<Chapter 8. Elite Dungeon – 1>
“I felt it this time. That I can’t just go on like this…”
That was the first thing Jin said.
“Running was everything to me in my past life, but continuing to just run in this world is… nothing more than escapism. That’s what I felt when I saw you and Jin Jin.”
Lee Shin Woo agreed, uninterested. Of course, because of that, his running related skills had increased, but that’s just a by-product of him escaping reality. In order to survive in this world, and in order to advance forward… one needed to fight.
“Tell me. How did you… even after becoming an undead, so quickly adapt to this world and proceed forward? And if you can, please help me so I can become like that too.”
Jin strongly shook his head, but it seemed like he was really hesitating with his follow up. Lee Shin Woo had already roughly anticipated Jin’s request, so he could understand his hesitation.
How long did he wait like that? Jin sighed deeply, and spoke.
“…I’ll let you ride on my back. It should be helpful for travel as well as battle, right?”
“In other words, it’s an offer to party up.”
Jin was originally a human. For him to have offered to let someone else ride on his back must’ve caused him to give up a lot of things.
It was no different from him throwing away precious evidence that he was human. He was willing to go that far in order to advance further.
“It seems like it’s way worse for me, but… yeah, your speed is definitely helpful. Honestly, I did need someone to talk to. Alright, let’s work together.”
Jin sounded relieved, yet he saw Lee Shin Woo straighten his index finger. Jin, who had seen this very index finger burrow into the Acid Ghoul and explode, couldn’t help but flinch.
“Still, accepting you without any hesitation right now isn’t best for either of us.”
Lee Shin Woo passed Jin a tattered sack. Jin obediently accepted it and tilted his head while holding it in his teeth. Lee Shin Woo smiled faintly and spoke.
“If you hunt skeletons or undead like zombies, they usually drop Perium and bones. Come back after filling that sack to the brim with bones. That’s my condition.”
The blue goblin fire, that acted as substitutes for his eyes, shook strongly, as if expressing his doubt. To think that it was possible to express his emotions through goblin fire; Lee Shin Woo was extremely jealous of that. When he becomes level 4, will goblin fire fill his empty eye sockets?
“It’s all for your sake, so fill the sack. The higher the monster’s level, the better.”
“But… ugh, I got it. So it’s a test.”
It seemed like Jin was definitely misunderstanding. He thought Lee Shin Woo was testing him, testing whether he had the right to accompany him, or checking if he had the resolve to hunt monsters.
Of course, when Bone Reinforcement became level 4, he became able to apply it to others as well, so he just planned to use all the bones that Jin gathered to strengthen him all at once, imparting the undead’s knowledge and experiences onto him.
“You’ll definitely be able to become as experienced as me in no time.”
“That sounds impossible, but… I got it. I’ll show you that I wasn’t ignoring those undead until now because I was scared.”
Perhaps it was because he was an athlete in his past life, as Jin’s spirit was considerable. The experience of taking down the Acid Ghoul may have instilled him with confidence.
“Come back here once you’ve filled it to the brim. Ah, if you can, do some quests. Since doing quests is the only way to unlock things like the inventory or the chatting channel.”
“I got it. Ah, and also take this.”
Jin stuck out his neck. There was a small pouch hanging on his neck, and after taking it off, Lee Shin Woo found 50,000 Perium inside, as well as 5 Lv3 Equipment Reinforcement permits.
“It’s just what I got as the quest reward, but it’s useless to me. It’s cumbersome, so you take it.”
It seems like the skill book had already disappeared, as he learned the skill, but it seems like he couldn’t do anything with these. Since Lee Shin Woo wasn’t the type to refuse something offered, he immediately took them.
“It should be fine to take this in advance, considering what I’m going to do for you in the future.”
“No, it’s nothing.”
It’s likely that Jin still wasn’t familiar with ‘karma’. Lee Shin Woo smiled bitterly and shook his head. Since he didn’t have a clear understanding of karma, he wouldn’t understand, even if Lee Shin Woo tried explaining it to him with words.
“Then get going. If you can, try to get level 2 bones or higher. That’ll be good for you, too.”
“No matter how bad I am at fighting, I should be able to take them down if they’re level 2… I got it. As soon as I fill the sack, I’ll come back.”
Jin nodded his head for some time, turned around, and then ran straight forward. His speed was greater than any monster’s that he had encountered since being dropped into the Empire. With that speed, even if he were to meet the Acid Ghoul again, he wouldn’t die.
In an instant, he was unable to see Jin’s appearance, and soon after, Lee Shin Woo activated Bone Reinforcement on the Acid Ghoul’s Thumbnail.
[By sacrificing the Acid Ghoul’s Thumbnail, both hands are reinforced. Strength and Health have increased by 3, and Magic by 5. Absorbing a portion of the Acid Ghoul’s memories and experiences.]
[This… this is… This seems like the wrong method, Doctor. This isn’t it. This test is a failure! We can’t stop it…! – Edward L. Baker]
The amount of stats was also immense, but when he felt the flowing memories, he felt cold, as if he had just swallowed a block of ice whole.
This was a record of their struggle. A record of their struggle to not become undead…!
‘So that’s how it was. They realized that they wouldn’t be able to prevent the curse that ruined the Empire, and they researched for a method to not become the undead. However, they failed… and instead, they put their hands on poison, and as a result, became a zombie that spurts Acid Poison.’
There was something he thought of when talking about poison and zombies. Hadn’t he obtained a deteriorated Poison Zombie’s bone in the sewers? Moreover, the slimes bore poison as well… As soon as he wondered whether there was something remaining in the sewers that connected the two, he couldn’t sit still at all.
“However, before that.”
Lee Shin Woo had suddenly acquired 10 Lv3 Equipment Reinforcement permits, and used one of them to reinforce the Dire Wolf’s Bone Armor. The armor, which looked as though it would break any minute now, instantly returned to its original form, and was reinforced.
[Dire Wolf Bone Armor +1]
[Defense: 110 – 125]
[Options: Increases Health by 21]
“Next up is…”
Lee Shin Woo prepared for the future, where his equipment would get damaged, and separately stored 1 reinforcement permit. He used the remaining 8 all at once to reinforce his Bone of Thunder Lasting.
While his armor only really possessed the ability to protect his body, his sword had a hidden power related to Bursting Thunder.
[Bone of Thunder Lasting +8]
[Attack Power: 260 – 280]
[Options: Strength + 19, Magic + 19, Effectiveness of Bursting Thunder skill + 18%]
As expected of a weapon that God herself bestowed (though it had changed); it certainly was different from other weapons. The more he repeated the reinforcement, the more absurdly the attack power grew. It was this strong at +8, and he felt that it had reached values that would enable it to outclass even level 4 weapons!
And that was the same for the stats as well. There was definitely a noticeable difference in strength depending on whether one equipped the weapon or not! It was to the point that around now, he thought that perhaps the true reward for saving a hero were the reinforcement permits.
‘However, since I’ve received something so amazing, if I don’t help that guy considerably, I won’t be able to deal with the shortage of karma. Pleine doesn’t speak idly. It’ll leave a bad taste in my mouth if I’m just on the receiving end.’
But, well, that problem should be solved at around the time he meets Jin again. Since he was sure that Bone Reinforcement’s karma wasn’t trifling.
‘Anyway, if he doesn’t have Bone Reinforcement, what skill did he get from God?’
Lee Shin Woo briefly pondered on that subject. It was something he’d realized after being brought into the Empire. Everything had karma, and karma is never something to be taken lightly.
In exchange for becoming an undead, he gained 100 lives, as well as a reinforcement ability using bones, so Jin should have gotten something around the same level. Of course, Jin had started at level 4, contrary to Lee Shin Woo, so he probably had to take that into consideration as well.
‘I should ask when he gets back.’
Lee Shin Woo shrugged his shoulders, brushed away thoughts regarding Jin, checked the results of his stats, and swung his sword in the air a few times. He trembled, as he felt as though his sword cleaved the air in half, and nodded his head.
Even though he knew it was ominous, he couldn’t help but mutter like this for the second time.
“I’m not afraid of anything anymore…”
He immediately went into the underground tunnel he had dug and returned to the dungeon. He was able to return more quickly and easily than he had anticipated.
[You possess the dungeon permit. All stats within the dungeon increase by 15.]
‘Now then, let’s completely clear the dungeon before Jin comes back.’
However, as if it were ridiculing his thoughts, the interior of the sewers was extremely silent and dark. Even if there were level 2 slimes crawling around, he trusted that there was nothing unusual going on; but in a different sense, he felt betrayed.
‘Well this is disappointing.’
He wanted to familiarize himself with his strengthened body and go wild, but he didn’t feel comfortable with that idea at all. However, the instant he thought so and sighed, he saw something glowing in the darkness.
It was a sound he’d heard somewhere before. What was it? Before he even organized his thoughts, the dominating sense of danger caused Lee Shin Woo to instinctually dive out of the way. A huge shot hit the ground just a little later! It emitted a horrific sound.
After Lee Shin Woo figured out the identity of that ‘shot’, he simply smiled bitterly and felt dejected. How could he not? This was a Great Slime, an enemy that he had risked his life fighting before finding this passageway.
[Lv3 Great Slime]
“I thought it was the boss before, but now they’re just appearing in the passageway wherever.”
Lee Shin Woo wasn’t sure if it knew that he had fought one of its kin before, but after it impacted the ground, it rolled into a ball again, and got ready for another leap. However, compared to when he had first faced the Great Slime in the clearing, Lee Shin Woo didn’t really feel that uneasy.
‘I can see its movements better.’
It bounced its body quickly and forcefully charged. What’s worse, the slime spun midair and was rotating. He hadn’t noticed that when he had fought the slime from before.
‘However, now I can…!’
Lee Shin Woo moved nimbly, the moment that the slime aimed for him and flew towards him.
Combat Sprint. It didn’t simply enable one to move fast, it would increase the body’s reaction speed, albeit for a short time. It felt as if he was the only one moving quickly within the slowed time… one’s senses would disappear in the time it would take to say ‘ah’, but within that time, Lee Shin Woo moved in the best way possible.
He raised his sword, which he had Hardened, pointed it at the slime, and with the strength of Power Slash behind it, precisely slashed the slime. He couldn’t even think of fighting it straight up before, but this time, he was doing just that.
Of course, the impact of their collision was tremendous, but he could endure it. His strength stat, which rose to 150 after the dungeon bonus, as well as his equipment bonus, enabled him to stand his ground.
Ultimately, the slime hadn’t inflicted effective damage onto him, and conversely bounced up, colliding with the ceiling. Even though it hadn’t been cleaved by his sword strike, the moment the damaged area impacted with the ceiling, a considerable amount of mucus splattered down.
Then, an acid mist spread out, but since he had fought the Acid Ghoul, he didn’t even really feel this level of Acid Poison.
“Hoo… That was good. Let’s keep going like this.”
Just now, he felt it. Rather than fighting weaklings to train, it was naturally better to fight monsters equally as strong as him, or even stronger, in order to get stronger much more quickly.
Lee Shin Woo saw the Great Slime repair its wound, as well as its body becoming smaller, and his eyes gleamed, while once more raising his sword. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that around the time that he could comfortably fight a Great Slime face to face without using the Flames of Revenge, he would be qualified to reach level 4, would it?
The giant slime and the skeleton clashed again. A fierce roar resounded through the dungeon… breathing life into the once silent dungeon.