Episode 165. A Blessing in Disguise (3)

I, I didn’t expect this to happen!”

Pan shouted out an excuse, but Seon-Hyeok’s anger did not subside at all.

“Sure, you had no idea. You goat bastard.”

Pan had hidden too many pieces of information for this to be considered a series of unfortunate events. If the faun had come clean from the beginning, perhaps the situation would not have been so dire.

First and foremost, because Pan did not disclose the dangers about the gateway to the illusion world, Gibson could have been lost to this alternate world.

“Tell me the truth. You didn’t plan this from the beginning?”

“Why would I do something like that?”

Pan chattered in false anger, but seeing his shifting gaze, it was clear the faun had some hidden motive.

“Perhaps the sacrifices you mentioned weren’t limited to horned beasts. Perhaps you figured everything would be fine so long as your summoner remained safe, no matter what happened to the humans.”

This was the point Seon-Hyeok was most enraged about.

Pan had definitely given his assurances. He insisted that there would not be a single illusory beast capable of causing a scene in front of a dragon’s companion, and did not warn him about the creature capable of ignoring such a powerful individual. In fact, when Seon-Hyeok brought up his concerns, the faun had even distracted him by repeatedly mentioning the dragon.

The situation could thus only be seen as intentional.

“No! That isn’t it!”

Pan shook his hands wildly as he backed away.

“I simply thought that the summoner would be safe with so many powerful humans around her. If it was any other illusory beast other than the torgos, you wouldn’t have suffered so much!”

Clearly, Pan figured this would be a sufficient excuse.

But from a listener’s perspective, this was even more infuriating. The faun’s words were tantamount to an admission that his actions were taken in consideration of the strength of all the foreigners at the fortress, and not just that of the dragon rider.

In other words, the irresponsible creature had intended to bring the other foreigners into the situation.

Thanks to Pan’s insidious scheme, the foreigners had nearly been sacrificed soon after they struggled to reach their 2nd class advancement and improve their status in this world.

“Whatever you say, it doesn’t change the fact that you tried to take advantage of us.”

The aura of Dragon Fear now began to emanate from Seon-Hyeok’s body. It was indicative of his anger towards Pan’s irresponsible and selfish attitude.

Pop!

When Seon-Hyeok approached with his fists clenched, the shrewd faun disappeared with a poof.

“Ah. This bastard.”

His anger lost its target, but Seon-Hyeok remained unfazed.

“Atiya.”

The wind spirit appeared at his call.

“There’s a rat hiding around here. Could you find him for me?”

As soon as he spoke, Atiya flew up and pointed her finger without hesitation.

Wiggle.

Looking in the direction Atiya pointed, Seon-Hyeok could see a shadow shivering under Min-Young’s feet.

The movements were so minor that they would have been unnoticeable if they were not pointed out. However, Seon-Hyeok had been on alert from the beginning and discerned these subtle changes.

“Hup.”

After inhaling briefly, Seon-Hyeok approached and reached out towards the shadow.

What happened next was surprising. Naturally, his hand should have stopped upon reaching the ground, but it was instead sucked into the shadow.

“Got you.”

He gave a smile as he pulled his hand out of the shadow.

“Ack!”

Seon-Hyeok’s hand was firmly grabbing onto Pan’s hair.

“Let go! Let me go!”

The half-goat, half-human creature showed surprising strength as he struggled, but Seon-Hyeok refused to let go.

“You…”

The half-revealed faun was completely dragged out of his summoner’s shadow.

“You can’t go back to the illusion world, can you?”

The writhing faun suddenly stopped in his tracks.

“W, what are you saying? Why wouldn’t I be able to return to the illusion world?”

Seon-Hyeok became certain as he saw Pan say more than what was necessary.

“You know you can’t go back.”

He had his suspicions from the start.

Min-Young never explicitly summoned Pan or sent him away. Despite this, the faun had stood by her side this entire time as though he existed in this world.

As such, Seon-Hyeok figured that Pan lived in this world, not the illusion world. If that had not been the case, he could not explain the faun’s behavior of appearing and disappearing several times a day.

In addition, Pan acted as though he saw and heard what transpired in this world even when he was absent.

Seon-Hyeok’s suspicions were true.

“That’s ridiculous…”

“Then try to go back.”

When he tightened his grip on the faun’s head, Pan shouted out in pain. However, until the very end, he neither returned to the illusion world nor disappeared.

“W, wait let me expl…”

“Shut up.”

Seon-Hyeok covered the faun’s mouth, uninterested in hearing his excuse this time.

“I’m not interested. I don’t care why you can’t go back to the illusion world.”

After all, what did it matter to him why a creature of the illusion world remained bound to this one?

All that mattered was that he now had the opportunity to deal with this spoiled, irresponsible, and detestable beast.

Seon-Hyeok glanced at Min-Young to get her understanding. After all, it would have bothered him to beat up the faun in front of his companion without an explanation.

“That’s fine. I’m honestly disgusted with him too.”

She did not try to stop him. She was similarly angry that Pan did not even tell her, his companion and the individual behind the summoning ritual, the whole truth.

“Now that I have permission…”

“W, wait!”

Pan gave him a pleading look, but Seon-Hyeok had no intention of letting this slide.

“Ack!”

Pan’s screams resonated throughout the open space.

Pan did not sit back and take the beating. He resisted with all his strength, using his ability to control others’ fear.

However, this was ineffective on Seon-Hyeok. Instead, the faun ended up bending the knee in front of the might of Dragon Fear, soon crying as he begged for forgiveness.

Pan’s pathetic tears almost moved Seon-Hyeok, but he saw the busily moving eyes behind the tears. The slight compassion Seon-Hyeok felt at the faun’s immature, child-like appearance vanished.

“You’re going to cause trouble if I let you get away with this.”

Seon-Hyeok grew even more aggressive in doling out punishment.

In the end, Pan had to pay a harsh price for his petty tricks. When the punishment finally came to an end, the faun was rendered docile and lacked any bit of his original, arrogant attitude.

“So what do we need to take from this?”

“I, I’ll tell you! Everything! I’ll tell you everything!”

Pan shouted desperately through his swollen face.

“To be honest, I was kicked out of…”

“Wait.”

Seon-Hyeok covered the faun’s mouth as the creature tried to explain his situation.

“What’s this noise?”

Sensing a commotion, he frowned and squinted into the distance.

“Everyone in combat formation!”

Before Seon-Hyeok could even process the situation, Liechten Ludwig, the leader of the Secundus, urgently shouted.

“Prioritize protecting the mages!”

***

“This damned demonic creature!”

Liechten Ludwig gritted his teeth as he saw the knights breaking formation to protect the scattered mages.

Cleaning up the battlefield should have ended much sooner. The giant monster was completely destroyed by the mages’ onslaught, and all that remained had been to dispose of the wiggling remnants of the formerly formidable creature.

However, the situation turned for the worse.

The torgos was deemed to be completely eliminated, but it suddenly regenerated.

The reason why the mages had been able to quickly deal with the creature’s remains up to this point was because the torgos had been hell bent on reuniting into one mass.

But the monster’s behavior suddenly changed. Instead of focusing on combining into one, the scattered chunks of mucus instead merged into hundreds of smaller, but unified creatures.

Despite the constant burning of fragments, there were still plenty of pieces remaining, and the hundreds of new enemies boasted sizes greater than that of an average adult.

“Enemies on all sides!”

The mages, scattered in all directions to burn and freeze the wiggling lumps of mucus, screamed as they ran about in a panic. The knights themselves split up and summoned their sword energy to protect these physically fragile individuals.

Unfortunately, the situation was not enviable. Just as Drachen and the foreigners struggled, the knights found themselves to be at a disadvantage against the physically resilient illusory beast.

The only true counter to the torgos was a mage’s spells. However, the allied forces were divided, and any unified magical bombardment risked friendly fire.

“Focus on gathering the mages in one place! It won’t be too late to take care of the beast then!”

It was an unexpected roadblock, but they had taken care of this demonic creature once. There was no reason they could not do so once again.

At Liechten Ludwig’s command, the scattered knights fighting futilely across the battlefield brought the mages together.

“Burn it so it can’t regenerate again!”

When they finally came together, the Royal Mages once again began the terrifying magical bombardment.

And once again, the torgos was torn apart by the assault.

“Don’t let a single fragment be!”

Learning from their previous attempt, the mages were even more thorough in burning the torgos’ fragments. And with that, the monster was completely wiped out following its surprise attack.

No. Rather, it looked like it was completely exterminated.

“Huh?”

A slight distance away from the Secundus Knights and the Royal Mages, Seon-Hyeok frowned as he saw a small lump of mucus crawling along.

“Did the mages miss it?”

Following the brief disturbance, the mages must have missed this final piece in the chaos, and it had crawled all the way here.

Seon-Hyeok covered the piece of the torgos with soil to prevent it from going anywhere else. He was about to leave to call on one of the mages adept in fire magic when Min-Young reached out and grabbed him.

“What?”

Min-Young responded.

“I, I can hear a voice.”

“What voice?”

Seon-Hyeok asked, confused about what she was saying. She looked at the final piece of the torgos trapped in the ground as she spoke.

“Contract! Let’s enter a contract!”

The situation was soon resolved. Despite the momentarily dire situation, there were no casualties among the mages. It was a truly fortunate outcome for the Secundus Knights responsible for escorting them.

“There was a brief disturbance, but we were able to safely complete the mission.”

Having confirmed that the “last” piece of the monster had been burned to ashes, Liechten Ludwig updated Seon-Hyeok on the situation.

“Ah. Thank you for your hard work.”

“Ugh. We shouldn’t have had to deal with this unexpected situation, but the mages caused trouble once again.”

Knight Ludwig complained that the problem occurred when the mages held back with the hopes of conducting research on the torgos’ fragments.

“I was suspicious from the start. I know it was a royal command, but it was strange that a hundred of these willful mages rushed to complete this mission.”

He shook his head, saying he could not understand how the mages’ minds worked.

“To think that they’d consider keeping such a horrifying demonic creature alive… mages really don’t know what’s important. Don’t you think so as well, Earl Drachen?”

“I know, right?”

For some reason, Drachen’s response felt lukewarm. Liechten Ludwig shrugged it off, thinking the earl was simply tired from his extended battle against the creature.

“We’ll keep up the search for another day or so just in case, but if there aren’t any other unexpected developments, things should wrap up soon. I know it’s been rough, but please hang in there for a bit longer.”

Knight Ludwig comforted Seon-Hyeok before returning to his position.

“Min-Young.”

“Yes?”

When the old knight had completely disappeared from sight, Seon-Hyeok called on Min-Young.

“Make sure you’re never caught.”

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