Chapter 152

  #58. The Grand Labyrinth

  Kim Jin-Woo grabbed Morrigan by the neck as she gasped for breath, and grinned. “Let’s call it a day,” he said. And with that, he opened his hand. Morrigan slammed onto the floor, coughing from having been choked.

  Their intense sparring session, reminiscent of an actual battle, had lasted for a week. Kim Jin-Woo had suffered humiliating defeats at first, but that only lasted a short while. The dormant power within him was slowly unleashed, and it seemed at first that Kim Jin-Woo was taking his time to find a balance between his skills and his untapped potential. But before Morrigan knew it, she was unable to handle him any longer.

  It wasn’t an exaggeration, to say the least. The latent power he had possessed in the first place was so great that it couldn’t even be compared with Morrigan’s awakened powers.

  The Undefeated Commander. The Conqueror.

  Each title Kim Jin-Woo had was formidable on its own, and his physical abilities, further heightened by his ascension to Highlord, were so powerful that he could even afford to look down on the mighty Death Crow.

  Nevertheless, the reason he had struggled so much in the beginning was as Morrigan had said. He lacked combat experience with truly powerful opponents.

  In the process of his intense training, he broke several bones and lost his flesh, and was finally able to work on his weaknesses. In a matter of just one week, he had become unbelievably strong compared to before.

  What was even more surprising was the fact that his abilities were still evolving. However, he was at the limit of drawing out his potential through Morrigan. Training against her had reached its peak effectiveness, and it was no longer of use to him. And Morrigan knew just the method to further draw out his potential, far beyond what she could offer.

  Morrigan barely stopped coughing as she looked up at him with her red face and said, “Find the fragments. There must be more fragments scattered across the Underworld.”

  After the 9th Floor had been locked out by the swarm of lights, the only living beings left were Kim Jin-Woo and Morrigan. They shared many stories between each other, and Kim Jin-Woo was no longer as controlling toward Morrigan. One thing he was certain of was that with the fragments of the One-Eyed Lord within him, she would never betray him.

  “I’m sure they’re avoiding the gaze of the Usurper, the same way Ustus lived. It won’t be easy to find them,” Kim Jin-Woo replied.

  It wouldn’t be easy searching for beings that were intentionally hiding their existence. Fate and luck had been on his side when it came to his discovery of the fragments he had encountered thus far, but he couldn’t solely rely on that for the other remaining fragments.

  “There’s no need for Master to seek them out. With Master’s awakening, I’m sure some of them will be looking for you intentionally instead,” Morrigan reassured him.


  “Please sleep well.” On the day they finished their training, Morrigan, as usual, came to Kim Jin-Woo’s bedroom and waited on him as if she were his chambermaid. Although she was rather clumsy, there was sincerity behind every gesture.

  “Mm…” But today, for some reason, she wasn’t leaving the bedroom.

  “Do you have something to say?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.

  “Tomorrow will be the end of this damned faded world.” Instead of answering, Morrigan said something cryptic. “Once the Fortress awakens, all those that disappeared will return. The labyrinth masters, the Fortress’ Nagas, and…” She looked at him with teary eyes. “Dominique, too.”

  It was a rather awkward atmosphere, and although she had gotten more likeable in recent times, the Death Crow who reigned as a reaper on the battlefield was who she really was. Still not used to her appearance, Kim Jin-Woo looked at her quietly without responding.

  Thinking that Morrigan might feel that way now, Kim Jin-Woo carefully asked, “Is that bad?” But it was Morrigan who didn’t reply this time. 

  “Guess we’ll be busy from tomorrow onward, huh?” Kim Jin-Woo remarked.

  “Probably. I don’t know how the 9th Floor will change, but one thing is for certain: This event would definitely have caught the attention of those who aren’t fond of the existence of the Highlord,” Morrigan answered.

  They had to avoid the attention of the Usurper immediately, and they also had to solve the issue of the down gem depletion caused by the Moai. Just these two issues alone would be enough to keep them as busy as ever.

  “This is unlike you. Saying whatever you want to say is more of your style, isn’t it?” Feeling that Morrigan was beating about the bush, Kim Jin-Woo finally confronted her.

  “Master.” Suddenly, Morrigan came close to his face. Her lips twitched as their faces got close enough to feel each other’s breath.

  “Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore…”[1] Barely audible unfamiliar words that Kim Jin-Woo had never heard before began to flow from Morrigan’s red lips. He frowned as he looked at Morrigan, wondering what she was saying.

  But Morrigan simply smiled as she looked back at him, before stepping backward. “I pray you’ll have pleasant dreams…” After greeting him as if nothing had happened, Morrigan disappeared.

  Kim Jin-Woo was left alone as he tried to mumble the words that had left a deep impression on him, but he eventually gave up trying to imitate the unfamiliar incantations and dozed off to sleep.


  The corpse with its heart removed was horrifying to look at, but Denarion furrowed his eyebrows as he stared at it.

  “Tsk, I ended up sacrificing yet another Nightmare for nothing.” Despite what his words implied, there wasn’t a single sign of compassion in his cold eyes. “Take it away.”

  As soon as he finished speaking, the Nightmares in wait appeared and retrieved the corpse.

  “This is strange. Very strange.” Denarion stared at the Nightmare’s bloodstain on the ground before turning away. There was no one left in his master room, but he was speaking as if he were talking to someone else. “This has never happened before. I can’t reach into his dream.”

  “Perhaps he’s not sleeping?” A muffled voice suddenly echoed throughout the room, but Denarion didn’t seem surprised.

  “No, even if he weren’t asleep, he’s already linked to Ariane.” Denarion frowned at the incomprehensible situation.

  “I heard that Ariane was recently severely injured at the hands of Bartholomew. Although she holds the grand name of Queen of Illusions, she was originally from the lower Succubus clan. Perhaps her spirit isn’t strong enough to answer the calls of the King,” said the voice.

  “That said, I can’t even feel her presence,” Denarion remarked.

  The Queen of Illusions was one of the first labyrinth masters within the 9th Floor alliance who had sworn allegiance to Kim Jin-Woo under the Vassal’s Pledge. But Denarion spoke of her as if she were his subordinate.

  “Tsk, how frustrating. The cunning Counts have dragged out this war, and now my intelligence network has been ruined,” Denarion spoke brazenly, even though he was also one of the same Counts he was talking about.

  “What if…” the voice began.

  “Darius, I hate the word ‘if’. Since it’s you we’re talking about, you should know already by now, shouldn’t you?” Denarion asked. His ability was to manipulate one’s subconscious and uncertainties. Yet, oddly enough, he himself hated any sense of uncertainty.

  That was why, when the Iron-Blooded Anatolius had repeatedly made deals with the King of the Nagas, Denarion had sent out the Queen of Illusions and the Undefeated Mercenary from the powers beneath him to watch over the 9th Floor.

  “I’ll receive the punishment after I’ve told my story. Please give me a chance.” Despite knowing his nature well, the woman calling herself Darius started the story of ‘what if’. “What if he’s already come into contact with the fragments?”

  “That’s not possible. Even when we mixed the fragment into the detachment unit, he quietly passed over it. He’s more careful than we give him credit for. There’s no way he would risk drawing the attention of the Usurper.”

  The fragment hidden in the detachment unit had intentionally been planted by Denarion, after he had found it with much difficulty.

  The fragments of the Ancient Lord, whose title of ‘Lord of Brilliance’ was unfitting of the Underworld, were very small and seemingly insignificant, but one had been enough to confirm his thoughts: The powers of the Ancient Lord could not be granted to the beings of the current Underworld.

  It wasn’t known for certain if this was the work of the Usurper on the 14th Floor, or if the remnants of the Ancient Lord were unable to forget his grudges, but it was certain that the current labyrinth masters of the Underworld, including the Nobles themselves, were unable to handle his power.

  It was the Naga King who had absorbed that power. But despite that, he had never displayed those powers once during his time on the 11th Floor. Thus, it had to be the case that the powers didn’t work for the Naga King, as he had suspected.

  Or perhaps he was simply wary of the other Nobles…

  “Maybe I should check it out one more time.” Denarion immersed himself in deep thought before finally saying, “Summon Yoon-Hee. If what you say is true, then she’s bound to have undergone changes.”

  Yoon-Hee was also one of the many seeds that Denarion had sown across the Underworld to acquire the Ancient Lord’s powers. He had kept Yoon-Hee closest to him, but due to her half-blood nature, the fragment of the Ancient Lord had rejected her. With no further use for her, Denarion had cast her out, but he never would have thought that he would find her useful again.

  “Before Anatolius and Parthenon notice anything, we have to make the first move. It’s best that you go see for yourself,” Denarion said.

  “As the King wills,” Darius answered.

  “Be careful not to catch the attention of the Black Merchants. They may be in hiding now, but we never know what they’re thinking. They’re possibly more dangerous than those from the floors deeper than ours.”

  “I’ll keep that in mind.” The mysterious voice echoing through the air disappeared.

  Denarion was left alone as he stared off into the darkness, quietly contemplating the Naga King on the 9th Floor.

  “The King of the Nagas,” he murmured as if Kim Jin-Woo were in front of him. “I hope your path isn’t different from mine.”

  With that, Denarion closed his heavily sunken eyes.


  It wasn’t just Denarion who had noticed the anomaly on the 9th Floor. Anatolius and Parthenon, each noticing that they had lost contact with their spies on the 9th Floor, moved quickly. They each prepared to send their tight-lipped minions to the 9th Floor.

  If not for the fact that the 9th Floor passageway had been sealed completely shut, their minions would have achieved their missions. But the sealed 9th Floor passageway rejected them, and there was no other way for them to reach the 9th Floor.

  They accessed the 8th Floor via portals and tried to enter the 9th Floor from that end, but they were still met with the same result. After seeing the sealed-off passageways, they had no choice but to return to their labyrinths.

  Although each of the two Nobles had different thoughts and desires, their actions were the same. They mobilized as many resources as possible to prevent the anomaly on the 9th Floor from spreading to the Deep Floors.

  Whatever their purpose may be, Kim Jin-Woo was able to avoid the situation on the 9th Floor becoming known to those who were against the Highlord’s existence. Thanks to the three 11th Floor Counts’ actions, he was able to safely buy enough time for the 9th Floor.

  [All the changes have been completed.]

  [There is only one labyrinth in the Underworld worthy enough for the Highlord.]

  [The Grand Labyrinth has been created.]

  1. This was in Latin in the raws. It translates to ‘I hope our friendship will be everlasting.’