Standing right before the Monster field, Sae-Jin pulled out his mobile phone for the final time for the day.
Before he knew it, there were over 100 phone numbers saved in his lists of contacts. He first called Jo Hahn-Sung, then Soh Yeo-Jin, Joo Ji-Hyuk, Yi Hye-Rin, Kim Yu-Sohn in that order to say hello and then…
– “…What do you want now?”
…He called Yu Baek-Song next. Maybe because she was hassled by Sae-Jin’s frequent calls, there was a definite trace of a groan hidden in her voice.
“No, well. I just want to find out if you’re well today.”
– “…Yeah, I’m fine….”
…If it wasn’t for you.
Sae-Jin thought he heard her whisper quietly in the background there, but decided to ignore that for now.
“But hey, aren’t you being just a bit unfair? Haven’t your accomplishments been very good because of us? Like, predicting the Red Moon and all that.”
Around a week ago, Sae-Jin sent the word into the SID that the Lycan had detected the signs of the Red Moon. And so, the SID performed an in-depth investigation and with the proper proof uncovered, contacted the relevant government entities.
In other words, although the first one to detect the signs was the Lycan, it was the SID who had unearthed the actual evidence. From what Sae-Jin heard, the government acknowledged the efforts of the SID, which in turn restored the lost trust in the organization and on top of that, they were even given performance-based bonuses as well.
So, wasn’t her attitude just a bit too cold?
– “No way. You’re not being a bother. On the contrary, I’m glad to talk to you.”
Only then, Yu Baek-Song’s voice forcibly became a bit lighter.
– “But what do you want now? Why did you call me? I told you last time that the investigation of your parents’ matters is being done discreetly in order to avoid detection, didn’t I?”
“It’s not about that this time… What is your thoughts regarding the information we handed over to you before?”
He handed over the information about Vampires hiding in the Geumgang Mountain only to Yu Baek-Song. At the time, she promised to make a decision on it soon, but even after two weeks later, she was still keeping the result of her decision to herself only.
– “That thing… I’ll let you know later. My head’s gonna split in half just trying to figure it out alone.”
– “Yeah. Sorry.”
“…Well, I understand. But both Lycan and I are planning to look into this matter by ourselves later on. If the results seem certain, will you cooperate with us then?”
Yu Baek-Song didn’t reply immediately and hesitated for a bit.
When Sae-Jin egged her on, Yu Baek-Song’s powerless voice came out of the receiver. Her answer was out of his expectations.
– “……Hey, by the way, like, what if I get fired? I mean, I’m already being suspected of doing something funny by myself already…”
– “No, well. When giving me this information, you told me to keep it to myself only. Did you know by doing that, I’m breaking the law? I’ve sworn to submit any new information regarding the affairs of this country to my superior officer, the President, you see.”
Her voice was trembling.
– “I said this to you before, right? There are people in higher positions than me. That information you gave me, if it’s true then it will be classified as ‘above top secret’. That means, without the permission of the President, I am not even allowed to have a say in it.”
“Will you be fired if you move without permission?”
Yu Baek-Song shouted out. Kim Sae-Jin remained slightly dumbfounded for a moment, before chuckling out gently.
“I understand. If that’s the case, then don’t try to stand out too much. But if something happens and Miss Yu Baek-Song loses her job, then I’ll hire you, as the new leader of The Monster Mercenary Company. And I’ll pay you ten times the current annual salary.”
“So, don’t worry too much. Your reputation might suffer just a tad, but I promise to restore it to what it was once before by whatever means necessary.”
Even after Sae-Jin finished with his words, Yu Baek-Song remained silent for a long time. And this silence continued on for another five minutes or so.
– “…Don’t need it. So, that’s that. I’ll call you when I find new info regarding your mother.”
With that, she hung up.
Afterwards, Sae-Jin called up Yu Sae-Jung and Kim Yu-Rin for the last time and then infiltrated into the interior of the Monster field.
Originally, Sae-Jin planned to stay in whatever cave he could find in the Monster field, but as he walked around, he suddenly got curious – curious about just how much progress the Orc pair of male and female he took under his wings around two months ago had made.
Since he heard the news of those two ‘Hero’ Orcs helping out the Knights in a battle against Monsters three days ago, he knew for sure they weren’t dead yet.
If that was the case, then it made more sense to stay in that village for the next ten days or so. Even if it was living amongst the Monsters, there was a good chance his life would be more convenient as there would be creatures willing to serve him in that place.
With that line of thought, he began wandering in the Monster field for 30 minutes.
Fortunately, Sae-Jin didn’t get lost and could find the steep cliff just over yonder.
He changed the direction of his feet towards where the strong smell of the Orcs was coming from.
It was probably because he was currently in his Orc Great Warrior Form, but as he approached the village, the firmly-shut mud gates were slowly opening up.
And from the opening of the gates, he could hear a noisy commotion. At first, it sounded like cries of beasts, and then, also sounded like that of people welcoming him.
He slowly walked past the mud gates.
The male Orc greeted him first. The changes in its physique was easy to spot – its hair was longer now, and its muscles were even more tougher as well.
Sae-Jin patted the head of the Orc which was only about a single handspan shorter than he was, and took a long look at the surroundings.
There were 21 offsprings of the two Orcs here. Now normally, an Orc needed around four months in order to reach full maturity so these ones were still of smaller stature but mysteriously, they all possessed blue skins.
That was because when Sae-Jin was tattooing the Orcs, he also added another effect – ‘genetic inheritance’. When he spent so much effort to strengthen the parents, it’d be no good whatsoever if the offsprings were weak and thus lack the potential to grow stronger in the future.
Nodding in satisfaction, he then moved his feet to build himself a place to dwell.
And behind his broad, dependable back, a couple dozen Orcs followed.
“They said that the Red Moon will rise tomorrow.”
Hearing the report of the subordinate Knight, Kim Yu-Rin looked up at the night sky with determined eyes. The full moon’s colour was still white and the sky was painted in dark navy blue.
However, when that moon becomes dyed in the colours of blood, then the whole world would also be bathed in red.
“Understood. And the government’s plan is?”
“They have set up the 1st line of defense within the interior of the Monster field, miss.”
“Within the interior?”
Kim Yu-Rin’s brows narrowed as she tried to figure out the reason. Obviously, by setting up the defensive line within the Monster field, there was the advantage of reducing the amount of area they need to, well, defend.
However, if a part of that line became compromised, the risk was equally high that a situation would occur where the defense force became surrounded by the Monsters flooding past the breach.
“Yes, ma’am. However, the position isn’t too deep within the field, so it looks like you don’t have to be concerned.”
“Give me the map.”
“Here it is.”
She carefully studied the map in front of her.
But she found a strange place on it. On a certain corner of the defensive line, around a cliff formed by the upheaval of the earth not too long ago, there she saw big red letters ‘area of interest’ written over this mysterious location.
“…What is that all about?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Oh. That is the village of the Hero Orc. The location was discovered about a month ago, but as we can’t predict what kind of actions these Orcs would take under the effect of the Red Moon, that location has been classified as an area to keep an eye out for.”
“We can’t predict that?”
“Yes, ma’am. The tactical plan will change accordingly to whether those Orcs fight with us even under the crimson moonlight, or lose their reasoning and revert back to being pure Monsters.”
Kim Yu-Rin fell into a deep thought, her fingers tracing the scabbard of her sword.
What a contradictory thing to say, a Monster losing its reasoning. After all, a Monster didn’t even have the capacity to reason, to begin with.
But the Monster that shattered this notion did appear not too long ago.
A new type of Orc, the so-called ‘Hero Orc’. This somewhat embarrassing nickname wasn’t given to it just by the public – the scientific name printed on the Monster Bestiary used around the world was ‘Hero Orc’ as well.
Seen as a new, separate genus of the Orc family, people started calling these Orcs with the moniker ‘Hero’ ever since they roared out loudly and rushed in to help out the Knights in danger. Also, as these branch of Orcs was first discovered in the Republic of Korea, sometimes they were referred to as the Korean Orcs as well.
“Are the higher-ups thinking of utilising these Orcs as another defensive wall if they start helping humans out just like before?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Yes, ma’am. It seems that way.”
She wasn’t 100% certain about this, but if things indeed happen like that, then those Orcs would be wonderful allies to have.
Kim Yu-Rin recalled the battle prowess of the Orc Great Warrior who fought the Basilisk alongside her in the past, then nodded her head.
“We’ll enter the Monster field with our company of Knights. Has the frontlines been constructed yet, via cutting down and burning away the forest?”
“Yes, ma’am. Not only the physical barricades, Wizards prepared safe living areas by preparing magical barriers and watchtowers.”
While Kim Yu-Rin and countless other Knights were tightening up their defenses in preparation for the Red Moon.
[The Skill ‘Warrior’s Special Quality’ has risen up a level.]
Through constant hunting, Sae-Jin finally unlocked the next stage of the ‘Warrior’s Special Quality’ skill.
But that wasn’t all.
[The new property ‘Mana-friendly Body’ is reacting to the Form-specific Skill ‘Ruler of the Water’ of the Feeble Sea Monster Form!] [The property has been upgraded to ‘Mana Body’.] (TL: Yes, it’s really called Mana Body. The author used different Hanja words for this skill and for the Mana-friendly Body, but they literally mean the same thing…) [‘Mana Body’] [Skill Proficiency 0.01%]
– A body that is extremely friendly towards Mana.
– Depending on the current Proficiency Level, there is a probability of negating the effects of Mana and/or magic spells of another that comes in contact with the host’s body.
– Depending on the current Proficiency Level, the host can manipulate the Mana stored in the body according to the wishes of the host. Can be activated concurrently with other Skills.
– When the Proficiency Level reaches 100%, a new property will be unlocked.
Sae-Jin sat down on the dead body of the Ogre he just killed, and began checking out this new Mana Body thingy.
‘I can manipulate Mana as I want to.’
It sure was one of the most welcoming alert windows he’d yet seen. After all, he had never received tutelage on how to use Mana and also, he didn’t know how to make Mana move in his body, even.
However, he wasn’t quite sure of what to do now.
For now, he stretched his arm out and clenched his fist tightly. But well, he didn’t see any strange reaction, nor did he feel anything weird either.
This time, he focused his eyes on one point. He did that until his eyeballs became bloodshot, but again, nothing much happened.
Kim Sae-Jin sat there imitating a parrot for a while, but then figured out how to use it from an unexpected viewpoint. (TL: I’ve no idea what the author is trying to say here with the parrot bit. It’s the literal TL.)
‘Since it said ‘according to my wishes’, does that mean Mana’ll move if I think about it? But isn’t that a bit different from what I heard before?’
‘Mana through one’s wishes’ – that wasn’t the fundamental law of Mana Utilisation the Knights and Wizards adhered to. They said that they moved the Mana flowing in their blood vessels ‘physically’ and then expel it out of their bodies. If Mana can be moved around with nothing but some simple thoughts, then why would the professions of Knights and Wizards be seen as highly specialised and valuable?
‘If I just think of making Mana rise out of my arm, then…’
…And from his arm, thick Mana rose up.
“*Cries of fright, Orc style*”
Kim Sae-Jin got genuinely surprised and ended up tumbling over backwards.
“What the hell!!”
Sae-Jin quickly shot back to his feet and shouted at the Mana wavering around his arm.
Controlling Mana with nothing but his thoughts – he’d never even heard of such a nonsense before.
He swallowed his saliva down and sent in a thought towards this Mana.
Simple thoughts such as ‘grow in width; grow in length; go lower’, as well as…
‘Turn into flames.’
On the empty air where Mana was undulating, a sudden spark of fire began and started burning up.
‘Turn into dirt.’
The flame burning up in the middle of the air then became brown soil and fell on the ground.
‘Turn into snow.’
Pure white snowflakes began to fall slowly.
‘Turn into a sword.’
[The Skill Proficiency must be over 50% in order to activate this skill concurrently with the Skill ‘Orc’s Smithing Technique’.]
It was not possible for now, but as soon as his Proficiency has increased…
He could only admire this new property in daze.
As expected, there was a reason why this new thing was classified as ‘property’ instead of ‘skill’.
< 23. Red Moon (1) > Fin.
(TL: There will be two sponsored chapters tomorrow. And… if there’s no RL getting in the way, I shall upload another two for this week Sunday as well.)
(TL: As of writing this TL note, there are eight chapters in the queue. Another $21, then it’d be nine chapters instead. Yikes. Hopefully, these upcoming four chapters over the weekend will help reducing that load somewhat…)