Episode 3. Assigned to the Cavalry (1)

The cart carrying the sixteen foreigners took three weeks to reach the destination.

“Since we’re all of different classes, I don’t think we’ll see each other much in the future.”

“That’s true. Hopefully, we’ll still be able to run into each other here and there.”

The strangers having grown close over the past three weeks, expressed their disappointment while seeing each other off.

“Hey Seon-Hyeok, do your best. I heard that riders get the best treatment outside of the special classes like knights and mages.”

“Ugh. I don’t even have a horse riding skill.”

“If you don’t have it, then you’ll just have to learn! Do you think those other guys were born on horses?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok eventually laughed after being comforted by Kang Jeong-Tae.

“Okay, hyung. I hope you also advance and reach your goal.”

“Okay. I’ll make sure to become middle-tier and take care of you all.”

While they said their goodbyes, a soldier, who seemed to be a leader, approached from afar and took each person away one by one.

“This way.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok, likewise, was led to his assigned unit by another soldier after.

“Are you the foreigner called Kim Seon-Hyeok?”

An intimidating man asked as soon as Kim Seon-Hyeok stepped inside a large tent.

“Forward! Yes! I am Kim Seon-Hyeok!”

As Kim Seon-Hyeok hit his chest and shouted his reply just like he was taught during basic training, the man frowned. There seemed to be something he did not like.

“Why do all you foreigners have names like that? They’re hard to pronounce and don’t sound pleasing to the ear.”

When Kim Seon-Hyeok looked on uneasily at that unexpected complaint, the man continued with a dissatisfied expression.

“Kid, nobody here will give you special treatment because you’re a foreigner. The cavalry unit isn’t a playground for children, so you’ll have to keep up as if your life depended on it.”

It was a comment filled with malice towards foreigners.

“And I’m warning you now, don’t get cocky believing in that skill or status of yours. Actual riders are real men who can’t be compared to fakes like you.”

It seemed that he was dissatisfied by the foreigners quickly growing in power using their skills.

However, Kim Seon-Hyeok also felt wronged. He had been forcibly brought into this world and enlisted into military service, so there was no way he would not feel defiant.

“I’m going to keep an eye on you.”

Without a single kind word from start to finish, the man kicked Kim Seon-Hyeok from the barracks. The soldier who had first led him to the tent was waiting for him.

“The riders’ barracks are over there.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok could not figure out what was going on. The disagreeable man in the tent seemed to be the cavalry commander, but neither he nor the soldier now guiding him offered any explanation.

“I’m only your guide. I’m not a cavalry rider, so go and listen for yourself.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok could detect an animosity towards foreigners from the soldier’s slightly stiff tone of voice. He sighed, feeling that his upcoming life here would not be easy.

“Work hard.”

With that, the soldier disappeared, and Kim Seon-Hyeok was left alone in front of a large barracks. Anyone else dropped off alone here without an explanation would have hesitated, but this was nothing for Kim Seon-Hyeok, who had been approaching the end of his military service.

It was just a ceremony for new recruits.

With a deep breath to calm his nerves, he opened the door of the barracks and entered.

“And who the hell is this?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok’s bravado did not last. The gaze that was on him when the door opened was more menacing than he could have expected. Standing at a height of 190cm and with battle scars all over his body, the soldier in front of him could easily have been mistaken for a criminal.

“Who does this kisaeng-looking kid think he is, daring to come in here?” [1]

He never thought of himself as looking that way, but found his natural voice becoming withdrawn like one.

“I, I’m the new recruit.”

“Oho, so you’re that Kim foreigner who was supposed to arrive today.”

“Nice to meet you. Very nice to meet you. I’ve been waiting for you for several days now.”

No, he didn’t have to be so happy. Kim Seon-Hyeok stumbled backward seeing the man’s expression, which seemed eager to devour him.

“It was worth the wait. I didn’t think such a pretty recruit would come.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok stumbled backward once again at the unsettling words of the giant in front of him.

“Ugh.”

The giant, who looked like he would cause a problem, unexpectedly left him alone after adding a few meaningful words.

And with that, evening came, and Kim Seon-Hyeok quietly lay down on the one empty bed.

He stared wide-eyed into the darkness. He could not sleep. It was a different feeling from the hopelessness he felt when he was assigned a bed for his service. This time, he was clearly trembling in fear.

He’s not going to jump on me in my sleep, will he?

The giant’s words, specifically his emphasis on the word ‘pretty,’ rang in his head. It felt like something terrible that he would regret for the rest of his life would happen if he went to sleep. Nonetheless, the fatigue from traveling pressed down on his eyelids, and he soon fell asleep.

“Hey, hey.”

His consciousness, which had been wandering in his dreams, gradually became aroused by the voice.

“This guy, he’s really sleeping?”

“Is he stupid or brave?”

Upon hearing these voices, Kim Seon-Hyeok belatedly realized the situation he was in and bolted up.

“Whew.”

He unconsciously checked his pants and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Keok!”

At that moment, Kim Seon-Hyeok saw stars, and a moment later, he felt a pain as though his stomach was being torn apart.

“Get up, you bastard. It’s time for the new recruit ceremony.”

“Why didn’t we do it earlier? It’s the middle of the night…”

Groggy and suddenly in pain, Kim Seon-Hyeok carelessly spoke and then stiffened.

“What? Did you hear that? I wasn’t mistaken, right? This bastard just tried to complain because he was tired?”

“We left you alone during the day because it was hot, you bastard. Isn’t it perfect right now? For your initiation?”

The sinister-looking giants stared at him with ridiculous expressions on their faces.

Shit, I’m screwed.

Kim Seon-Hyeok bolted upright with a distorted expression.

“How can we mess this bastard up so badly that rumors about it spread?”

“Should we tie him to a horse and have it run for a couple hours?”

“Or maybe we can hang him upside down like that idiot from before?”

“That idiot who was hung upside down that time was me, you son of a bitch.”

“Oh, that was you? Looks like that kid actually became someone.”

During the brief moment Kim Seon-Hyeok took to get a hold of himself, the other side had already begun a heated debate on how to haze him, and none of the suggestions he heard were good for his mental well-being.

“Okay, it’s decided.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok swallowed his dry saliva, not wanting to know how or what had been decided.

“Choose.”

“In that case, the weakest one…”

Whether he liked it or not, Kim Seon-Hyeok would need to spend the foreseeable future with these people, and this rite of initiation could not be avoided. He chose to accept his fate and responded.

“What the hell are you saying? Choose.”

“I’m saying I want the weakest one…”

“This bastard still hasn’t come back to his senses. I said, choose which one of us you want to fight against!”

Kim Seon-Hyeok belatedly realized what the giant screaming at him meant.

“You thought we’d have that kind of messed up system here? Our proud cavalry regiment doesn’t have such garbage traditions.”

No. What he suggested sounded bad enough…

Swallowing those words, Kim Seon-Hyeok carefully looked around at his surroundings.

“Him…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok randomly picked a person. They were all huge and seemed intimidating, so it didn’t matter who he chose.

“That bastard chose me just now, right?”

“Wow, he has a good eye. How did he pick the weakest among us? Jonasson, did you tell him?”

“No way. It was just obvious. Anyone could tell that Hansen’s the weakest here.”

Hansen, the rider chosen by Kim Seon-Hyeok, fumed as the others around him snickered.

“Is that true? Did you pick me because I looked easy?”

Hansen’s reaction was that of a muscle brained brute. Kim Seon-Hyeok kept his mouth shut, resigned to his fate.

“You bastard. You’re dead.”

As soon as Hansen spoke, the other riders cleared the beds and formed an area in the middle of the barracks. Kim Seon-Hyeok tried to ignore these men, who were able to lift the beds as if they were nothing.

“I’ll take care of you if you lose. New recruits shouldn’t worry too much!

No. That was even more worrying.

Kim Seon-Hyeok took his stance, trying to forget the “supportive” words of the man who seemed to be the most dangerous in the terrifying group. Still, considering that he wasn’t just trembling in fear, it seemed as though his earlier training had been of some use, and the instructor’s claim that he would help everyone adjust to this new world was not just for show.

“Rahhh!”

The enraged Hansen rushed in with an inhuman roar. It was just a simple tackle relying on his size and strength, but it was nonetheless threatening to the smaller-sized Kim Seon-Hyeok.

Hansen’s outstretched hands approached as if to grab his waist. In response, Kim Seon-Hyeok quickly twisted to his side and kicked out. It was the most fundamental hand-to-hand combat technique learned during training, but his opponent allowed himself to be hit too easily.

“Ugh!”

After a quickly suppressed groan, Hansen once again swung his arms with a distorted face like a demon’s. Not expecting the attack to continue, Kim Seon-Hyeok was unable to retreat and was caught in his grip.

“I’ll kill you.”

Hansen’s tremendous strength pressed down on his waist, knocking the wind out of his body.

“Keok.”

With both his arms trapped, Kim Seon-Hyeok could not counterattack.

No, he still had one way. Struggling in Hansen’s grip, Kim Seon-Hyeok slammed his head back.

Crack.

Upon being headbutted in his face, Hanson screamed and grabbed his nose. Meanwhile, Kim Seon-Hyeok escaped from his grip and immediately kicked out.

“Huh?”

Of all places, Kim Seon-Hyeok’s kick landed in the one spot it should not have. Hansen, who had tried to attack again despite his double nosebleed, immediately froze with his mouth agape. With that, he collapsed, foaming at his mouth.

“N, no. It wasn’t on purpose…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok tried to explain that it was an accident, but the riders watching stared at him as if he was the most demonic existence in the world.

“Uh! Isn’t it broken? It sounded like something being crushed.”

“For a pretty boy, he’s pretty determined.”

The riders had a reluctant expression on their faces as they watched Hansen fell backward.

“In any case, Hansen lost, that bastard.”

“Tsk. It’s the shame of our cavalry unit. Shame.”

“How disappointed. I wanted to take care of him.”

Unable to enjoy his sudden and unexpected victory, Kim Seon-Hyeok felt a sense of relief hearing that terrifying complaint.

Despite their outwardly calm appearance, the riders were shocked to see Hansen defeated. Hansen knew how to fight, even if his brawling style was simple and unsophisticated. With his size and brute strength, normal fights would end with his opponents screaming in pain as he crushed their ribs in his embrace. But somehow, that skinny recruit had overcome him.

“If he really wanted, he would’ve been able to pry apart Hansen’s hands. After all, Hansen’s grab doesn’t normally give his opponents the chance to pull their head back like that.”

“Are you saying that skinny guy is stronger than Hansen?”

“Well, you can’t judge those other-world foreigners simply by their appearance.”

Was it called status? The foreigners’ source of strength was different from people like themselves who became stronger through training.

“I’m saying he’s not a weakling.”

“That determination definitely isn’t normal.”

The men’s thoughts were only half right. One of the riders heard something ridiculous when he cordially began talking to Kim Seon-Hyeok after the latter won his fight.

“But I’ve never ridden a horse before?”

“Then why are you assigned to the cavalry unit.”

“It’s because my new class is a… ‘rider’.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok omitted the word ‘dragon’. Whatever the circumstances, he was still a rider.


1. Kisaeng were women trained to be courtesans during the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties.

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