Episode 74. Sea Dragon (2)

The captain and crew of the Undutiful Son weren’t particularly patient by nature. They unhesitatingly showed their true colors the moment the ship left the harbor and entered the vast sea.

“H, how? I’m sure I used enough to put everyone to sleep for two days?”

Seon-Hyeok smirked when he heard the captain hesitatingly speak after trying to attack the guest cabins.

“I have a friend here who’s a bit sensitive to smells.”

From the moment he got on board, no, rather, from the moment he arrived at Rugenburg, Seon-Hyeok never let Atiya out of his sight. Thanks to this, they were able to recognize the sleep incense the captain used and blow it away from their quarters.

“We surrender! We surrender!”

The captain immediately surrendered upon realizing their plan had gone astray. Seon-Hyeok was almost taken aback by the abrupt change in judgment.

“Shouldn’t you draw your blades and try to struggle a little bit?”

“We neither plan to, nor want to. Please forgive us.”

It was evident that the captain already heard the rumors of Seon-Hyeok’s fight on land. Otherwise, the dozens of sailors would not have surrendered so readily against a party less than half their size.

“We won’t try anything else, and we will take you where you asked, sir.”

“There’s no guaranteeing that you won’t try it again.”

“That’s true, but aren’t you stuck here and unable to get back to land without us?”

Clearly, the captain had a bargaining chip he believed in.

“Please forgive us.”

The mean-spirited captain looked relaxed, as though he was the only armed person in this negotiation. Then again, his words weren’t incorrect. It would be impossible for this ship, without its captain and crew, to reach its destination in this vast sea. No, in fact, it wouldn’t even be possible to return to port, let alone reach the sea serpent.

“Balboa.”

However, Seon-Hyeok had not boarded this ship carelessly.

“Yes, sir.”

Balboa had been evacuated from the room in advance, once Seon-Hyeok noticed the impending threat. The sailor approached him.

“Pick out the necessary ones from among them.”

“By necessary…”

“The minimum number of people needed to sail this ship.”

The captain and crew of the Undutiful Son turned deathly pale, belatedly realizing what the foreigner had meant. On the other hand, Balboa looked over the crew with an excited expression.

“We’ll only need five. One helmsman and four people to man the decks.”

“T, there’s no way a ship without its captain could reach its destination safely! Please reconsider!”

This time, the crew was quicker to judge the situation than their captain.

“I’m this ship’s helmsman!”

“I’m good with the sails, and with chores!”

“If you spare me, I won’t try anything again!”

“Y, you’ll need a navigator…”

Seeing the sailors stick out their arms while pleading to be chosen, the captain belatedly stepped in as well.

“I’m the one who knows this ship best. It won’t be easy to run this ship without me.”

“Well, that’s a problem. I was thinking of only sparing five of you, but I’ll have no choice but to pick the captain for one of those spots. What do you think?”

This question wasn’t directed at Balboa.

“We don’t need a guy like that!”

“The captain’s only good for drinking and being condescending! I know a hundred times more about sailing!”

“There isn’t a less competent captain than him. Don’t trust a guy who’s only good at luring passengers into the sea.”

There were fifteen crew members, but only five could live. The crewmates desperately spoke about the captain’s incompetence, worried that they might miss their chance to survive because of him.”

“So that’s how it is.”

“Eek! I’m the owner of this ship! You dare try this on my ship!”

The captain drew his sword as the situation turned against him. However, the resistance didn’t last. One of the sailors clubbed the captain on the back of the head and knocked him unconscious.

“Balboa. Finish what you were doing.”

Balboa picked five of the crew members, and the rest, including the captain, were gathered in one location and put to sleep using the incense.

“Hm. He seems talented.”

Balboa was a better sailor than Seon-Hyeok expected. The party didn’t feel the absence of the captain and navigator, and Balboa skillfully commanded the five remaining sailors as though he had been the captain from the start.

The midnight raid thus came to an abrupt end.

“Not too much longer now.”

The only point of concern was that Balboa, already showing occasional signs of mental breakdown, became increasingly deranged as they approached their destination.

“Hang in there, Balboa.”

At first, Seon-Hyeok thought Balboa’s madness was out of fear of the sea serpent and a desire for revenge. However, there were some parts that did not add up. Balboa seemed to talk to invisible people from time to time, but his emotions then varied wildly from hysterical to depressed.

“My lord.”

“I know. Even if the worst comes to pass, there will be a way to survive. So don’t worry, and let’s focus on getting to our destination now.”

Though typically fearless on land, the men were visibly worried, as though overwhelmed by the endless sea. Each time Seon-Hyeok noticed, he reassured them, saying he had a way out if it became necessary.

“We’re almost there.”

Balboa’s voice could be clearly heard as he muttered to himself while at the wheel of Undutiful Son.

As always, it was Seon-Hyeok who was the first to notice a change. The moment he realized that the ship’s swaying had curiously weakened, he stormed out of the cabin.

When he reached the deck and looked around, he was able to tell that the waves previously pushing against the ship without reprieve had become calm, much like a child’s swimming pool.

“It can’t be…”

Seon-Hyeok stuck his head over the ship’s railing. The unusually dark blue surface of the water seemed particularly ominous today.

“Ah…”

The moment he looked at the calm sea, Seon-Hyeok froze, belatedly realizing something. He controlled the earth and wind attributes. The only place in the world where his attributes would be ineffective was beneath the fragile planks he stood on at the moment.

“Julian! Jackson! Wake everyone up!”

Seon-Hyeok was forced to shake off his sudden feelings of fear and shouted at Julian and Jackson when they followed him up to the deck.

“Balboa!”

He grabbed the wheel tightly and called for Balboa, but no answer came. All he heard was a distorted sound full of joy and fear.

“Finally! Finally!”

Seon-Hyeok prepared for the worst as he saw the crazy scene in front of him.

“Atiya.”

‘Yes, master.’

Atiya’s refreshing voice, which did not fit the current atmosphere, proved calming even in this situation.

“If the worst comes to pass, push the ship yourself. You can do it, right?”

‘I’ll do my best!’

After looking at Atiya cutely clenching her fists and sitting on top of the main mast, Seon-Hyeok looked down once again.

Something’s approaching.

The deep sea was beyond the range of his Wind Spirit ability, and thus he couldn’t see or sense a thing. However, he was certain.

“It’s coming! Hang on tight!”

At his warning, each party member tightly grabbed something within reach, and at that moment, an unknown something gently pushed the ship aside. However, even this gentle push had a tremendous aftermath. The ship, which had been moving in a straight line, violently tilted as though it had hit a storm.

Creak!

Hearing the groans of the Undutiful Son, Seon-Hyeok called on Atiya.

‘Leave it to me!’

The sails swelled as Atiya responded, and the tilting ship barely regained its equilibrium. However, the impacts did not end there. The mysterious object pushed the ship forward and backward, left and right, and the Undutiful Son wobbled without reprieve.

“Balboa!”

“I’m finally back. I came here to rescue you!”

Even now, Balboa was still screaming incoherently.

“Your Captain Doppin’s here!”

Atiya continued to drain Seon-Hyeok’s strength. In an instant, he was covered with sweat and seawater.

“What are you doing! Throw the lifelines! Can’t you see that they’re in need of our help!”

Seon-Hyeok finally put the pieces together as he watched Balboa pointing his finger into the vast sea, where only white foam was visible.

‘The captain realized that there was something under the surface and decided to save our boat instead of going headfirst into danger. The crew blamed the captain, but could only watch as their fellow sailors got sucked into the monster’s maw.’

“Balboa! Were you the captain?”

The situation was much worse than Seon-Hyeok could have possibly imagined. If Balboa had been a sailor mad with vengeance, they could have fought the sea dragon. However, Balboa, or rather, Doppin, was a lunatic here to save the restless spirits left to perish because of his own decisions.

“Hurry up and grab the rope!”

Having even let go of the ship’s wheel, Doppin repeatedly threw and retrieved the lifeline from the empty surface of the water.

“I, I got it!”

Thankfully, a quick-witted sailor caught the wheel on behalf of the insane Doppin and turned it with all his strength. The ship, on the verge of capsizing, was straightened.

“It’s coming aga…”

Boom!

The impact this time was on a different scale from before. The members of the party, despite each securing their bodies on the ship, rolled around like ragdolls.

“Ack!”

“Julian!”

Seeing the comparatively weak Julian tossed about, Seon-Hyeok gritted his teeth and ran towards her. He slipped several times because the deck was slippery with seawater, but he eventually managed to reach his squire.

“Grab on!”

This time, even Julian held on tight without complaint.

“Anyone injured?!”

“We’re disoriented, but fine!”

The voice was mixed with snot and tears, as if the person had inadvertently inhaled the salty seawater. Fortunately, however, nobody from the party had been thrown out to sea.

“How about the ship?”

“It can still hold on! But things will get dire if we don’t repair it quickly!”

One of the surviving crew members adeptly ran across the slippery deck and responded.

“How about Doppin! Wait, Balboa! No, Doppin!”

“He was just swept away by the waves!”

“That dumb bastard!”

Seon-Hyeok was nauseated thinking about the fate of the poor lunatic. However, this was not the time to sympathize with anyone. The mysterious object toying with the Undutiful Son was approaching once again.

“It’s coming again! Hold on tight, everyone!”

Seon-Hyeok held Julian tightly in his arms and grabbed the rope that had been tightly secured to the mast.

Thud!

Fragments of the broken ship scattered everywhere, and shrieks could be heard.

“Hansen! Jonasson! Jackson!”

Seon-Hyeok called out the names of his party members, but he couldn’t hear anything. The waves that had covered the ship must have left water in his ears.

‘Master! I can’t keep this up any longer!’

Despite his momentary hearing loss, he could clearly hear Atiya’s voice. Seon-Hyeok grimaced. He was furious that he hadn’t even seen the sea dragon yet, despite the ship being in its current sorry state.

“This damned eel bastard!”

Still holding onto the half-unconscious Julian, Seon-Hyeok glared at the dark blue shadow that slithered as it approached.

Rumble.

At that moment, the surface of the water split, and the monster revealed itself. Seon-Hyeok’s anger vanished the moment he saw the beast.

Whoosh.

Seawater flowed down the mysterious neck of the monster as it held its head upright. Its eyes were blue-green like its body and made Seon-Hyeok feel as though he was staring into the deepest ocean. Its wet, glistening scales shone brilliantly like sapphires. Seon-Hyeok couldn’t help but admire the overwhelming beauty of the monster, which looked like a sculpture adorned with jewelry.

“You’re on a different level from Goldie…”

The monster looked down on him as though wondering if such an insignificant being could tame it.

-          The dragon taming skill has been activated.

-          You are now able to interact with the sea serpent for a short while.

At that moment, the sea serpent opened its maw wide and swallowed Seon-Hyeok and Julian.

“My lord!”

“Kim Seon-Hyeok! You bastard!”

His comrades’ screams continued, but they could no longer be heard once the monster closed its mouth. With that, Seon-Hyeok and Julian were swallowed up by the sea dragon.

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