A Monster Who Levels Up
The rain started to fall. At first, the drops were light and fleeting, but soon intensified and flooded the small streams flowing down the mountains, as well as rapidly filling up all the basins here.
‘Looks like it’ll last a while.’
Sae-Jin finally let out a sigh after gazing at the rain for a long time. He was worried. What could he say to the resting woman behind him? What excuses sound plausible enough to prevent her from murdering him? For a highly ranked Knight like her who was aiming to become a person of the Highest Tier, it’d only take a single punch to erase any and all hints of the existence of a single Low Tier ranked Goblin.
But he couldn’t continue worrying and agonising for any longer. Even though it hadn’t been an hour since the treatment, Kim Yu-Rin let out soft moans as if she’d regain her consciousness any time now.
The pitiful Goblin nearly jumped out of his skin from the sudden moaning and hurriedly ran towards the side of the woman.
"Are you al…."
A sudden thought popping out in his head stopped his words from coming out.
‘A Goblin isn’t supposed to talk in a human tongue.’
Having thought about it for a bit, he knew it just couldn’t be helped. Really, a "regular Goblin" wasn’t supposed to save a human. The usually-starving Goblins wouldn’t be picky when it came to the matters of filling up their bellies, after all.
Tossing this way and that, fighting the various pains and aches, Kim Yu-Rin finally opened her eyes. She could see a stone ceiling through the heavy, sleepy eyelids. Silently observing the unfamiliar ceiling for a short moment, she then suddenly sat up like a lightning bolt.
Unfortunately for her, her action caused the still-healing body to scream out in pain. Her face crumpled in agony, she caressed the abdomen that was torn to bits just over 30 minutes ago.
But it was rather odd.
It was definitely true that the claws of a Sabretooth Tiger gouged a chunk out of her tummy. The horrible residual pain felt very real too. Yet, her abdomen felt just fine to her touch as if nothing was wrong.
"How are you feeling?"
Out of nowhere, she heard a voice of a man.
Yu-Rin let out a breath of relief and turned towards the source of the voice.
In the critical moment, she used the extra teleport scroll which she packed just in case, seeing that the others weren’t working for some reason, but even that ended up sending her to a wrong place, so she thought she was going to die. But fortunately, a passerby happened to….
A Goblin stood there.
Not only that, it spoke a human language. In Korean, no less.
She was going to get up and offer a bow of gratitude to her benefactor but right now, it felt like her head was flickering into a total blankness. The Goblin in front of her continued to yap on about something, but she couldn’t hear any of it. No, her brain actively denied it.
"….What… what the hell?"
Thinking that she must be still suffering from the aftereffects of trauma, she deeply closed her eyes and reopened them. But it was the same as before. She rubbed her eyes and stared again.
No matter what, the situation remained the same.
"What the hell? Am I going crazy?"
Unable to hol
d it in, she dazedly spat out the words.
"Nope, I’m real."
Sae-Jin was also somewhat frustrated. That was because Goblins had really poor abilities to string together a decent sentence, unfortunately. Even the most unwanted, useless traits were beginning to mirror the real thing, it seemed.
"Wah, it really spoke. Maybe I’ve died already?"
Yu-Rin covered her face with both her hands and lied back down on the stone bed.
It took quite a long time before she could come to accept her current situation.
Sae-Jin did his best in trying to convince Yu-Rin while facing down her disbelieving gazes. One mistake, and he’d be a dead meat in seconds, that’s why.
Sae-Jin’s story was simple but plausible. His story was that, he was different and cleverer than other Goblins ever since his birth, and after growing disillusioned from the deceitful ways of Goblins, he ran away, then he met a Hunter and although imperfect, learned to speak the language and the mannerisms of humans. Of course, the Hunter met his end in an unfortunate incident some time later.
It wasn’t the most detailed and water-tight setting or a plot, but thankfully, Kim Yu-Rin didn’t suspect his words too much.
Her openness was partly because whether it was a Goblin or not, he was still her saviour, and also because not much was known about how various Monsters lived day-to-day. After all, if there was a Monster capable of taking on a human shape, then surely, there must be a Monster that could speak a human language.
"…So that’s what happened…. Regardless, thanks for saving me."
With a more relaxed manner, Yu-Rin gently rubbed his head while smiling weakly.
Even though it was gentle gesture, Sae-Jin’s body went rigid. Finding this funny, Yu-Rin lightly giggled out.
"Haha… You’re a strange fellow…Euk."
Her body condition still didn’t allow her to leisurely laugh out, and she had to grab her abdomen while her face crumpled from the stabbing pain. Sae-Jin quickly gave her another batch of the pre-made potion that suppressed pain and healed the wounds.
"Should I drink this?"
Seeing Sae-Jin nod his head, Yu-Rin smiled and took a big gulp of the potion.
Yu-Rin let out a gasp of pleasant surprise almost right away. Like a miracle, all of her pain simply disappeared as if it was all but a lie.
"You got some sick skills, don’t you?"
She smiled brightly and resumed rubbing the head of the Goblin in front of her. It looked like the little guy enjoyed her gesture, she figured.
"Thanks. Really, really, thank you. I made it because of you."
To Knights who constantly clashed against Monsters, Goblins were nothing more than a lump of bad memories they’d rather soon forget. Poisons and curses were two of the most difficult elements to deal with for the human Knights that lacked the resistance to them. And of course, the ugly outer appearances of Goblins only added more to that negative impression.
But right now, for Kim Yu-Rin, the fact that a lifeform known as a Goblin was standing in front of her didn’t matter one bit. This Goblin that possessed intelligence was unexpectedly kind and she found it rather cute as well.
As she absentmindedly rubbed the Goblin’s head, the bracelet tightly wrapped around her arm suddenly started vibrating.
It seemed like the Order was calling her, at a quick glance. It was likely that they were trying to contact her after she failed to return long past the end of her assignment.
"That’s right, my assignment…"
Her assignment…. was unfortunately, a failure. On top of that, she could have suffered the fate of an indescribably gory death, too.
But thanks to her heaven-defying luck, she met this Goblin and was able to overcome her fate. And now, this encounter had given her a chance instead.
‘An investigation will find the evidence left behind by those who tempered with the teleport scrolls, and the two Knights that shoved me into a sure death situation before escaping by themselves, Yu Jong-Yun and Kim Sa-Rang… No, it’s safe to assume the entirety of the 2nd team are involved here.’
In just over 2 years, Kim Yu-Rin’s father, Kim Hyun-Suk would have to step down from the position of the Knights Order Master, after his term of office comes to an end.
And the favourite to fill the position was not the current Vice Master of the Order, Oh Jong-Hyuk, but was, in fact, Kim Yu-Rin. The current situation was at point where two opposing sides, one supporting Yu-Rin and the other the dissatisfied Vice Master, were engaged in shadowy struggles for power, and what had happened to her today could be best described as a result arising from the said struggles.
Was it necessary to stoop so low like animals just because they felt like the time was running out, with her rank advancement ceremony being next month, she angrily mused. Yu-Rin ended up gritting her teeth.
Those six bastards that abandoned her right in front of the cave of a 40-year old Sabretooth Tiger, a creature so tough that a highly ranked Knight would find it difficult to fight against it alone; and the mysterious identities of the ones responsible for making 7 teleport scrolls, her Mana enhanced armour, and even her weapons malfunction at the critical moment.
"Thanks. Because of you, looks like now I can pull out all the weeds in one go." (Lit. said, hit them all in one go.)
She had no choice but to cool her boiling anger for another day in the future.
Kim Yu-Rin gently smiled and continued to rub the head of the Goblin, before slowly speaking up towards the bracelet.
"Upper Tier Knight, Kim Yu-Rin, will return…."
Yu-Rin then stopped and took a quick glance at the Goblin, before breaking out in another soft smile and changed the contents of her message.
"No, I shall return in about 3 hours time. It’s raining too hard. And because of heavy rainfall, a landslide blocked the exit of the cave I’m in."
Sae-Jin and Yu-Rin talked a lot during those 3 hours.
Rather than a conversation, though, it was clear which role belonged to who.
Since it was difficult to form a proper sentence as a Goblin, Sae-Jin naturally ended up in the role of a listener and Yu-Rin as the talker.
"Haaaah, how could it be possible that I never got to enjoy a romantic relationship once in all 27 years of my life…. Ah, but it’s not a problem unique to me, nope."
‘…Why is she so lively like this? She sounded so cold and unapproachable in TV interviews.’
Sae-Jin found it wondrous just how easy-going and talkative Yu-Rin was, which was totally out of his expectations. When he saw her on TV, she seemed more calculating and cold rather than someone easy to talk to.
"Honestly, I really adore gifts like plain and cute dolls, you know? But the boys only see the Knight side of me and end up giving me only the useless presents like knives and swords and magic armaments, so how can I go out on a date with knuckleheads like them?! And also, when I kick them to the curve because of their mistakes, they spread around rumours of me having high standards and try to make me look weird…"
But Sae-Jin was satisfied right now. Who would be able to listen to the private grumblings pouring out from the Korea’s most famous female Knight like this?
He listened to her complaints for the next 3 hours all the while suitably responding at the right moments and pretending to not understand when difficult words came by.
Actually, he was busy observing her face. Even after spending 3 hours staring at it, he simply couldn’t get enough of her beauty that easily transcended past every praise laid down before her.
Finally, like a sign, the rain stopped falling and the sunlight brightened the sky just as the end of the promised 3 hours came.
"When I have the time, I’ll come and visit again. It may be a little late…. but I promise to definitely repay you properly then."
In the face of the imminent end to their short meeting, Yu-Rin hesitated somewhat, turning to look at him several times.
It seemed like she wasn’t happy with the level of gratitude shown to her saviour and felt apologetic about it.
But Sae-Jin didn’t feel that way. Instead, he was so thankful, he might even go mad from the excitement.
Yu-Rin gave him a fang of the Sabretooth Tiger as a compensation. Befitting a Knight of her calibre, she didn’t just single-sidedly lose to the Monster but actually managed to successfully break one of its fangs.
If it weren’t for the recently acquired knowledge of the Goblins, he’d have treated this fang as nothing more than some expensive japtem, but now, it was a different story altogether. The fang itself was a Mana Stone and at the same time, an ingredient in concocting medicine. If he carefully added other ingredients to it, then he could make 10 bottles or more worth of potions with various effects and properties.
A hurried, cursory recollection of the potential uses revealed that he could make a potion to drastically increase his constitution and thus show a tremendous prowess during a hunt, or concoct something like the one he made Kim Yu-Rin drink just now and sell it to the public - the possibilities were truly endless.
As an added bonus, he didn’t have worry too much about gathering attention if he started making and selling potions. Normally, it was possible to sell, once cleared of having side effects and approved for consumption, the privately-brewed potions even while maintaining a relative anonymity.
‘In other words, I can make a profit of a minimum of $440K.’
As long as there was a healing effect, even the lowly emergency medicine that wasn’t treated as a proper potion was worth $175 per bottle. He also remembered seeing in a news segment that, in a test performed on medicines concocted by a human, a dark Elf and a Goblin using the same ingredients, the stuff made by the Goblin turned out to be the best of them all.
‘And I happen to be a Goblin. A great Goblin, no less.’
With this, he could earn enough money to buy equipment and also buy himself a nice house in Gangwon Province.
"Thank you!! Take care of yourself!!"
Sae-Jin bid Kim Yu-Rin farewell with a pair of very happy eyes. Right on cue, a clear sunlight descended down between them. It was especially a nice weather to say goodbyes.
"…Ri, right!! You take care of yourself as well!! Don’t go to dangerous areas!!"
Yu-Rin’s voice was trembling slightly, wet with heavy emotions. She felt a tad sad seeing the bright expression of the Goblin - after all, she had opened up her heart to it for the past 3 hours and in the process she grew closer to this creature.
But she couldn’t delay matters any longer.
Yu-Rin hardened her face and turned around, commanding her heavy feet to move.
"Yeah!! You too!!"
Hearing that somewhat ordinary voice, she was pretty sure the short time she shared with the intelligent and kind creature would remain etched in her memories for the rest of her life.
< 02. A Goblin’s Kindness (2) > Fin.