Episode 5. Hearing the Dragon’s Voice

‘No beast will ever want to let you climb on its back. However, you also do not need their permission, and they will be unable to refuse you.’

Kim Seon-Hyeok wondered if he had gone insane. That said, if he really was, it would not matter if he did one more crazy thing. And so, at the break of dawn, he went to the training grounds, grabbed one of the military horses, and started a staring contest.

‘Say it. Declare it. If it is insufficient, repeat yourself again and again. If you do so, your words will become a promise and reality.’

“I am your master. I am your master. I am your master. I am…”

He did as the voice commanded.

“You cannot refuse me. You cannot refuse me. You cannot…”

The results were shocking. The horse, which had time and again gone on a rampage, calmed down as though it had all been a lie. Not only that, it bowed its head and showed Seon-Hyeok its back, and his previous suffering was about to disappear.

“Whew.”

Even so, Kim Seon-Hyeok remained timid given his repeated experiences being bested by the horses. Even after climbing on the horse’s back, it took some time before he worked up the courage to urge the horse forward. When the horse remained calm, he was able to speed up with a bit more confidence.

There were no signs of defiance. It was only then that Kim Seon-Hyeok could rejoice.

“I did it!”

The feeling of accomplishment after trying so hard filled his heart.

Neigh!

The horse made a rough noise upon being surprised by his shout.

“Hup.”

‘A burnt child dreads the fire.’ Kim Seon-Hyeok was also surprised and shut his mouth.

Did you see that! Did you see that!

Being careful not to fall off the horse, Kim Seon-Hyeok stared arrogantly at Clark and the other riders. Clark, who met his gaze, was at a loss for words, but a different rider spoke out.

“It’s embarrassing that it took you so long to successfully ride a horse.”

The rider was not wrong. Kim Seon-Hyeok had only managed to mount a horse and have it walk a few steps. He was still incomparably behind compared to the other riders to be excited. It was only then that he realized this, but his happiness did not disappear.

Besides, he wasn’t just happy because he had finally been able to ride a horse.

[I will guide you until the day you are truly worthy.]

The voice he had heard the previous day was neither a hallucination nor a dream.

It was a real dragon! There are dragons in this world!

He had thought he was unlucky to receive his new class, but it had actually been a huge stroke of luck.

“Look, that crazy bastard. Watch him fall again.”

The riders pointed at him laughing atop the horse. The horse, which had been calm and obedient, began to regain its temper as Kim Seon-Hyeok lost his focus. By the time he noticed, it was too late. He had already been thrown off the horse.

“Keok. Hehe. Cough. Kuhuhu.”

Even so, he did not feel any pain.

“There really are dragons! Really!”

The riders stared at Kim Seon-Hyeok, who was alternating between coughing and laughing, as though he was insane.

Even though he had successfully ridden a horse, Kim Seon-Hyeok’s life did not change much. He was still considered a nuisance, and his fellow riders were indifferent to his minor achievement. However, he didn’t mind. He had become aware that dragons existed in this world, and he could not think about anything else.

‘Where are you? When can we meet?’

[It is not yet time, so live today to its fullest instead of yearning for our future meeting.]

The dragon had a talent for speaking ambiguously. In essence, however, it seemed as though it was not time for them to meet, and that he was still unqualified. Kim Seon-Hyeok did not press further, believing that the dragon did not know exactly when that day would come either.

The dragon told him that such conversations were a significant burden on it given that he was not yet ready, and any miscue would further delay their eventual meeting. Because of this, they could not continue their conversation.

Still, Kim Seon-Hyeok benefitted greatly from this interaction. He regained his confidence after successfully riding a horse and discovering the existence of dragons. In addition, the dragon gave him one more gift.

[You are still too weak. I will grant you access to one of the skills you would have unlocked in time. It will be difficult to even control this ability right now, but I believe you will overcome a great trial with it.]

It warned him that mastering this new ability would require a great deal of effort.

-          The properties window has been opened.

-          The ‘wind’ attribute has been added to your status.

 

However, he had no way of knowing what an attribute even was. From the dragon’s words, it seemed that using even a limited amount of the attribute’s power would require some environmental catalyst.

You will need to deliberate on and go through a great deal of trial and error in the future to determine what exactly this environmental influence is.

Kim Seon-Hyeok became a completely different person after speaking with the dragon. He had suffered from a lack of progress in his training, but now began to participate enthusiastically. Nonetheless, nothing in the world could be accomplished through only motivation, and training was no exception.

“Oh. Am I finally getting my own armor now?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok was delighted to see his own fitted armor. However, this joy did not last.

“Ugh!”

The armor he put on with the help of those around him was unbelievably heavy and cramped.

“Hm, it seems like the right size.”

“I think it’s too small… it’s really suffocating.”

“That’s how it should be. If we make it any looser, it’ll come apart during combat. Lower your visor.”

Lowering his visor as directed only made matters worse by obscuring his vision. Now, not only was the armor stuffy, it made it difficult to breathe. He wanted to throw off his helmet then and there.

“Do I really need to lower this?”

“You can keep it up if you want to take an arrow to the face while charging into battle.”

Clark replied with a snicker.

“This is too heavy.”

He boasted a respectable level of strength, but was quickly exhausted wearing heavy iron armor from head to toe.

“You’re getting the lightest armor we use because you’re on the small side.”

As an aside, it wasn’t as though Kim Seon-Hyeok was objectively small. At 178cm, he was taller than the average Korean, and having become a sergeant and taken care of his body during his military service, he was not weak either. Even so, he could not refute Clark’s words.

Ugh. It’s not that I’m small, it’s that you’re stupidly large.

If he had not been supported by his status, he would have collapsed under the weight of the armor.

“Don’t be dramatic. You’ll need to carry much more than that into an actual battle. If you’re struggling with just that, you don’t want to know what will come later.”

“Why do we need to use such unsophisticated items in a world with magic…”

Kim Seon-Hyeok asked why the existence of mages who could perform all sorts of miracles did not affect the soldiers’ quality of life, and Clark clicked his tongue.

“Armor enchanted by mages are ridiculously expensive. And even if it wasn’t, nobody among us is crazy enough to use it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you think we care? We’re heavy cavalry. Heavy. Cavalry. Do you understand what that means? The weight we bear directly contributes to our destructive power.”

It was only then that Kim Seon-Hyeok was convinced. He remembered hearing stories of medieval heavy cavalry crushing enemies under their weight back in the other world.

“Ugh. It’s strangely realistic.”

“Stop saying nonsense, and make sure you’re always wearing that armor except for when you’re receiving horsemanship training. You had the strength to beat Hansen, so you’ll get used to it soon.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok was thankful. The small consideration Clark had shown the novice rider was so that he would not fall from horseback fully armored and suffer a serious injury.

“I’m sick of babysitting you. So stop complaining and do as you’re told.”

“Yes, sir.”

With those words, training began.

 

***

 

Clark looked at Kim Seon-Hyeok as though he was a monster. It was only two weeks ago that he could not even get on a horse properly, and yet, he was already starting to look like a real rider, albeit a clumsy one.

“He’ll need to work on getting into a proper rhythm and the overall basics, but at this rate, he’ll be ready for actual combat soon.”

Jonasson, who had come to watch, spoke out in admiration, but Clark just shook his head.

“Even infantry can quickly learn how to ride unarmored. There’s still much for him to learn before he can be a real rider. What use is a cavalryman who can’t even charge?”

But unlike his words, his voice contained subtle hints of admiration. This, the incredible rate of growth, was the power of the foreigners.

Cavalrymen were not made overnight. This was even more true for heavy cavalry. All of the riders gathered here had been honing their horsemanship for a long time, so much so that they would have taken more steps on horseback than on foot.

But this foreigner, who had shown zero potential just two weeks earlier, was closing the gap in such a short time, and he could not help but be amazed.

“Ugh. But can’t he just ride normally? He’s inhaling dust everywhere.”

The only strange thing was that Kim Seon-Hyeok was constantly speaking.

“Hey! Let’s go this way!”

“Now that way!”

“Hup! Quickly!”

It was painful to watch him use verbal commands in place of physical ones.

“He’s not going to do that in an actual battle, right? Let’s go, turn left, go faster, turn right.”

“That’d be something.”

Jonasson laughed when he overheard Clark muttering to himself.

 

***

 

Kim Seon-Hyeok was busy riding while Jonasson and Clark watched. Having lived in a fast-paced world, he had underestimated the speed of horses because they were slower than cars, but he was surprised by their speed upon actually riding one.

The sound wind and horseshoes hitting the ground rang in his ears, and the vibrations coming from below hit his body without stopping. His rear hurt, his hips were throbbing, and the rough sensation was incomparable to the cars from his previous life. But rather than being uncomfortable, Kim Seon-Hyeok was excited.

“Hyah!”

After riding for a while in that state, all he could hear was the sound of horseshoes, and all he could feel was the wind. In this trance-like state, he heard a voice in his ear.

 

-          You have succeeded in breaking through your limits through your rigorous training.

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