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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 241

<Chapter 35. The Call of Death - 3>


"Why did you do that?"

Once they had finished their duel, Prince grabbed Lee Shin Woo's arm, not Lloyd's, and dragged him away from the other heroes. She wanted to know why he had hidden his abilities.

She didn't want to leave Lloyd behind, but it seemed like she didn't like Lee Shin Woo hiding his abilities either. While thinking that she was a really troublesome person, Lee Shin Woo maintained his smile and replied.

"I just didn't want to embarrass Senior Lloyd."

"Are you an idiot? We're going to be fighting one of the 12 generals soon. Do you really think you'll be able to hide your abilities then?"

"Yes."

Lee Shin Woo's nonchalant response caused her rosy cheeks to thin.

"You're really..."

"Ah, I'm not saying I'll be playing around while you're all in danger. There are so many ways that I can do my part without revealing my abilities."

Prince was fed up with Lee Shin Woo, as he spoke while smiling unashamedly. However, she wasn't able to criticize him anymore, as Lee Shin Woo's expression turned serious and suddenly grabbed onto her shoulder.

"W-What is it?"

"More importantly, you remember your promise with me, right?"

"That's... I know, I got it. I just need to stay next to you, right? Anyway..."

It seemed like she'd say something strange if he just let her be, so Lee Shin Woo took the initiative.

"No, please stick with Kratia."

"...Huh?"

"You have to stick with Kratia for the duration of this battle. Since Kratia will need your help for something. Please, you have to."

"Wait, that's... Huh?"

Prince tilted her head, as she couldn't understand his words or intent. But then, a single strand of mana coiled around her. It was Lee Shin Woo's darkness mana. He was trying to find the root of Prince's boundless trust and confidence in Ethan Cruz.

"Huh? What are you doing?"

"It's nothing."

Ethan Cruz had used a high rank spell on her. While the other heroes might not have noticed, it couldn't escape Lee Shin Woo's notice when he was actively trying to find it.

It would've been easier if Lee Shin Woo had found the spell when he had initially formed a contract with her, reminding him that he still had a long way to go.

'Ah, is this it?'

Lee Shin Woo discovered the darkness magic and gently erased it on the spot. Of course, he did it covertly enough that the caster, Ethan Cruz, wouldn't notice. He would probably notice eventually, but by then it would be too late.

"Hey wait, did you just do something?"

"I just dispelled a small debuff that was applied to you."

"A debuff? Mm, now that you mention it, my body feels refreshed for some reason."

It's likely her mind, not her body that's refreshed. She wouldn't feel the effects, as the spell had been applied to her so covertly. Which meant that she would still find it strange if he started talking to her about Ethan Cruz.

"In any case, you just need to remember one thing: please stick with Kratia."

"You want me to stay with her instead of with you? I-I'm straight! No matter how cool or mature I look as a man..."

"Please don't worry. Since I'm straight too."

Lee Shin Woo smiled bitterly and returned to the group with Prince. No one was suspicious of them, as they were aware that they had worked together before.

"If I could, I would keep talking with you guys forever, but... Unfortunately, I won't be able to do that. The Beast General will be here soon. Everyone, get ready for battle."

Ethan Cruz gathered all the heroes in one place. Aside from Seira Von Retadane and Kratia, everyone was focused on him. Lee Shin Woo was the only person to see the quietly exchanged glances, their plot, and their resolve.

'I guess it's true. Mentes Orun...'

Mentes Orun was the more obvious of the two; he looked at the perpetrator, Ethan Cruz, with irritation, resignation, and fury, and also looked at the other heroes as well.

It may look like he was anxious before the battle, but to Lee Shin Woo, who knew his true intent, it looked ridiculous. Mentes Orun was one of the variables that could affect the coming battle...

'Yeah.'

Lee Shin Woo decided quickly that he would have to take this guy down first. For that reason, he had arrived here before anyone else and had made preparations. A secret weapon that had even escaped Seira Von Retadane and Yasunori Akira's notice!

[Master, Chi Paul and Shino Rendu have caught up with Target 1.]

'Oh, good. What about Yasunori Akira?'

[He is still hiding. Target 2 is getting close, but Bisher Moon will stop him soon.]

Lee Shin Woo received his long-awaited report from Rem, raised his head, and secretly looked at Ethan Cruz's complexion. The once relaxed and smiling middle-aged man had instantaneously stiffened. Yeah, he was shocked.

"What's wrong, Senior?"

"Oh, it's nothing... Mm, don't worry about it."

Ethan Cruz hadn't been able to properly control his facial expression. Lee Shin Woo knew he would act like this, as two level 7 elites had popped up out of nowhere and attacked his subordinate. There was no way he wouldn't be surprised. Also, since one of them was Shino Rendu, it made him feel like the world was against him.

"Senior, are you alright?"

"You're the most important person here, so please tell us if something is wrong!"

"Haha, you rascals. I told you, there's nothing wrong."

Ethan Cruz's comrade, as well as the other heroes soon realized something was up. His juniors were concerned about him, and Ethan Cruz flashed them an uncertain smile. It would have been better if they had left him alone so he could think, but he couldn't come up with a suitable response with all of them fussing over him. Oh, how embarrassing it must be!

"Senior, are you really ok?"

"Ah, yeah. Of course I am. Even if something did happen, shouldn't we be focusing on the upcoming battle?"

He was absolutely right. Lee Shin Woo acted as though he were moved by Ethan Cruz's statement and nodded his head. While he was doing so, Ethan Cruz's expression worsened even more. Ah, the other undead hero must've been taken out by Bisher Moon.

Bisher Moon was powerful. He could use the darkness element, which made him and his element the undead heroes' worst enemy. Moreover, Lee Shin Woo's contract strengthened him significantly, so Bisher Moon could take on as many level 7 undead heroes as you could throw at him!

"Why is that bastard showing up now..."

"What did you say, Senior?"

"Hahahaha! Nothing!"

He must be pissed! Ethan Cruz must want to punch Lee Shin Woo, as he was so nosily asking questions! But he couldn't, as it would shatter his image as a friendly senior! Ethan Cruz smiled arduously; it was like Ethan Cruz's mind was laid bare before Lee Shin Woo.

'Are you having that much fun?'

'Ah, this is the best.' 

Lee Shin Woo acted as though he were genuinely concerned for Ethan Cruz, and only Jin knew Lee Shin Woo's true intentions. He'd once said that Lee Shin Woo was nice in the past, but that was a mistake. This guy was definitely something else; he was more wicked than the devil himself!

[You have acquired 2 secret shop permits and 76,335,710 Perium.]

[You have given peace to a comrade who walked a path he could not return from. You have partially cleared the quest objectives, and have acquired 1 secret shop permit. The maximum level of the Invisible Heart skill has increased by 1.]

Then he noticed that Chi Paul and Shino Rendu had killed the undead hero. The first of Ethan Cruz's 8 undead heroes had gone down!

"Keuk..."

Ethan Cruz acted like there was nothing going on and wore a serious expression, as if preparing for the upcoming battle with the Beast General, but it was obvious that he was desperately thinking something like 'what the hell is going on?' or 'what should I do to ensure that the other one doesn't die?'.

However, he was already too late. He should've been prepared for this when he had left his subordinates to operate independently. Once Lee Shin Woo had tracked their movements, they were as good as dead!

[You have acquired 2 secret shop permits and 31,632,240 Perium.]

[You have given peace to a comrade who walked a path he could not return from. You have partially cleared the quest objectives, and have acquired 1 secret shop permit. The maximum level of the Invisible Heart skill has increased by 1.]

Ethan Cruz was here, while his remaining six subordinates were with the Beast General's forces, so he couldn't do anything about it. Ultimately, his second undead hero was killed.

Right before it died, Lee Shin Woo saw Ethan Cruz flinch and attempt to use his darkness magic. It seemed like it was a technique that buffed his subordinates, or perhaps it was a healing ability of some sort.

But because all eyes were on him, he stopped himself, as his plans would be ruined if he got caught right now. As a result, the undead hero was futilely killed by Bisher Moon.

'To think I'd be able to take down two level 7 undead heroes so easily.'

He had gained 6 secret shop permits, as well as 100 million Perium. He'd also be able to collect the bones soon, so he saw Ethan Cruz as Santa Claus coming with a present bag. Moreover, there were six more presents he had yet to open!

"Senior, you look uncomfortable. Shall we call everything off?"

"No... It's fine. If we don't do it now, we'll lose our opportunity. My conditions just not great today. Don't worry about it too much."

"But still..."

He had just wanted to eliminate anything that could put his plans at risk, but he had instantaneously lost 25% of his forces. Thus, Ethan Cruz's expression had noticeably crumpled up.

Even he, who had spent all his time hiding his true intent from everyone, would find it troublesome to remain calm in light of this situation. Moreover, he had no way of knowing who his opponent was, so he felt screwed.

'That's why I can't back down.'

Avoid this opportunity to procure several undead heroes just because of some unknown variables? No way. Although he had lost two of his undead heroes, there was no going back for Ethan Cruz. He had no choice but to account for the unknown variable and succeed in his mission.

"Everyone get ready! Concentrate. Our opponent's one of the 12 generals. You never know when you might die!"

"Yes sir!"

Though they were worried about Ethan Cruz, the heroes immediately stiffened and nodded their heads.

Lee Shin Woo saw one of Mentes Orun's hands shake. He saw Lloyd, Prince, and Erian looking at each other, restless. Seira Von Retadane was gently looking at him. And he felt like he could hear Yasunori Akira grabbing his sword from afar.

"Before we go, let me buff all of you..."

"I don't need it."

Kratia flatly refused, grabbed onto Prince with one hand, and gently jumped into the air. Her orb appeared and gleamed in the air, creating a disc of ice, and allowing her to land upon it.

"Since the magic we've prepared doesn't mix with darkness. We'll be going first."

"H-Hey!?"

Kratia wasn't someone Ethan Cruz could control. He gaped, as right before he cast his 'buff' on Prince, Kratia had grabbed her and gotten away, far enough that they couldn't be seen.

"But I'd like to get the buffffffffffff!"

Prince's voice echoed, so they had definitely entered the mountain range. Ethan Cruz looked agitated, and Lee Shin Woo gave an excuse for Kratia in her stead.

"She's a magician who didn't even want to receive God's power. But she'll do her part, so please don't worry about her too much."

"Is that so...?"

There was nothing he could do, so Ethan Cruz just nodded his head. He kept his eyes fixed in the direction they left - the mountain range, and Lee Shin Woo didn't miss the wicked intent behind it.

"To think they'd refuse Senior Ethan's buff. It was a bit too much of her to have not let Prince get the buff either."

"Magicians may have different rules, no? Senior, I'm in your care."

"Yeah. There are fewer people, so the buff will be even stronger than before."

Lee Shin Woo also received Ethan Cruz's buff. He had Darkness Resistance and had to restrain it from activating as much as possible. If his resistance took effect, then Ethan Cruz's 'buff' would disappear at any time. Ethan Cruz had no idea, so the moment the buff took effect, he smiled secretly.

"How is it? Do you feel stronger?"

"So it's true."

Once the duration time passed, the body would become heavy, and the target would be defenseless against Ethan Cruz's curse; it was incredibly wicked energy. Once the buff took effect, one would be playing in the palm of Ethan Cruz's hand.

'But that's only if you don't have Darkness Resistance: MAX and High Rank Darkness.'

Lee Shin Woo was actually happy about this newfound connection with himself and Ethan Cruz. Now all he needed to do was flip who was superior in this connection... This difficult task would be great for advancing his darkness element.

"I'm fine. Light and darkness do not mix."

"Is that so..."

Retadane also refused his buff. As she did so, she looked at Lee Shin Woo worryingly, but he just nodded his head as if to say that he was alright. Ethan Cruz had no idea that the two were in on this together, and decided that he would have to procure Retadane from this no matter what.

10 minutes later, he saw the tip of the force led by the Beast General, Jilun Pelta.

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