Episode 135. Treasure of Adenstein (1)

Seon-Hyeok had never used the Call Dragon ability before, but he was immediately able to understand its effects.

-          The skill, Call Dragon, has been activated.

-          All members of the Dragon Platoon will be commanded to stop what they are doing and respond to the Dragon Rider Master Chief’s call.

-          The drake (Goldrake) has stopped eating and answered the call.

-          The wyvern (Redvern) has stopped hunting and answered the call.

Goldrake and Redvern immediately responded to his summons. Seon-Hyeok thought he could hear pounding footsteps outside, and he soon saw the giant head of a golden monster through the window.

Shriek!

A moment later, he heard a sharp cry. It was Redvern.

However, the most important one, Bluegon, did not respond. Seon-Hyeok was not sure whether it was a result of the distance or because his sea dragon was ignoring the call.

“Damn it. The one I’m actually calling for isn’t answering.”

Seon-Hyeok sighed as he watched Goldrake chewing on something outside and Redvern shrieking as the wyvern circled in the sky.

He wondered whether the skill failed as he waited and waited some more for Bluegon to respond.

As he nervously checked his status, Seon-Hyeok finally heard the message he had been hoping for.

-          The sea serpent (Bluegon) has stopped… and reluctantly answered the call.

Contrary to his concerns, Bluegon did not refuse the summons. Despite the ‘reluctantly’ modifier, it seemed as though the sea dragon would come.

However, there was still a problem. Unlike the two dragon subspecies that immediately answered his call, Bluegon was far away. It would take some time for it to arrive.

“Ugh. Do I need to wait?”

If he left now, he would essentially be leaving Bluegon behind once again, but waiting would mean delaying his trip to the capital for at least another two weeks.

Considering he wanted to make his journey as soon as possible, Seon-Hyeok felt troubled.

Nonetheless, he did not need to think for long. Ultimately, he decided to wait for Bluegon, since he felt sorry for the poor sea dragon abandoned in enemy territory.

Fortunately, the wait was not as long as expected. Bluegon was able to pass through the winding river and arrive at Rheinperle in 5 days.

Growl.

The sea dragon was a mess when it arrived. Its scales, normally a brilliant blue, were full of scratches and unhealed wounds.

Roar!

Bluegon fiercely roared.

“What the hell…”

Surprised by Bluegon’s unexpected condition, Seon-Hyeok immediately checked the sea dragon’s status.

-          Rage, resentment

As expected, Bluegon was furious.

However, something was strange. Bluegon’s anger was too extreme to be a result of its owner’s indifference and neglect. It felt closer to a killing instinct towards an enemy.

Seon-Hyeok soon realized the reason.

He discovered a sword buried near the sea dragon’s neck. In fact, there were several swords visible between the tough scales.

“Oh no…”

Bluegon had been left alone in enemy territory. He immediately knew who the swords belonged to.

“Were you fighting alone?”

The message had said that Bluegon stopped what it was doing and reluctantly answered his call. Seon-Hyeok had imagined the reluctance was out of Bluegon’s anger towards him.

However, that was not the case.

The sea serpent was not late because of any feelings towards Seon-Hyeok, but rather because it was fighting the Nocteins. It did not sit well with Bluegon that it had to retreat with its enemies in front of it.

Roar!

Bluegon roared, expressing its disapproval with the timing of the summons. The sea dragon showed its resentment towards its master and towards the enemies it had left alive. It sounded like the cries of a wounded animal.

Shudder.

After crying out for a while, Bluegon shuddered and began to shrink.

-          Bluegon has converted some of its size and vitality into attribute energy.

-          Bluegon has willingly begun metamorphosis.

-          Abnormal events have increased the possibility of changes during the shedding process.

Before Seon-Hyeok could even fully check what was happening, Bluegon fell asleep.

***

“I’ll be back.”

Seon-Hyeok remained at Rheinperle for another day after Bluegon fell into slumber before finally departing.

 “I’ll leave the territory to you.”

As he had spent more time away than ruling Rheinperle, it had become natural for him to leave the everyday operations to someone else. However, he felt ashamed of himself as a lord for leaving his territory unattended, and thus he bowed as he made his request.

“Don’t worry about Rheinperle. Please have a safe trip to the capital.”

Antoine Montaigne and the other authority figures at Rheinperle sent him off with bright expressions on their faces, as if guessing what troubled their lord.

“Don’t worry. Have a safe trip.”

“Get everything you deserve, and more, from the royal family.”

“Take this opportunity to empty the royal storehouses.”

“Please buy me a gift on your way back.”

Clark and the other riders casually sent him off, and Seon-Hyeok smiled as he responded.

“Sir Trail. Julian.”

The two women sitting on Redvern nodded to let him know they were ready. He immediately jumped on, and Redvern began flapping its powerful wings.

Despite what Seon-Hyeok feared, Redvern was able to carry the three riders without much difficulty. If anything, it was the riders who had a rough time.

“Sir Trail, are you okay?”

“I’m fi… ugh!”

Every time Redvern landed to take a quick break, Asha Trail doubled over with nausea. The strong female knight, seemingly superhuman on the ground, looked unusually feeble in the air.

Julian was even worse.

“I, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

Every time Seon-Hyeok asked, the young squire desperately said she was fine in a trembling voice, lips blue from the cold. In the end, the harsh environment proved too much for her, as she eventually had to travel in Seon-Hyeok’s arms.

It was not only Asha Trail and Julian struggling during the journey. He likewise was stressed taking care of riders unaccustomed to flight.

He almost missed the crazy mage, Aria Eisen.

Regardless of the riders’ condition, Redvern continued to move, and they quickly approached their destination.

“Ah, we’re finally there.”

Seeing Adenstein on the horizon, Seon-Hyeok ordered Redvern to gradually descend.

“Hm?”

He suddenly felt a strange sensation and belatedly noticed a flare exploding far away.

“What is that?”

It certainly was not a sign or threat of attack.

Adenstein had the most ironclad defenses within the Adenburg Kingdom, and there could not possibly be such an event at the capital. The brilliant flair likewise seemed more eye-catching than intimidating.

It seemed to be a signal of some sort.

“We have to head there.”

Though pale from the stress of flying, Asha Trail suddenly spoke up.

“Sir Trail?”

“That’s an emergency rescue flare.”

What the hell is she talking about? What could be so dangerous near the capital that people are sending emergency rescue flares?”

“All members of the Royal Knights have the obligation to cease what they are doing and investigate upon seeing that flare.”

Seon-Hyeok frowned, unable to understand, and Asha Trail explained further.

“That signal is exclusive to the royal family.”

“Ah…”

Seon-Hyeok grabbed the reins before feeling something was amiss.

“But then why are you so relaxed?”

As a member of the Royal Guard, Asha Trail had been responsible for protecting the royal princess until recently. Despite being reassigned to Rheinperle, her loyalty to the royal family was unquestionable.

For some reason, however, the loyal knight did not seem to be in a hurry even after seeing the emergency flare.

“It is an emergency signal, but it’s been intentionally weakened.”

She explained that if it really was a desperate situation, the entire sky above the royal capital would be lit up with these flares, and that at least a knight unit would have been dispatched by the Central Knights.

“But right now, the skies are quiet, and there isn’t any movement from the knights’ garrison.”

It was just as Asha Trail said.

“In that case…”

“It’s probably a sign for someone.”

The feeling that he had passed through a barrier while approaching Adenstein, and the immediate emergency flare right afterwards. Seon-Hyeok easily figured out who the signal was intended for.

“We’ll have to check it out.”

Someone connected to the royal family was clearly trying to contact him.

Their expectations proved to be correct. As soon as they turned towards the signal, the glowing light suddenly disappeared. It was like the flare disappeared of its own will after fulfilling its purpose.

“Earl Drachen.”

Noticing a group of people on the ground, Seon-Hyeok pulled on Redvern’s reins and slowly descended. Some of those waiting below had their hoods flung back at Redvern’s powerful wingbeats.

“They’re the knights and mages of the Royal Guard.”

Asha Trail immediately recognized her former comrades and whispered to Seon-Hyeok. He was not surprised. Considering the flare was exclusive to the royal family, he had guessed that the people waiting would be connected to them in some way.

“The knight in front is Sir Leverkusen, responsible for protecting His Majesty himself.”

Even so, he had to be taken aback that the knight was not just any member of the Royal Guard, but the one closest to King Theodore.

Redvern finished landing as Seon-Hyeok’s thoughts grew complicated.

“It’s nice to meet you, Sir Drachen. I am Abseilinger Denow Leverkusen, member of the Royal Guards.”

Abseilinger Denow Leverkusen was a middle-aged knight with a horizontally-extending mustache. He lacked the overwhelming presence of Marquis Reinhardt, but his eyes were steadfast even in front of the giant wyvern in front of him. It was clear he was a powerful and worthy knight.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Drachen.”

Seon-Hyeok jumped down from the saddle and quickly introduced himself.

“Were you waiting for me by any chance?”

The middle-aged knight did not refute his claims as he coolly responded.

“You’re correct. We’ve been waiting for you, Sir Drachen.”

“You could’ve found me when I arrived at the capital soon, so why…”

Seon-Hyeok could not understand why they were going through the trouble to intercept him on the road to the capital.

“This was an order from His Majesty himself.”

He quietly waited for Sir Leverkusen to explain the situation. After all, there was no reason for him to remain out of the loop.

“His Majesty wants Sir Drachen to enter the capital as quietly as possible.”

“Did you just say quietly?”

The knight repeated himself.

“Yes, so that nobody knows.”

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