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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 209

<Chapter 30. Hero Hunter - 4>


[It all began when they started calling me privately. They told me that they really valued me and that I had the ability to quickly make it to the top...]

"Hmm."

Bisher Moon began, and it sounded so similar to something Lee Shin Woo had heard before. That's right. It was almost identical to what Ethan Cruz had said to him!

But there was one thing different: Ethan had gotten Mentes Orun involved early on with Bisher Moon. Bisher had been suspicious of Ethan Cruz but hadn't suspected Mentes Orun. Thus, Bisher Moon fell for a trap and was cursed by Ethan. That curse was...

"...Say again?"

[It is called Deadly Force, a curse that's almost the same as death. It's one of the world's worst curses, and so long as you're not well-versed in using darkness magic, you won't even notice that you're affected by it.]

He'd heard that Ethan used curses, but he was this powerful? While Lee Shin Woo was astonished, Bisher Moon added to his explanation.

[I believe Deadly Force was created by mixing together the Empire's curse, as well as a few other ones.]

"Indeed. You're right, it makes sense."

[Deadly Force is so subtle that you wouldn't even know you were affected by it, even if they cast it right in front of you, but... Though unskilled, I'm able to use darkness magic. The moment I realized that I'd been cursed, I desperately tried to fight it off. He tried to cast a subordination curse onto me, but I was able to dispel it with my darkness magic.]

"But he couldn't chase you down?"

According to Bisher, he had been dead for years. If that's the case, then Ethan was already incredibly powerful in the past. Lee Shin Woo asked a reasonable question and Bisher replied firmly. Honestly, this was the core issue here. 

[Because Deadly Force is such a fatal curse, it has a few downsides. First, it's difficult to use against those with more magic than the caster. Second, the caster cannot move freely until the target's death. It's all or nothing.]

"Aha."

Lee Shin Woo recollected what God had told him before. He needn't be worried about Ethan Cruz... Since he possessed Curse Resistance: MAX, there was no way Ethan Cruz's curses could affect him. Well, so long as his undead weren't nearby!

[That's probably why he called for Mentes Orun. But because I knew about the curse beforehand, I was able to fight off Mentes Orun and run away.]

"What about the other undead?"

[I was able to momentarily confuse them with my darkness magic. As darkness magic forms master-servant contracts, it can likewise be used to weaken that link.]

Lee Shin Woo could understand why God awakened his darkness magic! And for someone who was so 'unskilled', Bisher Moon sure seemed like an expert!

[But it was a really close call. If I had made a decision a split second too late, hadn't injured Mentes Orun, or hadn't been able to confuse Ethan's undead subordinates with my darkness magic, then I would probably be by his side right now.]

And Lee Shin Woo would've had to prepare himself for nine undead rather than eight. There was one thing he knew for certain: if he wanted to beat Ethan, then he would need to rip the undead from his control!

'And if I can, get him to use a curse on me...'

Ethan wouldn't expect him to take that magic head on, so he would have to do his very best to make him use Deadly Force on him. Lee Shin Woo was starting to form a plan in his head. Ah, plus...

"I originally wanted you to join up and lead my other subordinates until the time for your revenge came, but..."

[I will, so long as it helps me get my revenge.]

"Even though we'll move slower, we should go together. You see, I'd like you to tell me everything you know about darkness magic. A few days should be fine."

'What!? I'm not going to put another guy on my back!'

[But you can use darkness magic that's much greater than mine...!]

Lee Shin Woo's bombshell caused both Jin and Bisher to yell in astonishment simultaneously. He comforted Jin, saying that he had no intention of letting Bisher ride on his back, and then replied. 

"I may know how to use the darkness element, but I don't really know how to use it, so teach me the basics."

[How can that be? For someone who can command that much darkness...]

It was as though he, who couldn't even crawl before Lee Shin Woo at his level, was given the ability to fly in the sky. But it was the truth, so it couldn't be helped. Of course, Bisher couldn't refuse Lee Shin Woo's request, so they would temporarily travel together...

[Hut, that's correct. That's confusion.]

"Ah, it really is easy. Then, is that it?"

[Yes, that's correct...]

He was finished in just half a day.

"Nice. Thanks for taking all this time to teach me everything."

[All this time? It's only been a little over 10 hours...]

The Empire's artificial sun slowly dimmed and it had become night. He had given peace to the final undead hero in the level 3 danger zone (unfortunately, this senior was a big fat zero again), so he was in the middle of moving onto the level 4 danger zone.

Lee Shin Woo was able to understand Bisher's darkness magic, which he'd trained for his entire life (before his death), in one go. He looked at Lee Shin Woo and asked him in small disbelief.

[I'd like to think that you weren't making fun of me, but... Were you truly unaware of it?]  

"I'd just awakened this power, so all I know is contracts, curses, and resistance. But because of you, I feel like I've grasped the basics, so thanks."

Bisher realized that Lee Shin Woo was telling the truth, and felt empty as he didn't know what to say. Jin thought it'd been a long time since he'd had another comrade, and knocked on his knees.

[As a descendant of the Moon Clan, several people have told me that I was exceptional, but Paul Zero, your talent trumps mine.]

"I've been hearing that a lot lately. Now, let's talk about your mission from here on out. All you need to do is go over here..."

Amongst the Pauls that were following his command and treading across the Empire, Lee Shin Woo picked those that were high leveled and weren't a part of Shino Rendu's group and told Bisher of his intent. Henceforth, they would move together with Bisher Moon.

"I've already told a few other teams to enter the level 4 danger zone. You may not be traveling with them, but in case of an emergency, make sure you're close enough to each other so you can help each other if in need. You got it?"

[Of course. Since I went through there in the past. There's no way of knowing how dangerous a large city will be.]

After just one awakening, Bisher Moon had regained all of his memories as a hero, which almost made him forget that he was an undead now. Was the rate at which he recovered his memories faster than Shino Rendu because he died at a higher level? 

"Yeah. Remember to adopt hit-and-run tactics. If you're caught by one of the 12 generals, or if you run across an informant, then report it to me immediately."

[You really are cooperating with the heroes in order to purify the Empire.]

"Of course I am. ...And we'll kill Ethan Cruz faster than you expected. I'll call you before then, so make sure you're prepared."

[...That's exactly what I wanted to hear.]

Lee Shin Woo had gotten a solid grasp on Bisher Moon's abilities, as he spent a half a day with him. His pledge of loyalty hadn't been an empty promise, and he was sure that Bisher wasn't the lying type. He was plenty satisfied with that.

[Above all, I'm really happy that I can get stronger again...!]

"Then get going, if for no other reason than to get stronger."

[I understand!]

Bisher departed in satisfaction. Once he'd sent him off, Lee Shin Woo spread out his map and approximated where his subordinates were.

"Good. They're still doing well. Not many have died either."

"Of course they are. They're all elites...!"

"Even so, it would be over for them in an instant if they made a mistake. It's a relief that they're growing within that danger."

The level 4 Bronze Golems (which were the only ones amongst his subordinates that weren't elites) treaded through the level 2 danger zone, while the level 5 and 6 golems and Pauls traversed through the level 3 danger zone. And now, the Chi Pauls (the Chimera Avengers) and the group of elite Pauls led by Shino Rendu and Bisher Moon respectively were allowed to go through the level 4 danger zone...

Lee Shin Woo organized a path for them so that they could avoid danger and grow as much as possible. If they can grow safely by avoiding the heroes, especially Ethan Cruz, then it wouldn't be long before he led them into the fight against one of the 12 generals.

"It's unfortunate since it seems like Anti-Skull will show up soon. If Ethan Cruz wasn't such a bastard, then I would've taken my time and infiltrated Anti-Skull."

"Yeah, so unfortunate. Let's kill Ethan Cruz and go play with Anti-Skull instead."

Jin, who'd seemingly reached a state of nirvana, replied to Lee Shin Woo's incomprehensible words and ran. They were in a quiet grassland, but it seemed like tension was filling the area.

"I have no idea what's going to show up..."

"Well, that's the kind of place we're going to after all."

Now they were in the level 4 danger zone, which included the large city that was connected to a satellite city, as well as the rugged free land in between. It was the cream of the crop, the land that encompassed 30% of the Empire (with the capital at its center). In other words, it held the highest difficulty.

The troops under one of the 12 general's direct command would be stationed here, and it wouldn't be strange if they were to encounter one of the 12 generals in person. They had reached the frontline of the heroes.

"I've learned which places are safe from our seniors." 

"So which place is safe?"

"Mm... at the very least, it's not here. You won't be able to hear over there, either."

"Then their info's pointless!"

"No, it's telling us that it'd be a waste of time to go over there, so it's valuable information!"

Since it was a safe spot that had been procured by heroes dozens of years prior, then that meant that it wouldn't be the least bit helpful to Lee Shin Woo!

"And we know where Ethan Cruz frequents, as well as where one of the 12 generals supposedly patrols, so it's fine. Plus... I was able to figure out how I could acquire my seniors (the undead ones) while avoiding the notice of my other seniors."

"You're talking about your senior heroes, right..."

All his seniors who were going through the level 4 danger zone were level 7 monsters. If they were to see him right now with his Disguise up, or even if his true appearance was exposed, he was confident that he could get through it unscathed, but he really didn't want his seniors to know where he was.

"Yeah, good job you... Shin Woo!"

"Huh!?"

Jin sharply called for Lee Shin Woo. They hadn't reached an area with an undead hero yet. If that's the case, then...! Lee Shin Woo raised his head. He was soon able to sense the death energy ahead of them that filled the grassland to the brim. 

"Mm, as I thought, level 4 danger zones are really on a different level."

"Why are you so calm? There are so many high rank level 6 elites everywhere...!"

They weren't heroes either. Nor were they one of the 12 generals. There were just thousands of undead roaming around where they needed to pass through. Most of them were level 6, and a small minority were level 5! Lee Shin Woo saw them and muttered in satisfaction.

"This many should get you to level 7 in a flash."

"You're not going for a frontal breakthrough, are you...?"

"This is nothing compared to the large-scale battle we faced in the training facility. Let's go, Jin!"

"...Ah, screw it!"

After that, Lee shin Woo and Jin besieged thousands of undead with just the two of them, and in just two hours and thirty minutes, all of the undead completely disappeared. And that's how the two skeleton heroes made their level 4 danger zone debut.

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