<Chapter 26. New Element – 1>
[The Bursting Thunder skill has become Lv10 and has evolved to the high rank level! Strength and Magic have increased by 30. The powerful lightning can now draw upon the energy of the heavens.]
[The Intermediate Combat Sense skill has become Lv9. Agility has increased by 10. You will have a foggy idea of what your opponent will do next.]
[You have learned the active skill, Lv1 Lightning Shadow.]
He’d not only learned how to further progress as a warrior who used lightning, but also gained a new skill he could potentially fuse, and had an experience that was especially profitable; yet, Lee Shin Woo stared blankly, as though he had left his soul behind. Jin and Kratia quietly examined Lee Shin Woo.
“What could’ve happened for him to be like that?”
“I wonder. Maybe he got a lot less stats than he’d expected from the bone?”
However, Lee Shin Woo didn’t hear the two’s voices. He couldn’t forget the last thing Seagald had said.
‘Retadane… He definitely said Retadane.’
There was no way he’d heard wrong. Moreover, the memory of the experience was still fresh, and he could playback the memory if he wanted.
He was sure. Seagald had said ‘Retadane’.
‘Wait… Now that I think about it, Retadane would react whenever I talked about Seagald.’
At the time, Lee Shin Woo had responded to her as naturally as possible, but he inwardly thought it was strange. Because Retadane didn’t really react when the other 12 generals were mentioned. Thus, he had hypothesized that Retadane had already met Seagald once before…
‘If that’s the case, then is she his descendent…? She’s probably not his daughter, so maybe his granddaughter?’
When he’d come to the Underground Empire, he had definitely heard God say this in passing. Before she had summoned heroes from other worlds, she had turned her world’s people into heroes. They all ‘failed’, but she didn’t say that they had all ‘died’.
But to think a citizen of the Empire would be included… Not only that, but a citizen of the Empire who wasn’t affected by the curse.
‘It’s not impossible, right? She might’ve been born in a dungeon.’
So long as she operated as a hero, there would be no problem for him, regardless of whether Seira Von Retadane was a citizen of the Empire, lived above ground, or just lived in this world.
He was a bit curious if the other heroes knew about this, but… anyone would be able to figure out the truth if they knew Seagald’s family name, and it wasn’t even really a huge secret either.
‘If I get the chance, I’ll ask Pleine.’
But Lee Shin Woo realized that he didn’t really need to go out of his way to ask Pleine. By defeating the Lightning Shadow General, he’d gained 10 permits to God’s secret shop!
Defeating a general greatly contributed to God’s goal of purifying the Empire, so it seemed as though God gave those contributing heroes the chance to meet her as a reward. If that’s the case, then asking God would give him the most clear answer!
“Alright. ‘Strike the iron while it’s hot.'”
“What? There’s still more we have to do?”
“Nope. We’re finished. It’s been a while, so let’s go meet God. Why don’t you come too, Kratia?”
Jin looked uneasy, while Kratia briefly looked like she had no idea what was going on. She ruminated over the message right away, and nodded her head.
“Now that I think about it, I remember you (Shin Woo) talking about that.”
“You don’t need to be afraid. All you need to do is badger her for a ability or an item.”
“Alright. …I’ve changed my mind a little.”
Kratia still didn’t like the idea of God affecting her abilities, but the conversation changed if God could give her a new artifact. Kratia, who wanted a new ability for her artifact, nodded her head at his words, and ultimately, entered God’s garden.
“Then, shall we go too?”
“Do we really have to?”
“You never know, we might get better abilities. Plus, I have something personal I want to ask God. But if you really don’t want to go…”
“…No, I’ll go.”
Jin sighed quietly, nodded as if he had resolved himself, and stood beside him. Lee Shin Woo had no idea what he had been thinking about, but thought it wasn’t strange that Jin had his own problems to think about, and used the permit to God’s garden.
[The party is entering God’s garden through the use of the permit.]
When he softly closed his eyes and reopened them, he was transported to a beautiful garden that he’d been to once before.
Perhaps because he completely accepted himself last time, he didn’t appear as a human, but as a level 6 Powered Elemental Bone Joker. Of course, Jin wasn’t anywhere nearby…
He felt someone touch him. Lee Shin Woo felt an aggressively warm and soft feeling spread over his body and the sweet aroma made it so he momentarily couldn’t get a hold of himself, but was soon able to calm down through Invisible Heart.
The situation was quite clear. God was hugging him! To think she could agitate him, an undead; she wasn’t a God for nothing. One who goes beyond the norm; an individual who goes against logic… Lee Shin Woo was unnerved by that aggressive charm.
“Please get off me.”
[To think you’d beat one of the 12 generals! It’s been so long since that’s happened!]
“I said get off me.”
God was still excited and didn’t let go, but soon, Lee Shin Woo forcefully pushed her away. She laughed, patted his back, and stepped back.
[Try to understand. I like to express my happiness as well.]
“…It’s a relief that you feel so happy.”
To be honest, Lee Shin Woo had questioned God’s intent of wanting to purify the Empire before, but seeing her current attitude, he realized that her intent wasn’t a lie after all. He really couldn’t figure her out. Maybe she was just psychotic.
[You probably can’t understand me, huh?]
Lee Shin Woo replied honestly. God smiled bitterly, pulled over a chair from a nearby table, and sat down. Then, like last time, she propped her chin on her hands, and spoke calmly.
[I just… you know, don’t you feel happy when you get a goal despite it being a lost game? You might’ve gotten around twenty goals repeatedly.]
“That’s really not something a goddess should say in front of a hero.”
[Be happy. I’m only talking about this because it’s you. Since it seems like you’ve already realized quite a few things on your own.]
God was weird. And Lee Shin Woo, who was similarly weird, was forced into becoming her comrade through her previous comment. He’d thought it may not be true, but this Empire, no this world had no hope!
“Nice of you to bring me to this despair ridden world.”
[That’s what I thought at first, but now I think you may become this world’s new hope. Ethan is already beginning to dawdle, but if it’s you…]
“Please don’t forcefully put all your hopes on me. I’m just doing as I please.”
[So about the reward…]
God, who’d completely ignored Lee Shin Woo, gently gazed at Lee Shin Woo and said.
[You’re not planning on getting another quest again, are you?]
“Is there even anything else I can get from you?”
[There are still one or two things I can give you.]
God replied humbly towards Lee Shin Woo’s snobbish sounding comment. God probably knew more about his latent potential than he did, so she wasn’t lying.
Lee Shin Woo briefly ruminated over it. But because the abilities God granted weren’t inherently hostile, he just nodded his head, especially because he didn’t really want another quest from her.
“Well, let’s hear it.”
The conversation turned in a completely different direction. Lee Shin Woo, who had been completely uninterested in what she said before, was somewhat surprised.
[Even I didn’t think you would be able to use elemental power so naturally. It would normally be impossible to bestow an element onto a hero, but… it should be no problem if I were to bestow one onto you.]
His abilities had grown and he was extremely talented, so if God were to give him a small nudge, he could awaken a powerful ability.
And he pretty much understood what God was saying. It didn’t matter if it were fire or lightning; being given a small ‘opportunity’ was plenty. God was giving him that opportunity.
[And if you accept this, it should become much easier for you to fight against Ethan.]
“Didn’t you say that he was a good hero?”
[He can’t compare to you at this point.]
Looking at her statement in a different way, she was saying that if Lee Shin Woo hadn’t defeated one of the 12 generals, then even if he had been done in by Ethan Cruz later, she would just pass it off with a laugh.
“… You’re cruel. Seriously.”
[You’re one to talk.]
Lee Shin Woo thought that beings who had surpassed the limitations of humans were different, but God looked at him and snorted. It was as though she saw him as the same as her.
The amount of time allotted to them wasn’t very long. Lee Shin Woo softly closed his eyes and God released her energy. Lee Shin Woo immediately felt something enter his body, and it was infinitely dark and somber… It was similar to the curse that lingered in the Empire.
No, that wasn’t all. It was quite similar to the curse that he experienced often… what was it? While Lee Shin Woo pondered over the identity of this energy, that energy responded, and Lee Shin Woo lost all feeling in his body.
His mana, which possessed no inherent properties, met with the energy as it released, and… it assimilated it, and he could feel a change. And soon, a terse response showed up before him.
[You have acquired the Lv1 High Rank Element – Darkness. Magic has increased by 100.]
[Curse Resistance – MAX has transformed into Darkness Resistance – MAX. Magic has increased by 20.]
[Darkness is one of the great elements that makes up half of this world. It is peaceful, the power of shadows, the opposite of light, and the power of relationships.]
[But darkness magic makes one forget that they are dead or alive, and can even force them to forget what they are. An imperfect and improper connection results in a twisted appearance… and this causes people to be afraid of it.]
[You have become aware of this power, which originated from within you, due to outside stimuli, and have successfully grasped it. However, if you use too much power, others may become afraid of you. And ultimately, those natural relationships will break down and become twisted.]
Lee Shin Woo realized why he felt familiar with this power. The relationships he’d created with others… his partnership with Jin, accepting the Pauls as his subordinates… or even more broadly speaking, using the Command skill or Instigate skill to affect others and manipulate them was all because of the darkness element!
However, at the same time, if what he felt was right, then this power was…
“Didn’t the curse come from this element!?”
[You’re right. To be exact, it was darkness magic that was used as the foundation. Your Curse Resistance changed into Darkness Resistance, right? You probably could’ve brought about that change.]
God acknowledged him and nodded her head, as if she wasn’t spilling a huge secret.
[You’re probably well aware of this, but while you weren’t consciously aware of this power, you used it bit by bit. I just awakened it and made it so you could actually use it in a proper form…]
[So, your existence has become much more shocking. Perhaps your karma is heading in that direction.]
Though she was a god, could she not peruse his stats? At the very least, she didn’t show any indication of knowing that he was a Joker. Perhaps this was also an effect of the Joker karma.
[There’s a huge difference in the results of those who use magic. I know that better than anyone else. So, make sure you work hard. …I hope you don’t become like the Emperor or Ethan.]
[Then, get going. I was so happy that I ended up giving you way too much.]
“Ah, just one second. I’d like to ask you about Retadane…”
[It’s impossible for even I to give you information on other heroes more than is necessary.]
“She’s a hero, right? She’s an ally, right?”
To top everything off, Lee Shin Woo asked God about his conclusion, and God just laughed and replied.
[Of course she is. She’s a trustworthy hero, more than anyone else.]