<Chapter 25. Hansen Von Dorthe – 2>
“Shin Woo, you really think we can just leave them like that?”
He sent Kratia away, and when it was about time that they return to the castle, Jin asked Lee Shin Woo a question. ‘Them’ was referring to the Chimera Golems that were still rolling on the floor and grunting.
The fact that they were still like that, despite the fact that Shriek of the Dead should’ve worn off by now, must mean that they were suffering from PTSD.
“I feel like they’ll just stay like that if we leave them here.”
“They don’t have a part in my plan for the time being. We should just leave them like that.”
“So… you’re saying that you are going to use them later?”
Lee Shin Woo nodded his head, as if saying ‘wasn’t it obvious? why are you asking me that?’. They were already on a Joker’s stage; they couldn’t leave unless he said so. They would either dance to his tune, or die; he would only allow one of those choices to pass!
The Golem Chimeras were comprised of a group of undead that were at least level 5. He was confident that he could inflict damage upon a general, so long as he used them properly.
“What if something goes wrong?”
“Well, then I suppose I’ll die a few times or something. Don’t worry about it too much.”
Jin was well aware of the fact that Lee Shin Woo’s words were just hot air. They exchanged a few words before the battle, and in the process, Jin once again realized just how determined Lee Shin Woo was; then steeled himself as well.
“Keuk. How long do you think it’ll take before the general shows up…?”
“To be honest, even Nellopa didn’t really know how long it’d take for him to show up. But I’m sure it won’t take very long. Since he had plans that would ‘let him hold out until the general showed up’, no matter the situation.”
Lee Shin Woo said, and looked backwards. The Treasure Eater was chasing after Jin and was close to catching them. Light was steadily radiating off its body, and it seemed as though it would let out a big one soon.
“Though I have no idea how long we can last against that guy…”
“Why the hell did that thing appear here, when it’s so hard to even find a level 7? You said that there was only one level 7 elite bone in the secret shop!”
“Instead of asking me, why don’t you ask him?”
Lee Shin Woo was also speechless. This operation was supposed to be relatively risk-free and safe, and he had planned to finish things up without any problems! He’d let the chimeras and the undead destroy each other, and then loot everything in the facility; the fact that things had gotten so out of hand was all because of that asshole Steve.
To think that a level 7 Treasure Eater actually existed; even if he had assumed one did exist, how was he to know that that level 7 Treasure Eater would appear right before him? According to his seniors, Treasure Eaters were such a rare species that meeting one was like winning the lottery on Earth!
“Since it’s come to this, we have to get that thing to pay us back for making us walk on such a tightrope.”
“Your voice is really scary right now…”
Then, Steve began attacking. However, Jin was able to avoid it easily by momentarily accelerating; the lightning cannon ball barely missed, and vanished after leaving behind a crater several meters wide. If they had been directly hit by that, they would have been reduced to bone powder; they would’ve died on the spot.
“…Just one of these would destroy the castle walls.”
“It’s alright. Shall we use the undead as meat shields?”
Fortunately, it seemed as though that skill wasn’t something Steve could use often, as it was apparent that Steve had gotten weaker; its speed at which it chased them had slowed. While it was slowed, Lee Shin Woo and Jin moved hurriedly and arrived in front of the outer castle walls.
One of the soldiers atop the walls, surveying his surroundings, noticed Lee Shin Woo and yelled happily.
[The lord has returned!]
[Oh, the lord…!]
[The lord’s returned safely. Hurry, open the front gate…]
But before the undead opened the front gate, Jin let out a ‘heup’, and seemed to put pressure in his legs. The soles of his feet, or rather his hooves, suddenly changed shape. Lee Shin Woo caught a glimpse of it, and to him, they looked like spinning helical springs.
Did Jin just get an ability like that one X Fruit!?  Lee Shin Woo was astonished, but at that very moment, Jin slammed his feet onto the ground, leaping high into the air. He’d leapt to a ridiculous height in such a short period of time that even Lee Shin Woo was shocked!
Seeing that, the undead seemed confused, and Jin calmly landed above the castle walls. It was such a soft landing, belying the powerful leap.
Jin snorted at Lee Shin Woo’s honest appreciation and was quite happy. It seemed like Jin had been considering various ways in which he could make full use of his ability.
Honestly, there was a large degree of freedom in the way he could use Steel Heart, which enveloped his body in mana steel, and he’d thought that he could develop it any way he wanted. But… to change a certain part of his body into springs… it was both a simple and extremely effective idea.
[My lord, isn’t that horse Sir Seta’s…!?]
[Now that you mention it, I don’t see Sir Seta anywhere. Did he perhaps…]
“Sir Seta left this horse to me. He… was a knight who fought loyally for the Empire till the bitter end.”
The knights took the death of this imaginary figure, Sir Seta, hard. There were several holes in his story that didn’t make sense. For example, why Sir Seta had stopped appearing around the halfway point, or how he died, or how he’d bequeathed his horse to the lord. However, those trifling matters didn’t matter to them right now.
[That monster will fall by our hands no matter what!]
[That’s not all. We’ll punish those disgusting bastards who invaded the Sanctuary in his majesty’s name!]
[Follow Sir Seta’s example! Remember his will!]
Jin didn’t do anything, but his existence managed to boost the morale of the undead. By the time he tilted his head, the pursuing Treasure Eater forcefully rammed into the outer castle wall and showed itself to all of them!
The Treasure Eater, its gigantic body several meters long, had substituted its speed for its weight in order to deliver such a powerful charge! It was truly a horrific impact. It seemed as though the castle walls would crumble then and there, and within the vibrations, Lee Shin Woo yelled out in a calm, confident tone. Charisma was everything to a lord.
“Who defends Kadinan!?”
“Then, defend it! Show that monster that it cannot look down on us!”
Jin couldn’t believe his eyes. The knights and soldiers atop the castle walls then took the plunge, free falling to the ground.
Several of the knights had landed properly, but the soldiers let out a horrific sound upon landing, as if that alone would kill them; yet the other soldiers followed suit and took the plunge!
‘What the hell is that?!?’
Lee Shin Woo replied objectively, as he started to push them. He didn’t want to waste the precious knights, so he insisted on fielding the low leveled commoners and soldiers first. With one order from the Lord of Blood and Iron, the city’s undead stood before the castle walls without a speck of suspicion or fear!
[For the Emperor!]
[For the lord!]
[For the… Kuhak!]
Skeletons from everywhere fell to the ground! The Treasure Eater charged once more, but it collided with the accumulated heaps of skeleton bones, and it had to be satisfied with just breaking through the piles of bones. It was both the result he was praying for and expecting.
Honestly, sacrificing 100 level 1 or 2 skeletons to stop one of the Treasure Eater’s attacks was well worth it for Lee Shin Woo.
‘You… this is…’
“Show them your spirit; the spirit of a warrior who won’t let that monster through!”
Those ‘warriors’ had already turned into bone, and if one were to look for them, no one would be able to find them.
“Take after their courage! Show them that Kadinan will not fall today!”
[We can’t lose to a mere monster!]
[It’s time we repaid the lord for his grace!]
These level 1 and 2 skeletons, which really didn’t serve any other purpose than to be a momentary shield, fell to the ground in droves. However, it didn’t matter. There were about 100,000 skeletons in the city that weren’t part of the army.
‘Good. With this, the inner city shouldn’t fall before that guy arrives.’
‘This isn’t something a human being should be doing…’
‘I’m a skeleton, remember?’
And those dying to the Treasure Eater were also either skeletons or zombies. Lee Shin Woo grinned as the Treasure Eater threw a fit and rampaged at the never-ending additional reinforcements that kept falling from the castle walls.
It didn’t matter whether it decided to tackle them with its body or fire its lightning. Because hundreds, if not thousands would come to reinforce them! The Treasure Eater was already quite tired as its fired off several large-scale attacks while chasing Lee Shin Woo.
The undead would gather and prevent it from advancing, like a rising tide; seemingly realizing this, the Treasure Eater gave up on advancing rapidly and reserved its magic and stamina, as if saying ‘let’s see who holds out until the very end’. It seemed like the Treasure Eater had opted to break through the skeletons slowly.
“Show that monster that our will is even harder than these very walls!”
[Glory to the Emperor!]
[I will stake my life to protect you, my lord!]
And so, the meat shield plan began in earnest. One by one, the undead climbed up the walls and fell towards the Treasure Eater. The Treasure Eater destroyed those skeletons and accumulated bones…
‘Wow, look at that line.’
“Fall one by one! Remember, one by one!”
There was now a queue for skeletons to climb the castle walls. Like they were lining up to ride an amusement park ride!
Jin watched the Treasure Eater that restlessly shattered the skeletons and zombies, as well as the man who sent these skeletons and zombies to their deaths one by one, and thought it looked like a trainer tossing a lion food at a zoo.
‘You’re only doing this because fighting it would be troublesome, so you’re passing on the job to him, right?’
‘You know me too well.’
Lee Shin Woo checked the time and effectively used the skeleton volunteers. 10,000, 20,000, 30,000… In just a few hours, Lee Shin Woo had managed to clear the city of about 70% of the city’s level 1 and 2s.
When they died, they left behind a heaping mountain of bones, and as such, the Treasure Eater would have to put in the effort to destroy the accumulated bones. Since they were bones that contained the very essence of the undead, it seemed as though the bones were more durable than when they were still alive, which caused the Treasure Eater to expend even more energy.
‘You don’t need to collect those?’
‘Level 1 or 2 bones are useless to me now. However, level 3 or 4 bones are different. Jin, you got it, right?’
‘…Are you telling me to go and collect them?’
One fortunate aspect of this plan is that even though he was continuously throwing bodies at it, the Treasure Eater wasn’t losing any strength; rather, it seemed to be gradually getting stronger for some strange reason.
Because he’d never fought a Treasure Eater for this long before, Lee Shin Woo wasn’t really aware of it, but considering its power, as well as its hostility towards Lee Shin Woo, it seemed as though an increased obsession for treasure gradually increased the power of a Treasure Eater. Perhaps it might be an innate skill of the Treasure Eaters.
[You’re enduring well! The general will be here soon!]
[My lord, I’ll go as well!]
And finally that time had come. All the city’s low level undead were gone, and now the level 3 and higher elite forces had to intervene. Lee Shin Woo nodded his head and yelled.
[Your tenacious spirits will protect our city, no, our Empire!]
[You inspire the allied undead through the Instigate skill! The Command skill is temporarily strengthened, and a portion of your subordinates are able to use the skill ‘Meat Shield’!]
[The Intermediate Command skill has become Lv8. All stats have increased by 3!]
He’d hit the jackpot again. It was just like with Bone for Bone; a part of his subordinates could use a skill called ‘Meat Shield’ that would increase their defense by three times when sacrificing themselves to protect another.
[I will… protect this city!]
[My lord, please watch over me!]
The skeletons that had acquired the skill fell with redoubled courage. Of course, even though they have three times the defense, their enemy was a level 7. Instead of futilely dying in 1 second, now they would futilely die in 10. Lee Shin Woo watched as they died, and sported a indistinct expression. But inwardly, he was telling Jin what he wanted.
‘Collect them after they accumulate a bit. Before they break. Ok?’
And three hours later, when Lee Shin Woo assessed that they wouldn’t be able to stop it from reaching the outer walls, Lee Shin Woo abandoned the outer walls and allowed the Treasure Eater to destroy them as it pleased; they shut themselves in the inner city and began their second siege.
Time passed by even quicker. All the level 3 soldiers had died, and all the level 4 knights had died as well. At least half of the level 5 Elder Knights had died, and the few level 6 elites they had realized that it was their turn soon and were extremely scared. Then…
[Ah… You fools…!]
He had arrived.
 T/N: Toy Car has a tendency of censoring really obvious references. I believe this one is referencing the Devil Fruits from One Piece, or more specifically, the Bane Bane no Mi (allows the user to turn their limbs into springs).