He was back, once more, on the Monster field .
And Kim Sae-Jin was pouring in an incredible amount of power to smash down on the head of a Sabre-tooth Tiger with his mace .
That stupendously powerful strike created a loud noise as it caved in the skull of the Tiger that was supposedly harder than that of a diamond .
*SFX for a beastly growl*
The Sabre-tooth Tiger continued to threaten Sae-Jin by swinging its claws around with its head caved in, but that was only for a brief moment . The creature began to stumble around like a drunken butterfly before collapsing on the ground .
Sae-Jin walked towards it, pulled the fangs out and pocketed them, before absorbing its heart .[Active Skill, ‘Sabre-tooth Tiger’s Energy’] [Skill Proficiency Level: F]
– Instantly recovers spent stamina and Mana . However, the recovered stamina and Mana will dissipate ten minutes later and the caster will return to his original condition .
As the result he got from that final bit was quite satisfactory, Sae-Jin decided to head back home .
But, when he turned around…
The sights of two Orc Jaguars busy sending their sparkling gazes towards him filled up his view .
Sae-Jin screamed out after getting a fright of his life thanks to that ‘grotesque’ scene before him .
It was a simple scream, for sure .
However, there was a slight issue with the Monster Form he was currently using .
The Sabre-tooth Tiger was too strong a predator for the Ebony Werewolf Form to take on, so he had no choice but to assume the Orc Great Warrior instead .
Maybe that was to blame for what happened next . His scream became a powerful roar louder than a thunderclap that reverberated the entire mountainside .
The Orc Jaguars in front of him quickly began prostrating . And they continued to repeat that same action of bowing their heads before him .
…Heck is this situation?
Sae-Jin stared at these two weird Orcs for a long time .
‘Ahhh . Maybe?’
Then a lightbulb went off in his head . He came up with a theory that could definitely explain away this strange situation .
Orcs possessed this characteristics of wanting to submit to the stronger Orc than themselves . If viewed from that point, then Sae-Jin was definitely the most powerful Orc in the Monster field that could easily make other Orcs grovel before him .
Additionally, didn’t he defeat the Sabre-tooth Tiger that was threatening the lives of these two, just now? Of course, it was the possibility of acquiring a Skill that blinded him, but still . What happened was enough for these Orcs to fall (?) for him pretty hard .
“…I get it now, so go away . ”
Accepting this explanation, Sae-Jin gestured with his hand to send the Orcs away, then tried to go on his own way .
However, the two Orc Jaguars continued to follow Sae-Jin around . And whenever he glanced back at them, their sparkling eyes never stopped gazing back .
That carried on for another 20 minutes .
‘They do look kinda pitiful . ’
Maybe because he was in the Orc Form, he began to feel sorry for these two Orcs – one a dude, the other… probably a girl – following him .
Judging by their armaments, they must have come from a village located around the Mid Tier hunting ground… but, most likely, when the earth was overturned, they ended up losing their home village .
Also, in the current Monster field where the Monsters of all Tiers were mixed up chaotically, the chances of a small group of Orcs surviving for long was really low – enough to say that it was a miracle these two had survived for this long .
Kim Sae-Jin let out a low sigh and looked up at the sky above .
The sun had already buried itself deep into the creeping darkness . It couldn’t be helped; weren’t the hours getting too late for him to look after these two Orcs?
He lowered his gaze towards the following Orcs .
“…Uh-whew . ”
When he took a closer look, their faces looked rather friendly . Hell, he even thought they kind of looked adorable, too . Not even himself knew why he thought their horrid faces looked adorable, though .
“They could be of some help in the future if I nurture them . ”
Finally, Sae-Jin made a decision . After all, if he was in a Monster Form and not a human, then the thing he had the most to waste was time, anyway .
“Come with me . ”
He growled lowly and led the two Orcs away while searching for the location to set up a brand new Orc village .
He found a spot with an impressively steep cliff to the rear, which should help with the defenses, and a stream of fresh water not too far .
Sae-Jin chose to build his village in this blessed piece of land .
But before that, there was a need to perform a certain… imprinting work on these Orcs .
“Watch carefully . ”
Sae-Jin made the two Orcs stand before him and showed them his various Forms . First, the Human, then the Goblin, and finally, the Werewolf . He deliberately left out Athany, though .
Whenever Sae-Jin changed his Forms, the Orcs’ eyes went round in pure shock, but thanks to various Skills he possessed, such as the ‘Predator’ and his scent, they didn’t try to attack, simply choosing to obey him .
And that’s how he completed the so-called ‘imprinting work’ . Next, while using the Orc’s Smithing Technique, he began a huge scale construction work . Now that his Proficiency Level was at B-, the job turned into a stunningly simple and efficient affair .
By changing the characteristics of the soil, he made “wooden” fences tougher than reinforced steel rise up in specified locations . Then, on these fences, he added an attribute called ‘Damage Reflection’ . This way, Monsters trying to attack the fencing would die from their own attacks – all the while failing to figure they were wounding themselves .
And 7 hours later, the new Orc’s village was completed as the morning sun began brightening up the horizon .
‘They should be able to repopulate this place by themselves, right?’
Sae-Jin heard that, whenever Orcs got excited, they would mate and produce as many as ten offsprings a month . (TL: WTF?! Really? They are more like a bunch of roaches, then…)
There might be some danger of… incest happening in the future, what with only two Orcs starting a village, but since these creatures didn’t really care for such details, there was not much he could do on that count .
“Somehow, everything is finished . ”
The sweat from this unexpected labour sure felt refreshing to him . He took a long look at the two dazed Orcs over there and prepared to take his leave .
‘Oh, right . Before that…’
He had nearly forgotten this important step . He approached the two Orcs, placed his hands on their shoulders and sent in his ‘thought orders’ to them . The contents were roughly the same as the ones he gave to Muffin in the past .
‘Humans are your friends . If you find humans in danger, help them . If they threaten your life, then fight them but don’t kill them . And make sure to educate your children well…’
Since it would be troublesome when these Orcs start fighting humans when Sae-Jin needed them later on down the line, he deeply embedded the guidelines of not harming humans in these Orcs . Of course, Vampires weren’t included in that category of humans .
Finishing up the insemination of those thought orders deep inside the Orcs, Sae-Jin moved his feet to leave .
However, something kept on tugging at his mind and his feet wouldn’t move easily .
It felt like that, by just making a village and telling them to survive all on their own, they would simply get themselves killed, probably as soon as tomorrow or some such .
“…Whew . ”
Sae-Jin ended up turning back .
He spent another hour fixing up the useless weapons of the Orcs up to the level of Branded Goods, and then by using up his own blood, inscribed several Magic Tattoos on their bodies as well .
Not only the Tattoos that increased their physical strength and agility, but the ‘Leviathan’s Scales’ as well, in order to show that these Orcs were subordinates of the Hero Orc .
Of course, instead of actual scales, the Orcs’ skins turned slightly blue as the Skill’s effects were greatly curtailed during the process of imbuing, but still, since these Orcs were blue in colour, people might deduce correctly that they may have some relation to the Hero Orc . Meaning, they would attack these Orcs less .
‘Now that I’ve done this much for you, grow up quickly and become my aid in the future . ’
This was his final ‘thought order’ .
Kim Sae-Jin left behind the two Orcs who were on the brink of shedding tears of admiration and moved his unwilling feet .
A week passed by since the day of him forming an unlikely connection with the two Orcs .
A day before the scheduled broadcast of the TV show Yu Sae-Jung filmed, the ‘Knight’s Country House’, Sae-Jin officially opened the shop ‘Monster Artifact’ built within the grounds of the Society . (TL: The author wrote the name of the shop in English . )
Although the number of items displayed for sale was only 8, each one of them had an incredible price tag . The cheapest of them all, a hairpin, cost a cool $9 million US .
As expected, no one paid attention on the day the shop opened its doors . But after the TV show aired, the explosive reaction was enough to surprise the IT department tasked to maintaining the Society’s home webpage .
However, those people inquiring about the necklace Yu Sae-Jung was wearing could only back off in utter shock after confirming the pricing .
Of course, Sohn Chul-Joon was also among these people . He thought that the necklace Yu Sae-Jung wore couldn’t have cost more than a few thousand dollars, or maybe even a couple of ten thousands but then, on it…[The Soul of a Warrior] [Currently unavailable – 15,000,000,000 KRW] (TL: that’s in Korean currency . Yes, it seems like it’s a lot – in US dollars, it’s $13 . 682 million . )
…There was this enormous price tag attached to the necklace .
Initially, many people complained when these enormous prices were revealed, but when Kim Sae-Jin disclosed the extraordinary effects each item possessed, they all shut their mouths real fast .
Then, it was the turn of the Knights and Wizards to rush in . More than 100 Knights and Wizards came to the shop and had to receive tickets with the waiting number printed on it, all because the artifacts of The Monster could only be viewed by making a reservation as well as purchasing only on site .
“So, how was it?”
After two days of storm had passed, Yu Sae-Jung came to see him in the Chairman’s office while carrying a triumphant air .
“Oh my, you’ve arrived, Sae-Jung?”
Sae-Jin gently stroked her head . She really enjoyed his touches that were full of affection .
“You’re not gonna avoid me? But you did that to Sohn Chul-Joon, though . ”
After seeing her enjoy his touch like a little puppy, he suddenly remembered the scene where she was learning how to cook with Sohn Chul-Joon . It was one of the most memorable scenes in the whole show, after all . Yu Sae-Jung’s indifferent attitude, which contrasted so much when she was with Sae-Jin, and the sorry sight of Sohn Chul-Joon busy chasing away imaginary mosquitos .
“Obviously… Oppa is completely different from that ahjussi… Ah, right . And Oppa,” (TL: ahjussi = an old man, an uncle, etc . )
Yu Sae-Jung hurriedly rummaged through her bag, then pulled out an envelope, which she handed over to Sae-Jin .
“Mm? What is it?”
She grinned brightly .
“An invitation to my coming of age ceremony . ”
Sae-Jin tilted his head at her unexpected reply . Most regular people wouldn’t hold one of these ceremonies, and even if they did, it would be on the days of their birth, at least that’s what he’d heard of…
“Isn’t your birthday 20th of April?”
Yu Sae-Jung’s birthday was still a half year away . Sae-Jin spoke with that fact in mind, but she had this face of someone who was deeply moved .
“You… . you knew?!”
“Oh, yeah . Kind of…”
Actually, it was mentioned on a TV show he watched yesterday…
But he wasn’t going to mention that and break the nice little atmosphere that was forming here .
“Besides that, there’s still a half year left, so why are you giving me one so early?”
“Ah… well, that is, I’ve decided to do the ceremony on the 1st of January . Originally, it was scheduled for my birthday… but I wanted it done earlier, so I begged my dad . Whatever, you must come, okay?”
Yu Sae-Jung grabbed his hands with a determined expression . It was a skinship that occurred naturally, but as the time passed, her face got redder and redder .
“…Got it . ”
Just before her face got red enough to burst open, Sae-Jin carefully extracted his hands and pocketed the invitation .
“Ah, right . Did you choose the new members for the Society?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“Yeah . I just need to announce it . ”
The people Sae-Jin had picked were only two: Kim Yu-Sohn’s son and Yi Hye-Rin . It wasn’t his intention, but as he was only trying to pick the right type of people, the elimination rate ended up being a rather cruel 2000 to 1 .
“Who are they~~? Please tell me~”
Yu Sae-Jung rubbed her shoulders against Sae-Jin’s body and began flirting with him . Since it wasn’t a secret to begin with, he honestly told her .
“…Miss Yi Hye-Rin the Knight?” (Yu Sae-Jung)
“Yeah . You also know her, right?”
Suddenly, Yu Sae-Jung’s face froze in icy expression . But when Sae-Jin spoke in a tone indicating his belief of Hye-Rin being the right fit for the Society, she did her best to force out a smile .
“Ah… yeah . I know who she is . It’s fine, I guess . She’s got good abilities, so… A good choice…”
She suppressed the bitter taste rising up from her chest really hard . Her mind was uneasy, but if she showed off a strange behaviour in front of Sae-Jin, then he might see her as a small minded person .
“You think so too?”
Unfortunately, Sae-Jin was smiling relaxedly, completely unaware of her real feelings .
27th of October .
The Monster finally announced the successful applicants to its membership recruitment, and right away, the whole world seemed to boil over simultaneously .
And towards the new members’ direction, undivided attention of the public poured in like a hailstorm .
It was fine for Yi Hye-Rin who was used to public’s attention, but for Kim Sun-Ho, the son of Kim Yu-Sohn, things were quite different .
Since he retired from being a Knight and changed his job to that of a Mercenary, reporters went after his story like crazy; in the end, he had to temporarily take residence on the night-duty room of the Society’s headquarters which prohibited the entry of outsiders .
“Wow . This is sooo big . Mister Chairman, please take a look~”
A certain afternoon on a weekend, while the media frenzy was still ongoing outside .
As the group finished up training and were enjoying a meal together at the cafeteria within the HQ, Yi Hye-Rin raised a fuss and placed her mobile phone on the dining table .
“Hey, Joo Ji-Hyuk, you too . ” (Yi Hye-Rin)
“…What is it now?”
Joo Ji-Hyuk, who was sitting next to Yi Hye-Rin, turned his gaze towards the projected images from the phone while his face reddened for some reason .
Four Mid Tier Knights were in the middle of investigating the changes to the land, and found themselves surrounded by Monsters and in real danger . But then, two blue-skinned Orcs jumped out of nowhere and helped the Knights to defeat the Monsters . And after the battle concluded, these Orcs even gave the Knights some drinking water and then disappeared to somewhere .
So, the protagonists of this footage were… those two blue Orcs .
Every scene he just saw was enough to almost make Sae-Jin spit out the food in his mouth .
“Wasn’t that so mysterious? This footage is doing the rounds in my Raven Order’s community chat rooms, saying they were the Hero Orc’s fellow tribe mates . For now, this story’s being buried under the Society’s member recruitment news, but soon, don’t you think it’s going to cause a huge stir later on?”
Seeing the smiling face of the totally oblivious Yi Hye-Rin, Sae-Jin could just barely nod his head in agreement .
< 21 . A New Starting Point (3) > Fin .