Episode 39. Drake of the Frost Peak (3)

There were still a few empty patches, but the previously fragile looking scales were now glossy. Once gaunt, the drake now seemed much livelier.

His head had once seemed too large for his body, but his proportions seemed reasonable now. The drake had previously waddled like an ostrich, but now, he seemed much more powerful and authoritative in his movements.

Thanks to Seon-Hyeok’s efforts, the drake seemed worthy of being called a subspecies of dragon.

The drake was a tremendous eater. In the beginning, he had been so starved that he was tempted by a few pieces of jerky, but as time passed, he became more forceful in complaining about his hunger. In fact, he had even resorted to stopping in his tracks during their journey.

Ultimately, Seon-Hyeok was forced to hunt to find food for the drake. However, this was not easy. Hansen was not a particularly skilled hunter, and Seon-Hyeok did not have any experience at all. He had to search the plains, doing his best impression of a hunter, and the food he managed to find was barely enough to appease the drake for even a short while.

They truly struggled. He fed the drake and fed him some more, and eventually, Seon-Hyeok resorted to hunting monsters when animals could not be found.

The unidentified monsters found on these plains were armed with deadly claws and fangs, and some were even venomous. They ranged from the size of large dogs to monsters even bigger than the drake. The monsters all differed in appearance, but they were all powerful beings that could not be handled by average soldiers.

Seon-Hyeok was able to realize something during this journey. The world that he imagined to be safe was full of terrible monsters, and humans were nothing more than tasty meals for these beasts.

Fortunately, however, he was no average human. Though difficult, he was able to defeat these monsters using Atiya and the overwhelming stats of a dragon rider. As if to demonstrate how arduous the process was, he even managed to level up in the process.

The drake devoured the monsters Seon-Hyeok acquired through his struggles. After this process repeated itself a number of times, the drake regained enough strength to assist in the hunt. However, this did not mean the drake was at full strength. He was no more than a giant meat shield, and in the end, it was Seon-Hyeok who continued to do the heavy lifting.

Around the time Seon-Hyeok finally became numb to the disgusting smell of the monsters and their blood, the drake suddenly collapsed.

The foreigner waited an entire day in that state, wondering if he had fed something wrong to his new drake. Thankfully, the drake got up after some time, as though nothing had happened.

That was when the drake really began to change.

Having wasted too much time, they had to pick up their pace once again. As they traveled, the drake’s scales began to fall off.

“What’s going on? Are you losing your scales?”

Seon-Hyeok panicked, wondering if the drake was losing its scales out of old age. However, he had nothing to worry about.

As the days passed, new, glossy scales began to appear where flimsy ones previously existed.

“Are you shedding?”

Only then did he realize that the drake’s transformation was similar to a reptile shedding its skin.

After coming to this realization, Seon-Hyeok worked extra hard to feed the drake and satisfy his appetite.

The end result of his struggles was the majestic drake the riders saw today.

“M, monster!”

It seemed as though the drake’s transformation had been too dramatic. Seon-Hyeok saw the riders, who had been waiting anxiously for their return, panic and scramble for their weapons.

“No! No! It’s not a monster!”

He tried to stop them, but the drake decided to roar at that very moment.

Roar.

The drake cried out ferociously, as if displeased by the hostility aimed at him. The garrison erupted in chaos, with emergency bells on the watchtowers clanging in response.

“It’s the enemy!”

“Archers to the watchtower! Infantry to defensive positions!”

Seon-Hyeok was almost in tears as he saw the soldiers hurriedly rush to their positions, as though recalling the lessons of their previous battle.

“I’m screwed.”

***

The chaos that befell the peaceful camp only dissipated after the company commander himself stepped up. Seon-Hyeok was only able to nod as a brief greeting towards Clark and his other comrades before he was taken to the commander’s barracks.

There, he explained in detail what he had gone through, and fortunately, the commander congratulated him instead of harping on his late return.

“I’m surprised. I heard there are griffin riders in some faraway kingdom even beyond the Noctein territory, but I’ve never heard of anyone riding a drake.”

As the company commander praised him, waxing on about the true strength of a dragon rider, Seon-Hyeok felt inwardly proud, knowing that there was still a real dragon out there, one much greater than the drake he had brought today.

Even so, he couldn’t help but smile.

“I understand. Military discipline is important, but we can be understanding of extenuating circumstances. I’ll overlook your transgression this time.”

Seon-Hyeok let out a sigh of relief, but it proved premature.

“However, unlike you, Hansen can’t avoid disciplinary action.”

“W, why!”

Hansen had been standing behind him, and he looked like he had been struck by lightning.

“If there was an extenuating circumstance like this, you could have come first to report on the situation. I think it was definitely possible for you to get back in time, don’t you think?”

Seon-Hyeok was busy caring for the drake, but Hansen was just being thoughtless. He couldn’t find a way to contradict the commander’s words.

“Reduced pay for two months, and special heavy cavalry training for two weeks.”

The punishment for being careless was to suffer physically, and such was the case for Hansen.

“Whew. Still, it’s a relief. I thought I’d be demoted.”

However, Hansen, who had managed to maintain his positivity even when he was injured or lost his front teeth, seemed relieved instead of complaining about his situation.

“That’s a drake? How did you tame him?”

“Can dragon riders normally ride drakes?”

“Does he bite?”

“Can you let someone else ride him too?”

Seon-Hyeok was barraged with questions. 

How many times did he need to answer the same question? 

He was exhausted, hearing the same questions from everyone he met. He barely managed to escape after saying that the drake, if left alone, could cause a disturbance.

“Sigh.”

He sighed as he looked at the drake currently locked up in a warehouse in case of a possible disturbance. The monster seemed at ease, head on the ground as he snored away.

“Ugh. I think I’m going to die.”

He was belatedly feeling the effects of his earlier stunt. He had wanted a grand entrance, and so, he had appeared in front of the 24th Regiment while riding the drake that wasn’t even fully tamed yet. This all caught up to him at once.

Unlike horses, drakes were not a pleasant mount for humans. A drake shook both up and down and side to side as it moved, making it uncomfortable and difficult to maintain one’s balance. In addition, his drake wasn’t completely obedient to him yet, and thus, he jumped up from time to time, trying to throw his rider off.

“But they were so surprised…”

However, it had been rewarding. Seon-Hyeok felt proud as he recalled the surprise his comrades felt upon seeing the drake. It was as though the anger and sorrow he had felt for being assigned the strange ‘dragon rider’ class had all disappeared at once.

-          Level. 7

-          Dragon Rider

-          Unique Attribute: Wind / Attribute Control 99

o   Wind Bite

o   Wind Body

o   Wind Spirit

-          Spirits Contracted

o   Low-tier Wind Spirit (Atiya)

-          Dragons Tamed

o   Drake(?) / Obedience 53

§  Condition – Hunger, Peaceful, Sleeping

-          Strength 29 / Stamina 28 / Agility 31 / Magic Resistance 37

-          Possessed Skills

o   Dragon Taming

o   Dragon Riding (Low Tier)

o   Charging (Wind)

o   Wind Piercing (Wind)

o   Attribute Weapons Mastery (Mid Tier)

o   Advanced Horsemanship

§  Advanced Horsemanship + Charging = Complete Charging (Wind)

o   Standard Kingdom Spearmanship (High Tier) (Wind) ←→ Standard Kingdom Cavalry Spearmanship (High Tier) (Wind)

o   Standard Kingdom Swordsmanship (Low Tier) (Wind) ←→ Standard Kingdom Cavalry Swordsmanship (Low Tier) (Wind)

o   Heavy Armor Proficiency (30kg) ←→ Heavy Cavalry Armor Proficiency (75kg)

o   Infantry Shield Proficiency (High Tier) ←→ Cavalry Shield Proficiency (High Tier)

o   Manual Labor / Civil Engineering (High Tier)

It was the first time in a while he had opened his status window, and much had changed. Most noticeable among the changes was the drake’s status. Seon-Hyeok sighed as he looked at the sleeping drake.

“I’ll have to stay in the military to feed this thing.”

Seon-Hyeok had already been wavering in his desire to leave the military, but now that he had an excuse, he was able to reach his final decision.

***

“So this is the drake.”

The commander of Fort Mangsk came to the garrison. It seemed as though news had already spread.

“I’ve heard stories, but I never knew there was one in our kingdom. He looks as ferocious as I’ve been told.”

“Yes. That’s true.”

Seon-Hyeok almost laughed. He wondered how the commander would have reacted if he saw the drake in his original state, emaciated and with a bloated stomach. However, it was true that the drake’s current appearance was quite dignified, so he held back his laughter and responded.

“Can others ride him as well by any chance?”

“He’s not completely obedient yet, so it’s not possible at the moment. It might be down the line, but it doesn’t seem very likely.”

It was probably significant that he had the dragon rider class. He was only able to establish a relationship with the drake after repeated use of the dragon taming skill. As such, he didn’t think that people without similar skills could ever ride a drake.

“That’s unfortunate. If it were possible, I would’ve used all of my resources to gather all the drakes out there.”

As expected, the commander only thought about the future of the kingdom.

“So how was your vacation? Did you change your mind after seeing how the common people live?”

The commander belatedly asked Seon-Hyeok after observing the drake for a while.

“Some parts changed, but others didn’t.”

“That’s pretty ambiguous. Have you decided then?”

Seon-Hyeok hesitated a moment at the commander’s response, but he soon answered in a confident tone.

“I’ll stay.”

The commander smiled brightly at his answer. It seemed as though he was twice as happy now. Not only did the talented foreigner agree to remain in the military, but he had also tamed this ferocious monster. Seon-Hyeok continued as he looked at the commander’s smiling face.

“So about those titles and lands. I’ll accept them all.”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter