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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 194

<Chapter 28. Kratia's Quest - 3>


Prince recognized the fact that she was weaker than Kratia, and it seemed like the situation was somehow resolved... but unfortunately, the situation didn't progress so smoothly.

The joint operation... she hadn't even asked Lee Shin Woo's group to work together with her, yet she insisted that, as heroes, they had to clear the training facility together.

"We're going to the next level. Train by yourself. I don't like you."

"The next level? Don't lie. You came here before me? You came to the Empire a lot later than me, so how!?"

"I can prove it to you."

"Keuk, that's a seal of completion... How!?"

Lee Shin Woo let Kratia and Prince bicker, and went to explore the facility alone... No, he and Jin moved secretly and explored with Rem. There were two things that was surprising about this facility. One, it was huge, and two, mana was filling it to the brim.

[It looks like they used golem techniques as well. It cannot carry out specific commands, but a simple core was inserted that can carry out simple repetitive commands.]

"Looks that way. ...That looks like you could use it to train knights, too."

There was a corner of the facility that made him think of an amusement park. Starting from the entrance, he followed the guide through the facility and would go from one building-shaped training ground to another.

The difference between it and an amusement park was that there was a specific order one had to go through. And...

"It seems like there's no safety equipment..."

"I'll get scared, so don't say stuff like that."

"But Kratia's right. It'll definitely help in controlling mana."

Lee Shin Woo secretly glanced back. Kratia and Prince looked like they were still arguing, so he left them behind and entered the first facility. Then, he heard a mechanical sounding voice in his ear. It was a similar sound to that of a golem activating.

[Beginning first training exercise. Testing how quickly the user can gather their mana.]

[Three participants in the training exercise. Beginning training exercise. Please gather enough mana to use intermediate magic at minimum.]

"Aha, so they do start with the fundamentals after all."

"Huh? I have to do this too."

[Master, if you give me the order, I will destroy the facility's central hub. Probability of success: 80%.]

"For now, just do as it says."

[I understand.]

If it just wanted him to gather his mana into one spot, then he could've done this when he was level 1, but by adding the intermediate magic stipulation, they were probably testing how fast one could gather their mana, as well as one's maximum capacity. To be honest, it wasn't all that difficult, so he did it immediately.

[Beginning second training exercise. Testing ability to infuse mana, as well as how much is lost during the transfer.]

[Three participants in the training exercise. Beginning training exercise. Please infuse mana into the rock falling from above and stop it.]

"Huh?"

The message ended and at the same time, a giant rock suddenly fell from above their heads! Jin was taken aback, but Lee Shin Woo fired out mana that was accumulated in his hand and concentrated it into the rock. In addition, he used his connection with Jin to transfer the mana Jin had gathered to the rock as well.

Rem could control mana well, as it possessed the Mana Parasite ability, and was easily able to infuse its mana into the rock. The moment the three's mana was completely infused, the once falling rock stopped in place. It was set up so that if an adequate amount of mana was infused, then the rock would stop falling.

"There's a limit to how inhospitable you can be; they're trying to kills us!"

"Get a hold of yourself, Jin. You won't die if you get hit by a rock like this anymore."

"...Ah, you're right."

[Passed. Beginning third training exercise. Testing rapid concentration and multiple infusions of mana.]

[Three participants in the training exercise. Beginning training exercise. Please infuse a sufficient amount of mana into each and every rock that comes flying in every direction.]

The third training exercise was even more ridiculous. There were cannons that seemed to spring out from everywhere within the vast facility; they aimed for Lee Shin Woo's party and sharp rocks were shot at them from every direction!

Moreover, their mission objective was not to destroy or evade the rocks, but to infuse an adequate amount of mana into them to stop them! Jin was astonished once more, but Lee Shin Woo immediately progressed with the mission. To be honest, this was nothing compared to the complexity of making the Steelworker seal.

'All I have to do is calculate how much mana they need before they stop, and divide my mana and infuse it into them.'

The amount of mana he needed to use to stop each rock was identical. But before the rocks came close, he would have to sense them, fire his mana at a long-range, and infuse it into them, which was a bit complex. However, Lee Shin Woo was capable of this level of mana control when he was level 3, so he was able to do it easily.

But Jin was the problem.

"Hey! Why aren't you stopping the ones coming at me! Hey!"

"You have to practice too. It may look like it doesn't apply to you, but if you become able to control mana in a multitude of ways, then all of your abilities will get stronger."

Lee Shin Woo said provokingly as he shot out his mana everywhere and accurately hit the rocks. 

After that, Jin was struck by quite a few more rocks (it didn't hurt much since he was covered in steel armor, but he felt quite bad) and gritted his teeth, then tried his best to imitate Lee Shin Woo. Of course, it wasn't that easy.

"No, not that way. You have to control it a bit more thoroughly. It seems like they won't stop if you infuse too much mana."

"How is this even possible!?"

But after continuously getting hit by the rocks, Jin concentrated more on his magic control, even if he was doing it out of anger. After 7 minutes of being struck by the barrage of rocks, he finally succeeded in infusing the right amount of mana into a rock! At that very moment, the rocks that had once been flying at them vanished.

[Ending training exercise. Passed: 2, Failed: 1.]

[Would you like to kick out the failure and continue with the next training exercise? Or would you like to retrain with the failure?]

"This guy is doing this on purpose, isn't he!? He ended it here on purpose, didn't he!?"

"Calm down. If you get too excited, then you'll forget what it felt like!"

"I don't care. I'll just destroy it all!"

Right when Jin was about to destroy the facility with his mouth cannon, the training was suspended and Kratia walked onto the premises. Prince was with her, though it looked like she still didn't understand what was going on.

"Shin Woo, we don't have time to waste on the basic training facility."

"Yeah, if you want to assess this frustrating kid's ability, then you have to go further in."

"So wait, you decided to work together?"

"So long as they follow us and don't say anything."

"Keuk."

"Oh..."

It seemed as though an individual who had previously passed the training exercises can skip those facilities; it looked like companions could go with them as well. Hearing that, Lee Shin Woo thought briefly and got down from Jin's back.

'You're going to follow them!?'

'I trust you. Plus, you need this training. Well, see you later.'

'Hey...!'

Jin was so surprised that he leaped, but Lee Shin Woo just grinned and patted him. Once Prince entered, Rem went into stealth mode and hid itself. Lee Shin Woo placed Rem atop Jin's back so that it wouldn't be noticed.

'Rem, just make sure this guy doesn't die.'

'I understand.'

Kratia, who had been watching that interaction, noticed that Rem went into stealth mode, but didn't say anything. That was because she realized that Lee Shin Woo was trying to hide a few facts that stemmed from him being a skeleton.

But unrelated to that, Kratia was slightly disappointed in Prince, as she didn't notice Rem going into stealth mode. To be honest, it was only possible because Lee Shin Woo had added in his Assimilation and Disguise skills. If one couldn't grasp Rem's original mana, then it would fool anyone.

"A horse will just get in the way of your training. ...But if you just leave it like that, it won't leave?"

"He's extremely smart, so it'll be fine."

"Then again, it does seem quite impressive for a horse that you got in the Empire... It's just like that elf said."

"Now, let's go forward. Kratia, you lead."

When Prince saw Jin, who was wearing steel armor, she briefly admired him, but other than that, she paid him no mind. Of course, Lee Shin Woo had slightly used his ability here as well. He had succeeded in completely tearing her attention away from Jin and Rem.

"The further we go, the more complex it becomes. There are also sections that require combat."

"Combat?"

"Since this is a dungeon. Monsters are led and restrained through magic."

"Ah, as expected."

Lee Shin Woo then understood. Regardless of how amazing the Royal Magician Leader was, he wouldn't have been able to create this large of a subspace in a place that had nothing there. In other words, he had created this facility by using pre-existing dungeons.

"Though it is amazing that he tied together several dungeons into one."

"That's not something a human being can do..."

While they talked, the group used Kratia's free pass to get through the various facilities.

As he passed through, Lee Shin Woo saw the hidden, bloodied iron maces hidden here and there, the thorn floor, the spears that were set up in the ceiling that threatened to fall, as well as the areas that were completely destroyed and rebuilt into the facilities with magic, etc... and he couldn't figure whether the Royal Magician Leader wanted to train magicians or to bury them.

"This facility also has a system that measures the level of magic, and whether one can use magic or not. It's not an ability inherent to the dungeon, so it's definitely an artifact. I was sure after I retraced the mana."

"R-Retraced?"

Prince's eyes shook. Yeah, Lee Shin Woo had roughly expected that she wouldn't know anything.

"We came here to clear all of the training exercises and take that. Don't touch it."

"But as a fellow hero, I should..."

"You agreed to follow us and not say anything."

"Keuk...!"

"But if you want the artifact, you can compete with us. Though it would be 2 on 1."

Kratia dragged one of Lee Shin Woos arms towards her and hugged it, and laughed at Prince. After she had figured out that Prince was a girl, Kratia's way of teasing her had changed. It seemed like her teasing was quite effective.

"I wouldn't need your help if Lloyd was here...!"

"If you needed help, you should've brought him."

"But I couldn't stand the sight him enjoying that elf sticking to him, so I... Hey, why am I telling you this!? It's fine, you can take it all! All I need is an increase in my magical abilities!"

Lee Shin Woo watched as Prince got caught up in Kratia's simple trick as well as her self-implosion, and couldn't bear how cute she was. It felt like he was watching a couple of girls playing together.

However, that soon came to an end. With Kratia's free pass, they passed through 70% of the facility and finally stopped in front of a large building.

"Starting here, it was impossible for me to do alone. A lot of monsters, and I mean a lot of monsters come. There are a lot of traps as well, and you have to control your magic during all of this. There's no time to even follow the commands. You just have to get through."

Of course, the reason that the Royal Magician Leader had created this facility was to give the trainee a specific task and in the process of passing, they would become better at controlling magic, thus becoming a better magician overall.

But because the danger of this facility was so high, anyone would pass if they got through the facility as well.

"Do I just need to take care of the monsters?"

"If you can."

"It should be fine if I just burn the entire facility."

"That could... work."

"Alright, then let's start."

"Wait a sec."

Kratia stopped Prince, who was about to enter the facility. Compared to when she was teasing her before, Kratia spoke in a quite serious tone.

"Since so much time has passed, the facility has developed in a completely different direction from the original creator's wishes. We have to prepare as much as we can."

"So you want to use tricks instead of doing it fairly? I can't do that. My pride as a magician won't allow me to!"

"You had a free pass all the way here, and yet..."

"All the more reason that I have to prove myself here! If you're afraid, then I'll go in first. You can follow behind me!"

He knew this would happen eventually, but it happened at a crucial time; Prince didn't heed Kratia's warning and charged. Kratia clicked her tongue as she saw Prince charge into the facility alone. Lee Shin Woo spoke carefully.

"Do we not need to follow her?"

"She'll come out soon. You get a chance to do that."

Kratia ended up being right. Once she said that, Prince rushed out of the facility while shivering and looking as though she would cry. She had only been in there for but a moment, yet her clothes were in tatters and beneath her ripped robes, he could slightly see her lingerie top.

"T-The monsters... the monsters...!"

"There, there. Itll be fine."

She had received such an extreme shock that she temporarily reverted to a preschooler, so Lee Shin Woo comforted her. Above all, the scariest part was that the facility was still extremely quiet, even at this very moment.

Lee Shin Woo comforted Prince and waited for Kratia to explain the facility to them. She smiled slightly and said honestly.

"Despite it being a subspace that was creating by connecting several dungeons together, it wasn't managed properly and was neglected for dozens of years, so there are a lot of monsters clumped up in that limited space. They're all at least level 6..."

"How many?"

"...I could only count about 50,000. Plus, it's frustrating because whenever you mess up, the monsters are all buffed."

"Hoh."

The moment he heard that, Lee Shin Woo equipped his sword, the Breath of the Lightning God. One in each hand at that!

"That sounds really interesting."

Lee Shin Woo hadn't understood why he had to come to a facility designed to train magicians, but now he did. 'Kratia, thanks for bringing me here!'

"Then, shall we go in when we're all ready?"

"I really like that about you."

The mana that once flowed throughout his body was redirected into his two Breath of the Lightning Gods. As if responding to him, Kratia concentrated mana into her orb while bringing out magical devices that he'd never even seen before one by one.

Prince, who was silently watching them from the side, said.

"Can I go after I change my clothes?"

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