It was momentarily silent. The battle was over once the fire and light was completely extinguished and darkness reigned.
[You have hunted a member of the 12 Generals, the Lv8 Annihilation Flame Sword God Seagald Von Retadane! All contributing heroes receive 50,000,000 Perium and all stats are 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 Wild Card skill has become Lv5 and all stats have increased by 30.]
[You have acquired the title, 'He Who Brings Down the Sun'. All stats have increased by 30. The High Rank Light and Fire Elements have become Lv7 and Lv8 respectively, and Magic has increased by 40.]
[The Manatization skill has become Lv6, and Health and Magic have increased by 20. You feel as though you can take your skills in a completely different direction through Manatization. All of your innate skills have responded, and are attempting to change.]
[The Soul Seeing Eye skill has become Lv6 and all stats have increased by 20.]
Each and every line caused his heart to pound.
His Invisible Heart skill had finally surpassed 200 max lives, yet there was no change; on the other hand, he'd defeated the artificial sun, yet had gotten such a bombastic name in return. He thought the stat bonuses would be pretty good... or something like that, but there was something more important than all that.
That he had somehow won.
"Hoo, I barely got him."
"Oh? It wasn't easy?"
He sighed forcefully and muttered. Jin, who'd supported him through the battle, tilted her head and asked. Lee Shin Woo just replied curtly.
"No matter how perfect the stage or the script is, there's no guarantee that the play will be a success until the curtains close."
"...I guess that's true."
"And I was actually kind of worried at the end when the sun began emitting Annihilation Flame. I was lucky that his awakening had just begun since I could take care of it with my elements, but if I had made a single mistake while bluffing, then that bastard would've beaten me."
"I had no idea that you were engaged in such intense psychological warfare..."
That's just how perfect Lee Shin Woo's acting had been. Of course, he'd gone a step further by appearing as Arema Steelworker and then returning to his Heaven Defying General form, confusing Seagald in the process. What's worse, Seira had popped out of a golem, causing his entire thought process to come to a grinding halt. Thus, he was able to push Seagald into a corner.
Bluffing was necessary in a battle to the death. Showing what you don't have, but not showing what you do have. Although Seagald's Annihilation Flame was perfectly suited for this task, he was still pushed back by Lee Shin Woo. That was the cause of his defeat.
"I thought he lost for a completely different reason, so I'm absolutely speechless..."
"You two, could you please be quiet?"
The two, somewhat lethargic due to the pleasure and exhaustion from the battle, were scolded by Seira.
"I would appreciate it if you gave me some time to pray."
Seira, who'd inflicted significant mental damage to Seagald, clasped her hands before the wreckage of the artificial sun and closed her eyes. There were teardrops at the edges of her eyes, befitting a true Banshee.
To think she'd treat him like family now of all times. Lee Shin Woo, who was absolutely flabbergasted, just snorted.
"Weren't you the one that asked me to kill him ASAP?"
"...Yes, I did. I still consider him my older brother, when he's not intending to kill me or this world."
To him, that meant that 'the only good Seagald was a dead Seagald', but he didn't tell her that. Seira seemed to feel a sense of shame, as she didn't pray for very long.
Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo was about to go off to collect the loot. However, Seira quietly said...
"If my older brother had met you under different circumstances, would he have been alive right now like me? Would you have not had to kill him?"
"Nope. There was no hope for him when his vengeance was targeted at not the Magic Emperor and his forces, but humanity as a whole."
"...I see. Thank you. That makes me feel a little better."
He could hear the bitterness in her voice, yet her expression seemed more peaceful than before. Perhaps that was a question she was asking herself, not Lee Shin Woo.
After becoming a hero, she had resolved to kill her older brother herself. She hadn't thought that she was in the right. The fact that she even had to ask Lee Shin Woo was... No, there was no point in thinking about this anymore. Seagald was dead now; the end.
"I wasn't helpful at all. I just watched on the sidelines. ...But I'll do my best for the remainder of the battle."
"Of course you will. You have to earn your keep."
Lee Shin Woo scolded Seira and stretched his hand towards the wreckage. Then, he was flooded with a string of messages.
[Lucky Strike! You have acquired 899,550,410 Perium. The Lucky Strike skill has become Lv7!]
[You have acquired the Lv9 Light Tinged Annihilation Flame Sword God's Frontal Bone.]
[You have acquired the Lv8 Annihilation Flame Sword God, Seagald Von Retadane's Finger Bone.]
[You have acquired the Lv9 Annihilation Flame Tinged Artificial Sun. Through Bone Reinforcement, it has been changed into the Lv9 Annihilation Flame Bone Core.]
Originally, Seagald would've dropped all of his equipment and artifacts as well, but by fusing with the artificial sun, all of said equipment had been destroyed.
However, Lee Shin Woo was content with this. Since he not only received two of Seagald's bones but also received the artificial sun's core!
"So this is the sun that shone upon the Underground Empire."
"It's very different, but yeah."
Seagald's influence had caused it to change once, and Lee Shin Woo had caused it to change a second time, resulting in the 'Annihilation Flame Bone Core' artifact. The inside of the small bone core was illuminated by a transparent light, and its exterior was an unusual shape.
However, the amount of flames it contained within were immeasurable, and it was hard for him, who possessed Lv8 High Rank Fire and Lv7 High Rank Light, to even hold it. Seeing that, Jin knew exactly what Lee Shin Woo was thinking.
"You want to use that on the Titan, don't you?"
"Of course I do. Kratia and I managed to cover the Titan's weaknesses, so I thought the Titan Core was perfect. But now that I think about it, there's something above perfection, isn't there?"
"Ah, I see. If that's what you think, then I suppose it's true. In your original world, that is."
First, Lee Shin Woo very carefully stored the Annihilation Flame Bone Core into his inventory. Then, he collected the 9 million Perium from the opponent that gave him the most grief and gripped the level 8 and 9 bones in both hands.
"So this is purely Seagald's and this one's been affected by the artificial sun."
"A bone sommelier..."
"I'll pass. I think level 8's enough for me."
Lee Shin Woo wasn't being honest with her. He just wanted to see her reaction, as she hated Bone Reinforcement. He grinned and absorbed the level 8 finger bone first.
At that moment, Lee Shin Woo was afflicted with sharp pain. This would always happen whenever he absorbed a high level existence's bone, but the bone of one who'd trained for so many years was very different!
[Absorbing the Lv8 Annihilation Flame Sword God, Seagald Von Retadane's Finger Bone through Bone Reinforcement. Strength has increased by 60 and Agility by 70. The High Rank Light Element has become Lv8 and Magic has increased by 20. High Rank Fire Resistance has become Lv8 and Magic has increased by 60.]
[The High Rank Combat Sense skill has become Lv10, allowing you to see a glimpse of the realm beyond. The skill is now maxed and will have both a direct and indirect effect on your skills. Agility has increased by 140.]
[You have learned the fusion element, Beginner Fire Shadow Lv5. Magic has increased by 50.]
[I'm the only one who can right His Majesty's wrongs. I will return the Empire to the surface no matter what. - Seagald Von Retadane]
He had a level 9 bone waiting, so his expectations hadn't been high, but surprisingly, the bone had an abundance of power and memories within.
Sure, Lee Shin Woo was happy about his Light Element and his Fire Resistance leveling up, but he was most happy about his maxed out Combat Sense! Logically speaking, Seagald had far outstripped Lee Shin Woo in terms of basic combat abilities.
By absorbing Seagald's bone, Lee Shin Woo had inherited his combat abilities. Thus, his Combat Sense had risen to High Rank Lv10, maxing it out. And the change he'd undergone wasn't the easiest thing to explain.
Of course, it's not like his combat abilities completely transcended Seagald's now, but if he trained enough with these memories and experiences, then he would eventually get to where he wanted to be.
'It really is way better to steal someone else's abilities than to just train on my own', he thought like a thief and turned his attention to the next skill. It was none other than Fire Shadow.
'I was probably able to learn it as quickly as I did because of how high my fire and darkness elements are.'
Had Seagald used Fire Shadow for a long time? No, absolutely not. He specialized in light and fire, so he only gained this ability after becoming undead and acquiring the darkness element.
The fact that Seagald had even obtained another innate element just by acquiring the darkness element was unbelievable, but Fire Shadow really wasn't much compared to the Annihilation Flame. It was just that Lee Shin Woo, who'd absorbed the memories and knowledge, specialized in fire and darkness, which allowed him to learn it right off the bat.
"So what does that element even do? Seagald couldn't even use it properly when he fought against you."
"This maximizes the darkness element's ability to link people."
In a way, it was similar to Lightning Bind. But contrary to Lightning Bind, which allowed the Magic Emperor to control his subordinates from long range, Fire Shadow reflected Seagald's desire to rush over and save his subordinates, wherever they may be.
In other words, it focused on protecting his forces, rather than reinforcing them directly.
"But it seems like Seagald didn't understand this ability fully, even though it was his ability. As evidenced by how he made his subordinates sacrifice themselves or how he only used it as a transportation ability."
Lee Shin Woo looked down at the shadow cast by the flame and smiled. That shadow stretched out, touching Jin's and then Seira's shadow as well. They both flinched simultaneously. Whenever the fire's shadow erupted from the ground, he could feel his connection with them deepen.
[The Beginner Fire Shadow Element has become Lv7 and Magic has increased by 20.]
And thus, Lee Shin Woo came to a conclusion. The Fire Shadow Element wasn't a simple transportation skill; it was a buff skill that affected anyone connected to him!