Episode 189. Dragon Platoon (3)

The manticore, Ishvart, was in a fantastic mood.

Most of the soft, tender humans had fled, but it did not matter. There was not one, but three, of the far tastier dragon subspecies remaining in the area. The manticore had no reason to be disappointed at the loss of common human flesh.

Of course, it was not easy subduing the uniquely strong and fierce creatures.

The dragons put up a fierce resistance, and in the process, her wings were torn and her body was covered with wounds.

But for Ishvart, this was part of the fun of hunting. The resistance of her prey struggling underneath her legs never failed to amuse her, and this was no different. If anything, it was even more enjoyable given she was anticipating devouring a rare delicacy.

She waited patiently for her upcoming feast as she waited for dragon subspecies to tire themselves out. Her mouth was already watering at the thought of feasting on meat and organs full of pure energy underneath these bothersome scales. Ishvart smiled greedily as she reveled in the joy before a grand feast. However, that happiness only lasted until a moment ago.

Whoosh.

A mysterious, multicolored light spread from the far end of the sky, and it soon covered the heavens.

Something’s wrong.

Instinct. No, an even more primitive sense warned her of the impending threat. She should have escaped then. However, having reigned as the ruler of this land, Ishvart ignored this warning. This was an undeniable mistake.

Growl.

The fur covering her body stood on end at the sound coming from under her feet. Ishvart turned her head to find the owner of the sound. Her prey, desperately struggling under her feet until just a moment ago, was no longer there.

Shudder.

Her body trembled. She had never felt awe or fear of anything in her life. As a result, it took Ishvart a while to understand the violent sensation she felt now. And that sealed the fierce manticore’s fate.

[Move.]

A powerful voice entered her head, but Ishvart was frozen in place and could not react.

[How dare a lowly creature of chaos!]

The angry beast berated her and shook its jaw. That simple movement was enough to snap off one of Ishvart’s powerful legs.

Ah...

A terrible pain shot through her body before she could realize what happened, and the opposite leg was cut off soon after.

Shriek!

Having lost both her front legs, Ishvart shrieked, her head buried in a puddle of her own blood.

[Perfect.]

The golden beast smiled in satisfaction as it saw the demonic creature with her head down like someone bowing in worship.

***

“What the hell…”

Seon-Hyeok could not believe the scene unfolding in front of him.

Goldrake, after struggling under the manticore’s feet, turned the tide in an instant.

A casual snap of its jaws was enough to cut off the demonic creature’s legs, despite her withstanding countless prior attacks, and the beast lost her fighting spirit.

Seon-Hyeok could not understand what just happened.

In this incomprehensible situation, the only thing for sure was that the golden monster roaring in satisfaction with its feet on the manticore’s head was on a completely different level from the Goldrake he knew.

Goldrake looked beautiful and out of this world, with its body surrounded by an armor of golden light. The recently growing horn on its head was blunt, but it looked strong rather than dull. The strange, frilled lizard-like protrusions on its neck were nowhere to be seen, and its sleek neck extended far without bending. 

Seon-Hyeok was amazed by Goldrake’s appearance. The drake transcended confidence and looked almost sophisticated.

Goldrake was not the only one to change.

Red Wyrm’s transformation was even more drastic than Goldrake’s. Its body, which shook like boiling iron, was surrounded in an inferno capable of burning everything. It looked like a spear forged in lava standing tall towards the sky.

Roar!

The flame-wrapped Red Wyrm closed in on the male manticore with incredible speed. Naturally, the demonic creature was engulfed in flames, and the manticore let out a terrible scream as he burned.

In an instant, the pair of manticores was left unable to fight.

“Hyung, what the hell is going on…”

Having lost his opponent, Joon-Min asked Seon-Hyeok for an explanation, but he, too, was unknowledgeable about what just transpired.

[She was the one who made us so insignificant, but she is also the one who can bring us back to glory.]

The fairy dragon spread her colorful, peacock-like tail as she explained.

[And she answered my request.]

Her elegant horns resembled those of a sheep, and a mysterious powder rained down whenever she flapped her wings. Seon-Hyeok finally understood why Geheimnis was called a fairy dragon.

[It’s only for a moment, but she allowed us to access a portion of our true abilities we were blessed with in the past.]

“Ah…”

In the past, the fairy dragon informed him that the dragon subspecies were being punished for their transgressions. In this process, they had lost most of their power and abilities, turning them into little more than animals.

But through her efforts, the monsters were able to regain some of their lost power.

The end result of this was dragons that looked otherworldly, and the utter devastation of the two manticores.

[However, her mercy will only last for a moment, so it would be best if those heinous beasts are disposed off quickly.]

Before the fairy dragon could even finish, Redvern spread its three pairs of wings and dove from the sky. It pierced the half-burned manticore struggling against Red Wyrm with its new, 2-meter-long horn.

Ack!

With a brief cry, the manticore immediately dropped in place. It was clear the male manticore was instantly killed, given his lifeless body.

“This is really…”

Seon-Hyeok was at a loss for words. The dragon subspecies’ transformations were incredible and hinted at a new level of existence, but even more amazing was their incredible might in trampling the powerful manticores in an instant.

Geheimnis said this was only a ‘portion of their true abilities’, so how great was their original power? No, more importantly, how great is the dragon that she can turn such incredible beings into insignificant beasts?

His heart raced.

He felt as though he was given a glimpse of the true strength of a dragon rider - something he only had a vague idea of until now.

I, if you let me live, I will be a faithful servant like them.”

At that moment, to his surprise, the female manticore called out to him.

“Ah…”

It was more unsettling than fascinating to see this manticore with an old hag’s face speak with her lips squirming.

“So spare me. I will do anything.”

Hearing this ominous voice was enough to slow down his racing heart.

When Seon-Hyeok’s expression turned cold, the manticore hung on even more desperately.

However, he had no intention of keeping a demonic creature as evil as the manticore as his servant. She might be putting up this act now, but it was clear she would readily backstab him the moment the opportunity presented itself.

His will was conveyed to his dragon subspecies through his silence, heart, and soul.

“Please spa…”

Crunch.

Goldrake snapped the pitifully pleading manticore’s neck.

[I’ll look forward to next time.]

“Huh?”

The rough and eloquent voice was different from both the fairy dragon’s whispering voice and the dragon’s proud and dignified one. However, it somehow felt familiar.

“Goldie?”

He remembered the harsh voice from atop Frost Peak. It was Goldrake.

“You can speak now?”

However, Goldrake did not respond. The drake just looked at him with its glowing eyes.

Shh.

Goldrake’s body shrunk. At the same time, the golden glow covering its body like armor grew dimmer before completely fading away.

Growl.

With its body covered in wounds, the drake collapsed on the manticore’s body.

[I hope the day comes when you will give me a wonderful name like them.]

Seon-Hyeok turned his head at the sound of a low-deep voice that resembled something resonating within a cave. He saw dozens of eyes staring at him from within a dying flame.

It was Red Wyrm. [1]

“Ah…”

After seeing Red Wyrm return to its original form, Seon-Hyeok reflexively turned to the other dragon subspecies.

“Redvern?”

[Chirp.]

He did not understand why Redvern cried out in his head in its final moment, but the wyvern was also back in its usual form.

[The time she has granted us is already over.]

Geheimnis let out a long sigh after losing her horns and tail.

[She has rescinded one of the 36 punishments she gave us. It was like experiencing her mercy - something I dared not hope for all this time.]

***

Having disposed of the pair of evil manticores ruling over the area, Seon-Hyeok’s party immediately tried to purify the demonic energy present.

Whoosh.

Balmung shone brightly as it devoured the demonic energy missing its source. In an instant, the energy disappeared, and the land covered in an ominous aura showed its original self.

However, having been exposed for far too long, the land had already rotted away.

It would likely take an unbelievably long time for grass to grow on this land, and for life to return. The land’s condition, after being cursed by demonic energy, was simply that severe.

However, for the time being, the party was satisfied with removing the oppressive demonic energy.

“But what should we do about that? It seems like a waste to just leave those there.”

Unlike the other demonic beings, which disappeared without a trace after being exposed to Balmung’s holy energy, the two manticores’ corpses remained intact.

[You would have to purify their evil energies first, but the bodies of manticores are useful in many ways.]

“Hm…”

Even if it was not for Geheimnis’ words, Seon-Hyeok had no intention of leaving the corpses of the two creatures here. Having seen them block the teeth of his dragons without issue, he figured the manticore hides would be excellent for lightweight, yet powerful, armor.

“What to do…”

The issue was in taking them back. Goldrake and Red Wyrm both possessed the strength to carry the bodies back, but they were far too wounded. Seon-Hyeok did not feel comfortable being greedy in this situation.

The people who fled earlier solved his problem.

“My lord!”

As the demonic energy was purified, a part of his party and the Astorian forces returned. They thanked Seon-Hyeok, Joon-Min, and the others for ensuring their safety, and paid tribute to the heroic achievements in emerging victorious against the great beasts.

“Well, we’ve been dragging our heels mostly - hyung was the one to finish them off.”

“That’s right. If it weren’t for the Indomitable Duke and his beasts, we would have lost.”

Joon-Min and the paladins looked embarrassed as they saw the approaching figures sing their praises.

However, Seon-Hyeok was not listening, despite being given all of the credit.

- You have met all the requirements for your 4th class advancement.


1. Will continue to keep “Red Wyrm” capitalized for now

Previous Chapter Next Chapter