Aria Eisen explained that with spirits, she could significantly increase the short lifespans of the arbeiters and improve the cost-effectiveness of her research. Coincidentally, despite not being a summoner, Seon-Hyeok was able to command spirits of all attributes. Naturally, he grew interested.
“The water attribute will only serve to weaken the arbeiter’s body. Wind and earth are opposites, so the wind attribute isn’t suitable either.”
The only problem was that the materials used to create the arbeiter were all earth-attribute related, and as such, only earth spirits could be used to ameliorate the current issues.
“I can resolve that.”
Seon-Hyeok was deep in thought, but the mage’s eyes glistened as she spoke.
“I couldn’t walk the path of a summoner because I lack affinity with spirits, but I’m able to summon them at least.”
It was a tremendous stroke of luck. Seon-Hyeok was able to form contracts with spirits but could not make them materialize at will, while Aria Eisen was the opposite.
“There’s a lot to prepare for a spirit summoning ceremony. It will cost around 100 gold.”
“That’s fine. Tell Sir Montaigne. He’ll take care of it.”
He had already spent 50 gold in an effort to get a water spirit, and that had been at the capital full of skilled individuals. Even if it were 200 gold and not 100, he had no reason to refuse this opportunity to get an earth spirit in this frontier territory.
Seon-Hyeok placed more weight on individual development than on his responsibilities as a lord, and as such, he willingly agreed to the mage’s request. To an outsider, it looked like he had already long forgotten about her failures with the arbeiter.
“Then let me know when you’re ready. I’ll come right over.”
Aria Eisen replied in the affirmative and quickly disappeared back to her laboratory.
Seeing Antoine Montaigne looking at him with his eyes narrowed, Seon-Hyeok awkwardly cleared his throat.
“There’s a way we can get all the money already invested in her and more. Let’s trust Sir Eisen one last time.”
“Mages claiming as such while requesting more research funds is a tale as old as time.”
The old scholar did not seem convinced, but he listened to his lord’s wishes. After all, though he had been granted nearly full authority over the territory’s administration, Rheinperle belonged to Seon-Hyeok. Antoine Montaigne had no justification or authority to refuse.
“Let’s wait and see.”
After listening to Antoine Montaigne, he wondered if he had been scammed. He tried desperately to keep his composure.
“If we waste money once again, I’ll make sure to get a memorandum from Sir Eisen myself.”
If the worst came to pass, Seon-Hyeok vowed he would extract some promise from Aria Eisen to faithfully assist with the territory’s affairs.
“In the meantime, you were able to gain some insight into mages, so that’s something at the very least.”
Just as Antoine Montaigne said, Seon-Hyeok felt he had a better understanding of how to deal with mages after this incident. These were people who would endlessly demand research funds and prioritize their own interests. In order to prevent a repeat incident, Seon-Hyeok knew he would have to guide the direction of their research and frequently provide input.
“I’ll have to hone her like a blunt blade.”
Seon-Hyeok made this commitment in his anger. However, he could worry about this once the mage had completed the spirit summoning ceremony.
For now, he simply hoped that Aria Eisen would not disappoint him once again.
Even as Seon-Hyeok worried about what to do with the arbeiters and Aria Eisen, the Rheinperle territory continued to grow. The craftsmen and people promised by the royal family had finally arrived and were busy settling down on one side of the Rheinperle village, and the normally quiet land was bustling.
“We need to properly distribute the people so that there’s no conflict between the original populace and the newcomers. There are already signs of feuding between the groups. We must increase the patrols and harshly punish any who cause disturbances.”
It was natural that there would be some growing pains, considering that there were thousands of newcomers to the territory. Antoine Montaigne worked hard to minimize any problems that could arise during their settlement.
And of course, the best method of eliminating strife was to demonstrate the authority of the lord so that none would dare to act rashly. Adol and the 50 Rheinperle soldiers played the biggest role in this process.
Having received intensive training from Asha Trail, their discipline and spirit were closer to that of a group of knights than mere security patrols.
The soldiers were so heavily armed that they would not look out of place in the middle of a war, and when they approached any conflict to say a word and rattle their swords, the people immediately shut their mouths and scattered. The patrols completed dozens of rounds through the village each day, and as a result, most conflicts ended as minor disputes.
In addition, the former members of the Drake Cavalry frequently patrolled the territory as well, riding the war horses recently provided by the royal family.
“All in combat formation.”
Hansen had been on one of these patrols when he saw horses approaching from far away and gave his command. The unidentified group looked too heavily armed to be the occasional group of merchants that passed by.
“Halt! We are patrols of the Rheinperle territory! Dismount and state your business!”
When the five war-tested cavalrymen threateningly obstructed the path, the dust-covered riders immediately slowed down.
“Where are you from, and what’s your business here?”
Hansen asked once again, remaining vigilant and holding onto his spear so that he could attack at a moment’s notice. At the sight of the unidentified riders covered in bloodstains, Hansen sent a signal to his subordinates, readying them to charge at any time.
“We’re not suspicious people! We’re the monster hunters commissioned by Lord Rheinperle to search the northern lands!”
Noticing the precarious situation, one of the men urgently revealed his identity.
However, Hansen remained on guard. He was aware that his lord had made requests to monster hunters some time ago. Nonetheless, it was strange that these men were in such a hurry, covered with dirt and blood.
“Monster hunters, you say? Then why are you in such a rush? And what’s with those bloodstains?”
Seeing Hansen even more on edge, the monster hunter urgently explained the situation.
“On our way back after completing the lord's request, we lost our target! The blood is from one of our colleagues!”
It was not a regular hunter who had lost his prey, but monster hunters. Even the dim-witted Hansen realized that they were not referring to any common creature. The only question was what exactly this monster was.
“Tell me what creature you lost track of!”
“Wyvern! The tranquilized wyvern broke through our cage and escaped!”
Hansen immediately jumped into action.
“You! Inform the lord right away! And you! Notify Sir Trail and Squire Julian!”
Upon hearing his instructions, the two cavalrymen turned their horses and rose straight for Rheinperle without hesitation or objection. Even in their agitated state, the monster hunters found themselves marveling at this discipline. They already knew that the lord of Rheinperle started as a cavalry rider, but they had been unaware that his men would likewise be such elite soldiers.
“On the way back, tell… no wait. Inform the lord of the situation yourselves!”
Hansen positioned the remaining riders behind the monster hunters and urged them forward.
The riders picked up the pace, not caring about the hunters’ visible exhaustion, and the monster hunters were forced to desperately follow.
After their long ride, the group arrived in the vicinity of the Rheinperle village. There were already 20 riders and 30 infantry lined up at the entrance, indicating that the news had already been delivered.
“And the lord?”
“He’s bringing Goldrake out as we speak. Sir Trail has agreed to assume security duties for the lord’s estate. Clark assigned some archers to her just in case, so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“That should be enough.”
The monster hunters were once again taken aback, this time after seeing how quickly the soldiers were able to prepare for an operation after receiving news of the incident.
They had thought that despite his recent fame, the Drake Knight was little more than the average rural lord.
Aren’t these soldiers even more disciplined than the veterans stationed at the border?
Even so, the hunters remained pale as they looked at the dozens of troops gathered in front of them.
“This isn’t enough. Wyverns aren’t ordinary monsters.”
“You’ll have to tell us about the situation until the lord arrives. I know that wyverns are like drakes with wings, but none of us here have ever seen one. What are they like?”
And in fact, the only drake the soldiers had ever seen was Goldrake. They had rushed to get ready after hearing that a monster might attack the village, but nobody knew exactly what a wyvern was.
“Wyverns are incomparably more vicious than drakes. They’re persistent as well.”
“Let’s see you say that in front of the lord’s drake.”
Hansen quipped, but immediately shut his mouth when Jonasson berated him for going off topic.
“The wyvern is around 8 meters long from side to side with its wings expanded, and a little over 3 meters long from head to tail. Its body is sturdy enough to shrug off arrow fire, and the tail has a poisonous tip. It’s quite the problem to deal with.”
In a serious tone, the monster hunter explained in detail about how vicious and dangerous the wyvern was. However, something was strange. Despite hearing that a monster over 3 meters in length was roaming free in their territory, the soldiers remained unimpressed.
“The wyvern’s strong enough to pick up and fly with a fully armored horse, and it’s been deprived of food for nearly a month. It could fly here and attack at any time. I don’t know how many archers you have deployed at the lord’s estate, but it won’t be enough.”
“Don’t worry. Someone’s there to take care of that.”
“No, you don’t understand. No matter who that person may be…”
“Even if that person’s a senior knight?”
The monster hunter’s jaw dropped. He had not imagined that there would be such a high-ranking knight in this frontier territory.
“And there’s also a mage here. She might not be of any help, but maybe she’d jump at the opportunity to see such a rare monster.”
Agitated, the monster hunter spoke up once again as he watched the soldiers talking casually.
“Even if the lord’s mansion is well protected, what about the village? There’s no way of catching the beast if it comes for the people here instead!”
“This guy sure has a lot to say for someone responsible for the situation.”
“Well, he made his way here to take responsibility for his actions, so I’m sure the lord will forgive him as long as there aren’t any serious casualties.”
No matter how many times he tried to warn them, the soldiers remained at ease.
At that moment, a massive monster appeared in the distance, accompanied by the deafening sound of footsteps.
“So, you said that this wyvern creature is much more vicious than a drake?”
The monster hunter was unable to immediately answer Hansen's remark.
“T, that’s ridiculous! That’s a drake?”
His jaw dropped once more. Though he had never seen one in person, he knew about drakes. The one that appeared in front of him was not normal.
This drake was at least twice as large as a normal drake, and the protrusions and horns around the head and neck were unlike anything he had ever seen before.
“Wyvern! Where’s the wyvern!”
The lord riding the abnormally massive monster shouted in excitement.
It was only then that the monster hunter finally regained his composure. He learned from the lord how well defended this territory was.
There was a senior knight, highly ranked even in terms of Gradus, as well as a senior mage formerly belonging to the Royal Mages. In addition, the lord himself had abilities exceeding those of a senior knight, at least on an open battlefield. The combat ability of the people in Rheinperle were far greater than he ever imagined.
“Tighten the gap a bit. Riders, stay on the main roads so that you can mobilize at a moment’s notice. When the monster shows, put a few spears or arrows in it first.”
In addition to the three individuals with Gradus, the soldiers positioned on the roofs of buildings like snipers moved unbelievably quickly for ordinary troops, and the cavalry stationed on the ground maintained picture-perfect formation. The monster hunter suddenly found himself thinking that the forces stationed at Rheinperle could fend off several wyverns, and not just one.
Seeing this, he felt dejected as he recalled being in such a hurry that he left behind the body of his fallen colleague.
“Don’t worry. The lord won’t hold you accountable for this, considering that you’re taking responsibility yourself. Unless, of course, there are casualties.”
“In fact, if we’re successful in capturing the wyvern without suffering losses, he might even reward you. You may have lost the beast on the way back, but you were quite nearly successful.”
The hunter shook his head in silence as he watched the cavalry wink at him.
Something’s wrong with this territory.
And among them, the most abnormal is the lord himself, riding his giant monster and looking far away into the sky.
“Here it comes!”
At that moment, the lord raised his voice and notified the soldiers of the approaching wyvern.
“Archers, conceal yourselves! Riders, stay under the roofs!”
The archers quickly camouflaged themselves, and the cavalry quietly hid out of sight. Soon after, fierce wingbeats announced the wyvern’s appearance.
“Send the bait.”
The lord stared at the black spot in the sky before giving his command in a low voice. A soldier standing by a shed flung the door open.
Pigs covered in chicken blood squealed as they ran along the main road.
The moment the dozens of pigs flooded the road, a sharp cry was heard from afar.Previous Chapter Next Chapter