<Chapter 9. Anti-Skull – 4>
[You have hunted the Lv4 King Slime. You have acquired the title ‘Slime Hunter’! All of your abilities increase by 20% against slime related monsters, and you have a higher chance of acquiring better loot from them.]
[You have perfectly cleared the mutated dungeon, the Lv2 ‘Secret Sewer’. You have found all the secrets that lay in the dungeon, as well as slaying an elite monster that ate the boss and became stronger. You have acquired the dungeon clear reward. Health and magic has increased by 2.]
[You have led several subordinates into battle and defeated an enemy a higher level than you. All stats have increased by 1. The Beginner Command skill has evolved into the Low Rank level. When you make a command that fits the situation, the morale of your men increases.]
[You have succeeded in your revenge. The Beginner Avenger skill has become Lv7. When you meet the target of your revenge again, all abilities increase by 34%.]
They were all messages that appeared from him killing the King Slime. However, Lee Shin Woo felt slightly disappointed that he hadn’t received another karma token, but right then, a message appeared that went beyond his expectations.
[You have achieved the karma of giving the undead who had lost everything a name, and awakening their rebirth. This is a karma that has long since been forgotten, and is a karma that no one can remember. You, who endowed these cursed and rotten individuals with unknown potential, will be called this by the world. The ‘Joker’.]
[The Trickster karma has been absorbed by the Joker karma and has been strengthened. Your future is unknown, such that no one can predict it, and is filled with countless changes. No one can tell you what to do, and no one can dare block your path. Through a dramatic event, your karma has strengthened.]
[All stats have increased by 10. The Acting skill has become Lv6. The Low Rank Mana Bone skill has become Lv6.]
Lee Shin Woo felt a strength that was greater than any other before permeate his body. Although it might be similar to the Trickster karma, the ‘Joker ‘ karma was a more powerful karma, so perhaps that was why.
As proof, all of his stats increased by 10. Aside from when he leveled up, he had never experienced such a shocking stat increase. Moreover, his skills had grown as well!
[I feel like Captain’s become even stronger.]
[He’s someone who could give us names. That’s natural.]
[Those were truly powerful flames.]
The seven surviving Pauls, who had been reborn into elite Acid Skeletons towards the end of the intense battle, saw Lee Shin Woo becoming even stronger following the battle, and said ‘as expected’ while nodding their heads.
“Ah, you guys…”
Lee Shin Woo suddenly realized they were there and turned around. When he thought about how they had essentially given him the Joker karma, he had no choice but to change his attitude towards them.
“Have you recovered all of your memories?”
[Not all of them. However, I realized who I am and what I have to do.]
[This is all because of you, Captain.]
All of them, without exception, were dyed in a deep green, but the fact the weapons they possessed also changed color was truly peculiar. Though their levels didn’t change, their bones were tougher and thicker, and their spirit was no joke.
[We have to find General Seagald. He definitely hasn’t given up yet. He must be struggling to save this curse ridden Empire.]
[Like you, Captain. The General will welcome you with open arms.]
[Let’s go together, Captain.]
It was a development that he had roughly expected. Lee Shin Woo picked up the dropped items and acted as if he thought deeply about their request, but truthfully, he already had his answer.
“I can’t right now.”
[How can that be…]
“Since I have something I need to do, too. I’ll go find General Seagald later. It’d be great if I could see you guys then.”
General Seagald was someone that was really on his mind too. However, even so, Lee Shin Woo was much too weak to go and find him immediately. His abilities were far too lacking to respond to this situation right now.
Above all, he didn’t think that there was any reason to limit his movements this early. Not only did it not fit with his Joker karma, there were plenty of other things on his mind regarding the Empire. Like General Leofield.
[Is that so… Well, you have your own calling, Captain. We can’t get in the way of that.]
[We trust that no matter where you are, whatever you’re doing is for the Empire.]
All the Pauls agreed and nodded their heads. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo smiled bitterly.
‘These guys have already recovered their reason and their memories. It’d be great if I could continue to bring them with me as my subordinates, but there’s a high chance that they’d catch onto the lie in no time.’
In the end, his Acting skill was impromptu. At least, for now that is. He would need to hide his human nature and the truth of his identity from them; even then, taking this many of them with him was definitely impossible.
If that’s the case, then he could also cleanly take care of them here and take their bones, but…
‘Shall I give it a rest?’
It wasn’t a matter of them forming comradeship from fighting together or something like that. He was just purely curious how they, who were created by the ‘Joker’ karma, would turn out from now on.
He couldn’t relax at all when he thought about how these skeletons, who were endowed with a different destiny because of him, would survive from now on in this Empire.
And honestly speaking… even if it were a sandcastle built on the beach, it would be too much for him to break down himself.
“…Wherever you go, don’t go dying quickly. After all, it’ll feel like what I did was meaningless then.”
[Of course. We won’t let the names you gave us be in vain.]
[Paul Zero… I’ll never forget your name.]
[Let’s meet again for sure.]
The skeletons, who realized that they couldn’t convince Lee Shin Woo, each said some parting words to him and turned around.
The sewers were already a mess and collapsing, and the space they were currently in wasn’t wide enough to even stretch their legs, but they grouped together and spread their Acid Poison everywhere, allowing them to easily make a path. It was as if they used an eraser to erase the dirt.
‘Now, let’s see.’
He drove away the restlessness he felt after the Acid Skeletons—the Pauls, left, and completely raked in the loot buried in dirt and poison. Lee Shin Woo concentrated on that task, and was able to soon forget about those that had left.
[You have acquired 53,080 Perium.]
[You have acquired a Lv4 King Slime Bone Core.]
[You have acquired a Lv3 Poison Skeleton’s rib bone.]
[Would you like to… with the Lv3 Poison Skeleton’s rib bone…]
There was an inherent mana within, so he was able to find them quickly. He naturally received the loot from the King Slime, but he also received the bone from one of the Poison Skeletons that had fought before him!
He was naturally pleased when he found a safely remaining bone from their depressing solo act. Lee Shin Woo shoved the acquired Perium into his inventory, then activated Bone Reinforcement, cleanly using up both the bone and the core all at once.
[Through Bone Reinforcement, Strength has increased by 1, Agility by 1, Health by 6, and Magic by 9. Absorbing a portion of the target’s memories and experiences.]
[The Low Rank Bursting Thunder skill has become Lv6.]
[The Low Rank Harden skill has become Lv2.]
[The Intermediate Acid Poison Spray has become Lv2.]
Despite it being level 4, the King Slime didn’t give him as much magic as he had hoped. Was it because he had already hunted several other slimes and Great Slimes before?
Perhaps his magic stat had increased far too much already, so it was difficult for the maximum value of his magic stat to increase any further.
‘Still, I’ll be level 4 soon. Let’s hang in there a little longer.’
He had gained karma and improved his stats through Bone Reinforcement, so now his stats totalled 756. As long as he gathered 44 more stats in the future, he would be reborn as a level 4. He tightened his fists, as if he realized how he was getting stronger more and more quickly.
“…It was good.”
Finally, he surveyed his surroundings. He thought there might be something he had missed and there really was. That was none other than the dungeon reward.
“And now that I think about it, there was a message like that.”
In a level 1 dungeon, the reward would be an old wooden box, but considering how it was a level 2 elite dungeon he’d cleared, there was a considerably sturdy and completely new looking wooden box that had appeared instead. Though the fact that it was a wooden box ultimately hadn’t changed!
[Low Rank Acid Resistance skill book]
[Lv3 Grizzly Bone Leg (+1)]
[Lv3 Melting War Axe]
Lee Shin Woo’s face paled once he checked the rewards. Should he says it’s as expected of an elite dungeon? Setting aside the Perium and the Acid Resistance skill book, he was rewarded with 2 level 3 items!
Moreover, the Grizzly Bone Leg was lower body armor that completely covered his thighs, knees, legs, and even his feet; it was even made of bone.
[Grizzly Bone Leg +1]
[Defense: 105 – 115]
[Options: Increases Strength by 5, Agility by 5]
“Now it’s perfect.”
He had a helmet, upper body armor, and lower body armor that also doubled as combat boots. Though it was somewhat troubling that all of his defensive equipment was made of bone, at least people wouldn’t be able to tell that he was undead just from his exterior appearance now.
When he banged on his lower body, which was completely covered up by the Grizzly Bone Leg, he sported a satisfied smile. He collected the Perium, and thought about reading the Low Rank Acid Resistance skill book on the spot… but decided against it.
‘Let’s give this to Jin.’
When he thought about Jin, whose body couldn’t endure the Acid Ghoul’s poison and had been melted away, Lee Shin Woo decided it’d be better to give him the skill book, rather than raise his proficiency by a little bit. Then, he put the skill book into his inventory.
The problem was the final remaining item. The axe clearly gleamed in a metallic color, and it was so large that he wondered how it had fit inside the wooden box.
Just by sitting still, the axe emitted a green mist, and because of that, the surrounding earth gradually melted away; seeing just that, he knew that it was an incredibly powerful weapon. That’s how he saw it, but…
“But it’s not made of bone…”
He had to gamble after finally acquiring a level 3 item and change it into bone. Lee Shin Woo sighed deeply. However, there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t just leave it here!
[Through Bone Reinforcement, the Melting War Axe is changing.]
In the end, he tightly gripped the axe with trembling hands. At that moment, that axe emitted a hair-raising sound and began to change into bone.
Bubbles surged up above the blade and the fundamental metal portion changed; the sequence of mana was newly formed, and the shape morphed. It was an extremely unpleasant process.
But why? During that process, Lee Shin Woo felt as though his mana… or more precisely acid, was sucked into the axe. The weapon was radiating light, and the mana in the entire area resonated in that one spot, creating an even thicker mist.
When the acid mist that the weapon spewed out became even thicker, and thus made it difficult to ascertain its very shape, the once thick mist in the periphery was suddenly sucked into the weapon.
The mist was completely lifted and the light likewise cleanly dissipated; for the first time, he was able to see the double-bladed axe which had transformed into bone.
[You have acquired the Lv4 Melting Bone Double Axe.]
[Melting Bone Double Axe]
[Attack Power: 480 – 760]
[Attribute: Acid Lv3]
[Options: Strength +25, Agility -5, Effectiveness of Acid Attribute Skills + 20%]
Lee Shin Woo momentarily couldn’t believe his eyes, but when he thought about it, he didn’t even have eyes so there was no way he saw wrong.
The item really had leveled up. He had thought that this would happen sometime or another, but he didn’t actually think it would happen like this!
‘It didn’t level up just because I was lucky.’
He had realized when his magic transformed into Acid Poison and was sucked into the weapon just a little while ago.
Perhaps during the process of transforming the weapon into bone through Bone Reinforcement, some other power that he had was somehow activated? And if that’s the case, wasn’t this proof that the stronger he got, the stronger the weapon that transformed through Bone Reinforcement would be?
‘It’s a really… really fearsome skill.’
Lee Shin Woo gritted his teeth at the countless abilities that Bone Reinforcement possessed. Perhaps this skill, depending on the karma, could affect the very rules of this world!
Through the use of countless experiences and memories, he learned a variety of abilities, and changed countless things through those abilities… His compatibility with the Joker karma was also great.
“But… Wait a second.”
With this, he now had two level 4 items. And they were both items that would increase his acid attribute skills! If he combined the two items’ abilities, the power of his acid skills would increase by as much as 30%!
Lee Shin Woo tightly gripped the double axe and muttered satisfyingly. He could feel it. That even though it had calmed down, he could spew out a horrific concentration of Acid Poison whenever he wanted!
“If I use this well, I could even go with the Hydra concept…”
Lee Shin Woo still couldn’t get rid of his habit from the Trickster quest.