Episode 37. Drake of the Frost Peak (1)

An upright head full of arrogance, with a ferocious gaze.

A giant, powerful body armed with colorful scales, with a sulfurous breath as hot as flames.

This was what Seon-Hyeok imagined drakes to be. He thought that despite having lost their wings and being unable to fly, they would be apex predators without equal on the ground.

“Huh?”

But what was this drake in front of him?

The dull, half-closed eyes lacked focus, and the scales lining its emaciated body seemed as though they’d crumble at the lightest touch. He wouldn’t have been shocked if the drake stopped breathing at a moment’s notice. Those terrifying flames he had imagined were out of the question.

The drake, with his head hanging lifelessly, was dying.

-          The dragon taming skill has been activated.

-          You are now able to interact with the drake.

This was the first time his class-specific dragon taming skill had activated. Thanks to this, Seon-Hyeok was able to get a glimpse of the drake’s condition.

-          Hungry, weak, on the verge of starvation

Seon-Hyeok was shocked after seeing the drake’s current state. He was dying of starvation.

“What the hell is this?”

He had given up his valuable vacation to come to this remote place. He had climbed this damned peak using all his strength, and he had finally met the drake. However, despite his excitement and anticipation, the drake he encountered was so weak that he could die at any moment.

As he looked at the drake barely breathing and with a blank expression, the drake’s status suddenly changed.

-          Hunger, appetite, desperation

Growl.

The drake raised its drooping head and growled ferociously.

The immense pressure made Seon-Hyeok wonder whether this was the same dying drake he saw moments earlier. It was as though he was using the last of his energy upon seeing prey march into his territory.

‘Hyah!’

The drake’s momentum did not last. Atiya flew up in the air with a shout, and the drake’s head immediately drooped onto the ground once again. He resembled an inflatable sky dancer flopping down, all the air taken out of its body.

-          Exhaustion, resignation, despair

Seon-Hyeok belatedly came to his senses after seeing the drake’s state. The current emotions were significantly stronger than the ones before.

He needed to save the drake.

Nibble. Nibble.

The drake didn’t devour his food. His mouth was large enough to bite and swallow a fully grown pig whole, but he nibbled at his food like a rabbit. Seon-Hyeok found himself laughing at the ridiculous sight.

The ridiculousness of the drake’s behavior did not detract from his otherwise terrifying appearance, however. Naturally, Seon-Hyeok did not dare put his hands between the drake’s huge jaws, and so, it was Atiya who ultimately stepped up.

‘That’s right. Good boy.’

Atiya seemed at ease feeding soaked jerky through the frightening muzzle, as though she was feeding a puppy. The only unusual part was that the ‘puppy’ was simply too big.

“Well, this isn’t going to be enough.”

The drake’s condition did not improve, despite Seon-Hyeok emptying the contents of his bag. Because he was so big, there was no way that the jerky meant for human consumption would be sufficient.

“Ugh.”

Seon-Hyeok, after looking back and forth between the drake and the ground at the base of the Frost Peak, groaned and set down his bag.

“Just wait a bit. I’ll be right back.”

“Ugh. I think I’m really going to die now.”

Seon-Hyeok lay spread-eagle on the ground and complained. He was exhausted, having gone back to the campsite to get food for the drake.

However, the trip was rewarding.

The drake, previously seeming to be on the verge of death, had regained some of his vitality. Seon-Hyeok made a satisfied expression, watching light slowly return to the drake’s unfocused eyes. However, this only lasted for a moment.

“You ungrateful bastard!”

Seon-Hyeok had brought as much as he could, but it wasn’t enough to fill the drake’s stomach. Instead, the ungrateful monster seemed to have decided to take care of his hunger himself. He approached, mouth open wide, and Seon-Hyeok twisted around in surprise.

Snap.

Watching the drake’s maw snap shut in front of him, Seon-Hyeok grew angry and smacked the exposed head.

“Ack!”

However, it was only Seon-Hyeok who was hurt after hitting the drake covered in tough scales. He screamed in pain and jumped up to get away.

“Stop! You ungrateful lizard bastard!”

It wasn’t difficult to dodge the drake’s attacks because the monster was in a weakened state, but it wasn’t an ideal location to fight. The summit of the Frost Peak wasn’t particularly wide, and every time the massive drake moved around, chunks of rock toppled down to the ground below.

“It’ll collapse! It’ll collapse!”

There was a saying to be careful of what you wish for. And indeed, Seon-Hyeok’s words were becoming reality. As the drake thrashed about, a portion of the peak collapsed. Seon-Hyeok felt a cold sweat as he barely avoided the falling rock.

But thankfully, the drake stopped, as though it also knew to be careful.

“Calm down, okay? Good boy. I’m here to help… ugh. This is so annoying.”

His emotions bubbled up as he spoke. He felt this was incredibly unfair. He had come all this way with great expectations for the drake, but all that awaited him here was a dying monster. Not only that, Seon-Hyeok had saved the drake’s life, but now he was being ungrateful and treating the foreigner as his next meal.

Seon-Hyeok hadn’t come all this way to do this, and this felt like a reality check.

‘Good boy. Master’s not a bad person.’

The monster’s gaze softened as Atiya stepped up and whispered to him.

-          On guard

Seon-Hyeok’s face crumpled once again. Nonetheless, he didn’t forget his goal in coming here, and he tried to figure out a way.

And finally, he came up with the solution.

“I am your master. I am your master.”

Just as he had once spoken to the temperamental Widowmaker, he spoke to the drake and tried to exert his strong will.

At that moment, his dragon taming skill activated once again.

-          Dragon taming has been activated.

-          You are attempting to tame a subspecies of dragon, which has been banished from the skies and forced to land.

-          You have failed.

Seon-Hyeok did not give up. Whether or not he succeeded, he kept talking to the drake.

“What are you going to do if I leave? You’ll really die out here.”

-          Dragon taming has been activated.

-          You have attempted to tame the drake.

-          You have failed.

The failure notification appeared once again, but he ignored it and kept trying.

***

-          Dragon taming has been activated.

-          You have attempted to tame the drake.

-          The drake is hesitating.

How much time had passed? The repeated failure messages finally began to change.

-          Dragon taming has been activated.

-          You have attempted to tame the drake.

-          The drake is wavering.

Seeing this new message, Seon-Hyeok brought out his trump card.

“Good boy. That’s right. If you come with me, you’ll be able to eat as much of this as you want.”

Seon-Hyeok took out the emergency rations he had held onto until the last minute and shook it in front of the drake’s eyes. With a gulp, the drake stuck out his snout.

“Oh, not a chance. You need to give me something in return. Let’s keep our manners here.”

He pulled his hand back and flung the jerky. Atiya snatched it from midair and flew about giggling.

Roll.

The drake’s eyes were large, just like his body. As Seon-Hyeok watched the drake’s gaze follow the moving jerky, he could imagine the sound of a ball rolling.

“Will you come? Or not?”

The drake’s gaze, after following Atiya for a while, suddenly turned to him. The eyes, now absent of any hunger or ferocity, were unbelievably clear for that of a monster. Seon-Hyeok stared back, as if being sucked into them.

[I will follow.]

The drake’s thoughts weren’t in any specific language, but rather just expressed his will. Seon-Hyeok celebrated after hearing the thought in his head.

“Hell yeah!”

A message appeared even before he finished celebrating.

-          Dragon taming has been successful!

-          You have tamed the drake!

-          The drake is not completely subservient to you, but you have nonetheless succeeded in forming a relationship with a subspecies of dragon.

In the future, if anyone asked him how he tamed this ferocious monster, he would answer without hesitation.

Nobody’s immune to hunger.

Seon-Hyeok had succeeded in taming the drake, but there was still a bigger problem awaiting him.

“How the hell do I bring this drake down the mountain?”

It was already difficult going up and down the mountain by himself. Doing so while carrying the drake was simply impossible.

Just in case, he tested out his options using Atiya’s abilities. However, despite being emaciated, the drake’s giant body was too heavy for a low-tier spirit to carry.

“How the hell did you get up here?”

At this point, he wondered how the drake had dragged his huge body up to this desolate place. But after his successful taming, the drake stopped conveying his will – only occasionally sharing his emotions.

-          Hunger

“All you ever think about is eating!”

The drake’s thoughts did nothing to help resolve his dilemma.

***

“What’s he doing up there?”

Hansen’s eyes were filled with anxiety as he looked up from the campsite to the Frost Peak. Less than half a day ago, he had heard a tremendous roar. It felt as though the mountain would collapse at any moment, but it had been silent since then.

“Huh?”

Hansen nervously stared at the peak for a long time, and his eyes grew wide as he saw a huge object poking its head out from the summit.

“Can anyone see that?”

“What? What is it?”

The other members of the party also ran out to stare at the monster that emerged from the peak.

“Get back! You could get hurt!”

At that moment, a welcome voice was heard from above. Seon-Hyeok’s voice was exceptionally clear, even despite the fierce wind, and everyone stepped back before they knew it.

“Then we’re going!”

Before they could even realize what was coming, a giant object fell from the peak.

Boom!

With a tremendous roar, a monster fell onto the snow-covered ground. The group squinted at the beast and spoke among themselves.

“What is that?”

They approached the unidentified object, which was curled up into a ball, with trepidation. Once again, Seon-Hyeok could be heard from above.

“Is he alive? Dead?”

At that moment, the motionless drake twisted his body.

I, I think he’s alive?”

They answered without knowing what in the world was going on. Seon-Hyeok then responded.

“Don’t get close to him until I get down!”

The curled up monster raised his head.

“Ack!”

“M, monster!”

The people who made contact with the giant, monstrous drake screamed in terror.

***

I, I think he’s alive?”

Seon-Hyeok breathed a sigh of relief after hearing Hansen’s answer, carried to him by his Wind Spirit ability. He had to take a risk because there was no other way to bring the drake down, and luckily, he seemed to have succeeded.

In any case, his method wasn’t anything special. He trusted in the drake’s strong body and simply pushed him from the peak. Normally, the drake would not have been able to endure the crash no matter how tough his body might be, but Atiya was able to reduce the impact and avoid an inevitable death.

It was a feat achieved with his attribute control and mental fortitude. However, his efforts resulted in him being exhausted and Atiya being recalled.

“Ah, now the problem is getting down there myself.”

Seon-Hyeok sighed as he stared down the mountain.

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