Episode 12. Role Model for Success (2)

“Make sure you’re ready ahead of time for the welcoming ceremony.”

“Huh?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok was resting in the barracks when he was suddenly summoned by the company commander with this unexpected command.

“You always make me repeat myself. There is a welcoming ceremony this evening for mage Lee Eun-Seo in honor of her visit to our camp.”

“Then the others…”

“No. You will be the only foreigner attending.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok asked just in case, but found out that he would be the only foreigner at the ceremony. Rather than being curious about the situation, he was concerned about the mage’s bright eyes from earlier. They made him feel uneasy.

“Wear your cavalry uniform, and make sure that you’re there on time. Other high-ranking individuals from nearby forts are expected to be there as well…”

“Do I really need to be there?”

Company Commander Frederick was left speechless at Kim Seon-Hyeok’s insolent attitude in cutting off his commands. This bewilderment soon became anger, however, and his reddening face displayed a violent expression.

“Are you saying you will disobey my orders?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok hesitated for a moment upon seeing the company commander in a fit of rage. He had previously been an army sergeant approaching the end of his service. He knew well to handle any annoying tasks quickly and to stay off the radar of his superiors. These senses were heightened after arriving at this camp in the new world, and they were screaming out to him.

Avoid this situation if you can.

He had only caught the woman’s gaze for a moment and was strangely repulsed, but his answer had already been decided.

“H, how dare you! Who do you think you are!”

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s heart dropped at the sight of his furious company commander, who seemed ready to draw his sword then and there. Nonetheless, he closed his eyes and resisted.

“As you can see, I’m not in a good condition right now and will just ruin the mood…”

Despite him holding out his bandaged arm and offering a reasonable excuse, the company commander’s fury showed no signs of abating. Then again, Frederick always had a disdain for foreigners, so it wouldn’t have been strange even if he was beaten to death for his attitude.

However, Kim Seon-Hyeok also believed in something. He believed in the Adenburg Kingdom and their declared support for all foreigners. Even the lowest-tiers were under direct protection of the kingdom.

No matter how big a presence Frederick was at the camp, Frederick would not be able to harm him. If it were possible, then his dislike of foreigners would already have spilled over in countless different incidents.

Even if he was being disagreeable, Frederick could not get rid of him or even send him elsewhere. This proved that the foreigners had a special status.

“Sigh.”

His expectations were correct. The company commander, despite shaking in rage, began to suppress his emotions after a certain point.

“How insolent. You don’t have the mentality of a soldier.”

There was no sense of irritation in his lowered voice. However, Kim Seon-Hyeok actually felt a greater chill now than before. The company commander’s subdued voice sounded harsh, as though it was hiding a blade within.

Ugh. Did I provoke the wrong person?

Kim Seon-Hyeok belatedly grew anxious, but he did not regret his decision. There was no way for the two of them to have a good relationship in the first place, so there was little for him to lose. He had no reason to attend the uncomfortable ceremony and cause himself more trouble.

“This is why I hate foreigners.”

The company commander, shaking his head, commented again.

“Is there anything else you want?”

“I heard you were summoned by the company commander?”

There were so many people bothering him today. Kim Seon-Hyeok sighed while looking at Kang Jeong-Tae, who was fretting like a dog needing to go to the bathroom.

“Yes. He asked me to attend the welcoming ceremony tonight.”

“Really? I thought so. We were trainees together when we arrived, so the mage wouldn’t be so cold towards us.”

Kang Jeong-Tae’s face lit up immediately before Kim Seon-Hyeok could even finish responding.

“No, he wasn’t summoning all of us…”

“Oh? Then what?”

Kang Jeong-Tae had a disappointed look on his face when Kim Seon-Hyeok provided a brief explanation.

“Oh. It was just you.”

However, he soon pressed on, wondering why Kim Seon-Hyeok was the only one called.

“But why? Did you know that woman by any chance?”

“No, it wasn’t like that. I don’t know why she called me either.”

It wasn’t that Kim Seon-Hyeok had no idea. Since mages also used unseen energies, it was possible that she had sensed the power of the wind attribute circling around him.

“So are you going? You haven’t even fully recovered yet. We’re managed by the royal family, so you can refuse if you don’t want to go.”

On the surface, it seemed to be a comment made out of consideration, but the expression on Kang Jeong-Tae’s face was one of jealousy. Despite trying to control his expressions, it was clearly asking “why did he only invite a jerk like him…?”

Kang Jeong-Tae was starting to show his true colors over time, but Kim Seon-Hyeok paid him no mind. They were all struggling to survive in this remote place, so he had no intention of mocking those subtle tricks and pretenses.

“Yes, and that’s why I said no.”

“Right? It’s not like there’d be anything for you there. You’d just be running errands for high-ranking people.”

Kang Jeong-Tae’s sudden change in attitude was amusing.

“But I think I’ll go anyway.”

Frederick seemed strict at first glance, but he turned out to be a more flexible company commander than he originally thought.

“I made a promise.”

When the command was refused, he made a conciliatory offer instead.

“I will provide you with a well-trained, first class war horse, all the harnesses and equipment necessary for the horse, and all of the equipment given to the cavalry. If there is anything else you need, I will try to make that happen as well.”

Frederick had spoken in an icy tone, but he could not completely hide his underlying desperation to be promoted to senior knight.

It would have been stupid of him to stay unreasonable in that situation. If he had refused the proposal Frederick made while suppressing his pride, Kim Seon-Hyeok would essentially be declaring the two of them eternal enemies.

And after all, it wasn’t as though Kim Seon-Hyeok thought he could continue to disobey orders as he wished. These concessions were just about what he wanted. As a result, he accepted Frederick’s offer, and because of this, he was able to get an expensive war horse and equipment for free. These were perks he could not afford even with the royal support he received.

This had been an achievement brought by using his past experience dealing with his superiors in the army.

“C, can’t you take me with you?”

At the request, Kim Seon-Hyeok shook his head with a troubled expression. After a few more attempts, Kang Jeong-Tae left with a disappointed look, aware that he tried to ask for too much.

Once Kang Jeong-Tae left, Kim Seon-Hyeok, all alone, was lost in thought.

What would happen if Lee Eun-Seo recognized the hidden power of a dragon rider?

If he was lucky, he might be adjusted to middle-tier and be recalled from this remote area. He might be able to focus on training in a comfortable environment while receiving treatment incomparable to what he had received until now.

However, this was not what he wanted. Anything received from the royal family was debt that needed to be repaid. It was obvious that the more generous the treatment and greater the support, the more the debt would compound and become harder to repay.

Kim Seon-Hyeok was fully aware of this reality, so he had no intention of becoming further indebted to the kingdom. It would not be too difficult to pay back the debt of a low-tier class. Moreover, because of his recent agreement with Frederick, his training would be paid for, and he had even less to worry about.

“This is perfect.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok stared up at the sky, but realizing that there wasn’t much time, he hurried to get ready.

***

“I think I used all of my good fortune in life today, getting to meet the future great mage like this.”

“I know, right? Lee Eun-Seo was even selected as head of the royal mages. Even the previous head mage couldn’t reach that status at such a young age.”

“Seeing you with the commander, our Adenburg’s Shield, I can see a glimmer of light for the future of our kingdom.”

She felt like her face would get cramps, having to constantly deal with these people who kept showering her with embarrassing words. If it wasn’t for her interest in the foreigner named Kim Seon-Hyeok, she would have left already under the pretext of needing to recover from her travels.

“What would someone young like me know? I’m just glad to have the opportunity to listen to the opinions of such experienced and talented people.”

Lee Eun-Seo, while modestly accepting their compliments, looked around and saw a man in less dignified attire sitting in the corner. She had never imagined that the dragon rider, who had been the talk of the training camp, would be in such a remote area. Then again, it didn’t matter what his tier was or where he was stationed. She observed Kim Seon-Hyeok because of his dragon rider class and the unusual energy she noticed earlier.

But strangely, she could not sense the energy from before. No, it wasn’t that she couldn’t sense it. It was rather that the energy was so weak and insignificant. She was embarrassed at having gone so far as to ask the company commander to bring this man here.

The energy he possessed wasn’t common, but it wasn’t so special that she couldn’t find it elsewhere. Lee Eun-Seo soon lost interest.

***

“I apologize, but I’m not feeling well. I ask for your understanding, considering the weak physical body of mages.”

“Oh, we were being too inconsiderate. I’m sure you are exhausted from your travels. Please go and get some rest.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok noticed a sudden commotion, and then saw Lee Eun-Seo get up from her seat. He had a displeased expression, watching the woman leave without even exchanging introductions.

She had brought him here against his will, just to leave like this?

He was dumbfounded that she would leave after exchanging just a couple looks. However, he wasn’t angry. Rather, he was just fascinated by the development. It was a shock for him to see these commanders of regiments and fortifications scrambling to win her favor. Kim Seon-Hyeok felt as though he was finally witnessing the typical treatment given towards a successful foreigner.

“Hm…”

However, his distracting thoughts did not last long. He had a piercing headache brought on by suppressing the power of the attribute.

Ugh. It was much harder to suppress the power than to call on it.

In any case, it was his attempt to avoid attention, and he found it to be a fun exercise. Completely focused on keeping the energy from gathering, he did not notice the time passing by.

“Ahem.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok turned around upon hearing the fake cough and saw Frederick waving his hand. Lee Eun-Seo had already left, so it was his way of signaling a dismissal.

I’m going, I’m going. You cheap bastard.

Though he had to endure a migraine in this uncomfortable situation, he was successful in avoiding unwelcome attention due to his quick thinking and had even made unexpected gains. His attendance had not been all bad.

With a relatively satisfied expression, Kim Seon-Hyeok grabbed a chicken leg on the table and got up to leave. Suddenly, he heard a deafening noise.

- The new training methods were effective.

- Your attribute control has broken through its limits and has begun to rapidly improve again.

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