Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 12

<Chapter 4. Hunting Hero - 3>

One way or another, the battle had gone on for 20 minutes, and Lee Shin Woo cleanly decided against using his Avenger skill against the Treasure Eaters. 
While the Pauls were fighting against the Treasure Eaters, he used his Beginner Stealth and tried to covertly escape the battlefield, but it was impossible to escape their sight, especially when their goal was his Bone of Thunder Lasting.

'Still, I can't use my weapon as bait to run away. Ultimately, I have to clean up all of them here before I can proceed...'

Lee Shin Woo sighed and raised his head. He saw four Treasure Eaters that only watched him and followed him. There was no point to a beautiful girl chasing after him right now, let alone a caterpillar...

'How exactly am I supposed to take care of all of these?' 

Truthfully, as the Pauls' bones fluttered in the wind, they were busy acting violently, and somehow managed to take down two of the Treasure Eaters. It wasn't hard to land a fatal blow if their swords boasted a high attack power.
The problem was that he didn't have the opportunity to collect their bodies as the other Treasure Eaters ran amuck, eating their comrade's body and treasure whole. Even though they were the same species, their avarice didn't lessen one bit. Moreover, it seems as though they became stronger when they ate their comrades' bodies, so it was truly nuts. 

[The Treasure Eater used the Shriek of the Dead, but it was nullified by the Invisible Heart.]
[Beginner Shriek of the Dead has become Lv5.]

Due to the Lv3 Treasure Eater's Shriek of the Dead, Lee Shin Woo's own Shriek of the Dead grew. He realized for the first time today that even if he didn't use the skill personally, it would increase his proficiency, as long as he was exposed to the skill.

[Ugh... Traitors of... the Empire...!]
[I'll get my revenge for... General Seagald here...!]

But whenever the Treasure Eaters shrieked, more than half of the skeletons he had gathered fought amongst each other; the fact that the numbers dwindled genuinely made his bones hurt. No, now that he thought about it, they knew about General Seagald! Exactly how popular could he have been!?

"You idiots, get a hold of yourselves! You're comrades!"
[Over there, too... An enemy...!]
[He's holding... a nice sword...!]
[Execute him... and report...!]
"Ah, shit."

He wondered why his genuine scream hadn't caused the skeletons to get a hold of themselves. Rather, he had been targeted by the skeletons who were out of their minds due to the Shriek of the Dead. This is why they say kids are ruining comics these days!

It wasn't the time to leisurely take on skeletons right now. Though they had killed two Treasure Eaters, there were four remaining, and there was even a level 3 Treasure Eater amongst them.
Fine, since it's come to this, it's time to counterattack! Lee Shin Woo got atop the roof of a building that had been destroyed by the Treasure Eaters' rampage and shrieked.


[You used the Shriek of the Dead! The enemies in the entire area have momentarily fallen into a frenzied state!]
[The Lv3 Treasure Eater has resisted the Shriek of the Dead.]

At that moment, the atmosphere of the entire area felt like it had calmed down the few skeletons that had been attacking him, as well as the huge caterpillar shaped monsters crazily crawling towards him... The Treasure Eaters even stopped as if they had been stunned. 


At that moment, Lee Shin Woo thought that it was impossible, but that impossibility had taken hold of those people, no those monsters. The Treasure Eaters started to fight amongst themselves!
If they weren't cognizant that they were allies anymore; the prey they were most hungry for were obviously members of their own species.

[Gguaaaaahk, Ggueeeeeeeeeehk!]

The Lv3 Treasure Eater, the only one to resist the Shriek of the Dead, tried to pull them apart and got between them, but it had the opposite effect. Like how the skeletons had tried to attack Lee Shin Woo, the Treasure Eaters also started to attack the Lv3 Treasure Eater without fear. 
"Wow, this is huge."

While the Treasure Eaters were tied up in fighting amongst themselves, Lee Shin Woo cleaned up the skeletons running amuck. 
The Treasure Eaters were level 2 and possessed the Shriek of the Dead themselves, so he didn't think it would work, but that was also his bias. As expected, before he used it himself, he couldn't know how it would turn out. He had gotten another good experience this way.

"Die... You've recovered, Paul? You dumbass, I was worried about you!"
[Thanks... Joining...]

The moment he was about to shatter the Skeleton Warrior's head with his Bursting Thunder skill, it had recovered from the effects of the Shriek of the Dead. Upon seeing that, Lee Shin Woo quickly withdrew his sword and patted its shoulder. Even while being dazed at Lee Shin Woo's words of concern, it followed behind him. 

"Those who have recovered, come over to this side! We can't do anything by ourselves, but if we're with our comrades, we can do anything!"
[I feel strength... from the newbie's voice...!]
[Over here, this way...!]

He coaxed the unscathed skeletons nearby and finished cleaning up the rest of the afflicted skeletons. 
Within the mayhem, all of the level 1 skeletons had already died, but the level 2 skeletons were fairly intact, and as a result, he gathered 15 Skeleton Warriors.

"Those wicked beings that are destroying the empire, let's take them down together! Let's pool our strength into one!"
[Defeat... together...!]
[Energy... is rising!]

[Acting skill has become Lv3.]

The Skeleton Warriors, compared to the Skeleton Soldiers or Archers, were relatively solid. That was especially true regarding their fighting spirit, which had been ignited from Lee Shin Woo's speech. 
But their idea of a system of command was still a mess, and just by him speaking a bit bravely, it felt a little bit like they had, at some point, recognized him as their superior. Though it was the best thing that could happen to him. 

[Kuook... Kuheeeeeeeeeek!]

Meanwhile, at around the same time that Lee Shin Woo had rallied the Skeleton Warriors, the Treasure Eaters were suddenly finishing up their bloody battle. In the most awful way at that. 


Above the wreckage of the now ruined building, the sole remaining Lv3 Treasure Eater cried out as the winner. After being half torn apart and eaten, the corpses of the other abandoned Treasure Eaters truly looked pitiful. But Lee Shin Woo wasn't very surprised, as he knew about halfway through that this is how it would turn out. 

"I can get all the treasure if I take care of that one guy anyway. And it got a lot of injuries from fighting too..."
[Report to... superiors...!]
"Yeah, yeah, I got it. But we gotta take down that guy first, right?"

Although they didn't even have any superiors to report to, the Skeleton Warriors kept talking about superiors, so Lee Shin Woo adequately appeased them, and raised his sword high. It was a sort of provocation towards the Treasure Eater.
Despite the thick dust filling the environment, due to the chaos that had occurred everywhere, his raised Bone of Thunder Lasting radiated light. Despite it changing into bone, the blade still gleamed with light, a truly mysterious sight.

[The Lv3 Treasure Eater used Shriek of the Dead, but it failed due to lack of mana!]

"Nice timing. Let's go, guys!"
[I got it!]
[Protecting the Empire...! That's the will of... General Seagald...!]

So, what the hell did General Seagald do!? No wait, I heard that asshole plotted treason!


As soon as the Treasure Eater failed its Shriek of the Dead, it seemed to become extremely uneasy, as it faced the charging Skeleton Warriors and cried out a manaless shriek for a while. Then, it charged forward. 
Its force came close to that of a speeding locomotive! 
The Skeleton Warriors tried to charge at the Treasure Eater and foolishly attempted it head-on...

"Dodge what attacks you can! We'll survive and protect the Empire!"
[Oh, Ooooh...!]
[I'll follow... your words!]

He used his Sprint and leaped high into the air. The words Lee Shin Woo had blurted out seemed to stir a feeling within each Skeleton Warrior, as they changed their minds and engaged in evasive maneuvers. 
Of course, there were some who couldn't keep up with the Treasure Eater's speed, so they were struck in the front, but luckily those guys didn't die in one hit, endured, and lodged their bone swords into the Treasure Eater's flesh. 'Even when it's rotten, it's still a herring'; it's worth surviving for this long!

"Bursting Thunder!"

Due to these guys' efforts, the Treasure Eater's charge had been halted; Lee Shin Woo aimed for that timing and attacked. Since it had risen to its utmost, he aimed for its head and plummeted down; he pierced with his sword, striking down with force akin to lightning. 

[Critical Hit!]

Though Bursting Thunder was nothing more than a passive skill, the moment he clashed against an enemy with a melee weapon, following the harmonization between his body's movements and his mana, an explosive force would occur, to the point that it could rightly be called a mystery. If it had been at the intermediate level, this battle would already be over. 
And even if the skill was only low rank right now, after going through the dungeon, he had somewhat familiarized his body with the technique, so his sword strike was enough to exert a force akin to lightning against the Treasure Eater.

"Here, take one more!"

He could also interpret simple words now. It was saying that it hurt terrifyingly. 
Lee Shin Woo radiated light and dodged the Treasure Eater spewing rotten blood. He used his Sprint to jump again and safely landed on the ground. He saw some Skeleton Warriors who hadn't been able to dodge its rampage and get crushed.

"Dodge, even if you have to roll on the floor! And stab your swords into that guy!"
[Ugh... as a warrior, as a soldier...! I'll face it!]
[Avoid it...! You have to avoid its attacks so that you can protect the Empire...!]
[We're the Empire's proud warriors...!]

The true intent behind his words was 'it's hard for me to beat this guy alone, so you guys can't die on me already!', but the Skeleton Warriors took it as encouragement.
Now, regardless of what he said, the Skeleton Warriors fighting spirit was increasing. He thought briefly, 'Is this what it feels like to be a religious leader of a pseudo-religion?'. If the God who made him into a skeleton was to see this scene, her blood pressure would rise and would feel unsteady. 

'In any case, I have to finish it before it recovers its mana. We've come more than halfway, more than halfway...!'

He checked the Treasure Eater's condition, as well as the Skeleton Warriors' condition, and intensely calculated how he should move next.
If it seems like it was distracted by the Skeleton Warriors, he would provoke it by swinging his sword within its sight; and if it seemed like a lot of Skeleton Warriors would remain while the Treasure Eater was gradually accumulating damage, he would cold-heartedly lead them to their deaths. This situational decision making was an ability that he always had.

[Kuek, Kuheeeeek...!]

How long did that gruesome battle go on? Through one of the Skeleton Warrior's brilliant sacrifice, Lee Shin Woo blocked the Treasure Eater's attack and forcefully struck with his sword. The moment he cleaved its rotten belly, the Treasure Eater coughed intensely and spewed out a blood clot. 

"Now, guys! Gang up on him!"
[For the honor... of the Empire!]

While it was dying, they had to rush it! Lee Shin Woo bobbed his hand, sending the signal, and the Skeleton Warriors simultaneously charged at the Treasure Eater. The Treasure Eater had become a mess and one by one, the Skeleton Warriors' swords lodged deep into its flesh. 

[Kuhek, Kueeeeek...!]

The Treasure Eater spat out another clot of blood and was in pain. It was undoubtedly in a fatal state! Lee Shin Woo raised his sword and forcibly yelled. Now it was time to harvest the fruit of this long and distressing battle! The siege destruction formation (or ganging up) had paid off! 

"We're all the way there! Charge, I said charge! Stab more forcefully!"
[Killing it!]
[If I'm with you... I can go anywhere!]

The Skeleton Warriors charged behind Lee Shin Woo while saying words that felt somewhat burdensome to him. However, talking about the conclusion first, this became Lee Shin Woo's greatest miscalculation in this battle. 

[Kik... Kigihiiiiiiiiiiii!]

The Treasure Eater spewed out a blood clot, raised its rotten eyes, and gazed at them. Immediately after, from within the blood clots, flames...

"Oh, hey wait a sec..."
The blood clots exploded in a grand fashion and covered the entire area!

[1] T/N: It's a saying that means something that's originally good won't wear out/change and/or someone's nature/integrity won't change. Basically, he's saying that they still have their skill, even after they've degraded into skeletons.
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