Episode 49. Goldrake (2)

The long-awaited day of leaving the capital finally drew near. Seon-Hyeok had already collected the rewards for his wartime achievements, and he had received the additional wealth the king had promised him from an official in the capital.

All that remained was the ‘wish’ that the king had promised to grant.

“Please fight me.”

Marquis Reinhardt looked dazed at Seon-Hyeok’s abrupt request.

“His Majesty has already given his word, so Sir Reinhardt shall not refuse Viscount Drachen’s request.”

The royal princess was a more frequent visitor since naming the drake, and she explained to Lord Reinhardt what the king had promised.

“This kid has lost his fear.”

The marquis snorted. His expression seemed to ask how someone as insignificant as Seon-Hyeok dared to challenge him.

“Please let me attack you three times first.”

“That, too, has been promised by His Majesty.”

Although Marquis Reinhardt seemed reluctant, he was unwilling to break his king’s promise and accepted Seon-Hyeok’s bizarre requests.

“I’m a rider, so I will fight you while mounted.”

“You sure demand a lot. Do as you please. The result will be the same.”

His answer exuded confidence. When the marquis gave his permission, Seon-Hyeok climbed onto the horse he had prepared in advance.

“But at least you’re a man with some backbone. If you had challenged me believing in the power of a mount, I would have smashed your legs immediately.”

The marquis commented in surprise as Seon-Hyeok climbed onto an ordinary horse rather than his drake. He wasn’t sure whether the comment was meant as intimidation or praise.

“I’m telling you just in case, but His Majesty has assured me that there would be no retaliation, no matter what the outcome may be.”

“So the mouse is concerned about the cat’s well-being. I’d worry about myself if I were you.”

The marquis snorted in derision, and Seon-Hyeok gave a wry smile.

“Then I’ll get started.”

“You talk too much.”

At the blunt response, Seon-Hyeok lowered his visor, tucked his cavalry spear under his arm, and assumed a charging stance.

“Hiyah!”

With a shout, he spurred his horse on and quickly lunged at the knight.

“Wind Piercing.”

The power of the attribute, gathered without any advance notice, was powerful and sharp. However, Marquis Reinhardt was a powerful man entrusted with the safety of the royal family, and he completely thwarted the attack with a brilliant flash from his sword.

“Two more, kid.”

“Ugh. I’m going again.”

Having backed off to a sufficient distance, Seon-Hyeok once again spurred on his horse and gathered the power of the wind. When the energy gathered at the tip of his spear, he once again used his Wind Piercing ability. However, the result remained the same. The attribute power was unable to overcome the brilliant light from the marquis’ sword, and became swallowed up instead.

“One last chance.”

The marquis seemed at ease, having grasped the extent of Seon-Hyeok’s power from his first two strikes. Then again, it would’ve been strange if the marquis, one of the most prominent individuals within the kingdom, was afraid of an attack from someone whose skills were barely on the level of a senior knight.

“Wind Piercing.”

At his whisper, a whirlwind once against formed at the tip of Seon-Hyeok’s spear. The marquis gave him a blatant look of disappointment.

It was natural.

On the surface, Seon-Hyeok seemed to be foolishly repeating his failed attacks. It was normal for it to seem foolish and stupid. However, that was only true from an outsider’s point of view. Seon-Hyeok had other thoughts.

“Atiya.”

‘Leave it to me!’

Just before the raging light from the marquis’ sword and Seon-Hyeok’s own ability collided, he imbued his weapon with Atiya, the spirit he had discreetly summoned. Just as she did when Seon-Hyeok fought against the Noctein senior knight, Atiya threw herself onto the spear, adding an incredible power to the weapon before disappearing.

The power of the attribute was magnified in an instant, but Seon-Hyeok was not satisfied.

“Wind Bite.”

He used the trump card he kept in reserve during his previous two attempts.

Roar!

With the signature roar of the Wind Bite ability, a gale incomparable to his previous attacks was fired at the marquis. His opponent remained unshaken as he raised his sword.

The brilliant flash of light once again rose in all directions and tore at the wind. However, the gale did not dissipate so easily this time, and it bared its teeth through the counterattack.

A sharp, ripping noise tore through the area. White dust rose and swallowed up everything in range.

Sigh. Even this didn’t work.

At first glance, it was worth wondering whether the attack had fully reached its target, but Seon-Hyeok knew inside that it was not the case. Nonetheless, he had finally been able to break through the marquis’ ability. It was only a few small gusts of wind that passed through, but it was enough to rip the marquis’ clothes and mess up his hair.

“You bastard!”

The marquis’ face was contorted in anger, having fended off the attack but still unable to prevent the foreigner from making him pay for his overconfidence. The sword he gripped was rapidly gaining a tremendous amount of energy. If left unchecked, Seon-Hyeok would be in a precarious situation, but he seemed calm rather than intimidated.

“I lost.”

“Wait. What?”

“I accept defeat. Thank you for your consideration in allowing a powerless person like me to get a glimpse of your tremendous swordsmanship.”

“What the hell are you saying…”

The marquis was enraged and prepared to lash out, but the royal princess stepped up to stop him.

“His Majesty hopes that Viscount Drachen does not come to harm, and had agreed that he could stop the fight at any point by admitting defeat.”

What bullshit was this?

The marquis looked on in bewilderment as the princess spoke. However, he quickly grasped the situation, and his face crumpled.

The black-haired foreigner bowed politely and thanked him, but the faint smile he gave contained a sense of satisfaction. It was at that moment the marquis realized what his opponent had aimed for from the start.

‘I will answer kindness with trust, and ill-will with justice.’

He remembered what the foreigner had sworn when he was knighted. His words were packaged nicely at the time, but its meaning was simple.

‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’

It was no different from saying he would give back as much as he received. Seon-Hyeok seemed to be living those values.

***

Ah, I finally feel like I’m going to live.

Since coming to the capital, not a single person had respected Seon-Hyeok’s opinions. Everyone had tried to use and take advantage of him, without consideration for what he thought or felt. It was an immense source of stress throughout his stay, and his anger had been bubbling inside.

‘Speak. I will grant you what you desire.’

It was at that time that the king promised to grant him a wish. As soon as he heard those words, Seon-Hyeok saw an opportunity.

It was too much to try and get something out of his wish. Even though he realized the king was a reasonable man, he didn’t want to receive this kind of special consideration. Instead, he made a trivial wish that would make the king feel as though the reward was insufficient.

He wished for a ‘safe’ fight against the marquis.

It was his timid way of getting revenge on the marquis for intimidating him, and a means of comparing his abilities to those of the truly superhuman beings of this kingdom.

In the end, he felt he was half-successful. He had succeeded in getting revenge on the marquis, but he realized how insignificant his strength was. Seon-Hyeok felt both a sense of relief and dissatisfaction.

However, he had hope.

[Kim Seon-Hyeok]

- Level. 7

- Dragon Rider

- Unique Attribute:

o Wind / Attribute Control 99

§ Wind Bite

§ Wind Body

§ Wind Spirit

o Earth / Attribute Control 4

- Spirits Contracted

o Low-tier Wind Spirit (Atiya)

- Dragons Tamed

o Drake(Goldrake)(Earth) / Obedience 100

§ Condition – Hunger, Vigilant, Discomfort

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

- Possessed Skills

o …

Seon-Hyeok focused on the newly added ‘earth’ attribute. This new attribute had also replaced the question mark that was previously next to the drake. He had uncovered further potential for growth.

This was all thanks to the royal princess, Ophelia. If she had not suggested the terrible name of Goldrake on that day, he might have fruitlessly searched in all the wrong places for a way to overcome the soft limit for the drake’s obedience.

She was a troublesome child, but it was clear he was indebted to her.

However, as always, there were new problems that needed to be overcome. The wind attribute could be strengthened by riding horses and feeling the wind in his hands. On the other hand, he couldn’t figure out how to develop the power over the earth attribute.

“Ugh. Do I have to dig in the ground or something?”

He wondered whether he had to throw his body into the elements, just like he did with the wind. He decided he would experiment with this new attribute as soon as he returned to camp.

The day of their departure finally arrived. Seon-Hyeok, humming as he packed, realized he had a guest. It was the child princess, Ophelia.

“I heard Goldrake doesn’t have a proper saddle or armor yet. I worried that he, the symbol of your cavalry unit, will come to harm, and so I had this made. Please use it well.”

At this time, the princess’ expression was truly childlike. Her formal manner of speaking remained the same, but her face suggested that she wanted to put the saddle and armor on the drake immediately.

The helmet was decorated with magnificent golden horns, and the armor surrounding the chest and limbs were decorated with flashy, yet tasteful, wave patterns. The drake looked even more powerful wearing this new, luxurious armor.

“Oh, this is indeed the work of a skilled craftsman. I feared there would be flaws in the armor because it was made with such a short deadline, but it’s as expected of an expert.”

In reality, there was no better armor for the drake than the tough scales that covered its body, but Seon-Hyeok held his tongue as he watched the royal princess admiring the armor like a little child.

“I hope you stay healthy and safe until we next meet, brave Goldrake.”

The princess hesitated to say goodbye to the drake, and in that moment, she truly resembled a child. Seon-Hyeok, feeling sad at the sight, cautiously promised her that he would visit the capital again with Goldrake when he had the chance.

“The present farewell is in preparation for our future reunion, so I will happily await your return.”

The royal princess’ manner of speaking did not change until the very end. In the end, Seon-Hyeok received the honor of being personally sent off by the princess because he was Goldrake’s owner.

“Then let’s get going.”

The Mangsk commander and the accompanying forces waiting outside the palace began their march.

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