Episode 163. A Blessing in Disguise (1)

“Did it work?”

There was no way to tell yet. Both illusion beast tamers and illusory beasts were completely unfamiliar concepts for Seon-Hyeok, and he lacked the background knowledge to process the current situation.

What he could tell was that at the moment, Choi Min-Young was attempting to communicate with the torgos, and that these efforts were, in some way, affecting the appetite-driven creature.

The frozen and unmoving torgos was evidence of this.

“Hm.”

He wondered if the situation would be defused much easier than he anticipated. Of course, they had lost an entire fortress, but the royal family would consider that a reasonable payment for taming a creature with such incredible strength.

Time continued to pass.

The terrible night passed, and dawn approached. The massive lump of mucus remained frozen in place, while Min-Young’s tightly closed eyes showed no signs of opening.

Redvern began to show signs of impatience, having been forced to keep even its wingbeats to a minimum to avoid being a distraction.

Chirp.

Eventually, the impatient Redvern expressed its dissatisfaction with a short cry.

“Hush.”

Seon-Hyeok quickly silenced the monster and looked over at Min-Young. Thankfully, nothing had happened.

“Good. I’ll make sure to feed you when we get back, so be patient.”

He spoke in a hushed voice, worried that it might provoke the beast. Redvern cried out once again upon understanding Seon-Hyeok’s words.

“Hush! Hush!”

Seon-Hyeok was startled over and over again by the dim-witted wyvern’s careless actions.

But despite this, Min-Young’s eyes remained closed, and the torgos displayed no motion.

This is a bit much…

Perhaps the illusion beast tamer’s taming ability is different from a dragon rider’s?

Almost a day had passed, but nothing had changed.

Chirp.

Redvern complained of fatigue. It was even more exhausting remaining in place, as the wyvern could otherwise ride the air currents if flying from place to place.

In the end, Redvern finally reached its limit. Seeing the wyvern’s tongue hanging limply and its labored wingbeats, Seon-Hyeok realized that any more would be too much of a strain.

“Let’s descend slowly.”

After a moment of thought, he ordered his wyvern to land as slowly as possible. They were neither too far nor too close to the torgos’ glistening mucus.

Whimper.

As soon as they did, Redvern flopped onto the ground. It was evident how exhausting its extended flight had been.

I should’ve done this sooner.

Seeing Min-Young still deep in focus on top of Redvern, Seon-Hyeok felt his efforts had been in vain.

He shook his head as he silently observed the situation.

Is this even going to end?

By now, even he was tired of remaining an onlooker in this tedious process.

But soon, he regretted having these inner feelings.

Gurgle.

The frozen torgos began to move once again, spreading across the land surrounding the fortress. Min-Young woke up at the same time.

“Bleh!”

She licked her pale lips. But before she could say anything, blood spurted out of her mouth.

“Get a hold of yourself!”

Seeing her eyes rolling back as she slowly lost consciousness, Seon-Hyeok called on the healing properties of the water attribute.

“Ugh…”

A bit better but still pale, Min-Young spoke urgently.

“I, I failed!”

“I understand. Get a hold of yourself and hold tight!”

Seon-Hyeok knew that the taming had failed even before she spoke. If she had been successful, the lump of mucus would not be thrashing about so violently.

“Redvern!”

The wyvern had been holding its head up, and it quickly spread its wings and rose up into the air.

Thud.

A lump of mucus shot out by the torgos landed where the wyvern was only moments earlier.

“Fighting isn’t an option.”

Redvern was too exhausted to deal with the torgos now. There was no reason to take unnecessary risks and use this place as a battlefield.

Moreover, they had bought plenty of time. Though the taming ended in failure, the illusory beast had been rendered immobile for an entire day. Given that the beast could only remain in this world for 10 or so days, they had endured one-tenth of this time without any casualties.

“We’re getting out of here!”

Seeing lumps of abhorrent mucus flying out in all directions, Seon-Hyeok quickly had Redvern rise even higher.

The torgos traveled nearly 30 kilometers that day. It was a distance an elite infantry regiment could perhaps cover if it moved without sleeping.

Though the illusory beast was faster than expected, there were no reported casualties thanks to the evacuation orders issued in advance.

“Of all places, it’s heading towards the capital…”

Unfortunately, the situation worsened because the torgos happened to move towards the capital, Adenstein.

Seon-Hyeok quickly gave his report to the royal family.

He had wanted to avoid making the situation bigger, but at this point, there was no other option. It was possible he would have to take responsibility for this terrible failure.

He provided every last detail about the night the fort was overtaken, thinking the least he could do was avoid inflicting unnecessary casualties.

[An illusion beast tamer… that’s quite the troublesome class.]

“I apologize. I instigated this.”

This was his first true failure since arriving in this world. It just so happened that this was no ordinary failure, but potentially an unmitigated disaster.

This disaster had been caused by his arrogance. He had been confident that he could deal with any illusory beast without a problem given his status as a dragon rider. In addition, he coveted the skills of the illusion beast tamer, a class with the potential to exert more power than other high-tier classes.

He had no excuse.

“It was all my fault.”

Seon-Hyeok honestly admitted his shortcomings and expressed his intent to shoulder all responsibility.

[I have no intention of blaming you. You kept your word in helping the foreigners with low-tier classes develop. That is all.]

Surprisingly, King Theodore did not assign blame. Nonetheless, this did not free Seon-Hyeok from responsibility for the situation.

[We will prepare our own measures from here, so do what you are able to do there.]

“I will do my best to delay its movements.”

The king told Seon-Hyeok that those at the capital would devise a solution and urged him to buy as much time as possible.

[By any chance, have you told anyone else about the monster’s identity?]

“Just those at the fort…”

[Make sure they keep their mouths shut. Ensure that the monster’s identity is not revealed.]

Seon-Hyeok had no idea what the king intended, but he assured the king he would.

Pop.

The communications magic ended, and Seon-Hyeok immediately began to move.

“You might not be in great condition, but you must still succeed.”

Min-Young’s complexion was pale, as she had not yet recovered from the failed taming of the creature, but Seon-Hyeok remained adamant.

“I know. This was all because of me.”

She likewise felt responsible for the current situation, and thus, she did not exaggerate about her condition or complain about his orders.

Despite her sorry state, Min-Young once again attempted to tame the torgos. These actions were not taken under the delusion that she would succeed.

It was simply an attempt to restrain the illusory beast for another day.

Their plan proved half-successful. The first taming attempt lasted an entire day, but the second failed in half the time.

Even this shorter attempt left Min-Young throwing up blood and fainting on the spot.

“Pan, you bastard…”

Seon-Hyeok put the unconscious summoner on his back and gritted his teeth.

Pan had not revealed himself since that day, demonstrating his almost excessively negligent nature. It was possible the faun was keeping a low profile after noticing Seon-Hyeok’s determination.

Seon-Hyeok buried his anger deep within himself. He vowed to let it all out the day the irresponsible faun appeared once again.

Min-Young was now so weak that she looked on the verge of death, but she did not give up her attempts to restrain the torgos through taming attempts. She endured until the end, despite repeatedly vomiting blood and losing consciousness.

Thanks to this, they were able to buy yet another day.

Seon-Hyeok stepped up himself to buy the remaining time. He rode on Redvern and cast Wind Bite on the torgos. However, the power of the wind, which had always brought him victory, failed to exert much power against the blob-like creature.

The earth attribute was no different.

“How can there be such a ridiculous monster?”

No matter how much it was torn apart by the winds or buried in the ground, the torgos’ body quickly reverted to its original state.

“Five days now.”

Still, their efforts were not completely in vain, as they had been successful in delaying the torgos’ movements for the previous 5 days.

But the real problem began now.

The path the torgos had taken until now was sparsely inhabited, but it would no longer be the case.

Starting from their current location, there were several villages within a day’s distance. Within a two days’ distance were the highly concentrated territories of the central lords.

Unlike in the occasional villages they had encountered up to this point, Seon-Hyeok would lack influence in these nobles’ lands. At least within their own territories, the lords were essentially kings.

There was no chance that such individuals would listen to Seon-Hyeok’s warnings to abandon their lands and evacuate.

“In the end, do I have to physically step in…”

Since he had already reported on the situation to the royal family, the wise House Adenstein would surely find ways to take action and minimize the damage dealt.

All he could do to contribute was to block the torgos here.

“We’ll help as well!”

Having deemed themselves to be the final line of defense, the foreigners stepped forward and volunteered to fight.

Seon-Hyeok immediately refused, but they were persistent.

“Didn’t we train for times like these?”

“We didn’t train so lightly as to excuse ourselves from situations like this!”

Starting with Lee Soo-Hyuk, the foreigners insisted that he allow them to participate.

But Seon-Hyeok ignored them and stood in the torgos’ way by himself.

“Damn it. It’s so unintelligent.”

The torgos no longer bothered with him. When it was swept away by Wind Bite, the separated masses of its body continued to move. When Seon-Hyeok raised the ground to form walls, the torgos immediately tore them down.

He could not buy any more time.

At this point, the foreigners stepped up.

“Get back!”

“We can contribute too!”

Ignoring his order and stepping in front of the torgos, the foreigners split in all directions and indiscriminately attacked the illusory beast.

“Hup!”

The two-handed swordsmen’s hefty blows split apart the illusory beast’s massive body, and the guardians protected their allies from the falling globs of mucus.

“Back…”

Seeing their precarious situation, Seon-Hyeok was about to dissuade them when he shut his mouth.

“This way!”

Perhaps they had planned their attack in advance. The foreigners moved in perfect harmony and fought better than he anticipated.

The two-handed swordsmen attacked the beast from a safe distance, and the guardians used their shields to block the intermittent projectiles fired by the torgos. The snipers, with their excellent line of sight, provided support and ensured that they were never surrounded by the torgos’ body.

If they had tried to fight the torgos head on, they would have almost immediately been buried and dissolved without a trace under the terrible lumps of mucus.

However, the foreigners instead focused solely on shifting the torgos’ trajectory. Noticing these comparatively easy prey after its encounters with the troublesome dragon rider roaming the sky, the illusory beast shifted its attention as the foreigners hoped.

This scene, with the foreigners perfectly distributing their roles in combat, was proof that the training Seon-Hyeok put them through had been effective.

Nonetheless, this did not mean their battle progressed without issue. The formless torgos’ attacks were erratic, and it could attack from unexpected directions.

“Hyah!”

Then, Clark and the cavalry riders stepped in.

“One guy’s been left behind over there!”

“I’ll get him!”

The riders risked their lives to rescue the foreigners stranded after avoiding the beast’s attacks.

“Didn’t I tell you, my lord? Your problem has always been that you try to do everything on your own!”

“Hansen, you idiot! Behind you! Behind you!”

“Ahhh! When did it get all the way over here!”

Hansen panicked as he urged his horse to pick up the pace. But somehow, he seemed thrilled by the situation.

“This is how a man should live!”

“Isn’t it thrilling?”

“I thought I was going to die of boredom always being in the rear!”

Seon-Hyeok was not just imagining it. The riders truly enjoyed their long-awaited time in the spotlight. Their expressions were livelier now than ever.

“Ah…”

He got goosebumps as he watched his comrades. His heart began to race, and a fighting spirit rose from deep within him.

“Atiya!”

Seon-Hyeok summoned Atiya as he circled over the torgos on Redvern’s back.

‘Yes! Master!’

“Give them strength!”

The maiden of the wind flew up and breathed new life into their weary bodies. The foreigners’ movements became faster and sharper than before.

Despite this, the torgos remained strong.

Seon-Hyeok was not finished yet.

“Ikram! Izdihar!”

Because of their resemblance to the royal princess, Seon-Hyeok had refrained from using these water spirits in battle. They were brought forth for the first time.

‘Master, thank you for not forgetting us.’

‘The situation doesn’t look promising. What do we need to do?’

“We have to stop that beast!”

Izdihar and Ikram flew over to the foreigners at once and covered their ranks with multicolored barriers.

‘Why aren’t you calling on me?’

Seon-Hyeok’s summonings were still incomplete.

“You are…”

His eyes grew wide when he heard a sudden voice in the midst of the fierce battle.

“Nudar?”

Though they had entered a provisional contract, the highest-tier earth spirit had never appeared before him since then because he was deemed unworthy. But now, Nudar finally materialized in this world.

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