<Chapter 23. Level 6 – 1>
“It turned out well, didn’t it?”
Lee Shin Woo and Jin got off the final golem train that passed through a level 2 danger zone, and rushed into the city, clearing it of the undead, as well as exploring the sewers.
After they were done fighting in the final level 2 danger zone city (there weren’t any hidden facilities), Lee Shin Woo’s Combat Sense skill leveled up, as if it were waiting for this very moment; thus, his stats had surpassed 3,200.
“Once we level up to 6, we can move on to the level 3 danger zones.”
“…Yeah, right. It’s about time we move on. I was kind of spacing out for a bit wondering what we should do once we hit 6.”
The moment Lee Shin Woo heard Jin talk about level 3 danger zones, he thought he might’ve been living comfortably for way too long.
It’s not like he’s been resting thus far; he was doing everything that needed to be done, yet he thought that perhaps somewhere along the way, he’d adapted to that calm and risk-free everyday life.
“No. It’s not like we haven’t been in any sort of danger…”
Jin thought Lee Shin Woo’s response was absurd. Though they hadn’t fought higher leveled enemies that often, they had fought more than thousands of enemies, and they had even been surrounded by level 5 elites before. Since a level 2 danger zone area wasn’t really safe for 2 level 5 heroes in the first place!
But the problem was that their abilities, especially Lee Shin Woo’s abilities, had grown so much that these enemies no longer posed any sort of threat to them. Didn’t the message say so? That he was more than qualified to level up.
“Jin, you’re still not there yet, right?”
“I’m at around 2,950. I caught up quite a bit though, right?”
“You caught up because I gave you most of the bones. …In any case, I’ll level up first.”
“Don’t talk like you’re leaving and not coming back.”
Lee Shin Woo chuckled at Jin’s curt voice, and disembarked from him. They had completely cleaned up the vicinity, so there weren’t even any level 1 skeletons. There wasn’t any better place to level up.
“…Alright, I’ll accept all my karma now.”
The moment Lee Shin Woo decided to accept his karma, blinding light burst from his body. His currently equipped equipment were released all at once, and his body began to noticeably develop!
[You have become a level 6, Powered Elemental Bone Joker. In the pursuit of countless changes, your strengths have been maximized. Your control over nature has become more powerful and diversified; as a result, you have successfully broken free from the limitations of being a skeleton.]
[You are no longer restrained by the title of skeleton, a low rank species. After training a variety of ways of handling bone, you have become the one and only swindler, the Bone Joker, to both yourself and to the world. All stats increase by 20. The Intermediate Mana Bone skill has become Lv8, and Magic has increased by an additional 20.]
[All elements grow. Intermediate Fire has become Lv2, Intermediate Ice has become Lv3, Intermediate Lightning has become Lv5, and High Rank Acid has become Lv2. Magic has increased by 110.]
So am I a skeleton or not? Lee Shin Woo inwardly complained. While complaining, his body’s bones became larger, thicker, and glistened with mana, resulting in a whiter light than before.
It was truly ironic. His bones had continuously gotten darker until he turned level 4, but starting from level 5, it went in the opposite direction!
Lee Shin Woo took a look at the magic that glistened from his bones. Mana which possessed the potential to change in an infinite number of ways… that blinding and resplendent mana could harmonize no further with his Joker karma.
[You have become able to handle mana more broadly and diversely than before. The Disguise skill has become Lv3. You can disguise yourself well with even less knowledge of your target.]
His growth to level 6 affected almost all of his skills and was complete. Lee Shin Woo was still an undead composed of all bone, but the harmonization of the mana that made up his bones was vastly different from before.
“Who the hell cares? I’m still made up of bones. Are they messing with me or what?”
“Someone said you weren’t made of bones?”
“No. Apparently, they’re saying I’m not a skeleton anymore.”
“But you are a skeleton.”
“No one’s arguing with you.”
Lee Shin Woo complained, as if enthusiastically agreeing with Jin, and checked his status; it had been a long time since he’d checked it. Though it was true that his body had undergone some fundamental changes, he still needed to check his status.
[Lee Shin Woo]
[Powered Elemental Bone Joker]
[Corps Destroyer; 4 others]
[Lv 6 (Status effectiveness 200%)]
[Strength – 681, Agility – 698, Health – 699, Magic – 1,380]
[Passive skills – Acting Lv15, Invisible Heart Lv3, Rebellion Lv3, Intermediate Bursting Thunder Lv7, Intermediate Mana Bone Lv8, Intermediate Shadow Sprint Lv5, Intermediate Command Lv6, Intermediate Assimilation Lv5, Intermediate Combat Sense Lv7]
[Active skills – Disguise Lv3, Instigate Lv2, Bone Reinforcement Lv7, Rule of Bone Lv7, Bone Armory Lv5, Intermediate Regeneration Lv8, Sacrifice Lv1, Emergency Evasion Lv4, Low Rank Twin Horn Charge Lv9]
[Elements – Intermediate Fire Lv2, Intermediate Ice Lv3, High Rank Acid Lv2, Intermediate Lightning Lv5]
[Resistances – Holy: MAX, Curse: MAX, Acid: High Rank Lv1, Ice: Intermediate Lv2]
“So I need 3,000 more stats from here to get to level 7, huh… It’s starting to feel really far off.”
“You know, you said something like that when you were level 5. Moreover, you got a 200 stat increase once you hit level 6, so you’re really making a big fuss over nothing.”
“The problem is that most of that stat increase is in magic.”
Compared to the others, only Lee Shin Woo’s magic stat increased incredibly fast. That was because most of his skills used magic as their foundation.
But even so, he needed his other stats as well; it was troubling for him that his magic stat was almost double that of his strength or agility stats.
“Hoo. No choice but to divide the bones evenly from now on. For now, you’ll take care of the magic bones.”
That wasn’t all. Another problem was that he’d only been training the skills that increased magic thus far. Of course, he didn’t really have many skills that didn’t increase magic, which was a problem, but if he looked amongst them…
“That’s right. There’s this.”
Jin’s goblin fire blazed subtly, watching two horns protrude from Lee Shin Woo’s head. That’s right. It was the skill that he’d acquired from absorbing a bone from the shop: the Twin Horn Charge.
It was certainly a close combat skill, as it increased the force of a charge, as well as increasing attack power through the horns. Twin Horn Charge was also a skill that he’d only been able to level up by 1 these past two months as there weren’t any strong foes to use it on.
“Let’s get moving after I get this to the intermediate level.”
“Just saying, weren’t you not using that on purpose?”
There was only one reason for that. It was because Lee Shin Woo didn’t have any horns. Because of that, he couldn’t effectively make use of the Twin Horn Charge’s increase in attack power, and couldn’t hastily increase the skill’s level to the intermediate stage, causing him to worry.
“But I’ve been training my others skills, so I have a rough idea of how it works. Moreover, as I leveled up, my mana senses further developed as well, so it’s time I try it out.”
What were horns? They were a means to attack. And in situations where charging is required, Lee Shin Woo had the lance. In that case, the answer was simple.
“I just need to use the Twin Horn Charge in tandem with my lance.”
“Sorry, but I don’t get it, so do what you want.”
Jin retorted, distanced himself from Lee Shin Woo, and began to run by himself. Jin knew that studying the skill would take some time, so he’d given him some space beforehand. That was also its own type of skill training, so Lee Shin Woo didn’t stop him.
In the past, Jin would stand next to him, almost with a question mark above his skull, and genuinely listen to him, but now… Lee Shin Woo wished that Jin was like that again, and began to study, no, remodel his skill.
He’d already told Jin what he wanted to do: he wanted to combine the Twin Horn Charge’s horns with the lance. In other words, he would be changing the release of magic, as well as the intrinsic pattern a bit.
‘Twin Horn Charge aggressively speeds up the mana, and pushes the body in the direction of the attack. In the process, the twin horns naturally jut out. The twin horns form at the target destination that’s designated by the accelerated mana… In other words, if I’m able to change the direction of the skill to my lance, then…’
When that charging technique is combined with Jin’s speed, its force would be beyond his imagination!
Lee Shin Woo was sure of himself, nodded his head, and began to study the skill immediately. He’d taken out the Drake Horn Lance simply because they were both horns; thus, he thought that maybe they could work together somehow, but there wasn’t really any meaning to it.
“Hey, monsters are coming! I’ll take care of them myself and come back, ok?”
“Don’t forget to bring back the bones.”
In a sitting position, Lee Shin Woo repeatedly activated and cancelled his skill a few times, and studied the change in mana upon the skill’s activation, as well as the flow of mana. Between these two, he would probably have to keep the change in mana the same, and control the flow of mana. However…
‘It’s not hard.’
Lee Shin Woo was quite surprised. He seemed to grasp the changes in the mana upon activation of the skill, and was likewise able to figure out how the special flow of mana was created without difficulty. The only thing left to do was to change the structure slightly, but even that was way too simple.
‘Is it because it’s still a low rank skill?’
No, that wasn’t the issue here. It was just Lee Shin Woo’s extraordinary ability of handling magic. While he was at it, he added another skill as well. It was Shadow Sprint, which was treated like a charging type skill.
Shadow Sprint had the special ability of adding a shadow to the charge, whilst also increasing one’s secrecy as well as their speed. It was certainly lacking in terms of destructive force. He was attempting to fill in that weakness with the Twin Horn Charge, but it wasn’t very natural to use two similar types of skills at the same time.
‘Shall we combine them?’
Though his skills had combined with other skills on their own in the process of evolving, Lee Shin Woo had never actually tried to fuse the characteristics of two skills on his own before. It was clear by his face that the thought had never even occurred to him before.
‘But I feel like I can do it now.’
Lee Shin Woo focused on controlling his interior mana. He activated both Twin Horn Charge and Shadow Sprint simultaneously, and tied both their mana properties together. Stealthily, yet sharply. Agile, yet weighty. All of those characteristics were fused into one to create a forceful thrust…!
“I got all of them. Huh…?”
Jin, who easily swept away the group of level 4 monsters, saw Lee Shin Woo’s body engulfed in a dark red energy and stopped in place.
The two horns that burst from his head slowly receded, and a giant horn appeared on the lance in his hand, as if engulfing it. And soon, the lance was covered in a black mana, causing its form to become unclear. Even though he was staring at the lance with both of his eyes, he couldn’t tell exactly what it looked like!
“…I did it.”
Immediately after Jin carefully called for Lee Shin Woo, Lee Shin Woo’s eye sockets blazed with dark red goblin fire. The dark red energy that tinged the lance blended together, and covered the lance.
[The Low Rank Twin Horn Charge skill has become Lv10 and is evolving! Absorbing the Intermediate Shadow Sprint skill. You have learned the Intermediate skill, Shadow Horn Lv1! Strength and Agility have increased by 10.]
“What’s wrong? Didn’t it turn out well?”
But the moment he created a skill that would overpower anyone, Lee Shin Woo lamented quietly. Jin, who couldn’t tear his eyes off the completed Shadow Horn, asked why and Lee Shin Woo sighed deeply and replied.
“It became a combat skill like Bursting Thunder rather than a sprint skill. It’s a skill that accelerates the speed of the thrust itself, not the charge…”
“…So you focused too much of the charging force into the weapon, huh?”
“Shit. I should turn it back into a charge type… forget it.”
Lee Shin Woo could feel it instinctively. That this skill he made might actually be amazing, and with this amazing skill he might be able to grow!
He had succeeded in combining the two skills’ charging force, stealth, and attack power into one skill. Lee Shin Woo thought it might be better to leave the skill as is. If that’s the case, then there’s only one answer.
“I’m going to go visit the secret shop.”
After clearing out all the bones in the secret shop, he didn’t really feel like he needed to go there, even if he leveled up.
He had no choice but to find a new charging skill in God’s secret shop.