Chapter 160

  #61. The Underworld Veins

  [The battle was over before it even started. The Moai that approached the border disappeared as a meal for the Grand Labyrinth.]

  [The Moai are not only weakened from not having consumed down gems for a long time, but have also been adversely affected from being exposed to the evil of the Underworld for a long time. Thus, the conversion of their life energy into dungeon energy is not very efficient. A significant amount of energy was lost during the conversion.]

  [Nevertheless, the blind obsession and energy provided by the Moai has satisfied the Grand Labyrinth.]

  Kim Jin-Woo had briefly been worried about the appearance of the Moai at the border of the labyrinth, but the situation was resolved almost immediately. It was almost laughable that he had still been worrying about the lack of troops when he had the power of the Grand Labyrinth in his hands.

  Moreover, the fact that the Moai had been able to satiate the Grand Labyrinth’s hunger when he had been worried about it consuming its residents was a huge relief. Since there were still a lot of Moai roaming the Underworld, Kim Jin-Woo had found a much easier solution to the problem that he had anticipated.

  But it wasn’t all good news. More Moai gathered on the 9th Floor soon after, and eventually made their way to the front of the Grand Labyrinth, which was located near the center of the 9th Floor.

  The hard work that Kim Jin-Woo had put in to prevent the Moai from invading the 9th Floor turned out to be in vain. Furthermore, now that all the labyrinths that had formed the defensive front line had disappeared, the 9th Floor was no different from an empty mountain without its owner.[1]

  Moreover, to make matters worse, Kim Jin-Woo was living in the Grand Labyrinth with a sizable power vacuum, and the only contact he had with the outside world beyond the labyrinth came via Rikshasha and the Under-Elves.

  But in the current situation, where each and every member of his army was crucial, it was impossible to force the Under-Elves to push back the dangerous Moai horde. It soon became clear that unless something changed, they would end up being isolated from the rest of the Underworld. And at the rate they were going, it would only be a matter of time before the entire 9th Floor would be occupied by the Moai.

  Thus, Uther’s presence became even more important. The Greed Slimes were the only alternative Kim Jin-Woo had that could replace the eyes and ears he had once had across the entire 9th Floor.

  In that sense, it was fortunate that Uther had been able to make his way to the Grand Labyrinth. Of course, it was questionable that he had arrived last when Kim Jin-Woo expected him to arrive first, but now, there was no need to be reluctant about letting him join.

  Kim Jin-Woo was lost in thought when he felt the familiar being run into the master room. He raised his head and said, “You’re here.”

  “My King!” Uther was as frivolous as ever, causing Kim Jin-Woo to break into laughter. He found it hilarious to see the lumps of Greed Slimes hanging onto Uther as if he were wearing water balloons.

  “You’re rather late,” Kim Jin-Woo said as he settled down, maintaining a straight face as Uther approached him.

  “My labyrinth! My labyrinth!” Uther looked at Kim Jin-Woo as he desperately explained the situation that had unfolded.

  Kim Jin-Woo, who already knew of the entire situation, eagerly waited for Uther to finish speaking before taking his turn to speak. “Unfortunately, I don’t know how to restore a labyrinth that’s been destroyed.”

  He repeated the same explanation he had given to others who had lost their labyrinths as well, including Okonutoshi. At first glance, Uther remained silent as his expression hardened into a ruthless gaze.

  Without even having to use the Eyes of Truth, Kim Jin-Woo could tell from the way Uther’s body was softening and hardening that he felt anger and despair. In fact, when he used the ability, it only confirmed that what Uther actually felt wasn’t too far from his expectations.

  “If you wish, I can provide you with a place to stay in my labyrinth. It may not be comparable to the life you had before when you reigned like a king, but you and your clan won’t have to aimlessly roam the Underworld like beasts and lose yourselves to the Underworld,” Kim Jin-Woo offered.

  Uther didn’t readily answer. After all, it wasn’t so easy to accept the circumstances, when his perfectly normal labyrinth had practically disappeared overnight, and now he had to live in someone else’s labyrinth like some kind of conscript.

  However, if there had been other options to begin with, Malaxus and the others wouldn’t have chosen to live in the Grand Labyrinth either. In the end, Uther, just like everyone else, had no choice but to helplessly accept Kim Jin-Woo’s proposal.

  [Uther and the Greed Slimes have been accepted into the Grand Labyrinth.]

  [Uther is a special being. Although it cannot be said that he has high combat capabilities, he is outstanding in terms of survivability and fertility.]

  [While other clans can only increase their numbers with the Labyrinth Core’s summoning abilities, Uther and the Greed Slimes are able to split themselves and increase their numbers as much as they want, so long as they are provided with the necessary energy.]

  [These Slime Masses, while irregular in shape, have a knack for making a mess out of their dwellings. Even the slightest negligence may cause the entire Grand Labyrinth to be covered in slime.]

  Uther had a unique side to him. He had lost his labyrinth and was living in the Grand Labyrinth just like everyone else, but he and his clan still had a high chance of prospering.

  This was a first for Kim Jin-Woo, as he squinted his eyes and observed Uther more closely. However, he found nothing out of the ordinary.

  “Oh! I almost forgot. The reason why I was late…” Uther began.

  “Keep it short.” Knowing Uther, Kim Jin-Woo knew that if he didn’t interject, Uther would tell a long, drawn-out story. Thus, he informed Uther to cut to the chase.

  His guess seemed to be correct, as Uther shuddered before shrugging, before opening his mouth after a bit of wariness. His expression seemed to resemble that of a child who was unable to be proud of something he wanted to share. “I happened to find this by accident…”

  Kim Jin-Woo urged him on with his eyes instead of answering.

  “Please take a look at this.” Uther, who seemed almost depressed at this point, groaned as he vomited out something.

  “Mm…” Kim Jin-Woo frowned at the unbearably disgusting sight without realizing it. In reality, Uther was a sentient, viscous mass of mucus, and what he had just vomited out of his mouth wasn’t actually vomit. But nevertheless, the stone Uther had vomited out was wet and covered in viscous liquid, and it was something that instinctively made him frown.

  But no matter how disgusting the stone looked, Uther proudly presented it. “Do you know what this is?”

  “What is this? Looks like just an ordinary rock to me,” Kim Jin-Woo answered bitterly.

  Uther shook his head and said, “It’s not yet matured, but it’s definitely a down gem. Although it’s still a bit premature to call this guy a down gem.”

  It looked just like a stone without the brilliance unique to down gems, with its somewhat dull appearance, but upon closer inspection, it definitely was a down gem.

  “You’ve done well. Looks like you got lucky,” Kim Jin-Woo said.

  But he wasn’t entirely surprised. Although the down gem supply had been nearly depleted ever since the Moai invasion, that didn’t mean down gems had completely disappeared. If one got lucky, one would be able to find a couple of immature down gems and low-grade down gems.

  However, Uther remained bubbly as he held the down gem. He said, “It’s just an ordinary down gem. But what if there were a pile of these?”

  This time, even the calm, composed Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but spring up from his throne. “There’s a pile of these?” he exclaimed.

  Uther smirked and replied, “Yes; they aren’t quite ripe yet, but there’s a pile of these down gems.”

  There was no time to think. As soon as Uther finished speaking, Kim Jin-Woo said, “Guide me.”


  Through Uther’s guidance, they arrived at a very ordinary looking Underworld passageway. But through the parasite’s ability, Kim Jin-Woo discovered that it was anything but.

  [The parasite’s ability, ‘Guidance’, has been activated.]

  [A down gem seed has been discovered.]

  [The down gem seed has just begun to ripen, and seems to have no energy. However, it is definitely a down gem.]

  [A down gem seed has been discovered.]

  [A down gem seed has been discovered.]

  [A down gem seed…]

  [A down gem…]

  Almost the entirety of the long passageway was glowing green.

  “This is…” The astonishing sight of the passageway glowing completely green was a sight Kim Jin-Woo had never seen before, despite all his years of wandering the Underworld.

  “It hasn’t been long, and they’ve already been able to gather this much energy,” Uther said in a surprised tone as he held on to one of the down gem seeds.

  The Greed Slimes that had been sown in fear that the down gem seeds would be discovered by the Moai had already adhered to Uther’s body.

  But at that moment, nothing Uther said made its way to Kim Jin-Woo’s ears. The parasite’s senses and the Underworld system’s message windows were popping up like crazy.

  [The 9th Floor Veins have been discovered.]

  [It is a great fortune to have found the veins in which the energy of the Underworld flows. It is usually impossible to find the veins hidden deep beneath the Underworld, but it seems that the 9th Floor’s tectonic fluctuations caused by the evolution of the Naga’s Fortress into the Grand Labyrinth have shifted the rocks surrounding the veins.]

  [Even though they are mere down gem seeds that contain a miniscule amount of energy, in addition to being of an insignificant grade, the enormous amount of energy flowing through the veins will cause the seeds to grow rapidly.]

  [The Underworld Veins are literally the lifelines of down gems.]

  They weren’t just ordinary down gem seeds. This was one of the Underworld’s spirit veins. And now, Kim Jin-Woo had discovered a vein that was allowing the down gems to grow in heaps.

  “Usually, I would have consumed them all by myself, but as you know, I’ve lost my labyrinth already, so if I were to be too greedy…” Uther sighed in disappointment. After all, if they were able to harness this much energy in just a few days, they would be complete down gems in no time.

  The scent of the newly created down gems would spread across the Underworld and attract Moai from all over. After all, the Moai were beings that were highly sensitive to the energy of the down gems.

  But now, Uther didn’t have the ability to protect all these down gems from the Moai. That was also one of the reasons why the greedy Uther had no choice but to reveal the 9th Floor Veins to Kim Jin-Woo.

  “Incredible,” Kim Jin-Woo said, gasping audibly.

  Uther sulked as he muttered something to himself. But what he was seeing was a completely different picture from what Kim Jin-Woo was seeing.

  Uther was looking at a simple pile of down gems, and had simply come across the 9th Floor Vein by chance. If he had known the true worth of the Veins, he would have fought the endless wave of Moai to the end just to claim them as his own.

  Kim Jin-Woo kept as much of an expressionless face as he could. Although his face twitched for a moment, he put up a perfect poker face that seemed to show not a hint of surprise at the discovery of the Veins. He said calmly, “I have to reward you. Is there anything else you desire?”

  Although Uther hadn’t been able to identify the Veins, what he had accomplished was so significant that Kim Jin-Woo simply couldn’t ignore him. He was ready to listen to any reasonable request.

  “If you’re talking about a reward…” Uther began.

  “I won’t ask twice. Think carefully,” Kim Jin-Woo said coldly.

  “Please give me the best location within the labyrinth, and share a portion of these down gems with me.” Uther, who had been smiling cunningly just moments prior, quickly changed his attitude before revealing what he desired.

  “Good, I’ll grant you all of that,” Kim Jin-Woo said, generously acquiescing.

  With his request seemingly having gone more smoothly than he expected, Uther looked blankly at Kim Jin-Woo with regret written all over his face. It seemed there was more to be had than he had desired.

  However, he had already said what he wanted, and Kim Jin-Woo had accepted it. And his King hated repeating himself. Uther had missed his godsent opportunity.

  1. This is a Korean idiom referring to a home without its owner.