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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 25

<Chapter 7. Three way - 3>



A skeleton and a skeleton horse; both of them were heroes at that. They definitely had much to say to the other. 'What the hell did you ask God for', or 'Were you perhaps a horse to start', etc...

However, it wasn't the best situation for them to introduce themselves. Lee Shin Woo suppressed the urge to grab hold of and interrogate it, and he spoke simply to the Skeleton Horse, which (probably) looked at him as if it wanted something.

"Thanks for helping. Shall we talk about the rest after taking that bastard down?"
"A-Alright!"

The Skeleton Horses reply seemed slightly anxious, but he didn't have time to be concerned about that. Right now, the only thing Lee Shin Woo was sure about was that the Skeleton Horse had equal strength to the Ghoul, such that it could ram into it and send it flying. There wasn't a more dependable ally than a level 4!

[Kugaaaaaah! Again, you're nothing but bones...!]

Meanwhile, the Ghoul, which had rolled onto the ground from the Skeleton Horse's kick, realized the identity of its attacker, and seemed to become extremely angry.
However, the moment its temper flared, and it tried to upright its body, Lee Shin Woo used his Catapult; his index finger flew and burrowed deep into the Ghoul's forearm. Right as the Ghoul opened its eyes wide, the finger exploded!

"Go now, attack!"
[Kahak...!]

Lee Shin Woo aimed for the moment the Ghoul rolled onto the floor again, and activated his Combat Sprint, quickly advancing towards it. Through his Self-Destruct, about half of its forearm was severed, and he followed up by striking its other half with his Bone of Thunder Lasting.
It was a Power Slash backed by Bursting Thunder! It looked akin to a blue streak of lightning.

[Critical Hit!]
[Kuaaaaaaahk!]

No matter how far apart their levels, the Ghoul wouldn't come out unscathed after receiving a Catapult, Self-Destruct, and the following Power Slash. As soon as its tough and sturdy forearm rolled onto the floor, it screamed awfully.

"Eeek, Die!"

The Skeleton Horse rushed over, and kicked it once again. It didn't seem like it had used a skill, but since it had rushed over frighteningly quickly, despite the short distance, its attack power was considerable. Just...

'Why is it so clumsy?'

Lee Shin Woo had consumed countless skeleton and monster bones, leveled up, and gained their combat abilities, so from his point of view, the Skeleton Horse moved crudely, even when considering the difference in species. Moreover, after its preemptive attack, it looked distressed as the Acid Ghoul's blood splattered, which was mixed with Acid Poison; he definitely looked like a newbie.

'Wait, high leveled heroes could be newbies. Moreover, since there's no way that it used to be a horse, it may be natural that it hasn't gotten used to its body yet.'

He decided he would calmly talk this over after the battle's conclusion. In any case, toppling the Acid Ghoul was his top priority. Lee Shin Woo yelled at the Skeleton Horse, which was going for another attack even while suffering from the Ghoul's Acid Poison.

"Stay back for now, unless you have a skill or equipment that repels Acid Poison!"
"But..."
"I'm not telling you to run away. When I ask you, attack him then!"
"...Got it!"

Fortunately, the Skeleton Horse meekly obeyed Lee Shin Woo and retreated. He wouldn't have an answer if someone unskilled decided to be stubborn, but it seemed like he had avoided the worst case scenario.

[You ridiculous bastards, I'll crush you into powder!]

Right then, the Ghoul stood up. It gripped its severed arm with its other hand and dangerously swung it. Whenever it swung it, a thicker Acid Poison spread out. It was mixed with the blazing flames on its entire body, so it gave off a smoky smell.

[You have been intensively exposed to the Acid Ghoul's strengthened Acid Poison. Though Low Rank Acid Resistance is lessening the damage, it seems like it is not very effective!]

"Ugh... Yeah, I'll cut off your other arm for you soon."
[A mere feeble skeleton...!]

Even while saying that, the Ghoul seemed to regard Lee Shin Woo as a much more dangerous opponent than his exterior appearance might suggest, and moved warily. 
To the point that he felt as though its combat experience when it was alive was immense, especially because it swung its arm as a weapon, and stayed a reasonable distance away.

[Heh...]
"!?"

However, thinking like that was a miscalculation. It aimed for that split second where Lee Shin Woo couldn't move hastily, and shoved the arm in its hand into its gigantic mouth.

[Kuaaaaaah!]
"You crazy..."

Lee Shin Woo, who realized at that moment that the Ghoul's mana had increased explosively, regretted that he hadn't already severed its other arm. Then again, he obviously couldn't afford to, nor did he have the time to do so before. 

"You dirty bastard!"
[I'm a Ghoul, you stupid skeleton!]

Just because it ate its arm didn't mean that another arm would grow in its place. 
However, the moment it swallowed its own arm, the skin which had been blazing with the Flames of Revenge, immediately returned to its normal state, and not only that, his other remaining arm swelled fatly. It naturally felt as though the Ghoul's strength had increased a level.

"You asshole, you're not even a boss, yet you're starting the second phase...!"
[Die!]

After it finished consuming its arm, the Ghoul charged at Lee Shin Woo. It was astonishingly fast, so much so that it was incomparable to before!
Lee Shin Woo didn't act with reckless bravado, and immediately activated his Combat Sprint. However, when he thought he'd gotten far enough away, the Ghoul's arm strangely lengthened and smashed him!

"Urgh!"
[Kyahahak!]

This is where it seized the momentum. It pursued Lee Shin Woo, who was rolling on the floor, and attacked him again.

[Die! Break!]
"Tch, keuhut...!"

Lee Shin Woo trusted his intuition and rolled onto the floor, avoiding the Ghoul's arm, which it swung like a whip; though whenever its arm crashed into the ground, the wildly spurting Acid Poison was indirectly melting his body.

[Low Rank Acid Resistance has become Lv3.]

The fact that his Low Rank Acid Resistance, which had risen to low rank just a little while ago, was leveling up, proved just how extreme his environment was.
However, the situation wasn't great, so he couldn't be happy about the skill leveling up. Lee Shin Woo regenerated his body while out of breath, and grit his teeth. Maintaining his Flames of Revenge was continuously taxing his mana, and now, he didn't really have much mana to spare.

'Should I call the Skeleton Horse now? No, he'll just get even more hurt. ...Then.'

It was time to use the method he had been saving to turn the situation around. Lee Shin Woo mentally braced himself again and kicked off the floor, using his Combat Sprint. He leaped up into the air as the Acid Ghoul's arm came flying towards him! He activated Harden, applying it to both of his arms, and held tightly onto the arm.

[Heut!]

The Acid Ghoul seemed to think that Lee Shin Woo had given up his life, as it sported a wicked smile, and pulled him towards it.
Despite him activating his Harden skill, his arms started to gradually melt, but he didn't have any intention of using Regeneration. He calmly waited for the moment he got close. The moment the Ghoul was sure of its victory was the best time for a comeback! Good, in exchange for a life, he'll grab hold of victory...

"Ei... Eit!"
'This timing again!?'

However, when Lee Shin Woo had resolved himself, someone else interfered. To be exact, a javelin quickly cut through the air, and pierced the Acid Ghoul's arm.

[Kuaaaaaahk!]

The effect was amazing! The spear burrowed deep into the Ghoul's arm, and when the Acid Ghoul contracted its arm, it was tormented by a horrific pain, due to the deep tear wound.
It was really impressive, especially when the sharp mana at the tip of the spear impacted the ghoul, and spread everywhere.

"Huhp!"
[Kuhwak!]

While Lee Shin Woo stood in awe, another javelin holding mana flew and burrowed into the Ghoul's arm. It was a speed and accuracy that gave him goosebumps! When he figured out who had thrown the javelins, he laughed forcefully.

'Ye Jin Jin?'

It was none other than Ye Jin Jin. He thought she had run off on her own since he hadn't seen her, but she hadn't.

"Hoo, hoo..."

She was still wearing rags instead of clothes, and she looked as though she would immediately collapse and start crying at any time, but she pursed her lips and endured; after that, she prepared to throw another javelin, and it actually didn't seem like she was going to run away. 
He honestly looked again. 'Even when rotten, it's still a herring.' At least at this very moment, her gaze befitted that of a hero.

[Prey!]

"Where do you think you're going?"

Now that it's become like this, the situation's changed. There was the Skeleton Horse, while sloppy, which possessed a level 4's strength, as well as the coward that was only level 3, but was a hero with a talent in throwing... He had a chance of winning now without giving up one of his precious lives.

"Hubp!"
[Kuhak!?]

[Beginner Power Slash has become Lv8. The activation speed of the skill has become faster.]

Before he was flung to the ground, Lee Shin Woo exerted all his strength to twist its arm, and then rolled onto the ground. He wondered whether he could utilize Power Slash with his body as well, so he had tried it, and it seemed like he had half succeeded.

[You insect, how dare you!]
"Heut, hey you!"
"Y-Yes!"

Lee Shin Woo avoided the infuriated Acid Ghoul's Acid Poison particles and retreated, calling out to the hero, Ye Jin Jin. He couldn't pretend like he couldn't talk at this point, and he didn't have a reason not to either. It seemed as though Ye Jin Jin didn't think she was in a position to discriminate about this or that, as she obediently responded.

"How many more times can you shoot that!?"
"Two more times!"
"If I give a location, shoot it right away!"
"Yes...!"
[I won't let you!]
"Ha!"

Perhaps the spears were quite painful, as it immediately aggroed onto Ye Jin Jin. It even ignored Lee Shin Woo and ran towards Ye Jin Jin, but Lee Shin Woo directly blocked its path. On his left raised hand, a black flame blazed.

"Why don't you try blocking this one?"
[Not a... chance!]

Lee Shin Woo's finger trembled, and the instant he made the motion for his Catapult, the Ghoul appeared to perfectly read its trajectory and swung its arm! However, it didn't feel anything ever touch its hand.

[Kuha...?]
"It was a fake, you dumbass!"

The moment that the Ghoul felt quizzical, Lee Shin Woo was already drifting in the air, aiming his index finger at the Ghoul. He had taken the opportunity when its vision was obscured from swinging its arm and jumped.

[Kuahk!?]

The Ghoul noticed him, but it was much too late to withdraw its arm. When it opened its mouth wide to shriek, Lee Shin Woo launched his index finger bone without delay!

[The Beginner Catapult skill has advanced to Low Rank. Agility has increased by 5. Continuous Catapults have become possible.]
[Kuaaaaaahk! I'll kill you!]

Lee Shin Woo exploded his index finger the moment it lodged into the Ghoul's head. Despite the Ghoul losing 20% of its head, its stance didn't falter and swung its arm at Lee Shin Woo.
It staggered a bit from the various injuries it had sustained, but the brutal force within its arm was still the same as ever, and soared through the air with an unpleasant piercing power.

'Damn it...'

If he could, he would've shot bullets continuously like the Ratman, but he lacked the mana to do so. He could use it twice more, and if he wanted the scale to be even bigger, he could only use it once more. Lee Shin Woo couldn't afford to waste that chance now, and as he fell down powerlessly, he grit his teeth and yelled out.

"Help me!"
"I was waiting!"

Its spirit was like Superman's. He didn't even know where he came from; the Skeleton Horse appeared with a speed that made it seem like it could even dodge lightning, and like it had done before, forcefully rammed into the Ghoul!

[Kugaahk!]
"Hoo."

The Ghoul, which had aggroed onto Lee Shin Woo, foolishly suffered from the same type of attack as before, and rolled onto the floor. Lee Shin Woo used that opportunity to land safety.

'Still, we can't kill him like this.'


Lee Shin Woo put his sword into his inventory, took a deep breath, and scrutinized the Acid Ghoul. Despite the Ghoul experiencing the bone shot wreathed with Flames of Revenge, the javelin throw, and even the Skeleton Horse's weighty, full strength charge attack one after another, it still stood up in the end.

"Go ahead and rest now. I'll finish this and come back."
"I came over to help... Sorry."
"No, you did enough."

It had probably been affected by the Acid Poison when it collided with the Ghoul, so its once dignified appearance had definitely lessened quite a bit compared to before. Still, it was worth it. It had not only saved Lee Shin Woo's life, but it had created a deadly opening for him.

"You, over there!"
"My name is Ye Jin Jin!"

He only hardened his left arm, and as he looked sharply at the Ghoul that stumbled as it stood up, called for Ye Jin Jin. She had already taken out another javelin and looked really nervous, but she was already ready to throw the next one.

"Ready?"
"Yes!"
"Good, then... let's go!"

Lee Shin Woo immediately used his Combat Sprint, kicked off the floor, and charged at the Ghoul. At that moment, the Ghoul seemed to be making a last-ditch effort and forcefully spewed its Acid Poison in all directions. Even while it was under the effects of the Flames of Revenge, it moved as if unhindered and Lee Shin Woo likewise ignored the Acid Poison, and charged.
His ribs and legs melted, but his hardened left arm was still intact. At the very least, he wouldn't fall before he reached it.

[Guwaaaaaaaaaaaah!]

The Ghoul looked as though it had lost all reason and sensitively responded to Lee Shin Woo's charge. Its arm dreadfully wriggled and sucked in all the Acid Poison in the vicinity, and it shot that gathered Acid Poison directly at Lee Shin Woo! It looked as if he had shot a laser beam.

"Arm!"
"Hubp!"

Even to the very end, the Ghoul possessed an attack that he hadn't anticipated; were all level 4 and up elite monsters like this? But it didn't matter. Ye Jin Jin's preparations were all for a situation like this.

[Kuhak!]

As soon as he gave the command, Ye Jin Jin threw her javelin, piercing its arm, and the trajectory of the Acid Poison twisted significantly.
The Acid Poison spread through the entire area and the sight of the ground melting away was truly horrific, but the sprinting Lee Shin Woo remained fixed on the Ghoul. Lee Shin Woo approached within firing range and briefly yelled.

"Head!"
"Haht!"

Ye Jin Jin's spear throwing technique was almost like a work of art. The instant he had yelled out, her javelin flew sharply like an awl, and burrowed into the Ghoul's wide open mouth which was facing Lee Shin Woo! It was probably trying to spew out its Acid Poison through its mouth, but the timely spear throw from Ye Jin Jin stopped it.

[Guahk! Ahgaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!]
"I'll let you eat those bones you hate so much!"

Lee Shin Woo shoved his left arm into its fixed mouth with all his strength! His hardened arm cut through rotten flesh and muscle. The instant his arm burrowed deep within its head, the Ghoul opened its eyes wide and bit down. It had instinctually acted like that, as all it had left were malice and wickedness.

[Guaaaaaaaaah!]
"Self-Destruct!"

And that right there was the moment that Lee Shin Woo had been waiting for.
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