Seon-Hyeok forced himself to open his heavy eyelids.
His consciousness returned, but it was terribly difficult to think. As he stared at the endless blue sky in front of him, the sense of reality that returned little by little threatened to disappear once again.
The sky’s so damn blue.
Both the white clouds and the blue sky felt particularly close today.
As he stared blankly for a while, a familiar voice rang out.
“Ah, Atiya. I’m a bit distracted right now, so could you give me a moment?”
His response was relaxed and almost tranquil.
But after mindlessly responding, Seon-Hyeok felt something was amiss. However, he could not think of what it was.
Belatedly realizing this sense of incongruity, Seon-Hyeok bolted upright.
Atiya had disappeared into the spirit world after inheriting the legacy of the previous Spirit King from the Mother Tree. He could not understand why she was in front of him now.
“Why are you here…”
After beginning to ask his question, Seon-Hyeok stopped, and his jaw dropped.
Her characteristic gentleness and mild impression remained the same, but she no longer resembled the spiritualist, Ahn Yoo-Jung, or the female knight, Asha Trail.
That was the first word that came to mind as he looked at Atiya.
The beautiful spirit looking down at him while gracefully waving her white wings did not seem to be a being of this world.
As he dumbfoundedly stared at the angel-like figure, Atiya approached and embraced him.
“I missed you, Master.”
Her body now contained a sense of warmth and felt different from before. It was almost as though she had become human.
“It is impossible to know right now. If they are worthy of becoming king, one of them may be reborn, and if not, another will take that role. But even if they lack the vessels worthy of a king, they will change in one way or another. After all, they are the first spirits to come across the source of their power in 1000 years.”
Even at the time, the Mother Tree had known this would happen.
It was just that she could not predict how far Atiya’s changes would go.
“Atiya, are you…”
Atiya shook her head even before Seon-Hyeok finished asking his question.
“No. I’m not a Spirit King.”
It would be a lie to say that he was not at all disappointed. However, such feelings only lingered for a moment.
So what if she isn’t a Spirit King?
The dedication and sacrifice she showed in the past were real, and that was more than enough for him. Seon-Hyeok smiled brightly and returned Atiya’s embrace.
“Welcome back, Atiya.”
The friendly wind spirit, his oldest ally and most reliable companion on the battlefield, had finally returned.
“Master, there’s something more important right now.”
As she spoke, Atiya backed away and looked straight at him.
“Will you enter a new contract with me?”
It seemed their existing contract had become nullified after she came in contact with the inheritance of the Spirit King.
Seon-Hyeok nodded without hesitation.
Atiya smiled brightly and reached out to touch his cheeks. With that, she kissed him softly on the forehead.
- You have entered a contract with the ancient wind spirit (Harpia), Atiya.
- Having come in contact with the inheritance left behind by the former Spirit King, Atiya has become a special entity closer to the source of her power than any other wind spirit.
- Of all current wind spirits, Atiya is the most likely candidate for the Wind Spirit King.
The messages even told him facts he did not know, and surprisingly, Atiya’s changes were still ongoing.
- However, until she fully inherits the legacy of the former Spirit King, Atiya is simply an ancient spirit. Her strength cannot greatly exceed the characteristics and limitations of ancient spirits.
Though she claimed that she was not a Spirit King, that was only true at the moment. There was a good chance that she could grow into one in the future.
- So long as Atiya remains in this world, her chances of becoming the Spirit King will decrease. If her absence from the spirit world grows long, the legacy of the former Spirit King may find another candidate in her place.
- Atiya must remain in the spirit world to fully absorb the legacy of the former Spirit King.
After hearing the subsequent messages, Seon-Hyeok understood why Atiya could not become the Spirit King.
It was all because of him.
There was no way the dedicated and loyal spirit could turn a blind eye to her master’s predicament. It was clear that out of concern for his safety, she abandoned her opportunity to become the next Spirit King and departed the spirit world.
Seon-Hyeok lamented, knowing that even at this very moment, Atiya was growing further away from her potential position as a Spirit King.
“That doesn’t matter at all to me.”
But strangely, Atiya showed no signs of regret or impatience.
“For me, this time is more precious than anything else.”
The foolish spirit was even smiling after refusing the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of her kind.
“You won’t regret it? You can still go back.”
When he suggested she could return now that she confirmed his well-being, she vigorously shook her head.
“No. I won’t go back.”
It was a stubborn refusal he had never seen before from her, and he could not understand why.
“Spirit Kings are different from spirits.”
“Spirit Kings are complete, individual beings without the need to enter contracts with others.”
Seon-Hyeok once again lamented, realizing why Atiya so desperately rejected his suggestion.
Seon-Hyeok tried to persuade Atiya for a while, but his efforts were in vain. It was almost surprising to see the usually gentle spirit show such stubbornness.
“Okay, we can worry about this more later.”
Atiya’s future(?) was important, but there was another matter to be resolved at the moment.
“Where the hell are we?”
All he could see were the blue skies and white clouds. There was no way for him to tell where or why he was here.
He could not even wake Redvern up and ask the wyvern, still sleeping even though Seon-Hyeok himself was awake. After all, the creature could not speak anyways, so he would be unable to get an answer through such means.
“You weren’t in good shape, so Redvern brought you all the way here.”
Fortunately, Atiya answered in the wyvern’s place. Clearly, she had joined them much earlier than Seon-Hyeok thought.
Come to think of it, he recalled summoning Redvern before he lost consciousness. At the time, he hoped the wyvern would bring him to the Qeishas, but it was clear the dim-witted creature transported its owner to the wrong place.
“This is towards the north of the continent. It’s probably the place Redvern once called home.”
Just as she said, this resting place on the sharp peak of a mountain was undeniably the wyvern’s nest.
Then again, what other bird in this world would build such a large nest like this?
“Redvern probably felt the safest place in the world was its old nest.”
She had a point. It was a good idea for the dumb wyvern. Aside from the fact that Redvern itself had been captured by Tristan’s group in this very area, it was solid reasoning on the wyvern’s part.
“Tristan did say he captured Redvern in the north.”
Though he knew that Redvern’s nest was in the north, Seon-Hyeok never heard exactly where on the continent it was situated.
He simply hoped for now that it was not too far from the west.
“I wonder what happened to Najima and the people.”
Having repelled the Dark Lord, the Qeishas would certainly have found a way out. His concern was about how many of the refugees would have survived the journey.
“I’ll have to head back immediately.”
After getting up, Seon-Hyeok first checked on his physical condition.
Though his body was stiff after being unconscious for a while, he judged that he was in reasonable shape.
Considering his extensive blood loss after drawing on an unmanageable amount of power, his body had recovered surprisingly well.
“I leveled up a lot.”
His level had been 32 not long ago, but it was now close to 39. It was a truly amazing rate of growth considering the short period of time since then.
That single confrontation with the demon king had resulted in 7 entire levels.
It was not particularly strange.
The Dark Lord he faced was the monster responsible for singlehandedly annihilating the west. He was a true powerhouse who fed on death and despair, and his level could not even be gauged. Defeating such a monster without the help of the dragon was a true miracle.
In addition, the demon king was not the only one he faced at the time. The Dark Lord had been flanked by tens of thousands of lesser demonic beings and dozens of demons - all of which were buried in the ground.
Given this, even if he was not a dragon knight, but rather an even slower-growing class, it would have been strange if he did not experience explosive growth after his endeavors.
Since he advanced at intervals of 10, it would not be long until he reached his 5th class advancement, if such a phenomenon existed.
“It’s not the time for this.”
After being lost in thought for a while, Seon-Hyeok shook his head and tried to wake Redvern.
But no matter how many times he called out, the slumbering wyvern refused to get up.
“Redvern was flying when I returned, and it did not stop once even after I got back. Well, at least not until it arrived here.”
The usually light-sleeping Redvern seemed to be in a particularly deep slumber, and it seemed this was because of the particularly arduous journey here.
“Do I need a little more time?”
He also needed additional time anyway. Though he did not feel as bad as he would have thought, it did not mean that he was in optimal condition.
The pain of having his bones crushed and his blood vessels torn apart was gone, but the lingering aftereffects remained.
Right now, he wondered whether he could use any of his skills properly, let alone his draconian transformation.
“I guess I was being crazy for a moment.”
He almost felt silly for trying to head west in his current state.
“I’ll have to rest a bit more.”
“Don’t worry and rest. I’ll watch over you and Redvern.”
Atiya seemed trustworthy as she clenched her fists and spoke with conviction.
“Then I’ll leave it to you.”
Drowsiness washed over him the moment he closed his eyes.
Fortunately, around the time that Seon-Hyeok came to his senses, Redvern likewise awoke from its slumber.
Perhaps it was glad to see its master, as Redvern hopped around the small nest and cried out loudly.
“You did well. I only survived because of you.”
Seon-Hyeok laughed as Redvern poked at his chest with its front legs, almost cute considering the creature’s size.
“I don’t know where this is, but we have to go back.”
Breaktime was over. It was time to fight once again.
At his command, Redvern cried out once again and spread its wings. With that, the wyvern began to flap vigorously.
“Let’s go to where we need to be.”
This was the moment the dragon knight, after being missing for a month, once again headed to the west.Previous Chapter Next Chapter