Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 226
<Chapter 33. Titan - 2>
Lee Shin Woo knew that the choices he'd made had culminated into the situation at hand. He was also well aware that sometimes, instinct trumped sound logic.
[Lv8 Eater Metafel Rerdan]
[Currently being bestowed a new karma whilst evolving to level 8. The nature of that karma is 'eating', so he can easily eat anything that interferes with the evolution process. Approaching is dangerous.]
[Your opponent cannot move for the next ten minutes.]
His intuition was telling him that fighting Metafel right now would be really stupid.
"All forces, listen up!"
[I await your orders, Master.]
Aside from Metafel, whose flesh was expanding and was exposing his teeth in the middle of his evolution, 'everyone' stopped from Lee Shin Woo's booming voice.
There were some who had sensed Metafel's evolution, stopped cutting down the enemy forces, and backed off, while there were also those who hadn't noticed Metafel's evolution and continued to charge.
[Y-Your voice woke me up.]
[What exactly was I doing...]
[Is that really Sir Metafel?]
[Shut your mouth this instant! The Mercenary King I serve is nothing like that!]
What's worse, Lee Shin Woos shout had affected Metafel's troops as well. Though they had originally been under the effects of Metafel's absolute command skill, the circumstances of the current situation were quite unique, so they were released from the skill's effects.
If they saw Metafel now, then they wouldnt feel loyalty, they would feel sorrowful love, or perhaps nothing at all.
"We're retreating to the Giants' domain now. The battle's over!"
Lee Shin Woo declared to no one in particular. He didn't think he'd relay his orders through such a terrible method, but even so, they needed to get out of here.
[The battle's over, you say...]
"The only thing left is my battle with him. You guys, collect all the bones and retreat from the battlefield. Right away! Hurry up!"
No one hesitated over his orders. The battle of armies fighting against one another was over. Now all that was left was Metafel, who had eaten about 20,000 soldiers, and the thousands of remaining enemy troops that watched on stunned. There was no way they could fight anymore.
[Paul Zero, the Titan...!]
"You guys retreat too. If he eats the Titan's Heart, then I won't be able to save you!"
"The loot! Don't miss a single piece of Perium! Don't leave a single thing for him!"
The enemy troops had dropped a considerable amount of Perium and bones. If Metafel was able to eat even those, then there was a chance that he would become so strong that Lee Shin Woo wouldn't be able to handle him. Looking at Metafel now, it seemed like he would be perfectly capable of eating them.
'Would mana attacks work on him in that state?'
In order to test this theory, Lee Shin Woo liberally infused the Breath of the Lightning God with lightning and shot it at him, but Metafel just ate it up. Even though it exploded, Metafel absorbed the resulting energy, so he couldn't do anything while Metafel was evolving. He tried shooting fire, ice, and acid to check, but they were all the same.
'...He won't be like that after his evolution. At least, I have to hope for that.'
This was what resulted from translating the word 'eater' into karma. It made sense that Metafel's form had changed and he had become such a fearsome monster.
Lee Shin Woo shook as he saw cracks form on Metafel's fat body, and in between those cracks, rotten tongues and teeth burst out. He was much happier being a skeleton, thank you very much.
"Shin Woo, there's something I'll do for you before I leave."
"That guy can eat any and all magic right now, so what do you intend to do?"
"Even so, I feel like I can slow down his evolution. I think I can slow it by a few hours!"
Kratia was likewise desperate. Lee Shin Woo saw her assimilate her orb and begin an incantation for a spell. Then, he looked at the enemy forces... to be exact, the remaining 6,700 troops of the Imperial Army. Lee Shin Woo's black goblin fire calmly looked them over... and the flames swayed as if he were feeling bitter.
"Are you guys just going to sit there?"
[We're still fighting. Don't listen to him!]
[H-However, right now...]
They were well aware that the only reason they had survived was because Metafel had begun his evolution before he could finish eating them all. When he was finished evolving, he would come to finish the job.
"Why are you hesitating?"
[What should we do...?]
"At the very least, I'm sure that if you stay there, Metafel will eat you all."
It seemed as though the two level 7 Corps Commanders couldn't run away and were already eaten by Metafel, but there were still some level 6 elites remaining. There were a significant number of level 5s and level 4s as well. However, they were all flustered, as they didn't know what to do in their current situation.
Lee Shin Woo could understand how they felt. He even felt sorry for them. It was quite tragic to see their loyalty, which extended even after death, resulting in something like this.
"Your only mistake was following the wrong person. The Empire sent you guys here so that you could be food for him. You were used. It would've been better if you had been used as chess pieces, but instead, you were used as food. How pitiful."
[How can that be!?]
[Don't you dare insult His Majesty!]
[The Empire wouldn't abandon us...]
Lee Shin Woo lied, but this time, he turned out to be right. The voices of those who refuted his claims were weak. Then again, it made sense; how could they stay strong when their general who lead them thus far began to eat them?
"I'll give you a chance. It's your last chance to choose your own destiny. ...Follow me."
Lee Shin Woo's voice resounded, reaching the remains of the Imperial Army. He wondered whether it would work or not, but now that their connection with their general had been cut, he felt like he had a chance.
"The situation's quite urgent, so I'll get to the point. ...I won't betray you. I'll turn you into warriors. I'll help you so that you can one day take revenge against those who betrayed you."
[Who betrayed us...]
"My name is Paul Zero. The one who will bring the Empire to its knees. All those who have been betrayed by the Empire, follow me!"
At that moment, a soldier in the center of the Imperial Army, who had quietly listened to Lee Shin Woo's speech, began to glow. Lee Shin Woo felt a single strand of his darkness mana form a connection with it.
It was the level 6 elite, Skeleton Knight Leader. No, now it was different.
[Lv6 Dark Knight Leader (Elite)]
Once Lee Shin Woo had made his offer and the Skeleton Knight Leader had accepted, a master-servant relationship was formed, and his darkness magic affected the skeleton, surprisingly creating an existence that had been slightly released from the Empire's curse... turning it into an undead similar to the Pauls!
[My head is... I feel like my head has gotten clearer. Alright, I will follow your orders. Rather than become food, I'd rather take my revenge on the Empire who put me in this position.]
He pushed his way through the nearby idiots and bowed his head before Lee Shin Woo. Jin didn't think Lee Shin Woo would profit off this disastrous situation where their enemy was leveling up and just looked at Lee Shin Woo, speechless. Lee Shin Woo completely ignored his gaze and replied to the knight.
"Alright. I'll give you the name Paul 1,000."
[It's an honor.]
Lee Shin Woo probably hadn't expected that it would come to his side, as the undead had been part of the Imperial Army just a little while ago. Lee Shin Woo's power alone hadn't been enough to release the curse previously, as its roots had grown too deep.
However, it was different now. He knew about his darkness magic now and used it quite actively, so he pulled out the roots of the curse from the undead that had 'responded positively' to him. And in its place, filled that vacant area with his darkness magic.
'Cut the unnatural connection. No, I'll cover it all and make it into pure darkness...'
With just that, Lee Shin Woo was able to preserve most of the Knight Leader's intellect, memories, and will that had been buried underneath the surface. This had all become possible because of Lee Shin Woo's unlocked darkness magic. This had once again proved to him that his darkness magic was special.
"You're my subordinate now. Together, we'll take revenge on and purify this twisted Underground Empire."
[Wait a sec... M-Me too!]
Once it had begun, it couldn't be stopped. Everywhere, light surged, and the elites became even more powerful elites, while those who weren't elites before became elites. Even the common soldiers became elites.
Lee Shin Woo was astonished at how rapidly his darkness mana was being drained, so he absorbed the ambient mana to replenish his reserves and looked back at Kratia. He had only planned on taking a few of them with him, but if he wasted too much time, then he would have to fight against Metafel soon!
"Kratia, can you really stop him?"
"Sorry you had to wait for so long. Now!"
Kratia, who'd concentrated all of her magic in one place, finished casting her spell and stretched out both her hands. At that moment, a considerable amount of cold air erupted from her hands and continuously expanded, enclosing Metafel's body. Soon, it looked as though Metafel had been encased in a coffin.
The moment Metafel, whose body and energy had swelled, became trapped in that ice coffin, he flinched for the very first time. His evolution had been slowed!
"The more energy he absorbs, the slower his mana becomes. It's something I came up with by studying the Bone Core."
"Nice job. You're the best!"
So even if they both study the same Bone Core, one of them would come up with a new spell! Lee Shin Woo was in awe, but Kratia just shook her head. It looked like she was going to cry.
"It's still not perfect. Obviously, it won't last very long. And I even used such precious magic materials..."
"You did enough. You bought us enough time to retreat with these guys and reorganize our ranks."
Lee Shin Woo turned around confidently. Once he'd named the Dark Knight Leader, or Paul 1,000, the number of troops that decided to follow him increased exponentially.
A little less than half of the enemy troops had decided to follow him, numbering around 3,000. Since all of the troops who were level 5 and over had decided to follow him, he actually gained about 80% of their combat force.
[Please tell us what we have to do from now on!]
"Alright. This is your first order."
Lee Shin Woo looked at the remaining 3,700 soldiers of the Imperial Army he hadn't been able to convert due to his weakness and spoke firmly.
"They are your enemies now, so kill them and collect the loot. Kill them quickly, so we have enough time to escape before Metafel awakens."
"You devil! Demon!"
To an outsider, Lee Shin Woo's order may seem cruel. However, his resolute order made his converted soldiers feel that he was trustworthy.
His converted troops turned towards the foolish, hesitating weaklings and cut them down. Their only path of retreat contained Metafel, who was wriggling around in his icy coffin, so they didn't have anywhere to go.
"Good. If you've finished collecting the loot, then let's go!"
Lee Shin Woo had suddenly gained a force 3,000 strong, and if you included the Dark Knights and Dark Soldiers as well, he now had a new force of 5,000. He then hurriedly led his forces back to the Giants' domain. He had finished up the battle and run away perfectly, to the point that the other 12 generals should come to watch and learn.
Three hours later, the level 8 Eater, Metafel Rerdan broke free of Kratia's icy coffin and began to move. His evolution had caused all rational thought to cease. He simply longed for more magic, and more delicious bodies now. Metafel had become a walking disaster.
What was Lee Shin Woo doing, you ask?
[Master, analysis of the core is complete.]
"Good... Then, shall we begin manufacturing?"
He was building a weapon of mass destruction.
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