Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 234

<Chapter 34. Heaven Defying General - 3>

[Ethan Cruz: I think I've found a target.]

While he and his troops were crossing through the level 3 danger zone, Lee Shin Woo accessed the chatting channel. There, Lee Shin Woo heard what he'd been somewhat prepared to hear.

[Ethan Cruz: I had it narrowed down to a few candidates. It took a long time to find the one that can be lured in, but I've finally found the right one.]

[Prince Altania: As expected of you, Senior! But it's boring if it's too easy.]

[Ethan Cruz: We're taking on one of the 12 generals. Even if he's the weakest of them, it's not going to be easy. If you're reckless, then you or I may die.]

[Lloyd H.K.: ...I've done a lot of prep. I've also steeled myself. I think it's time we reveal ourselves (the heroes) to the Empire.]

The heroes in the chatting channel were getting fired up by Ethan's declaration. However, not everyone thought favorably of his idea.

[Seira Von Retadane: Do you really intend on facing one of the 12 generals? They're not like normal undead. They're highly intelligent and cooperate with each other. It won't go as smoothly as you think.]

[Yasunori Akira: No matter how I think about it, it's too early. I don't think those who've just become level 7 will be able to properly use their strength.]

[Ethan Cruz: Oh dear, I'm not trying to force anyone to join me. But if you're that worried, all the more reason that you, as their seniors, should be participating, no?]

How can this be? Seira Von Retadane and Yasunori Akira both plan on throwing away this opportunity? If that's the case, then that's more evidence that Ethan Cruz is allied with the Empire! No, if he really was allied with the Empire, then there was a chance that he would lead not one, but two of the twelve generals to them.

'And what if he brings the Archmage? Is he allied with him?'

Lee Shin Woo recollected how powerful Feotane Von Seldin was and clenched his fist. He couldn't beat him right now. It was impossible.

It was impossible, but... At the very least, he might have a few ways to make him retreat. Yeah, perhaps it was time to try 'that'.

[Seira Von Retadane: Are you serious? ...I don't want to lower morale, but please remember what happened in the past. Seven level 7 heroes joined together, but still died. At that time, you, at level 6, were the only one who survived. Ethan Cruz, have you already forgotten?]

While he was formulating complex plans in his head, those opposed to Ethan Cruz's plan were beginning to give clear reasons for why his plan wouldn't work.

Was Seira Von Retadane referring to the group of heroes (that included Lee Man Bok) that attempted to take down the 12 generals? As expected, it seems like she didn't participate in that expedition. Then again, if she had, then she would've known the horrors that Ethan had unleashed. Lee Shin Woo nodded his head and Ethan Cruz replied.

[Ethan Cruz: Of course I remember. That was a huge failure.]

'Of course it was a huge failure. After all, he'd lost Lee Man Bok, as well as the two Giants,' Lee Shin Woo thought.

[Ethan Cruz: That's why I've prepared so much more. I really did my best after that. To the point that I could probably take on one of the 12 generals by myself. It's because I'm so sure of that that I want to take down one of them with my juniors.]

Well, of course, he was that strong. If he wasn't, then he wouldn't be able to control the other heroes. After all, he'd lost some undead heroes in the past because of his weakness.

[Ethan Cruz: You know that God's blessing won't last forever, right? We have to purify the Empire before then. If not, then... do you not want to take down one of the 12 generals?]

[Seira Von Retadane: What are you saying?]

[Ethan Cruz: You already know, don't you? Retadane.]

[Yasunori Akira: Hey, are you doubting an ally right now? Stop. I listened quietly, but you went too far.]

[Ethan Cruz: No, I just wanted to hear the truth from her.]

As expected, they were definitely talking about Seagald Von Retadane of the 12 generals. Considering the mood in the chatting channel, half of the heroes knew about Seagald, and the other half didn't. Lee Shin Woo supposed this was proof that his seniors hadn't been just playing around thus far.

That was a topic that should've been difficult to ask her about, so Ethan Cruz was definitely taunting her. So in other words, did that mean he was confident that he could overpower Seira Von Retadane?

[Seira Von Retadane: ...I want to destroy the undead more than anyone else. Whether it be the 12 generals, the Emperor, or anyone. Regardless of what name they held in the past, or what person they were, so long as they're undead... I'll purify them all.]

She was just talking in the chatting channel, yet Lee Shin Woo felt goosebumps. Was this what Lee Man Bok was telling him to be cautious of, her hatred of the undead? Now he could understand what he was warning him about.

[Seira Von Retadane: I suppose your cheap taunt worked. Since I don't want a repeat of the past. I must stop precious heroes from degenerating into such a cursed form.]

[Ethan Cruz: You made the right choice. I have high hopes for your power over light.]

Could Seira Von Retadane use light magic? Lee Shin Woo decided to stow that away for later. Their powers should clash against each other, so the fact that Ethan was willing to taunt her and bring her into this meant that he was just that confident. ...If not, then perhaps he wanted to use this opportunity to take her down, as she was a bothersome opponent.

'Seira Von Retadane. She's diligently doing her duty as a hero, so I'd like to keep her alive if at all possible...'

Lee Man Bok warned him that he should avoid her at all cost, but that was way too half-hearted for him. To defeat the Empire, he needed to even use his greatest enemy. Even more so if she were someone who hated the undead to that extent.

[Ethan Cruz: Akira, what about you?]

[Yasunori Akira: Don't talk so casually. It makes me sick. If you really did pick a safe target, then me not going won't make much of a difference.]

[Ethan Cruz: You'll regret it. Our super rookie, Lee Shin Woo, are you almost ready?]

[Lee Shin Woo: Yes, Senior. I'm making sure I'm prepared, especially for any unforeseen situations.]

He was preparing a plan for if Ethan Cruz went onto the frontlines personally, when he didn't, when his undead grouped together, when he moved stealthily when there were one or two of the 12 generals, or if the Archmage himself appeared!

[Ethan Cruz: You're so reliable. As expected of our super rookie!]

'That reliable super rookie is coming to put a sword in your gut,' Lee Shin Woo smiled and inwardly muttered.

But then, he suddenly got two requests for private chats. They were from both Seira Von Retadane and Yasunori Akira! Lee Shin Woo was flustered and sent a message asking Seira to wait just a second. He accepted Yasunori Akira's private chat first because he thought he would be easier to deal with.

[Yasunori Akira: This might sound a little weird, but listen carefully. Can you promise me that?]

"Of course, Senior Yasunori."

[Yasunori Akira: I plan on hiding while you guys are fighting against one of the 12 generals.]

"What are you talking about... Are you trying to protect me?"

[Yasunori Akira: Yeah. I want to protect you guys. ...But not from one of the 12 generals. From Ethan Cruz.]

Everyone, there's a hero as reliable as Kratia over here! Lee Shin Woo was touched, as he'd found another hero that tried their best for endless growth and glory!

[Yasunori Akira: It might sound weird, but I thought it'd be ok to tell you since you haven't met Ethan yet. Those who meet him, even just once... follow him a bit blindly.]

Lee Shin Woo thought that was most likely due to Ethan Cruz's darkness magic, but he didn't voice it.

[Yasunori Akira: That's already strange. Even if he were blessed to have so many people willing to help him, it's still too unnatural. Moreover, this hunt for one of the 12 generals... it's way too dangerous. Since it's almost impossible to bait one of the 12 generals.]

In the past, Lee Shin Woo had infiltrated a city and had successfully led Hansen Von Dorthe there, but he acted as if it had never happened before.

[Yasunori Akira: Be wary of him. Don't get too close. Especially... his buffs. Make sure you reject his buffs. Even if he gives you a good reason, make sure you refuse them. Don't let yourself get touched by his magic.]

"I'll keep that in mind."

[Yasunori Akira: Do you believe me?]

"How could I not believe you, as you're acting out of concern for me? You're not telling me to attack him. You're just telling me to refuse his buffs."

Lee Shin Woo's Acting skill was really paying off. Yasunori Akira was slightly touched by Lee Shin Woo's sincerity.

[Yasunori Akira: ...I thought you were only good at fighting, but you're a smooth talker too. But it makes me feel better if you think like that. Who is that again? That hero you were close to... can you tell her about my request too?]

"Yes, of course. I'll remember to be careful around him."

[Yasunori Akira: I'll mark you off. I wish everyone was as careful as you, but... if we all make it out of this safely, let's hunt together.]

"I'll be looking forward to it."

He's going to mark him off personally. If that's the case, then it's likely that Yasunori Akira was in the most danger... Lee Shin Woo thanked him for his warning, but before he left the chat, he warned Yasunori Akira about the curse that came from Deadly Force. Yasunori was surprised but said he understood.

Now, it was Seira Von Retadanes turn now. Lee Shin Woo took a deep breath and accepted a private chat with her.

[Seira Von Retadane: I heard you became level 7. You were afraid you'd stick out, so you hid your level.]

"I'm sorry, Senior. I know I shouldn't be lying to you, but I was afraid of you (seniors) pinning all your hopes on me..."

[Seira Von Retadane: I understand. Since you must've been exceptionally talented in your original world. As they say, 'Tall trees catch much wind'.  It must've been suffocating.]


He acted as though he were touched by her kindness. Lee Shin Woo said pretty much what he'd expected her to say.

[Seira Von Retadane: Please be careful of Ethan Cruz. On that day, the day that the heroes were wiped out... Why was he the only one that came back alive? I find it quite odd. Perhaps he's connected with the Empire.]

He'd gotten another reliable senior.

[Seira Von Retadane: I'd rather not even think of that as a possibility, but if he's really a traitor, then... we have to take him down no matter what. Since an enemy on the inside is more threatening than the 12 generals.]

"Senior Yasunori said the same thing."

[Seira Von Retadane: Yasunori Akira did? That's a relief. Now that I think about it, he's never met Ethan in person. He's benefitting from his caution.]

"Of course, I'll be sure to be careful. Thank you for the advice."

He thought she had said everything she was going to say, but then, she dropped a bombshell.

[Seira Von Retadane: It can't be helped. Let's meet up before you see him. I'll contact Yasunori Akira as well. Ah, please come with the hero you're on good terms with too.]

"...I'm sorry?"

[Seira Von Retadane: I want you to meet me before you're exposed to his magic. I'd also like to formulate a plan on site as well.]

He was doing fine on his own, but she had suddenly offered to meet! 

Lee Shin Woo looked miserable, as it was like he was drafted into a team meeting for a presentation for a huge client.

[Paul Zero, we have arrived at the city!]

[Apparently, the second corps has arrived at the opposite city! How about attacking before our enemies have a chance to react!?]

Then, the frontline Giants, who were unaware of how he was feeling, yelled. Lee Shin Woo saw the huge city in front of him and yelled, putting all of his stress from the chatting channel into it.

"Break everything and trample over them! Break them into pieces, so that no one can even identify who killed them!"

[1] T/N: If you stand out from the crowd, then you draw attention to yourself.

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