Chapter 34

<The Basilisk King can only be killed by a weapon from the surface that breathes fire.>

“What?” Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but scowl. What’s up with this abstract clue?

Dominique looked at her master and continued to read the document. <While most basilisks have softer weak spots between their chests and chins, the Basilisk King does not have any. Even his eyes and mouth are rock-hard, so he can’t be killed with an ordinary weapon from the underground world.>

Her sonorous voice continued, <Only the aristocrats of the deep floors can inflict damage on this immortal creature. The only other being that could kill him would be one that lives above the ground, not below it.>

At that moment, many thoughts crossed Kim Jin-Woo’s mind.

Mr. Baek had told him that Anaxtus was a skeptical fellow who had refused to actively participate in the under-war. He never revealed himself and only sent his subordinates to deal with small conflicts. Therefore, Kim Jin-Woo had assumed that Anaxtus was an obsessively calculating and cautious creature that didn’t participate in wars unless victory was guaranteed.

“But that wasn’t the case, huh.”

Anaxtus wasn’t skeptical, but rather scared. He had been avoiding confrontation with humans, as they were the only beings that could possibly kill him. That fear alone had prevented him from actively participating in the under-war in the past. 

<I remember hearing that the basilisks had the power to annihilate our military in the under-war. We were fighting on their turf, after all. However, they were strangely wary of the humans. Something’s definitely fishy. Furthermore, I checked with the labyrinth managing office for any dungeon babies who had managed to escape the Basilisk King’s labyrinth. There was none; no dungeon baby has escaped from the Labyrinth of Anaxtus.>

Kim Jin-Woo recalled Mr. Baek’s words and was convinced that the black merchant was telling the truth. “Ha, hahaha!” He couldn’t help but laugh.

What a coincidence! Everything seemed to be going in Kim Jin-Woo’s favor. The Basilisk King had graciously declared war against a labyrinth ruled by a human, the sole being that was able to kill him. Even the master of a labyrinth couldn’t escape this brutal irony.

<Master, should I continue?> Dominique asked as she tilted her head with a puzzled expression.

“Go ahead.”

<Alright. The basilisks…> Dominique read out the document with her sonorous voice for some time.

***

The labyrinth now had new facilities. The laboratory and forge had been fully built to extract the blood leopard’s power from its heart.

The laboratory was full of flasks and eccentric tools. At that moment, a naga magician appeared and sat next to Kim Jin-Woo, as if it had been waiting for him to come. Kim Jin-Woo passed the Blood Leopard’s heart to the magician.

[Beginning research on the lood leopard’s heart (top-grade down gem). There is only one intermediate-class naga magician in the laboratory. It looks as though the research is going to take some time (719 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds left to complete).]

[Do you wish to summon more naga magicians to increase efficiency?]

[The naga’s labyrinth has reached maximum capacity; new personnel cannot be summoned.]

Kim Jin-Woo hadn’t expected such a long waiting time. He nodded and headed to the forge.

[Processing the blood leopard’s heart (top-grade down gem). There is only one worker in the forge. It looks as though the processing is going to take some time (719 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds left to complete).]

[Do you wish to summon more naga workers to increase efficiency?]

[A naga worker will become a blacksmith once it is allocated to the forge. It will be unable to do any other task. Do you still wish to proceed?]

That went without saying. Kim Jin-Woo immediately summoned a few naga workers who had been collecting down gems to the forge. The duration required to cut the jewel was instantly reduced by 20%.

[The chosen naga workers have become blacksmiths. Work efficiency is reduced drastically due to the poor equipment and inexperience of the novice blacksmiths.]

Kim Jin-Woo wondered whether the efficiency would improve if he deployed more naga workers, but it didn’t seem as though there would be a noticeable difference.

“It’s a race against time again,” he mused. All he could do now was to wait for the labyrinth’s upgrade to be completed.

The labyrinth had reached maximum capacity when Quantus, the naga magician, and the naga priest had evolved. He could neither summon more personnel nor go on a hunt during this critical period.

[Upgrading the labyrinth to Level 5. 19 hours, 14 minutes, and 59 seconds left.]

At least the labyrinth would be upgraded in no time.

The naga’s labyrinth had advanced greatly since its early days. It had started with just a doorless master room, but it had become a legitimate labyrinth with complex, entangled passages, and facilities such as a forge and laboratory.

Furthermore, the naga warriors and workers were diligently shuttling back and forth through the passageways. One would have thought that the naga’s labyrinth was a lively place if not for the war against the Basilisk King.

Kim Jin-Woo passed by the traffic of nagas, and was about to return to the master room when he suddenly came to a halt.

He noticed the Feline sitting alone in the dark corner of the pub, which was empty as all the nagas were on standby for battle. When their gazes met, the Feline prostrated herself to show her respect to Kim Jin-Woo.

“You haven’t left, huh.”

“The underground world isn’t the best place for us beastfolk to live in. We’re a weak minority race, after all.”

The Feline must have decided to stay in the pub for a while.

<Should I chase her away?>

“Is our expenditure increased because of visitors like this?”

<Not really. The Feline is neither a troublemaker nor a glutton.>

“Then let her be. But don’t forget to keep an eye on her, in case she does anything suspicious.”

Dominique called a passing naga warrior over and instructed him to guard the pub. Kim Jin-Woo stared at the Feline’s slender shoulders before heading toward the master room. He sat on the throne and checked the labyrinth’s status screen.

[Naga’s Labyrinth] (Active)

  • Master Kim Jin-Woo (Level 6) (Average Commander)
  • Level 4 Labyrinth (Size 42x42)
  • Dungeon Energy (500/500)
  • Durability 5611/5611
  • Facilities
    • Master Room (Level 3)
    • Portal (On Cooldown 13:21:48 0/1)
    • Gate (900/900)
    • Storage (6781/6800)
    • Naga’s Nest (203/150)
      • The labyrinth’s maximum capacity has been reached. New nagas cannot be summoned.
    • Pub
    • Laboratory (Level 1)
    • Forge (Level 1)
    • Level 5 facilities can only be activated after upgrading.
  • Military Strength (30/4) 
    • Naga Maid (Dominique/Heroine) 1/10
    • Naga Warrior (Quantus/Hero) 1/60
    • Drakan (Drakanus Ortehaga/?) 1/100
    • Under-elf Patroller (Rikshasha/?) 1/31
    • Lycan Swordsman (Inu/?) 1/15
    • Naga Gatekeeper (Level 3) 1/25
    • Naga Magician (Intermediate Class) 1/25
    • Naga Priest (Intermediate Class) 1/23 
    • Naga Archer (Level 2) 1/10
    • Naga Warrior (Level 2) (Elite) 5/6
    • Naga Blacksmith (Level 1) 4/4
    • Naga Worker (Level 1) 21/1

The status window had become much more sophisticated than before. In particular, the sentence regarding the labyrinth’s full capacity caught Kim Jin-Woo’s attention.

He desperately needed the labyrinth’s upgrade regardless of the battle against Anaxtus. At this rate, his summoned personnel and mercenaries could leave the naga’s labyrinth at any moment.

<Master, Rikshasha is back!> Dominique announced, causing Kim Jin-Woo to snap out of his thoughts and raise his head. Her voice trembled unusually, indicating that something must have happened.

“Tell her to come in!”

<She can’t move now due to her serious injuries. The naga priest is healing her, but she won’t be able to move for a while.>

“Damn it!” Kim Jin-Woo cursed and got up from his throne. Dominique led the way to the under-elf. “What happened?” Kim Jin-Woo asked on the way.

<She was probably caught in a battle. I’m not sure about the details either.>

Rikshasha, who had been spying on the Basilisk King’s labyrinth, had come back injured. Kim Jin-Woo had a bad feeling about this.

“Master...” Rikshasha greeted her master despite her bloody, torn waist. She struggled to get up, but the naga priest pressed her down and continued to cast spells on her relentlessly.

“Shit… Don’t move,” Kim Jin-Woo said sternly to Rikshasha.

Rikshasha hesitated for a moment and lay back on the floor before reporting her findings. “The basilisks are coming! We have to prepare ourselves immediately!” she exclaimed desperately without even wiping the bloodstains around her mouth.

“How far away are they?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.

“I encountered them about a day ago. They can march here without taking any breaks due to their incredible endurance. We don’t have much time.” Her voice began to trail off, but she continued reporting nonetheless. “There are fifty-six basilisks in total. I’m sure this is just the recon troop, but a few basilisks appeared to be hero-grade.”

“How about the Basilisk King? Did you see Anaxtus?” Kim Jin-Woo didn’t want to stress the injured under-elf, but the dire circumstances mandated him to pursue further questioning.

“I couldn’t check that, but I would think he’d be in the main troop—“ Rikshasha suddenly stopped talking.

Shocked, Kim Jin-Woo quickly placed his finger below her nose. Fortunately, he could still feel her faint breaths.

<She’s asleep. She overtaxed herself and lost too much blood. I believe she ran here nonstop after the battle,> Dominique reassured Kim Jin-Woo and bit her lips. <She did well for an under-elf,> she added.

She frowned for some reason, causing wrinkles to form on her smooth forehead. <Judging from Rikshasha’s running speed and the basilisks’ movement speed, we don’t have much time. I would say about a day, at most two.>

They were short on time again. With only eighteen hours left until the completion of the labyrinth’s upgrade, Kim Jin-Woo and the naga’s labyrinth had to overcome this great ordeal.

Kim Jin-Woo clenched his teeth and bellowed, “Activate the traps and gather all troops at the gate!”

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