Episode 159. The Illusory Beast (1)

It might have been different if he was riding Goldrake or Redvern, but Seon-Hyeok found it burdensome to deal with over 50 mid-tier foreigners at once.

Nonetheless, he overcame his lack of strength with his imposing fighting spirit.

Whenever he needed an extra hand, he liberally used his Dragon Fear ability.

“Ugh…”

And every time, the two-handed swordsmen rushing in let out a strange groan. Their bodies froze in place upon exposure to this immense aura.

Seon-Hyeok first took care of those motionless from the Dragon Fear. As time passed, all that were left in this arena were foreigners dazed by the dragon’s aura and those knocked unconscious after being swept up by the fierce gale.

“I assure you, the killing intent from those enemies you’ll face on the battlefield will be greater than the fear you just felt. If you can’t overcome that, you’ll find your hands and feet tied, unable to do anything as you have your heads chopped off.”

Seon-Hyeok gave a stern warning to the foreigners as they finally came to their senses after a while.

“Keep this in mind. Whether you die to a knight and his sword covered in sword energy or a terrified spearman, death is death. The first thing you need to overcome is fear.”

Battle-like training was nothing more than a marketing ploy. There was no training in this world capable of fully imitating a fierce battle.

Even if he used his Dragon Fear and tried to get these foreigners adjusted to his suppressive aura, Seon-Hyeok knew that many of them would be terrified and unable to exert their true strength when the time came.

Despite being fully aware of this, Seon-Hyeok kept training them with Dragon Fear whenever he had the opportunity.

He dearly hoped that his acts would save even one additional life in battle.

***

Choi Min-Young likewise participated in these new training methods with the other foreigners. However, given her lack of usable abilities, the only experience she received was being on the receiving end of Dragon Fear.

Despite this, the gains she made as a result of this were not small.

Until now, she had never been exposed to any true threats because of her incompetence. This was the first time she felt the fear of death.

This unfamiliar feeling woke up something deep within her.

[…op…]

At first, the change was so small that she did not recognize it herself. Exhausted from the intense training and extreme stress, she would flop onto her bed as soon as each day’s schedule came to an end. She did not have the time or leisure for introspection.

[…ease…]

The more she was exposed to the dragon’s aura, the clearer these internal changes became. Despite this, Min-Young remained oblivious and did not suspect a thing.

“Did I hit something when I fell earlier? I think I’m hearing things…”

She did not realize this was the change she so desperately wished for.

But in the end, this instigator of change kept whispering to her, as if wanting recognition, and that voice finally reached her.

[Please look at me.]

“Huh?”

Min-Young’s eyes momentarily grew wide when she heard the clear whisper. She looked around, but all the other foreigners were likewise exhausted and did not pay her any attention.

[You dummy! Look at me!]

This unidentified being shouted at her, and she immediately told Seon-Hyeok about the bizarre changes happening to her.

“It took me a while to notice because I was being a bit obtuse, but I think these changes began after starting to be exposed to that terrifying aura.”

Upon hearing her explanation, Seon-Hyeok responded as if he had been waiting for this all along.

“Really? Then we should check.”

Min-Young did not understand what he was talking about, but came to a horrifying realization when Dragon Fear began to emanate from Seon-Hyeok.

“I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it’ll come crawling out if we keep poking at it.”

As he spoke, Seon-Hyeok’s aura became even more violent.

“We barely found this hint. Endure this if you don’t want to miss this opportunity.”

It came too late to be a warning. Min-Young was not able to even protest, as Seon-Hyeok had already activated his Dragon Fear. She could only fall to her knees and let out a weak groan when faced with this overwhelming force.

[I said please stop! You ignorant bastard!]

Something unidentified screamed on her behalf.

[Are you trying to kill this weak child? I said be reasonable!]

It was as though this mysterious voice was having a mental breakdown, as it cried out hysterically in a hostile tone. In the end, however, this voice only resonated within Min-Young’s head, and could not reach Seon-Hyeok.

Ultimately, the owner of the voice was forced to show itself.

Poof!

A bizarre creature appeared with an ominous sound and expressed its anger.

“I said stop it! Can’t you hear me?”

The creature’s lower body was covered in black fur and consisted of two goat-like legs. His upper body was like that of a young boy. His two bent horns were multi-segmented and resembled old relics.

The mysterious creature simultaneously looked young and old, and he screamed at Seon-Hyeok.

“What the hell! Why are you so desperate to make her life hell! Can’t you leave her alone?”

Seon-Hyeok gave a satisfied smile as he saw the half-goat, half-human creature.

“I got you.”

Min-Young finally regained consciousness a while after the faun appeared.

“Ah…”

She still gave a blank look, affected by the lingering effects of Dragon Fear, but she focused on the mysterious creature in front of her.

“It seems like he’s that mythical beast of yours.”

Seon-Hyeok was positive. This monster appeared only after he had pushed Min-Young to the edge, and he was the beast she had waited all this time for.

“Ah…”

Min-Young’s expression grew complicated.

It was full of joy, having finally met her partner, but also resentment at having been forced to wait so long.

“N, nice to meet you.”

The creature greeted her awkwardly as he twisted his body.

“You…”

Min-Young opened and closed her mouth wordlessly as she watched the faun. It was clear she had trouble figuring out what to say.

“What’s your name?”

When she finally managed to ask a question, the creature glanced sideways at Seon-Hyeok before pursing his lips.

Clearly, he wanted to convey his answer nonverbally, as to hide his answer from the non-summoner watching their interaction. Seon-Hyeok guessed the creature could speak telepathically.

However, those efforts were in vain.

“Pan? That’s your name?”

Min-Young said his name out loud.

“Damn it! How dare you reveal my name so easily to outsiders!”

Pan’s temper flared, but the summoner just watched with her eyes wide.

“I can’t do that?”

“Of course not! Don’t you know how important names are?”

“I don’t. It’s my first time meeting you, and I never even enjoyed the perks of being a summoner.”

Pan smiled awkwardly when he heard her pointed response.

“So why the hell didn’t you appear until now?”

Pan did not respond to her question. Nonetheless, she refused to give up and persistently pressed on.

How much disregard and sorrow had she felt as a summoner without a summon?

She would have a hard time overcoming her accumulated frustration if he did not provide an acceptable reason.

“If I revealed myself too early, you would’ve just been taken advantage of.”

The faun’s tone was childlike, and both his actions and face looked immature, but his response now sounded serious.

However, Seon-Hyeok snorted in derision.

“That’s stupid. You could have just told her to keep your existence hidden from everyone.”

The excuse was sincere, but idiotic.

“Oh?”

Pan looked like he had been blindsided. It really seemed like he had not thought of that option.

“T, that’s not it! This lady’s sentience stat was too low for me to show myself!”

Pan belatedly retorted, but his new excuse was lame and unconvincing. After all, he had already revealed his genuine, but short-sighted perspective.

“Then you should’ve said that from the start.”

“Eek!”

The faun’s face grew red as Seon-Hyeok offered a sarcastic response.

I expected this illusory creature to be something great, but what a letdown.

He shook his head as he looked at Min-Young.

Unlike him, having frustratingly suffered for years as a summoner without a summon, she did not seem disappointed with this outcome.

Even if the faun seemed useless or even dumb, she was thrilled and inspired after having her abilities finally be realized.

“I don’t like it. I’m not going to say anything else in front of that person.”

Instead of telepathically sharing his thoughts as he had earlier, Pan blatantly expressed his distaste for Seon-Hyeok.

It was the definition of a temper tantrum.

“I was going to get out of your way anyway. A mythical creature like you shouldn’t be throwing a hissy fit.”

“Hmph.”

The faun snorted and quickly turned his head away like a child. Seon-Hyeok once again shook his head as he spoke to Min-Young.

“Find out what that creature’s abilities are. It’s a bit unfortunate, but I’m afraid he’s your only hope for now.”

Despite his teasing tone, she nodded.

“Go! Leave! Now!”

Pan shouted as he shooed Seon-Hyeok away.

This summon was a completely different creature from what Seon-Hyeok expected. He anticipated a mysterious creature, but Pan was almost human-like in his mannerisms.

Despite this, Pan did not look like anything from this world. The strange goat-human hybrid looked bizarre and unrealistic.

Seon-Hyeok could not begin to guess what kind of abilities Pan possessed. He simply hoped that the faun possessed enough talent so as to not make Min-Young’s time waiting in this world be in vain.

It seemed they had finished their conversation, as Min-Young came to find him and detail Pan’s abilities.

“Pan is a mythical creature capable of breaking an enemy’s fighting spirit and instilling fear. At the same time, he can do the opposite for allies – helping them overcome a fear of death and bolstering their fighting spirit.”

Thankfully, Seon-Hyeok’s wishes were answered.

Aversion to murder was one reason for stiffening up in battle and being unable to showcase one’s abilities, but an even greater reason was the fear of one’s own death.

If Pan could alleviate this fear, there could be no better-fitting ability for the new mid-tier foreigners.

“It’s just what we need right now.”

When Seon-Hyeok’s expression brightened, Min-Young continued, saying that the faun’s abilities did not end there.

“Summoners are able to open the door connecting this world to the illusory world.”

According to her explanation, the summoner was then a medium between these two worlds.

However, there was a fatal flaw in her abilities.

It was that nobody could predict what kind of monster would appear through that generated doorway.

“What? What kind of absurd ability…”

If what she said was true, then the summoning ability was no different from gambling. No, rather, it was more like a random draw.

Seon-Hyeok anticipated that summoners would form contracts with, and borrow the strengths of, mythical creatures from the other world, much as spiritualists worked in tandem with their spirits. These expectations were quite off.

“And that’s where I come in!”

With another ominous ‘poof!’, Pan appeared and spoke condescendingly.

“As long as I have this flute.”

As though upset he was treated as a fool earlier, Pan looked straight at Seon-Hyeok as he brandished his instrument.

“But unfortunately, the illusory creatures are capricious and can’t be perfectly induced. That’s why…”

Pan spoke shamelessly.

“Can you help me open that door?”

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