<Chapter 46. Death's Companion - 2>
'I knew she'd be like this.'
Lee Shin Woo thought as he watched her crazily swinging her flail at the Annihilation Flame Sword God. He knew she'd be like this if she met Seagald, so it didn't feel out of place at all.
This is why he didn't want to bring her along. Plus, he'd wanted to take care of Seagald before he got into the city, but it was too late, he was already here! He hadn't planned for this!
[Tch. Damn skeleton! There are too many monsters, so there's nothing much we can do...!]
Arema Steelworker gritted his teeth with a similar expression from beside him. In the midst of that, Arema punched with his steel fist, killing dozens of monsters in a single blow; truly befitting of one of the Empire's Four Heavenly Commanders. Lee Shin Woo just couldn't compare in terms of pure physical strength.
He was strong enough to take on Seagald at least. Lee Shin Woo wanted to be the one to take on Seagald, but he was concerned about the Lich. It was obvious that Arema wasn't a good match for the Archmage! That's why he'd moved so stealthily before!
"I'll take care of the Lich. You handle Seagald. It's unfortunate that that crazy woman's there, but you'll have to put your life on the line."
[...Don't forget to uphold your end of the bargain. We'll engrave that contract upon our very souls.]
'Sure. If you can even find your own soul, that is.'
A person's words become karma, especially if the speaker is at a high 'level'. Breaking one's promise would result in extremely negative karma.
Unfortunately, Lee Shin Woo possessed karma that specialized in lying, cheating, or coming up with excuses! What's worse, Lee Shin Woo also had the Shining Flame, Dark Shadow, and Dark Flame, so the contract was meaningless before him; Arema was wasting his time by trusting in the contract.
"A contract's sacred. I have no intention of carrying these things around forever, so don't worry and just go fight."
[Ha. You sound trustworthy. Worry about yourself. Since it's a lot more troublesome fighting against the Archmage than Seagald.]
"I'll promise you this. My battle will end a lot quicker than yours."
Lee Shin Woo assured, looked up at the Archmage, and had Jin unfurl her wings. Everyone on the battle flinched, as the ridiculously fast horse had sprouted wings.
But what came next was even more shocking. She fluttered her wings and arrived in front of the Archmage instantaneously. Lee Shin Woo was already aiming the tip of his lance, which was covered in a swaying black energy, at the middle of the Archmage's forehead.
Lee Shin Woo let out a short battle cry and thrust forward! It was so quick that no one could tell where it was going. On the contrary, it felt like it'd be easier to dodge a random lightning bolt that came from a clear blue sky. As a Lich, whose stats were primarily focused on magic, he couldn't dodge it.
And he thought there was no real reason to dodge it either. Feotane's body, as well as the area around him, was tinged in his magic, and the space was distorted. Once he entered the Archmage's domain, it wouldn't matter how strong Lee Shin Woo's attack was; his attack would either go awry or break under the pressure.
[What!? My mana!? Why is my mana...!?]
At least, that's what Feotane Von Seldin thought, but overconfidence would always come back to bite you. Lee Shin Woo erased the Archmage's spatial mana, as if he were putting out a candle flame, and thrust his lance into his forehead. He screamed in pain as if he were an ordinary person meeting a ninja in the middle of the night!
"If you wanted to dodge my attack, then you should've tried something new. Heup!"
After stabbing the Lich, he threw his lance into the air. In an instant, the Lich's agonizing cries became distant. If he could, he would've taken this more slowly, but Lee Shin Woo didn't have that option right now; this was the best he could do.
'Ha. He's really something. Dark Shadow was almost not enough; I almost needed to pull out the Shining and Dark Flames too... The Archmage really lives up to his name... Wait, why is that guy still level 8?'
Lee Shin Woo had discreetly applied Dark Shadow to his previous attack, allowing him to nullify the Archmage's mana and reach him. Although he could use innate elements, repeatedly fighting in CQC against the Lich, who could almost infinitely use his spatial magic, was impossible.
His instinct as a Joker allowed him to put up a strong front, but it was a close call. He'd almost used 70% of his mana in that last attack. It was really a close call. He thought he'd die.
'Sseup. The title of Four Heavenly Commanders isn't for nothing.'
He'd only realized this after reaching level 8 and fighting against them, but the Archmage's magic was considerable. It was proof that he was highly ranked amongst level 8s.
He could barely match it if he were to call his 17 weapons and suck them dry, but if he were to do that, then he would soon be crushed by the spatial magic. Feotane Von Seldin possessed enough magic to overcome Lee Shin Woo's elemental advantage.
'...If I want to fight against a guy like that, then my best option's doing as much damage as I can while his spatial magic's disabled and then running away. Let's move on.'
Doing as much damage as he could and then retreating. He wasn't going to repeat that last attack again. Since there was no way someone of his level would get hit by the same attack twice!
He became even more sure of it when he saw Arema Steelworker, who showed what a true warrior was; Lee Shin Woo was only good at CQC because of Jin. He actually didn't specialize in it. What he did specialize in was...
Controlling bone! Before the Lich got a hold of himself and pulled the lance out, Lee Shin Woo caused it to explode through Rule of Bone; the explosion was focused entirely on the Lich!
In order to deal with this, the Lich released his own magic, but he was suddenly struck by another lance. The Archmage had been so focused on his magic in order to deal with the resulting energy of the explosion that he couldn't dodge the second lance.
[That won't work twice... Kuhahk!]
The Archmage's overwhelming spatial magic had crumpled the lance, but it didn't matter. The lance had already pierced his body, and crumpling up a weapon wouldn't decrease the force of its explosion!
He exploded that one too. The Lich emitted even more magic to deal with the resulting energy, but Lee Shin Woo then lodged another weapon, a sword gleaming with white light... and caused a third explosion.
The Lich wasn't able to withstand Lee Shin Woo's attacks and felt his consciousness go white as his body and magic began to fade.
This severing property was definitely the light element, or perhaps something even greater...! Fortunately, it wasn't powerful enough to sever him from his 'core', but if he were to die here, then he would lose a significant amount of magic.
However, there was something even more important than that...!
[You tricked me, who controls space itself... How!? How did you do it!?]
"You already know, don't you. Yeah, I tricked you. Or rather, I tricked your mana."
Victory in a battle between magicians relied on three factors. One, the 'level' of the one using magic. Two, the 'level' of one's magic; in terms of this battle, it'd be the 'level' of his elements. And finally, the quantity of the mana one possessed.
He'd cleared both the first and second conditions, but he didn't feel like he could overcome the Archmage in the third, so he used Rule of Bone and Wild Card in conjunction to overcome that hurdle.
He had a brief period of time to recover between hitting him with a weapon and then exploding it. If he could repeatedly give himself that time, then it would be Lee Shin Woo's win.
Thus, Lee Shin Woo could fool his wide-reaching mana senses with his Wild Card skill and struck with his weapons. This was only possible because of his Acting skill, which had leveled up and enabled him to fool a part of the world, mana itself.
[Trick...? You tricked my mana...!?]
"If you don't want them to see, then shut their eyes. If you don't want them to smell, then block their nose. If you don't want them to hear your secret, then you cover their ears. Watch. If I know 'what' I want to trick, then it's easy."
[Even if you did trick me, how were you able to erase the spatial magic protecting me... Kahahk!]
The Archmage couldn't figure out what he'd done and gritted his teeth. At that moment, Lee Shin Woo summoned a fourth weapon, sliced apart a bracelet the Archmage was wearing, and then lodged it into the Archmage's chest and exploded it. The bracelet was probably an artifact that supplemented his Health or Magic. The Archmage's body had already reached its limit and should've disappeared already; his bracelet and his body glimmered and he had been alive despite the critical damage.
That ended it. Ultimately, the Archmage 'died' without getting an answer to his question. The Archmage hadn't been able to figure out the specifics of Lee Shin Woo's innate element.
However, Lee Shin Woo clicked his tongue, as though he'd found the Archmage's death and disappearance annoying. The reason was clear. Since all he had left behind was the bracelet he'd sliced in half.
That meant only one thing. The Lich hadn't truly died. It didn't matter if his physical body was destroyed since his soul remained safe and sound within a separate container. His physical body would eventually be restored. He'd be back.
'I tried erasing his existence with Shining Flame, stealing his soul through Dark Flame, and when that didn't work, I tried using Dark Shadow to inverse the transmission of his consciousness back to his container and bring the container here instead, but...'
Each and every one of the weapons Lee Shin Woo had used had held an innate element, but none of his three innate elements had worked.
Then, did that mean that he had no choice but to find that damn Lich's soul to kill him? The Emperor was probably a Lich too, so he would need to find a way to destroy souls remotely...!
In the midst of all this, the floating bracelet gathered an enormous amount of mana and restored itself. No, that wasn't all. It actually became stronger than before. Lee Shin Woo then grabbed the artifact.
[The artifact has absorbed a portion of the Lich's core mana and is evolving!]
[You have acquired the Lv8 Proof of Death (+4)!]
The artifact was comprised of bones, but it was difficult to figure out how it was made; it was probably made from the bones of an ancient high level monster, as well as the Archmage's own bones.
But there was something more important than all that. Lee Shin Woo had destroyed the artifact, yet it had actually evolved once the Lich had disappeared. Why? The answer was included in the message. It had absorbed some of the Lich's core mana... In other words, Lee Shin Woo had succeeded in taking a portion of Feotane Von Seldin's soul.
'So it wasn't entirely ineffective, huh.'
Lee Shin Woo smiled slightly. He hadn't been going in the wrong direction. Now all he needed to do was push on and refine himself! It was good that he fought the Archmage here. With that feeling of relief, he turned around, but...
[It looks like we'll finally be together, little sister.]
He saw Seagald's sword pierce through Seira Von Retadane's heart.Previous Chapter Next Chapter