“Oh, it’s indeed quite delicious . This is so unreal . ” (Rhosrahdel)
Rhosrahdel continued to speak words of praise as he diligently chewed on the energy bar . Him of less than five minutes ago that busy threw a tantrum not wanting to eat one of those, was like a completely different person from another dimension compared to now .
“Is it more delicious than a blood pack?” (Yi Hye-Rin)
Yi Hye-Rin, with her eyes going round in curiosity, asked him .
“Well, it is far cheaper, that’s for sure . ” (Rhosrahdel)
Until now, Rhosrahdel had purchased – through definitely legal means – blood packs and used them for sustenance . However, the expense was quite enormous . Five packs a day would come down to way past $9000 every month just for his food bills… .
“It’s a flavour I’ve never tasted before, so I do find it quite interesting . But, I also think it could get a bit monotonous after a while . You said this is the grilled pork flavour?” (Rhosrahdel)
“Yeah . I think the taste’s really close . But seriously now, you can’t eat normal food, like, ever?” (Yi Hye-Rin)
“Yes . If I eat ‘normal food’, I will die because I won’t be able to digest them properly . ” (Rhosrahdel)
To be more specific, regular food couldn’t be digested and would continuously pile up within the digestive tract, until causing his death through suffocation .
Yi Hye-Rin got shocked by the revelation and hurriedly asked .
“You’ll really die?” (Yi Hye-Rin)
“Of course . ” (Rhosrahdel)
“… . Uh-whew . ”
Yi Hye-Rin’s expression crumpled . She always thought that enjoying good food was one of the life’s greatest repeatable joys, so such a thing sounded like an unenviable fate to her .
It was around here that Joo Ji-Hyuk decided to cut in between the two sharing a rather intimate chat, after observing the duo with an uncomfortable face .
“I think that if you commercialise this energy bar amongst the army and Knights Order personnel, they will really latch on to this . ” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)
Sae-Jin shrugged his shoulders before answering him .
“Oh, right . Yes, I might do just that . I’m thinking about it . ” (Sae-Jin)
Invented through mobilising all the top-tier artifacts from TM as well as its talented workforce, this energy bar’s pricing was set at ₩6000 ($5 . 58) each, limited only to Vampires . Since this price was deliberately set low in order to ensure the buyers would get to eat three meals a day, the profit earned was nearly zero when all the capital invested in the project was taken into account .
“But if I do decide to sell it to the public, then the price will be higher than the amount set for the Vampires . ”
The Wizards of the Wizard Tower are being worked full-time at the moment, and because of their profession being what it was, there was no helping with their high labour cost at the moment .
For now, a certain bait was being dangled in front, the one that promised one of the Bangbae-Dong grimoires number 1 to 10 could be rented out without going through the waiting period, if the Wizard put in 100 hours manufacturing the bars . But still, the profession of Wizards was one of the high-flying careers that demanded a minimum of $100 thousand as yearly salary, so…
Joo Ji-Hyuk stared at the energy bar with greedy eyes and asked again .
“Then, pricing it how much would get you a profit margin? We at Dawn should purchase a whole bunch, no matter how much one costs . I mean, hunger is an enemy we can’t ignore during those raids that take a long time to complete . ” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)
“… . . Hmm . I should ask Mister Hahn-Sung for a more detailed info, but well, around ₩50000 per bar? ($46 . 50) Maybe there, or a bit more . ” (Sae-Jin)
“Oh . In that case, I’d like to buy a few for myself, as well as for my subordinates . ” (Joo Ji-Hyuk)
When Joo Ji-Hyuk climbed up to the position of the top Knight in his order, he also became the so-called Captain of a team . Naturally, he commanded around fifteen subordinates now . As a result, his pride and sense of duty had become even more pronounced compared to before .
Sae-Jin smiled brightly as he gazed at Joo Ji-Hyuk .
“Your subordinates must be glad to have you as their superior officer . ” (Sae-Jin)
A smile spread on Joo Ji-Hyuk’s lips as well . Meanwhile, Yi Hye-Rin’s face blushed a bit as she glanced at him .
Seeing these two, who had been openly flirting yet went absolutely nowhere fast until now, Sae-Jin felt slightly frustrated in his heart .
The average number of energy bars produced in a day totalled 600 thousand . Considering that the number of Vampires living in around the world amounted to roughly 200 thousand, one could say they shouldn’t worry about lack of supplies for having three meals a day .
However, it was inevitable that there would be hardline Vampires who refused to eat these energy bars . So, in order to dispose of the leftover stock that came about after supplying the willing buyers, Sae-Jin asked Knights Orders if they were interested as well .
The Dawn and the Raven Knights Orders were the first to order over 20 thousand bars for their personnel . When this news got around, many overseas Orders tripped over themselves to get to TM’s checkout counter as quickly as possible .
The pricing for one energy bar was set at ₩70000 . ($65 . 10)
The business venture that had very little prospect for profit, suddenly began generating some amount of revenue stream .
Also, rumours of rift forming within the Vampire society due to the advent of this energy bar could be heard as well .
The reason for them wanting to return to their homeworld – the main reason why they ended up rejecting the society, had been solved out of the blue, so perhaps this development was the obvious next step .
Unfortunately for Sae-Jin, no matter how long he waited, he hadn’t received any word from the most important Vampire of them all, Bathory .
“… . There hasn’t been any contact from Bathory’s side, yes?” (Sae-Jin)
Currently, inside the underground conference room, where all of The Monster’s agendas were decided .
Sae-Jin asked Kim Sun-Ho .
“Yes, boss . Other than handing over a map with the coordinates for the el Las’s underground research centre through Rhosrahdel, there has been none . ” (Kim Sun-Ho)
“Hmm… . By the way, exactly how many members are there in the Bathory clan?” (Sae-Jin)
“Two thousand living in Korea, and over ten thousand if all the indirect relations around the world are counted, boss . ” (Kim Sun-Ho)
“That’s more than I expected . ” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin was slightly taken aback . Since she didn’t seem to have too many active ‘agents’, he expected the overall numbers to be low as well .
“What about the rest?” (Sae-Jin)
“The el Las is thirty thousand…” (Kim Sun-Ho)
“There are fifty thousand of us . Twenty thousand are outside Korea, but after receiving news that the underground city has been completed, they are entering the country as soon as they can . ” (Lillia)
Lillia replied instead of Kim Sun-Ho while sitting on the corner of the couch . As expected of the Nosferatus – he did think that there were a lot more Vampires in the underground city of late .
Kim Sun-Ho took a glance at her and then continued .
“…Yes, boss, she’s correct . The rest are Vampires not affiliated with any other clans, and a fair number of them happen to be inmates, as well . ” (Kim Sun-Ho)
“So that’s how it is… . Oh, before I forget, Miss Lillia, which date did you say the Nosferatus would hold a press conference?” (Sae-Jin)
Lillia assumed a bright smile at Sae-Jin’s query .
“In a week’s time . I’m assuming you’ll be in attendance?” (Lillia)
Through a democratic process, Nosferatus had decided to publicly announce their intention to adopt the energy bars as their main source of sustenance and to integrate back into human society .
Their plan also included opening up their rather stunning underground city to the outsiders and earn tourist avenue, which would aid in creating a sustainable Vampire society in the long term – after the Goblin village have been moved elsewhere, of course .
“Yes, of course . ” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin replied in a reliable manner . At the same time, the message arrived that the Knights such as Kim Yu-Rin, Yi Hye-Rin, and Joo Ji-Hyuk, had entered the Guild building after finishing their duties for the day .
“Well then, let us get the meeting started – to find the way to take care of all the Mah-ins . ” (Sae-Jin)
In a dark room where a thick veil seemingly covered up everything, there was a single light source still existing within . It was the television, a wonderful box that helped to alleviate Bathory’s boredom for a considerable length of time .
Even today, yesterday, and also two days ago .
From the rectangular box, the news of ‘TM has invented energy bars that can be eaten by Vampires’ continued to leak out .
Bathory was dazedly watching the footage play on .
Footages showing the process of how the energy bars were manufactured, and a Vampire eating the bar; even the footages showing the interviews with the incarcerated Vampires – all of them were showing happy, smiling faces that said the day when the humanity and Vampires reconcile wasn’t too far away .
– “This food will spread out to the rest of the world, with a sensible price, and for establishing a harmonious society for us all . ”
With that final comment, footages came to an end . Bathory remained dazed as she stared at the TV screen for a long, long time .
Five minutes, ten minutes…
The ticking of the clock seemed monotonous yet very clear within this darkness .
Bathory finally opened her mouth after a lengthy deliberation .
“Hey, everyone . ”
Her targets this time were the convoy of Apostles always ‘protecting’ her . Actually, the Elders should have been performing this role, but there were none here . Bathory killed them all . Many of them chose the deceased Vampire Lord over the head of the clan, after all .
“Yes, my lady . ”
The eldest Apostle replied to her .
“What do you think about?” (Bathory)
“… . . Of course, we should strive to return to our homeworld, my lady . ”
The Apostle’s voice was trembling imperceptibly . It was the sign that, although he was sincere in his belief, he was being shaken at the same time .
“…So it is . ” (Bathory)
Bathory murmured bitterly and pointed at the TV . From her smooth, refined finger, a thin red stream of energy leaked out and entered the TV . And flames erupted from its inside .
The TV that spat out uncomfortable news until not too long ago became a heap of ash in the blink of an eye .
After returning home, Sae-Jin sat on the bed while he waited for Yu Sae-Jung to come home as well . He was planning to tell her that old excuse about him going on a business trip for a couple of days – since he’d be participating in the cleaning up of the Mah-in threat .
She didn’t want to show up, no matter how long he waited .
Seven o’clock, eight, nine, ten, then eleven…
The longer the hours ticked on, the hotter his head boiled, and his fists were clenching tighter automatically .
But finally, when the hour hand of the clock was about to touch ’12’ – and just as Sae-Jin grabbed his phone after his anger finally erupted out…
*SFX for a door stealthily opening up*
The front door opened slightly .
And cautious footsteps even quieter than dust settling on the floor entered his ears .
Sae-Jin deliberately withheld his presence in the main bedroom .
Her footsteps seemed to circle around living room, bathroom and then, the kitchen . He then heard her breathe a sigh of relief as if she had confirmed that there was no one else in the house .
She must be under the mistaken belief that he was yet to return home, as Sae-Jin told her he was really busy nowadays .
“Ah, I’m so tiiiired~ . ”
Sae-Jin heard her slurred voice coming from just beyond the bedroom door . Just how much did she drink? His eyes narrowed to a sharp blade while glaring at the door . They resembled that of a wild predator, waiting for a prey to show up .
*SFX for a door creaking open*
The door opened .
Yu Sae-Jung entered the room while leisurely yawning out, but then…
She fell down on her butt after discovering Sae-Jin sitting in the dark like a demon .
“O, Oppa, you were home already?!” (Yu Sae-Jung)
With one hand, she hurriedly tidied up her messy hair, while with the other, she hid her reddened face as her slurred, stuttering words rolled out . Sae-Jin wordlessly glared at her .
“…… . . ”
“Ah, uh, the thing is, I, uh, I ran into my old classmates and it’s been a long time, so… It was such a nice little surprise so like, we were having fun and ended up, uh, a bit late than usual~?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“…… . . ”
He still maintained his silence .
“I, I can also have a fun day out, you know . Besides, I didn’t stay out the whole night, right? It’s still, uh, 11:59 now, there’s still a minute left! A whole minute! And you always stay out overnight, too…” (Yu Sae-Jung)
She showed him the time with her phone .
Still, Sae-Jin didn’t say anything .
“That… . Uh… . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“…… . ”
“Please say something . Did I do something hugely wrong here?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“…… . ”
“……Sorry . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“Fut . ”
Sae-Jin ended up chuckling at her rapid apology . As if Yu Sae-Jung was relieved as well, she sneaked up closer to the bed .
“…I’m home~ . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
She entered Sae-Jin’s embrace while acting all aegyo and stuff . He asked her while gently rubbing her back .
“A reunion, huh? Did you have fun?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ng . I ended up recalling so many good memories, since I haven’t seen them in such a long time . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“Really? I thought you didn’t have a lot of friends . ” (Sae-Jin)
“… . . But I do, four of them, as a matter of fact . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Having four friends as the only grandchild of a Chaebol, now that was a lot . Oh yes, it sure was – Yu Sae-Jung declared as so and justified her reasoning .
“Oh, right . Don’t you have meetings regarding the Wizard Tower scheduled?” (Sae-Jin)
“Yeah, I do, but why do you ask?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“I got worried . I need to go on a business trip this week, but I am worried about you drinking way too much and then fooling around…” (Sae-Jin)
“… . I ain’t gonna do that, so stop worrying . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
For a second there, did her eyes gleam rather dangerously?
“You seem to meet a lot of people lately?” (Sae-Jin)
“Ng . Lots of fun things are happening all the time now . There are the Guild meetings, then there are those Wizard Tower directors’ conference, too… . It’s all because of Oppa’s hard work . ” (Yu Sae-Jung) (TL: Quite frankly, none of those sound particularly fun to me, but whatever, different strokes for different folks and all that…)
Sae-Jin smiled and patted her head .
“In that case, life should still be fun even without me around, am I right?” (Sae-Jin)
“… . What the heck . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
He was only joking, but Yu Sae-Jung’s expressions rapidly cooled . It was a serious look completely devoid of any mischievousness that could be seen maybe once or twice in a year .
“Obviously, that’s not possible without Oppa around, because you are the reason why my life has become wonderful lately . Hunting Monsters, going out and having fun, but knowing that Oppa is waiting for me back home – also, that even if Oppa isn’t home, you’d be back soon anyways… Without those, I won’t be able to go on . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“… . Really?” (Sae-Jin)
“That’s right . So, stay by my side for the rest of our lives, okay? And stop saying those unlucky things, too . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
Yu Sae-Jung spoke with a serious, determined face .
“Alright . ”
Sae-Jin nodded his head . Only then, she broke out into a warm smile and left a peck on his cheek . But that was only for a fleeting moment . Her eyes suddenly narrowed to a slit as she spoke .
“… . Oh, and by the way . Yu-Rin Unni uploaded a photo to her SNS yesterday . You guys had sushi, huh?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“… . . Ahaha, haha…”
“What’s so funny?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
He awkwardly laughed . Then, he pressed her shoulders and pushed her down on the bed, stopping her interrogation efforts .
“Don’t try to gloss over thi… . . Eu-euph . ” (Yu Sae-Jung)
He didn’t feel like sweating over small stuff right now .
He simply locked lips with her in a show of their love .
Sae-Jin proceeded to spend the night caressing the body of a woman he found even more beautiful with every passing day .
< 47 . Mah-in (3) > Fin .