<Chapter 42. Sun God's Hero - 2>
How did this human's power increase so suddenly? Had he been hiding his strength all this time? The Garuda, surrounded by dark flame greatswords, looked around and couldn't hide its panic.
Though it expelled its flames in every which direction and managed to melt the greatswords, more greatswords would take their place and attack it. Each and every greatsword was tinged in dark flame, so the Garuda could not oppose them without its shining flame!
At first, the Garuda thought it may be a hallucination, but there was not a single person in the world that could fool it, the master of the shining flames. Just in case, it allowed one of the greatswords through, but was met with agonizing pain.
Lee Shin Woo's Dark Flame was much more powerful than the Dark Flame Ghosts', so the Garuda immediately released its shining flame and erased the greatsword. However, it had taken considerable damage in the process.
There was only one thing it could think of. Either he had way more magic than it did, or he was supplying himself limitless mana through some unknown means!
But what about the Garuda? It had just awoken after hundreds of years of imprisonment, so its body was in terrible shape. Its body had been contaminated, its mana hadn't recovered properly, and it couldn't use any of its other authorities, aside from its Shining Flame. A few more attacks like this, and it wouldn't have enough mana to even produce its shining flames!
Then, what should it do? It obviously had to run away. If it ran away at full speed, a human wouldn't be able to follow (the Garuda still hadn't figured out just how fast Jin was). First, it would run away, somehow replenish its mana, figure out the human's abilities, and then form some countermeasures to them.
Yeah. That would be the rational decision. But because the Garuda's mind and body had been corrupted by the undead curse, it made the exact opposite call. It unleashed even greater flames, burning away the greatswords, and then charged at the Titan!
[Nice looking flames you got there!]
It was level 9! Although it was standing on the precipice of life and death, there was no way it couldn't kill a level 8 human! On the contrary, if it were to kill him and then absorb his mysterious mana source, it would soon be restored from this corrupted state!
Its mind was filled with violence, void of any reason; the Garuda looked like any other undead in the Underground Empire. The Garuda had barely kept itself together before, but had completely snapped after fighting Lee Shin Woo.
On the other hand, Lee Shin Woo couldn't stop himself from inwardly smiling. After he'd analyzed both his and his enemy's environment, he had activated Wild Card, which was definitely working.
Once he'd activated the skill, he'd anticipated the Garuda's response, its panicked state, and even its current action... No, by using Wild Card, everything was going according to his 'script'.
'This skill, Wild Card... Turns a limited space into my stage. It sets up the situation, causing my enemy and the circumstances to go in a certain direction; a direction in which I win. I'm the only main character here...!'
Honestly, his innate skills (e.g. Disguise, Instigate, Acting, etc.) weren't suitable for battle. Regardless, Lee Shin Woo had used those skills resourcefully (or forcefully) to overcome danger. However, they weren't meant to be used to attack the enemy.
But when Wild Card fuses all of his skills together and amplifies them, the Joker's innate skills become the most powerful skills in the world. The clearing, filled to the brim with greatswords, was a good example of this. Those were mostly created with his Disguise and Acting skills... To be frank, they were all falsities that only he and the Garuda could see.
'If I can make them think it's real, then it supplants what's actually 'real'. Moreover, it's gotten hit by one of my greatswords already, so it's already afraid.'
Normally, it would be impossible to use his Disguise, Acting, and Instigate skills on such a large scale. But it was made possible by his Wild Card skill, which made the entire area his own, amplified all of his skills, mixed and matched them, and activated them!
'You can't act without the proper stage. Wild Card sets up the perfect stage for me, and when I, the actor, sets foot on that stage, the play begins!'
Of course, not all of the greatswords within the clearing were fakes. A few of the swords had been created by his Bone Armory skill, so some real weapons were mixed in with the fakes. And when the Garuda had tested to see if it were hallucinating or not, Lee Shin Woo had used a real greatsword. Once it pierced its body, true dark flame erupted from the blade and caused a grievous wound!
[You really think you'll be able to burn all of these with those measly flames? You need more!]
As a result, the stage was set. The Garuda thought all of the greatswords were real threats, so it was burning each and every one of them with its flames. While Lee Shin Woo had barely used any mana, the Garuda was releasing its shining flames over a wide area, so its mana was draining fast. Thus, the once close battle had completely turned in his favor.
It might be different if the Garuda could reabsorb its mana, but it wasn't a 'complete' level 9! Moreover, Lee Shin Woo was dominating the mana in the entire area (as Wild Card had increased his reach), so he was gradually strangling it!
It hadn't even been 3 minutes since he'd used the Wild Card skill (he had 140 seconds left before the Titan deactivated), yet the flames that enclosed its body had become pale and diminished significantly. Plus, its form looked clearer than before as well.
Its half-rotten eyes looked into Lee Shin Woo's eyes. Its hostility, anger, and regret were reflected within those eyes, as it couldn't defeat him.
[Hoo. Hoo. Now you're starting to look at me.]
Originally, its golden body must've been beautiful. However, the many years spent trapped here caused its skin to split, and the undead curse caused his body to rot, blackening its body here and there. That was the biggest cause of its rapidly dwindling intellect.
It had been imprisoned by the Magic Emperor's barrier, and was corrupted by the Undead Emperor's curse, so the Garuda was just an unfortunate victim of the strife between the two. It was quite pitiful, but directing that anger at Lee Shin Woo would do nothing but inconvenience him.
[If you even have a shred of reason left, then we shouldn't have to fight...]
[You would've looked a little cool if you weren't raising your greatsword.]
It seemed as though Zenon had also figured out Lee Shin Woo's personality by fighting with him, as he retorted like Jin would. But what he didn't know was that if the Garuda really did have any reason left in it, then Lee Shin Woo would've sent it to the surface to wreak havoc onto the Emperor's forces.
Lee Shin Woo thought about wanting to see the Emperor's face at least once, and simultaneously thrust with his greatsword forward. His strike was reinforced by Wild Card, allowing it to surpass all limitations. He was able to cut through the weakened shining flame shield like a hot knife through butter and severed one of its wings.
[Dark Flame steals your enemy's Strength and Magic. While you have the Dark Flame active, Strength is increased by 150 and Magic by 350.]
[You have acquired the fusion element, Beginner Shining Flame Lv1. Magic has increased by 20.]
He had completely severed one of its wings. The severed wing fell from the sky, the dark flames engulfing and vaporizing it on the way down. Then, he felt the Garuda's strength wane while the Titan's magic increased! At long last, his Dark Flame had absorbed the Shining Flame and destroyed it, resulting in him acquiring the Shining Flame!
The Garuda, losing one of its wings, let out an agonizing cry that threatened to blow up the dungeon. No, it actually happened.
A high level monster and a Titan had clashed, so the dungeon had begin to collapse on the inside. But its cry was the straw that broke the camel's back. The ceiling and the walls began to break!
"The dungeon's collapsing!"
"No, more importantly, look over there! That giant bird and that giant...!"
"A greatsword! The size is different, but that's the greatsword that Sir Kay wields...!"
"Does that mean that that giant is Kay!?"
"A-Are the other members of the 12 generals almost here!? No, even if one or two of the 12 generals do come, we still wouldn't be able to beat that..."
Moonlight fell upon the clashing Garuda and Titan, and the surrounding humans just watched in shock! They now had an audience.
Everyone watched the several meter tall firebird, and the dark flame giant fighting against it. It was like a reenactment of myth, and no one could do anything as they all just remained rooted in place in awe of what was happening in front of them.
'This is dangerous.'
Lee Shin Woo had prepared his Wild Card in case it tried to escape, but felt a little nervous that it might go to waste. However, that didn't end up happening.
On the contrary, its contamination spread even further with the loss of its wing, so a somber darkness came out of its body, simultaneously strengthening its magic and taking away all its intellect. As a result, the darkness and the shining flames mixed together, and the Garuda charged Lee Shin Woo once more!
[Darkness? Ha, that's good news for me.]
If it had stuck to its shining flames, then it would've lasted longer. But to think it would use darkness against him, when it couldn't even properly control it yet!
In the process of reaching level 8, Lee Shin Woo had completely mastered the Darkness element. Yet, the Garuda was trying to harm him, not with a fusion element, but with the darkness element that naturally clad its body once it became an undead? That's funny. He snorted and took it head-on.
He raised his greatsword up high and swung downwards like lightning. As if copying the Garuda, Lee Shin Woo's blade was clad in both dark and golden flames (half and half), but the power contained within was incomparably greater than the Garuda's flames.
"The power that's enveloping the golem's sword..."
"It's mixing light and darkness together. It looks to be the stronger of the two...!"
The humans looked up at Lee Shin Woo's sword and yelled in shock. However, Lee Shin Woo merely used Dark Shadow to mix Dark Flame and Shining Flame together. Now that the Garuda's shining flames had weakened was the perfect time for him to use Dark Shadow!
When Lee Shin Woo's greatsword and its beak clashed, the Garuda's darkness energy flowed backwards and exploded. The explosion was both gruesome and beautiful, and the ground cried out once more.
The Garuda's beak was broken into pieces, and its shining flames had dispersed. Lines of flames appeared from its head to its tail. Although it was corrupted, it was still a divine bird. It wouldn't forgive the greatsword for daring to touch its body and used its last remaining energy to burn it in an instant. However, it couldn't undo Lee Shin Woo's strike, so it was cut in half.
But it wasn't over just yet.
Zenon was simply dwelling within Lee Shin Woo's greatsword. He had been relaxing within it and watched the battle between the Garuda and Lee Shin Woo as if he were watching a movie. But then, he suddenly heard someone initiate a conversation with him.
[I am the Child of the Sun, the Father of the Flame. Garuda. I have a request for you, as one who has lived the same life as myself...]
To think, it was the Garuda, who Lee Shin Woo had just cut in half and killed!
That's right. Once the boss battle was over, the 'conversation with a soul' event had started. Without Lee Shin Woo at that...!
 T/N: This actually says "Be cut in half and die".Previous Chapter Next Chapter