Jin, is planni…"
"Knights Orders are…"
No matter what, the voices entering his ears could not go past one or two words at most. So, Sae-Jin had to let out another loud shout.
"Wait a damn minute here!!"
He decided then, instead of waiting for questions, he’d rather one-sidedly start telling them stuff.
"I know that you have many questions regarding my Tattoos!!!"
Sae-Jin shouted out, hoping that the crowd would focus on him.
"…Am I right? So, I will speak up now!!"
Only then, the chaos seemed to die down somewhat. Sae-Jin breathed in deeply, then spoke about the point they were most likely curious about.
"First of all, I can only inscribe a tattoo once a month. And that is being very optimistic. This Trait requires me to spend a great deal of my energy, so even with once a month rule, it still poses a great deal of burden to me. That is why Miss Yu Sae-Jung had paid an incredible compensation for it. So, I’m telling you now, there is no point giving me this amount of attention at all."
As soon as he was finished, camera flashes went off. And there were some indication that another chaos was about to break out. In order to suppress that before it happens, Sae-Jin quickly continued with his words.
"And now, I will accept one more question from one person. Ah, over there, that gentleman!!"
He quickly pointed at a rather good-looking man. The person, who might have been an Elf, seemed taken back slightly by being singled out, but he recovered soon enough and threw out a question.
"What you’re saying is, in order to acquire a tattoo, you need to have money, is that right?"
"Eh? Ah… no, that’s not it. Of course, appropriate compensation is a part of the consideration, but…"
"Does that mean the fellow members of your Society, The Monster, will potentially receive a preferential treatment?"
"Eh? Ah… yes, of course. Instead of strangers, fellow Society members will be considered first."
He ended up answering more questions for the next ten minutes. Sae-Jin worked very hard to make sure there were no verbal slip-ups.
"Now then, please go back to your lives. This is a residential area; your presence here is causing a great inconvenience to not just me but also to the entire neighbourhood as well!!"
Finally, he shouted out loudly in hope, asking them to go away. However, he wasn’t expecting miracles. His thoughts were that, now he had cleared up some air, one or two might start leaving from tonight or so.
And as expected, Wizards and Knights stayed put.
Weirdly enough, though - reporters began packing up, however.
"…What the, where are you guys going now?"
Those who were not reporters started getting flustered by this occurrence. Even Sae-Jin was tilting his head as well.
"He said we should go now. And we already heard what we came here for."
"Ei? Since when did you people listen to what others ask of you?"
While this kind of conversation was taking place, Sae-Jin got to understand the reason for this strange occurrence with an alert window popping into his view.
– Using his voice, the host can now potentially direct the sentiment of the crowd at will.
– This Skill will have varying degrees of success depending on the target’s mental strength.
– From now on, the host can combine Skills depending on the values of his Stats as well as the Skill Proficiency Levels.
Two days later, Kim Sae-Jin made his way to the Monster field after what felt like in ages.
However, he was not alone - he came along with a hunting partner. And, what a surprise, it was not his regular partner, Yu Sae-Jung, either.
A person who was slightly unfamiliar; someone who carried a heavy sword on his waist, a Mid Tier Knight Joo Ji-Hyuk. He was the hunting partner for the day.
"This is great. It’s so satisfying to hunt together with you. Haha… Now I can understand the reasons for your title, ‘The Heavenly Gifted’."
In life, one would sometimes encounter a certain type of people you’d want to treat better the more you get to know them. Usually, those overflowing with simple, honest and good personalities fell under this category.
Of course, there were those bastards who try to belittle and take advantage of such folks, but Kim Sae-Jin was not an a*shole like that. That was why he found Joo Ji-Hyuk immensely to his liking.
"Hahaha, you’re too kind…. Keheum."
But, although Joo Ji-Hyuk was a good guy, the awkwardness existing between the two was par for the course. After all, they had only met once before today.
"Ah, I also heard about it as well, Mister Sae-Jin. About your Trait and the special tattoos… Oh, please be rest assured, I’m not requesting you for one. It’s just that, within my Order as well as others, the story is causing so much hysteria…"
"Ahaha… right. That is why I came out here in this disguise, isn’t it. I became famous all of a sudden, after all."
Sae-Jin joking said while pointing at the hat that was pulled low and a mask covering his face.
This was a necessity as there had been too many inconvenient events happening to him lately.
For the last two days, he had to stay stuck indoors, unable to go outside even once and to stop them calling him all the time, he even changed the phone as well. Seriously, some female Knights called him in the middle of the night, telling him that they would do anything he desired, as long as he helped them out just one time…
That’s how great the madness of the Wizards and Knights were, when it came to the matters relating to their Mana. Hell, even Hazeline showed interest in the tattoos and had asked him about it.
"Haha… you’re probably right. By the way, your Trait is about tattooing yourself?"
"No. It’s just one of the ways to utilise my Trait. It’s actually related to my physical constitution."
"Oh… I see."
And then…. silence. Joo Ji-Hyuk’s face said that he still had a few more questions left, but he was stopping this conversation because he didn’t want Sae-Jin to feel uncomfortable while answering them. Having figured this out already, Sae-Jin admired the guy’s personality once more.
And so, some time after they had hunted two Monsters.
A female Knight discovered them and lightly hopped to where they were.
"Mm? Eun-Ji, is that you? What are you doing here in the Mid Tier hunting ground?"
Joo Ji-Hyuk spoke while reaching out with his hand. The female Knight smiled and took his hand, shaking it. Then she took a glance at the person next to Ji-Hyuk.
"…And this is?"
"This person? He’s a…. my hunting partner. He’s an upper Mid Tier Hunter."
"Oh, is that so. Hello there. My name is Jung Eun-Ji, a low Mid Tier Knight."
While continuing with her smile, she also reached out for a shake with Sae-Jin.
"Hello. It’s a pleasure."
Jung Eun-Ji - of course he knew who she was. She was the opponent Yu Sae-Jung defeated in the Knights Duel.
She took a closer look at Sae-Jin’s face and then, tilted her head slightly while looking somewhat puzzled.
"E, Eun-Ji!! Why are you alone anyway? Where are your teammates?"
Seeing this, Joo Ji-Hyuk hurriedly tried to change the topic.
"Ah, that. I was on my way out just now. I came here on a whim, you see. The thing is…. there’s a rumour doing the rounds right now. In SNS and in all the chat rooms."
"…Uh? What rumour?"
"They say Mister Kim Sae-Jin came out to hunt in the Mid Tier hunting ground. I thought that maybe if I lingered around here… I must be such an idiot."
Jung Eun-Ji lowered her head with a sorrowful expression. Normally, it was a common courtesy to offer a word of encouragement or something, but right now, two men could only look at each other and show off a pair of panic-stricken faces.
"Uh… so, uh, why are you looking for him?"
"…Just because. I also wanted to try my best, you know. It’s like, I realised that the best efforts of mine is ju~st not enough."
"Oppa also saw that, didn’t you? How I got beat down so easily. But I just can’t accept it, you know? How come that girl could use connections earned from the reaches of her family while I…"
While she was laying out her grumblings, Sae-Jin surveyed the atmosphere of the surrounding area. Compared to an hour before, he could definitely sense more activities of humans now.
"…By the way,"
Meanwhile, Jung Eun-Ji narrowed her eyes and took a hard look at Sae-Jin’s direction.
"His face is… and his scent…"
Suddenly, she began to sniff the air.
Sae-Jin was slightly taken back. If she knew this much, then rumours about him must be quite widespread by now.
"Excuse me. Can you remove the mask, please?"
"… Not going to happen."
"Eh? No, I insist. Just a little peek will do…"
As if she had seen through the ruse, she took a big step towards Sae-Jin.
"Eun-Ji, why don’t we get out of here first? This hunting ground is a bit too much for you."
Right on cue, Joo Ji-Hyuk stepped in front of Jung Eun-Ji and then sent a signal to Sae-Jin with his eyes.
"Huh? Yeah, I know, but Oppa, can you step aside for a second?"
"No can do. You’re coming with me to the lower Mid Tier ground first."
"I understand, so will you just move aside?!"
"Hey, just wait a minute here."
"What the, Oppa, what gives?!"
As the two of them raised a ruckus, it caused other Knights to hear the commotion and they started coming closer in order to investigate while hoping against hope.
"H, hey, what is that!!!"
Jung Eun-Ji then used the most common-est distraction method there ever was.
And then, Joo Ji-Hyuk fell for it like a chump.
By the time Eun-Ji successfully shoved Ji-Hyuk aside, Sae-Jin had long disappeared from his spot.
Gritting her teeth and stomping on the ground in anger, Eun-Ji stood in front of Joo Ji-Hyuk and confronted him.
"It was him, wasn’t he?"
She glared at him with a pair of blazing eyes and asked.
"What are you talking about? Besides that, what are you doing right now? It was just a rumour, but you stepped into the Mid Tier ground all alone?!"
"As long as I don’t get ambushed, it’s fine in this low-danger area. But that aside, why… Ah! They said there was one other person alongside Kim Sae-Jin. And that guy was you, Oppa?!"
"…What the heck is this girl even saying?"
Although there were huge dollops of cold sweat pouring out of him, Joo Ji-Hyuk still valiantly pretended with all his might.
And later that day, after returning home, Sae-Jin decided not to go outside of his house for the next week or so.
< 14. The Menace (3) > Fin.