<Chapter 19. Clean Up – 5>
It was an extremely dark, underground secret room. It had the same vibe as the Anti-Skull secret facilities he’d found.
“You’re a disappointment, Gerrit.”
He could hear the two men’s voices through his ears; one of their voices was familiar, and the other was unfamiliar.
“Senior Betadorn… Did you really have to go this far?”
“It would’ve been better had we had just taken it easy.”
At that moment, Lee Shin Woo’s consciousness became clear. He quickly realized what kind of situation he was in, perhaps because this was his second time experiencing this. Hadn’t he experienced something like this when he had absorbed the level 4 magician, Gerrit’s bone?
It was a playback of memories that came about due to Bone Reinforcement’s resounding success! As he acquired the much too clear memories and experiences, he would feel a sense of unity with the bone’s original owner, to the point that he felt one with them!
‘Gerrit’s here too.’
Seeing the owner of a bone he’d absorbed right before him was quite a strange sight. Moreover, it looked like Gerrit was heavily injured, causing his feelings to abate. The perpetrator was… the one whose consciousness he was inhabiting: Celon Von Betadorn.
“Take it easy… Senior, you don’t understand the true nature of your research!”
“You’re the one who doesn’t understand, Gerrit.”
Celon sighed, and drew his mana. He felt the immense mana saturating Celon’s body whirl around him, increase in power, and focus into one hand. Eventually, what manifested in his hand was a high ranking magic, one which Lee Shin Woo couldn’t understand at all!
The moment light radiated from his fingertips, Gerrit wasn’t even able to resist and fell to the floor, as if he had been bound. Perhaps it restricted both one’s body and mana, as Gerrit’s mana peculiarly didn’t respond thereafter.
“Senior! In the end… do you really have to go this far!?”
“I hoped that I wouldn’t have to kill one of my precious juniors… I’ll ask you one last time.”
Celon’s voice was ice cold. Lee Shin Woo could feel the torrent of mana that amassed in his palm so well that he trembled. He had felt this from Kratia as well, but his mana couldn’t compare with that of a level 6 magician’s.
“Tell me what you know about the Anti-Skull organization in detail. Who’s in charge?”
“Urgh, don’t you already have an idea as to who… ugh!”
A portion of his mana extended like an arrow and severed one of Gerrit’s arms. Celon’s eyes were tinged with spite.
“You’re missing the point, Gerrit. You’re a magician.”
“You’re the one who’s missing the point, Senior.”
“…Is that really what you think?”
“Then can you really say you’re not!?”
“You fool…! You only think about yourself!”
It was only for a mere moment, but he felt Celon’s eyes look upon Gerrit with an unbearable amount of loathing and contempt. Even whilst groaning in pain, he suddenly yelled at him.
“I’m not the only one! You’ll kill not just me, but the entire Empire itself! Everyone’s crazy! Eternal life? That’s just an illusion!”
“We know that already! If it were that easy to attain, it wouldn’t be eternal life!”
Gerrit’s throat was congested with blood. However, Celon wouldn’t speak on Gerrit’s terms any longer. Was it because he’d decided that there was nothing he could gain from speaking to Gerrit? Once more, mana was concentrated within his hand.
Unfortunately, the pattern he used to control his mana wasn’t very different; however, experiencing his smooth and skilled technique of handling mana would help Lee Shin Woo for a long time to come.
“I didn’t really need to get any information from you. I was just trying to give you an opportunity, as we were once alumni… You have only yourself to blame, Gerrit.”
“You’re making the wrong choice…”
Celon’s magic shot in a straight line. The focus of such magic was to burn away the opponent’s magic, and said magic would overpower the opponent with solely mana quantity. Obviously, Gerrit wasn’t able to resist the spell and vanished; ultimately, only two bones that radiated light remained.
“This is… a keepsake of his teacher, huh. …He sacrificed himself for the Empire. You respected him so much, yet you joined an organization like Anti-Skull…”
Celon mulled over whether he should incinerate the two bones, and ultimately, he decided against it and placed them within his breast pocket. Lee Shin Woo recollected that Gerrit had collected his teacher’s bone, and had now realized something.
‘I might’ve already absorbed Gerrit’s teacher’s bone.’
Lee Shin Woo’s consciousness became dim after that final realization. Even till the very end, Celon was gripped by anger and a bitter regret.
What exactly caused Celon to be so angry, and why did he agree to cooperate with the Emperor when he didn’t think that eternal life was possible? Unfortunately, Lee Shin Woo couldn’t find the answers to these questions and was dragged back to the present. Since it wasn’t something he could know just yet.
[You have become skilled in drawing your mana without any waste. The Intermediate Mana Bone skill has become Lv5, and mana has increased by 20. You have become able to more adeptly absorb the mana around you.]
Celon Von Betadorn was definitely extremely talented. Since Lee Shin Woo’s Mana Bone skill, which had leveled up to level 4 from his exchange with Kratia, had leveled up again!
However, Lee Shin Woo couldn’t feel happy about that forever. Seeing Gerrit’s death, as well as the confrontation between Anti-Skull and the researchers for eternal life caused him unease. Furthermore, everything that Celon had said had bothered him.
At that very moment, a quest appeared, as if it understood him.
[A quest has occurred!]
[The horrific curse that came about due to the Emperor’s struggle for eternal life. Anti-Skull did everything they could to stop it, but they ultimately failed. And you have successfully caught a few glimpses of their actions.]
[However, that’s not enough. Somewhere in the Empire, they’re still waiting for their time to strike. Find a member of Anti-Skull who is an executive or higher to get closer to finding out the secret of the Empire.]
[Quest rewards – 3 permits to God’s secret shop, a corresponding amount of Perium]
“…It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten a quest.”
This quest was incomparably vague compared to the quest he’d begrudgingly accepted from God. Also, the words were cryptic. It didn’t even tell him where the Anti-Skull members were located, nor did it tell him what to do once they met; it was a really unfriendly ending.
He sported a sour expression as he looked over the quest again. Jin, who seemed done rolling on the floor, stood up, dusted himself off, walked over, and asked..
“You got a quest, right?”
“Yeah. So you’re at the level now that you can sense this flow of mana, huh. I’m proud of you.”
“You know, that tone of yours kind of pisses me off…”
However, his abilities concerning magic were nothing compared to Lee Shin Woo’s; plus, Lee Shin Woo was the reason he was able to increase his magic this far, so he couldn’t really retort very strongly. Finding no alternative, Jin promised to get revenge by shaking like crazy once Lee Shin Woo rode on him next.
“You don’t have to worry about it too much, as it’s a quest that I can’t really do anything about right now. This guy’s more important than the quest right now.”
The secret to the Empire’s curse? That’s important. Anti-Skull? That’s important too. Level 5 Intermediate Mana Bone? That’s obviously important. However, he held something more important than all of those; it was the only level 7 elite bone that he’d bought from the secret shop!
“When you think about it, that probably means that there aren’t that many high leveled heroes.”
“You told me that most heroes only hunt monsters that are a level lower than them. When you think about it that way, doesn’t that mean that there’s at least one level 8 hero?”
“They told me that this bone entered the shops dozens of years ago.”
That meant that there weren’t any level 8 heroes right now. Of course, Lee Shin Woo didn’t approach the subject so simply.
A level 8 hero may not have encountered a level 7 elite monster, they may have defeated it and a bone didn’t drop, or they may have encountered a level 7 elite, but decided against fighting it, as they didn’t think that there was any need to fight it…
“Well, this bone is what’s important right now.”
“I respect your bravery.”
Jin saluted him, as Lee Shin Woo was attempting to absorb a level 7 elite bone; it was already difficult to absorb a bone that was one level higher, yet he was absorbing a bone two levels higher.
Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo chuckled and grabbed the Giant, Fenno’s bone. Befitting a Giant, the bone was enormous; it was longer than the Drake Horn Lance. It was about 4 meters in length, was incredibly tough, and there was a horrific amount of mana concentrated within!
“My consciousness shouldn’t get sucked in again, right?…”
Lee Shin Woo resolved himself and after calming himself down as much as possible, he executed Bone Reinforcement. At that moment, the shin bone broke apart into pieces and pervaded his entire body… not his shin!
[The Giant, Fenno’s shin bone reinforces your entire body. Strength has increased by 30, Health by 20, and Magic by 15. Absorbing a significant portion of the target’s memories and experiences!]
What a relief. He didn’t get a playback of the Giant’s memories. The Giant was much too detached and overpowering for Lee Shin Woo to share his senses with. Lee Shin Woo thought of it as watching a movie.
Perhaps it was because it was a level 7 bone, but the memories within were almost completely intact when absorbed by Lee Shin Woo. Lee Shin Woo thought about the frightening product of a Giant’s body and magic, and wondered whether it would be possible for him as well.
‘A Giant’s mana… Their bodies are built larger and sturdier, and this is probably some type of authority. I don’t know what the basis for it is, but all of their mana is concentrated in reinforcing and enlarging their bodies, so I could say that there’s a certain harmony between magic and body at work here…’
A huge body saturated with overpowering mana; they would infuse these two powers into their weapons in their entirety and swing them. This was a Giant’s power!
Lee Shin Woo clearly memorized it all: the powerful flow of mana that whirled around their bodies, the properties of said mana, as well as the chemical process that occured as that mana touched the body. His body didn’t even compare to a Giant’s body, but he would at least be able to use that mana someday.
[I am! Descended from the Giants! I said I’m a descendent of the Giants, Fennos!]
A descendent of the Giants. He didn’t know what exactly that meant, but for some reason, that line was engraved deep within his mind. That memory was what finished the Bone Reinforcement. As well as…
[Inheriting the will of a mortal who attempted to reach the realm of God. Low Rank Avenger has been terminated. You have acquired the special passive skill, Lv1 Rebellion. All stats have increased by 5.]
He’d acquired a skill he hadn’t expected at all.