<Chapter 11. Lightning Tooth – 2>
The way the golems went about with their bombardment made him think back to the Ratman launching its nails. By human standards, they were forcefully discharging the rocks attached to their arms and using the surrounding rocks to replenish their losses.
“Seems like if you take a wrong step here, it’ll be the end for you.”
Lee Shin Woo muttered, as he dodged the raining rock shells and drove his axe into a golem’s body. If he had come here by himself, he wouldn’t die, but he would’ve had to put in a lot of effort to clear out all of them.
But that ‘end’ had now become an impossible proposition. Compared to Jin’s level, no, even compared to his own level, whilst riding on Jin’s back the golem’s bombardment was incredibly slow. Even if they shot the rocks point blank, they would be able to dodge them quite easily.
“So it seems like if there’s a large difference between agility, then ranged attacks almost become completely ineffectual…”
While he was fighting against the golems, he suddenly realized how important agility was. The Acid Ghoul was able to intercept his shot without much difficulty because of its agility as well.
So long as it doesn’t swerve along the way, and one can read the trajectory of the shot, one could avoid it without much difficulty; when he considered that the one dodging the projectile had more of an advantage than the one doing the shooting, if one wanted to kill someone with a long range attack, then he concluded that they would have to be much faster than their opponent.
Fast enough that they can’t read the trajectory of the shot, and fast enough that they can’t grasp the timing of the shot.
“If we were to say something like this on our home worlds, we would’ve been subject to ridicule.”
“Is that something you should be saying? I’m the one dodging all of the shells coming from everywhere!”
The first condition for surviving in this world was to accept that they had become a member of this world, and their preexisting common sense was invalid and couldn’t be applied to this world. Based on that criteria, the two of them had passed those conditions with flying colors.
“Ah, there aren’t any more.”
Had they crushed all of the golems? Once he’d taken care of the golems that had first responded to him and looked up, there weren’t any more rocks in the entire area. Once broken, they were neither golems nor boulders anymore, and it seemed only natural that only the considerably large boulders were golems.
“What should we do now? Should we go across from there?”
“The region that these guys are in charge of seems to be strictly divided.”
If Lee Shin Woo walked for around a minute, he could reach an area with normal rock formations. But if he stepped one foot in, those rocks would immediately emerge as golems.
Even now, that area wasn’t very far off. It certainly felt strange, the golems seemingly being measured and divided, as only the golems of a fixed area had responded to them. It felt like someone had decided that ‘you guys are in charge from here up to here.’
“For starters, are these guys really formed naturally?”
“That’s what we have to figure out now.”
Even with the shells flying towards him unceasingly, he could still fight, but the same couldn’t be said about the loot; he had to leave them behind. He lead Jin around the whole area, and collected the sprawled cores and Perium off the floor.
[You have acquired 3,200 Perium.]
[You have acquired a Autonomous Defensive Type Bone Core.]
“Though they’re level 3, they don’t leave much Perium behind unless they’re elites.”
“Where do you even use that?”
“Well, I completely understand where you’re coming from since you’ve never gone to the secret shop before.”
He’d acquired 3,000 Perium from the golem, but it was only a third of what he’d gotten from the similarly leveled elite Great Slime. Of course, it was difficult to find even one Great Slime, but the Stone Golems were comparatively easy to find, as they were spread across the plateau area, so they made up for their quality with quantity.
After he’d raked in all of the Perium from the entire area, he checked how much total Perium he’d collected.
[Total Perium – 445,870]
Was this what it feels like to be amazed at how much has changed in such a short period of time? It felt like just a few days ago he had unhesitatingly told Pleine his story in exchange for a 20,000 Perium discount, but now, he had already amassed 445,870 Perium. Of course, there were a few special circumstances that helped in that.
“Shin Woo, there’s something over here.”
[Lv2 Stone Gloves]
It looked like it was armor. The gloves looked like they were made of stupidly tough rock, and he wondered whether this would actually be effective in fending off his opponent’s attacks; but on the contrary, he had his suspicions that these would actually cause more harm to his hands. At the very least, Lee Shin Woo didn’t really want to equip them.
[You have acquired Lv2 Stone Gloves. Through Bone Reinforcement, the item is changing. Your compatibility with the item is high, causing a special change.]
However, the moment Lee Shin Woo touched the gloves, something strange happened. It was a message he had never seen before, and what’s worse, it was a message he hadn’t even seen when his Melting Bone Double Axe had risen in level!
[You have acquired Lv3 Fossil Gloves (+5).]
But when he saw the outcome of that change, his (nonexistent) eyes naturally narrowed. Rocks and bone had come together, and had become a fossil; he wanted to tackle the Bone Reinforcement ability itself.
“But fossils aren’t technically bones…”
“Why do you need scientific knowledge all of a sudden?”
“Nah, it’s fine. It’s good for me, anyway.”
Even if teeth or nails were regarded as bones, he just decided to let it go. Lee Shin Woo decided not to nitpick on each and every aspect of his ability. In any case, not only had his item leveled up, it had also been reinforced to +5, so he was satisfied.
…Though he still didn’t have any intention of equipping them.
“Good, then there’s only one other option.”
“You’re doing it again?”
Lee Shin Woo didn’t answer Jin’s question, and quietly raised the Fossil Gloves (+5). In his other hand, he held not his axe, but his sword, the Bone of Thunder Lasting (+8).
It wasn’t an item he would equip, so he didn’t consider it to be a stupid gamble. While trying his very best to ignore the other option of using the equipment to reinforce his own bones…!
Something happened the moment Lee Shin Woo was about to use his Bone Reinforcement. One of the bone cores he still hadn’t stored into his inventory seemed to shine brightly, and a message appeared in front of him.
[If you consume a bone core and then attempt reinforcement, the success rate increases. If you use the bone core as a material for an equipment’s reinforcement, it will increase even further. It is possible to use several at once in the reinforcement.]
When he thought about it, he remembered reading that normally monsters’ cores are used to produce weapons, or manufacture medicine. However, it turned out that the core itself had the power to reinforce equipment. Perhaps the equipment reinforcement permit also functioned by using the power of a core?
Just a little while ago, he felt like he had wanted to ‘try it out’, but now that he’d read that message, he trusted that the success rate would increase significantly by using the cores, though he had no basis for that. Lee Shin Woo put aside the Fossil Gloves for now, grabbed a bone core in one hand, and used Bone Reinforcement!
[Bone Reinforcement has succeeded.]
[Bone of Thunder Lasting +9]
[Attack Power: 300 – 400]
[Options: Strength +21, Agility +21, Power of Bursting Thunder skill +19%]
It had really succeeded with just one try! Lee Shin Woo was moved and embraced his weapon. However, Jin spoke calmly by his side.
“Shin Woo, on the ground.”
It was at that time that Lee Shin Woo finally realized that every single one of the bone cores he’d gathered in one place had disappeared.
There were a few inside his inventory that were still safe, but the rest disappeared. There were more than ten of them there, and the moment he used his reinforcement, they had resonated without his consent!
He gained new knowledge again. If he used bone cores to reinforce his equipment, the cores would resonate as they pleased! It had increased…!
Fortunately, the price came cheap. It was such a relief that he hadn’t attempted to reinforce his equipment while he had 100 bone cores laid out!
Especially since, if he hadn’t gathered the bone cores and attempted the reinforcement, he didn’t know how long he’d be stuck without being able to succeed. So this was fine. It was fine.
“Shin Woo, are you crying?”
“I’m not crying.”
He replied bitterly, removed the final remaining level 3 equipment reinforcement permit from his inventory, and raised it.
Even if he inspected his Bone of Thunder Lasting one more time, it was still at +9. He grit his teeth and used the reinforcement permit. Then, radiant light spewed out of the weapon and a tremendous amount of mana surged. This dense mana seemed to be able to change the very material of the weapon, and heated up the air.
[The Lv3 Bone of Thunder Lasting has evolved into the Lv4 Lightning Tooth!]
[Attack Power : 450 – 480]
[Element: Lightning Lv4]
[Options: Strength +25, Agility +25, Power of Bursting Thunder +20%]
Seeing his completely transformed weapon, Lee Shin Woo interjected. It was a completely different weapon from the level 4 weapon, Thunder Lasting, that he’d acquired from the zombie turned hero.
By coming into his possession, it had deteriorated into bone in the past, but at least, the current Lightning Tooth didn’t seem inferior to the Thunder Lasting; there was no mistake that it was actually much stronger than Thunder Lasting. That’s because two tremendous powers had collided, ultimately harmonizing, and the outcome was its evolution.
“Wow, even if you compare it to the axe, the energy coming off that thing’s no joke.”
“You have considerable talent in mana as well, huh. You’re right. They’re both level 4, but this weapon’s exceptional and is incomparable to the axe. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this bone contains God’s power.”
“At any rate, it’s a bone, huh…”
The blade consisted of a bone gleaming in blue light, and was longer, and sharper than before; the fact that there was a slight power of lightning within had surfaced, and began to spark.
He was excited thinking about what would happen if he held this weapon and used an intermediate level of Bursting Thunder. Thus, Lee Shin Woo was spurred on to train his Bursting Thunder even more diligently than before.
‘Acid and lightning. Flames… Then, this makes me want to use the other elements a bit.’
If he only had one element out of three, that would be plenty to represent him as a hero, yet he was still greedy for more even though he had three. He still hadn’t realized at this point that he possessed abilities that would more than shock his senior heroes.
However, when Lee Shin Woo was fascinated with the power of his weapon, the once silent plateau area suddenly vibrated. What’s worse, the vibrations gradually became worse!
Did the golems wake up? If that’s not it, was it a natural earthquake? Both of those were wrong. The golems were still quietly staying in their places, and it obviously wasn’t an earthquake. Then, what was it?
“Mm, as I thought.”
Lee Shin Woo heard the faint cry from afar, nodded his head, and spoke, as if he had expertly anticipated it. Around now, it started to feel like a traditional event.
He quickly put the Fossil Gloves and his sword into his inventory, and cleanly used up the two remaining bone cores to reinforce his bones. His health increased by 1, so now he only needed 1 more stat point before he leveled up.
“What the hell is this? It’s like there’s a huge monster on the move, but I can’t tell if it’s actually coming!”
“Calm down, Jin. Since I already know what it is.”
“You can’t even see it yet, so how do you know?”
“I just know.”
Around the time Lee Shin Woo calmly answered Jin, who was even more flustered than when he had fought the Acid Ghoul, the enemy revealed itself beyond the horizon.
It was rushing towards them, yet the golems didn’t stand up and attack it. It seems like it wasn’t considered a trespasser.
“What kind of monster could it be!? Don’t we need to run away!?”
“There’s no way to completely get away from it once it’s picked its ‘target’. …Though it’s level may be different, I have experience fighting them, so wait for now.”
Of course, he didn’t really have any memories of fighting it from the front. This time too, he didn’t plan on fighting it face-to-face. There were a multitude of ways to kill an enemy besides slicing off their head.
Around that time, Jin was able to confirm the identity of their enemy with his own two eyes, and spoke in vivid horror.
“Lv5…!? Can we win!?”
“…Even if we can’t, we have to fight. That’s what the Empire’s all about.”
Lee Shin Woo comforted the confused Jin and checked his opponent. It had less than a couple hundred meters to go, and the appearance of a monster filled his eyes, one which he was familiar with to the point that it felt slightly tedious.
[Lv5 Treasure Eater]
Steve, who he hadn’t seen in a long time, was here.