Records of Dungeon Travel Chapter 74
“Hmm…” Kim Jin-Woo began.
As the light faded, Yoon-Hee seemed… different. Her soulless pupils slowly started to regain life.
“Can you recognize who I am?” Kim Jin-Woo asked, feeling eager and hopeful.
“Ah…” Yoon-Hee took a good look at him and scrunched up her face, looking all confused.
“Yoon-Hee, who am I?”
The repeated questions didn’t seem to result in any new answers.
Kim Jin-Woo patiently waited, looking out for any signs of change. All Yoon-Hee could muster at the end of it all was a simple nod. He let out a deep sigh and took a step back as he checked the Party Hall’s status.
[Party Hall – Land of Festivities (Level 5)]
[The Land of Festivities has now reactivated its abilities after gaining a new owner. While its Level 5 Labyrinth Core is weaker than it was in its prime, the labyrinth is now fully functional.]
[1,400 Dungeon Energy has been accumulated. You may use it for summons and construction of new buildings.]
[With the authority of a regent, would you like to be involved with its operations?]
The nagas had been responsible for the Party Hall’s defenses, as the construction of its facilities had been the priority until now. But with an upcoming war imminent, the nagas wouldn’t be able to do so any longer.
“I would. List summons.” At Kim Jin-Woo’s command, a long list of possible summons appeared.
Shadow Servant (Level 1) (1/2)A worker in charge of both big and small tasks in the Party Hall. Their combat ability is nonexistent.Shadow Guard (Level 1) (2)The Shadow Guards, tasked with expelling uninvited guests so the Party Hall’s festivities never end, will do anything to protect the Party Hall.Shadow Magician (Intermediate) (95)Magicians who perform colorful spells so invited guests will have their minds completely blown with dazzling magic. They use hallucination magic to confuse the minds of their enemies.Shadow Bard (Intermediate) (65)As long as the Shadow Bards keep singing, the festivities are never over. Their songs are captivating enough to make those invited to the party forget their fatigue. They aid in battle with a song that weakens the enemies and strengthens allies.Shadow Clown (Rank 3) (70)Shadow Clowns are the flowers of the festival. One will not notice the passing of time as one becomes captivated by their talented feats. They may sometimes even hush the chatter of guests with their bloody and dangerous antics. Their movements are quicker and more flexible than anyone else’s. They are also good at setting traps to surprise their opponents.Shadow Storyteller (Rank 4) (130)Shadow Storytellers appear when the festivities are at their peak. Their witty telling of all kinds of stories will leave guests enthralled. When they run out of stories to tell, they will even go out of their way to create new stories. They are also known as ‘Knights of Comedy’. They will not hesitate to fight even Earth Dragons if it results in an interesting story.
All the summons in the Party Hall were somehow strange. Looking at their names, which hinted at their mischievous nature, one couldn’t get a sense of what kind of beings they were.
The Dungeon Energy required for upgrades and summons was all mixed up, giving Kim Jin-Woo a great headache. “Twenty guards,” he said.
[Would you like to summon twenty ‘Shadow Guard (Level 1)’? You will expend 40 dungeon energy.]
After some deliberation, he decided to proceed with the summoning to better understand them, starting with the easiest one to understand. One by one, he sought to understand each of their abilities.
“Urgh. Not a single one of them is normal.”
From the Shadow Clown that suggested incredible feats to the point that Kim Jin-Woo was thinking of summoning more, to the Shadow Bard that only knew how to scream and shout loudly, there was not one normal summon.
But based on their strength alone, Kim Jin-Woo was quite satisfied. Contrary to their loud and ridiculous demeanor, they were rather useful in their own right.
“For starters, I’ll have the Magicians and Bards as support, while the Clowns seem to operate similarly to Rangers…”
The Magicians were able to evoke hallucinations to cause chaos and confusion, while the Bards’ songs gave strength buffs.
The Clowns, on the other hand, masterfully set up various traps for their enemies; they could practically fly with their acrobatics, and their attack range was comparable to the Naga Rangers.
“The Storytellers are a bit expensive, but I should use them as the core of my army composition.”
Among the different summons, the Shadow Storytellers were the most useful. Unlike what their names suggested, the Storytellers’ uncanny ability to stay silent allowed them to slay their enemies with their two blades like ghosts. It was much more than what the Naga Warriors could offer.
Of course, it only made sense, considering their summoning cost was higher than the nagas.
Kim Jin-Woo had used up all the Dungeon Energy on all the different summons, and after staying in the Party Hall for a little while longer, he headed back to the Naga’s Fortress. Yoon-Hee followed closely behind him after some slight hesitation.
“You’ve returned.” Angela got up from lazing around in the master room and greeted Kim Jin-Woo.
“Yes. Rest up. I’ll call you if I need anything.” As Kim Jin-Woo talked to Angela, Yoon-Hee made a small bow and left the master room. As soon as she was out of sight, his tone shifted. “Angela.”
“Yes?” The chatty Angela turned serious at the change in his voice.
“From today onward, never let Yoon-Hee out of your sight.”
“Understood. When shall I start?”
His quick yet firm response made her tear up for a moment, before she faded away into the darkness.
With Angela gone, Kim Jin-Woo was left all alone in the master room as he started speaking to himself. “I’m sure she’s regained consciousness…”
From the look in her eyes to the occasional confused look on her face, Kim Jin-Woo knew that Yoon-Hee had recovered to an extent.
But despite the turn for the better, something felt off about her. Something seemed to have happened to her that he couldn’t bring himself to probe into yet.
“But why…?” Unable to think of a reason why she might be hiding the truth from him, Kim Jin-Woo lost track of time as he fell deep into thought.
[The Land of Greed is attempting to open a portal. Without the Baron’s permission, the portal will not open.]
[Will you allow the portal to open?]
At the sudden message, Kim Jin-Woo quickly permitted its access.
“My king!” Uther’s howls could be heard the moment the portal opened. “The 10th Floor Nobles have started to make their move!”
“Already?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.
It was only a couple of days prior that some of their labyrinth’s forces had been wiped out by the bandits, but now they were already on the move.
“P-please come here and see for yourself!” Uther exclaimed. Kim Jin-Woo hurriedly stepped through the portal as Uther continued, “See for yourself! Those black hordes!”
Uther pointed at the slime mass stuck onto the wall. A visual of one of the 10th Floor’s passageways showed on its white surface.
“Where is this?”
“It’s the passageway that links the 9th Floor to the 10th, and it should take them around three days to reach here!”
Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but frown upon hearing Uther’s panicking cries. The passageway was filled with countless creatures as far as the eye could see. He muttered, “Isn’t this too quick?”
“Over there!” Uther pointed at another slime.
“Fuck!” Kim Jin-Woo exclaimed when he saw its contents.
On it, there was a familiar face. Boreas the Wind Piercer was marching proudly forward, his flag in hand.
Boreas had gathered a force of almost two thousand troops. The troops from each participating labyrinth wasn’t high, but the sheer number of labyrinths that had joined his army was enormous. From small dwarves to giants crouching through the passageway, there was a large variety of warriors in his army.
“What the hell did he do?” Kim Jin-Woo wondered.
These were the same 10th Floor Nobles who had even sold their own labyrinth facilities to fulfill their desire for luxuries. It was just a few days ago that their pathetic armies had lost to mere bandits.
But now, creatures with sharp, menacing eyes were flowing through the passageway. This couldn’t have happened through sheer luck. Kim Jin-Woo was simply unable to comprehend how quickly things had escalated in a matter of days.
At that moment, the Black Merchant arrived to visit him, adding to the strangeness of the entire situation.
“Report the situation to me!” Kim Jin-Woo exclaimed.
Seeing Kim Jin-Woo in his frustrated state, the Black Merchant skipped the formalities and explained, “Those forces are from the 11th Floor!”
“Is it Parthenon of Despair?” Kim Jin-Woo asked. It wouldn’t be a surprise, as he was already a hostile target to Parthenon. But what he wanted to know was how the 10th Floor Nobles had gotten their act together in such a short time.
“Count Parthenon has guaranteed promotions for the 10th Floor Nobles!”
“Promotion? Is that something a mere Count can do?”
“Usually, it wouldn’t be possible. But should there be a death among the lower level nobles without an heir selected from their subordinates, the Count has the authority to designate that heir.”
“Damn it!” Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but swear.
There was no way there would be deaths among the lower level nobles now, so it seemed Parthenon had promised a future promotion as bait instead.
“With so much aggression coming towards us, what is Anatolius doing?”
The Black Merchant’s face turned dark as he replied. “Lord Anatolius is unable to assist with the situation on the 9th and 10th floor.”
Kim Jin-Woo had a bad feeling about what was coming next. The Black Merchant continued, confirming his suspicions, “Lord Anatolius is under attack by Lord Parthenon.”
“For what reason?”
“A noble under Lord Parthenon was killed by an Iron-Blooded Knight under Lord Anatolius.” The Black Merchant’s explanations seemingly became more and more ridiculous.
“Does that even make sense?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.
Indeed, it was something that the being who called himself ‘Iron-Blooded’ could pull off. But Anatolius had absolutely no reason to take such provocative action, especially right now.
“Regardless of what the truth may be, it’s a fact that Lord Anatolius is unable to assist with the situation on the 9th and 10th Floors. Lord Anatolius may hold the title of being the strongest on the 11th Floor, but Lord Parthenon’s army is equally formidable…”
“Besides, there’s justification for Lord Parthenon to commence his attack, so things aren’t looking good for Lord Anatolius. While the Iron-Blooded Knights pride themselves on their speed and aggression, they’re fairly lacking in defense.”
Kim Jin-Woo, who had been listening quietly, called his commanders over.
“Master!” Rikshasha responded.
“Rikshasha, I’ll pass you the keys to send out the Dragon Knights. Now, run to the labyrinth adjacent to the passageway leading to the 10th Floor and pass on the message,” Kim Jin-Woo instructed. Rikshasha’s face turned cold as he continued, “The 10th Floor’s forces are coming. They number around two thousand, so make the necessary preparations quickly!”
Rikshasha was, after all, a messenger of the Naga’s Fortress, a labyrinth whose reputation and power was unmatched on the 9th Floor. There was no way other labyrinth masters would ignore the message.
“Balzark!” Kim Jin-Woo barked.
“Balzark at your service!”
“Spread the word to our allied labyrinths. A two-thousand-strong army is coming towards us, so if they want to live to see another day, they should come to me immediately!”
At Kim Jin-Woo’s relentless orders, Rikshaha and Balzark, as well as Quantus and Ortehaga, hurriedly left the labyrinth.
“This might not be enough.” The Black Merchant looked as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
But Kim Jin-Woo now somehow seemed more at ease as he said, “It won’t. Of course it won’t.”
“How are you so calm knowing that?!”
Kim Jin-Woo tilted his head and looked down at the flustered Black Merchant. “There’s no way I can be calm. In that two-thousand-strong army, there should be around a hundred Hero-Grade summons. Just the thought of that is dizzying.” However, his face said otherwise.
“Perhaps you’ve found a solution?” The Black Merchant was clearly desperate for an answer, seeing as Kim Jin-Woo’s face belied his words.
“There’s no way we can defeat them head on now.”
“But there is a way to slow them down.”