<Chapter 20. Forest of the Dryads – 7>
Lee Shin Woo muttered in despair. Two more days had passed since he’d acquired the Spirit’s Spring Key Fragment from the Dryad.
“Why isn’t my resistance leveling up…!? I’m almost there!”
“I suppose not everyone can get a high rank skill.”
Jin replied, uninterested. He was evading the golem’s fists and feet from up close, and it was for no other reason but to be exposed to a higher concentration of Acid Poison. He went through all this painstaking effort to train his resistance.
“Shin Woo, accept reality. That guy’s at his limit too.”
Lee Shin Woo raised his head at Jin’s words and examined the golem. At the beginning, the golem was so massive that it seemed to reach up into the heavens, but now, it had shrunk to a mere 5 meters. It was only natural, as he’d cut so many of its branches.
“It seems like it can’t even replenish its mana that well anymore. The concentration of its Acid Poison seems to be lessening, and its attacks are gradually getting weaker.”
“…Damn it. It must be at its limits if you can sense it too.”
As they fought against the golem, Lee Shin Woo and Jin’s dramatic growth that came about due to the intense situation. Their skills made the battle feel much easier than it should’ve been, but they had to face the facts. Lee Shin Woo bitterly agreed and tightly gripped his axe.
“It’s time to let it go, right?”
“Yeah. We have to let it go. We can finish it now…”
The golem wailed with superb timing. What was the golem trying to convey? Was it a wail of misery? It was the boss of the Melting Forest, an area which even level 8 heroes were afraid of, yet it had been used by lower level heroes.
If not, then was it weeping, as it was regretting asking such a wicked skeleton to fulfill its request? Honestly, he didn’t really care.
“Hoo… Alright. Let’s widen the distance a bit. Let’s go with the big gun.”
They’d scuffled with the golem for about 5 days now, and Lee Shin Woo didn’t just swing his axe and talk in the chatting channel during that time. No way. He’d figured out the golem’s characteristics, as well as its skill pattern, which used mana. Therefore, Lee Shin Woo had run a few simulations on how to kill it the best way.
Lee Shin Woo had spoken to Jin several times, and created a move that would kill the Tree Golem. But in order to execute that move, they would need to widen the distance; it seemed as though the golem misunderstood their intent.
As soon as Lee Shin Woo and Jin widened the distance, the golem yelled as if to cheer. They didn’t even spew their Acid Poison and just saw them off. However, Lee Shin Woo left them a present, as if responding to them.
That present was the three Melting Double Bone Axes that remained in the air for the past 5 days. Surprisingly, the three axes contained the maximum amount of magic they could hold within them. If he combined the three, they would easily surpass Lee Shin Woo’s maximum magic!
‘The fact that Rule of Bone and Bone Armory grew might just be the best thing I got from this battle.’
As he fought the Tree Golems, he hadn’t just gained mere skill level ups; he’d learned ways in which he could better use these skills.
Just a little while ago, he hadn’t thought of separately infusing mana into equipment he’d summoned and controlled through Bone Armory. He would either shift his mana to the weapons to increase their power, or simply use the skill.
‘But because of Rule of Bone, I’ve figured out a way to maintain the mana I’ve imbued the faraway weapons with.’
Normally, there’s a limit to how much mana he can store in his body at one time. That was Mana Bone’s limit. That limit has steadily increased with his level ups, his skill level, as well as his magic stat. But ultimately, he had a level 5’s mana capacity.
“Shin Woo, right about here, right?”
“Yeah. My weapon’s are on standby too!”
But as soon as he was able to store his mana into the equipment summoned through Bone Armory, as well as maintain that mana, he was essentially able to increase his maximum mana capacity.
By shifting his mana to his equipment, his body’s own mana supply would be empty. However, as he replenished his mana, the mana contained within his equipment wouldn’t diminish. Ultimately, if he were to replenish his mana, Lee Shin Woo could control more mana than before: his own supply, as well as what was contained within his equipment!
He infused his mana into his axes in the moments he could spare whilst fighting the golem. Thus, his three axes were filled to the brim with mana (Lee Shin Woo decided to call this ‘fully charged’).
“We’re far enough, right?”
“Yep. I’m changing my weapon to the Drake Horn Lance… then let’s get started! Twin Horn Charge!”
“You got it!”
He switched to the Drake Horn Lance and took a charging stance. The moment Lee Shin Woo gave the signal, Jin kicked off the floor and began sprinting at an explosive speed!
The golem was scuffling with the axes that Lee Shin Woo had left behind, and once it realized that Lee Shin Woo was approaching once more, it screamed and attempted to spew its Acid Poison again. But with just that much, it wouldn’t be able to even slow them down by 0.001 seconds.
With his command, one of the axes in the air exploded spectacularly!
He didn’t have high expectations for its acid damage, but the force of the explosion, as well as the shrapnel were enough to confuse the golem.
Following that, the second axe exploded! Its outstretched branches were broken apart, and due to the force of the explosion, the golem, or to be more specific, the Corrupted Dryads which controlled it, screamed awfully.
Because it was weakened from the battle of attrition over the last 5 days, it sustained considerable damage from the fully charged Melting Bone Double Axes.
“Shin Woo! We’re about to crash into him!”
“We need to get a little closer…!”
The first two explosions were nothing more than a guidance system for the last axe to explode as smoothly as possible.
Lee Shin Woo had thoroughly analyzed the Tree Golem’s weakness, its center; its center was where the Dryads’ wills, as well as the golem’s mana were controlled! At the beginning, the Dryads waited in the center of the forest, and when faced with Lee Shin Woo and Jin, created the Tree Golem, burrowing themselves deep into its chest.
That was the Tree Golem’s sole weakness.
Ordinarily, the Tree Golem would always protect its chest, but it panicked due to the two continuous explosions, exposing its chest to the sky. That was exactly what Lee Shin Woo was waiting for.
The axe flew through the tree and bone pieces, then precisely burrowed into its chest and exploded!
The Dryads’ scream was the most shocking and hair-raising scream he’d heard yet. But despite that, it still remained standing. The bark covering the center of the golem was the toughest, as it was its weak spot.
The impact removed the bark, but its core was still intact. Indeed, its bark had been removed.
Lee Shin Woo and Jin hurriedly seized the opportunity that resulted from the three continuous explosions, and Jin, who’d gotten close, leapt with all the speed he’d built up! He couldn’t have even dreamed of doing so before, but it was possible for him now that he had the Steel heart skill.
Lee Shin Woo had aimed his lance at the Golem’s center ever since Jin started running, without even shaking it once. The outer bark was removed, revealing the black inner flesh, as well as the Corrupted Dryads within.
The Drake Horn Lance’s red energy mixed with the Bursting Thunder dark blue sparks to form a violet light. He wanted to add the Twin Horn Charge to the tip of the lance as well, but he hadn’t trained it enough yet. However, this should be enough.
It was such an embarrassing name that Lee Shin Woo inwardly muttered the technique name, and forcefully thrust his lance. The violet sparks rushing towards the tip of the lance was truly magnificent.
At the last moment, the golem twisted its body and attempted to dodge his attack, but… Lee Shin Woo had already let go of the lance, and with its explosive speed, burrowed deep within the golem’s center before it could even react!
Lee Shin Woo planned to explode the lance if that didn’t work, but unfortunately, he didn’t need to do so.
The lance had burrowed deep into the golem’s center, and immediately after the electric discharge, as well as a reverberating scream, the golem just stopped.
“…Is it over?”
“It’s a pain, so don’t try to revive it.”
Jin muttered, and Lee Shin Woo scolded him; immediately after, the golem turned into mana particles, dispersing everywhere, and completely disappeared.
At the same time, Lee Shin Woo, who was free falling with Jin, got a message informing them of their victory.
[You fought against a high leveled foe, and after tirelessly enduring for several days, achieved the feat of finding its weakness and taking advantage of it. All stats have increased by 3! Proficiency in the Bursting Thunder skill has increased!]
[You have acquired the Adventurer’s karma token. Agility and Health have increased by 5. It is absorbed by the Joker karma.]
It’d been quite a long time since he’d acquired a new karma! It seemed like enduring for several days against a high leveled elite monster were points in his favor. Maybe he might get something even better if he were to endure for even longer!
While thinking that Jin would pale in fear if he told him about this, they landed. The Perium and loot from the Corrupted Tree Golem fell from the sky.
[You have acquired 395,070 Perium.]
[You have acquired a Lv5 Dryad’s Bow. Through Bone Reinforcement, it has changed into the Lv4 Unchanging Bone Bow (+5).]
[You have acquired a Spirit Stone containing the corrupted power of the Dryads.]
[You have acquired an Unmelting Bone Root.]
Lee Shin Woo had been having a lot of success with Bone Reinforcement lately, but when the level 5 artifact was degraded into a level 4 artifact, he felt truly thrilled. Now that he thought about it, it wouldn’t always change for the better!
On the other hand, the Spirit Stone containing the Dryads’ power was radiating a murky, rusty color, perhaps due to being corrupted, and was simply a mass of mana that even Bone Reinforcement couldn’t do anything about. He didn’t really know what to do with this, and decided to put it into his inventory for now.
The final piece of loot, the Unmelting Bone Root looked like an item that seemed better geared towards Acid than the other Melting Bone Roots he’d gotten from the other Acid Great Trees.
Whenever he absorbed a Melting Bone Root, he was inwardly disappointed as they would increase his Acid element rather than his Acid Resistance, but this…
“Nice. Bone Reinforcement!”
Lee Shin Woo had a strong feeling about this and used Bone Reinforcement without delay. Contrary to its title, the Unmelting Bone Root possessed a powerful mana and Acid element within that was transferred in its entirety to Lee Shin Woo!
[Executing Bone Reinforcement by consuming the Unmelting Bone Root. Health and Magic have increased by 10. Absorbing a portion of the Corrupted Tree Golem’s experiences and memories.]
The high physical strength of these trees that made up this forest as well as their powerful mana… as well as…
[The Intermediate Acid Resistance skill has become Lv10 and has evolved into the high rank level! Magic has increased by 20. You take almost no damage from acid.]
[You have achieved the feat of acquiring a high rank skill! All stats have increased by 10!]
He didn’t even really need to check his messages. The moment he felt a definite change on the inside, albeit a small one, Lee Shin Woo smiled (that impression). He had achieved his primary objective of coming to this forest.