<Chapter 5. Trickster’s Karma – 1>
Since it was underground, it seemed normal to be unable to tell how much time has passed, but depending on the time, the Underground Empire would brighten and then darken, and then repeat. From what he had heard, the magic originating from the large scale magic spheres, that were set up and attached to the extremely high ceiling, made it possible, though it wasn’t really important to him.
[Mr. Lee Shin Woo has entered the chatting channel.]
Within the silent darkness, Lee Shin Woo gently leaned against a rotten, decaying old tree, and then checked the chatting channel.
[Lloyd H.K: Newbie, you’re not dead yet, right?]
[Lee Shin Woo: Since you’ve been worrying about me, I’m still alive.]
[Lloyd H.K: Good, you’re doing well.]
Naturally, Lee Shin Woo didn’t need to sleep (not like he could), so regardless of whether his surroundings were light or dark, he continued to move; but he was mentally exhausted after clearing another dungeon following the battle with the Treasure Eater, so he didn’t feel like moving.
Therefore, he decided to rest using night time as an excuse, as well as snoop around the chatting channel.
[Lee Shin Woo: Senior, you’re not going to sleep?]
[Lloyd H.K: I feel like I’ll be ok for about four more days.]
[Lee Shin Woo: Aha.]
‘Perhaps that guy’s also undead’, he thought, but there was no way he’d be. It was just that the higher one’s level was, the higher their physical abilities, so the less sleep they’d need.
[Prince Altania: Lloyd, how are you always in here? You’re not in here all day, are you? Please tell me you’re not.]
[Lloyd H.K: Shut up. I’m actually getting ready to give a group of undead a proper beat down, you know.]
[Prince Altania: Well, it seems like you’re still diligently doing those hero quests that don’t give you much of a reward… Just quit it right now. I discovered a level 5 dungeon, you know? If you want, I can put you in my party.]
[Lloyd H.K: Hmm… send the location to my personal channel. I’ll finish up here and go immediately.]
[Prince Altania: In the end, you’re still going to do the quest. What an amazing sense of duty.]
A personal channel. Contrary to the chatting channel, a personal channel allowed heroes to send messages to and from each other, and it hadn’t yet opened for Lee Shin Woo. Of course, even if it opened, there wasn’t anyone to really use it with.
[Shino Rendu: A dungeon? Hey, let me in too.]
[Prince Altania: You’re still level 5. Don’t you know the fundamental rule; that you need to be one level higher than the dungeon you’re entering?]
[Shino Rendu: Ugh, that’s true, but…]
[Lloyd H.K: Sorry, Shino. Ah, I need some help here, do you think you could help me out? I can also share the quest with you.]
[Shino Rendu: It’s fine.]
[Mr. Shino Rendu has left.]
[Lloyd H.K: Oh well… It’s quick going from level 5 to level 6. I should encourage him later.]
[Prince Altania: Lloyd, you nanny…]
Lloyd and the Prince spoke about this or that, and it seemed like they were quite close. It must mean that they’ve spent a lot of time together after they dropped into this world.
Lloyd was good-natured and honest while the Prince was immature and said whatever he wanted; it did seem like they were a good combination.
[Ms. Ye Jin Jin has entered the chatting channel.]
[Ye Jin Jin: E-everyone. Have you all seen it, too? That thing!]
[Lloyd H.K: Oh, it’s been a long time, newbie. Now that I think about it, you’re not a newbie anymore. Did you know that you have a stronger junior under you now?]
[Prince Altania: Ye Jin Jin? I haven’t seen you in a long time, so I thought you were dead.]
[Ye Jin Jin: I-I’m not dead, you know! But more importantly, a stronger junior…? Ah, that’s not it. The horse is the problem right now, the horse!]
[Erian Ruparte: …A horse? Jin Jin, what horse?]
Lee Shin Woo half listened to what his seniors were chattering on about and rested. He held a circular chip in his hand that looked similar to a gold coin; it had a muscular warrior wielding a greatsword engraved on it.
[The Fighter’s Token]
[A warrior who never looks back and struggles valorously. To a fighter, any plan, or aid is but a hindrance.]
“So, this does come out…”
He did want to obtain these tokens, but he didn’t know what he’d need to do to obtain them. For him to just get one for clearing a dungeon… If he were to quibble as to why this token came out, he thought that it was due to him pushing through the dungeon in a straight line without using any skills.
‘I had wanted to raise my Regeneration skill, but I got flustered since I didn’t get hurt at all.’
When he had fought against the Treasure Eater, Lee Shin Woo had significantly grown in battle experience, as well as stats after his battle with the Treasure Eater, so he could no longer feel any danger from level 1 dungeons; he had put forward his Bone of Thunder Lasting and pushed through the dungeon.
He had intended to train his Regeneration skill by using it whenever he was injured and thus increase his proficiency in it, but the dungeon was too easy, so he hadn’t been able to use his Regeneration skill.
The boss was level 2, but its attack power, as well as its endurance, were just a little bit higher than the Ratman. However, he didn’t need any other skills aside from Bursting Thunder to take it down.
After thoughtlessly clearing the dungeon like that, he had gained the Fighter’s token. Since he had gained something, it was worthwhile pushing through the dungeon so ignorantly.
‘Perhaps… it might be better to hold onto a solid singular concept to get other karma tokens.’
By slaughtering, he gained the Slaughterer’s token. By pushing through the dungeon in a straight line without the use of skills (perhaps the time it took to push through the dungeon or his combat style had an effect), he had gained the Fighter’s token. In a battle where he had fooled the Skeleton Warriors, and lead them to their deaths, he had gained the Trickster’s token.
If it followed that logic, then he thought it might be best to pull the other abilities he possesses into a single concept in order to clear the quest. However, he smiled bitterly.
‘Ha, talk is cheap.’
What concept is he even supposed to choose? Moreover, there wasn’t any guarantee that he’d continue to face easy battles that he’d be able to plow through without using all his strength. Regardless of how hard he tried to think positively, his head just hurt, so he just stopped and shook his head.
[Ye Jin Jin: I’m telling you it’s true. A Skeleton Horse that can run extremely fast! It’s really scary and really fast!]
[Yasunori Akira: …What crap. If it were an undead, then it’d be hostile to humans. Have you forgotten the basics?]
[Lloyd H.K: Newbie… No wait, you’re not. Ye Jin Jin. Explain it in more detail. First off, it’s really an undead, right?]
[Ye Jin Jin: That’s what I’m saying. It was all bone, and where its two eyes should be, deep blue goblin fire was burning… it’s as scary as a named Skeleton Knight!]
[Prince Altania: A Skeleton Knight’s nothing, whether it’s named or not.]
[Erian Ruparte: Sir Altania, Jin Jin is still level 3. Please fix that insensitive speech habit of yours.]
His seniors were still busy saying strange things in the chatting channel. However, Lee Shin Woo thought since skeleton heroes exist, a skeleton that just runs wasn’t very strange, so he stopped paying attention early on in the conversation.
[Lee Shin Woo: Then, I’ll get going so I can rest.]
[Lloyd H.K: Alright. Please don’t die.]
[Ye Jin Jin: Ah, you’re the newbie, huh! It’s nice to meet you! If you don’t know something, you can ask me!]
[Prince Altania: That newbie is stronger than you, you know. Just take care of yourself.]
[Ye Jin Jin: Ugh…]
Lee Shin Woo gently smiled as he heard the voice of a frustrated young girl and left the chatting channel. Despite being cursed and sent down to this distorted world, the fact that there were a lot of others who were trying their best to survive aside from himself became more than just a small comfort for him.
‘Hoo, then let’s go to the next dungeon.’
His energy had returned. Lee Shin Woo energetically stood up and hurried along the path to the next dungeon. His goal: gaining a token for every dungeon clear!
He already had a concept in mind that he’d use to clear the next dungeon. He had both the Stealth and Catapult skills, so he thought that if he balanced them correctly, he would get an assassination related karma as well as the corresponding token.
‘Stealth is also fun the more you do it. I think I can do it with a beginner level skill, as long as my enemies don’t discover me first.’
Lee Shin Woo, who realized that Stealth was an effective skill that didn’t take up a lot of mana, was training his Stealth whenever he fundamentally moved.
He had learned everything there was to Stealth from the rats. He would lower his body, move closer to the darkness than the light, and make as little noise as possible. If he grasped the direction he heard someone approach from first and avoided them, he probably wouldn’t be discovered.
Like right now.
He survived because he was using Stealth. He was really thankful for his senses right now! Lee Shin Woo saw a giant monster come out from the darkness and into the moonlight; he desperately calmed himself down so that he wouldn’t make a sound. He didn’t even know where it popped out from!
[There’s nothing… to eat…]
[Lv3 Giant Zombie – Edward L. Baker]
This was a real named monster! It was similarly level 3 like the Treasure Eater, but he felt an incomparably brutal spirit coming from the zombie.
Its movements were slow, but its frame was so big that it seemed to move several meters in a single step; its huge eyes that constantly swayed around were a rotten yellow, inciting a feeling of disgust. Above all, a faint green mist was spreading from its body and when he slightly touched it, a message appeared.
[You are being exposed to the Elite Giant Zombie’s Acid Poison. Please hurry and escape the hazardous area and begin treatment.]
It was only a touch, yet he was afflicted by a horrific pain. However, he would be discovered if he made a sound, so Lee Shin Woo frantically endured and slowly, extremely slowly moved while maintaining Stealth.
‘Just a little more, just a little…’
[There are… no bodies…]
The sight of his own legs melting away was an extremely horrific experience. And just through its presence alone, it had created that horrific scene; the fact that he had to hastily run in the current situation infuriated him.
However, his life came first right now. After all, he had sworn that he wouldn’t let his Invisible Heart activate from now on!
He moved with his superhuman endurance and got as far as possible from the zombie. Fortunately, its senses seemed dull like a true zombie, as it didn’t notice Lee Shin Woo and started to walk slowly in the opposite direction.
[If I just eat… a little more…]
The Giant Zombie, Edward, spoke ominously until the very end and disappeared into the distance. After Lee Shin Woo was sure that he’d managed to safely escape the range of the Acid Poison, he sighed in relief, and once again promised that he’d continue to maintain Stealth when he was outside of the dungeons from now on.
It was really fortunate that the zombie hadn’t shown up when he had fought the Treasure Eater!
Lee Shin Woo activated his Regeneration. He had collected a heap of level 1 monster bones from the previous dungeon in case of an emergency (level 1 monster bones wouldn’t raise his stats anymore), but since he had mana, he didn’t need to use up the bones.
Rather, it was better to increase his proficiency in Beginner Regeneration when he could.
[Activating Beginner Regeneration. Consuming mana to restore the body.]
[Beginner Regeneration has become Lv6.]
His Regeneration responded fiercely as the zombie’s Acid Poison had almost completely melted away the lower half of his body. To the point that the skill leveled up!
The mana responded vigorously with a faint light within the darkness. As expected, not using his Regeneration the instant he sustained an injury was the answer. If he had, the Giant Zombie would’ve noticed him, and he would’ve died on the spot.
‘At any rate, the armor is really great.’
Because the Acid Poison was in the form of a gas, it got inside his armor and did indeed melt his upper body, but compared to his lower body, the damage was minimal, to the point that he couldn’t see any damage to the armor with the naked (nonexistent) eye!
‘I have to quickly get some lower body armor too.’
He immediately vowed after checking that his body was fully healed. It would be ideal if it were excellent equipment like the Dire Wolf Bone Armor, but if that’s not possible, a level 2 item is fine, too!
When he pounded on his legs and tried to hurry along, a message suddenly appeared.
[You have acquired a target for the Beginner Avenger skill. When you fight it again, all your abilities increase by 20%.]
[You have achieved the feat of escaping from an enemy, despite them being at a higher level than you. Agility has increased by 2. Beginner Stealth has become Lv9.]
[You have acquired the Avenger’s token.]
… Why was it that he didn’t feel happy at all, despite achieving a feat? Moreover, he had already received the Avenger’s karma, yet he had received an Avenger’s token; so, it was possible, after all.
No, but was it possible for him to take down that guy the next time they meet? Even though his body would melt just from being close to him?
Lee Shin Woo thought of several things, sighed deeply, and then hurried his steps. It was then that a fire was lit within him, and he vowed to get stronger even faster than before.
Of course, he was definitely still maintaining his Stealth skill at that very moment.