Episode 190. Drakanade

- You may advance from the 3rd class Dragon Rider Master Chief to the 4th class Dragon Knight.

- Would you like to advance to Dragon Knight?

Seon-Hyeok had experienced three classes up until now, but the essence of all three had been that of a dragon rider. The modifiers of ‘chief’ or ‘master chief’ had denoted his increase in status.

However, the 4th class advancement was different. The word ‘rider’ disappeared completely, only to be replaced with ‘knight’.

His heart, already pounding from when he first received the class advancement notification, beat even faster.

“Advance.”

At that moment, a light more intense than any other surrounded his body. The flash was more brilliant than what he experienced in his previous three class changes.

“Indomitable Duke?”

“My lord?”

The people praising him saw the bright light, and their eyes grew wide.

“What the hell…”

They were uneasy at the appearance of the sudden, unidentified light. Joon-Min was the only one among them to understand the situation.

“L, level up? N, no. Is that a class advancement?”

The warrior himself had experienced this phenomenon before, and he continued to watch Seon-Hyeok with an absurd expression.

“You’re already strong enough! How much stronger do you need to be…”

The dragon rider riding his wyvern, a creature capable of freely roaming the skies, was an undeniably powerful figure.

However, Joon-Min maintained that he was stronger when dealing with demonic creatures.

It was just a moment ago that his pride had been shattered.

It was true he was exhausted, but he had barely fought the manticore to a draw with the help of the Astoria paladins. The dragon rider, on the other hand, ended their battle in an instant.

It was such a transcendent power that Joon-Min wondered whether he could even match it using the full extent of Balmung’s abilities.

But such an individual was undergoing even further growth.

As a person confident in his own abilities, as well as those of Balmung, Joon-Min found the situation ridiculous.

Whoosh.

The light became even more intense. At first, the flash only surrounded Seon-Hyeok’s body, but now, it seemed to reach far into the heavens. Beyond this pillar of light, Seon-Hyeok stared into the sky with an expression of someone deep in thought.

“Balmung, didn’t you say I was the best?”

Joon-Min spoke in a daze to his Holy Sword.

[Trust your own strength, and mine. You are not complete yet, and you will also continue to grow.]

“Of course I’ll grow.”

Joon-Min shook his head at the Holy Sword’s words.

“But I don’t think I’ll be stronger than that person even if I do…”

He saw the mysterious flashes caused by blue, red, and yellow lights. Beyond this energy was Seon-Hyeok.

“Really…”

Drachen’s sky-high reputation had spread across the continent, he was a duke and the husband to the next queen, and he had the power to singlehandedly dispose of two demonic creatures capable of holding off Joon-Min and five paladins. Seon-Hyeok was not lacking in anything.

“What a monster.”

Joon-Min did not even feel a sense of defeat. He spoke in awe.

“Hm…”

He only realized something was amiss much later.

A typical class advancement was not this flashy or lengthy. The individual would glow while covered in a brief flash of light, only for it to dissipate soon after. However, the multicolored light surrounding Seon-Hyeok had continued for the past 10 minutes.

This can’t be normal.

Despite this, Joon-Min was full of anticipation and not trepidation. The light covering Seon-Hyeok was so auspicious, and the dragon subspecies surrounding him felt too at ease.

Shhh.

The pillar of light extending to the skies began to diminish bit by bit. After a while, it completely vanished, leaving behind only a small aura of light.

“Hyung?”

Joon-Min realized that the class advancement was finally complete and rushed forward.

“Hyung, that was a class advancement, right?”

Instead of answering Joon-Min’s excited question, Seon-Hyeok carefully looked over his own body.

“My lord!”

His loyal subordinates would never ignore a matter concerning their lord, no matter how insignificant, and it was no different this time. They rushed forward to examine him.

“What the hell was that light just now? Are you okay?”

The questions were fired one after another, but he did not answer. He looked dazed and confused. Despite his haziness, his eyes busily darted around, searching through the air. It was a while after the light finally disappeared that Seon-Hyeok opened his mouth.

“Drakanade.” 

“Dra… what?”

What is he saying?

The others watched him in confusion as he uttered a completely foreign word. Suddenly, they heard a cracking sound - the sound of bones splintering apart.

They did not have to search for the sound’s source. It was coming from right in front of them. Seon-Hyeok’s bones were grinding and bumping against each other.

Crack.

They thought they could hear the sound of something breaking, and Seon-Hyeok’s armor, ragged after his fight, broke off at its links.

“Huh? What?”

Their lord’s now-exposed body was twitching as it cracked. His muscles grew, and his arms and legs grew longer. Something hard, almost reminiscent of tough skin, sprang up above. This instantaneous transformation ended, and an unfamiliar, monstrous-looking man stood in Seon-Hyeok’s place.

His head appeared to be covered in a helmet resembling a drake’s head, and his shoulders had protrusions even larger than his head. The head and shoulders were not the extent of his transformation. His body was fully covered in golden scales, leaving no skin exposed. It was almost as though Seon-Hyeok was wearing armor of gold.

His upper body was bent forward, but he nonetheless looked intimidating rather than small. After all, he stood close to 3 meters tall and had broad shoulders to accentuate his increased bulk.

Phew. Phew.

After exhaling heavily with his sulfurous breath, Seon-Hyeok finally opened his eyes.

At that moment, his presence amplified. Even the fearless paladins found themselves unknowingly stepping back at the sight.

“So this is draconian transformation…”

His deep, rumbling voice was ferocious like that of a wounded beast.

“It hurts like hell…”

***

“So, you’re saying that’s a power you gained from your most recent class advancement?”

“That’s what I said.”

The draconian sincerely answered the questions his party asked of him, despite being crouched on the floor and grunting in pain.

“What ridiculous class did you become that you have such an absurd ability?”

His aura was enough to have the paladins retreat, and it was natural others would be intrigued by this display of strength.

Seon-Hyeok saw the shining eyes of Julian’s party and the people of Astoria before letting out a sigh.

Whoosh.

His breath was so hot that those close by withdrew in shock.

“Sorry. I can’t control my strength yet.”

After all, it was not easy to even move in his current state, in a foreign body he never experienced before in his life.

In addition, this new body was unbelievably powerful, and without intense focus, it threatened to move unexpectedly.

After ensuring that the others were far enough away, just in case, Seon-Hyeok belatedly answered.

“Dragon Knight. That’s my new class.”

***

The 4th class advancement was completely different from the awakening and two previous class advancements he experienced.

If his previous classes were an extension of his original class of dragon rider, the 4th class advancement guided him in a completely new direction.

His previous growth improved his abilities as a commander of a dragon platoon, but the focus this time was on the development of his individual strength.

Drakanade, the ability to transform into a dragon-like form, was a power that represented the pinnacle of the dragon knight’s skills.

The effect of his temporary transformation was not limited to having a threatening outward appearance.

A perfect expression of the dragon knight’s skills would exhibit tremendous strength, quickness, and endurance far exceeding even the superhuman beings capable of overcoming human limitations.

The body was constructed differently from that of humans, and even weapons became unnecessary. He possessed the power to tear through enemies just by hitting them with his body and slashing with his sharp nails. He had no need to rely on others for strength. The draconian’s body was in itself the most powerful weapon and unyielding armor.

That was not all.

Under the right conditions, this draconian form would allow him to more actively use the properties given him by his dragon subspecies. Instead of borrowing the power of the wind to augment his attack or using the earth attribute to strengthen his body, he would be able to wield the attributes themselves as weapons.

Of course, this was not possible at the moment.

Right now, Seon-Hyeok had a hard time even overcoming the headache and muscle pains brought on by his transformation. He struggled to move his huge body, let alone augment his strength with the power of his attributes.

However, it was indubitable that this draconian transformation possessed limitless potential. It was a new power capable of replacing his previous offensive skills, including Wind PIercing and Wind Bite, which had become increasingly ineffective lately. In addition, the dragon knight’s abilities were not limited to just the Drakanade skill.

Unlike the dragon rider class, the dragon knight class specialized in exerting overwhelming power against a single foe, and thus, it came with several skills to make this focus possible. It was only that this was the sole ability he could use at this moment.

“And what are they?”

Seon-Hyeok smirked as he saw Joon-Min ask with a complicated expression.

“You’ll find out in time.”

Seon-Hyeok was laughing, but the atmosphere became strange. After all, for the others, his smile was that of a violent predator.

Of course, Seon-Hyeok was blissfully ignorant of this fact.

“Ugh. But this really hurts.”

He also did not know that even muttering in his now powerful voice was loud enough to ring throughout the area.

“A dragon knight isn’t constantly in that form, right?”

Seon-Hyeok shook his head at Joon-Min’s absurd question.

“Of course not. When the skill wears off… huh?”

Seon-Hyeok belatedly froze, realizing he had no idea how to cancel his transformation ability.

***

It was nearly an hour later that his Drakanade ability finally ended.

“Ugh. I think I’m going to die.”

The draconian overwhelming the entire area through his mere presence was nowhere to be seen, replaced by a dying, sickly man.

“I don’t think I can use this recklessly. The aftereffects are no joke.”

Joon-Min responded to his complaints with an ambiguous expression, one somewhere between laughing and crying.

“Isn’t that basically a finishing move? Your ultimate ability.”

It seemed the warrior was in awe of the draconian transformation, as he expressed his desire to have at least one such ability of his own.

“Let’s go now.”

Seon-Hyeok could not cross the border in his draconian form, so his group only started moving after wasting time waiting for the ability to end.

As Joon-Min had purified the surrounding area, the demonic beings were gone, and the oppressive demonic energy no longer held them back.

Naturally, they were able to reach the border several times faster than their journey into these cursed lands.

“Huh?”

Just as they safely approached the Astoria territory, Seon-Hyeok and his party were taken aback at the sight of an unfamiliar group awaiting them.

“We’ve been waiting for the two of you.”

The presumed representative of the group gracefully approached and offered greetings. Seon-Hyeok somehow sensed the aroma of grass.

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