Episode 160. The Illusory Beast (2)

Pan said that he could try to gather specific beasts to the door, but that there was nothing he could do about particularly capricious creatures butting in.

“That usually doesn’t happen, but sometimes, there could be a particularly uncooperative creature that comes over. Actually, it’s not too bad if they’re just disobedient, but there are occasionally monsters with the urge to kill whatever is in front of them.”

Min-Young finally realized her latent ability after so much struggling, but this newfound power came with far too many caveats. Restrictions were one thing, but the summoner herself could be slain by the random creature she brought into this world. Seon-Hyeok wondered how there could be such an insane class.

Without realizing it, he tried to analyze Min-Young’s expression.

Please…

Her face was full of desperation, and her eyes were almost begging for his cooperation as they waited for him to respond.

This clue to her abilities was found after all sorts of frustration. Seon-Hyeok knew better than anyone how desperate she would be right now. After all, he had been the same before he first heard the dragon’s voice.

“Tell me. What do I have to do?”

He could not just ignore her pleading look.

Min-Young had been looking at him with a nervous expression, and she finally let out a sigh of relief. Pan, likewise, seemed genuinely pleased.

“Oh! You’ll help?”

When Seon-Hyeok nodded, Pan smiled and answered.

“In that case, I’ll ask for some sacrifices.”

In the end, it seemed that the faun needed material goods.

“What kinds of offerings?”

“Creatures with horns. One of those should be a female that hasn’t ever given birth yet.”

It was livestock once again. Seon-Hyeok already went through an incredible amount of livestock trying to feed his dragon subspecies. When he heard that the summoning also required livestock, he wondered whether he’d be responsible for using up all of the kingdom’s creatures at this rate.

“How many?”

“The more there are, the more useful the summoned creature will be.”

Seon-Hyeok let out a sigh as he said he understood.

“A few winged beasts, but I don’t need too many. Also some salt… and gold…”

However, Pan’s requests did not end there. He laid out his endless list of requirements.

“That’s all for now.”

The lengthy demands finally came to an end.

“You’re not telling me that I’ll need to prepare this much for every single summoning attempt?”

If that were the case, Min-Young would not be able to deal with the upkeep even if she became a noble.

This was the most worrying aspect for Seon-Hyeok.

He could help her once or twice, but afterwards, she would need to pull her own weight. He could not act as her benefactor or guardian indefinitely.

“Of course not. This is only because it’s the first summoning. Subsequent ones will be a lot more informal, with only a couple horned animals as offerings.”

It was good to hear.

“And also.”

Seon-Hyeok thought it was over, but Pan had another request.

“There’s more?”

When he blurted out in bewilderment, Min-Young looked at him anxiously by his side.

“Yeah, there is. It’s the most important thing.”

On the other hand, Pan was brazen as always.

“Well, tell me what it is.”

Seon-Hyeok asked in resignation. He figured it would not hurt to listen, at the very least.

“No matter what happens, you’ll have to be there from start to finish.”

Well, Seon-Hyeok did want to see for himself how great these illusory creatures were.

“Are you telling me to take care of anything strange that appears in the process?”

“No, that’s not it.”

Seon-Hyeok wondered whether it was to protect Min-Young, as she lacked combat skills. To his surprise, Pan shook his head.

“That’s not it? I thought you said you didn’t know what could pop out?”

“That’s true. But…”

The faun’s answer was vague.

“There probably won’t be anything you’ll have to fight off yourself.”

Pan added one final comment.

“Do you think there’s a creature crazy enough to attack a dragon’s companion?”

Min-Young wanted to attempt the summoning right away, but both Pan and Seon-Hyeok discouraged her.

“It’ll take some time to gather the offerings. This place isn’t exactly teeming with those things.”

Seon-Hyeok’s argument was that he needed to get what they needed, while Pan pushed back on account of her low sentience stat.

“Usually, there’s some beginner’s luck involved, and the most useful beast appears on the first try. We might as well wait a bit and do it properly.”

She looked disappointed, but did not force the issue.

Having finished his business, Pan disappeared without a word. The faun really did as he pleased.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not bothered.”

Thinking Min-Young was apologizing for her unruly and willful creature, Seon-Hyeok said it was not a big deal. She shook her head.

“Not that. I think I’ve been causing you too much trouble.”

Seon-Hyeok had misunderstood. Min-Young was apologizing because of her situation and at being forced to overly rely on him.

“I have nobody else to lean on, and I’m even more sorry because of that. To be honest, even what you’ve done for me so far…”

“It’s nothing.”

Seon-Hyeok waved his hand as he cut her off.

After all, when he first offered to help the marginalized foreigners in the kingdom, he had expected it would come at some personal cost. In addition, the gold and wealth he had received from the royal family alone was enough to live the rest of his life in luxury, and this amount of expenditures was not a big deal.

“If it bothers you, you can pay me back later.”

Min-Young looked back at him earnestly.

“I’ll make sure to pay it all back with interest.”

It was beyond simple gratitude. She seemed to be burning with a sense of duty to repay his generosity. Pan’s reappearance at that moment broke the tension.

“Oh, I almost forgot.”

Pan gave Min-Young and Seon-Hyeok a strange look.

“The summoners of the past were great mages before they became summoners. In other words, they had the ability to protect themselves and expel unwanted monsters, no matter what kind of crazy beast appeared.”

Hearing those words, Seon-Hyeok looked at Pan in disbelief.

“As long as she doesn’t have that ability to protect herself, she’ll continue needing your help in the future.”

Contrary to Seon-Hyeok’s expectations, Pan was saying that this would most likely not be the last time he helped Min-Young.

“Ah…”

Her eyes shook nervously before looking directly at him.

“Hm.”

Upon seeing her eyes, Seon-Hyeok realized that their futures would be intertwined, whether he liked it or not.

“I’m not even married, but it feels like I’m getting more and more dependents.”

The dragon subspecies, Aria Eisen, and now Min-Young. Everyone he met seemed to have expensive maintenance costs.

In any case, it was clear Min-Young’s debt to him would only increase in the future.

***

The foreigners’ training continued. As time passed, they became adjusted to Goldrake and Redvern’s intimidating presence, and as they improved, Seon-Hyeok increased the difficulty of their training.

In the meantime, he gathered the required offerings for Min-Young’s summoning at the fort, and all necessary preparations were finally complete.

All that remained was for her to reach level 10 and raise her low sentience stat a little bit more.

Unfortunately, this proved to be no easy task. Some time had passed since she hit level 9, but there were no signs of another level-up.

The more she grew frustrated, the more Min-Young worked herself. She struggled desperately to improve.

And as a result of her efforts, she was finally able to reach her goal.

Whoosh!

A brilliant light appeared and enveloped her.

This degree of change did not occur from a simple level-up. The colorful lights were an indicator of her class advancement.

“As I expected…”

Seon-Hyeok gave a satisfied smile, thinking his expectations had become reality.

“Congratulations on your 2nd class advancement.”

He congratulated Min-Young as she still stared blankly into the air.

“T, thank you.”

Tears welled up in her eyes as she belatedly responded.

Seon-Hyeok quietly waited for her to come back to her senses after feeling the lingering effects of her 2nd class advancement, and for her to announce her new class.

“Illusion Beast Tamer…”

“What? That’s ridiculous. How did this child with low sentience…”

Pan looked astonished by Min-Young’s new class.

“Illusion beast tamer is a title that only a fraction of summoners above a certain level can attain!”

The faun made a fuss about her unusual growth.

“Is that bad?”

“Are you joking?”

Pan shouted in response to Min-Young’s silly question.

“Of course it’s good! Whereas a summoner can simply open the door to the illusion world, the illusion beast tamer is able to bring those monsters under her control!”

Thrilled, Min-Young fell to the ground, sobbing in joy. Seon-Hyeok once again congratulated her class advancement.

“Of course, becoming an illusion beast tamer doesn’t mean you can immediately get one of those creatures. There has to be some compatibility on both ends – you can’t just tame any creature.”

Pan spoke of her class’ shortcomings, but Min-Young’s tears of happiness continued to flow.

“Then let’s get started right away. Your sentience stat has increased a bit, and an illusion beast tamer needs to try summoning creatures as often as possible. After all, you won’t know what monster is right for you without the experience.”

Pan approached her and pushed her on.

“Hurry! Hurry!”

The faun was shouting excitedly as Min-Young immediately jumped up, simultaneously laughing while crying. In a way, the summoner and her summon were truly alike.

“Wait. We need to bring someone.”

Seon-Hyeok called for Instructor Gibson.

“I formally request a re-evaluation of the low-tier summoner, Choi Min-Young.”

“Finally!”

Gibson had already suspected Min-Young would be a special case like the dragon rider, and he brightly smiled when he heard his suspicions were being confirmed.

“First and foremost, that strange looking boy over there is her summon.”

“Who are you calling boy? I’ve lived much longer than you!”

Gibson looked in a daze when he saw the angrily shouting faun.

“What’s with that cheeky look?”

The instructor looked with interest at Pan’s strange, half-human and half-goat figure. However, this seemed to have offended the faun.

Pan had always been on the defensive until now, as he was held in check by the dragon rider’s presence. But at this moment, his expression became violent, and the instructor suddenly plopped down onto the ground while holding his head.

“Eek!”

Gibson looked as though he had seen a ghost. He groaned and screamed as he writhed on the ground.

“Hey, be reasonable. He’s important for your partner’s future.”

Already aware of Pan’s abilities, Seon-Hyeok immediately recognized what had happened and placated him.

“Hmph!”

However, Pan pretended not to notice. Seon-Hyeok was forced to slowly call on his Dragon Fear.

The shrewd faun immediately recognized this subtle change and restored Gibson to normal.

“Are you okay?”

“M, my lord. What the hell was that…”

Gibson looked dazed as he came to his senses, unsure of what had just happened.

“That’s the power of Min-Young’s summon. He is capable of heightening fear in enemies and reducing it in allies.”

Though still bewildered, the instructor was impressed when he heard about the faun’s ability.

“That’s more than enough to be a mid-tier!”

There was no doubting the faun’s power, as Gibson had felt it himself. Seon-Hyeok smirked as he watched the instructor blabber in excitement.

“I wouldn’t have prepared this meeting today if I was going to be happy with just a mid-tier evaluation.”

Pan’s ability to change the very landscape of a war was far too great to be a mid-tier, but Seon-Hyeok did not bother pointing this out.

Even if he did not explain, Seon-Hyeok imagined that seeing Min-Young summon monsters from the illusion world would be undeniable proof of her status.

“So watch closely.”

Hearing Seon-Hyeok’s words, Gibson shut his mouth and looked at Pan and Min-Young.

“He sure says a lot.”

Pan was by far the most talkative among those gathered, but the faun did not seem to recognize this himself.

“Then we can get started now, right?”

Instead of answering, Seon-Hyeok looked towards Min-Young. After all, she would be the one summoning these beasts, so it was her opinions that mattered.

“Let’s begin.”

Min-Young gave a serious look, and Pan took out his flute.

“Knock!”

As she began to activate her ability, the empty air began to shimmer.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter