Episode 168. Ugly Duckling (3)

Seon-Hyeok began running before the message even finished.

“My lord?”

“Later! We can talk later!”

Clark called out, surprised by his sudden actions. Seon-Hyeok left him behind and immediately ran towards his room.

Whoosh.

As soon as his bedroom door opened, a bright flash burst through the opening.

“Ugh!”

Seon-Hyeok reflexively flinched and covered his eyes, but soon realized that the intense, blinding light was not hot at all. His eyes grew wide.

He was mesmerized by the warm, pure white light.

But even this warm flash soon faded, and he found himself letting out a sigh.

“Ah…”

The momentarily white world beyond the door regained its original color. Amidst the natural colors of this world was a strange presence with a particularly striking hue.

“Fairy dragon?”

-          The fairy dragon has fully awoken.

-          Having completed the imprinting process, the fairy dragon does not require additional taming.

The message did not even process in his head.

Seon-Hyeok blankly stared at the small, beautiful fairy dragon that had emerged from the red jewel.

Mysterious.

The fairy dragon was the most unrealistic creature he had seen in this world.

He had come face to face with the mountain whale roaming the skies, and the translucent-bodied gigantia wandering about. Both of those creatures had seemed out of this world, but the feelings he had then were nothing compared to his thoughts upon seeing the fairy dragon.

More elegant than Redvern. More brilliant than Goldrake. Loftier than Bluegon.

The creature’s translucent, butterfly-like wings were stained with colorful geometric figures. The dense scales wrapping the fairy dragon’s dainty body were as brilliant as elaborate jewels.

The delicate face was not that of a mere animal. It was the absolute height of beauty.

Glance.

The brilliant purple eyes, easily mistaken for a masterpiece crafted painstakingly throughout a jeweler’s entire life, rolled around before finally settling on him.

[It was you.]

“Ah…”

Even the fairy dragon’s voice was full of mystery and as sweet as the whispers heard in a dream.

[You’re her companion – the one responsible for awakening me from my long slumber.]

The corners of the fairy dragon’s mouth curled up. The creature’s long snout was clearly different from a human’s mouth, but Seon-Hyeok could sense that the fairy dragon was smiling.

He was correct.

[It’s nice to meet you.]

The voice penetrating his head was full of familiarity. The joyfulness of this small dragon subspecies felt unusual – after all, the others he had encountered to date had all rushed to attack him.

[My name is Geheimnis.]

To his surprise, the fairy dragon revealed her name on her own. [1]

“Geheimnis…”

None of his preconceived expectations held true after the fairy dragon woke from her slumber. Seon-Hyeok tried to calm his surprised mind as he enunciated the creature’s name.

[I am the guard and observer of the prisoners sentenced to exile.]

“The prisoners sentenced to exile? What do you mean?”

Seon-Hyeok frowned and retorted at the fairy dragon’s incomprehensible words.

[Unfortunately, there is not much I can tell you right now. What I can do is…]

Geheimnis stared directly at him as she spoke.

[All I can do is guide you to the queen.]

“Queen?”

Unexpected words kept appearing in the fairy dragon’s comments. Seon-Hyeok’s head began to hurt at her attitude, which was unlike any other dragon subspecies he had met.

It was as though his mind was being tangled up in a mess.

“Explain it to me so I can understand. It’s always hard trying to understand your kind.”

Both the dragon’s tendency not to explain anything with certainty and Geheimnis’ overly laid-back tone were incredibly frustrating.

[Do not rush. I slept for a long time, but I haven’t forgotten my mission.]

Geheimnis spoke mildly, as if to placate him.

“What is your mission…”

Seon-Hyeok began to blurt out his question before closing his mouth.

‘Find the smallest and weakest subspecies of dragon, one which has abandoned its form and maintained its aura of mystery.’

‘Fairy Dragon. That is the first guide you must find.’

He closed his mouth when he suddenly and clearly remembered the instructions the dragon gave him on that day long ago.

[My one and only mission is to help you get to the queen safe and sound.]

Seon-Hyeok believed that as a guide, the fairy dragon would be like a radar for finding other dragon subspecies. However, he had been mistaken.

The fairy dragon was truly a guide and nothing more.

[That day will arrive neither too late nor too soon, and my mission will finally come to an end.]

As soon as she finished speaking, the room was once again filled with a brilliant flash of light.

-          You have entered a contract with Geheimnis, the guide who awoke after a long slumber.

-          The contract will be terminated upon the completion of Geheimnis’ mission.

-          Unlike with the other dragon subspecies and their master-servant relationship with you, Geheimnis’s role is closer to that of an assistant. Therefore, the obedience stat has no impact on her relationship with you.

-          A new category has been added under the attribute section.

-          The ‘arcane’ attribute has been added.

-          The effects of magic resistance have more than doubled.

When the light faded, Geheimnis spoke in a tired voice.

[I need to rest for a while.]

“Wait!”

Seon-Hyeok shouted urgently when he saw the little creature sleepily blink her eyes.

“There’s a lot I want to ask. Is the dragon the queen you mentioned? And where are the other dragon subspecies?”

He was worried that the fairy dragon, like the others, would soon lose her intelligence and become a creature incapable of communicating.

He recalled that he was only able to exchange conversation with Bluegon and Goldrake immediately following their taming.

“How do you already have a name?”

Seon-Hyeok continued to ask questions, worried that he would never receive an answer if he did not push forward now.

However, Geheimnis showed no inclination to answer his questions right away.

[Do not worry. A short break will not nullify our relationship. I will be able to answer your questions later.]

He did not get a chance to convince her otherwise.

The fairy dragon looked like her head was beginning to droop. She soon pulled out her dainty front feet, covered her snout and mouth, and began to exhale. Her fine, constantly-flapping wings folded gently around her small body, and the small and beautiful creature fell into a deep sleep.

“So what’s going on…”

Seon-Hyeok naturally grew worried. He finally found the creature capable of telling him more about the dragon, but was unable to get an answer.

Unfortunately for him, Geheimnis showed no signs of waking up anytime soon.

In the end, Seon-Hyeok sighed as he watched the motionless fairy dragon.

“Wait. If the dragon really is the queen Geheimnis referred to…”

He frowned as he mulled over his conversation with Geheimnis.

As he expected, the dragon was a female, and she had given herself the grandiose title of queen.

Dragon. A queen’s companion.

On top of that, he was the fiancé to the royal princess and the future companion of the next Queen of Adenburg.

“Do not even dream of having any affairs.”

King Theodore’s recent and explicit warning to him flashed through his mind.

It was not intentional, but he ended up aligning himself with two different “families” of terrifying beings. He shuddered out of unexpected guilt and a feeling of dread.

“No, I’m sure that’s not the case.”

Seon-Hyeok dearly hoped that the dragon’s definition of companion was different from human interpretations.

Contrary to his fears, Geheimnis did not sleep for long. Though the responses were a bit belated, she sincerely answered all of the questions he asked before she fell asleep.

[She is the one and last dragon in this world.]

As expected, the queen referred to the dragon.

“Ugh.”

Though he was proven correct, Seon-Hyeok was not at all pleased. It was as though his fears regarding his place between the dragon and the princess had become even clearer.

[Unlike what you may think, the drake, serpent, and wyvern all have their own names. They needed to receive new names from you because they forgot their own pasts and names.]

Perhaps she had not noticed his anxious expression. Geheimnis continued with her response.

“Is that because of the punishment you mentioned earlier?”

Her small head nodded.

“Is it that these dragon species were also originally dragons – perhaps the servants of this queen exiled for their sins?”

Seon-Hyeok had harbored these suspicions for a while.

Maybe Goldrake, Bluegon, and Redvern had all originally been dragons.

Goldrake and Bluegon had been banished from the heavens to the earth and sea respectively. Redvern retained a dragon’s wings, but was closer to an unintelligent beast than any of the other dragon subspecies. None of them could be considered normal.

‘I am too small and insignificant in my current state. However, much will change thanks to you. It might be possible for me to regain what I lost during that process.’

The words Bluegon said to him long ago made him even more suspicious of the dragon subspecies’ true identities.

[Your suspicions are reasonable. But unfortunately, your thoughts and the truth are very different.]

“Then what is it?”

Geheimnis had been freely answering his questions up to this point, but this time, she refused to respond.

[Is that what you’re most curious about now?]

“Huh?”

[Drake, sea serpent, and wyvern. What about the other dragon subspecies?]

Geheimnis stuck up her pointed snout as she asked.

[Aren’t you curious where they are?]

It was clear to him that Geheimnis was trying to change the subject. However, he had no choice but to bite.

“You know where they are?”

[Of course I do.]

The fairy dragon’s smile grew. It was surprising how expressive a non-human creature could be.

“Then where are they?”

As Geheimnis suggested, what was important now was not the dragon subspecies’ true identities or the petite and beautiful fairy dragon’s expressiveness.

[Unfortunately, I can’t sense any nearby. But there’s one I can sense further away.]

Seon-Hyeok calmly waited for the fairy dragon to continue.

[It’s pretty far, but I’m sure you can get there quickly.]

There was not much time until the princess’ coming-of-age ceremony, but so long as he had Redvern, he could travel any reasonable distance without problems.

“So where is it?”

When he asked in agitation, Geheimnis smiled again.

[It’s not hard to tell you. But I think there’s something more urgent right now.]

The fairy dragon spread her butterfly-like wings and flew up into the air.


1. The fairy dragon is explicitly mentioned as female later in this chapter.

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