Power overflowed through Kim Jin-Woo’s body. It wasn’t like before, when he had expended his strength while fighting against the Dwarves, nor did he have to waste his energy traversing the vast battlefield. Although his time was limited due to the continued advancement of the Moai, he felt rather good about himself.
[The Undefeated Commander's unique amplification buff has been activated. Your combat abilities are greatly heightened.]
The same messages Kim Jin-Woo had seen countless times filled his eyes, and he ignored them as he glared at Gorgon behind them. Despite the title of ‘Valiant’, the giant was staggering backward in fear, putting his name to shame.
“How pathetic. Does your ‘Valiant’ name only hold up against the weak?” Kim Jin-Woo remarked mockingly. Gorgon, however, didn’t respond and instead continued to retreat.
Only the sound of his footsteps echoed through the central passageway of the labyrinth, where screams and roars could still be heard.
“Since you won’t come to me, I’ll go to you.” Kim Jin-Woo repeated the same words Gorgon had used against the 9th Floor allied troops as he lowered his stance. With a short breath, he kicked hard against the floor.
“Kuuuuurgh!” Gorgon, startled, swung his three remaining arms wildly. It was a feeble act of terror, but the sheer might behind his random swings made him worthy of the name ‘Valiant’.
“Lame.” It was a meaningless struggle against Kim Jin-Woo. He casually dodged Gorgon’s swings and went straight for the Giant’s chest, saying, “I hope your stamina’s as great as your gigantic size implies.”
“Eeek!” Belatedly avoiding his opponent’s arrogant gaze, the evil Gorgon desperately swung his arms and legs in an attempt to push Kim Jin-Woo away. His violent swings shook the labyrinth to its very foundation, and yet none of them were able to land on his attacker.
Kim Jin-Woo easily twisted his body to dodge all the attacks before stomping his right foot.
It seemed to be an effortless, almost casual kick, and yet the results indicated otherwise. Gorgon’s body bounced up from the floor before slamming back onto the group.
It was truly a display of overwhelming difference in power. Gorgon tried to get up several times, but he stumbled and fell again and again. After a long struggle, Gorgon finally managed to barely prop himself up on one leg.
Kim Jin-Woo silently watched Gorgon stand up in fear before kicking with his left foot. This time, the Giant’s humongous thighs were horribly twisted as they slammed back onto the floor.
“H-how…” Gorgon seemed more concerned about the overwhelming difference in power, rather than the pain of his legs being destroyed. Kim Jin-Woo simply grinned back at the giant, who was looking at him with a mix of astonishment and disbelief.
Just a year ago, the difference in power between Kim Jin-Woo and the 10th Floor Nobles hadn’t been too significant. In fact, he had struggled a great deal facing Boreas’ army. But now, Gorgon, once famous as a valiant warrior who had fought alongside Boreas the Wind Piercer, was no match for Kim Jin-Woo.
It was to be expected. While the Underworld Nobles had locked themselves up in their own labyrinths to protect themselves, Kim Jin-Woo had been to hell and back as he accumulated experience and grew his power. By gaining the ‘Undefeated’ title and scoring victory after victory, Kim Jin-Woo had become a monster of his own.
And now, in front of Gorgon stood that very monster, who was about to add one more to his long list of victories.
“In the past, I would certainly have asked you to surrender, but…” The faint blue streaks of light flowing from the corners of Kim Jin-Woo’s eyes brightened once more. “Unfortunately, what’s more important than you is that extra victory for me.”
And with that, Kim Jin-Woo stabbed his sword swiftly into Gorgon.
[One small victory has been added to the Undefeated Commander’s streak. Although it is not a big victory that will have a significant impact on the battlefield, a victory against an Underworld Noble is still by no means insignificant.]
[You have accumulated 78 major and minor victories thus far.]
[The effects of the Undefeated Commander title have slightly increased.]
[The Commander’s unique abilities and special abilities will not disappear as long as the streak is maintained.]
[Be cautious, as one defeat means the loss of everything.]
As Kim Jin-Woo read the messages filling his vision, Gorgon’s huge head rolled off his gigantic body.
As soon as Gorgon’s head fell to the ground, all activity in the labyrinth stopped.
“Rewards will be dispensed accordingly after everything is over,” Kim Jin-Woo said.
The 9th Floor army that had gathered around Kim Jin-Woo like beggars all shared the same look of disappointment. They had made great sacrifices and pushed the enemy until the very end, but all their efforts were for naught as they were unable to capture the enemy leader. And as it was Kim Jin-Woo who had appeared and personally beheaded the enemy leader, it was too late for the 9th Floor troops and labyrinth leaders to claim the loot as theirs.
“Regroup with the main unit and wait for further instructions. Individual actions are strictly prohibited.” As the movements of the Moai were unusual, Kim Jin-Woo decided to have the detachment regroup with the main unit before heading straight for the next labyrinth.
The other labyrinths were also in a similar situation. The 9th Floor troops were able to corner the enemy, but were unable to defeat their leaders. Only with Kim Jin-Woo’s involvement were they able to make any further progress.
“We’ve got the head of the enemy leader!” someone exclaimed.
Another victory was added to Kim Jin-Woo’s records, as the next labyrinth’s activities swiftly ceased.
“You didn’t have to get involved. I would have taken care of the matters here.” Morrigan, who had been dealing with the enemy until Kim Jin-Woo’s arrival, pouted as she rubbed her mouth. But contrary to her words, her appearance seemed to indicate otherwise, as she was breathing heavily while drenched in blood.
“I’m sure you would have.” Kim Jin-Woo briefly clicked his tongue before her a light punch in the back. Usually, Morrigan would have avoided his touch or resisted, but this time, she simply slumped down to the floor from his light gesture.
He remarked, “You sure know how to run your mouth…” Morrigan angrily leered back at him in response, but Kim Jin-Woo paid no attention to her.
As he accumulated victories one after another, the subsequent battles were won with greater ease, as the reinforcement units took over the active units’ duties after getting plenty of rest and replenishing their stamina.
By the time the 9th Floor army reached its final target battlefield, it had overcome its inferiority complex and was able to achieve overwhelming victory.
“The rewards will be dispensed accordingly later!” Kim Jin-Woo announced.
However, there was no time to bask in their victory. The Moai, who had retreated due to the distractions caused by the Under-Elves, were beginning to gather in larger groups.
“Any more would be overextending ourselves. I also want to avoid fruitless battles as much as possible, but the Moai have already caught on to our scent and are now within our immediate vicinity. A battle against them seems inevitable,” Dominique reported. She seemed dazed and tired as she observed the Moai approaching from all directions. “It’s already a great achievement that we’ve bought this much time.”
The sheer presence of the approaching Moai was daunting. No one else but Dominique could have utilized such a small number of Under-Elves to distract the Moai this much for this long.
“Gather Rikshasha and the Under-Elves. I’m taking over from here,” Kim Jin-Woo said as he hurriedly mounted his Tiger Dragon. “From now on, we’re not stopping until we reach the 9th Floor!” As soon as he finished speaking, the twisted cries of the Moai rang out from a distance.
“Move out!” Kim Jin-Woo and the Dragon Knights charged toward the red eyes shining in the darkness.
The first to clash were Kim Jin-Woo and two of his Dragon Knights in the vanguard. The Moai raised their claws and bared their teeth, but they were quickly engulfed by the Tiger Dragons’ flames, and they fell to the ground before they could even let out a scream.
“Don’t stop!” Kim Jin-Woo picked up his pace after being slightly slowed down by the collision with the Moai. “Run!”
Against the onslaught of the endless waves of Moai, the Dragon Knights continued charging forward without hesitation. Moved by the fact that they were running with their king, they forgot their sense of fear and fatigue as they continued to run forward. Their determination to stick by their king’s side was embodied in their charge.
But the enemy wasn’t something that willpower alone could overcome. The Moai, who didn’t even fear Death itself, began to wear out the Tiger Dragons as they continued to hang on onto the beasts.
“The wounded and the exhausted ones are to take care of the back lines!”
Even while frantically cutting down the Moai, Kim Jin-Woo didn’t forget to check the ranks. At his command, the Dragon Knights at the frontline retreated with a look of resentment, as other Dragon Knights charged forward to take their place.
The newly replaced Dragon Knights’ Tiger Dragons spewed out flames, burning away the tenacious Moai with one swift stroke.
“Pick up the pace!” Kim Jin-Woo ordered.
The Dragon Knights sped up even further. Instead of using their spears to attack, they were now relying on the Tiger Dragons’ stamina and physique to trample the Moai as they continued their journey. Torn flesh and limbs flew all over the place, as the Dragon Knights opened up a path of blood and meat.
The 9th Floor Army continued to charge back toward their resident floor, right through the endless numbers of Moai.
“Master! There’s an open plain up ahead!” Dominique shouted loudly as she rode a Tiger Dragon belonging to one of the Dragon Knights that had been sent to the rear.
“I know!” Kim Jin-Woo called back.
“If we keep this up, we’ll end up clashing with the main Moai army!”
“It’s too late for us to turn back! Charge through them all!”
More than just narrow tunnels existed in the Underworld. There were many wide open plains, as well as forests of stalactites. The fastest way to the 9th Floor was through one of those open plains.
“But the Dragon Knights are too exhausted!” Dominique exclaimed.
The Dragon Knights were at their limit from tirelessly trampling on the Moai, and the Tiger Dragons looked as if they were at Death’s door, as their tongues hung out from exhaustion.
Glancing back and realizing that even the reinforcement troops were completely worn out, Kim Jin-Woo frowned. In the corner of his vision, he saw the Big-Tusk Wild Boars laying low as they continued to sprint forward.
“Okonutoshi!” Kim Jin-Woo called. The Big-Tusk Wild Boars and their leader leaped forward to the front, and he ordered, “Open up a path! I’ll support you from the back!”
“Leave it to me! Oink!”
The Big-Tusk Wild Boars sniffed in excitement as they leapt into the wide open plain.
The roars of the Big-Tusk Wild Boars erupted across the plain, and the Moai were swept away in an instant. While the Dragon Knights continued to charge forward as they trampled on the Moai, the Big-Tusk Wild Boars were dealing with the Moai by smashing their giant snouts into the ground, knocking them off their feet, before piercing the enemy with their giant tusks.
“The path has been opened!” called Okonutoshi.
Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but admire the effective, albeit primitive, methods of the Big-Tusk Wild Boars as he pushed the back line onward. They had contributed just as much as the Dragon Knights in their return journey.
With that, Kim Jin-Woo and his army was able to push through the Moai across the vast plain, and they were finally able to reach the wide entrance to the passageway leading up to the 9th Floor.