Before long, that dark shadow had arrived at the shore.
*SFX for water exploding and scattering away*
The seawater exploded and rose up like a roaring waterfall, and finally, the jet-black monster revealed its massive form.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body began quivering all of a sudden.
He had no idea how to describe the current situation.
Without a doubt, the monster in front of his eyes was big and very powerful. Indeed, it was. Yet….
That jet-black body, seemingly sucking in all the light touching it!
Those small, beady black eyes located on either side of the body!
That big maw full of sharp, serrated fangs, enough to cause fear and trepidation to rise in the hearts of common men!
“That thing is…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
That thing was the apex predator of the sea.
A predator that killed indiscriminately and without a shred of hesitation. The unrivalled predator of the seas that even snacked on sharks.
Seeing that huge demon of the sea, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body began to quiver even more.
To him, that appearance was…
It was just, too…
“It’s, it’s too cute!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shouted out without even realising it.
Meanwhile, Seo Ah-Young was staring at the large monster with a dumbfounded expression etched on her face.
“A… a killer whale?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Indeed, the giant black monster with beady eyes that revealed itself in such a grand manner was a killer whale.
“Oh!! Look, look at those spots!! It’s soooo cute!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed at the white spots around the eyes of the ‘killer whale’ and kyahh-ed rather loudly.
Well, sure, it might have been the indiscriminate killer of the oceans, but a cute thing was still a cute thing in his eyes, so there.
Of course, Seo Ah-Young’s thought process was a wee bit different from his; her eyes were trembling in dread as she stared at the huge monster.
It might have possessed an outer appearance similar to that of a killer whale, but it sure as hell wasn’t one.
Actually, the only bit that resembled the killer whale was around its head. From both of its sides, dozens of tentacles sprouted out like a bunch of arms and were supporting the main body. Its overall height was at least ten metres high.
‘Has a monster like that ever appeared before?’ (Seo Ah-Young)
Her knowledge pool, somewhat limited as it were, told her that there never had been a single report of such a monster making its appearance anywhere in the world. Hell, there was no way she’d miss a report like that – if a monster like that did appear, then well, things would have devolved into utter, utter chaos before long.
Following on directly from that unknown stone monster incident, it seemed that unexplainable phenomena were happening more frequently nowadays. The never-before-seen monsters were making their unwelcome appearances throughout the world, and their sizes were getting progressively larger as well.
‘Since that man showed up, nothing’s been going right for us!’ (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young glared daggers at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s back.
When she thought about it for a minute, it seemed like the timing of that man appearing in her life coincided perfectly – and eerily – with the beginning of all these strange monster-related phenomena.
She thought there was no chance of those two things being related in some way, but still, what was this odd bitterness, this uncertain, lingering doubt?
‘Fine, besides all that… Why is that guy giggling like a schoolgirl now?’ (Seo Ah-Young)
He seemed to quiver in pleasure just now, and he even pulled out his phone and began taking snapshots of the approaching monster.
“What on earth are you doing?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Well, it’s cute, that’s why.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
‘What? You mean, that thing over there?’ (Seo Ah-Young)
You find that monster cute?
Maybe even his tastes are insane as well?
No, wait – his tastes are insane, because the person himself is insane.
Right, it’s not that strange. It’s that man I’m talking about, so… (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
It seemed to be a reasonable response from that man if she calmly thought about it. However, she was a human being first and foremost, so she couldn’t bring herself to accept his evaluation.
“That’s a bloody monster, you moron!!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Even after seeing Seo Ah-Young’s intense reactions, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply shrugged his shoulders.
“So what? I’m just saying, it’s cute. That’s all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk then whistled leisurely while gazing at the ‘killer whale’ monster.
‘Hmm, is it a parasite-type monster?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course, he couldn’t definitely be sure of no killer whale-type monster existing in other worlds, but still, this mismatched combination of a horde of Lizardmen and that so-called whale monster felt too incongruous to him.
That was the reason why Yi Ji-Hyuk thought that a parasitic monster had taken over a killer whale and eventually turned into that thing in front of him. So, the only remaining question was…
“Did the killer whales live off the East Sea?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his question-filled head, but too bad, there was no one here today to answer his queries.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young called out to him, her voice still trembling.
“I’ll somehow do something about the smaller monsters. Please, take care of that big one, instead.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked in response.
“But, I don’t wanna?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What do you expect me to do about that big creature now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, I saw you destroying a monster much bigger than that!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
I had Mana back then!
No, hang on. That’s a bit hard to explain under the current situation, huh. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner musings)
“Hell, that thing’s not really cost effective to me, yeah? How much are you willing to pay me for killing that monster? Don’t tell me, you were thinking of the same 10 million, weren’t you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young frowned deeply.
She wanted to argue back, but even she had to agree it sounded wrong to treat that big thing as the same as other small fries out here.
“Then, 20 million?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I see you are planning to ride the tech and become a politician after you retire from this field, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)
Seo Ah-Young gritted her teeth.
She would have preferred him throwing insults at her, instead of hurling these snarky retorts.
“Then, let’s make it 100 million.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Hoh, quite decisive, aren’t you? Throwing around tax money as if you are the big boss.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
*SFX for a vein popping on a forehead*
A vein popped up on Seo Ah-Young’s forehead. Why was he complaining when his wishes were met, as if nothing had been going his way until now?
“You’re being noisy, so just fight that thing already!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yes, yes, yes.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and stepped forward.
Well, the time for jokes had come to an end, that’s all.
There are a lot more of them than I expected, huh.
More than hundred Lizardmen have showed up, eh?
But, hmm. I don’t think more will show up, though. That’s a relief. Anymore of these b*stards show up, then things would’ve gotten a bit dicey.
Anyways, looks like no more monsters are coming out from the Gate, right? Wherever it is.
No, wait. I can’t be sure of this place here being the only landing zone for these things, now can I? They could’ve made landfall somewhere else. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brows slowly creased up.
Could it be, that this event only happened because of me?
He couldn’t deny this feeling of Gates following him around wherever he went. No, by this point, he was this close to accepting it as an actual fact.
The suburb he was living in had become something of a danger zone where a Gate could seemingly open up at a drop of a hat; and as soon as he entered the ocean, a never-before-seen event of a Gate opening up in a body of water occurred.
It’d been nicer if all those things were a mere coincidence. But, if this event was also somehow ‘coincidence’, then he might as well declare that the sisters of fate and the gods of destiny in this world were truly dead and gone.
‘Maybe something went wrong when I crossed the worlds?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Ascertaining cause and effect wasn’t easy. Even if he wanted to, he didn’t even know why these Gates were opening in the first place. But one thing’s for certain: nothing good would come about with things carrying on like this.
He needed to come up with a plan here.
“For now, I should take care of these guys first…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
As if they had read his mind just now, Lizardmen began rushing towards him in a group.
He groaned in disappointment after seeing that.
What an enormous sense of loss this was, that tried to overwhelm him right now.
This ugly feeling, the one where his innards were twisting into knots after seeing these weakling b*stards rushing at him with their tridents poised to strike! The same b*stards, who couldn’t even meet his gaze out of sheer terror back in Berafe!!
Was this the sorrow of a sovereign who had lost all his mighty glory?
Oh well. He decided to wallow in the feelings of the “retired” sovereign at another time, and instead, teach these naughty kids some manners.
As his Mana reserve was running low, he needed to get serious for a bit and use it efficiently.
On top of his right hand, black Mana began to swirl and gather quickly.
Crackling like electricity, Mana buzzed and danced like storm winds, before it flattened into a long, smooth shape. And soon, this Mana left his hand and began rotating incredibly quickly, before flying out.
Blue fountains of blood spouted out everywhere from the sliced bodies of the Lizardmen as the black Mana blade flew around.
Then, it was the time to activate “Drain”.
Yi Ji-Hyuk reached out with his hands and then, hoovered up all the leaking Mana from the dead monsters.
He automatically cleansed and changed the Mana entering his body.
The changed Mana gathered back in his hands.
He quickly calculated and directed Mana accordingly, thereby completing a certain spell.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s right hand then pointed towards the Lizardmen still bravely charging towards his direction.
“Lightning!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jet-black streaks of electricity shot out and pierced through countless Lizardmen. However, the carnage didn’t stop there; even the rest of the monsters following up behind the initial wave got electrocuted by the powerful spell.
Some Lizardmen’s bodies couldn’t endure the torture and began exploding in gory fashion
Yi Ji-Hyuk sucked in the resulting Mana, but he was clicking his tongue in dissatisfaction.
“What the hell. The efficiency is this bad…?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He wasn’t even using all that powerful a spell, yet much more Mana than he expected was leaving his body.
He even gave up on his usual style of sweeping everything away without converting Mana or caring about efficiency, and tried to craft individual spell formulas, but still, he could acutely feel the shortage of Mana at this very moment.
He also realised that crucial fact once more; how the Mana Gates supplying him with endless Mana in Berafe managed to make his life so d*mn convenient back then. Even after he poured out magic spells like a raging river, he’d always have an ocean-full of Mana remaining.
‘What use is there to regret about things of the past?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Sure, he did lose access to all that Mana, but in exchange, he was able to come back to Earth. It wasn’t a bad deal at all. The only issue was that, things were getting somewhat annoying now…
It was then – after sensing something quite ominous, Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly looked up into the sky.
Something bad was about to happen. His intuition said so.
And sure enough…. there was a cloud of fireballs right above his head.
Yi Ji-Hyuk started running away while shouting out angrily.
“What the hell!! Can’t you warn me at least….?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Unfortunately for him, Seo Ah-Young completely ignored his protests.
“Go! Fire Rain!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Huge raindrops made up of flames poured down on the earth, and on the sea.
It was a spectacular scene of the fist-sized balls of flames raining down like hailstorm, something that’d be no doubt very hard to witness for a normal person.
“Oh. Wow…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
These balls of flames managed to miss him by a hair’s breadth and flew towards the monsters.
It seemed that she had properly calculated radius of the danger zone and made sure he wasn’t included this time.
Still, something about this distance made him quite wary of her. The flames weren’t assaulting him out in the open, sure, but this distance kinda felt like, you know, ‘wouldn’t there be one or two stray fireballs landing on him by accident if it’s only this far apart?’
Her skills were indeed quite wonderful.
Yes, they were quite exemplary.
Even in Berafe, one would be hard pressed to find Seo Ah-Young’s equal among her peers.
However…. That wasn’t the real problem, though.
“What the hell?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed at Seo Ah-Young and angrily shouted at her.
“What good will a bunch of fireballs do to monsters half submerged in water?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Didn’t matter one jot whether it was a hailstorm of flames or not, what was the point if you couldn’t even boil the seawater to cook these monsters alive?
So, why did she even brainlessly use a fire-based attack on the ocean in the first place?!
Seo Ah-Young was quite nonchalant about the whole thing, though.
“What can I do? Fire’s the only thing I know how to control, you know!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“That’s not something to be proud of!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.
Yep, her skills were quite good, but they weren’t versatile enough.
Even a far weaker sorcerer than her would be able to use magic attacks related to water or lightning system and efficiently sweep away these small fries.
However, someone as powerful as Seo Ah-Young was struggling mightily to eradicate this horde of simple Lizardmen.
…All because she could only use abilities related to fire.
That was the inherent limitation of ability users that specialised in one type of ability.
‘Hmm, won’t there be a deep division among the users when more than a few of them show up on one location, then?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Such a scene would be quite fun to observe as well, he thought.
“Useless. Utterly useless.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s why I asked you to help me!! So, please take care of them quickly!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I still haven’t been paid yet, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: Uhm, what? Wasn’t he supposed to get paid afterwards…?)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression became ‘disinterested’, Seo Ah-Young began smiling awkwardly.
“I’d be very grateful if you help me out a little bit more.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively and spun his head away.
Meanwhile, Lizardmen were hesitating to make their approach after witnessing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s magic, as well as being on the receiving end of the baptism of fireballs, and simply chose to glare at the two humans.
He thought that, if this planet was their home world, these monsters would’ve found a way to escape and save themselves. But too bad, in this foreign world, that was easier said than done.
The Lizardmen observed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s behaviour for a second, before the horde split in half to go either side of the human blockage and to enter the city.
“Did they learn to read minds or something?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shouted out in irritation.
“Stop them!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon shouted out as he ran hurriedly towards them.
“I’ll try to block them from this side, do something to stop the other group!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
With a dazed face, Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head to look at her.
“Just what do you think you can do here to block them? You should be running the other way, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“!! Oh, no!! Mister Ji-Hyuk!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze back again.
It was then – the killer whale monster swung its tentacle-like arm (?) towards Yi Ji-Hyuk.
*SFX for sand and water exploding upwards*
The spot he was standing on exploded; a great amount of dirt and seawater exploded and rose up like a fountain.
With a shocked expression etched on her face, she stared at this scene.
And as the shockwave receded from the spot where the killer whale monster attacked, Seo Ah-Young began gripping her fist tightly.
She could spot traces of blood mixed in with the seawater.
‘Could it be…?’
Seo Ah-Young’s eyebrows trembled as astonishment washed over her.
Why? Because, the ‘arm’ of the killer whale was being lifted up slowly by something. No, someone.
Underneath that shaking tentacle/arm being forcibly pushed up, Yi Ji-Hyuk revealed himself.
With blood streaming out from both his nose and mouth, Yi Ji-Hyuk lifted up that tentacle/arm with his only right arm, while his deadly glare was squarely locked onto the monster.
“What the hell?! Can’t you see that I was in the middle of a conversation?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk then suddenly turned his head towards Seo Ah-Young to shout at her.
“Hey, ahjumma!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What now, you a*shole?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t even wait for Seo Ah-Young, who had inadvertently spat out a swear word, to finish what he wanted to say.
“I want you to be my eyewitness, okay?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes were gleaming dangerously all of a sudden now.
“This, this is an act of self defense! This is that Incidental Catch thing, okay?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Just how did he arrive at that conclusion, no one could tell.
< 43. Please, have some common sense! -3 > Fin.
(TL: The saying “riding the tech” originated from Starcraft and is now being used commonly in Korea, outside of the gaming scene. Basically, it means that you have decided on something after carefully weighing up many available options. Most people online agree that the saying came from Starcraft players trying to decide on which tech tree they want to unlock with their limited resources.)