Chapter 164

  #63. The Labyrinth on the Surface

  The greed of the Grand Labyrinth hadn’t reached the surface. The Labyrinth Core planted on the surface was still active, and its potential wasn’t insignificant, as it was Kim Jin-Woo’s backup core should the Naga’s Fortress be lost. From his point of view, it was an outstanding, but unintended turn of events.

  He wanted to raise the level of the labyrinth to the limit right away, but held back. It was a labyrinth with a weak presence for now, but that wouldn’t be the case in the future.

  Even upgrading the labyrinth required some preparation work. Thus, he had to return to the Underworld, because the Underworld contained the down gems needed for it.


  The moment Kim Jin-Woo crossed through the portal, he met Dominique. Usually, she would cheerfully greet him with a bright smile, but now, she stopped short of running toward him as she backed off and rolled her eyes. It seemed that the previous conversation they had left her on a sour note, and she was feeling greatly upset.

  But if Kim Jin-Woo left matters as is, he had a feeling that Dominique would never make the first step to approach him, and would simply stand there forever.

  “Dominique.” Eventually, he took a step forward and called her name, and she came rushing toward him. But she only took a few steps before stopping in her tracks once more.

  “Master…” As Dominique responded and lowered her head lifelessly, Kim Jin-Woo could see her clenching her lips tightly.

  “Master!” A determined look appeared on Dominique’s face as her eyes flared up, as if she had made up her mind about something. It seemed that she still thought that he was engulfed by the influence of the Grand Labyrinth.

  Thinking she might start nagging him again based on her demeanor, Kim Jin-Woo gave her a wide grin. Just as Dominique was about to open her mouth to say something, she saw his grin and her face turned blank.

  “Thank you. You helped me to clear my head,” Kim Jin-Woo said.

  ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘I was wrong.’ ‘I apologize.’ None of that was necessary. Just saying ‘thank you’ was enough.

  Dominique blinked, probably still unable to make sense of what was happening.

  “Thank you. If it weren’t for you, Dominique, things would have turned out to be a disaster,” Kim Jin-Woo repeated.

  Only when Kim Jin-Woo showed his gratitude once more did Dominique finally understand what was happening. She began to look as if she were about to break down as she exclaimed, “Master!”

  Her tone was distinctly different from the gloomy voice Kim Jin-Woo had heard just earlier, and her eyes were wide open. She said, “I was presumptuous with my words, and I was afraid that Master wouldn’t even see me anymore…”

  Kim Jin-Woo wondered exactly what kind of terrifying gaze he had used to look at Dominique that day. He had now broken free from the Grand Labyrinth’s influence, but he was unable to remember how exactly he and Dominique had felt at that moment. But what was certain was that it had taken a lot of resolve and courage for Dominique to talk to him like that at that moment.

  Dominique was like a small puppy in front of him, with an expression that made her seem about to cry right in front of his eyes, afraid of what would happen if she were hated and abandoned by her master.

  “Thank you,” Kim Jin-Woo said once more.

  “No, I should thank you. Thank you for returning. Thank you, Master, for returning as Master. Thank you,” Dominique replied. Kim Jin-Woo felt his heart warm due to her uncompromising dedication and servitude.

  [The King’s Advisor, Dominique’s advice was uncomfortable to listen to, but it was also necessary. You were consumed by the greed of the Grand Labyrinth and lost your consciousness, but you wisely listened to your advisor. As a result, you have realized the insidious nature of the Grand Labyrinth and are alert toward it, and you have also found a clue toward overcoming it.]

  [The relationship between the wise king and his loyal advisor will be a story to be told through the ages in the Underworld.]

  [Even the wisest advice is meaningless if it does not reach the king. However, she has done a great job in doing her part, and succeeded in saving you from your predicament.]

  [Dominique’s abilities as the King’s Advisor have grown by one level.]

  [Dominique has gained a new ability.]

  [The special ability, ‘Awakening’, has been activated. Going forward, her advice will be given to you straightforwardly in any situation. Even if you lose your consciousness to the Grand Labyrinth again, her advice will awaken you.]


  Both Dominique and Kim Jin-Woo exclaimed at the same time. While Kim Jin-Woo was startled by the sudden message, he noticed Dominique flinching. She had probably felt a subtle change in her own body and felt bewildered.

  “Congratulations, Dominique,” Kim Jin-Woo said.

  “Ah… What is going on…?” Dominique exclaimed.

  Come to think of it, Dominique’s voice was subtly different from before. Kim Jin-Woo congratulated her once again as he admired her mystical tone, which made him feel at ease just by listening to her.


  The change that happened to Dominique certainly improved the mood, but it was a momentary one. Kim Jin-Woo felt his consciousness being invaded once more, and quickly explained what had happened.

  “The labyrinth itself is trying to control Master…” Dominique looked astonished, unable to believe that the Grand Labyrinth had acquired its own ego and tried to devour even its own master.

  “So I don’t think I’ll be able to come back for a while. Even now, something is starting to influence my mind, and I feel that if I stay any longer, I might end up not being myself, just like the last time,” Kim Jin-Woo explained.

  First of all, he needed to gather the fragments of the Ancient Lords and the Nobles’ Seals to increase his power. If he were to return before significantly increasing his own strength, he was sure to be engulfed by the Grand Labyrinth’s ferocious will once more.

  “So, I need your help to gather some important items for me, Dominique,” he continued.

  For someone now as wise as Dominique, he didn’t have to explain every single item one by one for her to prepare the necessary items. As he’d expected, she had been gathering all the important items from down gems to summoning stones from the start, even without his orders. However, it didn’t end there. She had gathered all the items, but seemed to have no intention of handing them over to him.

  “Dominique?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.

  “I’m going with you,” Dominique said unexpectedly. Kim Jin-Woo’s expression grew sullen as she continued, “If you’re truly serious about upgrading the labyrinth on the surface, then I’m sure there’s enough room for one more.” She seemed fully prepared, and ready to reject any form of refusal.

  “If Dominique isn’t around, then who’s going to take care of the Grand La—” Kim Jin-Woo began.

  “If the Grand Labyrinth even tried to devour Master, there’s no way I can handle it, can I? Even if I continue to stay here, there’s nothing for me to do, so it’s best if I follow Master,” Dominique cut him off.

  She was completely correct. If not even Kim Jin-Woo, who had ascended to the title of Highlord, was able to control the Grand Labyrinth at this time, then it was indeed foolish to expect any different results from Dominique.

  “If anything happens, I’m sure the Crow and Rikshasha will take care of it,” Dominique said.

  In the past, Kim Jin-Woo would have rejected this proposal. But now, he was able to trust Morrigan. Her allegiance, as seen through his Eyes of Truth, was sincere, even if the target of that loyalty was wrong. Rikshasha had also gained significant experience with the Under-Elves under her control and had become quite useful, so she was worthy of entrusting the labyrinth to.

  “Urgh.” Eventually, upon realizing that there was no way to break her stubbornness, Kim Jin-Woo groaned. “Let’s do that, then.”

  As soon as he gave his permission, Dominique’s expression eased up as she sighed in relief. Although she had made her point quite resolutely, she’d seemed nervous that her master might reject it. In fact, she even crossed through the portal first before Kim Jin-Woo, who still had matters to attend to, did.

  “Looks like she was really worried.” Kim Jin-Woo laughed at her behavior, as she was seemingly worried that he might change his mind and leave her behind. But quickly, he found his consciousness under attack once more, and quickly moved on to wrap things up.

  It wasn’t difficult to find Lee Jun-Young. She had been staying in the same room she was originally assigned to and hadn’t moved at all. She exclaimed, “Jin-Woo?”

  “I don’t think I’ll be back for a while,” Kim Jin-Woo said.


  When Kim Jin-Woo thought of her from her perspective, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. As the person responsible for bringing her into the Underworld, it was only natural that he felt that way.

  “Are you going to fight again?” Lee Jun-Young asked.

  “Something like that,” Kim Jin-Woo replied.

  With the birth of the Grand Labyrinth, Lee Jun-Young had been freed from her down gem addiction, and in fact, had her memories still intact. Her expression was full of concern, as she seemed to remember the last time Kim Jin-Woo had sought her out before heading into battle with the Moai.

  “Please be careful. And don’t be too late. I still haven’t heard what I should do from you,” Lee Jun-Young said.

  If Kim Jin-Woo had just a bit more time, he would have given something appropriate for her to do, but even at that moment, the Grand Labyrinth was attacking him in his mind. He said, “Let me know if you need something. I’ll try as much as I can to get it for you.”

  Instead of replying to him, Lee Jun-Young stared into his eyes deeply for a long time and said, “You’re heading to the surface.”

  “.……Yes.” Unable to lie, Kim Jin-Woo sighed.

  Lee Jun-Young looked back at him with a conflicted expression and asked, “I guess I still can’t return to the surface, can I?”

  Kim Jin-Woo was unable to answer. If Lee Jun-Young returned now, there was a possibility that things would get ugly for her. That was because many people knew her, and many of them would be sure to take interest in what had happened to her in the Underworld. If those people ever intervened upon her return, all of his plans would go to waste.

  Of course, that didn’t mean she would betray him. If there was one thing Kim Jin-Woo knew for certain, it was that she was an upright woman who knew that she had to repay his favor. He believed that she would never betray him, but he just needed to be extra careful just in case.

  “I’m deeply sorry,” he apologized.

  Lee Jun-Young returned a painful smile. She had said that she was determined to adapt to her new home, but Kim Jin-Woo knew that there was no way she would have zero regrets about the surface.

  It wasn’t that she was desperately clinging on to him for help, nor was she pleading with her eyes. She seemed to be well aware of her own plight, and she was doing the best she could to understand his position.

  “I’ll try to understand. I’ve yet to fully recover, so it’s getting hard to talk for long,” Lee Jun-Young said.

  But despite that, it couldn’t be helped that she was going to feel depressed about the overall situation. Thus, Kim Jin-Woo felt hesitant to respond to her euphemistic congratulations.

  “If you ever need anything, just grab hold of anyone and they’ll do their best to get it for you.” Kim Jin-Woo bid his farewells as he turned and left, hiding his complicated feelings.

  Lee Jun-Young was left alone as she blankly looked at the empty seat he left behind, muttering to herself. “Jin-Woo, I have no intention of telling anyone anything…”

  It was a heartfelt statement, but Kim Jin-Woo had already left.


  “I knew this was going to happen. I already knew that this Naga lady, who only has eyes for Master, wasn’t going to let him come up alone.” Angela, who had recovered fully in half a day’s time, looked at Dominique as she spoke.

  From Angela’s point of view, she had just recovered from the brink of death, so even seeing the arrogant Naga was a delight. But Dominique, unaware of what had happened, turned her head as she looked away and muttered, “Hmph. Whatever.”

  “Long time no see,” she said as she spotted Yoon-Hee standing awkwardly in a corner.

  “You’re…” Yoon-Hee began.

  “I’m here together with Master for certain reasons. That’s all you have to know,” Dominique said.

  Kim Jin-Woo belatedly crossed through the portal and roughly explained the situation. “For the time being, let the dungeon be without upgrading it. We need to do some construction work around the area first so the energy doesn’t leak.” He seemed to have formulated a plan in that short period of time, as his explanation was succinct.

  “But we have no Naga Workers here. It’ll be a bit of a stretch for us to do all the necessary work,” Dominique remarked.

  Dominique and Yoon-Hee were both wise and clever in their own ways, but of course, they were ignorant of life on the surface.

  “We don’t have to work,” Kim Jin-Woo began.

  “Then how?”

  Looking at the two women’s wide-eyed stares, Kim Jin-Woo sighed deeply. He said, “There’s nothing money won’t resolve here.”

  If one had money, one could even summon ghosts. But Kim Jin-Woo had so much money that he could even summon a family of ghosts.