<Chapter 22. The Beginning of a Corps – 3>
There existed something amongst his subordinates that allowed them to instinctually find each other. He’d become sure it existed after observing the Pauls, and sure enough, Shino Rendu didn’t really need to ask where Lee Shin Woo wanted him to go, because he was able to figure out where they were.
[There are quite a lot of them.]
“It’ll just get bigger from now on.”
[…What do you wish for?]
“The purification of the Empire.”
[Like the heroes.]
Lately, he thought of something else, aside from just the purification of the Empire, but didn’t say it out loud. Even he himself thought it was unreasonable, so the moment he spoke it out loud, he felt like he’d just be ridiculing himself.
“Are you ok with just that?”
[I originally fought with my fists. There were times where I fought with a greatsword as well…]
Fists and greatswords; those two definitely fit his image of Shino Rendu. Moreover, that fist. He shouldn’t have needed another weapon aside from that fist.
[Moreover, the moment I was reborn as an Avenger, all the karma within my inventory disappeared and was transformed into this armor… Because of that, I’ll be able to better use my authority.]
Lee Shin Woo tilted his head, and Shino Rendu seemingly knew that he wouldn’t be able to understand what he meant by his inventory disappearing, so he explained starting there.
[The inventory is exclusive to heroes. It’s like a subspace storage house… I became unable to use my inventory when I became an undead, and all of the karma within my inventory turned into this armor. All my accumulated Perium thus far… the bones I hadn’t sold… equipment… everything.]
Lee Shin Woo momentarily couldn’t believe his ears. However, he soon shuddered as he realized that he didn’t even have any ears.
He didn’t hear wrong. Shino Rendu was saying not only were bones used in the formation of his armor, but also all the karma he possessed!
‘Was that always possible?’
Well, it probably was always possible. Didn’t the shop owner, Pleine tell him before? That it wasn’t possible for Lee Shin Woo to change Perium into a different type of karma at this point in time. That meant that it was possible to change the karma into a different form so long as one had the ability to do so!
[It’s strange for me as well. It seems like it wasn’t something normal.]
“It was the moment your karma changed from being a simple zombie to an Avenger, so I don’t think it’s that weird.”
[…Indeed. If you think about it that way, it’s not hard to understand.]
Seeing Shino Rendu calmly nod his head at his words, Lee Shin Woo pledged that he would examine every type of karma he acquired from now on.
Especially Perium! Since there weren’t any bones he could buy at the secret shop anymore, he might be able to create something more effective than just weapons or skill books!
[Then, I’ll get going immediately.]
“I already told you, but try to avoid heroes as best you can. They won’t believe that you’re Shino Rendu.”
[I’ll keep that in mind.]
It looked like he didn’t understand based on his expression, but so long as it was a direct order from Lee Shin Woo, he had no choice but to obey.
That was also the reason he formed a master-servant contract with him. In this world, contracts were absolute! He was probably the one most informed about contracts amongst his fellow heroes.
“Good. He left.”
“Ah. In the end, another Paul was created.”
When Jin could no longer see Shino at all, he opened his mouth.
It wasn’t like he was really trying to hide his identity. It’s just that conversing with the undead was kind of awkward. Plus, he was an undead that was originally a hero! Talk is cheap; one wouldn’t even think of talking with the undead, unless they were Lee Shin Woo that is.
“Are you going to do that for every undead hero we meet from now on?”
“That sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I can do that every time.”
Lee Shin Woo still wasn’t very sure as to how he made Shino Rendu into his subordinate. If he met one or two more undead heroes, he should be able to figure out how he did it.
He shrugged his shoulders and changed the subject.
“Shino Rendu definitely said that once they figured out he was a hero, one of the 12 generals was summoned here, right?”
“Still, it’s a relief that the men brought by one of the 12 generals were taken care of.”
“…It feels kind of disappointing to leave like this, so let’s take a lap around the city.”
Unfortunately, this city, which had been trampled by Metafel’s troops, left nothing to do or explore as it was all ruined.
Lee Shin Woo got on top of Jin and took a lap around the city; Lee Shin Woo searched the surrounding area with mana, which was an ability that level 5s couldn’t possibly have. But even with his senses, he couldn’t find anything of note. No matter what they did, they couldn’t figure out how the troops contacted Metafel.
“The sewers… are just regular sewers. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like the right place for Anti-Skull to hide.”
“It’s possible that they awakened on their own without needing us, and joined up with Anti-Skull.”
“That’s probably what they did, but still, I wanted to find those traces and follow them to Anti-Skull’s headquarters.”
Lee Shin Woo had been given a quest where he had to find an executive from Anti-Skull. Of course, he would eventually be able to clear the quest as time passed, but if given the chance, Lee Shin Woo thought it wouldn’t be so bad to search for them and find them on his own.
The faster he found them, the better his plan would play out.
“…Plan? What plan?”
“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”
Lee Shin Woo reprimanded him, as it seemed as though Jin didn’t know about his plan.
“There’s an organization that’s resisting the Emperor amongst his troops. They’d be useful; there’s nobody better. You didn’t know that this quest was given to me as a hint that I should use Anti-Skull?”
“That’s what it meant!?”
“Oh, so you didn’t know about it.”
Lee Shin Woo softly patted Jin’s neck, as if saying that he should work harder. That really pissed off Jin, and consequently began to shake his body like a rodeo; but because Lee Shin Woo was so familiar with this ‘rodeo’, like he was a cowboy, he didn’t drop from Jin’s back. Ultimately, Jin could do nothing but accept his defeat.
“It’s an organization that’s involved with one of the 12 generals, Seagald. There’s a lot we could get from them.”
“You’re… You’re always looking so far into the future.”
“Alright. Now that you mention it, let’s start moving actively, now shall we?”
This was their first time entering a danger level 3 zone, but it was still the same as usual. There were still plenty of sewers that they hadn’t cleared within the level 2 danger zones (though they had cleared most of the sewers in the level 1 danger zones)!
There should still be several Pauls waiting to be rescued, and before he earnestly moved on to the level 3 danger zones, he planned to finish saving them all (a.k.a. brainwash them). If he could, he would level up in the process.
“What about undead heroes?”
“Aside from Shino Rendu, most of them are beyond the level 3 danger zones… Of course, there are some in the level 1 or 2 danger zones as well, so I’m planning to do both at the same time.”
“It’d be quite the sight to see if you made all of them your subordinates and put them all in one place.”
Jin recalled Shino Rendu bowing his head before Lee Shin Woo and snickered, finding it laughable. Lee Shin Woo sighed and shook his head.
“Even I think you’re getting out of hand, so let’s leave it at that. And it makes me feel ticklish when you laugh like that, so stop.”
Once they were finished with their very short break (if one can consider entering a level 3 danger zone and fighting a level 6 undead hero a break), they went back to the danger level 2 zones. With Jin’s remarkable speed, as well as sometimes using the golem train, they began to go around to every city in the Empire.
“What about dungeons?”
“Ah… I don’t think those will really be helpful to me, so I’ll leave them be. I have to leave something for my future juniors.”
“When were you so considerate of your juniors…”
Of course, there weren’t as many hidden facilities in the level 2 danger zones as there were in the outskirts of the Empire. However, if they found one, they would find a considerable amount of Pauls that hadn’t awakened yet.
[Pauls 118 – 150 will only follow your commands, Paul Zero!]
[We’re not Anti-Skull, but we’ll try to become even greater than them!]
After Lee Shin Woo labored in vain a few times, he gained 33 level 4 Doom Factors as subordinates, and realized that this entire region was an endless gold mine. As expected, the higher the danger zone, the higher quality the Pauls would be!
[Paul Zero! Paul Zero!]
He moved around busily, searching the level 2 danger zone cities; the more he searched the sewers where these Anti-Skull hidden facilities were located, the more materials he gained. Anti-Skull’s history, their test methods, as well as the location of each hidden facility!
The chance of finding nothing lessened, and he was able to easily find the most hidden of facilities, as well as exponentially increasing the amount of Pauls.
[How can this be… This man must be a hero sent by God to purify the Empire!]
“Somebody already said that before.”
[I was touched by your iron will. Why… Why did we cower within this dark storage house!?]
“Probably because there’s a giant level 5 poisonous snake lurking outside.”
Of course, there weren’t a lot of monsters that could threaten Lee Shin Woo and Jin in the level 2 danger zones. Because Lee Shin Woo and Jin had to split the bones they absorbed, their rate of progression had gotten a bit slow.
However, Lee Shin Woo trained his skills at every moment, without wasting even a second of his time, which allowed him to progress forward.
[Paul Zero, that’s too much for us!]
“Tch. Watch and learn. Paul 807.”
[How can this be… That’s…]
[Lightning. It’s lightning. Lightning just came from the sky…!]
Gradually and precisely. It was less than during the time of his explosive growth, but nevertheless, everything he had absorbed and learned thus far gradually connected and fused together; they harmonized, reforming his abilities once more.
“Your… Your name is…!”
[I’m… I’m… Keuk, Kuhaaaaaaaahk!]
“Tch. As I thought, it doesn’t work on all of them.”
“I don’t know who you are or when you came from, but… rest in peace, Senior.”
[You have acquired 2 permits to God’s secret shop, and 1,275,910 Perium.]
[You have brought peace to a comrade who had gone past the point of no return. You have satisfied a portion of the quest’s conditions, and have acquired 1 additional permit to God’s secret shop. The maximum level of Invisible Heart increases by 1.]
Perhaps he needed an opportunity like this before. When constructing a tower, doesn’t one always have to worry about the foundation?
Because Lee Shin Woo had only been fighting against higher leveled foes, he was only accustomed to irregularity; in the process of killing monsters weaker than him or possessing similar abilities to him, he was able to train his abilities from the ground up and further strengthen them.
[Silene Viesa – It’s been a long time, Senior!]
[Lee Shin Woo – Oh, it’s a relief that you’re ok.]
[Prince Altania – You act like he has the highest seniority around here.]
[Silene Viesa – At the very least, I feel as though Senior Shin Woo is more experienced than you, Senior Altania.]
[Prince Altania – What did you say!? By the way, why are you calling me by my last name when you’re calling him by his…]
[Ye Jin Jin – Please congratulate me. I’ve finally reached level 5!]
[Lee Shin Woo – Oh, that was really fast. Congratulations.]
[Ye Jin Jin – Hehe…]
[Erian Ruparte – Ha… It really does sound like Shin Woo is more experienced than Ye Jin Jin.]
[Prince Altania – I’ve had enough of this. You guys are just outright ignoring me now!]
After parting ways with the now undead Shino Rendu, they had been on the road for 2 months going through the level 2 danger zones; it had only been half a year since Lee Shin Woo had come to the Underground Empire.
In the meantime, Ye Jin Jin had become level 5, and another extremely talented newbie entered in after Kratia. None of the other heroes had died, and were enduring in this dangerous Empire. It was truly awkward to say that living in this awful environment that was an empire of undead was everyday life, but the other heroes were all leisurely growing.
[The Intermediate Combat Sense skill has become Lv7. Agility has increased by 5.]
[Your stats have surpassed 3,200. Your preparations are slightly, no, largely, perhaps even unbelievably perfect. It seems disrespectful to even ask if you are ready to accept your karma. Would you like to accept your karma?]
Shin Woo was finally qualified to become level 6.