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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 198

<Chapter 28. Kratia's Quest - 7>


"I'll go bring my horse over."

Lee Shin Woo firmly declared after the three of them somehow cleared the twenty-first training exercise.

How hard could the training exercise had been if even Kratia had her hands on her knees and was out of breath. Meanwhile, Prince prostrated on the floor like Yamcha who'd been hit by a Saibaman's self-destruct attack. It seemed like she didnt even have the energy to keep up appearances.

"If you wait here, then I'll be right back."

"Huuu... Huh?"

But when Lee Shin Woo spoke as though he'd go immediately, Yamcha... No, Prince barely raised her head and responded.

"Wouldn't it... be dangerous to bring your horse?"

"Kratia takes care of all the training exercise objectives, and I can't leave out my horse in battle."

"...Is it that amazing?"

"Of course."

He nodded his head, then looked up at the building in front of them, or the twenty-second training facility, and spoke.

"I feel like this will be the last facility. I'd like to finish it together."

"Really!? That's the last one!?"

"Yeah."

Kratia had finally caught her breath, raised her head, and spoke. Even as they had been fighting for more than two days, Kratia had been busy calculating the facilitys magic formula; it seemed like she was replenishing her sugar levels, as she ate an appetizing grape.

"That's the last one. If we just clear that one, then... We can figure out everything there is to know about this facility. We can also get what Shin Woo wants, too."

"Hoo, hooo... Anyway, it feels like I'll reach level 7 soon. I'll participate and be the MVP again."

"Shin Woo, go ahead."

"Alright."

"Hey, don't ignore me!"

He didn't focus on the neurotic Prince's adorable lips... and once he saw Kratia waving at him, who was passing out grapes, he retraced his steps.

"Hey, you!"

[Master.]

"Huh!?"

But unexpectedly, he didn't need to go back very far. During the ten days that it had taken for Lee Shin Woo to clear up to the twenty-first facility, Jin and Rem had reached the tenth training facility. Lee Shin Woo saw Jin, who was stretching and was honestly quite surprised.

"Did you get a bit better at controlling mana?"

"I got good at dumping anything I couldn't do onto the golem!"

[I have carried out your order, Master.]

Jin boasted, but if he didn't actually try, then it would've been impossible to get this far. Lee Shin Woo suddenly thought that Jin might've gotten more out of this facility than he did.

"Jin, I brought you something to congratulate you."

"Fire me. I've done enough."

"Instead, I'll give you a cute bone."

"Go away. I don't want it!"

"There aren't that many elite bones, so bear with it!"

Lee Shin Woo had prepared 50,000 level 6 bones for Jin! Honestly, there were tens of thousands more where that came from, but since the types were so similar, they wouldn't really help either Lee Shin Woo or Jin. Therefore, he decided to save them for now and was thinking of giving them to the Pauls later.

"Absorbing 50,000 is impossible for me. It won't all go in. I'll die."

"You can do it. Believe in you who believes in yourself!"

Lee Shin Woo grabbed onto Jin, who paled and attempted to escape, and executed Bone Reinforcement. But Jin, who'd absorbed ten bones and had increased his health by 1 went 'huh?' and tilted his head.

"It's not as bad as I thought it would be."

"Your mind's just gotten that much stronger."

"That sounds like a load of crap, but... Phew. Go ahead. I'll do it until I can't anymore, so keep going."

"Alright. Then let's go a bit faster."

Since Lee Shin Woo had used Bone Reinforcement so many times, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say he was a master of the craft. He took Jin's condition into consideration and maintained an optimal speed, repeatedly consuming bones and reinforcing Jin!

Jin gritted his teeth at the repeatedly incoming memories and used the memories of his ten day struggle in the training facilities to endure. In a way, Lee Shin Woo was right. His willpower had improved ever since his struggle within the training facility!

'...Hoo, it makes me feel like I've gone back to my beginner days as an athlete.'

Back then, all he had was anger and tenacity; he recollected that time, and subconsciously smiled. Jin looked at Lee Shin Woo, who was controlling the timing of Bone Reinforcement so that he could absorb as many bones as possible, and his smile deepened even further.

Like that, three hours passed, and around the time that Jin had absorbed about 30,000 bones, he said that he couldn't absorb any more and gave up. He had tried really hard compared to normal.

"I really can't absorb any more. Save it for next time. My stats have already increased by 700 you know!"

"I'm above 6,200 now. At first, I wondered when I would reach level 7, but now I'm getting close."

"Really!? Already!? It hasn't even been very long since you got to level 6! Hey, even after being reinforced, my stats are only a bit higher than 4,500...!"

Originally, there had been a gap between them, but that gap had become decidedly wider within these past ten days. What's worse, this was after Lee Shin Woo had used Bone Reinforcement on him with such a large quantity of bones (there were so many that "large quantity" didn't seem like the right words)! Lee Shin Woo just smiled bitterly.

"The amount of stats you gain from leveling up high rank skills is, apparently, no joke. Especially my skill that controls mana; when it leveled up to high rank, it increased my magic by 200 all at once."

"200..."

Plus, the four titles that he'd gained after surpassing 1,000 in each stat, 'One Loved by Mana (Magic)', 'He Who Dreams of Giants (Strength)', 'He Who Follows the Wind (Agility)', and 'He Who Resembles Stone (Health)' increased his overall stat gain.

Whenever he gained a title, his body would strangely be changed again, and now that he'd acquired all four titles, he felt like he was in a completely different class than before. That difference would likely become greater as he raised his level and stats.

'Where am I headed exactly? Am I going in the right direction?'

Would his Joker karma, which fooled his own nature (related to stats) and had allowed him to acquire all four titles, have the answer? Lee Shin Woo vacantly thought about the subject, and Jin softly bit his arm. He had removed his armor and his glowing goblin fire blazed.

"Yeah?"

"Hey, do the rest too."

"...Are you going to be ok?"

Lee Shin Woo usually didn't forgive Jin's feigned cries of pain, but he was well aware that Bone Reinforcement wasn't always safe.

If one were to recklessly accept another's memories and experiences, they might not lose their identity, but it was always possible that they could be mentally damaged.

"It's ok. Right now, I can take even double this number."

"Really...? If so, then I won't turn you down..."

Jin was able to absorb all of his share of bones right then and there.

His stats increased by an additional 400. He had increased his stats by 1,100 on the spot. It was only possible because of Lee Shin Woo's skill, Bone Reinforcement, the training facility that dropped all of these bones, and Jin's own skill that tripled the growth rate of his agility.

"You don't have any more?"

"Jin, are you really ok?"

Jin couldn't be happier that Lee Shin Woo was worried about him. However, he really was fine. It was an issue of character. Ultimately, they were just memories from those who were deceased, so all he needed to do was pick out what he needed and learn it!

He was able to think that way now. Jin thought he needed to do at least this much to keep up with Lee Shin Woo, so both his mind and body were strengthened naturally. 'This thing called will is really amazing', he suddenly thought.

"I'm completely fine."

"Really? Then, I have a level 7 elite bone that I thought would fit you perfectly..."

"..."

However, Lee Shin Woo had gone beyond his imagination. How did he get this, when level 7 elite bones didn't even show up in the secret shop!? Did that mean that these monstrous bastards show up later!? Jin turned ghastly pale instantaneously, but he didn't show any signs of that to Lee Shin Woo.

"...It's fine. You're going to cut out the burdensome parts anyway, right?"

"Yeah, but..."

"Good, then c'mon."

"Then I'm really going to do it, ok?"

When he had absorbed the level 7 Treasure Eater's bone, he felt like his mind had momentarily gone white. But now would be different. He felt like he could both endure the pain better, as well as absorb the memories/experiences better.

[Consuming the Lv7 Metal Ape Chimera's rib bone to execute Bone Reinforcement on Jin Taylor. Health has increased by 10. Proficiency in Rule of Bone has increased by 5%.]

[Kureureu! Kuhik, Kuiiiiiiiiiii! (Hiya~! I can turn my entire arm into steel!) - Metal Ape Chimera]

...Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Jin was rolling on the floor while regretting his decision.

"How is it? Did Steel Heart level up?"

"Level up... It did a lot, but... Kuuuuuuuu."

"Are you ok?"

"I'm ok...!"

Jin said he was ok, even though he was 'roughly' rolling on the floor. It looked like his head really hurt a lot, but it was a relief that there weren't any huge problems. Jin looked like he was in a lot of distress, so Lee Shin Woo planned to use his Assimilation skill to soothe the invasive memories; he approached, but there was something that caused him to stop.

[Master, if there's any extra, may I have some as well?]

"Huh?"

[Can you transfer the information and magic within the bone to me with your ability, Master?]

"...Ah."

Lee Shin Woo finally understood. It wasn't like this originally, but in the process of becoming his subordinate, Rem changed and gained a body that was fully composed of bone! Of course, it was somewhat concerning that Rem didn't have a complete ego of his own, but an artificial life form's ego was still an ego.

Moreover, Rem had been so heavily influenced by Lee Shin Woo that he could share a portion of his Joker karma. Maybe he should've put more care into Rem earlier. It's just that he had never used Bone Reinforcement on a golem before.

'And now that I think about it, the Emerald Bone Golems, the Erems are also...'

Since they had the words Emerald 'Bone' golem in their names, Bone Reinforcement should work on them. They were individuals who could absorb a large quantity of darkness mana and grow, so if it were possible to use Bone Reinforcement on them as well...

[Master?]

"It's nothing. I'll do it. I should probably worry about you first."

Prioritizing Rem's reinforcement was the right call, as the Erems were doing their own thing and gathering experience elsewhere, while Rem was right beside him. Especially because he was anticipating how much stronger its Mana Parasite ability would be once it reached level 7.

[Executing Bone Reinforcement on Rem by consuming the Lv6 Jungle Mantis' outer shell.]

As expected, Rem fit within the parameters of Bone Reinforcement. Moreover, right after he used Bone Reinforcement, gloomy mana radiated from Rem's entire body, so it seemed like it was quite effective after all.

"How was it?"

[...Impressive, Master.]

Rem briefly wavered, and then replied. And soon added on.

[By storing information on other organisms, I believe Mana Parasite will grow even further.]

"Ooh, really...?"

[That's correct.]

Rem caused him to think about the potential of Mana Parasite, and he tilted his head in thought. As if reading his hesitation, Rem agreed.

[If I gather enough data to completely understand an individual, then... I feel like I will be able to use Mana Parasite on an individual who isn't a golem.]

Hearing that, Lee Shin Woo felt a cold sweat break out, even though he couldn't even sweat. It hadn't even come true yet, so Lee Shin Woo decided to ignore it for now and move on.

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