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A Monster Who Levels Up - Chapter 174

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Chapter 174

His height and even the face, as well as the 'atmosphere' of the person were different from Kim Sae-Jin, although there were also some similar points as well.

However, he did say his physique and facial appearance had changed a good deal due to his Trait's effects. Truly, the first impression of his face I got, which was getting very faint in my memories nowadays, did gradually change as the days went by.

Right. The unexplainable mystery called Trait had disappeared from this world, hadn't it?

Of course, just because Traits had disappeared, that didn't equate to everything built up by them also disappearing as well. The clear example of this was my own body, changed with my Trait's help.

But, no matter how hard I thought about it, that man's face was remarkably similar to Kim Sae-Jin's 'first impression' still faintly remaining in my mind. It might be nothing more than my baseless hope cooking up some nonsense, but he just felt way too familiar to me.

It was then, Yi Hye-Rin was asking me with her head tilting slightly.

’’Sae-Jung?’’ (Yi Hye-Rin)

’’Ah, yes?’’

’’What are you looking at?’’ (Yi Hye-Rin)

’’I.... It's nothing, really....’’

I couldn't concentrate on the party anymore. I tried to lighten up the air around me, but I kept on glancing back towards where he was. Watching him smile brightly while looking at another woman made my chest tighten.

All these men approaching me with smiles were getting annoying now. Even the wonderful tunes beautifully draping over the party was getting on my nerves, too.

In the end, I had to make up my mind. Except, I couldn't muster up enough courage, so I poured the whole glass of champagne down the throat. Even that wasn't enough, so I downed another one. And then, another.

People around me were showing confusion at my sudden drinking spree, but I didn't care.

After all, the only existence that mattered to me right now was that man.

*

(TL: Back to third person perspective.)

’’Oppa. Did something happen with Yu Sae-Jung Unni somehow?’’ (Yu-Ah)

Yu-Ah ended up questioning the manager. She could no longer ignore Yu Sae-Jung continuously glancing at her direction.

However, the manager, Kim Yun-Jeh, simply shook his head disinterestedly.

’’No, nothing happened. First time meeting her today.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

Of course, Yu-Ah didn't find this easy to accept. How could she be convinced that there had been no incident of any kind, when Yu Sae-Jung was repeatedly glancing over at their direction for some time now? Obviously, one of them did something wrong here....

’’Maybe you did something wrong?’’ (Yu-Ah)

’’I'm telling you, there's nothing.... Ah. Was it because me only nodding my head once when greeting her just now?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’Ah?! You only nodded once? That's so arrogant, you know!’’ (Yu-Ah)

Yu-Ah jumped up in surprise and tugged at Kim Yun-Jeh's arm even harder.

Almost instantly, Yu Sae-Jung's stares became sharper by a level. It even felt like her stares were stabbing into their skin.

’’Okay then - what should I have done? Bend over backwards 90 degrees or something?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’No, hang on.... maybe not 90, but you could've done a 60 instead, you know!’’ (Yu-Ah)

’’Oh, really? ....No, wait minute here. I'm sure Yu Sae-Jung isn't such a narrow-minded woman.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’H, hey?! Look at this guy here, blurting out whatever he wants...!!’’ (Yu-Ah)

Yu-Ah hurriedly covered up his mouth. And then, worried about being overheard, she quickly surveyed the surroundings.

’’Euh-urck.’’

And as expected, Yu Sae-Jung was glaring with terrifying eyes at her direction - heck, with teeth gritting, no less.

’’.....Let's just get out of here first.’’ (Yu-Ah)

’’What? But why?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’I can't afford to lose Oppa just yet.’’ (Yu-Ah)

’’No, hang on. What are you even on about....’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

In the end, Yu-Ah dragged Kim Yun-Jeh and hurriedly ran out from the party venue.

’’.......Ah.’’

Yu Sae-Jung could do nothing but to helplessly chase after the departing backs of the duo with her eyes. And there she was, hoping that drinking four more glasses of the bubbly stuff would finally give her the necessary courage, too.

’’Ha-ah....’’

She spat out a long sigh, while resenting her aching innards that didn't want her to get drunk at all.

*

That night.

Escaping from the party venue alone, Yu Sae-Jung went to find Lillia with a resolute determination. She could no longer endure it anymore.

She had been waiting until now, fearing that if she learned of his passing, then the last strand of hope she'd been carrying around all this time might be gone too. But then, she encountered a man who resembled Kim Sae-Jin so, so much tonight. So, how could she be expected to remain calm now?

Lillia found it very difficult to deal with Yu Sae-Jung and her determination.

Although she knew the details, Lillia kept mum because she thought she was following Kim Sae-Jin's will. But even she decided to break the silence after listening to Yu Sae-Jung's tearful recount of the earlier encounter.

Because, Lillia became even more convinced that he indeed got 'saved by the Earth' from Yu Sae-Jung's testimony.

So, Lillia told her everything, leaving nothing out.

All the 'worlds' he had to live through, all the weight of pain and suffering he was burdened with and had to endure, in order to protect everyone, and even the reason that made all of that possible.

Pressured by the enormous truth of the matter, which was more than enough to refer him as a saintly figure, Yu Sae-Jung felt like being crushed to the floor, and she couldn't even utter a single word out.

’’If that man was really Mister Sae-Jin, then it's most likely that the planet has given its thanks and rewarded him. Not only taking away his Trait, but also his memory as well, allowing him to live happily like an ordinary person.’’ (Lillia)

Lillia also tried to search for Sae-Jin's whereabouts on her own as well. But, according to the reports of the intelligence operatives, they couldn't find anyone resembling him. However, the story changed if he reverted back to his old appearance before the Trait manifested, just as Yu Sae-Jung had posited.

No, it was still too early to discard the possibility that the Earth created a brand new body and revived him.

’’In that case, what should we do? What if he really is Kim Sae-Jin? I....’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’Even if that person really turns out to be Mister Sae-Jin, and even if he's not... It'll be very difficult.’’ (Lillia)

’’No, what the hell are you saying? Are those words or farts? Please, speak properly so I can understand you!’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

Yu Sae-Jung just couldn't maintain her calm, and Lillia could only look at her with pitying eyes, before carrying on.

’’If he's not Mister Sae-Jin, then that's that, but if he is, then that presents a lot of problems. If a person who had been living for 600 years regains his memories, do you honestly believe he'd be able to maintain the same personality anymore? Also, in his previous life, his entire being evolved into the legendary Bahamut. In other words, he had become a being that's no different from an actual deity.’’ (Lillia)

Lillia then added, wouldn't we look like ants to him once he regains his memories?

Yu Sae-Jung couldn't reply. She wanted to argue about something nonsensical, sure. But her throat had clammed up and she couldn't summon up her own voice anymore.

Her head was full of stinging pain, causing her to think that this truly unbelievable story sounded far more real than reality, all the while Lillia's words stabbing into her heart was making her scared. Terrified.

Finally, she couldn't withstand the tide of emotions wanting to drown her and plopped down on the floor. And then, for a long time she cried while emitting pained moans.

****

(TL: Back to Yu Sae-Jung's perspective.)

August 19.

At first, I was full of despair. However, I somehow regained enough of my senses and observed him for a long time. It felt like a year had passed, but in reality, it was only for a month.

If someone saw my obsessed behaviour, I'd be labelled as a stalker, but every passing day felt like blood was draining from me, so I couldn't help it.

Every night when I fell asleep, I dreamed a dream and a nightmare at the same time, the former about him coming back and smiling at me like how he did before, and the latter about losing him to a girl named Yu-Ah before he could regain his memories.

And today - I could no longer endure this torture and had decided to proactively try something. That was today.

I requested Mister Hahn-Sung to schedule a private meeting with the man. This was possible because he worked in the entertainment industry, while I was the majority shareholder of The Monster Entertainment.

August 19, 17:47.

Only 13 minutes remained until six in the evening, the scheduled hour for our meeting.

I soothed my nervousness by chewing on my nails, and I resolved my worries, albeit only by a small amount, with my legs trembling all the time.

And as the phone's screen indicated 18:00...

The door to my office was pushed open.

Stunned silly, I shot right up before I even realised it.

’’Hello, there.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’Ah, yes, h, helloooOOOW!!’’

Oops, I got too loud there, didn't I? My consciousness dimmed for a bit thanks to that stupid mistake of mine. But, I couldn't black out here, no matter what.... I desperately held on and pointed at the couch.

’’.....?’’

’’P, please have a seat. Hurry.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

He tilted his head slightly, but still managed to sit down. Soon enough, a silence descended in the office for the next three seconds, but as I couldn't endure it, I hastily walked over to the desk where tea and snacks snacks had been arranged.

’’Would you like some tea?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’Eh? No, I'm....’’

’’Drink.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

I obstinately put the tea cup down on the coffee table. I couldn't help it - my heart was beating so wildly, it was nigh-on impossible to act normally right now.

’’Oh... uh, sure.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

I carefully studied the way he glanced at the tea and the prepared refreshments. The cold sweat slowly pooling behind my neck began dripping down my backside.

Actually, this arrangement was a ruse to try and discern the truth.

A person's habits ingrained into one's body would never change, even if he had lost all his memories. And I could remember all of his habits clearly, since I had lived with him for a such long time....

And in that moment, electricity zapped my back.

The way he held the tea cup, the way he ate refreshments...

I was sure now.

This man here, he was Kim Sae-Jin.

’’May I ask for your name again?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’.....My name is Kim Yun-Jeh.’’

Of course, the name was different. But, this man was, without a doubt, Kim Sae-Jin. That sitting posture, his waist slightly turned away when facing me;that habit of rubbing the left thumbnail when nervous;even the actions of sweeping his hair away.

Seeing him like this, I got buoyed by my emotions and ended up asking him an unexpected question.

’’Don't you recognise me?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’Eh?’’

His face showed how confused he was. He looked so adorable then, I was tempted to embrace him tightly. But I knew better than anyone that I should not do that.

’’Don't you recognise me? Me, I'm Yu Sae-Jung.’’

’’.....Ahh. Of course, I recognise you. I've seen you on TV quite often.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’....Besides that?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

My sights were blurring. Seemed like tears were blocking up my view but I couldn't wipe them away. I lost all strength in my arms, that was why.

Afterwards, it was like several screws came loose in my head. I couldn't remember what we talked about at all. I could only suspect that I might have tearfully repeated the question 'don't you recognise me' over and over like a mad fool.

Whatever the case might have been, when I came to, he was no longer in the office. That felt even worse than before, and I ended up crying alone. I really sobbed at the top of my lungs.

*

(TL: Told from the third person perspective. C'mon, Author, just stick with one perspective for the whole chapter already!!!!)

With a swollen pair of eyes, Yu Sae-Jung called for an urgent meeting of The Monster Guild members. Well, the only people she could openly discuss this matter was with other Guild members, after all.

’’What a complicated situation this is.... So, you're really sure that guy is Mister Sae-Jin?’’ (Kim Yu-Rin)

’’Yes, I'm almost definitely sure. Well, I still need to look up what had happened here, though.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

At Kim Yu-Rin's question, Yu Sae-Jung replied in a calm manner. It was as if she had regained some peace of mind after sobbing her eyes out.

’’Okay, so? What's the problem? You just have to go at it nonstop, no? I mean, Sae-Jung-ah, you can pretty much seduce any guy if you wanted to, right? So, you wrap him around your fingers first and be in love together, whatever, then wouldn't his memories slowly return in time?’’ (Yi Hye-Rin)

Yi Hye-Rin's solution was the most brilliant one considering the situation. However, the sole problem with this suggestion was that it wasn't only Yu Sae-Jung who had realised something important from it.

’’......Hmm.’’

’’Uh....’’

Both Kim Yu-Rin and Hazeline carried serious expressions as if deep in thought and meaningfully rubbed their chins.

Seeing this, Yu Sae-Jung hastily pounded on the table. Her entire body trembled from the shock of this sudden betrayal.

’’You guys better not think of something funny. I'm warning you!!’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’W, why are you saying I'm thinking of funny things now...?’’ (Hazeline)

Hazeline sneakily avoided Yu Sae-Jung's gaze and pulled out her phone. Since this action was very suspicious, Yu Sae-Jung quickly snatched it away.

’’I was just thinking about how to restore Mister Sae-Jin's memories, that's all.’’ (Kim Yu-Rin)

Even though Kim Yu-Rin spoke thus, there were droplets of perspiration clearly visible on the back of her hands.

’’.......’’

Yu Sae-Jung frowned deeply and glared at them.

It was then.

’’Hey, everyone, I found him!!!’’

Bathory literally kicked the door down and entered the venue.

’’I said, I found him!!!’’ (Bathory)

’’....What the heck.’’

As soon as the gazes gathered on her, Bathory triumphantly declared to everyone present.

’’I just so happened to catch a Mah-in with a funny ability, you see? This b*stard can sense the flow of Mana signature even if it's gone out of our dimension....’’ (Bathory)

’’Oh, you mean Kim Yun-Jeh? The man working as a manager at the 'Rochen' Entertainment?’’

Suddenly, Bathory's face froze up like a stone statue.

’’.....And just how the hell you hell you idiots know that?’’ (Bathory)

Everyone gathered in the conference room giggled softly, while Yu Sae-Jung approached and gently held Bathory's hand.

’’Thank you, for the confirmation.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

***

Kim Yun-Jeh was on his way back from the convenience store after buying a Western-style takeaway, then his steps came to a halt after seeing many stuffs belonging to a new tenant moving in piled up on the apartment parking lot.

For some reason, quite a few unbelievable people started becoming his neighbours lately. He had no idea why, but Hazeline and Kim Yu-Rin, Joo Ji-Hyuk and Yi Hye-Rin, Kim Sun-Ho and Rhosrahdel, as well as other members of The Monster had moved into this apartment building.

Of course, he wasn't discontent or some crap like that. Actually, he was really happy at the fact that the price of the place he bought with borrowed money had shot up through the roof, and that he was sitting on the proverbial gold mine as a result. That was why he could carry a huge grin everyday.

Kim Yun-Jeh stared at the tall height of the stuff belonging to the new tenant, and eventually, his eyes met the blue sky above.

The blue Summer sky with not one cloud on sight, it sure looked pretty.

And to think, such a clear sky was covered in darkness and on the brink of apocalypse a few years ago, or so he heard.

’’To protect that sky, the Bahamut had sacrificed itself, you know.’’

It was then, a rather se*y voice tickled his earbuds.

He turned around to find Yu Sae-Jung. Only then, he remembered that she too had moved to this apartment as well. The media was shouting about her presence being the 'finishing touch' or some such.

’’The Bahamut, you say?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’Yes.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’.....Ha, haha...’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

Kim Yun-Jeh just chuckled. Well, he couldn't remember any of that, anyways. He probably did see it back then, no, without a doubt, he lost his memory after getting entangled in that somehow, and now, the inside of his head was as empty as a sheet of blank paper. It was such a frustrating and rather lonely feeling, this.

Yu Sae-Jung carefully approached him as he chuckled bitterly to himself.

’’Mister Yun-Jeh, do you live around here?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’Oh, uh, yes, I do.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’What a coincidence, then. I just moved here, too.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

Yu Sae-Jung pointed at the stuff behind her and grinned refreshingly.

’’.....Oh, really?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’Yes, really.’’

While seeing Kim Yun-Jeh's uninterested eyes looking back at her - no, seeing Kim Sae-Jin like that, she firmly resolved herself once more.

And that was - even if he had lost all the memories created with her and thus no longer was Kim Sae-Jin, she would still not give up. She would do anything possible to get him back. No matter what.

And so, for her very first operation (?) today, she even resorted to borrowing the power of ’’mother’’. With the justification that the mother was to be her in-law soon enough, she searched around and finally located a certain charnel house, and located the only photo the mother-in-law and the 'husband' took together all those years ago.

’’H, hmm.’’

While apologising furiously inside her mind, Yu Sae-Jung walked past him and dropped the photoframe 'accidentally'. Hearing the thud, her chest jumped a bit, hoping that the glass didn't shatter from the fall.

And as she pretended to not notice for the next three seconds or so, he started talking to her first, as planned.

’’Excuse me, this....’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

He picked the photoframe off the ground and stared at it for a long time.

At that very moment, her heart stopped beating. Please, please...

However, the meaningful glint in his eyes only lasted for a short while. He just tilted his head slightly and handed over the frame to her.

But Yu Sae-Jung was satisfied by this. The signs of confusion and deja vu written large on his face for a brief moment, those were enough. The possibility definitely existed now.

’’....Looks like you were heading in as well? Would you like to accompany me along the way?’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’Yes? Ah, sure.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

He nodded his head.

Although it was only ten seconds from there to the elevator, she still felt unbelievably happy inside.

She even wanted to hold his hand, but decided not to get too greedy. Just walk alongside, for now.

’’By the way, is it okay to leave your stuff back there like that?’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

’’Yep.’’

Hearing him, Yu Sae-Jung pointed at the photoframe, or more correctly, a boy smiling inside the photo.

’’I only... need this one, you see.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

It didn't matter to her even if he had no memories of the past.

In that case, all she had to do was to create new, fun memories with him, and to replace the old one that was filled with only the lonesome, endless waiting.

Although her efforts might her efforts might be cheaper and worth nothing compared to what he had experienced, she was still prepared to wait and pour every fibre of her being to make her resolutions a reality.

’’See you around~.’’ (Yu Sae-Jung)

’’.....Ah, sure thing.’’ (Kim Yun-Jeh)

She stared at the side of his face somewhat shyly while her fists clenched tightly.

She wasn't worried, nor did she feel scared. No, she simply imagined the bright future with him once more and smiled.

The sky had cleared up wonderfully now.

And surely, the brightly smiling sun floating in that blue clarity would continue to shine with warmth on them, hopefully without the darkness trying to dye the world again.

And after some time would flow by...

'Someday, that happiness we've been wishing for will be ours.'

Yu Sae-Jung gazed at him, and smiled radiantly like the sun.

<Epilogue: Meeting Again (2) >Fin.

[The author, Jee Gab Song's postscript.]

Everyone, thank you for reading until the end. I love you, my readers. Even to my own belief, all my words seemed really lacking, but still.... I can only thank you again and again.

While writing this, I had a few regrets and felt bad about missed chances. Since I lacked the gift of gab, I can't seem to explain myself properly, so...

To summarise in three sentences:

Even though this work was lacking, regretful and somewhat incomplete even from the author's point of view, I still like to thank every one of you for reading it regardless. I'm sure there were times when you thought you didn't get your money's worth - you have endured well. I'd like to return with even better work next time!

Everyone, I'll see you all later. Goodbye!

[The translator's take]

What can I say, other than to repeat what the author wrote above mine - thank you, everyone, for sticking with this novel through thick and thin, through all the infuriating arcs and genuinely cool moments.

This was my first attempt at fan translating a novel, and in the process, I have learned a lot. I will always be grateful for that.

Also, I'd like to specifically mention the excellent work put in by my editor, akshaythedon. He's my partner in crime for this adventure. Although he told me he would stop editing after the conclusion of this novel, I still wish for him all the best in the world.

Oh, before I forget, Mister Author, I'd like to also thank you for infuriating me with many, many weird turn of phrases and inconceivable Hanja combinations that basically didn't have any meaning peppered throughout this novel. Digging through internet trying to find out what you were trying to convey was really not fun and time consuming, you know!!!

And finally, once more, thank you guys and girls for taking your valuable time out to choose &read this novel, as well as all those incredibly generous and wonderful folks who had donated and sponsored countless chapters during the TL run. There are so many names, I can't even begin to write all of them down, otherwise you might end up reading until the end of next year! LOL. Regardless, you guys totally rock.

My next project(s) will be.... well, watch this space, folks. It's going to be a doozy.

A_Passing_Wanderer, signing out.

[The editor's rant]

Heya, people! I am akshaythedon, the editor of this novel. It has been a crazy roller-coaster ride for me with this novel. At first, I actually started having some interaction with the TL A_Passing_Wanderer when I was reading his original. Then, by some inexplicable forces, I ended up helping out with this fan translation as an editor. And forgive me if I had not made the novel as readable as you guys would have expected.

I still remember the days where we did a mass release and Wand and I would end up doing some work overtime, despite our regular schedules. It seems surreal for the novel to have been completed (even though it is a small one). Unfortunately, I won't be able to continue my tryst with Wand as I am stuck in a transition phase in real life. (You know, job and the risk of being an unemployed.)

Hopefully, Wand would get another editor, better than me if possible, for the novel(s) he would be translating and for the original that he would continue working on later.

And finally, I would like to thank the author for writing a reasonable story that could be enjoyed by the audience. I hope he could continue producing novels better than 'A Monster Who Levels Up'.

For all the readers, continue your habit of reading these novels, so that more fan translations would pop up and who knows, some great gems could be unearthed from this vast world of novels.

Okay, I guess I have rambled too much... Thank you for reading the novel once again.

This is akshaythedon, signing out.



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