A Monster Who Levels Up
Owner: Extra Chapter tomorrow due to donations.
Sae-Jin’s eyeballs busily rolled around, trying to take in all the words appearing on the various message windows. At a cursory glance, they all sounded pretty dang great. However, what was up with this seriously bad timing - right now, he couldn’t even let out an exclamation of happiness for this unexpected evolution.
‘…That’s not a bad skill at all.’
The fact that the Orc Form evolved into the Orc Warrior Form was great, but his attention was currently with the new skill "Warrior of Reversal". It was truly a wonderful skill since he could use it even in the Human Form. And just as its suggestive name implied, the skill could change the outcome of any situation. In other words… a situation exactly like this one here.
‘Now, what should I do about this girl, really…..’
He looked at Yu Sae-Jung with complicated eyes. Even though she was facing the Troll with outwardly overflowing confidence, she probably knew better than anyone that it was nothing but a false bravado. Really, anyone with eyes could tell that this Troll was in the Ravenous State, what with its appearance of falling gobs of drool from the lips and all.
Plus, this Monster was most likely a low Mid Tier threat now, judging by its huge size and the tyrannical aura oozing off from it. Nominally, a Low Tier Knight should be able to deal with a Low Tier Monster alone. To be ranked a Low Tier at that young age, her talents were something to be really proud about, but unfortunately, it was still way too much for her to fight a low Mid Tier Monster by herself.
Sae-Jin let out a grand sigh. It’d take at least 1 minute for that other dude to arrive at the nearest Knights Order base, judging from his running speed. However, what about the time needed for the help, in the form of high ranked Knights, to arrive here?
Taking time to think things through was an unaffordable luxury at the moment. Yu Sae-Jung’s mana-infused sword clashed with the Troll's fist, and the resulting explosive shock waves, along with a roar, violently shook the lands they were standing on. She somehow avoided getting knocked out in a single punch by the skin of her teeth, but that was it, that was her limit.
– Vuwuououong… (TL: sorry, this is the best I could do with the Mana onomatopoeia…)
Her face was now full of panic, quite unlike 5 minutes ago when it was still full of arrogance and relaxed demeanor. But Trolls knew no such thing as mercy. The huge fists of Troll created a dark shade as they rained down on top of her head like a torrential rainfall.
Sae-Jin clenched his teeth. He still felt fearful no matter how his burning emotions egged him on to face the bastard. He wondered if this was what the firefighters felt when trying to step into a maelstrom of an inferno.
While he was hesitating, Yu Sae-Jung’s body got struck by the Troll’s fist and was flung away like a thrown baseball. Her fine sword got disintegrated into equally fine powder, and her cool overcoat-like battle armour became an ugly, twisted wreck, losing all its effectiveness in the process.
– Khung, khung.
The Troll made a huge racket as it advanced forward. And when it got near the downed Yu Sae-Jung, the bastard raised its huge hand up.
Quietly and weakly staring at this unfolding spectacle, Yu Sae-Jung couldnR
17;t even think about closing her eyes anymore. She just couldn’t believe that this was happening for real. This crazy situation, this incredible pain that didn’t even allow her to voice out how much it hurt, all of them felt like a bad dream to her. She just wanted to run away from this terrible nightmare. Only if she could wake up from this dream right away…
The Troll’s huge hand slowly descended.
It was a trick of her mind, the slowing down of the time itself. Every thought fled from her head, leaving it completely blank. It was at this very moment.
A man causing a whirlwind to kick up appeared out of nowhere and blocked the fist of the Troll. Only with his body, nothing more than his two pairs of arms and legs, and strangely no emission of Mana coming out of him at all. This guy had stopped the Troll’s advances simply with his own physical prowess and nothing else.
His clothing got torn apart due to the Troll exerting a massive, awesome pressure and the ground supporting him caved in, but his stance didn’t crumble one bit. He was truly taking the Troll head on.
Yu Sae-Jung observed this improbable spectacle completely speechless. This was an unreal scene that flew in the face of common sense. Since it was more dream-like than an actual dream itself, she somehow managed to convince herself that this was indeed reality and that it was indeed happening right before her eyes.
The guy hurriedly shouted at the stupefied Yu Sae-Jung. But, perhaps due the prior impact, she was suffering from dizzying tinnitus in her ears and couldn’t hear him well. She shook her head hard several times and only then could she get what he was shouting at her about.
"Get the hell away from here, you damn idiot!!"
Right now, Sae-Jin felt like dying. The weight of this effing Troll was, simply put, completely, utterly insane. His bones felt like turning into smithereens from the cruel pain. But, he had no choice but to endure. He had to, since the reason for this all effort of buying time, the girl, still seemed out of it and was simply there spectating this scene.
Maybe him mixing in insults woke her up, she finally seemed to get the gravity of the situation and began dragging her broken leg, somehow gaining a distance away from him. When she was well out of the danger, Sae-Jin quickly rolled his body out of the way.
With an earth-shaking explosion, a crater in the shape of a Troll’s fist was carved right on the ground where Sae-Jin had been standing just now.
Seemingly pissed off at the sudden, unwelcome entrance of a hindrance, the Troll snorted out in anger and faced towards Sae-Jin’s direction.
And at the same time, strength deserted Sae-Jin’s body. Indeed, 1 minute was a really short amount of time.
Weirdly, though - he didn’t feel any pain, even after the skill had ended.
Most likely, bones in both of his arms, as well as the nerve endings, got badly damaged in the encounter. He couldn’t feel his arms at all as if they weren’t there in the first place.
– Miss Yu!!
– That son of a bi*ch!! Hey!! Stop right there!!
But, like the timely blessings from the heavens, a booming, powerful and manly voice resounded from a distance. When the Troll heard that domineering lion-like roar, it showed signs of pure panic and hurriedly turned its head.
"You foul creature!!"
A baldy exploded out like a bullet from the tall grasses, splitting the air with his mighty sword that gleamed with a sharp metallic sheen. Then, towards the Troll, he shot forward a crescent shaped sword aura that was keen enough to tear out the sky. The supersonic aura didn’t even give the Monster any time to take evasive actions, and it penetrated the torso of the creature unopposed, and soon after, the Troll’s body split in half and fell in a heap as if it was nothing to begin with.
"Sae-Jung, are you okay?!"
The Knight that made all of Sae-Jin’s death-defying efforts look meaningless by killing the Troll in one shot, hurriedly ran towards Yu Sae-Jung, who was lying sprawled on the ground with broken legs and her body utterly incapacitated.
"Sae-Jung!! This can’t be!! How did your beautiful face get so…"
The man raised a huge fuss and gently hugged Sae-Jung’s body.
‘… My body won’t move.’
Out of the blue, Sae-Jung coughed out a clot of blood.
"Oh, my god!! What the hell!! Sae-Jung!! Sae-Jung~!!"
The man’s face turned red and pale all at once as he cried while fussing over her, but at the moment, Sae-Jung’s thoughts were focused on something else, so what this guy was doing only ended up bothering her.
Her face had become swollen up in the meantime and it was difficult to keep her eyes open. But she still forcibly pried her lashes open to take look at one specific person, a man.
His clothes were torn to shreds, revealing the hidden ripped, hard muscles like that of a Greek statue underneath. The limp arms on his sides were darkly discoloured beyond the purplish hue, his legs shaking uncontrollably as if he’d falter at any moment.
The man who had saved her, she didn’t even know his name. But it seemed like he did mention it before… she must’ve forgotten it. She found herself pathetic, realising this. She should have remembered it.
It was then, the man gazed at her direction briefly, before turning to walk away to a destination unknown.
Yu Sae-Jung wanted to reach out her hands to the man walking unsteadily on his legs, seemingly only seconds away from collapsing on the ground. But her body would not move. She just wanted to ask him to wait for a second. But she seemed to have lost all feelings in her mouth, too.
So, the only thing she could do for now, was to engrave the back of the man as her heavy eyelids slowly closed down on her.
Fighting the urge to give up and fall down, he continued to push his body hard. Finding his bloodied and damaged body bothersome, Sae-Jin promptly changed into the Wolf Form as soon as he couldn’t sense the presence of people. The wounds and the weakening consciousness remained the same, however. But he forced the two okay limbs to run as if his life depended on it. To lose his consciousness in the Monster Field was the same thing as dying, after all.
He ran without a rest until he finally arrived at the cave. Changing back to his Human Form, he hurriedly drank the potions he brewed earlier on. His arms couldn’t move, so he had to pop the lid of the bottle open with his lips, but fortunately, his wounds recovered almost right away, so that was that.
But it was another matter altogether for his wavering consciousness. It seemed like this was one of the backlashes of using that skill. Sae-Jin passed out on the ground and fell into a deep slumber.
The greatest Knight Order in Korea was, nominally, the Raven Knight Order, but if the Knights Orders were grouped separately into the privately run entities and the government-owned ones, then the story became slightly more murkier to tell. Of course, the Raven remained as the example for other Knights Orders to strive for. But when discussing the private Knight Orders, the matters became complicated somewhat. There were 2 Orders considered to be in the top flight, 9 Orders in the mid tier, and further 12 smaller Orders out there, with all these numerous organizations busy competing against each other.
One of those 2 top dogs were called "Saebyuk" Knights Order, which was in turn, owned by a very powerful global conglomerate "Saebyukdahl". When the Order opened its doors, people regularly disparaged it for being a lowest ranked Order with only a wealthy patron supporting it like a personal plaything, but thanks to the rapid development brought on by that absolutely enormous wealth, the popular consensus had reversed and they were now treated as the very models of modern miracle. If the question of who the top Knights Orders were came up, the names of the "Raven", "Goryeo" and Saebyuk would have been mentioned. And of course, Saebyuk Order’s financial treatment was incomparably better than all its competition. (Saebyuk literally means a dawn, Saebyukdahl is a moon appearing at dawn. Goryeo was a name for an ancient Korean kingdom.)
"It was not the fault of uncle Hyun-Oh. So, please stop apologising. It’s actually all my fault…"
And Yu Sae-Jung just so happened to be the granddaughter of Saebyukdahl’s Chairman, one of the world’s biggest corporations, as well as the daughter of the current Master of the Saebyuk Knight Order. She was an incredibly giant existence, a child born with an unobtainium spoon firmly stuck in her mouth, and was important enough to make a famous High Tier ranked Knight like Park Hyun-Oh to fret over her like this.
"…No, that’s not it. Whatever the case may have been, I should’ve been right there, watching out for you…."
Not only her background was very impressive, her talents were just as perfect, however, as she received the official government acknowledgement as a Low Tier Knight at the young age of only 17 years and 45 days. This was only a month off from what Kim Yu-Rin had achieved - a Low Tier Knight at 17 years and 6 days - which only served to showcase Yu Sae-Jung’s amazing talents that were basically without equal among her peers.
"Enough with the self pity, seriously, and I hope you have already uncovered the information I asked you about?"
"…Eh? Oh, that?"
The very first thing Yu Sae-Jung asked for after waking up from the two-day long coma was about the identity of a certain man. A mystery man that Park Hyun-Oh couldn’t recall as he was far too focused on saving Yu Sae-Jung at that time - but she insisted that this mystery guy was the one who saved her life.
"Wait a minute, you haven’t even bothered to check, have you?"
Yu Sae-Jung’s eyes grew sharp enough to give chills at the sight of Park Hyun-Oh’s hesitating appearance.
"No, no way!! Honestly, even I thought it was unlikely. I seriously thought that maybe you were seeing things. I mean, it’s plainly impossible for a Low Tier Hunter to stop a Troll all alone. However…."
He stopped speaking for a second as he began rummaging through his pockets, before he fished out a bronze-coloured Hunter licence.
"Here it is, for real. Even I was surprised, you know. Found it among all the shredded clothing on the ground."
Since Yu Sae-Jung couldn’t move her body due to the paralysis, Park Hyun-Oh had to bring the licence card right before her eyes.
"A Heavenly Gifted Hunter, Kim Sae-Jin…. Wait a minute, a Heavenly Gifted?"
"Yeah. That’s right. It’s been a long time since I saw one of those titles, but hell, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. I mean, all the Hunters with that crazy title were a bit… abnormal, weren’t they?"
"…You can find him, right?"
"Of course. Already began looking for him. It’s only a matter of time before he’s standing right in front of you. Oh, right, before that, you are not…"
Suddenly, Park Hyun-Oh narrowed his eyes and intensely stared at Yu Sae-Jung.
Unlike her age, her actions were very grown-up but in the end, she was still a child. She was at an age where it wouldn’t be strange to find her head full of unrealistic fantasies and useless ideas of romance. So, what if, in that dangerous life or death situation, she had developed a crush on the man that rescued her…
"Fuhut. No freaking way. That’s not it. Me, I’m not a child. It’s just that… it’s like what Grandpa always have said. If it’s a favour, repay it as soon as possible, and if it’s a grudge, grind it out as long as possible. I’ve deeply engraved that teaching into my heart, is all."
Yu Sae-Jung carried an assured smile of denial, before she remembered something important, and asked with her brows raised high.
"That’s that taken care of, but more importantly, can I be fully healed? I’ve heard by accident that my current paralysis is pretty serious."
Park Hyun-Oh stiffened up momentarily.
"You heard that? I thought you were asleep."
"Yeah, you guys did say it’s really serious."
Only 10 years ago, paralysis like Yu Sae-Jung’s would have been a very painful and incurable condition, but that wasn’t the case any more. With the advent of alchemy and its continued research and development, nowadays it only took a single potion to cure it.
But her paralysis was more severe than the usual case, so it was determined that a powerful potion with a upper Mid grade or higher was needed to heal her.
"Don’t you worry about that. I just got a news that there’s an Alchemy House in Gangwon with a supply of upper Mid grade potions that can heal and regenerate. The effects of Gangwon’s output has always been good, and since the Chairman made that very generous deal under the table with the House, we’ll get the first dibs when they get the stuff."
"…Is that so? That’s a relief."
Yu Sae-Jung nodded her head without showing much interest.
"What’s the name of the potion though? Is it a product from one of the workshops on the Eastern Seaboard? I did hear they were still on strike. But did they end it?"
"Nope. They are still doing that industrial action thing. This is a new product. And I do mean, like brand-spanking new. I hear it’s from a totally unknown personage, who just appeared outta nowhere, and left a seriously incredible product behind, just like that. The people handling the stuff apparently raised a huge ruckus saying that a new genius has appeared or some such."
"Okay, fine. Just tell me the name, will you."
"Well, yeah, the thing is… it’s something of an untrustworthy name, you see."
Park Hyun-Oh hesitated somewhat to say the name out aloud, but under the sharp gazes of impatient Yu Sae-Jung, he finally relented and stuttered out the name.
"I did ask a few times if it was real… Well, the potion is called… A Goblin’s Kindness."
< 03. A Heavenly Gifted Hunter (3) > Fin.