<Chapter 18. Corps Destroyer – 1>
The large force of undead probably consisted of wandering skeletons from outside the commercial city. Lee Shin Woo acted calm, and spoke whilst nodding his head.
“Is the reason that you’re leaving now because…?”
“To be honest, even after becoming level 6, I couldn’t completely give up on this field. However, once I learned of the impending undead force, I completely gave up on it. I asked Lloyd for his opinion, but he thought that this force may be troops under the 12 generals’ command. You see, a force that large and disciplined is not that common.”
Not only is a corps under the 12 generals’ command dangerous, but there’s also the possibility that they could get involved with the 12 generals themselves if something went wrong. Therefore, it would be a good idea to avoid them for now… When Lee Shin Woo heard her say all that, he honestly couldn’t believe it.
‘They’re pretty much giving us an opportunity to find out more about the 12 generals, but you’re just going to throw that all away?’
If he fought against the corps under the 12 generals’ command, he’d not only gain a ton of information, but he might cause some sort of change amongst the 12 generals by facing off against their force, which would be a huge advantage in and of itself!
There was nothing he could do if there were other heroes nearby, but he could at least consult the chatting channel once beforehand. Lee Shin Woo thought about mentioning it, but ultimately didn’t express his doubts aloud. Erian’s vibe wouldn’t permit it.
“Fortunately, we still have some time before they arrive. I’m not bragging, but we elves have sharp eyes, so I could tell early on that they were on the move. Since it’s a huge corps, they should take at least four days before they pass by here.”
“What direction are they coming from?”
“So… Ah, share your minimap with me. They should be around here.”
Lee Shin Woo just laughed when he saw the coordinates she’d marked on his minimap.
It did feel like this was what was happening, but… those coordinates were extremely close to the commercial city, Kehebe, that he had left from.
“I see. We should leave before we encounter them.”
“Ah, that’s a relief. I was concerned that you might say you’d fight them…”
“I’m well aware of my limitations. I know the difference between courage and foolhardiness.”
“Hoo… I’m glad. It seems like I’ll be seeing you for a very long time.”
Despite sounding somewhat pissed, Lee Shin Woo nevertheless replied as though he’d made up his mind. Hearing that, Erian was genuinely relieved and smiled simply. She also proposed a place worth going to.
“There’s a highlands in the west that’s filled with level 4 Bronze Golems. To be honest, I wanted to hunt them, but they aren’t a good match for me… Moreover, I want to join up with Lloyd as fast as possible, so I’ll give up the spot to my junior. You’re probably already well aware of this, but one golem is connected to all the others in the group, so lure them well and destroy them.”
This was likely extremely generous for a hero who wandered around looking for strong foes.
Of course, Lee Shin Woo knew more about these highlands than anyone, but he just acted like he was thankful for now. Erian nodded her head in satisfaction and extended her hand to him.
“I pray that we meet again someday. It’d be nice if Jin Jin was with us then.”
“Yes, I hope we all stay safe until that day comes.”
Lee Shin Woo unhesitatingly stretched his hand forward and shook her hand.
Erian felt the warmth of a human from his hand, as well as the sense of comfort and peace she would feel whenever she came across another hero. She smiled once again in relief feeling that she wasn’t the only one clinging on to life and struggling in this world filled with death.
Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo responded with his own smile, confirming that he had indeed fooled her, and the two parted ways amicably.
“Lee Shin Woo, what are you going to do now? Do you think that girl’s already left?”
Erian lead them outside and parted ways. Lee Shin Woo and Jin ran towards the west highlands, and when they were sure that they were outside the range of Erian’s hearing, Jin spoke. Naturally, he was talking about both her and Kratia.
“I feel like Kratia will just butt heads with anyone who comes her way.”
“Yeah, it’s a relief since it would’ve been difficult to hunt with just the two of us.”
Jin spoke nonchalantly and Lee Shin Woo chuckled. From the very beginning, he never intended on simply running away like Erian had suggested. Jin was already well aware that there was no way Lee Shin Woo would back off without even knowing their enemies’ number and levels.
“Then don’t we need to hurry back to the city? That girl wouldn’t know if we changed directions now. We don’t know how long Kratia will be able to hold them off…”
“You don’t need to worry about Kratia. Since I already sent reinforcements.”
The moment Lee Shin Woo realized that an undead corps would invade Kehebe, he ordered the three Iron Golems to use the underground passageway to return to the city. If the golems were there, it wouldn’t be too difficult for her to protect herself and fight off the undead.
“But we don’t know how large the corps is, so I’m thinking of sending over some ‘shields’ as well.”
“Shields? What are you… Ah, aah.”
As expected, Jin was quick on the uptake. When he thought about it, they were headed towards the highlands, where the Bronze Golems lay dormant! From the start, the reason Lee Shin Woo had followed Erian’s words to the letter was because of that!
“We’ll arrive soon, so get ready.”
“It doesn’t even feel like it’s been a few minutes. You’re frighteningly fast.”
No matter how often he experienced Jin’s speed, it was always a thrilling and new experience. They arrived in the highlands instantly; the nearest Bronze Golem noticed them and stood up… At that moment, the Steelworker seal floated atop his palm, as if he were an inspector taking out his badge.
At the same time, he heard the golems’ voices resound in various parts of the highlands! As expected, they seemed to be exactly the same in this one aspect when compared to the Iron Golems. Lee Shin Woo saw all of the numerous Bronze Golems speak in the same voice and stand up. He then immediately commanded them.
“Sprint mode! Release mana limiter!
[Releasing mana limiter. Miniaturizing body as much as possible in order to use sprint mode.]
Unfortunately, the Bronze Golems didn’t have the ability to significantly downsize their bodies like the Iron Golems. Instead, there was a command that caused them to remove their armaments, and run faster than before; he placed those armaments into Jin’s inventory since he still had space.
That speed was truly quick; it was as if they were running a simulation! Jin was speechless and just kept his inventory open. After placing all of their armaments into Jin’s inventory, Lee Shin Woo turned around and yelled vigorously!
“Nice. Then let’s go to the city now!”
“You’re always going beyond my expectations.”
Hundreds of Bronze Golems were forcefully following behind a running horse whilst Lee Shin Woo maintained a human disguise! That’s because there was the possibility that Erian Ruparte could be following behind them.
However, around the halfway point, they were absolutely sure that Erian Ruparte had completely left the area, so Lee Shin Woo released his disguise. Seeing that, Jin asked.
“…Shin Woo, are you going to keep acting like a human from now on?”
“At least when we encounter heroes, yeah. Wouldn’t it be easier for us if I acted like a human in front of them?”
So long as he possessed a means to disguise himself as a human being, there was no need to approach as an undead and make them feel repulsed; instead, it would be better to pretend like he was a human. It was fine to interpret that as their inferiority complex.
He was doing well as a Skeleton Hero, and was satisfied with himself now; if someone else sympathized with him in this regard, he wouldn’t be able to take it. He didn’t want nor need pointless hostility or consideration.
Yeah, he didn’t want to feel inferior to the other heroes.
‘Though there’s nothing I can do about people like Kratia or Ye Jin Jin who already know, but… I suppose I’ve been lucky.’
Whether it be good or bad, the two of them both were unaffected by the Underground Empire. Well, they were newbie heroes, so it made sense that he could meet them.
While he was on the topic, Lee Shin Woo requested a private chat with Ye Jin Jin, and told her that he not only met Erian Ruparte, but also successfully fooled her and hid his identity. Hearing that, she got worked up and bothered him by asking how he managed to fool her, but he didn’t have the time to respond.
[I feel… I feel a living being’s energy! There’s an impudent living being occupying a castle of the Empire!]
[Attack… For our ever glorious Empire, that living being, ugh, we must kill any who rebels against the Empire!]
Jin had already arrived at the castle walls, where an intense battle was taking place. The three Iron Golems were spread out in a line and in the center of the castle gates, and were taking a beating; countless undead were charging at them and attacking them in order to get into the city.
Jin, who’d confirmed the size of the enemy force, spoke discouragingly. It was a huge force of more than 10,000 troops! Though they had defeated about 10,000 soldiers inside the city, the quality of these soldiers was worlds apart!
‘It makes sense that Erian ran away. That’s…?’
Lee Shin Woo could understand why she assumed it was a force directly under the command of the 12 generals. He couldn’t believe his eyes; unbelievably, they were all at least level 3!
There was one level 4 Skeleton Knight in command of every one hundred level 3s. Also, ten of those knights were commanded by one level 5. He could understand what ‘discipline’ meant now. Even if a few heroes worked together, they couldn’t defeat a force of this size very easily.
[Undead loyal to the Empire. A powerful living being is inside the city. We should give them the gift of eternal life as well!]
[Eternal life, the light of the Empire!]
But there was something more important above all of them. There was a level 6 elite in the rear giving orders to the entire army and was guarded by level 5s! Lee Shin Woo took a glimpse at the elite; it was seemingly a magician.
“…Shin Woo, what are you going to do?”
“For starters, let’s take down the leader.”
“Yeah, I thought you’d say something like that.”
Since he’d gotten to level 5, Lee Shin Woo’s confidence soared. It wasn’t even very long since he’d said that he didn’t want to fight head-to-head against a level 6 opponent, yet here he was suggesting that they take down a level 6 elite!
Of course, Lee Shin Woo had something in mind. If he was up against a physically powerful knight, he would’ve used his Avenger skill and fought after making various preparations. However, what if his enemy was a magician? A magician, whose magic was much higher than their health, honestly lacked in attack power, and he felt as though he could kill it.
‘Though that impenetrable wall of knights guarding him is a problem…’
Meanwhile, the undead corps were blindly charging the castle walls! Lee Shin Woo instructed Jin to throw all of the Bronze Golems’ armaments onto the floor and ordered the golems to equip them once more.
Before the undead corps noticed them, Lee Shin Woo and the golems went their separate ways. The golems dashed forward towards the city walls, while Lee Shin Woo and Jin aimed for their leader.
“Let’s distract them with the golems and kill their leader.”
“Will it be ok? It’s a really simple plan.”
“I originally thought about using the golems to take care of those knights, but… we should be fine. I don’t know about the undead army, but Kratia should’ve noticed us by now.”
The moment Lee Shin Woo said so, an enormous clump of ice rose into the air. It was Kratia’s Catalyst Magic!
“But doesn’t it look a bit different from last time…?”
“It’d be nice if Kratia knew what I was aiming for, but for now… Jin, run! Shadow Sprint!”
“Hoo… Alright. I’d only die once anyway! Let’s go!”
This was how frightening it was to get used to taking risks! When Lee Shin Woo and Jin were far enough from the golems, Lee Shin Woo simultaneously activated Shadow Sprint and Assimilation. They were instantaneously concealed within the darkness and began to run towards the leader.
If they were the only ones here, the undead with good senses might’ve discovered them, but because of the huge clump of ice in the sky, none of the undead were watching their surroundings.
And to add to that…
[Following Steelworker’s command.]
[We will lay down our lives to defeat Steelworker’s enemies!]
He activated the final command inputted in the Bronze Golems, ‘Core Release’ causing the Bronze Golems to dash towards the undead corps. By melting the core, which both produced and managed their mana, they would temporarily be able to exhibit more than their maximum power, and only those with the Steelworker seal could order them to do so!
[Stop them! The golems are going crazy!]
‘No, this isn’t enough.’
Lee Shin Woo had already taken out his Drake Horn Lance, gripped it, and grit his teeth. Despite the sudden change in the battlefield, the knights didn’t show any signs of moving from the magician’s side.
Even if the Bronze Golems exploded all at once and attacked the knights, what would happen if they couldn’t break through? When an ambush is no longer an ambush, it becomes a greeting at best. If they got surrounded by the knights, then it would get tough for even Lee Shin Woo. A level 6 magician’s spells would be even more troublesome.
[Grand Ice Spear!]
However, when Lee Shin Woo was thinking about how he would get past the knights and attack the magician, the floating clump of ice slowly began to change its form. Hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of ice crystals stuck to the clump of ice and formed into a single enormous spear!
It wasn’t a large-scale spell meant to attack the entire undead corps. That overwhelmingly cold clump of ice was aiming for only one enemy. It was aiming for none other than this army’s leader, the Ghoul Wizard!
“Is that her way of saying that she won’t lose it to us?”
“Uhh… Maybe. Probably not.”
The knights, who protected the magician, tensed, and drew their swords; they changed their battle formation and now there were Skeleton Magicians in between the knights. Lee Shin Woo exerted strength into his grip and now all he needed was the right opportunity.
“In any case, there’s one thing I’m sure of.”
Lee Shin Woo aimed his lance at the magician’s head, stiffened his chin, and smiled.
“We’ll start this battle off by taking out the leader.”