<Chapter 23. Level 6 – 4>
“What could possibly be hidden for him to act like that? Are they trying to kill me? If not, then are they trying to use me to provoke someone?”
But unfortunately for Guillotine, Lee Shin Woo didn’t trust his words at all. He spoke, once he got off the golem train and stepped into a new area.
“Shin Woo, can’t you try trusting in people some more?”
“It’s not between people; it’s between a skeleton and a golem. The genre’s completely different, so what’s the point?”
Even as Lee Shin Woo spoke, he activated the administrative seal naturally, like flowing water, and came into ownership of the abandoned golems on standby in the production facility. He’d already become quite familiar with the process, as he’d done this several times already.
[In honor of Steelworker.]
[I will protect you with my life.]
“Yeah, yeah. Oh, it’s a level 5 one!”
[I am an Iron Golem. I will protect you, Steelworker.]
[I will protect you as well.]
“It’s not just one!”
As he’d roamed the Empire, Lee Shin Woo had a rough idea as to the value of golems. Firstly, level 3 Stone Golems were pretty much worthless to him, while the level 4 Bronze Golems were normally quite strong. However, they were pretty pointless once he surpassed the level 2 danger zones.
However, it’s different when referring to the Iron Golems, which were level 5 elites. They’re definitely the ‘bully’ of the level 2 danger zones! They would probably be useful, even in the level 3 danger zones with their level of durability and power.
“But I haven’t found any golems that are a level higher than them…”
“They’re probably in those rooms that they didn’t let us in, right?”
“There might be some of those golems in the level 3 danger zones already.”
“Yeah, there’s a high chance of that.”
The two chattered on whilst Lee Shin Woo lead the golems outside. There were five golems standing by in the underground facilities, with another five outside as well; so in total, there were 10 Iron Golems by their side.
[Waiting for your orders, Steelworker.]
[It’s an honor to be guarding you, Steelworker.]
“They’re quite loyal…”
“Mm, so Arema Steelworker doesn’t really care about the level 5 Iron Golems, huh…”
“Huh? That’s what this means?”
“Look. There are Iron Golems right outside the train underground even without us going above ground, so they didn’t bother picking them up. That means that these Iron Golems hold no value to Arema Steelworker.”
The fact that Arema Steelworker sent them on their way on the train, despite knowing that there were Iron Golems there meant that he considered these Iron Golems trash ‘yet to be disposed of’.
However, Arema treasured the level 6 golems. Lee Shin Woo and Jin were able to roughly estimate the level of the golems in the areas where they weren’t permitted to enter.
He didn’t care about the level 5 golems, but he did care about the level 6 ones. There was one thing that suggested as such.
“He has no way of creating cores. If he were able to create cores, he would’ve collected the level 5 golems, and even the level 4s and taken them apart. And would’ve created more level 6s, but the fact that he didn’t means that…”
“Ah, you’re probably right.”
The Iron Golems’ cores were high-class, and were very similar to the Original Core. Honestly, Lee Shin Woo was confident that he would be able to make an Original Bone Core with just four or five of them. However, Arema Steelworker was leaving those Iron Golems alone.
“…I wonder what Arema Steelworker is thinking about? What does he intend to do? Why did he send us here?”
“I wonder. …I suppose that’s for us to find out.”
If there were one thing he was sure about, it would be that Arema Steelworker made a huge mistake; he hadn’t taken into account Lee Shin Woo’s latent potential and had thoughtlessly revealed his secrets. It didn’t take long for Lee Shin Woo to come to that conclusion.
“You guys go back. If we keep going like this, we should be able to reach the level 2 danger zone without any danger.”
[As you command, Steelworker.]
[I will follow your command, by working together with my comrades.]
Though he’d just gotten command over the group of golems, Lee Shin Woo sent the golems away in the next moment. To be exact, he’d sent them to the designated gathering place for his troops in the level 2 danger zone.
“Go to the meeting place as soon as possible, but if you think there’s any danger to your cores, run away and take a detour immediately. If you can’t escape, collect your comrades’ cores and keep them with you. Remember that.”
[Thank you for taking us into consideration, Steelworker.]
Once they grouped up with the other golems, their mission would be to roam around the Empire, collecting information and hunting monsters.
If they don’t overdo it, such that they don’t incur casualties and cut down the number of undead, they would help in gradually, very gradually purifying the Empire. If they worked together, they would at worst be as effective as 1 hero.
“Unlike the Pauls, the Golems can’t grow.”
“But the bones that they collect can be used to reinforce the Pauls, right? Moreover, there’s something else I’m thinking about, too.”
Lee Shin Woo sent the golems, which departed for their long journey, off with a delighted smile. Lee Shin Woo had frantically picked up the Iron Golems while Arema Steelworker had thrown them away and considered them useless. From the outside, it clearly seemed like a completely one-sided superior and subordinate relationship, but it was strange, as it felt like if it were Lee Shin Woo, it might be different.
“Then, shall we get going, secretly?”
“How? You don’t have Shadow Sprint anymore.”
“Ah, that’s right.”
At the beginning, Lee Shin Woo thought he’d be able to change skills as he wanted like how he could so naturally change mana as he wished, but he couldn’t. If it were that easy, they wouldn’t be skills. If it had a particular element to it, then he might’ve been able to recreate it, but the ‘Shadow’ element didn’t exist in this world.
“Whenever I try, I just keep making Shadow Horns. Damn it…”
“It can’t be helped. If we need to, we can just run away. Let’s go.”
Like with all of the golem production facilities, their destination was in the highlands, northwest a ways away from the center of the Empire. When they looked down, they saw the satellite city that Guillotine had told them about, Kadinan.
He inwardly thought that this city might’ve been cleared out by the other heroes, but considering the abundance of mana he felt, it meant that the undead were still stationed inside the city.
“Is the lord about level 6? Level 6…”
“Don’t smack your lips. Yeah we’re going to charge in, but now’s not the time, right?”
“You’re right. First, we…”
He didn’t know if it was done on purpose, but the golem testing facility was quite a ways off from the production facility. Kadinan was at the center, and the testing facility was at a place that they could only reach by departing from the highlands and going all the way around.
Kadinan was like a basin, and the testing facility and the highlands all felt like a part of the enclosing mountain range.
“It’s really strange. How did they make this kind of natural environment underground…”
“You know, if the Emperor’s this good at magic, to the point that he’s able to do something like this, then isn’t it pretty much guaranteed we’d lose?”
“…It’s not the result of some transient magic. Let’s go with the idea that he’s stockpiled power over many years.”
They chattered on like usual, but as they travelled, Lee Shin Woo’s expression stiffened unexpectedly.
“They’ve way too many patrols.”
“We’ve already gone past a lot of patrols thus far. What’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”
“No, I’m saying… that there’re way too many people patrolling around our destination.”
He’d thought it unusual, but it seemed like they already took notice of them. Lee Shin Woo was dumbfounded.
Did Guillotine look down on him? If not, then was he not truly aware of what was going on around here? Either way, it didn’t matter. Lee Shin Woo was starting to become curious as to what lay at his destination.
[Hey you, stay there.]
It wasn’t very long before Lee Shin Woo was discovered by one of the patrolling Skeleton Knights. Since he didn’t even have Shadow Sprint, it was impossible for him to move without being discovered. However, both Lee Shin Woo and Jin looked relaxed.
[Woah!? W-What a nice horse!]
“My thanks for the compliment. Are you a knight under the lord’s command?”
Nine times out of ten, someone who doesn’t recognize him would say something like this.
[T-That’s correct. If it’s not too much trouble, may I ask where you came from…?]
Even after dying, knights and aristocrats were idiots and still respected ranks of power! Regardless of how suspicious he might’ve looked, he wouldn’t be able to treat him so thoughtlessly!
Moreover, Lee Shin Woo was currently garbed in luxurious armor (he purposely kept his helmet open so that others could see that he was undead) and spoke gallantly (for someone who can’t even breathe, Jin acted as if he could and drew out his breaths).
The knight couldn’t help but wonder about his identity!
“I am one of Marquis Satepen’s men.”
[One of Marquis Satepen’s men!?]
Marquis Satepen was the lord with the highest standing amongst the lords that controlled the level 2 danger zone cities!
He had retired to the countryside after passing his land over to his son, and he was sure of the family’s power and position; Lee Shin Woo had cleaved his skull and absorbed his bone, so he was able to nigh-perfectly imitate him, but he was purposefully posing as his knight instead!
“You know of these unruly and strange individuals moving around throughout the Empire, yes? The Marquis was quite worried about this, so he sent me and some other knights throughout the Empire. Thus, it is my duty to capture and torture these flies, and report back to the Marquis.”
[As expected… As expected of Marquis Satepen! A noble loyal to the Empire, even after passing his position to his son!]
“Thus… What are you all doing within? I have already discovered quite a few knights patrolling around.”
The Skeleton Knight was flustered and stepped back. He had already accepted that Lee Shin Woo was Satepen’s vassal! But if he was too forceful, the knight may become angry with him, so Lee Shin Woo purposefully made his voice less forceful.
“As a mere knight, I have no plans of interfering with the lord’s work. We are all loyal to the Empire, are we not? I just asked out of concern, so there is no need to be alarmed.”
[Ha, haha. Thank you for your consideration. Ah, what is your name…?]
“You can call me Seta.”
[Sir Seta, it wasn’t something that I couldn’t tell you, as you’re under orders from Marquis Satepen. To be honest, the lord received an imperial command.]
He even told him about the imperial command; seriously, dumbasses like this are the best!
[This is what the Emperor commanded. Rebels will definitely appear here, so if anyone suspicious comes, then we should report immediately. Then, one of the 12 generals will come and personally execute the rebels…!]
“Is that so?”
Lee Shin Woo completely understood now. For some reason, the Emperor was sure that Arema Steelworker would appear here, and Arema Steelworker was also aware of the Emperor’s motives.
‘If I thoughtlessly entered, then around the time I exited the dungeon, one of the 12 generals would be there to meet me.’
Was Arema’s plan to get rid of him? No, if it was, he would’ve just told Guillotine to kill him. In other words… it was a test. It was a test for Lee Shin Woo, as well as his group (Arema trusted that a group backing him existed), so Arema could gauge their abilities.
‘There could be something else as well, but this is probably it for now.’
He could just figure out the rest starting now. Lee Shin Woo nodded his head and spoke.
“So you were following the imperial command. If it is not too much trouble, may I help as well? I will go and talk to the lord personally.”
[Ooooh, it would be a great help  to us if you were to assist us, Sir Seta! I will personally guide you to the lord!]
The deeply touched knight yelled! Jin, who had heard it all, inwardly cried out.
‘What the hell are you doing!?’
‘I mean, if we just barge in, one of the 12 generals will show up soon. Even so, we can’t just go back. I’m too curious as to what’s going on in there.’
‘So henceforth, we’re beginning operation [Operation: Bro , why are you there?’]!’
There were so many parts about that statement he wanted to retort about, but Jin decided to concentrate on only the one he was truly confident about. The two ‘operation’ words were overlapping! 
 T/N: In Korean, he says something along the lines of saying that he’s similar to a force of a thousand. It’s just a saying that emphasizes how helpful he would be.
 T/N: Hyung, or big brother. As it’s comical, ‘bro’ is the more contextually correct English translation.
 T/N: The first operation uses the Korean word, while the second uses the English pronunciation spelled out in Korean.