<Chapter 48. - Premature Family Plan - 2>
Rather than hate the Emperor, who'd turned his people into the undead, he was trying to change his mind and correct his mistake.
That was Seagald's goal. He was never against the Emperor in the first place. On the contrary, if the undead curse had never occurred, then he would still be the one closest to the Emperor.
"Now I get it. If we assume that that was his goal, then everything makes sense... I wonder how I never even considered it."
"Opposing the Heaven Defying General, and backstabbing the Metal God General, a spy sent from the surface were both..."
"Then why start acting now? Because the Anti-Skull test wasn't perfect?"
Lee Shin Woo briefly thought about it and soon firmly shook his head.
"There's that, but they also couldn't approach and convert the Emperor's forces into Anti-Skull given their strength. The entire reason we were able to cause such chaos here was because we'd killed so many of the 12 Generals."
"That's really persuasive; coming from the guy who's killed most of them."
"The timing... The timing was paramount..."
He'd finally figured out Seagald's plan, but it didn't change anything, at least for the time being.
At any rate, Seagald had failed miserably, and the once Heaven Rending Cannon, now Heaven Defying Flag Bearer, had expended all of its energy and shattered with Lee Shin Woo placing it into his inventory after.
"But there's a chance he might try something similar in the future."
"We have to take this seriously. To think we'd have to worry about both the Imperial Army and Anti-Skull... You really should've killed Seagald back there."
"I'm so sorry that I wasn't skilled enough."
He'd never even thought about this before, but if Seagald's technique worked on the Emperor or the Archmage, then it posed a serious problem. A simple issue he could originally deal with purely underground would suddenly involve the surface and turn into a major catastrophe.
The biggest problem was that the undead curse, which had been suppressed thus far, was spreading to the surface! He had to stop that no matter what. The biggest threat to the surface wasn't the Undead Emperor; it was Seagald Von Retadane!
Retadane might've known about this before; maybe that's why she hated her older brother so much.
"Shin Woo, are your undead safe from Anti-Skull?"
"Nothing to worry about there. The 'Anti-Skull transformation' is a little inferior to my own process."
Lee Shin Woo's 'contract' was a result of his innate skills as a Joker, as well as his peak darkness mastery. No matter how hard Seagald tried to turn them, they were already contracted to Lee Shin Woo, so he wouldn't be able to steal them from him.
"No, that's not the issue here! Listen to me!"
"The current situation's more important than you are, Senior."
"Don't just cut me off like that!"
Then, someone grabbed onto Lee Shin Woo's armor from behind and began shaking him. It was, of course, the sleeping beauty that had belatedly awoken from her second nap, Prince.
"How's this even possible? How can something like this even happen?"
"Please refer those questions to God."
"You really think I can meet God whenever I want like you!?"
"No, well, I can't meet Her whenever I want either..."
Once she regained consciousness, she didn't panic like they'd expected. Rather, she simply asked them for an explanation.
So they gave her a detailed explanation. Once they did, she was in disbelief.
"If you weren't going to believe us, then why did you ask for an explanation?"
"A skeleton and skeleton horse were heroes all along...!"
"Don't believe us then. It's your choice. Even without you, it doesn't change much in our fight against the Emperor."
"What do you mean 'it doesn't change much'!? Don't you know how strong I am? I was just feeling under the weather today. If I use my full strength, then...!"
Lee Shin Woo and Jin were both relieved by her familiar response. They had, unknowingly, gotten attached to her in the time they'd spent together. Lee Shin Woo just smiled at her nonsense and said.
"In any case, I am your junior, Senior Prince, so please don't worry. I'm not entirely sure whether I'm undead or human anymore. Haha."
"That's because you're not normal, Shin Woo."
"I didn't even know that my junior was masquerading as the Heaven Defying General and going around the Empire like an idiot..."
"It just turned out that way. By chance."
Prince retained her perplexed expression. If she had remained calm, then he would've been worried. But her confusion was brief, and she seemed to have made her decision, as she placed her hand on Lee Shin Woo's shoulder.
"You did good! You can rely on me from now on!"
"You talk like you're actually reliable."
"Who cares if you're undead? You're just missing some muscles and skin!"
"I can make them, you know."
"Wait, what? You..."
She was probably going to ask what was really on her mind now. Prince briefly hesitated and spoke while pouting.
"I lumped all the undead together without thinking about you. Since I thought all undead were on the side of the Empire..."
"...It's ok. I'm sorry for not telling you earlier. Maybe I was just too afraid."
He'd concluded that he couldn't reveal his identity to the heroes due to the undead curse or what not, but seeing her now, Lee Shin Woo realized that perhaps he just hadn't trusted her enough.
In the first place, Lee Shin Woo wasn't familiar with abstract feelings like trust.
"Now that we're at it, should I tell seniors Lloyd and Erian about me? Jin, don't you want to try the chatting channel, too?"
"Ah, wait... Wouldn't it be better if you did that face-to-face? It'll be a shock."
"You really aren't reliable in important matters, Senior."
"Why not!? I'm just taking everyone into consideration!"
The mood had certainly relaxed. Fortunately, Dana was someone he could get through to, unlike Seira. Plus, she was friendly and sweet, so she immediately mingled with the group and began talking with them.
Lee Shin Woo thought 'woman are really amazing' and quietly hurried up... And arrived at the site for the final task remaining in the city.
"This is... The thorn wall? Can't we just break it and leave?"
"It's hard to get into the thorn wall, but it's not that hard to get out of the wall. Hero, I will..."
Lee Shin Woo ignored the others, disembarked from Jin, and approached the wall. He seemed so defenseless that Dana tried to stop him, but Jin quietly shook her head. Lee Shin Woo then began what he came to do.
He said just two words and extended his hand, placing it atop the thorn wall. His companions looked on while wondering, 'what is he doing?' and tilted their heads... Soon, the thorn wall that seemed to wrap around the inner city vibrated and soon after they widened their eyes.
"...This isn't happening, right?"
"The Hero shouldn't have control over the thorn wall... Ha, I see. He's using a similar method that he used on the Heaven Rending Cannon with the Proof of Death!"
Of course he wasn't. Even without the Proof of Death, he could control the thorn wall however he wished.
Once he told it to gather, the thorn wall obeyed and began to gather. It was no mere magical overlap any longer; it was a complete overlap, or unison!
The Evil Eye's existence had gradually gotten even stronger due to the battle behind its walls. The Evil Eye, poorly processed by man, received Lee Shin Woo's call and began to awaken from its slumber. It seemingly returned to its proper form.
"M-My god... Overlapping matter itself? Did Evil Eye originally possess such an ability? No, that's impossible. Even the Emperor himself doesn't possess such a karma."
"When you see this, it makes you regret destroying the capital's thorn wall..."
"Wouldn't it be broken when we get there? We can just pick up the pieces when we're there."
"No, I don't think that's the issue here. Since the source of darkness, where the Evil Eye ore is mined from, lies within the capital!"
'He may be able to devour the very source of darkness as well,' Dana thought. She watched as the thorn wall, with a circumference of several kilometers, begin to dwindle more and more until it was compressed so much that it could be seen in its entirety with the naked eye. When she saw that, she ended up thinking that.
"Shin Woo... What are you going to do with that?"
The others were either shocked, had stopped thinking entirely, or couldn't understand what was going on, so they kept their mouths shut. On the other hand, Kratia's eyes shined, just like Lee Shin Woo's, as she saw the thorn wall gradually reduce in size.
Now that he thought about it, he'd been so busy since reuniting with her that he hadn't had a proper conversation with her as of yet. Lee Shin Woo solemnly nodded his head and took out something from his chest. It was the Titan Core. When she saw that, her eyes seemed to radiate light.
"It's already been reinforced with Dark Flame. I'm going to reinforce it with this new ore and create a Titan that integrates all my flames together."
"Ooooooh! What a cool idea!"
Her radiant eyes seemed more blinding than the Heaven Rending Cannon's beam! In any case, he'd found someone to help him. If Kratia helped him out, then he should be able to create an entirely new golem before the final battle!
Lee Shin Woo let her look over the core some more and concentrated on scaling down and compressing the Evil Eye. He'd already thrown in the piece of Evil Eye he'd picked up before. Around that point, the other heroes completely gave up on understanding what he was doing.
How much time had passed? When the space the thorn wall had once occupied was empty, a watermelon sized blackish-red ore was placed before them. It was giving off a truly dreary feeling. Lee Shin Woo gulped and placed his hand atop it.
[You have acquired the Lv9 Demon Heart.]
"Oh. The name's changed."
"You used level 6 materials, yet it evolved into a level 9 item..."
"Demon Heart... To think Shin Woo's heart, which he'd lost by becoming undead, would show up here..."
Lee Shin Woo examined the Demon Heart. It was incredibly heavy, but he could somehow lift it with both hands. If he didn't use the darkness element, then it would've been impossible to lift.
Its weight, its durability, and its magic. All of these were much greater than the original thorn wall. If he hadn't witnessed the compression process of the thorn wall, then even Lee Shin Woo wouldn't have imagined that it came from the Evil Eye ore.
"Alright. We've got everything we came for. Let's go."
"But Shin Woo, where are we going? The wine factory?"
"No, we're going somewhere even better."
It had existed for several years but was so secretive that it hadn't been discovered by the Emperor. Lee Shin Woo knew of its location and had just recently become the owner of it.
"The Metal Army's secret base. No, let's call it our base now."
"You demon... That's definitely Shin Woo's heart."
"Heaven Defying General Paul Zero... So cool."
Jin shook her head and muttered, but Kratia nodded her head, as though she were impressed by anything Paul Zero did. Seeing that, Prince just said thoughtlessly.
"I'm hungry. Let's eat when we get there."Previous Chapter Next Chapter