Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 187
[Stake Steelworker won't come here himself.]
[He has commanded us to make use of all our abilities and collect as many emeralds as possible.]
Silver, like gold, was an ore renowned for its ability to absorb mana. But the way it was used was a bit different; for example, gold was more geared for offensive magic, while silver was used for more practical magic. So the magic that these Silver Golems focused on was...
"Subspace, huh. They were trying to clear out the entire mine with just these guys."
[It's a lower rank subspace than the one I have. It seems to be the limits of the material.]
Rem added. That's right. The subspace that these Silver Golems possessed was larger than Rem's own, but in exchange they were much larger. In terms of efficiency, Rem's was much better.
It wasn't a difference that resulted from pure technical skill. The material that Rem was made of... was an incredibly rare metal; it pissed Lee Shin Woo off, but it would be difficult for him to acquire it right now.
"In any case, we've gained moving storehouses because of them."
"These guys were elites that were probably sent after much deliberation..."
Kratia recollected Jin's ice breath and smiled bitterly. Of course, she could always do something similar if she used the same type of magic, but it would be difficult for her to gather all the mana in the surrounding area, change it into an element, and shoot it straight forward.
"It's a combination skill. Impressive."
"...It's not like that, you know."
Whilst Kratia had fun teasing the embarrassed Jin, Lee Shin Woo acquired all the information he could from the golems, nodded his head, and returned. Of course, he had sent them to the mine so that they would help his other subordinates mine for emeralds.
"They definitely have no idea that I've cleared out the secret facility. And they probably... wouldn't expect me to have stolen these Silver Golems as well. How arrogant."
That was their overconfidence in the Steelworker seal. So long as they remained confident in it, Lee Shin Woo would always have an absolute advantage over them. However...
"However, I can't be complacent."
"Of course you can't. If the Silver Golems don't return for some time, then their superiors might take action, so we have to clear out the mines as soon as possible and leave. However... Hmm."
"...You're thinking of something bad, aren't you?"
Jin pointed out sharply like a drake's canine, and Lee Shin Woo flinched.
"I was just thinking. When the Steelworkers send golems to a certain area, and we know where they're sending them, then we could get there before them and acquire more golems like this..."
"You really are a demon."
[If you figure out their departure point, then it will be easy to ascertain their destination. Since it is possible for me to sense a golem's mana pattern.]
Then, Rem intervened. Lee Shin Woo had known about Rem's detection abilities ever since Rem (a level 6 golem) had noticed the golems approaching before even Kratia (a level 7 magician), but it really was amazing.
From what he heard, it was a secondary ability that was a part of Rem's Mana Parasite skill; Lee Shin Woo just naturally nodded his head. But understanding and astonishment were two different things.
"Shin Woo... what kind of monster did you make?"
"My secretary did everything. I know nothing."
Kratia, who had been snickering at Lee Shin Woo's deceit (like always, Jin just remained speechless), suddenly thought of something and nodded her head. Her eyes shined clearly like ice.
"If we do well, we may be able to grasp all of the golems' movements."
"You say some amazing things like it's nothing, you know that?"
"There was an item that could make that possible! If Rem is able to use that...!"
Lee Shin Woo made a look with his goblin fire at Kratia and seemed to ask 'what item, and where is it?', and Kratia replied vigorously.
"The Royal Magician Leader's training facility. It seems like they left the main area, but there were magic traps set up everywhere, so it was a great place to train my magical ability."
It seemed like Kratia had reached level 7 in a short period of time, not because she thoughtlessly hunted monsters (of course, she probably did her fair share of that), but because of her experiences in the training facility after following the traces of the Royal Magician Leader. Lee Shin Woo remembered her explaining that she had found a lead on one of the 12 generals, and nodded his head.
"There was definitely something like that..."
"It's still there. It hasn't been broken through yet, so I'll go with you, Shin Woo."
"The artifact is there. Let's go together."
"Oh... I'm not a magician though."
"It'll help you train your other abilities too."
Her explanation just made him feel more anxious, but it didn't seem like a lie. It seemed like she had wanted to drag him over there right after she helped him take down Hansen, but because he had so much work with the golems and what not, she had pushed it back.
It seemed like Lee Shin Woo didn't have the right to refuse.
"Alright, then I suppose we can go together."
Kratia's sigh of relief confirmed that she was still hiding something. However, Lee Shin Woo decided not to question her and turned around. He wanted to go through the hardship of getting involved with a general too. There was no reason to doubt her, considering the fact that she had grown to level 7.
"But right now, we have to make sure the group is safe. One of the 12 general's troops might be nearby."
Why would his seniors, who were at least level 6, die? Because they were met with unforeseen danger. Even a level 7 couldn't relax in a level 3 danger zone, as it was filled with dangerous elements! A hero shouldn't put their focus into battle; they should be focused on their survival.
"Oh, I found a dungeon."
"It's hidden over there. On the edge of the rock cliff with the raging wind."
Of course, that was somewhat meaningless to his party.
In the past, he was much weaker than the other heroes, so he had to tread with caution, but now that he'd gained so many abilities and had so many lives, he moved calmly and boldly without being impatient; therefore, there were many cases like right now where he would find a hidden dungeon.
"Ah, there really is one. It's hidden by the naturally formed wind magic. Kuuuuuuu...!"
"The fact that you can keep thinking of Shin Woo as a rival makes me jealous."
"Let's first mark that on our minimap... let's go over here next."
They had discovered a dungeon, but they didn't enter it immediately. Since they were still in the middle of reconnaissance. Their first priority? Looking for anything that might approach the mines and endanger their operations!
For the next two hours, they scoured the entire area. Ultimately, they faced a few large level 6 and level 7 undead.
"Tch, you're too loud!"
"Be captivated by the Winter Queen's hands!"
They weren't elite monsters, but when they get to around level 7, they become huge. Even though they weren't giants, most of them were at least several meters tall.
But Lee Shin Woo and Kratia struck a balance between close range and long range, so the monsters weren't strong enough to be a threat. While Kratia was casting a debuff, Lee Shin Woo approached and cut the monster into pieces with a few powerful strikes.
[You have acquired 74,150 Perium.]
[You have acquired the Lv7 Venomous Steel Snake's fang.]
[You have acquired the Lv7 Venomous Steel Snake's leg bone.]
"It's just a normal mob, but it's still a level 7, so what's with this Perium?"
"Perium doesn't increase with level. This guy was really weak."
That was definitely true. Lee Shin Woo complained and absorbed the fang while he gave the leg bone to Jin. Though it was level 7, his strength only increased by 2, and his health and agility by 1. Jin was quite happy, so he must've increased his stats much more.
"My strength only increased by 1, but in exchange, my agility increased by 6."
"Yeah, you must love that Child of Light skill."
No matter how he thought about it, Jin possessed an imbalanced skill. Lee Shin Woo complained like crazy and collected the Perium.
"Let's go to the dungeon now. Shino Rendu told me that it would take about two more days to completely clear out the mine, so let's go clear the dungeon and then... Huh?"
"Shin Woo, what's wrong?"
He knew roughly how to get to the dungeon from where they were. He closed his eyes, called the minimap, and spoke in a doubtful voice. Jin tilted his head and asked what was wrong while Kratia waited for him to continue.
"There's a group of our undead seniors moving together."
"Can't you just call them undead heroes?"
"There are about seven or eight of them moving together in a group. That means that..."
"Are they working together?"
Does that mean these undead heroes, who, like Shino Rendu, retained their sense of identity, had created their own clan!? Kratia thought that it was cool in its own way, and Lee Shin Woo retorted.
"It'd be great if that were the case, but if we were to logically consider it, the chances of that are low. That's..."
Why was it? At that moment, Lee Shin Woo recalled Ethan Cruz, who had treated him kindly. What was he trying to do by approaching promising heroes? And what was his ability that had to do with darkness and curses...?
To be honest, he had guessed early on. ...But he just didn't have confirmation.
"Let's go back to the mine. Kratia, is it possible to hide the entire mine? Erasing our presences and making us look like a mountain is plenty."
"I'll need your help, but I can manage."
"Alright. Then let's go right now."
They were still quite far away, but they would pass by the mine in a day. They hurried and returned to the mine, and as Lee Shin Woo had requested, Kratia cast a large scale magical formula on top of the mine to disguise it.
It was a spell that not only used Lee Shin Woo and Jin's mana, but also Shino Rendu and the rest of the golems, and created a huge barrier that hid the existence of the mine. Then, exactly 16 hours after they had returned...
"So long as the enemy doesn't intend to attack first, I can make it so no traces of magic leak out."
"As expected of a magician."
'It's a relief that Kratia isn't our enemy,' Lee Shin Woo thought and smiled bitterly.
Even though the Royal Magician Leader had turned into an undead, he would probably wield extraordinary magic, so if he were to fight him, Lee Shin Woo decided that he would make sure that Kratia was in his party.
"How is it? Are they coming this way?"
"Fortunately... their objective wasn't the mine."
After Lee Shin Woo had told the Pauls to continue with their work, he looked outside. Though they were physically quite far away, he was level 6; if he were to use his magic to improve his vision, he would be able to see several kilometers away.
How many hours did he wait like that? He was finally able to observe the group of undead heroes moving.
Jin and Kratia watched from beside him and had their own respective reactions. Lee Shin Woo could understand what they were feeling... at the same time, he was sure that his assumption was correct.
"There's a living person... in the middle of them."
"Sh... Paul Zero, that means..."
To be exact, there were eight high rank undead gathered together, and the man, riding atop a spectral horse... was a cool-looking, middle-aged man with black, curly hair and purple eyes that seemed to suit him.
They felt life energy linger around his cheeks, but they could recognize the black energy that wrapped around the rest of his body even several kilometers away. The dreary and deep energy that would make one shudder felt like a concentrated version of the Empire's curse.
The words just naturally came out of his mouth, as he confirmed his identity.
"He's a Necromancer."