Episode 51. Proper Use of the Earth Attribute (2)

The trip to the royal capital finally came to an end. After their long march, Seon-Hyeok returned to the 24th Regiment garrison.

“Ah, home is the best.”

The garrison lacked the high-quality beds or the soft rugs provided at the capital. There were no servants ready to come running at the pull of a bedside rope. All they had were the cheap field beds and a damp, smelly blanket. However, he finally felt at home.

“I’m not even going to look towards the capital again. Bleh!”

“Ugh, the people at the capital are worse than the Noctein bastards!”

One soldier had been ripped off at a bar in the capital, and another was stressed trying to manage all of the interpersonal relationships. They all had different reasons, but it was clear that the trip did not leave them with many positive memories.

“Hey, you bastards. Get out and dust yourselves off first!”

Belatedly entering the barracks, Clark shouted as he saw the dust covering the air. However, the riders hugged their pillows as though they were reunited with star-crossed lovers, and they did not even think about getting up.

It was almost dusk when they finally crawled out of bed. They threw off their dusty coats and put on their new Drake Cavalry coats, gifted to them by the royal family.

It was a dark navy coat, darker than the standard blue uniforms given to the border cavalry, and had a yellow drake emblem on the shoulder instead of the number 24. The material used was far more luxurious as well, and they could easily be mistaken for the uniforms worn by named knights.

“Let’s go.”

Their earlier, disheveled appearance was nowhere to be found. They tidied up, as though they had promised Clark, and left the barracks.

The riders’ usual delinquent-like appearance was gone and replaced by a sharpness and spiritedness of an elite cavalry unit. They looked as though they were headed for the battlefield, but all they did was take a lap around the garrison.

“Oh! Drake Cavalry!”

“Sastein slayers!”

“Looks like you received new uniforms?”

The soldiers who came and went cheered after seeing them, and some chatted among themselves. The riders perked up their ears and listened to these cheers and conversations. Then, with arrogant expressions on their faces, they took another lap around the camp.

“Did you see that? The infantrymen’s eyes were huge!”

“Yeah. Isn’t this great?”

It was obvious they had only gone around to show off their new uniforms. If that hadn’t been the case, they would have no reason to circle the camp, and they wouldn’t have been so eager to eavesdrop on the other soldiers’ reactions.

After some more excited chatter, the riders took off their coats and hung them carefully on one side of the barracks. And then, they looked at the coats with proud expressions on their faces.

The joy of returning home lasted maybe all of a day, as did the pride of having their unit officially named.

“Ah, I’m so bored.”

“I’m going to die of boredom.”

The fact that they were now the Drake Cavalry and honorary knights made no difference to their daily lives. They were still just members of the 24th Regiment, and daily life in the camp remained horribly monotonous.

Perhaps the chaotic nature of their time at the capital had made them more susceptible.

In the meantime, however, there was one person who remained busy. It was Kim Seon-Hyeok.

“Are you heading out again?”

“Yes.”

The riders shook their heads as they watched him sneak out of the barracks.

“Don’t make the drake’s life too miserable. I know he’s a monster, but it’s too much.”

“I’m not bothering him.”

“Hey, you jerk. If you tried doing that to the Widowmaker, she would have run away a long time ago. I don’t understand how any cavalry could be so inconsiderate towards his mount.”

“That’s right. The drake’s a lot calmer now, so take care of him.”

The riders, not knowing Seon-Hyeok’s situation, scolded him for harassing Goldrake. Seon-Hyeok wasn’t sure whether it was because they felt fondly towards the drake after being named the Drake Cavalry, or whether they truly felt badly at his treatment of his mount, but he had nothing to say for himself.

It’s true that my actions would seem like abuse to any onlooker.

However, having achieved remarkable growth through the wind attribute, he couldn’t give up on improving his earth attribute control as well. Therefore, he ignored his comrades’ scolding and went to find Goldrake as usual.

Flinch.

Goldrake had been napping leisurely, but trembled in place once he found his owner after slowly opening his eyes. The sight of the drake reminded Seon-Hyeok of his comrades’ words, and he smiled bitterly.

“Let’s go. Whatever it is we end up doing, you should get something to eat first.”

Despite his obedience being at 100, Goldrake faltered before ultimately allowing Seon-Hyeok to get on.

“Oh? Hey, Seon-Hyeok.”

“It’s been a while, Jeong-Tae hyung.”

Seon-Hyeok momentarily slowed his pace when he saw a familiar face while leaving the camp. Kang Jeong-Tae immediately greeted him.

“I heard you were back, and I finally get to see you.”

Jeong-Tae had been a mess from the aftereffects of the preceding battle the last time they met, but he seemed to have recovered. His calm attitude made Seon-Hyeok wonder if this was really the same person.

“Yes. I’ve been busy, so I couldn’t come see you first. Sorry.”

“No, no. I’m sure you were busy. Oh, wait. I’m not allowed to speak to you like this anymore, right? I heard you’re a viscount now? And you’ve been knighted?”

Jeong-Tae’s words betrayed no feelings of inferiority or resentment, and this, in turn, was strange to Seon-Hyeok.

“No, it’s fine. It’s just between us, after all.”

“Thank you for saying that.”

The conversation trailed off. There was not much for them to say, since their relationship had been rocky and they had not spoken in a while. Seon-Hyeok’s emotions were complicated, realizing that they had gotten to this point a few short months after being used to relying on each other.

“Hyung. I’ll get going then.”

“Yeah. I’ll see you again. Your drake is awesome.”

Jeong-Tae’s words didn’t seem to mean much. Seon-Hyeok turned away.

“Seon-Hyeok.”

As he was getting ready to leave, Jeong-Tae grabbed him once again.

“Don’t you want to go back? Don’t you miss our world?”

Had he been forcing his calm tone until now? 

Seon-Hyeok did not respond to the foreigner’s agitated question.

He had a bitter taste in his mouth. Jeong-Tae had given up his hope of a rosy future and regressed to how they felt when they first arrived in this world. He felt sorry for the poor man who had been unprepared and coldly hit with reality. However, that was all. Seon-Hyeok could no longer empathize or feel the same way as Kang Jeong-Tae.

Unlike the others, he no longer had to look back.

“Seon-Hyeok! You’re nobility now! Help us? Huh? You have the power and ability to do that now, don’t you?”

Seon-Hyeok spurred Goldrake on as he listened to Jeong-Tae’s tearful shouts.

“Get us out of this hell!”

Seon-Hyeok’s mood turned for the worse after meeting his fellow foreigner. Even when Goldrake approached him with a resigned expression after finishing his meal, he just stood there with a blank face.

“Oh? Did you finish eating? Let’s go.”

He belatedly noticed Goldrake and climbed onto the saddle.

“Let’s just go running a bit today.”

For today, Seon-Hyeok wanted to forget about everything and just ride around. He passed the time on the drake’s back without issuing any specific commands.

“Sigh. I really do belong in the cavalry now, seeing as I feel better just riding around a bit.”

After his long ride, the complicated thoughts seemed to disappear. Seon-Hyeok realized this must be why people enjoyed driving in the other world. Running around without thinking felt much better than he imagined.

“Hm?”

His absentmindedness became a problem. He thought he was familiar with the area surrounding the garrison, but the plains and hills he saw in front of him felt completely foreign.

“Hey you, where did you bring me?”

Seon-Hyeok grabbed the reins, but Goldrake didn’t stop walking.

“Let’s go. Unless we head back now, we’ll really get lost.”

However, Goldrake kept ignoring him. This was the first time Goldrake had blatantly ignored a command since his obedience reached 100.

“Hey, you jerk. Are you upset because I’ve been treating you too harshly? I’ll go easier on you…”

Seon-Hyeok alternated between trying to calm down and intimidate his drake. However, Goldrake did not stop moving toward the hills.

“Huh?”

There was a reason for Goldrake’s disobedience. Goldrake wasn’t being careless or rebelling against Seon-Hyeok’s prior abuse.

“What the hell is this…”

Seon-Hyeok felt a strange, yet familiar, sensation. It reminded him of the day he had discovered the wind attribute, but it was different. Unlike the soft, refreshing, and light-feeling wind attribute, the strange sensation that he felt was heavier and more rugged.

“Earth attribute?”

There was no other answer. However, there were only two attributes, wind and earth, that he could perceive, and this was most certainly not the wind.

Growl.

Goldrake growled as if to answer.

“Did you come here because you felt this?”

This time, Goldrake showed no reaction. He simply hastened his movements to climb on top of the hill.

“Uh.”

And suddenly, the drake dropped onto the ground. Seon-Hyeok jumped out of the saddle in surprise, afraid he might get crushed under the drake.

“You really do all sorts of weird things…”

Seon-Hyeok looked dumbfounded as he watched the drake throw his owner off and roll along the ground. But at that moment, Seon-Hyeok received a message.

- You have discovered an earth vein.

- The rich earth energy contained within the earth vein is an excellent source of nutrients for the drake.

- The earth attribute control has broken through its soft cap.

- Attribute control (Earth) has increased by 1.

- Attribute control (Earth) has increased by 1.

- Attribute control (Earth) has increased by 1.

What in the world were earth veins and earth energy? 

Before Seon-Hyeok could even gather his thoughts, his earth attribute control had risen to 30 in an instant.

- Attribute control (Earth) has increased by 1.

- Attribute control (Earth) has increased by 1.

The messages did not stop there. The level kept increasing until it reached 40, where it suddenly stopped.

- Earth attribute control has increased from 22 to 40 at once.

- As a result of the increased earth attribute control, you are now able to generate power of the attribute at will.

- The attribute will now apply to certain skills.

- You may now imbue weapons with earth energy. Your defense has slightly improved.

Just as the messages stopped appearing, Goldrake, who had been rolling leisurely along the ground, got up.

Burp.

As he rose, Goldrake loudly burped as though he had just eaten a huge meal. Surprised, Seon-Hyeok opened his status window to check.

- Dragons Tamed

o Drake(Goldrake)(Earth) / Obedience 100

§ Condition – Full, Happy, Satisfied

The drake really was full. The issue of his appetite, which could not even be satisfied by large cows or house-sized monsters, had finally been resolved.

Seon-Hyeok felt dejected. Until now, he had essentially been feeding the drake snacks without understanding that earth energy was the drake’s staple food. He frowned as he belatedly realized this fact.

Burp.

Goldrake kept burping, blissfully unaware of his owner’s feelings.

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