<Chapter 2. God’s Secret Shop – 1>
“If I close my eyes… ooh, oooh.”
When he closed his (nonexistent) eyes, he could see it as an extremely intuitive image. It felt as though there was another eye centered on him that watched from above and scanned the entire area. And within that area, only the correct path shined brightly.
‘…Shall I go?’
There wasn’t much more he could gain from staying here. Lee Shin Woo made up his mind, opened his eyes, and started moving along the confirmed path.
The clearing had stagnated from silence to dead quiet, and only the sound of his moving footsteps rang out. His footsteps had gotten a lot quieter, perhaps due to the Feather Bone Boots.
The passageway was quite long. Various parts of the passageway had collapsed thanks to the Treasure Eater’s rampage. In order to reach those places, Lee Shin Woo had to at times jump high, and at other times jump far. He eventually came to, in a sense, the obvious realization: the Sprint skill could be used in tandem with his jump.
‘If I become proficient in my Sprint skill, then time it, no, I may become a skeleton who can run in the sky… Ah.’
As he walked through the continuing passageway, the atmosphere in the passageway changed in no time.
If it seemed as though he had been reluctantly trudging through the underground passageway, filled with nothing but rocks and sand thus far, then this current area is the first place to have a clear path.
‘This is the real Empire… I can see the walls.’
There was a clear distinction between the external passageways and the genuine Underground Empire: the castle walls. According to the quest’s explanation, he would have to face Skeleton Soldiers over there again.
Honestly, he didn’t think he’d lose to a few Skeleton Soldiers now, but he couldn’t release his tension, so long as he couldn’t ascertain how many of them there were.
Lee Shin Woo stopped, his bone joints rattling. There was a single, imposing platoon of skeletons atop the castle walls, aiming their bone arrows at him. Yet, their numbers were small. They soon disclosed that reason themselves.
[The monster… was it hunted…?]
“Yeah, we got it! Though, everyone else died except for me…”
Now, he could start acting at the flick of a switch. A part of the soldiers that guarded the walls were probably sent to hunt the Treasure Eater!
This all happened because Lee Shin Woo had made a huge fuss. He lauded his foresight, which he hadn’t even been aware of, and continued to speak.
“Paul, please open the castle gate for me. I have to return to guard duty too.”
[Wait… just a minute…]
It seemed like this quest would go smoothly. However, had he jinxed it? One of the skeletons wielding a bone bow rattled its teeth as it spoke.
[I haven’t seen that… spear before…]
“The Treasure Hunter dropped it.”
Lee Shin Woo, who was only focused on entering the Empire, roughly concocted a plausible story. But the soldier’s response caused his (nonexistent) heart to pound.
[Then… report it to your superiors…]
[I’ll… report it.]
No wait, he didn’t think their military discipline was this strict. Moreover, superiors? Doesn’t that mean someone stronger than them will come? He felt pressed and requested.
“Hey, Paul. Wait a sec. I’ll give the report myself, so open the gates first.”
[The report… comes first…]
Report-then-action? Damn it! They hadn’t even thought of complimenting and taking care of a comrade who had returned with great difficulty, and instead, would call their superiors when they heard the news that he had picked up a new item. You damn egotistic and ambitious skeletons!
“I said I’d be the one to report it!”
Since it came to this, there was no need to hide anymore. If that superior arrived, he’d definitely die at least once! He clicked his tongue and sprinted. The Skeleton Soldiers were startled and aimed their bone bows at him.
[Are you… revolting against the Empire?]
[Are you trying… to embezzle?]
[Is it corruption…?]
He completely ignored what the skeletons were saying and jumped while using his Sprint and clung to the castle wall. Surprisingly, it was possible for him to jump close to 2m high.
Even though he was only at the tutorial level, he thought that he had already transcended humanity, and belatedly realized that he was no longer physically human.
The Skeleton Soldiers determined that he was their enemy and began to aim and shoot their arrows at him. Though he planned to get hit by a few of them, when the arrows closed in on him, his hand, holding the bone spear, moved by itself.
It happened in a split second. Right after he grasped the trajectory of the arrows with the naked eye, he instinctively swung his bone spear and parried two arrows! The arrows he couldn’t block hit his shoulder, but the damage was minor.
[You have learned the passive skill, Beginner Weapon Defense Lv1.]
That wasn’t all. When he thought he needed to stop the skeletons from drawing their bowstrings again, he naturally opened his mouth and shrieked.
[You have learned the active skill, Beginner Shriek of the Dead Lv1.]
[By using the Shriek of the Dead, the enemies in the entire area have momentarily fallen into a frenzied state.]
He didn’t know how he had learned Beginner Weapon Defense yet, but the source of the Shriek of the Dead was clear. It was the Treasure Eater! He had wanted to learn the Roar of Healing, but the results were contrary to his expectations.
[You bastards… just when did you infiltrate…!]
[I’ll… kill you…!]
He felt momentarily dizzy since he had used the Shriek of the Dead with his low mana, but its effects were astounding. The Skeleton Soldiers treated each other as enemies and started to attack each other!
Lee Shin Woo aimed for that opportunity, exerting himself, and crawling up the wall. He felt motion sickness due to his unreasonable use of mana, but he grit his teeth and endured.
[W-What about that guy?]
“I’m right behind you.”
By the time the Skeleton Soldiers escaped the status ailment, Lee Shin Woo was already atop the castle wall!
There’s no way arrows would be effective at close range. Lee Shin Woo cold-bloodedly swung the Lv2 Lord Bone Spear and broke them in a single strike. It was a quick and clean finish.
[You have hunted a Skeleton Archer.]
[You have hunted a Skeleton Archer.]
For a brief moment, the castle walls regained its silence. Lee Shin Woo grabbed and removed the arrow lodged in his shoulder and sighed. Though he had been slightly injured, he had stopped them from reporting to their sup…
“…The hell is this?”
After he had climbed atop the castle wall, he was finally able to see the scenery beyond.
Since the walls of the castle had remained intact, he had thought that the city within would look like it was from the middle ages… but there was a different sight before him, as though it were mocking his naiveté.
“Is this the demon world or something…?”
A city? Perhaps it may have been called that some time ago. However, all the buildings were weathered, decayed, entangled with weeds here and there… it was already ruined, without any proper buildings remaining.
The entrance was the only thing barely intact. When he looked further ahead, he saw plains, covered in thick grass, and a sandy desert mixed together conflictingly. If this were like a game, it was as if the developers had tried implementing both a desert map and a plains map at the same time, but the two maps had clashed and failed.
There’s no way there would be any military systems left intact here. The skeletons here were just souls trapped in the past.
And those he would have to face from now on were probably the same. Even if he thought he was conversing with them, there was no actual conversation going on at all.
Lee Shin Woo suddenly realized what situation he had been dumped into, sighed softly, and shrugged his shoulders.
Honestly, before he had come here, when God had told him that she wanted him to purify this place, he felt something like ‘I don’t really care, but if I can come back to life, I might as well.’, but now he felt like he wanted to fix this place, at least to rid himself of his uneasiness.
‘First, let’s pick up the loot.’
He couldn’t just sit thinking forever. Lee Shin Woo collected the scattered Perium atop the castle wall, as well as the Skeleton Archers’ bones, bone bows, and bone arrows.
Strangely, their finger bones remained, and when he reinforced himself with them, the message was the same among them.
[You have reinforced your finger bone. Agility has increased by 1. Absorbing a portion of the Skeleton Archer’s memories and experiences.]
[Why are you putting an apple on my head? … Wait a second, fine, I’ll learn archery! Jeez, I said I’ll learn it! – A nameless boy]
Compared to his leg bones, which he had reinforced to the limits and which wouldn’t really raise in agility, whenever he reinforced his finger bones, his agility would raise with a high probability.
[You have acquired a Lv1 Bone Short Bow.]
[You have learned Beginner Archery Lv1.]
“That’s right, I had expected this too.”
He searched the entire area and used all the finger bones he found to reinforce himself. As a result, even without the effects of the Feather Bone Boots, his agility had risen to 62, and his Beginner Archery rose to Lv2, even though he hadn’t shot a single arrow yet.
He continued, combining (reinforcing) the less than 10 Bone Short bows into one.
[Bone Short Bow +4]
[Attack Power: 20 – 25]
“This ain’t half-bad.”
Though its attack power was incomparable to the Lv2 Bone Spear, he felt reassured, now that he had acquired a way to attack from a distance. He felt even better since there were almost 200 arrows stored in the castle walls.
[You have acquired an inventory. You can open and close it by shouting the inventory command.]
[You have acquired a permit to access god’s secret shop. You can open it by shouting the shop command.]
After he finished collecting the loot, climbed down the walls without much thought, and set foot in the Empire’s territory, Lee Shin Woo saw messages in front of him, one after another.
He was lost in thought, so he had forgotten that he had been in the middle of a quest, so Lee Shin Woo was briefly surprised, and inwardly cheered. After all, he couldn’t carry 200 arrows all at once.
He muttered, and a checkered, transparent window appeared in front of him that he often saw in games. Lee Shin Woo muttered, saying it was an intuitive inventory, and when he touched the window, his hand was powerlessly sucked in. He was startled and pulled his hand out, but his hand was fine.
‘Will this work?’
He grabbed a bone arrow and put it inside. The bone arrow was instantly sucked in, and an arrow icon appeared on one of the checkered boxes. The x1 sign next to it was a bonus.
He shoved all his bone arrows into his inventory. The sign instantly shot up to x189. He wasn’t absolutely sure yet, but he felt like he’d be able to stack the same item inside, as long as they were identical. Since the inventory, divided into checkered boxes, currently only had 10 boxes, when he realized that they could stack, he was more than a little relieved.
“Let’s put the bow in… ah, money too.”
When he threw the money pouch inside, the pouch disappeared somewhere, and a black coin icon appeared below the inventory, along with the amount 3,420. He honestly wanted to compliment it because of how intuitive it was.
However, it didn’t close. He thought perhaps it would close if he muttered ‘inventory’, and when he did, the inventory completely disappeared.
Lee Shin Woo suddenly had an idea and he muttered inventory in his head without saying it out loud. The inventory opened. With this, he’d be able to open and close the inventory amid battle without much difficulty.
‘Then next up…’
With this, he completely understood the inventory. Lee Shin Woo took a deep breath again and muttered the command of the other reward.
At that moment, the surrounding area distorted. At the same time, even Lee Shin Woo’s consciousness became faint. He tried opening his eyes in an attempt to get a hold of himself no matter what, then…
“Guten morgen , Mr. Skeleton.”
He had arrived in God’s secret shop.
 T/N: This term doesn’t have a specific enough English equivalent. It’s when you perform illegal activities because you need the money. Typically refers to politics.
 T/N: Good morning in German.