The low-tier foreigners looked much worse than Seon-Hyeok expected. They were frustrated by their uncertain futures and terrified after being recalled to this chicken coop-like fortress.
“At attention! Salute the earl!”
They saluted upon hearing Gibson’s command, but their voices showed no fighting spirit.
It was not strange, as even the mid- and high-tier foreigners living in the capital faced immense pressure. Seon-Hyeok could not begin to imagine how these foreigners in front of him were treated, as it paled in comparison to the lives of luxury normally enjoyed by the more fortunate.
He guessed that they would have been unable to hide and were discriminated against by both superiors and comrades. Perhaps the weak-hearted among them had even been ostracized by their own subordinates.
The signs of harassment were clearly visible on the foreigners.
Their dead eyes and droopy shoulders gave the appearance of invalids.
Seon-Hyeok unknowingly found himself clicking his tongue given their serious condition.
Perhaps they were unaware that he was a foreigner, as his face was covered under his helmet. The foreigners in front of him recoiled, thinking they had disappointed this commander.
Seon-Hyeok hesitated for a moment. He was not sure whether he should reveal his identity as a foreigner and approach them cordially, or reprimand their attitude as a harsh instructor.
Their condition was simply that severe. Seon-Hyeok had steeled himself before arriving at the fort, but he was shaken at their appearance.
But in the end, he finally made his decision.
“Are any of you from the western front?”
Hearing his commanding voice, three foreigners raised their hands and stepped forward.
Ahn Dong-Jin had convinced most of the foreigners to leave with him, but not all of the foreigners on the western front had departed for the Nordic Kingdom. These three people currently raising their hands had managed to endure the horrors of war.
“You look better than the rest.”
These three looked relatively spirited compared to the others, and Seon-Hyeok separated them into a new group to his left.
“Any of you with experience fighting in a real battle, join the group on the left.”
Around 10 foreigners from the north followed his instructions and split off from the pack.
“Wow, that’s crazy. Do the south and east not even treat these foreigners as manpower?”
Seon-Hyeok knew for a fact that fighting occurred throughout the kingdom. In the west, the Adenburg Kingdom fought against the Nocteins, while the northern troops fought the nomadic horse-riders. There were pirates in the south, and monsters were particularly abundant in the east.
Despite this, only about 20 percent of the foreigners present had actual battle experience.
“There’s a long way to go.”
Having roughly separated the foreigners based on experience, Seon-Hyeok looked at the 2:8 split between the groups before removing his helmet.
“I am Kim Seon-Hyeok, and I will be in charge of your training from now on.”
The foreigners began speaking among themselves upon hearing his words. It was only then that they realized he was also a foreigner.
They had been unable to discern his identity before, as Seon-Hyeok had been careful to remain inconspicuous. Goldrake and Redvern were left to roam near the fortress, and thus, there were no iconic monsters to immediately spoil this surprise.
“It can’t be that Drachen?”
“The guy who started as a cavalry rider and became royalty?”
They were whispering among themselves, but Seon-Hyeok heard it all. As he listened, Seon-Hyeok was able to gather some insight into the people gathered in front of him.
Class and tiers aside, these foreigners were not yet even proper soldiers. If they had been, they would not have dared speak so brazenly in front of their superior.
“Silence! How dare you speak while the earl is addressing you!”
Seon-Hyeok patiently waited until Gibson stepped forward and stopped the distractions. When the foreigners soon looked uneasily at him and shut their mouths, Seon-Hyeok continued on.
“Like you, I was once judged as low-tier and deployed as a regular soldier.”
He was no orator, but it was important for him to instill a goal in these foreigners, as they were crippled by an overwhelming sense of defeat.
It was clearly effective. The looks in the foreigners’ eyes changed when they heard that the most famous knight in Adenburg, the foreigner who had successfully ascended to the ranks of the highest nobles, had also been placed on the front lines as they had.
It was a story they had already heard, but it was far more impactful coming from the protagonist himself.
“I, too, was ignored and discriminated against at first.”
Clark and a number of the riders awkwardly cleared their throats.
“But look at me now. Does it look like I am still subject to disregard and discrimination?”
Of course they had heard the rumors about Drachen. News of the foreigner who had won incredible victories over the Nocteins and would soon become an official member of the royal family had spread throughout not only Adenburg, but also the entire continent.
“I am now a proud earl of the kingdom, and a lord of my own territory. I am also the future son-in-law of the Adenstein royal family.”
Seon-Hyeok was mortified as he spoke of his own achievements. However, he desperately suppressed his embarrassment as he continued.
“Am I any different from you?”
Perhaps the foreigners interpreted his statements as pretentiousness? Their dull eyes were suddenly filled with an indescribable anger.
“You’re a drake rider and a wyvern rider!”
“We’re just ordinary swordsmen and archers!”
“We wouldn’t be like this if we had awakened with a unique class like you!”
It was as though their long-harbored feelings of grief and injustice bubbled up at once. The three foreigners from the western front angrily shouted at him.
“Do you think so, too?”
Seon-Hyeok addressed the still-silent foreigners. They did not respond, but the looks in their eyes betrayed their inner feelings. They, too, agreed with the three foreigners from the west.
“Clark. How was I when I was first deployed to the heavy cavalry?”
At his questioning, Clark took a step forward and replied.
“You arrived as a rider but could not ride a horse. Your swordsmanship and spearmanship were both pathetic and unsuitable for a fight. All of us thought that you would die in your first battle. We tried to bet on how long you would survive, but couldn’t even do so because nobody bet on your survival.”
Seon-Hyeok asked him to talk about his early days, but Clark’s evaluation was too candid.
“In addition, your horsemanship was so pitiful that eventually, I thought you would be reassigned to the infantry. I can say this now, but I thought the person in charge was crazy for assigning a man incapable of riding a horse to the cavalry.”
“That’s right. A rider who couldn’t ride a horse. Isn’t that absurd? I’m still bewildered when I think back on it…”
Now, even Hansen was being tactless and piled on. Seon-Hyeok quickly raised his hand to quiet the two men. At this rate, he feared they would talk about information that did not need to be disclosed.
“Did you hear that? Do you still think I had it easier than you?”
“But you still have the dragon rider class!”
This time, Clark preemptively came forward to explain the truth.
“You know nothing about how the dragon rider class was treated before it earned its current fame. At the time, the class was treated as trash, worse than even the most common swordsman.”
It was true, but also strangely insulting.
“He had none of the abilities you foreigners had access to, and was incapable of doing anything. I only found out about this later, but even the other low-tier foreigners in our regiment mocked and ridiculed the dragon rider.”
Kang Jeong-Tae had once consoled him, saying that he would find success one day if he kept at it. At the same time, he laughed at him behind his back, telling others that Seon-Hyeok’s efforts were meaningless. That had been the public perception of the dragon rider class at that time.
“I tried to ride a horse, but lacked the prerequisite skill.”’
Seon-Hyeok looked at the still-disbelieving foreigners before continuing.
“And so, I tried and tried again until I could. I fell off my horse hundreds, no, thousands, of times, but I never gave up.”
Now that he looked back, it had been a truly ignorant method of training. However, at the time, he had no other options, and he had been desperate.
“I was finally able to ride a horse, and not long after, I was dragged off to battle. That was when I realized how terrible war is.”
Stories of self-made success were always bound to evoke ambition in others. As Seon-Hyeok repeatedly emphasized his journey, the foreigners began to show interest in what he said.
“But I needed to survive. I endured because I couldn’t die on that battlefield. Even if I threw up and suffered from nightmares, I needed to endure and live on. It would’ve been too tragic had I been dragged into this world without warning, only to die like that.”
The atmosphere changed at some point, and Seon-Hyeok asked.
“And how about you? Do you want to just roll around in the mud, only to die on the front lines without anyone caring?”
Of course they did not. The foreigners did not respond, but Seon-Hyeok was confident nobody wanted that miserable death.
“Since you’ve been dragged into this world, shouldn’t you work to become a noble at least? You should at least get to live like a human being.”
It was a childish speech and an unsophisticated attempt to rile up the crowd.
However, the person speaking was simply too influential. Given his journey here, Seon-Hyeok was more than worthy of being the foreigners’ role model.
“Do you think that’s possible? We’re merely foreigners with low-tier classes.”
One of the foreigners from the western front inquired.
“I started as a low-tier class like you.”
Of course, the reality was that the initial evaluation was flawed, and that the power of the dragon rider class was far greater than expected. Seon-Hyeok did not feel the need to share this though.
What the foreigners needed now was the ambition to improve themselves, and the positive attitude to think it was possible.
“You still have an opportunity in the 2nd class achievement.”
As low-tier classes, Seon-Hyeok was not sure how far they could advance, but he was certain they could experience the 2nd class achievement at the very least. This was the reason why foreigners like Jeong-Tae had openly spoken about being treated like mid-tiers as long as they worked hard enough.
“2nd class achievement!”
Given a clear goal, the foreigners’ eyes filled with hope for the first time.
It was possible that Seon-Hyeok’s words could be a false hope for some of these foreigners. However, this was the best he could do at the moment.
He could not guarantee their future – he could only open their eyes to the possibilities. It was up to them to realize their potential.
“In that case, I will divide you into squads now.”
Seon-Hyeok made his announcement as he saw the foreigners act livelier.
“Clark. Please take charge of them with Jonasson.”
He left the 13 foreigners with battle experience to Clark and Jonasson.
“I don’t have a choice now, do I?”
Clark looked dispassionately at the foreigners, not liking their earlier defeatist attitude, but he did not refuse Seon-Hyeok’s orders.
“And the rest of you will be divided into five squads of 10 foreigners each. Instructor Gibson.”
When he was called on, Gibson ran over and handed Seon-Hyeok a list. It contained the foreigners’ classes and any additional notes.
“Son Ho-Young! Kim Miji! Ahn Ho-Sang…”
He glanced through the list and quickly began to divide the group.
And just as the six squads were being finalized, Seon-Hyeok’s eyes grew wide when he saw an unfamiliar class at the end of the list.
When the instructor approached, Seon-Hyeok asked.
“What is this ridiculous class?”
Gibson took a look at the list. His expression said he expected Seon-Hyeok would show interest.
“I can only guess…”
Gibson carefully spoke as he looked at one of the foreigners yet to be assigned to a squad.
“But she might be a similar case as you, my lord.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter