– The Orc and the human, is it. I’ve enjoyed witnessing the destruction of my creation by your hands.
Kim Yu-Rin’s head tilted sideways.
She heard the Lord’s voice just fine, but failed to understand the meaning of his words. The Orc and the human the Vampire Lord had mentioned – well, the human was here, so where was the Orc? She took a look behind her, but beside the thick darkness, no such thing as an Orc existed nearby.
While observing the changes in her mood from the side, Sae-Jin wiped the cold sweat off from his forehead.
– And what brings you to my abode?
Fortunately for Sae-Jin, the Lord’s dignified voice changed the topic quickly enough. Feeling hurried now, Sae-Jin tried to move towards the direction of the voice quickly, but Kim Yu-Rin didn’t follow suit. No, she instead reached out and grabbed Sae-Jin’s wrist firmly in order to stop him, before throwing a question at the Lord.
“What did you mean by that just now?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
– Regarding which matter?
“Just now, you said ‘the Orc and the human’. ‘Humans’ are here, but where is this Orc you mentioned?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
The Lord’s lengthy and low-pitched murmuring seemed to stick to the walls of the cavern like some sticky glue.
“Answer me.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
– Although I did not expect you to address me with honorifics… Still, don’t you think your attitude is a little troublesome, human?
It seemed that the Lord didn’t care for Kim Yu-Rin’s attitude at all.
Her face hardened rather coldly. How dare he seek decorum after he drove the world to the brink of destruction? She gritted her teeth and pulled out Gungnir.
“In that case, allow me to beat you up and make you spit it out.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
– As expected, even though the world may be different, humans are still arrogant and conceited…
“Shut up. Let’s go, Guild Master.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin shouted out confrontationally and took the lead. Sae-Jin quietly followed after her.
So, the two people walked in the passage while scything through the darkness. The more they walked, the stronger the sensation of the passage widening became.
For sure, the interior of the cavern was indeed changing. To be more specific, the narrow and lengthy shape of the terrain was gradually opening up.
And they must have walked nonstop for the next hour or so.
Finally, the two of them were able to step into a huge open space.
“Huh. Really now. Just how much further should we keep walking?” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin scratched the back of his neck and groaned. Kim Yu-Rin stared at him with a gentle smile, then spoke to him while surveying this huge open area.
“But still, I am relieved.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“Seeing that the Lord is within this passage, it’s most likely our path is the correct one. And out of everyone in the team, we’re the strongest, after all.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
As expected of Kim Yu-Rin and her selfless personality, she believed it was a fortunate thing for them to face the strong and difficult opponent instead of others. Sae-Jin chuckled and his hand automatically rose up towards her head. Then, he went Oops and stopped himself in the middle. The old habit of the Hero Orc, patting her head every now and then, almost broke out by mistake.
“Excuse me…?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
And the eyes of Kim Yu-Rin staring at him also widened in real time as well. He quickly withdrew his hand and coughed awkwardly.
“Ah, my apologies… For you being a bit of a shorty.” (Sae-Jin)
…And he tried to turn it around with a bit of humour.
“….I’m 168 centimetres tall. If this is too short for you, then how tall should a woman be?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin narrowed her eyes and complained. But seeing her cheeks redden a bit, he couldn’t help but wonder if she liked being treated like a young kid. Of course, he threw away that idea quickly enough, though.
He pointed towards the far end of the passage and spoke.
“I am just kidding with you. Regardless, let’s hurry. It’s not good to be too tense, but it’s also equally bad being too rela…” (Sae-Jin)
Before he could finish his sentence, the entire terrain shook violently.
Right after that, powerful shock waves spread out as if something was trying to break out from the underground.
“Get ready for battle!” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin’s occupational habit reared its head again. She shoved Sae-Jin behind her and unsheathed the sword.
At the same time, the surface of the floor cracked open, and something massive climbed out from the gap. First to show up were two hands the size of an adult person, and just behind those huge hands, a pair of heads with their own pairs of blood-red eyes attached could be seen.
It was an Ogre.
Of course, it was on a different level compared to a normal Ogre. First of all, there was the thing with the number of its heads, and next, the shape of one of the heads it possessed. One head was that of an regular Ogre, but the other one just so happened to be that of a Cerberus, the guardian of hell’s gate.
“Looks like it received a head from an annoying guard dog.” (Kim Yu-Rin) (TL: troll face)
Kim Yu-Rin’s expression crumpled. The Monster really was that disgusting to look at. But still, she couldn’t overlook its potential power, now that a Cerberus and an Ogre had been combined into one. She gripped her Gungnir real tightly while glaring at the Ogre.
And as she was searching for the Monster’s weakness, a transparent and light beam-like energy descended on top of her head.
She even forgot about her nervousness and exclaimed out. When that spectral light entered her body, her entire being felt much lighter than before, and the flow of Mana within her blood vessels received a huge boost.
She turned to look at the person responsible for this, Kim Sae-Jin. He replied her quizzical look with a warm smile that even made her fluster just a little bit.
“It’s a buff spell. Please go ahead. I’ll support you with magic from the rear.” (Sae-Jin)
He then morphed into the Leviathan Form.
“Thank you.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
A Leviathan had her back – deriving the utmost confidence from that fact alone, Kim Yu-Rin lunged towards the Ogre.
*SFX for the Ogre’s roar*
The Ogre roared out and violently swung its jet-black club.
A sword emitting the brilliant golden light clashed with an unbreakable blunt instrument made out of black metal. An indescribable explosion resounded out from the contact point. A huge crater caved in on the ground, and from within the thick, choking dust cloud, seeds of flame sparkled threateningly.
Only a single strike caused such a memorable scene.
Soon enough, though, the dust cloud cleared away and the result became also clear for all to see.
And that was the Ogre and his missing right arm, its black metal club also gone for good.
Kim Yu-Rin pounced on the suffering Ogre that was in agony after losing its arm. Her whole body felt like it was two, no, three times purer and overflowing with strength, thanks to Sae-Jin’s incomparable buff magic.
This feeling, she wanted to keep feeling it for the rest of her life.
The appearance of the Two-Headed Ogre was merely the beginning. But they could defeat other Monsters without too much issues. According to Kim Yu-Rin, it was because of their ‘fantastic teamwork’, apparently. Nominally it was a teamwork, but all Sae-Jin did was to support her with buff magic, actually.
Of course, the level of Sae-Jin’s spell was way too high to label it as a simple ‘support magic’. As the ‘sorcery’ formed the foundation for this difficult buff spell, Sae-Jin had to morph into the Leviathan Form just in order to maintain it. And its effects were just as excellent, too.
As they eliminated various Chimeras that tried to block their path and continued on forward, they eventually encountered a rather suspicious-looking door.
Even with a single, casual look, it was an old-fashioned and dignified door that screamed “The Final Boss is here!!”
Strange figures painted in white colour decorated the black door.
“….Shall we?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin asked, and Sae-Jin wordlessly grabbed the door handle.
I wanted to open it, though, Kim Yu-Rin lightly complained and nodded her head. Sae-Jin chuckled slightly and pushed the door open.
*SFX for the creaky sound of a door opening*
The door issued a worn-out creak as it opened. Past the doorway, the very first thing they spotted was an old man wearing a black robe that seemed tattered and dishevelled. Then, they saw his energy-less drooping shoulders and the white eyes that had lost vitality a long time ago.
He was blind as well.
“His eyes…” (Sae-Jin)
Only then, Sae-Jin realised why the Lord failed to show himself even though Nosferatus were openly rebelling, as well as when Bathory showed signs of suspicious behaviour.
A leader of the organisation that couldn’t be of any help for the said organisation was no longer acknowledged as the leader. There were only two possible endings waiting for such a person – one, get eaten by the challenger, or two, retire on his own volition.
“I heard you possessed eyes that could see everything.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin taunted and pointed the tip of her Gungnir at the Lord’s neck.
The Lord stared at the two of them with those eyes that couldn’t see nor reflect anything. However, although they might have lost their original functions, it sure felt like his eyes could still decipher the truths of all things regardless.
“As you can see, my eyes have lost their clarity already.” (The Vampire Lord)
The Lord’s phlegm-laden voice sounded calm and stable, yet the tone indicated he was sternly admonishing the pair of intruders before him. That was quite evident from the smouldering rage hidden in his calm appearance.
“….That means, we can get rid of you quite easily, no?” (Sae-Jin)
This time, Sae-Jin spoke up. He grasped the Bathory’s gift tightly and got ready to pounce on the Lord. However, Kim Yu-Rin stretched her arm out and stopped him. Her face said that she somehow managed to remember just now the question she had nearly forgotten about.
“There’s something I’m curious about.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
“And what would that be?” (The Vampire Lord)
In that moment, Sae-Jin’s face became dyed in panic. The question she wanted to ask the Lord was quite obvious, really. Obviously…
“You clearly said, the Orc and the human when we came here. Are you saying that the Orc is here too? And which Orc are you referring to, when you said the Orc?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
The Lord maintained his silence. Meanwhile, Sae-Jin changed back into the Leviathan Form. He was thinking of firing off the Mana cannon and killing the Lord before he opened his mouth.
Unfortunately, though – that ended up being the bad move on his part.
“Indeed, a measly human with a Trait that allows you to transform into many other lifeforms. Seeing it with my own eyes, it is truly interesting.” (The Vampire Lord)
The Lord’s words seemed to strike home way too accurately for a blind man.
“Oh, the Lady Knight, what are you even talking about? The Orc resides within that man. I have remembered his appearance especially so, because he was in his Orc form when he slew my Chimera. That is why I have referred to this man as the Orc.” (The Vampire Lord)
Instantly, all of Kim Yu-Rin’s movement ceased up.
*SFX for the sound of winds blowing*
A cold and ominous wind blew in from the wide open doorway. As if that coldness had woken her up, Kim Yu-Rin turned her head towards Sae-Jin’s direction. Within her enlarged eyes, several emotions, such as confusion, surprise, a sense of betrayal, etc, etc, swirled about crazily.
Even though Sae-Jin could feel her eyes staring at him, he continued to wordlessly study the Lord.
As the silence flowed thickly between the two, the Lord eventually opened his mouth again.
“Perchance, she did not know? I wonder why.” (The Vampire Lord)
“……Just, what does this mean?” (Kim Yu-Rin)
She finally opened her mouth, too, and asked. However, the recipient of that question wasn’t the Vampire Lord, but Kim Sae-Jin.
Only then, Sae-Jin turned his head towards her and met her eyes.
He could see the reflection of the Leviathan within her trembling pupils. Suddenly, he thought he looked disgusting for some reason. So, he reverted back to his human appearance.
He gritted his teeth and shifted his glare back at the Lord, and then spoke up.
“He’s attempting to drive a wedge between us. Do not be mislead.” (Sae-Jin)
“Drive a wedge? What can you possibly mean by that?” (The Vampire Lord)
Unfortunately, the Lord interfered. With an insidious and sly smile on his face, to boot.
“Oh, the Lady Knight. Truth always leaves crumbs of evidence behind. And you should have been faintly aware of those evidence crumbs by now.” (The Vampire Lord)
Kim Yu-Rin’s eyes remained fixed on Sae-Jin while the Lord’s words entered her ears.
And so, she began recalling things one by one.
Her prior suspicion regarding the small insignia placed on the Orc Blacksmith’s weapons that Sae-Jin had crafted, that could be also found on the Hero Orc’s weapon; that strangely firm belief the Orc had in Kim Sae-Jin; those habits Sae-Jin unconsciously exhibited that were so, so similar to that of the Orc; and finally, his Trait where he could change into a Monster…
At the same time, all the questions she held deep inside flooded back out.
All those questions she had suppressed with the single thought, ‘it’s not possible’, bubbled back up to the surface once more.
“Mister Guild Master.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Kim Yu-Rin’s face hardened, but she didn’t speak any further. She used silence to pressure Sae-Jin.
Should he tell her the truth? But honestly, he felt hesitant to do so. After all, those actions he performed without giving it much thought as the Orc would be seen as him making utter fool out of her from Kim Yu-Rin’s perspective.
“Later. There is more important work we need to finish first.” (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin called up the excuse of ‘later’, in order to overcome this critical moment. Obviously, they did have a mission to complete here; he grasped the silver knife tightly and started walking towards the Vampire Lord.
“No.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
But Kim Yu-Rin proved to be a stubborn customer.
“The story will take too long to finish. We have something to…” (Sae-Jin)
“All I want is one simple answer. It’s not going to take long.” (Kim Yu-Rin)
Her firmly shut lips and her sharply narrowed eyes – with an expression as grave and serious, something Sae-Jin had never seen her make before, she continued with her words.
“You, you are the Hero Orc, yes? Your Trait, you can transform into other Forms besides the Leviathan, yes?”
< 45. The Entry (3) > Fin.