<Chapter 23. Level 6 – 3>
“She got me again…”
“Why did you come back so late… What’s wrong with you?”
Jin looked at Lee Shin Woo oddly, who’d just returned after being completely robbed at the secret shop. He wondered whether he should tell Jin that he’d been caught up in Pleine’s business acumen and only had 20,000 Perium left, but decided against it.
“Did you get a charge skill?”
“I was able to get a good one.”
“That’s a relief… But wait, why were you late in the first place?”
Jin was extremely curious, but Lee Shin Woo didn’t tell him the details. That’s because he had promised Pleine that he wouldn’t tell anyone else what they’d discussed.
Therefore, when Jin suggested that they practice the charge skill together, Lee Shin Woo shook his head, saying no to that as well.
“Let’s try it after I gain Lightning Resistance.”
“It’s a good skill, but I didn’t think it’d have that kind of a problem when I bought it… No, I’d probably still have bought it even if I knew about it beforehand.”
After paying a sum total of 41.5 million Perium, he’d learned the high rank skill, Lightning Sprint, which would wrap the entire body in lightning and charge with an impressive speed and destructive force; a wild skill.
Ordinarily, the skill could only be used when one is contracted to a lightning spirit, but Lee Shin Woo was able to use the skill without any problems, as he could create lightning by himself. It also had a high compatibility with Bursting Thunder as well.
“High rank skills aren’t often sold in the shop, but when they are, they’re sold immediately. But it seems like this one hadn’t been sold because of the troublesome conditions.”
“You’re saying that you’ve satisfied all the conditions, but you can’t use it because of me, huh…”
There was no way the lightning would inflict damage on its caster, but the problem was Jin. Because it would create such intense lightning, befitting its high ranking, he couldn’t use it before Jin learned at least intermediate lightning resistance. If he himself possessed lightning resistance, he would be able to share it with Jin, but he didn’t have it.
“I could also just not ride on your back and use it, but that’s pretty pointless.”
The reason Lee Shin Woo’s charge attacks possessed such destructive force was because of Jin’s formidable speed and reaction time. He couldn’t match it, even with a high rank skill.
“They don’t sell lightning resistance in the shop?”
“It’s not just lightning. They don’t sell any resistances. I didn’t really know, but apparently resistances are really amazing.’
“Ah, yeah. That sounds about right…”
There was the problem of obtaining the resistance, but there was also the issue of training it. Resistances level up when one is heavily damaged by an element, but most people weren’t stupid enough to continuously put themselves in that kind of situation… Even if one possessed resistances, low rank to intermediate would probably be the max for them.
“But that means that you can’t use that charge skill of yours.”
“I guess we have no choice but to substitute it with your skill and Shadow Horn for now…”
Though he spent pretty much all his money to buy these three skills, he couldn’t even use a single one of them immediately! It felt as though he’d been robbed, but he’d already learned the skills, so he couldn’t get a refund. Jin threw something out there.
“Why did you even go to the shop again?”
“It hurts enough without you reminding me, so could you lay off?”
Lee Shin Woo, who’d been hurt both physically and mentally, travelled to the closest golem train station. There were only two trains that went to level 3 danger zones, located in either the western or eastern part of the Empire.
They were areas he couldn’t have even imagined going to when he first rode on the train, but now they had to go to at least level 3 danger zones to grow. They would’ve moved on to the level 3 danger zones earlier had it not been for the Paul expansion plan.
“When I look back, we’ve travelled through about 60% of the Empire in a few months.”
“But the tough part starts now.”
After they’d heard an explanation regarding the concept of ‘danger zones’, a few months had passed, yet nothing changed amongst the other heroes. Most of them were still residing near the level 3 danger zone satellite cities that were connected with the large cities.
Apparently, they would only be able to see level 6 or level 7s in level 4 or higher danger zones; so it could be said that Lee Shin Woo and Jin’s experiences were just a taste of what is to come. Their adventure, as well as their Bone Reinforcement had just begun.
“Level 7 elites… Bones that are tasty and good for you…”
“Man, you’re already starting to talk about that?”
This wasn’t the first time that he’d looked at Lee Shin Woo and thought, ‘I guess I’m going to die this time’, but it seemed as though that time was actually quickly approaching this time. Even after he’d seen firsthand that Shino Rendu had died after invading a satellite city, Lee Shin Woo was still ready to attack it!
“Even I won’t do something as stupid as Shino Rendu. Yeah, I’m going to attack the city, but I’m going to get out quickly too.”
“So in other words, you’re going to invade the city and then rely on my mobility.”
“You noticed that? You really are the best partner.”
“Yeah, though you don’t have any of that sense.”
Whilst conversing with Lee Shin Woo, Jin had become uneasy, and checked how many Blessings of Death he’d accumulated.
Because of Lee Shin Woo’s instruction, Jin was better able to absorb the surrounding curse and had accumulated nine lives. However, he was still concerned whether or not this was enough.
“The speed at which your Blessing of Death stockpiles will increase from now on as well.”
“We’re going to a place really close to death, aren’t we…?”
The two arrived at the train station and unhesitatingly rode the train. They were now used to the sudden acceleration, and Lee Shin Woo was no longer weak enough to fall from its speed. Lee Shin Woo had realized just how much he’d grown from such an unexpected source.
However, the moment the train stopped and they got off and onto the platform, Lee Shin Woo felt a powerful but familiar wave of mana. He tilted his head, and instinctually hid his mana.
[It’s been a while, Paul Zero.]
In the center of the platform where all nine trains were on standby, they saw Guillotine Steelworker, someone they hadn’t seen since being given authorization to use the trains. It seemed as though he’d confirmed that the train had entered the platform and had come directly over.
“It’s been a long time… Were you waiting for us?”
Guillotine looked quite serious, causing Lee Shin Woo to inwardly feel quite uneasy, yet he maintained a calm expression. To be honest, the only thing he needed to do was keep his goblin fire blazing at a steady rate.
“But we haven’t been causing much trouble lately.”
[You’re right. You’ve also been disposing of the low rank golems for us… I was thinking about spying on you, but I chose not to. I wasn’t waiting to interrogate you.]
“Then, do you have a request?”
[You’re really quick on the uptake, you rascal.]
Guillotine sported a bitter smile at Lee Shin Woo’s words. Despite being a golem, the way the skin on his face moved was truly sensitive. And when he thought about it, he was also jealous of his natural hair. It wouldn’t get like that through hair transplantation. I hope you lose all your hair!
[You should already have some idea, but we’ve been keeping an eye on you whenever you’ve come and gone from this place. Since we had no choice but to be suspicious.]
“So what’s your request…?”
[Yeah. We’re not as suspicious of you as we once were. At the very least, we’re sure that you’re not one of the Emperor’s men.]
“I told you that at the beginning, didn’t I?”
They both knew, whether it be the uncomfortably speaking Lee Shin Woo or the awkwardly smiling Guillotine. That they couldn’t truly trust one another. But they could agree that they ‘wouldn’t act to harm the other’. It had taken this much time to reach that conclusion.
[Like you said, I have a request for you. It may be difficult for you, as you’re level 5, but it should be possible with the help of your group.]
Lee Shin Woo’s eyes gleamed for two reasons. Firstly, Guillotine didn’t get his level right. That meant that Lee Shin Woo was concealing his mana from a higher leveled individual.
“I don’t have a group backing me though.”
[Let’s leave it at that.]
Lee Shin Woo only inwardly smiled bitterly at Guillotine’s reply.
At the time, Lee Shin Woo had told him that both he and Jin were the result of their test, and that only they were the survivors of the test; but so long as the golems weren’t idiots, there was no way they’d just trust him. It was obvious that they’d assume that there were others backing Lee Shin Woo and Jin.
And from the very beginning, that was what Lee Shin Woo was aiming for.
‘A small lie is exposed when trying to hide a larger lie. In order for them to believe my lie that Jin and I were the only survivors of the test, I clumsily acted like I was hiding the fact that there was a group behind me. And they focused on that…’
Thus, they thought of Lee Shin Woo as some sort of secret agent for some unknown group. Just like he had planned.
‘Doesn’t it hurt your head to always be thinking so complicatedly?’
‘Surprise. I don’t even have a brain!’
Lee Shin Woo and Jin exchanged trifling jokes through their connection, and Guillotine Steelworker went to the main point. As expected, he had quite a serious tone.
[Do you remember what the General told you last time… regarding our creation?]
“Of course I remember.”
[Good. Then that quickens things. At the time, the Emperor sacrificed promising knights for his own protection. The Golden Army was established with 500 members, but thousands were sacrificed in order to make that 500.]
[So what would’ve happened to the thousands of knights sacrificed? They were discarded. In order to conceal how wicked the Emperor was, the testing facilities were completely buried.]
Lee Shin Woo momentarily froze at an awful thought that came up. Guillotine Steelworker nodded his head calmly.
[It’s probably as you’ve imagined. They likely were resurrected and became undead. We made a mistake; we should’ve cremated them, but we didn’t…]
“That’s… I ended up hearing something that puts a bad taste in my mouth.”
[If I could, I would take care of it myself, but… the day following the curse, the General forbid any of us from going outside. That’s why I’d like you to do it in my place.]
He spoke as if it were completely unrelated to him, but the conversation ended up going back to him. Lee Shin Woo’s goblin fire narrowed. Guillotine Steelworker continued.
[It’s time for them to rest. I hope that you’ll let them rest in peace in our place. I’ll tell you where they are. It’s near the satellite city, Kadinan. You’ll be right there if you take that train.]
“Is that all?”
Lee Shin Woo momentarily didn’t respond to Guillotine’s unnecessarily brisk response and acted as though he were thinking about it, but… like always, he made his decision right away.
“Fine. I’ll take up your request. There’s a reward, right?”
[If you return, I’ll give you something beyond your expectations. I promise, as Guillotine Steelworker, one of the Four Commanders.]
Considering that he called himself one of the Four Commanders, there must be three other level 7 golems aside from Guillotine. Lee Shin Woo roughly nodded his head at Guillotine’s confident declaration. Though Jin looked like he was feeling uneasy, Lee Shin Woo just ignored him.
“Then I trust you’ll keep your promise and go immediately.”
Guillotine, who was worried that Lee Shin Woo would ask some more questions, saw Lee Shin Woo accept his request unhesitatingly and immediately get on the train. Once they were inside, he smiled without them knowing.
The train soon departed. Guillotine was the only one remaining and turned around, but suddenly, he heard a dignified voice from within his head. It was Arema Steelworker’s voice.
[Guillotine, I believe that was an order I gave to you.]
[I wanted to reduce our casualties. Moreover, there’s reports that the other generals are getting more involved now, so I thought that we’d be discovered if we went outside, no matter how careful we were.]
[But if they were to discover the facility…]
[Even if they were to find it, they don’t have the right to enter it.]
Arema hesitated once he heard Guillotine, and Guillotine continued to press.
[Paul Zero only possesses general administrative authority. Unless you’re a golem, one cannot possess an authority any higher than that. Isn’t that what you said, Sir Arema?]
[… It’s plenty surprising already that he acquired a general administrative authority from just studying a golem. That’s why I originally thought he was one of the Emperor’s men.]
[Indeed, it is surprising. It’s something we need to pay attention to. Thus, if he were to come back safely after completing the task, I’m planning on watching him through hidden surveillance. This task was a good excuse to give him that.]
Arema, who had been pondering, was persuaded by Guillotine and looked favorably upon his plan.
[Fine. I entrusted you with this, so do as you please. But you have to take responsibility for it as well.]
[I’ll keep that in mind, my lord.]
As soon as Arema Steelworker’s voice, which took hold of both his mind and body disappeared, Guillotine instinctually ended up sighing.
Then, he walked over to the production facility in order to create a Surveillance Unit Zero to give to Lee Shin Woo.