<Chapter 20. Forest of the Dryads – 3>
Ten days had already passed since he’d entered the forest protected by the Corrupted Dryads. Lee Shin Woo had managed to increase his Acid Resistance and Acid element by one more level, and became more adept at incorporating lightning into his weapon; it felt as though Bursting Thunder would level up soon.
However, he thought about something else whilst felling trees and diligently training his skills. He was thinking about what the Dryads were protecting!
“Isn’t a world tree most likely?”
“Then shouldn’t undead elves have come out rather than Corrupted Dryads?”
“It would be nice if it were a world tree…”
A rotten world tree; what a cool name! It felt like he would be subject to all the world’s misfortunes if he broke off a branch and held onto it. Plus, he could make a great weapon out of it!
“Enough with your delusions. Swing your axe already.”
“I am swinging it.”
Lee Shin Woo’s swung axe carried lightning’s powerful cutting power. Before the trees succeeded in perforating him with their outstretched branches, Lee Shin Woo cut right through them! They roared as he axed through them all at once. Following an inspection, he sighed in satisfaction.
[You have acquired 21,050 Perium.]
[You have acquired 2 Melting Bone Roots.]
The deeper they went into the forest, the stronger the Acid Great Trees were. There was a huge difference between a level 5 close to 1,600 in stats, and a level 5 close to 3,200 in stats. The fact that they left behind more Perium was proof that they were stronger than the ones from before.
However, Lee Shin Woo continued to kill the Acid Great Trees in a single blow, regardless of the fact that they were gradually getting stronger. His attacks were gradually becoming stronger as well!
“Hoo… Heup! Hap!”
Though he’d made great strides in Bursting Thunder and the defense zone since coming here, he’d learned how to ‘strike at one’s weak spot’ the most; in other words, critical hits.
‘Critical Hit was a skill at first and was absorbed by Bursting Thunder. However, just thoughtlessly swinging my weapon around won’t improve the skill. I have look into it and develop it myself.’
Bursting Thunder is a skill that combines all close combat skills and is a top ranked combat technique, but it’s also incredibly difficult to level up precisely because it’s a top ranked skill. Furthermore, leveling up the skill didn’t mean that he would become proficient in every skill contained within it.
The world wouldn’t give him anything cheap. In order to master this supreme skill, Lee Shin Woo would have to put in the effort in various fields. Among those various fields, he felt like his current critical hit training was a key factor in mastering Bursting Thunder, which allowed him to attack quickly and explode forcefully.
[You have acquired 22,510 Perium.]
[You have acquired a Melting Bone Root.]
He didn’t have the chance to regain his breath, even if he toppled a tree. Suddenly, other tree branches came at him from all directions.
The deeper Lee Shin Woo got by following the Dryads, the more desperately the trees tried to stop him, and at some point, roots began bursting from the once unscathed ground. Of course, it was Jin’s job to deal with those.
“They’re cutting through my armor!”
“Calm down, and cut the ones closest to you first.”
“Easy for you to say!”
“Hoo… more and more of them keep coming.”
There were hundreds of them attacking from above, below, and the sides; fighting off the tree branches and the roots made Lee Shin Woo think of some comics and films he’d seen on Earth.
It would’ve been a nice scene if the branches were attempting to tie up an elf, rather than a skeleton horse and a skeleton, but… reality is cruel.
“Damn it, their movements are disgusting…!”
“That’s why I told you to cut them before they tie you up. You have to protect your body too.”
“I’ll break my back trying to match you…!”
It took only about two days for Jin to get adjusted to the protruding tree roots, and consequently Lee Shin Woo had to endure atop Jin’s back, as if he were in a rodeo.
However, Lee Shin Woo shared Jin’s dynamic visual acuity and reflexes that came from his high agility, while Jin shared Lee Shin Woo’s calm and keen movements, as well as his situational awareness.
He didn’t do so often, but when he was in a desperate situation, Jin would use all of Lee Shin Woo’s ability to his advantage to survive. And the result of that was clear.
“Hoo, we got out.”
Jin was able to cut through the roots and Lee Shin Woo cut down the weakened trees one by one, toppling three trees in succession. Then, he finally managed to take a breath. Because they had cut down all of the trees nearby, they had temporarily created a safe zone where they wouldn’t be attacked.
He’d heard that scream so often that it sounded sweet to him now; he followed the Dryad’s scream and turned his attention to the source, and was close enough now that he could see the Dryad flying away. When he confirmed that he was indeed close, Lee Shin Woo’s goblin fire rotated round and round.
“It looks like the Dryads are gathered in one place… We might be able to see something interesting if we play our cards right.”
“Like a level 6 elite?”
Lee Shin Woo began thinking about whether he had revealed to much of his intentions to Jin, but it was too late to start thinking about that. He smiled awkwardly and marked their corresponding location on his minimap. Then he turned his body around. It was in the opposite direction that he’d seen the Dryads go in.
“I’d love to go over there right now, but we’re not done training.”
Lee Shin Woo’s Acid Resistance still wasn’t at a level where it would prevent all of the trees’ Acid Poison mist damage! He had no plans of going to the center of the forest until he reached his goal.
“Moreover, if you consider the fact that their Acid Poison becomes stronger the deeper you go, the boss fight at this end of this will…”
“Won’t it have a high rank Acid Poison…?”
Jin, who was already imagining that moment, silently screamed. This was much too harsh an environment for Jin, who had just reached Intermediate Acid Resistance.
“That’s why we should keep training. We can’t let the sacrifices of the Dryads and this forest go to waste!”
“I don’t think anyone thinks they’re sacrificing themselves for you…”
Lee Shin Woo crisply ignored Jin’s muttering. His Acid Resistance was still only intermediate level 5. He didn’t have any time to waste if he wanted to train his Acid Resistance to the point that he’d take no damage from acid!
[The Intermediate Assimilation skill has become Lv4. Agility and Magic have increased by 5. Sensing the range of assimilation gradually increasing.]
Two weeks had passed since they’d entered the forest. Now Lee Shin Woo could endure the Acid Poison with only a helmet on.
The Acid Skull Full Helm possessed an option that increased the effectiveness of acid related skills by 20%, but that alone wouldn’t be able to effectively protect Lee Shin Woo’s body from acid, and Lee Shin Woo’s body was still melting.
But because of that, that allowed him to train his Acid Resistance and Regeneration skills, so there was nothing better.
[The Intermediate Regeneration skill has become Lv2. Health and Magic have increased by 5. Regeneration speed increases.]
“Good, good. It’s going smoothly. Rather, it feels like I still have some mana left over. I feel like I can melt a bit more…”
“I want to learn that Regeneration skill too…”
“If we meet a Rural Rat Queen later, let’s have a talk with her then.”
Lee Shin Woo said, as he rubbed bone powder on the half dead Jin.
As he thought, that dungeon was an unusual and difficult dungeon. He’d found a few other rat dungeons after that, but he hadn’t been able to find any other queens.
“It seems like we’re still far off from going to the center since you still sound like you’re dying.”
“Are you planning on training all of your resistances like this from now on?”
“Uh… If I can…?”
This was more efficient when compared to randomly hunting monsters and undead. In the process of training a variety of skills, not only do his stats increase, but his fundamentals improve as well.
Lee Shin Woo wasn’t a sick bastard who derived pleasure from the training itself, but he was the type that could endure the pain of training for the results.
“But using the defense zone is too easy now. I’m confident that they’ll never break through my defense.”
“Then should we go further in now?”
“We can’t, since our resistance training isn’t finished yet. …Fine, I guess I have no choice but to use this method.”
Whenever Lee Shin Woo was about to try something new, Jin wouldn’t be able to hide his unease. What the hell was he attempting this time? How would it affect him? Jin was concerned and couldn’t put up with it.
Suddenly, the Melting Bone Double Axe appeared in the air. It was different from the one Lee Shin Woo wielded. That meant it was created through Bone Armory.
“I’m training Rule of Bone. It takes a lot of concentration to control the flying axe, so it’ll become harder to use the defense zone.”
“In my home country, there’s a saying that goes ‘the hardships of youth are invaluable’.”
“In my country, they say that ‘hardship leads to success’… No, let’s stop.”
As expected, Lee Shin Woo made the right call. It was no joke controlling the axe midair with Rule of Bone while maintaining the defense zone with the other axe. He almost died a few times, but Lee Shin Woo didn’t give up on controlling the axe.
Ultimately, three more days passed. Now he could maintain his defense zone with the axe in his hands whilst controlling the axe in the air; which cleaved through the trees and branches from afar. Then, Lee Shin Woo summoned another axe and controlled both at once while maintaining his defense zone!
“Ah, it becomes so much easier when I use two axes to slice through the nearby trees. I should send these guys a bit farther.”
Jin screamed. It was business as normal, so Lee Shin Woo didn’t pay attention to him. Soon, the Rule of Bone skill leveled up and further increased his control. Though that just made Lee Shin Woo attempt to do things that were even more difficult…
[The Bone Armory skill has become Lv5, and you can now maintain five pieces of equipment at one time. Health and Magic have increased by 5.]
Time passed like that for a bit longer, and his Bone Armory skill finally leveled up. Because of his proficiency in the skill, he couldn’t even imagine not being able to equip armor! However, the moment Lee Shin Woo cheered at the skill level up, something else unexpected came with it.
[Your magic stat has surpassed 1,000! You have acquired the title, ‘One Loved by Mana’. Magic has increased by 10. Your body is reborn more magic friendly than before. There is high compatibility with your species, so Magic has further increased by 10.]
Lee Shin Woo muttered as he felt a slight change in his body that accompanied the message.
His magic stat had already surpassed 1,000; that in itself was surprising. But he could understand that, since most of his skills had a close connection with magic. However, he suddenly gained a title and his body had undergone a change, so he didn’t take this lightly.
‘The chatting channel… I don’t want to cause another uproar, so I’ll have to ask Kratia about this later.’
When Kratia gained the private chat function, she would message him first, so he decided that he’d ask her then. Lee Shin Woo nodded his head and continued hunting. He didn’t see any signs of his training ending any time soon.
 T/N: This is more like a gasp, but English doesn’t really have a good onomatopoeia for this.