<Chapter 7. Three way – 1>
By the time Lee Shin Woo got a hold of himself, he was in a bright interior, rather than the sewers. It was as if he were in a dream, as the surrounding landscape looked blurry, and he couldn’t move his body as he wished. Though he was able to indirectly experience the feeling of a human’s body, he wasn’t very happy.
Yes, he was looking through a certain human’s memories. It was a moment where he once again felt the endless abilities of Bone Reinforcement.
“I’m here, Teacher.”
Those words came out of his own mouth. That person, whose body was permeated with Lee Shin Woo’s consciousness, spoke those words, and raised his head. For the first time, he saw someone else in the room. He was really old, frail, and even the mana within him wasn’t anything special.
‘Teacher? But this guy seems like he’s way stronger.’
Since he was within this person’s body, he knew for sure. Lee Shin Woo had just become level 3 and possessed an ample amount of magic, yet this guy had much more mana than himself. He was obviously a higher level than him, and had probably focused on his growth in magic.
Whereas the strength of the old man before him wasn’t even at the level of a Skeleton Warrior. If they were to quibble over mana, the old man had about half of Lee Shin Woo’s mana. Normally, Lee Shin Woo didn’t have the ability to precisely measure someone else’s mana, but it was possible for the person who he was inhabiting.
“Gerrit… why have you come?”
“I have something I must tell you.”
Of course, since they had a teacher-student relationship, strength probably wasn’t that important. They don’t say that the ‘student surpasses the master’ for nothing. For starters, Lee Shin Woo decided he’d listen to their conversation.
“I have nothing to hear from you.”
“Teacher, I heard you’ve become responsible for a group that’s researching under His Majesty’s supervision.”
“…Where did you hear about that?”
“That’s not important. What’s important is that what you’re doing is wrong.”
Ah, as expected. When he thought about it, the last time he reinforced his skull, he remembered hearing about ‘research’ of some kind. He had roughly guessed what it was, but this memory made it clear what the research was. It was the research that would fill this Empire with the undead.
“Teacher, you must stop that research at once. It’s research that’s twisted at its very core. Bringing immortality within everyone’s reach will bring nothing more than ruin!”
“But that’s what His Majesty wants.”
“Isn’t it you, who had told me that this research was wrong?”
“Teacher, please tell me honestly. Who’s the one who really wants immortality? Is it His Majesty? Or…”
Around now, Lee Shin Woo started to feel like he was watching a movie. The Empire had fallen anyway, so there was no need to be on the edge of his seat! He watched their conversation extremely comfortably. Meanwhile, it seemed as though their argument was reaching its climax.
“Ha. Yes, one born with genius such as you wouldn’t understand what it feels like to lack in natural ability and be unable to proceed to the next stage; you don’t know how wretched it feels…”
“I just practiced as you taught me, Teacher.”
“Then why couldn’t I reach that level!?”
Suddenly, the old man’s temper flared. It felt as though it had built up, more and more, and had finally exploded.
“I lack in talent, in magic, and in everything! I can’t… I can’t get to level 3 before I die. Karma… I don’t have enough karma…! At least, if I don’t buy more time!”
“And yet, why are you voluntarily trying to shoulder the burden of the horrific karma that you vehemently rejected in the past!? At the time, you were the one I respected the most!”
“You don’t know! You, who has everything, wouldn’t know what it feels like!”
The old man suddenly screamed. But Lee Shin Woo thought he had heard that voice somewhere before, and then, a truly shocking development occurred. The teacher had been delivering his impassioned speech, and suddenly, one of his eyes popped out and rolled onto the floor.
That wasn’t all. The teacher suddenly vomited rotten blood and bowed his head. His student, Gerrit, had a hunch that something had gone terribly wrong, but the moment he was about to retreat, his teacher raised his head and suddenly attacked him. The teacher’s eyes had turned yellow, and had a dull glow! It was like the standard development for a zombie.
“What the hell!?”
Gerrit realized that his teacher, who had sought immortality, had instantly become an existence furthest from life… he had changed into an undead. He quickly diagnosed whether he could turn his teacher back to normal or not, but soon, shook his head, and extended his hand.
In a brief instance, the world’s mana responded to his call, and he instantly created a net comprised of mana, trapping his teacher. It was the stage that his teacher had so fervently desired to reach.
Lee Shin Woo felt it across his entire body and was deeply touched. So this was how you handled mana! He could energetically feel it all: how Gerrit had manifested his will in that brief moment, how he drew out the mana within his body, and how he caused change in the mana.
“Damn it, Teacher…”
His teacher, who had transformed into a zombie, also raised his mana and struggled; but when Gerrit grit his teeth and flicked his finger, the mana net changed into flames and began to magnificently burn his teacher. When he released the flames, all that remained was a small blue bone.
“Damn it, what the hell did those bastards do to him…!”
The sole survivor, Gerrit, persistently grit his teeth, muttered, and picked up the bone fragment. The mana that arose from his body almost acted as proof of his rage.
“I can’t let this insanity go on any longer. I have to protect the Empire at all costs. To do that, damn it…”
Gerrit chewed on his lips. Whereas Lee Shin Woo was concentrating so desperately in order to further engrave Gerrit’s high level mana control into his mind that he couldn’t feel sympathy for him.
“…In the end, I have no choice but to meet with General Seagald.”
‘It’s Seagald again!?’
He couldn’t help but retort when he heard about General Seagald! However, Lee Shin Woo hoped that he would explain what Seagald did, though unfortunately his hope was dashed, as that was the last thing he heard before his consciousness became faint.
It was as if someone decided that these were all the experiences and memories that he could receive, and cut it short. His sight turned dark, and his own senses gradually returned to him. Back to the senses of his cold, hard bone body.
[Low Rank Magic Affinity has become Lv7. Magic has increased by 10.]
[You have learned the passive skill, Low Rank Magic Accumulation. Magic has increased by 5. You can draw your mana naturally, and by amassing it within your body, your total amount of magic increases; and by doing so, your body will harmonize with your mana better than before.]
The moment Lee Shin Woo completely awakened within the sewers, he received concise, and amazing messages one after another; he rubbed his (nonexistent) eyes. His Magic Affinity had leveled up and he had acquired a new skill, a really important one at that!
He had learned a skill that was essential in handling magic, and the Magic Affinity skill had sharply increased, so he could say that he had no regrets, but… the name, Seagald, weighed on his mind, so he couldn’t feel happy about his growth.
‘Since I keep hearing his name, he must’ve really been an influential figure in the Empire…’
He briefly pondered over it, but soon opened the chatting channel. It should be alright to ask his seniors about Seagald just once. He was famous enough for the skeletons to say his name in their death throes, so there should be someone amongst them that knew who he was.
[Lee Shin Woo: Seniors, may I ask a question?]
[Yasunori Akira: The newbie, huh. It’s good that you’re not dead.]
[Lee Shin Woo: Haha…]
It was something that he took as a greeting whenever he entered the chatting channel. It meant it was that hard to survive in this Empire. He smiled bitterly and started to speak.
[Lee Shin Woo: Have you perhaps heard of the name Seagald?]
[Yasunori Akira: Ah… it does seem like I might’ve heard that somewhere.]
[Lloyd H.K.: I’ve heard of him. He’s one of the generals, right? From what I’ve heard, it seems like there were 12 generals in this Empire.]
[Shino Rendu: Have you cleared the dungeon? That’s a relief.]
[Lloyd H.K.: Because you worried about me, I was able to safely clear the dungeon.]
[Prince Altania: Whoever he was, that Seagald guy must’ve been really popular. The lower ranked the skeleton, the more fervently they talk about him.]
[Seira Von Retadane: Seagald… He’s probably an undead right now as well. He’s our enemy.]
[Prince Altania: That’s obvious.]
As expected, it seems like his seniors had heard about Seagald before. Though he did feel disappointed that he couldn’t get any additional information on him from them… Lee Shin Woo clicked his tongue and Seira asked him a question.
[Seira Von Retadane: However, Mr. Lee Shin Woo. Do you perhaps have a reason for asking about Seagald…?]
[Lee Shin Woo: Ah, like my other seniors, I’ve heard a lot about this Seagald guy from the skeletons. I was just curious as to who he was…]
[Seira Von Retadane: I see. However, Mr. Lee Shin Woo, regarding that person…]
When Seira was about to say something more, something happened.
[Ms. Ye Jin Jin has entered.]
[Ye Jin Jin: Please save me! Somebody please save me!]
Lee Shin Woo stiffened at the sudden call for help, but his seniors clicked their tongues, as if they were used to it.
[Lloyd H.K.: Damn it… I’d thought it’d been too long for everyone to come out unscathed.]
[Prince Altania: Rest in peace, Ye Jin Jin. …If I see you later, I’ll make sure to burn you to a crisp.]
[Ye Jin Jin: You’re too much…! I-I’m going to die! I… ggyahk! A zombie, it’s a huge zombie!]
[Erian Ruparte: Jin Jin, where are you!? Where are you right now!? I need to know where you are if you want me to help!]
[Seira Von Retadane: …It’s no use, Ruparte. God really values us, and if we’re close enough to help, a quest will occur, even without her call for help…]
[Erian Ruparte: N-No… then are you saying we just have to sit here and watch her die?]
[Shino Rendu: We’ve already seen several dozens of heroes dying from here. We have a lot of regrets and remorse. You should just shut up if you’re going to talk about responsibility or having a conscience so lightly.]
[Erian Ruparte: That’s…]
In an instant, the mood in the chatting channel calmed down exceedingly. The seniors who got along well with her were distressed, and even those speaking curtly couldn’t hide their pity for her… Lee Shin Woo understood all of them, and he even understood those who remained silent.
[Lloyd H.K.: Sorry I couldn’t save you, Ye Jin Jin…]
[Ye Jin Jin: Please save me… Please…!]
However, their mood didn’t match Lee Shin Woo at all. Even though a human being was on the verge of death, they’re not even uneasy? Was it because he also felt contempt for himself, since he was also like them? Since he was suddenly starting to be unsure of his own identity?
They were all right, but they were also all wrong.
[A quest has occurred!]
[A hero close by you is in a life threatening crisis. If you succeed in perfectly rescuing her, you will acquire a suitable reward. Of course, if you fail or ignore her call, there won’t be anyone who blames you, but there may be those who mock you and say that you are foolish.]
[Quest reward – 3 permits to God’s secret shop, 1 random skill book, acquisition of a suitable amount of stats and Perium, and Lv3 equipment reinforcement permits based on your contributions.]
It seems like this girl was nearby.