Chapter 91

  #38. Eo-bu-ji-ri[1]

  “I’m Xylos from the 11th F…… Gaargh!”

  Morrigan stepped on him and he let out another painful scream. She commanded, “Make yourself easy to understand.”

  Based on all the blood that was falling from his head, one could imagine exactly how much pain Morrigan had inflicted on him during her return.

  “I’ve received orders to spy on the Naga King from the 11th F…”


  Xylos quickly realized he had made the error of failing to introduce himself at the sight of Morrigan’s swinging sword and belatedly corrected himself. “I was sent by the 11th Floor’s Lord Parthenon to spy on the Naga’s Fortress.”

  Parthenon of Despair was the noble who had rallied the 10th Floor Nobles to go to war with Morrigan. And it wasn’t too long ago that he had sent a peace offer in exchange for handing over Morrigan.

  “Why did Lord Parthenon send a spy all the way to the 9th Floor?” Morrigan asked.

  It was understandable why Parthenon had done so. He didn’t want to let Morrigan be free, and despite his having offered a peace treaty in exchange for her, a mere 9th Floor Noble hadn’t even deigned to respond. He must have been curious about what was exactly going on.

  “I’ve only received orders, I’m not sure about the exact circums… Eeek!”

  Morrigan, visibly displeased with Xylos, lifted her foot off him and backed away. “Then tell us what you know. What was the exact order you received?”

  “Just to observe the Fortress… I’ve been given no other details.”

  Kim Jin-Woo noticed that Xylos’ ears had been torn off, and Morrigan explained from beside him.

  “He’s from the Big-Eared Spy Tribe. They have no special abilities, but their naturally big ears allow them to eavesdrop easily on other people, or to detect any nearby movement to hide themselves. As a precautionary measure, I’ve cut them off.”

  As expected of the Crow of the Battlefield, she was brutally pragmatic. Or maybe she was just being overly enthusiastic over Xylos being Parthenon’s subordinate.

  “And they lie as easily as they breathe. Just look at the way he’s rolling his eyes.”

  Morrigan continued to beat Xylos up as she spoke. And once again, Kim Jin-Woo didn’t stop her, as he knew that this spy had yet to reveal everything.

  “Kaaargh!” Xylos persevered, but his body could only last so long before he finally agreed to tell the truth, as he lay nearly beaten to death. “I was told to find out the details of the Fortress… Eeek! He wanted to know the size of the army and its strength!”

  Only after a severe beating and losing all his teeth did Xylos finally confess, but he soon fainted from all the pain he had incurred.

  “I knew something was off. Parthenon of Despair isn’t one to give up so easily,” Morrigan said.

  “That means the invitation he sent to me was a trap. To even use a Hero-Grade summoning stone as bait… He truly lives up to his reputation,” Kim Jin-Woo remarked.

  If he had accepted Parthenon’s offer of reconciliation, he would have been in great danger. And from the look of things, it seemed as though Parthenon had had no intention of resolving this matter peacefully in the first place.

  “What will you do?” Morrigan asked. She was acting brazenly despite the fact that these issues had started because of her, as if they weren’t relevant to her at all. She continued, “He wouldn’t come up personally from the 11th Floor. Even the Iron-Blooded Anatolius himself wouldn’t be spared from the penalty of being two floors away from his floor of residence, even if he may be a Deep Floor Count.”

  “At most, Parthenon will end up utilizing the 10th Floor Nobles again like last time.” Kim Jin-Woo replied.

  Of course, it was questionable whether the once-defeated nobles would end up working for Parthenon again, but another war was never out of the question.

  “As you may know, the moment you decided not to send me back, you crossed the line of no return with Parthenon. And you embarrassed him in the previous war, so he undoubtedly has a score to settle with you.” Morrigan was clearly enjoying this moment.

  The smug look on her face was getting on Kim Jin-Woo’s nerves, as he shot back, “You sure are talking a lot. And come to think of it, isn’t this all because of you?”

  “Well, in the end, Master still benefits, no? And I’m still not interested in regaining the power I had in my prime.”

  Kim Jin-Woo shook his head as he let out a sigh, but he didn’t retort against her words.

  Morrigan was stronger than most labyrinth masters, and it was undeniable that she was indeed the strongest being in the Naga’s Fortress.

  “It doesn’t feel right for me to not react to Parthenon’s acts of aggression,” Kim Jin-Woo remarked. Knowing that his relationship with Parthenon was irreparable, he felt that it was better for him to face this issue sooner than later.

  “It’s about time I meet Anatolius.”


  Kim Jin-Woo wasn’t sure what Angela had done, but she managed to easily contact Anatolius, who ascended to the 9th Floor at a scarily rapid pace.

  “How arrogant. A mere 9th Floor Noble telling me to come up here.” Anatolius was visibly irritated at the sudden request for a meeting.

  But Kim Jin-Woo still talked to him in a very matter-of-fact manner. “I suffered quite a bit because of Parthenon, you know?”

  “If it’s compensation you’re seeking, then haven’t you already gotten enough? Or is it still insufficient for you?”

  “No. I just find it strange. Why would someone like Parthenon try so hard to get rid of Morrigan, to the point of sacrificing his own subordinate?”

  Kim Jin-Woo had found nothing strange about the whole matter in the beginning, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized there were things that just didn’t feel right.

  Parthenon had started a war that resulted in his subordinate’s death.

  And although it had ultimately ended in a failure for him, even if he had ended up victorious, there wouldn’t have been much left for him to claim. The 10th Floor Nobles were already too rotten to the core to be of much use. The decision for Parthenon to abandon his subordinate from the 11th Floor simply didn’t make sense to Kim Jin-Woo.

  Moreover, the subordinate he had so willingly sacrificed was a feared noble. It was too poor a trade to make just to take revenge against Morrigan.

  “So?” The Iron-Blooded Anatolius replied coldly.

  Most people would have been let down by such a reaction, but Kim Jin-Woo wasn’t like most people. “Was that your doing?” he asked bluntly.

  Anatolius’ lips curled at Kim Jin-Woo’s directness. He said nothing, but his silence was as good as a reply for Kim Jin-Woo.

  “You truly live up to your name.” Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t tell if Anatolius’ cold reaction was because he had made Anatolius’ name public, or if Anatolius was planning on supporting the Nagas even further.

  “Don’t tell me you called me all the way here just to say that?”

  “No way. It seemed you were very angry after what I did, so this time, I’m telling you beforehand. I’m thinking of messing with Parthenon.”


  Kim Jin-Woo scoffed at Anatolius’ question. “No need for you to know that. Parthenon seems so intent on killing me that he may leave his labyrinth at any time.”

  “I have no idea what you’re saying.”

  “You’ll find out soon enough.”

  Seeing that Kim Jin-Woo had the upper hand in the conversation, Anatolius was visibly annoyed.

  Kim Jin-Woo looked at the Iron-Blooded Count and smirked. “All I’m saying is that should an opportunity present itself, I’ll be taking it.”


  Shortly after Anatolius left, Kim Jin-Woo left the Underworld before returning quickly. He brought back a backpack, containing things no one else in the Naga’s Fortress knew about.

  “What’s that?” Morrigan asked.

  Kim Jin-Woo just laughed playfully and replied, “It’s a present.”


  Not long after Anatolius’ arrival, the Black Merchant visited as well. But unlike his usual procession, his workers were nowhere to be found and only his mercenaries accompanied him.

  As soon as the Black Merchant saw Kim Jin-Woo, he started shouting in a fit of rage, “What the hell did you do!?”

  Kim Jin-Woo’s expression soured at the Black Merchant’s attitude. “What did I do?”

  The Black Merchant beat his chest with his stubby arms as he let out a sigh. “The invitation letter I handed to you a while back.”

  “Ah, that invitation letter?” Finally understanding what the Black Merchant was talking about, Kim Jin-Woo shrugged as he spoke sarcastically. “I did receive his invitation, yes. But it seemed the host was only interested in eating his guest. I was too scared to go. But I was also too scared to ignore him, knowing his nasty temper. So all I did was send him a little gift.”

  The Black Merchant let out another sigh. “Do you know what’s happening on the 11th Floor?”

  Kim Jin-Woo continued to play dumb. Instead, he pestered the Black Merchant, saying he was dying to find out.

  “Parthenon declared to the Underworld that he would kill you.” The Black Merchant seemed to be trying to warn Kim Jin-Woo, who seemed as relaxed as ever.

  “Guess he didn’t like the present, huh?”

  “How could he!? Thanks to your ‘present’, a fifth of his labyrinth was destroyed! Now he’s deployed all his subordinates in his anger.”

  It was to be expected that Parthenon would be pissed. After all, he had sent an invitation letter to a lousy 9th Floor Noble to bait him in, only to receive a deadly bomb in return.

  And on top of that, the bomb had resulted in a large portion of his labyrinth being destroyed. It was no wonder he was this angry.

  Kim Jin-Woo had spent a fortune purchasing an expensive bomb from the surface, and he couldn’t help but snicker at such a satisfactory result.

  “Aren’t you worried one bit? Doesn’t the fact that the 11th Floor Nobles that are loyal to Parthenon are coming after you not bother you at all?”

  Kim Jin-Woo was totally unfazed by the Black Merchant’s whispers of concern. “What’s there to worry about? After all, those troops won’t even reach the 9th Floor.”

  The Black Merchant seemed to have thought that Kim Jin-Woo was acting recklessly. Upon hearing that comment, he felt confused. “What do you mean?”

  Kim Jin-Woo continued to gloat as he looked at the Black Merchant. “The Anatolius I know won’t let such an opportunity pass by.”

  But that only seemed to confuse the Black Merchant even more.

  “Just wait. You will find out in a couple of days,” Kim Jin-Woo merely said.

  The Black Merchant left confused, and finally returned to the Naga’s Fortress a few days later.

  “Did you two plan this all along?” he asked.

  “What are you talking about?”

  “Lord Anatolius led his Iron-Blooded Knights, and they totally destroyed Lord Parthenon’s Priests of Despair outside their labyrinth.”

  If Anatolius had his Iron-Blooded Knights, then Parthenon had his Priests of Despair by his side. These powerful priests, who brought death and despair wherever they went, were Parthenon's greatest assets.

  “So what is Parthenon doing?” Kim Jin-Woo, feeling satisfied, asked the Black Merchant.

  “As the attack occurred before Lord Parthenon’s labyrinth was fully restored, the damage was severe. Lord Anatolius attacked hard and swiftly. This time, there may be a real war, unlike the last.”

  “A real war?” It was an unexpected turn of events for Kim Jin-Woo. He had expected this matter to stay self-contained.

  But the Black Merchant looked dead serious as he replied, “Yes. It’s gotten out of hand, thanks to another count’s intervention.”

  “Another count?”

  “Denarion, Lord of Nightmares, has joined the war.”

  1. This is a Korean allusion to a Chinese proverb that goes ‘When the snipe and the clam fight, the fisherman benefits’. It refers to pitting two sides against one another in order to benefit.