Chapter 167

  —Korean Explorers’ Association

  No way, Kim Jin-Woo thought the entire time. Even when he had found out that empty down gems were being distributed to the general public under the Association’s name, he never would have thought to link that matter with the whereabouts of the down gems that Angela had tracked down. He had always thought that the Association was the one supplying down gems, not receiving them.

  However, when he reached the building under Angela’s guidance, he saw the words ‘Explorers’ Association’ on the signboard of the building and frowned heavily. “These fuckers…”

  The proudly displayed sign couldn’t be any more of an eyesore. He’d have to dig deeper to know what was really going on, but seeing that even the general public was being scammed, there was no reason to be proud of it.

  Kim Jin-Woo stared at the sign coldly. He felt the presence of watchers both inside and outside the building.

  The hidden watchers seemed rather formidable, seeing as Angela was standing far behind Kim Jin-Woo as she whispered in a low voice, “If you approach any closer, you’ll catch the attention of the watchers.”

  Although he was somewhat ahead of Angela, Kim Jin-Woo nodded at her words. He could forcefully enter if he wanted to, but he saw no reason to go to that extent.

  “Master?” Angela’s eyes widened when she saw Kim Jin-Woo suddenly step out of hiding.

  “Head back first.” Without even looking back, Kim Jin-Woo left a quick word as he headed straight toward the Explorers’ Association office. With each step he took as he stepped out of the shadows, his presence grew, and when he reached the streetlight, he felt like a totally different person.


  Lee Chul-Ho, the explorer who was guarding the entrance to the Explorers’ Association, squinted when he saw a man suddenly appear out of nowhere. He asked in a soft whisper, “Was there a guest who was scheduled to come over today?”

  “What time do you think it is, asshole? Even if there were, do you think they’d be coming at this hour?” his colleague shot back, scolding him for no reason.

  “Then who’s that guy?”

  “How would I know? That’s your job.”

  Lee Chul-Ho stood in front of the man and blocked his approach… No, he tried to block him. But the moment he saw the man’s black eyes glowing red under the moonlight, he was left dumbfounded.

  Outwardly, there was nothing special about the man. He looked like an ordinary person just like anybody else, and seeing that he had come to the association’s office, he was definitely an explorer, but nothing in particular stood out.

  Despite that, Lee Chul-Ho couldn’t bring himself to speak a single word the moment he saw the man. Like prey in front of a predator, his body was so stiff from fear that he found it difficult to even breathe, let alone open his mouth.

  Thump. Thump.

  The man looked at him indifferently as he continued his approach.

  “Hey, hey… Hey!” Lee Chul-Ho’s colleague exclaimed, tapping him on the back. If not for that, he would have forgotten about his duties and simply continued staring ahead.

  “Y-you are?” In that brief moment, Lee Chul-Ho was barely able to squeak a sentence out as he swallowed dryly.

  “I’m here to see Song Jong-Chul,” the man said.

  The moment Lee Chul-Ho heard the man’s reason for visiting, he felt his tension release and sighed with relief. It couldn’t have been any more fortunate that the man had fully answered his question. Perhaps he was more relieved to know that the man wasn’t an enemy without even realizing it himself.

  “Do you have any appointments?” Lee Chul-Ho asked.

  “Not really, but I know him well enough that I don’t need an appointment to see him,” the man replied. The sheer presence he emanated was too overwhelming, and he seemed to be powerful enough to back it up.

  Although the association’s president had once been at a low point in the past, he was now riding some momentum and had regained his former prestige. But seeing this man casually mention the president by name, Lee Chul-Ho felt relieved that he had been polite to him.

  “If you can tell us your name, we’ll relay the message to him.” Guessing that he’d probably know of this man if he was indeed as powerful as he imagined, Lee Chul-Ho made a calculated move.

  “Kim Jin-Woo,” the man replied.

  When the man's indifferent gaze connected with him for a split second, Lee Chul-Ho felt a chill run down his spine, but he soon forgot that fact and exposed his feeling of surprise. “Perhaps you’re the one from the 12th Floor…?”

  The man didn’t respond. But judging from his confident attitude and display of indifference, Lee Chul-Ho was certain that the man was the one and only Level 12 dungeon baby of South Korea.

  “Ah, please wait a minute.” Slightly panicking, he asked Kim Jin-Woo to wait while he hurriedly stepped aside and radioed his colleague stationed within the building.

  “They say he’s the highest leveled one in our country, but now that I see him up close and personal, he’s nothing special.” While waiting for a response from within the building, Lee Chul-Ho’s colleague moved toward him and started gossiping. At those words, Lee Chul-Ho stared back at his colleague, wondering if he had gone mad.

  “Man, I thought if he were five levels above us, he’d be pretty impressive.” Considering the abnormal hearing of dungeon babies, Lee Chul-Ho’s colleague spoke in a low mutter.

  But Lee Chul-Ho forgot to turn off his radio as he gave his colleague a piece of his mind. “Are you crazy!? Does that guy look like a normal human being to you?”

  “Of course he does; does he not look like a normal human being to you!?” his colleague shot back.

  Terrified at his colleague’s senselessness, Lee Chul-Ho looked hard at his colleague, but it seemed he didn’t sense anything from Kim Jin-Woo. He exclaimed, confronting his colleague’s ridiculous attitude, “You asshole, you’re lying about the fact that you’re from the 6th Floor, aren’t you?”

  “Crazy bastard, we climbed up together, so what bullshit are you even talking about?” his colleague responded angrily.

  Lee Chul-Ho shook his head as he sneakily looked in Kim Jin-Woo’s direction. He was wary about whether Kim Jin-Woo had heard their conversation and might have taken any offense. But he froze up when he realized that Kim Jin-Woo didn’t give a damn about their conversation.

  Huh? Why am I being so cautious about this guy? Lee Chul-Ho questioned himself, but before he could come up with an answer, a voice responded on his radio.

  {Hey! Jung Chan-Sik is heading down! Don’t let that bastard do anything crazy!}

  “What?” Lee Chul-Ho asked.

  Jung Chan-Sik was a dungeon baby that had joined the association around a half a year to a year ago. He was a guy who had suddenly joined the association after leading a small expedition team for them, but because he wasn’t particularly special, Lee Chul-Ho had paid no particular attention to him.

  “Why all of a sudden? Explain to m—” Lee Chul-Ho couldn’t even finish his sentence, as the back door suddenly burst open and someone charged toward Kim Jin-Woo.

  {I don’t know, he got worked up about being resentful toward Kim Jin-Woo or something…}

  “You asshole!”

  A panicky voice emerged from the radio. Lee Chul-Ho witnessed a shadow burst out from the office door; a man, presumably Jung Chan-Sik, charged toward Kim Jin-Woo fiercely with a raised fist.

  “You should—” Lee Chul-Ho couldn’t help but curse at the sudden development, but before he could even finish his sentence, Jung Chan-Sik’s fist had landed on Kim Jin-Woo. “Fucking explain that—”

  And at almost the exact same time, Kim Jin-Woo’s hand moved.


  When Lee Chul-Ho finally came to his senses, he saw that despite Jung Chan-Sik’s surprise attack, Kim Jin-Woo was holding him by the neck.


  {Don’t let him kick up a fuss! Big brother Jong-Chul, I mean, the President is heading down as well!}

  The message was too late, and Lee Chul-Ho was unable to respond.

  When he saw Kim Jin-Woo’s indifferent gaze as he held Jung Chan-Sik by the neck with one hand and lifted him up, Lee Chul-Ho froze on the spot. And when he looked into Kim Jin-Woo’s emotionless eyes, he finally understood why he had been wary of this man called Kim Jin-Woo this whole time. His eyes were terrifyingly similar to those of the being he once feared—a labyrinth master.

  “Jung Chan-Sik!”

  At that moment, the building door opened and several men emerged. They rushed out enthusiastically, but stopped dead in their tracks at what they saw.

  “That’s a bit too much for a warm reception, isn’t it?” Kim Jin-Woo replied without being affected at all by the reactions of those around him. His cold words pierced the chilly air of the night.


  Kim Jin-Woo was half-heartedly listening to the guards’ conversation when he saw Jung Chan-Sik suddenly rush toward him, and he tilted his head.

  But seeing that he would get punched if he didn’t do anything, Kim Jin-Woo pushed out his left hand to block Jung Chan-Sik’s fist while grabbing his neck with the other hand, asking, “What is the meaning of this?”

  “Kurgh,” Jung Chan-Sik grunted.

  Based on Jung Chan-Sik’s eager expression, there was definitely something wrong, but Kim Jin-Woo didn’t loosen his grip.

  One of the men who ran out of the building belatedly approached Kim Jin-Woo and pretended to be friendly. “Whoa, whoa. Let’s calm down; let him go and let’s talk this out. I think there’s been some kind of misunderstanding.”

  It was Song Jong-Chul that gently approached Kim Jin-Woo and spoke, pushing his arm down.

  “Misunderstanding? I don’t think there’s any misunderstanding with my friend here,” Kim Jin-Woo replied.

  It was Jung Chan-Sik that had caused Lee Jun-Young to become addicted to down gems. And it was Kim Jin-Woo that had taken Lee Jun-Young away from him and saved her. There was no way there could be any misunderstanding.

  “Okay, I get it. Let’s put down that hand and talk it out. We’re one big family, yeah? Why are we fighting among ourselves? Unless you’re going to personally handle this guy’s funeral, let go of that hand, yeah?”

  At Song Jong-Chul’s words, Kim Jin-Woo slowly loosened his grip.


  Kim Jin-Woo stared at Jung Chan-Sik, who lay collapsed on the ground as he kept coughing, before asking Song Jong-Chul a question. “You said ‘misunderstanding’, right? What misunderstanding is there?”

  The person concerned seemed to have neither the intention nor the energy to talk, so Kim Jin-Woo had no choice but to ask Song Jong-Chul.

  “Let’s head in first and we’ll talk it out. No need to embarrass him in front of the others, right? We’re all friends here in South Korea,” Song Jong-Chul said as he wrapped up the situation. He exclaimed, “Are you done with the show? Go back up, you sons of bitches!”

  Kim Jin-Woo looked at the various men returning to their positions before staring at Jung Chan-Sik once more.

  Anger. Frustration. Jealousy.

  The unique status window that was revealed by the Eyes of Truth floated above the other man’s head. But Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t understand why Jung Chan-Sik felt that way.


  “It’s been a while, but our reunion couldn’t have gone any worse.” It had been almost a year since Kim Jin-Woo met Song Jong-Chul. He was no different from before, as he smirked while pretending to be friendly. He continued, “But that aside, I don’t know why our friend here got all worked up, so let’s hear him out.” Unlike his voice that was full of laughter, his tone was bone-chilling.

  Jung Chan-Sik, who was still holding on to his neck and shivering, responded coldly with a hardened expression. “It’s really nothing much. It’s quite embarrassing to even bring it up.”

  “Talk. The real embarrassment has yet to even begin,” Kim Jin-Woo said.

  With that pressure, as well as Kim Jin-Woo’s demeanor that had changed drastically within the past year, Song Jong-Chul could no longer beat about the bush. He said, “I’ve said some careless things.”