<Chapter 15. New Relationship – 2>
“So you’re saying that you intuitively sensed each other and joined forces?”
Following the battle’s completion, Lee Shin Woo listened to how the Pauls had fared thus far whilst collecting the loot from hundreds of undead. Honestly, there wasn’t much to speak of; it was simple. They just sensed a similar energy emanating from the Pauls that had left the city and were wandering around; as a result, they were able to group up in one place.
There were twenty-two Pauls who had gathered like that, and in terms of groups, there were three. He thought this might be happening in other regions of the Empire and felt somewhat strange.
[We gathered like that, so it was about time for us to go look for General Seagald, but… we came across a battalion that was patrolling the area and we approached them because we thought they might be…]
[They quickly realized that our energy was different from theirs, so they became hostile. Since they ordered us to go and meet their lord, as well as prove that we were truly soldiers of the Empire, we had no choice but to fight them.]
“The lord, huh…”
He’d roughly heard about it from his seniors. The lords were individuals without much power, but were undead who experienced a special transformation that enabled them to command other undead; the undead under their direct command were incomparably powerful and quick, so apparently it would take a lot of effort to take them on.
Apparently, the fact that it was a huge city didn’t necessarily mean that a lord would be present, but it seems like they’d hit the jackpot.
‘Though there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.’
Lee Shin Woo and Jin were ridiculously strong for their level, not to mention the level 6 magician, Kratia.
Kratia couldn’t believe what was happening and directed her gaze solely at Lee Shin Woo. The Pauls seemed to think that this was their chance and asked Lee Shin Woo.
[Who is this magician?]
“She came from the outside to help. She’s cooperating with me to turn the situation in the Empire around.”
[As expected of our Captain!]
[You sure know a lot of people. To be cooperating with a magician who seems even more powerful than Doctor Aterran…!]
As always, Lee Shin Woo lied without even changing his tone of voice, and the elite skeletons marveled at him and applauded. Seeing that, Kratia completely gave up on understanding the situation at hand.
And beside her, Jin looked as though he understood how she felt, as he was nodding his head. Besides, how surprised was he when he had first seen Lee Shin Woo revive these guys into elite skeletons!
“We were thinking of clearing out that city. I’ll lead you guys for a bit. Will you follow me?”
[If everyone else agrees, I’ll likewise follow your command.]
[I feel a bit stronger just being by your side, Captain!]
It probably wasn’t just a feeling. In no time at all, Lee Shin Woo’s Command skill had become low rank level 3, which possessed the ability of strengthening his subordinates by just a little!
“Then, Shin, no… Paul Zero. Are we going to raid the city like this?”
“It wouldn’t be very tough to do so, but…”
Lee Shin Woo examined the afar wall. It might’ve been due to time, but half of the wall had crumbled and didn’t seem to evoke a huge sense of danger, but the energy coming from the swarming undead within was quite formidable.
“We don’t need to go the hard way when the easy way’s available to us. Wouldn’t it be stupid to attack the front?”
“Then are we infiltrating the city and assassinating the lord?”
Kratia spoke; it was a common strategy for when there weren’t many elite soldiers gathered. Lee Shin Woo uncertainly nodded his head.
“Yeah, we probably need to kill the lord who’s in command. If we don’t, it’ll become tough for us.”
“What do you mean tough on us… ah.”
Jin was the first to realize what Lee Shin Woo was talking about. The blue goblin fire in his eye sockets momentarily spread out lengthways.
“You’re really cruel. You know that?”
“Thanks for the compliment.”
Kratia tilted her head at their conversation. Lee Shin Woo brushed it aside and laughed as if it were nothing, and said something important this time.
“I’d like to buy the bones of the skeletons you just hunted. Is that alright?”
“Bones? …Do you have a skill that uses bones by any chance? It’s probably a skill you received from God. Perhaps your ability to alter your magic in a variety of ways and utilize it comes from…”
“You’re mostly right.”
It might’ve been because she was a magician, but she sure picked up on things quick. Lee Shin Woo grinned and nodded his head.
“I thought about hiding it at first, but I thought it wasn’t really necessary.”
Over the past week, they’d observed each other’s magic and conversed about skills; and in that process, Kratia had already roughly figured out what Lee Shin Woo’s ability was.
Honestly, all Lee Shin Woo had asked for was for her to sell the bones, but hadn’t she responded in a way that was essentially saying ‘yes’? He had nothing to be hesitant about, as she was thinking about whether to hide the fact that she knew or not.
“I’ll just give them to you for free. In exchange, let me see what that skill looks like.”
“That’s not hard, but I’ll pay the price. Since it’s a reasonable price for the karma. Ah, and you guys, gather the bones of the enemies you kill, too.”
[Did you say bones…?]
[Ah, I understand.]
Perhaps it was because the Command skill was in effect, but despite it being a questionable order, the Pauls moved obediently. While they were doing so, Lee Shin Woo received all of Kratia’s bones.
It was impossible to price them like a proper merchant, so he paid for them with what he thought was the likely asking price. Because he had hunted down so many golems, which dropped a lot of Perium, it didn’t even really make much of dent.
“Then let’s pick out the level 4 knights’ bones… And you never know, so pick out a few of the level 3 bones too.”
“What are you going to do with those bones?”
Kratia asked with an excited expression and Lee Shin Woo unhesitatingly activated Bone Reinforcement before her. The Skeleton Knight’s rib bone was completely absorbed by Lee Shin Woo and its knowledge, experiences, mana and strength all flowed into him.
Of course, since Lee Shin Woo was already level 4, he couldn’t receive many stats from the bone anymore, but his true objective wasn’t the subpar stat increase.
[Strength has increased by 1. You have relatively perfectly absorbed the target’s memories and experiences. You have acquired a 1% skill proficiency in Horseback Riding. You have acquired a 0.3% skill proficiency in Bursting Thunder. You have acquired a 0.1% skill proficiency in Combat Sense.]
[Oho, you dare challenge me? Hear me, you fools. If you think that I, Sir Palin, will tell you about my sexual techniques, then… – Knight Palin]
Lee Shin Woo retched at the centrally flowing memories. The knight wasn’t even trying to piss someone off, yet the most impressive memory was his talk with the other soldiers about his sexual techniques! The remaining individuals in his memory had become skeletons as well, and had ultimately fallen in vain like this; there was nothing more pitiful than this.
“What kind of memory was it to get you frowning like that?”
“It’s nothing. It was just a sad story. You don’t need to worry about it too much.”
“What the hell was that mana effect!? It was hard to understand, but I caught a brief glimpse of the magic sublimating. If I knew this was going to happen, I would’ve asked God for a skill as well…”
Lee Shin Woo took a deep breath to calm his breathing whilst more thoroughly going through the memories he’d absorbed from Sir Palin. Normally, the higher leveled the undead, the more detailed their memories were, and those memories not only increased his combat abilities, but could also provide him with information he didn’t have. Like right now…!
‘This asshole memorized all the routes to the red-light district! Because of that, he knew the ways to sneak into the outskirts of the city…!’
Though his normal behavior was filthy, Lee Shin Woo was able to extract considerably high quality information from him. Lee Shin Woo continuously absorbed the other knights’ bones as well, and was able to ascertain where the lord lived when he was alive, as well as the positions his guards were stationed.
‘I obviously don’t know if everything’s stayed the same since they’ve turned into the undead, but it’s worth betting on.’
In order to supplement the incomplete information, he absorbed a few of the level 3 skeleton bones as well, and perfectly formulated the route to infiltrate into the city. Kratia marveled at him and fixed her gaze on him. It seemed as though she couldn’t completely understand the skill as she was furrowing her brow.
“How is this possible? You’re absorbing the innate mana within the bones in their entirety. I understand that they’re all bones, so that it reduces the potential conflict, but I don’t understand anything beyond that. I know that there’s some sort of mana disassembly process as well as a reconstruction process…”
[Captain, we’ve gathered the bones!]
Lee Shin Woo turned away from Kratia, who sounded like a broken record, and faced the skeletons. Each of them clutched an armful of bones to their bodies and because they hadn’t seen Lee Shin Woo use Bone Reinforcement, their voices were still inquisitive.
[What should we do now?]
[Are you going to hold a funeral for these guys?]
“Everyone, listen up.”
Lee Shin Woo said instantly. His voice was so dignified that even Kratia flinched, so how would the Pauls have reacted? They stood upright and focused on Lee Shin Woo. However, Jin was the only one that quickly figured out what he was doing, thinking ‘Ah, he’s starting to act again’.
“I want you guys not to hate those that you’ve killed.”
[But these guys attacked us.]
[These guys were afflicted by the curse and have even lost their reasoning.]
Lee Shin Woo nodded his head weightily, as if agreeing with what they’d said, yet at the next moment, his eye sockets blazed with red goblin fire and spoke with a strong tone. Like a general.
“They were also soldiers and knights who cared for the Empire and respected General Seagald while they were still alive, just like you. You can’t deny them of even that.”
[Of course, that’s true, but…]
“You guys will be faced with several similar situations in the future. You’ll have to shoulder the deaths of those who were once your comrades on your backs.”
Lee Shin Woo said, and grabbed one of the bones they were carrying. Regardless of whether he flinched or not, Lee Shin Woo placed the bone on the Paul’s forehead.
“So, this is sign of their repentance, and represents their will as well. It’s something they’ve desperately left behind, at the moment of their deaths. …And I can personally instill their wills into you.”
The Paul, who’d become the target of his Bone Reinforcement, shook as though it’d been shocked by an electric current. The bones it was holding rumbled and fell to the ground with a dull sound; hearing that, the surrounding Pauls took a step back in shock. However, in the very next moment…
[H-How can this be?]
The Paul spoke deafeningly and plopped down. If it were human, its eyes would be flowing with tears!
[Their will is so clear… Ugh, they truly were soldiers who loved this Empire!]
[Hey, Paul 47. Are you ok?]
[What exactly happened, Paul 47!]
Hearing its comrades call for it, Paul 47 raised its head and responded deafeningly once more.
[I inherited their will. Captain revealed their will to me!]
[Their will. The wills of the soldiers who had become undead?]
[Our captain is definitely an emissary of God sent to save the Empire! He not only restored our minds to us, but also allows us to ruminate over those sacrificed and killed!]
Paul 47 spoke as if touched and gathered all of the bones that had dropped onto the floor. Lee Shin Woo thought it was being unnecessarily loud, yet spoke solemnly.
“Now do you understand? Their wills!”
[Of course! Please allow me to inherit all these guys’ wills! These guys are already dead so they don’t have a will of their own anymore, but still! We’ll become one and live on!]
Paul 47 was touched and yelled. At that moment, Lee Shin Woo saw this message in front of him.
[The Lv3 Elite Cursed Skeleton, Paul 47 has become your subordinate. So long as you do not discard him, he will faithfully obey any order you give him.]
[The Low Rank Command skill has become Lv4. All stats have increased by 1. You can more effectively draw out the strength of your subordinates.]
Lee Shin Woo had established a new relationship aside from the contractual one with Jin… He had formed a master-servant relationship.