<Chapter 11. Lightning Tooth – 3>
The level 5 Treasure Eater roamed the underground in search for higher leveled treasures.
However, by leveling up, the Treasure Eater’s eyesight had drastically improved, and there weren’t many items that it recognized as treasures. Thunder Lasting, which had dropped to level 3, had returned to level 4 and had actually become more powerful, transforming into the Lightning Tooth, thereby becoming enticing enough prey to draw the Treasure Eater.
[Lv5 Treasure Eater]
In the end, it wasn’t a level 4 Treasure Eater that had arrived, but a level 5 one! He knew there’d be a day that he’d meet one again, but he didn’t think he’d have to fight against one that was two levels higher than him…
Despite feeling slightly concerned, Lee Shin Woo greeted the Treasure Eater with unmistakable excitement and joy.
[The Treasure Eater used Shriek of the Dead. Those exposed to this shriek momentarily fall into a frenzied and fearful state.]
[Invisible Heart nullifies the effects of Shriek of the Dead.]
However, the Treasure Eater responded to his lively greeting with Shriek of the Dead. ‘What shitty manners,’ he thought, while Jin spoke from beside him whilst persistently gritting his teeth.
“You learned that yelling skill from the same species as that weird bug, right?”
“Yep. How’re you holding up?”
Lee Shin Woo naturally wasn’t affected by the scream, and Jin wasn’t either. It wasn’t because they were undead, or because Jin was a horse, but because of his Horseback Riding skill; it was because they were connected, albeit superficially.
In other words, the status ailment that Jin should’ve received was shared with Lee Shin Woo, and in the process, Invisible Heart had completely taken care of it.
Since its shriek was ineffective, the Treasure Eater seemed pissed and charged. The golems that were spread across the highlands rolled to either side, making a path for the Treasure Eater so that they wouldn’t get in the way. It was as if they were saying ‘It’s not our problem. Take care of it amongst yourselves, whether you have to fight or kill each other.’!
Jin spoke slightly urgently towards Lee Shin Woo, who was nodding, feeling as though the golems’ IQ was higher than he had thought.
“How the hell are you going to fight against that idiot?”
“Hmm… I’ll think about it after getting some more info.”
The level 2 Treasure Eater didn’t have any special abilities aside from Shriek of the Dead or Roar of Healing.
However, the level 3 Treasure Eater possessed an outrageous ability, the Flames of Resentment, instead of the Roar of Healing (it might’ve had it, but at the very least, he didn’t see it use it against him). So he didn’t have any ways of knowing right now of what abilities, besides Shriek of the Dead, the level 5 Treasure Eater possessed.
It may have all of those abilities, or it may have something even more outrageous. Since this Treasure Eater was his first encounter with a level 5 monster, and it was also an elite, he couldn’t know for sure.
“Could you maintain this distance for me? Can you do it?”
“Yeah, that’s not a problem.”
Treasure Eaters tended to have high magic and health. In other words, compared to its size, its speed and strength aren’t very impressive. Of course, it was level 5, so its stats should be amplified accordingly, but to Jin, who had overwhelming speed even at level 4, there was no way it would be able to catch them.
Even while Lee Shin Woo rode on his back, that fact didn’t really change. Jin strode across the rugged highlands as if it were flatlands and leisurely widened the distance between them and the Treasure Eater!
“Yes, yes. I’m over here. Catapult!”
For starters, he needed to figure out whether his Catapult would be effective against it or not. Lee Shin Woo moved as quickly as possible and shot his index finger, but the Treasure Eater instantly emitted a horrific shriek and the flying shot exploded in midair.
He had expected it to evade it or block it, but he didn’t think a method like that would exist! Seeing that, Jin spoke in disgust even whilst running.
“Don’t learn that skill. If you don’t want to burst my eardrums.”
“You don’t have any eardrums to burst… Never mind, sorry. My bad. Please don’t drop me.”
Lee Shin Woo desperately regained his balance atop the excessively shaking Jin and pointed both hands at the Treasure Eater this time. Of course, this attempt didn’t come from a complacent idea like ‘one didn’t work, so let’s fire several simultaneously, and hopefully, one will eventually hit the mark.’
All 10 of his fingers, from his thumbs to his little fingers, were coated in flames and fired. However, they lost their power midflight, as if he had shot them improperly, and fell to the ground! Steve trampled those bones as if it were mocking him, and attempted to keep charging but…
At that instant, Lee Shin Woo yelled vigorously, and all of the 10 bone pieces exploded, hitting its abdominal area hard, causing it to roll onto the floor while spurting blood! Though he was on the cusp of becoming level 4, a level 5 elite monster had been successfully struck by a level 3 hero’s blow!
“Hoo, it worked…”
“You should’ve told me ahead of time.”
Lee Shin Woo, who had already fought Treasure Eaters a few times before, knew that the skin covering its head and its back were tough, and that only its stomach area was weak. He had shot his first Catapult in order to ascertain its abilities.
He acted as though he didn’t have a suitable way to deal with it, lulled it into a false sense of security, and then, sprung the trap at the most opportune time; weren’t these the basics for a Duelist? Though he wasn’t a Duelist!
“Then… it’s time. Jin, run!”
“Run!? You said we couldn’t run back then!?”
“Temporarily! We need to run in order to get the last piece in place!”
Jin, who was surprised that Lee Shin Woo suddenly told him to run when it’d finally seemed like they’d have a shot at beating it, asked back, but Lee Shin Woo didn’t explain at length.
Though they had an opening where they could get a huge hit in, a difference of 2 levels was huge. A similar attack likely wouldn’t be effective twice, and if that’s the case, they would lose if they kept going at it like this, as the Treasure Eater was unfathomably tough.
What could they do then? The answer was the cheat skill he had; he needed to activate his Avenger skill.
Him attacking the Treasure Eater was to satisfy the activation conditions of his skill. Whether he inflicted damage on it, or he took damage, they both count as being in battle!
“Tch…I got it!”
He knew that Lee Shin Woo’s decision making in combat situations was much more accurate than his own, so Jin turned his body around and dashed away. Jin was running at his max speed, and Lee Shin Woo barely endured so that he wouldn’t fall off!
As a result, they arrived within the flatlands he’d remembered seeing before in less than two minutes. The message Lee Shin Woo had been waiting for also appeared at an opportune time.
[You have acquired a target for the Beginner Avenger skill. When you meet the target again, all abilities increase by 36%.]
“Nice, now I should be overflowing with strength…!”
The Avenger skill was key in allowing him to fight enemies that were a higher level than him.
He felt anxious because the target this time around was a monster two levels higher, but he had Jin right now. If he supported him with his high agility, he may even be able to defeat the Treasure Eater more easily than the King Slime.
However, at that moment, Jin spoke thoughtlessly.
“Is that also a skill it normally has?”
“Huh? …What the hell?”
Upon hearing him speak, Lee Shin Woo turned his head and his (nonexistent) eyes widened. From afar, the Treasure Eater was chasing after them with frightening vigor, and dozens of blackish whips poured out of its body and were violently flying towards them.
No, they weren’t whips. It was blood! It was controlling whips that originated from its blood!
“Hold on tight!”
The whips were ridiculously fast compared to its main body. Immediately after seeing them move, Jin began to quickly gallop away but they would soon reach them any minute now.
[You have found the target of your revenge. When you fight it, all abilities increase by 36%. Flames of Revenge receive an additional 36% increase.]
“Nice… Take this!”
Lee Shin Woo clicked his tongue and shot out his Flames of Revenge, which were amplified by his Avenger skill; though the whips, originating from its blood, met with the flames, they didn’t evaporate easily. Especially because several more whips were crazily flying towards them!
“Jin, run! Run for now!”
“Damn it. If it weren’t for those weird tentacles, we could’ve completely slipped away…!”
Was it considerably angry that it had been harmed by Lee Shin Woo, who was a lower level than it? The Treasure Eater, which had recovered from the pain and stood upright, divided the blood spilling from its stomach into dozens of whips and controlled them, simultaneously moving its main body and charging.
Lee Shin Woo grit his teeth. There were way too many of them to take down one by one with his flames! Yet, using Acid Poison would consume too much mana, and its characteristic of fundamentally focusing all of the poison at one point wouldn’t be suitable at this very moment.
Lee Shin Woo couldn’t perceive the pattern of its attacks, and one of the whips latched onto Lee Shin Woo’s arm the moment he panicked, stubbornly coiling and tightening around it. He was then afflicted with a horrific pain.
It was as if the whip contained the level 5 Treasure Eater’s physical strength, and just from its exterior, seemed to possess an unimaginable toughness. The whips were overwhelmingly faster than its main body, and it had fully transferred its physical strength into them; this was the first time he’d experienced such a cheap ability!
Lee Shin Woo had a hunch that even if he tried to resist, he would just end up getting dragged by the whip, so instead, he gave in and shot off his grabbed arm! For just a moment, it felt like the tremendous pain would’ve dragged his consciousness under, but Lee Shin Woo resisted with only his tenacious spirit.
Even Steve, who possessed that bizzare ability, hadn’t expected that Lee Shin Woo would get out like this! His launched arm, as well as the whip flew dizzily through the air, and the whips flying towards them ended up becoming tangled in one spot.
Lee Shin Woo didn’t miss that golden opportunity. He treated those whips as travelling companions and unhesitatingly blew up his bone arm! As if it were proving that it had blown off the Acid Ghoul’s head entirely on the spot, it exploded magnificently. It completely burned down the blood whips in the entire area.
“Does it hurt? It really hurts for me too! Anyway, you’re always using such crazy attacks…!”
The moment the whips were swallowed up by the explosion and dissipated, the Treasure Eater also seemed to take quite a bit of damage, as it momentarily paused in its pursuit and agonizingly yelled. It was a great advantage to learn that damage to its blood whips would cause its main body harm.
“Are you alright!?”
“I’ll be fine if I apply the bone powder. Just keep an eye out for those whips and move carefully.”
Jin was astonished at Lee Shin Woo sacrificing his arm without any hesitation, but Lee Shin Woo didn’t think much of it, and used the bone powder from within his inventory, activating Bone Reinforcement around his shoulder area. Though he used a sizeable lump of bone powder, he was able to regenerate without even using a drop of mana.
“Jin, it’s moving again!”
It wasn’t possible for it to attack with its main body anymore. The Treasure Eater simultaneously stretched out dozens of new whips and left half of them close to its body, while the other half shoot out and attacked them.
Even so, it was a relief that he’d spread his Flames of Revenge on its main body when he’d burst its stomach.
‘I’ve lost my arm once already, yet it’s only spilled blood once. Moreover, the number of whips popping out are almost endless. So this is a level 5 elite monster, huh…’
If he could, he would’ve ran until the Flames of Revenge claimed its life, but no matter how calmly he thought about it, he couldn’t afford to keep running away from it until then.
Then… Lee Shin Woo thought he had no other choice… in the end, he gritted his teeth and raised his head.
It was time to battle it face-to-face.