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Stop, Friendly Fire! Chapter 88

<Chapter 7. Three way - 2>



Lee Shin Woo accepted the quest, left the clearing and approached the sewer's ceiling. 
He had gone through the entire sewers over and over again for several days, so he knew the structure of the sewers well. There were other ways besides the official entrance to get into the dungeon, so the opposite was also true. 

'Good, as I expected, there's a crack.'

He used his Bone of Thunder Lasting to shatter a drain pipe. No matter how tough the drain pipe was, it wouldn't be able to endure a hardened, Lv3 weapon's Power Slash. 

- Kwaaaa

A heap of dirt spilled out and fell, but Lee Shin Woo didn't let it bother him. It had been a long time since these sewers had lost their original purpose. He wasn't going to complain just because of some dirt.

'It shouldn't be blocked to the point that I won't be able to come back, right?'

Of course, it didn't matter, even if it were blocked. He would just break through it and go on his merry way. Like right now! He returned his weapon, and like a mole, violently dug through the dirt, and procured a route to the surface.
He couldn't have even dreamed of doing this when he was still human, but since he was an undead that didn't need to breath now, it was quite simple. Since the sewers weren't that deep, he was able to escape rather quickly.

"Hoo."

Lee Shin Woo, who had gotten outside, sensed a huge presence straight in front of him. Would it take around 2 minutes by running? It was a distance close enough that could be seen with the naked eye. A black haired Asian girl was in the middle of running hectically; behind her, a huge three meter giant undead was quickly chasing her... 

[Lv4 Acid Ghoul - Edward L. Baker]
[You have found the target of your revenge. When you initiate battle, all abilities increase by 20%. Flames of Revenge receive an additional 20% increase.] 

"Ha, really."

The one he had encountered, and succeeded in barely running away from was none other than that Giant Zombie! Moreover, it had grown to become a level 4 Ghoul!

[Human...! It's been a long time since I've seen... a human possessing such appetizing flesh...!]
"Ggyaaaaaaaahk! Save meeeeeeee!"

Though its body was smaller than the last time, considering how the Acid Poison it spread was getting stronger and stronger, as well as how its movement speed seemed faster than a normal monster's, it was certain that it had leveled up. 
He had thought that it wasn't a normal monster, but why did it have to be the one to rise to level 4, and why did it have to be the one attacking another hero...

'Should I run away?'

Lee Shin Woo naturally thought. However, he soon shook his head.

It wasn't because he pitied the girl, who was weeping and ran while dragging her injured leg. It wasn't sympathy, contempt, goodwill, or regret either.
Rather, he didn't feel anything for the girl, to the point that he felt like he'd start feeling contempt for himself. He would've readily helped her if it wasn't very difficult, but it was also a situation where he didn't really want to actively help her. It made him realize that he was a completely different person from before.

Despite that, there was only one reason why he couldn't easily back down. He coveted this quest reward so much that he was ready to sacrifice a life or two to get it.

'Moreover, I have the Avenger skill right now, as well as the Flames of Revenge...'

All of his abilities increased by 20%, so even though the zombie had amplified its stats by reaching level 4, he thought it was definitely worth a shot. He hadn't been aware that the Avenger skill would additionally buff his Flames of Revenge skill, which was a happy miscalculation. He had procured a surefire way of inflicting damage to it.
Moreover, the fact that it was a monster that used Acid Poison was another reason that made Lee Shin Woo so bold. He had already cleared the slimes' den and come out, and in the process, his Acid Poison Resistance had gotten to the low rank level! He was sure he wouldn't be helpless against its Acid Poison this time.

Now that his mind was made up, there was only one problem left.

'Can I take care of this issue without exposing my identity to that girl?'

Ideally, he would act as an aloof Skeleton Knight, who wandered around following the collapse of the Empire; he would take care of the Acid Ghoul, receive the quest reward, and leave worry free... He wasn't sure if that would actually work, but for starters, Lee Shin Woo decided to run with that concept for now. 
Of course, even if he is exposed, it wouldn't be too much of a problem. He was an undead, but it was undeniable that he was also a hero. He had all the evidence in the world to prove that he was one.

"Alright, then..."

Lee Shin Woo finished all of his calculations and raised his index finger. A black flame wrapped around his finger and softly burned. 
He carefully raised his finger and aimed at the Acid Ghoul, whose heavy feet stomped onto the floor, and ran quickly. Perhaps it was by chance, or perhaps it was necessity, but the girl was running towards him, and because of that, it became much easier to aim at the Ghoul.

"Ready... Aim... FIRE!"

His index finger was launched, accompanied by a simple, short, and powerful pain. 
The black flame engulfed the index finger and it went afar, faster than any bullet; it cut through the air, advanced, and burrowed into the Ghoul's shoulder!

'Tch.'

Lee Shin Woo briefly clicked his tongue. It was obvious, but he had originally aimed for its head. Of course, even if he had hit its head, he probably wouldn't have taken it down in one hit, but he was disappointed it didn't work out. 

[Guwoooooooh!]
"A-An undead...!? But that attack just now...?"

While Lee Shin Woo was busy complaining, the Ghoul, as well as the girl, inspected him. The Ghoul shrieked, filled with pain and anger, and the girl was incredibly flustered at the unprecedented sight of an undead attacking another undead. 

"Oh, ggyaahk!"

Because of that, she sprained her ankle and fell to the floor. That dumbass!

[Human! Eating!]

Rather than punish the skeleton that attacked it, it seemed like the Ghoul decided to eat the human in front of it first. Lee Shin Woo inwardly wanted to get rid of her of right now, and exploded the index finger burrowed in its shoulder!

[Ggaaaaaaaaaaahk!]
"Euguk, Euuk, heuggeuk..."

The effect was amazing! The Ghoul was about to grab the girl's head with its rough arm, but its shoulder joint burst; it wasn't able to endure the horrific pain and stood in place, roaring in pain.
Whereas it seemed like the girl had realized that she had just escaped death, and even while crying, desperately moved her body and escaped the Ghoul. She had already been afflicted by its Acid Poison, so about half of her clothes had been melted, and she truly wasn't dressed decently. However, Lee Shin Woo wasn't agitated by that at all. It should've been alright if he'd been a little uneasy, though...

[Kuwaaaaaaaah! Annoying, a mere skeleton!]
"Jeez, you burn well. It's hot enough to cook a sweet potato!"

The satisfying result of his attack soothed his regret of losing something important. It was because above the Ghoul's tattered shoulder joint, the clear black flames still blazed on, and gnawed at the Ghoul. 
He knew it was an amazing combination, but he didn't think it'd be this effective. If he could repeatedly use this technique from afar, whether it be an Acid Ghoul or anything else, they would die all the same. 

[Annoying guy, die!]
"Tch."

However, that was still only the ideal situation. There was no way that his opponent would take that kind of horrific pain and idiotically stay put. The Acid Ghoul seemed to be really pissed, as it even let the appetizing human go, and sprinted at full speed towards him!
Lee Shin Woo ascertained its speed, as well as the direction it was going, and raised his other hand's index finger, which he had already ignited with the Flames of Revenge, aimed, and fired. 

"Firing again!"
[Kyahak!]

But surprisingly, the Ghoul swiftly swung its arm and parried the shot, as if he were waiting for it!
Of course, the Flames of Revenge excellently shifted to its arm, attached to it, and began burning it, but he hadn't gotten an opportunity to explode his shot; it just miserably bounced off, and rolled onto the floor. Lee Shin Woo saw that, and though he had roughly expected it, he clicked his tongue.

'Tch, well it is a level 4.'

It had a much faster reaction speed than a normal zombie, and the durability of its body was different as well. In a scenario where the Ghoul noticed him, and he wanted to fight it using Catapult, he felt like he'd need to be at least level 5. The fact that he'd gotten the first hit in was a tremendous success.

"Now I have to fight it off myself."

In preparation for the coming Ghoul, he regenerated both of his fingers, and tightly gripped the Bone of Thunder Lasting. He activated Harden, applying it to both his sword and his armor, and even ignited the Flames of Revenge on his sword. Even so, he still had mana to spare.

'If it was before, it wouldn't have been strange for close to half of my mana to have been drained by now, but right now, my mana's overflowing.'

Since he'd strengthened himself with Gerrit's sphenoid bone, Lee Shin Woo's magic was at 173. Moreover, his Low Rank Magic Affinity had risen to level 7, and he obtained the Low Rank level 1 Magic Accumulation. Even at this very moment, the two skills were drawing the surrounding mana towards him and replenishing his mana. So at least in terms of mana, there was a world of difference between him today and him yesterday. 

[You are exposed to the Acid Ghoul's strengthened Acid Poison. Low Rank Acid Resistance is mitigating the damage.]

[I'll crush you, Skeleton!]
"Ugh...!"

While he was busy preparing for the battle, the Ghoul had gotten really close. Its Acid Poison had become even more fearsome than before, and Lee Shin Woo, feeling as though his entire body would be melted away, had attacked first. Though it was actually bearable due to his Acid Resistance. He prayed that his armor would last until the end of the battle, and activated his skill. 

"Power Slash!"
[Dieeeeeeeee!]

The Ghoul's sharp nails and the Bone of Thunder Lasting clashed. Immediately after the horrific shriek, Lee Shin Woo's body was mercilessly pushed back. In the ground, there were traces of two deep lines. 

"Ggeuuuuhk."
[You're weak! Skeleton!]

Despite using Power Slash, the strength behind Lee Shin Woo's strike couldn't match up to the Ghoul's. It was obvious. Even though his strength was counterbalanced by the amplification effect of his Avenger skill, he still couldn't contest a level 4 as a level 3 with purely stats. 

'Moreover, this asshole seems to have especially high strength...!'

Lee Shin Woo gripped his sword with both hands, whereas the Ghoul extended one hand, so he was even more shocked. He grit his teeth and attempted to parry its arm, but its forearm was as hard as steel. 
The flame blazing on his sword shifted to its arm, attached to it, and began to burn it, but he couldn't defeat the Ghoul with just that degree of pain. The flames on its shoulder were gradually expanding, so now it looked like some sort of flame giant.

"Eeek, Power Sla..."

[Not a chance!]

Lee Shin Woo pushed its arm away, and tried to use his Power Slash again, but the Ghoul used its other arm to smash him, like a straw cutter.
Lee Shin Woo, who used his Combat Sprint to seize that split second opportunity, swiftly retreated both his body and sword, and rolled onto the floor. Instead, the Ghoul's arm burst open  the innocent ground and sank into it. It was truly a horrific destructive power.

[To think you'd get away! Die. I'm telling you... to die!]
'Damn it, since it became level 4, our levels are worlds apart. It seems like it's at least 300 stats higher than me... How the hell am I supposed to win?'

Lee Shin Woo evaded its next attack and had to consecutively back away. By simply swinging its arms, the ground was hollowed out, forming small craters; when he saw that, before fear, he just felt astonished. ...It was a relief that it wasn't very hard to dodge them.

[Kuwaaaaahk! You rat...! A mere skeleton without a bit of flesh...!]
"Then are you that slow due to you having all that flesh? Oh, boy."
[Kugiaaaaaht!]

The Ghoul truly had tremendous strength and health, but it wasn't very fast. The fact that Lee Shin Woo was able to dodge its attacks was proof of that. However, he couldn't just move around dodging this guy forever...

[You are being exposed to the Acid Ghoul's strengthened Acid Poison.]
[Low Rank Acid Resistance has become Lv2.]

'My armor's steadily melting away. I won't last long like this...'

He had applied both his Harden skill, as well as his Acid Resistance to his armor, yet the condition of his armor wasn't good. It was due to already having fought the Great Slime. If it kept going like this, his armor wouldn't even last a few more minutes and would disappear without a trace!

'Damn it.'

At the end of his brief pondering, he put his armor into his inventory. Even if he were to die once, he couldn't afford to lose his armor in a place like this.

[Kyahak, Kyahahak!]

The Ghoul saw Lee Shin Woo de-equip his armor, and even as its hands consecutively floundered in the air, it laughed. Though he didn't know what it was so happy about, the Ghoul's body was being gradually burned by the Flames of Revenge. He didn't know if the Ghoul realized that it was in the exact same position as he was.

'Now it's become us both having time bombs set up and we're just waiting for whoever's time bomb goes off first.'

Lee Shin Woo, even while furrowing his (nonexistent) brow, decided to make his next move. It was none other than himself who made up his mind to finish this quest, even if he had to risk his life to do so. 
This was the time to stake his life. Even though he knew its body was damn tough, or that it was extremely strong, he needed to get one hit in with his sword...

-Kwang!

[Ggueeehk!]

Something forcefully hit the Acid Ghoul, causing it to miserably roll onto the floor. Lee Shin Woo, who had charged at it, stiffened in place.

"I'll help you!"

The one who had struck the Acid Ghoul, and appeared in its place was... a Skeleton Horse, and it spoke with eyes ablaze with blue goblin fire. Its voice was neither low, nor high, but simply just a charming, beautiful voice. 
The Skeleton Horse spoke in that beautiful voice, so he thought there was a considerable disparity between them, but when he thought about it, he wasn't in much of a different situation. 

"To think there'd be another undead hero like me...! It's really nice to meet you!"
"..."

Lee Shin Woo was speechless when he heard the Skeleton Horse continue, and kept his mouth shut. He had, at some point, heard about a Skeleton Horse in the chatting channel, a horse that just kept running within the confines of the underground empire; and the stories regarding the Skeleton Horse had coursed through his head.

Yeah, his seniors were right. There was no way that an undead wouldn't attack humans and would just keep running.
... If they weren't a hero, that is.
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