<Chapter 27. New Golem Maker – 2>
When Lee Shin Woo arrived at the winery, he found that, surprisingly, Kratia had gotten there first. He told her about the lock on the winery and opened the door; whilst going down, Kratia couldn’t hold herself back and asked a question.
[My name is Rem. I am a golem who serves Master Lee Shin Woo.]
“I told you about it before. That they would try to use me. It was intended to be a surveillance unit.”
“Was, huh… Tell me more about that.”
Kratia was different from Jin. Jin completely gave up on understanding Lee Shin Woo, but Kratia, once she learned that Lee Shin Woo possessed a unique ability that she didn’t have, somehow understood it, opened her mind, and attempted to invent a completely new technique, even while knowing that it wouldn’t be able to replicate Lee Shin Woo’s ability.
Lee Shin Woo wasn’t the stingy type who withheld information and told her in fair detail about how he’d reprogrammed Rem and created a new command authority of ownership.
“The darkness element…”
She’d already heard about the ability that Lee Shin Woo had gained from God (though it’s more accurate to say that it was awakened), but when Lee Shin Woo explained that he’d achieved a new feat by using the remodeled Steelworker seal in tandem with the darkness element’s mana, Kratia smiled bitterly.
“That’s impossible for me. Though I can think of a few ways to defend against it.”
“Nice, tell me. So I can make it even better.”
“Sure, as much as you want… is what I’d like to say, but before that.”
Kratia stretched out her hand and pointed at the corridor behind them. It was filled with equipment designed to preserve wine. It was originally a winery, so it seemed obvious.
“Help me clear all this up first.”
“Mm, I’m not going to clear those out. You see, I’m going to dig up a new space right next to it for the golem making equipment.”
“Still… Isn’t this equipment useless?”
Kratia was cutely tilting her head. That’s right. Lee Shin Woo realized that he hadn’t given her a proper explanation regarding this winery. Of course, it would be fine if he didn’t explain… it would probably be fine…
“Before that, shall we form a new contract, Kratia?”
“It’s scary, so don’t come over while spewing black mana.”
There was no way she wouldn’t be afraid of a skeleton approaching her whose eye sockets blazed with a blackish red goblin fire, and spewing out black mana with one hand.
However, he had made the bilateral contract fairer, so that she would agree to the terms, and she soon realized that Lee Shin Woo was trying to help her make a solid contract.
“It’s a promise with mana, right? Then we’re partners now too.”
“No, not really.”
“You’re colder than the Winter Queen…”
Partners would be the best word to describe their relationship. They would help each other when they were in range of each other, and they would combine their abilities for joint research. Of course, there was a chance that that relationship became even deeper later along the line.
“We’ll keep each other’s secret, and if we’re in range, we help each other out. This is good enough, right?”
Once she consented with the terms of the bilateral contract, darkness mana spread from Lee Shin Woo’s hand and intertwined both their hands. Soon, the darkness mana just melted away. A simple message appeared before Lee Shin Woo.
[You have formed a cooperative relationship with Kratia Melloi. When you stand on the same battlefield as her, the effects of the Rebellion skill are partly shared with her.]
“How many abilities do you even have?”
“How many species live in this world… I’m joking.”
He’d formed a proper contract with Kratia, so he didn’t need to hide anything from her. He, Kratia, and Jin went past the winery and entered the underground passageway.
Because Lee Shin Woo had increased the security on the underground passageway the other day, Kratia still wasn’t aware of its existence until he opened it.
“I’m so frustrated!”
“I just moved these security devices, which hid and maintained the facility even during the time of the Empire, so it makes sense that you didn’t notice it.”
“But you said you’re the one who moved them!”
Moreover, he didn’t just move them. Lee Shin Woo had remodeled and reinforced them. It was originally very complex, but he had made it even more so; therefore, it seemed obvious that Kratia wouldn’t been able to spot it.
…And whenever Lee Shin Woo’s abilities grew, the security system would only grow stronger.
“What exactly were you hiding here? …Ah, a vineyard!”
Kratia remembered that Lee Shin Woo didn’t want to clear out the wine facilities, as well as when he gave her an overwhelming quantity of grapes, and quickly made a conjecture. However, she soon tilted her head.
“You haven’t been growing grapes here, have you?”
“Yeah, I wasn’t growing grapes.”
“Then were the grapes you gave me from the winery? It didn’t seem like it though…”
On Earth, grapes were definitely divided between those for wine use and eating. Grapes meant for eating would make the wine tasteless, and wine grapes, which would create a heavenly sweet tasting wine, were bitter when eaten.
But in Heguroa, or at least the Underground Empire, Heita, there was a very thin line dividing the two. Brewers had repeatedly experimented so that they could create a delicious wine regardless of what kind of grape they used. This was because they used magic, which didn’t exist on Earth.
“But there are two other factors influencing our vineyard right now.”
“First, the power of an elf. There was a time when an elf was nearby. The reason you were able to eat those delicious grapes was because of our elven senior hero, Erian Ruparte.”
“So the elf’s power still remains in the vineyard?”
“Yeah. And the second one is…”
Then, they arrived at the end of the passageway. He’d already exterminated all the insect type monsters that had crawled into the passageway before. Lee Shin Woo checked to make sure, nodded his head, and at the end of the passageway, released the lock that he had set up.
Once he did that, the vineyard was revealed, as well as…
[What is it?]
[Who is it?]
[It’s Paul Zero!]
Did the century’s superstar arrive or something? Kratia looked puzzled and looked around, but she soon received confirmation of the identity of that superstar. More than 300 Dryads lunged for Lee Shin Woo all together.
At the beginning, Kratia thought it was an attack and prepared to cast her magic, but… she soon realized that that was unnecessary.
[What took you so long!?]
[Paul Zero, your elemental power has gotten even stronger!]
[Everyone, look! Paul Zero is using the darkness element. As I thought, you really are an elementalist!]
[It really is true. You’ve become even cooler! Your head looks even smoother than before. Look here. Squeak, squeak…]
“That’s probably just you misunderst…”
[Master, shall I attack?]
“No, please hold back…”
Soon, Lee Shin Woo’s body was buried underneath the Dryads and he could no longer be seen. What was so good about this skeleton that caused them to shriek and latch onto him!?
Kratia, who stood beside Jin and had become a third wheel, froze at the overwhelming sight, but then asked Jin a question, who wore a tired expression and looked familiar with the situation.
“What are… these guys…?”
“Dryads. Shin Woo… Paul Zero’s diehard fans.”
Kratia’s eyes narrowed even further. Jin sighed and whispered to her, giving her a rough explanation of what had happened. While they were doing that, Lee Shin Woo had finally gotten out of the aggressive welcoming, and was able to speak with the Dryad Princess, Sinea.
She nodded her head and listened as he spoke to her about Kratia, who he said was a trustworthy ally, as well as the real reason he had come to the vineyard… grape harvesting.
[Paul Zero, you can take as many grapes as you want. We’ve had a huge effect on the grapevines, as we’ve been showering them with affection.]
“Thanks. Then I’ll take a look at them first.”
Lee Shin Woo followed Sinea’s hand gesture, stretched one of the grapevines, and grabbed a bunch of grapes. They were much livelier than the ones he had harvested with Erian a few months ago.
“It’s almost like the grapes are shining…”
With the power of an elf and the dryads, as well as the magic facilities that maintain the vineyard, it had resulted in a masterpiece!
He would need to check later if he could use these to create great wine, but at the very least, he was sure that these grapes were of greater quality than any normal grapes and would be hard to find anywhere.
“Shin… Paul Zero, this is just a basic question, but what’ll you do by making wine? …Mm, you can’t even drink it.”
As expected, Kratia asked the straightforward question. Lee Shin Woo calmly acknowledged her without looking the least bit hurt. Although he regretted not being able to eat or drink, he wasn’t stupid enough to take it out on a person who had nothing to do with it.
“But I can sell it.”
“What are you…”
“At an extremely high price too. So, how could I not try to make my own wine? Would you like to try some grapes?”
“I’ve already eaten plenty because of you, but… yeah, I’ll try some.”
Lee Shin Woo gave Kratia some grapes as his jawbone clattered. She carefully plucked a grape and placed it into her mouth, and at that moment her eyes shined in an all natural color. The only thing he could tell was that it was incredibly delicious.
But that wasn’t all.
“It’s abundant in magic. Mmm, I’m sure. You can use it as a material for potions.”
But unfortunately, Kratia didn’t know how to make mana potions. From the start, he had only one course of action available to him.
[Everyone, please harvest the grapes.]
In the time that he hadn’t seen her, the Dryad Princess, Sinea, had become much firmer. Once she gave the order, the Dryads moved in perfect order and collected the grapes. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo realized that all those grapes wouldn’t fit in the winery, even if he used all of the free space.
“As I thought, we have to expand.”
[Paul Zero, is there anything else we can help you with?]
“Not yet. I’ll tell you later when I need your help.”
[…Ok, until then. You still have the twig I gave you, right?]
Mm, it felt weird looking straight at the Dryad Princess, Sinea, as it felt as though his every thought was right out in the open. He knew her feelings were pure, so it felt even more awkward than when he had met with God, who he and his fellow heroes were affiliated with.
Lee Shin Woo tried his very best to not look her straight in the eye, and nodded his head.
“I’ll be in the area for a while. You see, I plan on making wine.”
[Then we’ll be able to see each other often.]
Sinea laughed softly, as though she knew everything Lee Shin Woo was thinking, and kissed his cheekbone. Seeing that, Kratia flushed and lightly applauded.
“The romance between a skeleton and a spirit… How romantic. Ow!”
“Stop spouting such crap.”
While Kratia and Jin quarreled over something trivial again, the other Dryads began to shower Lee Shin Woo with kisses, as if they were saying that they wouldn’t lose to Sinea.
Even though he told them that he would be in the area, and that they would see each other often, it was no use. They were extremely faithful to their instincts.
[Paul Zero, don’t go and play with us!]
[Let’s stay here together!]
[Master, shall I attack?]
“I told you to hold back.”
It took Lee Shin Woo 4 minutes before he could escape the Dryads. But by the time he’d escaped, Kratia and Jin had disappeared.
Were they jealous? Lee Shin Woo reminded himself to ask the Dryads to be affectionate with Jin later as well, and followed after them.
[Master, behind you…]
“Hey, don’t follow me.”
Three days later, Lee Shin Woo had finished with expanding the winery, and could begin manufacturing.