Episode 127. Metamorphosis (2)

Evidently, one of the perks of advancing to dragon rider master chief was the ability to confirm the status of his dragon subspecies through notifications. Thanks to this, he was able to let go of his worries about the curled up and sleeping Redvern. It really was fortunate.

“It’s metamorphosis. Redvern will have leveled up by the time it wakes up.”

Aria Eisen’s eyes shone when told that her poison contributions had led to Redvern’s growth.

“I’ll have to prepare something a little stronger for next time.”

If he left her to her own devices, he feared that Redvern might not grow, but rather be poisoned to death. Her face burned with an insidious enthusiasm.

“Hm…”

However, Seon-Hyeok did not stop her. After all, she would not listen even if he tried, and it would be less stressful for him to have her do as she pleased. At the same time, considering her present poisons worked well, part of him looked forward to it.

To think that he’d advance like this in one go…

As Redvern had an affinity for the poison attribute, Seon-Hyeok had guessed his wyvern could grow by consuming poison. Even so, he did not think that it would begin metamorphosis in such a short time.

It was unexpected, but a positive result nonetheless. The only issue was that they were in the middle of a war.

“Well, it’s a good thing that the war situation isn’t good for the Nocteins.”

Given the damage dealt to their military installations and war supplies, the Nocteins would not be able to recklessly advance past the front lines for the time being. The same held true for the Knights of the Azure Sky.

Though they did suffer a defeat, the griffin riders had built up their pride over decades, and this would not completely disappear because of a lone event. They thought too highly of themselves to play along with ordinary soldiers.

There was no reason for them to appear on a battlefield without a worthy opponent.

Now that he thought about it, the current battle situation was quite strange.

Despite being exhausted from battle, Seon-Hyeok had remained on the battlefield solely because of the impending arrival of these griffin riders. However, the only reason those knights had journeyed this far into another kingdom’s war was because of him.

It was terribly ironic.

“No, perhaps it’s bad luck?”

Perhaps, but Seon-Hyeok vowed to use this as an opportunity to improve himself.

In any case, there was nothing he could do until Redvern woke up. The wyvern remained indifferent as it underwent internal growth.

“Let’s see… what were fighter jets like in the other world…”

He tried to bring up his fading memories of the other world in an attempt to become more dynamic with his aerial maneuvers.

He recalled scenes from movies and games as he desperately tried to learn something, anything, from them.

Of course, this would not be easy from the beginning.

Image training was a method requiring a thorough understanding of oneself. Without this, imagination would be nothing more than delusions.

Seon-Hyeok naturally looked back on himself, and he realized how limited he had been in demonstrating his abilities.

It was not a matter of three-dimensional maneuvering or aerial combat. There existed a more fundamental issue.

“Ah… wind, water, earth, and poison, and all I can use properly is the wind attribute?”

He was not even fully using a quarter of his powers. The most urgent issue would be to adequately draw out his innate abilities.

With this, he started from scratch to reflect on his shortcomings. Just like Redvern, he had begun his own development process.

It was Redvern who emerged from its shell first. At first glance, the monster did not seem too different after its five days of slumber.

That was all an illusion.

It was evident how much the wyvern had changed when it unfurled its massive wings.

The wings were nearly one and a half times larger, and this made it look twice as large and much more powerful.

Shriek!

After flapping its wings, Redvern cried out. It was like a baby bird looking for its mother.

“Bring Earl Drachen!”

As soon as the senior soldier watching over Redvern tried to send a messenger, Seon-Hyeok appeared.

“Your wyvern is awake.”

Seon-Hyeok did not pay attention to the soldier and stared only at Redvern.

Chirp.

Having found its owner, Redvern flapped its wings and hopped in place. It looked as though it was showing off its new appearance.

“You…”

Seon-Hyeok marveled at the improved Redvern.

-          Wyvern (Redvern) (Poison) (Lv. 09)

o   Strength 58 / Agility 159 / Vitality 37 / Intelligence 06 / Magic Resistance 52 / Obedience 51

o   Condition – Pleased, elated

Redvern’s strength and agility increased by 4 and 12, respectively, following its metamorphosis. Vitality and magic resistance increased by 3. The only unchanged stat was intelligence.

“I wish your intelligence improved as well…”

Seon-Hyeok grumbled, but his smiling face told a different story.

After all, Redvern’s improvement had been the equivalent of several level ups for high-tier classes. Expecting any more would be nothing short of greed.

“Hm…”

However, it was difficult to fully grasp the change in Redvern through its stats alone. He immediately jumped on the wyvern’s back.

“Then should we try fl…”

Before he could finish, Redvern pushed off against the ground. Its acceleration was incomparable from earlier.

It was not just the acceleration that changed. Redvern had improved in all aspects. Flight speed, maneuverability, and deceleration were all much better than before.

“You were angry too…”

Despite being a dim-witted monster, Redvern must have known. It must have been upset that it could not properly back up its rider’s superiority in the previous duel.

Shriek!

Redvern gave out a lengthy cry. Seon-Hyeok watched, feeling as though the wyvern still had something to show.

After a few shakes of its neck, Redvern opened its mouth and spit something out.

Hiss!

A green, harmful looking liquid was shot from its mouth onto a rock. It almost looked like Redvern was spitting at its target.

Peck. Peck.

The wyvern descended and tapped its jaw against the black and melting rock. It crumbled like tofu.

“Ah…”

Seon-Hyeok realized that this scene was all orchestrated by his wyvern. Now, Redvern’s poison was not limited to its tail.

As a result, any opponent would have much more to concern themselves with in a battle, and he had one additional tool at his disposal.

“That’s great and all, but…”

Why’s Redvern’s attack so dirty?

***

The Adenburg-Noctein War started late in spring and continued throughout the summer. The Western Army, led by Commander Mangsk, continued to occupy the eastern Noctein territories, and the Noctein forces awaited their opportunity to regain their lands.

Battles had completely stopped, but nobody expected the ceasefire to last long.

After fall would be winter, and these cold seasons would not be an ideal time for war.

From the Noctein Kingdom’s perspective, they had to recapture the east somehow before this happened. If they proved incapable of driving out the Adenburg soldiers until the end of the year, the Adenburg Kingdom would have the opportunity to reinforce these lands over the winter.

Knowing this, Halo continued to pressure the Knights of the Azure Sky.

“He’s not showing himself, so how do you expect us to lure him out?”

However, Lafayette refused to act under the pretext that Drachen had not been seen on the front lines for nearly a month.

“If we poke around, don’t you think he’ll have to come out?”

“I’m not here to fight common infantry. The only command I received was to defeat Drachen.”

Lafayette was not wrong, but Halo could not help but find the situation unpleasant.

“I’m like this because you couldn’t beat Drachen. If you had taken care of him then, we wouldn’t be wasting all this time now.”

Unable to restrain himself, Halo blatantly provoked the griffin riders.

“Aren’t you just afraid of him?”

Lafayette’s expression became icy at the insulting remarks.

“It’s the Nocteins huddled in fear of Drachen, not us. Don’t forget why we’re here in the first place.”

These similar debates had happened several times in the past. Each time, Lafayette noted how the Nocteins did not dare move and try to recapture the east out of fear of Drachen, and each time, Halo had to suppress his anger.

“If you’re so desperate, then why don’t you try to fight them first? If you do, Drachen or someone else of note might pop out.”

Normally, Halo would retreat seething by this point, but he remained calm on this day. In fact, he seemed to smile coldly.

Lafayette soon discovered why.

“We were about to do that anyways.”

At Halo’s command, the cowering Noctein soldiers began to march.

The Noctein soldiers crossed the front lines, and the Adenburg forces responded as though they had been waiting.

“Kill them! Drive out those Adenburg bastards!”

“Don’t give them an inch!”

The shouts and screams of the soldiers quickly spread across the front lines.

Lose and win, live and die. Winners and losers alternated several times a day, and land continuously changed hands.

The battles intensified day by day amidst the joy and sorrow.

In the meantime, the knights and mages from both kingdoms stepped aside without entering combat. They all seemed to be waiting for something.

“The real battle will begin after the battle in the sky has been decided.”

They were all waiting for the duel between the Knights of the Azure Sky and Drachen. The war would change depending on who established himself as the true master of the skies, and thus, everyone bided their time.

Their wait did not last long. Drachen, after being away from the front lines, soon showed himself.

At the appearance of their enemy, the griffin riders immediately revealed themselves as well. This would be the day they avenged their past defeat and regained the honor of the Knights of the Azure Sky.

However, it did not take long for their determination and motivation to take a major hit.

“H, how…”

In that time apart, the Drachen’s wyvern had changed drastically. The wyvern’s body was still slightly smaller than Roland’s Devon, but having unfurled its wings, Redvern looked large enough to even overwhelm Lafayette’s griffin, Mionte.

Growl.

Threatened, the griffins rumbled, displayed their manes, and spread their wings. However, since even the giant Mionte now looked smaller than the wyvern, the knights had to wonder whether this was the same beast they had faced off against not too long ago.

As the griffins growled, the wyvern raised its head defiantly and glared. The long, vertical eyes glistened threateningly.

“Whoa, whoa. Not yet.”

If it was not for its rider’s restraint, the wyvern would have charged in right away to rip out the griffins’ throats.

“What happened in these past few weeks?”

“I gave my wyvern something good to eat.”

Drachen raised his visor and casually responded to Lafayette’s question.

“Who’s first today? Will you challenge me again, Roland, or will it be Sir Lafayette this time?”

He arrogantly looked down at them, but before the Knights of the Azure Sky could respond in their fury, Drachen continued on.

“Ah. Before that. There are some debts to settle.”

Drachen smirked as he added one last comment.

“The price for Sir Roland’s life, and for you breaking your promise. Let’s settle that first.”

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