“I’ll summon a naga maid.”
[A naga maid leads naga workers. The work efficiency of the naga workers will increase exponentially in their presence. The efficiency of gathering resources will increase. The chance of discovering rare resources will increase.]
Kim Jin-Woo nodded with dissatisfaction. Initially, he had planned to hire a naga soldier to reinforce the labyrinth’s defenses. However, naga soldiers required maintenance expenditures, unlike a naga worker or maid.
He didn’t have any down gems at the moment, so he had no choice but to summon a naga maid.
[Once summoned, a naga maid cannot be discarded until it dies. Do you still wish to summon a naga maid?]
The altar suddenly began to glow. Kim Jin-Woo assumed the light would fade sooner or later, so he waited. But for some reason, it didn’t disappear after a long time. In addition, he was confused by the intensity of the light coming from the altar. The light hadn’t been this bright when he had summoned the naga workers.
[A mystery of the underground world has activated. A naga maid (Heroine) has been summoned despite the slim probability of success.]
Kim Jin-Woo’s eyes widened when he read this new message. Meanwhile, the intense flash of light began to fade.
[The Naga maid Dominique (Heroine) has been summoned. Dominique is incomparable to an average naga maid. She is a true adviser who will devote herself to her master’s honor.]
Dominique’s appearance had as much impact as the message promised. Her hair was as dark as the night sky, and her pale face was beautiful. Unlike a naga worker, she resembled a human except for her pale, bluish skin and the snake-like lower half of her body.
Kim Jin-Woo stared blankly at her mysterious, violet eyes until he turned his reddened face away.
Dominique’s perky breasts jiggled whenever she moved her lower half and flashed her jewel-like scales. Kim Jin-Woo’s face heated up when he saw their provocative outline under her thin clothing.
All of a sudden, Kim Jin-Woo heard a woman’s voice. Startled, he turned around to find Dominique opening and closing her mouth silently. Whenever her mouth moved, a female whisper echoed in his mind.
<Please give me a task,> Dominique murmured as she looked up at Kim Jin-Woo obediently. It made Kim Jin-Woo’s heart drop.
Dominique was heroine-grade, but she was still a naga maid by default. She naturally began to take care of the labyrinth’s chores. She did most of the job herself, but she conversed with Kim Jin-Woo via telepathy at times. It took him quite a while to get used to her actions.
Two weeks later, many things had changed in the labyrinth. To start with, the messy pile of resources in the storage had finally been organized. The labyrinth was no longer covered with a layer of dust, and the atmosphere became strangely bright. It felt as though a woman had entered a house full of men.
The change in the labyrinth’s appearance was commendable, but Dominique wasn’t just good at housekeeping. She saw Kim Jin-Woo obsessing over the down gems and assigned the naga workers to gather resources from a different location. As a result, three down gems had been found in two weeks; previously, the same amount of time would barely yield one down gem.
“Well done.” Kim Jin-Woo praised Dominique when she passed him the green down gems that had been specially sorted. She squirmed in embarrassment, which made Kim Jin-Woo turn away unconsciously, as he found her action strangely erotic.
<An imp is eyeing the storage. We need soldiers to guard the labyrinth’s entrance and the storage.>
Dominique was different from the naga workers, who worked silently. She would occasionally inform Kim Jin-Woo about the situation of the labyrinth and give him advice.
“I was about to do that.” Kim Jin-Woo tossed a down gem onto the altar as if he were throwing a stone into a pond. “I’ll summon two naga soldiers.”
[A naga soldier is a brave warrior and an experienced hunter. However, it’s only as good as a recruit until it adapts to the new labyrinth. You have to use down gems to pay for their maintenance expenditures until you’ve established a breeding farm or found a hunting ground close to the labyrinth.]
[The monthly expenditure for two naga soldiers will be 1 of the 8 lowest-grade down gems in your possession. Do you still wish to summon two naga soldiers?]
Immediately afterward, the altar glowed, and two naga soldiers that were more than 2.5 meters tall appeared. They resembled bigger versions of the naga workers. Their scales were red and they were carrying spears with them.
Kim Jin-Woo had been hoping for a hero-grade naga soldier, but none appeared. He knew the chances were slim, though, and Dominique’s appearance was probably a special case.
Disappointed, Kim Jin-Woo looked at the naga soldiers and smacked his lips. He then ordered succinctly, “You two shall guard the labyrinth’s entrance.”
The naga soldiers slammed their spears onto the ground before disappearing to take up their posts.
The naga’s labyrinth was still a low-grade labyrinth. It only had a storage facility next to the master room, the nest of the naga workers, and a few passageways. Those two naga soldiers would suffice for now.
It was midsummer, but the naga’s labyrinth remained strangely cold. Kim Jin-Woo was about to open the portal after roaming and lazing around when red messages began to flash in front of his eyes.
[The naga soldiers are currently in battle.]
They were summoned just moments ago, and yet they were already in a battle. Kim Jin-Woo left the master room; he had no time to analyze the situation.
[Do you wish to synchronize with a naga soldier? You will share its vision and even control its body if desired. You will be forcefully disconnected from the naga soldier upon its death.]
Kim Jin-Woo was curious, but he shook his head. Now wasn’t the time to satisfy his curiosity.
A huge part of the labyrinth was still inactive. As a result, Kim Jin-Woo arrived at the battlefield in a short period of time.
He had been wondering what creature had invaded his labyrinth. It had a small, red body and a relatively large head. The creature looked rather familiar. “Imp?”
Kim Jin-Woo wasn’t sure how the imp had been discovered by the naga soldiers, but it was now being surrounded by them. The imp rolled around and dodged their spears, but it seemed to be in a perilous situation.
When the imp noticed Kim Jin-Woo’s presence, it gave him a pleading look even though they weren’t even close.
“Stop! Don’t kill it. Just capture it!” Kim Jin-Woo ordered.
The imp gave him a look of despair, whereas the naga soldiers held their spears backward so as to not injure the imp.
“This is all you have?” Kim Jin-Woo asked. The captured imp nodded diligently. He was pleased to see the four down gems in the imp’s chubby hand. They were considerably big, similar in size to the red down gem he had sold before.
“Keeee.” The imp made a tearful face when Kim Jin-Woo snatched the down gems away without hesitation. However, he wasn’t even looking at the imp.
These four down gems were equal to 70 million won even at the previous market rate. How could he not be happy with this serendipitous encounter?
“You’re free to go.” He couldn’t kill the imp when he had just robbed it of its down gems. Thus, he decided to set the imp free.
“Kak kak, kaaak!” Finally released from the naga soldier’s grip, the imp stomped the ground and muttered incomprehensibly before disappearing into the dark. Kim Jin-Woo didn’t understand what the imp had said, but he knew it was probably cursing him all over.
<That imp is a sneaky thief. It’s bound to creep into the storage once again if you let it go.> Dominique didn’t seem too fond of sparing the imp’s life.
Kim Jin-Woo, who had already profited from the imp, was now planning for their next encounter instead of killing the little thief. The imp might bring him more profit, after all.
He was in a great mood, but his expression suddenly stiffened. “Dominique. What’s the quickest way to expand the labyrinth?”
<The most straightforward method is to invest in the labyrinth using down gems. The down gems in your hand are enough to upgrade the current labyrinth.>
Kim Jin-Woo fell into deep thought upon hearing Dominique’s advice. He then took out two down gems and threw them onto the altar. The blue and yellow jewels immediately vanished.
[You have offered two medium-grade down gems to the altar. There is enough energy to upgrade the labyrinth from Level 2 to Level 3.]
[Upgrading the labyrinth from Level 2 to Level 3. Time left until the completion of the upgrade - 239:59:57.]
Kim Jin-Woo stared at where the down gems had vanished. He then checked the remaining time before leaving the labyrinth.
“What’s keeping you so busy nowadays?” Kim Jin-Woo’s father asked. Kim Jin-Woo grinned awkwardly as his father continued, “I trust that you haven’t been having weird thoughts. We don’t want you to go to that place again.”
His father might have noticed that something was up, judging from his expression. The words weighed heavily on his heart.
“Understood.” Kim Jin-Woo’s expression was stiff as he replied. He recalled how he had turned away from reality after being pampered by his family’s warmth. Thinking of how he had run away from the underground world with his family as his excuse, he clenched his teeth tightly.
Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t run away anymore. Unlike before, he now possessed power. He was now a master of a labyrinth, just like the underground duke who had ruined his brothers and fed them to the spiders. This thought alone rendered Kim Jin-Woo anxious beyond control. He tried to comfort himself, but he couldn’t help but feel nervous.
When he revisited the labyrinth after a long while, the upgrade was already completed.
[The labyrinth’s upgrade has now been completed. Its grade has increased from Level 2 to Level 3. New facilities have been unlocked and activated.]
[Due to the labyrinth’s activation, beasts and creatures from far away have now recognized the labyrinth’s existence.]
[The labyrinth is no longer safe. You have to prepare your defenses to prepare for an invasion.]
[You are out of luck. A swarm of horned rats (Level 1) is heading towards the labyrinth. You have to fortify your defenses (00:59:59 left until their arrival).]
As usual, a wall of text filled his eyes. But the last message that blinked in red stood out the most.
[If you fail to defend the labyrinth, its core will be destroyed. The master shares the same fate as the labyrinth and will also receive serious injuries.]
“Dominique!” Kim Jin-Woo summoned Dominique after reading the message.
She appeared soon afterward and spoke. <You have to summon more soldiers. We cannot defend the labyrinth as we are now.>
Even as she spoke, the message was still flickering in red.
[00:59:32 remaining until the invasion of the horned rats.]
Unfortunately, the countdown continued without any sign of stopping. Kim Jin-Woo quickly checked the labyrinth’s status with a grim look on his face.
[Naga’s Labyrinth] (Active)
Master Kim Jin-Woo (Level 6)Level 3 Labyrinth (Size 18x18)Dungeon Energy (20/100)Durability 2148/2148FacilitiesMaster Room (Level 2)Portal (On Cooldown 23:59:15 0/1)Gate (350/350)Storage (540/2500)Naga’s Nest (18/40)Level 3 facilities can only be activated after upgrading.Military Strength (18/40)Naga Maid (Dominique/Heroine) 1/10Naga Soldier (Level 1) 2/2Naga Worker (Level 1) 4/1Four naga workers, two soldiers, and one maid… Could Kim Jin-Woo stop the intruders with just these forces? He had no idea. He sat on the naga’s throne and placed his hands on the marbles.
Naga Worker (Level 1) (1)A worker that gathers resources and handles difficult work. Its combat strength is the lowest among the nagas.Naga Archer (Level 2) (10)A sniper that is deadliest in the dark. Its sharp arrows can pierce through an enemy’s heart.Naga Soldier (Level 1) (2)A guard of the labyrinth with nothing to fear. Combat is its specialty.Naga Warrior (Level 2) (6)A natural warrior. It has an incredibly strong body.Naga Magician (Low-Class) (19)It studies the mysteries of the underground world. The wise naga magician can dominate its enemies with its powerful spells.Naga Priest (Low-Class) (17)It worships the primal snake. Being both a sage of the underground world and a doctor, it can heal injured nagas.New classes of summonable personnel had appeared. The energy required to summon them was incomparably greater than that needed for a naga soldier.
Kim Jin-Woo shook his head. He could barely summon one naga magician or priest with a medium-grade down gem. He was contemplating his next course of action when a new message appeared.
[00:50:00 remaining until the arrival of the swarm of horned rats (20/20).]
Kim Jin-Woo became anxious when he saw the new information: 20/20. It was a large number that made his two naga soldiers look insignificant. He couldn’t just casually decide which personnel to summon. Unfortunately, he lacked too much information to make an informed decision.
While he kept thinking about his next course of action, time continued to mercilessly trickle down.
“Damn it! If only I knew what was going on!” Kim Jin-Woo swore and shouted.
Dominique, who was beside him, spoke. <A naga soldier can deal with four horned rats.>
Kim Jin-Woo suddenly felt the confusion in his mind clear up. When he smiled brightly at Dominique, she smiled and spoke once more. <A warrior and priest can deal with two each, a magician can deal with five, and an archer can deal with three. However, do take note that all of them except the warrior are extremely weak in close combat.>
With her information, Kim Jin-Woo was finally able to decide……
“I’ll summon two naga warriors!”
[A naga warrior is a born warrior and fighter. It can fight to the best of its ability even in a foreign environment. It will take care of itself once you’ve shown it a hunting ground.]
[The monthly expenditure for two naga warriors will be 1 of the 4 lowest-grade down gems in your possession. Do you still wish to summon two naga warriors?]
Immediately afterward, two naga warriors leaped out from the light. They were twice the size of the naga soldiers. They carried huge shields and intimidating blunt weapons. Kim Jin-Woo felt relieved with how they looked alone.
“The warriors and the soldiers shall defend the entrance! Dominique and the workers shall observe the situation from behind!”
[There is no commander. Do you wish to command them yourself?]
He had received more messages than ever before today. But Kim Jin-Woo nodded without much hesitation as he headed toward the labyrinth’s entrance.
[The swarm of horned rats (20/20) is nearby. 00:24:32 left until their invasion.]
The countdown continued. Even though they were still twenty minutes away, Kim Jin-Woo could already feel their presence from afar. He could hear the squeaking of the rats and their scurrying footsteps.
Just when the message showed that the horned rats had finally invaded the labyrinth, the rats themselves leaped in front of the naga warriors’ broad shoulders and shields. They were two meters long and appeared to have just come out from the sewers.
[The battle begins. It will not end until all the horned rats are dead or chased out of the labyrinth. The dungeon master has stepped forward as the commander. The labyrinth’s core will be destroyed upon the commander’s death.]
“Stop them!” Kim Jin-Woo commanded. The naga warriors and soldiers immediately dashed forward with their shields and spears respectively.