Dragon Poor - Chapter 33
“Village! It’s a village!”
Sunhyuk cheered as he spotted smoke rising into the air from the houses out front. It was a bright smile, one which was rare to see coming from Sunhyuk; showing how truly delighted he was.
It had already been one week since they had departed from the fortress, and the journey was far from the ideal adventurous trip that he first envisioned. The trip was so excruciating long and utterly boring. The days would past as a spat of tedious repet.i.tion: of setting up camp, and packing up for the whole week.
Asides from the occasional villages he observed, all that remained were deserted plains and the unidentifiable gra.s.shoppers. It was extremely hard to find a village to stay in for the night. Even though they were able to sleep for a night under a roof, the countless fleas and bed bugs caused him to to leave there immediately at first dawn. As such, he did not even bother touring any of the villages he saw afterwards. But the village which finally appeared in front of him, had a decent number of households as it looked good enough to spend the night in.
“Let’s go quickly! What are you doing?!”
Looking behind at Hansen who was riding from the back, he had suddenly grabbed ahold of him, cautioning him while revealing his missing front teeth.
“Don’t rush. If we were to suddenly enter, they’ll become afraid.”
From Hansen’s words, Sunhyuk grabbed Stella’s reins and slowed down.
“Unlike the villages by the border, where there was one soldier dispatched for every household, the soldiers who usually came here are those from the lord. But if you were to suddenly rush over with what uniform you’re wearing, don’t you think they’ll be surprised?”
He was certainly right as he felt the warm, unfamiliar consideration that he had for the villagers here.
“No. Hansen just seems a bit different.”
He answered with a smile, causing Hansen to frown upon this.
“Let’s walk over there. There’s no good in making them fear us anyways.”
Sunhyuk knew better than anyone else, how great the pressure was looking up towards the troops on the horses, so he got off the horse without a word and accepted the suggestion.
“Aigoo, Sir Knights. What business do you have in this secluded village…?”
It was quite an uncomfortable scene watching the people rus.h.i.+ng towards the entrance, and bowing their heads straight onto the ground while grabbing ahold of their sore backs.
“Um, if you came for the previously mentioned matter, we are not ready yet. If everyone cooperates and works hard, we’ll be able to provide it in the next month…”
“No. We’re not people whose been sent here from the lord within these feudal estates.”
Worried that they will say something more drastic, Hansen stepped forth and introduced themselves as tourists. Once they realized that they were not Knights of the lord, they breathed out a sigh of relief, but the caution and fear did not leave their faces.
As such, they gave up and accepted the guidance from the village.
From afar, it looked like an okay village, but once inside, the interior was quite a mess. The houses were worn out, there were holes in people’s garments, and people were terribly scared to make eye contact. They often lowered their heads onto the ground and did not dare raise their heads, such miserable existences bore no life within their eyes or on faces of most people.
‘Go and check it out in person. Life outside the army posts is several times more worse than you think. If you were to discharge from service, you will be in a similar situation like them in the near future. So have a look around and then make your decision.’
Sunhyuk, who recalled the words he’d heard from the Commander just prior to leaving, was unknowingly convinced. That was how poor and desolate the lives of such people here were, including the terribly bad atmosphere and living environment. Thinking of himself being in this kind of place, caused him to shake his head and sigh.
“Is there something that does not please you…”
From Sunhyuk’s expression, the village Chief became filled with fear as he rubbed his hands in apology. Though he had just made an expression and sighed, the old, feeble man was full of fear as he accidently tripped over while trying to make a plea to him.
For some reason, feeling that he had done something wrong, Sunhyuk tried to support him out of surprise, but the elder man suddenly jumped up limping as he continued to guide them.
In the Chief’s perspective, it was an action which arose from; ‘how he could dare grasp the hand of such a high and honorable man,’ but in Sunhyuk’s eyes, he felt guilty and he was worried for the elderly man.
So this is the real existence of this world.
After leaving the squad, where the whole focus factored on ability and rank, it was like the world had revealed itself naked in front of his eyes. Moreover, in the world facing him, he could feel the unsurmountable gap between the cla.s.ses.
The holes of the ragged clothes in comparison to his uniform, was as if it was showing him his own crossroads in the near future as he couldn’t help but sigh.
A roast chicken and a loaf of bread were brought to the table. Unlike their poor appearances, they brought in a good meal, but eating the food that they had worked for through sweat and tears, he couldn’t taste the food at all while chewing on it.
“Terrible isn’t it? No matter how s.h.i.+tty and dangerous the life of a soldier is, the reason why soldiers don’t even consider leaving is because of this right here. If you cherish your own self and life, then your family will quickly become like this.”
Hansen spoke sadly as he finished the meal. In other words, the rewards and wages which the soldiers received from border life would be sent to their families for support, and if you were not born as a n.o.ble, this kind of situation was unavoidable.
The more he heard, the worse the story became, so he stopped eating and rose up.
“I’ll be getting up first.”
“Alright, go in and rest. Letting you know, we’re heading out tomorrow morning.”
Roughly waving, he headed to his room before Hansen grabbed him from behind.
“I would like it if you didn’t discharge from the army.”
Hansen was emphasizing the state of poverty and hards.h.i.+ps of the common people lately, so it was for this reason. It was a brilliant act of consideration that was unlike Hansen, however he was not displeased with it.
If he were being implored like this by the Commander or even the Royal Family, then he wasn’t sure, but seeing how this burly man like Hansen was cunningly trying to persuade him, displayed just how much he only wanted Sunhyuk to stay as a comrade for a while longer, with only the purest of intentions. There was no reason for him to feel so bad.
“If I don’t discharge, then Hansen will be my subordinate. I have been offered a t.i.tle of n.o.bility above a Viscount”
Wanting to release his heavy, burdensome understanding, he retorted to Hansen causing him to look at him agape.
“So that’s what you’re receiving? Then a Sergeant? No. If you have a t.i.tle of n.o.bility, you’ll be Captain at the least.”
Hansen who was mumbling to himself in puzzlement eventually replied.
“Then become a Captain. You. If I could charge with you, it doesn’t matter what orders or commands – I have to listen to you.”
Hansen was saying that in his Rider’s life, he wanted to experience that kind of thrilling charge once more.
“I’ll rest first.”
After a brief farewell, Sunhyuk sighed. His mind was leaning to one side lately.
It seems that he’ll be devoting his life to the army at this rate.
Though he was grumbling about it, for some reason, he eventually felt calm and so he was able to sleep comfortably in a long time. The next day, with his fatigue gone, he rode on top of his horse invigorated.
“Let’s go as quickly as possible and just sleep on the roadside if required, not stopping by any villages.”
After remembering the events that happened last night, his voice and att.i.tude had changed as Hansen nodded with a smile.
Through the last two battles, his level had risen by one more as it was six, and it has been long ago since he had far exceeded the level of power of a Basic Rank.
His attribute dominance was a mere 90 now, and unlike before, there was no severe headaches now. He was now able to consistently maintain Wind Body and Wind Spirit, and was currently able to avoid trouble. Thus, there was never a single encounter with a thief or monster which Hansen had so emphasized.
The journey was smooth going and also boring, so Sunhyuk couldn’t bear it anymore from all this free time and called for Atiya.
‘Thank you for calling me, Master.’
Just like before, she had quite a sizzling body. Sunhyuk glanced over Hansen, but a normal person without affinity to Elementals would have no way of seeing her. Hansen didn’t show any signs that he had noticed her, so he was able to relax and appreciate her appearance.
With a clear laugh, Atiya led the way. At the same time, the wind blowing at them became weaker and it was easier to open their eyes more. If there was a problem, it was that Atiya’s amazing back brought some heavy disquiet into Sunhyuk’s mind and heart.
[Attribute Dominance has increased by 1.]
While marching after a long time with Atiya in front, the attribute dominance began to increase rapidly ever since it reached 90.
As his dominance increased, Atiya’s appearance became clearer. Of course the somewhat hazy parts of Atiya’s body remained so he was able to compose himself without crossing the line.
[Attribute Dominance has reached the limit of 99 of this rank.]
[If you wish to break through the limits, you need a particular occasion.]
Atiya shouted all of a sudden simultaneously with the appearance of the message.
‘There’s something changing inside me!’
Wondering if there was any change that Yoojung had told him before, he stared at Atiya for a while, but there was no change which had occurred.
It seems that his attribute dominance needed to increase a bit more for her to grow.
However, he wasn’t disappointed. Realizing that Atiya was able to grow through his dominance, he believed that she will change some day. So he was not discouraged.
Well, with how things are now, it’s definitely not that bad.
Watching Atiya’s clear back, Sunhyuk subconsciously laughed heartily.
By riding their horses without stopping, they were able to reach Hansen’s hometown.
“How is it? It’s incomparable to the villages you saw right?”
There were well-maintained roads and clean houses, and even a large castle as he entered the first feudal estate properly.
“Wow! Hansen. You’re from a rich family I see.”
“Our household is indeed a bit wealthy.”
Seeing Hansen boast with a bit of admiration, it felt like Hansen had finally returned to normal. Considering that he was a child from a rich family and his stark difference in att.i.tude, he felt more sentiment towards Hansen.
A young lad who was tending to the gra.s.s bent down suddenly raised his head and stared at Hansen with open eyes.
“Jalman! Have you been well?”
“Huh, where! Where?!”
As if it had been a while since he had last visited, the expressions of the people were full of surprise. But instead of caution, there was more of welcome as it seemed that Hansen was quite a good Master here.
“Young Master. Why have you come now. Due to the rumors of the war, everyone was worried…”
But hearing how everyone was calling the coa.r.s.e and felonious looking Hansen Young Master, gooseb.u.mps rose from his entire body.
“Ah, seriously. Look at me. How’s the lord?”
“Jalman is running over to tell them a while ago, so they will soon come out.”
Scarily, he began to see a group of people running towards them. There was a middle-aged woman running over with an old man, including a woman of their age along with other kids. The moment he saw them, he soon realized what their ident.i.ties were.
“Hanseeeeeeeeeeen, you little!”
They were roughly embracing each other as the other family members whom amazingly resembled Hansen.
“I’ve heard of such news that there was a Stranger deserving of great meritorious achievements in this war. So that was you.”
Hansen belatedly introduced Sunhyuk which was further delayed a bit due to the joyful reunion as the Lord welcomed him.
“We welcome you to the Estate of Frostbegmont.”
Frostbegmont. It seemed that he had finally reached the entrance of Frost Peaks where the Drake was sleeping.
Calvis: Woot, finally. Drake capturing time. I wonder if it can speak, that’d be pretty awesome.
TL Notice: Long day and finished my midterm! Woot. Time to go hibernate~
Sai101: Hansen you rich fellow…