Episode 75. Sea Dragon (3)

The moment Seon-Hyeok was swallowed up by the giant monster, the assault on the Undutiful Son stopped as though it had all been a lie. The broken parts of the ship and the crew members asking for help were the only things floating around them.

“Hurry up and rescue them!”

Doppin, thought to be dead, was dragged up as the two sailors remaining on board saved those who had been tossed from the ship.

“That monster didn’t take me, Balboa…”

“You fucking bastard!”

By this point, Hansen and Jonasson had a rough grasp of the situation, and their gazes towards Doppin were full of anger. In fact, Hansen cursed as he grabbed the former captain by the collar before throwing him onto the ground.

“You crazy bastard! If you’re so desperate to die, go die by yourself!”

This time, even the typically docile Jackson didn’t hold Hansen back. Rather, he fetched a knife from the cabin in an attempt to slit Doppin’s throat.

“Two sailors died. If you kill this bastard as well, the ship won’t be operational.”

“But it’s because of this bastard that our lord...!”

Jackson glared at Doppin with bloodshot eyes as Jonasson held him back.

“Our lord isn’t dead yet.”

Jonasson’s voice was both adamant and confident. Unconvinced, Jackson ran wild, saying he needed to avenge his lord’s death even if it meant killing the former captain. Hansen came to also hold Jackson down as he looked at Jonasson, asking for an explanation.

“You idiots. The wind’s still blowing.”

“What about the wind. Why is the wind so…”

While arguing furiously, Jackson raised his head to follow where Jonasson was pointing. The left side of the ship was wrecked, and the ship threatened to capsize, but the wind struggled to keep it upright.

“This wind was summoned by our lord.”

Seon-Hyeok had never openly revealed his ability, but Jonasson had naturally come to recognize it after being his comrade for a long time.

Thanks to the crew’s quick actions, the Undutiful Son was able to avoid capsizing despite threatening to for a while. However, this was only a temporary measure, and the group needed to return to land as soon as possible. Even so, Seon-Hyeok’s party refused to do so.

“We wait for our lord.”

“But what if the monster reappears!”

“There’s no captain to guide the ship anyways.”

Jonasson sent the protesting sailor back using the still-incoherent Doppin as an excuse.

“This situation isn’t good. They might wake up the sleeping captain and crew.”

“But we can’t leave our lord behind and return. If they try to mutiny, we should kill them all and wait here for Seon-Hyeok.”

“I’ll help as well.”

Hansen and Jackson spoke solemnly, not even considering the prospect of returning to land.

“You’re so loyal. So loyal.”

Jonasson clicked his tongue as he sarcastically quipped, and Hansen, furious, replied.

“Jonasson. This doesn’t mean anything to you then?”

“You idiots! You need to be even more cool-headed during times like this! What happens if our lord returns, but we’re trapped here on this ship because there are no sailors? We have to think about how we’ll sail this ship.”

His words made sense. This situation wasn’t one that could be resolved with loyalty alone.

“Ugh. But you’re certain our lord’s still alive?”

“If he wasn’t, the ship would have sunk already.”

Although the ship wasn’t as upright as before, the wind continued to push the sail without rest.

“What the hell is our reckless lord doing?”

Jonasson’s old way of speaking came out in his frustration, but nobody paid him any mind.

The sailors attempted to wake the captain and crew still asleep under the influence of the incense. However, Jackson had been waiting for this and overpowered them, and the seditious plan ended unsuccessfully.

At the same time, the party began to feel that they were reaching the breaking point as they waited in place. The wind that kept the ship upright wasn’t able to exert its previous strength, and the ship was now tilted halfway, pushed back and forth by the wind and the waves.

They prepared the emergency boat in order to abandon ship at a moment’s notice and waited anxiously for their lord’s return.

“Huh?”

Jackson, after staying up all night, opened his eyes wide as he looked at a spray of water in the distance. The sailors had been dozing off, and they raised their heads at the sudden noise before screaming.

The monster, which stealthily attacked from underneath the water’s surface the previous day, now brazenly approached, half its body visible above water.

“The monster’s coming back!”

“Hold on tight!”

The sailors ran about and caused a commotion, preferring to drown over being eaten alive by the monster. However, the monster’s attack had been unavoidable even when the ship was whole, and there was no recourse with the currently immobile ship.

The sailors waited anxiously, while Hansen and the rest of the party drew their swords, determined to at least cut off the monster’s scales before they died.

Roar.

The monster looked majestic as it tore through the dark blue sea. They all prepared for the worst as they watched the beautiful, yet terrifying, sight.

“What a relief. I’m not too late.”

The missing lord’s voice rang out at that moment.

“I’ve been looking for a while because the ship wasn’t where I left it.”

The monster raised its head stiffly before lowering it onto the bow of the ship. Two people could be seen on the monster’s head – they were the lord and squire that the party had so anxiously waited for.

“My lord!”

“Kim Seon-Hyeok, you damned bastard!”

Jackson and Hanson ran forward, tears in their eyes.

Growl.

In their excitement, they had momentarily forgotten about the sea serpent’s presence. The two men stopped in their tracks as the monster expressed its displeasure.

“Don’t come closer. He’s a bit more particular than he looks.”

Seon-Hyeok spoke unusually casually for having a fiercely growling monster behind his back.

“What the hell happened?”

While Hansen and Jackson hesitated, Jonasson stepped up to ask about the situation.

“What do you mean, what happened?”

Seon-Hyeok looked back and leaned against the monster’s strong jaw before answering.

“I tamed him like Goldie.”

***

In the end, the Undutiful Son sank, and the group separated themselves onto two emergency boats. The original captain and crew members were all gathered together and loaded onto one boat, and the still conscious sailors agreed to take responsibility for them. Seon-Hyeok’s party and Doppin boarded the other.

“They’ll have to struggle quite a bit to get back to land. I wonder if the boat will even move, given how many people are on it.”

“There’s a chance the sailors will throw the sleeping captain and crew into the sea. After all, if they were loyal people in the first place, they wouldn’t have been climbing over each other to be the chosen survivors.”

Seon-Hyeok looked at the sailors from the Undutiful Son with a complicated expression as they became smaller and smaller in the distance. He did not sympathize with their situation, however. Considering the countless passengers they had likely taken advantage of in the past, he had shown them almost excessive mercy by keeping them alive. 

Then again, was it merciful to load up the sailors on a boat without a sail in the middle of this vast sea?

“Balboa. No, should I call you Doppin?”

“I went mad and put innocent people in danger.”

Doppin looked like he aged decades in a single day. The white-haired, hunched-over man looked nothing like the healthy sailor from their first meeting. The only relief was that he seemed to have regained his senses. That said, the former captain looked to have lost his energy and madness that previously invigorated him, so Seon-Hyeok wondered whether Doppin was better off now than before.

“You are Doppin, right? The captain who blocked the rescue of the other ships’ crew.”

“Yes. I’m that Doppin. Balboa was the name of one of the sailors aboard the ship at the time.”

Doppin was the pitiable captain who managed to keep his own ship intact and save his crew, but could not absolve himself of his own guilt.

Seon-Hyeok could only shake his head, unable to even get angry at the former captain.

“But how do we get back? You’re not suggesting we row back, are you?”

Seon-Hyeok smirked when he heard Hansen’s question.

“Bluegon.”

The moment he spoke, Bluegon, the sea dragon, poked his head out of the water.

“Push.”

“Wait. Huh? Ahhhhh!”

Bluegon put his large snout underneath the boat before speeding forward at an incredible pace.

Remembering that Goldrake had been stuck at 99 obedience for a long time, Seon-Hyeok immediately named the sea serpent ‘Bluegon’. He thought it was a plausible name, short for ‘Blue Dragon’, but his naming sense was just as poor as it had been when he tried renaming Stella to ‘Snow White’.

“Ugh. I’m getting seasick. This didn’t happen even when we were aboard the Undutiful Son…”

Bluegon was faster than any other creature at sea, but he was equally wild and violent. As a result, Hansen and the others repeatedly vomited, stomachs upset by the rough motions. However, the real troubles began when Bluegon disappeared after coming closer to shore. The men were forced to hold back their upset stomachs while fighting the waves.

It would’ve helped if Doppin could provide any help, but the former captain reverted to his original state after seeming completely sober for a day. In the end, Hansen, Jackson, and Jonasson had to ignore the insane Doppin and work even harder.

“Ugh. I’m never getting on a boat again!”

Just when they were about to be completely exhausted, frustrated by their lack of progress no matter how hard they rowed, the party barely managed to reach the port.

“Ugh. I’m going to die!”

“Ugh. The ground’s shaking!”

Seon-Hyeok looked down at the drooling, groaning men lying on the floor.

“Let’s stop exaggerating and get up. We have to do something about Julian first. This could end up being serious.”

There was a more urgent emergency. 

It was Julian. 

Having been drenched in seawater and survived a trip in and out of the sea dragon’s stomach, Julian suffered from a high fever for two days and had not come to her senses.

“If you’re looking for a priest, you should head down that street over there.”

The officials at the port pointed the party towards a priest. However, the healing abilities of the old priest only interested in money was barely enough to boost Julian’s energy, and the young squire's condition did not improve.

“There’s a mage who’s good at treating people…”

“Where is that person?”

Belatedly realizing that Seon-Hyeok was a noble, the priest expressed his regret for ripping him off. With that, he suggested they instead visit the mage serving the Rugenburg lord.

“Please ask for Harold Tyrone of the Rugenburg guard forces.”

“Who should I say is looking for him?”

Wide-eyed, the priest asked Seon-Hyeok.

“Tell him the Drake Knight is looking for him.”

Harold Tyrone soon appeared. As though he had already heard of the situation on the way, the squire had even prepared a carriage to escort Julian.

“I’m ashamed to do so, but I’ll ask you for this favor.”

Seon-Hyeok was embarrassed to ask the young man for a favor after coldly sending him away before, but there was no other option given Julian’s poor condition.

“Not to worry. I’m sorry we have to meet under such unfortunate circumstances.”

However, Harold Tyrone reassured him and immediately guided them towards the lord’s mansion.

“This way.”

The mage, having been notified in advance, examined Julian as soon as they arrived.

“She’s been poisoned.”

The mage spoke after looking at Julian’s now blue face.

“There’s no time. It looks like some time has passed since this happened, and if we wait any longer, we’ll lose our opportunity to treat her.”

“Then do you think treatment is possible?”

Seon-Hyeok tried to keep calm as he asked the mage.

“It won’t be easy, but I will make sure to treat her.”

It was fortunate.

“Leave Squire Julian to the mage, and please don’t worry too much. He’s not someone to make promises lightly, so he must be certain there’s a way.”

With those words, Harold Tyrone guided him to the Lord of Rugenburg. Seon-Hyeok was reluctant to meet him, considering he was in the position of asking for help rather than being a guest greeting a host, but he nonetheless followed after the squire.

“Please take care of Julian.”

“Leave it to me, my lord.”

Jackson volunteered to stay by Julian’s side, while Hansen and Jonasson followed after Seon-Hyeok.

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