<Chapter 10. Partner – 1>
“Did you wait a long time?”
In just 13 hours, Jin had returned with the leather bag Lee Shin Woo had given him completely filled, speaking like a girlfriend who had arrived late to their meeting place. Of course, Lee Shin Woo didn’t even have a girlfriend before, so he wasn’t bothered at all and spoke.
“It’s alright, since I was busy reading this.”
“What is it?”
Lee Shin Woo raised and showed the bundle of papers to Jin, who carefully thrust his head forward; the edges of the papers were gradually weathering away and disappearing with every gust of wind. Jin likewise didn’t know the Empire’s language, but he could read the title of the documents without much difficulty.
“The Anti-Skull… Plan?”
“You wanna read it?”
Originally, he didn’t really like reading very much, but Jin thought that there was something more to these papers than just a waste of time; yet he couldn’t joke like that as Lee Shin Woo’s face was much too serious.
Ultimately, he nodded his head, and Lee Shin Woo laid one of the papers on the ground, which best summarized the current state of affairs, so that he could read it easily. Lee Shin Woo then turned his head back to the papers. It was the last page.
“This is… Did the Empire have a force that knew about the impending curse and was preparing for it by any chance!?”
“Ah, so you didn’t know.”
For a few hours after clearing and leaving the dungeon, Lee Shin Woo thoroughly scrutinized the data he’d acquired from the sewer hidden facilities.
Anti-Skull was lead by General Seagald, and was a group created to prevent the Emperor’s plan; at the same time, it was the name of the project that researched ways to prevent them from becoming undead.
“There’re detailed records written here about their research into preventing them from becoming undead. In laymen’s terms, at the heart of the research was their attempt to magically create a body beforehand which wouldn’t be affected by the curse.”
“So what happened? Did they succeed?”
Was it because he was also undead? Jin asked in a deeply interested voice, and Lee Shin Woo replied firmly, cutting him off.
That’s right. The plan progressed in multiple ways, but all of them became frustrated. There were several cases where the tested individuals exploded, and it was common that their bodies wouldn’t even be able to use mana anymore.
On the contrary, this experiment with Acid Poison wasn’t bad. The test subjects didn’t die, and actually became stronger; though they degenerated into the undead, they were able to retain their memories and their reason as well.
‘Even if they meet humans, the current Pauls shouldn’t be driven by their hatred.’
Regardless of their intent, all undead hated humans. It was like a suggestion engraved into their instincts. Because of that, humans also consider undead enemies. Though Lee Shin Woo didn’t really know about it since he was an undead as soon as he arrived in the Empire!
‘I wonder what state General Seagald is in?’
Based on the reports, General Seagald was gathering forces through various means to prevent the Emperor’s plan, while also actively participating in the Anti-Skull’s experiments with his subordinates.
In the past, he opposed the Emperor and certainly raised a force, but considering how he couldn’t prevent the curse despite that, his rebellion must’ve failed in the end. What happened to him as a result? Was he still alive, surviving as an undead? If he’s still alive, what would be the state of his reasoning?
The day would come where he’d be able to figure this out. Lee Shin Woo didn’t really need to take the lead and figure it out himself. Since there were a lot of seniors already ahead of him.
“Do the other heroes know about this?”
“Wouldn’t they? I don’t really have any plans to check, but they probably do.”
Of course, he had coincidentally learned of Anti-Skull in the sewer dungeon, but there were various secret facilities hidden throughout the Empire. If he assumed that the majority of them had become dungeons, a portion of his seniors should’ve been able to find them already. At least, that’s what Lee Shin Woo thought.
“You did some quests, right?”
“I got the inventory and the chatting channel as well.”
As if he were demonstrating, Jin put the leather bag in and out of his inventory. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo nodded his head and took the bag.
There were different bones that filled the bag to the brim, and they were all bones from at least level 2 monsters, just like Lee Shin Woo had instructed. Rarely, he saw some level 3 bones as well.
“How was your hunt?”
“When I actually got started, it wasn’t that hard. It felt like I got a bit used to battle in just a few hours. …Yeah, laugh it up.”
“Nah, it’s normally like that.”
Lee Shin Woo finished inspecting the bones and raised his head, locking gazes with Jin. His face, which blazed with blue goblin fire, came right in front of his own.
“Now you’re going to accept me as your colleague, right?”
“Of course. However, there’s something I’d like to check before that. What’s the ability you got from God as you were dropped onto this world?”
“Mmm, that’s… well you’re undead too, so I guess it’s fine to tell you.”
Jin was briefly conflicted, but soon he scanned Lee Shin Woo’s body and slightly nodded his head, and opened his mouth for the second time. In a way, Lee Shin Woo had anticipated what he had to say, but at the same time, his expectations were completely off.
“Truthfully, I have an ability that revives me even if I die. It’s an ability called the Blessing of Death; the magic of the curse is absorbed, and the accumulated power is changed into a blessing. Even if I die, it makes it possible for me to revive.”
“The magic of the curse? Ah.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m accumulating magic even now. It’s not very much, though…”
The curse’s magic, which transformed people into the undead, was overflowing in this world right now. In exchange for Jin having no curse resistance, his skill took care of it. It was a complete surprise to Lee Shin Woo, who thought Jin would definitely have the ‘Invisible Heart’ like him.
“Though the magic I’ve accumulated is only enough to revive me twice.”
“So the reason you just constantly ran was because of that skill’s effect, huh.”
“It’s embarrassing, but… yeah.”
Lee Shin Woo felt refreshed. He had thought that no matter how depressed Jin was from becoming a Skeleton Horse, just constantly running was too much, but after learning about his ability, he realized that Jin had run to stockpile the necessary energy to activate his skill.
“I’ve already died once, so I’ve become afraid of dying again. I couldn’t tell Jin Jin, but that’s how it is. I’m pathetic, right?”
“No, I understand. Very sincerely.”
The reason Lee Shin Woo could decide to fight without much difficulty as soon as he was dropped into the Empire was because he could revive 99 times. If he had arrived with the same skill Jin had, he would’ve done the same as him.
‘In any case, when I compare his ability to mine, it’s kind of subtle.’
After listening to him, it seemed as though Jin’s ability didn’t have a limited number of uses, but it also seemed like Jin’s ability would require him to gather a tremendous amount of mana to activate the skill.
In other words, he could futilely die before he gathered the required mana if he was unlucky. That probably contributed to him becoming more of a coward. He suddenly thought that God was truly ill-tempered.
“What about curse resistance and holy resistance?”
“I have both of them. They’re maxed out. It seems like my curse absorption is the evolved form of maxed out curse resistance.”
“As I thought.”
His absorption was the evolved form of maxed curse resistance… Lee Shin Woo decided he’d store away that information for now, and nodded his head. Jin felt relieved when he saw Lee Shin Woo unperturbed and nodding his head, even after hearing about his revival ability.
“So you received an ability similar to mine, huh. I wondered whether I was the only one like this.”
“Yeah, though my revival conditions are a bit different.”
Lee Shin Woo explained the effects of Invisible Heart to him. Jin could’ve been really uncomfortable hearing it, but he didn’t want to lie to someone he sympathized with. As expected, Jin was jealous of him.
“You have 97 more lives!? I’m so jealous…!”
“But the number of lives is annoying. So my goal right now is to die as little as possible. Acting as though I only have one life, and that I’m not undead.”
“…Yeah, I agree with you.”
From the start, Lee Shin Woo’s attitude was something that Jin also wanted to learn. That attitude, where he didn’t succumb to despair and endured firmly, despite being in a similar situation, and pressing forward!
However, Lee Shin Woo seemed burdened by Jin’s blazing gaze (though in reality, it was always blazing), and slightly turned his head away and spoke.
“That’s not all, right? Isn’t there more that you got?”
“Ah, yeah… In the process of becoming a Skeleton Horse, or more precisely, a [Dark Bone Horse], I became level 4. And lastly, I got a skill called [Child of Light].”
“What’s that? Does it let you kick at the speed of light or something?”
Amongst the several lines he’d always wanted to say, Lee Shin Woo mentioned one of them. Jin then cold-heartedly shook his head and spoke.
“By receiving the Blessing of Light, my agility growth rate increases by three times.”
“…Growth rate is kind of vague, so what does it mean in more detail?”
Even as he thought that Jin should be called the Child of Char instead of the Child of Light, he asked for more details. Without hesitating, Jin elaborated. Without even realizing how amazing his own ability was.
“Whenever I gain agility, for whatever the reason, I gain three agility when others gain 1. That’s my karma or whatever.”
“Whatever the reason…!?”
That’s bullshit! Three times the agility no matter what? Increases in agility from karma, skills, and drinking the shop’s medicine would be three times that of any other person! Though it was a cheat skill he could gain only after becoming a Skeleton Horse.
“It seems like it’s an ability that’s so good that it surprises even you. Well, my agility did shoot up as I continually ran, when my skills leveled up, or when I received some karma for running really fast. I feel like my agility was around 500 at the beginning, but right now it’s close to 800.”
He already surpassed Lee Shin Woo with just his agility! Now he could understand his fearsome growth rate. If he were to exclude the increase in effectiveness of his other stats, he already had agility that rivaled a level 6’s!
‘Wait a sec.’
At that point, Lee Shin Woo suddenly thought. If that’s the case, then would his ability activate when he reinforces his bones, too…?
If that’s actually true, then his compatibility with Jin would result in an absurd outcome beyond his imagination. Jin could naturally attain a tremendous result, and Lee Shin Woo fighting in battle from his back…!
‘Did God not expect this?’
These two unusual individuals’ karma met and would create a ridiculous synergistic effect. If it’s her, who was the God of this world, she probably could’ve predicted this.
If that’s the case, then God had predicted that they’d work together at some point… and there’s a possibility that she’d guided them such that they would. She didn’t just make them undead simply due to her ill nature, but perhaps she wanted them to accomplish the tasks that ‘couldn’t be accomplished by normal humans’.
…Though she could’ve just done it on a whim.
“Do you also have a different ability?”
He was in deep thought, so he forgot that Jin was right in front of him. He saw Jin waiting for his response, and extracted a level 2 bone from the leather bag; he raised it, smiled mischievously (that kind of feeling), and replied.
“Yeah, I do have one. From the start, all of my abilities are because of this skill.”
“What kind of ability could it be for it to…?”
“I’ll teach you using your own body.”
“Be careful, since your head might hurt in the beginning.”
For some reason, Jin was shocked and stepped back, but Lee Shin Woo wasn’t concerned by that and yelled.
 T/N: Char is a character from Mobile Suit Gundam. I don’t really understand the reference here, but it’s probably a meme of some sort.