Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 202
<Chapter 29. Level 7 - 1>
'Who came up with the title of the 12 generals?', he wondered. It was simple. It was the Emperor. Only those amongst his subordinates he specifically recognized would be bestowed that name. The Lightning Shadow General, Hansen Von Dorthe was the last of the 12 generals that were supposed to 'protect him', and their status was one of respect.
Therefore, their status was unique, so much so that they stood out amongst the other generals and the nobles as well. They were more powerful than the others, even if they were similarly leveled, and the subordinates under their direct control were stronger than the others' subordinates.
[But there are a few amongst them that are especially powerful. The top members of the 12 generals... The sword that protects the Emperor, Seagald Von Retadane, the spear of the battlefield, Leofield Von Tariman... the Emperor's shield, Arema Steelworker, and lastly, me, Archmage Feotane Von Seldin.]
He floated in the air, and his silk robes fluttered. Feotane looked like a handsome, young man, and spoke in a carefree, delighted tone.
No matter how Lee Shin Woo looked at it, he looked like a normal man, but the somber and dark energy that came from his body, as well as the fact that there wasn't even a grain of life energy he could feel from him, proved that he was undead.
[We are known as the four commanders of the Empire.]
He realized where Guillotine Steelworker had gotten the term 'Four Commanders' from, grinned, and replied.
"For a self-introduction, you're too loud."
[I've finally met you 'heroes', so if I don't introduce myself properly, it would spoil the mood, wouldn't it?]
Feotane was really composed. It was the composure that came from being one of the absolute strongest.
Hansen Von Dorthe was somewhat the same, but ultimately, he was nothing more than vanity and conceit. On the other hand, the Archmage was so powerful that it explained his composure.
"You know about the heroes?"
[How could I not? Dozens of years ago, the heroes caused chaos in the capital... Ah, God truly is indifferent. Considering the fact that she ignores our feelings.]
[Ah, why the long face? I don't hate heroes. His Imperial Majesty is the same.]
Lee Shin Woo had secretly been preparing to escape while conversing with Feotane, but when he told him about his and the Emperor's feelings on heroes, he gave an honest reply. Of course, this was also acting. He believed that this would cause Feotane to let down his guard.
[You might think that we hate you because you kill our precious citizens, but... Ultimately, quality above quantity. High level heroes that are hand-picked by God due to their talent... If we can incorporate you into His Majesty's forces, then we can endure that much heartbreak.]
"Incorporate heroes into his army? Says who?"
[Haha, it'll happen eventually, no? So long as you are in the Empire, the only way of getting out is to die.]
It seemed as though Feotane Von Seldin really took a liking to Lee Shin Woo, as Lee Shin Woo didn't just stiffen upon sight of him, plus he was responding confidently. Feotane smiled and was focusing all his attention upon him.
Feotane knew that Lee Shin Woo had some trick up his sleeve, but he acted nonchalantly as if taunting him, saying 'go ahead, try it if you can'. If he knew exactly what Lee Shin Woo was planning, then he wouldn't have remained so calm.
[No one can escape death, so it was a game you had no hopes of winning from the very beginning. We have too great of an advantage. No... we made it that way. Mm, I'm referring to His Majesty and his wisdom.]
"Then, I suppose I just have to kill you all before I die."
[No, you can't. You will never be able to kill us.]
Feotane said confidently, and Lee Shin Woo was vaguely aware of why he was so confident. He had surpassed life and death itself, and didn't possess the energy that 'all existences naturally possessed'.
Even if they could kill him, he wondered whether he would actually die or not... he inspected him meticulously and realized.
'The core of this guy's existence is... he doesn't have a 'core' that all existences possess. The root of his power, his stats, are hidden somewhere else. Holy shit, that ability's actually possible...?'
Lee Shin Woo recollected a skill that black magicians rarely used in fantasy novels known as transmission. One's life force would be extracted and would be transferred to another vessel; by hiding that container, the undead black magician would become immortal... He was a Lich!
If that's the case, then the Emperor was probably a Lich as well. That meant that there were two Liches that had hid their containers somewhere! Right when Lee Shin Woo was genuinely shocked, the Archmage clapped his hands and moved on to the main topic of discussion.
[Now, it seems like we're done with the introductions, so shall we go on to the main topic?]
[Stop right there.]
Lee Shin Woo turned to his comrades and was about to throw something, but at that moment, his body became stiff. Despite the deep concentration of lightning that continued to flow through his body, Feotane had frozen 'the entire space' and made it so he couldn't move.
[I'm not done talking, young hero.]
[What's in your hand? Hmm? What's this, there's nothing there. It looked like you were about to throw something. Was I just seeing things? In any case, it doesn't matter. So, moving on to the main topic.]
The chatty Archmage looked like he couldn't be happier, as he put his arm around Lee Shin Woo's shoulders and continued. Lee Shin Woo couldn't move. Regardless of how much mana he had, there was nothing he could do, as the entire space itself was frozen.
'Rem, I'm counting on you.'
'Activation is ready at any time.'
The only things he could do was to make use of the shared subspace function to secretly relay his message to Rem, who was perched atop Kratia's shoulder, or use his Assimilation skill to apologize to his precious partner or activate a skill...
[I told you this before, but we put more importance into quality over quantity. We wait until several heroes become strong enough to enter our ranks and then... when they are strong enough, we accept them into the fold. You will ultimately become our comrades, so we can give you important positions as well.]
[Therefore, I won't kill you. It looks like you're still level 6, so... Mm, indeed. It looks like you can still progress further. It's strange, it's like there's something off balance with you. It's not yet time to harvest. Isn't that right? However, It seems like we can bring that beautiful magician girl with us soon... Huh?]
He tilted his head. Feotane had frozen both Kratia and Prince like he'd frozen Lee Shin Woo, but strangely, it felt like something had changed. However, he couldn't tell what that was yet. It was as if there was a strange mana reaction...
[Wait a sec... A gate!?]
Suddenly, a gate appeared beneath Kratia and Prince's feet... Because it was such high level magic, Feotane hadn't expected it at all and was shocked. The moment he stretched out his hand, Lee Shin Woo used the only skill that he could use in this frozen space, Rule of Bone's Self-Destruct skill.
He had converted the entire area's mana into lightning, so it would be effective against even the likes of a level 8 Archmage! ...Especially if both Lee Shin Woo and Jin were to sacrifice their bodies in the process!
The Archmage was swept up in the blast, the huge explosion caused the entire area's mana to shake. Feotane felt nauseous, as he hadn't felt pain in such a long time, and hurriedly flew into the air; at that moment, Kratia and Prince had already disappeared. Of course, Lee Shin Woo and Jin's appearances had disappeared as well due to the explosion!
[How could this happen...]
The Archmage looked around, though there was nothing left inside, and muttered in shock. He had lived for quite a long time, but he wouldn't be able to forget that attack. To think he would go as far as to sacrifice his horse as well to save his comrades!
No, what was even more surprising was the fact that his comrades could create a Gate and use it to escape, as well as the fact that he had been so grievously injured by a level 6 hero.
[Let's say that I sustained this much damage because it was Self-Destruct, but the gate... No, it's possible to create a temporary gate if they used an item. Damn it, I can't interfere with God's subspace. Did God give them that item herself? They really got me!]
Eventually, he came to a reasonable conclusion. Honestly, the correct answer was that Lee Shin Woo told Rem that the Bone Gate was ready from his (Rem's) inventory, and Rem had activated the gate underneath their feet, sending Kratia and Prince to another place, but he did come to a similar conclusion.
[It's been a long time since I've seen someone so talented that they could be a candidate for a general. I was going to recommend him to the 12 generals, but oh well.]
To make sure, Feotane used the artifact that was set up in this space and scanned the entire area, but there weren't any traces of anyone remaining. He could truly say that they got him good.
[Keuk. They got me. How long has it been... my wounds are worse than I expected. I have to go and treat them immediately.]
He muttered to himself and raised his head to gather mana, but the entire area's mana was jumbled with lightning or chilly air, so there was nothing here he could use. If he wanted to restore his body (a Lich's body), then elemental mana wouldn't cut it. He needed pure mana.
[Tch. I'll treat myself and then come back...]
It seemed like he didn't really like it, as he muttered and left.
At that moment, a torrent of mana swelled within the air, and Lee Shin Woo and Jin's new bodies formed. It was truly a mysterious and frightening scene.
[The Invisible Heart skill has become Lv4. All stats have increased by 3.]
Lee Shin Woo, who had been completely resurrected, saw that damn message, gritted his teeth, and muttered.
"Damn it, I promised myself that I would never die again..."
"We got out of that situation alive, so it's fine!"
Lee Shin Woo and Jin's Invisible Heart and Blessing of Death possessed a strange option, and whether this was good or bad, he didn't know.
Lee Shin Woo and Jin could choose when they would revive, so long as it was within several minutes, and it really helped in situations like this, where dying just once wouldn't let them overcome danger.
Even now, the Archmage hadn't realized that they weren't really dead and had left the area!
"But what happened to Prince? I thought it'd be fine, so long as I could save Kratia and Rem. Wasn't it limited to two?"
"Is it really the time to be curious about that? Let's go. We have to go as fast as we can!"
"Nope. Jin, we have to find something here before we leave."
"What exactly are you trying to find in this urgent situation... Hey, it's not that, is it? Please tell me it's not."
Jin had been pressing him, but when he saw Lee Shin Woo moving so quickly, he realized what the answer was and was shocked.
"Are you going to take that surveillance item!?"
"Of course I am. Do you know why the Archmage wasn't able to find us, even though he activated the artifact?"
"I don't know!"
"Because Kratia succeeded in hacking into it! So if we can't take that along with us, it would be such a waste that I would lose sleep over it!"
"You can't sleep, you're undead!"
[Lv8 Huginn's Eye]
"I found it!"
When Feotane Von Seldin had activated the artifact at the very last moment, Lee Shin Woo had followed the flow of mana and realized where the artifact was hidden within the facility. Lee Shin Woo wouldn't lose that artifact again, and the moment he greedily grasped it, Jin lifted him onto his back and ran out of the facility. At the speed of light!
Exactly 10 minutes later, Lee Shin Woo and Jin were completely healed from the injuries they'd sustained from Self-Destruct, while Feotane Von Seldin had also returned to the facility. He found that the artifact that controlled the facility was gone without a trace, and was shocked for the third time that day.
 T/N: Apparently, I need to be more specific when referring to the 12 generals, as there are other generals in the Empire.
 T/N: Reference to one of Odin's ravens from Norse mythology.
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