<Chapter 16. A Joker is Born – 1>
The shriek resounded clearly across the city, alerting them that the battle had begun.
“This city is ours (Pauls) now! Throw down your weapons and surrender!”
“Do you really have to say that!?”
[By using Low Rank Shriek of the Dead, the enemies in the entire area fall into a frenzied and fearful state.]
Lee Shin Woo’s booming voice echoed throughout the entire city. However, rather than throw away their weapons and surrender, their enemies that heard him rampaged about and blindly thrust their weapons at each other’s heads. Obviously, whenever he utilized Shriek of the Dead, its effect would be the same, regardless of what he said.
[Kihik, when did so many undead invade the city!?]
[All knights, draw your swords! Teach those undead how heavy a sin it is to trespass on the Empire’s sacred soil!]
“Just one shout caused the city to go from peaceful looking (at least on the outside) to a complete mess…”
“As I thought, it would be easy for a high leveled Treasure Eater to wreck a city like this one if it were drawn here.”
Did Lee Shin Woo rush into battle right after shouting? Of course not. The main focus of this mission was to ascertain how many high leveled undead there were, as well as their location.
He had divided the city into sections, based on how many high leveled undead there were, and had been moving around as he calculated the effective area of his Shriek of the dead.
[I’ll engrave the Empire’s laws into your body!]
[How dare you, a mere undead! You wicked black magicians; I’ll make you kneel before the Emperor!]
“Whoa, these knights here fight well.”
Of course, Lee Shin Woo had predicted that there would be some who wouldn’t be affected by Shriek of the Dead, but that didn’t matter. Since even the level 4 Skeleton Knights were affected by his level 6 Low Rank Shriek of the Dead.
Normally, it would be difficult to achieve this good of a result with a low rank level 6 skill, but Lee Shin Woo’s Mana Bone skill was helping. Any act that utilized magic would be buffed by Mana Bone, but it was particularly effective on abilities that changed pure magic and utilized it.
“Let’s move quickly, before the lord intervenes with his own golems and knights!”
“I know already! We’ll arrive at our next position shortly!”
They had travelled incognito around the city for upwards of two hours, and they had already picked the spot where he would use Shriek of the Dead. After they confirmed that the spot was safe, they immediately moved to the spot and Lee Shin Woo used Shriek of the Dead for a second time.
[You should be in Hell. Why have you come outside!?]
There weren’t any Skeleton Knights in that area, but a huge concentration of soldiers instead; he was extremely satisfied with the chaos that spread instantly. If one were to look at the city from above, they would see Hell.
“Good, let’s go to area C now!”
“I’m the devil, the devil…!”
The plan was progressing smoothly. Since the undead were fighting amongst themselves everywhere, Stealth… No, Shadow Sprint was released and he was exposed to the world to see; despite that, none came to attack Lee Shin Woo or Jin.
[The Low Rank Shriek of the Dead skill has become Lv7. Magic has increased by 3.]
“Nice, the skill’s leveling up quickly, too.”
“…Shin Woo, I feel like they’re on the move now.”
“Ok, I’d expected that they’d start to move about now.”
The ones ‘on the move’ described the Undead Commander’s group atop the hill. Regardless of how dull he had become after transforming into an undead, he was still the lord; Lee Shin Woo didn’t think the lord would sit still while there was chaos spreading throughout various areas of the city.
But in order to delay him as much as possible, Lee Shin Woo had been focusing on the faraway areas in order; obviously, it seemed as though the lord had decided to intervene before they could finish up.
Immediately after hearing Jin’s report, Lee Shin Woo heard a screeching sound from afar. The Iron Golems were moving.
‘What should I do? Will my acid mist be able to melt them?’
Lee Shin Woo briefly pondered on the subject and shook his head. Even if he focused all of Melting Bone Double Axe’s power in one place and exploded it, he wasn’t confident that he could defeat an Iron Golem in that way. That’s because each and every one of those Iron Golems were elites.
‘There are four of them. And the one controlling them is a level 5 Elite Skeleton Commander. There are three level 5 Elite Skeleton Elder Knights guarding him, as well as twelve level 4 Skeleton Knights…’
Imposing monsters were guarding the lord, proving that he was the lord for anyone who didn’t already know. Rather than fighting them straight up, calling upon the group that was on standby would be cleaner and safer. It probably would be, but…
“But it’s also worth a try.”
“Weren’t you the one that said we’d be giving up on fighting the lord? You’re still out of it, aren’t you?”
Jin scolded him and was about to move to the next area. Since their original plan was to go to as many spots as possible before the lord earnestly decided to intervene, use his Shriek of the Dead to cut down the number of knights and soldiers, as well as evade the blindly rampaging swords and arrows, and then get back outside.
There were more than 10,000 level 2 or higher undead within the city, so it would be foolish to fight them one at a time… Lee Shin Woo, who’d said that himself, was for some reason patiently looking towards the direction of the lord’s troops.
“…Jin, there are times when a person needs to take a risk.”
Even though Jin knew that Lee Shin Woo’s heart was set, he retorted in a weak voice.
“You’re a skeleton, though.”
“For me, that time is now!”
For some reason, he knew that he would take that risk. He couldn’t just let an opportunity like this slip away; he couldn’t help but want to fight against a higher leveled enemy, an elite one at that. Maybe this was proof of being ‘Lee Shin Woo’. But even so, Jin thought that Lee Shin Woo’s symptoms were a bit more severe than usual, as he was willing to face off against that assorted gift set of level 5s. Jin quietly asked.
“You just don’t want that girl to steal your experience, right?”
He was way too honest. Lee Shin Woo belatedly added.
“And if I fight against the skeleton using the core to control the golems and experience it firsthand, I may be able to get a feel for changing my mana into that of a golems’.”
Lee Shin Woo then de-equipped his lower body armor. At the same time, he summoned the Drake Horn Lance!
The appearance of that imposing weapon screamed that they were right here, as if it were an electric signboard advertisement. The mana within, as well as the high rank of the weapon drew the attention of even the rampaging undead.
He learned how to wield the weapon through the memories of the knights he’d absorbed until now, as well as Bursting Thunder, which encompassed all weapon arts. He grabbed the lance in his left hand, firmly positioning it between his arm and armpit.
He called this method ‘Couched Lance’ and though he would have to abandon the lance upon collision, it wasn’t much of a problem for him since he could just make another one.
“Let me get a bit used to it first.”
“Kill me now… It’s on you if you die!”
“That’s my partner!”
Ultimately, Jin made his decision, instantaneously changed directions and ran. Indeed, he plowed through the center of the city with a speed akin to lightning! There were some in the middle who blocked them, but they soon disappeared. He didn’t even have to dirty his Drake Horn Lance with their bone powder as Jin broke through them with his steel covered body.
The sharper and sturdier Jin’s body, the less things would interfere with his running. And because of that, he could run even faster than before. Jin wasn’t a Skeleton Horse right now, but rather seemed like a longer and sharper lance than the Drake Horn Lance!
‘It was a good idea to learn Steel Body. Since I love running without anything in my way… Fast… Faster! The fastest in the world!’
Jin truly began to run faster and faster. In the span of time it took to blink a few times, they had reached the center of the city from the outskirts. They had already come close enough that they could see the lord’s group on the move!
[The Drake Horn Lance is increasing the effectiveness of all charge related skills by 40%.]
The faster Jin ran, the more red light the Drake Horn Lance emitted. Its splendid option of increasing the effectiveness of all charge related skills by as much as 40% would catalyze the mana within and appear. Lee Shin Woo more firmly grasped the spear and his goblin fire blazed.
‘I definitely have to take care of at least one of them with this.’
When he factored in his stats that had surpassed a level 4’s and neared a level 5’s, Jin’s destructive power through his speed, and the Drake Horn Lance, which would boost all of that to its maximum while possessing its own destructive power, it would be unlikely that even a level 5 elite monster would survive an attack.
No, they had to die. Because if they didn’t kill their opponent, they would have to cope with the force following the moment of impact in its entirety. In any case, their charge attack had to kill one of them.
‘You see the biggest golem in the centermost area, right? I’m going for him.’
He stuck to Jin’s back as much as he could and maximized their connection. At this point, they didn’t really have to say things out loud. Whatever he thought of was naturally transmitted to Jin, and Lee Shin Woo could roughly figure out what Jin wanted as well.
From the start, one of the reasons that Kratia had been interested in them was because of the assimilation phenomenon that occurred through their perfect connection, a connection so perfect that it was almost strange. Though she didn’t know much about the skill itself, she did say that other Horseback Riding skills didn’t develop the way theirs did. And that was being proven right now.
It wasn’t just a simple connection between a man and a horse; it was something only possible between them because they were both undead heroes and the connection was beginning to bear fruit!
[The Low Rank Horseback Riding skill has become Lv10 and evolves into the Intermediate level. You have formed a truly deep connection with your riding companion, and gone past the union between man and horse.]
[Attuning your will with your companion and adding their strength to your own is no longer a skill but can be considered to be in the realm of magic. You have learned the Intermediate Assimilation skill. Agility and Magic has increased by 10.]
Lee Shin Woo felt it when he gained the skill. The moment he used the two skills that had evolved in this battle, Shadow Sprint and Assimilation, to their very limit, he realised that he and Jin could reach unknown territory!
‘Shin Woo! Soon!’
He’d only just acquired the skill, but the Assimilation skill’s ability was clear. Before Jin had even transmitted his intent, he could figure out what Jin wanted!
The two had already gotten really close to the lord’s group. Obviously, their enemies noticed them too. However, they didn’t worry about that. Since at this very moment, there was no one here who could respond to their speed!
Lee Shin Woo and Jin frontally crashed into the golem they had decided upon beforehand, and at that moment, they matched their breathing.
Within their minds, they drew a clear picture. The world ground to a halt, as if they had pressed a temporary pause button on Jin’s overwhelming speed; Jin’s speed in its entirety was contained within the lance, and the lance would break through the golem. That image!
Lee Shin Woo yelled a strange battle cry and raised the mana throughout his entire body. He gripped the spear, and the instinctually applied mana, containing the power of Bursting Thunder, rushed towards the end of the spear. The deep blue mana was added to the red energy and the two mixed together, forming swaying violet sparks!
[The Low Rank bursting Thunder skill has become Lv10 and evolves into the Intermediate level. Strength and Magic has increased by 10. Low Rank Power Slash is absorbed. It has become possible for you to incorporate lightning into your weapon.]
As per the saying ‘even when it’s rotten, it’s still a herring’ the Iron Golem realized that Lee Shin Woo attacked before he did, and twisted its body around in an attempt to somehow reduce the damage it would sustain. At the same time, it also deformed its body in an attempt to attack them as well, so they could safely say that it was a truly impressive response.
However, to Jin, no, to both him and Lee Shin Woo, who he was assimilating with, it looked much too slow. They had already seen that in their ‘image’ and were able to overcome it.
The moment the extended lance struck its target in one area, the golem emitted a sound that he couldn’t understand at all.
And then, the golem broke apart and its pieces flew everywhere.
 T/L: Gibberish.