[You have hunted a member of the 12 generals, the Lv7 Vulture General, Bureuche Von Golden Eagle! All contributing heroes acquire 30,000,000 Perium, and all stats are increased by 100. You have acquired 10 permits to God's secret shop. Proficiency in all combat related skills has increased dramatically!]
[The High Rank Bursting Thunder skill has become Lv5. Strength and Magic have increased by 10.]
[The Intermediate Shadow Horn skill has become Lv10 and has evolved. The Intermediate Horn Gigantification and the Low Rank Shadow Extension skills have been absorbed. You have learned the special passive skill, Thorn Shadow Lv1. Agility has increased by 30. Strength and Magic have increased by 10.]
[You have received God's grace. The max level of Invisible Heart has increased by 10.]
The Vulture General fought desperately, but he was ultimately killed. His immense power, despite being unable to fight on his own terms, was a reminder that he was one of the 12 generals. However, his opponent had too much of an advantage against him.
Retadane was not only level 8 but could utilize light magic, which was fatal to all undead. Not to mention that all the heroes had attacked the Vulture General simultaneously. It was amazing that he'd even lasted as long as he did.
"I saw it before with the Beast General, but... the rewards are considerable."
"All stats are increased by 100... Moreover, my combat skills that wouldn't budge leveled up twice."
"Hoo... I'm satisfied."
"Junior! Why did you set me up with this crazy woman... Explain, now. Hey!"
When fighting against the Vulture General, all the heroes had been focused, but once they were rewarded, their anxiety faded away and they began to talk amongst themselves. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo softly sighed and spoke calmly.
"The battle's not over yet, Seniors. We have to take out the remaining soldiers."
"Y-Yeah, you're right."
"That's not all."
Seira Von Retadane added firmly, once she'd collected all the loot from the Vulture General.
"We may have to face the Heaven Defying General as well."
"That's right... They're killing the other undead right now, but eventually, they'll come for us..."
Lee Shin Woo knew that this was his chance.
"I was helped by them before."
"...You were... helped by them?"
The mood turned chilly. The heroes remained silent, except Prince, who looked at him most favorably amongst the heroes. She accepted what he'd said and muttered.
"Yes. I was going to die, but the Heaven Defying General helped me, allowing me to survive. I'm surprised and flustered myself, but... the Heaven Defying General told me this: Since our enemy is the same, there's no reason not to work together."
"Our enemy is the same..."
Lloyd interjected this time. He had realized that the only reason they were able to focus entirely on the Vulture General was because the Heaven Defying General's corps had fought against the undead forces in their stead.
"...How can this be? All undead should be completely loyal to the Emperor."
"He said that they'd escaped his control. That there was a way to escape his control. Apparently, his forces reject the Emperor's control and they fight against him."
"There's no way..."
Erian and Lloyd were dumbfounded and speechless. Through their experiences in the Empire, they had seen the undead as an absolute enemy, but because they saw the Heaven Defying General's forces crushing the undead, they couldn't reject what Lee Shin Woo was saying.
"Lee Shin Woo, don't be fooled."
However, there was one person who rejected it without hesitation. As he'd expected, it was Retadane.
"They're all undead. They're not sane. You cannot believe what they say. It's an ironclad rule for heroes."
"But Retadane, they're really..."
"It's foolish to believe them just because they're on our side now. ...Lee Shin Woo, they're 'fundamentally' different from us. They're existences that you cannot communicate with or understand. Even if it seems like you can trust them for now, it's nothing more than an illusion..."
She said firmly, and Lee Shin Woo smiled bitterly. Of course, Lee Shin Woo knew she'd come out like this, but... her emotional wall was greater than he'd expected and he was a bit hurt by her.
"There must be a reason behind them saving you. Perhaps they wanted to analyze us, or perhaps they're aiming for our God. But you can't do what they want. All undead must be exterminated. No more, no less. We cannot work together."
A sharp refusal, coupled with such hatred. He suddenly realized just how lucky he'd been. Kratia had treated him (and Jin) fairly, without any prejudice, and was kind and genuine. Lee Shin Woo ended up laughing despondently. Then...
"You can't believe what someone says if you don't trust them. That goes for both the undead and humans. In fact, humans can be much worse."
Kratia spoke and refuted Retadane's statement.
"Calm down. Make your decision by using what's actually happening as evidence. It's a fact that they're helping us right now. They're not attacking us, so there's no point in being hostile. Above all, we don't even have the strength to do so right now. Am I wrong?"
"You're not wrong. If they're fighting against each other, then there's no point in putting ourselves in unnecessary danger. A wiser choice would be to use them. Of course, we should analyze them now to prepare for the future..."
Even though she agreed with Kratia, Retadane remained suspicious of the Heaven Defying General's motives and rejected him. As a representative of mankind (a hero), it was perhaps only natural that she acted while thinking so deeply.
Lee Shin Woo was relieved that he hadn't appeared in front of her in his undead form. He had to think of a way to convince her. It seemed as though Kratia had understood him and said something unnecessary. It was probably intended to console him.
"...I believe that there are undead that are trustworthy."
"You're thinking along the same lines as Lee Shin Woo. It's truly unfortunate, but... this is no place to chat. I'll keep the Vulture General's loot for now. I'll divvy it up once the battle is over."
And thus, their conversation was over. Her uneven breathing, a result from the intense battle, had somewhat evened out, and Retadane brandished her flail, charging into a gap between the monsters. She crushed anyone in her way, startling the heroes.
"Lee Shin Woo, I believe Retadane is right on this. There's a high chance that an intelligent undead will try and trick us..."
"However... No, never mind. Let's go fight too. I have no idea what's going on, but... I know what we have to do right now. We have to fight and come out alive."
Lloyd really was amazing. Lee Shin Woo had to acknowledge his fortitude, considering the fact that he remained so pretentious despite experiencing all this. Lloyd consoled Erian, who was clinging on to him. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo inwardly applauded.
"I'm going to give him a rougher time next time."
"Your true feelings are coming out."
Lee Shin Woo and Jin quietly joked around, and then, someone clung to his back. It was Prince, who for some reason hadn't followed Lloyd.
"Explain! Why did you send me with this woman, and why did you not let me receive Senior Ethan's buff!?"
"I'll explain all of it to you later, so please help Senior Lloyd for now. I was helped, but it seems like Lloyd has gone through a hard time. So..."
"Hmph. It's fine since that elf's still clinging to him. He expects me to help him, but he doesn't realize how valuable I am, so I'll just leave him to suffer..."
"If you just leave them be, then rather than realizing how precious you are to him, wouldn't he develop feelings for Senior Erian instead? I believe your best bet is getting in between them and stopping that from happening."
Prince was silent. She realized that Lee Shin Woo had read her like a book. Right after, she quietly asked.
"Does... it show?"
"Are you serious?"
Prince blushed. Her necklace allowed her to disguise herself as a man. Although she was disguised, she was slender and beautiful enough that even he was affected, causing him to softly groan. She was beautiful enough that she wouldn't lose to an elf's (Erian's) beauty. Seriously...
"So why do you disguise yourself as a man?"
"There's something I need to protect, even if I were to lose my life... Ueu."
"You have it tough."
Lee Shin Woo thought it wasn't any of his business, yet Prince still asked for his help.
"...Could you give me some tips? Once the battle's over."
"Of course. So please get off."
Since Prince was still clinging to him, he picked her up by the back of her neck like a cat, and lowered her next to Kratia, who had approached with short and quick steps.
"Kratia, look after her until the battle ends."
"Ok. Leave it to me."
"Keuk, don't toss me around like baggage... Ah, by the way, Junior, you said you met with the Heaven Defying General. Are you really ok?"
"Yes. He was a good skeleton. So much so that I can trust each and every one of his soldiers."
Lee Shin Woo lightly replied. Although Prince looked displeased, she reluctantly nodded her head.
"I don't trust the undead, but I do trust you, so... Since you trust them, I'll keep an eye out for them. But you still have to be careful, ok? Since they're still undead."
"Haha. Let's do our best for just a little while longer."
Maybe the more he stayed in contact with her, the less she'd consider the undead enemies? Unlike Retadane, Prince had responded positively, so Lee Shin Woo was slightly pleased.
He softly swung his blade and cut down the slowly approaching undead. Then, he left Prince and Kratia behind and turned around.
"Then, let's keep at it for just a bit longer."
He wanted to test it out. The special passive skill, Thorn Shadow that he'd gained from the Vulture General's death.
Considering the fact that it had neither an intermediate or high rank tag attached to it, it was an incredible skill, just as Pleine had guaranteed. Lee Shin Woo realized how genuine Pleine's skill book recommendation was. She had robbed him, but this skill was worth ten times, no a hundred times more than the Perium spent.
'Moreover, the skill's effect changed a lot too. Originally, Shadow Horn was a special passive skill which buffed all my lunging attacks, but this...'
A special passive skill possessed the traits of several passive and active skills simultaneously, and unlike other skills, could be applied in a variety of ways... They were skills that essentially had no limitations. And the Thorn Shadow skill was an amazing skill that included that offensive capability.
'The ability's simple. I can drag any shadow and turn it into thorns. I can use it even without mana, but the more mana I use, the more powerful the effect. I can even focus that ability into a single point and create a giant horn lance as well...'
If a 'shadow' element existed, then this skill would be representative of the element. It was that amazing.
Lee Shin Woo converted his and Jin's shadows into thousands of thorns and even fused them together, shocking Jin. It was originally a good skill, but the level was completely different now. This skill would improve both his offensive and defensive capabilities significantly.
"You're already so strong, yet you just obtained a cheat skill like nothing again..."
"Let's try it out, Jin."
"Yeah, yeah. I'm going, boss."
Lee Shin Woo dragged their shadows, covering both him and Jin with countless thorns, and charged into the battlefield. It didn't take long for the battlefield, which had been filled to the brim with the undead, to become silent.