Episode 132. Dragon Fear (1)

“Ah, I’m going crazy.” Seon-Hyeok sighed. “Why the hell isn’t this working?”

It was horribly difficult trying to tame the griffins.

He would have given up already if the griffins showed no changes in their attitude, but that was not the case either. Their hostility towards him was markedly lower than when he first saw them.

The beasts no longer snapped their beaks or threatened to claw him like before. Instead, they looked at him indifferently and pretended not to notice.

It was clear that his approach was not completely ineffective.

But this made his lack of progress even more frustrating. The griffins had seemed like a blessing at first, but now they felt like a curse. They were perpetually just out of reach.

“Should I just ruin them so they can’t be used anymore?”

It would be horribly cruel, but he was frustrated that they kept him bound to the front lines until the end of the war without being able to leave for home.

They’ll become enemies if I let them go.

So long as he was the only aerial combat force within the Adenburg Kingdom, it was probable that he would be summoned if griffin riders ever arrived in the kingdom. It would simplify the situation if he made two of the seven griffins unusable for combat.

“No, no.”

However, he soon shook off these thoughts.

The Adenburg Kingdom had already demonstrated its superiority in the air. Even if the griffin riders did not appear, there was no universe in which he would be left alone in the future.

The Adenstein royal family certainly would have discussed among themselves how to use their newfound force. Seon-Hyeok needed to find a replacement if he did not want to be dragged into war in the future.

Lafayette and Roland would be suitable for this role, but only if their griffins were properly subdued.

“Sigh.”

He tried to let go of his irritation as he approached the griffins once again.

“Huh?”

However, the griffins reacted strangely.

Kyah!

In contrast to their usual fierce demeanor, the griffins trembled and lowered their bodies in fright.

“What’s wrong with you now?”

Seon-Hyeok turned around to look at Redvern, thinking that his wyvern might have done something while he was distracted.

“You too?”

Redvern was in a similar state to the griffins. The wyvern was flat on the ground, whimpering pitifully.

At that moment, a message suddenly appeared in his head.

-          The skill ‘Weak Fear’ has been evolved into ‘Dragon Fear’ following intervention by a third party. The slight ability to draw on the dragon’s fighting spirit has become whole.

-          Your hostility and murderous intent, backed by the majesty of the dragon, will be imprinted on your opponents as an unforgettable fear.

What does this even mean?

Seon-Hyeok stared blankly, but was soon able to realize what had happened.

‘Your wish will come true.’

He had previously asked for a reward from the dragon, and the dragon had accepted. However, he never heard what this mysterious reward would be, and so he had forgotten about it until now.

It was evident he was reaping the benefits now. Seon-Hyeok immediately knew who the ‘third party’ mentioned in the notification referred to.

The only being capable of directly affecting a dragon rider’s status window was the dragon.

“Wow, it came so early…”

The promised reward arrived unbelievably late.

Seon-Hyeok needed this ability several months ago, during the height of the war, but that conflict had long ended.

The delay was likely a result of the dragon’s ill temper at the time. After all, that conversation had ended without their usual farewells, and the dragon had been infuriated by his transactional approach to a sacred contract.

“But how do I even use this…”

Despite what he said, Seon-Hyeok knew the answer.

The hostility and murderous intent manifested through the dragon’s spirit would cause his enemies to freeze and want to surrender. It just so happened that there were two monsters in front of him that needed to be brought to heel.

“Hm…”

Seon-Hyeok had probably fought in a hundred different battles by now. For him, it was easy to show such killing intent.

“I am your master.”

The griffins shuddered as he spoke in a powerful voice.

“Serve me.”

When he took a step forward, the griffins took one back. If they had not been shackled down with heavy chains, they would have immediately tried to fly away.                                      

“I am your master.”

Seon-Hyeok approached once again as he made his declaration, and the words he had repeated hundreds, no thousands, of times until now suddenly became an absolute command.

Groan.

The griffins made a pained noise.

The sharp, eagle-like front legs bent as if to kneel, and the griffins lowered their heads to the point that their yellow beaks dug into the ground.

“I am your new master.”

The griffins’ previous bonds broke away, and Seon-Hyeok’s commands were newly imprinted in their place.

His long and tedious work had finally paid off.

He freed the chains from the relatively smaller Devon before immediately jumping onto the griffin’s back.

“Let’s go.”

After a moment of hesitation, Devon flapped its wings and flew up.

“Whoa. This is no joke.”

Unlike how it looked, the griffin was a fantastic, stable ride.

It was incomparable to Redvern. The wyvern was fast and sleek, but took time to accelerate and made for a bumpy ride – especially while ascending.

“What kind of training did they even have to go through?”

Seon-Hyeok wondered what training the griffin riders even needed. The flight aboard the griffin was simply that comfortable.

Of course, this did not mean that Redvern was necessarily worse than the griffins. In return for their stability midair, the griffins were lacking in maneuverability. They were not made for descending like a stealth bomber or executing other violent maneuvers.

If Redvern was a fighter jet, the griffins were closer to helicopters.

Shriek!

As Seon-Hyeok sat on Devon and tested out his new griffin, Redvern suddenly appeared and followed, having awoken from its slumber.

-          Jealousy, dissatisfaction

The wyvern was clearly irritated that its owner was riding a different monster. Redvern did its best to block the griffin’s flight, getting in the way and flying by dangerously.

“Hey! I’m not abandoning you, so stop!”

Redvern began protesting even more violently, even resorting to body slamming the griffin. After almost losing his balance and falling from his mount, Seon-Hyeok was forced to give up his flight on Devon.

“Why are you so narrow-minded?”

He smiled bitterly as Redvern approached and offered its own back the moment he dismounted from the griffin.

“Oh! Finally!”

Lafayette and Roland remarked in surprise as the griffins obediently remained in place despite being released from their chains.

“To think that you’d tame these loyal griffins…”

“How did you do it?”

Seon-Hyeok flatly responded.

“That’s not for you to know. I kept my promise, so it’s your turn.”

Lafayette and Roland nodded without hesitation.

“We will gladly pledge our allegiance to Earl Drachen.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Why would you swear loyalty to me?”

The two knights stared, unsure of what was going on.

“Then?”

“The oath of allegiance should be made to the Adenstein royal family, not me.”

“Ah…”

It was only then that Lafayette and Roland realized their mistake in their excitement. They looked at him sheepishly.

“I officially declare my defection to the Adenburg Kingdom and pledge allegiance to the royal family. Will that do?”

Seon-Hyeok nodded in response to Roland’s question.

“Yes. And with that, you’ll become knights of Adenburg.”

In fact, Seon-Hyeok did not lack the ability to command the former Knights of the Azure Sky himself. He was a proud earl of the kingdom, and he had the authority to keep senior knights under his command.

However, he had no reason to do so. Even disregarding the Adenburg royal family’s interest in these superhuman beings, he did not need to have these two knights around.

These were knights willing to abandon their kingdom to remain griffin riders. They broke their pledge not to intervene in duels, and schemed to get out of paying the price for defeat. Even though these transgressions had been during a time of war, Seon-Hyeok did not feel like keeping the two knights at his side simply because they were capable.

And so, he coolly decided to hand them over to the Adenstein royal family.

For the royal family, capable of adeptly dealing with the conniving noble class, it would be a simple matter to manage these straightforward and proud knights.

“From now, you will be the official air force for the Adenburg Kingdom.”

Adenburg’s aerial forces had now increased from one to three. There were now two people he could delegate tedious tasks to.

“Do your best.”

When he burst into laughter, the two knights unknowingly laughed in return.

“And so, Sir Gilbert Sylvain Lafayette and Sir Jean-Marie de Roland have decided to become Adenburg knights.”

Seon-Hyeok visited Commander Mangsk with the two knights once they finalized their decision.

“I’m sure it was a difficult decision.”

Lafayette and Roland had complicated expressions on their faces as the commander spoke. It was clear they had endured their fair share of challenges after expressing their desire to defect.

The Adenburg Kingdom had sent messengers to the Houses of Lafayette and Roland within the Griffindor Kingdom. This was for the purpose of giving them time to prepare for the fallout. However, the responses from the two families were completely different from expectations.

Shockingly, they had captured the Adenburg messengers and handed them over to the Griffindor royal family. As a result, the situation within the Griffindor Kingdom became chaotic, with the royal family strongly protesting the situation and demanding immediate extradition of the knights.

Naturally, the Adenburg Kingdom ignored these demands, and the two knights had suffered immensely.

However, they refused to give up their status as griffin riders until the very end. Just as their families abandoned them, they were willing to abandon their kingdom.

“House Lafayette and House Roland were two of the most renowned families within the Griffindor Kingdom. I strongly doubted they would give up their centuries of storied history to exile themselves for one of their children.”

Despite this, the commander expressed his regrets that the two families responded so unhesitatingly, resulting in a sticky situation for the Adenburg envoys.

“Neither of those families will have a say in their kingdom’s internal politics for the next 50 years, at the very least. Even beyond that, the mark of a traitor won’t be erased from their names. In spite of this, and the disadvantages they will face, the two families have decided to preserve their honor.”

Commander Mangsk seemed to take it for granted that noble families were inherently cruel, willing to give up on their own flesh and blood.

As a foreigner, Seon-Hyeok found this entire situation incomprehensible, and he decided to stop worrying about it. After all, trying to understand the viewpoint of these nobles would only result in a headache.

He simply made a mental note of the coldness of these noble families.

“Then are you completely finished with your work here?”

Seon-Hyeok had long ago fulfilled his duties on the front lines. He had only remained to deal with the Knights of the Azure Sky, and later to convert the captured griffins. Since he had succeeded in these added responsibilities, there was no need to remain at Fort Kalstein.

“Will you be leaving right away?”

“I’ll stop by Rheinperle before heading to the capital.”

He fought for his life and left countless achievements on the battlefield, and he was intent on receiving his overdue rewards.

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