<Chapter 52. War’s Scenario – 7>
[You have hunted a member of the 12 Generals, the Lv8 Archmage, Feotane Von Seldin! All contributing heroes receive 50,000,000 Perium, and all stats increased by 100. You have acquired 15 permits to God’s secret shop. Proficiency in all combat-related skills has increased significantly!]
[You have received God’s grace. The Invisible Heart skill’s maximum level has increased by 15.]
[The Beginner Shining Flame Element has become Lv8 and Magic has increased by 10.]
[The High Rank Assimilation skill has become Lv9, and Agility and Magic have increased by 30.]
[You have given a Lich, one who defies natural order and lives with an imperfect soul, eternal rest. You have acquired the title, ‘Immortal Hunter’. All stats have increased by 40. The Rebellion skill has become Lv9 and all stats have increased by 20. Whenever the conditions for the Rebellion skill are met, all stats temporarily increase by 27%.]
Now, even if he killed one of the 12 Generals, his combat skills wouldn’t level very quickly. That’s because most of his skills were high level already. With his High Rank Assimilation skill reaching level 9, most of his skills were level 9 now.
It felt like it’d evolve once it reached level 10, but getting there was the problem. At the very least, he realized that he couldn’t reach level 10 with God’s rewards anymore. He was disappointed, but he was also happy about his stat growth.
‘Killing one of the 12 Generals increases all my stats by 100, and with the new title and the Rebellion skill, all my stats increase by an additional 60 a piece… So, my total stats are 24,553. The title’s amazing, but Rebellion’s quite surprising as well.’
To be honest, Lee Shin Woo hadn’t put much interest in the Rebellion skill, as it required him fulfilling two of its conditions before he overcame a level difference of one. However, this skill would grow whenever he performed some great feat, and before he knew it, it was already level 9.
Whenever he met one of the skill’s conditions, his stats would increase by 27%. If he met two of them, then his stats would increase by 54% instead. Just using the Titan would meet one of Rebellion’s conditions, and fighting a huge army would meet another, so just those two conditions would increase his stats by a whopping 54%…
If he took into account his stats, which were at the cusp of level 9, as well as the Titan, he felt like he could really take a level 9 opponent head-on. Not a weakened opponent like the Garuda, but someone like the Magic or Undead Emperors!
…But the problem was that the Lich’s loot was nothing to write home about.
[You have acquired 541,609,990 Perium.]
[You have acquired the Lv8 Archmage Feotane Von Seldin’s Parietal Bone.]
‘Tch, I guess I’ve been too lucky lately. It’s right before the final battle, yet he only drops one bone. If he dropped two, then I might’ve hit level 9, but… Meh, I’ll absorb the bone later. I have something more important to do.’
He had something more important to do? Obviously, it was reforming his undead seniors.
“L-Lee Shin Woo…?”
“How did you… No, more importantly, how did you manage to kill the Archmage?”
“I’ll tell you later. We have to deal with our seniors. Ah, my junior’s there too, huh.”
Lee Shin Woo ignored both Lloyd and Erian, who stared at him dumbfoundedly, and turned his attention to his undead seniors.
They, like Lloyd, stood vacantly, but unlike him, they stood still because their master had died.
[The Lich… The Lich…]
“Looks like some of them are dead already. That’s too bad. Hope we meet in our next life… Anyway, everyone. Do you guys remember? Who killed you and who you need to kill?”
In the past, he’d tried desperately to persuade his undead seniors with dramatic flair, but that was unnecessary. Lee Shin Woo spoke naturally as if he were speaking to a friend, yet his neither-soft-yet-loud voice resounded throughout the area, such that the undead could all hear him.
“You all remember, right? It’s too much of a waste to die here. Hating yourselves for becoming undead is proof of your ambition and your intelligence.”
[Intelligence… My intellect… Yeah, I’m a hero…]
“That’s right. You’re a hero, hand-picked by God herself. You’re not going to stay here and rot whilst attacking your juniors, are you? Right?”
No matter what rubbish came out of his mouth, the undead heard whatever they wanted to hear.
Lee Shin Woo didn’t adjust his speech for them; on the contrary, they adjusted his speech themselves. This was neither the power of Acting nor Instigate; it was on the level of magic at this point.
“What are you doing, Lee Shin Woo?”
“What the…? The undead are…”
Lloyd, who was unaware of his darkness element, or the Acting and Instigate skills, realized that there was an extraordinary amount of power within his words. But still, wasn’t conversing with the undead a bit too much?
His seniors had already become undead, beings which shouldn’t exist, yet instead of giving them a pain free death or a peaceful rest, Lee Shin Woo was tormenting them even further.
“Open your eyes. Your enemy isn’t here. Do you want to die unavenged, or do you want to continue struggling? That’s up to you.”
“Hey, Lee Shin Woo…”
Ever since Lee Shin Woo had arrived, so many strange things had happened; not only had the Archmage died, but the undead had stopped. But he still needed to stop him…! or so he thought, but when he tried to step forward, Erian stopped him.
“Just sit still, Lloyd. Doesn’t it look like they’re paying attention to him?”
“Yeah, it looks that way, but what’s your point?”
“It seems like he’s trying to persuade them.”
“Persuade the undead?”
“No, our seniors who met an unfortunate demise. Didn’t you say so before? That they’re not undead, but our seniors! I think so too!”
In the past, he would never have been able to see them that way. The undead were the undead, end of story. And they were also beings that must be defeated.
He wasn’t entirely sure if Shino Rendu was the catalyst, but the undead heroes were capable of reverting to their original forms, and Lloyd had become able to acknowledge them because of it. If that’s the case, then… he would have to acknowledge their newfound potential.
“They’ll… fight on our (the heroes’) side again? Can he really do it?”
“Yes, like Shino Rendu.”
“Shino Rendu’s not on our side. He fights for the Heaven Defying General.”
“He himself told us that the Heaven Defying General’s on our side. Perhaps he was once a hero?”
“T-There’s absolutely no way…”
‘They’re not completely off the mark. Though I wasn’t once a hero, but am still one now,’ Lee Shin Woo whispered in a corner, and only inwardly replied to his seniors, who were undergoing an identity crisis.
In the past, he wasn’t able to persuade all of his seniors. But since then, his Acting and Instigate skills had grown by leaps and bounds, as well as him acquiring several innate elements related to cause-and-effect. Plus, he had the Wild Card skill now too, which combined the power of all those skills together and allowed him to manipulate a situation to his liking, so now he could…!
“I’ll bring you to your true enemy! Open your eyes. Fight them! We have to put an end to the undead curse. That’s your final duty as one of the heroes!”
“Silene, you don’t need to suffer anymore. You don’t need to hate every undead anymore. Don’t let the curse consume you. Now’s the time for you to control the curse.”
[Senior Lee Shin Woo…!]
“Now’s the time. You’ve all been waiting for so long. Now! We’ll bring peace to the Underground ourselves!”
At that moment, the darkness that had been welling inside him spread throughout the clearing. The darkness, which felt incredibly warm, completely covered the undead heroes. Silene Viesa, who had continued strangling himself, had, at some point, sported a relaxed expression and was letting the darkness do as it willed.
“The final battle is near. Heroes, return as heroes once more!”
A considerable amount of darkness filled the clearing, which was then sucked into the undead heroes. Lloyd and Erian shook while watching, and one of the undead raised their heads with an incomparably clean appearance.
[You’re right. Though I retained my intellect, I had forgotten my purpose for so many years. I can completely remember being violated by that Lich day by day!]
The undead hero’s once rotting flesh had become indistinguishable from human skin and appeared to him as a middle-aged man. His tattered leather armor was dyed in black and shined brighter than new clothes.
[I have a goal: to be acknowledged as a hero, strike down evil, and return goodness to this land! Even I, who had been killed by the Empire’s undead, have a goal!]
Soon, another stood opposite from him. She, who was once a Ghoul, had regained her beautiful appearance. Her once tattered white robes were pressed by the crisp darkness, turning them into black robes which covered her entire body.
[Ah. I no longer hate myself or the living. I finally realize that I was trapped in a delusion, ever since I became an undead. I’ve been completely freed from the curse! I thank you junior, you, who possesses such an astounding power. You, who possesses the ability to set the darkness right!]
Another undead hero, who just a short while ago had rampaged about whilst carrying a scythe as tall as he was and whose appearance was indistinguishable, had been restored by Lee Shin Woo’s darkness. He had returned to being a lively, elvish young man.
[Kuheuk, Senior… Senior…! I-I am… Senior!]
Because he remembered everything that had occurred, tears flowed from his eyes. The young man no longer hated himself.
“Silene. How’s it feel becoming an undead? It’s not much different, is it?”
Lee Shin Woo jokingly winked at him and raised a hand. His hand, which had clearly been human, had instantaneously turned to bone and clacked.
“Your appearance doesn’t matter. You can always change it. What does matter is what’s inside. Silene, what’s inside you?”
Silene Viesa, who’d returned to life, looked down at his hands. As he was once a boxer, his hands were once covered with blisters and cuts. But now, he had been reformed and his hands were completely clean. They were only slightly, very slightly pale.
But the power within them… He was much more powerful than before.
[I have… hatred inside me.]
Silene tightened his fists and replied. Within those lively, human-looking eyes of his blazed a blue goblin fire, which proved what he was.
[Hatred towards those who made me like this. Hatred towards my once foolish self. Hatred towards reality itself! Hatred towards the Undead Empire!]
“Good. Hatred is one of our most important emotions, one that proves that we’re alive. It’s fine to have, so long as you direct it in the proper place.”
Lee Shin Woo confirmed that he’d reformed all 27 undead heroes (six level 7s, fourteen level 6s, and seven level 5s) and smiled in satisfaction. He then looked at the level 6 Avenger, who gazed upon him with blazing goblin fire, and declared.
“Let’s go, Silene. I’ve prepared the perfect stage for you to unleash your anger.”